December 10, 2010. SWAN ISLAND HISTORY
As children, living on Swan Island, my brother and I found pieces of what we believed were arrowheads and a peculiar mound which we thought was an Indian burial ground. It doesn‘t surprise me that the following information substantiates our early beliefs.
Algonquian's Volumes #1 and #2 - F. Ray Johnson, Currituck County
Library -courtesy Joan Dunton, Librarian.
"Tribes - Villages - Confederacies - Cape Fear Indians - Villages: Reports by Lane and Hariat indicate that there may have been 18 towns in 1586.
Coree - Caranine, Cannomlx, Caromine Cwareuuc, Cwarwuock."
Could Cwareuuc or Cwarwuock have become Currituck?
According to a map — "Algonquians Vol. #1 FR Johnson," 'Algonquians inhabited a large section from the Albemarle Sound north eastward. It also stated that the Iroquoian language was spoken in this area'.
So Algonquians or Iroquoians very likely inhabited Swan (Crow Island) before the white man's arrival. We knew that our island was once called "Crow lsland." Old timers, during my youth, including my grandfather all called it "Crow lsland."
The North Carolina Gazetteer by William S. Powell:
"Crow Island appears on the Collet map 1770 and existed as late as 1833. In the Currituck Sound N.E. Currituck County, It was SE of Knotts Island and barred the Sound side of New Currituck Inlet until the Inlet closed."
"Swan Island, NE Currituck Sound 2 mi S of Knotts Island, N Currituck County. Approx. 1/2 x 1/4 mi. site of Swan Island Club, noted old duck and goose shooting club owned by wealthy Bostonians."
Instead of an ugly duckling, Swan Island was first a crow!
One half by one fourth miles! It certainly appeared larger to me when we were living there!
Margaret Hoffman's Book of North Carolina – Providence of N.C. 1663
Abstract of Land patents - Page 260 Item 2765. Researched by Mr. Leland Tillett
"Crow Island was granted to William Pointer December 7, 1716 - 120 acres granted by the State of North Carolina".
My maiden name is Poyner - perhaps this William Pointer was my English ancestor who came through the Currituck Inlet and settled here.
Mr. Leland Tillet researched subsequent records at Currituck
- Deeds – Court Cases, Wills, Grants -
"Isaac Baxter and Leavine Ballance Grant #588 - 1817 sold to Hetfields (Hatfields) by heirs of Baxter." (1838). "Hatfields owned the island up until it was leased to William Minot and others from Massachusetts."
This information appears to agree with the story of the storm driven sportsmen from New England on their way to Florida who found refuge through the "inlet" and found Crow - now Swan Island and thousands of migrating waterfowl.
Our family was aware that the Hatfield family had lived on our island. Stories passed down by word of mouth spoken by my grandfather and other old timers told of this. "Old Miz Hatfield" was a ghost that appeared from time to time around the shores of Swan Island. (One of my stories alludes to this.) Foregoing records substantiate this story of Hatfield's owning Crow-Swan Island.
The research for this early Crow-Swan Island history would not have been possible without the help of Mrs. Charlene Dowdy, Register of Deeds - Currituck Courthouse. Mrs. Joan Dunton, Assistant Librarian, Currituck County Library — and Mr. Leland Tillett, Wanchese, N.C. My thanks to them.
Virginian Pilot-Ledger Star May 29, 1967. Swan Island Tract Sold for $1 million - 9,000 Acres In Currituck Acquired by Va. Interests.
Pilot-Ledger Star Dec. 3, 1977. Conservation Group Buys Currituck Land.
Purchase of 6,508 acres from Swan Island Hunting Club for $2.3 million by the Nature Conservancy. 'The conservancy says the Currituck marshes are the habitant for 15 percent of waterfowl on the Atlantic flyway. More than 100 species live in the area and they include the peregrine falcon, an endangered species, the Southern bald eagle and the osprey."