"Before roads and bridges, the easiest route for Ocracokers traveling to the mainland was a half-day mailboat ride to Atlantic, where they could catch a midday bus to Morehead City. Otherwise they could ride nine hours on a freight boat to Washington, North Carolina. Traveling north to Norfolk was more arduous, involving thirteen miles of sand tracks just to get to the north end of Ocracoke Island. A private ferry took people across the inlet to Hatteras. The Manteo-Hatteras Bus line, a bus suervice run by the three Midgett brothers from Rodanthe, would take travelers the length of Hatteras Island, across Oregon Inlet via ferry, and up to Manteo. 'It was like going on a safari across a desert to get to Manteo,' remarked Earl O'Neal.
"In 1938 an enterprising Ocracoke resident began a taxi service from the village to Hatteras Inlet, navigating sand paths in a station wagon. The ferry, run by Hatteras resident Frazier Peele, began in 1950 as a passenger ferry and expanded to a four-car operation by the time the state bought his business in 1957. 'The ferry consisted of taking a boat, putting a platform on it, taking boards for a ramp and running the car up on the boat,' an islander recalled. 'We just ran the car off in shallow water, and off we went; there were no docks or anything.'"
|Frazier Peele on his early ferry across Hatteras Inlet|
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a transcription of a letter describing the September, 1944, hurricane, its aftermath and cleanup. You can read the letter, with vintage photographs added, here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102117.htm.