Durham was serious about stopping ‘stoping’

“On October 13, 1944, a North Carolina citizen was brought before a judge in traffic court for having parked his car immediately in front of a sign that read ‘No Stoping’…. The defendant argued that the missing letter in the sign meant that he had not violated any law. Brandishing a Webster’s dictionary, he noted that ‘stoping’ technically means ‘extracting ore from a stope, or, loosely, underground.’

” ‘Your honor,’ said the man, ‘I am a law-abiding citizen, and I did not extract any ore from the area of the sign.’  The judge…let him off….”

— From Just My Typo: From ‘Sinning with the Choir’ to ‘the Untied States’ “ by Drummond Moir (2014)

The absence of attribution aroused skepticism, but I found a corroborative contemporary account in the Burlington Daily Times News. The court was in Durham, and the imaginative defendant was A. E. Floyd.

 

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