So you think you know North Carolina….No. 13

1. In 1907 the town of Chadbourn in Columbus County claimed a world record for a one-day shipment of what agricultural product?

2. What comic actor lost his father and two brothers in the 1974 crash of Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 at what is now Charlotte/Douglas International?

3. What is the largest “City” in North Carolina?

4. “Who was the greatest writer? Wolfe! Thomas Wolfe. After me, of course.” Who said it?

5. True or false: North Carolina west of Asheville was once part of the Central Time Zone.

Answers below….







1. Strawberries. Between sunrise and sunset, workers harvested more than 1.1 million quarts, which filled 180 railroad boxcars.

2. Charleston-reared Steven Colbert. Ten years old at the time of the crash, Colbert has traced his comedic roots to concern for his grieving mother: “I think I did my best to cheer my mom up.”

3. Elizabeth City (beating out Morehead City, Siler City and Forest City).

4. Jack Kerouac.

5. This was true from 1883, when time zones were established nationally, until 1947, when the legislature adopted Eastern Standard Time statewide.


Check out what’s new in the North Carolina Collection

Several new titles were 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.

New in the collection: Randleman, Zebulon license plates

Randleman license plate

Zebulon license plate


During the greater part of the 20th century, municipalities in North Carolina were empowered to collect their own vehicle taxes — and to issue license plates.  Local officials often saw this as an opportunity to add a unique self-promotional slogan.

If you’re advertising Apex, nobody’s likely to beat you to the title of “Peak of Good Living.” Or beat Benson to “Annual Sing-Mule Day,” Manteo to “Home of the Lost Colony,” Havelock to “Gateway to Cherry Point” or Love Valley to “Cowboy Capital.”

If, however, you’re claiming bragging rights to  “Friendly People,” better expect some competition.


Thelonious Monk tipped hat to state with ‘Carolina Moon’

“My father was an AME Zion minister in Badin, North Carolina, and the Albemarle area, and one of the reasons I was so drawn to [Thelonious] Monk’s music was because I recognized right away that all of his rhythms were church rhythms. It was very familiar to me. Monk’s brand of swing came straight out of the church. You didn’t just tap your foot, you move your whole body.

“We recorded ‘Carolina Moon’ [in 1952] as a tribute to our home state, with Max Roach on drums. Max was from Scotland Neck.”

— Band member Lou Donaldson, quoted by Sam Stephenson in “Thelonious Monk: Is This Home?” in the Oxford American (Fall 2007)

Even though Benny Davis, who co-wrote “Carolina Moon” in 1924, denied its connection to North Carolina, Monk’s rendition surely deserves a genealogy of its own.


New in the collection: handbill for George Wallace speech

“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.


So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 11

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.


New in the collection: Charlotte Bobcats souvenir gnome

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

So you think you know North Carolina…. No. 10

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.


New in the collection: Herring labels from Colerain

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.



Elizabeth City to Russians: Nyet to monument

“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)