Ruth H. Rapier
James M. Hackworth
Kenneth O. Hackworth
William Riley Dail, Jr. founded the Fairdale Ranch in 1856 with 550 acres in the Dutch Valley of Anderson County. Together with his wife Mary Farmer Dail and their six children, William Dail managed a very diversified farm. The family tilled fields of wheat, oats, corn and barley and raised cattle, hogs, sheep and poultry. Throughout the Civil War, both Northern and Southern soldiers harassed many East Tennessee farmers. These raids, unfortunately, did not spare the Dails. General Joe Wheeler’s troops ransacked the farm and killed a Reverend Baker, whom the Dails buried on their farm.
In 1907, Henry Grant Dail inherited Fairdale Ranch from his father. He and his wife H. Ella Prosise had nine children and together they farmed Fairdale’s 250 acres. Like his father, Henry produced the same kinds of foodstuffs and animals, but added the cultivation of tobacco, an important cash crop for all the twentieth century farmers. A prominent citizen of the Dutch Valley, Henry Grant Dail served as justice of the peace and trustee of the Dutch Valley Methodist Church and was a member of Anderson County’s Road Commission and Board of Education.
In 1932, Annie Dail Hackworth, the granddaughter of William Riley Dail, Jr., inherited the farm in the height of the Great Depression. Four years later, she and her family witnessed an important moment in the history of the Tennessee Valley Authority, when officials joined the powerline from Norris Dam to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, on Fairdale land.
Today, Fairdale Ranch includes only 50 acres, which produce hay to feed the family’s cattle. While Fairdale no longer exhibits the diversity of farm activity that characterized it 100 years ago, the Dail home, a two-story farm house built of virgin pine sills and yellow poplar siding in 1869-1870 still stands as a reminder of the nineteenth century East Tennessee landscape.
The current owners of the farm are Ruth H. Rapier, James M. Hackworth and Kenneth O. Hackworth, who are the children of Annie and the great grandchildren of the founder of the farm.