Obion County farm certified as Tennessee Century Farm
Posted: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:02 pm
The Roach Farm in Obion County has been designated as a Tennessee Century Farm, said Caneta S. Hankins, director of the Century Farms Program at the Center for Historic Preservation, which is located on the Middle Tennessee State University campus in Murfreesboro.
James Oliver Roach established a farm of 152 acres in 1859 near a trace that was once used by Native Americans and later came to be known as The Turnpike Trail from Jackson to Trenton, Troy and Mills Point on the Mississippi River. Near what is known as the Turnpike Levee, Roach raised corn, hay, cattle and hogs.
According to the family’s reports, farm-founder James is buried in Roach Cemetery, which is located on the farm. Once a public burial ground associated with Salem (Methodist) Church, only a few grave markers remain, including that of Roach who died in 1884.
In 1903, James Rutherford Roach acquired his father’s land. His first wife was Ladoskie Wheeler and his second wife was Josie Rust. During his ownership, the farm was expanded to include 162 acres, where the Roach family, which included son Charles, raised livestock and row crops.
In 1911, Charles Henry Barton Roach became the owner of the acreage. With wife Emily Jane Hargett and their four children, LaDoskie, Jona, Alpha Emma and Henry Neal, Charles Roach raised wheat, cotton, corn, cattle and hogs.
Siblings Neal and Alpha Emma took ownership of the 162 acres in 1950. Henry Neal never married and Alpha married William Park Hudson. The couple had one daughter, Alpha Ruth, who lived on the Roach Farm with her parents from 1934 to 1952. She remembers moving by wagon 20 miles from the “Crystal community (Obion County) by way of Troy and the Turnpike Levee to the Roach Farm near Mason Hall.”
Per the family’s reports, Alpha was an active 4-H member and her first project was raising 100 White Rock chickens when she was 9 years old. The profit from her 4-H poultry projects was use to start a bank account for “my college education,” she recalled. The family raised cotton, barley, soybeans, hay, corn, beef cattle and hogs.
Henry Neal and his niece, Alpha Ruth Hudson Worrell, became joint owners of the family farm in 1982. Following her uncle’s death in 1989, Alpha, married to Ray N. Worrell, became the sole owner of the property. The Worrells are the parents of sons Neal, Matt and Jon.
Today, Alpha is active in the management of her farm, where cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat are the primary commodities. Family photographs and the history of the farm, now more than 150 years old, are important to Alpha Ruth Hudson Worrell, who is the great-great-granddaughter of the farm’s originator, James Oliver Roach.
Published in The Messenger 8.17.10