How the need for ‘debuncombizing’ was averted

The origin of “bunkum” — N.C. Congressman Felix Walker’s explanation of his longwinded, irrelevant speech on the Missouri Compromise as “talking for Buncombe” — approaches common knowledge, but the late columnist William Safire traced some notable details in “Safire’s Political Dictionary”:

“By 1828…talking to (or for) Buncombe was well known. The Wilmington (N.C.) Commercial referred in 1849 to ‘the Buncombe politicians — those who go for re-election merely,’ and British author Thomas Carlyle showed that the expression traveled the Atlantic with its meaning intact: ‘A parliament speaking through reporters to Buncombe and the 27 millions, mostly fools’…

“In 1923 William E. Woodward wrote a book titled Bunk and introduced the verb ‘debunk.’ A school of historians were named debunkers for the way they tore down the myths other historians had built up. Hokum, according to the OED, is a blend of hocus-pocus and bunkum.”

North Carolina Fall Festivals


The next “Staff Picks” at the NC Collection will feature our favorite fall festivals in North Carolina. My pick is illustrated below with a program from the 1983 Lincoln County Apple Festival. As a kid, I loved attending this event. What eight-year-old boy wouldn’t like an apple box derby (though I never got to race in one), an apple peeling contest, or all of the high-fat, high-sugar fair food?

What are some of your favorite fall festivals? Share them (and any memories you have of the events) with us in our comment section below.

PS. The 1983 Apple Queen (pictured above) was Robin Bettina Kiser. Are you out there Robin?