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What is Mount Misery?

Ben Steelman

Mount Misery was the name of a sand hill or prominence, about 25 feet high, that once stood north of Eagles Island, about 7 miles north of Wilmington. The name first appears on the Collet map of 1770 and persisted into the early 1800s. A ferry operated in the area as early as 1754 and may have continued until after the American Revolution.

Modern development seems to have erased Mount Misery, although the name is preserved by Mount Misery Road, near Leland.

According to historian Claude V. Jackson III, the name arose because of the extreme difficulty that laborers had in cultivating the area. Legend had it, though that Africans were disembarked from slave ships near Mount Misery and marched overland from there to Fayetteville, some 90 miles away. Many slaves (the story goes) died en route.

According to Brunswick County author J.C. Judah, many folks claim to have heard the souind of moaning and of chains clanking, late at night. According to the “Haunted North Carolina” Web site, “A feeling of dread is said to overcome motorists at times, driving up Mount Misery Road.”

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