The Century 21 article below says that Topsail Island wasn’t named because of pirate ships’ topsails showing above the trees as they tried to hide behind the island. That the name was coined on navigational charts way before the island was named.
But come on! The coined name had to originate from something that described the island. The cartographers who called it that on the charts probably did so because it really was the home of Blackbeard and other pirates who stopped there frequently–and whoever navigated along the North Carolina coast would know where they were because of the topsails visible on the other side of the island.
I’m fascinated with this because I plan to write a series of books with my heroine a descendant of Blackbeard’s. Her cousins are also related to Blackbeard, but are descended from his mistresses.
Too, I live in Surf City on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. I walk over the Surf City Bridge to Topsail Island and go to the pubs and beach. It’s a fun, gorgeous area. We recently bought a Sea Ray and plan to boat up to Bath and the Albemarle Sound, other haunts that Blackbeard liked to stay.