In March of 1801 Ocracock (Ocracoke) Inlet and Beacon Island (a small island between Ocracoke and Portsmouth Island) came to the attention of President Thomas Jefferson.
In a letter to the newly elected President, Richard Dobbs Spaight (1758–1802) of New Bern (he was a member of the Continental Congress from 1783 to 1785, a delegate to the federal Constitutional Convention in 1787, governor of North Carolina from 1792 to 1795, and interim congressman until March 3, 1801), advocated for the completion of a fort on Beacon Island.
He informs the President that "there is no place on earth where smuggling can be carried on with more advantage, & with less probability of Detection" than through Ocracoke Inlet.
Spaight reminds Jefferson that "All the trade of No. Carolina except what is carried on at Wilmington, and a little at Beaufort & Swannsborough, passes over Ocracock bar: and the fort at Beacon Island command both Harbours, or, roads, where the shipping bound either in, or out come too in order to lighten, to enable them to pass the swash. It likewise commands both the passages that lead from the harbours or roads, up into the Country."
You can read the entire letter here.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter highlights several noteworthy
staircases in historic island homes. To read the newsletter, and see
photos, click here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092117.html.