In 1710, the Reverend John Irmstone [or Urmstone, a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which was established in 1701 by the Church of England] of Bath wrote in a letter to his superior about people from Hatteras and Ocracoke who came to get baptized. He gives no surnames, but says, 'these persons, half indian [sic] and half English, are an offense to my own and I gravely doubt the Kingdom of Heaven was designed to accomodate [sic] such. They stunk and their condition was not improved by the amounts of sacramental wine they lapped up nor by sprinkling with baptismal waters."
In the summer of 1753 the Rev. Alexander Stewart assumed the position of minister at St. Thomas parish (Anglican) in Bath, North Carolina. The next year he was entered on the rolls of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel as a missionary to St. Thomas parish.
The first record of a minister of the Gospel actually visiting the Outer Banks is October 7, 1766, when Rev. Stewart, who was plagued with bad health, went to Portsmouth "for the bathing in the salt water." On that visit he baptized twenty-seven children from Portsmouth and Ocracoke. There is no indication that Rev. Stewart ever returned to the Outer Banks. He died in 1771.
In 1772 a Reverend Mr. Reed visited the "Sea Coast" and experienced "some Benefit from the Sea air", but found "the people sickly, & poor accommodations," so he "soon returned" to the mainland.
By the nineteenth century Methodists had begun proselytizing on the Outer Banks. In 1828 the Ocracoke-Portsmouth Circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church was established. A "preaching house" was soon constructed.
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: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/the-fresnel-lens/.
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