The original settlers of the present day Callahan Farm were on my mother’s side of the family. Their name was Carpenter. The Carpenter Family moved to Cherokee County from Raleigh, North Carolina in the mid 1800s. One member of the Carpenter family served in the Mexican War and was paid in script, which he used to partly pay for the eight hundred acres that he purchased in Cherokee County. The farm quickly grew to over one thousand acres. At least one third of the farm consisted of “bottoms” – areas of fertile land along creeks – which was very favorable land for row cropping. Early in the history of the Callahan farm, at that time known as the Carpenter Farm, it was realized that more topsoil was needed to improve the soil quality of the bottoms. In order to improve the productivity of the farm, a dam was built to flood the bottoms and form a catch basin for silt and topsoil that was silting from further upstream. The farm was operated as a self-sufficient unit, with the production of meats, vegetables, dairy and forestry products. Of particular note, the early members of the Carpenter family built one of Cherokee County’s earliest electrical systems using the premise of water and Del-co batteries. Farming, dairy cattle and saw milling were the primary sources of income for the farm.
During the Civil War, General Sherman’s troops passed in close enough proximity to the farm that livestock had to be hidden in distant woods and in steep terrain to prevent their slaughter by the Union army soldiers.
World War II
The property continued as a hand-tended, self-sufficient operating farm until World War II and the advent of farm mechanization. With all able-bodied men called into service during the war, only the oldest and youngest members of the family remained to tend the farm. Given the lack of manpower and a general shift in farming to the Midwestern United States, the farm was converted to pasture for the raising of cattle. Chicken coops were built for poultry production. In 1952, Betty and Dean Callahan were married. It was their efforts that saved the farm from certain sale. They worked diligently, so that further generations could enjoy the land that our forefathers first established.
In the late 1990’s, the Callahan family was faced with a decision that would determine the future of the property. Their choices were: convert the property to a timber farm, which takes twenty years to yield mature timber, continue cattle farming and face the ongoing difficulties created by wildly fluctuating prices for beef, pursue poultry production and the increasingly difficult business environment for small operators, or to sell the property to real estate developers for residential and commercial development. The Callahan family maintained an intense desire to preserve the natural setting of the property and to honor the tradition of the past : one-hundred and fifty years of farming, the history of family ownership, and the dream of the original family members that had been passed on through numerous generations. The land’s natural beauty and varied terrain provided the ideal setting for a tremendous golf course layout, and the natural beauty of the property with “a few tweaks here and there” resulted in the proudest evolution of the farm to date, Callahan Golf Links!