Monday, October 26, 2009

Ghost of Bellamy Bridge is Fascinating Florida Antebellum Legend


One of my favorite stories of antebellum Florida revolves around the ghost of a young woman that supposedly haunts Bellamy Bridge, an old iron frame structure that spans the Chipola River a few miles north of Marianna.

As the story goes, the ghost is that of Elizabeth Jane Bellamy, the young wife of Dr. Samuel Bellamy who was a prominent resident of early Florida. Dr. Bellamy was a key executive with the Union Bank, which financed the purchase and development of many early Florida plantations, and also was a delegate at the 1838 Constitutional Convention in St. Joseph (today's Port St. Joe) that led to Florida's admission to the Union as a state.

Elizabeth supposedly died on her wedding night when she somehow came into contact with an open fire and her gown burst into flames. Before her husband could save her, she rushed from the house in panic and was severely burned. After lingering for a few days in severe pain, the legend maintains, she died and was buried in a lonely grave near Bellamy Bridge. Over the years that followed, her ghost supposedly began to appear in the river swamps around her grave and the bridge.

It is a fascinating story, even if the facts don't exactly match with the legend. If you would like to read the real facts behind this unique legend of antebellum Florida, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/bellamybridge. Be sure to check out the actual photo of the "ghost" and click the "True Story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge" link at the bottom of the page to read the results of the historical investigation into the story.

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