For a brief historical sketch of each farm, click on the farm name.
Howell's Twin Oakes Farm
McDonald Craig Farm
Pin Hook 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
Joy A. Rhodes
Jan Rhodes Eberle
Joseph Henry Allen founded the Allen-Rhodes Farm west of Linden near the Tennessee River on the Marsh Creek. A Civil War veteran, he served with Co. D of the 51st Tennessee Infantry. In 1867 Joseph and his wife, Frances Elizabeth Byrd Allen who he married in 1864, acquired the land, possibly through her family. She was the daughter of William and Temperance Byrd (Bird) who migrated to Marsh Creek from South Carolina.
Allen’s brothers also owned adjacent or nearby land and together they farmed about 1900 acres. They produced cotton, corn, and peanuts and raised cows and pigs while also owning and operating a warehouse and store on the Tennessee River near the Jennings Bluff Landing called “Allen Brothers Shipping.” An enterprising family, they also operated a gristmill and sorghum mill near their home on Marsh Creek. Joseph and Frances had six children survive to adulthood. Large tracts of this Allen land were acquired by the Tennessee Valley Authority in later years.
The third son of Joseph Henry and Frances, James David “Jim” Allen, and his wife, Leora Myracle, were the next generation to own the farm. They had eight children, and their daughter, Flossie, and her husband, Tavy Rodger Rhodes, were the next to own the farm. Before acquiring the farm in 1936, the Rhodes lived in Nashville while Tavy worked as the Chief Railway Clerk with the U.S. Post Office until he was disabled. The Rhodes had two sons, Herman Bliss and James William “JW.”
Herman Bliss and his wife, Joy Adkins of Benton, Kentucky, acquired the land in 1978. Their children are David (1951-2005), Jan, and Mike. When Bliss passed away in 1995, Joy and her children became the owners. Mike works on the farm growing hay while some acreage is leased for corn. The family hosts an annual dove shoot each Labor Day weekend. “Miss” Joy lives on the farm surrounded by her family which includes her several grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Photo (top left):
Photo (top left):The Allen and Byrd family in front of the Allen Homemplace on Marsh Creek, photograph taken before 1880. Front row, left to right: Lula and Leta Pearson, Joseph Henry and Frances Allen (farm founders), Tempe Clark, William Teagle Byrd (Frances Allen’s father). Back row, left to right: Willie, James D. “Jim” (second owner), Alonza, Carroll, and Grant Allen.
Photo (middle): 3rd owners, Tavy Rodger and Flossie Allen Rhodes.
3rd owners, Tavy Rodger and Flossie Allen Rhodes.
Photo (bottom): Hay field on the Allen-Rhodes Farm.
Photo (bottom): Hay field on the Allen-Rhodes Farm.
Don Ayers Pope
Daniel and Elizabeth Beeson Starbuck moved from North Carolina to Perry County following their marriage in 1822. They had three children who were born in their new home, two of whom survived to adulthood. Elizabeth died in 1826, leaving Daniel to rear their sons, Erastus and Darius. He married Nancy Shelton in 1831 and they were the parents of 12 children.
Daniel Starbuck founded the acreage now known as Ayers/Starbuck Farm in 1834 on 31 acres. In 1844, he added 30 acres to the original farm, and then another 130 acres in 1848 before adding 81 acres in 1849. In 1855, Daniel and Nancy and their children moved to Missouri. Only his two sons by his first wife stayed in Perry County.
Erastus acquired his father’s farm in 1855 and purchased more land adjoining the property to total 500 acres of farmland. He served with the Union Army and died in 1863. His widow, Mary Ann Starbuck, and their six children raised corn, hay and cattle. Eventually, the farm was divided among the heirs, with Daniel Starbuck, grandson of the founder, purchasing the shares of the others in 1874.
Daniel and wife Frances Eugenia Journey, along with their seven children, raised corn, hay, peanuts and cattle. By this time, the family reports, the farm had expanded to 1,600 acres. Aside from farming, Daniel was also a lumberman and served as president of the Perry County Bank. Frances Eugenia was the granddaughter of David Rice Harris, who in 1847 gave land for the establishment of Linden as the county seat of Perry County.
Ethel Elizabeth, a daughter of Daniel, was the next owner of the farm along with her husband, James Edward “Jim” Ayers. In 1906, after her father’s death, she purchased the farm from the other heirs. The couple continued to purchase land; during this time the farm included 1,920 acres. Jim and Elizabeth had five children and raised corn, hay, lespedeza, alfalfa, hogs and cattle.
In addition to working on the farm, Jim also worked as a lumberman, had real estate rental properties and was active in the community. A school, known as Upper Cypress Creek School, was built on the farm for grades 1-8. Later, the school became known as Ayers School.
After Ethel’s death in 1974, the 2,400-acre property was sold at auction. Frances Ruth Ayers, daughter of Jim and Frances, purchased 118 acres, which includes some of the original farm’s land. She, husband Jesse and their two children, Don Ayers Pope and Jessie Ruth Pope, raised hay.
Photo (left): Daniel Starbuck
Photo (right): Hay field located on the Ayers/Starbuck farm.
Herchel Earl Perdue
Mary Anne Godwin Perdue
The Godwin Farm was founded in 1891 by William George Godwin and his wife Sara Meacham Godwin. The 300 acres yielded corn and hay and also supported swine and cattle. William George Godwin was in the Confederate Army C Company. The couple had 8 children, and their son Commodore Perry Godwin became the next owner of the farm after buying out the interests of his brothers and sisters. With his wife, Minnie Adele Vaughn Godwin and their three children, the family continued to raise livestock, corn, and hay. After Commodore Perry Godwin died of pneumonia on March 12, 1918, the land passed to his wife.
Currently, the land is owned by Mary Anne Godwin Perdue, the great granddaughter of the original founders, and her husband Herchel Earl Perdue. Three generations of the family currently live on the farm today The current owners are working to get the land back in production. Part of the land is currently in farm programs and is leased to Lynch Hollow Hunting Club.
Photo: The farmhouse on the Godwin Century Farm.
Ruth Harder Turnbrow
Harder Farm was founded in 1882 by Edmond Harder and his wife
Catherine Sharp. The 1,000 acres yielded corn, hay, sorghum cane, peanuts,
irish and sweet potatoes and also supported swine, cattle, and sheep. The
couple had 5 children. After Catherine’s death, Edmond Harder married Mary B.
Harder. The couple had 3 children. Albert Jefferson Davis Harder, the son of
Photo: Albert and Lloyd Harder with cattle on the farm.
Robert G. Horner
The impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on Middle
Tennessee plantations is recorded in the history of the Horner Farm, which is
one of the oldest Century Farm in
In 1955, Robert S. Horner inherited the family land. The founders’ great great grandson, Robert and his two sons worked 800 acres and produced soybeans, corn, cattle and swine in 1976. At that time, the family also used a mid-nineteenth century log stable in its daily operations.
Benjamin Richard Howard, IVAccording to materials submitted by the Howard family, the Howard Farm had its origins in 17th century
Howell's Twin Oakes Farm
Elizabeth Belle Howell
In 1880, Joseph and Nancy Bunch gave their daughter, Mary, a 200-acre farm as a wedding present when she married John E. Howell. Not far from the farm is the Cedar Grove Iron Furnace where Mary’s father and grandfather both worked. The farm that the young couple received supported agricultural products as diverse as soybeans, turkeys, sheep and cotton. A significant feature of the farm was an “everlasting” spring above which grew twin oak trees. The parents of six children, John and Mary worked the land well into the twentieth century and, according to a story published in the Nashville Tennessean in 1950, the founders were somewhat uncertain of the benefits of the modern age. When the farm acquired TVA electricity, Mary still kept her milk and butter at the spring because she believed that refrigerated foods did not use taste the way they should. She also continued to wash her clothes in an old black pot and cook with a wood stove.
The farm’s second owners were Fred and Tilda Culp Howell. Fred was a farming innovator and mill proprietor, businessman, member of the county school board, and a county magistrate. Tilda was an educator for forty-four years, serving as a principal, instructor, and librarian of a “two-year high school” on Cedar Creek. She and Fred had one daughter, Elizabeth. The Howells tilled 590 acres and raised clover, corn, soybeans, milo and cattle. In 1949, the farm passed into the hands of Tilda and Elizabeth.
Today, Elizabeth Howell Tiller continues the legacy of land management and contributions to the community so important to her family. She is the first and only elected female superintendent of Perry County Schools, a published author, successful businesswoman, educator and former Perry County Teacher-of–the Year, and doctoral candidate. Elizabeth Howell Tiller now oversees approximately 1000 acres of her timber and Angus cattle estate. As the sole proprietor of this historic land, she not only appreciates and preserves her family’s heritage, but employs best-practices in the conservation and efficient management of the natural resources, including the spring which has never run dry, wildlife, timber, cattle, and crops of the 127-year-old Howell’s Twin Oakes Farm.
Photo (left): John and Mary Belle Bunch Howell with their granddaughter, Elizabeth Howell Tiller in 1950.
Photo (right): The twin oak trees still stand along the spring as they did when the founders moved to the farm in 1880.
Ten miles west of
The farm’s second generation owners were John R. and Martha J. Horner. On their 1,230 acres of land, they planted the same crops as the founders. The farm’s patterns of activities remained unchanged when the farm passed to another of the founders’ sons, W. S. Horner, and his wife Ann Coleman Horner. The farm’s third and fourth generation owners inherited a property of only 618 acres. While Jesse James Horner, the grandson of the founders, made no changes in the farm’s production, his son William L. Horner planted the farm’s first crop of soybeans and stopped cultivating peanuts.
The great great granddaughter of Jesse and Polly Horner, Mrs. Lena Jo Horner Kidd inherited 604 acres of family land in 1970. She and her husband Samuel H. Kidd specialize in hay and beef cattle production.
Joe F. May
Similar to other Perry County farmers of the day, they also cut timber from the hardwood forests, which are one of the county’s greatest resources.
Per the family’s reports, barns were added and two family cemeteries are located on the property. In January 1905, the only child of William and Ellen, an infant daughter, died and was buried in Bone Springs Cemetery. Having no surviving children, the land the Bones lived on for nearly 50 years passed to their relatives, Ivory and Bonnie May in 1950.
The Mays, with their three children, Joe, Jim and Melanie, raised hay and cattle and also rented land for row crops. In 1997, Joe became the third owner of the farm. Today, Joe and his son, Britt, raise cattle, hay and corn on some of the acreage of the farm whose boundary, as the original deed indicates, “meanders” along the Buffalo River.
McDonald Craig Farm
The McDonald Craig Farm in
In the mid-twentieth century, African-Americans did not
have a high school that they could attend in
In 1978 at the Jimmie Rodgers Festival in
Photo (Top Left): A View of the McDonald Craig Farm landscape.
Photo (Top Right): The McDonald Craig Farm was founded by ex-slaves Tapp and Amy Craig, pictured here with two of their daughters.
Photo (Bottom Left): McDonald and Rosetta Craig, married 50 years, enjoy having visitors. Mr. Craig will likely sing one of his favorite compositions and you may be treated to a slice of Mrs. Craig's pound cake.
Photo (Bottom Right): Timbering is an important agricultural tradition on the Western Highland Rim which includes Perry County and the Craig Farm.
John G. Moore purchased 26 acres in 1872 and established
Wesley’s wife was Myrtle Kimble and they raised one daughter Iris Moore, who later married Roy Culp. Iris and Roy inherited a farm of 250 acres in 1969. Their present farm products are corn, soybeans, swine and cattle.
Rex and Wilda Patterson
Robert Carson Patterson founded the Patterson Farm near Tom's Creek in the Pineview community in 1845. Born in Virginia in 1789, he was a veteran of the War of 1812. Robert was the son of William Patterson, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Even before the formation of Perry County, Robert and wife Malinda had settled on Tom's Creek. The first records show that Robert initially obtained two land grants totaling just over 52 acres in 1845 and a year later he received another land grant in the same area of 250 acres.
The farm always included timberlands, a
traditional and vital part of
In the 1860s, the
Civil War dramatically changed the lives of all
After the war,
Robert returned to
In 1886, James
Washington Patterson purchased the farm from his father, Robert. James married
Margaret Kunkel Patterson and they had three children. Their names were Howell, Alta
and Alice. During World War I, Howell served in the army and was on duty
When Howell owned the farm, livestock was
the main market product.
The couple was also very active in the community. Nettie was a member of the Home Demonstration Club and Howell served on the board of directors of the Perry County Farm Bureau and the Perry County Farmers Cooperative. He also worked to secure electricity for the community and was the last mail carrier for the Denson’s Landing Post Office before it closed in the 1940s.
Howell died in 1957 and the farm passed to wife Nettie and their son, Rex. Two years later, Rex married Wilda Graves and they had two children, Mark and Melody. After Nettie passed away in 1972, Rex and wife Wilda became the sole owners of the farm.
Currently, the farm produces corn, soybeans, feed grain, hay and timber. The owners and Gene Strickland, a neighbor, work the land. A hand-hewn chestnut log barn that was built more than 100 years ago is an impressive reminder of the five generations of the Patterson family who have lived on, farmed and served as stewards of this land.
Pin Hook Farm
Joe Burns Sweeney
Donna Sweeney Carroll
Pin Hook Farm is located five miles south of Lobelville in the former
Beardstown community. It was acquired in 1889 by Joseph Clinton Burns. The name
of the property comes from the Pin Hook creek, which flows through the farm and
empties into the nearby
Burns, who moved to the county in 1859-along with other family members who also purchased land in the area-and wife Sallie Elizabeth Craig had six children; four lived to adulthood.
A two-story frame house, still standing, was the center for the Pin Hook Farm, where corn, hay, cows and chickens were produced. Sallie was confined to a wheelchair in her later years, but she was an excellent seamstress and continued to sew and teach the skill to others in her family.
Following the deaths of J. C. and Sallie, the children inherited the land and their eldest son, William “Willie” Arthur, became the owner of the area that is the current farm. Other acreage acquired by Willie’s brother, Simpson, adjoins Pin Hook Farm and is also still owned by the family today. Willie and his wife Francia “Fannie” Shepard Burns had five children. They raised cows and grains. The children of Willie and Fannie inherited the farm at his death.
Like many farms, Pin Hook fell on hard times and was nearly sold out of the family. However, with the help of his mother and a neighbor who maintained the land, Joe Burns Sweeney was able to purchase the farm in 1964. A veteran of the Korean War, Sweeney worked for the Tennessee Gas Pipeline and retired in 1986 after 36 years of service. He married Ruby Jean Culb in 1951 and their children are Stella, Tim and Donna.
Donna Sweeney Carroll recalls that the family raised
Each year the family gathers for the “Pin Hook Fall Festival,” where they play horseshoes, roast hot dogs and enjoy being together as a family. A scavenger hunt is held and the patriarch, Joe Burns Sweeney, who still actively farms, is the official timekeeper and judge of the hunt. The day ends with a hayride.
Donna Sweeney Carroll, who along with her parents, owns the farm today, writes that she goes to the farm every chance she gets. Says Donna: “This land is my heritage-it’s where I came from and where I long to go back to. When I’m there, I feel the presence of family members who have walked this land for over 100 years.”
Photo: A landscape scene on the Pin Hook Farm.
Dale Reed Parnell
Located 7.9 miles east of
The next owner of the farm was Maudie Parlee Qualls Parnell. On the 217 acres, the farm produced peanuts, hay, corn, chickens, cattle and hogs. While managing the farm, Maudie and her husband Archie Ralph Parnell also raised seven children. Their names were Shelby, Leonard, Irma, Howard, Hayes, Jack and Clint. During Maudie’s ownership, the farm received many improvements. In the 1940s, the farm obtained electricity and by the late 1960s indoor plumbing was added. In 1976, the farm received telephone service through a “party line” system.
In the late 1970s, while Maudie and Archie still lived on the farm, two of their sons, Clint Edward Parnell and Earl Hayes Parnell acquired the land. During the brothers’ ownership, they cultivated hay, corn, peanuts and watermelons. In addition, they had the timber cut on the property and they sold it.
In 1997, Earl Hayes Parnell died and the land was acquired by his son, Dale Parnell. Today, Clint and Dale continue to own the farm and they raise hay and clover. The farmhouse that was constructed by the founder in 1910 still stands on the property as a reminder of the rich legacy of the farm.
Billy F. Tucker
The Tucker Farm is located 2 ½ miles northeast of
In 1846, Joseph’s son, Dickson Tucker acquired the land. Under his ownership, the farm raised the same livestock and crops as the founder. Married twice, he fathered ten children. As time moved on, his son, Joseph Elijah Tucker became the third generation to own the farm. The land then passed to Claggett Tucker and then in 1963 the current owner, Billy F. Tucker, obtained the land.
Today, Billy still owns and manages the farm. The land now yields hay, corn and garden vegetables and produces beef cattle. A barn built in 1870 and a farm house constructed in 1890 still stand on the land.