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 • Weakley County
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Joshua Gardner
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Birth: Mar. 30, 1800
Robertson County
Tennessee, USA
Death: Dec. 5, 1887
Gardner
Weakley County
Tennessee, USA

This is the Joshua Gardner who was a notable character in several movies and books based on the Bell Witch Haunting which occurred in Robertson County, Tennessee near the present day town of Adams, in the early 1800's. The John Bell family was terrorized by a spirit which was referred to as "Old Kate" a witch. It started out with them hearing scratching noises at night, to actually hearing it speak to them and others. Andrew Jackson even went to witness the Bell Witch Phenomenon for himself. After his experience, he made the remark that his encounter with the witch was worse than fighting the British Army. Others followed to witness the Bell Witch Haunting. The spirit even claimed to have killed John Bell with a vial poison, having given it to him while he was sleeping. This is the only time in history that credit for a death has been actually given to a spirit. Joshua was engaged to Betsy Bell daughter of John Bell. Betsy was tormented by the witch excessively throughout the haunting. The witch would give Betsy sensations of being stuck by needles and other sorts of sadistic pranks. The witch would speak to Betsy in a friendly sort of way asking her not to marry Joshua Gardner. She believed that the witch was giving her some good faith warning that if she married Joshua Gardner something bad would happen. Betsy finally broke her engagement with Joshua off, leaving him heart broken. He left Robertson County and finally settled in Gardner Station located in Weakley County. Gardner Station was named for his family. He married first Sarah Caroline Donelson and second Tempie Delap. He had two sons James Franklin and Washington D.C. Gardner with his first wife. I listed the death date as December 5th, 1887. It hasn't been actually proven that he died on that exact date. That date comes from the time his will was filed in the county court house. I have learned from a document that he had a tombstone along with others that are buried in the cemetery and that the last time they were accounted for was in 1939. I have spoken to many people about Joshua and his life in Weakley County, Tennessee. People have told me that the witch appeared to him after he moved to Weakley County. Joshua Gardner's cabin was reassembled in Obion County in the 1970's, and the people who owned it had an intercom system ran from it to their house. They say that unexplained noises could be heard coming from the intercom. There are other stories of the witch's presence in Obion and Weakley counties. From what I have learned about Joshua Gardner, the person, he was a devoted Christian, Mason, and a hard-working respectable person.  
 
Burial:
Gardner Cemetery
Martin
Weakley County
Tennessee, USA
 
Created by: 1987
Record added: Dec 16, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 12709909
Joshua Gardner
Added by: 1987
 
Joshua Gardner
Added by: 1987
 
Joshua Gardner
Cemetery Photo
Added by: 1987
 
 
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- Butterflyy
 Added: Oct. 14, 2012

- Kathleen Fleury Bilbrey
 Added: Sep. 11, 2012

- Kathleen Fleury Bilbrey
 Added: Dec. 16, 2005
 
 
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