FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2010
CONTACT: Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947
DICKSON COUNTY FARM BECOMES COUNTY’S 23rd CENTURY FARM
State Program Recognizes Old Howell Century Farm for Agricultural Contributions
(MURFREESBORO)—The Howell Century Farm in Dickson 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.
According to the family’s records, by 1860 Benjamin Howell and wife Mary J. Bailey founded a farm of about 55 acres. With their nine children, they raised cattle, hogs, hay, vegetables, chickens and corn.
Gilpen and Nancy Stringfellow Howell, the second owners of the farm, also had nine children. They acquired the 55 acres on which they raised hay, cattle, pigs, chickens and vegetables. In 1895, Gilpen and Nancy gave an acre of land next to their home to build the Pleasant View Church of Christ, which still stands.
The grandson of the founding couple, Benjamin Gilpen Howell and his wife, Alice Brim Howell, were the third generation to make their home on the farm. They had two sons, Samuel and Robert Turner Howell. Together, they raised hay, vegetables, cows, pigs and chickens.
Benjamin died in 1898 and his son, Samuel, died the following year. Alice operated the farm until son Robert Turner married Nellie Auldridge in 1917. With their four children, James Edward, Avis, B. G. and Roy Lee, they continued to raise many of the same crops, with the addition of wheat.
The current owners, B. G. and wife Bobbie J. Mash Howell, raise hay and cows on the 55 acres first farmed by his ancestors 150 years ago. A log home built between 1850 and 1860 was continually occupied by the family until 1973 and is being renovated.
The Howell Century Farm is the 23rd certified Century Farms in Dickson County, Hankins said.
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 farm’s owners, 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.