Portsmouth Village never fails to intrigue me. It was a lightering port established in 1753 by the North Carolina Colonial Assembly. Cargo from sailing ships bound to mainland ports was unloaded there and transferred to lighter, shallower draft vessels that were able to navigate the waters of Pamlico Sound. In the middle of the 19th century as many as 1,400 ships passed through Ocracoke Inlet, and Portsmouth was at its apex. Six hundred and eighty-five people called Portsmouth home in 1860. But soon the Civil War disrupted shipping along the east coast, and in time railroads replaced sailing vessels for transporting goods. Hurricanes in 1899, 1933, and 1944 dealt severe blows to a declining population. The last two residents left the island in 1971. Today only the Methodist Church, the Post Office, the Schoolhouse, the Life-Saving Station, several cemeteries, and a handful of homes remain, all cared for by the National Park Service.
Below are several photos taken by Jim Fineman of Manteo during the recent Portsmouth Island Homecoming.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is Allie (Teenie) Scott's 1968 story of
Simon Garrish, Jr. and the US Life-Saving horse, Sambo. You can read it
by clicking here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042116.htm.