by Barbara J. Wood
HUNDRED PLUS OLD FARMS
Clara Smith Farm
Clara Smith Farm: A century of family farming .... written by Pat Kopecki for the Wilson County News.
We honor these hard-working men and women and their families as the true heroes of Texas agriculture. For a century or more, these families have raised the livestock, plowed the land, and harvested the crops that make the Lone Star State what it is today."
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller offered this comment during the 42nd annual Family Land Heritage Ceremony in Austin last November, as 64 Texas farms and ranches were honored for keeping their operation in continuous agricultural production for 100 years or more. Among the properties recognized is the Stockdale farm where centenarian Edith Smith Akin grew up; she celebrated her 102nd birthday only weeks after the event.
One of eight children of Andrew Wesley and Clara Reed Smith, Edith was only an infant when the Clara Smith Farm was established in 1917.
Humble beginnings..... According to the family, Wesley grew peanuts and cotton and harvested wood to provide for his family. He passed away in 1917, due to complications during a surgery.
After Wesley's death, his mother, Louise, decided to help her son's widow, and the eight children Clara and Wesley had. She and her daughter-in-law purchased 147 acres of land 3 miles east of Stockdale on F.M. 1107, in 1917. There they lived with the children, who ranged in age from 13 years to 3 weeks, working the land, according to Judy Akin Childress, Clara's granddaughter and Louise's great-granddaughter.
The Clara Smith Farm has remained in the Smith family ever since.
Wesley and Clara's children included Wesley Andrew Smith, Grace Smith Luker, Myrtle Smith Phillips, Jimmie Lou Smith Speed, Ray Smith, Clyde Smith, Ina Smith Rice, and Edith Smith Akin.
Edith, after graduating from Stockdale public schools in 1934, married Ted Akin of Stockdale.
In 1953, after living in Kenedy, Taft, and San Antonio, the couple — along with their three children — returned to Stockdale.
Edith, well-known for her 20 years as a florist in Stockdale, is a member of the Blue Bonnet Club and the First Baptist Church of Stockdale.
Judy Akin Childress and her husband, Larry, now own the farm and raise cattle on the land.
Judy's mother, Edith, attended last November's event in Austin, which honored the family farm — as well as Edith's 102nd birthday!
To date, the Texas Department of Agriculture has recognized more than 5,000 farms and ranches, including: •211 for 150 years of operation •Seven ranches for 200 years of operation.
Honoring heritage.... The Texas Department of Agriculture's Family Land Heritage program pays tribute to families who have kept their land in continuous agricultural production for at least 100 years.
COURTESY / Wilson County News