north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

     With the promulgation of the 1663 Carolina Charter, the Lords Proprietors were free to grant land in what is now North and South Carolina. The first grant, dated September 8, 1663, was to Sir John Colleton, himself among the Proprietors. The area was “the island heretofore called Carlyle now Colleton Island…contayneing in lenkth 5 or 6 myles, in bredth about 2 or 3 myles”—today’s Colington Island in Dare County. Colleton was a planter, also dabbling in business, finance, and politics, with holdings in Barbados. Although he had returned to England in 1660, he had hopes of expanding his West Indies operations into the American colonies.

     Colleton’s agent, Captain John Whittie, established a plantation on the property during the winter of 1664-1665. He entered at old Roanoke Inlet, set out beacons to mark the channel, and proceeded to Colington Island. Clearing the land, Whittie founded the permanent first English settlement on the Outer Banks. Initially the island was used primarily for raising cattle and horses. Crops included tobacco, corn, and grapes, the latter an effort toward establishing a winery. Whittie realized a profitable secondary source of income by selling oil extracted from whales that washed up on the shore, shipping 190 barrels that were garnered in just a few months. Peter Carteret, nephew of Proprietor Sir George Carteret, joined Colleton as a partner in the colonial venture and arrived in the spring of 1665 to take charge of the plantation. Hurricanes, drought, and floods plagued the settlement, which failed by the 1670s.

David Stick, The Outer Banks of North Carolina (1958)
William S. Powell, Carolina Charter of 1663 (1954)
Hugh T. Lefler and William S. Powell, Colonial North Carolina (1973)William P. Cumming, The Southeast in Early Maps (1998)
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north carolina highway historical marker program

Colington Island

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources