The story of the Pharis Farm begins in 1836, when Fielding Bell, the son of a Revolutionary War veteran, migrated to Clay County, Missouri from Mason County, Kentucky, via steamboat with his wife and eight children. The Bell family built a log cabin and established a farm on a site just a few miles north of the Missouri River.
When Fielding passed away, his oldest son Daniel assumed control of the farm. Daniel, a respected farmer and businessman, served as president of the Missouri City Savings Bank and was proprietor of E.D. Bell & Sons Dry Goods and Clothing Store on the riverfront at nearby Missouri City.
In 1858-59, with the help of John Morrison, the mason who had just completed the stonework on the first Clay County Courthouse, Daniel constructed the present home. The clay that made the bricks was hand dug and baked on site. The bustling 400-acre farm included an icehouse, smokehouse, and blacksmith shop.
Donald Pharis, in 1927 purchased the farm. He was drawn to the land; the rich intriguing history of the Bell House had piqued Donald's interest. He and his first wife Helen, and later his second wife, Laura preserved the structure and collected period antiques to fill the rooms of the home. Donald saved the adjacent cabin from destruction in nearby Ray County, moved it to his farm and used it to share his knowledge of the past with visitors.
Upon his death, Mr. Pharis donated the property to Clay County. Clay County Historic Sites, a division of the Parks Department, plans to conduct a variety of agricultural and conservation programs on the 160 acre farm. The history of the Liberty farm predates the Civil War and has been a point of interest to area residents throughout the years.
The site is currently closed to the public, except for special events.