The Maple Grove Farm, south of Pikeville, was founded by Jonathan Pope in 1832. Pope fought in the War of 1812 and received five Tennessee land grants for his service. He moved from Upper East Tennessee to the Sequatchie Valley to take possession of the grants that totaled 1180 acres. A successful farmer, by 1850 he owned 4000 acres. Married to Deliah Coulter, the Popes had nine children. Cattle, sheep, hogs, corn, oats and hay were raised by the family.
James Jerome Pope acquired his parents’ farm in 1869. According to the family, James served in “Standefer’s Co. 1st Tennessee MTD Infantry with his brother Thomas Alexander Pope in the Cherokee Indian War from 1836-1838.” In addition to managing the farm, James was appointed Justice of the Peace for Bledsoe County in 1854. James married Mary Murphy Worthington and they had twelve children.
IN 1891, their son, Charlie, acquired the farm. While raising crops and livestock, he also built a house that is still standing on the farm. In addition, he taught school for several years, was elected as a member of the County Court and served as an elder of the Pikeville Church of Christ. Wed to Dora Billingsley Pope, the couple had seven children.
Charlie and Dora’s son, Andrew Hershel Pope, obtained the land. During World War I, Hershel served as a medic in the army. He and his wife, Virgie Mae Walker, had four children. The family recalls that Hershel worked “constantly to improve farming techniques, family farms and the future of farming.” He helped to organized the Bledsoe County Farm Bureau in 1924 and served as its president for seventeen years. He also served ont he Soil Conservation committee for 18 years and was a diretor in the Production Credit Association for 15 years. Also Hershel helped organize the Bledsoe County Farmers Cooperative and the Bledsoe Telephone Cooperative. Hershel and Vergie Mae were member of the Mount Airy Church.
Today the farmer is owned by the great, great grandson of the founder, John Hollis Pope. He and his wife had one son, Gary, who helps his father raised beef cattle and hay. Over the years, Hollis has served as a member of the president of the Bledsoe County Farm Bureau and was a director in the Bledsoe County Farmers Cooperative for 32 years In addition, he serve as a foreman in the grand jury for 17 years. A farm house that was built in 1875 and remodeled by Gary, has been home to him and his wife Cathy Lynn since 1991. Their sons, Shaun Garrett and Andrew William, were raised on the farm Shaun and his wife Crystal have a daughter Kaitlin Grace Pope. Andrew works in Chattanooga. Continuing the tradition of family’s attention to progressive farming, Gary attends workshops sponsored by the Agricultural Extension Office and as the 6th generation plans to keep working farm in the family in the future. He and his father manage and operate the farm.