Saturday, October 30, 2010

The True Story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge

The story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge has been told in Jackson County for more than 100 years, yet it always seems to emerge as a favorite when the first hint of fall is in the air and kids start to think of Trick or Treating.

Bellamy Bridge, for the uninitiated, is an old iron frame bridge that spans the Chipola River a few miles north of Florida Caverns State Park. The wooden floor is long gone and all that remains is the skeleton of iron beams and girders. It is not currently accessible by land, but can be seen from a boat or canoe in the river (the easiest way is to put in at Turner's Landing off Bump Nose Road north of Marianna and paddle upstream until you see the bridge).

There are many stories about what happens at Bellamy Bridge in the middle of the night. Some say that the ghostly figure of a young woman can be seen walking through the thick trees of the swamps bordering the river. Others claim to see balls of fire either falling from the sky into the river or appearing and disappearing along the banks of the rivers. The most vivid tales are of the fire specter of a woman that can be seen screaming and running for the bridge near the river.

All of these stories originate from events that took place in the 19th century and not one, but two weddings of that era. If you would like to read the real story behind the Bellamy Bridge "haunting," then please visit When you get there, be sure to follow the link to "The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge: An In Depth Account" to read the full true history behind the Bellamy Bridge legend.

You'll also find a photograph of the ghost itself!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ghosts of the Russ House

The Russ House in Marianna is one of the most beautiful architectural landmarks in Florida. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is a local treasure and is the ideal location for the purpose it currently serves - that of Chamber of Commerce and official welcome center for visitors to Jackson County.

Built in 1895 and remodeled to its present appearance in 1910, the home has been a centerpiece of the Marianna community for more than 100 years. The house has also seen its share of tragedy over the years and perhaps it is this history that contributes to its status as one of the "most haunted" places in Florida.

According to Betty Gilbert Davis of the Big Bend Ghost Trackers, the organization that conducted an extended investigation of the ghost reports in the Russ House, her group found evidence of at least two ghosts in the old house, one male and one female.

Most who believe that the house is haunted believe the male ghost is that of its builder, Joseph W. Russ, Jr., who took his own life in 1930 after seeing the family's fortune evaporate during the early days of the Great Depression. The figure of a man with a mustache has been seen in the house and eyewitnesses have reported hearing strange sounds and picking up odd scents there.  A ghostly figure has also been seen peering through the windows of the tower atop the house, something that would be a remarkable feat for a living person as it opens directly into the second floor of the house and has no floor of its own!

To learn more about the stories and some of the known history of the Russ House, please visit

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ghost Stories to be featured in Marianna on October 23rd

I'll be telling the true story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge, along with other area ghost stories to help fund guide dogs for blinded veterans.  The event will begin at the Marianna High School parking lot on Caverns Road and go from there. Here's the official press release:

Ghost Storytelling To Be Hosted by Cox

On Saturday, October 23rd historian Dale Cox will tell "The True Story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge" and several other area ghost stories as a fund raiser for "Paws for Patriots" sponsored by Blue Springs Society, Children of the American Revolution and Chipola Chapter, NSDAR.  The event will begin at 5:00 p.m. CST in front of Marianna High School at 3546 Caverns Road.  A donation of $5 for adults, $3 for teenagers and $1 for children under thirteen is requested.  "Paws for Patriots" provides guide dogs for blinded veterans and is a division of Southeastern Guide Dogs based in Palmetto, Florida.
Generations of youth have visited the Bellamy Bridge on dark, foggy nights to look for the ghost of the beautiful, young bride that is said to be seen as she searches for her beloved husband. Elizabeth Croom Bellamy died on May 11, 1837 and is buried near Bellamy Bridge on the Chipola River Some have described her ghost "as a pale image in a long, white gown, moving slowly along the riverbank.  Others say that she is engulfed in flames, screaming as she makes a mad dash for the nearby bridge and river.  The third story holds that the ghost can be seen plunging from mid-air straight down into the waters of the Chipola."*    For well over a hundred years area residents have heard the story of how Elizabeth Bellamy died from the burns she suffered when her elegant wedding gown caught fire as she danced too close to a candle at the elaborate reception after her marriage to Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy, a prominent member of early Jackson County society.  However  historian Dale Cox has researched the true story of Elizabeth and will tell how the legend was most certainly influenced by a novel written by Caroline Lee Hentz, who spent her later years in Marianna and is buried in the St. Luke's Episcopal Church cemetery. 

To read more about
area "ghosts" including the fascinating Bellamy Bridge ghost please go to Be sure to notice the ghostly image photographed at the Bellamy Bridge by historian Cox.

*Cox, Dale Alan. "The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge" Chapter TwoTwo Egg, Florida:  A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts.  Page 10.

Please contact Mary Robbins at or 850-209-4066 to reserve a place and for additional information about the October 23rd event.   

Monday, October 4, 2010

Large Crowd enjoys annual Oak Grove Homecoming at Old Parramore

People gather at Old Parramore
A large crowd turned out in the beautiful fall weather on Sunday, October 3rd, for the 49th Annual Oak Grove Homecoming at Old Parramore.

Parramore was a riverboat port that thrived on the Chattahoochee River in eastern Jackson County from around 1885 until the paddlewheel riverboats stopped running in 1927. At its height, the town had 5 stores, a cotton gin, gristmill, blacksmith shop, sawmill, post office and four turpentine stills as well as a series of landings along the river.

The photos below are from the 2010 event at historic Oak Grove Baptist Church, which opens its doors only once each year (for the annual homecoming). Next year will mark the 50th year for the homecoming, which brings together people from all over the country with ties to the historic community.

Basford Brothers Quartet

Dinner on the Grounds

The Picnic Pavilion

Oak Grove Church, a memorial to the people of Old Parramore.