On Ocracoke you might here someone say, "Oh, they was on the island for his birthday; except Jimmy, of course, he weren't here."
Walt Wolfram & Natalie Schilling-Estes address this usage in their book, Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks. As they point out, "a widespread tendency among English speakers is the attempt to regularize the verb to be by taking one form and using it for all subjects. In a number of American dialects, we hear you was, we was, and they was along with I was and she was."
British speakers, on the other hand, may use were, rather than was, for all subjects.
More common in British dialects, as Wolfram and Shilling-Estes point out, is the use of was for all positive statements and were for all negative statements. "Interestingly," they write, "Ocracoke English...[is] among the few in American English that use [that] agreement pattern...."
Here is the Ocracoke English conjugation of the verb to be in the past tense (affirmative and negative):
you (you all) was
you (you all) weren't
So..."They was here," but "He weren't here." One more clue to the British origin of Ocracoke Island's earliest European settlers.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm.