Bell School building is located on land formerly owned by Dr. Charles Bailey
Bell, which he inherited upon the passing of his father, Dr. Joel Thomas Bell,
in March of 1910. A small portion of the original 207-acre tract was conveyed to the city of Adams
in 1912 for the construction of a school. Bell High School opened in 1913,
serving northwestern Robertson County until it was destroyed by fire in 1919.
on Highway 41, the
current structure was completed in 1920 and served as a high school
until 1949, when Jo Byrns School was built in nearby Cedar Hill. Bell school
then served as a junior high until 1975. As a side note, Mr.
Jo Byrns, the politician for whom the new high school was named, was a descendant of Squire James Byrns, mentioned
in the M.V. Ingram account of the "Bell Witch"
building and grounds are now a park that boasts an antique mall, a
restaurant, a tea room, and the Adams Museum and Archives. Outside, there
is a pavilion, a log cabin, an old barber shop, and a baseball
The Adams Antique Mall
in the Bell School Building, the Adams Antique
Mall boasts two floors of antiques to choose from. A tearoom and a
restaurant with great food and prices are located in the same building, along
with the Adams Museum and Archives.
The Adams Museum and
by a grant from the City of Adams on July 4, 1996, the Adams Museum and Archives
is home to items that are reminiscent of the town's past.
The "Bell Witch" is only the
beginning. From becoming a key town along the Edgefield and Kentucky
Railroad, to the Civil War battle west of town and the
Tennessee-Kentucky Tobacco Night Riders, the city of Adams is rich in history. You will see
Native American artifacts, antique tools,
pictures of Adams during its heyday, and even an old casket!
Adams Museum and Archives is located in the old Bell School building on Highway
41. It is open when the Adams Antique Mall
The Bell Log
last remaining structure from the original John
Bell farm is the log cabin
that is adjacent to the Bell School Building.
Most likely built by John Bell and his sons, the 1810 circa cabin was
originally situated on the northwest corner of the Bell farm near the Red
River. It was moved to the Bell School grounds in 1982 and was dedicated to
the Tennessee-Kentucky Threshermen's Association.
Egbert Bell, son of John Bell, most likely moved into the cabin around 1833,
staying until 1855 when he moved to Springfield and sold the
property to his brother, Richard
Williams Bell, who died two years later.
is a strong possibility that the cabin contains some logs from the
original John Bell home, which was dismantled in 1843 (per an old letter). Its logs were used
to construct new outbuildings and additions to existing structures. The
cabin was in close proximity to the original Bell home, and the Tennessee
Historical Commission has concluded, upon examining the cabin, that additions
were made during that timeframe. Were they made from remnants of the main
John Bell home? No one knows for sure, but the possibility exists.
in 1957 by Boston architect Leslie Covington (a direct descendant of
John Bell), Bellwood Cemetery is the most prominent memorial to the John
Bell family. An inscription on the giant monument at the back of the
cemetery tells of the family, in part:
Bell 1750-1820 and his wife Lucy Williams Pioneer Settlers from Halifax &
Edgecombe Co., N.C. Their children were Jesse, John Jr., Drewry, Benjamin,
Esther, Zadok, Elizabeth, Richard Williams and Joel Egbert
Bell, Jr. 1793-1862 and his wife Elizabeth Gunn Their children were Sarah Williams, Joel Thomas, Zadok, Martha
Miles, Mary Allen and John
Thomas Bell 1831-1910 and his wife Laura Virginia Henry Their children were John Thomas, Flora Adeline, Sarah Elizabeth,
Boyd Minerva, Charles Bailey and Mary Allen
wall, about three feet high, encloses an area with gravestones for
descendants of John Bell. Several descendants are buried there, and many graves remain
unoccupied at the present time. Anyone may be buried in the graveyard outside
of the marble wall.
graves show pre-1950s death dates, in which case the bodies were exhumed from
their original resting places and reinterred at Bellwood. One of the most
prominent examples is the grave of former Oklahoma Chief Justice, Hon. John
Turner, who died in 1936. As a side note, his gravestone is the only one not identical to
the others inside the wall; his original
gravestone was most likely brought with him.
Cemetery is located on Highway 41, just east of the Bell School building.
It is open
to the public during daylight hours. When visiting Bellwood, please don't
lose sight of its purpose: the final resting place of real people, just like us,
who lived and died. Please respect the
cemetery and the families of those buried there.
April 25, 2009 -- Click here to see a list of the
people who are buried in the area enclosed by the wall.
Red Riverbottomland boasts large corn and tobacco fields as far as the
eye can see.The aroma of
freshly-cut tobacco being dried in tobacco barns fills the late summer air.
Robertson County is known as the dark-fired
tobacco capital of the world.
Red River bottomland terrain is mostly flat, surrounded by dense forests and
slight hills. Meandering peacefully amid the
and forests of northwestern Robertson County, the Red River
is much the same now as it was in the days of John Bell -- playing the same
magical melody it did when Betsy
Gardner, and others roamed its
banks nearly two centuries ago.
Royal State Park, located off Highway 76 about 7 miles from Adams, is what
remains of the area's first large town. Up until the mid-1800s, Port Royal
boasted the area's post office, steamboat port, doctor's office, and many other
businesses. It was also near Port Royal where the Red River Baptist Church
was born and where elder Reuben Ross made a controversial public statement about
Calvinism, while preaching a funeral. The infamous "Trail of
Tears" also went through Port Royal.
With the advent of the Edgefield and
Kentucky Railroad, which ran through the Adams area instead of Port Royal, the
city became a ghost town.
a museum is housed in Port Royal's last surviving commercial building, which was
built in the 1850s. The sites where other early buildings stood, some
dating back to the 1700s, are marked by small depressions in the ground and an
occasional foundation stone. There is also a replica of the original
covered bridge across the Red River, which was destroyed some years ago.
the history and heritage of Robertson County, Tennessee at the Robertson County
Historical Society, located only a short distance from Adams.
Home to the Robertson County History Museum, whose chief purpose is to
collect and preserve items of historical importance to Robertson County,
the Robertson County Historical Society is located in the old post office
building at 124 6th Avenue West, just off the Court Square in Springfield's
downtown Historic District.
615-382-7173 / Web
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