Camp Meetings, outdoor religious services characterized by enthusiastic hymn singing, rousing preaching, long prayers, and an "altar call" were held periodically during the 19th century on Ocracoke and other communities on the Outer Banks.
Crude tents were made from sail canvas. Benches were fashioned from lumber washed up on the beach, or from upturned fish boxes.
A pious Ocracoke gentleman heard that a camp meeting was to be held in Kinnakeet (now Avon) on Hatteras Island. At the boat landing, where several folks had gathered for the departure, one man showed up highly intoxicated. “What,” the pious islander exclaimed, “you’re going to a camp meeting, and you’re drunk already?”
“Yes,” the man slurred, “I believe that if you’re going to be ready to ask forgiveness, you should make an early start of it.”
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the seldom told story of the 1837
murder of Willis Williams by Jacob Gaskill. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112114.htm.