Milborn N. Chesser was born in the DeKalb County town of Ider in 1933, the youngest of 10 children in a farm family hit hard by the Depression.
In the early 1940s, a trip to Auburn with his fellow 4-Hers left the young Chesser determined to someday return to Alabama Polytechnic Institute and get a college degree. It wasn’t until passage of the G.I. Bill in 1944, however, that he figured out how to accomplish that, and in 1947, feigning to be older than 14, he joined the U.S. Army National Guard. Three years later, as a soldier in the Army’s 151st Engineer Combat Battalion, he was deployed to Korea and served two years there, attaining the rank of master sergeant.
On his return to the States, Chesser did enroll at what is now Auburn University under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act and received his B.S. degree in agricultural education in 1955 and, two years later, a master’s in poultry husbandry.
While still an undergraduate at Auburn, he sold his car and used the money as a down payment on a small poultry farm in Fyffe. At its peak, his Circle C Farms encompassed 200 acres and 17 poultry houses. Chesser actively farmed until a 2008 fall from a feed bin left him severely injured.
Though a highly successful poultry producer for decades, Chesser is most widely known as a civic and professional leader dedicated to serving others and helping improve lives. In 1973, concerned by the lack of financing available to existing and would-be poultry farmers, he and a small group of investors established the Bank of Fyffe. Renamed Horizon Bank following expansions, that institution has enabled countless farmers in northeast Alabama and beyond to stay in business.
In addition to his many years on the bank’s Board of Directors, Chesser also had long tenures on the DeKalb County Board of Education, the Farmers Telephone Cooperative Board of Directors and the DeKalb County Farmers Federation. He also was actively involved with the Alabama Farmers Federation, serving as secretary-treasurer for 21 years.
He and his wife, Anne, were married in 1952 and are long-time members of the Fyffe United Methodist Church, where he was chairman of the administrative board for 35 years. They have two daughters, both married, and four grandchildren.