Skip to content

Stone Family Farm honored as 2023 Centennial Family Farm

Stone Family left to right:
Mary Ann and Matt Stone, Mike and Lila Stone, Madelyn and Maddox Stone, Alan Stone, Faye Stone Keene, Freddie and Vickie Stone and Phyllis Stone Wager

The Stone Family Farm, Cook County, was among 13 family farms honored as Georgia’s newest Centennial Farms during the annual Georgia Centennial Farm Awards Ceremony in Perry on October 11, 2023. 

Qualified farm owners and their historic properties from the 2023 application year were recognized during this ceremony at the Georgia National Fair. The event was hosted by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia EMC, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, and Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. 

Centennial Farms hold a central role in the heritage of our state, having formed the economic, cultural, and family foundation for generations of Georgians. All farms earning this recognition have continuously operated for 100 years or more. 

History of the Stone Family Farm

William Daniel Whitehurst (born 12/21/1845, died 9/12/1918) and Rebecca Whitehurst (born 3/25/1852, died 7/25/1925) had 11 children and resided on property located between what is now Antioch Road and Greggs Road (Antioch-Greggs Road).

One of their daughters, Argent Whitehurst (born 4/08/1874, died 3/06/1947) married Leonard Stone (born 5/10/1874, died 7/02/1951) on 1/07/1897. Argent’s father, William Daniel Whitehurst, deeded 100 acres of land (Lot #426 in the 9th District of Berrien County – later becoming Cook County) to Leonard and Argent Stone on 12/05/1898. They built a home in 1908 and had six children. The crops that were grown then were peanuts, corn, cotton, and hay for the cows. 

One of Leonard and Argent’s sons, Purdom E. Stone (born 10/11/1909, died 10/18/1993) married Evie Blanche Rooks (born 7/14/1912, died 12/29/1992) on 4/13/1934. They built a home on the land in the mid-1930’s and had three children, Fritz, Freddie, and Faye. The crops that were grown were peanuts, pecans, corn, cotton, tobacco and hay. Livestock was cows and primarily hogs. 

A deed was recorded on 8/11/1950, putting the 97.8 acres in Purdom Stone’s and William Stone’s names. William lived in his parent’s home (Leonard and Argent) until his death in 1964. The property was deeded to Freddie Stone and Faye Atkinson on 4/17/1985. Purdom lived in his and Evie B’s home until his death in 1993.

On 1/21/1994, the 97.6 acres was deeded solely to Freddie Stone. Freddie and his wife Victoria moved onto the property in 1996 and are still living there.

There are no original structures on the land. Leonard’s and Argent’s home was demolished in 1992, and Purdom’s and Evie B’s home was relocated to another location in Brooks County. A barn, a tobacco barn, a corn silo, and several sheds are currently on the farm. Current crops produced are corn, cotton, soy beans, peanuts, and pecans. 

“I became aware of the Georgia Centennial Farm program while I was visiting from Florida last winter,” said Phyllis Stone Wager, Freddie Stone’s niece. 

At the young age of 84, Freddie Stone starts his day, after reading the news, by taking a five-mile bike ride around his farm and neighboring farms. “I was riding along with him and he said that he would love to receive the award, but wasn’t computer savvy so he didn’t know how to approach it,” Phyllis Stone Wager said. “I could tell how important this was to him, so I knew right then that it was important for me to make it happen.

“The application required tracing the farm back through deeds, land plots, historical photos, farm history, and family owners of the land.

“Freddie and I visited three courthouses in the spring and were able to obtain the deed dated December 1898 from William Daniel Whitehurst (Freddie’s great-grandfather) to Leonard Stone (his grandfather).”

There are six generations of Stone males that have lived on the 100-acre farm, Leonard Stone, Purdom Stone, Freddie Stone, Mike Stone, Matt Stone, and Maddox Stone (the last four are currently living there).

“My father was Fritz Stone, son to Purdom Stone and brother to Freddie,” Phyllis Stone Wager said. “He was tragically killed in an accident in 1968 at the age of 31 while searching for a lost girl in the mountains of Highlands, N.C. He is buried at Antioch Methodist Church in Adel, just a couple of miles from the farm where he grew up.”

The Stone Family is thankful for the honor of being a Georgia Centennial Farm Program recipient.

More than 620 farms have been recognized through the Georgia Centennial Farm Program since its inception in 1993. 

Recognition is given to farm owners through one of three distinguished awards: 

1. The Centennial Heritage Farm Award honors farms owned by members of the same family for a century or more, and that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
2. The Centennial Farm Award only requires the farm candidate be at least 100 years old and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
3. The Centennial Family Farm Award recognizes farms owned by members of the same family for a century or more that are not listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The other 2023 Centennial Farm award recipients are: Boggy Branch Farm, Bulloch County; L & M Farms, Bulloch County; Teloga Springs Farm, Chatooga County; Ash Farms, Effingham County; The Threatte Farm at Bunton Place, Evans County; Price Family Farm, Franklin County; J.B. Gay & Son, Jenkins County; R. E. Roberts Farm, Jones County; Ganas Farm, Lanier County; White Family Barn Farm, Lumpkin County; Rolling D Farms, LLC, Murray County; and Fulghum-Beusse Farms, Wilcox County.
Anyone interested in nominating a farm for recognition should visit www.dca.ga.gov/georgia- historic-preservation-division/historic-resources/centennial-farms to download an application or contact outreach@dca.ga.gov. The postmark deadline for applications is May 1 of each year.

Leave a Comment