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By John Oliver, President, Historical Society

We continue our look at Century Farms in Trousdale County, or farms that have been in the same family for over 100 years.

With the long history of farming in our county, you would believe that there were many farms still in the same family for over a century. But we actually only have 14 farms that have gone through the application process and been officially recognized as Century Farms.

Perhaps this series of articles will encourage other farms to contact our local Extension Service and begin the application process!

Submitted
George and Edna Akers Holder sit on the front porch of their home in this photo, which was made in 1944. With them are their children. In the back row are George Akers Holder, his wife Laura Owen Holder, their daughter Nancy, Ras Holder and his wife Charla Neal Holder. In the middle row are George and Edna. In front is Samuel “Bill” Holder, who was single at the time.

This week we look at the “Holder Farm,” which dates back to 1906.

Things have of course changed over the last 100 years. People in the past had more difficulties to overcome than we do today. While we may long nostalgically for the “good ole days,” we have to remember that those days didn’t have electricity, indoor plumbing, hospitals, radio, TV or automobiles.

If you didn’t mind walking everywhere you went or hitching up the buggy, if you didn’t mind growing most of what you ate, if you didn’t mind homes that were hot in summer and cold in winter… well, you get the picture.

In 1906, there were no safety nets for people when they suffered a disaster. Flood or even crop insurance wasn’t available. And if a family’s breadwinner died, the family didn’t have Social Security benefits to fill in the gap.

So at the turn of the last century, when Lucy Anne Celsor Akers found herself a widow with four children, she was at a loss for what to do or whom she could turn to.

Seeking her relatives, Lucy moved her young family from Kentucky to Tennessee to be closer to her brothers. The brothers already had farms in the Goose Creek area.

The children, Dewitt, Fell, John, and Edna, were now the ones to do the work of their late father, and with the help of their uncles and cousins they made a success of the farm.

Like a typical farm of the time, the Akers family raised sheep, hogs, cattle and tobacco.

Daughter Edna married George Holder and they soon took over the operation of the farm, located on the county line between Trousdale and Macon counties.

Edna and George had three sons, George Akers Holder, “Ras” H.

Holder and Samuel “Bill” Holder.

As the boys were growing up, the farm was a busy place as the young men were kept busy with cattle, tobacco and hay.

The size of the farm grew and could be found on both sides of old Halltown Road. The farm was prosperous and the family took quickly to new and improved ways of farming. The farm was often used for agricultural fairs, where state farming officials would demonstrate new farming methods.

In addition, several farm equipment manufacturers used the farm for showing off new lines of tractors and such.

And if that wasn’t enough activity, the family recalls that the Holder family often held their family reunions there, as well as the get-togethers of the Celsor clan.

To visit the farm today you would see evidence of the past century, from a log washhouse, to the old wood farmhouse, to a “modern” outhouse built by the Works Progress Administration in 1939, to the greenhouses and tobacco barns of recent years.

Edna passed away in 1972 and George in 1973.

The farm then passed to their three sons, all married and engaged in farming and in the stockyard business.

Each of the sons received a portion of their parent’s farm, but it was Ras Holder who got a tract of 300 acres that included the original 112 acres purchased by his grandmother in 1906.

Ras and his wife, Charla Merryman Holder, had two sons, Phillip and Stanley. Like their parents and grandparents before them, the boys have been tobacco farmers and are active in the tobacco warehouse end of the business.

Today, with Ras and Charla both passed away, the farm is in the hands of son Stanley and his wife, Vicki Cox Holder. Stanley and Vicki have two sons, Jason and Blake, who work the land and help their parents in the warehouse business.

Jason and his wife Katie, and Blake and his wife Danielle, have started families of their own, ensuring that the “Holder Century Farm” will be around for a long, long time!