The Gadsden Times, Gadsden, AL 1920
The Gadsden Times, by Will I. Martin. While the writer was driving through Rock Run the other day he recalled the story of Bell Tree Smith, a fantastic character who flourished in Cherokee county back in the nineties and who met the fate of almost all bullies, who respected no law and the rights of no man.
He got his nickname from the fact that he operated a blind tiger under a tree near his place of business. His illicit liquor sales were out in the open air to be seen by any officer or citizen who dared to take the risk of peeping or spying, for it was generally understood or believed that monkeying with what Bell Tree Smith considered his inalienable rights spelled sudden death or, at least a good pistol whipping and such like punishment as would call for silence on the part of any person who happened to be unduly nosey. The man’s real name was William (Bill) Smith.