Fraser Fir Trees
The Fraser fir was named for John Fraser, a Scottish botanist who explored the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina in the late 1700s. It is a pyramid-shaped tree that reaches a maximum height of 80 feet and a trunk diameter of 1-1/2 feet.
The Fraser fir grows naturally only in the southern Appalachians, above 3,000 feet. The cool temperatures and lots of rainfall of the North Carolina High Country are what causes the Fraser fir to keep its needles throughout the Christmas season.
Over 50 million Fraser firs are grown in North Carolina on 25,000 acres for use as Christmas trees, and the Fraser fir represents over 90% of all the trees grown in North Carolina as Christmas trees. Christmas Trees haven’t always been a Christmas Tradition. No one really knows who put up the first Christmas tree, but some historians believe that even the Egyptians and Romans used some form of an evergreen to decorate their homes in late December.
It is generally agreed that the first use of a tree as part of the Christian Christmas celebration was started over 400 years ago by the Germans. The Christmas tree was brought to America by the Hessian mercenaries that were paid to fight for the British during the Revolutionary War. In 1804, soldiers stationed at a fort near Chicago hauled trees to their barracks during Christmas.
In 1842, a German named Charles Minnegerode introduced the custom of decorated Christmas trees in Williamsburg, Virginia homes. His tree was described as being “splendidly decorated” with strings of popcorn, nuts, and lighted candles.
By 1900, one in five American families decorated trees during Christmas and by 1930, the tree had become a nearly universal part of the American Christmas.
Boyd Tree Farm History
The Boyd Farm has been continuously in the Boyd family for over 100 years, and continues to be a working farm. David J. Boyd and his wife Kate Moody Boyd were large landowners and a prosperous farming family. They had many hundreds of acres of land from the present location to further up Hemphil Road. The white house on the knoll as you come in to the property on Boyd Farm rd. is the Boyd Homestead, built in the early 1900’s, where nine children were raised. The youngest daughter, Betty continues to occupy the homeplace now. The Boyd family raised cattle, and had crops of tobacco, corn, and potatoes — David Boyd was known fondly as “Tater Dave” — he lived to be 100 and died in 1970. The eldest son, Dock Boyd now deceased was father of Dan Boyd who is presently the owner of 130 acres of the family land which includes Christmas Tree farm and the cabin rentals and the log home he shares with his wife Betsy. Dan always had fond memories of his grandparents farm and reunions held by the pond every summer, and purchased this land in 1972 from two of his uncles and his father who had inherited this part of the farm allowing them to continue the cattle farming on the property if they would permit Dan and Betsy to build a log cabin on the property. Dan and Betsy built their home in 1974, and also a log outbuilding adjacent to their house, used for storage. They found the hand hewn cabins for their home in Spring Creek, Madison County, NC, Dandridge, TN near Lake Douglas, Hurricane section of “Twelve Mile Strip” and the Hemphill Community of Haywood County, NC.
When Uncle David, and Uncle Bob and his father gave up farming, Dan had a vision for his retirement from dentistry. He would grow Christmas Trees and restore antique log cabins on the property. In 1984 the first Fraser Fir Christmas Tree was planted and other seedlings were planted each year afterwards… and seven years later that first crop was harvested. Our Choose N Cut began in 1999. Some of the trees are now 25 years old.
In 1989 the first authentic log cabin used previously for storage was restored and became a rental cabin, The Shelton Laurel Cabin, the first of now seven cabins that have been restored as Boyd Mountain Log Cabins. The Shelton Laurel Cabin originally stood in Madison County, NC in the Shelton Laurel Community, the Meadow Fork Cabin restored in 1991 originally stood in the Meadow Fork Community of Madison County, NC the Millstone Cabin restored in 1993 was originally a cantilevered barn from Arden, NC the Long Branch Cabin restored in 1995 was from Whittier, NC near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cosby Cabin and the Little Cosby Cabin originally from Cosby, TN were connected by a dog trot and restored in 1997, the newest old cabin, Clinch Valley was relocated to Boyd Mountain in 2008 from the Clinch River Valley area of northeast Tn, near Ky and Va.
In 1994, Dan retired from his dental practice in Waynesville and devoted his time to growing trees, cabin rentals and restoration and operation of two car washes in Waynesville.
Dan and Betsy’s son David, who owns Boyd’s Landscaping and Hydroseeding lives in the large scribed log home on the top, and now manages the Christmas Tree Farm. Dan and Betsy’s daughter, Mary Alice lives in Charlotte and works at Queens University and is a partner in Boyd Mountain Log Cabins and Christmas Tree Farm Family Limiteed Partnership.