Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Western North Carolina has rivers that run in 3 directions. The eastern continental divide runs north to south shedding water to the west into Tennessee and western Georgia, and east to the Atlantic or into South Carolina. The New River, paradoxically named, since it is one of the oldest rivers in the world, runs to the North through the western tip of Virginia and up through West Virginia.
As you drive on U.S. route 74 from the west into North Carolina out of Tennessee the highway becomes concurrent with I-40 about Clyde in Haywood County, runs to Asheville, and then goes in a southeasterly direction concurrent with I-26 and then goes off on its own through Charlotte ending at Wilmington, North Carolina. In the process of driving this route you cross a number of rivers with the word broad in them and just miss one that passes through Asheville, the French Broad River. The French Broad flows west and the others flow east.
There are absolutely beautiful places along U.S. 74. In areas between Hendersonville, NC and Rutherfordton, NC the old route is so tortuous that you can't drive and look The 74 by-pass from I-26 to the Cliffside exit is now 4-lane, controlled access highway, and while you can make good time, it is boring and there are no places to stop for food or "refreshment". Returning to a discussion of the rivers.
The easterly flowing rivers are the Broad, the Second Broad and the First Broad Rivers.
There are no Narrow Rivers, so I imagined as I first made this drive in the late 1980s that the word broad must have referred to, well, broads, and thought those rivers might have been better named.
I would have renamed the French Broad, La Femme (as in cherchez la femme); the Broad, the Woman, and the First Broad the Eve River. But then I was stumped. Following the biblical story in Genesis of creation we know about Eve, but who was the second woman? Adam and Eve had Cain and Abel. Cain committed the first murder killing Abel and there is no mention of a sister. Regardless, Cain had to have had an incestuous relationship with an unnamed sister.
So, I decided that the Second Broad should be called the Mysterious Sister River.
Considering that biblical literalists think that the world was created 6,000 years ago, the New might have been named the Fairly New River.
Now, on to Massachusetts. Who was the mystic that the Mystic River was named for?