The following is from Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles for Hyde Co., NC (The Coastland Times - Friday, January 2, 1953; pg. 1)
TROUBLES FOLLOW ROAD TO HAPPY OCRACOKE ISLAND
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.