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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

"Manteo to Murphy"

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006

"Manteo to Murphy" is a phrase often used in reference to the entire east-west width of North Carolina, particularly when describing a phenomenon that touches all regions of the state. The phrase was famously applied to the 1876 gubernatorial campaign between Zebulon B. Vance and Supreme Court Justice Thomas Settle Jr., in which Vance's victory set off "rejoicing by Democrats 'from Manteo to Murphy.'" This followed from the fact that Vance and Settle had toured the state in a series of debates that resulted in the largest Democratic majority (over 13,000) in any election between 1868 and 1900. The phrase is actually a symbolic and not literal rendering of the extreme east-west width of North Carolina, since neither Manteo (Dare County) nor Murphy (Cherokee County) is situated precisely at the state's borders.

Additional Resources:

McFee, Michael. "Back Home." The Napkin Manuscripts: Selected Essays and an Interview. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press. 2006. p. 5.

"Thomas Settle, Jr. 1831-1888." North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program. (accessed August 17, 2012).

"Zebulon B. Vance 1830-1894." North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program.

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