Marker: NC-24 at White Oak River, Swansboro, NC, USA
John Starkey first appeared in the White Oak River area of Carteret County in 1723, and received his first land grant seven years later. He eventually would accumulate extensive properties in the vicinity. Starkey’s political career was launched in 1734 when he was appointed one of the justices of the peace for Onslow Precinct. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1734, and again in 1738, after which time he served in that office consecutively until his death in 1765. In 1750 the lower house, as was their privilege, elected their associate John Starkey to the office of Southern District Treasurer, another position that he held until his death. It was in his position as “Public Treasurer,” as he referred to it, that Starkey rendered the most influence.
Governor Arthur Dobbs was outspoken in his opposition to the treasurer, declaring that he was “a professed violent Republican in every instance taking from his Majesty’s prerogative and encroaching upon the Rights of the Council, and adding to the Power of the Assembly to make himself popular.” Dobbs also disparaged Starkey for wearing plain shoe strings, rather than silver buckles on his shoes, and for dressing plainly and going without a wig. Dobbs would concede, however, that Starkey was “a man of good behavior . . . and of tolerable fortune.”
John Starkey introduced in the House of Commons in 1749 the first bill to provide for a public school in North Carolina. He later introduced the bill to provide the post road and service between Virginia and South Carolina, linking Boston to Charleston. Starkey’s public career, on the regional level, also included service as chairman of Onslow County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions, coroner, church warden, commissioner of the town of Johnston, colonel of the Onslow County militia, and treasurer of Onslow County. John Starkey died in March or April 1765, as he appears in records dated March 12, but his death was reported in the Assembly on May 3.
John Starkey was born in 1688 in Monmouth, New Jersey and died in Onslow County in 1765. His second wife was Alice Wharton, of Jones County, daughter of Edward Wharton and Elizabeth Dudley. John Starkey was buried at The Bluff, Mt. Pleasant Plantation, Swansboro. From Jones Family Tree: "Only one tombstone remains of Ann Keziah Jones Ferrand Whitty Daughter of Kilby Jones."
EDWARD STARKEY from Commonwealth of Onslow - A History by Joseph Parsons Brown . Owen G. Dunn Company . New Bern, NC . 1960
The family lived on White Oak River, the Starkey burying ground being at the Bluff about four miles above Swansboro indicates that place as the original home site. Later the family lived near the intersection of Starkey Creek and White Oak River, the home known as the “Yellow House” stood not far from where White Oak consolidated school now stands.
Edward Starkey entered the Colonial Assembly for one Session in 1775, a most turbulent period, for in that year Committees of Correspondence were appointed to keep in touch with other colonies. This marked the beginning of colonial cooperation.
He took part in the Provincial Congress at New Bern in April, 1775, when delegates were elected to the Continental Congress, and at Hillsboro when the Provincial Council was set up, was on the Committee on Claims, and with others, was appointed to purchase rigging, anchors and equipment for galleys built in Virginia for the State of North Carolina. With the new constitution which he had helped to form went into effect, he was on the first Council of State. That same year, 1777, a French vessel was captured by the British fleet, but becoming lost at sea the Prize Master returned the ship to her owner, who, his provisions being low, put into White Oak Inlet, now Swansboro, and put his vessel in the hands of Starkey, occasioning the writing of two letters by him which are preserved in the records.
Starkey was again elected to the Commons in 1778 and 1779; also reelected to the Council and in 1783 became Speaker of the House of Commons.
Almost from the first, Starkey occupied an influential position among his contemporaries. His ready wisdom and understanding of questions before the Assembly seemed to enable him to master the situation in every circumstance and soon he held the complete confidence of his contemporaries.
Starkey was deeply interested in education, was one of the Trustees of the James Innes Academy in New Hanover. To promote education in his own county, he in 1783 proposed the following resolution: “Whereas the establishing of public schools at convenient places for the education of youth will be attended with great advantage to inhabitants of their state, etc.” It was proposed that two schools be established in the county, one at Rich Lands with Edward Starkey, James Howard, Fred Harget, Lewis Williams, William Shackelford, and Daniel Yates as trustees, and one at Swansboro, with George Mitchell, Reuben Grant, William Nelms and Joseph Lillibridge, trustees. Also in his will he made ample provision for the education and training of one of his nieces “in a manner suitable to her station in life.”
In 1784 he was on the Commission of Navigation for Bogue Inlet. He remained in the House of Commons until 1787.
Edward Starkey was a religious man. He said in his will that times were so profane that he considered it incumbent upon him “to make a public confession of my sincere and unfeigned belief in the merits of the Holy and Blessed Jesus, hoping and trusting, through Him alone, to receive remission and forgiveness for the manifold sins and wickedness of which I have been guilty.”
Then in the next paragraph he directed that demands against him be paid “especially orphans for whom I have been executor,” and closed the instrument with these words: “Desiring all my relations, friends and acquaintances to pray for the peace and quiet of my soul.”
The will, written in 1781, shows he owned part of the land formerly owned by Treasurer John Starkey, and also that he himself left no descendants. The date of probate is illegible and the date of his death is uncertain, probably about 1788 or 1789.