Historic Markers Across Alabama

Death in the Street

Marker ID:  
Location: in the Cahawba Archaeological Park (nominal fee required), 9518 Cahaba Rd, Orrville, AL
County: Dallas
Coordinates: N 32° 19.158    W 087° 5.76
  32.3193    -87.096
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Death in the Street

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.

2015 by the Alabama Historical Commission.

Photographs of the marker can be found on HMDB.org

End of Death in the Street