Keeping it in the family
Dobson farm designated a Century Farm
Keith Strange Staff Reporter
DOBSON — A family in Dobson has done what very few have been able to accomplish — keep the family farm in the same family for more than a century.
The year was 1901. The annual family salary was $769. About $327 a year was allocated for food, $108 for clothing and $179 for housing.
And J. M. White bought 76 acres off of what is now Tobe Hudson Road in Dobson.
Today the farm has been designated a Century Farm, signifying it has been in continuous agricultural operation under family ownership for more than a century.
“This farm has been in my family since 1901, or actually longer than that, since it was given to my grandfather, J.M. White, by his grandfather,” said Evelyn Stone, 63, who owns the farm with her brother, James Martin Inman.
After White’s death, who is Stone and Inman’s grandfather, the land was inherited by their mother, Bessie White Inman.
“She lived and raised a family on this farm until her death in January 2005,” said Stone. “If she had lived, she would be 100 years old this year. She had the opportunity to stay here her whole life. The last five years weren’t easy, but we were able to keep her on the farm.”
These days the farm is used for hay and timber production after years in operation as a tobacco farm, said Stone.
“We have the most beautiful hay when it’s in season,” she said. “It looks like a golf course. We’ve grown various things over the years, like pretty much everyone else we grew tobacco and corn back in the 1950s and 1960s,” Stone added.
But the land is much more than a production facility for the family. It is home.
“My mother gave me this land when I married,” Stone said. “My home is on it, and I’ve lived here my entire life. It’s what I call home.”
Stone and Inman hope the farm stays in the family for future generations.
“My daughter is going to build a home out here, and hopefully keep it in the family,” Stone said. “My brother’s son already lives on the farm with his family.”
She became quiet.
“It’s something you don’t see very often, families staying together,” she said. “That was my mother’s focus: Keeping the family together.”
To illustrate her point, Stone pulled out a beautiful quilt her mother had made. It was constructed out of scraps of her clothing.
“That’s the only way we were able to keep the family on this farm,” she said, “by being thrifty and using what we had.
“We lease out land for hay production, do our own gardening and some of us are getting into livestock a little bit. The farm is more of a homeland than a working farm now, but it’s important that it stays in our family and our family stays together. It’s what my mother would want.”
Inman, a retired deputy sheriff, agreed.
“I think about it a lot of the time,” he said, looking over the family farm. “Our heritage on this land goes way back and I like that.
“It makes you feel good that the family values it enough to work to keep it together.”
Reach Keith Strange at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1929.
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