I am a native of Nelson County. I have spent all my life in the county except for the seven years away in college, the Army, and involvement in other agricultural activities. I returned home to Nelson in 1957 with my wife, Tatum, who was a farm girl from Franklin County, VA. Initially I was an active land surveyor in addition to running a peach orchard and boxwood nursery. In 1981, I was bitten by a snake while surveying. It was then I decided to become a full-time farmer.
I am a 1954 graduate of Virginia Tech and have been very active in Virginia Tech activities, I was past President of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, nationwide. I love writing about history of Nelson County and our farm. I have authored multiple books including a 600+ page history book of my native Nelson County, titled, “Heartbeats of Nelson.” I am a collector and intense student of early rural life artifacts and agricultural machinery. Also, my love for boxwood spurred me to start the National Boxwood Trials which evaluates boxwood cultivar performance over the United States and several foreign countries. Tatum and I were participators in a boxwood expedition to the Republic of Georgia in 2001 searching for new boxwood cultivars.
I am a member of Rose Union Baptist Church, I have served for many years as a Sunday school teacher, choir member, and deacon. I love Nelson County, trout fishing, rabbit hunting, and most of all the farm. Tatum and I have seven biological sons, two adopted sons, and over 40 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.