Tuesday, September 05, 2017

John W. McWilliams

Ocracoke is typically viewed as an isolated community with few ties to the mainland. Although that is somewhat true, island residents have sometimes taken prominent roles in the political life of North Carolina. John W. McWilliams was one such person. The following information is taken from A Pocket Manual of North Carolina, For the Use of Members of the General Assembly, Session 1911, page 292:

Member of House of Representatives

John W. McWilliams

John W. McWilliams, Democrat, of Hyde County, Ocracoke, N.C., March 10, 1869. Son of John S. and Eliza (Farrow) McWilliams. Educated at the public and private schools of Ocracoke, 1876-1885. Merchant. Commissioner of Wrecks for Hyde County since 1905. Nominated clerk of Superior Court of Hyde County in 1906, but declined to serve. Representative in General Assembly from Hyde County, 1909, 1911. Fraternal orders: Masons, I.O.O.F.  Served as Noble Grand five terms; Treasurer since 1904. Methodist. Married, in 1889. Miss Elizabeth Williams. Three children. Address: Ocracoke, N.C.


McWilliams was listed as "merchant." The following paragraph is from our September, 2006, "Ocracoke Newsletter," http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092106.htm:

One of the largest general stores on Ocracoke was that established by John W. McWilliams in the late 1800s. Located down point, on the shore of Cockle Creek, with a view of the harbor from one side, and the lighthouse from the other, the "Department Store," as it came to be called, included several structures joined together. McWilliams traded in groceries, boating supplies, hardware, clothing, and other general merchandise. He even carried a line of furniture. A barber shop sat across the lane. The fierce storm of 1933 did considerable damage to the store, and sometime after John McWilliams’ death the store was abandoned."


A number of people living on Ocracoke today are direct descendants of John W. McWilliams. 

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a brief history of Howard's Pub. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082117.htm.   

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:23 PM

    i have been to ocracoke a few times and I have to say that each time it appears that on the roads, shops, eateries, you guys have more people milling around than in mall. people are basically around because there is not much to do there. I like that but it is not the quaint place that I read about. Maybe in the dead of winter it is but not during the 'vacation' season. It's also hard to take a picture without having a dumpster or a sign in the picture. I'll come back again in I am sure-at least I know what to expect now.