Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Nauseous Names

Posted July 23, 2008

The spin doctors were not yet weaving their manipulative magic. The wordsmiths at the local chambers of commerce had not yet developed their concept of branding. Yes, we go back to the simple and sometimes ugly muddy days of North Carolina when the state had a lot of features but very few names. People in charge of naming rivers, streams, towns and hilltops didn’t have a lot of time to ponder the complexities of their task. They simply spit out what was on the tip of their tongues and it wasn’t always pretty.

Today I am going to begin a list of Nauseous North Carolina Names. The names are pretty sickening especially by modern standards. There are many more but I want to hear from you and get your names. So check out those history books and maps and let me hear from you. Here are my Top Ten Nauseous North Carolina names:

1. Maggot Spring – Haywood County – named for spring covered with what looked like insect larva

2. Pickens Nose – A mountain in southern Haywood County

3. Greasy Creek – nasty looking creek in Alexander County

4. Ugly Fork – creek in Haywood County

5. Devils Gut – stream in Martin County

6. Huggins Hell – heavy rhododendron thicket of Swain County

7. Ripshin Mountain – rugged mountainous area in Burke County

8. Black Ankle – Robeson County

9. Kill ‘Em Swamp – southeast Hertford County

10. Poison Swamp – Iredell County


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  • marvlori Jul 24, 2008

    I can't beleive no one has mentioned Booger Mountain, NC.
    There was even a piece about it on The Daily Show a couple of years back.

  • rogers922 Jul 24, 2008

    Parumph, Nevada. No explanations necessary.

  • whatusay Jul 24, 2008

    Ever heard of Lizard Lick, or Ashpole, or a small community that once had a tavern that sold "beer or rum" - a hurricane tore down the "beer" part of sign and the town was named "Orrum".

  • GroupOfPricklyPears Jul 24, 2008

    Conetoe (Edgecombe County) - always amused me to hear visitors call it "Cone Toe". It's locally pronounced - Cuh-NEE-dah. The running joke was, "Well, if ya pronounce Cone Toe, Cuh-NEE-dah then I guess you'd pronounced Pinetops, Puh-NEE-dups."

    Anyone mention Ether, NC?

    Fun, interesting topic, Bill. Thanks :) Just another reason I like WRAL's web site - learn something new everyday.

  • angela2 Jul 24, 2008

    There is a community outside Bailey in southern Nash County called "the Gallberry".

  • jwstevens04 Jul 24, 2008

    I know this is probalby dedicated to NC, but my family is from Virginia (we are a bunch of Hokies at heart) and in Smyth county, in the deep mountains, is a place called Lick Skillet, Virginia. :)

  • aburge Jul 24, 2008

    We lived in the southwest for several years and we've traveled through Elephant Buttte, NM. We always called it Elephant Buttt :)

    I had to add extra letters because I received a warning: "...we've found a word or a combination of words that could potentially be considered inappropriate to some of our visitors."

  • FromClayton Jul 24, 2008

    Horneytown, NC is named after a family with a last name of Horney. David Horney is still alive and in his 90's today. They made a lot of money off furniture and he now just manages that and gives to local charities. Not a bad life for such a bad name.

  • Squirreling Dervish Jul 24, 2008


    WOW. That one is good. My parents live there!! ( well, between Todd and Meat Camp)

  • jetset Jul 24, 2008

    How about Lizard Lick? Not enough to make you sick, but it is strange. Wonder how they came up with that name?




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Bill Leslie