Pine Needles and Cone

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


Pine Needles and Cone

The most unusual and significant tree the Scottish Highlanders saw after disembarking at Wilmington, North Carolina in September, 1739, and moving later into the Upper Cape Fear Valley section of Cumberland County, was the long leaf pine, pinus palustris, a tree they had never seen.

The 150 emigrants, called the Argyll Colony, arriving on the ship, The Thistle, were familiar with other hovering trees along the banks of the Cape Fear, hickory, poplar, oak, and walnut, but not the tree with leaves like needles. The tall, tall trees Were everywhere!

It did not take a longtime to realize their density prevented sunlight to penetrate the foliage, and thereby stall all undergrowth. ) They soon found they could travel on horseback a considerable distance, as from Cambro Pond to Manchester, without striking their heads on a bough or getting their horses feet entangled in growth. The brown cushioned carpet made the ride more comfortable for both man and horse.

At their coming little did they realize the long leaf pine would become their main source of livelihood for 100 years. By 1755, sixteen years after their arrival, they had learned how to tap the trees, and make the by products from the pine resin.

When Anderson Creek Extension Homemakers Club chose a quilt square with long leaf pine needles and cones as one of their selections for the Historic Quilt, they knew the importance of their selection, the part it had played in lives of their forebears. The time had come for them to follow through with what Malcolm Fowler wrote in his book, They Passed This Way (page 23), "Maybe at some future time the pine tree will be given its rightful credit for the part it played in the lives of our forefathers."

The long leaf pine is a cone bearing tree and one of 80 known species. The long leaf, pinus palustris, is found only in North America in a belt about 125 miles wide from Mississippi to Virginia. It's recognized by its orange -brown branches, large cones and long needles more than a foot long. The tree thrives best in sandy uplands and grow straight from 100 to 200 feet in height. Its greatest value is for resinous products, turpentine-, tar, pitch but the last half of 1900's the pine has been used primarily for building purposes. However, other species of pine, loblolly for instance) have more uses and are more abundant than the scarce long leaf.

During the century of resin collections, it was learned a forest of 10,000 single pines would yield annually for 4 years about 400 barrels of liquid resin from which tar, pitch, turpentine were made.

The industry. was very destructive -to the forests. When a tree no longer yielded sap, the newly made sawmills sawed the cut tree into timber, or the owners had their trees cut and rafted to Wilmington on the Cape Fear River for sale.

Today the long leaf pine has other uses, craft makers are using the needles for basket making, the cones for decoration purposes. Even the artist is lifting her brush;. to paint its beauty, the quiet embroiderer to stitch its memory, and the poet to record its sense of place.

"Here's to the land of the long leaf pine.

The Summer land where the sun doth shine,

Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow ,great,

Here's to down home, the Old North State"*

*Officially adopted as the state toast of North Carolina by the General Assembly, 1957. Composed by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr. (Sessions Law 1957, C. 777)


Written by: Evelyn Byrd

Quilt Coordinator

For: Anderson Creek Extension Homemakers Club

Sources: World Book Encyclopedia

Malcolm Fowler, They Passed This Way

The North Carolina Manual -1989 to 1990

Quilt Square: Row 6, Number 33

Embroidery by: Frances Morris

Anderson Creek Extension Homemakers Club