June 15, 2016

Some History of Apple Pie Ridge

The story of the Apple Pie Ridge Star quilt block applique pattern begins with Janney Wilson, the former owner of the Hollingsworth Family Quilt.  According to his cousin Janney Lupton, Wilson pointed to one of the corner blocks of this quilt and declared to her that, "My grandmother called that an Apple Pie Ridge Star."  You can see this pattern in the four corners of the quilt, as well as in the column farthest right.

Hollingsworth Family Quilt, 1858.  Collection of the
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society.  Photograph
by Barbara Tricarico.
 
Janney Lupton, who made a reproduction of this quilt, was the first to publish the name "Apple Pie Ridge Star" in an article for the magazine Traditional Quilter.  Since then, the name has appeared in just a few other publications and, in truth, Janney Wilson and his grandmother are the only people who knew it as such (as far as we know).  Nonetheless, the name has gained wide appeal in the quilting community. A variation of a fleur-de-lis medallion, the pattern is also referred to as Snowflake, True Lover's Knot, Conventional Scroll, and a Kansas Pattern.  One quilter even called it a Lobster.  Like many quilt block pattern names, "Apple Pie Ridge Star" appears to be a local name for a pattern observed elsewhere under different names.
 
Hollingsworth Family Quilt, detail.  Photograph by Mary
Holton Robare.
 
Apple Pie Ridge is an approximately nine-mile stretch of road in an area of countryside just outside of Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia.  Quaker settlers arrived there from Pennsylvania in the 1730s.  Nineteenth-century accounts invariably report good relations between the new Quaker immigrants and Native Americans who originally populated the land.  In A History of the Valley of Virginia, the author wrote, "Tradition relates that several tracts of land were purchased by Quakers from the Indians on Apple Pie Ridge," and that "the Indians never were known to disturb people residing on the land so purchased."  From today's standpoint, one wishes we had more knowledge of Native American perspectives.
 
Not all of the earliest immigrant settlers on the Ridge were Quakers but Friends were a dominant presence.  They maintained two Meetings, "Upper Ridge" and "Lower Ridge", and Quaker records are peppered with references to the locale.
 
The area was originally surveyed with the help of a young sixteen-year-old, pre-presidential George Washington around 1749.  When one of his early jobs was resurveyed in 1854, the surveyor remarked, "I have never followed a more accurate survey, either in calls, lines, or quality."
 
The area appears as "Apple Pie Ridge" on a map as early as 1809.
 
"Map of Frederick, Berkeley, & Jefferson counties in the state of Virginia," 1809, detail.
Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.
 
In 1758, Lord Fairfax sent a request on behalf of Lewis Neill (a resident of Frederick County, Virginia) for "some Golden Pipin, Nonpareil, Aromatic, and Meldar Apple grafts [...]"
 
Reportedly, William H. Brown's orchard had been planted on the Ridge with the help of Friends exiled from Philadelphia to Virginia during the Revolutionary War.  Another account suggests Revolutionary War-era Hessian prisoners planted the orchard.  Either way, the history suggests orchards were an important part of the locale as early as the 1700s.
 
 
There are several colorful legends about how this still-picturesque countryside received its name.  One story is that those aforementioned Revolutionary War-era Hessian prisoners of war walked "north to the ridge on Sunday afternoons to enjoy the delicious apple pies cooked by Quaker housewives."  Another version suggests the name derived from glimpses of Quaker ladies through windows of their horse-drawn carriages carrying apple pies made for after-worship fellowship.  Most humorous is the suggestion that Quaker-made apple pies "were so tough that the Hessians sometimes used them as brakes or chokes for their wagons as they traveled the ridge."  Regardless of how the ridge got its name, it apparently involved Quakers and apple pies.
 
One of the earliest Quaker houses on Apple Pie Ridge, "Cherry Row", is still standing, beautifully restored and maintained.
 
"Cherry Row" built 1794.  Courtesy of the Powers Family.
 
David Lupton began construction of Cherry Row in 1794.  It was a model for its time, boasting (reportedly) the first windows hung on weights in the Shenandoah Valley, water brought into the house through pipes from a spring, and built-in cabinetry.  There was also "[. . .] a vaulted wine cellar, but the master of the house abandoned the use of that beverage after hearing a temperance talk at Hopewell Meeting."
 
There are several mid-nineteenth century quilts made by the Quakers of Apple Pie Ridge, and even more that contain the names of its residents inscribed in ink on their blocks.  Four of their signature album quilts contain so-called "Apple Pie Ridge Stars."  They share several other quilt block patterns as well, but none have such a charming name.  It is now attached in so many minds to one particular pattern.
 
By sharing this brief history, the hope is that familiarity might allow imaginative readers to consider the "Apple Pie Ridge Star" in relation to a past time, place, and community in the Valley of Virginia.
 
Sources:
 
Joliffe, William.  The Joliffe Neill and Janney Families of Virginia 1652 - 1893.  Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, 1893.
 
Kercheval, Samuel.  A History of the Valley of Virginia, Sixth Printing, Fourth Edition.  Harrisburg, VA: C. J. Carrier Company, 1833.
 
Lupton, Janney.  "Hollingsworth Revisited: A Labor of Love."  In Traditional Quilter, November, 1998.
 
Quarles, Garland R.  Some Old Homes in Frederick County, Virginia.  Winchester, VA: Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society, 1999.
 
Robare, Mary Holton.  "The Apple Pie Ridge Star."  In Blanket Statements, 88, edited by Gaye Ingram.  Lincoln, NE: American Quilt Study Group, 2007.
 
Varle, Charles and Benjamin Jones.  Map of Frederick, Berkeley, & Jefferson counties in the state of Virginia.  Philadelphia: s.n., 1809.  Retrieved from the Library of Congress at http://www.loc.gov/item/2008621756.  Accessed June 8, 2016.
 
Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society web site accessed June 8, 2016.
 
(c) Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare, 2016.
 



 
 
 

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