Thursday, March 02, 2017


In the Fall, 1979, issue of Sea Chest, a former non-profit educational project of the students of Cape Hatteras School, Steve Roberts (born October 1, 1901 on Portsmouth Island) shares his memories of growing up on Portsmouth.

"Now when I was a right little thing, they did a lot of bartering...back and forth across the sound. They'd catch a red drum and side him off, take the backbone out of him, score him down the flesh, and salt him. After they dried him, they'd trade him for corn which they had ground into meal at one of the mills across the sound. They would trade the geese, too.

"It didn't take anything to live. You didn't have to buy anything except sugar, coffee, and flour. You had everything else you needed to eat right there. There were gardens, but the people didn't have them very long. You planted in April and what they called the 'sheepstorms' -- because of the great amount of sheep drowned when the water washed over the island -- came in May and saltwater came all over the place and killed the gardens. The storms didn't do that every year, just some years. There were a lot of sweet potatoes there because they were put out later on and came off between the storms."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Electrification of Ocracoke Island. You can read it here:


  1. Hard name, but telling. Sheepstorms... To some extent it sounds quite idyllic...

  2. Anonymous10:34 AM

    Hmm as a child I could reminise about riding a bike to school, running around the neighborhood with friends , arriving at home hot and sweaty, eating dinner doing my homework, watching tv, going to my room, trying to clean it up, bathing , going to sleep-- to do it allover again. But If you are an adult you provide for your child so they don't have a worry in the world. But I suppose a generation before, those born in the 1850s for example; childhood was a vastly different construct. in rural areas that is.