years old when Kate’s disturbances began, Richard Williams Bell vividly
remembered the terrifying encounters his family experienced at the hands Kate.
He is credited with authoring the only known eyewitness account of the
disturbances, entitled "Our
1846, Bell journalized the disturbances in a comprehensive manuscript that he
later passed to his son, State Rep. Allen Bell, who later shared it with his
closest family members. In the late
nineteenth century, Martin Ingram incorporated Richard Williams
Bell’s manuscript into his book, “Authenticated History of the Bell Witch,”
in the form of a single chapter entitled, “Our
Family Trouble.” Both the inclusion of Bell’s manuscript and the book’s
1894 publication date reflect Ingram’s honoring the Bell family’s request
that the account not be published until after all of John
Bell’s immediate family had died.
second youngest child of John and Lucy
Bell was born at the Bell farm in Robertson County, Tennessee.
He spent his entire life as a successful farmer in the Red River area and
was married three times. Despite his more-than-ample opportunity, Bell had
only two children.
purchased a tract of land atop the hill at Brown’s Ford Bluff from his brother, Joel
Egbert Bell, in 1855, where he remained until his death two years later.
His son, State Rep. Allen Bell, inherited the land.
Williams Bell died in 1857 at the
young age of 46 years, and is buried with his parents and several siblings in
the old Bell cemetery near Adams, Tennessee.