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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bell Witch Project - Day 1

Today was the first day I really got into the research I said I was going to do. I spent most of the day at the library and was pleasantly shocked at just how effective my slipshod efforts were.

For one thing, I have no specific route or methodology to my research - never have had and likely never will - for this or any other project. I found two books on the subject, including the main one I had been looking for (written by a descendant of the family) so I sat down and started reading it.

A little ways through, I decided to check out some of the other books on Tennessee history, just to see how many of them included an account. Like I thought, not too many; of those that do, it is nearly always little more than a quick overview, along with one of those good-ol’ Southern Baptist, “This here’s a campfire tale the ol’ cowpokes used ta swap when they was partakin’ o’ the Devil’s liquor,” admonitions. But I did come across two more books on the subject that were out of order and not in the computer, so there’s that much.

What I did find today was an official 1830 Census of Robertson County. I verified Lucy Bell, several John Bells (the eldest was dead by this time), two Gunns (one of which is certain to be the minister), and not one, but two Joshua Gardners!

The legends beneath them are cryptic and even though a key exists at the front of the book, it is not easy to follow. I didn’t get that far into it today and I’m not really sure if this will actually aid me at all in my research anyway; after all, no one disputes that the Bells lived where they did at the time this phenomena is said to have occurred.

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