Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Hyde County

Not too surprisingly, Ocracokers are wont to refer to Swan Quarter and the surrounding mainland as "the county." Of course, Ocracoke Island is also part of Hyde County. It's just that the mainland and the Outer Banks are very different in many ways.

What we today refer to as Hyde County was formed December 3, 1705, as Wickham Precinct, one of three precincts within Bath County. In 1712 it was renamed Hyde Precinct in honor of Edward Hyde (1667 – September 8, 1712), the first Governor of North Carolina. Although he served only four months (May 9, 1712 until his death from yellow fever), he governed during Cary's Rebellion and the Tuscarora War.

Governor Edward Hyde

Hyde Precinct became Hyde County in 1739 when Bath County was abolished. A number of other changes in the geography of Hyde County were made in subsequent years. In 1845 Ocracoke Island was transferred from Carteret County to Hyde County. The boundaries of Hyde County have changed more than those of any other county in North Carolina.

Many islanders travel to Hyde mainland by the Swan Quarter ferry only to continue to Washington or Greenville to visit doctors and/or dentists, or on their way to points west. Every now and then Ocracoke residents are called for jury duty. That means catching the 7 a.m. ferry to Swan Quarter (the judge always waits to begin proceedings until Ocracokers arrive at the court house, at about 9:30.) Most judges are considerate of islander's travel issues, and dismiss court early enough to catch the 4:30 ferry back home. When that doesn't happen, islanders "drive around" through Manteo and Hatteras Island, catching a late ferry across Hatteras Inlet.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a history of the Ocracoke Lighthouse, with information (and an artist's sketch) about the earliest lantern room. You can read the Newsletter here:  

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