For Release: Oct. 29, 2012
Contact: Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947
MURFREESBORO — The Allen-Rhodes Farm in Perry 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.
Joseph Henry Allen founded the Allen-Rhodes Farm in 1867 west of Linden near the Tennessee River on the Marsh Creek. The Civil War veteran and his wife, Frances Elizabeth Byrd Allen, had married in 1864 and acquired the land, possibly through her family. She was the daughter of William Temperance Byrd, which was also spelled “Bird,” who had migrated to Marsh Creek, Tenn., from South Carolina. The Allens had six children who survived to adulthood.
Allen’s brothers also owned adjacent or nearby land, and together they farmed about 1,900 acres. They produced cotton, corn and peanuts and raised cows and pigs and also owned and operated a warehouse and store, “Allen Brothers Shipping,” on the Tennessee River near the Jennings Bluff Landing. An enterprising family, they also operated a gristmill and sorghum mill near their home. Large tracts of this Allen land were acquired by the Tennessee Valley Authority in later years.
The third son of Joseph Henry and Frances, James David “Jim” Allen, and his wife, Leora Myracle, were the next generation to own the farm. They had eight children, and their daughter, Flossie, and her husband, Tavy Rodger Rhodes, acquired the farm in 1936. The Rhodeses lived in Nashville while Tavy worked as the Chief Railway Clerk with the U.S. Post Office until he was disabled. The Rhodes had two sons, Herman Bliss and James William, or “JW.”
Herman Bliss Allen and his wife, Joy Adkins of Benton, Ky., acquired the land in 1978. The couple had three children: Jan, and Mike. When Bliss passed away in 1995, Joy and their children became the owners. David passed away in 2005, and Mike works on the farm growing hay; some acreage is leased for corn. “Miss Joy” still lives on the farm surrounded by her family, which includes grandchildren and great grandchildren. The family hosts an annual dove shoot each Labor Day weekend. The Allen-Rhodes Farm is the fifteenth Tennessee Century Farm to be certified in Perry 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.
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