Bettie, NC Brief History

Bettie History

Bettie is located in eastern Carteret county, between North River and Ward's Creek, a distance of approximately three miles between the bridges as the highway goes.

People who lived in the Straits section of Carteret County began to settle in what is today know as Otway and Bettie. Both sections, one on either side of Ward's Creek, wanted the name Otway, for the famous Otway Burns, so finally they broke apart into two separate communities, Otway being on the east of the creek, and Bettie on the west.

The early maps of the county called what is "Bettie" today, "Simpson" for the first settlers. That is the lower section, located near the head of North River, about two miles from the present North River bridge, and the old highway, past the Welcome Home Baptist Church, to the present Hightway 70. The wife of the first Simpson family was called "Betty", short for Elizabeth.

There are two tales as to how Bettie got its name. One tale was that back when each community had its own post office, the post-mistress, Etta Gillikin, called this community "Bettie."

The other tale began when many families owned slaves. The slaves were not given enough to eat (almost starved), and a white woman named Bettie, who lived in the community would feed the slaves who sneaked to her home. Thus, the community was named for her.

Several cannon balls have been found in the area, and tales have been handed down as to their origin. One tale goes that when Blackbeard was on his way to the shipyard on Deep Hole Point to have his vessels "careened," he would fire his cannons "for the heck of it," as he sailed along.

Another tale is told that shots fired at Fort Macon during the Civil War missed and landed in the area. It has been told as truth, that a cannonball fired during the siege of Fort Macon, landed on a Mr. Hellans house and burned the house to the ground.

The Woodville Missionary Baptist church was organized in 1843. It is the oldest church in Bettie, and the second oldest in the county.

On July 8, 1865, Issac W. Davis took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, and was appointed Justice of the Peace. The following year, he was paid by the court, $275, to rebuild North River bridge.

Bettie is a farming and fishing community where the descendants of early settlers still live and farm. Families with the names of Arthur, Gillikin, Willis, Simpson, Salter, Golden (Goulding) and others still reside on their ancestral lands.

In this area are some of the richest farm lands in Carteret County. Primary crops now grown in Bettie are cabbage, Irish potatoes, corn and soybeans.

Source: Histories of Carteret County Communities; Compiles by the Carteret county Extension Homemakers Clubs. 1979; p. 5.

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