Saturday, November 30, 2013


I discovered the following interesting account of colonial era Ocracoke & Hatteras islanders on several Internet sites. I have not located any reference to a primary source. However, Rev. John Urmstone's presence in Bath in 1710 is well documented.

So, I hope you enjoy this short assessment of the character of some of the first Europeans on the Outer Banks.

"In 1710, the Reverend John Irmstone [John Urmstone, a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which was established in 1701 by the Church of England] of Bath wrote in a letter to his superior about people from Hatteras and Ocracoke who came to get baptized.  He gives no surnames, but says, 'these persons, half indian [sic] and half English, are an offense to my own and I gravely doubt the Kingdom of Heaven was designed to accomodate [sic] such.  They stunk and their condition was not improved by the amounts of sacramental wine they lapped up nor by sprinkling with baptismal waters.'"

So much for the "propagation of the gospel!" 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1921 letter written by a former slave, Harrison Williams, to Ocracoke native, Martha Ann Howard Wahab. You can read it here:


  1. Vickie P.8:14 AM

    That's the Christian spirit:)

  2. Ha! Not a terribly nice fellow, was he? :D

  3. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Judge ye not lest ye be judged. horse feathers!

  4. Anonymous4:41 PM

    sometimes the smell lingers in the air even today

  5. Anonymous6:53 PM

    HOL! (HAH! out loud!) TOO funny. And what WONDERFUL, evocative writing. And now I'm LAUGHING out loud. Oh, my gosh. Are you sure that was written in 1710, Philip, and not 2010?!? Wow. This description reminds me--and I think I may have mentioned this here before--of the book "The Long Ships" by Frans G. Bengtsson, a sprawling adventure-novel of Viking warriors, set against the historical backdrop of 10th century Europe and featuring similarly ripe snippets of early Christian emissaries.

    I highly recommend it--especially as a good book to curl up with now, during the harsher weather of the off season.

    Like "The Shipping News," set in Newfoundland, "The Long Ships" persistently evoked thoughts of Ocracoke as a setting of hardy folk enduring the natural elements in a harsh, unforgiving environment.

    Ay-yi-yi--too funny. Thanks for sharing--as always!


  6. Anonymous8:39 AM

    Very funny.... and probably true ! :-)

    Thanks for the smile, and may you heathens on the island have a great Christmas holiday.