Monday, May 21, 2018

Two Greene County farms join ranks of state's Century Farms program

Johnston Farm and Earley Farm recognized for agricultural contributions

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Two historic Greene Countyfamily farms are now part of the Tennessee Century Farms Program, administered by the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU, and are being recognized for keeping continuously owned family land in agricultural production for at least the last 100 years.

The Johnston Farm, located near Greeneville, is another Century Farm with a female founder: Margaret Guinn, who purchased the original 93 acres in 1915. She and her husband, Mason Guinn, had eight children, and the family farm produced hay, livestock, dairy, tobacco, poultry and garden vegetables. The couple's daughter Maggie Guinn Johnstonand her husband,Joseph Johnston, also had eight children and later took over the farm operations, staying active in the community and local Farm Bureau.

Maggie's grandson and the founders' great-grandson, Brad Johnston, and his wife, Ginia Brown Johnston, now operate the farm and have added another 39 acres. Three generations live on the land today, and the Johnston family is still producing hay, beef and tobacco. They also use part of the farm as a wedding venue.

The Earley Farm, located northeast of Greeneville, is first documented in the 1880 federal census for Greene County, which lists founders G.W. Earleyand his wife, Linnsy Earley, along with their seven children, at the site. 

G.W. and Linnsy's son William Earley, his wife, Mollie Earley, and their nine children worked seven acres. The next generation more than doubled the farm's size, and Kyle Earley, the founders' great-grandson, and his family produced cattle and tobacco on the farm.

Today, the founders' great-great-great grandson, Jordan Cox, and his wife, Marci Cox, own and operate the farm. Jordan, who is a member of the Tennessee Cattlemen's Association, raises Angus, Angus Cross and Hereford cattle.

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 or contact the Center for Historic Preservation at 615-898-2947 or P.O. Box 80, MTSU, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.

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