Monday, August 22, 2016

The world's largest farm was once in Alabama

Excerpt from the Toronto Sunday World News dated November 5, 1913:


 Just outside of Birmingham, Alabama there is a farm owned by Joseph Oswalt Thompson, which is said to be the largest in the world. It comprises 25,000 acres in the fertile “black belt.” 

If this farm were to be cut into city lots, says The New York Sun, there would be 400,000 of them, enough to build a city of 2,400,000 inhabitants, figuring six to each family.
Two hundred miles of wire encloses the farm. It takes the man who inspects the fence five days to ride around it on horseback. To properly care for the farm 1200 men are employed, who with their families, make a population larger than the average Alabama city. Two hundred and thirty plows are always in use.
All the farm is not under cultivation. Just now only 6000 acres are planted. In an ordinary season this area yields 2500 bales of cotton, 25,000 bushels of corn, 12,000 bushels of oats, 600 tons of hay, 500 tons of alfalfa and 13,000 gallons of syrup. Besides all this there on the farm 600 head of cattle and nearly as many hogs.
Mr. Thompson is called the king farmer of Alabama . There are cattlemen in the west and in other parts of the world who own more acres, but they are merely pasture and not farms.
Who was Mr. Joseph Oswalt Thompson?  Mr. Thompson was born on February 2, 1869 in Tuskegee, in Macon County, Alabama.  He was educated at Park's High School and the Alabama Military Institute.  
Below is a photo of the Thompson clan gathered on the front porch of their home.

Mr. Thompson was a farmer with large land holdings.  He specialized in cotton production and was the largest cotton planter in Alabama at one time. He was an organizer of the Alabama Land Congress, the cotton holding movement in 1915, and was vice-president of the American Cotton Association in 1926. 
Joseph O. Thompson was active in the Republican Party in Alabama, serving as chairman of the Republican committee of Macon County; chairman of the State Republican committee for Alabama; Republican nominee for Governor of Alabama in 1910; and Republican nominee for Congress from the Birmingham District in 1918. Thompson also held other important positions with federal agencies, such as Deputy U. S. Marshal, Deputy U. S. Collector, U. S. Commissioner, Postmaster at Tuskegee, Alabama, and Deputy U. S. Collector for Internal Revenue. 
Joseph Oswalt Thompson married Annie Magruder of Tuskegee, Alabama, daughter of William Reardon and Mary Ann (Perry) Magruder, on April 13, 1888; they had eight children. 
Joseph Oswalt Thompson died August 5, 1933 and is buried in Tuskegee Cemetery in Macon County, Alabama. 

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