I recently began reading James E. White's 2012 book, "Paradise Lost, An Oral History of Portsmouth Island." In 1880 the population of Portsmouth had declined to 226 people. White remarks that "Education that year is very interesting to say the least."
He explains: "Lilian Hancock was given as the school teacher, even though she was listed as being illiterate."
I guess they did the best they could, with the resources they had!
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a video of Philip Howard telling the story of the 1861 wreck of the Black Squall. You can watch it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032113.htm.