Friday, June 26, 2009

My Farming Forefathers, p. II

Last Sunday afternoon (Father's Day) I posted about some of the men in my family who have preceded me in agriculture. By the time I finished writing about my memories of my grandfathers I was too worn out to continue on to write about my father. I'm still gonna get to him, but first I'm going to back-track in time to briefly mention another ancestor...

Clinton Leroy Kennedy, or "Daddy Kennedy" as he was known by his grand kids, was my father's mother's father. He learned to farm very early in life, as the responsibilities for managing the family farm fell to him at the young age of 10 when his father unexpected passed away. Once married and in his twenties, he sold the family farm to escape the poverty of early 20th century agriculture and moved his family to Birmingham for the chance at a better life. He soon moved back to Lamar County and bought a grist-mill near the locally-famous Iron Bridge that spans Yellow Creek. Sometime around 1920 he once again moved the family back to Birmingham to form "Kennedy & Hankins Produce Company" with his young brother and a brother-in-law. After a few years he grew weary of city life and moved the family back home. He bought a cotton gin, saw mill, and a team of logging mules in addition to the farm he purchased near Reed Creek. He would spend the rest of his life here, until he suffered a heart attack in 1955 while tending his fields. He died a few days later at the age of 69.

My great-uncle Hunter Kennedy, Clinton's son, now owns the family's farming property and rents it to us. The 50 acres of good creek-bottom soil is our most dependable cropland and the most critical to our ability to grow enough forage for our milking herd. We've actually been in those fields the last two days planting sorghum, and I'll be returning there to do more field work within the hour. And as an aside, Hunter still works with us (and often out-works us) every weekday morning even though he's now over 80 years old. He's a real tribute to the work ethic valued by his family and his generation.

Coming soon, My Farming Forefathers, p. dad.

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