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Where did the Pigott family of Brunswick County come from?

Ben Steelman

That’s hard to say, since the Pigotts have been around Brunswick at least since the early 1700s. Historian Susan Taylor Block has come across plenty of early Pigotts while researching Orton Plantation.

In general, “Pigott” is an English surname, dating to around the time of the Norman Conquest. Theories of the name’s origins include the Old English “pic” (a hill with a sharp point on top) or the French “Picot.” Picot of Cambridge (c. 1022-1090), born in Saye, Normandy, was sheriff of Cambridgeshire in the 1070s and 1080s. Alternate spellings include Piggot, Piggett, Piggott, Pigot and Picot.

A Pigott coat of arms, with a knight’s helm, is enrolled in the British Royal College of Heralds; the family motto, in Norman French, is “Tout foys prest,” or roughly, “always ready.”

The family seems originally to have been centered in Chester and Cambridge.

According to the website House of Names, a William and a Walter Pigott settled in Virginia as early as 1635; John Pigott settled in Virginia in 1654; and another William Pigott settled in Virginia in 1654. Alexander Pigott settled on the Caribbean island of Barbados (which had a considerable trade with the Lower Cape Fear) in 1745.

Closer to home, Elijah and John D. Pigott appear in Brunswick County on the 1840 Census. A “Mr. Pigott” bought the Russ House at Shallotte Point around 1840. (The house stood near the “Washington Oak,” where George Washington allegedly paused yet again on his famous Southern Tour.) Charlotte Pigott, the daughter of Mr. Pigott, married Curtis Tripp in 1856, and the Russ House became known as the Tripp House.

Other structures of note in the Shallotte Point area, according to local historian Christy Judah, include the Elijah Piggott House (1845), a Pigott cottage (c. 1870) next to the Shallotte River and the Pigott House in the Cotton Patch community (c. 1900). At one point, Shallotte Point seems to have been known as Pigottsville, Judah notes.

A “Piggott” family cemetery is located at 498 Buttercup Lane in Shallotte, and a number of Pigotts from the 1800s are buried in the Gurganus Cemetery at Shallotte.

Dallas Cranmer Pigott (1915-1982), a veteran shrimper and shrimp dealer from Southport, had worked for Lewis Hardee in Florida. Piggott operated his own shrimp house on the Southport waterfront and later went into business with Lewis Hardee as the United Shrimp Co. Before Hurricane Hazel, it was one of 17 shrimp houses in Southport.

Dallas Pigott served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. His wife, Leila Hubbard Pigott (1915-2011), worked during the war as a nurse’s aide at Dosher Memorial Hospital. As such, she helped treat severely burned survivors of the SS John D. Gill, an oil tanker torpedoed by the German U-158  on March 13, 1942, about 25 miles off Cape Fear. She later partnered with her husband in the United Shrimp Co.

Sources: UNCW interview with Leila H. Pigott, April 14, 1995; “Before We Were Quaint: The Southport Few Remember” by Larry Maisel; and “More Legends” by Christy Judah.


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Harry L Pigott

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