STATEWIDE PROGRAM RECOGNIZES DECATUR COUNTY FARM FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Rhodes Farm Becomes County’s 5th Century Farm, Reports Hankins
(MURFREESBORO, Tenn.)—The Rhodes Farm in Decatur 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.
Located 10 miles from Parsons, the Rhodes Farm that was founded by John Prior Hill in the 1850s. He and his wife, Rebecca Aldridge Hill, had four children. On the 140-acre farm, corn, pigs and cattle were raised. The Hill-Johnson Cemetery was established by the founder and his family on the farm and was used until the 1960s.
The second owner of the property was the founder’s daughter, Fannie Elizabeth Hill, and her husband, James Johnson. James enlisted in Company D of the 2nd Regiment of the West Tennessee Cavalry in 1862. He contracted smallpox and died from the disease in November 1863. He is buried in the family cemetery.
William Campbell and Sarah were the children of Elizabeth and James. Eventually, William bought his sister’s share of the farm. Upon his death, he passed the land to his two daughters, Ada Hearington and Genora Evans.
Genora’s daughter, Mable, and her husband, Roby Inman, acquired the farm. After both Mable and Roby died, the land was inherited by their daughter, Claudean. Today, Claudean and husband Cleo Rhodes, as well as their family, including son Keith, live and work on the farm, where they produce corn, soybeans and hay.
The Rhodes Farm is the fifth certified Century Farm in Decatur County, Hankins noted.
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, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.