I'm not related to this family but thought it might help someone. Good Luck!
Came across this in a book I own (1905). (This is a Short version of what is written) In the adoption & Estate of Ida Bell Adams WARD et al. v. MAGNESS Appeal from Circuit Court, Independence County, Arkansas, Action by Ida Bell MAGNESS against Walter WARD and others. From a judgement of the circuit court affirming a probate decree amending an order of adoption nune pro tunc, defendents appeal. JOHNSON & ADAMS were neighbors in Independence County, while hunting together, JOHNSON accidentally killed ADAMS. JOHNSON was childless, and took the infant daughter of ADAMS to rear as his own after her fathers death. The child was only three years old when orphaned, and cared for by JOHNSON as his own till her marriage, and afterwards he helped her husband in business matters in a substantial and generous way. When the child (Ida Bell, this appellee) was about 15 years of age, and about 2 years after the General Assembly passed the act authorizing adoption of children, JOHNSON decided to have Ida Bell legally adopted. He applied to one of his neighbors (a justice of the peace) to attend to the adoption proceedings, and the result was the entry of the following order on February 11, 1887: "In the Matter of the Adoption of Ida Bell ADAMS. Now, on this day was presented to the court the petition of J. J. JOHNSON verified by his affidavit. John J. JOHNSON then stated that he had raised her since she was 3 years old & that both her parents were dead and she owned nor possessed any property.As of Feb. 25, 1887 she was known as Ida Bell JOHNSON. Abt 3 years after the decree off adoption Ida Bell married a MAGNESS. John J. JOHNSON remarried& died intestate April 5, 1902. His widow took charge of the estate. Thats when the fighting over the estate took place. (If intrested in this please email me & I will copy these pages & send them to you in an attachment email, please mention Vol. 86 p. 822 Ward vs Magness)