The Friends of Portsmouth Island will hold its spring meeting on Ocracoke beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, in the Ocracoke Community Center.
The meeting begins with a complimentary brunch. Volunteers Glenn and Brenda White will share their stories and experiences while helping take care of the village. Steve Neshkoff, the VIP Coordinator for Cape Lookout National Seashore, will also provide some updates.
Shuttle service will be available for passengers without cars arriving on the Cedar Island ferry. Portsmouth T-shirts and books will be available for sale, and door prizes will be awarded at the end of the meeting.
The meeting is open to the public and all are invited to attend.
Established in 1753, Portsmouth was the largest settlement on the Outer Banks by 1770 and remained a major shipping center for nearly a century. Ocracoke Inlet was the major trade route to inland ports at that time.
By 1860, there were 685 residents in Portsmouth.
The Civil War forced many to leave and not return as the Union Army advanced down the Outer Banks.
After an 1846 storm opened a deeper inlet between Ocracoke and Hatteras, the population steadily declined.
In 1971, one of the last three residents, Henry Pigott, died, and Marion Babb and Elma Dixon then moved to the mainland.
Every two years, the Friends of Portsmouth Island, many of whom are relatives of original Portsmouth Island residents, return to the island.
The next “homecoming” will be in 2016.
For more information, contact Rosanne Penley at Rosanne.Penley@gmail.com, its website at www.friendsofportsmouthisland.org, or its Facebook page.
To read more about Portsmouth Island, click here for an article by Pat Garber.