The soon-to-arrive holiday season brings out the best in all of us. What better place to enjoy the fall and Christmas season than at J & J Century Farm, where tradition, fun, and family come together. From the lowlands along Big Barton?s Creek to the forest-covered rolling hills, J & J Century Farm offers a real window to the past. The current proprietor, the founders' great-grandson, Johnny Wayne Wall, recently received the 2009 Tennessee Small Farmer of the Year Award for Alternative Enterprises at Tennessee State University?s Small Farm Expo. In presenting the award, Michael J. Turner, Montgomery and Cheatham County executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency, said that J & J's operation "demonstrates how vital farming is to everyone living in Tennessee and offers the public opportunity to learn about the heritage and historical importance of farming."
The farm was founded in 1875 when Hannah Buchanan Wall purchased the first fifty acres in the northeast corner of Dickson County on Big Barton?s Creek. In 1882, he purchased an additional 179 acres, also on the creek. Wall and his wife, Margaret Proctor Wall, known to all as Granny Wall, raised tobacco, fruit, swine, hay, and cattle, and had fourteen children. After the death of her husband, Granny Wall raised her children and several nieces and nephews, and oversaw the building of a house from trees milled on the farm. The family recalls her milking from a wheel chair in her later years. As Aunt Mary Swaw Atkins, now age 90, says of Granny, "That was the workingest woman I ever knew." In the 1930s, when the farm was operated by sons Sidney and H. B. Wall, county lines were redrawn, splitting the property between Dickson and Montgomery counties.
Today 130 acres of the original farm remain. Johnny Wall?s father, John Robert Wall, took over the land in 1960, and built the first house with running water in 1969. At age 82, he still resides there. Four generations of Walls now live on the property and share the farm duties.
Johnny and his wife Beverly want to give everyone the opportunity to experience the joys of simple living, and they have taken on the task of making a trip to the farm worth the effort. Bev says, "This is a work in progress--it will never be completed. Johnny is a very creative man, always coming up with more ideas to make the farm a memorable experience."
J & J Farm and Granny Wall's Country Store began their regular fall hours in September and will remain open daily until Christmas Eve. Pumpkins, gourds, and Indian corn, plus a corn maze and hayrides will be available for fall and Halloween. For Christmas, cut and tabletop trees will be available from the Tennessee Christmas Tree Growers Association. Bev and Johnny have started growing trees there on the farm; in about four years their white and Virginia pine, Murray and Leyland cypress, and regional red cedar trees will be ready to offer.
J & J Century Farm operates both the Open Memories Christmas Tree Farm and The Granny Wall Century Farm, which provides a variety of activities and projects throughout the year, such as A Froggy Day, Earth Day, Harvest Moon Day, and Farm Day.
It is the goal of Johnny and Beverly Wall to keep Granny Wall's historic farm on Big Barton?s Creek, allowing young and old to enjoy a day on the farm and learn the traditions of the past.
J & J Century Farm is located at 1219 St. Michael Road, Southside, TN 37171; for more information calql 931.387.2594 or visit www.jandjcenturyfarm.com.
The Tennessee Century Farms Program was created by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in 1975 as part of our national bicentennial celebration. Now operated by the Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University, the program recognizes and honors the contributions of families who have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. Statewide there are now 1,271 certified farms; of these, 112 farms are 200 or more years old, 560 are 150 years old, and 599 are more than 100 years old.
The Century Farms Program collects and interprets the agrarian history and culture of our state; the collection supported the 1985 book, Tennessee Agriculture: A Century Farms Perspective, and the program produces numerous articles, county displays, museum exhibits, brochures, and booklets. You can learn more at www.tncenturyfarms.org.