1. In 1764, colonial Gov. William Tryon suggested what innovation to the postmaster general in London for speeding dispatches from North Carolina?

2. The first crash of a commercial airliner in North Carolina occurred in 1960. What was the cause?

3. In the early 1900s what organization was empowered to enforce North Carolina’s game laws?

4. In the 1990 NASCAR movie “Days of Thunder,” filmed largely in Charlotte, what part did 2008 presidential candidate Fred Thompson play — crew chief, track owner or bootlegger?

5. “When I was little I would think of ways to kill my daddy.” What acclaimed 1987 novel begins with these startling words?

Answers below….







1. That ships make use of the then little-known Gulf Stream.

2. A dynamite bomb. The National Airlines flight from New York to Miami had just passed Wilmington and was over the ocean when it was ripped by an explosion. Before it could attempt a landing at the Wilmington airport the plane disintegrated and crashed in a farm field, killing all 34 aboard.

Among the dead: passenger Julian Frank, a New York lawyer facing prosecution for embezzlement, who apparently carried the bomb on board in a bag. His death was ruled a suicide, voiding the $1 million in life insurance he had taken out a few months before.

A few months later the Federal Aviation Agency will reduce by more than half the maximum amount of insurance a passenger can buy.

3. The Audubon Society.

4. Track owner. As Big John, Thompson chews out rival drivers: “If you two wanna turn yourselves into a greasy spot out on a country road somewhere, go right ahead but you two monkeys are not going to do it on my racetrack. You trade paint one more time, you so much as touch, I’m gonna black flag the two of you.”

5. “Ellen Foster” by Kaye Gibbons, a native of rural Nash County.


“About 450 attended, compared with about 1,500 in Asheville Wednesday and an even larger crowd in Raleigh Tuesday.

“Out of deference to UNC-Charlotte’s televised basketball game [against N.C. State in the NIT], Wallace spoke a little more than 20 minutes….

“Wallace was joined on the Park Center stage by Barry Worley, who was shot in 1974 as a Charlotte park policeman on duty outside a Memorial Stadium rock concert.

“Worley, like Wallace, is partly paralyzed and in a wheelchair.

” ‘Your former patrolman… is a typical example of what happens if we don’t get a handle on this problem of crime,’ Wallace said. ‘What we need is to return to the electric chair to get some people off of society.’

“He also touched on his familiar campaign themes — tax reform, welfare reform, the importance of military strength and the evils of ‘big government.’ ”

— From “Wallace: No Plan to Bolt” by Jerry Shinn in the Charlotte Observer (March 19, 1976)

Wallace’s loss to Jimmy Carter in the next week’s Democratic primary, 54 to 35 percent, virtually ended his fourth and final bid for the presidency.


1. North Carolina’s road-building program was so admired that in 1929 the governor of another state hired away not only the chief engineer but also 21 staff members. Who was the governor?

2. In commercials during the 1960s cartoon sitcom “The Flintstones” what brand of cigarettes did Fred and Wilma smoke?

3. True or false: Mount Mitchell is the highest peak on the Appalachian Trail.

4. What city had North Carolina’s most active chapter of the Black Panther Party?

5. In 1879 the legislature approved the state’s first pension for Confederate veterans. To qualify for the $60 annual payment, veterans had to meet what disability requirement?

Answers below….







1. Huey “Kingfish” Long of Louisiana.

2. Winstons.

3. False. It’s Clingman’s Dome — the trail doesn’t cross Mount Mitchell.

4. Winston-Salem, where Black Panthers provided free breakfasts for children and taught classes in black consciousness. A 1971 gun battle with police in High Point hastened the end of the Panthers’ presence in the state.

5. They had to be totally blind or to have lost both arms or both legs. About a dozen veterans qualified.


This 6-inch-tall composite figurine of Kemba Walker was given away to fans at Time Warner Cable Arena, Jan. 22, 2014.

The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Los Angeles Clippers, 95-91, despite point guard Walker’s missing the game with an ankle sprain.

This was the last season the city’s NBA team went by Bobcats.

It’s complicated: After the 2002 season, the original Hornets moved to New Orleans. In 2004, Charlotte was granted a new franchise, the Bobcats, named for owner Bob Johnson. After the 2013–14 season, the Bobcats, now owned by Michael Jordan,  changed their name to the Hornets.
Facts from Kemba Walker gnome box
Box top for Kemba Walker gnome

1. Which last name is more common in North Carolina than any other state: Earnhardt, Isenhour or Helms?

2. In North Carolina what was the most notable achievement of the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps?

3. The first U.S. census, taken in 1790, ranked North Carolina where among the 17 states?

4. Was the last cigarette commercial on American television — for Virginia Slims — aired in 1971, 1981 or 1991?

5. What slang word for prostitute has been traced to an 1845 letter to a classmate from a University of North Carolina student?

Answers below….






1. All three.

2. The Blue Ridge Parkway.

3. Third, behind Virginia and Pennsylvania, with a population of 393,751.

4. 1971.

5. Hooker. “If he comes by way of Norfolk,” reads the letter, “he will find any number of pretty hookers in the Brick Row, not far from French’s Hotel.” The term is often incorrectly linked to Union general Joseph Hooker.


Bertie Brand Herring label

Perry-Belch Fish Co. was founded in Colerain 1927 and reconstituted as Perry-Wynns Fish Co. in 1952.

According to a summary of company papers at NCSU Libraries, “For decades, it was the largest freshwater herring fishery in the world, packing both herring and herring roe under the Tidewater Brand, the Bertie Brand and Chowan’s Best. It also ran a restaurant, the Sea Gull Cafe, that was open for lunch during the herring season in March and April. During the company’s height, it hired up to 200 seasonal and permanent employees.

“During the 1990s, the number of herring in the Chowan River fell, and employment  shrank to 25 seasonal and 10 full-time. The company also began packing herring, mackerel and mullet caught elsewhere, rather than just those caught locally. In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel destroyed nine of the fishery’s 11 buildings, putting the company out of business.”

— David Cecelski recalls the origins of fishing on the Chowan River.

— A couple of well-worn “good for” tokens — scrip — from Perry-Belch and W.S. Nixon & Co. 

— And from the other coast, a lament for herring’s gastronomical underappreciation.



“Despite disagreeing strongly with the decision, we do understand the underlying motive a majority of Elizabeth City city councilors had for recently rejecting an agreement to install a Russian-funded monument at the city’s Coast Guard Park: anger at the Russian government for attempting to hack our elections….

“It is, however, the wrong decision. It’s wrong because the monument the Russians want to put up at our park is more than about our political disagreements of the moment. Unlike Confederate monuments, which pay tribute to a divisive period of our nation’s past, the Russian monument would pay tribute to one of the best moments of our past — our collaboration with Russia and Great Britain to defeat Hitler’s Nazi Germany in the Second World War….”

— From “Reconsider WWII monument; it’s ours, too,” editorial in the Elizabeth City Daily Advance (March 4)

1. On Jan. 30, 1940, what unlikely sight greeted residents of the Outer Banks in Carteret County?

2. “I regret that some people in this country have disparaged and demeaned the role of the homemaker. I say — and say it with emphasis and conviction — that homemaking is good for America.” What president took this stand on a visit to Charlotte?

3. Who gave this vivid description of harmonica player Sonny Terry, who learned to play the Piedmont blues in Shelby and Durham:

“He put the tobacco sheds of North Carolina and South Carolina in it and all the blistered and hardened hands cheated and left empty, hurt and left crying, robbed and left hungry, pilfered and left starving, beaten and left dreaming.”

4. Only once in modern North Carolina has the Democratic presidential candidate failed to finish either first or second. Who was he?

5. Only once in modern North Carolina has the Republican presidential candidate failed to finish either first or second. Who was he?








1. A wayward iceberg, about six feet of which was visible above water.

2. Gerald Ford at state convention of Future Homemakers of America (March 20, 1976).

3. Woody Guthrie.

4. Hubert Humphrey. In 1968 Republican Richard Nixon finished first and George Wallace of the American Party second.

5. William Howard Taft. In 1912 Democrat Woodrow Wilson finished first and Theodore Roosevelt of the Progressive Party second.


“In 1861, [Dan] Sickles organized militia for the Union effort, and the next year was appointed brigadier general under Gen. Joseph Hooker in the Army of the Potomac. He rose to major general… and notoriously defied his commanding generals’ instructions at key battles. At Gettysburg, a cannonball mangled Sickles’ right leg, and it had to be amputated.

“Sickles donated his leg, soaked in whiskey as a preservative, to the Army Medical Museum in Washington, D.C., where it became exhibit No. 1335.

“ ‘For years afterward,’ Reid Mitenbuler writes in his book, ‘Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey,’ ‘on the anniversary of the amputation Sickles would visit his leg at the museum to remind everyone of his heroic sacrifice, using it to revive a political career that lasted until he’d died at the age of ninety-four.’

“This is the man who ran Reconstruction in North Carolina….”

— From “African-American news reflected 1860s Asheville” by Rob Neufeld in the Asheville Citizen-Times (Feb. 25)

And then there’s Stonewall Jackson’s arm….


Chitterlings/chitlins, a notoriously pungent exemplar of Southern cuisine, are seldom seen (or sniffed) these days.  (None too soon, my mother would’ve said. Not my father, who took advantage of her absences to boil up a bucket of hog intestines and have his pals over to share.)

One early reference to the chitterling strut, as a dance step, appeared in the Asheville Citizen (June 30, 1926): “The Chitterling Strut, the Breakfast Bounce and the Rolled-Sock Dance are the latest terpsichorean novelties in Asheville’s darktown…. Wallace Walker had been charged with operating a dance hall without a license but was released when it was found that the cost of chitterling strutting was only 15 cents a head….”

The step may be long forgotten, but its name lives on most prominently in the annual Chitlin Strut in Salley, S.C.

Thanks to whoever thought this undated marker-on-cardboard poster was worth saving. Karen Brann at the Caswell County Public Library has lived in the county since 1987 but has no recollection of Fat-boys. Any Miscellany readers who can fill us in?


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