There are many stories that connect Andrew Jackson to this area. Some tell that he stayed at the White House Inn in his travels. Others share that he stopped at the Stark home on Highway 49 East.
There is the story that Jackson owned property on Buzzard Creek. He raised his racehorses there.
And certainly M.V. Ingram colorfully told about Jackson’s visit with the John Bells when he heard about the Witch.
Most people interested in the legend know that as they travelled, someone in Jackson’s company joked about the Bell Witch. Almost immediately, the wheels of their wagon stopped turning.
(Andrew Jackson, a General at the time, used a wagon to carry provisions so his group would not impose upon the Bells.)
When the wagon stopped, all of the men got off of their horses and pushed. It was only when Jackson admitted that it must be the Witch that the wagon moved again.
Ingram’s story continues with General Jackson reaching the Bells’ home. He watched while the Witch got the best of a “witch layer” who intended to do away with her.
Jackson enjoyed the spectacle. He said, according to Ingram, “This beats fighting the British.”
He and his party spent the next night in Springfield before returning to Nashville.
Deeds show that Jackson owned land in Robertson County.
As early as 1798, he bought the property of John Love along Beaver Dam Creek. Sheriff James Menees sold Love’s 640 acres for nonpayment of taxes. Jackson paid $3.90 per acre. The deed was recorded by the Court in April, 1802.
Other information in the Robertson County Court Minutes connects Jackson with what would become the Thomas Woodard, Jr., farm.
The property was sold to Jackson by John Caffery in 1802. Caffery was the husband of Rachel Jackson’s sister.
Jackson sold the land to Edward Dillon of Prince Edward County, Virginia, that same year.
(This farm is located north of Springfield off of Highway 41.)
In Deed Book 5, page 172, the researcher can read about Jackson’s sale to Dillon. The date is November, 1825, quite a bit later than the actual sale.
Jackson’s signature is on the deed.
There is an added note, dated April, 1970, that was written by Alfred Leland Crabb. It states that in his opinion the signature on the deed is the true signature of “Old Hickory himself.”
Crabb was a historian and author and certainly a “student” of Rachel and Andrew Jackson.
According to County Records, Jackson was given 25 acres on Aug. 15, 1817. This property was located near Caleb’s Creek on the “George Williams line.” George Murphey was the assignee. No reason was given for the gift.
According to “Historic Robertson County” by Catherine Holman and Jean Durrett, on the way to his inauguration, Jackson travelled the “L & N toll road.” He stopped near “Old Mitchellville” to speak to a group of schoolchildren who were waiting to catch a glimpse of him.
Andrew Jackson did own a lot of property here. He travelled through the county on his way to his duel with Dickinson. He knew men from the county because of time together during the Creek Wars and the battle of New Orleans.
If you believe in the Bell Witch, you probably also should believe that Andrew Jackson visited the Bell homestead. He certainly knew Robertson County well enough to do so.
In the Eagle’s Eye is sponsored by the Robertson Count y Historical Society. Call 615-382-7173 for more information.