With the Peebles Farm, Benton County’s Century Farm program recognized its newest member on Monday night, Aug. 22, on the Carter Porch at the Benton County Fair.
When William Richard (Ricky) Peebles was ready to share his research about his family’s agricultural history in Benton County, instead of a 100-year-old farm, he had proof of it being 200 years in the same family, and maybe more. With a research notebook more than 4” thick, Peebles’s research is extensive.
The history of the farm started with a land warrant No. 262 of North Carolina awarded to the heirs of Job Copeland in 1817 for his military service to the state. This grant included 640 acres on Eagle Creek. In June 1820, the land was then transferred to John Matlock.
“We believe that the Copeland and Matlock families were related, however we have not proven that yet,” said Peebles.
The same parcel of land in Humphreys County (which later became part of Benton County) was then transferred to John Caswell (Cas) Matlock. It had become a farm for the families that resided there.
“The Matlock and Merrick families came to Tennessee together and the legend is that the Matlock family scouted the land across the Tennessee River while it was still owned by Native Americans. They were ready to make their claim as soon as it became available,” continued Peebles.
The land was then passed on to Cas’ son, John Wesley Matlock. John Wesley later left the land to his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Jacob Peebles.
The farm continued to stay in the Peebles family through Arch and Mattie Lou Peebles, William Harold (Bill) and Aileen Faye Peebles, until ultimately being bequeathed to William Richard and Patricia Ann Peebles in 1998.
According to the 1850 census records the farm was valued at $450. By the 1870 census, the land had increased to just under 2,000 acres and was valued at $200,000, about $100 per acre.
The current owners are Ricky and Patricia Ann Yates Peebles. They have two children, Chris and Matthew. During their tenure as owners, they have raised cattle and hogs, and grown hay, corn, and sorghum.
Besides the Peebles Farm, two other farms were added to the Century Farm roster during the program at the fair on Monday night. They are the Hall/Dinwiddie Farm (Jerry and Ellen Dinwiddie) and the Latimer Farm.