Definition of a Piney

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,137
585
Atco, NJ
I'm just looking for everyone's opinion on what they think is a "piney". I've seen on other posts mention of the definition of a piney from where you were born to what you call home. Growing up I was taught that being called one was derogatory. Today I have friends and coworkers from more urban areas call me one joking around that never offends me and total strangers insult me by basing their opinions of me on where I'm from. To keep this post short I will go into details later. I have my own opinion but I'd love to hear everyone's take on it.
 

GermanG

Piney
Apr 2, 2005
1,075
377
Little Egg Harbor
I stopped short of posting on the North, South, Central Jersey thread but my answer would be the same as for this one. There isn't an answer. There are just opinions. There might have been a clearer definition some time ago but the term has been around too long and has evolved too much to be cut and dry now.
 
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bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,590
2,849
Pines; Bamber area
Rightly or wrongly, here is my opinion. I always have thought of a piney as a person with a particular vernacular that descended from the original stock who settled this area; Dutch, Swedish, and Finnish. And of course, he makes his living simply, either off the land or off the sea or bay.
 

manumuskin

Piney
Jul 20, 2003
8,291
2,116
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millville nj
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As a sort of related aside.When you say that some people like to be called Pineys and others resent it it's the same with the term Hillbilly.Folks in Tennessee and North carolina resent the term Hillbilly thinking that folks are calling them ignorant and backwards whereas in West Virginia most folks carry the title with pride.My folks in WV are refer to themselves as Hillbillies.I also have folks in KY but I don't know them so I don't know what they think of the term.I personally think the term Piney equates with what I would refer to as a "Flatwoods Hillbilly" and as such I would take pride in the name.actually "I"m Proud to be a Piney From my Nose Down to my Hiney"
 

rc911

Scout
Apr 23, 2015
99
82
Cream Ridge, NJ
I volunteered at a local food pantry for a couple of years and there was a group of three or four guys, who were all neighbors, that came in every week. They always said, "we're poor but we're honest,we work hard and we're proud". That is what they said about themselves being Pineys. I'll corroborate all the above and add that they were very friendly.
 
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Spung-Man

Explorer
Jan 5, 2009
939
595
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Richland, NJ
loki.stockton.edu
I'm just looking for everyone's opinion on what they think is a "piney".

S-J,

I too learned it to be a derogatory term, one never used around Milmay or Richland schoolyards. Despite the distancing, we took great pride in being Pine Barrens natives. My mother would scold, “quit peeking out the window” when an unexpected guest pulled up the farm drive. “Do you want them to think we are Pineys? No, no, ...that must be a bad thing. This aversion might be an artifact of the Kallikak study undertaken at the nearby Vineland’s Training School for Feeble-minded Children, which maligned Pinelands denizens based upon faulty work.

I like to use the Mullica as my north/south, better yet, east/west divide if the line were pivoted around Batsto. Let East Jersey take Atlantic City. Much of the West Jersey Pines is younger-aged in surficial geology. It is composed of the Bridgeton Formation, which is a few million years younger than the Cohansey Formation and its Beacon Hill gravel facies. We have slightly heavier soil under that windblown sugar sand, and lots of gravel too, some big to cobble. Those East Jersey Pineys, thugs that they are, call us “rock-jumpers.” The West Jersey Pines are significantly more enriched in threatened and endangered species than in its eastern counterpart, and much more culturally diverse (by Quaker influence I argue).

It was the advent of the Pinelands Commission in 1979 that we finally realized that we were the “Pineys,” and even had a credible succession movement to create the new sovereign state of South Jersey. In statehood referendum, if memory serves, all the Pinelands counties voted to secede, excepting Ocean County (damned NY thugs). Along with the “Committee to Free South Jersey” came a new-found pride in Pineyism. All of a sudden it was OK, even cool, to be identified as Pineys. This worldview dovetailed nicely with rising popularity in Country music, and at a time when the Dukes of Hazzard reigned the airwaves. That’s when we became Pineys, and jacked up our pick-up trucks.

S-M
 

relayer

Explorer
Rightly or wrongly, here is my opinion. I always have thought of a piney as a person with a particular vernacular that descended from the original stock who settled this area; Dutch, Swedish, and Finnish. And of course, he makes his living simply, either off the land or off the sea or bay.

I agree, although I'd add folks from the British Isles as well. I don't know about nowadays, but when I was a kid, there was said to be, at least in Burlington, Camden and Ocean counties more or less, a distinctive "piney accent". This, I guess, was an old combination of manners of speaking of those old groups. When I was in High School I knew a guy who was said to "talk like a piney" whose family had a summer place in New Gretna (his maternal grandparents were from there) and although his folks met in Camden and although his dad's surname was Irish (which may not matter at all), his dad's middle name was Falkonburg (I think I spelled that correctly but you can always check Leah Blackman), so he probably did indeed have (and still does have) a Piney accent. OK, I'm done rambling for now :)
 
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jburd641

Explorer
Jan 16, 2008
410
17
Port Charlotte, Fl.
As a sort of related aside.When you say that some people like to be called Pineys and others resent it it's the same with the term Hillbilly.Folks in Tennessee and North carolina resent the term Hillbilly thinking that folks are calling them ignorant and backwards whereas in West Virginia most folks carry the title with pride.My folks in WV are refer to themselves as Hillbillies.I also have folks in KY but I don't know them so I don't know what they think of the term.I personally think the term Piney equates with what I would refer to as a "Flatwoods Hillbilly" and as such I would take pride in the name.actually "I"m Proud to be a Piney From my Nose Down to my Hiney"
To me they are the locals. Pineys or hillbillies, they are simply the salt of the earth locals who, at one time were doing their damdest to get everything they could from the pines, be it food, liquor (my grandfather), or a living. Taking those things hurt the pines sometimes but mostly, they shaped the pines into what they are today. Pineys are the keepers, even if they know it or not.
 
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smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,137
585
Atco, NJ
I figured I'd bring this back up, especially in light of the recent events. I could be wrong but I can't escape the feeling that, the perception of a piney is still a negative one. While sitting at these town meetings there seems to be a definite judgement made on everyone who walks through the door as to what side one is on. Kayaking and hiking is perceived as being acceptable activities to do in the pines. While driving in 4x4's is bad. I grew up doing all of them including hunting and fishing too. Before the word kayak became a common household word we would canoe the pines and a hike was called a "walk in the woods". The old wooden canoe that we used was fiberglassed when I was very little which made it wear very well but was so heavy, to this day I'm not sure how it was able to float. On camping trips I used a hammock. Not these nice light weight ones, but my grandfather's WWII canvas one from the navy(which I still have today). Deep inside I do consider myself a "piney at heart"and raise my kids the same as I was so they can pass that love of the pines on. People enjoy these pines in different ways. As long as there's always respect for the pines there's no wrong way to enjoy them. Today's hikers, kayakers and off-roaders all have the pineys of years ago to thank. Whether you were born here or moved here, if your heart is here you have every right to consider yourself a piney.
 
It's troubling for me to think of how to add something without taking anything away from my Piney brethren I read above. Taken to heart, the sounds and smells and sights of home are a always a part of who I am...The rustling of ducks over the wild rice of the '70s Wading River, as we raised our shotguns in salute to get dinner. The tall sandstone mortared spires of McCartysville I showed every beau and wife and child. The cellarwholes of Washington I studied as a boy in wonder. The many summer nights opposite Charcoal Landing with friends on the west side with our boats and generator, amplifier and electric guitars behind a camp fire as we read the sheet music, calling out CCR songs to the East side of Chips Folly, until long into the night...Riding my bicycle seven miles each way to join my Green Bank brothers in "sandlot softball", only to be banished to the outfield since a left-handd pitcher isn't always welcome. A Piney is a lifetime obligation, where one is called, no matter where he roams or runs, to feel that rustle of the pines, the wind on his neck, and the heritage in his heart, of a Blessed Place, down there in those wet, humid, broad swamps and forests.

Heart of The Pines, names Bartling, Ross, Sooy, Sears, Augustine, Eichinger, Cramer, and so many others, as family and friends.
 

Teegate

Administrator
Site Administrator
Sep 17, 2002
23,939
5,970
tplife,

You wrote that much like Henry Beck would. Nice!
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
12,590
2,849
Pines; Bamber area
Taken to heart, the sounds and smells and sights of home are a always a part of who I am...

You inspire me. From my home off of route 70:

Picking low-bush blueberries in the backyard and eating them on the spot. Watching my older brother doing the same as he moved further away from me, hunched over, his form growing dim in the soft dusk. Fishing for pickerel and catfish at the old dam, in the black holes created by the fall of the sweet-smelling cedar water. Diving off the highway bridge into the McDonald’s Branch. Ice skating at breakneck speeds between the dead cedar snags protruding through the ice in the back of Lebanon Lakes. Stopping at the old hunter’s cabin for a warm fire. Running down well-worn paths in between summer homes to the little store with a quarter in my pocket. Buying pretzel sticks from the glass jar on the counter. Picking blueberries for 10 cents a pint—turning the softly-worn, colorful tickets in at the end of the day. Riding home from the fields in the back of the farmers truck—stopping at the local store for a cold bottle of root beer. Going to Pemberton High School, marveling at the transition from pines to farmland each and every day. Later, driving through Lebanon State Forest for hours on end—the roads always smooth and sandy. Expanding out, visiting the JCRR tracks, the clay-pits, and the ruins at Harrisville pond. Oh, the memories. Life is very short.
 

smoke_jumper

Piney
Mar 5, 2012
1,137
585
Atco, NJ
You inspire me. From my home off of route 70:

Picking low-bush blueberries in the backyard and eating them on the spot. Watching my older brother doing the same as he moved further away from me, hunched over, his form growing dim in the soft dusk. Fishing for pickerel and catfish at the old dam, in the black holes created by the fall of the sweet-smelling cedar water. Diving off the highway bridge into the McDonald’s Branch. Ice skating at breakneck speeds between the dead cedar snags protruding through the ice in the back of Lebanon Lakes. Stopping at the old hunter’s cabin for a warm fire. Running down well-worn paths in between summer homes to the little store with a quarter in my pocket. Buying pretzel sticks from the glass jar on the counter. Picking blueberries for 10 cents a pint—turning the softly-worn, colorful tickets in at the end of the day. Riding home from the fields in the back of the farmers truck—stopping at the local store for a cold bottle of root beer. Going to Pemberton High School, marveling at the transition from pines to farmland each and every day. Later, driving through Lebanon State Forest for hours on end—the roads always smooth and sandy. Expanding out, visiting the JCRR tracks, the clay-pits, and the ruins at Harrisville pond. Oh, the memories. Life is very short.
Ahh the Memories. I could change the names of the locations to fit my memories. Might have been a dollar in my pocket though:). I'm working on creating similar ones for my kids. To this day my 9 year old daughter will only eat blueberries from that we get from the woods. The looks I get, when she tells people that she only eats the ones out of the woods, are priceless.
 
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PINEY WARDEN

Explorer
Jan 13, 2012
207
163
A true definition of a Piney, one name stands out in my mind and many will agree with me I am sure!

Bill Haines Sr. - Was one of the greatest farmers and finest gentleman to ever walk and live in the pines! He was a true steward of the land. He was such an inspiration to so many people.
 
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