The Brinegar Cabin is preserved at milepost 238 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Martin Brinegar and his wife Caroline built this cabin during the 1880s. Though Martin died in 1925, Caroline continued to live here until 1935.
Typical of other mountain families, the Brinegar's cleared land and raised crops such as buckwheat, rye, oats, corn and sorghum. Their poultry and livestock roamed free in the mountains, a common practice.
Caroline Brinegar received a four-poster hand loom from her father as a wedding gift. Using wool yarn and linen thread spun from flax grown in her garden, she wove the durable "linsey-woolsey" cloth. She used the "tromped as writ" patterns, which resemble sheet music with symbols telling her which of the foot pedals to tromp to weave the pattern.
Martin Brinegar earned cash as a cobbler. He made shoes for a dollar a pair, more or less, depending upon the size of the foot. Caroline and her children collected herbs such as bloodroot, may apple, and black snakeroot. The herbs were sold to drug merchants in Jefferson and Boone, North Carolina.
Brinegar Cabin reminds us of the resourcefulness of mountain people and the development of cottage industries in which people were able to obtain cash for items made at home.