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The Name--Whynot


The name Whynot is thought to have come from the name of a village in Randolph County, North Carolina. Randolph County, became a county from Orange County, North Carolina in 1779.

Between 1752 and 1766 and again on March 14, 1775, John Needham pruchased land in Orange County, North Carolina, next to land owed by the Spinks Family. Elizabeth Needham, oldest daughter of John and Susannah Needham, married Enoch Spinks, Jr., on April 15, 1784, in Randolph County, North Carolina. The Needhams, Lawrences and Edwards, along with the Spinks, are said to have lived near the village of Whynot in Randolph County, North Carolina, a short distant from Seagrove in the area of Fork Creek and Needham Moutain, according to nformation from the book, Genealogy on Various Families with North Carolina Roots, by M.N. Lawrence in 1977.

The name Why Not, North Carolina, is two words, thus implying a question. In the old T.A. Means, Sr., Bible, the name is written as Why Not. The Why Not, North Carolina, post office was established in 1860, taking the name of the Why Not Village, eight years after the Whynot post office in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, was established.

From the above reference to the Why Not village in North Carolina, we know that there was such a community before the post office was established there in 1860. It stands to reason the legend surrounding the naming of the Why Not village in North Carolina and the naming of the Whynot post Office in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, is one and the same.

There are two like versions of how both the North Carolina village and the Lauderdale County post offices were named. The first is that people wrote in suggesting a name...using "Whynot name it...?" The other version is that the residents held a meetion where suggestions were made using "Why not name it so and so?" Finally, one old man grew tired and stated, "I'm tired...let's name it Whynot and let's all go home." This legend has to apply to the name of the Why Not village in North Carolina in the late 1700s.

In June 1852, a post office by the name of Whitesville was established at what is now know as Old Whynot in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. This name could have come from the W.H. White who lived at Old Whynot at the time and owned 84 acres of land in Section 2, Township 5, Range 17E. This land is in the vicinity of the present Mt. Horeb Baptist Church. W.H. White was a merchant and the first post office was probably in his store. In December 1852, the government ruled that the name of Whitesville had to be changed since there was already a post office by that name. In Lauderdale County, we share the North Carolina legends about what happened next. This was eight years before the post office in Randolphh County, North Carolina, was named Whynot.

In 1840 there were Spinks in the Old Whynot area as well as the Alamucha area who where born in North Carolina. There were also Needhams in the area. Some of the Spinks came through Washington County, Alabama. For example, John Spinks who had his mill on Alamucha Creek, came from Washington County. This John Spinks married Frances Needham in Washington County, Alabama, on 2/22./1840. When the name of "Whitesville" was rejected, these Spinks and perhaps other families remembered their village of Why Not in North Carolina--thus the post office was named "Whynot" For then, it was their way of remembering the old village that they would never see again. In 1850, an Enoch Spinks, age 27, born 1823 in North Carolina, was living in old Whynot with his wife Ann and son William.

It is true that names of former home locations were brought by early settlers to the frontier,. In sumary, the legend about the name Whynot commenced with the naming of the Whynot village in Randolph County, North Carolina. This legend go twisted to infer it applied to both and the nameing of the Whynot Post Office in both Randolph County and the Whynot Post Office in Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

The correct name is "Whynot", and it just could be the man who was tired years ago left a legacy...the name "Whynot." It caught the attention of people years ago, and it catches the attention of people today.


History of Whynot. by James T Dawson LCDA&H, Inc. Meridian Mississippi 1992.

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