Crusoe Island and the French Revolution

Crusoe Island detail of Columbus County map

It’s Bastille Day and we’re marking the occasion on these shores by remembering Crusoe Island.

Legend has it that the Columbus County community, which now goes by the name Riverview, was founded by French refugees from the revolutions in France and Haiti. Supposedly Jean Formy-Duvall, a French army surgeon in the late 18th or early 19th century, conspired with an execution squad to spare the lives of a small group of royalists. Formy-Duvall and his co-conspirators filled the executioners’ guns with blanks. As the guns discharged, the condemned feigned death. Formy-Duvall created fake death certificates and he and those whose lives he had spared headed for the French countryside. When the conspiracy was discovered the group fled for Haiti.

The fleeing group’s time in Haiti was relatively short-lived. A slave insurrection arose there in 1791 and many French settlers fled the island. Formy-Duvall and his group supposedly took to the Caribbean in an open boat. Sometime thereafter they were picked up at sea by a ship, which eventually dropped them on the North Carolina coast at Smithville (now known as Southport).

At this point the story becomes even more incredible. As historian Wilson Angley has pointed out in Columbus County North Carolina: Recollections and Records , for some unexplained reason Formy-Duvall and his compatriots headed inland toward swampy terrain near Lake Waccamaw. In so doing, they bypassed areas more suitable for settlement.

The location of the settlement, on a small rise of land bounded on 3 sides by the Waccamaw River and on the fourth by Green Swamp ( it’s not actually an island) left its residents relatively isolated. They survived by fishing, subsistence farming, shingle-making, basket-weaving, hunting and occasionally trading furs in the nearby town of Old Dock.

Crusoe Island’s isolation and residents’ distinct style of speech, which struck some visitors as French-sounding, led to speculation as to the community’s origins. Those supporting a tie between France and Crusoe Island also pointed to the similarity between chimneys built in the Columbus County settlement and those constructed in Normandy. Some also suggested that such common Crusoe Island surnames as Sasser and Clewis were Anglicized versions of DeSaucierre and Cluveiries. Other common names in the community–Forney, Duvall, Dubois and Dupre–also suggest a French origin.

Besides French refugees, residents were said to be the descendants of the Lost Colony, pirates hiding from the authorities, white settlers escaping pirate raids on the coast, deserters from the Revolutionary or Civil wars, English settlers and Indians who intermarried and were driven inland from the coast.

The origins of the community’s name are also in dispute. One story suggests that the settlement was named for Ben Crusoe. But there is no Crusoe listed in local census records from the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Residents have long disputed the story of French origins. They trace their ancestry to three settlers of English origins–Cornelis Clewis, Laspeyre Long and Elias Register.

The mysteries and legends tied to Crusoe Island are cited as some of the reasons that locals sought to change the name of the community. And, in 1961, the General Assembly agreed to residents’ request to rename the settlement Riverview.

While legislators may have settled on the community’s name, they were unable to certify its origins. Vive le mystere.

67 thoughts on “Crusoe Island and the French Revolution”

  1. Great tale, John. What a coincidence that two different French faked-execution refugees would wind up in North Carolina — the early 19th century version of Elvis sightings? Maybe Dr. Formy-Duvall and Marshal Ney got together for an occasional glass of scuppernong….
    I hate it that Crusoe Islanders were so thin-skinned that they preferred the stultifyingly generic “Riverview.”

  2. This not a tale for me. Cornelius Clewis is my ancestor from Crusoe Island. I am also related to Duval and Hewitt. This is my lineage and I can assure you that NOONE there uses the name Riverview….its what the tax collector called it in modern times.or so the old timers say. I have never found anything in England to back up the name Clewis as English either. My family has passed down info regarding French roots and were all taught it as a tribute. Cornelius Clewis and Adam Long founded the area and there are many records in French from them. I have been unable to find anything on the fake death certs, so I’ll call that part a “tale”. Do you have any records that you’d be willing to pass along to “back up” the info you have gathered? I would love to have it, email or by mail. Thanks, Pam Watson
    Family Names: Clewis, Hewitt, Long, Duval, McFarland and Watson

  3. Pam,
    Glad to hear the perspective of someone with Crusoe Island roots. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a lot of primary source, written documentation on Crusoe Island history. As I mentioned in the blog post, Wilson Angley, who worked with the NC Office of Archives and History, wrote an essay on Crusoe Island in the book Columbus County North Carolina: Recollections and Records.

    Over the years many newspaper reporters have been drawn to the story. The North Carolina Collection has preserved some of their articles in our subject clipping files. If you like, you could request photocopies of those articles by emailing our reference staff at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu.

    If you and your family have any written information about the community’s roots, we’d love to see it and possibly get copies.

    John

  4. I am one of the great great great Grandsons of Laspeyre Long. He was born in Brunswick county. His family origin though still remains a mystery to me cause his father Joel Long was also born in Brunswick county. Laspeyre Long though was one of the original founders of Crusoe that is why there is a place called Long’s corner which he use to own. Though to be honest Laspeyre is a unique name to give a person of English origin.

  5. Very interesting article! Have lived in Crusoe Island my whole life and Cornelis Clewis, Laspeyre Long and Elias Register were all three my Great-Great-Great Grandfathers.

  6. Thanks for sharing everyone. We’re all peas in a pod. My name was Barbara Ann Spivey. My Daddy was Tommy Spivey, snake catcher and boat builder. I am related to all of these folks as well. I am doing family history myself. I’ll let you know what I find. Please keep me posted ; ) God bless

  7. My name is Greta blackckman my maiden name is Greta clewis my dads name was Dallas Cornilus clewis so I am. Related to the crusoe people to my dads fathers name was picket clewis but I don’t know any of the family history

  8. Charles Patton’s book is charming and Mike Formyduval’s family research is formidable but neither of them solves the Crusoe mystery. The first mention of Crusoe Island in deed instruments is in 1738 to James Long. Crusoe is spelled differently but the name is, as they say, carved in stone. No French expatriates here then, just some pirates and such. But there were Acadians, some 500, who entered North Carolina on their way to Cajun country down in Louisiana and apparently stayed and one of the surnames was Poitevin. The Poitevin brothers did a lot of real estate transactions in early Bladen county, especially around the Whiteville area. One brother sold Rodger Haynes the original Marsh Castle tract in 1735 here on White Marsh. That marsh winds its way down to the Crusoe area and was called the Western Branch of the Waccamaw River in 1770. The first Crusoe folks I met when I moved to NC from Mississippi 22 years ago struck me as displaced Cajuns.
    So there’s another story.

  9. I am also a descendent of this Clewis family. Interesting information indeed. My Clewis name was changed to Cluiss in the late 1800’s when Joel Agusta Clewis came to Texas from Robeson County, North Carolina.

  10. I’m also related to these ancestors. laspeyre long and joel long were my direct line. I believe the french connection along with indian influence. I would appreciate any more hx of these families or hx of the area, thnxs.

  11. Hi all. To Greta, Barbara, Tabitha, and Josh I just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know that I have our family history. Most of it is hand written because we didn’t have computers when I started, but I’m trying to get it in order. Most of our history was gathered through talking with the older folks in the community. I have since searched online census records and spent hours going over newspaper articles and magazine stories to corroborate the info I recieved, and for the most part, they are in agreement. I also have photos of Laspeyre Long and Elias Register along with several of the older folks, along with their families. In fact, I have over 200 photos of old Crusoe Island that I now have on CD. I’d be happy to get you a copy if you’d like.

    As for the name change from Crusoe Island to Riverview, here’s the story from my Grandfather. The Columbus County Commissioners changed the name in the early sixties. He said the people of Crusoe didn’t know about the change until after it had happened, and they were very upset about it. When they kicked up a dust about it, they were told that Crusoe wasn’t a recognized, or “official” name “on the record books” and that they (County Commissioners) had changed the name of the community so as to have county funds made available to keep the road, bridges, and road shoulder serviced.
    I can for a fact tell you that the people of Crusoe Island didn’t take the news well. In fact, I have personally seen fights break out over someone calling Crusoe Island by the blasphemous name Riverview while in the presence of a Crusoe resident….and to that, I say good.

    Addressing the French connection, here is what I know, or rather… believe I know. My Grandmother was the Granddaughter of Elias and Mary Ann Register, and when asked about how Crusoe got it’s name, she told me about Ben Crusoe and took me to the spot where he was buried. Every time I pass his grave I think about the day Grandma took me there and told me the story.
    I have asked many people, many old people, about the Sasser and Formy-Duval name as to if anyone by that name ever lived in Crusoe. Not a single person could remember those names being used anywhere except the Old Dock community. My Great Grandfather Rufus Register was over 100 years old during the early sixties, and he didn’t remember any Sassers or Formy-Duval families living anywhere except Old Dock. Just saying.

    Lastly, as a young man I had be curious as to why the earliest people of Crusoe were listed as being born in Brunswick county. Years later I posed the question to Mr. Johnny McNeill and he told me that the answer was simple. Crusoe Island had once been a part of Brunswick County. The county line used to be defined by the Waccamaw River instead of Juniper Creek as it is today. He showed me a copy of the request from the Crusoe Island Community to be “annexed” into Columbus County. The reason given on the document was simple. As a community of Brunswick County, the Crusoe Island residents had to make their way to Southport, the county seat, to register births and deaths, pay taxes, and any other bussiness that needed attention. This would have been impossible for years on end as the trip was almost entirely through swamps. There were no roads to or from Crusoe at the time. The people petitioned to be moved into Columbus County and the county line was moved from the Waccamaw River to the Juniper Creek line as it appears today.
    This allowed the Crusoe residents to travel up the Waccamaw River by boat to the village of Flemington (known today as the town of Lake Waccamaw) and travel by road to Whiteville, the county seat of Columbus County. This may also explain why Ben Crusoe’s name didn’t appear on any records. Maybe it just wasn’t worth the effort to travel weeks through swamps filled with snakes and mosquitoes to sign a book in Southport. Or, maybe he just didn’t want to be found? Anyway, Laspeyre Long was indeed born in Brunswick County… but he didn’t move to Crusoe Island. Crusoe Island just moved to Columbus County.

    All this reflection has me waxing a bit nostalgic, I think I might just take a walk and say “hi” to Ben Crusoe…..it is such a lovely day here on Crusoe Island.

  12. Jeff,

    I am Elias Register 3rd great granddaughter. My Great-grandparents were Willie and Lola Etheridge. I would absolutly love if I could please get a copy of those old pictures from you and see where Ben Crusoe is “relaxing” at. If you would please e-mail me at tracyleahbenton@gmail.com
    Thank you!!

  13. The township in which Crusoe Island is located is named after my great great grandfather, Thomas Lee who married a Powell. The remainder of Thomas’ relatives left for Screven Co Georgia after the Revolutionary War. dmann002@nc.rr.com

  14. Jeff,
    I would love a copy of any photos you are willing to share. Both of my grandparents were the grandchildren of Isabella and Laspyre Long. Their mothers were sisters Martha Ann Long Etheridge and Catherine Jane Long Clewis. I have 3 young children and I am trying to put together some of our family’s history for them. THANK YOU , Jennifer Boyd

  15. My great grandmother was Mary Caroline Formy-Duval. Our family lore says that Jean Formy Duval was part of a cabal of French officer physicians/ Royalist sympathizers who were caught plotting to kill Napoleon, and that’s why he originally left France. Would explain fleeing to Haiti then to what must have been the middle of nowhere, North Carolina back then.

  16. Formy Duval, Forme’ du Valle’, is Norman French, for
    Lilly of the Valley, and Le Medicine Jean Formy Duval, in
    Napoleonic France left Paris just ahead of the gendarmes
    sent to arrest him for plotting against Napolean, raced to
    the Normady French Coast. grabbed the first ship, went tp
    Haiti, thence in fear of Napoleon’s agents. went to the
    most inaccessible place he could find…the Crusoe Island
    ares of what is now Columbus County. There have been
    a lot of Formy Duvals, Formys. Duvals in SE NC since. A great
    uncle of mine was called Frenchy Formy Duval. Mary Caroline
    Formy Duval, my paternal grandmother, of Clumbus County,
    had seven kids by my grandfather Thomas Cass Lewis in the
    late l800s (I’m an old man). One of her daughters was named
    Lilly as in of the valley. Another daughter, an old aunt of mine
    when she was in her eighties, told me stories about Dr. Formy Duval and had an old tin box with documents in French. When I was a kid I used stay with her at Wannish.
    NC near Lake Waccama. (I was born in l935), How much
    of the French Connection is factual I don’t know. I asked my dad before he died more than a half-century ago about
    some of it. He had family lore about the same as mine. I
    remember my grandmother (Formy Duval), my Aunt Lilly, and other relatives were rather tall redheads, which supposedly came from being Norman French. I used to talk
    with my dad when I was a boy about all this stuff, including
    the differently spelled names used in Columbus County.
    such as Lewis spelled Clewis and said to be of both English
    and French origin. He said. “they just couldn ‘t spell well back then.” (He also told me that he was Scotch, Irish and
    Bourbon). Cheers….G. C. Lewis

  17. This is all very interesting to me. I am related to the Formy-duvals through my great grand mother Sara Ellen to married David Franklin Smith the son of Henry Cannon Smith whose second wife was was the older sister of my great grandfather David’s wife.
    I would love to see any of those pictures or documents.

  18. Jeff, do you have anything on the Skipper family–specifically Elias Skipper who ended up in south Georgia? Elias Skipper seemed to appear out of nowhere in the early 1800s.

  19. Jeff, My Great Grandfather Elias Register had 8 son’s. No daughter’s..My grandfather was Hilton Register. The 7th son of Elias. The 8th son dies at a very early age. I would like to have a copy of the disk with all the pic’s. Thanks Craig Register

  20. Jeff,

    My GGG Grandparents were Laspeyre Long and Melvinna Marley. I have pictures of them both and Melvinna is very much American indian which is sure to have played a part of some of the indian features throughout the generations.
    Census records have them in Waccamaw Brunswick in 1860. It looks as though Laspeyre purchased several large portions of land in what was called Bull swamp and Slash Branch in 1879. The Deeds were signed by Reynolds. I love to see the information and pictures you have.

    Bobby Cumbee

  21. I am also a descendant of Mary Caroline FormyDuval. I have heard all of the above stories and a few variations although the Napoleon one is new to me.

    Children of Dr. Forme:
    John Gerome Prospier FD Sr was born in Haiti 1789-1st wife
    Alexander was born in Haiti 1792-1st wife
    Charles was born in Columbus County in 1802-2nd wife
    There are others but these children cover the relevant times

    French Revolution was 1789-1799. In 1799 Napoleon took power with a coup d’état. By then Dr. Formy and family were already in Haiti or possibly the US. The French Revolution story may be possible depending on the date of events.

    The Haitian revolt of 1791 was short lived and they were clearly still living there in 1792. The entire history of this island is rife with pirates and uprisings. Also it was under Spanish control at that time. I don’t think they felt safe there and left in a planned and orderly manner with documents and money. They were able to buy land when they arrived and by the 1810 census they had 19 slaves which were very costly.

    As to why they moved into Columbus County, I suspect land was cheaper in CC and being French, they probably wanted to maintain a low profile. This is supported by the 1810 census where he used his first wife’s name, Duval, rather than his name, Formy, even though by then he was married to Penelope Baldwin.

    Ok that’s my two cents.

  22. Speaking of John Gerome Prospier, I have a great uncle who just passed away this past week and was curious about his last name: Formyduval, Heres what I found.

    1. Parents (GGGG Grandparents of Ishmael)
    Jean Prospier Formyduval1750-1820
    Jeanne Franciose Duval1760-1800
    Born in Tours, France on 1750. Jean Prospier married Penelope Baldwin and had 10 children. Jean Prospier married Jeanne Franciose Duval. Jean Prospier married Jeanne Franciose Duval and had 3 children. He passed away on 1820 in Brunswick Nc.
    Penelope Baldwin , Born in Columbus, South Carolina, USA on 1785 to Charles Baldwin and Margaret Baker. Penelope married Jean Prospier Formyduval and had 10 children. She passed away on 1830 in Columbus, North Carolina, USA.
    2. Parents, (GGG grandparents of Ishmael)
    John Gerome Formyduval1821-1852
    Chrystilla Massey1800-1877
    Born in West Indies on 12 Oct 1821 to Jean Prospier Formyduval and Jeanne Franciose Duval. John Gerome married Chrystilla Massey and had 9 children. He passed away on 22 Apr 1852 in Van Pierces Farm Hallsboro, North Carolina, USA.
    3. Parents Parents of Tobais (great grandparents of Ishmael)
    John Gerome Formyduval1822-1895
    Shrele Ann Gore1829-1905
    Born in Columbus on 12 Oct 1822 to John Gerome Formyduval and Chrystilla Massey. John Gerome married Shrele Ann Gore and had 11 children. He passed away on 27 May 1895 in Columbus.
    4.Parents (parents of Alma, Ishmale’s grandparents)
    Tobias Pane Formyduval1860-1948
    Armesia Persa Simmons1863-1935
    Born in North Carolina, USA on 1860 to John Gerome Formyduval and Shrele Ann Gore. Tobias Pane married Armesia Persa Simmons and had 6 children. He passed away on 4 Feb 1948 in Freeland, Brunswick, North Carolina, USA.
    Children
    Alma Burke Formyduval1900-1990 (Ishmael’s Father)
    Born in North Carolina, USA on 1900 to Tobias Pane Formyduval and Armesia Persa Simmons. Alma Burke married Dessie Milligan and had 5 children. He passed away on 16 Sep 1990 in Columbus, North Carolina, USA.
    5.Parents Parents of Dessie, Alma’s Wife and Mother to Ishmael)
    Samuel K Milliken1877-Unknown
    Catherine Lilly Andrews1872-1932
    Children
    Dessie Milligan1899-1982 (Ishmael’s Mother)
    Born in North Carolina, USA on 1899 to Samuel K Milliken and Catherine Lilly Andrews. Dessie married Alma Burke Formyduval and had 5 children. She passed away on 14 Feb 1982 I n Wilmington, New Hanover, North Carolina, USA.

    6. ISHMAEL FORMYDUVAL 1921-2014
    Jewel Maedeens Horne 1922-2006

  23. I am a younger generation (25) and a majority of my descendants from Crusoe are deceased now, they passed away while I was very young.
    I am related to Clewis and Formyduval.
    The only folks I remember from growing up is a gentleman named Odell and Tommy Spivey,

    If anyone could contact me, with any family history – I can collect more accurate names from just a few generations back through my grandparents.

    I have a slight dark complexion, and I get questions regarding my background a lot. I would like to have an answer.

  24. I would love to have some of the info and pics for my nephew Tyler who is the son of Stanley Clewis of crusoe island. I have been researching the history for him. And it’s very interesting. Thanks

  25. My family is also from Cursoe. My dad was born on Longs Corner. His dad was Alpha Simmons and My Grandmother was Edith Ann Register. I would love to have a cd with photos and any info. Thank You

  26. Just wondering has anyone had their DNA tested for genealogy purpose? This would surely help end the debate. According to family lore both of my great grandmothers were full bloodied Native American. DNA showed I am 97% European in my genetic makeup. I had my DNA tested through Ancestry.com. Would like to hear from anyone if they have been tested.

    1. I had my DNA tested and I took showed up 97 European…English, Scotish, Irish, French…but I was told my mother’s father Clem Walters was ‘mean old Indian’ lived in Claxton, Lumbee roots. My grandmother’s maiden name was Lennon and her brother’s name was Prospier. Found link to Formy-Duval. If the colony near Lumberton was French, Eurpean and native American that could explain the connection but did you grandparent have a DNA test that showed their native american roots?

  27. My family is from Cursoe as well. My grandparents were John Delbert and Susie Clewis. They have 7 children one of my uncles (Johnson Clewis) and cousins still live on the island. Well I guess you could say everyone there are related in some way. I can give some of my family history that might help tie people together.

    I would love to have a copy of the cd. Thanks.

  28. Jeff I was borned and raised in Crusoe and I would love to have a copy of the cd with all my family and kin if you don’t mind I am the great great granddaughter of Lasper Long and the grant grand daughter of Ramson Long they were my grandmother’s father and grandfather on my daddy’s side and my daddy’s name is Thomas Etheridge on my mother’s side my great grand father was James Long and my Greatgrand mother was Noonie Millagn Long my grandmother was Ida Fay Long Aronald Ducan and my grandfather was Herman Aronald who was burned up on a bus when my mother was only 9 years old so if you would please send me a copy at 1525 Crusoe Id. Rd. Whiteville N.C. 28472 I would greatly appericeate it and thank you

  29. Hi, I live in and am originally from Old Dock. My maiden name was Gore. I’m not sure of all the lineage, but I know alot of us are related in some way or another. Anyways, where did this “Riverview” name come from?? I have never heard Crusoe Island be called that. Regardless though it will ALWAYS be Crusoe!!!

  30. I would also like to see a copy of this information as my family is from Crusoe and many of them still reside in this area.

  31. My Dads mother was born in Crusoe. Her name was Elizabeth Long aka Lizzie. Her father was Oliver Jackson Long and wife Evelyn. As a young girl I spent alot of time with my Grandmother and listened to her stories about growing up in Crusoe. She always told me that her family were French. She said her greatgrandfather came from France and had to stop on an island. I wonder now if that might have been Haiti?? Anyway she said he married a lady there and they eventually settled in Crusoe. She said one of her family members did not want to go to war so he hid in the green swamps. Sometime later she said men came on horseback searching for him. They found him and took him away and the family never heard of him again. She also mentioned the Sasser family. She said one of the Sasser men was a preacher and her family would go across the squash ( (whatever that meant) and listen to him preach. I love reading all these stories and learning about my family. Thanks everyone for posting.

  32. Hello all! I am unlike you, as I am not related to the Formy Duvals, however, I live in a small town in central florida that was started by John Paul Formy Duval, and his family. I have lived here for 35 years and have always been interested in the history, yet, it wasn’t until I was doing my own ancestry search, that I became more aware of our beginnings in Floral City, Florida. Much of his offspring, five generation worth, at least, still live here. The Love, Bassett, Ogden, Hampton and Jenrette names are a few. I have recently had the opportunity to go inside of the house that JPFormy Duval built here in 1863! How fascinating! It is in the process of being restored to its original splendor! Thank you for sharing your stories with me. I will keep you posted if any of these ancestors can shed light… So grateful, and thanks you again!

    1. I live in Palm Coast, grew up in Duval county, would love to know where his house is in Floral Florida. I had family who lived in Clermont and had orange groves.

  33. I have long-ago memories of visiting the Steve Long family of Crusoe Island with my grandparents. He had daughters named Willowree and Minnie Pearl. My grandparents names were Ralph and Grace Denton and they school teachers and also gave Bible studies. I think the Bible studies was how they connected with the Long family. I remember a watering trough on Cruosoe Island that was hollowed out of a tree and an artisean well that flowed into it.
    I remember that a lot of people outside of Crusoe made fun of the way they spoke, but I remember the speech as having a lyrical sort of cadence to it that I liked. I have just now released a book of poems called CAROLINA MOURNING DOVE. It is about the Green Swamp area of North Caroina, and there is a poem in it called Crusoe Island. The poem was partly inspired by a youtube video where it is made very plain that the people of Crusoe Island are proud of who they are and do not have much patience with outsiders poking around there. The poem also makes mention of the stories about the Lost Colony and Dr. Formyduval.
    http://www.amazon.com/Carolina-Mourning-Dove-Debra-Wintsmith/dp/1500557587/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411829362&sr=8-1&keywords=carolina+mourning+dove

  34. Hi all I have really enjoyed reading some of your comments. I have recently started researching my family tree. I lived in Crusoe for a short while when I was between the age of 9-12. My great grandparents were Edmond and Iva Clewis. I haven’t found anything else as far as relatives. I’m pretty sure Pickett Clewis was my great great granddaddy. I just started researching so maybe I can find something further back than that. I would love to have a copy of the cd with the pictures.

  35. Jeff,Please send me the CD with my direct line of Longs & photos…..I have never seen photos of them except for 1 of my great Gramps Henry Mincey Long,married to Isabelle Cartwright…..he was originally from Crusoe when they married…..they had 8 children.

  36. Frances Formy-Duval was my senior high teacher in New Hanover High School in Wilmington, NC in 1959. I wonder. I am just a curios North Carolinian wandering through the web.

  37. Hey! Wow…my grandmother came from the Long’s side, Sally Duncan whose father was Oliver Long… from haynes long, from joel long, from adam long.

    My grandfather Roy Duncan had a home on the shore of lake waccamaw called “Duncan’s Place” in the early 60’s. Ben, please send me a copy of what you have or if anyone else received what ben had. email is duncan1745@yahoo.com . My mother is Betty Lou Duncan.

  38. FYI

    Cornelius Clewis
    BIRTH 1817 • Brunswick County, NC
    3rd great grandfather
    Married
    Martha Long
    BIRTH FEB 5, 1825 • NC
    3rd great-grandmother

    DnaTestingResults

    French
    African
    NoIndian

  39. John, I would appreciate anything you could send me regarding Crusoe Island. My dad was Joel Wilson Long, his dad was Hugo “Dollie” Long. My dad often spoke of Aunt Laurence Etheridge from Crusoe and he did visit her several times. I understand we are also related to the Registers from Crusoe. Stories have it that my GG Register was the last man Hanged in Whiteville NC. I would appreciate any info you could provide especially seeing as to how I am having the 4th Annual Reunion of Dollie and Lizzie Longs descendants this Saturday 11/7/15. I know my cousins would love to hear any info you may have regarding our ancestors. Than you, Bobby Long

  40. Bobby,
    Glad that you found the blog post on Crusoe Island. As I wrote in response to Pam’s comment from 2011, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of primary source, written documentation on Crusoe Island history. There’s the work of Wilson Angley, who worked with the NC Office of Archives and History. He wrote an essay on Crusoe Island in the book Columbus County North Carolina: Recollections and Records.

    There are also newspapers stories. The North Carolina Collection has preserved some of those articles in our subject clipping files. If you like, you could request photocopies of those articles by emailing our reference staff at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu.

    If you discover other books, articles or published genealogies about the community’s roots, we’d love to see know about them.

    John

  41. My father, Allen LaVerne Clewis, was born in Burgaw, NC, in 1917.

    His parents were:

    Cornelius (Charles) Wainwright Clewis:
    Birthdate & place: August 3, 1866 in Columbus County, NC
    Death date & place: April 26, 1930 in Rocky Point, NC

    Nurcie Ann Anderson:
    Birthdate & place: December 19, 1877 in Pender County, NC
    Death date & place: November 5, 1934 at Duke Hospital in Durham, NC

    Are any of you part of my family tree?

    Lori

  42. RITA LONG CLEWIS! Oh no! Did I marry a distant relative? My daddy always wanted to trace is family lineage. He only said he was of english descent. This is interesting information. So glad I stumbled across it!

  43. My mother , Ina Etheridge Fipps was from Crusoe. She was the daughter of Doward Etheridge and Ada Long. Ada, my grandmother was the grandaughter of Haynes Laspayre Long, Sr and Isabella Melvina Marley. I was born in Tabor City, Columbus County, NC and lived in Wilmington until graduating from college in 1968. We visited Crusoe frequently in the 40’s 50’s,and 60’s. I would love to have a copy of the CD.

    Michael W. Fipps
    53 Bogey LN
    Coto De Caza, CA 92679

  44. My name is Renae Clewis Goodson. Greta and Michael are my cousins. My great grandparents were Doward and Ada Ethridge and Picket Clewis. Grandparents were Doward Cornelius Clewis and Renae Ethridge Clewis. I, also, would greatly appreciate any info you could impart. I’m also curious about my grandmother’s Indian heritage. I know Renae Clewis was half Indian. Do you know if they were Cherokee or Souix or possibly another tribe? Thank you for all the great discussions here.

  45. My Name is Frances Weatherburn…My mother, Ola Clewis Marlow who is 92 years old and still talks about her days there, as she was born in Crusoe Island. Her fathers name was Roland Alva Clewis who was married to Ada Smith Clewis. Mom’s grandfather was Buck Clewis and we did have an old clipping of him when he rode a bear, thinking it was his hog that broke out of his fence . I remember going on vacation and staying in Crusoe with an Uncle named Lonzie Clewis whom I loved dearly and seeing the sign as we got near Crusoe Island. It also broke my heart when they changed the name. I also remember Alfred and Carlene Long. I would also love to have copies of the old photos.

  46. Wow this is what I think my grandpa has been looking for!! He told us the story his grandfather told him from his grandfather and so on. He always said we cant track our family tree because our last name was changed when our grandfather came to this country while running and hiding from people. I have to save and show him this MAYBE just MAYBE we can figure it out now !!!! THANK YOU!!!!!

  47. Hi! I grew up listening to the tales of the Crusoe Island. I was always told that they fled Haiti to the swamps of NC. Before Haiti, they were in Normandy? That’s what I always heard. In the 70’s, my parents went there and mingled with the Clewis family and brought back wooden spoons and bowls. I have pictures of my parents singing and playing instruments with them. My great, great grandmother was Lizetta Clewis, whom my great, great grandfather, Elisha Nobles, took from Crusoe Island to marry. My great grandfather, their son is Rufus Nobles.

  48. My families were Simmons and Hughes and they were living in Old Dock in 1930.Claude Jones Hughes and Lizzie Simmons.Lizzie was the daughter of Minnie Powell Bass and Marshall Simmons.I have been trying to find my Hughes/Simmons family .I have RH negative blood 0-.Rare but highly present in the Basque Country between France and Spain…So many different stories online about lost colony,lost tribes of Israel,Annunakki and Native American.My father Charles Ray Hughes is a SC tribal member of the Waccamaw tribe of SC.I Would live to learn more from someone who knows the real story whatever that may be.Thank you!

  49. My father was a Sasser and my mom a Formyduval. Mike did a great job researching our history and my grandparents never waviered in their account of our heritage. So to me, this is not a TALE it is my HERITAGE.

  50. I find this geneology and history very interesting reading. My maiden name is Fryar and my grandfather married Pearl Green and this family was descendants of the owners of the Green Swamp. Just sitting here looking at all this, I don’t have information that I can list right now. I know my grandmother was native American. My grandfather and grandmother Fryar had 6 children, two male and 4 female. Only one living, Marie Fryar Williams of Wilmington, N. C. She is in her 90’s and going strong. Her daughter Angela Williams Boswell is into keeping the geneology as well as some of my Aunt Marie’s nieces, Virginia Crisco, Sandra Schultz, Judy Crisco. Love this reading and interested in reading more and the connections.

  51. Hi Jeff,Is there any possible way that I can buy a cd from you or something,however I can get one….My great grandfather was Henry Mincey Long sr……grt.grt.John Henry Jack”Long….grt.grt.grt.Laspeyre Long….grt.grt.grt.grt.Joel Long…….my email is: wandastevens550@gmail.com…and my home address is : Wanda Stevens
    44 Emma Lane
    Whiteville,NC 28472
    Thank you so so much……!!!

  52. I’m hoping Jeff will get this as it seems I’m much later in my request but I’d love and pay for whatever info and or pictures you may have. My grandmother was potha FormyDuval And she’s the last of my family with the name. My father is George duval and had I known all this history j would have used the name for my son in some way. Learning all this has been fun and interesting. My emails kyralovelace@yahoo.com. Thank you!!

  53. I am directly related to many of the families from that area, but my research has my Clewis family coming from Germany. Clauss/Claus was the name before George Clewis(1745-1816) changed it to Clewis. His father was Johann Clauss and mother was Eva Maria Eichborn. Anyone else have this same info? They were in the Crusoe Island area well before the slave revolt in Haiti.

  54. Jeff, I am a writer who has penned many articles on the Outer Banks, following research on the Lost Colony. I moved to Ocean Isle Beach last year, and continue freelance writing in Brunswick County. I would love a CD or any photos you would be willing to email me, of interest, on the history of Crusoe Island. South Brunswick Magazine has authorized me to do an article on Crusoe Island. I would love to meet with anyone who lives on the island, for some photos and talk about your lives in that beautiful neck of the woods. I love American culture, which is so varied, all over the entire U.S. I think the families of Crusoe Island are special, and would like to write about them. I am Ed Beckley, ejbeckleyjr@yahoo.com, 252-256-1084.

  55. Mr. Beckley,
    Thank you for your comments. I trust you’ll hear from some residents of Crusoe Island or descendants of Crusoe Island settlers. Our Wilson Library holdings on Crusoe Island are rather scant. That said, my colleagues in the library’s research and instructional services department may be able to help with your inquiry. Please email them at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu.

    Good luck with your story.

    Best,
    John Blythe
    Assistant Curator
    North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library
    UNC-Chapel Hill

  56. Such interesting history!
    My husband’s grandfather is Steve Long and I would love to know about the history of the Long family. My son has had his DNA tested. He is by far from vast majority English descent but had a fraction of Anerican Indian and Sarahan – which goes along with the folklore.
    Please let me know if I can purchase or get a family tree.

  57. My grandfather Dawson (Doss) Long was born in Old Dock around 1898. I think his father’s name was Haynes Long. I did genetic testing and there was no Native American but definitely French, British and West African. I know the name LaPierre is in my family genealogy, and I also know there is a Haiti connection through census records. My father said his father Doss spoke French or something similar to his relatives (creole possibly?). A lot of the names mentioned by other posters sound similar. I’m very interested in the family history of the inhabitants of this area.

  58. Hello there! My grandmother Olivia Ethel Long was born on Crusoe Island and married a Headley Simmons. We are ralted to Spivey’s and Stocks. I would appreciate any pictures of titles of books I could purchase for my dad would be great!

  59. Jeff….
    I would like the cd you mentioned,it would be so wonderful to get to see my Long relatives…..Laspeyre Long is one of my great grandfathers,And I want to go visit his grave…..my grandmother,Emma Long Allen and her sister,Maydee Long Watts to visit with 2 of their cousins in Crusoe back in the early 1980’s….Austin Long and Coy Long….

  60. Hi everyone i very interested in the family tree of cruso island nc. I am engaged to a register that is related Elias register that was his great grandfather can’t remember which side but his grandfather was minus register and his grandmother was lena spivey register. We would love to trace his history tree. I am also looking for information on his great great uncle harlan(Harlem) simmons (simons)not sure the spelling. We really want to know more about his family. Also he is part waccamaw Indian from cruso island

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