The Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail is a one-half mile nature trail that starts from CR-162 in Jackson County, and leads to the oldest bridge of its type in Florida. Bellamy Bridge was built in 1914 on the site of a previous wooden bridge that dated back to 1840. It is one to the ten oldest bridges in Florida and is home to one of Florida’s best-known ghost stories. In fact, many believe it to be “Florida’s Most Haunted Bridge.”
The ghost story revolves around a young woman named Elizabeth Jane Bellamy who died in Jackson County on May 11, 1837. Her restless spirit is said to haunt the bridge and surrounding floodplain swamp in an eternal search for her beloved husband, Dr. Samuel C. Bellamy.
Samuel and Elizabeth, the story goes, were very much in love. She died as a young woman after promising to love him “forever and always.” He never recovered from her death and spent the next 15 years in mourning before taking his own life on the day after Christmas. Samuel’s final wish was to be buried beside Elizabeth, but according to the beliefs of the times he could not be buried in consecrated ground because he had taken his own life. Samuel was buried miles away in Chattahoochee, Florida, in a grave that has been lost to time.
According to the legend, Elizabeth’s spirit came back at the moment of Samuel’s death. She had promised to love him “forever and always” and has been walking the swamps around Bellamy Bridge in search of him for more than 160 years. Samuel has yet to appear and Elizabeth’s long wait continues.
Her ghost has been reported in the form of unusual blue and white lights, a misty shadow, and even the faint form of a young woman dressed in white.
Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail is located at 4057 County Road 162, Marianna, Florida. It is free to visit and open to the public during daylight hours 365 days each year.