Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dozier School's "Mystery Graves"

I have received many questions this week about the supposed "mystery graves" at Dozier School in Marianna. Allegations have been made that these burials might result from cases of abuse at the school for juvenile offenders.

While I have no knowledge one way or the other about the abuse claims, I do know that most if not all of the graves in the little cemetery at the school can be explained.

Ten of them date from a tragic fire that broke out in the main dormitory of the school (then the Florida Reform School) in November of 1914. An oil lamp exploded starting an accidental fire from which eight students and two employees were unable to escape. A number of other individuals, including the superintendent of the school, were injured trying to rescue them.

Twelve more graves date from the great influenza epidemic of 1918. The flu epidemic that year is believed to have been the worst outbreak in American history. An estimated 500,000 people lost their lives, including at least eleven students and one staff member at the school.

These two events, then, account for more than two-thirds of the graves in the school's little cemetery. The others are thought to be those of several boys that died between 1918 and 1949. Among these was a youth who died from illness, a 13-year-old student who was murdered by another student and a 14-year-old who died from exposure in the woods after escaping.

The cemetery is also said to contain the remains of two pet dogs and a pet peacock named Sue. They were buried there by students from the school.

The real history of the little burial ground is undeniably tragic, but at least 28 of the 31 or so graves long predate the recent allegations made by former students of the school.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Annual Christmas Lights this weekend at Three Rivers

The annual Christmas Lights Show will begin this weekend at Three Rivers State Park. Located on Highway 271 (River Road) just north of Sneads, the beautiful park borders Lake Seminole and has been part of the state park system since 1955.

If some in state government have their way, this could be the last year for Three Rivers. The state is proposing that the land on which the park is located be given back to the federal government. The move would save Florida less than $200,000 out of a state budget of more than $70 BILLION. (a budget, by the way, that has more than doubled in the last ten years). Apparently our state leaders can double their budget but no longer have the money they need to maintain Three Rivers and a number of other state parks. I encourage you to voice your opposition to this plan by writing to Gov. Crist at or by contacting your local senators and representatives. You can obtain their emails and mailing addresses at
In the meantime, take the time to head out to Three Rivers this weekend to enjoy the lights. The display opens at 5 p.m. both Friday and Saturday night and continues until 7 p.m. If the state goes through with its plans, this will be your last year to enjoy the display.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Special Holiday Sale on Books by Dale Cox

If you would like to purchase any of my books as Christmas gifts this year, you might consider a special online sale taking place for the next three days (Nov. 28th, 29th and 30th).

The prices on all books are reduced and this will be the only sale of this holiday season. Delivery is guaranteed in time for Christmas.

The sale is now over, but please click here for current prices on my books.

Here is a list of the books included in the sale:

  • Two Egg, Florida
  • The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One
  • The Battle of Marianna, Florida
  • The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida
  • The Early History of Gadsden County
  • The Battle of Massard Prairie, Arkansas

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving from Two Egg, Florida!

Just a note to night to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope that you each have time to spend with family or friends, but even if you don't, please remember that we all are blessed in ways beyond comprehension.
This time of year always helps me remember just how fortunate I am to be from this wonderful little corner of America. No matter the difficulties we all face from day to day, and I know that for many people they are many, we are all fortunate as well. God has blessed us with a wonderful country, a beautiful state and a heritage in which we can all take pride.
My God bless you this Thanksgiving. May He lighten your load, remind you of good memories and surround you with love and protection.
Dale Cox

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two Egg Oranges - An Unexpected Sight!

I was greeted with an unexpected sight today...oranges fresh from the tree.
This nice sample of citrus was grown by Mr. Eddie B. Watford who lives on the Alabama state line a few miles north of Two Egg. You can judge their size by the Mason jars behind them.
These are the first locally grown oranges I have seen in many years.
Jackson County, of course, was once a major citrus producing area. Satsuma groves were common and Marianna even boasted a Satsuma Festival. Several severe winters during the early 20th century doomed the industry, however, and the groves are long gone. Citrus producers moved south in search of better weather and Jackson County's history as an orange-growing area came to an end.
But, as Mr. Watford has clearly demonstrated, the trees still can and do thrive in the area. The taste of oranges is excellent and their overall quality is outstanding.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Three Rivers State Park Facing Closure - Please Speak UP!

Jackson County is on the verge of losing one of its real treasures.

Three Rivers State Park has been identified by officials in Tallahassee for closure. This park, located near Sneads, brought nearly 23,000 people to our county last year and has been part of our landscape for decades.
While I certainly appreciate the fact that the state needs to reduce its spending, I am inclined to believe that enough overhead could be cut in a few departments in Tallahassee to save every state park in Florida. It seems unfortunate to me that our leaders are looking at closing facilities that have been enjoyed by generations of Floridians and were preserved by our forefathers for the enjoyment of our generation and the generations to come.
I hope you will join me in voicing your objections to any moves to close Three Rivers and a number of other state parks in Florida. Please write to Governor Crist at, Sen. Lawson at and Rep. Marti Coley through her website by clicking here and encourage them all to stop this plan in its tracks before it is too late.
Thank you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Two Egg, Florida - Order Now for Christmas

If you would like to order a copy of the book Two Egg, Florida for Christmas, the printers tell me they can guarantee delivery in time as long as you order before December 10th.
It is also available at Chipola River Book & Tea at 4402 Lafayette Street in Downtown Marianna (across the street from the Battle of Marianna monument). They carry a selection of my books as well as offerings from other authors.
If you would like a book autographed for someone as a gift, I will do a brief signing event at Chipola Book and Tea on Saturday, December 13th, beginning at 10 a.m. Since the books sold out quickly last year, you might want to go ahead and purchase your copy and then I'll be glad to sign it for you at the event.
Due to health concerns, this is the only signing I have planned this year.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

New Blog: History of Gadsden County, Florida

I have started a new blog (web log) on the history of Gadsden County that might be of interest.
The new page focuses on the history, historic sites, folklore, culture and people of Gadsden County, Florida.
I have launched the site with excerpts from the chapter about the McLane Massacre from my new book, The Early History of Gadsden County.
I hope you will take time to visit and feel free to let me hear from you with thoughts, questions or suggestions!

The Two Egg Vote - Last Word on the 2008 Election!

Well, about everything has been said about Election 2008 that can be said...except for how Two Egg voted!

Here are the results from Precinct 23 as tabulated by the Jackson County Supervisor of Elections Office:

President of the United States

John McCain/Sarah Palin - 311

Barack Obama/Joe Biden - 285

Bob Barr/Wayne Root - 1

Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzales - 5

Representative in Congress, District 2

Mark Mulligan - 152

Allen Boyd - 431

State Attorney, 14th Judicial Circuit

Steve Meadows - 272

Glenn Hess - 317

State House, District 5

Brad Drake - 194

Johnny McDaniel - 391


Jim Peacock - 175

Lou Roberts - 338

William Nelson - 7

Zanie Williams - 69

Superintendent of Schools

Steve Benton - 295

Lee Miller - 292

County Commission, District 5

Ben Howard Odom - 225

Kenneth Stephens - 357

Amendment Two - Defining Marriage as Between a Man and a Woman

Yes - 507

No - 64

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election Day is Tomorrow!

Just a reminder to everyone that tomorrow is Election Day!

Polls in Jackson County will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Regardless of your candidate of choice, please make sure to take a few minutes to vote and participate in this treasured American right.

Sometimes in the heat of the campaigns we all forget how precious our American freedoms really are and how so many people before us gave the supreme sacrifice to preserve them for us.

Please honor all of those that gave their lives for our freedoms by taking a few minutes to vote!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge

The best known ghost story in the Two Egg area is the legend of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge.
According to the tale, this old iron frame bridge over the Chipola River is haunted by the restless spirit of a young woman who died in a tragic wedding night fire during the antebellum era.
Elizabeth Bellamy was buried in a lonely grave near the present Bellamy Bridge site and legend holds that her restless spirit still roams the area in search of her long lost husband.
There are different versions of the story, but all differ from the true history of Elizabeth Bellamy. If you would like to read the real story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge, please visit: You can also read a detailed account of the ghost story in the new book, The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One. For more information on the book, please visit

Monday, October 13, 2008

Annual Central School Reunion set for Saturday

Former students of Central School will gather at the old school site near Two Egg on Saturday for their annual reunion.
The school served children of Two Egg, Lovedale, Parramore and the surrounding areas from 1927 to 1952.
The old building no longer stands, but its ruins remain and former students and their families have erected a monument on the grounds.
The annual event provides a chance for former students to gather and remember their school days at Central.
Things get underway on Saturday morning and everyone should be gathering by 11.

Friday, October 10, 2008

New Book - "The Early History of Gadsden County"

I am pleased to announce the release of my latest book, The Early History of Gadsden County.

The book is now available for online order and delivery directly from the printer. Just click here for more information.

The official release of the book will take place on Sunday, October 19th, at an event hosted by the West Gadsden Historical Society, Inc., at the Gadsden Art Center across from the courthouse in Quincy. The event will begin at 3 p.m. (Eastern) and the book will only be available for online purchase and delivery before that date.

Proceeds from this book will help the West Gadsden Historical Society in its efforts to preserve and interpret the rich history of Gadsden County.

The book covers a number of episodes from the county's early history and hopefully will be of interest to anyone curious about the history of Gadsden County, the upper Apalachicola River valley and the area in general.

Chapters include:
  • Hernando de Soto
  • Santa Cruz de Sabacola
  • Chislacasliche and the Apalachicola Fort
  • Ellicott's Observatory
  • Nicolls' Outpost and the War of 1812
  • Scott's Massacre
  • Andrew Jackson in Gadsden County
  • First Settlers and Neamathla's Reserve
  • King Cotton and Prince Tobacco
  • Early Scientists of Gadsden County
  • The Comte de Castelnau
  • The U.S. Arsenal at Chattahoochee
  • The Second Seminole War
  • The McLane Massacre
  • Seizure of the U.S. Arsenal
  • The C.S.S. Chattahoochee
  • Gadsden County and the Battle of Natural Bridge

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Battle of Marianna Tours set for September 27th

The Blue Springs Society of the Children of the American Revolution is offering a unique opportunity to learn more about one of the most important events in the history of Jackson County.
Next Saturday (Sept. 27th), the C.A.R. will host guided tours of the site of the Battle of Marianna.
The tours begin at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the historic Russ House (Jackson County Chamber of Commerce) on West Lafayette Street in Marianna.
Each tour will last 60-90 minutes and will give participants the opportunity to learn more about the battle and visit some of the key sites associated with the fighting, including St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The cost to participate is $5 (12 and under are free), with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the C.A.R. in its effort to stimulate interest in history among Jackson County's school students.
If you have questions, please feel free to email me by visiting

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Book is now Available in Hardcover and Paperback

I am pleased to let you know that my latest book - The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One - has officially been released.

If you pre-ordered a copy, your book should arrive no later than the end of next week. If you are expecting a copy and it hasn't arrived by then, please let me know so I can check on it for you.
If you are interested in ordering a copy, I recommend you order directly from the printer for fastest service. I'll include details at the bottom of this post.
This book is the first in a three volume series on the history of Jackson County, Florida. Although the book is technically a county history, Jackson County was so closely tied to major events in the early history of Florida and the Deep South that I think you will find it of interest far beyond the borders of the county.
Volume One covers the years from 1674-1860 and covers the Spanish mission era, American Revolution, War of 1812, First Seminole War, early settlements, Second Seminole War, Trail of Tears and even includes an in-depth study of Jackson County's favorite ghost story as well as the truth behind the legend of the county's lost pirate treasure.
The book is large (well over 300 pages) and features maps, photographs and a detailed appendices that includes the county's 19th century Native American census. Paperback copies are $24.95 and hardcover copies are $29.95. Profits from the book are being donated to the Daughters of the American Revolution to assist in developing a new historic marker program for Jackson County.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Battle of Marianna Tours set for September 27th

On Saturday, September 27th, the Blue Springs Chapter of the Children of the American Revolution will be hosting guided tours of the site of the Battle of Marianna.
I rarely do things like this because of my health, but I really enjoy trying to encourage an interest in history among our school students, so I will be guiding two tours.
The tours begin at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and the cost to participate is $5. I am donating my time to help the CAR, so 100% of the money collected will go to the organization.
The tour will give participants a chance to hear stories about the battle that I learned while researching my book, The Battle of Marianna, Florida. We will also explore the scene of some of the heaviest fighting and visit the interior of St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
If you would like to reserve a spot, please just email me by visiting and clicking the "Contact Us" button.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay impacting Two Egg area

If you are in or around Two Egg (or anywhere in Florida, South Alabama or South Georgia now), you already know that Tropical Storm Fay is causing big problems today.

It is one of the most potent tropical storms I can recall and has dumped more than 30 inches of rain on some areas of Florida.

If you want to keep up with the storm, the Jackson County Times newspaper is offering good information on its website, including video reports on the storm's path and access by link to a variety of weather information. You can visit them by clicking here.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Two Egg, Florida now available in Hardcover Edition

Due to numerous inquiries about obtaining copies of my book - Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts - in hardback, arrangements have been made to make it available in hardcover print.

The hardcover editions are now available for $25 (plus shipping and handling) directly from the printer.

You can obtain more information or place an order by clicking here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Book: The History of Jackson County, Florida (Volume One)

I'm pleased to announce that the first volume of my new three volume set, The History of Jackson County, Florida, will be released for online sales on Monday, July 7th.

If you would like to go ahead and place an order, you can do so by visiting:

The cost is $24.95 plus $5 shipping and handling. Proceeds from the book will be donated to the Chipola Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, to help fund historic markers in Jackson County.

Volume One of the series covers the years from 1674 to 1860 and includes details on Jackson County's Spanish missions, Native American reservations, early settlements, Florida's oldest Baptist Church (Campbellton), the Marianna vs. Webbville fight, the county's role in the American Revolution, the Calhoun County War of 1860, the story of Jackson County's "Rip Van Winkle," Bellamy Bridge and much more.

The book will be available at Chipola River Book & Tea in downtown Marianna in about two weeks, but internet orders will begin shipping next week. If you have already placed an order for the book, your copy will arrive in the next two weeks.

I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Have a safe Memorial Day

I hope you all have a safe Memorial Day holiday. I'll resume posting next week.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Circle Hill Veterans Monument

Memorial Day is a time when hopefully all of us pause to remember the sacrifices of those who have served our country through the years.

This photograph shows the very nice Veterans Monument at Circle Hill Baptist Church Cemetery a few miles northeast of Two Egg.

Erected in 2002, the monument is inscribed to "To the memory of those who served to keep our country free." A beautiful United States flag waves from the monument. Illuminated at night, it is a moving sight among the quite pines surrounding the site.

The church, cemetery and monument are located on Circle Hill Road, just east of the Lovedale community.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Passing of Dudley Hall

A few months ago I mentioned that sheriff's candidate Dudley Hall was withdrawing from the race for Jackson County Sheriff due to his battle with cancer. Mr. Hall passed away this weekend after a long and determined fight.

I grew up with Mr. Hall's sons and remember him with great fondness. He will be missed.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Historic Sites at Lake Seminole

I have started a new series on our sister Jackson County History site that you might find of interest.

For the next week or two, I'll be spending time looking at some of the significant historic and archaeological sites around Lake Seminole.

This 37,500 acre reservoir forms much of the eastern border of Jackson County and is important to the entire Two Egg area because of its availability for fishing, boating and other forms of recreation and especially for its impact on the environment and water table of the area.

To check out the series, just click here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

An Incorrect Two Egg Legend

On September 27, 1864, when Union troops threatened Marianna, a call went out for the local home guard units to come to town for action. Dozens of men and boys from throughout the greater Two Egg area went to fight. Some made it in time for the Battle of Marianna. Other's arrived too late to lend a hand.
There is an old family tradition in the area that at least one of these boys never made it home.
Nasrey L. "Z.T." Brogden was supposedly a member of a home guard unit from eastern Jackson County. He is buried at Riverside Cemetery in Marianna, beneath an old headstone that simply identifies him as "C.S.A., 1861-1865" and a newer marker that lists his date of death as "September 27, 1864."
Family tradition holds that he was killed during the Battle of Marianna and buried at Riverside with a group of other Confederate soldiers, most of them unknown, that supposedly died in the battle.
In this case, however, the tradition probably originates from the fact that he is buried in Marianna combined with local memories of the battle there. In truth, Brogden was already dead by the time of the Battle of Marianna.
The son of William Brogden, he enlisted at Marianna in Company H, 11th Florida Infantry on July 24, 1863. Like so many other soldiers of that horrible war, however, he soon became seriously ill. Disease and sickness were rampant in the military camps of the time, due in large part to poor sanitation, bad food, contaminated water, etc.
Hospitalized in the post hospital at Marianna, Brogden died in a hospital bed on December 22, 1863, just five months after enlisting in the Confederate army. He was buried at Riverside Cemetery.
Although most of the graves in the two rows of Confederate dead where Brogden is buried are those of unknown soldiers, the few that can be identified were also victims of illness. This indicates that this little burial plot was actually used to bury soldiers who died at the Confederate hospital in Marianna rather than in battle.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Book Sale ends Tomorrow at Noon

Just a quick reminder that you can purchase my book - Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts - at a discounted price through noon tomorrow.

The sale was originally scheduled to end on the 30th, but I received a number of requests that I continue it through the weekend, so the special pricing is still available.

The book features the true history behind a number of Northwest Florida's most interesting legends. In addition to the story of how Two Egg got its name, it includes the true story of the ghost of Bellamy Bridge, Bristol's Garden of Eden story, the legend of Two-Toed Tom (alligator monster), a bigfoot story, another ghost story and a wide variety of other interesting historical footnotes.

It is available by visiting

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Gadsden County presentation this weekend

I want to let you know about a presentation in Gadsden County this weekend that might be of interest to you.

I will be speaking on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. (2 p.m. central) to the West Gadsden Historical Society. The topic will be the Native American history of the Gadsden County and the Apalachicola River Valley.Due to illness, I severely limit my public appearances these days, but I am doing this one because I wanted to show my support for this outstanding organization and its wonderful members. They have an active, vibrant organization developing at a time when so many historical societies have all but faded away.

I am donating my time for the presentation, so all proceeds will go directly to the society. Admission is $10 for the general public and $8 for current WGHS members. Lifetime members of the society and children under 12 will be admitted for free.The presentation will take place at Old Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church on U.S. 90, five miles east of Chattahoochee. The time will be 3 p.m. (2 p.m. central) and there will be a question and answer time after the presentation.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Last Days of Special Book Sale

Just a quick reminder that if you would like copies of any of my 2007 books, now is a great time to purchase them at special prices, but time is running out!

To celebrate the upcoming release of my new The History of Jackson County, Florida: Volume One, my publisher is having a special online sale on the three books published last year.
The sale includes Two Egg, Florida, The Battle of Marianna, Florida and The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida and all are available at the lowest prices you will find this year.
The special offer ends ends this coming week, so if you would like to take advantage of it, please do before April 30th. Normal prices remain in effect in bookstores and other online sellers.
For more information and to order, please visit

Thursday, April 24, 2008

New Book Released: The Battle of Massard Prairie, Arkansas

I'm please to announce the publication of my latest book, The Battle of Massard Prairie: The 1864 Confederate Attacks on Fort Smith, Arkansas.

While this book does not deal with Two Egg or Florida, I'm just passing along the news.

I became interested in the Battle of Massard Prairie when I accepted a position in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a little over four years ago. It was a fascinating cavalry encounter fought on the open prairie not far from my house. If you are interested in learning more, you can visit

I will have news on the release of Volume One of my new The History of Jackson County, Florida tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Our new website is now Online

Our newly redesigned website is now online at
Please drop by and take a look!
You will find a detailed history of Two Egg, the background of the story of the Ghost of BellamyBridge, information on points of interest in the area and more.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Special Sale on Books by Dale Cox

To celebrate the upcoming April 30th release of my looooooooooong awaited multi-volume book, The History of Jackson County, Florida, is having a special sale this month on my 2007 releases.

Included in the sale are:
  • The Battle of Marianna, Florida - Regularly $19.95; On Sale for $15.

  • The Battle of Natural Bridge, Florida: The Confederate Defense of Tallahassee - Regularly $19.95; On Sale for $15.

  • Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts - Regularly $16.95; On Sale for $12.
For the first time, a package deal on all three is also available for $40.

This sale is for a limited time only and will end with the release of the new book on April 30th.

It is available only through Prices through stores and other outlets remain as normal.

If you would like a copy of any or all of these books, this likely the best price you will find this year.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Union Soldier with a Confederate Flag

I spent some time last night walking through Cowpen Pond Cemetery, where many of my ancestors are buried, and found this to be of interest.
The grave is the final resting place of "H.W." Neel (also given as "W.H. Neel"), a Civil War soldier, and someone placed a Confederate flag by his headstone. This is commonly done to honor Confederate soldiers at cemeteries across the South.
Neel, however, was not a Confederate at the end of the war. In fact, he was fighting for the other side.
According to his service record, Neel enlisted in Company D of the 1st Florida U.S. Cavalry, a Union regiment, near the end of the war. Born in 1847, he was 18 years old when he joined the Union army at Pensacola in March of 1865.
Formerly a soldier in Company E of the 5th Florida Cavalry (Confederate), Neel deserted near the end of the war and made his way to Pensacola where he enlisted in the Union Army. He left the Union regiment in August of 1865, after the end of the war.
His story was actually more common than many realize today. By the end of the war, many Confederate soldiers realized that the "Cause" had been lost. They were also irate over the fact that Confederate commissary agents were roaming through the country taking livestock and other food supplies, often at gunpoint, from families that were near starvation themselves. Hundreds of men from Florida deserted during the last year of the war and joined the Union side because they believed the Confederate agents were mistreating Southern civilians.
Governor John Milton, also from Jackson County, wrote numerous protests to Richmond about the treatment of civilians in his state, but they largely fell on deaf ears. He stated on several occasions that many loyal Floridians felt their families were being treated worse by Confederate commissary agents than by the Union army.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Faye Dunaway and Two Egg, Florida

I'm often asked if it is true that noted actress Faye Dunaway is a native of Two Egg, Florida. In fact, I received a couple of emails on this topic over the weekend.
Yes, it is true. Ms. Dunaway spent her childhood just north of Two Egg crossroads before moving on to Tallahassee and eventually widespread acclaim.
The photo seen here shows her childhood home near Two Egg as it appeared last fall. The old house has been moved from its original site and, as you can see, probably won't be around much longer.
Most of Ms. Dunaway's bios list her childhood home as nearby Bascom, but this was because there was no post office in Two Egg and the local homes were on Bascom mail routes.
It is an interesting footnote in the history of our community.
While Faye is perhaps the best known, many members of the Dunaway family have strong ties to Two Egg and continue to cherish the community to this day. They may not be stars, but they have impacted the lives of many of their fellow Jackson Countians through the years and continue to do so.
(Thank you to Ashley Pollette of the "Southern Heritage" program on Chipola College TV for the photograph!)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Circle Hill Baptist Church - From the Air

This is an aerial view of Circle Hill Baptist Church, located a few miles northeast of downtown Two Egg, Florida.
The historic cemetery at Circle Hill (sometimes called Pine Level) was established during the 1870s when two turpentine workers were killed in a lightning strike. Other burials followed and the picturesque little cemetery now contains dozens of graves of residents of East Jackson County.
The church and cemetery are located on Circle Hill Road just east of the Lovedale Community.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A spring morning in the Two Egg area

This photograph was taken in the Cox community near Two Egg yesterday morning.
The mist rising from the local lakes and ponds is one of my favorite parts of spring in the area.
I mentioned recently that the spring blooms were beginning to show nicely in the area and it doesn't look like this week's frost did a great deal of damage. The dogwoods are now in full bloom and the azaleas are coming out nicely. If you want to enjoy some of the beautiful colors of spring, now is the time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Florida Caverns State Park - Marianna, Florida

One of the most popular places in the Two Egg area is Florida Caverns State Park. Rich in local history and literally filled with natural wonders, the park is one of the most noteworthy landmarks in Florida.
Men from the Two Egg area helped build the park and it stands as a landmark of their efforts with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the years of the Great Depression.
I've added a new section on the Florida Caverns to my website at To take a look, just follow the link and you will see the heading on the main page.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter!

I will be pausing from new posts for a few days to observe Good Friday and Easter.
New posts will be coming next week, but until then you might enjoy reading a brief article about the legend of the dogwood tree and its connection to Easter. It is now available online at, the new website of the Jackson County Times.
Please have a happy, safe and blessed Easter Weekend.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Blooms of Spring in Two Egg

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the color that is beginning to show around Two Egg.
This photograph of a beautiful cluster of pear blossoms was taken at sunset last night.
The pear are beginning to show some really nice blooms, as are the redbuds and some others. The dogwoods and azaleas are running a little slow due to the late frost this year, but are budding out so we should see a lot more color by next weekend.
It looks like it is going to be a beautiful spring. Some of the azalea bushes have more buds on them than I've seen in many years, so I think we are going to see some really pretty azaleas this year. I'll share some more pictures with you as we move through the week.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Turkey Season in Two Egg

Saturday marked the beginning of the annual Spring Turkey Season in Florida. Turkey hunting has become a major sport in the Two Egg area.
I'm not a hunter myself, but my youngest son enjoys it very much so I've learned quite a bit about turkey hunting from him.
I have also followed the return of wild turkeys to the Two Egg area with great interest. I remember the birds being somewhat common when I was a kid growing up in the area in the 1960s. My Uncle C.W., who for many years ran Parramore Restaurant at Parramore Landing on Lake Seminole, used to catch live ones from time to time and hold them in a wire pen for me to see. It also used to be tradition for my Uncle Gene to go out each year at Thanksgiving to shoot a wild turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Whether all of this was legal then, I don't know, but it has been more than 40 years ago.
Then, though, it seemed like the wild turkeys almost completely disappeared from our area. This may have had something to do with over hunting, but I suspect that the use of DDT to combat the region's growing fire ant population probably was the real cause. No one knew it at the time, of course, but DDT weakened the shells of bird, alligator and frog eggs and caused widespread damage to the wildlife population in Jackson County. Many species that I remember being quite common when I was a young child almost totally disappeared.
Things are getting better now, though. Florida wildlife authorities have done a great job of reintroducing wild turkeys into the region and careful management of hunting has allowed them to rebound nicely. I hear them in the woods just standing in the back yard and have seen several of impressive size just in the past week.
It seems like the media often focuses (often with good cause) on the damage that humans do to the environment, but the return of wild turkeys to the Two Egg area is a good example too of what humans can do to help the environment when we put our minds to it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Atlanta Storms

Our prayers go out to everyone caught in the Atlanta storms and apparent tornado tonight. It sounds at this point like most of the injuries are minor and hopefully it will stay that way. Much damage was done, though, and many people in downtown Atlanta have been forced from their hotels and homes.Please remember them in your prayers.

If you wish to help, donations in situations like this can always be made through the American Red Cross at

Photographic Tombstones at Cowpen Pond

In my various travels around the country, Florida is one of the few places I have ever encountered the practice of placing photographs of a loved one under glass on their tombstone.
This nicely restored tombstone is that of Mallissie Neel, who passed away on September 20, 1930. It is one of several photographic tombstones located at Jackson County's historic Cowpen Pond Cemetery near Dellwood.
This practice seems to have begun during the late 1800s and continued well into the 20th century. It is rarely done today, but quite often tombstones bearing photographs can be found in cemeteries dating from this era. The ones at Cowpen Pond, however, are maintained with the most love and care that I have seen.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Connection to Daniel Boone, America's greatest pioneer

Jackson County and the Two Egg/Dellwood area have a unique and little known connection to the famed American frontiersman and pioneer Daniel Boone.

Boone himself passed through Jackson County while visiting Spanish Florida to decide if he should settle there. He crossed overland from St. Augustine to Pensacola and actually acquired land in the latter city. He ultimately decided against moving to Florida, though, and resettled in Missouri (also then a Spanish territory) instead.

Some of his family members, however, later followed his footsteps to Jackson County and descendents of the pioneer Boones still live here to this day.

The tombstone at right marks the grave of Gilley Crawford Neel at Cowpen Pond Cemetery near Dellwood. Born in 1823, she was the great granddaughter of Daniel Boone's brother, Squire Boone. She came to Jackson County with her husband, Benjamin Harrison Neel, during the early 1800s and settled first at present-day Neal's Landing. The couple lost a child there to fever in their first year in Florida. They later moved south to a farm near the Port Jackson community (now under Lake Seminole) and finally settled in the Paront area just south of Dellwood. She was the first member of the Boone family to settle in Jackson County and named her son, Daniel Boone Neel, after her famous great-great uncle.

Many Jackson County families have connections to the Boones of Kentucky fame. Among them are the Neel, Hamilton, Jackson, Mears, Nobles and Cox families, among many others. Some of these families still preserve traditions about the famed pioneer. One favorite story, told to me by my grandmother when I was a young boy, was that he never wore a coonskin cap (as he is often portrayed as wearing by Hollywood). According to her, he wore a black flat-brimmed hat similar to the ones worn by the Amish of today. Since the Boones were Quakers, this makes perfect sense even if it doesn't match well with Hollywood's depictions of the man!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Greenwood, Florida - Two Egg's long-time neighbor

The ties between Two Egg and its neighboring town of Greenwood have been important since the time of Two Egg's founding. Only about 5 miles apart, the two communities share a great deal.
Greenwood is one of the most historic communities in Florida with an outstanding collection of antebellum and late 19th century structures.
I'm doing a short series this week on some of the historic sites of Greenwood on our sister blog, Jackson County History. I think you might find it interesting, so I hope you will take a few minutes to follow the link and take a look.

Historic Cowpen Pond Cemetery

I spent some time yesterday visiting the graves of ancestors at Cowpen Pond Cemetery near Dellwood (a few miles south of Two Egg). I was struck once again by what a beauty and peacefulness of this historic cemetery.

Many of Jackson County's earliest settlers are buried here and marked graves date back to the mid-1800s.

Cowpen Pond was a major gathering place for the early settlers of eastern Jackson County. Residents came here for gatherings, political meetings and even militia musters. In the early days of Florida, all male citizens were required to participate in the state militia (today's National Guard) and they gathered regularly to drill and enjoy each other's company.

In 1864, the meeting grounds at Cowpen Pond were selected as the muster point for Captain George Robinson's Company of the Florida Home Guard. This company (sometimes confused with Captain Henry Robinson's Greenwood Club Cavalry) began meeting at Cowpen Pond during the late summer of 1864 and included men from all over eastern Jackson County. A few men from the unit participated in the Battle of Marianna on September 27, 1864, and one was wounded, but most did not reach town in time to take part in the fight.

The cemetery contains the graves of many members of Robinson's company, as well as numerous other soldiers from many different wars.

To reach the historic cemetery, take State Highway 69 south from Two Egg through Dellwood and turn left onto Butler Road south of Dellwood. Watch for the Cowpen Pond Cemetery Road on your right.

I'll post more about Cowpen Pond and some of the important early citizens buried there over coming days.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Springtime in Two Egg, Florida

It is an absolutely beautiful spring day here in Two Egg. The weekend rains have moved on, leaving the air cool and clear.
I spent a little time roaming around today and snapped this picture of our "Downtown District."
We are seeing the first real signs of spring now. The dogwoods are beginning to bloom and some of the azaleas are starting to show a little color. Redbuds are out and the trees are beginning to "green up" nicely. No leaves on the pecan trees yet, though. That means, according to those who know, that we will have at least one more frost.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Congratulations Chipola!

Congratulations are in order to the Chipola College men's basketball team. They won convincingly tonight in the semi-final round of the Regional Junior College Tournament (the region is the state of Florida, so the tournament also determines the state championship) and will go on to play Okaloosa Walton College in the championship game tomorrow (Saturday) night.

The game will take place at 5 p.m. at the Milton Johnson Health Center on the Chipola Campus in Marianna.

Good Luck to Chipola College!

Just a quick note to wish good luck tonight to the Chipola College men's basketball team. The Indians will play tonight at the Milton Johnson Center in the semi-final round of the Florida Junior College (JUCO) state championship tournament.

Chipola (30-1) is the defending state champion.

If you would like to attend, the game starts at 6 p.m. and tickets are available at locations all around Marianna.

If Chipola wins tonight, they will play for the State Championship tomorrow at 5 p.m. Both games will be on campus in Marianna, which is hosting the state tournament this year.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Dunaway Chapter meets tonight

The William Dunaway Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will meet tonight at Jim's Buffet in Marianna. This is Jackson County's first chapter of the patriotic organization and the first new chapter chartered in Florida in more than two decades. Members of the Dunaway family, all of whom have close ties to Two Egg, were instrumental in the effort.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a presentation on the Battle of Kettle Creek, Georgia. Members, their spouses and prospective members are welcome.

To join the SAR, you must be able to trace your ancestry to a soldier who fought in the American Revolution.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rain falling in Two Egg

After a long winter of very dry conditions, things are beginning to look much better here in the greater Two Egg area.

February produced enough rain to begin bringing pond and lake levels back up and, while they still remain well below normal, things look much better.

We've been getting more rain today (1/2 of an inch so far today), with more to come. The bass are beginning to swirl in the ponds and lakes again and it looks like things are shaping up for good spring fishing!

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge - Conclusion

This is the final part of an eight part series on the story behind Jackson County's famed "ghost of Bellamy Bridge" legend. To read the other parts first, please scroll down the page.
As promised, here is an actual photograph of the "ghost" at Bellamy Bridge.
To be completely honest, I'm not exactly sure what this photograph shows. It was taken from the old boat ramp by the bridge in December of 2005. You can see the iron frame of the bridge in the background and in the lower right, there is a strange white "mist." Of over 100 photographs taken that day, this was the only one that resulted in anything unusual.
My own opinion is that it is probably a light effect picked up by the camera, but I would be interested in hearing what you think.
As I've explained over the last week or so, the "legend" of the "burning bride of Bellamy bridge" doesn't match very well with the actual facts of the history, but the story of a ghost being seen around the old bridge has been a part of Jackson County's folklore and culture for well over 100 years. I guess in the end it all comes down to what you believe or don't believe. Personally, I don't believe in "walking spirits of the dead," but that is not to say that people aren't actually seeing something out at Bellamy Bridge. There are a number of explanations for what ghosts could be and what causes them.
Regardless of what you believe about them, such stories make up an interesting part of our culture as Southerners. We remember these stories today because our ancestors used to sit around fireplaces long before radio or television and entertain themselves by telling tall tales, legends and more. It is for the most part a lost art today, but it is part of the foundation of who we are as Southerners. That, to me at least, makes the stories worth remembering and fun to hear about.
You can read more about the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge by clicking here. The complete true story behind the legend is also included in my book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts. It can be purchased at Chipola River Book and Tea in downtown Marianna or through, for by order through most bookstores.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Bellamy Bridge, Part Seven

This is part seven of an eight part series on the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge. To read the other parts first, please scroll down the page.

In our last post, we explored how Southern writer Caroline Lee Hentz wrote a novel years before the Civil War that told a story very similar to Jackson County's legend of Bellamy Bridge. According to Mrs. Hentz, her story was based on a real event that took place at a plantation near Columbus, Georgia. She indicated that she had based the character of "Mrs. Bellamy" in her book on a real person, a friend of her's during her residency in Columbus.

Shortly after writing Marcus Warland, Caroline Hentz moved to Florida. She lived for a time at the small resort community of St. Andrews (today's Panama City) before moving to Marianna to live with her son, Charles, in the Hunter house across Lafayette Street from St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Mrs. Hentz died in 1856 and was buried at St. Luke's.

Because she spent her last days in Jackson County, over time she became closely associated with Marianna. Many local residents came to believe, incorrectly, that her books had been based on her observations of life in and around the area. The spring in Marcus Warland, for example, was assumed to be a representation of Jackson County's Blue Spring. In reality, the description was based on a similar spring in Georgia.

The same was true of Mrs. Hentz' account of a tragic wedding night fire on the "Bellamy plantation." Although she was not describing the Bellamy plantation of Jackson County when she wrote the book, the story came to be associated with Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy and, particularly, Elizabeth's lonely grave near Bellamy Bridge.

Over time, the memory of Caroline Hentz and her books faded, but her sad story of the tragic death of a young bride survived as part of the folklore of Jackson County. The identity of the victim, over time, was altered from a young slave named Cora to Elizabeth Bellamy and so was born the story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge.

It is a strange case of a real story in Georgia being used as the basis in a book of fiction that, in turn, finally evolved into a Florida legend.

Our series on the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge will conclude in the next post, which will feature an actual photograph of the "ghost." In the meantime, if you would like to read more, please visit

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Bellamy Bridge, Part Six

This is part six of a continuing series on the true story behind Jackson County's popular legend of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge. To read the previous posts first, please scroll down the page.
The leap of the story of Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy from real fact to legend began in 1853 when 19th century novelist Caroline Lee Hentz published an intriguing book titled Marcus Warland or the Long Moss Spring.
Although she would spend the last three years of her life in Florida and die at Marianna in 1856, Mrs. Hentz was actually a resident of Columbus, Georgia at the time she wrote the book. Because of her later association with Jackson County, many have assumed the "Long Moss Spring" of the book was a description of Blue Spring near Marianna. According to her "Address to the Reader," however, the book was actually set in and around Columbus.
One of the subplots of the book, however, was the wedding night death of a young slave named Cora:
…Turning away she threw herself into a large easy-chair in front of the fire, and in spite of the excited state of her feelings and the extreme want of sentiment evinced by the act, she fell asleep in her downy nest. She had been up almost all the preceding night, on her feet all day, and had been dancing with such extraordinary enthusiasm, that the soft cushion and gentle warmth of the room soothed her to instantaneous repose. How long she slept, she knew not. She was awakened by a sense of heat and suffocation, as if her lungs were turned to fire. Starting up she found herself encircled by a blaze of light that seemed to emanate from her own body. Her light dress was one sheet of flame, the chair she left was enveloped in the same destroying element.
The story bears an obvious similarity to the Bellamy Bridge ghost legend: A young bride's gown comes into contact with an open fire on her wedding night, leading to tragic results.
The connection becomes quite clear when one notices the name given by Mrs. Hentz to the mistress of the plantation where the fire took place. The character was named, as you probably have guessed by now, "Mrs. Bellamy." The story, in fact, reads almost like a recitation of the Bellamy Bridge story:
“Mercy! Mercy!” she shrieked. “Oh! Mistress, save me, save me.” Rushing through the hall and down the stairs, the flames flashing more wildly round her, she still screamed, “Mistress, save me!” Mrs. Bellamy, who was in the room below, heard the sudden terrible cry of human suffering, and flew to relieve it. When she beheld the blazing figure leaping towards the open door, and recognized the voice of Cora, shrill and piercing as it now was, regardless of self, she sprang after her, and seizing her with frenzied grasp, tried to crush the flames with her slender fingers, and smother them against her own body. While she was thus heroically endeavoring to save the beautiful mulatto at the risk of her own life, Hannibal, who had dragged the carpet from the hall, wrapped it closely around the form of her he so madly loved….
Hannibal was a male slave on the "Bellamy" plantation that the fictional Cora had passed over in favor of another man, King.
When our series continues, we will look at how Caroline Lee Hentz's fictional story became part of the Bellamy Bridge ghost legend. In the meantime, you can read more by visiting: The complete story is also included in my book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts, available now through, or for order through most bookstores. It is also available at Chipola River Book and Tea in downtown Marianna.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bellamy Bridge, Part Five

This is part five of a continuing series on Florida's ghost of Bellamy Bridge legend. To read the other posts first, please scroll down the page.
This faded photograph shows the old Bellamy Mansion in Marianna. This was the home that Dr. Samuel Bellamy supposedly built for his young bridge, Elizabeth. According to legend he refused to live in the house following her death and it remained silent for many years.
In truth, the house was not built until after Elizabeth died. Samuel, as legend holds, did go through a period of mourning and turned to alcohol in his despair, but his productive life did not end with the death of his young wife. He served as a delegate from Jackson County at the 1838 Florida Constitutional Convention in St. Joseph and was an officer with the Union Bank.
Bank records indicate that he borrowed the money to build the magnificent home nine months after Elizabeth's death. It was one of the largest homes in Northwest Florida and was built at a time when land speculation was booming in Florida and the Union Bank was extending loans worth much more than the security pledged by the borrowers.
The bubble burst during the early 1840s and Samuel Bellamy, like many other investors, lost his fortune. Scrambling to try to save what he could, he made a questionable deal with his brother. Edward took over all of Samuel's property, including Rock Cave Plantation, to shelter it from seizure in legal actions. This eventually led to a dispute between the two brothers that went all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.
Samuel's life rapidly deteriorated. He suffered from depression and battled alcoholism for the rest of his days. In 1853, he committed suicide by slashing his own throat with a razor at Chattahoochee Landing.
When our series continues, we will explore how the tragic true stories of Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy evolved into one of Florida's best known ghost stories.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bellamy Bridge, Part Four

This is part four of a series on the true story behind the legend of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge, Florida. To read the previous posts first, please scroll down the page.
This photograph was taken on the Baker Creek Road northwest of Marianna on land that was once the Rock Cave plantation of Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy. The groves of planted pines in the distance were once fields of cotton and sugar cane.
The couple's early life in Florida was very promising. The plantation quickly emerged as one of the most successful in Jackson County and Dr. Bellamy was readily accepted into Jackson County's social and political life. In late 1835, Elizabeth gave birth to a baby boy. The couple named him Alexander, in honor of Samuel's ancestors.
The rich bottomlands along Baker Creek and the Chipola River were ideal for growing and cotton and sugar cane. Tragically, though, they were also breeding grounds for clouds of mosquitos during the 1830s. These mosquitos carried a variety of fevers and diseases, including malaria. On December 6, 1836, Hardy Bryan Croom (a noted scientist and Elizabeth's half-brother) wrote in a letter to family that Samuel, Elizabeth and baby Alexander were all sick with malaria.
Often called the "remitting fever," because patients would appear to recover, only to suddenly relapse and die, malaria was one of the most common causes of death in antebellum Florida. Samuel eventually recovered from the fever, but Elizabeth and the baby did not. Elizabeth Bellamy died at Rock Cave Plantation on May 11, 1837. She was not the victim of a tragic wedding night fire, but of a deadly fever. Baby Alexander died one week later. He was only 18 months old.
Devestated by grief, Samuel buried his wife and son on the plantation of his brother, Dr. Edward C. Bellamy, near today's Bellamy Bridge. There the graves would be tended by Elizabeth's sister, Ann, and Samuel could visit as often as he liked. He briefly considered moving Elizabeth back to a family burial ground in North Carolina, but appears to have abandoned the idea as time passed.
It might appear, based these facts, that the legend of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge is nothing more than a tall tale, made up long ago to explain a lonely tombstone near the Chipola River. But if so, where did the unusual tale of a tragic wedding night fire originate?
In fact, the story of Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy was just beginning. Over the next twenty years a fascinating series of events would lead to the rise of the legend. Our look at the story behind the Bellamy Bridge ghost legend will continue in the next post. In the meantime, you can read more by visiting
The entire story can also be found in my book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts. The book is available at Chipola River Book and Tea on Lafayette Street in Marianna (on the same block as the Gazebo Restaurant) or for order by clicking here.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bellamy Bridge, Part Three

This is part three of a series on the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge. If you would like to read the previous posts first, just scroll down the page!

A short time after their 1834 wedding, Samuel and Elizabeth joined with Edward and Ann in beginning a long trek to the Chipola country of Florida. The Crooms were already established in the new Territory and the two new Bellamy families were joining them. According to documents later filed before Florida's Supreme Court, they left North Carolina with everything needed to start new plantations in Jackson County: supplies, overseers, livestock and dozens of slaves.

Dr. Edward Bellamy had purchased the Fort Plantation, a farm carved from the wilderness the previous decade in the rich Chipola River valley at the site of today's Bellamy Bridge. This is the area of Jackson County still known as the "Bellamy Plantation," but it was the farm of Edward and Ann Bellamy.

Dr. Samuel Bellamy and his new wife, Elizabeth, actually acquired their land at a place called "Rock Cave" on the opposite side of the Chipola and closer to the new city of Marianna. Samuel and Elizabth's Rock Cave Plantation was in the Baker Creek settlement, named for a small stream (seen here) that rises northeast of Cottondale and flows north and east, eventually joining with other creeks and flowing into the Chipola River upstream from Marianna.

Although legend holds that Samuel built the magnificent new mansion in Marianna for Elizabeth, they actually lived out at Rock Cave. Through backbreaking labor, his gangs of enslaved laborers cleared fields and built a large home for the couple, along with all of the other necessary buildings of the plantation. It soon became one of the most successful plantations in Jackson County and was the source for the first bargeload of Sea Island cotton to navigate the Chipola River and safely reach Apalachicola.

Our series on the true story behind the legend of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge will continue. In the meantime if you would like to read more, just follow this link to visit my Bellamy Bridge site.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Bellamy Bridge, Part Two

This is part two of a continuing series on the true story behind Jackson County's famed legend of the "Ghost of Bellamy Bridge." If you would like to read part one first, just scroll down the page.
As I explained in my last post, the legend of Bellamy Bridge is certainly colorful, but is it true?
The story first began to appear in local newspapers roughly 100 years ago, indicating that it was well known by the beginning of the 20th century. Interviews with senior residents of the area confirm this.
Fortunately, the events related in the legend involved people who were prominent and well-known in their day. As a result, their true stories can still be traced.
Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy grew up in North Carolina and attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. His brother, Dr. Edward C. Bellamy, was also a physician and the two men were close during their youth.
The Bellamy family was prominent in North Carolina at this time and closely associated with another prominent clan, the Croom family. Dr. Edward Bellamy fell in love with Ann Croom, the daughter of Gen. William Croom, and the two were married in North Carolina during the early 1830s. Not long after, Dr. Samuel Bellamy began to court Ann's sister, Elizabeth "Betsy" Bellamy. At this point, the story begins to diverge from the legend.
Newspaper records confirm that Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy were married in North Carolina on July 15, 1834, three years before the date of the supposed Florida wedding (and tragic reception).
On the surface the discovery of proof that Samuel and Elizabeth were married in North Carolina three years before legend holds she died on her wedding day in Florida might seem to disprove the legend of the ghost of Bellamy Bridge, but true history reveals there is much more to the story.
I'll continue this fascinating true story in the next post. Until then, if you would like to read more and see an actual photo of the "ghost" of Bellamy Bridge, please click here.
The complete story can be read in my book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts, now available through,, or for order through your favorite bookstore. It can also be purchased in downtown Marianna at Chipola River Book and Tea (on Lafayette Street across from the Battle of Marianna monument).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bellamy Bridge, Part One

As promised, I'm beginning today a series of posts telling the true story behind Jackson County's popular Bellamy Bridge ghost legend.

If you grew up anywhere near Two Egg (or pretty much anywhere else in Jackson County) you have probably heard at least some version of the story. It is one of Florida's oldest and favorite ghost stories.

Although there are several versions, the most common holds that the area around Bellamy Bridge, an old iron-frame bridge spanning the Chipola River a few miles north of Marianna and a few miles west of Two Egg, is haunted by the restless spirit of a young woman named Elizabeth Jane Bellamy.

As the story goes, Elizabeth was the bride of Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy, a prominent member of early Jackson County society. He built a beautiful new home for her in Marianna and the wedding was to be the social event of the season. Guests traveled for weeks to come and gifts arrived from as far away as Europe. The wedding came off beautifully, but the reception ended in unspeakable horror.

According to one version of the legend, Elizabeth was dancing with her husband and came into contact either with an open fire or a candle. Another version says she was so exhausted from dancing that she sank into a comfortable chair and unwittingly touched her gown to a burning candle. Regardless of story, the result was horrible. Her beautiful gown burst into flame. Elizabeth, as the story continues, rushed from the beautiful new mansion engulfed in flames. Her husband tried to save her, but by the time he could stop her flight and smother the flames, she was horribly burned. She died a few days later and was buried in a small cemetery on the plantation of Samuel's brother, Dr. Edward C. Bellamy. The cemetery is not far from Bellamy Bridge.

The legend holds, however, that the grave could not contain the love between Samuel and Elizabeth. Supposedly her ghost soon began to appear in the area around the cemetery and Bellamy Bridge. Some said she could be seen as a pale white figure roaming the swamps along the Chipola River. Others described a more horrible apparition, engulfed in fire, that rushed through the swamps and plunged into the river.

Samuel, it is said, was so devestated by Elizabeth's death that he dropped from public life, refused to ever live in the beautiful mansion he had built for her, became an alcoholic and eventually took his own life. The ghost of his long lost bride, however, continued to appear around Bellamy Bridge and some claim she can still be seen there today.

It is a fascinating story, but is it true? I'll begin to look closer into the real story behind this fascinating Florida legend in the next part of the series.

In the meantime, if you would like to read more, click here to visit the Bellamy Bridge section of

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge

I have received quite a few questions lately about the Bellamy Bridge ghost story. This is one of the most popular legends from the area surrounding Two Egg.
Since so many people have been asking, I thought I would begin a series here on the legend and tell you the true story behind it. I think the ghost hunt over the weekend at the Russ House in Marianna must have inspired some interest.
I'll begin posting the history of the Bellamy Bridge legend starting tomorrow, so be sure to check back and read along over the next few days. I also would love to hear from you about other ghost stories in and around Jackson County.
The story is also included in my book, Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts, so please consider picking up a copy. It is available at Chipola River Book and Tea in downtown Marianna (on the same block as the Gazebo Restaurant) as well as through, or for order through your favorite bookstore.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sheriff's Race for Jackson County

I just noted on the Jackson County Times website that Dudley Hall has withdrawn from the race for Jackson County Sheriff.

Many of us who grew up in Two Egg knew and appreciated Mr. Hall for all he did for the community and his country. I grew up with several of his sons and have many fond memories of working in the fields and prowling through the woods with them. He announced, in withdrawing from the race, that he has cancer. It was a blow to him, I'm sure, and to all of us who know and appreciate him.

I hope you will join me in praying for his speedy recovery.

If you would like to read the entire story, just click here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jackson County Times now online with a new website!

I'm pleased to let you know that Jackson County's community newspaper, the Jackson County Times, is now online with a brand new website. The paper is published weekly, but the website will be updated throughout the week. It already includes sections on local news, local sports and more. Plus, coming soon, new sections on Jackson County history and more will be added!

To visit the free website, just go to

If you haven't subscribed yet, you can also do that online.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Please remember the tornado victims

I'm sure you've seen some of the coverage of the horrible tornado damage across parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. More than 50 people have died and hundreds of homes have been destroyed.

These people are our Southern neighbors and they need all the help they can get. Please consider helping with a local relief effort or donating through the American Red Cross at:

Please also keep them in your prayers.

Thank you and may God bless you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Willis Home - Greenwood, Florida

One of my favorite old Jackson County homes is the Willis House, located on Highway 69 as you enter Greenwood from Two Egg.
The beautiful old home is sometimes confused for an antebellum mansion, but actually was built well after the Civil War. The cherished house is now surrounded by a beautiful grove of old oak trees and is one of Jackson County's most significant architectural landmarks.
This photograph was taken during the early to mid 1900s. The woman pictured is Lizzie Willis.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Open Pond near Two Egg, Florida

The body of water seen in the distance here is known in the Two Egg area as the "Open Pond." Long a popular fishing hole in the Cox community, it is one of the few area landmarks shown on the original survey plats of Jackson County.
A section line crosses the pond near the route of the elevated road seen on the opposite side of the pond. When they passed through the area during the 1820s, the original surveyors followed this line while marking off their survey plats. The area was then open woods, but the pond was shown on their drawings.
Scientific studies show that the Open Pond and numerous other ponds in the area are found along the course of an old channel of the Chattahoochee River. Over time, the river moved east to its present course, leaving behind the winding channel dotted with small lakes and ponds.
Prior to the construction of the Jim Woodruff Dam and flooding of Lake Seminole during the 1950s, flood waters from the river would sometimes flow into the old channel and re-connect the ponds, leaving area residents stranded on spots of high ground.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Steamboat Apalachee

This faded photograph shows the sternwheel riverboat Apalachee, one of the steam-powered paddlewheelers that used to run up and down the Chattahoochee River.
These boats were of vital importance to the early settlers of the Two Egg area. They brought needed items up from Apalachicola or down from Columbus, Georgia. They also provided transport for cotton, tobacco, corn and other crops raised by local farmers. In the days before trucks and the railroads, the farmers had no other way of getting their crops to market except by boat.
From the 1820s until the 1940s, scores of riverboats traveled on the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola Rivers. The first to make the trip was the Fanny and the last was the John W. Callahan, Jr. These boats edged up to the bank at places like Neal's Landing, Tennile Landing, Peri Landing, Parramore Landing, Bellevue Landing and Butler Landing to serve the residents of the area. They also used these landings to take on firewood cut by local residents and sold to the boat companies. The wood, in turn, was used to fire the boilers and keep the steamboats running.
The arrival of the railroad in Jackson County during the 1880s followed by the arrival of modern highways and large trucks during the 20th century spelled the end of the boats and they rapidly disappeared.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Greetings from Snowy Arkansas

Many of you know that I divide my time between Arkansas and the family place in Two Egg. Tonight I thought I'd share a bit of Arkansas winter with you.
We got a pretty nice snowfall here this afternoon and it is still snowing tonight. I took this photo when I ventured out for a couple of minutes earlier to watch it come down. We get ice and snow here from time to time, but this one is turning into one of the prettiest snowfalls we've had in a while.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Bazzell Murder - 1860

One of the earliest recorded crimes in the Two Egg area was the 1860 murder of William Bazzell. The details surrounding the event remain sketchy, but he is believed to have been the first person buried at the Bazzell Cemetery in Lovedale, a community about three miles northeast of "downtown" Two Egg.

Although the details of what happened are unclear, a reward for the apprehension of two suspects was issued by Governor Madison S. Perry on September 14, 1860. Here is the notice that was published in the Tallahassee Floridian newspaper on October 6, 1860:


$200 Reward

Whereas, Information has been this day filed in the Executive Department that a brutal murder was committed in Jackson County, during the night of the 20th ultimo, on the body of William J. Bazzell, by Daniel O. Neel, and Samuel H. Chisolm, and that they have fled from justice,

Now, therefore, in order that said Neel and Chisolm may be brought to condign punishment, I, Madison S. Perry, Governor of the State aforesaid, and by this my public proclamation, offer TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS reward for the apprehension and delivery of said criminals to the Sheriff of Jackson County.

MEN. – Daniel O. Neel is a middle aged man, about five feet ten inches high, --- black hair, with white lock on the right side of his head; of dark complexion, and heavy countenance, has very penetrating grey eyes, has a scar on his right arm between the wrist and elbow, made by a half ounce bullet, weight about 140 or 145 pounds, and wore at the time of his escape a very heavy beard. He is an Engineer by trade.

Samuel H. Chisolm is about twenty-one years ago, has fair skin prominent nose, blue-eyes, large mouth and dark curly hair; has rather a good countenance, is fine looking, and talks well and freely. Is about six feet high and wighs about 160 pounds, was clean shaven when he escaped.

It Testimony Whereof, I have hereto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Florida. Done at the Capitol, in the city of Tallahassee, this 14th day of September, A.D. 1860.

M.S. Perry,
Governor of Florida.

By the Governor – Attest:
F.L. Villepigue,
Secretary of State.

The Florida Sentinal and Marianna Patriot run four times, and forward bills to the Comptroller’s office for settlement.

September 15, 1860.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Two Egg, Florida - The Book

If you've tried to pick up a copy of Two Egg, Florida: A Collection of Ghost Stories, Legends and Unusual Facts at Chipola River Book and Tea in Marianna this week, you already know this, but the most recent printing of the book has sold out. A new round is on the way and should be on hand by the end of next week.

In the meantime, if you would like to purchase copies, they are still in stock through and

If you would prefer to order by mail, you can also send a check or money order to me and I'll be glad to place the order and have the book shipped to you. The price is $16.95 for the book plus $4.60 for shipping (Total amount: $20.55).

The address is:
Dale Cox
P.O. Box 180814
Fort Smith, AR 72918

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lovedale featured in the "Jackson County Times"

The Two Egg area community of Lovedale is featured in this week's issue of The Jackson County Times. The weekly community newspaper has begun featuring the histories of communities across Jackson County and this week turns its attention to Lovedale.
Lovedale was founded during the late 1800s by families that still live in the area. Unique among the small communities established in Jackson County during that era because it was built around a central square, the community is now the home of Lovedale Baptist Church and Cemetery.
To read the article, pick up a copy of this week's issue of The Jackson County Times. If you live out of the area or live in Jackson County and would like to receive the weekly community newspaper by mail, you can subscribe online by visiting:

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