|Katie Clendenin Williams places a sign in the lawn of the Springville home where she grew up, now known as Mammy and Pappy’s Bed and Breakfast. The farm was recently named a Century Farm by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. —Staff photo by Heather Bryant
By HEATHER BRYANT
P-I Asst. News Editor
It is a classic boy meets girl story.
They met as teenagers when he hauled hay for her daddy at their Springville farm. He attended Buchanan School and she went to Springville School.
The first day of their senior year, one of her friends found his picture was mistakenly put in her senior photo packet. She took it to a basketball game at his school to return it, and after they talked, she ended up keeping his picture and giving him one of hers.
Danny and Katie Clendenin Williams of Springville are going on 39 years of marriage.
In 2004, the Williamses began a renovation of the Clendenin farmhouse on Elkhorn Road. After 26 months of work, most of which they did themselves, the house was transformed into Mammy and Pappy’s Bed and Breakfast.
They also raise cattle, donkeys and hay on the farm and lease part of the land which is used to grow corn, wheat and soybeans.
The Clendenin Legacy Farm was recently recognized by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture as a Century Farm.
Katie Williams knew the farm’s history went back to 1906, and after researching the archives and county records found out the farm’s legacy stretched back to 1865.
“I think it’s good when land stays in a specific family for a long time,” she said.
This is the 19th Century Farm named in Henry County and Danny Williams said there are probably many more as well.
“Anybody who has a farm that’s been in a family for a hundred years or more needs to have this done,” he said. “It’s a milestone. They really complimented Katie on her research.”
The Tennessee Century Farm program is located on the Middle Tennessee State University campus and recognizes Tennessee residents who have continuously owned and operated a family farm for at least 100 years.
Williams said his father died when he was 11 years old.
“Once I came into this family, her dad became my dad,” he said. “We did a lot of fishing together and had a lot of laughs.”
Katie Williams said her favorite part of running the bed and breakfast is meeting people and cooking country fare for them. The farm has hosted several parties, family reunions, company get-togethers and even weddings.
“The house is used to being full of people,” she said. “It reminds me of the big family gatherings we used to have here when I was little. It’s a lot of work but it’s fun.”
The Williamses are currently working to build a two-story reception center on the farm and hope to have it completed by the summer.
The couple said their children wish they lived near them to help them, but said they still have spent time at the farm. They have a daughter, Bridget Horner of Cookeville, a son, Jeffery Williams of Columbia, and five grandchildren.
History of the farm
William Wright established the farm at the end of the Civil War in 1865. It originally consisted of 109.5 acres. Wright married Susan A. Barnes and the couple’s children were Elizabeth and Thyrza Jane.
In 1866, the Wrights’ son-in-law, John “Frank” Clendenin acquired the property. He and Thyrza Jane had eight children, but three did not survive childhood. Thyrza later died in 1881.
In 1883, Clendenin married E.A. Woods. They had two children, Mattie Bell and John Douglas. Cotton, tobacco, corn, sorghum, cattle, sheep and hogs were the primary products of the farm.
In 1887, Joseph Lewis Clendenin, the eldest of the surviving children of John and Thyrza, became the third generation to own the farm. At the time of his father’s death, some of the children were still minors so Joseph and C.P. Caldwell bought the entire acreage of more than 300 acres to keep the estate within the family.
In 1895, Joseph’s brother William Wright Clendenin, became the owner of the property. William and wife Kate Johnson had four children: William Roy, Robert Ely, George David and Nelle. Then in 1943, TVA acquired 130 acres from the heirs of William Wright Clendenin.
George David “Dave” Clendenin inherited one-fourth of the farm at his father’s death and acquired the remaining three-fourths in 1949. He was first married to Mildred Wimberley and they were the parents of David Lorraine Clendenin. His second marriage was to Beatrice Elaine Parker and they were the parents of Betty C. Orr, George “David” Clendenin Jr. and Bertha Kate “Katie” C. Williams.
Dave Clendenin was the winner of the Commercial Bank pasture contest in 1949 for his permanent pasture and was involved in establishing the Henry County Farmers Cooperative, serving on the board for many years.
During the 1950s, the farmhouse was selected as a showplace for modern electricity in a farm-home setting by the Paris Board of Public Utilities. Many of the light fixtures that were put in the home in the 1950s are still being used today.