Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

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Posted February 3, 2011
Updated February 4, 2011

Quick! Name the North Carolina county that was formed on this day in 1870. I dare you to try.

Yes, the North Carolina General Assembly officially created Dare County on the third day of February in 1870.

If you know anything about Tar Heel history you can probably guess the origin of the name. This beautiful coastal county was named for Virginia Dare, the first child of English parents born in the New World. Virginia was part of the mysterious Lost Colony.

Dare is one of only three counties named for women. Wake County derives its name from Margaret Wake. She was the wife of colonial governor William Tryon.

Mecklenburg County was named for Princess Charlotte Sophia of Mecklenburg-Strelitz who married King George III of England. She gave birth to 15 children in her 21 years of marriage!

Let’s open up our discussion of North Carolina counties. What other interesting tidbits would you like to share?

I’ll start by saying that I memorized all 100 counties and county seats in one night during the 8th grade to secure an A in a NC history class. Little did I know that my work would serve me well years later as a NC broadcaster. 


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  • evergreen Feb 9, 2011

    We learned a lot of North Carolina history from Mr. Eggers, didn't we? Remember the board on rollers that had electric connections for identifying the counties and county seats? If you connected the requested ones correctly, the light came on. I still have my practice sheet for learning the counties and county seats.

  • mamananagramps Feb 3, 2011

    North Carolina is full of history..I live in Virginia now, but was born and raised in Halifax NC not too far from Raleigh in Halifax County.

    On April 12 that body unanimously adopted a document later called the "Halifax Resolves," which was the first official action by an entire colony recommending independence from England..

    Each year on April 12th ..Halifax Day is celebrated in Halifax NC and all historical places are open to the Public. If you have never been to Halifax, it is quaint and interesting.

  • carolina buckeye Feb 3, 2011

    I am very fond of Pender county. Mostly because I love Topsail Beach but also because of the General for whom the county was named. General William Dorsey Pender a North Carolina native was one of Lee's favorite soldiers during the Civil War. He was wounded at Gettysburg and later died of complications from the wound. His last words were "I have always tried to do my duty in every sphere in which Providence has placed me." I think about that everytime we pass the welcome to Pender Co. sign.

  • piknowles4 Feb 3, 2011

    North Carolina had the most soldiers killed in the Confederate Army but Virginia provided the most soldiers.

  • 2thebeach Feb 3, 2011

    North Carolina, the last State to secede from the Union, provided the greatest number of soldiers to the Confederate army.

  • mcatfan Feb 3, 2011

    I had to do the same thing with the 100 counties and county seats. I'm from Northampton county originally and one unique thing about Northampton county. The farmers there grow plenty of peanuts, corn and cotton but there is no tobacco grown there. It's grown in all surrounding counties and I've never known why it's not grown in Northampton county.

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Bill Leslie