FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 9, 2008
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
STATE PROGRAM RECOGNIZES MONTGOMERY COUNTY FARM FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
109-Year-Old Marks Farm Designated as County’s 27th Tennessee Century Farm
(MURFREESBORO)—The Marks Farm in Montgomery County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, announced Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation, which is located on the MTSU campus.
In 1899, Mary Hunt Marks Gholson acquired a farm of more than 700 acres. Mary’s son was named Albert Smith Marks II. The family, including Mary’s husband, Alexander Gholson, produced tobacco, corn and wheat. The Tennessee Central Railroad constructed a part of its rail system through the farm.
The second generation to own the farm was the founder’s son, Albert S. Marks II. Married to Louise Hunter, their children were Arthur, Dempsey, Albert and Mary. Under this ownership, the family raised tobacco, corn, wheat and beef cattle. According to the family’s reports, a general store was opened at the Gholson Railroad stop and Albert served as a John Deere dealer and operated a grain mill in the community.
In 1958, the children of Albert and Louise inherited the property. Each of the children married and had several children. Arthur wed Cynthia Patch and they had three children, Arthur, Albert P. and George. Dempsey married Julia Wilcox and they also had Connie, Julia and Robert. Albert married Madeline McAlarney and they had one son, Albert, and three daughters, Mary A., Rebecca and Emily. Richard wed Mary and they had three children names Richard, Albert M. and William. During this period, the farm produced tobacco, corn, soybeans, wheat, beef cattle and dairy cattle. The dairy was started by Arthur and is one of the few dairies still operating in the county.
Today, the farm is owned by the great-granddaughter of the founder, Mary A. Marks, the great-grandsons George Marks and William Powers, and Julia W. Marks.
Currently, the land is worked by George, who raises corn, wheat, soybeans, tobacco, beef and dairy cattle. In addition to his farming duties, George is active in the farm bureau, the Montgomery County Cooperative and the Burley Stabilization Board.
A farmhouse that was constructed by the second-generation owner as a residence is Mary’s home. In addition, a mill that was originally used to grind grain, a tobacco barn that was built in the 1880s and a log corncrib remain standing.
“The Marks Farm is the 27th century farm to be certified in Montgomery County,” Hankins confirmed.
About the Century Farms Program
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 began the Tennessee Century Farm Program in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial. Today, the TDA provides a metal outdoor sign denoting 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 request jpegs of the farm, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.