Nobody, apparently, knows for sure. The North Carolina Gazetteer — which spells it “Hewlets Creek,” with no apostrophe and only one T — provides no explanation.
What is clear, however, is that a lot of Hewletts live in New Hanover County, and a lot of them lived in the Masonboro Sound region, near Hewlett’s Creek. According to Crockette W. Hewlett and Mona Smalley in “Between the Creeks, Revised,” members of the Hewlett family settled in the region by 1790, at least. (Early members of the family spelled their name H-U-L-E-T).
According to local historian Ann Hewlett Hutteman, the name “Hewlett’s Creek” came into general use after the Civil War. She thinks the most likely candidates are either John Hewlett Jr. (b. 1806), who commanded the militia in the Masonboro area during the antebellum period, or Elijah Hewlett (1828-1919), who commanded the local Home Guard during the Civil War and later served as New Hanover County sheriff.
Incidentally, Elijah’s son Addison Hewlett was a New Hanover County commissioner from 1918 to 1952. A grandson, Addison Hewlett Jr., was speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives, 1959-1961.
Date posted: January 19, 2011