Wednesday, February 8, 2023

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Don't see many of these anymore! Pat said it wasn't in working order. 

Mike and Pat were on a mission Tuesday at the Bellamy Bridge Trail. I mentioned last week that because of high water on a creek we couldn't get to the haunted bridge, but now Mike and Pat came equipped to conquer! Temperatures in the mid 70's.

Bellamy Bridge is one of Florida's most famous haunted bridges. Elizabeth Jane Bellamy died in Jackson County on May 11, 1837. It is said that her restless spirit haunts the bridge and surrounding area as she searches for her husband Dr. Samual C. Bellamy whom she said she would love forever. 

Legend has it that shortly after their wedding her dress caught on fire and she perished, being buried near the Chipola River and the bridge. Her husband struggled for 16 years before taking his own life.  Because he had taken his own life he could not be buried next to Elizabeth on sacred ground as he had requested.

They really were a real couple, but according to Samuel's letters and an obituary in the Tallahassee Floridian, Elizabeth died from fever on that date at the age of 18. Sickness and death were common with Malaria and Yellow Fever in the day. A week later her young son also died from fever and was buried next to her. Samuel did not remarry and mourned the rest of his life for Elizabeth. And he did kill himself by slashing his throat in 1853.

Many people have claimed to see a ghost near the bridge. Some claim to have seen a ball of fire descending down through the bridge, others have seen white lights surrounding the swamp at night, while others have seen the figure of a young women in a white dress walking in the swamp. 

Mike and Pat gathering boots and tools needed to move logs so we could cross the creek.

The water was down and someone had already built a log bridge. Maybe Mike and Pat were a little disappointed?

The Bellamy Bridge was built in 1914 on the same site as a wooden bridge that dated back to 1840.

Sally checking out the Chipola River. Mike went back for his fishing pole but soon  decided there mustn't be any fish in the river.😉

Chipola River

The quantity and height of the tree knees were impressive.

Yellow Jessamine is the state flower of  South Carolina and contains alkaloids that are poisonous to humans. There were several blooming vines on the trail.

This picture doesn't do justice to the many holes dug along-side the trail. Pat thought he saw a hoof print in one so we wondered if the holes might be from feral hogs.

Pat wanted to complete our journey by finding the cemetary where Elizabeth and her son were buried. Google seemed to think it was here but we found nothing, not even spirits. 

We went to Crestview to pick up our mail Monday. Thanks for those who sent Christmas Cards! I scored a stop at one Quilt Shop. I thought Sally and I were pretty quick but the guys not so much. A lunch stop and then on to Beasley Park, formerly a state park until 1976 when it was transfered to the county. A beautiful day with highs in the upper 60's.

Stewby's Seafood Shanty was based on Stewart's father's restaurant, Sam's Oyster House opened back in the 1960's. Long story short, the thriving business was sold in 1995 and failed after a year under the new owner. Stewart then opened this site followed by 2 more locations. All sauces and sides are made from scratch and service is quick. Sally got to enjoy the grilled shrimp she yearned for and a piece of key-lime pie.

Stewbys Seafood Shanty in Fort Walton Beach. It is in an old portable classroom. 

In 1960 Beasley park was created for black families. In 1964-1965 the park was desegragated and open to all.
Where are the Piepers now? Bonifay, FL

Sunday, February 5, 2023

"Energy and persistance conquer all things". -- Benjamin Franklin

"Mayor" Boll Weevil" in Enterprise, AL.

Torreya State Park near Bristol, FL was a good hour drive away. We were looking for a hiking trail with a few ups and downs and it did not disappoint. At least I was good and tired last night. We took a trail to the Gregory house and a different one back from there for a nearly 5 mile hike. It was uphill the entire way back! Obviously I need to do more hiking before we backpack in August!

The park is named for the rare Torreya traxifolia tree. Rattlesnakes and black bears make it their home, but we saw neither. This site was selected for the park primarily because it was the location of 6 Confederate gun pits used to hold back the Union army warships on the Apalachicola River.

The Gregory house, built in 1849, was a plantation house originally located across from the State Park on the Apalachicola River. The house was moved to it's current location when it was donated to the state with the condition that it be relocated. In the 1930's the CCC (Civil Conservation Corp) began the 7 year process of moving it by removing one board at a time. 
CCC built bridge

Mike, or maybe a leprechaun?, showing off the archway under the bridge.


At one point it felt like more like a jungle. 

The Gregory house kitchen (on the right) would have originally been on the backside connected to the dining room. At some point, before it was relocated, the kitchen building had burned down. 

Beautiful views from the house. 

They had several stations in the back showing candlemaking, how they would have made wood shingles, and other things from the 1800's.

The chaperones couch in the courting room. The furnishings in the house were not original but were from the period of the home.

This is a courting candle. I had not seen one before. The father would judge the suitor when he called and determine how long he could stay by the candle length. When the candle went out, so did the suitor!

There is a mirror at the bottom of this table in the entryway so as the ladies walked past they could check their skirt length. 

Jason Gregory

Early automated cradle.

The floor on the first floor had to be replaced. This flooring from the second floor was original with the wood plugs.

Wooden checkers and Confederate cards.

In my quest to hike-to-see-something we took a half mile walk on the Bellamy Bridge Trail. The bridge itself wasn't exciting because it didn't even have a floor anymore, however, it was supposedly haunted. A story for another time. We didn't make it to the bridge due to water and another bridge that was washed out. We found another trail to try and get to the bridge only to discover it didn't go to the bridge. Aaah, but not to be deterred we took something that might have been a path at one time. Still no luck but by this time we did get close to a 5 mile hike. The guys have a plan so check back. 

The logs weren't long enough, what was left of the boardwalk was on it's side, and the creek was a bit deeper than we cared to walk in. 

Pat tried!

This might have been a path at one time?

We think we did reach the river. 

More boll weevils from Enterprise, AL.

Pat's traditional groundhog chili on Groundhog Day.

A little blurry (or a dirty windshield) but Pat saw a red-headed woodpecker out the front window one morning.
Where are the Piepers now? Bonifay, FL