The not-yet-Old "North State" (pre-nickname for North Carolina), 1796; the old "Rip van Winkle State", [1835], 1844 (antedates OED3, 1857--)

Shapiro, Fred fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU
Sun Apr 6 19:10:43 UTC 2014


Are you saying that North Carolina was not one of the original 13 colonies?


From: American Dialect Society [ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] on behalf of Joel S. Berson [Berson at ATT.NET]
Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2014 12:07 PM
Subject: Re: The not-yet-Old "North State" (pre-nickname for North              Carolina), 1796; the old "Rip van Winkle State", [1835],              1844 (antedates OED3, 1857--)

I.  "north state", 1796.

My interest aroused, I widened the search to "north state" as a
reference to North-Carolina.  Perhaps in 1796 it was not yet old,
being but a youth of 7.  (It had been admitted to "the Union" in
1789, the twelfth to ratify the Constitution although not one of the
original 13 colonies.  Remember recalcitrant Rhode-Island.)
Santee Canal. To the Public.  [headline]

The exports from, and imports to, the south-western inhabitants of
North-Carolina, which are likely to pass through the canal, will far
exceed any thing that has ever yet come to this city [Charleston] by
land or by the mouth of the Santee. This must be the case as long as
our neighbours in that part of the north state, increase in numbers
and pursue their own interest.
[City Gazette (Charleston, S.C.), 1796 Feb. 19, p. 2, col. probably 1.  EAN.]

II.  "Rip Van Winkle State", [1835], 1844; antedates OED3 1857--

Then there is this nickname for North-Carolina!
North-Carolina.---By the following extract of a letter from a member
of the Legislature, it will be seen that the Rip Van Winkle of the
South, as the North State has been sometimes good humoredly called,
has roused up from his sleep, and signally VETOED THE VETO.
[New Hampshire Sentinel (Keene), 1835 Jan. 22, p. [3], col. 1.  EAN.]

North Carolina Election. Look out for a whig shout over the first
returns from North Carolina. The democrats always concede them the
old "Rip Van Winkle state" but they will crow as if they never had it before.
Barre (Massachusetts) Gazette, 1844 Aug. 9, p. 2, col. probably 2.  EAN.]

"Rip Van Winkle State" is not a headword in the OED, but there is
one, later quotation under "Rip Van Winkle":
"1857   Harper's Mag. Dec. 135/2   This announcement will doubtless
take many by surprise, and add another rivet, fastening upon us the
sobriquet of the Rip Van Winkle State [i.e. North Carolina]."

For the origin of this nickname, see  ,
"Railroads of North Carolina", ed. by Alan Coleman, Introduction very
first paragraph:  "Four decades after the transition from a colony to
a state, North Carolina exhibited scant improvements in economic and
social development. Indeed, by 1839, the state seemed so resistant to
the industrial and agricultural changes sweeping the rest of the
country that it had acquired the nickname 'the Rip Van Winkle State.'"


At 4/5/2014 10:27 AM, Bonnie Taylor-Blake wrote:
>The OED shows an 1839 usage as its earliest example for "the Old North
>State," a nickname for North Carolina.  Here are a few (of many) that
>appeared before 1839.
>-- Bonnie
>Be not alarmed, ye citizens of the old north State, at my unfurling
>the standard of Liberty. [From "Communication; Proclamation," Raleigh
>(NC) Register and North-Carolina State Gazette, 16 April 1824, p. 4;
>Seeing that it has been declared elsewhere, that nothing short of a
>total repeal of the Tariff will be accepted as a propitiatory ovation
>to present discontents, and that even that will not be sufficient to
>satisfy the demands of the Reformers, we should be sorry indeed to
>find the old North State range herself on the side of such wild and
>visionary politics and politicians.  [From "North Carolina," The Daily
>National Intelligencer (Washington, DC), 22 November 1830, p. 3; via
>Thus it seems that a narrow neck of land, not exceeding 11 miles in
>breadth, divides three fourths of this State, from one of the finest
>harbors and sea ports in the union -- and for want of another good
>outlet to the sea, at least 500,000 people are daily becoming "hewers
>of wood and drawers of water" to their neighbors, -- when a single act
>of the legislature, would remove the difficulty, and place the 'Old
>North State' on a proper footing in the confederacy.  [From "Internal
>Improvement," The New Bern (NC) Spectator and Literary Journal, 25
>November 1831, p. 3; via]
>The American Dialect Society -

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