It’s been over forty years since William S. Powell came out with The North Carolina Gazetteer: A Dictionary of Tar Heel Places, which quickly became a hit for its descriptive catalog of cities, towns, crossroads, waterways, mountains, and other places.
This spring, UNC Press is excited to publish the revised and expanded 2nd edition of The North Carolina Gazetteer, by Powell and Michael Hill, and including 1,200 new entries and nearly 21,000 entries total. Here are just a few of the interesting North Carolina places in the new edition:
- Intelligence, community in W Rockingham County served by post office, 1901-11. . . . Named because the first public school in North Carolina was there.
- Mashoes, community on the NE shore of the mainland of Dare County on Albemarle Sound. Legend relates that it is named for Peter Michieux or Mashows who, with his family, was shipwrecked on a nearby beach in the eighteenth century. He was washed ashore with his wife and child clinging to him. When he regained consciousness, he found both were dead. The shock of the experience shattered his reason, and 20 years later he sat with his back to a cypress tree and died. His skeleton and a board on which he had rudely carved the account of his tragic experience were discovered years later.
- Sodom Branch rises in SW Yancey County and flows NW into Indian Creek. Named for an early sawmill camp, at which prostitution, violence of all kinds, and drunkenness were common. Nearby settlers drew upon the Bible for an appropriate name for the camp.
One of my favorite entries, a creek in Buncombe County, has a title unprintable on this blog, but is described as being named “by early settlers who saw an Indian washing himself in the stream after an ‘accident’ in his britches. The name appears frequently on early deeds but is also called Dirty Britches Creek.”
The UNC Press Blog will be giving away one free copy The North Carolina Gazetteer, 2nd Edition: A Dictionary of Tar Heel Places and Their History. To enter the contest, comment on this post with your answers to the following questions. (They get harder as they go on!) We’ll draw a name from all those who have provided the most correct answers. You have until Monday (4/26) at 3 pm to submit your responses.
Ready . . . Set . . . Go!
- What 1755 Moravian settlement now lends its name to a major bank?
- What large North Carolina city was known as Wake Court House from 1771-1792?
- Which Piedmont mountain has previously been called Mt. Ararat, The Stonehead, Jomeokee, or Mount Pilot?
- Which famous short story writer was born in the vicinity of a stream in Guilford County called Polecat Creek?
- In which pottery haven-central North Carolina county is the unincorporated town of Whynot located?
- Which Confederate stronghold where the Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean was responsible for keeping the port of Wilmington open during the Civil War?
- How many North Carolina counties take their name from American Indian words or names?
- During World War II, what former community in NE Graham County unofficially began calling itself MacArthur, for Gen. Douglas MacArthur, before it was inundated by the waters of Fontana Lake in 1944?
On Monday, April 26, at 3pm EST we’ll draw from those with the most correct answers and announce the winner!
(p.s. Employees of UNC Press and Longleaf Services are NOT eligible to win.)