John Williams purchased one half of Ocracoke Island in September of 1759. As late as the twentieth century it was said that you could still see John Williams' shell pile near where the Thurston House Bed & Breakfast is today.
Nearly everyone on Ocracoke has a shell pile, mostly of clam shells. Sometimes the shells are placed around the base of fig trees and other vegetation. The shells might also be used to harden a sandy lane, or line a drain field for a septic system. But mostly they are just tossed into a pile in the yard.
This is a photo of one of my shell piles:
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke Joe Bell flowers. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012112.htm.