For a brief historical sketch of each farm, click on the farm name.
Artell Bell Farm
Dillard Brooks Farm
Freeman Farm 1
Freeman Farm 2
Freeman and Sons' Farm
J.B. Nanney Farm
Kennedy Ridge Farm
Oliver Brothers Farm
Reed Angus Farm
Rose Hill 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
Artell Bell Farm
Willie Artell Bell
A.J. and Ruth E. Bell founded the Artell Bell Farm, which
is seven miles southwest of Martin, in 1866. The parents of nine children, the
Bells operated a self-sustaining farm of 315 acres. Their agricultural
commodities included wheat, corn, cotton, tobacco, cattle, swine, sheep and
poultry. Rufus Bell was the second generation owner. Rufus and his wife Daisy
participated in many community organizations and were organizers of the
The parents of four children, Rufus and Daisy gave 25 acres to their son Ervil T. Bell and 37 acres to Loyd Bell. The founders’ great grandson Artell Bell now owns both of those tracts. Managing a total of 72 acres, Artell consults with Ted Coats and son, who cultivates the farm’s crops of soybeans and cotton.
Harold E. Jackson
William K. Jackson
The Bragg Farm, which is five miles north of Gleason, is
one of the two oldest Century Farms in
The third generation owners were James W. and Beatrice Bragg Jackson, who grew corn, soybeans and hay. Their son James Bragg Jackson is the farm’s present owner. James acquired 68 acres of the original farm in 1972. He managed about 235 acres and the land was worked by William R. Muzzall. After James died in 1989 the land was inherited by his widow and his brother Harold E. Jackson. Not long after, James’ widow deeded her part to her two sons, William K. Jackson and Jimmy Jackson.
Photo: A side view of the Olivet Methodist Church near the Bragg Farm.
Ted D. Brock
The Brock Farm, which is five miles southeast of Martin, dates to 1852 when its founders, Levi and Katherine Staulcup, received title to 96 acres of land. Corn, tobacco, cotton, wheat and livestock were their early farm products. They were the parents of three children and in about 1877, the farm passed to their son Lynn Franklin Staulcup. Lynn, the husband of Caroline Crockett and the father of seven children, made few changes in the farm’s operations. He did, however, begin to produce sorghum for market.
In 1910, Thomas H. and Ada Betty Staulcup Brock purchased
35 acres of the family land. The mother of four children,
Merrill and Della Brock were the parents of four children and in 1981, their son Ted Dennie Brock inherited the family farm. Five years later, he owns almost 300 acres of the land and specializes in corn, soybeans and swine.
Through the generations of owners, farming operations at
the Carlton Farm have become more and more specialized. One of the two oldest
Century Farms in
The third generation owner of the Carlton Farm was Nancy Carlton Templeton, who inherited 50 acres. She wed Charles M. Templeton and their daughter Anne Templeton Masco became the owner in 1981. Today, she manages the work of Jerald McNatt, who plants and harvests fields of soybeans and corn. McNatt uses a nineteenth century log barn to store the annual hay crop.
Established between 1866 and 1868 by W.M. and Mary Chandler Milner, the Collier Farm is six miles southwest of Martin. The founders owned 520 acres of land and their operations provided foodstuffs for the family and commodities for the market. The Milners and their six children raised wheat, oats, clover, cotton, tobacco, sweet potatoes and livestock.
In 1906, the property passed into the hands of the founders’ daughter Nannie Milner Collier, the wife of Conie M. Collier. Nannie, who married twice and was the mother of six children, owned 106 acres of the original farm. The family’s commodities included cotton, tobacco, corn, sweet potatoes and cattle.
Mitchell and Audell G. Collier bought all of Nannie’s 106 acres in 1945. The grandson of the founders, Mitchell purchased 41 additional acres in 1969. Today, his widow Audell Collier manages the property. A nephew, Milton Buchanan, works the land, raising corn, soybeans, hay and cattle.
Dillard Brooks Farm
Agricultural experts in the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries believed that sweet potatoes would be an excellent cash
In 1927, Dillard Brooks inherited his grandparents’ entire farm. Almost 60 years later, Dillard works 207 acres of land, specializing in beef cattle and hay production.
Photo: Second generation farm owners G. D. Brooks and his wife pose on the porch of their Weakley County farmhouse. The young boy on the bicycle is Dillard Brooks, the present farm owner.
Ann Ervin Brown
Farms of less than 100 acres are common throughout
In 1968, Ann Ervin Brown inherited ten acres of her grandparents’ original farm. On this small tract, Ann and her spouse Willis Brown raise soybeans, corn and cattle.
Freeman Farm No. 1
John Bryant Freeman
A second Century Farm to evolve from the original estate of William and Mary Chandler Milner is the Freeman Farm No. 1, which is located five and a half miles southwest of Martin. The farm’s second owner was Fannie Milner Freeman, the daughter of the founders and the wife of John Allen Freeman. Owning 110 acres of the original farm, the Freemans were the parents of seven children. Progressive farmers, they produced varied types of crops and livestock, ranging from tobacco, cotton and cattle to sweet potatoes, strawberries and poultry.
The farm’s third generation owner was Ray Norman Freeman, who worked the land with the help of his wife Georgia Bryant and their three children. Planting soybeans and managing a herd of dairy cattle, the family made several significant changes in the farm’s operations. In 1965, John Bryant Freeman acquired the original 110 acres. Twenty years later, this great grandson of the founders works a total of 610 acres and the crops and products he raises-wheat, corn, milo, soybeans, dairy products and beef cattle-are typical of a modern progressive farm in northern West Tennessee.
Freeman Farm No. 2
Linville Keith Freeman
Freeman Farm No. 2 is the third Century Farm in
The farm’s next owners were John Bryant Freeman and his sons, Norman Thomas and Linville Keith Freeman, respectively the great grandsons of the founders. During these years, the land yielded the common products of twentieth century agriculture: soybeans, hay, corn, beef cattle and dairy cattle. In 1970, Linville Keith Freeman inherited 156 acres of his great great grandparents’ land. Today, his property total 470 acres. Linville and his father John Bryant Freeman operate both Freeman Farm No. 1 and No. 2 “cooperatively” and jointly raise corn, soybeans, hay, milo, dairy products and beef cattle.
Freeman and Sons Farm
Jack H. Freeman
James D. Freeman
Harry B. Freeman
1873, Rufus Calvin Freeman established a farm four miles north of
The next owner of the farm was William Dave Freeman. During his ownership, he cultivated the same crops and raised the same livestock as the founder. Married to Pearl Smyth Freeman, the couple had four children. Their names were Calvin, Wanta, Jackie and Anabelle.
Freeman was the third generation to own the land. Under his ownership, the farm
produced hay, fruit trees and livestock. Jackie wed Mary Alice Roberta Johnson
Freeman and they had four children. Their names were Jackie, James,
Photo: The farm landscape on the Freeman and Sons Farm.
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Stephenson
Jesse and Loice McClain Stephenson established the Harmsworth Farm in 1900. Located five miles from Palmersville, the 146 acres produced corn, tobacco, soybeans, sorghum, sweet potatoes, cattle, sheep and swine. In addition to managing the farm, Jesse and Loice were the parents of seven children.
The second owner of the farm was Jesse’s and Loice’s son,
Ralph Stephenson. According to the CHP’s records, Ralph served in World War II,
the Korean War and
J. B. Nanney Farm
Flarra Ellen Felts Nanney
Few Century Farm families have influenced their community’s built environment as the Nanney family. The 17th District of Weakley County is home to the J. B. Nanney Farm, established by William J. and Susan Paschall Nanney in 1876. The founders owned 150 acres and raised cotton, sweet potatoes, tobacco, wheat, corn, swine and cattle. “In an era of large families,” according to the current owner, “it must have been painful to Susan Ardella Nanney that she was able to bear only one child.” But the founders, “practically raised” their first two grandchildren, including James Burnett Nanney, who later married Flarra Felts. Of her husband’s upbringing, Flarra has written that “living in the world of the independent, self-sufficient, migrating generation” of his grandparents “would mark his lifestyle, beliefs and attitude throughout his life.”
James Meakins Nanney was the farm’s second owner. Married to Sarah Kindred and the father of five children, James owned 225 acres and produced tobacco, sweet potatoes, corn, cotton, swine and cattle. At this time, the Nanneys hired four to five sharecropper families to work the expanded landholdings. According to the family, “a sharecropper agreement with a land owner was for one year. Thus, Christmas frequently saw mass moving as the sharecropper family moved to another farm as they were supposed to ‘be there by the first of the year.’ “
In 1941, 48 acres of the original farm and 171 acres of additional land passed to James Burnett Nanney, the grandson of the founders. James and his spouse Flarra Felts Nanney donated land for the construction of the Chestnut Glade school. Next door to the school, they operated a general store. Their son Paul owned a garage and another son Mike ran a mill there for some years.” James Nanney “was also a plumber and an electrician. He installed the first electric lights and indoor plumbing in area homes and also brought the first telephone lines into the area.”
James died in 1976 and ownership passed to his widow Flarra Felts. Samuel Grisson presently works the farmland, harvesting soybeans and corn.
Photo (Left): The Chestnut Glade School near the J. B. Nanney Farm.
Photo (Right): This concrete block building served as the general store in the community for many years.
The fifth Century Farm in
Kennedy Ridge Farm
Kennedy Ridge Farm, which is located five miles southwest
of Martin, is the fourth Century Farm in
Mary Milner Kennedy, the wife of John H. Kennedy, inherited 104 acres of the family land in 1906. The Kennedys were the parents of six children. Their operations mixed elements of the new progressive agriculture (crops such as clover and sweet potatoes) with those of traditional self-sustaining farming (products such as corn, mules and swine).
George Kemp Kennedy was the farm’s third owner and he raised soybeans, milo, corn, wheat, swine and cattle on 21 acres of land. He wed Kyrus Elizabeth Jackson and their only son, John G. Kennedy, is the current owner of Kennedy Ridge. John acquired the 21 acres in 1969. He now grows corn, milo, soybeans and wheat.
Josh and Denver Mansfield Melton
In the fall of 1910, William Emerson Mansfield purchased 26 acres of farm land in Weakley County. Here, he and his wife, Alice Bowlin Mansfield raised their children – Althal, who died at the age nine, Adriane, Coytez, and William Harrell. Cattle, sheep, and hogs were grown along with corn, tobacco, and strawberries. By 1917, the Mansfield Farm was successful enough that William purchased an additional 41 acres.
After William and Alice Mansfield’s deaths, the farm was transferred to the three surviving children. In 1989, Coytez Mansfield and his wife, Lucille, purchased all of William Harrell’s land and all but ten acres of Adriane’s portion. Coytez and Lucille had two children – Garry Lain and Robert Wade Mansfield – and used the farm for pasture land and to grow corn and beans.
In 2003, Coytez and Lucille sold 7.3 acres to their granddaughter, Denver Ann, and in 2012 they sold her an additional 18.7 acres. Denver and her husband, Josh Melton, live on the farm with their two children, Creed and Colt. They manage their family’s historic farm with Denver’s father, Wade Mansfield. Wade oversees the crop rotation where he grows corn and beans while the Meltons work with the pasture and horses. With the addition of the Mansfield Farm, Weakley County has 25 certified Century Farms.
Photo: The Mansfield Family - Coytez, Emerson, Alice, William, Adriane, and Perkins (Smethwick).
Charles Ralph McNatt
Haldon Jewell McNatt
Daron D. McNatt
A farm family that recognizes the value of its history is
the McNatt family of northern
The founders’ bachelor son, David Crockett McNatt, was the farm’s second owner. A member of the Odd Fellows Lodge, David “built a new frame house, a stock barn and three tobacco barns.” He also narrowed his agricultural operations to the production of hay, corn, tobacco, wheat, horses and cattle.
In 1911, David McNatt left the farm to four of the founders’ grandchildren, one of whom, Raymond L. McNatt, bought the shares of the other three heirs and became the farm’s sole owner. At first, Raymond lived on his father’s farm and allowed sharecroppers to work his property. He later built a four room house on his farm and built a brick museum “in memory of his family.” Raymond was active in civic and agricultural organizations, including the Farm Bureau, the American Legion and the Masons.
In 1970, the farm passed to Charles, Daron and Haldon McNatt, the founders’ great grandsons, and Stephen Lemond, the founders’ great great grandson. The McNatts and Lemond have expanded the size of several fields and currently specialize in the production of soybeans. Jim Wall tills their 80 acres of land.
Oliver Brothers Farm
Terry J. Oliver
John R. Oliver
David F. Oliver
Just south of the Ore Springs community is the Oliver Brothers Farm, founded in 1908 by Albert “A.B.” Oliver. For the sum of $861, Oliver purchased eighty acres and move into a log house on the property, A. B. managed a diverse livestock and row crop operation that included cattle, horses, hogs, corn, hay and timber production. A progressive farmer, A. B. owned and used an unusual tool. His Fairbanks & Morse farm scales were approximately 10’ x 20’ and were “used to weigh livestock and wagon loads of corn to help determine the optimal time to market the commodities.” The scales remained on the farm until they were sold sometime in the 1950s.
In 1939, A. B.’s nephew Luther “L.
B.” and his wife Isabell Watts Oliver became the second generation to own the
farm. During their ownership, L. B. and Isabell constructed a four-room house
in front of the original home so they could care for A. B.; he died shortly
afterwards in 1940. Even though the two houses were detached they were close
enough that a person could step from one porch to the other. L. B. and Isabell had two sons and a
The farm was deeded by Jeter Oliver in 1994 to his four nephews. The Oliver brothers --Terry J., John R., David F. and James “Paul” --are the great, great nephews of the founder. The farm is used primarily for livestock production today. The Oliver family has a tradition of civic activity and political involvement. Thomas Jefferson Oliver worked for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as a livestock inspector and was active in local politics as well as the successful campaigns of Governors Frank Clement and Buford Ellington. Jeter Oliver was Co-Chairman of the Weakley County Campaign for the election of Gov. Ellington to both of his terms. Like their father, T. J. and their uncle Jeter befre them, Terry, David, and James “Paul” (now deceased) served on the Weakley County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. John R. Oliver was on the Weakley County Commission. Terry Oliver is the Deputy Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, a position which he also held for eight years during the administration of Gov. Ned Ray McWherter. Further, he was a representative to the 1977 Limited Constitutional Convention.
Photo: The stock barn on the Oliver Brothers Farm was built in 1952.
In January 1874, Edward Woodard purchased two tracts of land, totaling 114 acres and located west of Como, from C. D. and Amanda Lovelace. He and his wife, Sarah, were the parents of five children. One of their daughters, Sallie Woodard Pemberton, acquired a portion of the family farm in 1893, and her husband, James Houston Pemberton Sr., bought out the other heirs. They raised cattle, cotton, hay and swine on the farm. James Pemberton Sr. died of blood poisoning just before the birth of their third child, James Jr. in 1896, but Sallie was able to raise their children and take care of the farm on her own. James Houston Pemberton Jr., served in World War I in France, and Sallie asked the War Department to send her son home to help her on the farm. The letter from the War Department granting this hardship request is a part of the family’s collection.
James Pemberton Jr. inherited the farm following his mother’s death, and his sisters sold him their portions for $1. James Jr. married Laura Pebbles, and lived and worked on this farm with their daughter, Marjorie, for most of the 20th century, raising cattle, swine, corn, beans and cotton. The Pembertons were members of the Farm Bureau, and Laura was a member of the Home Demonstration Club for more than 40 years.
In 1991, Marjorie, who is married to Prince C. Blackwood, inherited the farm. Today, the couple raises wheat, beans and corn on the 100-acre farm, which is worked by David Oliver of the county’s Oliver Brothers Century Farm.
Reed Angus Farm
Aaron Burns Reed and Nell Ralls Reed
David Ralls Reed
Notable achievements in modern progressive farming have
taken place at the Reed Angus Farm of
In 1881, Joseph Washington Reed and his spouse Matilda Chambers Reed, who was the daughter of the founders, became the farm’s second owners. The Reeds initially worked 58 acres, but added a second tract of 34 acres in 1890. They also produced dark fired tobacco for market. Joseph, who fought in the Battle of Shiloh, was the father of six children and his son Martin Alonzo Reed inherited the family landholdings in 1918.
Martin Alonzo Reed was one of the leading progressive
During this period of agricultural innovation, the
community surrounding the Reed Farm also experienced significant changes. The
several small local schools were consolidated into the Chestnut Glade school,
which served over 300 students in grades one through twelve. Covered wagons
pulled by mule teams carried the children to school. Mart Reed contributed
money for the school’s construction and later served on the school board. His
In 1950, the Reed Farm passed to Aaron Buren Reed, the great grandson of the founders. Owning 34 acres of the original farm plus an additional 341 acres of land, Aaron grows corn, soybeans, milo and wheat. In addition, he breeds Angus cattle. In 1976, his son David R. Reed acquired 231 acres and he and his father farm the adjoining properties as one agricultural unit.
In this family’s opinion, the period from “1946 to 1980 was probably the greatest time in history to be a farmer. There was steady growth in all fields of endeavor,” but since 1980, a combination of financial policy, reckless management and a worldwide glut of agricultural products “has just about destroyed farming as a way of life.” The family points out that this new situation “has created real havoc with young farmers.”
Rose Hill Farm
Milburn Burke Conner
Madge Elretta Nanney Conner
The 17th District of Weakley County is home to
the Rose Hill Farm, located 22 miles northwest of
500 acres of the farm passed to George Washington Conner
in 1859. Married three times and the father of seven children, Conner operated
an inn on the
Samuel Martin Conner, the grandson of the founder, acquired 188 acres of Rose Hill in 1902. Eventually owning 180 additional acres of land, Samuel raised corn, cotton, tobacco, mules, horses, swine and cattle. This Civil War veteran married Hutoka Hemphill and they were the parents of six children. In 1923, their son Joseph Welch Conner obtained title to 60 acres of the original farm. Joseph and his wife Lula Mae Burke raised two children and the family lived in the remodeled Rose Hill schoolhouse. During these decades, the Conners became more specialized farmers, cultivating corn, tobacco and hay and breeding mules, horses and swine. The farm also grew in size to a total of 110 acres.
In 1950, Milburn Conner received 60 acres of his great
great grandparents’ property. Almost four decades later, Milburn possessed 152
acres. Billy and David Clark of
Louise R. Stover
Three miles northwest of Martin stands the Rowlett Farm,
which dates to 1851. Between that year and 1867, Archibald and Rebecca Guthrey
Rowlett acquired over 396 acres of land. The parents of five children, the
Rowletts managed a typical
In 1865, George W. Rowlett obtained 97 acres of the family land and seven years later, he added a second tract of 100 acres to his farm. Like his parents, George practiced general agriculture. He wed Cornelia Coulter and raised eight children. His brother Claude F. Rowlett received title to 70 acres of the farm in 1900. Claude and his wife Fannie had one child, Mary Ann Rowlett.
Lloyd B. Rowlett, the grandson of the founders, was the next owner of the family property. On his 70 acres, Lloyd managed fields of corn and cotton and herds of dairy cattle and swine. Married to Evelyn Speight, Lloyd fathered one daughter, Louise Rowlett Stover, the wife of Cecil Ray Stover. Louise inherited 70 acres of the original farm in 1976. She now operates 220 acres and her cousin Ted Brock works the farm, raising corn and soybeans.
Annette Conner Parnell
The year 1852 is the founding date for the Ruthville Farm, located 20
miles northwest of
In 1877, the farm passed to William J. Burke, a veteran of the Civil War. This son of the founders married Glovina Cloar and they had six children. Farming 80 acres, the family raised the same crops and livestock as the founders had. At an undetermined time, William also bought 38 additional acres of land.
James M. Burke, the grandson of Lewis and Elizabeth
Burke, acquired the family land in 1931, in the midst of the Great Depression.
A veteran of World War I, James survived the Depression and developed a
profitable farming operation of 250 acres. Corn, tobacco, mules, swine and
cattle were his agricultural commodities. In 1972, the farm’s original 80 acres
passed to Milburn Conner and Mary Conner Pease, the founders’ great
grandchildren, and Charles Ray and Trera Ray Lamb, the great great
grandchildren. Together the four heirs owned 170 acres. Billy and David Clark
Genieva N. Wright
Kenneth Dwain Wright
Near the Ore Springs community Robert Smith purchased 68 acres in 1909. With his wife, Emma Bell Summers, and their children Nola and Lester, the family raised tobacco, corn, and sweet potatoes. Robert soon purchased another parcel that was nearly 32 acres. The family notes that he gave $1650 for the first acres and $717.18 for the second and purchase.
Lester acquired 100 acres in 1952. He and his wife, Mary Sylvanie Barnes, were the parents of Robey and Genieva. Life was hard on the farm just after World War II. Lester also worked at a blacksmith shop in Dresden. He and his family struggled to keep the farm and, on the advice of his banker, J. C. Vaughan, successfully began raising hogs and dairy cows. They sold to the Pet Milk Company in Martin and this helped them to continue to stay on the farm. When Lester’s health began failing in the early 1970s, they sold the 32 acre tract to a neighbor who continues to farm it. Sylvanie continued to manage the farm after Lester’s death in 1976. After living and working on the farm for over a half century, Sylvanie died in 2001 and Robey, Genieva, and her husband, Kenneth Wright inherited the farm which they row cropped and rented. When Robey died, Genieva and Kenneth bought his part of the farm from his heirs in 2010.
Genieva recalls attending the one-room Lamb’s school before it closed and children went on to Dresden. She was a member of the 4-H Club and received the Betty Crocker Cooking Award in Home Economics her senior year. She was also a member of the Central Home Demonstration Club for several years. The Wrights and their longtime friend, Charles Culver who works the land, make decisions together about the farm’s operations.
Photo: Taken c. 1916 in front of the family house built c. 1905. From left to right, Emma Summers Smith, Robert Smith, Lester Smith, and Nola Smith.
Established between 1848 and 1853, the Snider Century Farm is located
five miles southwest of Gleason. Its founders, Harrison and Martha Cravens,
possessed 50.5 acres which yielded corn and vegetable crops.
In 1936, the farm passed into the hands of Beulah Cravens Ray, the granddaughter of the founders. Beulah and her husband Alvin Ray “added about 410 acres to the farm.” In 1965, Beulah willed the property to her adopted daughter Bonnie M. Snider, who now owns 528.5 acres. Bonnie’s spouse O. F. Snider and her son Lloyd planted and harvested soybeans and corn. Today, Lloyd owns the farm.