For Release: May 1, 2012
Contact: Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947
BLOUNT COUNTY FARM JOINS RANKS OF STATE’S CENTURY FARMS PROGRAM
Bowman Farms Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
MURFREESBORO— The Bowman Farms, located in Blount 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.
Nathaniel Bowman purchased 51 acres on Wildwood Road in Maryville in 1911. By that time, Bowman and his wife, Ann Matlock, had two young children, Bessie Gladys and Mary; their third child, Agnes died in her youth. Bessie and Mary eventually became teachers and served Blount County for many years. The Bowmans, who truck-farmed, grew grapes and strawberries while raising cattle and chickens.
Bessie Bowman Large and Mary Bowman Robinson became the owners of the farm in 1957. Mary and her husband, Morris Lee Robinson, owned 36 acres. They used the land to raise cattle and chickens and when Wildwood Road needed to be graded, the Robinsons provided the necessary equipment and team. Saturday nights at their farm were social events. They hosted “community singings” where neighbors played string instruments and enjoyed games like Rook.
Morris and Mary Robinson’s two children, William Nathaniel and Marjorie Anita, acquired the land in 1975. They and their spouses, Mildred Cooper (wife of William) and John S. Mobley (husband of Marjorie), grew small grains, soybeans and tobacco while raising cattle and chickens. Today, John Mobley and Jimmy Talbott, a family friend, raise cattle and grow corn, soybeans, okra, beans and other produce. Tom Robinson, one of the Robinson’s six children, acquired his parents’ portion of the land in 2008, assuring the family ownership for another generation. Bowman Farms is the 29th certified Century Farm in Blount County, which ranks 11th in the state in total number of these historic farms.
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 http://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.
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