ABOUT TAP ROOT FARM
The name Tap Root Farm has its genesis in Jeremiah 17: 7-8: "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord…for he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends it’s roots by the river and will not fear when the heat comes; it’s leaves will be green, it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor will it cease yielding fruit.” A tree’s “Tap Root” is the main source of food, its’ strength in the storm and sustenance in the drought. It enables the tree to bear fruit in its season. Once the tap root is extended deep into the soil, it is extremely difficult to successfully transplant the tree. Jeremiah 17:7-8 expresses the importance of our roots being properly placed to receive God’s blessings and produce fruit in our lives; hence our family resides on this tract of land known at Tap Root Farm.
In 1958 during a late September Sunday afternoon drive Frank and Frances Ingraham came upon what was then know as “Nolencrest”. They pulled to the side of Clovercroft Road and stopped. Frank got out of the car and gazed across the pastures, home and barn and then climbed back in the car. As they drove slowly away he stated to his wife, Frances, 2-year old Eric and 2-week old Susan, “If I had a place like that, I’d never want anything else in this world.” They were mesmerized by its’ beautiful setting and sense of enchantment. Three years later in March of 1961, Frances noticed an advertisement in the paper and from the description sensed it was their “dream farm”. Upon driving to see the farm in the ad, she quickly realized it was the same home they’d seen 3 years prior. She hurriedly drove back to Nashville and called Frank at the office. Offers and negotiations began immediately and soon the Ingraham’s (by then a family of 5) had purchased “Nolencrest” along with an old oak dining table, one mule and a red wool dining room rug.
Tap Root Farm, located at the northeast edge of Franklin, Tennessee, is now a 300 acre cattle operation. The acreage, known as “Nolencrest” was first deeded to John Nolen in 1807. He built the first log house on the farm. The land was farmed in succession by John Nolen, Littleberry Nolen and Stephen Nolen, when in connection with the battles around Franklin the log house was burned in circa 1863, gun fire exchanges are evidenced by Civil War bullets found in the garden. The house was rebuilt as a two-story home on the same location by Milton Berry Nolen, whose family lived there until the tornado of 1887 removed the roofs of every building on the farm except the Springhouse in the cove. The two-story house was wind-damaged beyond repair. Dr. William Stephen Nolen, his wife and five children rebuilt the home and lived in it until the second tornado on April 29, 1909. Once again the home was damaged beyond repair. William “Billy” Nolen rebuilt the house as it stands today. This was the fourth Nolen residence built on the same site. It is a late Victorian two-story with double veranda porches facing the east off the bedrooms and a rocking chair front porch. The home was furnished with a Reynolds Central Electric System the evidence of which remains today. Sarah Nolen Murrey with her husband John lived on and farmed the land until 1954. The acreage was then sold for division among the heirs being purchased by William and Hazel Cockrell who used the home and its acreage as a summer get-a-way. On March 15, 1961, the Frank Ingraham’s bought “Nolencrest” from the Cockrells. The Ingraham's added adjacent lands to the property expanding it beyond 700 acres selling some 350 acres at the time of the Saturn Real Estate hype. The Frank Ingraham family continues to own approximately 300 acres on the south side of Clovercroft Road. Susan Ingraham now resides at Tap Root Farm Too, located on 35 acres on the north side of Clovercroft Road across from the original tract.
Stephen and Michal B. Nolen were buried in the Nolen Cemetery located at the southern end of the vegetable garden and orchard. Stephen Nolen’s marker reads 1790-1851. His wife, Michal B. Nolan, also has a grave marker which reads 1798-1848. The cemetery was not further used until the untimely death of 17 year old Harold (Hal) Eric Ingraham, the son of the present owners in 1974. Since that time, several members of the Ingraham household: Dr. and Mrs. Harold E. Ingraham, parents; Marcia Lu Ingraham Durham, sister; and Sevenah Clothilda Haw-Ley, grandmother, have been buried in the cemetery.
The Tap Root residency is basically the same as it was when it was rebuilt in 1909. In 1970 when the kitchen was remodeled, an addition was built on the south side which replaced the original screened back porch. Forty-seven walnut logs were harvested from the farm and made into new kitchen’s cabinets, family room and library paneling and bookcases. The Tap Root Library contains over a thousand volumes many of which were inherited from Dr. Harold E. Ingraham, a Southern Baptist Convention layman and Sunday School leader. The present owners, as antiquarian book collectors, have added a wealth of Tennessee and English history and literary works. The entire interior of the library is insidious to the farm with its walnut shelving, poplar mantel, limestone fire rock and field stone hearth, all harvested from the land. An Italian marble column stands in the front lawn and has been dedicated as the “Praise Stone”. Scripture is inscribed on each of the four sides of the stone depicting the scene beyond i.e. “God came walking in the garden in the morning”; “The cattle on a thousand hills are mine says the Lord” and the Jeremiah 17:7-8 on the face as you view the residence. The praise stone allows one to clearly see examples of the scripture through God’s creation.
There are now 3 generations of the Ingraham family living at Tap Root. Susan and her 2 children, Erica and Kurt, live at “Tap Root Too”. This residence was built in 2004 on top of the hill across Clovercroft Road from the original farm house. This home was built to “bring the outside in” while utilizing the materials from the farm to construct the residency. The windows allow a clear view of many miles of Williamson County scenery. The screened porch and patios are perfect settings for the best memory-making events. The kitchen and great room cabinets are a mixture of cherry and walnut harvested from the farm. The large rock fireplace and rock walls are made from the limestone gathered while clearing the fields for pasture and from a slave fence on the farm. The study houses the red wool rug that was a part of the negotiated purchase of Tap Root Farm in 1961. Tap Root Too is built of the land, stands overlooking the original farm and is rooted in the heritage of Tap Root Farm.
Every acre of meadow, grassy pastures, crop producing fields and woodlands provide a variety of agricultural yield. Wildlife continues to abound even though three subdivisions are adjacent to the land. Tap Root’s black beef cattle have pastured the rolling hills and meadows since 1961. The land has produced abundant hay and grains for their winter forage. The farm’s 2+ acre garden and orchard provide winter frozen & canned goods for family and friends to enjoy. Our beef feedlot puts home grown natural above-prime beef on many customers’ tables. Due to the hard work of Russ Harkai, Farm Manager, and the individuals that work with him, this working farm continues to keep its’ roots in agriculture and produces many “fruits”. We hope you’ll enjoy your visit to Tap Root . . . make it soon!!!
|Tap Root Farm | 4104 Clovercroft Road, Franklin, TN 37067 | ph: 615.594.3210 | fax: 615.794.3358 | Susan Ingraham|