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Public Notices

April 18, 2014

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3 Local Farms Named 'Tennessee Century Farms'

Originally published: 2009-10-31 01:17:51
Last modified: 2009-10-31 01:17:51

Greene County

Has 57 Certified

Century Farms

MURFREESBORO --Three more Greene County farms have been designated as "Tennessee Century Farms."

Two of the three farms -- the Mattie Lou Broyles Snapp Farm and the Graveyard Hill Farm -- also have been designated as "Pioneer Century Farms" because they were founded prior to 1796 when Tennessee became a state, Hankins said.

The announcement was made by Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms program at the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennesssee State University.

"Greene County has the second-highest number of certified Century Farms, with 57 recognized to date," Hankins confirmed.

She described the three historic farms in a press release:


"Established by Jacob Broyles, the current-day Mattie Lou Broyles Snapp Farm is derived from Horse Creek Farm.

"Broyles, a descendant of German and French immigrants who moved to the eastern part of Tennessee during the 18th century, founded the Horse Creek Farm in 1778.

"Family and community history indicates that this land was settled as early as 1765 and previously owned by Emanuel Sandusky.

"Although Broyles may have lived in the area and farmed the land earlier than 1778, it was Nov. 2 of that year that the deed for more than 600 acres was officially recorded for the property in what was then the state of North Carolina.

"Jacob and his wife, Elizabeth Yowell, had seven children: Lewis, Delilah, Jeremiah, James, Keziah, John and Ezekial.

"As with most farm families, the Broyles' were as self-sufficient as possible, raising a variety of livestock and crops, including cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, oats, barley and corn.

"In 1794, still two years before Tennessee became a state, Lewis Broyles became the second generation to own the farm. He and wife Mary McCain also had seven children.

"During their ownership, the farm produced tobacco, barley, oats, wheat, cattle, hogs, sheep and horses.

"In addition to farming, the family built a gristmill on the property. According to the family's records, a two-room house was built above the mill for the traveling doctor who came to the community.

"The farm passed through five more generations, and in 1964, the great-great-great-great granddaughter of the founder, Mattie L. Snapp, acquired 32 acres of the original farm owned by her ancestor, Jacob Broyles.

Today, Wayne Brown works the land, and he raises hay and tobacco.


"Located 12 miles from Greeneville is the Graveyard Hill Farm, which was named for the historic family burying ground that is still cared for by the current generation. Robert Clemons Gray Sr. established the farm in 1795, Hankins said.

"Robert married Catherine Alexander Gray, and they had three children, Mary A.C. Gray Walker, Robert C. Gray Jr. and Elizabeth Gray Hayes.

The family raised tobacco, corn, hay, wheat, and had apple orchards as well as sheep, cattle, chickens, pigs and Belgian horses.

"Robert owned and operated a store in the Graysburg community, which was named for the family, in addition to operating the Graysburg post office from 1840 to 1883.

"Robert C. Gray Jr. acquired the farm next and raised many of the same crops and livestock.

"The third generation to own the farm was Alexander Brabson Walker, the great-nephew of the founder, who was married to Rachel Elizabeth Morelock.

"The couple had five children.

"Prior to owning the property, Alexander was a Confederate soldier and part of the Company B, Tennessee 12th Cavalry Battalion.

"This company was raised from men in Hawkins, Greene, Knox, Hamblen and Grainger counties. The unit was assigned to Wharton's, J.J. Morrison's, H.B. Davidson's, Grigsby's and Vaughn's Brigade.

"The farm passed through several generations, and in 1962, the current owner, Willis "Billy" Morelock, the great-great-great-great nephew of the founder, obtained the property.

"The current generation of the Morelock family has been active in many community and regional organizations.

"Billy is married to Jeanette Luttrell, and they have two daughters, Lisa M. Gosnell and Ginger M. Frembling, who were active in 4-H and other organizations growing up on the farm.

"Lisa, who owns the farm along with her parents, is currently employed by the Northeast Tourism Association and is also a genealogist.

"Among other activities, she and her husband, David, are members of the Washington County Farm Bureau.

"Ginger is a former 4-H Extension Agent in Edenton, N.C.

"Billy and Jeanette are members of the Greene County Farm Bureau, Tri-State Antique Power Association, Greene County Farm & Auto Club, J.I. Case Collectors Association and J.I. Case Heritage Foundation.

"In addition to belonging to these organizations, Billy is a collector of J.I. Case tractors and equipment and has more than 25 antique tractors, garden tractors, tools, farm and tractor memorabilia, as well as a toy tractor.

"His collections of antique tractors have been featured in Fastline Antique Farm Edition Trade Magazine, Old Abe News, Old Iron Calendar, and most recently in the 2009 book, Iron Memories (Heartland Publications).


"Also established more than 200 years ago is the Pin Oak Farm founded by Benjamin P. Pickering.

"On 140 acres, Benjamin and wife Rebekah Ellis and their 12 children raised livestock and row crops, with tobacco being their primary cash commodity.

"Pin Oak Farm is one of the few farms in Greene County that has annually raised a tobacco crop, a longstanding tradition that continues today," Hankins said.

The generations of ownership descend from the founding couple through more than two centuries to current owner Barbara W. Carter.

She and her husband, Edwin Clay Carter, manage and work the farm of about 12 acres, where they continue to grow tobacco, along with hay.

Kim and Billy Boswell and their children -- Gibson, Graham, and Gretchen -- have become the newest generations to live on the farm that their ancestors have worked since the early years of the 19th century.

For more information and stories, see The Greeneville Sun.

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