yeoman farmer

A free man owning his own farm … [In the U.S. in the 18th and 19th centuries,] non-slaveholding, small landowning, family farmers. In Southern areas where land was poor, like East Tennessee, the landowning yeomen were typically subsistence farmers, but some managed to grow some crops for market. Whether they engaged in subsistence or commercial agriculture, they controlled far more modest landholdings than those of the planters, typically in the range of 50-200 acres. In the North, practically all the farms were operated by yeoman farmers as family farms.

Edgewood saw the heels of impoverished yeoman farmers driven to the City and the West, and the bland faces of poets escaping economic realities who came to take their houses.

Definition from Wikipedia