Dr. Randolf Daniel Presentation


Dr. Randolf Daniel at Morrow Mountain State Park – photo: John Young

On Sunday afternoon May 18th at the Morrow Mt. State Park Lodge the Friends of Morrow Mountain State Park sponsored the presentation about the Early American Indian History of the Region by Dr. Randolph Daniel.

Dr. I. Randolph Daniel is Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Anthropology at East Carolina University and author of books and numerous articles on prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the Southeastern United States.

His book Hardaway Revisited: Early Archaic Settlement in the Southeast was the center piece of his presentation. The unique stone tool making properties of rhyolite found in the Uwharrie Mountains and especially the unique gray fine-grained aphyric rhyolite found at Morrow Mountain was the key reason that attracted many groups of Stone Age peoples to this area.

Theses First Carolinians began regularly using the Hardaway site where they made points, scrapers and other stone tools over 12,000 years ago from stone quarried at Morrow Mountain. The Hardaway site’s easy access to the large number of shad that came up the Yadkin Pee Dee River to the Narrows was another reason for the long occupation at Hardaway said Professor Daniel.

Over 100 people filled the Lodge for the 2:00 pm presentation. Everyone left more aware of the unique ancient history of our region and the importance of Morrow Mountain’s rhyolite to that ancient occupation.

John D. Young
Vice Chair Friends of Morrow Mountain State Park

The Kron Japanese Chestnut Tree

The Kron Japanese Chestnut Tree At Morrow Mountain State Park
By Paul Sisco, Ph.D.

Kron Chestnut

Kron chestnut – credit Phil W. Lowder

The large chestnut tree at the Kron Farm of Morrow Mountain State Park is a Japanese chestnut, Castanea crenata (Photo 1). Japanese chestnut seed were first imported to Connecticut in 1876, and nurseries began distributing seed and seedlings in the US shortly thereafter. It is very likely that Dr. Kron or his two daughters, enthusiastic botanists, got some of these seeds for planting in their farm in North Carolina in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Other large Japanese chestnut trees can be found at Fort Defiance, General Lenoir’s plantation in Caldwell County, NC, and in Shelley Lake Park in Raleigh, NC. Japanese chestnut trees have very large nuts, although they are difficult to peel.

Phytophthora cinnamomi lesion coming up from roots into stem

root rot lesions discolor chestnut stem – credit Steve Jeffers, Clemson University

The Kron Japanese chestnut tree is now being used in scientific research to discover genes for resistance to root rot caused by Phytophthora cinnamomi. This root rot disease of chestnut is called “Ink Disease” in Europe, because a black ooze comes out of freshly-cut stems of infected chestnut seedlings (Photo 2). Neither American chestnut (C. dentata) nor European chestnut (C. sativa) are resistant to Ink Disease, but the Asian species of chestnut, including Japanese chestnut are resistant. Crosses have been made between the Kron Japanese chestnut and an American chestnut tree, and some of the resulting “F1” trees, which are 50% American and 50% Japanese chestnut, are now flowering (Photo 3).


Matthew Egan pollinates an F1 tree from a cross of the Kron Japanese chestnut by an American chestnut tree – credit Paul Sisco

These F1 trees have subsequently been “backcrossed” to American chestnut, creating families of seedlings some of which are resistant and some of which are susceptible to Ink Disease. By doing DNA analysis of resistant and susceptible seedlings, scientists at Clemson University and the University of Kentucky will be able to pinpoint the genes from Japanese chestnut that confer resistance to root rot. A complete DNA sequence of the Kron Japanese chestnut is also being done at The Pennsylvania State University to compare to the DNA sequences of American, European, and Chinese chestnut (C. mollissima).

Dr. Kron and his daughters would be very pleased to see their large specimen Japanese chestnut tree being used in such important scientific research over 100 years after it was planted!


Related Photos

For information about the American Chestnut Foundation visit the
Carolinas Chapter.

Enigma Outbreak 130th Anniversary

On February 19th, 1884 the Great Southeastern Tornado Outbreak, also known as the Enigma Outbreak, swept across the Southeastern United States. This event resulted in the name Naked Mountain for what later became Morrow Mountain.

Where the Uwharrie River joins the Yadkin River, the two form the Pee Dee. John Kirk and his descendants owned the ferry that crossed along this dividing line of Yadkin and Pee Dee. The ferry landed on the west side of the river at what is now Morrow Mountain State Park boat access. Along with the ferry, the Kirk family owned an inn. The Kirk Inn sat on a hill above the the ferry landing. The site is now crossed by the park’s Three Rivers Trail. From that hill one can look across the Yadkin-Pee Dee and up the Uwharrie. Continue reading

Entrance Wall

The Friends of Morrow Mountain State Park are investigating the repair of the rock wall at the entrance to the park. If you have any pictures of the rock wall in the early years of the park they could be helpful. Please share. By clicking on the images below you can view much larger images.


Hettie S. Lowder and Robert F. Lowder about 1947.


Hettie S. Lowder and Robert F. Lowder about 1947.

Elizabeth Phiffer about 1947.

Elizabeth Phiffer about 1947.

l-r unknown man and Robert F. Lowder in the mid 1940's.

l-r A. D. Drye and Robert F. Lowder in the mid 1940’s.

Eileen Lowder about 1947.

Eileen Lowder about 1947.