FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 9, 2008
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, 615-898-2947
STATE PROGRAM RECOGNIZES GILES COUNTY FARM FOR CONTRIBUTIONS
Mize Farm Designated as County’s 28th Tennessee Century Farm
(MURFREESBORO)—The Mize Farm in Giles County recently was designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, reported Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation, which is on the MTSU campus.
“The Abernathy family has been associated with Giles County since its earliest days.,” said Hankins, who noted the Mize Farm is the 28th property in Giles County to be certified as a Tennessee Century Farm.
Charles Clayton Abernathy, a native of Brunswick County, Va., came with his father, William, to Davidson County, Tenn., in 1808. In that same year, Charles entered Cumberland College, which later became Nashville University. Among his classmates was John Bell, later a senator and presidential candidate in 1860.
Charles followed his father to Giles County, settling there in 1810, just a year after the county was established. In 1813, Abernathy, with a volunteer Rifle Company under the command of Lt. Nathan Davis, left Pulaski and joined General Jackson’s army at Fort Strother. He was in the Battle of Horse Shoe Bend in 1814. After he returned from the war, Abernathy founded a farm about four miles southeast of Pulaski.
He studied law and eventually was appointed clerk and master, a job he filled until he was elected clerk of the Circuit Court in 1836, where he remained until 1860.
Charles and Elizabeth Hamilton Abernathy were the parents of James Polk, Hibernia, Ada Elizabeth, Robert, Delia, Charles M. and Albert Sidney. On just more than 191 acres, the family and their slaves raised horses, cattle, swine and corn.
In 1877, James Polk Abernathy inherited the farm from his father. Although married twice, he had no children. His sister, Ada Elizabeth Abernathy Aymett, and her husband, F. D. Aymett, became the third owners of the farm in 1886. The couple had four children: Lizzie, Julius, Mattie and McCollane.
Today, the seventh generation of the Abernathy family to own the farm is Sarah Abernathy Mize, who acquired the property in 1947. She is the great-great-grand- daughter of the founder. She and her husband, the late James Mize, had one daughter, Peggy.
Currently, the land is worked by Sarah’s nephew by marriage, Kenny McAfee, who is married to Cathy Johnston, a direct descendent of the founders. The farm supports cattle and hay.
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, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.