Galloway farm in Rhea County earns historic 'Century Farm' distinction

Galloway farm in Rhea County earns historic 'Century Farm' distinction

September 26th, 2011 by Ben Benton in News

Jim Galloway pours feed for one of his 42 cattle Thursday on his Century Farm in Grandview, Tenn.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Jim Galloway holds the original deed to farmland his great-great grandfather purchased in 1899.

Jim Galloway holds the original deed to farmland...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

GRANDVIEW, Tenn.-It was $40 well spent in 1899.

A late-summer breeze blows through a 1940s-era barn on Rhea County's latest "Century Farm" as owner Jim Galloway unfolds the original deed to $40 worth of land that eventually would become his home.

"My dad was a real farmer. He grew a big garden, and he had bees," Galloway said, holding the 112-year-old document, brittle and tape-repaired, delicately in his calloused hands.

The Century Farm designation is given by the state Department of Agriculture's Tennessee Century Farms Program to farms that have been owned and operated by the same family for 100 years.

The Galloways' farm marks the fifth Rhea County farm to earn the designation, according to state agriculture officials. The others are the Cawood Farm, Chattin Farm, Crosby Springs Farm and Grassy Branch Farm.

Allen Galloway owned the farm from 1958. His son, Jim, moved back to help on the farm in 1991 and took it over in 2008.

Bonnie and Jim Galloway watch traffic moving along Jewett Road at their Century Farm in Grandview, Tenn.

Bonnie and Jim Galloway watch traffic moving along...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

But the family's farming legacy started at the end of 1800s.

In 1899, Isaac Morris, Jim Galloway's great-great-grandfather, bought 40 acres for $40 to provide a home to his wife, Eliza, and seven children. They raised vegetables and dairy cattle.

In 1925, after acquiring more land, Morris sold 88 acres to his second cousin Mark Reed and Reed's wife, Bessie. They raised mules and hay on the farm and operated a sawmill. They had four children.

In 1958, Morris' grandson Allen Galloway and his wife, Arkie, bought 47 acres of the farm. He had eight children, including eventual heir Jim. He raised beef cattle and pigs.

Jim Galloway, 72, and his wife, Bonnie, 70, both grew up on Jewett Road atop Grandview Mountain. They rode the school bus together to Spring City High School, where they became sweethearts.

Bonnie Galloway's earliest experience was on her family's farm, although she said she didn't actually learn the intricacies of being a true farmer when she was growing up.

"I helped my dad for 17 years," she said.

Jim Galloway heads out Thursday morning with breakfast for 42 head of cattle.

Jim Galloway heads out Thursday morning with breakfast...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

"And they raised chickens," her husband said.

"That's why he fell in love with me," Bonnie Galloway laughed.

Walking to his John Deere to haul out the morning roll of hay for the 41 cows and a bull waiting rather impatiently, Jim Galloway said he never thought much about the farm's history and heritage until he started gathering background to seek the Century Farm designation.

The Galloways received the official designation June 15, but they will get a second round of accolades at the Old Timers Day event at the Rhea County Fairgrounds on Oct. 1.

By the time the Galloways moved back to Rhea County from Ohio in 1991 to help Jim Galloway's aging father, the family had added Bonnie Galloway's childhood home, adjacent to the original farm, and other segments, bringing the total acreage to about 300.

Even though she'd grown up on a farm, making a living at it was new to her, Bonnie Galloway said.

"I'd never farmed till we came back," she said.

At first, because of the farm's remote location, she said she bought enough groceries for a month when she went shopping because she wasn't sure how often she could make the hour-long round trip to town.

The farming couple hopes one of their two sons, Kendall or Keith Galloway, or maybe one of the grandchildren, will take up the operation to keep it going.

"We're doing all this so somebody's got to come back and fill our shoes," she said.

"I hope one of them will when they retire or get ready," Jim Galloway said, kicking up a spray of dew as he strode through the grass toward his herd.