For a brief historical skecth of each farm, click on the farm name.
Bend of the Creek Farm
Big Maple Dairy Farm
Daniel Farm in Narrow Valley Community
Renfro Cattle Farm
Rolling Acres Farm
Bend of the Creek Farm
James and Johnnie Lou Vineyard
Established by Andrew Vineyard in 1818,
Andrew and Sally’s son, Green Berry Vineyard, inherited
151 acres upon his father’s death and he added wheat cultivation and cattle
breeding to the farm’s operations. Green Berry wed Diana Hawkins and they
raised ten children including Preston H. Vineyard who inherited 25 acres of the
farm in 1899.
James Preston Vineyard, the founders’ great great grandson, gained full control of the farm in 1968. James, his wife Johnnie Lou and their children have completely restored the family home, which dates to 1814. With 96 acres of land at his disposal, James specializes in the cultivation of tobacco and corn while breeding a herd of registered Angus cattle.
Big Maple Dairy Farm
The twentieth century popularity of dairy farming is evident in the history of the Big Maple Dairy Farm. Located in the Buffalo Springs Community eight miles southwest of Rutledge, the farm initially consisted of 195 acres of wheat and corn fields acquired by George W. Graham in 1868. George and his wife Elizabeth West were the parents of six children. In 1887, their daughter Laura Sarah Graham and her husband Luther L. Yates inherited 138.5 acres of the property. Seventy-two years later, Mr. and Mrs. J. E. Yates inherited 155 acres on which they specialized in tobacco cultivation and dairy farming.
In 1985, Richard and Charles Yates acquired their great grandparents’ land and they continue the farm as a major dairy and tobacco operation. The brothers also use the original two-story farmhouse, built by the founder George Graham, as one of the family homes.
On December 10, 1900, Effie M. Phillips-Rucker established a farm
of 350 acres east of Rutledge on
In 1926, James Oscar Rucker, the founders’ only son, acquired the
farm. Married to Jessie E. McDaniel-Rucker, the couple had two children, Hazel
L. and John Frank Rucker. In 1929, the
house had the first electricity in the community installed in their home. In addition to installing electricity, the
company also encouraged the family to display Christmas lights on two tall
cedar trees in the yard. The family reports that people came from
During the ownership of Hazel L.
Rucker and her husband Benjamin A. Creech, Jr.,
the farm’s major cash crop was burley tobacco. In addition, the farm
supported cattle, hogs and sheep. Over the next two decades, Hazel and Ben made improvements to the
farm. While the couple managed the farm, they also were active in the
community. Ben was a member of the Tennessee Livestock Association, the local
cattlemen’s association , the Farm Bureau and the local Farmer’s Cooperative.
He also served on the Board of Directors of the TVA & I Fair Association in
In 2003, the great granddaughter of
the founder, Alice Creech-Moody acquired the farm. She is the daughter of Hazel and Benjamin
Creech. A 4-H Club member from 1949 to 1958, her interest was raising and showing beef
calves. Alice, along with her husband, James R. (Rick) Moody, they managed the
farm but lease it to Donny Hixon. The main house, part of which dates to 1866, a
barn, a blacksmith ship, a spring house, a scale house, a cattle barn and a
smoke house that were built in the early twentieth century are some of the
buildings on this farm. This
well-documented farm is one of
Photo: A view of the landscape on the Bowen/Creech-Moody Farm.
Daniel Farm in Narrow Valley Community
Patsy Kay Boling
Sandra Gail West
In 1905, Orville Daniel purchased 95 acres for $900 in the Narrow Valley community of Grainger County. Daniel raised a variety of crops on his farm, including hay, corn, tobacco, vegetables and fruit along with livestock such as milk cows, calves and mules. Orville and his wife, Minnie M. Cameron Daniel, boarded the teachers for the Narrow Valley School at their farm in 1906, also feeding the horses ridden by the teachers to school during the week. Orville and Minnie were the parents of Mayme Oleta, Ella Mae and John James, also called “Pat.”
In 1963, these siblings, Mayme Flora, Ella Simpson and Pat Daniel—acquired the farm. Ella’s widower, Deaderick Simpson, deeded his portion of the farm back to Pat in 1978, and Mayme Flora deeded her interest in the farm to Pat’s heirs in 1993. Pat Daniel, along with his wife, Pauline, and their children, David Ronald, Patsy Kay Boling and Sandra Gail West raised hay, tobacco, corn, vegetables, tomatoes, dairy cows, calves and Herefords and Black Angus beef cattle. During the 1940s, Pauline milked the cows and made and sold sweet milk, buttermilk, cottage cheese and molded butter to neighbors. She remembers it being “a lot of hard work with very small pay.” Pauline continues to manage the farm, as she has done since Pat’s death in 1980. She hires help for the daily farm operation, which today includes hay and vegetables.
Photo (top): Farmhouse on the Daniel Farm in Narrow Valley Community
Photo (bottom): Barn on the Daniel Farm in Narrow Valley Community
Walter William Harrell, Jr.
Located four miles
southeast of Bean Station,
Walter married Laura Ellen Harrell and they had two children. Their son, Walter William Harrell, Jr. acquired the land in 1953. Walter and his family continue to live on the farm and they raise cattle, corn and tobacco.
Photo: Early Corn Crop on the Harrell Farm.
On Christmas Eve of the first year of the twentieth century, W. O. Kidwell became the owner of 56 acres south of Rutledge. He and his wife, Tennie, were the parents of Robert, Grace K. Creech, Letha K. James and Bessie K. Murray. The family raised primary crops of tobacco, corn, hay, pasture and cattle.
In 1928, Robert acquired the farm. He and his wife, Effie (Baer) had six children. Eugene, Lena Mae, Jesse W., Mary, Charles E., and James Leon and their parents grew many of the same crops but also raised dairy cattle. Through the years of the Great Depression, the farm provided food and the family’s only income.
The third generation to own the property was the grandson of the founders, Eugene Kidwell and his wife Allene. Their children are Dale, Donna, and Anna K. Cabbage.
In 1976, the current owner and great grandson of the founders, Dale Kidwell obtained the farm. Today, Dale and his wife Carolyn work the land. Currently, the farm produces hay, pasture and beef cattle.
Photo: A front view of the original farm house on the Kidwell Farm.
Heirs of Emily Dodson Cantwell
The Massengill Farm,
established in 1796 by Michael Massengill, is the oldest Century Farm in
Robert Massengill and his wife Elizabeth Paul, the second generation owners, were the parents of four children. Together they managed a farm of 1,600 acres and raised diverse crops and livestock while operating the mill and a general store. The mill and store were operated by the family until 1940 until the death of Will Massengill, grandfather of the present owner. Remembered as an important community leader in Grainger County, Will gave four hundred acres of the farm to the State of Tennessee in the late 1930s for the development of a game farm that produced quail for many years. Later it was converted to a fish hatchery. When Will Massengill died, he left the family farm to his five grandchildren. Emily Dodson Cantwell and her brother Willis Dodson, two of the great-great-great-grandchildren of the founders, each inherited 250 acres. When Willis died, his widow, Betty, retained her part of the farmstead while Emily and her husband, Thomas J. Cantwell owned and managed their acreage on which they raised hay, wheat, and cattle. Emily died on July 17, 2012, at the age of 90 and is survived by her husband and daughter, Ruby Cantwell Sherrill and her husband, Robert.
Photo: The mill, as it appeared in 1982, changed little over the decades. It was moved from the property in the late 1990s to Townsend and rebuilt, but was destroyed by fire shortly thereafter.
Catherine Clark Morgan
Joel Hammer and his wife Polly Cannon established the Morgan Farm in 1798. The farm passed through several generations of the Hammer family until the early twentieth century when Dora Hammer and her husband Henry Clark acquired 56 acres. The Tennessee Valley Authority featured Henry Clark’s farming successes in a promotional movie which, according to the family, “has been shown in many parts of this nation as well as in many other nations of the world.”
In 1953, the founders’ great great great granddaughter
Catherine Clark Morgan and her husband
Renfro Cattle Farm
Charles S. Renfro
Mrs. James Garfield Renfro
Directly affected by post-war railroad construction, the
Renfro Cattle Farm details the impact of modern transportation on the fortunes
of a typical family farmer in
James H. Renfro, the founders’ son, acquired the family property in 1858. Expanding the number of acres under cultivation, he also purchased about 100 additional acres. But the Civil War “ravaged the farm” and James’ wife Nancy Jane Mitchell fled the farm with the children, seeking safety with neighbors some miles away.
George Washington Renfro, one of James and Nancy’s six
children, inherited 500 acres in 1887. Twelve years later, the Renfro Farm
became one of the most valuable in the community when the Southern Railway
decided to locate a portion of its
In 1938, the founders’ great grandson James Garfield Renfro inherited 102 acres of the farm. James has passed away, but today his widow and their son Charles S. Renfro live on the farm. Charles works the property’s 290 acres, producing hay, tobacco and beef cattle. His mother lives in a two-story log home that dates to the nineteenth century.
Martin F. Roach
Brenda J. Roach
Related to its history, as
the 19th century came to a close, John Spoon purchased 27 acres in
The next generation to own the property was Sam Spoon, who acquired the land in 1909, two years before his father’s death. His and wife Amanda had nine children. In 1913, Amanda passed away and Sam later married Susie Bridgewater. During Sam’s ownership, the farm produced wheat, oats, corn, sheep and cattle. According to the family’s records, Sam had a goose that he sold for a pound of meat, and then traded his meat for an acre of land, and soon began accumulating more land. Sam lived to be 93 years old and his family remembers that he “loved to sit on his front porch and watch his cattle.”
In 1927, Claude Spoon and his wife Ella Hodge purchased some of the property from his father and became the third generation to own the land. Claude and Ella children were Hazel, Helen and Claude Jr. Under their ownership, they made many improvements to the farmhouse such as putting a cinderblock foundation underneath, adding more rooms and putting in wooden floors, walls and new ceilings. The family did not have electricity until 1953 and Ella cooked on a wooden stove all her life. They raised cattle, swine and chickens, and Ella took her eggs to the store to trade for meal, sugar, coffee and other goods. Claude died in 1957 and the farm passed to Ella.
Only a few short years later, in 1959, Ella split the farm into two tracts and gave them to her two daughters, Helen and Hazel. Hazel, married briefly to Clinton Roach, had one son, Martin. Hazel and Martin lived with her parents on that farm. Helen, who did not marry, was very active in the farm’s work and management as well. Helen, who stripped most of the tobacco by herself, raised potatoes, Irish and sweet, cornfield peas, and had “lots of chickens and cats,” according to the family’s records. The sisters loved the farm and enjoyed having friends, neighbors, and family visit.
In 1991, Helen’s health deteriorated and she passed her part of the land to her nephew, Martin. The sisters, always close, died within seven months of one another. When Hazel died in 1998, she bequeathed her acreage to her son. Today, Martin and wife Brenda Lawrence Roach own the property, where they have lived on since the 1960s. Martin and Brenda’s children are Robin, Mark and Jamie.
The owners report that Mark seems to have his great-aunt Helen’s love of growing vegetables and raising animals, including chickens. Active in the 4-H when in high school, he and his family live on the farm. Robin and her husband, Gary Yardley, also live on the farm. Jamie has worked on the farm since high school. Although employed by Ross Meter Co., he handles most of farm workload with his father and also lives on the farm.
The Roach family has worked hard and maintained their acreage while also making many improvements to the farm over the years such as putting up new barbed-wire fences all around the borders and purchasing a bush hog to help them keep their fields clean.
Recently, they added two more ponds and a new water-tank system. Also, they run around 40 head of cattle, and
while Martin manages the farm that he has lived on since a child, he also
Photo: A view of the landscape on the Roach Farm.
Rolling Acres Farm
Wilbur Jackson Hickle
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the construction of railroad
spur lines which served heretofore isolated farming communities often brought
about a transformation of the rural landscape. Farms whose management
techniques remained those of 50 and 100 years earlier suddenly became more modern
commercial enterprises. A good example of this transportation phenomenon in
In 1907, Carrie Kinsland Hickle and her husband A. C.
Hickle inherited 185 acres of the original farm. The Hickles practiced general
farming and managed a store, which also served as the community post office.
When the Southern Railroad established the
In 1967, Carrie and A. C.’s only child Wilbur Jackson Hickle inherited the farm. Today, Wilbur farms over 300 acres, specializing in cattle, hay and tobacco. He still uses Rolling Acres original ten-room farmhouse, which features a stone foundation.