For a brief historical sketch of each farm, click on the farm name.
P & Z Farm
Triple T Farm
Map courtesy of Carole Swann, Tennessee Department of Agriculture
Located on Highway 200,
the Crouch Farm was founded in 1904 by Thomas E. Crouch. The 75 acres produced
corn and supported cattle and swine. The couple had four children. Their
daughter, Mae, and her husband E.B. Moody were the next owner s of the
land. The farm had two subsequent owners
after Mae and now the current owner is the founder’s granddaughter, Justine A.
Reed. The 75 acre farm now
supports cattle. Ms. Reed’s daughter and son-in-law, Mike and Connie Storie
work the land today. The Storie’s are
also proud owners of a Century Farm in
P & Z Farm
Richard W. Pierce
Located west of Byrdstown is the P & Z Farm that was founded
around 1900 by Jim Henry Pierce. Married to Lorina Pierce, they had five
children. Their names were G. Rowmanus, Alvin, Sophia Brooks, Dade Spurlin and
Sis Anderson. In addition to raising row crops on the 68 acres, the family
reports that there was a lead mine on the farm. In 1907, the founder’s son, G.
Rowmanus Pierce acquired the property. He and his wife Belle Dennis Pierce, had
two children, though both died in infancy.
The family recalls that rare daffodils and rare May Day peonies were
cultivated. During these early decades,
the land for
In 1929, the farm was sold to his first cousins, Posie, Walter and Roscoe. The cousins paid for the farm over the Depression years raising and selling row crops, and working at the blacksmith shop and at sawmills. The cousins farmed the land for several years and then they divided the land between the three of them. Over the twenty years, the Pierce family entertained the local community with their well known musical talents and dances were held at the old farm house.
The fourth owners of the farm were Woodrow Pierce and Gracie Irene Zachary Pierce who acquired the farm from Roscoe Pierce in 1952. Gracie paid for the farm with $500 that she had saved up and finished paying for the property the next year with a tobacco crop. While helping manage the farm, Woodrow also worked as a mechanic and at a sawmill. In addition, he raised and traded swine and grew tobacco.
Today, the farm is owned by Richard W. and Lois D. Pierce.
Currently, the farm produces cattle, hay, and poultry. A house, built from materials recycled from
homes torn down to make way for
Gregory and Deborah Tompkins
Joseph David Riley acquired 45 acres outside of Byrdstown around 1898 but the farm’s earliest legal documentation is for taxes paid for 1901. Joseph traded a black saddle mare with its saddle and bridle for the farm. When he and Savannah Ellen Garrett married in 1898, Ellen brought her treadle sewing machine by mule from her home in northeast Pickett County to her new log home built by their families. From their property, where they raised three sons – Dewey Webster, James Elijah, and Forrest McKinley -- they witnessed World War I, survived the Great Depression, and were able to maintain their land despite the building of Tennessee Valley Authority’s Dale Hollow Lake in 1942.
The Riley’s farm provided for the needs of their family. As subsistence farmers, they engaged in a wide range of agricultural activities. Ellen is remembered as a strong woman who worked alongside Joseph. From the sheep, Ellen harvested the wool, carded it, and spun it into wool thread. To supplement the farm’s cash income, she produced items for sale including feather mattresses and pillows, milk, butter, cream, and wine.
Joseph and Ellen lived much as their parents had and did not make use of many of the modern conveniences that the twentieth century provided. Until the Rileys died in the mid-1960s, they continued to cook on a wood burning stove, used buckets to carry water from a spring a thousand feet from the house, and used electricity sparingly – they only had two light bulbs and a basic refrigerator.
In 1934, the Rileys deeded a portion of their land to Dewey Webster “Webb” Riley, their oldest son. Their second son, James Elijah, was deeded five acres on which he built his homestead; this land remains in the family and is owned by Elbert Riley and his wife. In 1963, Webb and his wife Maggie Jane Melton were deeded the remaining acreage for a total of forty acres.
Webb and Maggie continued to practice subsistence farming and supplemented their income with tobacco, beef cattle, dairy cows, a large poultry flock, and molasses and honey. All of these were sold to or traded with neighbors at local and regional markets. Their children were Audrey Mae, Curtis Frank, and Marvin Cordell. In their retirement, Webb and Maggie sold fifteen acres and transferred ownership to Audrey.
Audrey Mae and her husband, Daniel Tompkins, had Gregory, Douglas, and Regina. Webb Riley continued to use the property and leased the land for tobacco, alfalfa, and grazing purposes. In time, Audrey continued to lease the land like her father and sold approximately eight acres. Maggie, Audrey’s mother, passed away in 2005.
In 2009, the founder’s great grandson, Gregory and his wife, Deborah Sexton-Tompkins, purchased thirteen acres from Audrey. Webb and Maggie’s 1930s house still stands as well as the main stock barn, smokehouse, bee house, chicken house, and a small tobacco barn. Each of these are in the process of renovation or were recently restored by Gregory and Deborah. The land produces hay, firewood, black walnuts, and cedar fence posts in addition to several thousand board feet of timber that await harvest.
By 1886, Joann Sells had defied the odds and had
established a working farm of 65 acres located six miles northeast of
John Sells, the grandson of Joann Sells, inherited 60 acres in 1977. He now raises pasture, hay, cattle and chickens and continues to practice soil conservation.
Peggy Jane Green
Laura Gail Lewis
Helen Kay Savage
Porter Franklin Smith purchased 120 acres southeast of Byrdstown in 1903 and added another 250 acres in 1910. Smith was born in Overton County in 1858 he married Sibbie Hill in 1886. The couple had ten children. Smith was a logger by trade and died in 1911 when struck by lightning. Sibbie, who had five children under 14, with the youngest, Ada, only three when her husband died, remained a widow for 25 years.
The couple’s son, Eather Lansden Smith, acquired 132 acres of the property between 1934 and 1959. He and his wife, Omogene McDonald, had seven children--Ann Smith Garrett, Kay Smith Savage, Jane Smith Green, Laura Smith Lewis, Linda Smith Koger, Billy Smith, and Bobby Smith. The family grew tobacco, corn, and hay while raising cattle, hogs, and chickens.
In 2002, the five Smith daughters acquired the family farm. Today, Brian and Tabith Lee (Jane Smith Green’s granddaughter) rent and live on the farm with their two children while Laura Smith Lewis is actively engaged in the management of the farm which produces cattle and hay.
Triple T Farm
The founders of the Triple T Farm were Reuben and Nannie
Tipton Taylor. In 1832, they purchased 200 acres of land fourteen miles north
Frances and Thursey left the family land to their son Tom Sherman Taylor. Tom wed Malissa Davis and fathered eight children. Over the next several decades, three different family members owned and operated the property. Little changed in the farm’s activities except that the family began to cultivate tobacco as a major cash crop.
In 1978, Paul E. and Mary Ramsey Taylor obtained the family farm. They “have acquired and put back together (all) of the original land” and possess a total of 420 acres. Beef cattle, hay and tobacco are the farm’s chief commodities.
William Francis Williams acquired 468 acres five miles east of Byrdstown, on August 3, 1868. Here, he and his wife Martha Campbell Williams raised their six children and improved the land. To maintain their farm, the Williams built a granary, corn crib, and barn. They raised cattle, mules, hogs, and chickens and grew corn, wheat, and oats.
In 1916, their daughter Betty and her husband Oplis Whittenburg purchased one hundred acres of the original farm for $400. They raised cattle, pigs, and chickens while growing hay and corn. The Whittenburgs built two houses. They also set aside acreage for Williams Chapel Church and Cemetery. Their daughter, Verda E. Whittenburg, inherited the farm at their passing in the 1970s.
When Verda passed away in 1996, her cousin Jean Beaty inherited the family farm. Jean is the granddaughter of the founding couple, William and Martha Williams. Many of the original farm buildings and both houses remain on the farm. Jean has restored the two houses; one had been used to store hay and hang tobacco. Today, Jean and her son Larry Beaty live on the 83 acres that remain in the family. They grow hay and raise cattle with the help of their cousin, Larry Stone.
Photo (left): 1920s
house restored by current owners; it had been used to store hay and hang
Photo (center): C
Photo (right): Barn.
1920s house restored by current owners; it had been used to store hay and hang tobacco.
Located ten miles east of Byrdstown, the Williams Farm
dates to William F. Williams’ acquisition of 300 acres prior to 1870. Married
twice and the father of eleven children, Williams was a general farmer who was
interested in the welfare of the community. He donated land for the
construction of the
His son Osco B. Williams was the farm’s second generation
owner. Osco and his wife Pearl Storie managed 287 acres and their labor yielded
cattle, swine, corn, hay and tobacco. In 1975, the farm passed into the hands
of Osco and