top of page
IMG_1664.jpg

ABOUT US

This farm is a historical, multi-generational place that has many stories to tell.

Before these European American stories can be told, we honor the presence of the spirited natives' stories and wish our histories could have evolved mutually.  They represent the epitome of a regenerative-organic human land relationship. 

A good portion of this farm's land can be dated back to a first generation Gammon, named Richard. He was born near London, England in the early 1750's and eventually planted roots in the Sullivan County area.  He married his wife Sarah Gamble in 1781.  He received several land grants forming an 1,100 acre plantation on the North Bank of the South Holston Fork River, in the proximity of where the Watauga flows into the Holston. A portion of the main old road that connected Blountville to Jonesborough in the early 1800's, named Old Stagecoach Road passed through the Gammon property.

 

The Gammon Homeplace deed, dated 1871, has a 3rd generation Gammon name on it, Sarah Gammon Gilman, but within the deed it mentions the transfer of land from the old George Gammon(1782-1838) second generation tract of land, and that the borders adjoin another second generation Gammon, Sarah A. Gammon Fain(1784-1871).  The old homeplace, referred to in the past as "Mt. Pleasant" could date back to the early 1800's.

 

Jumping forward, year 2020, Barkley Mills (born in 1944), a 6th generation Gammon, has been farming here ever since he was a young boy.  Allison Mills Neal moves to the farm with her husband Matthew and little boy Eastenn Dutch.

DSC03145.jpg

Allison and her family had lived on a rural farm property for many years south of Nashville, just southwest of the small community of Leipers Fork, called Arugula's Star of Neal Family Farms.

Their family had worked with the Land Trust of TN to put the land in a conservation easement, in order to prevent development of the fertile valley and forest. The specialty was organic produce and over the years they offered their goods as CSA's (community supported agriculture) and sold to Farmer's Markets, Whole Foods, and to Nashville restaurants through Nashville Grown.  The farm even hosted Outstanding in the Field.

As the farm property was a limited partnership on Matthew's side of the family, the partners decided to sell the property and it was listed at the end of 2019.  With that The Mills Neal family decided to move towards Allison's roots, to her family's farm in the Foothills of East Tn.  

Barkley and Judy Mills, moved into the Gammon Mills homeplace in 2004, upon the passing of Preston Gammon Mills.  They renovated the homeplace and Judy takes much care of the house and yard while Barkley tends to the fields and the cattle. 

DSC03570.jpg

It was the 4th generation Gammon family, Robert E. Lee Gammon (born 1864) and Barbara Elizabeth Barnes (born 1874), that were married in 1894 and lived in the oldest part of the current homeplace. 

IMG_1680_edited.jpg

They had 9 children, one of them being Preston Gammon. During this era, this place like most in that time, was a subsistent farm.

 

Robert Lee Gammon lived in the homplace into his old age, and in his lifetime he passed the farm and homplace down to his youngest daughter Preston Gammon Mills.  In fact, by1948 Mr. Robert Lee Gammon had deeded out approximatley 500+ acres into different parcels to all of his 7 living children.  

Preston Gammon married Benjamin Mills in December of 1937. They had two children, Ben and Barkley.  Benjamin and Preston Gammon Mills were farmers. All the barns and equipment structures were either relocated or built in this era.  Ben Mills had a brother Cecil Mills and they farmed together from the mid 1900's on. In 1957, they were able to purchase an adjoining property, which is called the Lacy property.  

Preston Gammon Mills's Aunt, on her mother's side, Sarah Alice Barnes Lacy along with her husband Sam C. Lacy, lived in the large and beautiful well built home that stood on the purchased property.  This house is still standing and is due for a restoration.  

The Mills brothers and family farmed mainly cattle and tobacco and had good sized gardens.  Cattle has been apart of this place for a long long time. 1984 marked the last year that tobacco was grown. 1986 marks the last year that land was turned over to grow corn and grain for the cattle.

 

Barkley Mills married Judy in 1979. Allison came along in 1980 and her sister Mandy in 1985.

While Barkley's parents aged he took on more and more of the cattle farming, while also holding full time jobs.  Barkley worked full time and tended to the farm in all his other "free time" from the 1970's on.  He finally retired from full time company work in 2013, but has continued to cattle farm.

 

IMG_1731.jpg
IMG_1726.jpg
DSC02782.jpg

For the first time ever in their adult lives, Barkley and Allison farmed together in 2020.  

 

Allison planted the first trial market garden and set up a Self Serve Stand down by the farm entrance on Gammon Creek.  They started some rotational grazing and plan on doing more regenerative-organically grown agriculture into the future. The farm consist of 110 rolling foothill acres, plus an additional 200 acres of leased lands. Little by little, the farm's main goals, moving forward, are to provide the community with high quality, unique, chemical free and nutrient dense foods and to improve the soils health with managed rotational grazing.

IMG_0839.jpg
bottom of page