According to family genealogist Ouida Hewett, Joseph Hewett Jr. (1730-1795) settled in Brunswick County in 1756, having moved from Cape May, N.J. He came from a line of whalers. Joseph Sr.’s ancestor, Randall Hewett, arrived from England at Lynn, Mass., sometime before 1746.
More Hewetts certainly followed Joseph Sr. down South. Ebenezer Hewett, Jacob Hewett and Philip Hewett were all listed on the St. Philips parish tax roster for 1769; Jacob and Philip are almost certainly two sons of Joseph Sr.
A Capt. William Hewett sailed as a pirate with Stede Bonnet off the Brunswick County coast in the 1710s. He later threw in with Edward Teach (Blackbeard). Hewett was hanged, along with Bonnet, in 1718 at Charleston, S.C. Evidence suggests he may have owned plantations in Jamaica and in the Cooper River section of South Carolina; however, there’s no trace of any local descendants.
Branches of the family might go back even further. In “Legends of Brunswick County,” J.C. Judah notes that a “Thomas Hewet” (sic) was on the roster of Sir Walter Raleigh’s colonists on the 1587 Roanoke voyage — in other words, the “Lost Colony.” Legends persist about “Roe Noakers” in the Green Swamp sections of Brunswick and Columbus counties, who retained a pronounced British accent and who just might be descended from survivors of Raleigh’s colony — but nobody knows for sure.
Most Hewetts settled in the Shallotte and Supply areas. Generally, Hewetts (with an “e”) predominated in the northern and western parts of Brunswick, while Hewitts (with an “i”) tended to cluster closer to Southport, according to Brooks Preik, a longtime Southport resident. However, Charles Hewett was a prominent merchant and sometime alderman in Southport in the early 1900s. He owned shares of fishing smacks and pioneered the shipping of shrimp on ice from Southport, by rail car, all over the country, beginning in 1919.
Capt. Lucien Hewett was lost at sea when his schooner capsized during the night of Dec. 10, 1903, off the mouth of the Cape Fear River. His body was never recovered.
The Rev. Dempsey L. Hewett of Shallotte (1868-1930) represented Brunswick County in the state House of Representatives from 1915 to 1921 and from 1929 until his death.
A number of Hewetts are buried in the family cemetery off Kinston Street in Holden Beach, not far from the Causeway. According to Ouida Hewett, ownership of the lot is the subject of “controversy.” Other Hewetts are buried in the Mintz family cemetery and the Chapel Hill cemetery (no relation to the university) near Shallotte.
Considerable information about the Hewett family can be found in the Bill Reaves Collection at the New Hanover County Public Library.
Date posted: January 6, 2011
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