It was early 1900s, and the path my great-grandfather James S. Hines was headed down started to bend towards creating his own farm. My great-grandfather was born in 1878. His parents owned a plantation, and through them, he had learned the fine art of farming. After years of dreaming, planning and praying James, and his wife, Lula Harper Hines purchased over 600 acres of land in 1937. This slice of heaven sat approximately 80 miles south of his parents plantation. Their oasis is known today as Hinestown.
In 1937, Hinestown was mostly woodland. The farming process was slow and steady, but with the help of his 13 children, my great-grandfather was able to completely transform his land. The joyous work sowed, reaped endless harvest. Fresh, dried, canned or pickled produce, as well as flour, sugar and salt. Livestock was also a big part of the production. Whether you needed eggs, milk or meat (beef, pork, chicken, goat, duck), you could always find it in Hinestown. Hinestown was also conveniently situated along the New River. So over the years either fresh, or salted fish became available on the farm.
The beauty was that all of the processing happened right on the farm. And as if that wasn’t enough to keep our family busy, my great-grandfather constructed a sawmill on the property. Trees were harvested on the land for logs and lumber, in which the community used to build their houses. With the endless amount of possibilities, we became the town’s one stop shop. My great-grandfather started this farm with the desire to provide a self sustaining homestead for his family, but accomplished a great deal more. Not only was he the patriarch, but he was also a preacher . So when he wasn’t busy farming, he fulfilled his ministerial duties as the pastor of Hartsville Primitive Baptist Church, until his death in 1952. Today, my uncle is the current pastor, and many of my family members still attend.
In the years following the passing of my great-grandfather, the farm production started to slowly decrease, due to outside work becoming available to his children and grandchildren. Today most of my family grow their individual produce and raise their own livestock.
I spent my summers in Hinestown, enjoying the rich family agricultural history. But like my family members before me, work carried me away from farm life. I have had a very fulfilling career in my 33 years of law enforcement, and recently retired as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations, but I have always been drawn to the farm life and family I would see in my rear view mirror after each visit home.
With the help of my wife, children, family and friends, Hines Family Farms is moving towards the grand scale it once was. And even though we have changed and grown over the years, our mission statement has never been altered. It continues to define who we are and how we farm, with using the land and God’s gifts to their fullest potential.
I am a 4th generation farmer, and I am proud to say that I have come home!