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Currituck County Tales and Legends

Life on Monkey Island

Written by Pearl Robbins
Transcribed by Vanessa Purschwitz
August 22, 2003

The following is a story given to me by Pearl L. (Melson) Robbins. About twenty years ago Pearl recorded her memories of living on Monkey Island as a child. After visiting with her recently, she loaned me the original which I have transcribed. She is the daughter of Joseph S. & Nancy (O'Neal) Melson.

        Monkey Island, a 7-acre island located east of Church's Island in Currituck Sound, was once the home of the Algonkian Indians; it's name comes from the Pamunkey Indian tribe. At the turn of the 20th century it was owned by the Penn family who built a hunting lodge and caretaker's house. The Monkey Island Club was a favorite of duck hunters for many years but has not been used actively since 1976. The island has been owned by the Nature Conservancy who then sold it to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Commission. It was then traded to Currituck County in 1988. School children and civic groups have also used the island as recently as the mid-1990's as an outdoor classroom. It is home to a variety of flora and fauna, wildlife, and marine life.  See photos of Monkey Island Club here and another newspaper article on the history of Monkey Island here.

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2005 Marty Holland