Now you gone and bit off a fair bit more tobacco than any man ought have a claim to, and surely more'n any good spit calls fer.
But seein how's yous brought it up, let's chew on it a bit.
First, unless that hunk of dirt called Californy fell off into the ocean, I believe the McGuffey Reader showed it as being on the border of Mexico... Which would place it along the Southern border of the United States.
As fer not takin' kindly to do-gooders from far off places, medlin in our affairs, we done been doing that with carpet baggers many a year. Many o' the ancestors of the folks from the south went there with the purpose of findin a place where they could live the way they wanted to without the government or other outsiders imposing taxes or other laws on them.
Many of those beliefs have done been whittled away a little here and a little there, with outsiders takin advantage of the poor economic conditions as a source to ridicule and justify the need for the ignorant southerner to get the help from the far superior people from other regions of the country. Funny how all that help came with the price of exploitation of natural resources as well as the culture... Through the widespread propiganda painting southerners as stupid and ignorant, it became more acceptable to force them into the coal mines, or off of their family lands, for economic developments. The practice was much the same as what was done to the Native Americans....and in some ways to African Americans. With people still believing that people from the south are ignorant, it is easier for those people who think their ways are the best to ignore the problems of southerners, caused by outsiders, and blame it on the ignorant rednecks as if they brought it upon themselves.
I'll be the first to admit that some people in the south are ignorant, but California as well as other states have their share as well. If you want proof, look at the OJ Simpson case, or Rodney King situation... And how come people would be foolish enough to live along that fault line anyways? Hope they ain't too ignorant to learn how to swim for what good it'll do them.
I'm not even a southerner by birth nor a transplant, but I've got a line of ancestors going back to the early colonies, and don't think you should believe all the hogwash about how ignorant they was. The traditional knowledge that had to have been possessed to live in those times and prosper, could not have been possessed by those lacking intelligence. Consider the sources of those ideas that prompted your question as a lasting result of outsiders with a clear bias and lacking in entirety.
Mark Twain and George Washington Carver are the first two examples of ignorant southerners I thought you might like to think about related to your question.