Morgan County is named after General Daniel Morgan, a Revolutionary War hero, and was established in 1817. The county was formed from territory appropriated from Roane County and is located west of Knoxville. Originally, Montgomery served as the county seat but during Reconstruction the county’s seat of government was moved to Wartburg.
opening of the Cincinnati Southern Railroad in 1880, Morgan County’s extractive
industries like coal mining and lumber continued to flourished, taking a
prominent role in the county’s economy. In contrast, the region’s rough
topography and inadequate river transportation limited agricultural production
to subsistence farming on small plots of fertile land.
For more information on the history
For a brief historical sketch of each farm, click on the farm name.
The following map is for a general geographical understanding.
Map courtesy of Carole Swann, Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Marilyn P. and Paul Bryant Hutchinson
The Rhodes Powell family is among the first settlers of the 3rd district of Morgan County. Joseph, a son of Rhodes and a Civil War veteran, purchased a 52 acre farm in 1899. He and his wife, Mary Ann Summers, were already living in this area known as Pine Orchard as they are listed among the first members of the Pine Orchard Baptist Church which was established in 1887. Their family, including seven children, grew corn and garden produce and raised hogs, mules, and chickens.
In October of 1899, Joseph sold the acreage to his son, Levi Powell for $143.27. Levi and his wife, Harriet McGuffey Powell, had two children – Arthur and George Powell. They grew corn, beans, and garden produce along with hogs, chickens, and cattle. In addition to her work on the farm, Harriet served as the Pine Orchard news correspondent for the county’s weekly newspaper, The Morgan County News for many years.
In 1925, Arthur Powell purchased 42 acres of the family farm while the remaining ten were sold to his brother George. The Powell Farm participated in the Tennessee Home Food Supply Program in 1941 by producing 75% percent or more of their food for the year. The program was started as a way to relieve Depression Era hardships but was continued through World War II as rationing program. George sold his ten acres to Arthur for $1.00 in 1949. Arthur and his wife Irene Martin had one son, Ronald, and used the land much like the previous generation.
The fourth generation to own the family’s farm was Jesse Orden Powell, the great-grandson of the founder. He purchased 42 acres from his aunt and uncle, Arthur and Irene Powell, in 1952. George Powell conveyed an additional nineteen acres to Jesse in 1972. Jesse and his wife, Norma Hedrick Powell, had one child – Marilyn Powell Hutchinson. Under his management, Jesse diversified the crops grown on the 61 acre farm. He grew corn, beans, and garden produce like previous generations but also cultivated apple trees, grape vines, and strawberries. The Powells continued to raise cattle. In 1963, Jesse graduated from the Morgan County Farm Management School and in the ’60s and ’70s, was a member and chairman of the Morgan County Community Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Committee. He was also involved in additional civic and agricultural organizations. In the 1970s and 1980s, Jesse served as a Justice of the Peace in Morgan County and worked full-time for Leather’s Hardware Store in Oakdale.
In 1998, the founder’s great, great-granddaughter, Marilyn Powell and her husband, Paul Bryant Hutchinson purchased the Powell property. After the sale, her parents, Norma and Jesse remained on the farm they had worked for nearly the last half of the twentieth century. Today, Norma lives on the farm while Adam Summers, a local farmer and businessman rents and manages most of the land for cattle, hay, and pasture. The Powells continue to harvest the apple trees and grapevines and Norma has a large garden. The Tennessee Century Farm program welcomes the Powell Farm as the first certified farm in Morgan County bringing representation of these historic properties to all 95 counties in the state.
Photo (top left): Joseph and Mary Powell, the original farm founders.
Photo (top right): Levi Powell, the second generation to farm the Powel Farm.
Photo (middle left): Harriet and Levi's children and grandchildren.
Photo (middle right): Levi Powell, the second owner, and his grandson Jesse Powell. Jesse was the fourth generation to farm the land.
Photo (bottom left): Powell Farm in 1960.
Photo (bottom right): Powell Farm in January of 1988.