For a brief historical sketch of each farm, click on the farm name:
Alexander Springs Farm
Frank Neidergeses Farm
Old Lee Long Farm
Rocky Top Holstein 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
The 14th District of Lawrence County is home
to the Alexander Springs Farm, a property whose history is closely tied to the
Absalom and Ellen Fields Alexander raised seven children
and their son Mack Keller Alexander obtained 329 acres of the farm in 1874. A
magistrate for 27 years and a member of the county school commission and the
county highway commission, Mack Alexander found it impossible to make the large
farm profitable. Although he operated a diversified farm of corn, small grains,
hay, cotton, sheep and cattle, and the
Despite the farm’s reduced size, family members continued
to till the land from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth
century. Its advantageous location along the
In 1965, William Fields Alexander, the founders’ grandson, received 60 acres. He managed a farm of soybeans, tobacco, cotton and corn until his death in January 1986. Today, a cousin, Douglas Skinner, owns the farm.
The Beuerlein Farm is one of
The Beurleins and their seven children grew a variety of agricultural commodities, including miles, small grains, wheat and corn. At one time, the farm expanded to 199 acres, but at a later date the family sold 104.5 acres. John A. Beurlein inherited the remaining acreage of 1912. Beuerlein, his wife Sophia Held and their eleven children were among the first “to grow strawberries for commercial use.” They also raised several different types of livestock, foodstuffs, alfalfa and cotton.
In 1955, Charles C. Beurelein, the founders’ grandson, obtained 63 acres of family land. His family has farmed this property for the last three decades. In 1976, their crops and farm products were beans, hay, strawberries, corn, cattle, chickens, wheat, oats, cotton and swine.
Seven miles west of Summertown is the Carrell Farm, established by S. A. and Mary Carrell in 1874. The Carrells, the parents of seven children, owned 450 acres and grew corn and small grains while looking after herds of sheep, cattle, swine and horses. Their son J. N. Carrell was the farm’s second generation owner. He and his wife Molly Frances had three sons. At harvest time, the family would cut the large wheat crop with hand cradles. Threshers would arrive “and stay two weeks or more to thresh the grain.”
The founders grandson E. B. Carrell was the farm’s next owner and he cultivated 205 acres. Carrell altered the farm’s operations and began producing beef cattle, corn and soybeans. Together with his wife Elma he raised four children. In 1985, his sons Lester and Arthur inherited the farm. Lester lives on the farm and works its 205 acres, growing soybeans, corn and hay.
Jeremiah Crews, Jr.
The enduring nature of the farming landscape in
The second generation owners were Jeremiah Benjamin Crews and his wife Emma Blackwell. The parents of five boys, the Crews grew corn, cotton and wheat and raised sheep, hogs and cattle. A tornado in 1931 did considerable damage to the property and “blew the top story of the old home place away.”
Jeremiah Benjamin Crews, Jr., inherited 100 acres in
1938. He has now retired from farming and leaves the property’s operation to
his five children. Dorothy Crews Richardson and her family work the land,
raising a herd of beef cattle. Although unoccupied for years, a large two-story
brick house that dates to 1843 still stands on the farm. The Crews family
points with pride at their management of this
Frank Neidergeses Farm
Frank Niedergeses, Jr.
A native of Prussia, Frank Niedergeses, his wife Sophia and their children moved to Lawrence County from Cincinnati in 1871. They cultivated 188 acres and Frank operated a tan yard where he tanned leather. He also had the honor of presiding over the first Parish meeting of the first Catholic Church in Lawrenceburg.
Frank Niedergeses, one of the founders nine children, inherited 150 acres of family land in 1918. He and his wife Cecilia were the parents of seven children and the family worked together on the farm, raising corn, small grains, strawberries and livestock. One son, James D. Niedergeses, later became the Bishop of Nashville.
In 1962, the grandsons of the founders inherited 128 acres to which they later added 900 acres of farmland. Edward Niedergeses worked the farm raising wheat, soybeans, corn, hay, dairy products and beef cattle. The current owner is Frank Niedergeses Jr.
Donald Glen White
William Ettrell White
The Gang Farm is another property that originated with the German Catholic Homestead Association of Cincinnati that purchased acreage and brought several families to Lawrence County after the Civil War. John Gang, along with his first wife Margaret, founded the Gang Farm in 1878 when he purchased 232 acres north of Lawrenceburg in the Ethridge community. In 1895, he purchased an additional 40.5 acres. John Gang had five children with Margaret and another three with his second wife. The Gangs grew corn, oats, wheat, and tobacco and raised horses and cows.
Anton Gang purchased both tracts of land in 1899 when his parents moved. Anton and his wife, Margaret Ehemann, had three children – William, Henry, and Mary. Anton built a house ca. 1900, and the family worked a diverse operation. After Anton and Margaret passed away, their children inherited the farm, but in 1935, Henry Gang purchased 110 acres from his brother and sister. Today, the founder’s great-great-grandson, Donald (Donnie) Glenn White, his wife, Christie Dorning White, and William (Ed) White are the owners of the farm. Donnie and Christie and their son, Luke, raise cattle and grow hay.
The Beuerlein Farm, Frank Neidergeses Farm, and Rocky Top Holstein Farm are other certified Lawrence County Century Farms that originated with the German migration in the 1870s.
Photo: Gang house on a snowy day.
Photo: Gang house on a snowy day.
Raymond (David) Marston
Raymond and Betty Marston
The Marston family, whose roots are traced to England, migrated to west to Minnesota in the late 1800s after having lived in the area that would become New Hampshire. Johnathan Hale Marston decided to move south with his family and purchased 90 acres of spring-fed land near Sugar Creek, just south of Leoma in the Antioch community, in 1883. He and his wife, Lucy Jane Thurston, were the parents of five children. The family raised wheat, cattle, swine, poultry and horses. Jonathan was able to give each of his children a farm.
Herbert Marston began farming the 33 acres his father gave him in 1900. He raised tobacco, corn, wheat, oats, barley, vegetables, cattle, swine, and horses on his acreage. During the early 1900s, the home of Herbert Marston served as the local post office, and the family reports that eh mail slot is still visible in the wall. Herbert Marston married Mary Elizabeth Freemon, and their children were Mercy, Mable , and Ernest. The children inherited the farm when their father died at the age of 39 in 1909. With their mother, Mary Elizabeth, they “had to do the best they could to survive on the land.” They managed by raising vegetables, swine, chicken, and cattle and kept the farm in the family through the Great Depression.
Ernest Marston acquired the property exclusively in 1943. He raised cotton, hay, corn, sorghum cane, vegetables and strawberries on the land, as well as dairy cows, beef cattle, hogs, mules and horses. He scheduled a hog killing at the farm every year at Thanksgiving, and no part of the hog was ever wasted; even the bladder was turned into a toy ball. Ernest and his wife, Minnie Pearl Littrell, were the parents of 9 children.
After Ernest’s death, his widow and their children, Cleburn, Herbert Mary Frances, Janie, Gretchen, Itra, Howard, Raymond, and Laurence, inherited the farm. In 1989, Mary Frances Marston acquired the property. She raised vegetables, cattle, and hay on her 35 acres. In 2006, Raymond and David Marston, the brother and nephew of Mary Frances, became the owners of the farm. They are both active in the farm work and have added 11 acres on which they raise hay primarily. Raymond is married to Betty (Brewer). Their grandson, Jack, is following in the footsteps of his grandfather Raymond and father David, and at four is the youngest of the farmers in the family. The Marston Farm is the eighth Century Farm certified in Lawrence County.
Photo (top): The homeplace on the Marston FarmPhoto (bottom): Dinner bell on the Marston Farm
Old Lee Long Farm
In 1927, L. L. Long acquired 144 acres of the farm. In 1976, the family reported that Mr. Long, who still lives in the Ethridge community, “owns his own blacksmith shop-welding shop and works every day.” Although he was 80 years old at the time, he cultivated the annual tobacco crop, cutting, hauling and stripping the tobacco. L. L. Long and his wife Lillie Jones were the parents of four daughters and their daughter Betty Jean Bonner and their son-in-law Fay Bonner currently work the land, producing tobacco, corn, wheat, vegetables and livestock. Today, Ronald Bonner is the owner of the farm.
Nickolas and Anna Bauer Oehmen established the farm with 272 acres in 1872. The parents of fifteen children, the Oehmens raised corn, wheat, oats, hay, potatoes, cattle, and swine. In about 1880, the family donated land for the construction of a public school for the children of the community. It operated until 1925.
The founders left their farm to their thirteen adult children in 1915. The children sold 128 acres but continued to produce foodstuffs, livestock, ducks and turkeys on the remaining acres.
Bob Garner, the great grandson of the
founders, obtained his first tract of family land in 1953. He received additional acres in 1962 and
1968. As of 1976, the Garners owned 184
acres and operated a grade A dairy with 90 head of