Built in 1914, Bellamy Bridge is the oldest structure of its type in Florida. The bridge now only a skeleton, with its steel frame spanning the Chipola River in the swamps north of Marianna, Fl.
That is the location where the legend of The Bride of Bellamy Bridge began.
On a night in May in the year 1837, the young and beautiful new bride, Elizabeth Bellamy, was celebrating her wedding at a reception in her new husband’s Plantation home. Her new husband, Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy, was a cotton planter, politician, and banker and was a key leader in Florida’s early days.
The wedding reception was an elegant affair for those times, and the guest list included people from near and far.
While dancing with her new husband, Elizabeth brushed too close to one of the candles that adorned the drawing-room table during the lively festivities.
The rich, silky material of her extravagant gown and veil burst into flames, sending Elizabeth running and screaming from the house and toward the nearby river.
Elizabeth, however, overcome by the flames, fell to the ground. The poor young woman lingered in agony for a few days before she finally found comfort in death, and as the legend goes, Elizabeth’s dying words to her husband were, “I will never leave you.” And the legend claims she never did.
It is said that Elizabeth remained true to her promise, and she has been seen walking the swamps around Bellamy Bridge in search of her one true love, ever since.
As a footnote to this spooky story, I should add that, historical research about this story has been published. The paper states that while Elizabeth and Samuel did exist, the circumstances of Elizabeth’s death, as recounted by the legend, are false. But what is the fun in that?