193 Year Old Family Farm
Established on the American western frontier around 1789, this old farm has been in our extended family since 1824. The original plantation was over 700 acres. In 1835 the current structure was added around the original two story log cabin by Mariah and Billy Malone. It passed to their son Thomas in 1880, and then to Betty Malone Henderson and Robert Hatton Henderson in 1898. By then, the farm was 130 acres. The original log cabin can be seen on the interior of the home today. Old growth forrest cedar logs were used for the original cabin.
My father Robert W. Henderson Sr. (Bobby), coordinated an estate sale when the final member of the R.H. Henderson passed away in 1979. My cousins purchased it the following year and fully restored the dilapidated structure. According to the owners, if a relation to the original owner (William Smith) could be documented, this home would be the oldest family farm in Rutherford County. There is a Smith family cemetery on the footprint of the original plantation land.
During the American Civil War, Union troops camped near the home. Foraging Union soldiers made at least one notable visit. They were dispersed by the lady of the house (probably Mariah Malone), firing a bullet through the window as a warning shot. During the restoration in the early 80’s, grease stains were discovered on the second story ceiling, confirming stories of the hams being hidden in the attic during the war. Other family valuables were buried in the family cemetery. Several Civil War bullets have been found around the property*.
In another war (World War II), General Patton’s Army practiced maneuvers in this area in preparation for the invasion of Sicily. A large trench is still visible on the homestead today, as well as dozens of fire pits in the woods around the property. M-1 cartridges dated 1943 are abundant in the vicinity.
*I dug these up in 1994 near the Henderson-Malone “Old Home Place” near Powell’s Chapel in North Rutherford County. The Minié ball on the right shows that it had jammed in the barrel, and had to be extracted. This was typically done with a rod that has a cork-screw shaped end, that digs into the lead, in order to pull it out. Rifling scars are visible.
Family silverware hidden in the cemetery during the War Between the States:
- Robert Wayne Henderson II