Monday, June 17, 2013

[545] Jefferson County Farm Joins Ranks of state's Century Farms Program

Ellison-Webb Farm Recognized for Agricultural Contributions

MURFREESBORO — The Ellison-Webb Farm in Jefferson County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, reports Dr. Carroll Van West, 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.

James R. Parrott and his wife, Amanda, purchased 40 acres from J. S. Wells in 1907 and added 13 more acres in 1911. Their farm was situated in the Shady Grove community west of Dandridge. As part of the 1911 purchase, Parrott and Wells agreed to share equal access to the Shadden Branch “for the water of stock and other purposes.”  The Parrotts, who had three children, primarily grew hay and corn and also raised swine.

When Amanda passed away, James struggled to work the farm and pay the mortgages so he gave the land to the couple’s youngest daughter, Lillie Ray Ellison, in 1925. Lillie paid the mortgage with money from a life insurance policy that came to her when her husband, Ome Ellison, died in 1921. Lillie, who had two young daughters, Lottie Lee and Eleanor Vermontrude, never remarried. Though the land belonged to Lillie, her father retained the use of it for the rest of his life. James passed away in 1944 and was buried at the Shady Grove Cemetery.

In 1957, Eleanor V. “Trudy” Ellison Webb acquired the property.  She and her husband, Charles Webb, worked the farm, clearing land and raising hay and beef cattle. Their children, Johnny Ome Webb and Teresa Charlene Webb Gentry, are the current owners. Teresa oversees the operation of the farm, while Johnny lives on the land where their great-grandparents’ home remains.
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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