Pearson Farm recognized for agricultural contributions
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — An historic Haywood Countyfamily farm is now part of the Tennessee Century Farms Program, administered by the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU, and is being recognized for keeping continuously owned family land in agricultural production for at least the last 100 years.
The Pearson Farm, located in the Forked Deer community northeast of Brownsville, Tenn., was founded in 1887 by Henry Jackson Pearson and his wife, Melinda Ann Wilder Pearson. They transferred the 300-acre farm the following year to their eldest son, John Wilder Pearson, and his wife, Alice Lee Pearson. The couple raised cotton and soybeans, and John organized and served as president of Gates Banking and Trust, a community bank supporting local farmers that still operates today.
John and Alice’s youngest son, Lonnie Wilder Pearson, later took over the farming responsibilities and in 1918 introduced terrace rows to the fields to prevent soil erosion — an effort believed to be the first such usages in Haywood County. Lonnie and his wife, Cynthia Scott Pearson, eventually passed the farm on to their only child, Lonnie Wilder Pearson Jr.
Known as Wilder, the lifelong farmer and lay minister died in 2017, leaving the family farm’s management to his wife of 55 years, Norma Stotts Pearson, and their sons, John Wilder Pearson and Adrian Scott Pearson. These great-great-grandsons of the founders are raising cotton, wheat, soybeans, grain sorghum and cattle as the fifth generation to work their family farm.
Since 1985, 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 program, visit http://www.tncenturyfarms.org or contact the Center for Historic Preservation at 615-898-2947 or P.O. Box 80, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.