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Almost Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About North Carolina - Its History and Its People

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 fight."

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). 

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