Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Friends of Portsmouth Island

The Friends of Portsmouth Island held their spring membership meeting Saturday, May 16, at the Ocracoke Community Center. Several dozen people attended. Many were able to trace their ancestry to historic Portsmouth Island families.

The meeting commenced after a delicious and nutritious brunch provided by various members. After the secretary's and treasurer's reports, James White presented a plaque to Ken Burke in recognition of his contributions to the history of Portsmouth.

James White & Kenneth Burke

Ken Burke discovered Portsmouth in the 1950s, and immediately fell in love with the island, the village, and the people. In 1958 Ken wrote about Portsmouth as his honors thesis for a degree in history from the University of Richmond. It is titled The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina From Its Founding in 1753 to Its Evacuation in the Face of Federal Forces in 1861.

As James White explained, this was the first, and continues to be one of the most important documents chronicling the history of this unique island community. Ken Burke's text can be accessed on the web at

After the presentation, Glenn and Brenda White shared stories and photos documenting their time as National Park Service volunteers in Portsmouth Village.

The next Portsmouth Island Homecoming is scheduled for April 30, 2016. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here:


  1. Thanks for the wonderful resource.

  2. Anonymous4:55 PM

    This was absolutely fascinating. Thank you for sharing this. Congratulations to Mr. Burke! I have to say, I also enjoyed reading the paper in its' typed format....brought back memories of how we used to type our papers and pray for no mistakes as we worked!