FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 25, 2007
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
DEKALB COUNTY FARM JOIN RANKS OF STATE’S CENTURY FARMS PROGRAM
132-Year-Old J. M. Bailiff Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—The J. M. Bailiff Farm in DeKalb County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, reported Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation (CHP), which is located on the MTSU campus.
In the decade following the end of the Civil War, Hankins observed, many farms were established as people began to resume a normal life and rebuild their lives and make the land productive again. In this tradition, Confederate veteran and former prisoner of war James Monroe Bailiff, who served in Company A, Allison’s Battalion of Confederate Calvary, established a 52 ½-acre farm about five miles from Dowelltown in 1875. Bailiff was wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, and later captured by Union troops before being released in spring1864. The family’s history records indicate that the Bailiff family owned slaves prior to the war, but they were freed in 1854 by James Monroe’s grandfather.
James and his wife, Eliza Jane Foster, had nine children. The family raised wheat, corn, cattle, horses, mules, oxen, pigs, chickens and kept bees. James also served as a deacon of the Dry Creek Missionary Baptist Church during the 1880s.
In 1925, James and Eliza’s son, Leslie Dee Bailiff, became the second generation to own the farm. Married to Amanda Tramel, the couple had four children. Their names were Charlie, Talphia, Mairene and Louelle. During his ownership, the farm produced corn, tobacco, cattle, horses, mules and chickens.
The third generation to own the property was Charlie Bailiff, who acquired the farm in 1950. During World War II, Charlie served in the 365th Field Artillery and drove an ammunition truck carrying 105 mm shells to the front line. He served in France, Belgium, Germany and in Japan during the United States’ occupation. In 1946, he was honorably discharged as a corporal from Camp Chaffee, Ark. Under Charlie’s ownership, the farm produced tobacco, corn, cattle, chickens, horses and mules. Charlie married Mary Codean Barrett and they had one daughter, Sandra Jean Bailiff.
In 2004, the great-great-grandson of James and Eliza, Kevin Bandy, acquired the farm. He and wife Brenda have two sons, Zachary and Dawson. The farmhouse built in 1923 by Leslie Dee Bailey continues to be used by the family, and today, timber is the primary product of this Reconstruction-era farm.
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.
“The Century Farmers represent all the farm families of Tennessee,” Hankins said, “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 interview Hankins or the farm’s owners, or obtain jpeg images of this farm for editorial use, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.