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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Presidential Names

Posted January 27, 2006




Okay, are you ready for Friday's pop quiz? Name the US President in this portrait and what does he have to do with North Carolina history today? I will give you the answer in a minute.
As you drive across North Carolina it may seem that six counties are named for presidents. However, there are really only three. I used to assume Lincoln County was named for Honest Abe. No, it is actually named for a Revolutionary War hero. And what about Polk County? It would make sense that this would be the namesake of President James K. Polk. But no, Polk County is named for William Polk who was a decorated leader in the Revolutionary War.
Wilson County might seem a likely place to honor President Woodrow Wilson. Sorry, this popular downeast county was named for legislator and soldier Louis D. Wilson who died in the Mexican War.
On this day in 1851 the NC General Assembly created Madison County. It was named in honor of President James Madison whose wife was a Tar Heel native. The other two are Jackson County named for Andrew Jackson and Washington County named for America's first chief executive.
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