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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Bill Leslie: Would you visit all 100 North Carolina counties?

Posted June 10, 2020 9:01 a.m. EDT

Some friends in Wilson once gave me a North Carolina gift that I still treasure today. It’s a beautiful map of the state covered in a tobacco leaf. A company called Artisan Leaf fabricated the map and it reminds me of all my travels across the Old North State.

How many of you have visited all 100 North Carolina counties?

Linda and Harlan Mangum are working their way through the big list.

Linda wrote me about their adventure after reading my Carolina Conversations story on how June may be the best month to visit the mountains.

“We have visited 31 counties so far. 69 to go! We love our home state, a beautiful state with the best people living in it. We are making some incredible memories," she said.

Most statewide political leaders have visited all 100 counties and consumed a lot of barbecue in the process.

I scratched off the last few counties on my list of 100 NC counties more than 30 years ago. It helps to work as a reporter logging many miles covering stories around the state.

When I was an eighth grader in Morganton studying NC history, I answered a teacher’s challenge to memorize all 100 counties and county seats. I did it in one day and night. I can still remember most of them.

Did you know that Avery and Hoke counties were the last to make the list of 100? That happened in 1911. Avery County was carved out of Mitchell, Catawba and Caldwell Counties in the mountains. Hoke County was born out of land from Cumberland and Robeson counties.

North Carolina counties were formed as early as 1664. Some names have changed over the years. The list of defunct Tar Heel counties includes the following Albemarle, Bath, Bute, Glasgow and Tryon.

Some friends in Wilson once gave me a North Carolina gift that I still treasure today. It’s a beautiful map of the state covered in a tobacco leaf. A company called Artisan Leaf fabricated the map and it reminds me of all my travels across the Old North State.

I wonder what kind of gift Linda and Harlan Mangum will buy to celebrate their adventure of visiting all 100 NC counties.

bleslie@wral.com is my email address. Write me if you have some ideas!

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