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State Toast of North Carolina

by Steven Case, 2012.
NC Government & Heritage Library.

The following toast was officially adopted as the State Toast of North Carolina by the General Assembly of 1957.

The toast was written by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr and was first read publicly on May 20, 1904 in Richmond, Virginia, at a gathering of the North Carolina Society.

Session Laws, 1957, c. 777.

S. B. 305, CHAPTER 777

Spanish moss overhangs the Lumber River

AN ACT ESTABLISHING AN OFFICIAL TOAST TO THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.

WHEREAS, in 1927 by the enactment of Chapter 26 of the Public Laws of that year, "The Old North State" was established as the State's official song; and

WHEREAS, the song "A Toast", was written by Leonora Martin and Mary Burke Kerr as a toast to the Old North State, and dedicated it to the children of North Carolina; and

WHEREAS, it is deemed appropriate at this time that this song be adopted as the official toast to North Carolina: Now, therefore,

The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact:

Section 1. The song referred to above as "A Toast" to North Carolina is hereby adopted and declared to be the official toast to the State of North Carolina, said toast being in words as follows:

Here's to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,Carolina Jessamine
Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!

Here's to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
'Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!

Here's to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron's rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell's summit great,
In the "Land of the Sky," in the Old North State!

Here's to the land where maidens* are fair,Galax flower up close
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
The blest land, the best land, the Old North State!

Sec. 2. All laws and clauses of laws in conflice with this Act are hereby repealed.

Sec. 3. This Act shall be in full force and effect from and after its ratification.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 21st day of May, 1957

*A maiden is a girl or young woman.

References and additional resources:

Holmes, J. S. 1930. "Origin of the state toast." Conservation and Industry. June, 1930. p. 15.

North Carolina General Assembly. 1957. "An Act establishing an Offical Toast to the State of North Carolina." Session Laws, Chapter 777. Online at http://digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p249901coll22/id/312269

North Carolina General Assembly. General Statutes. Chapter 149-2. "'A Toast' to North Carolina." Online at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_149/GS_149-2.html.

Image Credits:

Buie, Elizabeth, 2005. "Spanish Moss Overhangs The Lumber River."Robeson County, NC. Image made available from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ebuie/3673372683/ (accessed March 15, 2012).

Coin, Patrick, 2011. "Carolina Jessamine." Bentonville, North Carolina.  Image made available from http://www.flickr.com/photos/pcoin/5644887267/ (accessed March 15, 2012).

Sutherland, Zen, 2005. "Galax Flower Close Up." Image made available from http://www.flickr.com/photos/zen/8056014/ (accessed March 15, 2012).

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Comments

Comment: 

YUM!

Comment: 

My husband's Pine Level area, Johnston County, NC kin, born ca 1919-1924, used to say the first verse!. Great to hear there is more to it. Many of my early colonial ancestors were once North Carolinians, so I can sing it too! Hooray.

Comment: 

Hi Camille,

Thanks for sharing this great connection to NC history with us.  Please visit NCpedia again!

Kelly Agan, Governmetn & Heritage Library

Comment: 

toast yum!

Comment: 

Also, that photograph was made in November of 2005. It shows in Flickr as 2009 because that is when I posted it there.

     Comment Response:

     Thanks for letting us know- we've corrected the date. Thanks again for sharing!

 

    Emily Horton, Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

Thank you very much for contacting me via Flickr to let me know that you had used my photo of the Lumber River. I am delighted that you liked it and found it appropriate for this use.

I learned this toast in elementary school (probably about 1960), but I had no idea that it was new. So I've learned something today!

Comment: 

some of these words are confusing like rhododendron's, jessamine, and scuppernong maybe you could describe what they mean.

     Comment response:

     Thanks for your suggestion! We've updated this entry to include links and photos of some of the unfamiliar terms. I hope this helps, and good luck in your research!

     Emily Horton, Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

I think it should be pumpernickle toast

Comment: 

I wish we could live in a state where we would know the smell of scuppernong, and the moss. Where each state is truly different. I know that, and i'm under 15 years old.

Comment: 

If you are able to eat grapes and like grapes, I do hope you are able to try a scuppernong grape soon. They are very sweet when they are ripe. They are likely more common at the farmer's market where you can buy directly from farmers rather than the grocery store. They are ripe late September/October. You may want to look for them then.

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