FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 7, 2009
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947
HENRY COUNTY FARM JOINS STATE’S CENTURY FARMS PROGRAM
McDaniel Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions to State of Tennessee
(MURFREESBORO)—The McDaniel Farm in Henry 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, which is located on the MTSU campus.
In 1838, Theophilus Hansel and his half-brother, William Hinson, traveled from North Carolina to Henry County and bought a 101-acre farm. Theophilus and his wife, Nancy Wyatt Hansel, had 12 children. The family raised corn, tobacco, horses, mules, chickens, and pigs.
The family’s history reports several stories from the Civil War period. During these years, the farm and house were occupied by Union troops. The youngest son, Joseph Noah Hansell, who turned 10 at the outbreak of the war, took food to his brothers as they hid in the farm fields to avoid being conscripted to fight for the Union. When the Union troops left, they took young Joseph Noah’s new horse with them and left another one that died the next day.
It was Joseph Noah who became the second-generation farm owner in 1874. By this time, the farm had increased to about 140 acres. He and his wife, Mary Margaret Beard, were married in 1878 and had five children. After Joseph Noah’s death in 1940, his son, John Hansel, kept the house, living there until his death in 1962.
John’s three sisters, Olive Elizabeth, Tonie Ellen, and Nancy Zula, remained in the area where they reared their families. In 1940, Zula and her husband, Jesse McDaniel, acquired the farm, where they continued to raise tobacco, corn, horses, mules and chickens. Their son, William Earl McDaniel, became the owner of the family farm in 1978. He and wife Janette are the parents of Charles.
Today, the current owners of the farm are Charles McDaniel, wife Sandra and their son, Jason. Charles is the great-great-grandson of Theophilus and Nancy Hansel. On the family farm where three generations currently reside, Charles and Jason work the land and raise corn, cotton, hay, cows, mules and horses.
Hankins said the original dogtrot house, as well as the original smokehouse and barn, still stand on the McDaniel Farm, which is the 20th certified Century Farm in Henry County.
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, 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 farms’ owners or request historic jpegs of the farm for editorial use, please contact the CHP directly at 615-898-2947.
With three Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and former faculty, Middle Tennessee State University confers master’s degrees in 10 areas, the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree. MTSU is ranked among the top 100 public universities in the nation in the Forbes “America’s Best Colleges” 2009 survey.