Friday, March 29, 2013

[369] Polk County Farm Joins Ranks of State's Century Farms Program

For Release:  March 28, 2012
Contact:  Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947

Presswood-Cheek Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions

MURFREESBORO — The Presswood-Cheek Farm of Polk 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. 

Francis Marion “F.M.” Presswood began farming 196 acres on the Hiwassee River near Reliance in 1865. His stepfather had owned the land since 1848, and on returning from the Civil War, F. M. married Mary Boring and they began farming the land. The couple had 10 children, and the family raised sheep and cattle while growing corn and cotton.

In the late 1870s, Francis and Mary gave the county’s Sixth District school directors an acre of land with the understanding that a “good and comfortable schoolhouse in modern style” be constructed within two years. This school was later abandoned, and the district constructed a new school in the early 1900s on a portion of the Presswood homestead then owned by one of their sons, Luther.

Francis died in 1914, leaving Mary the farm, which she owned until her death. Alice Presswood, their daughter, and Bess Anna Jones Cheek, their granddaughter, acquired approximately 100 acres of the farm in 1939. Bess married Bascom Cheek and they had five children, Christine, Boyd, Mary F. Robert and Joyce Ann. In 1948, the Cheeks became the sole owners of the farm.

Since 1994, Robert Cheek and his wife, Margaret Pulley Cheek, have lived on the farm, where they raise cattle. The historic and scenic Presswood-Cheek Century Farm is the ninth to be certified in Polk 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 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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