[Originally published in the March, 1996 – FPHPS Newsletter, Sandy Jackson, editor]
Doctor Point, or Caintuck Landing as it was historically known, is located on the eastern shore of the Cape Fear River above Snow’s Cut and almost directly west of the plantation remains of Sedgeley Abbey. The point was referred to by both names following the Civil War, with a variation on the spelling of Caintuck until the early twentieth century.
The origin of Caintuck is not known. Doctor Point is probably named for Dr. John Fergus, who maintained a plantation known as Bellmeade near the sound. In 1805 an advertisement in the local paper indicated that a person was needed to “take charge of the Plantation formerly the residence of Doctor John Fergus, deceased. ”
During the late 1880s a pier was built at Doctor’s Point (Caintuck Landing) for the steamer Sylvan Grove owned by Captain W. Harper.
Passengers could then board a train at the pier and travel from the Cape Fear River to Carolina Beach.
Doctor’s Point is shown on a US. Coast and Geodetic Survey map drawn in 1901. By 1902, however, the “Kentuck or Fergus Tract,” once owned by the doctor, was offered up for sale by a D.L. Gore.
By November 1902, L.B. Rogers and his wife transferred the deed to the tract to the Myrtle Grove Building and Trust Company for $200. At that time the tract contained 320 acres. The possessive spelling of Doctor’s Point is not shown on maps done after 1929. Today the jut of land is still shown as Doctor Point.
Doctor‘s Branch was described in 1919 as being located on Federal Point. Although, the exact location of the creek is not known, the following is an account of how it came to be named:
[During the late nineteenth century] a family lived on the Federal Point road and had their family physician from Wilmington. A member of the family was taken ill one night, and the physician sent for.
He was away to see another patient, and a substitute doctor secured. While the substitute was attending the patient the regular physician returned and immediately hurried towards the family home. The substitute started back to Wilmington, and the two met at a little insignificant branch.
An argument followed regarding professional ethics and a fight was the outcome. It was a merry battle, and before the dust had cleared away, the two had done so much damage to each other that it required the services of a third physician to patch them up. Since that time the little stream has been known as Doctor’s Branch (Wilmington Dispatch, ,March 2, 1919).
March 1996 Newsletter (pdf) – Federal Point Historic Preservation Society
Google Maps: Doctor Point (top left)
Sylvan Grove: Bill Reaves Newspaper Files
April 13, 1888
“Many of our people will be glad to learn that this season the SYLVAN GROVE, a fine excursion steamer from New York, will ply between Wilmington and Carolina Beach. The SYLVAN GROVE makes 16 miles an hour and was one of the finest boats in New York harbor. She is to be commanded by Capt. John W. Harper, who was formerly the captain of the steamer PASSPORT.” (Star 4-13-1888)
(Wilmington Gazette, April 9, 1805; Wilmington Daily Journal, November 10, 1866; Wilmington Evening Dispatch, April 28, 1902; Wilmington Star, November 12, 1902; Deed Book 30:84-86, Book G-213; Hall 1975:172).
Hall, Lewis P., “Land of the Golden River”. Vol. 1. Wilmington, NC: Wilmington Printing Company, 1975.
New Hanover County Deed Book 30:84-86; Book 6-213;
Wilmington Daily Journal, (Wilmington, NC) 1866
Wilmington Evening Dispatch, (Wilmington, NC) 1902, 1919
Wilmington Gazette (Wilmington, NC) 1805
Wilmington Star, (Wilmington, NC) 1902