Buried semalusa/fitzgerald methodist church cemetery on fitzgerald church road; died as a young man (31years of age) of typhoid fever, as many of his relatives did, leaving bell with six young children.
it was told by aunt beulah (ode's sister) to mae fussell beard that ode and bell rode on horseback to get married. they were married by phillip allison, husband of vanessa alma sharp.
mae fussell beard remembered:
- "I had just turned eight years old when my daddy died. my birthday was in august and he died in september with typhoid fever. uncle john mark and two of his children, ola and kemp, had also died with typhoid fever. i think if grandpa fitzgerald hadn't come and moved us out, we might all have died.
- my daddy was a gentle, good man. he loved all his children and we all loved him. he was a barber. that's where i learned to cut hair, i guess. my daddy was a very religious man. we always went to church. he did some lay preaching. he was also a farmer. we had cows, sheep, horses, chickens and turkeys. we always had plenty butter.
- I remember we lived in a big, nice home with a big barn. the land was given to my daddy by grandpa fler, his daddy. i went to the field one day to bring my daddy some water. we had a cow named strawberry. strawberry picked me up with her horns and lifted me into the air and threw me into a brier batch. daddy heard me hollering and came to the rescue. daddy took the plow and horse to the house, put a rope around strawberry's horns and took her to the slaughter pen.
it hurt us very deeply when my daddy died. i remember riding to the grave site in a wagon. after daddy died, mama married dan jenkins. things were a whole lot different. the place was sold and we moved to dan's. we did farming. i remember we stayed home from school many days to pick cotton. dan also raised sugar cane. i helped make the syrup. it had to be skimmed and when finished, it was put in buckets with lids. dan also had corn and watermelon. me and my sister, violet, would plow until dark, even if we had a date. there was a french market in covington where we took the watermelon to be sold about three times a week.
- dan bought four mules and a grist mill with the money from mama's place. we made corn meal and grits. i remember one day i had on a long black coat trimmed with green velvet; given to me by aunt olivia. the coat got caught in the grist mill and was taking me with it. i had to get out of that coat fast! the corn was "tolled". this meant the people had to give you so much corn for grinding it. we wound up with about as much corn as the customers had. redis was about three years old then (about 1922).
- there was a race track in covington where racing was held once a year. i loved to ride horses, and rode one of dan's mares to train her. she was always very high strong around dan and would never stayed penned up, but i could do anything with her. some young man rode her and won the race one year.
- i learned to drive dan's car when i was 12 years old. i just took it one day. he didn't know i had it. i just went up and down the road.
- one sunday morning when i was about 15, i packed my two dresses; a green flannel and a brown striped flannel; and left home. i went to live with my sister, bevie, and her husband, heintz jenkins. i stayed there about four or five months. i went to union grove school while staying with bevie. i also went to pilgrim rest. i stayed with mr. and mrs. magee and finished the ninth grade. aunt olivia sent money, clothes and shoes, and i rode the train to new orleans to live with her. i lived there two or three years. me and one of aunt olivia's daughters went to night school and finished the tenth grade in new orleans. (aunt olivia lived on banks street.)
i also remember my dad worked for mr. thomas earl brunning at the saw mill. sometimes he would haul logs.
- while i was still living at mama's, i would walk four miles and plow for mr. bennie irvin for a dollar. i bought clothes with the money to go to sunday school and church. i can remember uncle menot and aunt tinsey would come pick me up and we would go to covington to buy easter outfits.
after willie and i were married and had children, i remember grandpa fler stayed all night with us one night. jimmy and harold cried all night because grandpa was snoring and they didn't know what it was. they were scared."