Stormy weather exposes shipwreck remains along Topsail Island

What's left of the hull of the Schooner William H. Sumter. [Town of Surf City/Facebook photo]

While it’s technically not part of the infamous Graveyard of the Atlantic, beachgoers down to our south have been treated to a century-old piece of our state’s history thanks to the rough surf from the Good Friday Storm.

The remains of the William H. Sumner, a schooner carrying mahogany and phosphate rock from the West Indies to New York that went down in 1919, sits just north of the old Barnacle Bill Fishing Pier in Surf City on Topsail Island.

Surf City is located between Jacksonville and Wilmington, about a four-hour drive from Nags Head.

After initially wrecking at Topsail Inlet and then being salvage, what was left was blown up because it had become a navigation hazard.

Just like here on the Outer Banks, a few times a year a storm will expose the remains of shipwrecks along the beach. Most recently, what’s left of the Irma turned up again along Kill Devil Hills last month.

But treasure hunters beware, removing items or even disturbing the remains of a shipwreck without special permission is a violation of both federal and state law.

About Sam Walker 1512 Articles
Sam Walker was news director for, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, Big 94.5 WCMS and Z 92.3 from August 2011 to March 2022.