A reader asked about the six women listed as "head of house" in the 1810 Ocracoke census. This is what I have learned:
Abigail Howard Williams (c.1770 - c.1811) was the granddaughter of William Howard, Sr., and the widow of Robert Williams. One girl under 10 years old (almost certainly her daughter Comfort [b. 1805]), and one slave were living with her.
Susannah Howard Jackson (b. c.1835) was the daughter of William Howard, Sr. and the widow of Francis Jackson, Sr. Living with her was one boy under 10 years old (a grandson??), and one female 26-45 years old (a daughter or granddaughter??).
Elizabeth Jackson O'Neal (1756 -1813) was the daughter of Susannah & Francis Jackson, and the widow of John O'Neele, private in the American Revolution. They had eleven children. The four boys and two girls living with her in 1810 are probably her children and/or grandchildren.
Mary Salter Wahab (1780 - c. 1845) was the daughter of Henry Salter, and the widow of Thomas Wahab. Two boys and two girls (probably her children) and four slaves are living with her.
Elizabeth Scarborough (I am still researching this woman. I'm not sure who she is. If I find out I'll publish a comment.)
Ann Howard (1724 - 1841*) was the widow of George Howard (son of William Howard, Sr.). One boy 10 - 16 years old (perhaps a grandchild??), and five slaves are living with her.
*To the best of our knowledge these dates are correct. Her tombstone (in the George Howard graveyard near the British Cemetery) even reads "Aged 117 years."
I do not know how these women's husbands died. Some may have been lost at sea. That was all too common. However TB was a terrible illness that killed many people on Ocracoke in the 1800s.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Lou Ann's story of the Night Blooming Cereus Cactus. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072111.htm.