Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Spanish Invasion

The coast of North Carolina was periodically invaded by Spaniards beginning in April, 1741, when two privateers with about 100 sailors arrived at the Outer Banks. The Spaniards erected a tent camp on Ocracoke with the goal of controlling shipping through Ocracoke Inlet. In August North Carolina merchants and residents in two ships drove the Spaniards from Ocracoke. The Spaniards returned again in 1747, landing on Ocracoke and capturing the port of Beaufort before abandoning the town a few days later. The final invasion occurred in 1748 when the Spaniards attacked the town of Brunswick. A prisoner exchange ended the seven year cycle of Spanish invasions. 

However, the threat of  Spanish invasions returned 150 years later during the Spanish-American War (April, 1898-August, 1898). In July, 1898, the Daily Journal of New Bern, NC printed this brief article:

"An official of the Government, high in authority, whose business it is to organize the people of the coast into a battalion auxiliary to the navy for home protection, passed through this section [Dare County] last week on his way south. In a general conversation he informed the writer that the auxiliary gunboat "Kemp" is now being fitted out for coast patrol duty. She will be stationed at Teach's Hole, at Ocracoke, and will make frequent cruises between Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout. Commodore S. Barsey Casey, Retired, will be in command of the Kemp, and after enlisting a sufficient number of the patriotic young men of Ocracoke to man his ship he will organize and arm those who are left to patrol and guard the coast. It is now to be hoped that the good people of Ocracoke may 'Worship under their own vine and fig tree' where no Spaniard comes to molest or 'Don' makes them afraid...."

Spanish Vessel, Alfonso XIII

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/.


  1. Thanks for the article! I had no idea the Spanish had landed on Ocracoke after English settlement in North America. Spain controlled Florida until right after the War of 1812 so in reality they weren't that far away.

  2. Anonymous9:53 AM

    Philip I wonder if you can help me find the owner of a (24'??) boat called the WESTWIND. I have a 16x20 photo of it that I took back in the late 70's(maybe) or early 80's. If they want it I will send it to them. It was taken at the a dock on Silver Lake tied up to a small shed which on the dock. The shed was rebuilt years ago but is still on the same dock. I think the dock is on the 'Whittlers Club' use to be. Thanks, NS

    1. The Westwind was owned by Rudy or Donald Austin. They take folks to Portsmouth Island. See https://www.visitocracokenc.com/portsmouth-island-boat-tours/.

  3. Anonymous4:26 PM

    GREAT....Thank you Mr.Howard…!