When Carolina was divided, the southern part was called South
Carolina and the northern, or older settlement, North Carolina.
From this came the nickname the "Old North State."
Historians have recorded that the principle products during
the early history of North Carolina were "tar, pitch, and
turpentine." It was during one of the fiercest battles of
the War Between the States, so the story goes, that the column
supporting the North Carolina troops was driven from the field.
After the battle the North Carolinians, who had successfully
fought it out alone, were greeted from the passing derelict regiment
with the question: "Any more tar down in the Old North State,
boys?" Quick as a flash came the answer: "No, not a
bit, old Jeff's bought it all up." "Is that so; what
is he going to do with it?" was asked. "He's going
to put on you-un's heels to make you stick better in the next
Creecy relates that General Robert E. Lee, upon hearing of
the incident, said: "God bless the Tar Heel boys,"
and from that they took the name (adapted from Grandfather
Tales of North Carolina by R.B. Creecy and Histories of
North Carolina Regiments, Vol. III, by Walter Clark).