Betsy Bell (1806-1888)
Elizabeth (Betsy) Bell (1806-1888) is the best known of John Bell's children and, next to John Bell himself, was the person most persecuted by the "Witch." The Witch prevented Betsy from marrying her childhood sweetheart, Joshua Gardner and seemed to take particular joy in physically and mentally tormenting her.
The Witch left the Bell household in 1821 and in 1824 Betsy married her former school teacher, Richard Rowell Ptolomy Powell (1795-1848). Powell was eleven years older than Betsy but the marriage appears to have been a happy one. Unfortunately, Powell suffered a stroke in 1837 and died a few years later in 1848. Betsy endured a long widowhood in Robertson County TN and very late in life removed to Yalobusha County, Mississippi where she died on 11 July 1888. She is buried in the Long Branch Cemetery located near Water Valley, Yalobusha County, Mississippi.
The following poem, by Martin Van Buren Ingram, is taken from his book entitled An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch (first published in 1894):
The Queen of the Haunted Dell
woodland bowers, grassy dell ,
an enchanted murmuring stream,
pretty blue-eyed Betsy Bell,
Sweetly thrilled with love's young dream.
was like the magic spell,
guides a laughing stream,
glimmering on her fell,
Kissed by lunar's silvery gleam.
elfin phantoms cursed the dell,
sylvan witches all unseen,
As our tale will truly tell,
sceptre o'er the queen.
Wielded sceptre o'er the queen.