John Elam Scruggs Farm
Margaret Busch Hinkle Thoma
Mary Elam Scruggs is one of those rare antebellum women who established a Tennessee Century Farm. With her husband Matt, she left Edgefield County, South Carolina in the early 1800s for Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Matt died in Missouri and Mary’s second marriage ended in divorce. In 1830, Mary decided to move her six children and slaves to Tennessee to start a new life on 99 acres in the Fairfield community of Bedford County. Here she managed the farm for over two decades and was a founding member of the New Hope Baptist Church.
John Elam Scruggs inherited 99 acres from his mother in 1852. He married twice, having seven children by each of his two wives: Rachel C. Finch Scruggs and Mary Jane Moore Scruggs. John Scruggs was a wealthy planter and owned 23 slaves and approximately 1200 acres of land. To exhibit his wealth, Scruggs successfully raised Tennessee Walking Horses. In 1888, John Elam Scruggs, II, and his wife Margaret Roundtree Scruggs inherited much of the farmland. He continued to raise horses, cows, sheep, corn, and wheat.
In 1965, Margaret Scruggs Hinkle, the great granddaughter of the founder, inherited a farm of approximately 100 acres. Together with her husband Lurton Busch Hinkle, Margaret raised beef cattle, hay, and corn. Ten years later, Margaret Busch Hinkle Thoma of Tullahoma obtained the farm from her parents.