That’s a good question, and if you ask around, you’ll get a lot of possible answers.
Billy Hurst, a longtime resident of the Whiskey Creek area, recalls a story told by the late Dr. Robert Fales, who attributed the name to the nearby wreck of a schooner loaded with casks of whiskey. Many of the casks supposedly washed ashore, while others were recovered by local fishermen – resulting, according to Dr. Fales, in a major regional hangover.
Some sources claim that shipwreck occurred during the Prohibition era. However, Beverly Tetterton of the New Hanover County Public Library points to a story (accompanied by a lurid engraving) from the Nov. 16, 1867, Harper’s Weekly, reporting on a running gun battle afloat between smugglers and Wilmington-based federal revenue officers in the vicinity of “Masonborough.” This indicates that the “Whiskey Creek” name was in use more than 50 years before Prohibition was adopted.
Citing Crockette W. Hewlett’s “Between the Creeks,” Tetterton noted that Whiskey Creek was originally called Purviance Creek, after William Purviance (1730-1787), a native of County Donegal in Ireland, who received the first land grant in the area.
Date posted: August 30, 2011
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