For a brief historical sketch of each farm, click on the farm name.
Cedar Stone Farm
Cummins Mill Farm
Old Myers Farm
The Morgan Farm
The following map is for a general geographical understanding. It does not provide the specific locations of the farms because of privacy reasons.
Map Courtesy of Carole Swann, Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Jerry Nelson Billingsley
William H. and Sarah Billingsley were residents of Jackson County prior to the Civil War. The Billingsleys and their six children farmed about 250 acres and raised the typical crops of the Plateau region-cattle, swine, corn and wheat. They also grew some cotton. William joined the Confederate army and in his absence a group of Confederate soldiers raided the farm, taking leather and foodstuffs. Returning from the conflict a broken man, seriously ill with typhoid fever, William died in 1865.
Title to the farm transferred to his children, but little is known about the family’s history for the next 100 years. In 1964, Rupert and Dorothy Billingsley inherited 100 acres of the family land. Rupert and his son John Rupert farmed 180 acres of tobacco, hay, corn and cattle for nearly 50 years. With their deaths, Rupert’s son and John Rupert’s brother, Jerry Nelson Billingsley, returned from Texas to continue the family’s ownership of the farm.
Jack R. Brown
In 1896, Hiram Sam Brown established his 100 acre farm near
Granville on land that was a parcel of
around 8000 acres settled by Thomas and Nancy Litton Brown in 1800. Thomas Brown (1773-1867) fought with Andrew
Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. Hiram Brown’s farm is located just south of
the historic Avery Trace and five miles from
Current owners Jack Brown and his
wife Betty raised a big family on this farm, too. Their children are Russell, Randy, Timmy,
Tommy, Sammy, Alan, and Angela. All were
involved in the 4-H Club at
Joseph S. Moore
Under Joseph’s ownership, the farm continued to produce traditional livestock and crops. Married to Lillie Lousettie Fox, the couple lived in the farmhouse and ran a general store that was built on the farm next to Highway 53. They had one daughter, Thelma Ashley Carver and she became the third generation to own the land. Thelma and her husband John H. Donald Moore had two children and they raised corn, tobacco, hay and livestock on the farm. In addition to farming, Donald worked for Purina Feeds during the Great Depression. With his job and Sam’s pension, the family managed better than many during these bleak years. Later Donald sold fertilizer with Armour Agriculture Chemical Company, later bought by U. S. Steel. He served as the first President of the Tennessee FFA when it was organized in 1928. Thelma is credited with naming the farm “Carverdale” for her family and the fact that the property is located in a dale.
Joseph “Joe” S. Moore, the son of Thelma and John and the great
grandson of the founder is the current owner of the farm. Born and raised on
the farm, he was given his first
Joe and his wife Ruth Ann Huffner have been married since 1956 and
live in the family homeplace. In
addition to being on the farm, Ann taught in
Photo: A view of the Carverdale Farm.
Photo: A view of the Carverdale Farm.
Cedar Stone Farm
Donald V. Pharris
Cedar Stone Farm was founded by John Pharris, who purchased 84 acres in 1824 from Sampson Williams, one of the
early settlers and county leaders in
Members of the second generation to
own the farm were John and Susan’s daughters, Elizabeth Pharris Cantrell, Polly
Pharris and Susan Pharris.
According to the family’s history, one of the most dramatic events that happened during this time was the flood of 1948. It was the only time in 184 years that the original farmhouse flooded. The flood was so strong that it swept away a house about a mile west of the Pharris place. After the rain stopped and the flood subsided, neighbors rallied and helped clean the house.
The Pharris family was active in the Liberty Community Club and in the 4-H club in the 1940s and 1950s. Today, George’s youngest son, Donald V. Pharris, owns the farm. Over the years, Donald has purchased adjoining land, much of which his great grandfather had previously owned. Currently, Donald works the land and raises beef cattle and goats. The old homestead where G. W. Pharris was born still stands on the property and the Pharris family cemetery is also on the land.
Photo: Cattle and a family cemetery on the Cedar Stone Farm.
Two and a half miles north of Gainesboro lies the Clark
Farm, which dates to 1853. Richard and Rebecca Hudson, who moved to
Upon the death of their parents, the four
By 1959, three of the Davis and Clark partners had died and the farm went before a public auction. J. J. Clark, his son Phelps and his son Coleman Clark bought the land, keeping it in the family’s ownership. Phelps and his son Coleman presently farm the property and corn, cattle, hay, tobacco and timber are their agricultural commodities. The Clark Farm contains the farm’s original dwelling, but this building is now used as a tobacco barn.
Cummins Mill Farm
A grist mill operation was a necessity for a prosperous
rural settlement. Without a convenient location where their grains could be
processed for market, farmers had difficulty even providing flour and meal for
their own tables. The 4th District of Jackson County is home to the
Cummins Mill Farm, established by John Cummins between 1820 and 1825. He moved
to this area of
Married twice, Cummins fathered ten children and his son Morrison Woods Cummins received the farm in 1868. Morrison was an agrarian entrepreneur: mill operator, farmer, coffin maker and self-taught doctor. According to the family, Morrison suggested to his neighbors that “they get a trained doctor for serious injuries, set bones and dresses wounds.” Encouraged by his example, three of Morrison’s six sons became doctors.
Morrison wed Frances Pate and they raised ten children. In 1887, their son Jubel Herndon Cummins acquired a farm of 459 acres. He, his wife Ginerva Thurman and their six children grew the traditional crops of the Plateau. Jubel owned “the only grain binder and threshing machine for miles around” and by harvesting his neighbor’s crops, he annually supplemented his farming income. The family suffered a serious economic loss when a 1928 flood destroyed the Cummins grist mill.
In 1938, the current owners obtained about 65 acres of the farm and today they farm 20 acres of the original family land, raising tobacco, soybeans and timber. Mrs. Prehn lives in the family dwelling of yellow poplar, built between 1860 and 1865.
Barry R. Kennedy
The Kennedy Farm, located northwest of Gainesboro on Highway 56 was founded in 1883 by John D. Kennedy. He and his wife Matilda Ann (Kemp) were the parents of three children. On the 676 acres they grew corn, wheat, and oats, and raised dairy cows, horses, mules, and swine. J. D. Kennedy and Sons Merchandise Store, the first store in the Gum Springs community, was owned and operated by the family. Many members of the family and neighbors are buried in a cemetery on the farm.
John Buford and Peyton Kennedy were the next generation owners. John Buford built the first tobacco barn in the community and Peyton ran a general store in a room of the residence after the original store closed in the early 1900s.
The current owner, Barry Kennedy, acquired the farm in the 1980s. He raises tobacco, beef cattle, and hay.
Old Myers Farm
Billy White Myers
In 1835, Phillip Myers purchased 200 acres of land from his stepsons, William and Earl Cook. The farm is on the old Fort Blount Road, which leads from the Cumberland River. Fort Blount operated in 1788-1794 to provide protection for travelers along the Avery Trace.
Myers was a gunsmith and postmaster at Fort Blount. Mary was industrious, “providing for her family and their slaves by supervising the spinning and weaving of wool and flax, and sewing for (all) … members of the family,” according to the farm’s history.
In the same year that he purchased the property, Phillip Myers died, leaving the farm to Mary and their five sons. Myers was buried in the family cemetery on the farm. Mary and her sons, along with several slaves, continued to farm and raised a variety of crops and livestock. When she died in 1845, her sons inherited equal shares of the property.
According to a family history by Calvin Elias, the youngest son of Mary and Phillip, the family had a tradition of military service. Elias Myers, father of Phillip, was from North Carolina and enlisted in the Revolutionary War when he was 14 years old, where he served for seven years. His son, Philip, then served in the War of 1812 and was with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans.
Luther Bigelow Myers, son of Phillip and Mary, served in the Mexican War under Gen. Winfield Scott and also fought in the Civil War as captain of Company D, 25th Regiment of Tennessee Troops, under J. E. Johnson and Col. S. S. Stanton. Calvin also served in Mexico under Gen. Scott as a private in Company E of the 4th Tennessee Volunteers. He soldiered for four years of the Civil War as captain of the 1st Company from Overton County, Tenn., as well as the 8th Tennessee Confederate Regiment.
Another brother, Patrick Henry Myers, acquired 150 acres of the original 200 from his siblings. In 1862, he married Sarah Elizabeth Pate Payne, a widow with two children. Patrick and Sarah were the parents of White Henry, Mignon Belle “Nancy” and Lucy Virginia. Patrick’s wife and children received the land after his death in 1868. Sarah reared her children and managed the farm until the 1880s. At that time, she married Jonathon Haley and moved to Texas. Her daughters also married and moved to Texas, selling their shares to their brother, White.
White married Roxie Gailbreath in 1898. They had three children, Sallie Marie, Joseph and Raymond Eugene. This family grew grain and tobacco, as well as cattle. After White’s death in 1934, the land was divided among his three children. Because Sallie and Eugene moved away, Joseph tended the farm. Sallie went to college and studied to be a teacher while Eugene moved to Nashville to enter banking.
Joseph and his wife, Georgia McCawley, were the parents of Joe and Billy White Myers. The family raised tobacco, corn, oats, soybeans, wheat, hogs, mules and cattle, in addition to raising and training horses. Joseph, whose family recalled that “he loved his dogs,” also bred and raised foxhounds, selling and trading the hunters as another source of income for the farm. Just before his death in 1952, he purchased a new Farm-All Row Crop tractor, the first one for the farm.
In 1952, Billy White acquired his brother’s share of the farm as well as other acreage. In 1954 at the Future Farmers of America’s national convention in Kansas City, Mo., Billy received the highest degree awarded by the organization, that of American Farmer, an award based on farming, leadership and scholarship. Throughout high school, Billy was active in the 4-H and vocational programs. In 1959, he married Mary Lucinda Chaffin. The couple’s children are David Eugene White and Stephanie White Konrad.
From the time of receiving the land until the 1970s, Billy White owned 150 acres of the 200 purchased by Phillip Myers. However, the Cordell Hull Dam and Reservoir project took about 86 acres of river bottomland.
Billy White Myers served as a county commissioner for 28 years and was a county judge in 1960 and 1961. He and Mary also operated a five-and-dime store, general store and a feed barn. Today, they raise grain crops and a small amount of tobacco and beef cattle.
Photo (top left): Joseph Myers with his fox hounds.
Gregory D. and Jennifer L. Mabry
Choosing a site on Blackburn’s Fork of the Roaring River, William Jefferson Maberry and his wife, EIizabeth Jessie Maberry purchased about 350 acres in 1887 for the sum of $2,200. With their sons, Laurence and Leonard, they lived in an existing log home that still remains on the farm. Primary crops were tobacco, corn, hay, wheat, cattle, and horses.
Leonard acquired 150 acres of his parents’ farm in 1913. Married to Jemima Loftis, this generation owned and worked the farm for 65 years. When their six children were in school, “the school house burned.” When the teacher of their son, Walter, made a new roster, his name was shortened to Mabry. His brothers and sisters remained Maberry, but he was listed as Mabry which sometimes caused confusion. Walter and his branch of the family, however, continue to go by Mabry. In 1978, Walter and his sister, Dimple, the oldest of the six children, became the owners.
Walter’s son, Greg and his wife Jennifer Richardson, became the owner of 150 acres of the original farm in 2008. He is the great-grandson of the founders. He and Jennifer was the parents of Wyatt, age 14, and Luke, now 7. Greg, a member of the Jackson County Soli Conservation District, and Wyatt work the farm which supports timber and row crops.
Photo (top): Original homestead log cabin, built in 1860s.
Photo (middle): Original barn, built in the early 1900s.
Photo (bottom): Mayberry family on farm property, date unknown.
The Morgan Farm
Robert M. Morgan
In 1881, J.W. and Louisa Morgan purchased three hundred acres of land near the Roaring River in Jackson County. Paying just under $5.00 an acre, the couple began farming in earnest raising cattle, corn, hay, mules and horses primarily. The Morgans were the parents of ten children.
In 1936, five of the children of acquired the farm. The daughters who became owners were Eliza Morgan Berry (G.E. Berry), Eula Morgan Lynn (Hop Lynn), Amanda Morgan Johnson (Henry Johnson), Ruth Morgan Reeves. A son, Perry Morgan acquired 100 acres and continued to work the 300 acres. He and his wife Sophrona were the parents of 13 children.
In 1963, seven great-grandsons of the founding couple acquired 100 acres of the original Morgan Farm. James, Austin, Cecil, Billie, Donald, Robert, and Clay Morgan grew cattle, hogs, corn, hay, and tobacco. In 1964, James, Austin, and Robert Morgan, became the owners.
I n 2002, two great-great grandsons of the founders, nephews of Robert Morgan and his wife Virginia, and their spouses acquired an interest in the farm. Jeff and Gail Morgan and Tim and Sandy Morgan, along with Robert, own the 100 acre farm. Jeff manages and works the farm where he raises hay and cattle. The 130 year old farm is the ninth Century Farm to be certified in Jackson County.
Shirley A. Woodard
Bradford D. Woodard
In 1892, Robert E. Woodard, along with H.E. Woodard and C.H. Woodard, purchased a 100-acre farm in western Jackson County near the Gladdice community. He and his wife, Virgie Phillips Woodard, were the parents of Elbert, Eugene and Clio. The family raised cows, hogs, corn, tobacco, chickens, and sugar cane and also had a vegetable garden.
In 1948 when Robert died, the children inherited the farm. Elbert remained on the farm where he and his wife Cleo, Green Woodard, raised their family Eldon, Earleen and Francis Sue, the third generation.
Earlene Woodard Wilkerson, daughter of Elbert Woodard, and her husband, Lee Dow Wilkerson, acquired the farm in 1976 when her father’s health required him to retire from farming. The Wilkersons and their daughter, Lucinda, primarily raised cattle. Bernice Ray Woodard, a great-nephew of the founder, acquired the farm in 1997 and continued to raise cattle. Bradford Woodard, another great-nephew of the founder, acquired 35 acres of the family farm in 2009. Bradford and his wife, Shirley, live on the farm and report that a log cabin remains from the time of the founders.