North Carolina

What state is known as the “Tar Heel State?’
North Carolina ranks about 28th in size among all the states, about 50,000 square miles. For more than 100 years, it was the world’s greatest producer of Tar. Tobacco is also produced in great quantity, and more cigarettes are made in North Carolina than any other place in the world.
Several things about North Carolina are interesting and historic. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Western North Carolina lures millions of visitors each year. On the coast of North Carolina at a place called Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers made the first sustained flight in an aeroplane at Kildevil’s Hill. You have to see this historic place to understand why the Wright brothers selected it for their first power flights—a long sloping sand dune headed down to the shore into the wind that is always blowing in from the ocean. They needed a strong headwind and they came to the right place.
North Carolina has selected two of its citizens to represent the State in the Hall of Fame in Washington. Neither of these 2 men, whose statues stand in the Capitol at Washington, are well known outside of the state of North Carolina, but each one has rendered exceptional service to the state and its citizens have paid them this high honor.
The first was Zebulon Baird Vance, a lawyer, state legislator, member of Congress (before the Civil War), war volunteer, Captain, Colonel, war governor, governor again after the war and United States Senator. It has been said of Vance that “his courage in war and his unselfish devotion to the rights of man are a memory that is cherished by every North Carolinian.”
The second man was Charles Brantley Aycock, Superintendent of Public Instruction and Governor, great friend of public education who officially supported it as governor. “He was a hero in the cause of education and deserves to stand beside the heroes of national defense, statesmenship and pioneering enterprise.”
Now here is some background about the state of North Carolina. Do you remember Sir Walter Raleigh? He was a great favorite of Queen Elizabeth I, the man who placed his coat over a mud puddle so the Queen could walk dry shod over the puddle. Raleigh received a grant of land which he named Virginia. The grant took in the area of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. He sent out the first English colonists to establish a settlement on the coast of North Carolina near Cape Hatteras on Roanoke Island.
This first colony was a failure. The supply ship was delayed and unfriendly Indians were threatening the colonists. Sir Francis Drake, a friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, on a mission to the West Indies stopped by to see how the colony was coming along and the colonists loaded up and went back to England.
Sir Walter Raleigh was not discouraged. He sent out another group of colonists to Roanoke Island. Into this group, Virginia Dare was born, the first white child born on the American frontier. This second group has been called “the lost colony” for when the supply ship returned not a living soul could be found. The only clue about the colonists was the word “Croatan” carved on a tree.
This mystery of the disappearance of a whole colony of people has never been solved. Some historians think they may have been lured away and killed by Indians. Others think they joined up with an Indian tribe of Croatans and married and intermarried until they were absorbed into the tribe.
Now here is an interesting insight that I personally know about. I was born in Chesterfield County, South Carolina and across the Pee Dee River between my home county and the North Carolina line is Marlboro County. There is a community of people living in Marlboro County near the border of North Carolina that are rather dark complexioned. They are called by the people of that area “Marlboro Blues,” and also some refer to them as “Croatans.” The general idea around that part of South Carolina is that these people are descendents of the people of Sir Water Raleigh’s “lost colony.” Whether that is true or not, I cannot say. Your guess is as good as mine.

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