History of RBF

The present Redbud Farm is part of a 2000 acre tract of land originally owned by Giles Thompson, a member of the Choctaw Nation. Thompson sold the land for $3,000.00 on January 15, 1836 to James Gay of Monroe County Mississippi.1

During the late 1830s and early 1840s James and Martha Bates Gay built a house and raised a large family on the property. They son John Hampton Gay and his wife Margaret later established a plantation on this land.

The farm passed down to John and Margaret's son, Charles Edward Gay who lived there until he joined the Confederate Army in 1861. After the war, he returned to his farm, at this point called 'Black Jack', and raised his own children as well as the four orphaned children of his sister Emily Gay Fox. Charles Edward also served for 25 years as Chancery Clerk of the court. Judge Carrol's book Historical Sketches of Oktibbeha County describes him as the county's most popular citizen. Charles Edward lived on the farm until he and his wife Mary Francis Rachel Scales built a house on a large lot in Starkville proper. The house still stands at 110 Gillespie Street. The old log home at Black Jack burned in the 1920s.

In 1956, James Otto Weeks and his wife Myrtle bought 100 acres of the old Gay plantation form Mrs. Francis Fox and built a house as well as a number of outbuilding including a pump house, hay barn, and small storage building. These made the skeleton of the modern Redbud Farm. Mr. Weeks worked in the MSU laundry, but also kept cattle on the farm as a secondary occupation; Mrs. Weeks worked for the telephone company for many years. Their daughter Patsy Joyce Wyatt married James D. Peeples and continued to live in the 1956 house until the millennium.

The farm again changed hands in September 2000 when is was divided between Nelson Jones of J3 Ranch, who bought 70 acres, and Bill Mann, who bought the remaining 30 acres and the house.

In November 2004, Mr. Mann teamed up with equine professional Betsy Ball to begin renovations and new construction in order to develop an English Riding facility. They converted the old hay barn into a tack room, apartments, and six stalls. They also built a new hay barn, eight further stalls in adjacent shed rows, a round pen, arena, and subdivided the land into smaller paddocks with three board fencing. They have renovated the house, adding a large side bedroom/office.

1 The original deed is still on file at the Oktibbeha County Court House and was noted in Judge Thomas Carrol's book Historical Sketches of Oktibbeha County. See Deed Book B, Oktibbeha County, pp 195-6