For Release: Oct. 29, 2012
Contact: Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947
MURFREESBORO — The Patton Farm and the Old Home Place Fars in Wilson County have been designated as Tennessee Century Farms, reports Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms Program at the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU.
These two farms bring the total number of certified Century Farms in Wilson County to 77-more than any other county in Tennessee.
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.
The Patton Farm was founded in the southeastern portion of Wilson County, north of Statesville, when John Patton purchased 150 acres in 1852. He and his wife, Rhoda C. Cassity, married a few years before establishing their farm and were the parents of seven children. After Rhoda died, John remarried Mary Jane Wamack and they had one child. In addition to farming, John was an important member of his community; he made household furniture and coffins, was captain of the militia and an elder in the Mt. Vernon Church.
The next generation to own the farm was a grandson, Dee Roy Patton, who lived on the farm his entire life. He married Amanda “Mandy” Allen in 1902 and they had two children, Myrtle Viola Patton and Howard Donnell Patton. They grew a variety of grains and vegetables and raised livestock, including mules. In 1930, the farm passed to Myrtle and Howard and now include 112 acres. During World War II, the Patton Farm and the surrounding farms were used for training maneuvers.
By 1963, Myrtle acquired her brother’s acreage. Neither sibling had children, so in 1964, it was acquired by their cousin, William L. Patton, a great-great grandson of the founders, and his wife. William now works and manages the farm, primarily growing hay.
James Sterling Weatherly established the Old Home Place Farm when he purchased 70 acres in 1888. He and his wife, Mary Louisa Ashworth Weatherly, had seven children and the family grew corn, wheat, and hay while raising cattle, sheep, and mules. When James died in 1927, his wife inherited the farm, though their daughter, Ona Pearl, and her husband, Frank Phillips, acquired the farm that same year, as well as an additional 150 acres.
Frank’s sister and brother-in-law, Fannie Phillips Lester and E.M. “Marvin” Lester, jointly owned this land with the Phillipes until Frank and Ona bought their interest in 1938. Ona and Frank Phillips had two daughters, Ina Rebecca and Mildred Ann. Their 220 acres were used to raise cattle, sheep, hogs, goats, mules, and horses while producing several varieties of corn, wheat, hay, sorghum, and fruit trees.
Mildred Ann Phillips Edwards and her husband, Riley Marshall, became the owners of 160 acres of the farm in 1960. Their children are Sharon Anne Edwards Buchanan and Marsha Lynn Edwards Beadle. Today, Mildred Edwards lives on the farm while her son-in-law and daughter of, Bob and Lynne Beadle work the land. They have added tobacco to their list of farm products.
In addition to the farmhouse, several historic outbuildings, including three log barns, a wheat house, smokehouse, hen house, well house, and garage, are part of the history of the Old Home Place.
The Patton Farm and the Old Home Place were recognized at the annual Century Farms luncheon at the Wilson County Fair on Aug. 23. The event was coordinated by Geneva Thomas, who also assists many of these farms with their applications.
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 Farm 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.
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