Government yields to ‘Hoosiers’ (RIP, ‘Indianians’)

“The Government Publishing Office [is] officially changing the designation from ‘Indianian’ to ‘Hoosier’ in all federal documents….

“Indiana’s U.S. senators pushed for the change, saying in a letter to the office’s style board chairman that those living in the state ‘have always called ourselves Hoosiers.’ The senators argued that while ‘Indianian’ might follow the style for describing state residents — such as Floridian or Californian — ‘Indiana residents do not use this word. In fact, we find it a little jarring to be referred to in this way’….

The government style book keeps variations on the state names for all other U.S. residents. No ‘Tar Heels’ for North Carolina or ‘Sooners’ for Oklahoma. ‘Hawaii residents’ is the only other break from standard form.”

— From “Federal government: Indiana residents officially ‘Hoosiers’” by Tom Davies of the Associated Press (Jan. 12)

Of course, Indiana lacks North Carolina’s ferocious intrastate competition among colleges, which would make the  Government Publishing Office instantly regret designating all residents as Tar Heels.

‘War of the Worlds’ terrified listeners in Charlotte

“Sgt. John Dwyer, who was not listening to the radio, was on the desk at the Charlotte Police Department that Sunday night. He became aware of the hysteria when a woman walked in, an infant in one arm, a Bible in the other and a trembling boy clutching at her dress. She asked for protection from Martians.

“ ‘Sgt. Dwyer admitted that it was the strangest request the department had ever had,’ The Charlotte Observer reported the next morning beneath the banner headline: ‘Thousands Terrified By Mock-War Broadcast.’ He did his best to assure her all was well and sent her home.

“She was but the vanguard of Charlotteans who would be appealing to police that night, most of them by phone.

“At the Observer, calls poured in seeking information on the invaders’ advance. After answering 100, those on duty lost track of the number.

“ ‘Many of them refused to believe that what they heard was a play,’ the paper said. ‘Others seemed panic stricken.’ ”

— From “Remembering the night WBT dominated the scarewaves” by Mark Washburn in the Charlotte Observer (Oct. 30, 2013)


Tobacco warehouse overflowed with Count Basie’s fans

“In June [1948] we went down to Rocky Mount, North Carolina, for the annual June German Dance at the Tobacco Planters’ Warehouse, and according the newspaper reports we played two sessions that added up to over 24,000 people. The first session was from 10 to 1, and the second session was from  2 until 5 in the morning. That was the biggest crowd that they had ever had….Naturally, that many people couldn’t get inside the warehouse. There were loudspeakers which carried the music to the acres and acres of people outside.”

— From  “Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie” (2002) 

At least in this account, Count Basie doesn’t mention the black community’s June German on Mondays following the white June Germans on Fridays.


Newly discovered legacy of Cherokees: honey locusts

Robert Warren, an ecologist at Buffalo State University who lived for years in North Carolina, [noticed] something peculiar about a tree species sprinkled through the southern Appalachians. Honey locusts are covered with enormous, glossy thorns, some as long as your hand, and they bear long brown seed pods. They prefer poor, salty soil. But Warren was seeing them scattered in the lush river valleys….  ‘One day I was out in the field,’ he recalls, ‘and it dawned on me that every time I saw a honey locust, I could throw a rock and hit an archaeological site.’

“It took years to develop and verify the insight that he published in a PLOS One paper: The honey locust’s distribution seems to be more closely linked to the existence of centuries-old Cherokee settlements than to its ecological niche. The signature of people forced off this land by Andrew Jackson more than 150 years ago still remains in the form of these trees.

“With the permission of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Warren surveyed their land, as well as national forests and other private land, for trees. He also investigated whether the trees could have been borne to their destinations by cattle or deer or on rivers….

“[But] the explanation that fits best is that people brought them along for food and other purposes…. He once thought he had found a honey locust with no tie to an archaeological site, in North Carolina. But this one, too, turned out to have a human connection. The friend who brought Warren there explained that a Cherokee man used to live nearby. The night before he was forced to leave for Oklahoma, Chief Rabbit had signed the property over to a new owner, and a tree from that time is still standing….”

Check out what’s new in the North Carolina Collection.

Several new titles just added to “New in the North Carolina Collection.” To see the full list simply click on the link in the entry or click on the “New in the North Carolina Collection” tab at the top of the page. As always, full citations for all the new titles can be found in the University Library Catalog and they are all available for use in the Wilson Special Collections Library.

Gen. Greene bypassed obscurity common to quartermasters

“History never remembers who the quartermasters were: That was Nathanael Greene’s retort when George Washington pressed on him the job of quartermaster of the Continental Army in 1778.

“And though Greene yielded to Washington’s plea, he was right. Despite doing a near-miraculous job in rebuilding the fragile supply network of the American Revolution, he is most remembered for his handling of Continental troops in the battle at Guilford Court House in North Carolina in 1781, the set-piece of Mel Gibson’s movie ‘The Patriot.’

— From “The Civil War’s Unlikely Genius” by Allen Guelzo in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 2)

Even after his success at Guilford, history sometimes balked at remembering Greene.