FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 23, 2006
EDITORIAL CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
Moore and Wright Farms Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
(MURFREESBORO)—The Moore and Wright Farms, both located in Smith County, have been designated as Tennessee Century Farms, reports Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP), which is located on the MTSU campus.
• As Tennessee was recovering from the Civil War, Joel B. Moore purchased 300 acres that would come to be known as Moore Farm. At its founding, this property was the John Moore plantation and as the only son, he bought his six sisters’ interest in the land. Married to Mary Elizabeth Agee Moore, the couple had four sons who all went by initials—J. H., J. M., R.H. and J. B. Largely self-sustaining, the family raised corn, hay, cows, chickens, hogs, and had a vegetable garden.
Each of the family’s four sons held an interest in the farm until 1910. J. B. and R. H. then purchased the acreage and owned it together until 1919 when J. B. became the sole owner. J.B., who built a house in 1908 that stands today, was married first to Laura Agee and after her death to Edna Allmon. He fathered six children, though two died. During his long ownership, the farm supported tobacco, corn, hay, cattle, hogs and sheep. Mules were the primary source of working power on the farm. Like most neighboring farms in the area, soldiers practiced maneuvers on the land during the 1940s.
Edna Allmon Moore became the farm’s owner in 1956. Under her ownership, she raised hay, tobacco, cattle and garden vegetables. Edna and J. B. had two sons, Roy and Cordell, and they became the next owners. Roy married Doris Bradley Moore and they had four children, while Cordell wed Christine Nixon Moore and they had three children.
In 1999, Roy, grandson of the founders, became the sole owner of the farm. Today, the land is leased to Jason Hall whose property adjoins the Moore Farm. Currently, the farm produces sorghum, sweet corn, beans, tomatoes, greens, onions and lettuce.
Hankins noted that only three generations have owned this farm that is now almost 140 years old.
• Located just north of Carthage in the Turkey Creek community is the Wright Farm, established in 1894 by brothers James Henry and W. D. Wright. On 585 acres, the Wrights produced corn, tobacco, pasture, beef cattle, swine, sheep and mules. James Henry was married to Bettie Gwaltney Wright and they had 10 children. This couple are the great-grandparents of the current owners.
William Elonzo Wright, son of James Henry and Bettie, and his brothers-in-law, R. C., A. H. and C. E. Hackett, became the next owners of the land in 1903 and added more acreage to the farm.
William, married first to Pearl Hackett and after her death to Minnie Hackett, fathered five children. The third owner of the property was Charles Edward “C. E.” Wright, who married Ruth Cornwell Wright. Their two children are Julia Wright Goodlett and Roger Edward Wright. The family reports that
U.S. Army training maneuvers were conducted on this farm during World War II.
Under C. E.’s ownership, the farm progressed with modern machinery such as using tractors for cultivating the crops. In 1965, 119 acres were sold to the U.S. Corp of Engineers for the Cordell Hull Dam, reducing the farm’s river bottom acreage by a third.
While they managed the farm, the Wright family was also very active in the community. All of the family served as members of the Smith County Farm Bureau. In addition, C. E. was a director for the Upper Cumberland Electric Membership Cooperative. During the 1930s, Ruth Wright organized the Turkey Creek Home Demonstration Club and served as its president for more than 30 years. Roger was an active member of the Future Farmers of America and he exhibited his calves and beef cattle at county fairs in Carthage and in Nashville. Julia was an active member in 4-H club work and in 1955 she won a trip to National 4-H Congress in Chicago as a state bread-baking winner.
In 2001, Julia Wright Goodlett and Roger E. Wright inherited the farm and actively manages and operates the property. She is married to Frank Goodlett and Roger is wed to Janet Mott Wright.
Today, the farm produces beef cattle and pasture. The family has recorded many stories of the farm and Smith County history. For example, Hankins said, a racetrack was part of the farm in the late 19th century and people would travel by boat to attend the horse races. People from the Turkey Creek community and Carthage came to picnics and outing at “Mint Springs” on the farm. The area had large shade trees near a spring that formed a small swimming hole enjoyed by children of all ages. And today, flocks of wild turkeys, for which the creek and community were named, have returned.
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.
Today, there are more than 1,000 Century Farms across the state and all 95 of Tennessee’s 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 these farms or obtain jpegs of the farms for editorial use, please contact the Center for Historic Preservation at 615-898-2947.