Thursday, December 03, 2009

Doxsee's Clam Factory

A few days ago I stopped to chat with Beverly Meeker. She and her husband Leonard own the tract of land across the ditch (the entrance to Silver Lake Harbor) from the former US Coast Guard Station (now the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching campus). Beverly was curious about the Doxsee Clam Factory that operated on her point of land from 1897/1898 until about 1912 or somewhat later.

I had heard a number of stories about the clam factory but our conversation spurred me to do more research. The Doxsees, from Islip, NY, moved their clam business to Ocracoke after the clams in NY's Great South Bay were depleted. On what is now the Meeker's point Henry Doxsee and his family built a conglomeration of buildings for steaming, picking, and canning clams, clam chowder, and clam juice. He also built a large dwelling, a boarding house, and a hunting lodge (with dance hall). His son, James Harvey Doxsee, built his home on the north side of the harbor.

Eventually the clams were over-harvested in Pamlico Sound as well, and the Doxsees moved again, this time to Marco Island, Florida.

Most visitors to the island (as well as many current residents) are totally unaware of this rather large commercial operation that was located here at Ocracoke in the early twentieth century.

One day I'll write a more comprehensive history of the Doxsee Clam Factory for our monthly Ocracoke Newsletter. This month, however, I have documented many of the traditional island place names. You can read the current Newsletter here.


We've added even more hand crafted Christmas ornaments this year. Click on the photo below to view the work of Sunrise Glassworks:


  1. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Hmm why would the author think that names would change in the future. Perhaps if say a Martha Stewart type would amass large tracts of land would old timers still refer to the compound in the terms of the former owner such as the old sharps estate to differentiate themselves from recent transplants which would say Oh near Martha's place????

  2. I assume the previous comment refers to the November, 2009 Newsletter about place names. Place names can change for many reasons. For example, the first paved road on Ocracoke (built by the Navy in WWII) was described as the Ammunition Dump Road. Two decades later, when the Fire Hall was built across from the end of the road it was dubbed Firehouse Road. Stanley Wahab, who developed the area along the road ("Sunset Village") called the road Sunset Drive. Several people even called it Lighthouse Road (this was thirty years ago when the trees weren't so tall, and it was possible to see the very top of the lighthouse when facing west on that road).

    Lighthouse Road was traditionally called Point Road (before the lighthouse was built in 1823). Howard Street was originally called the Main Road (before the western end of the sandy lane was paved in the 1950s). The list goes on!

  3. Anonymous6:17 PM

    Well I guess the letter carrier, there is a letter carrier?? if there is a letter carrier i think this person would file a grievance too many scheme changes LOL would not want miss sent mail

  4. letter carriers here!