James S. Hines was born in 1878 to parents who owned a plantation and taught him the fine art of farming as a child. James and his wife, Lula Harper Hines, purchased over 600 acres of land in 1937 after many years of dreaming, praying, and planning. The fertile ground was located approximately 80 miles south of his parents' plantation. Their oasis is known today as "Hinestown."
Hinestown was mostly woodlands in 1937. The farming process was slow and steady, but with the help of his 13 children, my great-grandfather was able to completely transform the land. The Hines Family sowed hard work and reaped an abundant harvest--fresh, dried, canned or pickled produce, flour, sugar and salt. Livestock was also a major part of the operation. Whether you needed eggs, milk, or meat (beef, pork, chicken, goat, duck), you could always find it in Hinestown. Conveniently situated along the New River, fresh and salted fish eventually became staples of the farm.
The beauty was that all agricultural processing happened right on the farm. And if that wasn’t enough to keep the family busy, my great-grandfather constructed a sawmill on the property. Trees were harvested on the land for lumber that the community used to build homes. Hinestown became a "one-stop shop" with all the services and products it offered. James Hines began the farm to provide a self-sustaining homestead for his family, but he accomplished a great deal more. He was the patriarch of the family as well as a preacher. When he wasn't busy on the farm, he fulfilled his ministerial duties as the pastor of Hartsville Primitive Baptist Church until his death in 1952. Today, my uncle serves as pastor, and many family members still attend. Farm production started to slowly decrease in the years following my great-grandfather's death due to his descendants accepting non-agricultural job opportunities in town. Many family members, today, still grow their own individual produce and raise livestock.
I spent my summers in Hinestown enjoying the rich family agricultural history. Like family members before me, work carried me away from farm life. I have experienced a very fulfilling 33-year law enforcement career and retired as a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigations (24 years) in December 2019. I love my family, and I've always been drawn to farming.
With the help of my wife, children, family and friends, Hines Family Farms is moving toward the grand scale it once was. Although we have grown and evolved over the years, our mission remains the same. Hard work continues to define who we are and how we farm, using the land and God’s gifts to their fullest potential.
I am a fourth generation farmer, and I am proud to be home!