Tuesday, May 10, 2016

More About Portsmouth

Portsmouth Village never fails to intrigue me. It was a lightering port established in 1753 by the North Carolina Colonial Assembly. Cargo from sailing ships bound to mainland ports was unloaded there and transferred to lighter, shallower draft vessels that were able to navigate the waters of Pamlico Sound. In the middle of the 19th century as many as 1,400 ships passed through Ocracoke Inlet, and Portsmouth was at its apex. Six hundred and eighty-five people called Portsmouth home in 1860. But soon the Civil War disrupted shipping along the east coast, and in time railroads replaced sailing vessels for transporting goods. Hurricanes in 1899, 1933, and 1944 dealt severe blows to a declining population. The last two residents left the island in 1971. Today only the Methodist Church, the Post Office, the Schoolhouse, the Life-Saving Station, several cemeteries, and a handful of homes remain, all cared for by the National Park Service.

Below are several photos taken by Jim Fineman of Manteo during the recent Portsmouth Island Homecoming.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is Allie (Teenie) Scott's 1968 story of Simon Garrish, Jr. and the US Life-Saving horse, Sambo. You can read it by clicking here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042116.htm


  1. Anonymous4:04 PM

    I hope you had a better time than we had on Portsmouth. We were told to bring bug spray...stupid us, we only brought 2 spray cans...it should have been 2 gallon cans. When the mosquitos look like black smoke blowing around you have a problem. We scrambled back in the boat and wrote that place off. Maybe it was a fluke, but it was bad. No wind at all. 90^F, glad there was no Zika virus then. It might be nice in Jan. or Feb. In the meantime we have told all we know to scratch that location off their vacation must see list.

    1. Portsmouth can be infested with mosquitoes, as your experience shows...but, it isn't always so. When I was there last month I saw only one mosquito during a 5 hour visit. It is best to inquire from locals before making the trip.

  2. Anonymous4:06 PM

    well, maybe we will take your advice and give it one more chance.....late fall. Thanks for the advice.