Cedar Crest Farms Celebrate Sixty Years

 Pictured Left to Right - Randy, Len, Allen, and Wendell Padgett

In rural East Tennessee, throughout history, farming has proven more than just a family tradition for many by providing a livelihood and lifestyle. In Union County, many families have been cultivating the land for generations. In 1958, after five years of marriage, Leonard Padgett Sr. and wife Loretta Graves Padgett, moved with their two young sons, Leonard Jr. (Len) and Wendell, from Rifle Range Road in Knoxville to a portion of the old Beeler farm in Maynardville totaling more than one hundred ten acres, later being titled Cedar Crest Farms. The farm is located in the city limits between Maynardville Highway and Fox Hunter Road. The Graves family had bought butter and milk from the Beeler’s and made acquaintance over the years giving the couple insight to knowing that this farm would be the only place to lay their family’s foundation. Both Leonard and Loretta were raised on farms and wanted to move back to the country and get back to their roots.

Leonard was an Army Veteran who was stationed in Fort Sill, Oklahoma from 1951-1953. The Padgett’s were of the Teacoy Community in Knoxville, later moving to Bardstown, KY where the family share cropped before heading back to Teacoy after his father’s death of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Leonard worked at Knoxville Utilities Board from the mid 50s until retirement in 1981. In addition, he was a devoted Pastor at Copper Ridge and Elm Baptist Churches for many years. He was a well-respected man and helped many people throughout his lifetime.

Loretta, the daughter of late Sherriff Leslie and Anna Dykes Graves, was deeply rooted in Union County. The Graves family was of origination in the Sharps Chapel Community before the flooding in the 1930s, when they moved to Maynardville. Loretta worked as a cook at Hubbs Grove Schoolhouse for many years moving to Maynardville Elementary before retirement. The couple added four more children to their family, Connie, Randy, Cathy, and Allen, between 1958 and 1968.

For sixty years, Cedar Crest Farms has succeeded as a family operation, still active today. In the early years, Leonard started out with little equipment of his own, sharing with brother-in-law Robert Campbell for a couple of years until he could build his own inventory. Some of the first pieces of machinery he invested in included two Massey Harris tractors and in 1960 a nearly new 60T Oliver Baler, which still resides on the farm today. Leonard did custom baling for twenty-five years for many people in the community, not adding a round roller to the farm until 1990. Also in 1960, the couple, with a six-year-old, four-year-old, and newborn at side, built their first barn with their own hands.

Over the years, different agricultural products trended, and as would be common the Padgett’s followed the trends. Throughout the 1960-70s they were focused on raising pigs. Many in the community have memories of riding up the dirt road in the back of a pickup to purchase a hog. In 1968, Angus cattle began to be added to the farm. From 1982-86, the boys had a herd of fifty registered Hampshire sheep to show for the 4-H project. Mr. Padgett always kept at least a dozen New Hampshire Red hens for fresh eggs and to butcher in the summer. Honey bees, horses, pigeons, milk cows, and mules have also spent time on the farm over the years. Leonard started growing 4/10 an acre of tobacco allotment and by the mid-80s he was up to five or six acres, phasing out tobacco by 1998 and selling to the Tobacco Buyout.

Loretta’s sister, Bertie and husband Robert Campbell, owned an adjoining farm, and they worked together for many years on the land. In 1990, the Padgett’s leased the Campbell’s hundred acres and have been fortunate to continue the use of this property since. One of the most used pieces of equipment today, a John Deere 2020, was purchased at this time from David Jones, but has been on the farm since the 70s.

In 1968, Leonard purchased his first of a growing herd of Registered Angus Beef Cattle. At this time, he joined the American Angus Association with a lifetime membership for the farm, currently fifty years steadfast. In this time frame, Hereford cattle were trending locally, but he was advised by uncle and namesake, Leonard, to invest in Angus. He said, “Uncle Leonard told me ‘I’ve never known anybody with black cattle to go broke’.” He took the advice and purchased six cows between ages eleven and nineteen of Eileenmere and Blackcap bloodlines. He bought these from Swan Suffridge of Maynardville, keeping four heifers at weaning and selling the old brood cows and bull calves. His original bull was a Ridgeway Sire being a pet of sorts. In 1970, Leonard and some of the youngsters headed out to Brownview Angus Farms in Kingsport, TN to buy another herd of fourteen cows and calves including some Erica, Bardolimere, and Jingo lineages. With this herd, Mr. Padgett purchased a Colossal Sire from Chester Butler. In the late 80s to early 90s, the last of any outside cattle were bought including lineages of Traveler, Pathfinder, Progression, Pinedrive, and Schearbrook Shoshone from Shirley Needham. Since 1992, no other cattle have been purchased, making all of the current herd derivative of these parentages. Genetically advanced bulls are chosen to improve proficiency, genetics, and pedigree.

Currently, the family farm is run by the four Padgett sons. Over time, supplementary farms have been leased across the county in order to run the larger herd the family holds today. On average, between two herds, an average of seventy brood cows, two bulls, and a replacement heifer stock of about fifteen are kept on hand. Each winter steers are fed out for slaughter and heifers are finished off for spring. Many programs have been helpful in making modern improvements on the farm in growth of productivity and efficiency. In 2016, the family mirrored the experience of building a barn together as a family, like in 1960, but using the Tennessee Ag Enhancement Program. Natural Resource Conservation Service has helped with cross fencing and watering systems as well. The youngest son, Allen, is Advanced Master Beef Certified striving to ensure the best of genetics, calving ease, and efficiency. The family works hard to guarantee quality cattle to be raised and sold from Cedar Crest Farms. The brothers work in the heat of summer, along with many other friends and family, to keep equipment up and running and two cuttings of approximately eighty acres of hay for the beef herd.

Four generations of very close family members have been raised on this farm with deep roots into each one’s heart. The Padgett family strives for excellence in the beef herd, hay and feed quality, and overall productiveness. Keeping fences up, hay cut, eggs gathered, tractors running, water unfrozen, and all of the many other daily chores is quite an undertaking, but with the ethics instilled in the family from Leonard and Loretta, the Padgett’s work hard and devote blood, sweat, and tears to get the job done. Memories are shared and lessons are learned, a sixty-year celebration for Cedar Crest Farms.

Pictured - Loretta and Leonard Padgett on their wedding day in 1953.



A Universe of Stories

Maynardville Public Library Director Chantay Collins and Assistant Mandi Suddath

Maynardville Public Library has kicked off their Annual Summer Reading Program, A Universe of Stories. Reading is made fun with creative ways to earn prizes, rewards, and many perks of online programs. All ages are invited to join in on the program, youth and adult.

Tripping and Rolling

For most people, it would be a traumatic and possibly dangerous experience. To me, it was another one of my unexpected trips. Pun intended.

It happened at the end of gym class my sophomore year of high school. We didn’t dress out that day, instead we played a game of no rules basketball. When the first dismissal bell rung, I ran back up to the very top of the bleachers to get my folders. My friends and I had been sitting up there before we joined into the basketball game.

Salty Baked Potato

Whenever we are grilling out, I hate to take space for baked potatoes. Yes, they taste great cooked on the grill, but there is an easier way to do them. Just dip them in egg whites, sprinkle with coarse salt and pop them in the oven. The egg white holds the salt crystals in place and seasons the potato. You might think that is too much salt, but it isn't. Don't eat the skin if you have a problem with salt, but I do because I don't. They look pretty on the plate as well.

Childhood Memories (Not Made in Tennessee)

Hi Oh Silver, Away!!!

I was looking at an old picture not too long ago and it was like having a time machine. The picture was of me in cowboy get-up. At the sake of dating myself, I loved the old westerns on TV: Rifleman, Wagon Train, Maverick, Death Valley Days, Zorro, the ones in black and white, during what some call the Golden Age of Television. There I am in the picture, my best sheriff pose, gazing into the camera on Christmas morning. This was in Alaska; Ft. Richardson, to be exact.

The Ultimate Head Fake


I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about a concept known as “deepfakes”. The term comes from combining the concept of “deep learning” with the word “fakes”. It’s one of the latest emerging technologies to burst onto the scene, and you should be worried about it.

Bean and Pasta Salad

There are a jillion bean and pasta salads out there. They are all a little different and good, too. This one is a bit different from the rest. The celery is partially cooked. The onion is marinated in white vinegar. All of that does make a difference. Try it and see what you think. You can use any combination of canned beans, even add green beans, if you like. Mix it up.

David McCollough Celebrates 30 Years

David McCollough, State Farm Agent

In June 2019, David McCollough celebrated thirty years in the insurance industry. David is a State Farm Agent in Maynardville, Tennessee. He grew up in South Alabama with hardworking parents who taught him the importance of working to achieve your goals. David graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree. He has three children who live close by in beautiful East Tennessee; Jake, Abby, and John David.

George Jones Tribute Concert

This Saturday, June 15, clear your calendar and take a beautiful drive into Sharps Chapel for an evening of music and festivities at the George Jones Tribute Concert. The fun filled, family event will be held at the Sharps Chapel Community Park from 6:00 – 9:00pm with festival seating, so don’t forget to bring your lawn chair!

One of My Stunts

It seemed like any other Sunday afternoon. That was until Sara and I hopped out of the car.

Down the back driveway, my stepfather Dick came barreling toward us in his truck. He and my mom lived behind us on top of the hill. I realized he had been watching and waiting for us to arrive back home from chirper choir. That told me something had happened.

The first thing I noticed was that my mom wasn’t with him. Fear and uncertainty slowly crept up my spine. Had something happened her? And if so, why wasn’t Dick with her?


Wine and Wreaths

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00

Thursdays just got so much better!
Join us at The Winery every Thursday for
amazing drink specials and exciting activities.

In June, join us for a fun Wine and Wreaths event.
During this class, get ready for 4th of July by crafting a wreath while enjoying a glass of wine. Various ribbons are available so you can make the wreath your own. The class is only
$25 and includes all the materials needed as well as the glass of wine. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling The Winery at (865)745-2902.

Union County Board Of Education

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.



Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

CEASE inc., Paint and Pour

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 18:30

CEASE, inc. will be hosting a Paint and Pour event at Seven Springs Winery at 6:00 PM on June 28th. Participants will take a painting class while sipping on wine. The cost of the ticket includes the painting class, all supplies needed for the class, and the first glass of wine. Tickets are on sale for $45.00. Tickets are limited, so get yours today! We're going to have a great time and this event benefits a great cause, providing assistance to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault! Call 865-745-3002, connect with CEASE inc.


Helen Fousteen Bailey

Helen Fousteen Bailey-age 94 of Washburn went to be with the Lord Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at home. She was a member of Liberty Hill Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Victor Bailey; son, Charles L. Bailey; parents, Loren and Dollie Helton; brothers, Howard, Earl, Ralph and Billy Wayne Helton.

Jenny Lou Holt Byrd

Jenny Lou Holt Byrd, age 88, of Maynardville, TN passed away on Monday, June 17, 2019. She was a longtime member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Jenny enjoyed scrapbooking, crocheting, and gardening. She is retired from K-Mart after 27 years. She is preceded in death by husband of 68 years, Charles Byrd; mother Grace Fortner Holt Chamberlain and father Clifford Holt.

Charles Edward Green

Charles Green – He often said, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” And on June 15, 2019, Charles Edward Green, loving husband and father of two children, went to Heaven at the age of 70 in Maynardville. Charlie was born on January 15, 1949 in Kingsport, Tennessee to Roy and Willnette Green. In 1970 his son, Johnathon Edward was born. He married Kimberly (Kim) Jones 31 years ago and raised one son together, Samuel Roy. Charlie had many passions including motorcycles, 60’s & 70’s R&B music and hamburgers.

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers-age 74 of Sharps Chapel passed away Saturday, June 15, 2019 at Claiborne Medical Center. She was preceded in death by husband, Marsillus Isaac (Skeeter) Rogers.

Survivors: son, Joe Rogers, daughter, Angela Buege; granddaughter, Kelly Buege; instant granddaughter, Jennifer Housewright.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending at this time. Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville in charge.

David Wayne Tolliver

David Wayne Tolliver-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went to be with the Lord, Friday afternoon, June 14, 2019 at his home with his wife and family at his side. He was a member and Deacon of Leatherwood Baptist Church. Retired employee of Union County Highway Department and also had a love of farming, hunting and fishing. Preceded in death by parents, Andrew and Lillie Tolliver; parents-in-law, Bob and Ethel Buchanan; sister-in-law, Shirley Tolliver.

Tyler Wayne Atkins

Tyler Wayne Atkins-age 24 of Luttrell passed away Friday, June 14, 2019. He was preceded in death by mother, Misty Dawn (Nankervis) Atkins; brother, Matthew Atkins; grandfather, Jerry Nankervis; special grandmother, Bonnie DeVault.

Survivors: father, Chris Atkins; sister, Gracie Nankervis; grandparents, Gary and Phyllis Atkins; grandmother, Connie Condry; papaw, Jimmy DeVault; uncles, Jimmy (Julie) DeVault, Jr., Shawn and Shea Condry, Jerry and Cory Nankervis. Several cousins and other family members.

Audy B. Keck

Audy B. Keck-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with cancer Thursday evening, June 13, 2019 at his home. Audy had a testimony of faith in the Lord, Jesus and was of the Baptist belief. He was a member of the Union County Rescue Squad. Preceded in death by parents, Warmer and Linda Keck; brothers, W. T., Joe, Jimmy and Harley Keck; sister-in-law, Nancy Keck; brothers-in-law, J. B. Stansberry and Jim Hayes.

Dorothy "Dot" Knott

Dorothy “Dot” Knott began her new journey June 13, 2019 with family at her side; Leaving behind daughters, Virginia Smothers (Mark), Deborah Hill, Lisa Gerard (Jeremy), step-daughter Donna Fisher, treasured grandkids and great-grandkids, as well as, her beloved Rocky Hill Baptist Church family and many other special friends. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Monday, June 17, 2019, at Rocky Hill Baptist Church with service to follow at 7:00pm, Dr. Scott Whaley officiating. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at Rocky Hill Cemetery for an 11:00am interment.

Erwin Lynn Berry

Erwin Lynn Berry – age 64 of Sharps Chapel, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, June 9, 2019. He was a member and deacon of Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church. Erwin was an employee of Pilot Corporation for 38 years.

Eva Jean Lawson

Eva Jean Lawson – 59, born August 18, 1959 to Cecil and Thelma “Judy” Branham in Welch, West Virginia, passed away June 11, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. She married the love of her life, Roy E. Lawson in Monroe, Michigan on June 22, 1984. She was a nuclear security officer at Fermi II plant for 23 years and also a security officer at Monroe High School for 8 years.

The opinions expressed by columnists and those providing comments are theirs alone, and may not reflect the opinions of Russell Computer Systems, Inc or any employee thereof.