Sometime around the turn of the twentieth century a Dr. Morgan found his way to Ocracoke where he treated (and cured) young Billy Scarborough of lockjaw. I understand that folks around these parts considered it a miracle. It was the first known cure for lockjaw that anyone here had ever heard of. By all accounts Dr. Morgan became something of a curiosity because of his education, refined manners, preferences for gourmet foods (he enjoyed terrapin stewed in wine), and sartorial excellence. Scuttlebutt on the island suggested that he was part of the wealthy and respected J.P. Morgan clan, and had been "exiled" to Ocracoke as a black sheep of the family. He died only a few years after moving to Ocracoke, and is buried in an unmarked grave on Live Oak Road. Only one member of his birth family attended the funeral. Reports indicate that this relative created quite a stir because of his fine suit and expensive shoes.
I have done a little Internet research on the J.P. Morgan family. Most sites say that J.P. (1837-1913) was the only son of Junius Spencer Morgan (1813-1890). Others mention another Junius Spencer Morgan (1867-1932) and identify him as J.P.'s nephew. If this is accurate, then J.P. must have had a brother. I wonder if the history of this side of the family has been suppressed. If any of our readers has more information that might shed more light on this Ocracoke Island mystery we'd love to hear it.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of paved roads on Ocracoke. It may not sound very exciting, but there have been dramatic changes on the island because of the construction of paved roads a half century ago. You can read the newsletter, and see some rare photos here.
To read about Philip's new book, Digging up Uncle Evans, History, Ghost Tales, & Stories from Ocracoke Island, please click here.