via Judy Anne Breneman (womenfolk.com)
Bear Paw quilt patterns probably originate from Sawtooth blocks, that were popular in many forms. Recent stories include the Bear’s Paw as having been used as a part of the Underground Railroad. This makes a wonderful tale of how the Bear Paw quilt signaled escaping slaves that they needed to follow the tracks, perhaps to find water or shelter. We need to realize there is no evidence that quilts were used during the Underground Railroad yet at the same time understand how these stories honor the brave people who escaped slavery and those who helped them.