Sometime prior to 1901, James Christopher ( J.C.) Leming acquired a piece of land near Normandy in middle Tennessee. There is a record of several transactions where he bought and sold land around …
Sometime prior to 1901, James Christopher ( J.C.) Leming acquired a piece of land near Normandy in middle Tennessee. There is a record of several transactions where he bought and sold land around Normandy. Our farm is near the Duck River and is about 50 acres in size. It was larger at the time of J.C.’s death and when my grandmother, Lucretia inherited it. She sold a track of the land which is now owned by Bill and Jane Cortner.
J.C. did not know that 100 years later this land would still be owned by his great granddaughter, Patsy Raye Spencer Richardson. The land was originally owned by James Christopher Leming, then passed to his daughter Lucretia Fielder Leming Spencer, her son William Minus Spencer, and great granddaughter Patsy Raye Spencer Richardson.
J.C.’s handwritten will shows he left land to each of his children. The will indicates that J.C. called this farm the River Farm. I still have a copy of his will.
Our family has a long history in Normandy. William Spencer attended Normandy School through high school and played on the school basketball team about 1919. I attended Normandy School through the 5th grade.
The Normandy Methodist church was an important part of the family. Lucretia Spencer, William Spencer, and Patsy Spencer were all members.
My father, William Spencer can be traced on his mother’s side back for many generations. J.C., a farmer and railroad foreman penned a family tree stating he was born Dec. 6,1839 and his wife, Mary Frances Sherrill was born Aug. 23, 1838. They were married June 22, 1861. Their children were: Sarah E. Leming (b. Feb. 16, 1863), Mary Ann Leming (b. Feb 4, 1866), William H. Leming (b. July 7, 1868), Nathan E. Leming (b. Aug. 4, 1871), Lucretia F. Leming (b. Sept. 19, 1873), and James K. Polk Leming (b. March 30, 1877.) J.C. died June 21,1901 and his wife, Mary died May 24, 1904.
The J.C. Leming home was located outside of Normandy on the Tullahoma-Normandy Road. It was later the home of J.C’s son, James K. Polk Leming. When this home burned, the large family tree was lost. James K. Polk gave Patsy Spencer Richardson a smaller family tree. This original document still exists. J.C. and Mary are buried in the Green Cemetery near Carr Creek Road in Normandy along with some of their children. Lucretia Spencer was buried at Bethany Cemetery in Coffee County and William Spencer was buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Shelbyville, TN.
We have many memories on the farm, My Uncle and Aunt, Hoyte and Pansye Spencer, and I, all had October birthdays. We celebrated with a family visit in Normandy. We always went out to the farm and enjoyed fall outings and collected walnuts and hickory nuts, which we later used in Christmas cakes and candies.
The farm was mostly used for cattle grazing until 2013. In 2013, Chris Carney with the Tennessee Division of Forestry helped to transition the farm to a hardwood plantation. In 2014, the farm was planted with 5,500 yellow popular, seedlings and 500 seedlings each of White Oak, Black Oak, Shumack Oak, and Chinkapin Oak. The management objective of this area is to sustainably produce timber/wood products, and to increase wildlife.
This farm was awarded a certificate from the State of Tennessee on May 9, 2001, as a Century Farm.
We encourage other Bedford County Century Farm owners to share their stories about their families and the legacy which lives on—the Century Farm.
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