Saturday, February 15, 2014

Law Comes to Ocracoke

I thought our readers would enjoy this glimpse into Ocracoke Island history, from The Coastland Times, January 2, 1953:

"...For a period of 30 years Ocracoke has been known as the one place in North Carolina without any form of law. It received much publicity due to the fact that it did not have a jail, any law enforcement officers, and there are no license plates on the cars and no licenses for driving. The fact that the problems of civilization were slowly encroaching this island of legend became evident in 1950 following the construction of Scott's Highway [NC Highway 12]. The citizens were faced with the problems of speeders along the narrow highway which had been called the road which 'started from nowhere and ended at the same place.' In order to check the speeders and the Saturday night celebraters, Ansley O'Neal was appointed Deputy Sheriff. Additional problems appeared when it was discovered that following an arrest the defendant and all witnesses were forced to travel through four counties to get to Swan Quarter, the county seat of Hyde County. This trip, due to the boat and bus schedule, requires a period of four days. As the result, the deputy sheriff didn't have too much business. In order to offer a solution to the problem, Harvey Wahab, a retired Coast Guardsman, was appointed Justice of the Peace...." 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of the 2013 Portsmouth Island Christmas Bird Count. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous11:26 AM

    "The citizens were faced with the problem of speeders.." were not the speeders citizens ? It is curious that the trouble makers and the inconvienience of their miss deeds reduced the unemployment rate. That Crime fighting is a job generator . Today, are the citizens still faced with the probleem of speeders?

  2. Anonymous11:35 AM

    I believe that there are no more speeders on the island.


    Loved the description of "the road which 'started from nowhere and ended at the same place.'"