FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 21, 2007
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
STATEWIDE PROGRAM RECOGNIZES MOORE COUNTY FARM FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
114-Year-Old Rock Creek Farm Becomes County’s 6th Designated Century Farm
(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—The Rock Creek Farm in Moore 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.
For the sum of $207, Thomas Shaw Holt purchased a parcel of land north of Lynchburg near the community of County Line in 1893. Once a part of Bedford County, the name came from its location on the Bedford and Lincoln County lines. After Moore County was formed in 1871, the community continued to carry its name.
Hankins said that during the late 19th century, County Line was a small but thriving community with the Tolley and Eaton distillery, a school, two churches, two general stores, a blacksmith shop and a post office. The Old Shelbyville Turnpike ran through the farm and T. S. Holt operated a general store that also served as a barrel-making factory.
Thomas was married to Sarah Tennessee Wiseman, and they had one daughter, Tommie Shaw Holt Ervin, who became the second generation to own the property in 1942. During her ownership, the farm supported cattle, mules, tobacco, corn and cotton. Tommie was married to Walden Jackson “Jack” Ervin; their children were Guy Holt, Horace William, Sarah Nel, and Mary Walden.
According to the family’s reports, during World War II, the family grew “Victory Gardens.” Following the war, a new barn was built in 1949. Additionally, the Holt family was active in the Home Demonstration Club and the County Line Community Club in the 1940s and 1950s.
Guy Ervin and wife Mary Louise Owens Ervin, the next generation to live and work on the farm, produced cattle, mules and horses. They donated a half-acre of land for the construction of the County Line Church of Christ.
In 2005, the grandchildren of Guy and Louise Ervin, Todd F. and Walter B. Jennings III, sons of Buford and Nancy Ervin Jennings, acquired the property from their grandmother. Today, Todd and Walter, along with their father, are involved in the farm’s management and operation. They raise cattle and hay and continue to use the 1949 barn.
The Rock Creek Farm is the sixth Tennessee Century Farm to be certified in Moore County, Hankins said.
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 CHP 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 the farm’s owners, or to obtain jpegs of the farm’s founders the general store and barrel-making factory mentioned herein, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.