Historical Bluefield Farms is Tuten family legacy | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | July 6, 2017 5:41 am
Last Updated: July 5, 2017 at 11:44 am
By JULIE HOFF
Bluefield Farms in Jacksonboro is many things: A prime example of agricultural diversity, historically important, and home to three generations of the Tuten family.
The farm has been in the family for a century. “My grandfather bought this land — 605 acres — in 1917. He went on to accumulate a total of 2,500 acres at the time of his death in 1963,” said William Parker Tuten Jr., who goes by Parker. “Today, the Tuten family still owns 1,800 acres, and we’re very proud of that.”
Parker lives in the house his grandfather built in 1920. His son, William Parker Tuten III, who goes by Will, lives with wife Dorcas and children, Penelope and Parker, about a half-mile down an oak-shaded lane, in the home that Will’s dad, Parker, grew up in.
Also living on the farm next door to Parker are his cousin’s sisters, Fern Tuten and Patricia Smith. Parker’s sister Parma Holt and her husband Bob live in Silver Spring, Md. Cousin Walter Tuten lives in Columbia with his wife Cynthia. Also living in Columbia are Walter’s son and grandson.
“They enjoy Bluefield Farms and often can be found here hunting,” Parker said. All family members are involved in the timber business.
The land is crisscrossed with narrow dirt roads; the acreage includes fields, timber, dense thickets and sun-dappled clearings. Father and son know every inch of the property like most people know the layout of their homes.
Where did the name Bluefield come from? “That’s the age-old question,” Will joked.
“It was called Bluefield Plantation, but I’m not pretentious enough to call it that now,” his father quipped.
The Tutens have developed various ways of earning income from the farm. Once a year they sell calves from Angus and Brahma cows pastured on the land. They board horses in fenced pastures with an eight-stall barn. They log timber. They raise about 60 acres of hay to feed their own livestock and sell the surplus. They offer a “pheasant tower” for hunters; trail rides over routes varying from 7-15 miles; and operate Hayne Hall Hunt Club, a private deer-hunting preserve.
The trail rides, offered monthly September through May and promoted on social media, provide an up-close look at the sprawling property. There are four routes that cover different types of terrain.
“We have 40 miles of trails,” Parker said. One narrow dirt lane was built atop the old Bradley Railroad tracks, which was created for loggers to transport felled timber to the Ashepoo River.
The tin-roofed pheasant tower offers sharpshooting practice, with 12 two-person blinds laid out like the face of a clock. The pheasants, purchased from North Carolina, are released from the top of the 30-foot tower for hunters to shoot on the wing. Hunters rotate blinds every 10th bird to get a fresh perspective. Bagged birds are cleaned before hunters take them home. The pheasant tower is open from Oct. 1-March 31, Will said.
Will also plans to give shotgun lovers a chance to improve their skills by offering sporting clay events.
A unique attraction on the property is the resting place of patriot Isaac Hayne, who lived with his wife and children at Hayne Hall, a working rice plantation. Hayne fought with Francis Marion during the Revolutionary War. He was captured, tried as a traitor to the Crown and swiftly hung in Charleston as a warning to others who opposed the British.
Hayne’s son returned his father’s body to his beloved plantation, where a towering, engraved granite marker marks his burial spot. The picturesque site, now owned and maintained by the State Parks Service, features historical markers and is surrounded by a white picket fence with brick pillars. Twelve members of the Hayne family are buried there. The Tuten’s hunt club, Hayne Hall, is named after the former plantation.
Among the farm’s outbuildings, pastures and forests, glimpses of wildlife include black snakes, armadillos, snowy egrets and squirrels. White Brahma cattle trot away quickly as a visitor approaches, and a huge pink pig lies happily in her shaded pen.
Parker said he plans to host a 100th birthday party for Bluefields Farm sometime this year to celebrate a century of Tuten family ownership.
Surrounded by loved ones a stone’s throw from a family plot shaded by massive oaks and inspired by Isaac Hayne’s memorial, Parker, his son and grandson continue the legacy of love for the land.
“My dad used to say, ‘If I never get a mile from this place, I‘ll be happy,’” Parker said. “I feel the same way, and so do my son and grandson.”