Carnage, Slaughter and Mayhem

On January 31, 2012 · 17 Comments

I enjoy corresponding with Steve from Connecticut Museum Quest. We seem to have a similar appreciation for maps, odd coincidences and strangely-named places. I first came across Steve and his wonderfully-written CTMQ as I investigated the Southwick Jog more than three years ago. I think Mystic Seaport may be the only Connecticut museum I’ve ever visited in my entire life, and yet I read every article he posts. It’s that good.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s bring things back into the present and discuss Steve’s latest discovery. He couldn’t wait to tell me — and of course I couldn’t wait to hear — all about:


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He found carnage in Raleigh, North Carolina. Well, Fred J. Carnage Middle School on Carnage Drive. I realize mentioning carnage and school within a single statement can be a bit of a touchy topic in the post-Columbine era. I mean no disrespect and I hope this article doesn’t land me on a travel restriction list (guess I’ll find out the next time I try to board an airline). The larger point is that seeing carnage in this context feels vaguely disconcerting.

We are all led by our personality quirks. My natural and completely predictable next step was to try to unmask the identity of Fred J. Carnage. This led me to an article in the Raleigh Times

Mr. Carnage had just been appointed to the local school board. He had an impressive résumé: a graduate of Harvard Law School; a distinguished career as an attorney; a high-level member of prestigious civic organizations; and an appointee of various government boards and commissions. Oh, did I mention that this was 1949? And that Mr. Carnage was African-American? And that only a third of Raleigh students at the time were African-American?

The recipient of this appointment is a tall-gray-haired practitioner of the law in Raleigh for 17 years whose position in the city is such that in the weeks following the appointment, Mayor P. D. Snipes observed that not a single note of criticism was received by him of residents of this southern community about the selection of a representative of a minority group for this responsible position.

A couple of things came to mind as I pondered the context of that specific geography and that troublesome slice of history. First, Fred J. Carnage must have been an amazing man to accomplish what he did when so many opportunities would have been denied to him by definition. He recorded a lifetime of "firsts" as an African American. Second, we tend to think of prejudice in the American South of that time as being somewhat monolithic, yet here was an instance when perhaps a more nuanced view might be warranted.


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The thought of carnage led me to reminisce about my undergraduate days long ago at the University of Virginia where we had the Slaughter Recreation Center. In the Commonwealth one might think of "slaughter recreation" as a euphemism pertaining to our penchant for hunting and our relaxed view of firearms restrictions. However, let me assure the 12MC audience that the recreational facility fit a more typical model of indoor basketball, squash courts, exercise equipment and the like. It was named for "Edward R. ‘Butch’ Slaughter, a Charlottesville resident who was Director of Intramurals at the University of Virginia from 1958 until his retirement in 1973."


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I don’t know about any actual mayhem but I thought it sounded good in the title. Google Maps was kind enough to suggest Mayhem Avenue in Rustenburg, South Africa, just west of Pretoria. Street View suggests it’s probably the antithesis of mayhem. It seems to be a tidy, orderly, affluent street.

I discovered a few other likely candidates as well.

  • Massacre Lane and Massacre Pond, in Scarborough, Maine (map). There are lots of "massacre" places in the United States, many of them associated with attacks on settlers by displaced Native Americans forced from their land.
  • Berserker, Queensland, Australia (map). An entire neighborhood gone berserk!
  • Murder Lane, Rison, Arkansas (map). This one looks like someone’s driveway. I am going to guess that they don’t want or receive many visitors.
  • Blood Cemetery, Dunstable, Massachusetts (map). A perfect spot for a Halloween party.
  • Headless Cross Drive, Redditch, Worcestershire, England (map). Well, it’s headless.

Maybe the astute 12MC audience can add to the list?

On January 31, 2012 · 17 Comments

17 Responses to “Carnage, Slaughter and Mayhem”

  1. Murderkill Neck, Delaware seems decidedly harmless. Not to mention redundant, since murder would imply killing by necessity. And there’s always Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta to satiate one’s blunt trauma fixation.

  2. Phil Sites says:

    This reminds me of a discovery that our Montana History teacher in High School shared with us in class one day. The seemingly gruesomely named Bloody Dick Peak in Beaverhead National Forest. I didn’t realize there was a road with the same name (as well as a creek) until I Google mapped it.

    A bigger mystery: Two hours drive north (probably less than an hour due north) there is apparently a Bloody Richard Road…

  3. Scooby says:

    Slaughter Lane and Slaughter Creek are in far South Austin, TX, and named after the original (European) proprietors of the area. (

  4. Steve says:

    Ah yes, the kills of Delaware. There are many as “kill” means “creek” in Dutch. But this leads to another potential 12MC post – the uniqueness of the Delaware Hundreds. (Okay, maybe not 12MC material, but still…)

    In Delaware, land was divided into Hundreds like they did back in the day in England. (MD did this too, but did away with them). In fact, I grew up in Brandywine Hundred and the term is used very commonly around DE as it is the basis for taxing and school districting to this very day). (There is a North and a South Murderkill Hundred – which absorbed the old Motherkill Hundred, for those deeply interested.)

    So in DE, my parents currently live in Foulk Woods (development) in Wilmington (town) in Talleyville (zip code) in Brandywine Hundred (tax district) in New Castle County – and all 5 are commonly used and understood by Delawareans.


    • Bill Harris says:


      As you know, most of New Castle County is unincorporated. Locally, we frequently use our hundred to identify where are from (Brandywine Hundred means the developed area north of the city of Wilmington, Mill Creek Hundred refers to the suburbs northwest of the city, and Pencader Hundred is the region south of Newark, etc.,) although unincorporated areas such as Hockessin, Glasgow, Pike Creek, or Bear are also used. I think we purposely do this to confuse outsiders. Speaking to someone from our of state, though, it is easier to just say “I am from Wilmington.”

      Speaking of Mill Creek Hundred, and possibly of interest to 12MC readers, is a great history blog about Mill Creek Hundred:

      • Steve says:

        Bill –

        Bear! I remember back in the 80’s and 90’s it was always a joke when someone said they were from Bear because there was no “Bear” there. It was just an amorphous area. Now, of course, there really is a Bear and plenty of people live there. (My dad worked in Delaware City for 30+ years, so he saw that whole area grow enormously.)

        And remember Metroform? I’ve heard it no longer exists. It always mystified me on our way to Newark or the mall.

        Alas, I’ve lived in CT now for over half my life and believe me, we have our own set of wacky town/city designation issues. (Ironically, I live in one of the VERY few towns without any villages or boroughs inside it.)

  5. Jerrod says:

    Only 7 miles south of my home in Norman is the town of Slaughterville, OK. It was named after a local grocer and co-founder, James Slaughter around the turn of the 20th Century.,-97.334747&spn=0.356223,0.394135&hnear=Slaughterville,+Cleveland,+Oklahoma&gl=us&t=m&z=11

    PETA recently petitioned the Mayor to rename the rural town Veggieville (can’t make this stuff up). The locals, many of whom make their living in ways associated with the beef and pork industry, handed out free hot dogs in response. They asked PETA to instead donate $20K for a local spay/neuter program. PETA ultimately donated $5K for the purpose, but the town’s name remained.,2933,111461,00.html (story also discusses of Climax, MN)

  6. Matt says:

    How can you forget one from your own backyard?: Gallows Road, which runs from Tysons Corner to Annandale, Va. Also, Shades of Death Road in New Jersey.

  7. Auburn, Washington, was originally named Slaughter after Lieutenant W. A. Slaughter, a casualty of our local Indian War. It took its present name in 1893.

    Some say it was named after Auburn, New York, because they also grew hops there (this part of King County, Washington, used to be very agricultural). But that doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Others say it was because a large group of settlers moved to town from Auburn, New York. Somewhat more plausible.

    Still others say it was named after a line from an Oliver Goldsmith poem: “Sweet Auburn! Loveliest village of the plain.” I’m not so sure about that, either!

  8. Bill Harris says:

    Who wouldn’t want to vacation at Slaughter Beach?

  9. Jean says:

    It might not be violent enough, but there is a little village called “La Baffe” (the slap) somewhere north-east of France.

  10. Krel says:

    In Gloucestershire in England are the villages of Upper and Lower Slaughter.

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