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.

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296 Main St, Maynardville, Tennessee 37807
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https://goo.gl/forms/pVrShemJAPtgzaiB2

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Obituary

Stephen E. Griffith

Stephen E. Griffith, age 65, of Corryton, TN received his angel wings Monday, March 18, 2019. He is preceded in death by his parents, Claude Warner Griffith and Doris Jacqueline Griffith. He is survived by his wife, Debbie; children, Carrie Griffith, Samantha (Frank) Lord, Marcus (Kayla) Atkins and Chris Griffith; sister, Susan (Bob) Tebbitt; brother, Scott (Laura) Griffith; grandchildren, Samuel, Ethan, Sarah Elizabeth, Ella Kate, Zane, Caleb, Daniel and Ava.

Michael E. Nicley

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Earl B, Walker

Earl B. Walker-age 100 of Knoxville passed away Monday morning, March 18, 2019 at his home. He was a U. S. Army Veteran of World War II. He loved singing with the old harp singers. Earl loved his family and his happiest memories were of his family. He was also very proud of reaching his 100th birthday and celebrated it March 10, 2019 with his friends and new family at Deane Hill Place where he had lived the last 10 years. Preceded in death by wife: Cleo Nicely Walker; infant son, Bobby Walker; parents, Oscar and Coker Walker; siblings, twin-sister, Ireland D.

Helen M. Harris Burrell

Helen M. Harris Burrell, 87 of Knoxville, passed away on March 17, 2019 following a short illness. She was a member of Redemption Harvest Church of Knoxville.

She was preceded in death by her parents Dotha Hughes and Eunice Hughes; first husband Verlon Lionel Harris; second husband Max E. Burrell; as well as all her brothers and sisters.

She is survived by her son David Harris (Sharon), grandson Timothy Harris (Christy) and two great-grandsons Nolan and Luke Harris, in addition to many nieces and nephews.

John W. Dukes

John W Dukes of Maryville passed away Friday, March 15 2019. He is preceded in death by wife Jo Dukes; parents Robert & Vina Mae; brother Larry “Bud” (Sue); and sister Nancy. He is survived by daughters Anita Craig of Ooltewah; Lori Nelson (Bryan) of Sweetwater and son Spencer of Nashville; grandchildren Jason (Jessica) Cooper of Maryville and Hillary Cooper of Indianapolis; 6 great-grandchildren; several nieces & nephews; and Dr. Bob Dukes, Rock Dukes and Susan Pilkay with whom he had a special bond.

Alvin Doyle Atkins

Alvin Doyle Atkins, age 78, passed away March 15, 2019. Preceded in death by mother, Ruth Keeney and father, Dana Atkins. Survived by wife Dorothy Williams Atkins, sons Alvin and Tonya Atkins and Brian and Leslie Atkins, grandchildren Charles, Elizabeth, Bridget, Brandon, and Brayden, step-grandson Austin (Charity), great-grandchildren Mercedes, Aiden, and Thea, several nieces and nephews. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Monday, March 18, 2019, at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel with service to follow.

John Thomas Keck

John Thomas Keck-age 27 of Corryton passed away Tuesday evening, March 12, 2019 at his home. Preceded in death by mother, Regina Ann Keck.

Survivors: father, Carl Johnny Keck, Corryton; sisters, Emily Keck of Maynardville; Hannah Gillespie of Lebanon, TN; brothers, Justin Keck of Nashville; Aaron Anderson of Huntland, TN; grandmother, Linda and Rodney O’Brien of Blaine; uncle, David Kitts of Halls. Several nieces, nephews, cousins and a host of friends.

James "J.D." Killion

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Fred Parrott Jr.

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Volley H. Cunningham

Volley H. Cunningham age 60 of Knoxville went to be with Jesus on Tuesday, March 12, 2019. He was such a kind and loving person, and was always concerned for his family. He loved his family, friends and the family pets. Always willing to lend a hand to help anyone in need. He loved woodworking and making things, one of his hobbies was building things including houses for the family pets and other various projects. He loved gardening and created many family garden projects. He grew prize winning tomatoes which he lovingly gave away to others. He enjoyed singing country and gospel songs.

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