McCoy Farm & Gardens Newsletter

Volume Eight: Issue Five xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx May 2023

7th Annual Memorial Day Picnic

Monday, May 29

The Memorial Day Picnic on May 29 will be coordinated by Walden’s Ridge Guild with Mary Catherine O’Kelley and Annette Wildman acting as Chairs. Gates open at 11 with the celebration beginning at 11:30 to honor our military. The invocation by Rev. Bill Dudley will be followed by an opening ceremony and salute to the flag. Betty Julian and elementary school children will lead the singing of the national anthem and other patriotic songs. Walden Mayor Lee Davis will extend a welcome to all. By popular tradition, Alix Parks of Happinest Wildlife Rehabilitators will release a large female red-tailed hawk.

MFG is very grateful to Signal Mt. businesses who sponsor the picnic by donating funds and goods. Signal Mountain Lions Club will cook hamburgers and hot dogs for sale along with funnel cakes, cotton candy, and pizza. There is no admission charge.

Shop Cobweb Corner Market

Come prepared to purchase treasures old and new at the Cobweb Corner Market and at the Bride's Boutique, featuring fine china and glassware. On the screened porch of the house, MFG will be unveiling new branded merchandise along with Emma Bell Miles products. Also for sale are Mountain Mementos, Signal Mt. maps by Jean Catino, daughter of Emma Bell Miles, and bluebird houses built by Terry Knox. All proceeds go to benefit MFG. Stop by to see these items and to sign up for the newsletter or to volunteer.

Vendor booths offer interesting finds. To solve the problem of carrying your purchases as you enjoy the picnic, stop at the Park Your Package booth to check the items. See the history exhibit sponsored by the Walden’s Ridge Civic League and purchase Walden’s Ridge: The Early Years, a history of the Ridge and the Bachman/McCoy families. And be sure to visit Pastor Caleb Pitkin with his compelling blacksmith demonstration. The Cake Walk and children’s free-play area are back by popular demand. See you there!

If you would like to donate to Cobweb Corner or the Bride's Boutique, contact Melissa Nimon at 423-598-1658.

Gift of Bachman Family Heirloom China

Several members of the Rawlings family came all the way from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to bring the china, while some came from Lookout Mountain. Left to right on the staircase are Maggie Rawling's son, Kevin Collum, Solomon Collum, Martha Collum, Kristin Collum, Peter Rawlings, daughter Joan Rawlings Buie, Milly Rawlings, and Neill Buie. 

Maggie Garland Rawlings, first cousin twice removed of Martha Bachman McCoy, lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She has fond memories of Martha and Tom McCoy and the place we now call McCoy Farm & Gardens. Maggie participated in the Oral History project recording information about the property and the family.


She feels that preservation of MFG is important, and she is contributing in a very meaningful way by donating the china and coffee service passed down to her from the Bachmans. She believes that the china was probably a gift from First Presbyterian Church to their pastor, Dr. Jonathan Bachman and his wife Evalina, parents of Senator Nathan Bachman and grandparents of Martha McCoy. Maggie believes the china dates to the 1880s, and she feels that the wildflower pattern is quite appropriate for the McCoy home.


Maggie's grandmother, Margaret Anderson Coffey, was adopted by Jonathan and Evalina Bachman after her parents died. Little Margaret was 5 years old. Margaret and Martha were first cousins. The Bachmans gave the china to Maggie's grandmother, and she later gave the china to Maggie's mother, Mary Katherine Coffey Rawlings, who in turn passed it on to Maggie. The family tradition was that treasures like the china would go to the first-born daughter.


Martha Beebe Collum has been told all her life about her "cousin Martha" for whom she was named. Finally she was able to visit the place in Tennessee where her grandmother, aunts and uncles enjoyed happy days playing as children. Here Martha stands at her great-great-great grandfather Nathan's desk. A portrait of her great-great-great grandmother, Pearl Bachman, is on the wall above the desk.

Emerald Ash Borer Treatment, May 6 at 10AM

The Emerald Ash Borer insect was first detected in the US in Michigan fewer than 20 years ago and has already made a significant negative impact on the ash trees on Walden's Ridge. Without treatment, McCoy will lose all our green ash trees. We began protecting many trees last fall and will need to retreat every spring to save them. Come learn more about these destructive insects and help treat MFG’s trees this Saturday, May 6 at 10 am. We'll meet at the Carriage House.

Spring Bird Walk, May 13 at 8 AM

Join Kent DuBois on Saturday, May 13 at 8 am in the parking lot to learn about spring migration and to see what birds are passing through McCoy, as well as look for our year-round avian friends. There is no charge to participate. Kent is an avid birder who was instrumental in making MFG an eBird “hotspot.”

Hotspots are public bird-watching locations created by eBird users and officially recognized by eBird administrators. Multiple bird lovers can assist with bird surveying by entering data observed at a shared location. The designation also allows birders to discover new watching areas. We welcome you to join in the bird walk if you are an experienced “birder” or are simply interested in the wildlife at McCoy Farm & Gardens.

Mulberry Propagation Report

Above, Tom Voychehovski and Jeniffer Hightower share a happy moment as they graft mulberry saplings. Below Charles Hightower plants tiny saplings in the propagation bed.

Volunteers cut scions from a particularly prolific red mulberry tree in the Horseshoe Garden in February. They chilled the cuttings for two months until the shoots could be grafted onto rootstock.

On Thursday, April 20, a team composed of Bob Gray, Tom Voychehovski, Jacque Lyons, and Jeniffer and Charles Hightower, grafted the little cuttings to about 25 trees. These trees were potted so they can be raised into little trees to sell. The smaller saplings were planted in the wildflower propagation bed behind the barn. There they will grow until they are large enough to graft.

Retired State Forester Paul Ensminger recommended this fundraising project after he noticed the abundance of delicious fruit and exceptional characteristics of the McCoy red mulberry tree. The two MFG teams interested in the mulberry and apple trees are considering joining together to create a Fruit Tree Committee, since many members have a common interest in these and other species of fruit-bearing trees.

Fall of a Giant

On the night before the Egg Roll, a terrific windstorm ripped across the mountain top. Dan Reynolds went out to assess the damage and found that one of the giant pair of Norway Spruce trees behind the house had been snapped in two and cast down across the driveway. He notified Melissa who called a group of emergency volunteers to clean it up before the event. The picture below tells the tale. Volunteers who did the herculean task of clearing the debris inside of three hours are Fred and Annette Wildman, Wesley and Melissa Nimon, Andy Jones, Matt and Nolan Bernard, Alex Johnson, Hannah Jones, and Roger Brothers.

McCoy Egg Roll

to Become Annual Event

Everyone had such a good time at the Egg Roll that they would like to see it repeated. Here are some pictures from the event held April 2, 2023. We hope you will plan to join in again next year.

Anne Leonard presented the prize to Vincent Darinzo after he guessed the number of jelly-eggs inside the jar.

The Easter Bunny, assisted by Mary Stanley, enjoyed meeting everyone and plans to return for the Egg Roll again next year.

MFG Official Tennessee Weed Wrangle Partner

Weed Wrangle® was started by the Garden Club of Nashville, a member of The The Garden Club of America (GCA). This fall, GCA launched a National Native Plant Month Initiative to formally establish a Native Plant Month in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. In April, Tennessee joined to make 48 states participating. McCoy Farm & Gardens is proud to be a part of the effort. Weed Wrangle’s mission is to: establish partnerships that connect volunteers and public lands for the purpose of education and eradication of non-native invasive plant species followed with the planned restoration of native plant communities.

Interested in Volunteering?

Volunteers are essential to McCoy Farm & Gardens.

When you sign up, tell us about how you'd like to help. Volunteer opportunities include: Grounds, House, Gardens, Communications, History, Events, and Administration. If you don't see your particular interest, tell us how you'd like to volunteer. Sign up below to receive information about regular volunteer days and events.

Sign up for Volunteer News

Interested in Scheduling an Event?

Contact McCoy Farm & Gardens Event Director Cynthia Pennington

at [email protected]

to learn more about renting space at McCoy for your next event.

Give Online

Donate Today

Or mail your check to McCoy Farm & Gardens, P.O. Box 443, Signal Mountain, TN 37377

We are now able to receive your contribution of securities.

If you would like to support McCoy in this tax-advantaged way,

please contact our office at


McCoy Farm & Gardens is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. All contributions are charitable and tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law. 

McCoy Farm & Gardens covers thirty-eight acres and features the Bachman-McCoy home, gardens, and several outbuildings including the Pavilion, Carriage House, Barn, and Blacksmith Workshop. The perimeter walking trail is 1.1 miles.

NEWSLETTER EDITOR: Karen Stone [email protected]


Mickey Robbins, President xxxxxx Mayor: Lee Davis

Joe Davis, Vice President xxxxxxx Alderman: Lizzy Schmidt

Larson Mick, Secretary xxxxxxxxx Alderman Angela Cassidy

Elizabeth Hamilton, Gardens xxxx EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Leanna Jones, Treasurer xxxxxxxx Melissa Nimon

Linda Collins, Grants xxxxxxxxxxx423- 598-1658

Earl Hereford, Projects xxxxxxxxx [email protected]

Andy Jones, Grounds xxxxxxxxxxx EVENT DIRECTOR

Anne Leonard, House xxxxxxxxxxxCynthia Pennington

Anne Hayes Pearce, Volunteers xx 423-619-8959

Susan Snow, Policies, Events XxxX[email protected]

Karen Stone, Publicity  

Fred Wildman, Property Maintenance

Facebook  Instagram  YouTube