For Release: March 29, 2013
Contact: Caneta Hankins, Center for Historic Preservation, 615-898-2947
Syler 7 Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions
MURFREESBORO — The Syler 7 Farm in Moore 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.
In 1903, R. W. Smith purchased 133 acres in the Hurdlow Community south of Lynchburg, Tenn. He and his wife, Molly Crabtree, had six children: John, Reed, George, Bernice, Annie and William. The family raised livestock as well as corn, wheat and vegetables. They butchered hogs had chickens for meat and eggs and had milk cows. When it was time to harvest the wheat, a thresher came to the farm.
At the age of 14, Annie learned how to drive a traction engine used to move the wheat separator through the fields. Two years later, she became Moore County’s first woman to drive an automobile when her family purchased a new 1914 Ford touring model. The Smiths became the second family on Farris Creek to own an automobile; they purchased it from Will K. Parks, then the Ford agent in Lynchburg.
After R.W. passed away, Molly received a life estate to the land but when she died it was sold at auction. Annie’s son and daughter-in-law, Roy Clayton and Maggie J. Syler, purchased the farm in July, 1960 so that the farm would not go out of the family. They have five children: Kerry, Rodney, Rickey, Craig and Tanya. The family grows tobacco, corn and hay and maintains a garden. The Sylers also raise dairy and beef cows, hogs and horses. Today, they own a total of 260 acres and work the farm with their son Craig and his daughter, Shaynee. The farm is named for the Ray and Maggie Syler and their five children.
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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