Talmadge Farm, Guest Post by Leo Daughtry

It’s 1957, and tobacco is king. Wealthy landowner Gordon Talmadge enjoys the lavish lifestyle he inherited but doesn’t like getting his hands dirty; he leaves that to the two sharecroppers – one white, one Black – who farm his tobacco but have bigger dreams for their own children. While Gordon takes no interest in the lives of his tenant farmers, a brutal attack between his son and the sharecropper children sets off a chain of events that leaves no one unscathed. Over the span of a decade, Gordon struggles to hold on to his family’s legacy as the old order makes way for a New South.

TALMADGE FARM is a sweeping drama that follows three unforgettable families navigating the changing culture of North Carolina at a pivotal moment in history. A love letter to the American South, the novel is a story of resilience, hope, and family – both lost and found.


The 1950s – 1960s was a period of great change in the South and especially in North Carolina tobacco country. Up to this point, tobacco was king in North Carolina, and the work of farming was done by sharecroppers, which was a tough way to make a living. Sharecroppers were poor and usually didn’t have a way out of their situation. The children of sharecroppers helped with the farm work as soon as they were old enough and often became sharecroppers themselves. Segregation was still in practice in most communities.

But as the 1960s approached, the civil rights movement began to gain traction. Young people – especially those of color – began to seek new opportunities off the farm, often joining the Army or moving north to seek a better future. This led to a shortage in local farm workers and initiated the advent of migrant workers doing the bulk of the work.

At the same time, government regulations expanded how many acres an individual farmer could have, which led to big enterprises buying out smaller farmers. It was also a time when the idea that smoking was bad for one’s health began to take hold. North Carolina began to look for ways to expand economically and become less dependent on agriculture, which led to the development of the Research Triangle Park.

It was a pivotal time in our state’s history – and the perfect setting for Talmadge Farm. In the novel, we see all of the characters struggle to keep up with the changing times. Some embraced the new order and found a better future for themselves. Others could not adapt, which ultimately led to their downfall.

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Talmadge-Farm-Leo-Daughtry/dp/1970157437/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Talmadge-Farm-Leo-Daughtry-ebook/dp/B0D3WW6BHL/
Barnes and Noble:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/talmadge-farm-leo-daughtry/1145569540?ean=9781970157437

Meet Leo Daughtry

Leo Daughtry is a life-long resident of North Carolina. He grew up among the tobacco fields of Sampson County which served as inspiration for his debut novel, “Talmadge Farm.” After graduating from Wake Forest University and its School of Law, he established a private law practice in Smithfield, N.C. He was a member of the N.C. House and Senate for 28 years, including serving as House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader. When not practicing law, Leo enjoys spending time in Atlantic Beach with his wife and daughters.

Connect with Leo

Author websitehttps://www.leodaughtry.com/

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