Elizabeth “Betsy” Bell
her father, Elizabeth Bell suffered a great deal from
Kate’s acts of physical abuse by having her hair pulled and getting slapped
and pinched to the point that her face and arms covered with welts and bruises.
Kate never gave a reason for her relentless abuse of Elizabeth, but her
disapproval of Elizabeth's engagement to Joshua
was no secret. Elizabeth broke off the engagement in the spring of 1821
after several years of Kate's ridicule finally took its toll.
married her former schoolteacher, Professor Richard
Powell, in March of 1824 -- settling in a nearby community that later became
known as “Cedar Hill.” She would eventually become a homemaker and mother to eight
children. Only four of the
children reached adulthood, one of which was Leftrick Reynolds Powell. He died in the Civil War
Battle of Franklin, Tennessee in November of 1864 at the age of 23. 
Powell was an up-and-coming politician, popular in various civil and social
circles. He would eventually hold a number of public offices.
A massive stoke in 1837 brought an abrupt
end to Powell's easy and glamour-filled life, rendering him invalid and in a
state of declining health until his death, eleven years later. Elizabeth
insisted that her marriage to Powell
was happy and fulfilling, despite the hardships they were endured along the way
-- mental anguish, poverty, and no social life. After becoming a widow,
Elizabeth's health declined as well -- mostly due to obesity, so it is said.
1849, The Saturday Evening Post
published a story believed to be the first commercially published account of the
“Bell Witch,” and in which Elizabeth was implicated as the culprit.
Angered, she threatened legal action if the statements weren't retracted.
A public apology and retraction appeared in a later edition of The
Saturday Evening Post. She
remained in the Cedar Hill area for many years, and had the reputation of being a very
witty and personable lady. Later in life, about 1874, failing health
forced her to move to Yalobusha County, Mississippi, where she lived with her
daughter, Eliza Jane Powell, who had moved to the area some years earlier
is said that Elizabeth refused to discuss Kate with people outside the family
and that she was terrified of sleeping alone -- preferring, instead, to sleep
between the wall and another person. Elizabeth
“Betsy Bell” Powell died on July 11, 1888 at
the advanced age of 82 years. She
is buried near Water Valley, Mississippi along with here
daughter and son-in-law.
end of a legend -- the grave of Elizabeth “Betsy Bell” Powell.
The stone in the picture, which is the original, has since been replaced by a
modern, generic stone to help deter vandalism.