From The Tri-City Reporter
Gibson County, Tn Newspaper Article
Smith Farm Oldest of County's "Century Farms"
By Mary Jeffries
Ask almost anyone in the northern part of Gibson County where Tyson's Store Community is located and they will give you pretty accurate directions. The store burned down four years ago and a D-X station stands in its place at the crossing but folks do remember - and will point out its location. Although there are few direct descendants of Benjamin P. Tyson left in the area west of Rutherford - it is still known as Tyson's Store Community.
Approximately one mile north of the old store's location, on the Mason-Hall Road there is a white farmhouse and shady yard. Posted on one of the utility buildings, there is a neat yellow and black sign proclaiming, "This is a Century Farm" - and, indeed, it is. The farm, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Smith, was honored by the State Department of Agriculture, for 100 years of continuous family ownership. Mr. Smith is the great-great grandson of Benjamin P. Tyson and he is farming 49 acres of the original 3000 acre tract purchased in 1827.
Actually, the farm could be called a one and a half century farm. Next year will mark the 150th year of farming operation by the same family.
It is the oldest Century Farm in Gibson County. Benjamin P. Tyson came to the area from North Carolina and possibly traded acreage there for land in the western purchase -- or he may have bought the 3000 acres outright. He arrived four years after the county was established and, with the help of six other early settlers, divided the county into civil districts. He and his family were Cumberland Presbyterians and records show that in 1847, he deeded 12 acres for the North Union Cumberland Presbyterian Church and cemetery. The Smith family are members of this same church and Mr. Smith serves as an elder.
An interesting event in the family history is the fact that Davy Crockett's mother was buried in the Tyson Cemetery. It is believed that Mrs. Crockett's daughter married a Tyson - -and for this reason she was buried there. The land where the old cemetery is located now belongs to Oliver Gibbons. In recent years the remains of the famous man's mother was moved to Rutherford.
Benjamin Tyson's son, William was the second owner of the farm and his daughter, Mary Tyson Smith, and her husband, Louis, were the third generation to farm the land. The present dwelling was built by Louis and Mary Smith in 1884. And although it has been remodeled and improved through the years, it is basically the same.
After the death of Louis Smith, the farm was owned by their sons, W.E.Smith and Tyson Smith. The present Century Farm acreage was purchased from W.E. Smith and his brother.
Alvin and his brother (Anderson Smith of Rt. 4, Kenton) and a sister (Mrs. Marvin Headdon of Newborn) were raised in the Fairview Community. Alvin married a neighbor girl from Bell's Chapel, the former Miss Annie
Catherine Norton, in August 1942 and they moved to the home place in January of 1943. They lived with "Granny" (Mary Tyson) Smith and cared for her until her death in 1945. Granny Smith was known as "Aunt Whitey" and was loved by all the community. The Smith's have kept some of "Granny's" household items, among these a black wash pot, and they are valued possessions.
The Alvin Smith's are the 5th generation of Tyson descendants to farm the land. For several years they raised livestock and raised cotton, grain and other main crops and this is a full time operation. Mrs. Smith has worked side by side with her husband in addition to making a home and raising a family. The comfortable six room house built in the 1800's is completely modern but it has lost none of its warmth and
hospitality of earlier years.
The Smith's two daughter's, Mrs. Frank (Sarah) Allen of Route 2, Kenton and Mrs. Mike (Sue) Milligan, of Trenton are 6th generation Tyson descendants and although they live in different towns in the county, both still call "Tyson's Store Community" home.
According to Goodspeed's History of Tennessee (published in 1887) some of the best farming land in Gibson County was located in this area. Land must be cared for properly if it continues to be productive and the present owners of this Century Farm have more than enriched the Tyson heritage. Mr. Smith does all his own farm work. He is a combination of electrician, carpenter, mechanic and jack-of-all-trades but most of all - he is a good farmer. The modern, productive Century Farm is a fitting tribute to the memory of his great-great grandfather, the late Benjamin P. Tyson.
submitted by Vince Hughes
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