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« Not blaming victims | Main | You call that living? »

Apr 09, 2006


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Well Done! Its always confused a 20 year transplant(me). May I add Stanly County, and Stanley, NC in Gaston County, where Gastonia is located, but I think there's a Gaston, NC too. I often thought it was a lack of creativity, too. :)

Eric Hendrix

They use to teach NC history in the public schools, seventh grade I believe. We had to memorize all the 100 counties in the state. Maybe they need to reinstate the course.

Don Moore

If you had only include a picture of Kelly, like Gate has done.

The article should be required reading for all NC 7th graders; before they start NC geography (I think they still teach it then.)

Glenn C Jordan Jr

I enjoyed the article.

I've taught NC History before and found the geography of the state to be one of the most fascinating topics in the entire course. I attribute name duplicaton to the nature of the times in which they were named. At the time of colonization getting across NC was much more treacherous than it is to get from NC to California today. When settlers came upon remote outposts, I don't think they ever conceived that they would ever be connected directly to the settlements they left behind in the east.

Also, NC was one of two British colonies that spent time as proprietary colonies not ruled directly by the crown, but by powerful English artistocrats rewarded with large tracts of colonial land by King Charles II for their loyalty following the English Civil and during the rule of Cromwell. My guess is that a lot names came about to mark territory.

I will add that Pittsboro in Chatham County is logical since both are named for William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham. On Rocky Mount, if I'm not mistaken, it's located at the fall line of the Tar River which may explain its name.

Once again, good read, I hope I didn't add to the confusion.

John Newsom

N.C. public schools teach NC history and geography in fourth and eighth grade. A few years ago, DPI tried to cut that to one year - if it didn't take in fourth grade, what's the point of having the kids slog through it again? By the reaction against, you would have thought Mike Ward wanted to require high school kids to have get four credits of South Carolina history to graduate.

And it's true that N.C. geography is a mess. It's especially hard for someone like me, who's from Virginia: The Old Dominion has a Brunswick County (where the stew allegedly comes from), a Mecklenburg County (without a Charlotte, must less the Panthers) and a Washington County (in the mountains, not down East).

Virginia also has an Albemarle County, which is west of Orange and south of ... Rockingham.

Fred Gregory


Not sure they still teach North Carolina history in our piblic schools. When I was an undergraduate at Chapel Hill , Professor Hugh T. Lefler taught the colege level course from a text book he authored.

John Newsom

Oh, yeah - Virginia, too, has a Rocky Mount. (It's straight up 220 on the way to Roanoke.) The more I look at it, the more I'm thinking the Jamestown colonists didn't pack the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery with nearly enough place names.

Ed Cone

BTW, I know the answers to a couple of the questions I pose: High Point was the highest point on the NC railroad at some moment in history when the RR did not traverse many high points; it seems a fairly dubious honor. And Rocky Mount comes from a local geographical featue, known as the rocky mound, but since it's on or near the coastal plain and far from the mountains it seems misleading to me.

Also, Don, there is a picture of Miss Pickler in the alleged dress in the article above; click to enlarge.


I've been in NC for 9 years (Asheville for the first 9 months and Greensboro for the rest of the time) and I still don't know where I'm going half the time. LOL! Great article. :-)

David Boyd

Would that you could've gotten the Pickler pic included in the print edition under the guise of NC geography. Would have been epic.

Ed Cone

I sent it to them, but they didn't bite...

Paul Jones

Not to be overly picky, but Alebmarle is in the Uwharrie Mountains and is the home of Marrow Mountain State Park.
Not that anyone would consider the Uwharrie Mountains as the home of Hillbillies. We say that that is up in the Appalachians.
But the Real McCoys, those Clampits, were from the Ozarks in Arkansas.

Ed Cone

I point out in the penultimate graf that the Uwharries have not been real mountains for a long, long while...

Before the Clampetts, there was Dogpatch, was somewhere in Appalachia...


I'll never forget stopping by the Asheville Visitor's Center on a rainy Saturday a few years ago to pick up some brochures and hearing the kind lady behind the counter inform the bedraggled young father with three screaming kids that she was sorry he had driving all the way from Fort Bragg on his leave, but that the State Zoo was decidedly not in Asheville.

I felt so bad for the guy.


driving = driven

ALso, The Real McCoys would be the McCoys, as in The Hatfields and...

The Clampetts are fictional. Andy Taylor, however, was real. At least to any real North Carolinian.

Paul Jones

To clear up things a bit, I know the Clampetts were the Beverly Hillbillies and they were from the hills the Ozarks which are as much mountains as say Morrow Mountain in Albemarle (the town not the county).
The Real McCoys, who preceded the Clampetts on TV, were like the other McCoys (the real ones, the historical ones) from West by gawd Virginia.
If, Ed, only new mountains count then the Apps have to give in to the Rockies. I don't think we want that do we?
Andy the sainted Andy Griffith was supposedly from Mayberry near Mount Pilot aka Pilot Mountain which reaches just about 1,400 feet with no other hill of size nearby. It too is an old mountain. Does it count?

Paul Jones

Oh, the whole reason I wrote all of that is because Dogpatch as described at the page pointed to by Ed is not in the Appalachians but in the Ozarks!

"Once located between Jasper and Harrison, Arkansas, Dogpatch, U.S.A. mirrored the hillbilly town made famous in Al Capp's comic strip, Li'l Abner. At Dogpatch, U.S.A, visitors could meet their favorite characters, enjoy numerous rides, and take in the scenery of the beautiful Ozark Mountains"

Snuffy Smith's Hootin' Holler may have been in the Apps, but it could have as easily have been in the Ozarks. I was never sure.

Ed Cone

The description at the site is of a now-defunct Dogpatch amusement park. I've been unable to find a precise location for Capp's Dogpatch.

The Ozarks (at least the taller Boston Mountains of Arkansas) are about twice as high as the Uwharries.

Pilot Mountain would be big for the Uwharries, but of course it derives its majesty from its isolation.

The Appalachians are still indisputably mountains. I have no prejudice against ancient mountains, in fact I love them for their beauty and perseverance.

When does a mountain become a hill? There may be geological answer, but I guess it shades into philosophy at some point.

Sarah Greene

Re the question Paul Jones raises about when a mountain becomes a hill: my East Texas county, Upshur, has a number of mountains under 500 feet in altitude. The U. S. Geophysicial Survey maps show them as mountains, as in the "Barnwell Mountain range" six miles northeast of Gilmer, the county seat. I understand they are quite ancient — which is what I told a Colorado visitor who ridiculed the idea they were mountains.

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