2.5 Naval stores
Provided by The North Carolina Humanities Council.
From early Colonial times until the Civil War, the naval industry was important to North Carolina. The term naval stores describes all products of the gum of the pine tree. The name itself explains its use in the shipbuilding industry. During the early to middle 1800s North Carolina produced about 95 percent of the world’s naval store products. Since the industry is dependent on the longleaf pine, it was most popular in Central and Eastern North Carolina where an abundance of these trees were found. The Lumbee Tribe as well as African American slaves accounted for the worker population in Central and Southeastern North Carolina.
Time required for lesson
1–2 class periods
- Computer with Internet access
- LCD projector (for virtual fieldtrip)
- Internet connection
Pre-Activities (teacher preparation)
- Search the resource sheet for those you want to use and familiarize yourself with them.
- Check links to make sure they are active.
- Introduce the lesson with “The NC Project: Naval Stores”.
- Read the section in Nowhere Else on Earth by Josephine Humphreys to familiarize students with the way of life for those who worked in the industry.
- Read to students the newspaper article “Turnbull Creek spotlights naval stores industry.” from the Bladen Journal, 7 October 2005.
- Lead students in a discussion about the impact of this industry prior to the Civil War in terms of economy, human health, the environment, and the work-force. Although slaves were mentioned prominently as workers, in the south central NC, the Lumbee were very active as workers, also.
Following completion of the lesson, pairs of students work together to fill out a four-column chart as to the impact of the industry.
Resources from the Internet
From early Colonial times until the Civil War, the naval industry was important to North Carolina. The term naval stores describes all products of the gum of the pine tree. The name itself explains its use in the shipbuilding industry. During the early to middle 1800s North Carolina produced about 95 percent of the world’s naval store products. Since the industry is dependent on the longleaf pine, it was most popular in Central and Eastern North Carolina, where an abundance of these trees were found. The Lumbee Tribe as well as African American slaves accounted for the worker population in Central and Southeastern North Carolina. Below are resources to acquaint students and teachers with naval stores and their importance to North Carolina.
- Nowhere Else on Earth
- Fictionalized account of naval stores in Robeson County and its Lumbee workers pp. 142-145 Nowhere Else on Earth (Penguin Books Edition, 2000) by Josephine Humphreys.
- Longleaf Alliance
- There are 26 activity sheets at the website. Although much of the information is aimed at upper elementary school, some of the activities can be adapted for use in the middle school classroom.
- North Carolina History Project: Naval Stores
- This article is a short overview of the naval stores industry in North Carolina.
- Naval stores and the longleaf pine
- North Carolina’s extensive longleaf pine forests provided the natural resources needed to produce materials needed to build and maintain ships — not only timber but tar, pitch, and rosin. These “naval stores” became North Carolina’s most important industry in the eighteenth century, but today, the longleaf pine forests are nearly gone.
- “Turnbull Creek spotlights naval stores industry”
- This article, from the Bladen Journal newspaper of 7 October 2005, explains the process of retrieving gum from the long leaf pine and converting it into naval stores uses.
- Forests and fires: The longleaf pine savanna
- As a follow-up of the naval stores industry, a unit on forestry renewal may be appropriate. LEARN NC has an excellent lesson plan and virtual field trip which examine the role of fire in maintaining the longleaf pine savanna. The field trip is to Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps base, where fire is used to keep the longleaf pine area viable for the trees and its accompanying ecosystem.
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 1: The learner will apply the five themes of geography to North Carolina and its people.
- Objective 1.02: Describe and compare physical and cultural characteristics of the regions.
- Objective 1.03: Suggest some influences that location has on life in North Carolina such as major cities, recreation areas, industry, and farms.
- Objective 1.04: Evaluate ways the people of North Carolina used, modified, and adapted to the physical environment, past and present.
- Goal 2: The learner will examine the importance of the role of ethnic groups and examine the multiple roles they have played in the development of North Carolina.
- Goal 3: The learner will trace the history of colonization in North Carolina and evaluate its significance for diverse people's ideas.
- Objective 3.01: Assess changes in ways of living over time and determine whether the changes are primarily political, economic, or social.
- Goal 7: The learner will recognize how technology influences change within North Carolina.
- Objective 7.05: Identify the advantages and disadvantages of technology in the lives of North Carolinians.