Elizabeth Routt was a prominent resident of Hazel Green in the mid 1800s. However, after husbands started dying almost faster than they could say, I DO, scandal and gossip began to rule the day. The Black Widow of Hazel Green was accused of killing those husbands and then burying them in a graveyard on the property.
Elizabeth Dale was born in Maryland in 1795. Her family moved to Tennessee when she was only two years old. Her dad became the first known settler of DeKalb County, Tennessee. It was there that the seventeen year old Dale married her first husband, a minister.
Her first marriage lasted for eighteen years, until the minister died of Yellow Fever. She married a second husband in Columbia, who died soon after the wedding. She then married Alexander Jeffries, moving to his log cabin in Hazel Green. The cabin, built on a Native American burial mound, was where Dale’s only two children were born during her marriage to Jeffries. After his death, she married again, only to have that husband die soon after the wedding.
She then married Absalom Brown. He built a plantation style home to replace the log cabin before he, too, passed away and was buried immediately. Her next marriage was to plantation namesake Willis Routt of Fayetteville who also passed away soon after the wedding. Neighbor Abner Tate brought up charges against the Black Widow, before he was killed by one of his own slaves. Rumors spread, and the Black Widow was accused of killing all six husbands, as well as her father. Tired of all the accusations, Dale decided to leave town, moving to Marshall County, Mississippi, with her son.
The home changed owners several times over the years. It fell into a state of disrepair by the late 1950s, and the home burned to the ground in 1968, leaving only two chimneys to mark where it once stood. The family cemetery is still there, overgrown by weeds. The legend is the topic of a bluegrass song, “One Mile East of Hazel Green”, a recording of which accompanies this article.
So, did Elizabeth murder six husbands and possibly her dad? Was she just a victim of some of the worst luck a person ever had? Was there even a curse at work due to the house being built on a Native American burial mound? We may never know what really happened back in the 1850s when the Black Widow of Hazel Green roamed the North Alabama land.
COMMENT about the Black Widow of Hazel Green using the comment form below.
SUBSCRIBE to the Huntsville History and Landmarks Examiner using the link accompanying this article.