Thursday, November 01, 2018

Augustus S. Merrimon

There is something about Ocracoke, on the coast of North Carolina, and the Asheville area, about 500 miles west, in the mountains of North Carolina, that attracts kindred spirits. Maybe it's the uniqueness of the places, the isolation (an island served by ferries, and small settlements in the hollers), or the natural beauty of sea and mountains. Whatever it is, many island residents enjoy sojourns to the mountains, and vice versa.

If you frequent Asheville, you've probably noticed Merrimon Avenue, one of the primary roads in the city. It was named for Augustus Summerfield Merrimon (1830-1892), an attorney who was a public servant in Asheville prior to the Civil War, and then served as a U.S. Senator from 1873 to 1879 and as Chief Justice of North Carolina’s Supreme Court from 1889 until his death.

August S. Merrimon

Although Merrimon was opposed to secession, he joined the Confederate Army in 1861. During his time in the army he served in eastern North Carolina where he made a name for himself. 

Augustus Merrimon was the inspiration for the name of a small unincorporated community in coastal Carteret County. Merrimon (population ca. 650), originally called Adams Creek, was named for Augustus S. Merrimon in 1881 by an admirer, Edward F. Carroway, the community’s first postmaster.

During the Civil War Merrimon also served at Confederate forts at Hatteras and Ocracoke. As it turned out, Fort Ocracoke was never completed or fully manned, and was abandoned when Union forces advanced on Ocracoke and Portsmouth islands in the fall of 1861. Little is known about Meerrimon's duties while at Ocracoke, although we can speculate that he might have been as impressed with the natural beauty as are modern residents and visitors.

You can read more about Augustus Sumerfield Merrimon here:

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is Lachlan Howard's essay about the Fresnel Lens and its use in theater, solar ovens, cameras, and industry, as well as lighthouse illumination. You can read it here:


  1. I'm POSITIVE he was impressed by the natural beauty of Ocracoke. How could you NOT be?!!!

  2. Anonymous2:30 PM

    Philip, do you know old Clinton Gaskill was when he died...and what year? Thanks

  3. Anonymous2:45 PM

    Philip, I just found the information that I wanted about Clinton. I should have dug into it deeper before asking for help. I remember Clinton carrying the Olympic torch and always carrying a small carved bird that he was working on in his shirt pocket. I would see him every few months and kiddingly tease him about that being the same bird that he was working on the laat time that I saw him. Clinton was a nice old guy. Died in 1994 at the age of 94 I believe. Thanks anyway Philip.