For Release: July 13, 2011
Contact: Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947
GIBSON COUNTY FARM JOINS RANKS OF STATE’S CENTURY FARMS PROGRAM
Tilghman-Rochelle Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
MURFREESBORO— The Tilghman-Rochelle Farm, located in Gibson 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 at MTSU.
The Century Farms Program recognizes the contributions of Tennessee residents who have owned and kept family land in continuous agricultural production for at least 100 years.
In 1843, Stephen Holland Tilghman purchased 842 acres from George Prater northwest of the Rutherford community. Like many other farmers in Gibson County before the Civil War, Tilghman raised cotton, corn, hay and cattle. He and his wife, Polly, were the parents of nine children.
The Civil War exacted a heavy price from the Tilghman family. Stephen and two of his sons, Pinckney and Robert Calvin, fought for the Union. Pickney was killed at the Battle of Ft. Donelson in 1862, and Stephen was killed in 1864. The Tilghman farmhouse was used as headquarters for both Confederate and Union army units during the conflict.
After the war, Robert Calvin Tilghman inherited the farm and continued raising corn, cotton, cattle and hogs. Robert and his wife, Lydia, were the parents of Benjamin H. Tilghman, who purchased the family farm in 1902 and then sold it to his son, Howard, in 1904. Howard married Winnie Davis Paris, and their daughter, Mabel Tilghman Rochelle, acquired the farm in 1962.
Mabel’s son, Charles Howard Rochelle, who married Edith Louise Sanders acquired the family farm in 1978 and is its current owner. Soybeans, corn and wheat are the primary products of the 88-acre farm today and Mike Green manages the daily operations. The Tilghman-Rochelle Farm, in the same family for 168 years, is the 31st Century Farm to be certified in Gibson County.
Since 1984, the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU has been a leader in the important work of documenting Tennessee’s agricultural heritage and history through the Tennessee Century Farms Program.
For more information about the Century Farms Program, please visit www.tncenturyfarms.org. The Center for Historic Preservation also may be contacted at Box 80, MTSU, Murfreesboro, Tenn., 37132 or 615-898-2947.
• ATTENTION, MEDIA: To interview the farm’s owner or request jpegs of the farm for editorial use, please contact the CHP at 615-898-2947.
Founded in 1911, Middle Tennessee State University is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution located in Murfreesboro and is the state’s largest public undergraduate institution. In September 2011, MTSU will celebrate its 100th year anniversary with special events and activities throughout the year—kicked off by a Blue-Tie Centennial Gala on Friday, Sept. 9.