For Release: March 28, 2013
Contact: Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947
CLAY COUNTY FARM JOINS RANKS OF STATE’S CENTURY FARMS PROGRAM
Daniel-Hummel Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
MURFREESBORO — Daniel-Hummel Farm in Clay 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 production for at least 100 years.
Jennie Daniel founded the Daniel-Hummel Century Farm on Dec. 12, 1910, in the Fairview community. Four years earlier, her husband Joe’s search for better work led the couple and their nine children to move from the Willow Grove area of Clay County to Dallas, Texas.
After Joe fell ill in 1910, he told Jennie that he had a Woodmen of the World insurance policy that she was to cash and return to Tennessee with their family. When Joe died, Jennie packed their belongings into a single trunk and purchased train tickets to Cookeville.
From Cookeville, Jennie and her nine children made their way to Willow Grove and eventually located a 32-acre farm with a barn and two-story log home, for which she paid $600. The previous owner had started an orchard with grapevines and apple, peach, and cherry trees. Fruit from the orchard, in addition to nuts, were the primary crops in the pre-Depression era years on the farm.
During the Great Depression, the family grew more vegetables, hay, and corn while raising farm animals for their meat and milk. The three older boys cut wood from the farm and worked for nearby neighbors. They also dug and sold ginseng and May apple.
Jennie and her family suffered great loss. Carshel, the second oldest son, died in 1918 at age 18 from measles and pneumonia. His younger brother Chat, died at age 26 of tuberculosis, then the family lost Tommie at age 33. A daughter, Bussie, died giving birth to her second child.
Three of the remaining children, Lewis, a veteran of World War I, Lillie and Harlin eventually married and moved away.
Jennie and Joe’s youngest child, Paul, remained at home and married Velma Stover in 1940. The couple lived and worked on the farm, raising cows, pigs, and chickens while selling fruit from their orchard. Paul and Velma had two children, Betty and JT. Both children attended the elementary school in Fairview, but by the time they were in high school, the Willow Grove High School had been closed after the construction of the Dale Hollow Dam in 1943. Much of their family also relocated from the area because of the lake. Betty was active in 4-H and participated in sewing, cooking, and a strawberry patch project.
In 1958, Betty married Melvin Hummel; the young couple lived and worked on the farm with Jennie until the matriarch passed away in 1962. That same year, the Hummels built a new house, which remains their home. In the early 1980s, Melvin and Betty deeded each of their two daughters, Tammy Sidwell and Pamela Breeding, an acre of the farm on which to build homes and raise their families. Pamela and Tammy were involved in 4-H and raised their children on the farm. Betty and Melvin’s three grandsons were also involved in 4-H. The Hummels currently raise garden vegetables, hay and a variety of poultry, and they also have a pony for their great-granddaughter, the sixth generation.
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. MTSU now boasts one of the nation’s first master’s degree programs in horse science, and the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, D.C., acclaims MTSU’s Master of Science in Professional Science degree—the only one in Tennessee—as a model program. Recently, MTSU unveiled three new doctoral degrees in the sciences.