The Path of FaithBlock Number: H 14
by Ginger Todd
On Friday, August 12, 2016, the McDowell Quilt Trail placed its fourteenth heritage block on the barn front of Betty and Joe Kaylor. The block represents Betty’s rich heritage and the homestead she grew up on.
The story begins with Betty’s parents, Ida Noblitt Sprinkle and Boyce Sprinkle, and spans over the last eighty-seven years. Her mother Ida worked in the Cotton Mills of East Marion Manufacturing until she married Boyce who lived in the Clinchfield Mill House Village where he worked at the time.
Boyce died when Betty was only eighteen months old but had previously purchased 150 acres of farm land in the Glenwood area from the Westmoreland family in 1929. Before his death, he told his wife Ida to build a house on the acreage to farm and otherwise support herself and their children.
In 1931 the barn was built, with the house finished in 1933 by Beamon Lumber Company, quite a feat back during the depression of the 1930’s. Ida raised five children there with the help of those who tended the farm living in a smaller house built for them known as the “Tennant House”.
Along with raising the children and running the farm Ida ran a boarding house for teachers at Glenwood School, charging $25 a month including three meals a day. She had up to ten teachers at one point as they could easily walk the distance to the school. The children comfortably slept on the large porch or other rooms in the spacious home during this time.
Betty was one of the five children raised there and remembers her mother packing lunches for her to take to the teachers each day at noon. Winter warmth back in those days was provided by truckloads of coal delivered for the furnace.
Glenwood School had been built in the 1920’s and is easily seen from the old homestead. It was originally a two-story building, later greatly improved, some of the men working on it living on the Kaylor homestead. A portion of the old school house was saved by caring individuals, an auditorium with the original seats remaining.
Betty also remembers as a child being given twenty-five cents, walking to the Pevine Trail and catching a round-trip train ticket to town to go to the old movie house. For a ten cent ticket she would watch such westerns as Roy Rogers and cartoons Superman and Dick Tracey.
In 1945-47 Betty’s mother Ida, donated property for a minimal fee to construct a new building for the Glenwood Methodist Church. Ida worked with the women of the church to make and sell hand-stitched quilts to help pay for its cost. Betty still has one of the original quilts her mother worked on. It is in excellent condition and it is this quilt she chose for the Heritage Block pattern to duplicate.
Although Betty and Joe (Joseph R. Kaylor) have been married sixty-eight years, they actually knew each other previously in school but “never got together.” During World War II Joe was drafted in eleventh grade to the Air Force and it wasn’t until he came back to finish school that they met again and a romance bloomed.
In 1964 Betty moved back in to the old homestead where she was raised and raised five children of her own. She has never sold any of the land keeping it within the family. Each of her children have been given acreage to build their homes and raise their families. They all live within walking distance of each other and help out with keeping the place up.
The beautiful acreage includes not only the original home with all its old photos, mementos and furniture, but many outbuildings. These are of course the barn, but also a chicken coop, corn crib, wood house, granary where corn and wheat was kept and smoke house. At one time there were beef and milk cows, butter was made, hogs raised and of course fresh eggs.
The vegetable garden still is going strong, with the help of her children, and Betty has saved some of the “old time original” corn and okra seed for over twenty years.
Betty is abound with historical knowledge of the area and has been a homemaker her entire life, “following in her mother’s path”. She has never held a paying job, living off the land and raising her children. Of further interest is that her mother Ida’s uncle, was Dan Kanipe famous for the Little Big Horn Battle. He built the Kanipe house in Marion, now a historic site.
Her husband Joe worked for American Thread for thirty years, as well as serving on the Board of Trustees of McDowell Tech for twenty-three years and served as County Commissioner for two years. At one time he drove the school bus on the old gravel roads.
The six by six foot block, installed by volunteers Mike Lucas and Jack Raker, is easily seen on the old barn at 1165 Old U.S. 221 South, Glenwood, N.C. It is a perfect portrayal of the original quilt. The pattern is a traditional one and named “The Path of Faith” because Betty says, “Mom had a lot of faith – it took it to do all she did back then to run the farm as well as raise a family on her own”.
Betty says of her mother that she could be referred to as the “first liberated woman in McDowell County” back then – she owned and drove a car and pick-up truck, farmed, raised a garden, canned, raised chickens as well as running the business of a boarding house.” The “path of faith” will continue on through the family heritage of Ida Sprinkle for whom this quilt block is in remembrance and honor of.
After the presentation of the Certificate of Authenticity to Betty and Joe Kaylor by Trail Chairwoman Jill Lucas, volunteers were invited to sit on the front porch for a cool drink, joined by “Pepper” a rescue dog. A bag of fresh cut okra from the garden was sent home with each of them. Betty related that it is a tradition for family and friends to gather each Sunday evening for conversation and treats such as popcorn.For further information on the McDowell Quilt Trail or the Heritage Trail to host a quilt block on your structure contact Mike Lucas at 828-443-6476 or the McDowell Arts Council at 828-652-8610 or visit www.mcdowellquilttrail.org.