The Farmer

History of the Quilt


Project Description

Evaluations of Accomplishments

Future Plans for the Project

Proposal Letter

Request to Commissioners

Biographies by Homemakers Clubs

Biographies by Friends of the Library


The Farmer

The appearance of much of the land in Western Harnett today is not what the Scotch Settlers saw when they arrived in the early 1700's. Vast wooded areas of long leaf pine and small streams suitable only for hunting, fishing and cattle raising greeted their eyes. This setting amid the rolling hills reminded them of their native homeland, the Highlands of Scotland.

Amid these surroundings for many a year, they eked out an existence by raising cattle, hunting, fishing and learning, later, the art of making turpentine and pitch from the tall long leaf pines for sale to the Naval Stores to aid their economy. Tobacco was not introduced until long after the War Between the States. Cotton grew well in other parts of North Carolina, but was not grown here, or after the war, or even today.

Meanwhile the soil was tilled to grow food crops for personal use, corn and silage for cattle, and in so doing the settlers soon learned the fertile sandy and well drained soil would grow most anything from vegetable, crops to fruit trees, berries and grapes on a large scale. They knew they could depend on enough rainfall, a long growing season, and a mean temperature, one not too hot and one not too cold. (Today the Extension Service reports the average mean temperature is 60.5 degrees; the growing season has 210 days; and the average rainfall is 47.43 inches a year.)

In this setting, over 130 years after Harnett County was formed in 1855, the Rainbow Extension Homemakers Club, under the direction of Harnett Extension Service, grew into an active organization. In choosing their quilt subject for the 1989 Harnett County Historical Quilt, they not only wanted their two historical land markers represented, Spout Springs Presbyterian Church, and A. M. E. Zion Church, but their third square to tell the story of what good farming over the years had done for their livelihood, how soil improvement had increased the economic opportunities for better living. Thus, the Quilt Square, The Farmer, was chosen. In the lower right hand corner a farmer is shown with his back to the viewer looking out over a field of recently plowed furrows, ready for crop planting. In the distance a small wooded area is seen bordering his field either depicting winter or early spring. The sun in the background is either beginning to set or rise on the horizon just above the distant tree tops. With one arm on his hip, his hat on the back of his head, the farmer maybe planning his next crop or just resting from a long day of plowing, perhaps not realizing! his skills and those of other farmers have helped to make Harnett a top Agriculture County.

Harnett today has a varied topography, plant and wildlife population. This is because the county lies near the center of the state where the Piedmont, Sandhills, and Coastal Plain Regions come together.

The farmer today realizes this well drained soil has potentials for both agriculture and industrial expansion, that tributaries from the Cape Fear River, that divide the county in half, provide large and almost untouched water supply. He also knows that a mixture of agriculture and industry has provided the county with a stable and strong economy. He gives thanks especially to the coming of Bright Leaf Tobacco in recent years for making it the county's main money crop.

But in 1989, as the farmer in Western Harnett looks out over the horizon, he sees many changes that have come about in recent years: the greatest, different land usage, such as trailer housing, new homes for retirees, ex-service people and working people in nearby towns; big reforestation projects to replace the long leaf pine with the loblolly pine for pulpwood and timber; and lastly, numerous improvements in environmental protection that have been initiated and guided by the Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and its school affiliate, North Carolina State University.

With this fine guidance, the farmer may see a still brighter future, but one full of great challenges.


Written by: Evelyn Byrd, Summerville Club

For: Rainbow: Extension Homemakers Club

Source: Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service

Quilt Square: Row 2 Number 12

Embroidery and Applique by: Cleo Hardwick

For: Rainbow Extension Homemakers Club