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Old 02-09-2007, 07:18 PM
 
189 posts, read 674,923 times
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I've noticed that NC is referred to as "The Tarheel State" and that one of the local college teams is called "The Tarheels." How did that descriptor originate and what does it mean?

I'm originally from California and understand the connection with "The Golden State." I now live in New Hampshire and "The Granite State" makes sense. But "The Tarheel State?" That's got me stumped.
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Old 02-09-2007, 07:23 PM
 
Location: Wake Forest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockyhillgal View Post
I've noticed that NC is referred to as "The Tarheel State" and that one of the local college teams is called "The Tarheels." How did that descriptor originate and what does it mean?

I'm originally from California and understand the connection with "The Golden State." I now live in New Hampshire and "The Granite State" makes sense. But "The Tarheel State?" That's got me stumped.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar_Heel
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Old 02-09-2007, 07:34 PM
 
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My license plate might say "North Carolina," but a tarheel I'm not
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Old 02-09-2007, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
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The historic Revolutionary (and sometimes Civil) War references are the ones I've often heard the most - also the most logical.

Just be glad there's a reasonably consistent explanation for the history of the term. I lived in Indiana for 30 years and never met anyone (educator or otherwise) who could explain what a "Hoosier" was, without invoking some story about some drunkard's ear getting cut off.

The "Tar Heel" nickname is associated with The University by virtue of UNC-Chapel Hill being the first public university in the state. Even though the mascot is a ram, I think claiming the "Tar Heel" nickname helped to assure that there wouldn't be any confusion with other school nicknames and obviously helped to link the school to residents of the state (as it is with Tennessee and "Volunteers", Ohio State and "Buckeyes", etc). To delve any deeper beyond that would involve getting into history I'm not personally familiar with.
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