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The Old North State

North Carolina State Song

Blue Ridge Mountains - Smoky Mountain National Park, North Carolina; photo by Akshay (theakshay) on Flickr (use permitted with attribution).

Official State Song of North Carolina

North Carolina designated "The Old North State" as the official state song in 1927 (composed by William Gaston; arranged by Mrs. E. E. Randolph). All State Songs


Carolina! Carolina! Heaven's blessings attend her!
While we live we will cherish, protect and defend her;
Though the scorner may sneer at and witlings defame her,
Our hearts swell with gladness whenever we name her.
Hurrah! Hurrah! The Old North State forever!
Hurrah! Hurrah! The good Old North State!
Though she envies not others their merited glory,
Say, whose name stands the foremost in Liberty's story!
Though too true to herself e'er to crouch to oppression,
Who can yield to just rule more loyal submission?
Plain and artless her sons, but whose doors open faster
At the knock of a stranger, or the tale of disaster?
How like to the rudeness of their dear native mountains,
With rich ore in their bosoms and life in their fountains.
And her daughters, the Queen of the Forest resembling–
So graceful, so constant, yet to gentlest breath trembling;
And true lightwood at heart, let the match be applied them,
How they kindle and flame! Oh! none know but who've tried them.
Then let all who love us, love the land that we live in
(As happy a region on this side of Heaven),
Where Plenty and Freedom, Love and Peace smile before us,
Raise aloud, raise together, the heart-thrilling chorus!

History of the Nickname "Old North State"

The Old North State is a familiar nickname of North Carolina, with origins in 1629 when King Charles I granted territory in America to Sir Robert Heath (his Attorney General) to be named Carolina. The territory consisted of all the land lying between "the Ocean upon the east side & soe to the west & soe fare as the Continent extends itselfe...." - The northern border was to be the 36th parallel (roughly a line from Kill Devil Hills to Knoxville, Tennessee).

In 1710 the Carolina colony was divided, when Edward Hyde was appointed by the Lords Proprietors to be "...Governour for North Carolina Independent of the Governour of South Carolina." The southern part was called South Carolina and the older, northern settlement North Carolina. This was when the nickname "Old North State" was born.