For a brief historical sketch of each farm, click on the farm name.
River View Farm
Robert Thompson Farm
Sam Blair Farm
T & W Farm
During the 1930s and 1940s, the Tennessee Valley
Authority’s farm demonstration program allowed agency officials to introduce
new and effective farming techniques to local farmers. The demonstration farms,
in addition, physically documented the wisdom of using fertilizer, contour
plowing and other progressive agricultural practices in daily farm operations.
The Alexander Farm, which is three miles north of
Lawson Alexander and William L. Alexander were, respectively, the third and fourth generation owners of the family land. Little is known about the history of the farm under their ownership except for an incident that took place during the Civil War. According to a memoir written in 1886 by a Union soldier, troops took a wagon load of corn stalks and about 50 bushels of corn from the Alexander Farm. As payment, the soldiers offered the Alexanders a receipt for the property. But 20 years after the war, this soldier still remembered the elder Mrs. Alexander’s “looks of scorn and contempt” upon receiving the paper, “after reading which she tore it in pieces and stamped upon the fragments in the most approved and dramatic manner. She looked, too, as though she would have enjoyed treating us in the same way.”
William L. Alexander made provisions in his will to leave the farm to his two sons, Joseph Parker and William Tate, and his daughters. Joseph, the founders’ great grandson, inherited 60 acres and later purchased an additional 120 acres from two of his sisters. Joseph produced beef cattle, corn, grain, hay and swine as his major agricultural commodities and his farm served as a Tennessee Valley Authority Test Demonstration Farm from 1938 to 1948.
Joseph married Jannie Matlock and they raised three children to adulthood. In 1954, Earl and Ralph Alexander inherited 120 acres from their parents and today they work this land as one farm. The brothers specialize in beef cattle production and use the founders’ original log house as storage for farm supplies.
Polly Blair Bird
Corrie Blair Bird
Like his brother James, William Blair is an important
In 1875, William Riley Blair inherited the farm from his parents John and Mary Blair. The founders’ grandson, William did more than till the land; he was a prominent banker and businessman in Loudon. In 1909, William willed the farm to his son Edgar Ebenezer Blair. Edgar concentrated his efforts on agriculture and became a “prominent farmer growing tobacco, wheat, cattle and sheep.”
Edgar married Harriett Jones and they raised three daughters, with Polly Blair Bird inheriting 136 acres of the family land in 1969. Polly’s sister, Corrie Blair McPeake, operates the farm, which currently yields corn, hay, soybeans and pasture.
The trials and tribulations of those who were unlucky
enough to live along the state’s major rivers during the Civil War are aptly
illustrated in the history of Eldridge Farm of
The Civil War brought hard times to the farm. Federal
troops occupied the area, fortifying several locations along the
In 1939, Albert J. Eldridge, the founder’s great grandson, inherited 134 acres of the original farm. Today, Norah Woods owns the land.
Estate of Henry Greenway
William A. and Belle Alexander Jones established the Greenway Farm,
which is six miles east of
In 1966, the farm passed into the hands of Henry Clay Greenway, Jr. and Joe Harding Greenway, the grandsons of the founders. As of 1976, their commodities included tobacco, hay, beans and cattle. Approximately one-fourth of their 370 acres were initially a part of the James and Nancy Hutton Greenway Farm, which dates to 1807. The brothers used the old Greenway property for cattle and hay production.
H. E. F. Blair Farm
Thomas G. Henry
The H. E. F. Blair Farm is the fourth Century Farm in
H. E. F. Blair and his wife Martha Eldridge operated the farm from 1884 to 1922 when they willed the land to their daughter Kate Blair. For the next 53 years Kate managed the property, specializing in grain and cattle production and in 1975, she made her granddaughter Katherine Blair Waller Henry a co-owner of the property. As of 1976, the two women controlled over 650 acres of land and Kate still lived in a nine room, two-story frame house built by Wiley Blair in the mid-nineteenth century. Thomas G. Henry, Jr., the husband of Katherine Blair Henry, worked the land.
Elizabeth H. Holland
Upon OJ’s death in 1936, Fannie became the sole owner of the property. Russell preceded his mother in death in 1940, and when she died in 1942, the farm passed to her daughter-in-law, Golda, Russell’s widow. Cattle continued to be the primary livestock produced on the farm. Golda, at her death in 2000, left the farm to her children, Elizabeth and her husband C. W. Holland and Oscar Jackson Hardin II and his wife, Beverly. Following her husband’s death in 2004, Beverly retained her portion of the land and lives in the original farm house built by the founding couple soon after their purchase of the farm in 1907. The railroad, now the Norfolk Southern, was built through this property in 1855.
Van Shaver, married to Sarah, daughter of Elizabeth and C. W. Holland, currently manages the daily operations of the farm which is mainly devoted to growing switchgrass.
Photo: Hardin Farm Farmhouse, built c. 1907
The Civil War divided East from Middle and
James Blair Farm
Joe James Blair
The settlement and expansion of the Blair Century Farm is
related to the early history of town development and transportation in
Walter Blair, a nephew, inherited 280 acres in 1833. To cope with the new market demands of late nineteenth century agriculture, Walter specialized in growing sweet potatoes. He even built and operated his own canning factory. At his death, “he willed each of his four sons fifty acres of land” and the Blair family, surviving the rigors of the Great Depression, continued to farm the property.
Joe James Blair acquired his first tract of the farm in 1941 and inherited another parcel 31 years later. The great great great great grandson of the founders, he owns 40 acres of the original farm, along with 200 additional acres of land. Today, Blair supervises the work of Mr. and Mrs. John Selridge who raise beef cattle, strawberries and tobacco.
Sarah James Watkins
John Denton James
John Denton James
The Prospect Community, six miles west of Loudon, is home to the James Century Farm. John F. James of Virginia purchased 539 acres of the former John B. Edwards in 1910. On the property was a house, former slave quarters, and outbuildings dating from the years that the Edwards owned the property. It would be 1911 before John and his wife, Mary, and their family, who were both in their 60s, moved from Virginia to Loudon County. Not long after they took possession of the farm, the slave quarters were torn down though a tenant house remained standing and in use. Some of the crops were corn, oats, and hay and the family also raised hogs, cattle and mules. New barns were built and mules were taken to market in August, Georgia, in the year 1915-1920.
After John’s death in 1926, two of the James children, Robert C. “Toby” and David D., purchased the farm. Two years later, the brothers divided the property and Robert assumed sole ownership of 293 acres. He and his wife Hattie Reeves had five children – Robert V., Owen D., John E., Annie S. Bates, and Mary J. Whisman. They lived in the James Farm homeplace, which was built by John B. Edwards in 1826. Needing more living space, they added a rear wing and new porch in 1935. Like the previous generation, they grew corn, wheat, oats, and hay while raising cattle and hogs. The “hog killing” was a large operation on the James Farm; family photographs from the 1950s and 1960s show family members processing the pork. When James passed away in 1967, Hattie continued to maintain the farm until her death in 1972.
Hattie’s survivors inherited the farm; they included the James children and the sons of Mary Whisman, Robert V. and James W. Whisman. In 1975, the farm was conveyed to John E. James and his wife Jamie Haines James. Jamie was a champion dressmaker and very active in Home Demonstration and 4-H Clubs of Loudon County. They operated the farm, had two children, Sarah James Watkins and John Denton James, who were active in 4-H. John E. passed away in 2002 and Jamie in 2012.
The current owners are the great grandchildren of the founder. Siblings, Sarah James (and husband John D. Watkins) and John Denton James (and wife Carolyn S.) live on the 293 acre farm growing oats, soybeans, wheat, and hay. They also raise cattle. In addition to the farm house , several buildings date from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, including a smokehouse, corn crib, tenant house, and a garage, and sites include the foundation of the distillery operated by the Edwards family. The history and heritage of the James Farm, before and since their ancestors came from Virginia to settle in Loudon County, is well documented by the family.
Photo: James Farm founder, John. F. James and his wife Mary c. 1912. Their
home place is in the background.
Photo: James Farm founder, John. F. James and his wife Mary c. 1912. Their home place is in the background.
Photo: The James Farm home place, originally built by John B. Edwards in
1826. The James family added the rear addition and new porch in 1935.
Photo: The James Farm home place, originally built by John B. Edwards in 1826. The James family added the rear addition and new porch in 1935.
Photo: "Hog killing" operation on the James Farm in 1955. This photograph
was taken to the side of the home place and shows R. C. James and others
scalding hogs in a kettle still owned by the family. There are numerous hogs
hanging in the background.
Photo: "Hog killing" operation on the James Farm in 1955. This photograph was taken to the side of the home place and shows R. C. James and others scalding hogs in a kettle still owned by the family. There are numerous hogs hanging in the background.
Photo: View of the James Farm taken near one of the barns. The James home
place (white house), the tenant house, and location of a modern house are
visible in the background. Some of the cattle are in the foreground.
Photo: View of the James Farm taken near one of the barns. The James home place (white house), the tenant house, and location of a modern house are visible in the background. Some of the cattle are in the foreground.
Mrs. Hugh McQueen
The McQueen Farm, which lies along the
In 1892, Mrs. Edmund P. McQueen inherited 305 acres of
the family land. Despite the dawning of a new century, the farm’s agricultural
products changed little. Other than the cultivation of tobacco, there was
little else one could do with this
At the height of the Great Depression, in 1933, 175 acres
of the property passed into the hands of Norman H. and Lucille Lanston McQueen.
Paul Alexander Farm
Alice Ann Alexander Grubb
Descendents of James Alexander also own the Paul Alexander Farm located three miles northwest of Lenoir City and the early history is like that of the Alexander Farm. In 1939 when William Tate Alexander died, Paul Alexander, his son, acquire ¾ of the farm. He and his wife, Mabel Thompson Alexander were married in 1940 and they grew tobacco, corn, wheat, oats, and hay. They also milked 6 to 8 cows and sold the milk and butter. Paul also bought a school bus in 1959 and contracted with Loudon County for 26 years. In 1972 he acquired the acreage owned by his last sibling to complete ownership of his father’s portion of the family farm. He also managed a beef cattle operation and had hay until 1984 when he became disabled. With the death of Mabel in 2001, her daughter, Alice Ann Alexander Grubb, became the owner of the farm. She continues to lease the farm for cattle and hay.
River View Farm
Jane Blair Roberson
River View Farm is the third Century Farm in Loudon County to originate with the farm of William Blair which dates to 1827. In 1969, Jane Blair Roberson, the founder’s great great granddaughter, inherited 244 acres of the family land. The following year Jane and her husband Sam H. Roberson remodeled the old home, built in 1870, and began managing the farm’s daily operations. Their son, Mike Blair Roberson and his wife, Adrienne, live in the homeplace, which they extensively remodeled in 2001, and operate the farm. Jane Blair Roberson, at age 98, has owned the farm for over 40 years.
Robert Thompson Farm
Glenda L. Dotson
It was 100 years ago in May of 1909 that Robert Lee Thompson, a
descendent of one of the earliest settlers in
Married to Dora Poole Thompson, the couple had five children. Their names were Earnest Clyde, Clifford Lee, Warren Webb, Robert H. and Ruby Augusta. During their ownership, the farm produced tobacco, corn, wheat and cattle.
In 1956, Robert H. Thompson became the owner of the property. He raised a wide variety of crops and livestock, including tobacco, wheat, corn, watermelon, vegetables and cattle. In addition, Robert built a tool shed, a tobacco barn and remodeled the old house.
In 1967, Glenda L. Dotson, the granddaughter of the founder, and her husband, Joe H. Dotson, bought 52 acres from Robert H. Thompson, who never married. In 1993, Glenda purchased the rest of the property, and today, Joe and their son, Robert L. Dotson, work the land.
According to the family’s report, Joe raised tobacco for a number of years and then Robert took over the crop. The farm also produces cattle, vegetables and hay. A farmhouse and barn that are more than 100 years old still stand on the property.
Sam Blair Farm
William C. Blair
Martha Francis Blair
The Sam Blair Farm is the second oldest Century Farm in
In 1826, Wiley Blair inherited family land from his parents. Wiley and his wife Mary Johnston, the parents of four children, were general farmers like their parents. They also kept the ferry in operation. In fact, these basic work patterns on the Blair farm did not change until the mid-twentieth century when Sam Wiley Blair, the founders’ great grandson, acquired the family property.
Sam inherited 110 acres of the farm from his parents
William and Mary Browder Blair in 1949. He specialized in cattle breeding and
operated the Blair ferry until the highway department opened a new bridge
Ann Shipley Allen
The 1900s were a time of great change in the farming landscape of East Tennessee. The changes that took place at the Shipley Farm mirror those historical developments. The Shipley Farm, founded by Alexander and Mary Mourfield Kollock in 1853, is five miles northwest of Lenoir City. With their initial 50 acres of land, the Kollocks soon built a prosperous farm of over 220 acres. In fact, Alexander Kollock was able to pay an unknown man $2000 to serve in his place in the Confederate Army. The Kollocks raised five children and were the first recorded members of the Oak Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Mary Nourfield Kollock inherited 80 acres from her brother in 1877 and upon her husband’s death in 1901 she took control of 300 acres of land. Six year later, she willed the entire property to her son Floyd A. Kollock, who, together with his wife Mary Eblen, managed the farm for the first half of the twentieth century. During the twentieth century, the farm’s modernization began in earnest. For example, TVA electrical power lines were installed and telephone lines were constructed. Floyd also sold 91 acres of the farm to the highway department for the construction of Interstate I-75. Floyd and his son Ben operated a dairy for several years and built and stocked two fish ponds.
In 1975, 60 acres of the original farm passed into the hands of Helen W. and Ralph E. Shipley. Helen is the great granddaughter of the founders. Her daughter, Ann Shipley Allen, who became the owner of the farm after her father’s death in 2012, lives on the farm as does her daughter, Sarah Rowe and her family. They have a vegetable garden but hay is the primary commodity.
Springdale Farm is the second Century Farm in
In 1962, Mrs. McPeake inherited the 136 acres from her
father Edgar Ebenezer Blair. She remembers that her father was a model farmer
who often “experimented and invested in early farm machinery.” Today, Corrie
and her husband Dr. William T. McPeake manage the property and produce corn,
soybeans, hay and
T & W Farm
Thomas and William Henry
The T & W Farm, which is three miles northwest of
Loudon, is the second Century Farm in
William Blair tilled this land for the next 29 years and
upon his death, his sister Kate Blair inherited the farm. In 1971, Blair deeded
the property to the founder’s great great great great grandsons, Thomas G.
Henry, III, and of William Waller Henry. They now own a total of 324 acres,
most of which they lease to Steve Forrester of
Martha Weaver Malloy
Alice Weaver Kapelle
The West Farm is the third Century Farm in