The "Nation" and The "Envelope"

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 Nation

The Envelope


"The Nation"


"The Envelope"

The quilt square entitled "The Nation”, a replica of the masthead of the handwritten newspaper, was from a copy of the first newspaper known to be published in Harnett County. This was a handwritten weekly newspaper edited and published by the late John McLean Harrington (November 2nd, 1839 -April 3rd, 1887) and predates the War Between the States. About 100 copies of the newspaper were written and distributed from "Buffalo Springs", a thriving community at that time said to be near Barbecue Church. Its business centered around the turpentine industry. With the coming of the Western or Coalfield Railroad and the Salem Plank Road, the little village died. When Mr. Harrington edited "The Nation", he was only about 18 years of age.

Notice that under the title, "The Nation", it is sub-titled "The Voice of the Nation Must Be Heard". Under that is written Vol. 1 -Buffalo Springs, Saturday, May 22nd, 1858.

According to the late Harnett County historian, Malcolm Fowler in "They Passed This Way", page 151, "The Nation" was a newsy newspaper handwritten on both sides of a sheet of paper 12 x 16 inches and then folded letter-sized for mailing. It was decidedly pro-Democratic. For instance, on the editorial page, Mr. Harrington came out strong for the following candidates in 1858: John W. Willis for Governor, Major John G. Gilmore for the State Senate, and R. C. Belden for Sheriff. Even though he was not old enough to vote, he was, apparently, acting as a mouthpiece for his favorite candidates.

Mr. Harrington had also written and published a handwritten paper or magazine of 28 pages 8 x 10 inches in size called "The Young American". It was devoted to news, literature, prose, poetry, and news items and advertisements at home and elsewhere. The terms for this magazine, "The Young American" was $0.20 a copy or $2.00 per year, payable in advance.

In 1860, when he was about 21 years of age, John McLean Harrington began publishing "The Weekly Eagle". This was continued until the coming of the Civil War, when it was impossible to get the paper needed to continue his publications.

Mr. Harrington was a very talented and versatile person, whose work also included teaching as early as age 15 and during and after the war, bookkeeping for J. and D. C. Worth, merchants, later operating a Post Office, and some surveying.

Some of Mr. Harrington's handwritten newspapers are said now to be in the Duke University Library and a few in the Carolina Room of UNC.

The quilt square with "The Envelope" was mailed at Harrington Post Office on May 26, 1883 and addressed to Captain S. A. Harrington, Raleigh, North Carolina. Note that the U. S. Postage was 3 cents.

Harrington Post Office represents the rural post offices that dotted the country side in the 1800's and very early 1900's. Harrington Post Office was located in western Harnett County about one and a half miles east of Mt. Pisgah Church on the property of Rhett Denise Thomas, daughter of the late Ruby Harrington Denise and a descendant of Nannie McCormick Harrington and James Harrington. She is also a relative of the late John McLean Harrington, bachelor, who published the newspaper, "The Nation".

Post Offices of this period were a definite convenience for rural people. There were very few paved roads. On this particular road at that time, traveling would sometimes be difficult due to the fact that the road would become muddy during wet weather. Many of the customers would travel once or twice a week, either walking, or driving a house and buggy or wagon to pick up their mail, doubtless, there would be time for conversation and catching up on the community news.

There were several who served as postmaster of the Harrington Post Office. The first one was William Dalrymple Harrington. Others who served were James Harrington, John McLean Harrington, Nannie McCormick Harrington, and Sion Harrington.

Harrington Post Office continued to serve several miles of the Mt. Pisgah area until about 1909, when it was replaced with Rural Free Delivery from the Broadway, North Carolina Post Office - the RFD carrier being the late John A. McLean. The late Bob Sloan was carrier on the other route. However, Harrington, like other rural post offices served the area for more than a half century.


Written by: Myrtle H. Sykes (Vernon), President

Mt. Pisgah Extension Homemakers Club

Sources: Malcolm Fowler - They Passed This Way

Sanford Herald

Quilt Square: "The Envelope"  Row 3, Number 13

Embroidery by: Esther Patterson

Member Mt. Pisgah Extension Homemakers Club

Quilt Square: "The Nation" Row 3, Number 17

Embroidery by: Joy Howington- For Mt. Pisgah Extension Homemakers Club