Cataloging our collection’s North Carolina phone books provided a great education for me about some of our State’s interesting and unique town names. While trying to catalog a troublesome Rockingham County telephone book, whose title and name changes were causing me a great deal of head-scratching and temple rubbing, I unearthed a fun factoid concerning one of these “interesting and unique town names”, which made it all worthwhile.
In 1968, the “Leaksville, Spray, Draper phone book” changed to the “Eden phone book.” Unfamiliar with this area of North Carolina, I went straight to the North Carolina Gazetteer, by William S. Powell, to help clear up my confusion. I found that a merger of the three towns had occurred, resulting in a new town, which was named Eden. This cleared up my telephone book title confusion, but while searching for this, I also found an entertaining piece of North Carolina trivia about Spray: according to Powell’s Gazetteer, the area in north Rockingham County was “settled about 1813 and known first as Splashy from the water thrown up by a water wheel at a local mill; name later changed to the more sophisticated Spray.” Splashy, North Carolina … sounds like a nice cool place to have been on a hot summer day!