FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 23, 2006
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
Massey Farm 8th in County to be Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
(MURFREESBORO)—The Massey Farm in Trousdale County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, reports Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP), which is located on the MTSU campus.
In 1852, William Iley Massey established a farm of 220 acres located in the northeast section of the county. Married to Susan Haliburton Massey, the couple had five children named John William Massey, William Pierce Massey, Clemency Victory Massey, James Henry Massey and George Monroe Massey.
According to the farm’s history, the Massey family owned no slaves and family history records indicated that William did not serve as a soldier during the Civil War. The farm was bordered by both Union and Confederate sympathizers, Hankins said, and a history of the family mentions that a “Confederate bushwhacking camp was near the Massey domicile.”
In 1890, George Monroe Massey acquired the property. Under his ownership, the farm produced wheat, corn, sorghum, hogs, milk cattle and chickens. The Masseys ran a community sorghum mill and here neighbors produced molasses for a number of years. George was married to Ann Towns Massey and they had six children. Their daughter, Sallie Massey Campbell, became the next owner of the land in 1930.
Sallie and husband Shela Campbell had two children, Robbie and Grace. The family cultivated corn, tobacco and wheat and raised cows, hay and sheep. In 1969, Robbie obtained the farm, and since then she and her husband, Jack Evitts, and their sons, Edward and Rickie Evitts, have worked the land.
Progressive farmers, the Evitts were the first farmers in Trousdale County to bale burley tobacco. They have worked with the University of Tennessee to test new varieties of tobacco and growing practices for more than 25 years. The family recalls their first diesel tractor was a used 1962 model and fuel was 6 cents a gallon.
Currently, the farm produces cattle, tobacco, hay and vegetables. Two tobacco barns, a feed barn and a smokehouse are in use today.
Hankins said the Massey Farm joins seven other certified Century Farms in Trousdale County.
The Century Farm Program recognizes the contributions of Tennessee residents who have continuously owned, and kept in production, family land for at least 100 years. Since 1984, the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU has been a leader in the important work of documenting Tennessee’s agricultural heritage and history through the Tennessee Century Farm Program, and continues to administer this program.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) began the Tennessee Century Farm Program in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial. Today, the TDA
provides a metal outdoor sign noting either 100, 150 or 200 years of “continuous agricultural production” to Century Farm families.
To be considered for eligibility, a farm must be owned by the same family for at least 100 years; must produce $1,000 revenue annually; must have at least 10 acres of the original farm; and one owner must be a resident of Tennessee. There are more than 1,000 Century Farms across the state and all 95 counties are represented.
“The Century Farmers represent all the farm families of Tennessee,” Hankins says, “and their contributions to the economy, and to the social, cultural and agrarian vitality of the state, both past and present, is immeasurable. Each farm is a Tennessee treasure.”
For more information about the Century Farms Program, please visit its Web site at http://histpres.mtsu.edu/histpres. The Center for Historic Preservation also may be contacted via mail at Box 80, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 37132, or by telephone at 615-898-2947.
• ATTENTION, MEDIA: To request an interview with the owners of this farm or obtain jpegs of this farm for editorial use, please contact the Center for Historic Preservation at 615-898-2947.