Gov. Ho­gan rec­og­nizes state’s Cen­tury Farms

Her­mitage marks 300 years

Record Observer - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Ho­gan hon­ored Mary­land’s farm fam­i­lies on Wed­nes­day, Jan. 17 at the State House for their com­mit­ment to farm­ing and lead­er­ship in pre­serv­ing agri­cul­tural land by pre­sent­ing Cen­tury Farm des­ig­na­tions to 34 fam­i­lies from 18 coun­ties who have farmed the same land for more than 100 years, in­clud­ing one fam­ily that has farmed the same land for more than 300 years and two fam­i­lies that have farmed the same land for more than 200 years. Since the pro­gram be­gan in 1994, 173 farms — about one per­cent of the state’s 12,200

farms — have re­ceived the Cen­tury Farm des­ig­na­tion. Four of those have re­ceived the Tri­cen­ten­nial Farm des­ig­na­tion, and 26 have re­ceived the Bi­cen­ten­nial Farm des­ig­na­tion.

“Mary­land farm­ers are the back­bone of our econ­omy. The Cen­tury Farm fam­i­lies we honor today have played a sig­nif­i­cant role in mak­ing agri­cul­ture a lead­ing in­dus­try in Mary­land. I am com­mit­ted to work­ing with the en­tire farm com­mu­nity to keep farm­ing sus­tain­able and prof­itable in Mary­land,” said Ho­gan.

The Mary­land Cen­tury Farm Pro­gram was es­tab­lished in 1994 by Gov. Wil­liam Don­ald Schae­fer to rec­og­nize farms that have been in the same fam­ily for at least 100 con­sec­u­tive years, con­tain a min­i­mum of 10 acres of the orig­i­nal par­cel, and gross an an­nual in­come of $2,500 or more from the sale of farm prod­ucts. The Cen­tury Farm Pro­gram hon­ors fam­i­lies who have passed their farm­ing op­er­a­tions down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion, mak­ing it pos­si­ble for fu­ture stew­ards of the land to con­tinue in their fam­ily tra­di­tion. The Ho­gan Ad­min­is­tra­tion reestab­lished this an­nual tra­di­tion for Mary­land farm fam­i­lies af­ter it had been halted for the past 10 years. The last cer­e­mony was held in 2007.

In Queen Anne’s County, The Her­mitage, a farm be­long­ing to Ben and Paige Til­gh­man was rec­og­nized as a Tri-Cen­ten­nial farm. Ac­cord­ing to Til­gh­man, the farm was granted by Lord Bal­ti­more, Charles Calvert in 1658.

The land grant was de­ter­mined by Richard Til­gh­man ink­ing his thumb and then plac­ing it on the map in the area he wished to claim, ex­plained Til­gh­man.

The farm has passed through many gen­er­a­tions, but has never been bought nor sold, he said. Orig­i­nally like the cus­tom of English no­bil­ity the farm was passed to the first born son, in times that wasn’t the case, but it has al­ways been in held by a di­rect de­scen­dant.

Tobacco and wheat were likely the first crops har­vested on The Her­mitage and from the turn of the cen­tury to the 1990s dairy was a sta­ple of the farm, Til­gh­man said. Now corn, wheat, soy­beans and geese and deer are the cash crops pro­duced.

Til­gh­man said he is proud and de­lighted to have this recog­ni­tion for his fam­ily, but hun­dreds of fam­i­lies in ad­di­tion to the Til­gh­man’s have con­trib­uted over the years to the suc­cess of The Her­mitage. Til­gh­man re­called the Great De­pres­sion and World War II, when “the men in our fam­ily were called to ser­vice many other fam­i­lies stepped in” to help pre­serve the work­ings of the farm.

“We were the ones [en­trusted] to hold onto it, but in my life­time dozens of fam­i­lies have con­trib­uted to its suc­cess,” said Til­gh­man.

Mary He­len Lar­ri­more-Wolfe owns Se­cu­rity Ne­glect Farm in Centreville, rec­og­nized as a Cen­ten­nial Farm. The 193-acre farm was bought in 1908 by her grand­fa­ther, James Harry Lar­ri­more, said Mary He­len.

Her grand­fa­ther raised his fam­ily there, and his son, Lar­ri­more-Wolfe’s fa­ther, raised his fam­ily there as well. Presently Lar­ri­more-Wolfe’s grand­son is liv­ing in the orig­i­nal house with his new bride.

Lar­ri­more-Wolfe re­called the un­usual name of the farm as be­ing pur­chased orig­i­nally from two broth­ers, hence the dou­ble name.

She also re­mem­bered the rail­road tracks that ran at one time through the farm’ the tracks were in use un­til the 1940s or ‘50s.

An­other lo­cal farm rec­og­nized as a Cen­ten­nial Farm was the Cherry Blos­som Farm in Church Hill. Cur­rently the 261acre small grain op­er­a­tion is owned by Joseph Ge­orge Tay­lor, Jr. The farm was pur­chased in 1900 from the James Cop­page Es­tate.

Al­though des­ig­nated as cen­tury farm, Tay­lor re­called that his great-grand­fa­ther pur­chased the farm from fam­ily, a pair of aunts, in 1900. The house was built in 1910 and var­i­ous barns are still on the prop­erty, said Tay­lor. In­ci­den­tally, the orig­i­nal house burnt down, and Tay­lor’s great­grand­fa­ther and his wife lived for a time in the loft of one of the barns.

Farms are not with­out hard­ships though, and Tay­lor’s big­gest re­gret he said is that he will not be able to pass the farm to both of his grand­sons. Joseph G. Tay­lor IV works now with his grand­fa­ther on the farm, but Tay­lor’s other grand­son, Brit­ton Sa­muel Burgess, who was also closely con­nected with Cherry Blos­som Farm, passed away last March, Tay­lor said.

Cherry Blos­som Farm hosts vis­i­tors from as far north as Maine and as far south as Florida, as they come ap­pre­ci­ate the wildlife Queen Anne’s County as to of­fer, he said.

On at­tend­ing the cer­e­mony, Tay­lor said, “It takes a lot to get me to leave my farm, but it was worth it.”

“The best agri­cul­tural preser­va­tion pro­gram is an eco­nom­i­cally healthy agri­cul­ture in­dus­try,” said Mary­land Sec­re­tary of Agri­cul­ture Joe Barten­felder. “Farm­ing has formed the foun­da­tion of our nation’s econ­omy for hun­dreds of years. The farm fam­i­lies we honor today are stew­ards of the land who have main­tained fam­ily tra­di­tions and a con­ti­nu­ity of agri­cul­ture im­por­tant to our com­mu­ni­ties and our econ­omy.”

PHOTO BY JOE ANDRUCYK

The Her­mitage, Queen Anne’s County

Cherry Blos­som Farm, Queen Anne’s County

PHO­TOS BY JOE ANDRUCYK

Se­cu­rity Ne­glect Farm, Queen Anne’s County

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