Plowshares and Swords:
Tennessee Farm Families Tell Civil War Stories


During the Civil War, the “Hard Hand of War” fell on farm families across Tennessee. Plowshares and Swords: Tennessee Farm Families Tell Civil War Stories (2013) tells the compelling stories of farmers, Union and Confederate, who coped with the challenges and changes of wartime and afterwards. For 150 years, generations have preserved oral traditions, documents, photographs, buildings, and the places that tell about their ancestors–those who experienced the reality of the home front during the war and afterwards as rebuilding began, and those who were enslaved and then made the transition to freedom. Century Farms and other historic farms, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, were selected because of their accounts of survival during this period.

As of 2022, we have sold out of this limited-edition book, but copies are available from online used booksellers and at local libraries.

More than 100 farms from 56 counties are represented.

Barns of Tennessee

Barns of TennesseeWhether built of stone, log, brick, or metal, barns have long been the heart and soul of Tennessee farms. Barns of Tennessee is a collection of photographs, along with many heartfelt stories from Tennesseans about their ancestors, families, and barns.

In the Summer 2007 issue of the Tennessee Century Farms Newsletter, Century Farmers were invited to submit photos for a forthcoming book on Tennessee’s barns. From across the state, readers of Tennessee Magazine, the popular monthly publication of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA) were also invited to send photos of barns. Over the next few months, more than 3500 photographs were submitted, many from Century Farm families. Barns of Tennessee, co-authored by Caneta Skelley Hankins and Michael Thomas Gavin, designed by the staff of Tennessee Magazine (including editor and photographer Robin Conover), and published by Donning Company Publishers, was released in 2009. Representing every county through more than 350 photographs, the book describes types and uses of barns and includes stories provided by the owners.

This delightful collection is now available. Click here to print an order form.

Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective

Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective by Dr. Carroll Van WestThis work by Dr. Carroll Van West was published by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Center for Historic Preservation in 1986. The book-length study includes descriptions of each farm and both color and black-and-white photographs.

Dr. West’s personal account of how the book came to fruition may be read at Southern Rambles, the blog of the Center for Historic Preservation.

Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective is available for purchase at Amazon.