Dement Home Place
John and Maurine Dement
Albert Dement built at least three barns, each with its own silo as the farm’s acreage and operation expanded. The family grew corn, hay and other grains while raising hogs, cattle and sheep. Albert was a successful Tennessee Walking Horse breeder and a founding member of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ Association. Two of his highly accomplished horses included Nell and Merry Legs. Nell lived on the farm, and Huda rode her to school in Normandy. Albert also supported a community effort to construct a concrete bridge across the Duck River at the turn of the century. The bridge still stands, but it is used only by fishermen and foot traffic today.
In 1919, Ephraim Miller Dement acquired the 191.5-acre farm from his father stepmother and siblings. He had graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in agriculture in 1915. Miller Dement and Anna Ruble “Ruby” McSpadden, married in 1920 and had four sons—Albert Mac, Ralph Ruble, Joe Jack and John Miller. The Dements were leaders in the community’s agricultural economy, and their farm engaged in many progressive techniques in the 1920s and 30s. The Dements operated a Grade A Dairy with a state-of-the-art milking barn equipped with running water and electricity. In the late 1930s, area dairy farmers created the “Cream Top Shippers” and began shipping milk to Chattanooga daily. Throughout the Depression, Dement employed about 15 local African-American men from Rippy Ridge to assist with the farm work. Miller Dement was a director and president of the local Farm Bureau for several years. In 1938, Ruby Dement and several neighboring women met at her house to form the Normandy Home Demonstration Club.
In 1976, John Miller Dement and his wife, Maurine Renner Bennett Dement, acquired a portion of the original farm. Through the years, John Dement has purchased tracts from his siblings, and he now owns 118.5 acres of his grandfather’s farm. The family lived on the farm until 1963, but John’s work with Hutchinson Farms forced his family to move to Nashville. John Dement continued to help his father and brother, Mac, on weekends. In the mid-1990s, John and Maurine Dement began making plans to move back to the farm. They have since rehabilitated some of the outbuildings and built a new farm residence. They grow vegetables and fruit, raise free-range chickens and have a donkey and four llamas. The remaining acreage is leased to Banks Dairy to cultivate corn, small grains and hay.