Friends of Portsmouth Island

Friends of Portsmouth Island Committed to preserving the history of Portsmouth Island and promoting public interest in the island. http://friendsofportsmouthisland.org The Friends of Portsmouth Island is a largely membership supported non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, committed to preserving the history of Portsmouth Island and promoting public interest in the island.

Throwback to 1963!  This is a photo of Henry Pigott and young Elaine Clark taken in July 1963.  Elaine donated a collage...
10/06/2021

Throwback to 1963! This is a photo of Henry Pigott and young Elaine Clark taken in July 1963. Elaine donated a collage of photos that was hanging in Henry's kitchen when Hurricane Dorian struck. Only this photo remains from the damage. The Clark family - Wilson, Gerry, Wilson Jr. and Elaine were regular Portsmouth visitors from Kinston, NC.

Throwback to 1963! This is a photo of Henry Pigott and young Elaine Clark taken in July 1963. Elaine donated a collage of photos that was hanging in Henry's kitchen when Hurricane Dorian struck. Only this photo remains from the damage. The Clark family - Wilson, Gerry, Wilson Jr. and Elaine were regular Portsmouth visitors from Kinston, NC.

We love this photo of the coordinated recipes posted on a sign in Sea Level, NC - especially the second one for "Miss Ad...
10/02/2021

We love this photo of the coordinated recipes posted on a sign in Sea Level, NC - especially the second one for "Miss Addie Dixon's Portsmouth Island Fig Jam". Miss Addie was actually Elma Dixon, one of the last 3 residents to remain in Portsmouth Village.

We love this photo of the coordinated recipes posted on a sign in Sea Level, NC - especially the second one for "Miss Addie Dixon's Portsmouth Island Fig Jam". Miss Addie was actually Elma Dixon, one of the last 3 residents to remain in Portsmouth Village.

This wonderful photo was taken earlier this month along the tidal flats going back to the village from the beach.  Thank...
09/27/2021

This wonderful photo was taken earlier this month along the tidal flats going back to the village from the beach. Thanks to Rosanne Penley for taking this photo and providing it to us!

This wonderful photo was taken earlier this month along the tidal flats going back to the village from the beach. Thanks to Rosanne Penley for taking this photo and providing it to us!

Although our membership meeting, which had been scheduled for last Saturday, was once again canceled due to Covid, our b...
09/23/2021

Although our membership meeting, which had been scheduled for last Saturday, was once again canceled due to Covid, our board did meet. We finally managed to have the raffle drawing that was supposed to have taken place at our 2020 Homecoming! The winners are:

David Mickey was the winner of “Flight Over Fish Hunt” (The Hog Island Club) by Jack Saylor, donated by Kathi and Glenn Dunn of Marshallberg, NC. Framed 14” X 24” print.
Rebecca Gupton was the winner of the double bed size antique quilt from the Whitley Plantation, Martin County, NC, donated by Jeanne Robertson of Oriental, NC.
Sam Corlis was the winner of the quilted duck wall hanging made by the Ocracoke Needle and Thread club.

Congratulations to all of the winners! The winning tickets were drawn by Cape Lookout National Seashore superintendent Jeff West, and the items will be sent to the winners. Pictured here are Jeff West and our FPI president Kathy McNeilly.

Although our membership meeting, which had been scheduled for last Saturday, was once again canceled due to Covid, our board did meet. We finally managed to have the raffle drawing that was supposed to have taken place at our 2020 Homecoming! The winners are:

David Mickey was the winner of “Flight Over Fish Hunt” (The Hog Island Club) by Jack Saylor, donated by Kathi and Glenn Dunn of Marshallberg, NC. Framed 14” X 24” print.
Rebecca Gupton was the winner of the double bed size antique quilt from the Whitley Plantation, Martin County, NC, donated by Jeanne Robertson of Oriental, NC.
Sam Corlis was the winner of the quilted duck wall hanging made by the Ocracoke Needle and Thread club.

Congratulations to all of the winners! The winning tickets were drawn by Cape Lookout National Seashore superintendent Jeff West, and the items will be sent to the winners. Pictured here are Jeff West and our FPI president Kathy McNeilly.

The McWilliams-Dixon House is showing off its new roof!  The contracted roofers have completed the roof, the CALO mainte...
09/20/2021

The McWilliams-Dixon House is showing off its new roof! The contracted roofers have completed the roof, the CALO maintenance staff will begin work on the front porch, and the house will be painted. So, progress continues to be made. This photo was taken yesterday, 9/18, by Rosanne Penley.

The McWilliams-Dixon House is showing off its new roof! The contracted roofers have completed the roof, the CALO maintenance staff will begin work on the front porch, and the house will be painted. So, progress continues to be made. This photo was taken yesterday, 9/18, by Rosanne Penley.

09/13/2021

REMINDER OF FALL MEETING CANCELLATION: SECOND NOTICE

We wanted to make sure that all of you are aware that our fall meeting, originally scheduled for this Saturday, September 18, has been canceled due to the Covid situation. It is not being rescheduled; we're now looking forward to seeing all of you at our 2022 Homecoming on April 23, 2022!

This beautiful photo of a double rainbow behind the George Dixon House was taken by Glenn Dunn in 2017 at this time of y...
09/09/2021

This beautiful photo of a double rainbow behind the George Dixon House was taken by Glenn Dunn in 2017 at this time of year. Thanks, Glenn!

This beautiful photo of a double rainbow behind the George Dixon House was taken by Glenn Dunn in 2017 at this time of year. Thanks, Glenn!

We at FPI hope you're all having a safe, enjoyable and peaceful Labor Day weekend.  This wonderful photo, behind the Sty...
09/05/2021

We at FPI hope you're all having a safe, enjoyable and peaceful Labor Day weekend. This wonderful photo, behind the Styron Bragg House, was taken yesterday by Gregory Gilgo. Thank you, Gregory!!

We at FPI hope you're all having a safe, enjoyable and peaceful Labor Day weekend. This wonderful photo, behind the Styron Bragg House, was taken yesterday by Gregory Gilgo. Thank you, Gregory!!

09/02/2021

FALL MEETING CANCELLED

We regret to announce that the September 18 meeting at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum has been cancelled. We made this decision because of the high Covid numbers currently being reported in Carteret County. All FPI members will receive a cancellation notice in the mail. If you know of anyone who was planning to attend, please help us pass the word along so they may change their travel plans in plenty of time. This meeting will not be rescheduled and our next event will be Homecoming on April 23, 2022. We hope to see everyone then!

Some history from 160 years ago today!Four companies from Portsmouth Island and Fort Ocracoke (Ft Morgan) were moved to ...
08/28/2021

Some history from 160 years ago today!

Four companies from Portsmouth Island and Fort Ocracoke (Ft Morgan) were moved to Fort Hatteras during the battle of August 28, 1861. This left fort Ocracoke with only a skeleton force and the fort had not received all requested supplies as noted only two weeks earlier on August 11, 1861 where Sergeant William Eberstain, Ordinance Officer, at the fort was requesting Captain Sparrow, Commander of the troops at Ft. Ocracoke to order supplies and ammunition. The small forces remaining at Fort Ocracoke under command of Captains J. H. Swindell and Jas. J. Leith heard of the capture of their comrades at Hatteras, they abandoned the fort which had been built with so much care and armed under so many difficulties and they retired to Washington, NC. After they made the decision to evacuate, one of the captains seized two schooners from Portsmouth in which they made their get-away leaving the flag behind. A sergeant, engineer and four black workers remained long enough to destroy the guns and all supplies before taking down the flag and reluctantly leaving for New Bern.

Per Naval records, as soon as the news of the fort abandonment got to Union Commander S. C. Rowan of the U.S.S. Pawnee, stationed at Hatteras, he sent the steamer F***y, accompanied by an armed launch, to Ocracoke with Lieutenant J.G. Maxwell, commanding the U.S.S. F***y.

(Excerpt from "The Civil War on Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands" by Earl W. O'Neal, Jr. Photo is a depiction of Ft. Ocracoke burning with U.S.S. F***y in the foreground - from the NC Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC)

Some history from 160 years ago today!

Four companies from Portsmouth Island and Fort Ocracoke (Ft Morgan) were moved to Fort Hatteras during the battle of August 28, 1861. This left fort Ocracoke with only a skeleton force and the fort had not received all requested supplies as noted only two weeks earlier on August 11, 1861 where Sergeant William Eberstain, Ordinance Officer, at the fort was requesting Captain Sparrow, Commander of the troops at Ft. Ocracoke to order supplies and ammunition. The small forces remaining at Fort Ocracoke under command of Captains J. H. Swindell and Jas. J. Leith heard of the capture of their comrades at Hatteras, they abandoned the fort which had been built with so much care and armed under so many difficulties and they retired to Washington, NC. After they made the decision to evacuate, one of the captains seized two schooners from Portsmouth in which they made their get-away leaving the flag behind. A sergeant, engineer and four black workers remained long enough to destroy the guns and all supplies before taking down the flag and reluctantly leaving for New Bern.

Per Naval records, as soon as the news of the fort abandonment got to Union Commander S. C. Rowan of the U.S.S. Pawnee, stationed at Hatteras, he sent the steamer F***y, accompanied by an armed launch, to Ocracoke with Lieutenant J.G. Maxwell, commanding the U.S.S. F***y.

(Excerpt from "The Civil War on Ocracoke and Portsmouth Islands" by Earl W. O'Neal, Jr. Photo is a depiction of Ft. Ocracoke burning with U.S.S. F***y in the foreground - from the NC Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC)

We love this gorgeous sunrise photo, looking past the George Dixon House and the church!  It was taken by photographer A...
08/23/2021

We love this gorgeous sunrise photo, looking past the George Dixon House and the church! It was taken by photographer Allen Fairbanks Jr. as he headed into the village earlier this year. Thank you Allen!!

We love this gorgeous sunrise photo, looking past the George Dixon House and the church! It was taken by photographer Allen Fairbanks Jr. as he headed into the village earlier this year. Thank you Allen!!

Thanks to Joff Coe for providing us with this lovely photo (we believe from the early '60s?) of the McWilliams/Dixon Hou...
08/19/2021

Thanks to Joff Coe for providing us with this lovely photo (we believe from the early '60s?) of the McWilliams/Dixon House, the Babb House and the Kitty Cottage (Ed & Kate Styron House) in the background to the right.

Thanks to Joff Coe for providing us with this lovely photo (we believe from the early '60s?) of the McWilliams/Dixon House, the Babb House and the Kitty Cottage (Ed & Kate Styron House) in the background to the right.

“Happy Birthday” to John Wallace Salter who was born August 15, 1873, the 7th of nine children born to Christopher Thoma...
08/15/2021

“Happy Birthday” to John Wallace Salter who was born August 15, 1873, the 7th of nine children born to Christopher Thomas Salter and his wife, Matilda Styron (Salter). John married Sidney Styron on December 24, 1895 on Portsmouth, and they also had 9 children – 5 boys and 4 girls. He worked as a fisherman for all of his life. John died in Hunting Quarters, now Atlantic, on July 20, 1950 and is buried in Atlantic Cemetery. A big thank you to Gaye McKeithan for providing us with this wonderful photo of her great grandparents, John & Sidney Salter. We know that there are a number of you who frequent this page who are descended from John & Sidney, and you may know far more about John than we do. We welcome any stories or further information that you may have on him!

“Happy Birthday” to John Wallace Salter who was born August 15, 1873, the 7th of nine children born to Christopher Thomas Salter and his wife, Matilda Styron (Salter). John married Sidney Styron on December 24, 1895 on Portsmouth, and they also had 9 children – 5 boys and 4 girls. He worked as a fisherman for all of his life. John died in Hunting Quarters, now Atlantic, on July 20, 1950 and is buried in Atlantic Cemetery. A big thank you to Gaye McKeithan for providing us with this wonderful photo of her great grandparents, John & Sidney Salter. We know that there are a number of you who frequent this page who are descended from John & Sidney, and you may know far more about John than we do. We welcome any stories or further information that you may have on him!

PORTSMOUTH FAMILY TRADITION HANDED DOWN!  This beautiful child, Peyton Johansson, is the 4X great granddaughter of Oscar...
08/10/2021

PORTSMOUTH FAMILY TRADITION HANDED DOWN! This beautiful child, Peyton Johansson, is the 4X great granddaughter of Oscar and Sally Dixon Rue. She is wearing the christening gown and slips made by Oscar and Sally’s daughter, Susan Jasper Rue Berry, who is Peyton’s 3X grandmother. This photo was made in 2020 and the christening gown dates back to 1884, when Susan made it in anticipation of her daughter Sarah’s birth, and it has since been handed down as a family tradition. Oscar Rue was a former Portsmouth postmaster and served as keeper of the SW and NW Port Royal Shoal lighthouses off Portsmouth and at the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. He married Sally Dixon at Portsmouth in 1851. It is so nice to see this Portsmouth family tradition carried on! FPI members can read more about Oscar and Sally Dixon Rue in the next issue of the Doctor’s Creek Journal, where we will feature the family in an article. Thanks to Sally and Jim Williford (Oscar Rue descendant) for this photo.

PORTSMOUTH FAMILY TRADITION HANDED DOWN! This beautiful child, Peyton Johansson, is the 4X great granddaughter of Oscar and Sally Dixon Rue. She is wearing the christening gown and slips made by Oscar and Sally’s daughter, Susan Jasper Rue Berry, who is Peyton’s 3X grandmother. This photo was made in 2020 and the christening gown dates back to 1884, when Susan made it in anticipation of her daughter Sarah’s birth, and it has since been handed down as a family tradition. Oscar Rue was a former Portsmouth postmaster and served as keeper of the SW and NW Port Royal Shoal lighthouses off Portsmouth and at the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. He married Sally Dixon at Portsmouth in 1851. It is so nice to see this Portsmouth family tradition carried on! FPI members can read more about Oscar and Sally Dixon Rue in the next issue of the Doctor’s Creek Journal, where we will feature the family in an article. Thanks to Sally and Jim Williford (Oscar Rue descendant) for this photo.

This gorgeous photo of sunset from the back porch of the Styron Bragg House was taken last month by Park volunteer Ted S...
08/04/2021

This gorgeous photo of sunset from the back porch of the Styron Bragg House was taken last month by Park volunteer Ted Summey. Thank you, Ted!!

This gorgeous photo of sunset from the back porch of the Styron Bragg House was taken last month by Park volunteer Ted Summey. Thank you, Ted!!

A recent photo of the rarely dry flats between the beach and Portsmouth Village.  It’s a one mile walk/drive from the be...
07/31/2021

A recent photo of the rarely dry flats between the beach and Portsmouth Village. It’s a one mile walk/drive from the beach to the village gate, and there is a small parking area before the gate. Thanks to Gregory Gilgo for this photo.

A recent photo of the rarely dry flats between the beach and Portsmouth Village. It’s a one mile walk/drive from the beach to the village gate, and there is a small parking area before the gate. Thanks to Gregory Gilgo for this photo.

The roof work on the Life Saving Station has been completed!  Doesn't it look wonderful?  Thanks to Gregory Gilgo for th...
07/27/2021

The roof work on the Life Saving Station has been completed! Doesn't it look wonderful? Thanks to Gregory Gilgo for this beautiful photo, taken a couple of days ago, and to the Park for having the work done!

The roof work on the Life Saving Station has been completed! Doesn't it look wonderful? Thanks to Gregory Gilgo for this beautiful photo, taken a couple of days ago, and to the Park for having the work done!

07/25/2021

The winner of the book "Portsmouth Divided" is Bill Beaumont! Congratulations, Bill!! Please send a PM to our page with your mailing address, and we'll send it out to you.

WIN THIS BOOK!!Name one house or other building that you have seen or would like to see on Portsmouth.   Please limit yo...
07/20/2021

WIN THIS BOOK!!
Name one house or other building that you have seen or would like to see on Portsmouth. Please limit your answer to ONE building and comment only once, although we know it will be a tough choice! Feel free to tell us why you picked that building, although that is not required. There are no wrong answers; all you have to do to be entered to win is comment here with your answer. The contest will close at 6:00 PM on Saturday, July 24, and we will post the winner later that evening.
Good luck!

WIN THIS BOOK!!
Name one house or other building that you have seen or would like to see on Portsmouth. Please limit your answer to ONE building and comment only once, although we know it will be a tough choice! Feel free to tell us why you picked that building, although that is not required. There are no wrong answers; all you have to do to be entered to win is comment here with your answer. The contest will close at 6:00 PM on Saturday, July 24, and we will post the winner later that evening.
Good luck!

This beautiful double rainbow over Portsmouth greeted current volunteers Ted and Emily Summey soon after their arrival a...
07/16/2021

This beautiful double rainbow over Portsmouth greeted current volunteers Ted and Emily Summey soon after their arrival at the beginning of this month. Thanks, Ted, for providing us with this photo!

This beautiful double rainbow over Portsmouth greeted current volunteers Ted and Emily Summey soon after their arrival at the beginning of this month. Thanks, Ted, for providing us with this photo!

For those of you who are in the area, please consider going to this porch talk on Portsmouth this Thursday afternoon if ...
07/12/2021

For those of you who are in the area, please consider going to this porch talk on Portsmouth this Thursday afternoon if you can make it!

Our porch/parlor talks are back ... starting with PORTSMOUTH! Thursday, 2 pm, 806 upstairs .. We have a lift for those who cannot do the stairs! Thank you Carlyle Adams Foundation.

This inviting photo of the beach at Portsmouth was taken in 2004.  We hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
07/09/2021

This inviting photo of the beach at Portsmouth was taken in 2004. We hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

This inviting photo of the beach at Portsmouth was taken in 2004. We hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Work on the roof of the Life Saving Station is underway!  Thanks to current Park volunteer Ted Summey for this photo.
07/05/2021

Work on the roof of the Life Saving Station is underway! Thanks to current Park volunteer Ted Summey for this photo.

Work on the roof of the Life Saving Station is underway! Thanks to current Park volunteer Ted Summey for this photo.

“Happy birthday” to Lucy Beacham Gilgo!  You may know her as one of the namesakes of the Tom & Lucy Gilgo House on Ports...
07/02/2021

“Happy birthday” to Lucy Beacham Gilgo! You may know her as one of the namesakes of the Tom & Lucy Gilgo House on Portsmouth. Lucy was born July 2, 1904 in Beaufort, NC – one of ten children of Paul Bryan Beacham & his wife Elizabeth “Lizzie” Hunnings Beacham. She attended Woman’s College in Greenboro for one year, and then went to Portsmouth to teach in 1922. On Portsmouth, Lucy lived with Captain Walter Yeoman of the Coast Guard Station and his family. As the Portsmouth school teacher during the winter of 1922, she taught all subjects and all grades (1st – 7th) in the one-room school. She left in the spring of 1923 to teach elsewhere, but continued to see William Thomas (Tom) Gilgo whom she married February 7, 1925. Tom was working at the Norfolk shipyards at that time, but they returned to Portsmouth in late 1925, and Lucy once again became the school teacher until her time was taken over by raising all eleven of their children. Their house was initially on Coast Guard property, but they moved it to its current location along the road to Henry’s House. You’re probably wondering, as are we, how they fit that large family into that small house! Lucy & Tom remained on Portsmouth until soon after the hurricane of 1933. As was the case with many people who were still living on Portsmouth, Tom and Lucy decided after that storm that it was time to leave Portsmouth. Tom left at the end of October, but Lucy remained until after the November election because she was the registrar. They relocated to Oriental, where they remained for the rest of their lives. Tom died in 1949, but Lucy lived until March 30th, 1987. During her time in Oriental, she once again taught school, served as the manager of a school cafeteria, and was involved in many volunteer activities. She’s buried in Oriental Cemetery next to Tom and their son William. Photo and much of this information is from “School Mom of Portsmouth: Memories of Lucy Beacham Gilgo” edited by James E. White III, copyright 2011. (Jim is Lucy’s grandson and one of our FPI board members.)

We know that there are quite a few of you who are descended from Tom & Lucy Gilgo. Please feel free to comment below with any of your memories of her!

And, we’d like to wish all of you a very happy and safe 4th of July weekend!!

“Happy birthday” to Lucy Beacham Gilgo! You may know her as one of the namesakes of the Tom & Lucy Gilgo House on Portsmouth. Lucy was born July 2, 1904 in Beaufort, NC – one of ten children of Paul Bryan Beacham & his wife Elizabeth “Lizzie” Hunnings Beacham. She attended Woman’s College in Greenboro for one year, and then went to Portsmouth to teach in 1922. On Portsmouth, Lucy lived with Captain Walter Yeoman of the Coast Guard Station and his family. As the Portsmouth school teacher during the winter of 1922, she taught all subjects and all grades (1st – 7th) in the one-room school. She left in the spring of 1923 to teach elsewhere, but continued to see William Thomas (Tom) Gilgo whom she married February 7, 1925. Tom was working at the Norfolk shipyards at that time, but they returned to Portsmouth in late 1925, and Lucy once again became the school teacher until her time was taken over by raising all eleven of their children. Their house was initially on Coast Guard property, but they moved it to its current location along the road to Henry’s House. You’re probably wondering, as are we, how they fit that large family into that small house! Lucy & Tom remained on Portsmouth until soon after the hurricane of 1933. As was the case with many people who were still living on Portsmouth, Tom and Lucy decided after that storm that it was time to leave Portsmouth. Tom left at the end of October, but Lucy remained until after the November election because she was the registrar. They relocated to Oriental, where they remained for the rest of their lives. Tom died in 1949, but Lucy lived until March 30th, 1987. During her time in Oriental, she once again taught school, served as the manager of a school cafeteria, and was involved in many volunteer activities. She’s buried in Oriental Cemetery next to Tom and their son William. Photo and much of this information is from “School Mom of Portsmouth: Memories of Lucy Beacham Gilgo” edited by James E. White III, copyright 2011. (Jim is Lucy’s grandson and one of our FPI board members.)

We know that there are quite a few of you who are descended from Tom & Lucy Gilgo. Please feel free to comment below with any of your memories of her!

And, we’d like to wish all of you a very happy and safe 4th of July weekend!!

Address

PO Box 2303
Morehead City, NC
28557

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Comments

Our porch/parlor talks are back ... starting with PORTSMOUTH! Thursday, 2 pm, 806 upstairs .. We have a lift for those who cannot do the stairs! Thank you Carlyle Adams Foundation.
Park maintenance crew giving the Dixon house a facelift.
Easter Lillies in full bloom at Harry Dixon house . Beautiful !
Lillie's in bloom at the Harry Dixon house
First day of volunteering at our home away home for the NPS!! My son Patrick and I in front of my grandparents house (Annie and Theodore Salter) - aka the Visitors Center. Much work has been done to restore the village after Dorian came through. Any day on Portsmouth is a beautiful day but today was an exceptionally beautiful day!
Opening Reception, www.coresound.org
I’ve been doing some research, and I have a question I hope someone knows the answer to. My great-grandmother is Lorena Salter. One of her brothers is Theodore Salter who was married to Annie Dixon. I have a letter from my grandfather, Richard Dixon, Sr., to a Winifred Dixon. The letter is dated 8/22/1978. In it he states that his father, Joseph Dixon, sold the family home to his (my grandfather’s) uncle Theodore Salter. The letter goes on to say that Theodore “moved it from down the banks to its present site.” Does anyone know if this home still exists today?
Core Sound is pulling together a small Portsmouth exhibit in the gallery upstairs at 806. We have some interesting items we are borrowing from several people at Ocracoke and here Down East, but haven't located a quilt that would have been made/used on Portsmouth. Does anybody have one they would share until late June? Please message [email protected] if you do. The exhibit will be open before Easter and features Jan Eason's homecoming pics, the video Our State - UNC TV did and a small collection of artifacts. I will post pics as soon as we have everything there! And in just a little while our new elevator will be in so EVERYONE can see the exhibition. We will keep FPI posted.
The George Dixon house stands to weather another storm. It will be getting a new roof if the money comes available. It’s not perfect, but better than the alternative.
The George Dixon house stands to weather another storm. It will be getting a new roof if the money comes available. ItIt’s not perfect ,but better than the alternative.
Photograph passed down from Janie English Pictured: Leatha Newton , Mary Elizabeth Newton, Almira Newton... daughters of James Newton And Martha English. Portsmouth Island