Anna Brown Farm
Hidden Springs Farm
High Oak Farm
Maple Valley by Groves Farm
Milky Meade Farm
Oak Haven Farm
Roberson Family Farm
Thistledew Hills 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
Billy Joe Coley
This farm was founded by W.W. Anglea and his wife Margaret Bracken Anglea in 1870. During their ownership, the farm produced cattle, mules, sheep, chickens, wheat, corn, tobacco, hay, cane and berries. While managing the farm, the couple also raised six children.
The next owner was the son of the founder, Roe Anglea.
Married to Ida Wray Anglea the couple had six children. Their names were Velma,
Harry, Vangie, Addie, George W. and
In 1988, the farm experienced a dramatic change when highway 52 was built and it took part of the farm. In 1991, the current owner and great grandson of the founder, Billy Joe Coley obtained the property. Today, the farm produces hay, tobacco and cattle.
Anna Brown Farm
Daniel and Prudence Ward Perdue established the Brown
Farm, which is six miles east of
In 1954, Anna and Fuerette Brown acquired 90 acres of the original farm. Anna is the great granddaughter of the founders and as of 1976, she and her husband Fuerette owned 266 acres of land. In that same year, the farm’s agricultural commodities were tobacco and livestock.
Elizabeth Callender Chenault
Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cornelius Chenault, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs.
The Ashcrest Farm, founded by Hubbard and Chloe Russell
Saunders in 1810, is near the city of
Clara Harper Callender, the wife of Cornelius W. Callender, became the third generation owner of the family land. Her husband Cornelius began the construction of a large brick plantation home in 1858-1859. The Callender’s slaves fired the bricks on the site. But the Civil War and Reconstruction years, and the hard times that followed, intervened before the house was completed. According to the owners, the house was not completely finished until 1913.
In 1918, Elizabeth Callender Chenault received title to 37 acres of the family farm and shared the land with her mother for many years. Elisabeth is the great great granddaughter of the founders. “In 1926,” she writes, “I married a farmer, Charles C. Chenault. From that time until his death in 1962, he actively farmed the land. We raised barley, wheat, hay and tobacco. For a number of years, we had a dairy but finally sold it because labor was so hard to get.” Still living in the farm’s 1858 brick house, Elisabeth supervises daily operations that yield hay, soybeans, pasture and tobacco on approximately 242 acres of land.
Located twelve miles east of
William J. Bentley and his wife
Vincie, and daughter, Susie, farmed two tracts totaling over 200 acres and
raised cattle, goats, corn, tobacco and wheat.
During the 1950s, nearly 20 acres was lost to farming because of the
flooding of the
After William passed away in 1951,
the farm passed to Susie. She
married John Lee Swaney in 1952 and for
twenty years the couple traveled and lived throughout the world while John
served as an officer in the United States Navy.
Susie and John had one child, Vincie Louise, who was raised in
In 1998, Vincie Swaney Barber, the granddaughter of the founders, became the owner of the land. In ownership with his mother is Charles Russell “Rusty” Barber who manages the farm. He works part of the land and rents other acreage for hay and crop rotation. Currently, the farm maintains four green houses and contains twenty acres of landscaping vegetation. In addition, hay, soybeans, corn and tobacco are produced. Vincie mentions that the farm in the bend of the river has been the “location of many Boy Scout camping events the 4-H lamb program, and one country music video.”
Photo: A barn on the Bentley Farm.
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Bradley
Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Bradley
Mr. and Mrs. Wilburn Empson
Margaret and Thomas Warren had four children and two of their sons also fought for the Confederacy. In 1870, the family land passed to their daughter Laura Warren Bradley, the spouse of Andrew Jackson Bradley, also a veteran of the Confederate army. Little is known about this period in the farm’s history except that the Bradleys raised five children and practiced general farming. In 1888, John Ernest Bradley became the farm’s fourth generation owner. He and his wife Bessie Briley managed the property through the first half of the twentieth century.In 1952, heirs of John and Bessie acquired the property, and in 1976, when the Bradley farm was certified as a Century Farm, the owners were Mr and Mrs. Lawrence Bradley, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Bradley, and Mr. and Mrs. Wilburn Empson. On the 165 acres the Bradley family produced beef cattle, wheat, corn, soybeans and hay. These products are still the main stays of the Bradley Farm in 20008 when the owners are Mrs. Lawrence (Mary K. ) Bradley, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Bradley, and Mrs. Wilburn Empson. John R. Bradley, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Bradley, is also involved in the farm operations, some of which is leased today.
Walter A. Douglass
Agricultural diversification highlights the history of
the Douglass Century Farm, established by Wiley J. Douglass in 1840. Douglass,
who married twice and fathered eleven children, was a significant figure in
nineteenth century agriculture in
In 1905, Walter Abraham Douglass, Sr., inherited a farm of 270 acres. Walter, his wife Clara Doubleday and their four children managed a general store for approximately 30 years. On the farm, Walter stopped raising cotton, but planted the land’s first sorghum and soybeans. He also bred mules for market.
In 1971, Walter A. Douglass acquired 265 acres of the family landholdings. This grandson of the founder harvested corn, tobacco, wheat, hay, small grains, sorghum and soybeans in 1976.
Mr. and Mrs. Herman K. Drake
The Drake Farm of Sumner County is one of the rare
Century Farms that speaks directly to the experience of black farmers in
The second owner of the farm was Alice M. Drake, the
granddaughter of the founders. On 130 acres, she and her husband Charles W.
Drake produced cattle, swine, corn, vegetables and fruit.
Beverly A. Garrett
Thomas G. Garrett
Robert L. Garrett
James Garrett founded the Garrett
Farm, located just off the Long Hollow Parkway on Highway 258, in 1820 when he
purchased 640 acres from early settler and land speculator David Shelby for the
sum of $730.
Though his spouse’s name is unknown,
James Robb Garrett, the
fourth-generation owner of the farm, operated a sawmill from the 1920s until
the late 1940s. The steam engine used to operate the mill, and still owned by
the family, was pulled from
Photo: Robert Garrett with logs being hauled to the sawmill.
Jo Ann Perdue
Dating to 1785, the
Gillespie Farm is one of four “Pioneer Century Farms” in
Joseph and Elizabeth L. Wallace, who were both grandchildren of the founders, purchased 430.5 acres of Samuel Wallace’s estate in 1882. The parents of eight children, the third generation owners practiced mixed farming. Joseph, was the county surveyor “and bought and sold many acres” in the region. His daughter Mary Jane Wallace Gillespie acquired the farm’s home place plus 129 acres in 1884. Mary Jane was the wife of Foster C. Gillespie. The Gillespies practiced mixed agriculture and later planted the farm’s first tobacco.
In 1913, the farm passed to three sons of Foster and Mary Jane Gillespie and the brothers worked the farm in partnership for a few years. After World War I, however, they divided the farm and Charles H. Gillespie became sole owner of 129 acres of the original farm. Charles and his wife Allie Gorham managed a farm that yielded tobacco, corn, hay, grains and livestock. They were the parents of four children. In 1945, the farm passed intact to Allie Gorham Gillespie and she managed its operations, along with her son Charles for over 40 years. Their commodities included hay, tobacco and cattle. When Mrs. Allie Gillespie died in 1994, the farm was left to her three daughters Katherine G. Barnes, Jo Ann G. Perdue, and Mary G. Gregory, and to the widow of Charles. Mrs. Perdue received the original home, cemetery sites, and the remnants of the Wallace blockhouse, which dates to 1787-1790, and is incorporated into a barn. Mary Gregory and her family own another tract of the land and farm it as “Gregory Farms” along with the acreage owned by her sisters.
James W. Cook
The story of the Greenwood Farm symbolizes the
development of small farms throughout
In 1951, James W. Cook acquired the entire farm and later expanded its boundaries to 88 acres. This great great grandson of William and Mildred Gilliam grew corn, hay, soybeans and tobacco in 1976.
Hidden Springs Farm
Melanna G. Costner
In 1865, Asa Perdue deeded 118 acres of the original farm to his daughter, Rebecca, who was married to Thomas C. Hunter. In 1906, their son, Thomas J. Hunter, sold the acreage he had acquired from his family to his sons, Newton and James Hunter. Newton and his wife, Mittie, then bought the section of the farm owned by James.
Newton and Mittie Hunter farmed the land for more than 30 years. After Newton’s death, Mittie deeded the farm to her oldest daughter, Alma, in 1946. Alma was married to Odis White, and they were the parents of a son, Bobby. After Odis and Bobby died, Alma White sold the farm to her only granddaughter, Melanna Costner, in 2000. Melanna and her husband, Michael, own 80 acres of the original farmstead and lease the crop land to Joel Cook of Franklin, Ky. who grows corn, soybeans and tobacco. Melanna and Michael’s daughter and son-in-law, Jesse and Joey High, own a five-acre tract of the farm and live there with their children.
Three generations now live on this farm, which has been in the family for more than 160 years.
High Oak Farm
Four miles east of
Roy Barry Cecil, Sr., the grandson of the founders,
acquired the farm’s original acreage in 1950 and later expanded his
landholdings by 33 acres. For almost 40 years,
James D. Bates
After Samuel’s death in 1935, the land was divided among his children. In 1945, daughter Hettie Lou and her husband David Bates purchased the farm from her siblings. The couple and their son, James D, raised wheat, corn, tobacco, hay, and pasture.
James D. Bates, the current owner is the grandson of Samuel and Georgia Harper, and it is his sons, Dean and Gary, who carries on the family’s farming tradition. They work 117 acres and raise tobacco, hay, and pasture.
Pauline Jones Light
Near Saundersville stands the Light’s Farm, which dates
to 1866. The founder was John W. Jones, the son of William Jones who had lived
Pauline Jones Light, the great granddaughter of the founder, and George W. Light, Jr., her husband, acquired 137 acres of the family landholdings in 1947. As of 1976, the family remained residents of the original farmhouse of John Jones. Cattle, hay and vegetables were their farm products and James Mitchell cultivated the family’s tobacco allotment.
James Douglas Link
1822, William Nimmo founded a 130 acre farm in
The second generation to own the property was the founder’s grandson, Joel F. Appling. Wed to Serena Thankful Thornhill, the couple had three children. Their son, James Henry Appling was the next owner of the land. After James, the farm passed to his daughter, Nellie Inez Appling Link. Along with her husband, Brooks Emerald Link, the couple had six children.
Today, the farm is owned by the great, great, great grandson of the founder, James Douglas Link. While managing the farm, he and his wife, Thelma Janet Steele Link have had three children. Their names are Shelby Leigh Link, Duane Neil Link and Shyla Laine Link Hall. Currently, the land yields corn, hay, wheat and soybeans.
Photo: A cemetery and back view of the farm house on the Tate farm.
John Wayne Groves
Martha Elaine Groves
In 1851, Benjamin and Bettie Roney purchased 169 acres
and founded the Maple Valley Farm. The Roneys and their two children farmed the
land for seventeen years, producing cattle, grains, tobacco, hay, maple syrup
and vegetables. In 1868, the founders sold the farm to their daughter Babe
Roney and her husband William T. Groves. William and Babe were the parents of
four children. The
In 1951, one hundred years after the establishment of the Maple Valley Farm, William R. Groves acquired the land. He remains an owner, sharing the land with his son John Harold Groves and his grandson John Wayne Groves and producing cattle, grains, hay, tobacco and vegetables. A wood smokehouse, which served as the first residence of William T. Groves in the 1860s, is “presently used as a storage building.” The farm also contains Native American campsites located near a large stand of maple trees. The family believes that the evidence suggests that prehistoric people came here to harvest the maple sap.
In 1987, W. R. Groves died and his only son John Harold Groves inherited the farm and actively operated and maintained it until his death in 1996. Currently, the farm is owned jointly by John’s son and daughter, John Wayne Groves and Martha Elaine Groves.
Loretta C. Dye
Tessa Marilyn Utley
Shawn A. Utley
On October 6, 1876, John W. Martin and Martha E. Mayes Martin
founded a farm of 106 acres northeast of
The second generation to own the farm was Evalena Martin Perdue, who obtained the property in September of 1904. Evalena and her husband, William Brodie Perdue, were the parents of Evelyn Martin Perdue Brown. Brodie continued farmed the land and the family raised corn, wheat, tobacco, horses, milk cows and chickens. Brodie and Evalena also made some improvements and changes to the farm. They built “a regulation size croquet yard at the edge of a wooded area where men came from far and near to play.” To the farm house, which was an enclosed dog trot, they made improvements by installing carbide lighting and adding telephone service when it became available. They also erected a water tank on a platform at the back of the house to catch rain water and provide running water for the kitchen sink. A cistern was built on the north side of the house to keep food cool.
In 1955, Evelyn Martin Perdue Brown
acquired the property. Like her mother, she was born in the farm house. She married Carey Wilson Brown and they had
three children, Loretta Carolyn, also born in the family home, Tessa Marilyn,
and Deborah Kay. On the 126 acres, the
family raised soybeans, tobacco, strawberries, grain, corn, milo, milk cows and
chickens. A three room house, built for Evelyn and Carey, was purchased by the
U. S. Army in 1942 and used as a barracks for
during World War II. Electricity
was run to the house in 1948 and a telephone was installed in 1950. Evelyn and Carey were also very active in
the community. Following family tradition, they were both members of
In 1992, Shawn A. Utley, the son of
Tessa Marilyn Utley acquired a parcel of land from his grandmother, Evelyn and
built a house where he and his wife, Leanne, and their sons, Caelum and Caeson
live. Caelum, the great-great-great
grandson of the founders is a member of the 4-H club at
In 2007, Carolyn Dye and Tessa Marilyn Utley
also became co-owners of the farm with each obtaining acreage of the original
homestead. Over the years, they have
been active in the community and agricultural related organizations. Loretta
Carolyn Dye has been a member of the Oak Grove Neighbor FCE Club since 1984 and
sang with the FCE Chorus. She is also on the Portland Senior Citizens Board of
Directors where she serves as secretary. Tessa Marilyn was a member of the 4-H
Club in her elementary schools years as was her daughter, Sharilyn. Marilyn
also served on the City of Portland Board of Alderman from 2002-2003 to fill
her late husband’s chair. In addition, Marilyn served as a clerk and pianist
Mike Stratton currently manages the farm for the family and raises corn and soybeans. The original Martin farm house, the barracks house, a tobacco barn, and a stock barn remain standing.
Mark L. McKee, III
M. L. McKee, Jr.
Just over 100 years ago, on March 5, 1906, John William (Jack) McKee and Marcus (Mark)
Lafayette McKee established the McKee Farms,
located east of
One of the first cash crops produced
by the McKees was hay. The hay was put on a railcar in Rogana, just north of
the farm, and shipped to
Mark McKee, while working the farm, also carried mail from 1925 until 1958 for the Castalian Springs community. During a severe drought in 1936, the farm was able to survive because a portion of Bledsoe Creek runs through the property. The family recalls that cows had to be driven to the area daily while water was carried to the hogs. During World War II, the army conducted maneuvers in the Castalian Springs area. Later the soldiers would be among those who fought in the D-Day invasions.
In April of 1952, Mark McKee, Jr., bought the farm across the road from his father. Mark married Twyla Ellis and they had two children, Michael and Mark, III. After Mark, Sr.’s death in 1983, Mark, Jr. and his son Mark McKee, III purchased 181 acres. Today, Mark, III lives in the 1920s house where he and his wife Melissa (Carothers) raised their three sons. Currently, the farm produces cattle, corn, wheat, soybeans, hay, pasture and tobacco.
Upper Photo: A view of the landscape of the McKee Farm.
Lower Photo: The tobacco barn on the McKee Farm was constructed in 1932.
Milky Meade Farm
Mr. and Mrs. Tom Latimer
Located seven miles west of
In 1961, Tom Latimer inherited 90 acres of family land.
He is the great great grandson of Edwin Latimer and in 1976, he owned and
operated a registered
William Adam and Denise Geminden
Established by Ralston and Elizabeth Dycus Ray in 1856,
Oakdale Farm is five miles northeast of
In 1938 Mrs. Cleo Geminden, the great great granddaughter of the founders, obtained 88 acres of the original farm. She and her husband William Julius eventually owned 100 acres and managed the property for almost 40 years. During these years, dairy products, tobacco, corn and hay were the chief agricultural commodities produced at Oakdale.
In 1977, approximately 93 acres came into the possession of William Adam Geminden, the great great great grandson of Ralston and Elizabeth Ray. While his parents continue to live on ten acres of the farm, William Adam works the remainder, specializing in dairy products, tobacco, corn and hay. These crops are popular throughout Middle Tennessee and constitute the foundation of many modern farms.
Oak Haven Farm
Wade Anderson Douglass
Oak Haven Farm, dating to 1793, has contributed significantly
to the social and economic development of
The founders had eight children, and their daughter Sarah Edwards Douglass, the wife of William Howard Douglass, inherited 540 acres of the farm in 1828. William managed the farm like his father-in-law and made few changes in its operations. Sarah and William were the parents of six children. In 1865, the founder’s grandson, Cullen Douglass, acquired 288 acres of the original farm. Douglass, who married twice and fathered eighteen children, was a member of the Sumner County Court. He made major changes in the farm’s operations, ceasing the cultivation of cotton while breeding registered Shorthorn cattle.
In 1899, the farm passed to his children who jointly
managed it for 29 years. The farm’s commodities expanded to include corn and
swine. Cullen E. Douglass, Jr., the great-great-grandson of the founders,
acquired the family’s 288 acres in 1928. Douglass later sold 138 acres and on
his reduced acreage became a specialized farmer of tobacco, milk products,
lespedeza and livestock. Cullen held several public and civic offices,
including the foreman of the county grand jury, the director of the Sumner
County Farm Bureau, and the treasurer of the Bill Wilkerson Hearing and
Photo (top): Portraits of founders, William and Sarah Janette Edwards.
Photo (bottom): Claudia and Wade Douglass receive a certificate, booklet and letter of congratulations from (Left) Terry Oliver, Deputy Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Governor Phil Bredesen at the Farmland Legacy Conference on October 10, 2008.
Thomas H. Short
In January 1905, J. A. Payne established a 63-acre farm in
Starting in the 1970s, the farm began to hold an “old-timers’ wheat threshing” every July 4. According to the family, the event that initially was a family reunion grew into a community event with a large meal, bands and many visitors. After George and Verline passed away, their children inherited the property. In 1995, Anna, the oldest and only daughter of George and Verline, along with her husband Thomas C. Short and their son, Thomas, bought out her siblings.
After acquiring a portion of the land in 1995, Dr. Thomas H. Short became the sole owner of the farm in 2005, some 100 years after his great-grandfather established the farm. Today, he and his wife Kelly and their three children, Julia, Brett and Olivia, live on the farm where hay, corn and Black Angus cattle are raised. A tobacco barn built in the early 1900s is a reminder of the century of history of the Payne Farm.
J. David Perdue and Molvin H. Perdue
Located about ten miles northeast of
In 1939, the Perdue Farm came into the possession of Wilford Perdue, who continued to own the farm until his death in 1999. Under his guidance, the farm entered the modern age of agriculture, acquiring electricity, telephone service and indoor plumbing. The farm was owned by Wilford’s widow, Gladys Perdue until she passed away in January of 2005. Today, the farm is owned by J. David Perdue and his wife Molvin H. Perdue.
Paul R. Roberson, Jr.
Elizabeth "Libby" Roberson Stone
In 1871, Calvin Pleasant and wife Nancy Richard Jerrell Roberson acquired approximately 100 acres five miles south of Castalian Springs in Sumner County. In 1872, they built a log house but it burned in 1898. That same year, the Robersons built a larger farmhouse. With their eight children, they grew tobacco, hay, and a large garden. Their livestock included hogs, cattle, and sheep.
When Nancy died in 1922, Amanda “Annie” Roberson Hoffman acquired her parents’ farm. Though she married, the couple divorced without having any children. Annie raised hogs, sheep, and cattle while also growing tobacco. In 1951, Annie sold the farm to her brother, Alfred David Roberson, and his family for $1.00. At his death in 1958, Alfred’s wife, Leila Mae Ramsey Roberson, sold the property to their son, William Calvin Roberson, and his family. Until 1970, William Roberson and his family worked the farm. In that year, the farm became the property of Paul R. Roberson, Sr. and his wife Mildred.
When Paul, Sr. passed away, his children Paul R. Roberson, Jr. and Elizabeth “Libby” Roberson Stone acquired the land in 2003. Today, Paul manages the farm and grows hay. Eleven of their 109 acres were part of the parcel purchased by the founder in 1871 and a barn dating to 1907 and the farmhouse, built in 1898, remain on the property.
Photo (left): Log house built in 1872, loss to fire in 1898; Nannie Richard Jerrell Roberson is the woman in black dress standing in front of the door. Calvin Pleasent Roberson is on the far right.
Photo (right): 1898 Roberson farmhouse, built after a fire destroyed the 1872 log house.
Located southwest of Whitehouse, the Tate Farm was founded in 1902 by Thomas Tate and wife Serena Elimarie Roach Tate. Their 75 acres produced cows, mules, sheep, hogs, chickens, geese, tobacco, corn and wheat. The couple had 11 children, and their son, Albert Owen Tate, acquired the property in 1962. Married to Frances Warren, Albert and this generation continued to raise row crops and livestock. The current owner is the founder’s grandson, Raymond Sanders, who owns and operates the farm that is now primarily devoted to raising cows and calves. He and wife Doris Sanders and their son, Scott, live on the 95-acre farm.
Photo: The founder, Thomas Tate, his wife and their ten children.
Thistledew Hills Farm
The Wallace Farm, also known as Thistledew Hills Farm, is the second Century Farm to evolve from the original 1785 land grant of Joseph and Mary Meek Wallace. The Wallace Farm and the Gillespie Farm share a common history until 1884 when John Randolph and Mary Elliott Wallace received a portion of the family property. Their son Charles H. Wallace was the farm’s next owner and in 1947, he sold over 85 acres of the farm to Joe M. Wallace.Joe and his wife Mary farmed their 85 acres for 25 years and then obtained another 74 acres of the original property in 1972. During their ownership the Wallaces worked 159 acres and raised tobacco, swine and cattle, living in the family dwelling that was constructed by slaves. Carol Wallace owns the
James Orren Thompson, Jr.
The Thompson Farm is located eight miles southwest of
The next owner of the property was Robert’s and Tommie’s son-in-law, James Oreen Thompson, Sr. During his ownership, he raised tobacco, small grain, corn, hay, cattle, horses, sheep, hogs and chickens. In addition to producing crops and livestock, the farm was one of the first in the area to use lime to control proper Ph levels in the soil. To help produce the tobacco, tenant farmers were used. James wed Ellen Irene Link Thompson and they had three children. Their names were Ruby Glenn, Elizabeth Brown and James Orren, Jr.
In the 1950s and 1970s, James Orren, Jr. acquired parts of the land and eventually became the sole owner. Today, James still owns the farm but his son, Kenneth D. Thompson works the land. Currently, the farm produces soybeans, wheat, corn, hay and beef cattle. Over the years, the family has practiced minimum tillage and no-tillage for soil conservation and they have selectively used herbicides.The farm also has expanded its beef herd and diversified its crops by raising pumpkins and providing educational tours for young school children and church groups.
Martha A. Willis King
Mary C. Willis Sloan
Lorene Willis Boone
In 1837, Elisha and Patsy Rice Gibson founded the Willis
Farm, which is about two miles north of
In 1920, Harvey J. Willis began his purchase of family
land and 30 years later, he owned all of the farm plus an additional 60 acres.