Matt and Chris walk the mountains and float the lakes of Graham County. Matt opens by quickly explaining why Chris couldn’t find a native brew from Graham County. Chris is surprised that Graham county even exists in the first place. Somehow a forest discussion leads Matt to some quick math comparing Graham County and Manhattan.
Graham County is home to the famous Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, a famous poet and World War I casualty who likely never set foot in North Carolina. Graham County is also a veritable land o lakes- or at least two lakes, Lake Santeethlah and Fontana Lake. If you want to hear more about Fontana Lake and its floating homes, check out the episode Floating Homes of Fontana of Our State Magazine‘s podcast Away Message. (Please don’t sue us).
Chris gives an objective measure to the mountainous topography of Graham County, and takes issue with the term Nantahala i.e. land of the noon-day sun. Matt considers whether Lake Santeethlah is really just a Graham County ‘water feature’, and Chris notes the entire mountainous area of North Carolina was a water feature during the Paleozoic Era. Chris almost gets lost down the black hole of midi-chlorians.
Matt notes a bunch of things that Graham County is not named after, which is pretty much everything that sounds like or rhymes with Graham except for William A Graham. Graham County may be the only North Carolina county to have a Naval Ship named after it- the USS Graham County.
As Graham County is North Carolina’s last dry county Matt and Chris can’t actually toast the county with an official native beer, we decided to toast mountainous Graham County with a Buncombe County mountain brew, Gaelic Ale from Highland Brewing. Meanwhile the County Boys discussed various forms of crackers to wash down their beer with.
You can find something to toast this episode by listening to it here:
Don’t come here expecting spoilers for future counties- It’s all Gates County all the time in Episode 37. Chris notes a defining feature of Gates County, the Chowan River, which leads Matt to wonder what the weirdest ocean creature to make its way up the Albermarle sound up the Chowan River is- which somehow wound up with Matt singing Amazing Grace as a manta ray.
Chris compares the population of Gates County (12,197) with the number of IBM employees in the triangle and the capacity of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. Matt wonders whether Bill Gates could buy Gates county outright- and whether it would come with the furniture and the pigs.
Matt and Chris take in the lights as they drive through Gaston County. Chris considers a CountyBoysPodcast.com kickstarter to acquire… countyboys dot com. Matt notes that Gaston County is hosting a free public showing of Beauty and Beast one week in the future- in the past.
Matt notes the legal bullying that got the county seat moved from Dallas to Gastonia. (Not really). Chris wonders about the government and business structures necessary to curtail the scourge of… stray dogs. Matt notes how great Alpaca looks when you are hungry. Chris distinguishes between Kings Pinnacle of Gaston County, the city of Kings Mountain in Cleveland County, and Kings Mountain in South Carolina, site of the famous 1780 Revolutionary war battle.
Matt imagines war as a video game (fancy that). Chris discusses the county’s namesake William Gaston, kind of a big deal in 19th century North Carolina- and also Georgetown’s first enrollee (yay!) and first dropout (boo). Meanwhile Matt and Chris compare early admittances against Billy G’s election to the North Carolina State Senate at 22 years old and US Congress at 35 years old.
Matt reminisces about the peaches of youth and wonders about former giant inhabitants of North Carolina. Chris embraces terrible foods. Matt discusses his sleeping arrangements which may or may not be the most amazing thing ever.
Matt and Chris discuss the Mill town politics and the textile strike of the 1920s that happened in Gaston County.
Chris talks about not-long-for-this-world Bute County and the Duke of Earl, the exploits of Benjamin Franklin, and the Tuscarora Indians. Matt notes the downfalls of wearing Franklins. Chris wonders about the pronunciation of Franklin County’s seat, Louisburg. (Charming since 1779!) Matt pitches Franklin County livin’ for its proximity to the Triangle.
Chris notices that Franklin County is home fo the World Whistling Championship… and promptly gets sucked into an internet blackhole of whistling. It’s all true.
Perhaps Chris should have looked harder for some of the beer on the banks of the Tar River flowing through Franklin County. As it is Chris toasted Franklin County with a Skillet Stout from Buncombe County’s Burial Beer, while Matt throws down with Some L.A. Crow Ten.
Hopefully you don’t have to look hard to find a link to this episode- you can listen easy at:
In episode 34 Matt and Chris bridge the hyphenated spans of Forsyth County, North Carolina’s fourth most populous county.
Forsyth County is located in North Carolina’s piedmont, a word with surprising italian origins. The biggest city in Forsyth County is Winston hyphen Salem. Young Salem was founded in 1766, while Winston was founded much later in 1849 (but named in 1851). The two cities merged in 1913, leading to the moniker twin-cities, and Matt is ready for the Minneapolis v Winston-Salem showdown.
Forsyth County was named after Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, famous for his exploits in the War of 1812. Although Chris argues that was the only time Washington DC was conquered by a foreign occupying force, Matt seems to recall a few other invasions.
We toast Forsyth County with a Jade IPA from Foothills Brewery in Forsyth County. Foothills Brewery began brewing in 2005 in Winston-Salem, and is now the second largest craft brewer in North Carolina (by beer production).
Apart from Foothills Brewery and RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Winston-Salem is also home to Krispy Kreme donuts, founded in the hyphen in 1937 by Vernon Rudolph. Winston-Salem was also home to the headquarters of Wachovia Bank, and still home to the tallest building in the Carolinas outside of Raleigh and Charlotte.
In episode 33 Matt and Chris don’t just hang out on the perimeter- but dig in to the juicy middle of Edgecombe County, with imagined graphical accompaniment.
Edgecumbe was formed in 1741 and unfortunately for the county’s namesake Richard Edgcumbe, the county founders got the spelling wrong. But Richard wasn’t an LP and Chris couldn’t really figure out why this guy was deserving of a county anyway. So at the end of the day maybe that’s why it was misspelled- folks just didn’t care all that much about him.
The Tuscarora Indians of Edgecombe County had multiple towns- and they did not get along with each other. As it turns out one of the factions of the Tuscarora Indians played a role in the history of other NC counties- specifically Chief Hancock who captured John Lawson & Christoph von Graffenried.Hancock ultimately killed Lawson- which did not work out well for Lawson or Hancock’s lower town Tuscarora Indians.
Donkeys or large pieces of ice? Tarboro, formerly Tarrburg, is Edgecombe County’s county seat.
In an alternate reality Matt and Chris toast Edgecombe county with a brew from Tarboro Brewing Company. As for this Earth, we could not find any TBC beer in time for recording.
Whether or not you are enjoying a brew from TBC, you can enjoy a listen to this episode at:
In episode 32 Matt and Chris get the lowdown on Dr D, the bull of Durham, Duke University, and Black Wall Street- all of Durham County North Carolina.
Before diving in, Matt and Chris play a little game of Operation on North Carolina to try and find the heart of North Carolina. Matt plans a romantic getaway. Chris treads down the Great Trading Path with the Siouan-speaking Eno Native Americans.
Chris warns all listeners away from chewing tobacco. Somehow the subject of hobos comes up again. Matt wonders about the relationship between Bladen County resident Wesley Snipes and Dr. D.
Matt and Chris toast Durham county with a Rocket Science IPA from Durham’s own Fullsteam Brewery. Somehow we did not wind up drinking a Cackalacky from Fullsteam.
Durham County’s County Seat and practically only city is Durham, not surprisingly. Unfortunately, no Lords Proprietors are mentioned in relation to Durham County.