The origin of the name Bodie Island is unclear but it was apparently in use by 1709, when John Lawson’s "A New Voyage to Carolina" first mentioned the name in print, referring to English rabbits: “I was told of several that were upon Bodies Island by Ronoak, which came from that Ship of Bodies; but I never saw any.” The name also appears on Moll’s 1730 “Map of the Province of Carolina”.
Known at various times as Body’s Island, Bodies Island, Body Island, Micher Island, and Cow Island, its land mass in the 1770s extended from Roanoke Inlet at the north end, nine and one-half miles south. Roanoke Inlet began to shoal and eventually closed around 1811, joining the land now known as Bodie Island to the land to the north. An 1846 hurricane opened Oregon Inlet, severing the lower part of the island. Nonetheless, the name continues to this day for the land that straddles both sides of the inlet.