Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Oregon Inlet

Oregon? Inlet...what does the inlet between the Nags Head peninsula and  Hatteras Island have to do with Oregon?

The Territory of Oregon existed from 1848 until it was admitted to the Union and became the state of Oregon in 1859.

Oregon Inlet was opened by a violent hurricane in 1846, two years before the Territory of Oregon was established, and 13 years before Oregon became a state.

According to Roger E. Kammerer, in Recollections of Pitt County, "In [1846*], a number of businessmen in Edgecombe County purchased a steamer in Baltimore, the Oregon, to run as a passenger and freight boat between Tarboro and Washington. It was the first vessel to use a new inlet cut by a hurricane in [1846*], known as Oregon Inlet. The Oregon ran on the Tar and Roanoke Rivers until it failed early as a financial venture and was sold at public auction in Washington, North Carolina on October 6, 1849. It was used later as a freight and excursion boat to Hyde County and Ocracoke. (p. 31)"

*Kammerer writes 1848, but the inlet opened in 1846.

David Stick, in his book The Outer Banks of North Carolina, identifies the vessel as "the side-wheeler Oregon, owned by William H. Willard."

After a brief search of the Internet I discovered that no one seems to know the origin or the word "Oregon," and I was unable to learn why Mr. Willard named his steamship the Oregon.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous5:50 PM

    A while back one of your readers commented basically why a reader should bother to ask you a question when anyone could just go to Google. Yes, I could have looked up Oregon Inlet on Google but the explanation that you gave above shows that you usually just don't answer a question - you turn it into a short story. GREAT. I have been reading your stuff for years. Google is fast and to the point. Your research and 'short stories' on a subject makes the day more interesting. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for the kind words. Sometimes a question prompts me to delve deeper into island I often learn more when I research readers' questions. I appreciate your long-term interest in this blog and island history & stories.