Sugg Fort was Pastor of Red
River Baptist Church during the time of the Bell disturbances and, along
with other area clergymen, tried to comfort the Bell family throughout their
terrifying ordeal. It was he who, along with James
Johnston, Thomas Gunn, and John
Bell, comprised the "committee" tasked with determining Kate's
origin and purpose. Reverend Fort's unquestionably strong involvement
in the legend is somewhat overshadowed, however, by his brother's dealings
with John Bell -- which will be discussed, shortly.
youngest of nine children born to Elias and Sarah Sugg Fort, Reverend Fort was born in Edgecombe County, North Carolina and moved to
Tennessee with his family in 1788, settling between the Red River and Elk Fork Creek
in what would later become known simply as the "Fort Settlement."
His father was actively involved in the Tar River Association, a
group in North Carolina whose membership included the church John
and Lucy Bell attended prior to moving to
Tennessee -- Union Baptist Church (aka Towne Creek Baptist Church). 
Fort married Elizabeth Diggs in December of 1801, and they had two children before her
death in February of 1805. He
never remarried. His father,
Elias Fort, was the Pastor of Red River Baptist Church during this time,
while he and his brother, Josiah, served as the clerks.
About 1816, Sugg Fort became the Pastor of Red River Baptist
the years, mainly as a result of his father’s having known the Bells in
North Carolina, Reverend Fort developed a good friendship with John
Bell, often visiting him to discuss the "old country" and hold
prayer meetings. The same could
not be said about Reverend Fort’s older brother, Josiah, however. [a]
a church service in August of 1815, a deacon was unable to distribute
communion because John Bell had privately
expressed to him his dissatisfaction with Josiah Fort.
Because both men were at the table and ready to partake, the deacon
refused to proceed because not all present were "in fellowship." Confusion arose among those present, including John
Bell, who got up and went home.
church conducted a private hearing some weeks later to determine why
“Brethren Bell & Fort do not appear to be in fellowship.”
The outcome of this hearing is not documented in the church minutes;
however, at the church’s next meeting, Josiah Fort requested and received a letter of dismission from the
church and joined nearby Drake’s Pond Baptist Church. 
Ironically, this meeting also brought the news that his wife, Piety Horn
Fort, had recently died. Josiah
Fort would eventually return to Red River Baptist Church, but not until
after John Bell’s death.
nature of the Fort-Bell dispute is not clear because it was marked-through
in the church records. An examination of real estate and court records
involving both families during the same timeframe gives the author reason to
believe that a property-line dispute was at the heart of the matter.
the issue of John Bell’s excommunication from
the church in 1818, Reverend Sugg Fort continued to maintain a good
relationship with Bell and his family.
Reverend Fort died in 1829 and is buried in one of the three Fort
cemeteries in Robertson County, Tennessee.
Red River Baptist Church
pp. 172-173, 201.