Attractions in Adams, TN
The Bell School
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.
Located 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 legend.
The 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 field.
The Adams Antique
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
The Adams Museum and
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,
and 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
history. You will see
Native American artifacts,
antique tools, pictures of Adams during its heyday, and even an old casket!
The Adams Museum and Archives
is located in the old Bell School building on Highway 41.
The Bell Log Cabin
last remaining structure from the original
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.
Joel Egbert Bell,
son of John Bell, moved into the cabin
most likely around 1833, staying until 1855 when he moved to
nearby Springfield, Tennessee
and sold the property to his older brother,
who died only two
There 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
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.
Jesse, John Jr., Drewry, Benjamin, Esther, Zadok,
Elizabeth, Richard Williams and Joel Egbert
John Bell, Jr. 1793-1862 and his wife Elizabeth Gunn
Sarah Williams, Joel Thomas, Zadok, Martha Miles, Mary Allen and John
Joel Thomas Bell 1831-1910 and his wife Laura
Their children were
John Thomas, Flora Adeline, Sarah Elizabeth, Boyd Minerva, Charles Bailey and
A small wall, about three
feet high, encloses an area with gravestones for descendants of John Bell.
Several descendants are buried there, and many graves
still remain empty.
Anyone may be buried in the graveyard outside of the marble wall.
Several 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
who died in 1936. As a side note, his gravestone is the only one
that is different from the others inside the wall; his original gravestone was
most likely brought with him.
Bellwood 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.
a list of the people who are buried in the area enclosed by the wall.
The Red River
Red River bottomland 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.
Meandering peacefully amid
the fields and forests of northwestern Robertson County, the Red Riveris much the same now as it was in the days of John Bell --
playing the same magical melody it did when
and others frolicked and picnicked
along its banks 200 years
Port Royal State
Royal State Park, located off Highway 76 about 7 miles from Adams, is what
remains of the area's first town. Up until the mid
1800s, Port Royal boasted the area's post office, steamboat port,
doctor's office, and other businesses. Port Royal
where the Red River Baptist Church was born,
and where in 1815, elder Reuben Ross made a
highly-scrutinized statement about Calvinism while
preaching at a funeral. This
was part of a debate happening in the Baptist faith at the time, which soon
led to big changes. The infamous "Trail of Tears" also
ran through Port Royal.
With the advent of the Edgefield and Kentucky
Railroad, which ran through the Adams area rather than
Port Royal, the city eventually became a ghost
Today, 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
and an occasional foundation stone.
Early History of Adams, Tennessee