Friday, January 21, 2011

Sam Jones

We have just published our most recent monthly Ocracoke Newsletter, the story of Sam Jones, Island Legend.

As many of our readers know, Sam Jones was a commanding presence on Ocracoke during the 1950s when he built, in the village, several large Colonial Revival structures covered with cedar shingles, and sporting numerous dormers -- Berkley Manor (near the Water Plant, and presently unoccupied), Berkley Castle (now a thriving B& B), the Homeplace (still in the family), and the Whittler's Club (today a private residence).

Sam had a mercurial personality which means that numerous stories are still told about this colorful island character. I have gathered together as many of these stories as I could uncover. You can read the Newsletter here: As far as I know it is the most comprehensive account of Sam's life and association with Ocracoke.


  1. Anonymous8:28 AM

    Outstanding read on Sam Jones. I have heard stories about him for many years but never read such a complete account of his life. What an interesting character he was indeed. I found it interesting to read about his connection by marriage to the Howard family. We could all learn a lot from Sam Jones. Thank you so much for sharing this great story of this man's life.

  2. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Great job Philip! How are you feeling?

  3. Anonymous9:57 AM

    Philip, I am so excited about your posting on Sam Jones!

    My late husband was so intrigued about anything pertaining to Sam. I guess this is another reason why Springer's Point is so special to me. Sam's grave and his beloved horse are, of course, buried within a quaint, wooden picket fence. When I am on the island, I see Sam's influence everywhere and I can still see my husband's face as it would light up whenever talking about Sam Jones. Even when Scott was confined to a hospital bed w/ progressive MS, he never lost his interest or enthusiasm about Sam Jones!

    Thanks for sharing! It put a smile on my face!

  4. Philip! You have outdone yourself this time! I have always been intrigued with Sam Jones and especially while an innkeeper at The (Berkley) Castle. You provide a great service to this island and its culture with your documentation of the characters that make it so unique.

  5. Thank you all for your kind words. I'm delighted that my biography brings back happy memories. Sam was quite the character!

    And thank you for asking about my health. I am improving...but the cough lingers (my ribs even ache from coughing so much), but as I said, I am getting better.

  6. Tom Pahl11:04 AM

    Phillip, as a building designer and builder who has worked in and around one of Sam's houses, I can attest to the high quality and to the uniqueness in much of the design. As an example, I am struck by the odd (short) rise of his stairs, which you mention. He had to have dug in his heels over that one because every builder knows the common rise of stairs (7 - 7 1/2") is safe and comfortable for almost everyone, no matter your height. I have gone up and down his short rise stairs and they are ... well, unique.

    Sad to lose any of his buildings on the island, as there is so much local history woven into their architecture.

    Interesting article - enjoyable reading for sure.

  7. Terri O.3:01 PM

    While visiting my mother today in the nursing home a family member of another resident asked me where I had been to the beach. At my response "Ocracoke Island" she stated that she was very familiar with it and loved it. She asked me if I had ever heard of Sam Jones. He was her uncle. The name was familar and I told her if I had read stories of him, I knew who had written them. I searched and sure enough, found your newsletter. I have printed it for her as well as your web site info. I know she will be delighted about the newsletter. It truely is a small world, isn't it.