Coker’s Pedigreed Seed and the sound of history
By Pressly Coker
Special to the News & Press
Hartsville is blessed with many beautiful and historic homes, buildings, gardens and sites. These historic landmarks are a reminder and lesson for our younger generation as to the hard work, dedication, entrepreneurship and faith of those who helped shape and mold our community into what it is today. While most of these sites stand as silent reminders of our history and accomplishments, one small piece from our past is still able to speak loudly and proudly. Coker’s Pedigreed Seed Co. was incorporated as a business in 1914 following many years of work by David R. Coker to develop improved varieties of seeds for farmers. In the 1920s, as a result of the growth and success of Coker’s Pedigreed Seed, a large farm bell was purchased and placed at the farm headquarters. This bell was rung and the sound would notify the many farm workers that it was time for a lunch break and later it was rung to announce the end of lunch. It was never rung to announce the end of a day’s work, because everyone knew when it was quitting time. The Coker Farm bell was manufactured by the Ross-Meehan Foundry in 1921 and for over 66 years was a sound that was heard twice per day as a part working for Coker’s Pedigreed Seed. In 1986, when Coker’s Pedigreed Seed closed, this bell found a safe and secure home with David Allen, a Coker employee for 46 years. The Coker’s Pedigreed Seed farm bell has now returned home to the Coker Farms National Historic Landmark. While it no longer rings to farm workers, it can sound as a welcome to our community and as a fond reminder to the many who worked for Coker’s Pedigreed Seed.