HKFarm, LLC – “A Family Legacy”
In the mid 1800s, Handy Kennedy moved to Cobbtown, Georgia. He purchased 175 acres from Lewis Cobb, another farmer in 1869. He and his wife, Elizabeth, had three children. At the time of his death in 1922, Handy owned a total of 190 acres. Handy’s son, Marshston, became the administrator of the estate of Handy Kennedy and inherited 190 acres.
Having survived the Great Depression, Marshton lived a long and prosperous life as a farmer. Recognized as a man of his word, he sealed many of his farming business deals with a handshake. Marshston was known and respected by many throughout Southeast Georgia because of his ability to operate a profitable and productive farm. He and his wife, Mamie, raised thirteen children on the farm. During Marshton’s lifetime, he acquired and farmed 1900 acres of land. His entrepreneurial spirit and self-reliance enabled him to install his own private Mobile gas station, purchase John Deere farm equipment and a school bus to transport his grandchildren to school.
Marshton’s son, Handy Kennedy Sr., would later continue the Kennedy farming legacy. At the age of 17, he volunteered for the U.S. Army during World War II. After receiving an honorable discharge, he returned to work with his father on the farm.
In 1947, Handy, Sr. married a very independent woman M.J. (Milton Jane). M.J. and Handy, Sr., longed for a place of their own. Hence nine years later, they moved to Brunswick, Georgia with their five children in order to take advantage of the opportunities in the pulpwood industry. Handy, Sr. began working as a laborer at Hercules Pulpwood Company and by 1959 they had seven children.
It was extremely hard for a dedicated family man to raise seven children in the city. So, together they decided to return to Cobbtown to raise their children. They purchased a 300-acre farm from Gordon Hamm. The farm was located on the west side of his father’s farm. Unfortunately, Marshton was battling colon cancer and the farm was in debt. Understanding the banking industry, he knew, upon his death, the creditors would demand their money or the farm. Therefore to keep the farm in the family, he encouraged one his sons to purchase 900 acres from him.
In 1965, the third generation of farming continued. Handy, Sr. started his endeavor to purchase the 900 acres from his father. However, it was very difficult for an African American to borrow money from banks in the sixties. Though he tried, he was unable to secure a loan from any local bank to purchase the land. With persistence and the assistance of Clifford Coleman, a Caucasian friend, Handy Sr., was able to secure a loan from New York Life Insurance Company to purchase the 900 acres from his father.
By 1973, Handy Sr. & M.J. had 12 children and owned 1,060 acres. At his death in 2004, the farm was debt free, and Handy, Sr. left a legacy of farming to his twelve children. In order, to preserve the farm as one entity the children agreed to incorporate the farm into a LLC, hence forming HK Farm, LLC. Today, the family members collectively own and manage 1340 acres in Cobbtown, Georgia.
Presently, Handy’s, great, great grandson is the fifth generation of farmers on HK Farm, LLC. HK Farm is diversifying its scope of business to include recreational activities, such as fishing, camping, hunting, and more. Besides annually hosting two of the largest horse trail rides in Southeast Georgia, HK Farm, LLC is partnering with non-profit organizations such as, St. Jude, OSay, and others to raise funds in order to support causes that are dear to the hearts of the Kennedy family members.