History of Tunstall Farm and Bright Leaf Tobacco

In 1907, using wood from their newly cleared land, the Tunstall family began construction on their new farmhouse – a traditional center hall plan I-house.  With their seven sons and two daughters, the Tunstalls raised crops and livestock for the table and, most importantly fields of tobacco.  While tobacco was raised as a cash crop, the Tunstalls also devoted part of their farm life to subsistence crops, as indicated by the presence of a smokehouse, dairy, corn crib and chicken house. 


Bright leaf tobacco was the main crop raised on the farm.  The three tall tobacco barns used for drying the tobacco leaves still stand clustered together in a group of outbuildings on the property.  Nearby, sits a long and squat packhouse, a stiphoue and an attached ordering house, used to soften the tobacco before it was prepared for market. 


Bright leaf received its name from its curing process.  The leaves were hung in the tobacco barns and a fire was started in the center.  The heat and smoke from the fire cured the tobacco leaves a bright yellow color.   


In 1920, the Tunstalls erected a general store on the property adjacent to the former route of US Highway 1.  Today, the store still sits toward the front of the property, while US Highway 1 is now little more than a path through the woods.