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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cahaba in Dallas County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Death in the Street

 
 
Death in the Street Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
1. Death in the Street Marker
Inscription.  On a May afternoon in 1856, an angry John A. Bell rounded this corner carrying a large hickory stick. He passed by Edward Perine's fine brick store, and continued south down the sidewalk. Under his coat, he carried two pistols and a knife. He was not here to shop.

Dr. Matthew Troy had filed a civil suit against Bell, but at that moment, he was sitting under the shade of a Chinaberry tree in front of his office. Head down, he was reading the paper. When Bell reached Troy, he beat him until the hickory stick broke. Battered and bruised, Dr.Troy rolled into the street.

There three members of the Bell family quickly surrounded him, all with pistols drawn. Fortunately for Troy, his two brothers-in-law ran to defend him. Shots were fired. When the smoke cleared, John A. Bell was dead in the street; his father, John R. Bell was dying.

Dr. Troy recovered from the attack, and won his suit against Bell's estate.
 
Erected 2015 by the Alabama Historical Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Events
Death in the Street Marker looking south on Vine Street. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
2. Death in the Street Marker looking south on Vine Street.
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Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1856.
 
Location. 32° 19.158′ N, 87° 5.76′ W. Marker is in Cahaba, Alabama, in Dallas County. Marker is at the intersection of Second Street North and Vine Street, on the left when traveling west on Second Street North. Located within the Cahawba Archaeological Park (nominal fee required). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Second Street North, Orrville AL 36767, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Drug Store & the Room Above (within shouting distance of this marker); The Hole That Was Once a Row (within shouting distance of this marker); Yankees in Cahawba (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Saltmarsh Hall (about 400 feet away); A Courthouse Reduced to Rubble (about 400 feet away); Dallas County Courthouse (about 500 feet away); Railroad Depot and Commissary (about 700 feet away); Welcome to Downtown Cahawba (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cahaba.
 
Regarding Death in the Street. On May 23rd, 1856 there was a shootout on main street in Cahawba. John R. Bell and his two sons against Will E. Bird, Matthew Troy and Thomas Hunter (all three members of one large extended family). John R. Bell and his son John A. Bell were killed. Most of the town watched huddled
John R. Bell (father) grave marker in New Cemetery at Cahaba. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
3. John R. Bell (father) grave marker in New Cemetery at Cahaba.
behind their shutters. The survivors were exonerated in a court of law but, judging from the inscription, not in the eyes of the Bell family.
Inscription: "No murderer has external life abiding in him"
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
John A. Bell (son) grave marker in New Cemetery at Cahaba. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
4. John A. Bell (son) grave marker in New Cemetery at Cahaba.
Entrance sign to the Cahawba Archaeological Park Site. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, January 6, 2018
5. Entrance sign to the Cahawba Archaeological Park Site.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 11, 2018. It was originally submitted on January 11, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 245 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on January 11, 2018, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Sep. 22, 2021