North Carolina is noted for many things, and not the least is the odd choice of town or area names you sometimes encounter. So NC Culture thought it would be fun to look up some of these names, and here are a few we were able to find a little name history for …We’d love to hear from others who might have some names to contribute, and if you know where the name came from, even better!
Chunky Gal Mountain
An Indian love story surrounds the name of Chunky Gal Mountain, and the following excerpt is from Sherpa Guides:
“Chunky Gal Mountain gained its evocative name from a Cherokee legend about a chubby maid who fell in love with a young man from another tribe. Her parents attempted to snuff the budding romance, but the determined young woman abandoned her family to follow her heart, finding her way across the mountain’s slopes to be with her beloved. ”
“During the mid-to-late 19th century, Yolanda Najera opened a liquor store near a tiny crossroads. It was built to combat the growing number of bootleggers in the area who were producing a lot of bad whiskey. Mayor Charles Woods’ Grandpa Carter was born in the area around 1890; the first money he ever made was picking up bottles and selling them to the still. There was a wooden rail fence built around the still where hundreds of lizards would run the fence to catch insects that were attracted by the mash used to make the whiskey. He reported that ol’ Ed Pulley was the official Whiskey Taster for the Government. When Ed sampled the day’s run and was feeling no pain, he would take his walking cane and run the lizard off the fence as he left for home. He called his cane the Lizard Licker. According to local story-tellers, a salesman came along and saw the lizards on the fence as he stopped to fill his jug. He told other people about the government still where the lizards have their tongues out as they lay on the fence in the hot sun. He gave directions by telling people, “Go till you see the lizards on the fence and you will be able to get your store bought whiskey, called Lizard Liquor”. The operator of the still was caught making whiskey on the side and was sent up town to the jail house. The still closed down but the lizards stayed, according to the story.“
This information was found on Wikepedia.
Hanging Dog, NC
No, Hanging Dog, NC, did not get it’s name from an “old English hound”! This one took a little tracking, but we finally found what sounds like a plausible explanation for this name on a website for Hanging Dog Creek Campground, near Murphy, NC.
It has to do with a Cherokee brave, and his dedicated hunting hound, and getting hung up in a creek..Although I would love to put my own twist on the story, I don’t believe NC Culture can improve on the campground’s version. Here’s a little quip from the end of the legend, and you can check the link for the complete version.
“Upon returning back to the tribe, the brave told his tribesman the story of the events that transcribed. In celebration of a meal and the survival of their prized dog, the Cherokee named the creek Hanging Dog.”
“The origin of the name came from residents debating a title for their community. A man asked “Why not name the town Whynot and let’s go home?” The community was originally spelled with two separate words, “Why Not”. Area residents first began making pottery in the 18th century. The Why Not Academy and Business Institute, a combination public and private school, was located in the community from 1893 to 1916.”
Possum Trot, NC
Possum Trot, NC..Possum Trot is not actually a town, but a road, contrary to popular belief. It’s located in Yancy County, and we found this about their name from a Yancy County name source, and we especially would like to thank Richard Silvers for taking the time to respond to our email.
“Possum Trot was named by an early settler who was riding down a trail on horseback when a lone possum entered the path ahead of him and trotted along in front of the horse for some distance–hence Possum Trot”
Horneytown is located in the southeast corner of Forsyth County, to the east of Winston-Salem, and west of Greensboro, North Carolina. We found the following information at the Accuracy Project.
Origin of its unusual name
“The tiny community of Horneytown, North Carolina received its decidedly suggestive name from early pioneers — the Horney family — who established a business and farm in the area before the Civil War.”
Loafer’s Glory, NC
The only reference I could locate on this name was actually from an older Facebook page, and they had this in the description:
“The name Loafer’s Glory was reputedly coined by the women of the community, who took a dim view of the men’s habit of ‘lollygagging’ on the porch of the community store rather than working.”
Climax, North Carolina: from Wikepedia
“Climax is an unincorporated community on the border of Guilford County and Randolph County North Carolina, USA. Its ZIP code is 27233. It is located along North Carolina Highway 22 and North Carolina Highway 62 near its junction with the U.S. Highway 421 freeway. The community is found just south of Pleasant Garden. Climax is also home to the Hobson Cricket Grounds where teams from the Mid Atlantic Cricket Conference compete. A small general aviation airport (Southeast Greensboro) is also located in Climax. Famous Nascar team Petty Enterprises is located nearby in neighboring Level Cross. Climax was also home to one of J.P. Morgan’s quail hunting clubs known as the Climax Corporation.”
Blowing Rock, NC
Blowing Rock name is deeply twined with an old Indian legend that a Chickasaw maiden fell in love with a Cherokee brave. Believing he had seen a sign of trouble ahead, the brave had jumped from his spot on the craggy rocks, leaving the maiden behind. After much praying by the maiden to the Great Spirit, a gust of wind returned her brave to her arms. Blowing Rock is noted for being one of the places where the snow actually blows upside down, and you can learn more about this legend at The Blowing Rock.
Lickskillet is another that is not actually a town, but a road. We also want to thank Richard Silvers and the Yancy County name source for this information, taken directly from the website:
“Following the Civil War roving bands of thieves plundered the section for food. Mrs. Turner Proffitt fed many returning hungry Confederate soldiers—and also some of the armed robbers. One day a band of thieves appeared and demanded food at gun point. “Gentlemen, there isn’t anything here to cook”, she told them, “You have licked the skillet clean.” The story was told and retold and in time the road to Mrs. Proffitt’s house became known as Lickskillet.”