Beth Kerr Chunn to speak at Historical Society

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Twin Elms Farm, also known as the Patterson Farm, currently owned by John O. and Beth Kerr Chunn of Chapel Hill, has recently been designated a “Tennessee Pioneer Farm” under the Tennessee Century Farm program. This Sunday afternoon, Feb. 3, at 2 p.m. Beth Chunn will give a Powerpoint presentation about the farm at the quarterly meeting of the Marshall County Historical Society. The meeting will be held in the museum at the Hardison School Annex, 230 College Street. She will include information about the farm, its founders, and the several generations of prominent Marshall County family members who have held ownership in the property. This will be a good way to learn about the Century Farm program and to explore early county history.

This “Pioneer Farm” designation certifies that the farm was in the hands of Mrs. Chunn’s ancestors before Tennessee even became a state in 1796. In actuality this farm is part of a 1794 grant of 2,400 acres to Samuel Patterson. The original property extended from the northern banks of the Duck River to the approximate middle of present day Chapel Hill. Samuel Patterson never lived on the property but rather chose to settle in Wilson County, Tennessee. However, after land south of Davidson County was opened for settlement, Samuel’s sons, Robert and Andrew, came to what is now Marshall County to settle with their families. They would have been the first white people to establish a settlement on this property. It is through Andrew Patterson that Beth Kerr Chunn’s family acquired the land. As a former history teacher in the Marshall County School System, Mrs. Chunn has spent countless hours researching deeds, family genealogy, and archived documents to validate this “Pioneer Farm”. The Tennessee Century Farm program lists only one other “Pioneer Farm” in Marshall County.

Interesting facts about the farm include the families associated with ownership: Samuel Patterson, Andrew Patterson, Eliza Dixie Patterson Putman, Dr. Edward Swanson and wife Sarah James Putman Swanson, former Commissioner of Agriculture O. E. Van Cleave and wife Mary Elizabeth Ezell Van Cleave, and educators Charlie and Jane Van Cleave Kerr. It is important to note that the Methodist Church in Chapel Hill sits on land donated by the Patterson family and the Swanson Cemetery, the large cemetery set aside for hundreds of deceased citizens, is on this property and was donated by the Swanson family. Mrs. Swanson was the granddaughter of Andrew Patterson.

The meeting is free and open to the public. If you cannot attend but would like to read about the farm, the historical society will be selling a quarterly that details the information.

Photo submitted

The current residence at Twin Elms Farm was built in approximately 1929 after the prior structure burned. The farm, owned by John and Beth Chunn, was recently named as a Tennessee Pioneer Farm, having been in the family prior to Tennessee statehood in 1796. Beth Chunn will deliver a program on the history of the farm at the Marshall County Historical Society on Sunday at 2 p.m., Feb. 3.

This cabin, believed to be the second home used on the original land grant, still stands on the Chunn’s Twin Elms Farm.