I spent a delightful morning at McIntyre's Bookstore in Fearrington Village listening to Southern author Clyde Edgerton read from his latest comic novel, The Bible Salesman, and singing songs with his bango. I particularly enjoyed his explanation for North Carolina's history and rural culture of gentle, if not genteel community bartering because the state had small farms in which people depended on each other for survival. This was in contrast to the bustling capitalism of Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, with their big plantations. NC was less populated in the early centuries because, if you were a ship captain and you asked your crew to choose navigating through the Chesapeake Bay, Charleston Bay, or CAPE FEAR and "the graveyard of the Atlantic," they inevitably chose the Chesapeake or Charleston. I made a similar observation on this blog ("Why Did NC Have Fewer Plantations Than Neighboring States?").
A personal note: My late mother, Lillian Secrest Buie, North Carolina English Teacher of the Year, was a student of Edgerton's in the 1980s when he taught a creative writing class at St. Andrews Presbyterian College. In 2006, when I published a book of her writings, he graciously wrote a blurb praising it. He and I had corresponded, but hadn't met until today. What a warm and charming fellow he is.