The BOOK's Preface:
I began developing this book upon retiring in 2005. The original notion was to create a personal journal. We Mormons have a strong tradition for writing personal and family histories and I knew I had run out of excuses. But I had inherited all of my father and mother’s documentation...so the scope of the book quickly expanded to include those materials as well. After all, I was keenly aware of our rich ancestral background that included generations of Islanders going all the way back to the original Harker families and their materials included important data on deeds, wills, maps, histories, photographs, charts, plots...you name it. Daddy had lived an exciting life of service to the Island that involved projects for Barden’s Inlet, the Island’s electrical system, the critical fight for the Island/Lennoxville bridge, the water and sewer systems, as well as the long effort to develop several hundreds of acres of land into a sub-division for young Island families. And mother had spent years digging into our ancestral backgrounds; she had listened well to Daddy’s accounts of important days and events in the Island’s development...a story that required two and a half centuries to tell. It was obvious, at least to me, that I needed to include their stories as well as mine.
I was born on the Island and had gathered many exciting Island experiences before leaving to attend N.C. State. I never returned to the Island, but I had always engaged in detailed discussions with both Mother and Daddy regarding our past and all the new changes that were occurring during the years I was living in Virginia. The biggest change was the arrival of the Cape Lookout National Seashore Park that had taken the gorgeous parcel of waterfront Daddy had given me. The Park’s land had been in the family along with close relatives for over 150 years...so losing the Island’s east end was a dramatic loss and I had followed the matter closely. Then I learned of the new Core Sound Waterfowl Museum’s movement so the book’s scope was expanded again to include that development; after all, the new Seashore had required the family to turn over prime woods and shore fronts at Shell Point and then the Museum had forced the Seashore to turn over seventeen acres to the Museum so Core Sounders could celebrate, of all things, their rich heritage of carving decoys to lure ducks prior to shooting and killing them. The book’s scope expanded again.
My experience with information technologies had deepened over the twenty-five years prior to retirement so it was natural to employ the Internet in my research and the searches quickly revealed much information that I was forced to consider as incorrect and deeply misleading regarding the Island. The Internet has democratized publishing and authors can be found in every nook and cranny. The Internet requires no standards or factual checking so any number of factual errors and inconsistencies are easily available. Correcting some of this misinformation was added to my intent.
Several decisions had to be made early on regarding the book’s styles and standards. The first regarded the manner of referring to my father and mother...Earl C. and Lillian Davis. “Daddy” and “Mother” seemed much too personal so I decided to refer to them as Mr. Earl and Miss Lillian. Those were the two salutations many Islanders had always used...so I concluded I would address them similarly! Addressing them as Mr. Earl and Miss Lillian is a Southern mannerism and carries both respect and friendship. I also have used “Island” in its proper form since, after all, we Islanders feel there really is only one Island; all others are mere islands. Occasionally I have used Islander’s first names in the text. There were a little more than a thousand living on the Island when I left and everyone knew everyone else. There were no Mr. Davises or Mrs. Guthries or Miss Willises.
Another style needs some explanation as well. When Mr. Earl named the new inlet at Cape Lookout in 1938, it was Barden’s Inlet...in its possessive form. Today, the formal geographical name is Barden Inlet...non-possessive. I have not examined the matter too deeply but have concluded that the removal of possessive designations in geographical place names seems to have occurred when the Federal government created yet another regulatory board that had authority to standardize place names whose usage would be required amongst the entire federal system of agencies. And, since many of these personalized places no longer are private possessions of individuals, federal maps follow that standard. So, unfortunately, we no longer can sail to Sam Winter’s Lump or Wade’s Shore or Barden’s Inlet. Even so, I decided to use those original, personalized names. Long ago, when I headed for Wade’s Shore I knew that I was going to the place where old man Wade had landed his sail skiff years ago.
All of the book’s photos and graphics from external sources are so noted. Other photos, figures, charts, maps, etc., are from my private collection or were constructed by me.
Writing the book has been a labor of love. Every word has been written with respect and appreciation to all my ancestors that flow all the way from Mr. Harker and his sons, Ebenezer, Jr. and Zachariah. I have come to know and love each of them. And it was with deep gratitude for having been born of goodly parents who spent their lives serving the Islanders around them. In pondering that heritage, it does seem something to be proud of in having been raised in a family who had inherited almost a third of one of the loveliest places on earth: once it was Craney Island...and then it became Harkers Island...and finally, just the Island.
The book serves as my collection of personal impressions of Island life, past and present. It carries a message of hope for its future!
Dr. Charles R. Davis
9866 Natick Road
Burke, VA 22015
1 January 2010