Johnson Blakely is considered a lively historic character, though not native to North Carolina, who quickly gained notoriety in the state. Blakely moved from Ireland to Wilmington in 1781 as a boy and when old enough attended University of North Carolina. He gained a reputation for fearlessness at the University which carried through to his naval career. In 1799 he joined the Navy and served as a midshipman for 12 years. Promoted to lieutenant, he captained the brig Enterprise and then the brig Wasp. His career ended aboard the Wasp when the ship went missing; last seen on October 19, 1814.