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What's in a Name
Source: Currituck Times - August 1995

Ever wonder where Currituck's communities got their names?  Read on.......

AYDLETT - On August 10, 1900, Aydlett (previously known as "Narrow Shore") was named after Nathaniel Aydlett, the community's first postmaster.  In earlier times, the postmaster of a new post office was instructed to submit three names to the Postal Department, one of which would be used to name the new office.  Aydlett was chosen.

BARCO - Located midway between Maple and Coinjock, was named in 1894 after its first postmaster, Caleb Barco

BELLS ISLAND - Bells Island was named after John Bell who is said to have been granted the land by the Lord Proprietors before the Revolutionary War.

BERTHA - Prior to 1900, Bertha (located between Poplar Branch and Grandy) was know as Gall Bush Ridge because of the density of gall bushes that grew there.  After its first postmaster, Appolas Owens, was appointed in 1907, it was named "Bertha" after one of Owens' daughters.

COINJOCK - Situated about midpoint of Currituck County, "Coinjock" is an Indian word meaning "the place of the blueberry swamps."

COROLLA - After Emma Parker was named the first postmaster to this Outer Banks area around 1895, three names were again requested from the Postal Department in order to name the new post office.  Although Currituck Beach and Jones Hill had been suggested as possible names, a third suggestion was still being considered.  While trying to come up with the third name for submission, someone remarked about the many wild violets growing around the area.  Upon picking one, he stated that the center of the violet was known as the corolla.  "Corolla" became the third suggested named and the one the postal officials chose.

CURRITUCK - Some say Currituck was named for a small tribe of Indians in the region; others say it was named for Carotank, an Indian word for "land of the wild goose."  In 1822 a local referendum was held to decide whether to change the name and location of the county seat; the new name was to be Crawford.  This was defeated by a large majority.

GIBBS WOODS - Located in the northern part of Currituck next to the Virginia state line and separated from the mainland by the Northwest River, Gibbs Woods was the site of the home of Captain John Gibbs who, in 1690, claimed to be Governor of Albemarle.

GRANDY - Located in the center of the peninsula of lower Currituck, the area also received it name after it first postmaster, Caleb Grandy, in 1898.

HARBINGER - Harbinger was originally part of Powells Point and also included Point Harbor.  According to old tales, the name was taken from a sailing ship called "Harbinger" which used Hall's Harbor as a place of call.  Hall's Harbor was an important harbor facility for boats bringing in provisions and merchandise as well as a shipping place for local produce.

JARVISBURG - The post office was established in 1872 as Jarvisburg, named for the Jarvis family which produced Governor Thomas J. Jarvis.

KNOTTS ISLAND - It is know know just how this peninsula became know as Knott's Island, however, early records show that from 1657 to 172o the name "Knott" appears in lower Virginia records referring to various people by that name including a sea captain who was chased by pirates into this inland area, through the Currituck Inlet opposite the island.

MAMIE - Located between Powells Point and Harbinger, a Mamie Post Office was established in 1904, named after postmaster Taylor Harrell's wife.  The post office closed in 1972.

MAPLE - Located in central Currituck County, Maple was first known as "Long House Corner" because of a long house located in its center that once housed slaves.  After the first post office was built in 1900 the name changed to Maple, after a federal transport boat called the "Maple Leaf" which was grounded on Currituck Beach with 101 Confederate prisoners aboard during the Civil War.

MOYOCK - The village of Moyock was first called "Shingle Landing" because of the shingles cut from the cypress and juniper logs in the swamps.  The name was changed when the first railroad came through the area in 1880.  The village was named Moyock for the Indian tribe which lived in the area.  Moyock, the northeast corner of mailand Currituck, is an Indian name meaning "the place of the oak on the trail."

POINT HARBOR - It is believed that Point Harbor got its name because of its harbor and location.  "The end of the point" was the common expression used to describe the area located at the southernmost tip of Currituck's mainland and bounded on three sides by Currituck and Albemarle Sounds and on the north by the community of Harbinger.  Prior to 1900 the area was know as Powells Point, and for a brief time as "Marvin."

POPLAR BRANCH - Prior to 1829, the area that is today Poplar Branch was know as "Van Slyck's Landing".  It was with the establishment of two post offices, Poplar branch and Grandy, that its location was changed.  Old Poplar Branch was approximately three miles south of its present location, about one-quarter mile from what is not Grandy.  The name was allegedly derived from a poplar tree frowing in a branch of water somewhere in the old section.

POWELLS POINT - Powells Point once covered the area from its present location to the tip of Currituck's mainland which is now known as Point Harbor.  As it gradually grew, little towns such as Harbinger, Mamie and California developed.  The latter, according to post office records, was changed to Powells Point.

SHAWBORO - This area was first known as Indian Ridge and later, with the coming of the railroad in 1884, as Shawboro, after the Civil War Colonel Henry Shaw.

SLIGO - Sligo was named by Edward Drumgoole, a Methodist circuit rider, who visited the area in 1783.  Drumgoole was originally from Sligo, Ireland.  It is thought that the area, with its low-lying land surrounded by picturesque creeks, must have reminded him of his homeland.

SNOWDEN - The community of Snowden was named for its first postmaster, Milton Snowden, in 1881.

SPOT - Spot was named by the local residents for the spot fist which were so prevalent in Currituck and the Outer Banks water at that time.  Before being named Spot, it was called "Hog Quarter" for its harbor in Hog Quarter Creek, a beautiful natural harbor nestled among small island and thick, boggy marshes; a haven for wild ducks and geese which became an important segment of economy.

TULLS CREEK - It is said that Thomas Tull, a French Huguenot, was the progenitor of the family for whom Tulls Creek is named.

WATERLILY - This five-mile long, one mile-wide island was originally know as Emporers Island, then White Island, and now Church Island.  Some say the name "Waterlily" was used because of the abundance of waterlillies in the ponds and ditches there.




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2010 Kay Midgett Sheppard