The Farm he Called "the center of his universe"

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Revolutionary war hero Andrew Jefferson Ponder received a 500-acre land grant in 1806. He was the first resident in the area, settling the land, and opening a log tavern - Ponder’s Inn. He built a grist mill and general store.

In 1823, William B. Ross bought the land from Ponder, who died in 1832.

William Loch Weems was born in Maryland, and moved to Hickman County in 1826. In 1837, he bought the property from Ross, as well as the springs up on the hill, and continued buying land until he had 1800 acres.

In 1839, Weems, having an idea of the true value of the springs, and believing that they could be made profitable to himself and beneficial to mankind in general, erected 15 cabins of hewn logs, and began to advertise his springs as a health resort, called Bon Aqua “Good Water."

The name and fame of Weems' Springs went far and wide, and visitors from many places and many states came from year to year.

Weems also worked to improve his farm, and worked about two hundred acres of farming land.

After William’s death, the springs and farming land became the property of his youngest son, Phillip Van Horn Weems (1828~1864). 

Phillip Weems died of wounds sustained in the Civil War, and willed the springs to his brother, Joseph Burch Weems, and the "remainder of my effects" to his brother, Nathaniel Chapman Weems.

The Weems family owned the land until the early 1970s.


Johnny took ownership of the Cash Hideaway Farm in the early 1970s, after finding out that his accountant had been embezzling his money and buying properties. Johnny immediately fell in love with the 107-acre farm, and spent more than 30 years in the house and on the land that he called “the center of my universe.”

At Johnny’s death, Curtis Lyell bought the land to preserve the beauty and tranquility of the place.


Brian Oxley bought the property and began the restoration in 2015. Upon finding a VHS video of the 20th anniversary party for Johnny Cash at the farm, he tracked down the location of building where it took place. He purchased and restored that as well, bringing it back to life as the Storytellers Museum.

In the spirit of preservation and restoration, this important legacy, the Storytellers Museum and Hideaway Farm, was established. 

Visitors explore displays in the Farmhouse and Photo Gallery (Cinnamon Hill Gallery), and learn stories of the private side of Johnny Cash. Visitors can also enjoy the restfulness and peacefulness that imbues this land.