The Stipes-Vineyard Big Bend Farm has been family owned for one hundred and seven years. It is located at Strawberry Plains in Jefferson County, Tennessee. The 80 acre farm on the Holston River was purchased in 1905 by Mack Stipes and his wife Charlotte. Mack, son of John Stipes, was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, June 16, 1863. He married charlotte Calloway, and they had three sons and one daughter. The family became involved in the production of tobacco, hay, and raising beef cattle which became their mainstay. This cattle was sold to area "Pen Hookers" who transported the cattle to nearby slaughter houses. Mack's son Fred Stipes, Sr. worked alongside his father in establishing a productive farming enterprise.
After the death of his mother and father, Fred Stipes, Sr. inherited the family farm. The agriculture production continued and the farm consistently prospered. Fred married Gladys Cain, August 16, 1922. They had two sons and one daughter. Fred's priority was maintaining the family farm while supplementing the family income by working at the American Zinc Company in Mascot, Tennessee. He would begin his day tending the cattle, work an eight hour shift, and then tend the cattle again at the end of the day. In addition, he spent time cultivating tobacco and hay. The tobacco was planted, harvested, and sold for modest income. Fred’s sons and wife were essential in the day to day operations of the farm. The entire family contributed to its success. It is reported by a family member that at the end of a long day, the Stipes and neighbor farmers could be found congregating at Bailey's Store located about one mile from the farm. They would sit around and discuss current events while eating cheese and crackers. The owner of the store stated that he made most of his daily revenue from the sale of cheese and crackers.
On February 2, 1992 Franklin Stipes inherited the farm following the death of his mother. He continued the family tradition of farming while working at the American Zinc company (Asarco). HIs wife Helen and daughter Carolyn (current owner) contributed to the farming income through the sale of milk to area dairies. Upon the marriage of daughter Carolyn, her husband James Vineyard and sons Craig and Scott assisted Franklin with the farm duties of raising tobacco, hay, and cattle. It is interesting to note that the farm house built by Franklin and his wife Helen in 1955 was called an "Oak Ridge Flat Top" This 575 square foot prefabricated house cost $3400 and consisted of two bedrooms living room with four large picture windows, kitchen, and bath. These houses were originally built for the Oak Ridge National Laboratories employees during the World War II era. This house was remodeled in early 1960's and is currently used as rental property.
In 2003 Carolyn Stipes-Vineyard inherited the farm following the death of her mother. Today the family continues the generational practice of raising/selling hay and beef cattle.
S & V Big Bend Farm has been added to the Tennessee Century Farms registry. It was established in 1905 and is currently owned by Carolyn Vineyard and operated by Craig Vineyard.