Pony penning was an activity on July 4 on Ocracoke as depicted here about the July 4, 1953, parade. Photo courtesy of the Village Craftsmen.

This article appeared in the Wilmington Morning Star, July 6, 1914. We can’t vouch for all of the facts in this article, but we have no doubt there were not any delinquent children among the school population. We’ll be reprinting, on occasion, old news stories of historical interest.


Little Banks Village Celebrates Independence Day First Time (Special Star Correspondence.) Kinston, N.C. July 5–

Ocracoke broke into the limelight yesterday.

The little banks town held its first celebration of Independence Day.

There were no fireworks, nor was there a brass band to ply patriotic airs. Ocracoke celebrated the occasion distinctly after Ocracoke’s own fashion.

The population at Ocracoke has a right to celebrate the Fourth, for it excels nearly every other place of like population in the country in historic interest.

A couple of the real big stunts in America were pulled off there, for the first white men who stepped foot on the North American continent mounted its sand dunes and gazed out over Pamlico Sound, and William Teach, the notorious Blackbeard, was beheaded within gunshot of Ocracoke light by Maynard, a gallant English naval officer.

The population is practically of the same breed as the first settlers, for few settlers ever squatted upon Ocracoke beach, with its tiny loam patch, village, lighthouse and dilapidated wind mill. And the unmixed inhabitants are the finest set of men in North Carolina, with mates in keeping.

Nearly every adult male has been to sea. The most important event of the day was a motor boat race.

The winners are unknown, for here is no telegraphic communication and it will be many hours before a slow sailor crosses the sound with the list of prize winners, and by that time the victories will have no news value.

The entries, though, were mostly fishing craft-–of all sizes, horsepower of engines, and with but one handicap. The craft under 30 feet long were given an advantage over those longer than 30 feet.

The next number on the program was the penning of ponies. The little banker horses are herded up once in a while to brand the colts. Today the newcomers in the wild equine tribe were branded, and vaqueros of the beach–sailormen in white dungarees and little tarpaulin hats–gave an exhibition of the roundup that would have surprised many a cowboy on the plains. Of course, it is risky and only a small boy who pulled a small pony’s tail, discovered it, but usually luck attends the herders, and it is safe to say that nothing untoward marked today’s events. An auction sale followed the penning.

Ocracoke has a school, and a good one, and there are no delinquent children among the school population. So, appropriately enough, the program was ended with an “educational rally.”

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