Harkers Island, NC


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Harkers Island is a census-designated place (CDP) in Carteret County, North Carolina, United States. The population of Harkers Island was 1,623 at the 2007 census. Harkers Island is unincorporated and receives most public services, including law enforcement and public education, from Carteret County. A membership cooperative provides the island with electric and water services. Major industries on the island include fishing, boat building, tourism, and waterfowl decoy carving.
Formerly named Davers Ile and Craney Island, Harkers Island was occupied by Native Americans of the Coree tribe when the first European explorers arrived in the 16th century. [There is another Craney Island community in Perquimans County, NC.] Ownership of Harkers Island was first titled to Farnifold Green, a native of the Carolina colony, by the Lords Proprietors in 1707. Ebenezer Harker purchased the island in 1730, settled there with his family, and built a plantation and boat yard. The island became known as Harkers Island soon after his death. A large immigration of islanders fleeing the hurricane-ravaged Outer Banks in 1899 dramatically increased the island population, which largely depended on fishing and boat building. Separated from the mainland for centuries, many Harkers Island residents speak a distinct dialect of English.
Before the arrival of European explorers and settlers, Harkers Island was inhabited by Native Americans of the Coree tribe, who spoke a language similar to that of the much more numerous Tuscarora. The nearby Core Sound and Core Banks are named after the Coree. The Coree left little in the way of evidence of permanent habitation on Harkers Island, except for a large mound of oyster shells at Shell Point on the eastern end of the island. Similar shell mounds were found by Europeans on the Shackleford Banks and other islands of the Outer Banks. The exact purpose of the mounds for the Coree remains unknown.