Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Trouble Follows Road

The following is from Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles for Hyde Co., NC (The Coastland Times - Friday, January 2, 1953; pg. 1)


Ocracoke Island was shocked to the roots of its so called Elizabethan foundation when the first trial in approximately 30 years was heard before Justice of the Peace Harvey Wahab. The news of the scheduled hearing swept over this sandy soil like a prairie fire and the natives from all over the island flocked to the courthouse building to hear the testimony, Mackley [Maltby] Bragg was charged with assault on the person of Stanley Wahab. He was found guilty of the charge and received a 30 day road sentence suspended upon the payment of $10 and cost and on the good behavior of the defendant for a period of six months.

The trial and the events leading up to it has been called the "news of the year." For a period of 30 years Ocracoke has been known as the one place in North Carolina without any form of law. It received much publicity due to the fact that it did not have a jail, any law enforcement officers, and there are no license plates on the cars and no licenses for driving. The fact that the problems of civilization were slowly encroaching this island of legend became evident in 1950 following the construction of Scott's Highway. The citizens were faced with the problems of speeders along the narrow highway which had been called the road which "started from nowhere and ended at the same place."

In order to check the speeders and the Saturday night celebrators, Ausley [Ansley] O'Neal was appointed Deputy Sheriff. Additional problems appeared when it was discovered that following an arrest the defendant and all witnesses were forced to travel through four counties to get to Swan Quarter, the county seat of Hyde County. This trip, due to the boat and bus schedule, requires a period of four days. As the result, the deputy sheriff didn't have too much business. In order to offer a solution to the problem, Harvey Wahab, a retired Coast Guardsman, was appointed Justice of the Peace. He received his appointment in the spring and today was his first trial.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:03 AM

    Ten bucks that was a chunk of change back in 1950. In 1950 the Average US income was $4,237. Twenty-five percent of the population earned less than $3,000 dollars. The median U.S. income level was $3,216,( an equal number of income rates above and below this figure.) The "average" monthly income for someone in the US in 1950 was about $352. What a sobering thought. the census data from which this was drawn included food costs-- just query historical income data 1950 if interested.


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