Diamond City, NC History

Shackleford Banks History Notes

Collected by Mrs. Thelma Simpson

The first record in Carteret County, relating to what later became known as Shackleford* Banks was a deed from Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort to John Porter for a "tract of land containing 7,000 acres; lying on the sand banks between Drum Inlet and Old Topsail Inlet." This deed was dated in 1713, registered in Bk. 63, pg. 171.

Sometime between 1713-1723, Porter sold this 7,000 acres to John Shackleford and Enoch Ward, (son-in-law). In 1723, John Shackleford and Enoch Ward proceeded to divide this huge tract of land; Enoch Ward was sold one "moity" or 1/2;" being from Cape Lookout Bay to Drum Inlet" and John Shackleford "moity" running from "Old Topsail Inlet to Cape Lookout Bay." (Deed Bk., pg 64)

In the will of John Shackleford, 1734-1735, it is stated: "I give my son James, 1/2 of my land on the Shackleford Banks, east of Topsail Inlet; and 1/2 of the cattle hoggs (sic), also Carrot Island**. To my daughter, Sarah, wife of Joseph Morse, cows and the right of Joseph Morse to whale and use my boat ..."

* The first spelling of the name was Shackleford, the spelling changing back and forth throughout the court records. To avoid confusion, the "le" spelling will be used.

** When this island was acquired by John Shackleford, Jr. in 1723, it was called CART Island.

In 1736, (the year of probation of will of above,) deeds of division were executed by

James and John Shackleford, Jr., with each deeding 1 Moity or 1/2 part of the Banks land, to the other; At the same time, 1/2 of Carrot Island and 1/2 of land on "Neus" road was included. (Deed Bk. D, pg. 193)

James Shackleford, in will of 1759-1759, is stated: "to my son, James, the plantation on his marriage and 600 acres of my 1/2 of the banks, where he chooses; To my son, Joseph, my plantation formerly owned by Joseph Wicker and 600 acres of my banks land." (James Shackleford married Keziah Wicker, daughter of Joseph Wicker.)

In 1759, Richard Ward of Onslow County and James and John Shackleford of Carteret County made another division of Shackleford Banks; Richard Ward sold to James and John Shackleford 325 acres "on the Banks" and James and John Shackleford sold to Richard Ward, 250 acres "on the Banks."

In 1762, John Shackleford, (Jr.) sold to Joseph Fulford, 230 acres of land, "On Shackleford Banks." At the same time, he sold James Shaw of Carteret County, 100 acres "On Shackleford Banks."

June term of Court, 1770 reflects that James Shackleford, Jr. came into court and qualified as executor of the last will and testament of his father, James Shackleford, dec'd.

John Shackleford, (Jr.) made a will, dated March 15, 1771; in which he made bequest to each of the children of Joseph and Blandina Serse. The bulk of his estate was left to his nephew, "Joseph Morse, son of Joseph Morse and Sarah, his wife. "One cow and calf was left to his cousin James Shackleford, son to my brother, James Shackleford."

June term of Court, 1775, stated: "Joseph Morse, Jr. exhibited in Court the last will and testament of John Shackleford, dec'd. and proved by the oath of John Easton,

The next record, pertaining to "Shackel(le)ford Banks" appears to be a deed from Abraham Wade to one Windsor, "a man of color" bequeathed to him by his mother in her will of 1768.

The Deed states:

"In consideration for the long fortuitous and meritorious service I have received for a series of years from said Windsor, a negro man and considering that he has a family of children to provide for and that he has the same feeling and affection for them that is natural to mankind; and that liberty and equality dear to all men to which by the laws of nature and almighty God all are equally entitled ... I do therefore by these present, emancipate, liberate, and discharge the said Windsor and reward him with all the liberties and immunities of a man freeborn; to free as in my power to do so, only withholding and reserving to my self occasionally in part of in all, if need, his services during my lifetime and at my decease to be completely free and his own man; not to be enslaved, subjugated by my heirs and assigns, not any of theirs and that the said Windsor may not be a burden or expense to my children nor the community; I do hereby give and bequeath to the said Windsor his heirs and assigns forever a certain piece of parcel of land situate lying and being in the County of Carteret, on Core Banks or what is called Shackleford banks, containing just fifty acres being what is called Jack's Place; the said land I bought of James Shackleford, together with all appurtenances, profits, privileges and advantages commonly annexed to landed property and will for myself, my heirs and assigns the said land with all the above. In witness whereof I have set my hand and seal the twentieth day of April in the year 1801; signed and sealed and delivered in presence of John Briggs and James Shackleford, (Jr.).

Abraham Wade, his mark

Note: Above Windsor had died before 1850, but his descendants were still living on Shackleford Banks, but, according to oral history sources, they all left when the storms of the 1890's forced most of the resident to leave the Banks forever.

The last part of Shackleford Banks, owned by the family of that name, appears to be a record of deed of sale from James Shackleford of Carteret County to Roger and John Shackleford of Georgetown in South Carolina "a certain parcel of land on Old Topsail Inlet; beginning at Whaler's Creek on said Banks and across to the sea; thence back to Old Topsail Inlet; 1200 acres, dated 1805.

In a publication, in the Carteret County Library, entitled "Georgetown County, South Carolina, Tombstone Inscriptions" are records of death for Capt. Roger Shackleford; b. Aug. 16, 1773; d. Oct. 3, 1814; "A native of North Carolina" nearby lies John Shackleford; died March 10, 1823; age, 61 yrs.

Note: When my family came to Lennoxville Point in 1915, we took a boat trip over to these Banks in search of grapes, which we had been told, were plentiful. There were plenty of grapes, but plenty of "chiggers" too. Only one house remained in that area, in which lived a man named Joe Lane Lewis, who gave us water from a cistern located fifty feet out on a shoal. (These remnants can be seen even now at low tide.)

Today, this "Shackleford Banks" is owned by Cape Lookout National Seashore; but the descendants of those who once lived there continue to go back home, if only for a few hours to swim, fish, and carry on the traditions passed on from generation to generation.

Reprinted from "The Mailboat," Vol.2 No.2

From "Our Shared Past" prepared for the Diamond City & Ca'e Bankers Reunion, August 1999 as a collection of writings, research and recollections to tell the story of the Banks communities.
Copyright 1995, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum
All rights reserved.

Down East Community Tour
Core Sound Waterfowl Museum