So many Carolinians made their living by and on the water in the early days of sail that they were known by the term for an apprentice sailor in England–tarheel–for their feet were stained with the tar which protected the ratlines, the ladder-like ropes used to ascend the rigging to the sails.
The only way into the interior of the Province of Carolina is by its many rivers so the inhabitants there are called Tarheels for all must be at least an amateur sailor.
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