Conly Garfield Greer


Conly Garfield Greer (on right)

Conly Garfield Greer was born in Crumpler, NC, in 1883 to Moses and Lavinia Greer. Like the Carr daughters, he attended Virginia State Normal and Industrial Institute, now Virginia State University, where he studied agriculture. With his marriage in 1913 to Mary Louise Carr, Conly Greer took over the responsibilities of River View farm. In 1918, Greer was hired by the Virginia Agricultural Extension Division, then a segregated institution, as Albemarle County’s first African American extension agent.  River View Farm was his family farm and Greer took great care with his practices, both as a way to feed his family and as a way to insprire best practices within the farming community.   In the 1930s he built the barn that ICNA still uses today with lumber from the farm and using plans likely recommended by the Soil Conservation Service (SCS) as state of the art for the time. The farm and barn were places where local farmers could come to learn modern farming practices.  His work as extension agent also meant frequent visits to farms throughout the County making for long days that could begin at 3am and last well into dark.  Greer's daughter Evangeline, in a 1982 interview with the Daily Progress, said:  "Mama would look out and see Daddy coming with a lantern through the fields and say, 'Well, I can put dinner on the table' ".    Conly Greer served as the County extension agent 35 years until his retirement in 1953. Conly Greer passed away in April 1956.  He is buried in the family cemetery at the Ivy Creek Natural Area.  

Conly and Mary had one daughter, Louise Evangeline Greer, who also pursued and worked in higher education.

Note: some historic documents spell his first name as “Conley”.