Monday, August 26, 2013

Valentine Wade

In 1756 Valentine Wade was one of the first six people to purchase a half acre lot on Portsmouth Island. Three years previously, the North Carolina Colonial Assembly had passed a bill "appointing and laying out a Town on Core Banks, near Ocacock [Ocracoke] Inlet, in Carteret County."

According to Kenneth Burke in his book, The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina From Its Founding in 1753 to Its Evacuation in the Face of Federal Forces in 1861, Wade became Portsmouth's Justice of the Peace.

Valentine Wade also ran a tavern. In 1759 affidavits were presented to the Council accusing Wade of permitting and encouraging "disorderly persons to dance and play at cards and dice in his house upon the Lord's Day."

Burke says that "Wade was ordered to appear before the Council and explain his conduct in view of his official position," but he does not report on the outcome of the appearance.

Interesting. I wonder what happened. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of the recent skirmishes islanders have had with North Carolina legislatures over the issue of ferry tolls...and a 1955 newspaper editorial advocating free, state-operated ferries across Hatteras Inlet. You can read it here:


  1. Since, at the time, Portsmouth considered itself the respectable place to live and viewed the inhabitants of Ocracoke as rowdy sailors and assorted neer-do-wells, maybe Mr. Wells snuck over and opened another tavern in the village. No wonder the evidence disappeared!

  2. Anonymous7:46 AM

    So you got the Burke thesis? Hope it proves to be a worthwhile investment for you, Philip. I only read the first several pages, but it seemed promising, touching on points I'd never come across before (which isn't saying all that much).

    Back in PA this morning, recharged from our Ocracoke respite, we're already contemplating a return visit for Thanksgiving, but checking in here for our daily dose in the meantime.

    Thanks always.