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.
92 thoughts on “Crusoe Island and the French Revolution”
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.”
My great Aunt Alverta wrote a book on our family history which is why im reading this page now. So supposedly Caroline formy-duval was my grandmothers grandma which Caroline had a brother Albert that she describes living in Crusoe Island and which i never heard of Crusoe Island until reading and digging in. Very interesting !!
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
My two great aunts that are left in their 90s could probably answer that about the duvals Caroline and Albert was their grandma and uncle i believe and they were on their fathers side which he was Henry Lewis I have taken a dna test and had 14.6 % french and also in the book Aunt Alverta wrote she mentions hewitt being relatives Alverta said her great grandfather was the physician to Napolean Bonaparta and when he was exiled from france both had to flee in the early 1800s Napoleans wife had deeds to land in parjs she brought with her word was. Aunt Mary was the one that knew of the deed and said she lived in thks Crusoe Island. Apparently how Alverta remembers is the Duvals being very peculiar with some traits like being very private people, not saying a lot to or about anyone and when they did it sas just what they thought and not always tactful which ran into the Lewis side (her father) my great grandfather Henry Lewis married to Margarette Reynolds.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you and your family have any written information about the community’s roots, we’d love to see it and possibly get copies.
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.
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.
My Great Aunt Alverta speaks about Corneliois clevis and Elias Register. In the book she wrote for her two you gest sisters LaNell Lewis (my grandmother) and Nancy Faye This book tells so much about everything she can remember from three yrs old until she passed away at 102 two yrs ago
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
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
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.
I am descended from James Poitevin, also spelled Poitevint who sold the land that became Castle Hayne. They were not Acadians. Antoine Poitevin was a French weaver in the 1600’s. He was part of the French Huguenot (Protestant) community. King Louis XIV was Catholic and pressuring all French citizens to convert to Catholicism. Antoine, later changed to Anthony, Poitevin fled France and took his family to England. King Charles II of England immediately made the French Huguenot British citizens to avoid interference by King Louis XIV of France. After spending a brief time in London, the Poitevin family and other French Huguenots settled in the Orange Quarter of Charleston, South Carolina. James Poitevin accepted land grants in North Carolina. At that time North Carolina had a much smaller population than South Carolina. James Poitevin is listed in the Order of the First Families of North Carolina.
Lol sounds like displaced cajuns to me as well. I say this bc my mother is from Louisiana shes part cajun or creole and in the southern most parts of louisiana wow you can barely understand them. Which hints my middle name being french meaning dear in french !!!
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.
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.
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.
I’m trying to do family research and would appreciate your help. I’ve done Ancestry DNA, and have relatives I don’t know.
Could you please email me?
Some surnames: Sasser, Blackman, Horrell, Smith
Elias Register was my husband s great grandfather
I would love a CD and the info you have. My name is Barbara Ann Spivey Waldron. I am Tommy Spivey’s daughter.
Just curious to see if you have looked into any links to Clewiston, Fl, which was named after a man named Charles A Clewis.
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 email@example.com
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.
Uncle Marcus?? Lol funny how you ended up here as well. Let me guess reading Aunt Alvertas book ??!! Crazy right ?! Im digging in. Hope your doing well !
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
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.
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.
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
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.
I’m interested to know how you know Isabella Melvina is native American. her father is not. did he have an affair with a Native woman?
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
Greetings! My husband just found that his 4th great grandfather is a Clewis. If you have an info on that name, we would be very interested in the information.
whats your husbands name?
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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!!!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sally Duncan. Isabella. Joel Long are on my. Blood line. Trying to get more info on Long and Native American connection.
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 email@example.com . My mother is Betty Lou Duncan.
I’m descended from Haynes Long. He was my great grandfather. I believe Joel was my great great grandfather. My father told me so many stories about his grandfather whom he adored… my grandfather Dawson had a thick French accent … such an interesting family
Barbara you was named after my dad’s brothers daughter “Barbara ann “. I would love come visit , please get in touch. Darebrown415@gmail.com
BIRTH 1817 • Brunswick County, NC
3rd great grandfather
BIRTH FEB 5, 1825 • NC
I have a Cornelius Clewis married to Martha Long in my tree, a son of Samuel & Elizabeth Huffin Clewis, grandson of George Clewis born 1745. I have spent many years research trying to get back beyond George. Would be interested to hear from you. Thanks,……………Doug Clewis
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you discover other books, articles or published genealogies about the community’s roots, we’d love to see know about them.
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?
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!
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
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.
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.
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!!!!!
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.
I am Rufus Nobles daughter, I live in Whiteville and have been to Crusoe many times fishing with my Dad. Who were your Mom and Dad?
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!
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.
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.
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: email@example.com…and my home address is : Wanda Stevens
44 Emma Lane
Thank you so so much……!!!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!!
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.
I am a descendant of George Clewis and am wondering if he is related to you all in that area.
He y’all my name’s Adam…im 18
And live in Kernersville…But my family’s from Crusoe…and NOBODY I know calls it Riverview they call it Crusoe…the Register’s ( and I see a few in here as I’m readin this hey y’all 😅) (they’re my family on my dad’s side)…also tend to speak with a distinct tone …so instead of ( you knew it) it’s (you’d know’d it) and ( had and have ) are ( haïd and haïve) and water is ( wouhtür) and road is,
( roüwed) and fish and fishing are ( feesh and feeshin) and caught is pronounced (coat)…and bass (the fish) is pronounced (baïse)…and ( I have done it) is ( I’d downe deedee’t) …basically LOTS of heavy but relaxed emphasis on
( I,E,O,W,U and D), my last example, (I saw it) is pronounced…(I’d see’d it)…anyway it is different from other NC or southern accents around….and like said, developed over a few centuries….making maybe one of the last places where ( other than the outer banks and tangier island brogue), a dialect of Early modern American English survive’s…my family owns some swamp leading to the Waccamaw river…and we find arrowheads all the time…and I could go on more about the dialect…but imma keep it short 😅..cause i don’t wanna start soundin critical….but anywho, one of my ancestor’s like the rest of the register’s here….is Elias Register🙆♂️….. And Thanks for reading my brief breakdown of the Crusoe dialect 😅
Adam Register 🙆♂️😅
Geo. Clewis is my 3rd great grandfather. Would be interested in your research re German origins. Point is well taken that Geo. was in N. C. BEFORE Haitian revolt(s). There connection to Crusoe is not clear. Living as close as they did, they had to be connected. Would be interested in your thoughts.
Thanks, Doug Clewis email@example.com
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-256-1084.
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 email@example.com.
Good luck with your story.
North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library
Anyone have any history on the Godwin’s
I would also appreciate a copy of the old Crusoe pictures sent to firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone can thanks.
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.
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.
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!
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….
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
My GGG grandfather was furnie duval clewis 1843-1923… Please help us find out our lineage… Thank you
This was SO interesting! I am not related, just stumbled upon this and had a blast seeing all of you connecting the branches of your trees and meeting your relatives!!you’re all so lucky
I’m a Clewis in texas with CATAWBA and MORE ROOTS ties to the American indians here,still searching for more clewis’s….email..email@example.com
I have been canoeing the Waccamaw River since around 1979, from Lake Waccamaw to Crusoe Island. I made the trip several times each year. On the first trip I passed Crusoe Island and took out at what I know as Riverview, the first bridge past Crusoe Island. As I passed the canal that had been dug by Tommy Spivey, his mother who I met later and knew as Sapphire, was squatting at the corner of the canal and the river fishing. I spoke as I passed, having no idea where I was or who she was, and she started talking and was still talking as I rounded the next bend in the river. My impression was that she was American Indian. On the next trip I went to Crusoe Island and met these wonderful people, their names I will give as I was told them. Edward (Ethermur) Spivey, his wife Sapphire (I was told this was not her real name, that it was unpronounceable), their son Tommy, Tommy’s wife, Vann or Van, Tommy’s daughter Barbara (I think) and Ethermur’s brother-in-law Dodo Clewis. Dodo once killed a deer with an ax and was always ready to tell the story. I heard about Tommy’s brother Fonzie but I never met him. Over the years I really enjoyed visiting with them and I miss them now. I’ve started a file on anything pertinent to Crusoe Island and have found some videos that are interesting. I would love to have the CD of photos. Email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Jean Formy Duval and his wife, Princess, are my 6th great grandparents. Although we live outside of Savannah, it seems that we are related to many many people in that area.
My dad, Eddie Dennis, still owns the Jenrette Farm on Hwy 904.
My great grandmother, Mina Hughes (daughter of Lucien and Sallie Formy-Duval) married James Jenrette (son of Isaac Jenrette).
Mina’s daughter, Marjorie, was my dad’s mom.
I love all the ties we have to this area, and my dad, brother and his wife, and my husband and I are also considering moving back to the vicinity.
Sarah, I am 8th generation, from the doctor.
I was born in NC. Grew up in Mascotte, Florida. This is my lineage.
Dr. Jean Gerone Prospier
1760 – 1821
Jeanne Francois Duval
John Gerome Paul/(Prospier?) FD
Crystilla Massey FD
Gerome Prosper FD,
Shrele Anne Gore FD
Covil Lafayette/Lane? FD
Martha C Best FD
William Lafayette FD
Daddy spelled it Lafette
Emma Margaret Simmons FD
Henry Lockwood FD
1898?-1975. ( his brother’s daughter, Virginia, my daddy’s cousin, still lives in NC. She knows so much of the history. )
Ethyl Carlisle FD
William Seawall FD
Alta Belle McDuffie FD
Myself and 3 siblings
I am Jane Smith Patterson. My father was Allie McCoy Smith and his mother was Sarah Elaine Formyduval the daughter of John Prospier Formyduval and a Gore & she married Franklin Smith who was the son of Henry Cannon Smith. Both my grandmothers were Gores –one who married John Prospier Formyduval and the other who married Henry Cannon Smith. Get in touch with Charles Michael Formyduval at Lake Waccamaw and he has a marvelous book that follows the Formyduval family and is well researched.. My father Allie McCoy Smith owned a good deal of land near Nakina and he passed away when I was 10. I spent a couple of summers with his sister Aunt Gadis Smith Dutton and my cousins (her grandchildren) Weldon and Hugh Gore. We were close to Dad’s family Smiths and Uncle Coy FormyDuval who lived on the Waccamaw River who taught me how not to behave around alligators. I would like to know who were the McCoy’s that my father had in his name. I have spent a good deal of time working around the world and speak fairly good French. When I worked in France I went to Versaille and was allowed to go into a room with historical information. There I saw what I thought was the Formyduval coat of arms. that we had found. Still, relating to the FormyduVal s, The best book on that is Mike Formyduval’s amazing review and added to that the work of Irene King who also researched with great detail the FormyDuVal background. My dad took me to the Waccamaw River when I was very young and showed me the carved out canoes and took me to Uncle Coy Formyduval ‘s home on his area of the Waccamaw River. Henry Cannon Smith was my Grandfather Smith and his wife, my Grandmother was Sarah Elaine, the granddaughter of Dr. FormyDuval and Jeanne daughter. I have had my DNA assessed and I am mostly French, Irish, Scottish, and a smidgeon of DNA from West African (area near Morroco, ) and also Sicily/Sardenia near Italy. I have 65% more neanderthal heritage and have 0 Bloodtype and my brother and sister both were of AB blood. I am the youngest of three children and my Dad was as noted above Smith-FOrmyduval heritage and my mother was of Scotch/Irish heritage Pate, Pait, Wright, McNair, Stubbs. I would encourage you to go to the Raillroad Depot Museum at Lake Waccamaw and you will find osme of the artifacts that various FOrmyduvals have collected from the Doctor Formyduval ‘s medical practice and some of the clothes that women related to him wore on models. We have the trunk there that he used to come from France ( or one of them and some of his medical instruments. There is also on another artifact front a wonderful dug out canoe there… My sister Judith Carolyn Smith and my brother Dr. Allie Maitland Smith both had dark hair and brown eyes and I have blond hair slightly red tinted with blue eyes. Both match the colors of my French (northern ) and my English/Irish/Southern Mediterranean heritage. I am proud of all. Jane Smith Patterson email@example.com
My brother Dr. Allie Maitland Smith, my sons Pat and Braxton and myself are all lovers of oceans, rivers and lakes that is very strong. I was able as a state official to get the first Ocean Policy in the United States of a state developed. Oregon followed us as the second state to develop theirs. The Waccamaw River is a wonderful river….Henry Cannon Smith had the first steam boat that plied that river up to Conway, South Carolina.
Jane Smith Patterson