Cape Lookout National Seashore Historic Resource Study By



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51 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 9; House Committee on Commerce, Marine Hospital – Ocracoke, N.C. (To accompany bill H.R. no. 512), 27th Cong., 2nd sess., 24 June 1842, H. Rept. 889, serial 410; Watson, Wilmington, 32.

52 Charles Crittenden, TheCommerce of North Carolina, 1763-1789 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1936).

53 Much of the following discussion is based on the new research presented in Combs, “Trading in Lubberland.”

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid., 8.

56 Ibid., 8-10.

57 Ibid., 11-12.

58 Ibid., 12.

59 Ibid., 13.

60 Virginia Bever Platt, “Tar, Staves, and New England Rum: The Trade of Aaron Lopez of Newport, Rhode Island, with Colonial North Carolina,” North Carolina Historical Review 48, no. 1 (1971): 1-22.

61 For further discussion of the use of slaves in building canals, see Chapter 5.

62 Walter E. Minchinton, “The Seaborne Slave Trade of North Carolina,” North Carolina Historical Review 71, no. 1 (1994): 17, 24-25.

63 Jonathan Price, A Description of Occacock [ie. Ocracoke] Inlet: And of Its Coasts, Islands, Shoals, and Anchorages, with the Courses and Distances to and from the Most Remarkable Places, and Directions to Sail Over the Bar and Thro' the Channels (Newbern: Francois X. Martin, 1795), 627; Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, xxxx; Stick, The Outer Banks of North Carolina, 41-42.

64 Burke, The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina, 23.

65 Watson, “Pilots and Pilotage in North Carolina to the Civil War,” 146-54.

66 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 39. According to the North Carolina Maritime History Council’s List of Ships Built in North Carolina from Colonial Times to circa 1900 (undated; http://www.ncmaritimehistory.org/; accessed 22 August 2008) only four ships were ever constructed at Portsmouth (1826-1902). Except for one 75-ton vessel, all were small (between 6 and 30 tons each, compared to an average of around 57 tons for all ships built in North Carolina).

67 Watson, Wilmington, 32, 40-45.

68 Burke, The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina, 23.

69 Holland, Survey History of Cape Lookout National Seashore, 42.

70 Portsmouth Village National Register Nomination.

71 Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, 50-57

72 Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. and John Milner Associates, Inc., Portsmouth Village Cultural Landscape Report, 19-21.

73 McGuinn, “Shell Castle.” We learned of the McGuinn thesis from Simpson, The Inner Islands, 81-82.

74 Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 60.

75 Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers.”

76 Alice Keith, “John Gray and Thomas Blount, Merchants, 1783-1800,” North Carolina Historical Review XXV (1948): 195-200; Cecelski, The Waterman's Song, 77; George Henry Smathers, The History of Land Titles in Western North Carolina (New York: Arno Press, 1979), 43; Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 91; Alice Barnwell Keith, ed., The John Gray Blount Papers, vol. 1 (Raleigh: State Dept. of Archives and History, 1952), xix-xxxi. Two sources written by Alice Keith conflict slightly in the number of slaves owned by John Gray Blount in 1790. Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” gives the number as 74, while the introductory pages she wrote for volume 1 of her edited collection of the John Gray Blount papers gives the figure of 70.

77 Keith, “John Gray and Thomas Blount, Merchants,” 195-200; Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 57-81.

78 Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 249-309; Smathers, The History of Land Titles in Western North Carolina, 43.

79 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 29.

80 Alice Keith, “John Gray and Thomas Blount, Merchants,” 58-67, 196; Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, 52.

81 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,”13-14, 27-29, 42, 78-84.

82 Ibid., 43.

83 Ibid., 46, 240-41.

84 Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, 28-29.

85 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 46, 240-41.

86 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 41, 276-79.

87 Ibid., 32-33.

88 Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 115-18; Cecelski, The Waterman's Song, 77; Burke, The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina, 23-24. Corps of Engineers map from House Committee on Rivers and Harbors, Survey of Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina. Letter from the Secretary of War, transmitting, with a letter from the Chief of Engineers, report of survey of Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, 55th Cong., 1st sess., 15 March 1897, H. doc. 7, serial 3571, 5.

89 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 33-35, 44-45.

90 Ibid., 46-50, 400. Archeological fieldwork confirmed the use of this crib-style technique.

91 Ibid., 50-52.

92 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 55-57; William H. Masterson, ed., The John Gray Blount Papers, vol. 3 (Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1965), 392.

93 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 61-64; Cecelski, The Waterman's Song, 47-48.

94 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 68-72.

95 Ibid., 86-89, 93-94, 99-103. McGuinn’s research uncovered no evidence to support Stick’s contention that either a gristmill or a windmill was present on Shell Castle, although he surmises that they may have been present at Ocracoke and Portsmouth. See McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 96. Although McGuinn reports some shipbuilding at Shell Castle, he provides no details. The North Carolina Maritime History Council’s List of Ships Built in North Carolina from Colonial Times to circa 1900 (http://www.ncmaritimehistory.org/) does not list Shell Castle as a location for shipbuilding.

96 Ibid., 92-93.

97 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 134, 147-97, 208.

98 Keith, “John Gray and Thomas Blount, Merchants,” 196; Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, 52.

99 Jonathan Price, A Description of Occacock Inlet; and of Its Coasts, Islands, Shoals, and Anchorages, (Newbern [N.C.]): Printed by Francois X. Martin., 1795). See map included earlier in this chapter.

100 Price, A Description of Occacock Inlet; Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, 53; McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 115-18; G. Melvin Herndon, “The 1806 Survey of the North Carolina Coast, Cape Hatteras to Cape Fear,” North Carolina Historical Review 49, no. 3 (1972): 242-53; William Stevens Powell, Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, vol. 5 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994), 140-43.

101 Masterson, ed., The John Gray Blount Papers, vol. 3, 22.

102 Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, 55-56; McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 119-21.

103 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 118, 297-98, 393-94, 410-18; McGuinn notes that the establishment of the date of the pitcher is very complicated, but important to understanding the likely accuracy of the representation of Shell Castle included upon it.

104 Ibid., 49-50, 245, 292-95; “Fine house” quotation is found on p. 290.

105 Ibid., 294-308.

106 Ibid., 250.

107 Ibid., 244-48.

108 Ibid., 248-49.

109 Ibid., 249.

110 Ibid., 245-46.

111 Ibid., 244-45.

112 Ibid., 262-65, 269.

113 Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 116; Cecelski, The Waterman's Song, 77; Dunbar, Geographical History of the Carolina Banks: Technical Report No. 8, Part A (Baton Rouge: Coastal Studies Institute, Louisiana State University, 1956), 87. Dunbar gives the number of slaves at Shell Castle in 1800 as 15 and as 22 in 1810.

114 Dunbar, Geographical History of the Carolina Banks: Technical Report No. 8, Part A, 83; Burke, The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina, 23. Population figures for Portsmouth are drawn from Burke and represent a range from 1790 to 1810.

115 Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 133-70.

116 Murphey, The Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, 107. Murphey’s 1819 “Memoir on the Internal Improvements Contemplated by the Legistature of North Carolina,” included on 103-51 in this collection, noted that “[h]aving no commercial city in which the staples of our soil can be exchanged for foreign merchandise, our merchants purchase their goods and contract their debts in Charleston, Petersburg, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York,” 107.

117 Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 215-17.

118 The ports included Guadaloupe, Jamaica, St. Ustatia (Eustatius), Turks Island, St. Bartholomew, Bermuda, Point Petre in Guadaloupe, Ocracabessa (Jamaica), Gustavia (St. Bartholomew), St. Croix, Cape Francois, St. Maria, and Grenada.

119 Keith, “Three North Carolina Blount Brothers,” 192-94, 215-218.

120 Ibid., 207-213.

121 Ibid., 220-248.

122 Lefler and Newsome, North Carolina, 253-54; Watson, Wilmington, 32-33.

123 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 29, 252-261, 273-274.

124 Ibid., 314-322.

125 Ibid., 322-326.

126 Ibid., 328-331.

127 Ibid., 328- 335, 340 n. 23, 341 n. 32.

128 Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, 67-69, 74; Burke, The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina, 35-38; Stick, The Outer Banks of North Carolina, 87.

129 Murphey, “Memoir on Internal Improvements,” The Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, 126.

130 Ibid., 125-126.

131 Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study, 17-21; Powell, Encyclopedia of North Carolina, 619-621; Murphey, “Memoir on Internal Improvements,” The Papers of Archibald D. Murphey, 126. Although the scheme about using camels is mentioned in Murphey’s 1819 “Memoir on Internal Improvements,” it is not clear what the source of that idea was.

132 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 222-224; Cecelski, The Waterman’s Song, 32, 106.

133 Lefler and Newsome, North Carolina, 346-47; Byron Logan, “An Historical Geographic Study of North Carolina Ports” (Ph.D. diss, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1956), 65, 83, 102; Duncan P. Randall, “Wilmington, North Carolina: The Historical Development of a Port City,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 58, no. 3 (September 1968): 444-446; Watson, Wilmington, 46-70.

134 Lefler and Newsome, North Carolina, 300.

135 Powell, North Carolina Through Four Centuries, 317.

136 Randall, “Wilmington, North Carolina,” 446.

137 Powell, Encyclopedia of North Carolina, 615.

138 House Committee on Commerce, Marine Hospital -- Ocracoke, N.C. (To accompany bill H.R. no. 512), 27th Cong., 2nd sess., 24 June 1842, H. Rept. No. 889, serial 410.

139 Sprunt is quoted in Randall, “Wilmington, North Carolina,” 446.

140 Watson, Wilmington, 67-70.

141 Burke, The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina, 35-38, 52.

142 Ellen F. Cloud, Federal Census of Portsmouth Island, North Carolina (Ocracoke: Live Oak Publications, [1995?]), unpaged. Cloud reported that no occupations were listed in 1880, and the 1890 census records were destroyed in a fire.

143 Cecelski, The Waterman’s Song, 18, 47.

144 Ibid., xvi.

145 Ibid., 18-21.

146 Ibid., 48-49, 77.

147 Ibid., 28, 42, 53.

148 David Walker, Walker's Appeal, in Four Articles; Together with a Preamble, to the Coloured Citizens of the World, but in Particular, and Very Expressly, to Those of the United States of America, Written in Boston, State of Massachusetts, September 28, 1829 (Boston: n.p., 1830).

149 Cecelski, The Waterman’s Song, 28, 45, 53-56.

150 Ibid., 140.

151 McGuinn, “Shell Castle,” 265-68.

152 Article about slave escape attempt at Portsmouth, The Liberator (Boston), 9 April 1831.

153 Edmund Ruffin, Agricultural, Geological, and Descriptive Sketches of Lower North Carolina, and the Similar Adjacent Lands., Online ed.; Academic Affairs Library, UNC. (Raleigh: Printed at the Institution for the Deaf & Dumb & Blind, 1861), 124, http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/ruffin/ruffin.html; “Edmund Ruffin (American scientist),” Britannica Online Encyclopedia, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/512333/Edmund-Ruffin.

1 John Milner Associates, Inc. and Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., Cape Lookout Village Cultural Landscape Report, Cape Lookout National Seashore (2005), 3-2.

2 Jay Barnes, North Carolina's Hurricane History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995).

3 Gary S. Dunbar, Geographical History of the Carolina Banks: Technical Report No. 8, Part A , (Baton Rouge: Coastal Studies Institute, Louisiana State University, 1956), 218.

4 Cape Lookout National Seashore Master Plan, 1971, 40-41.

5 Dunbar, Geographical History of the Carolina Banks, 218. The inlets were Old Currituck, Musketo, Roanoke, Oregon, Cape, Old Hatteras, and Ocracoke.

6 We think this number was probably low, since there was no particular reason why the incidence of such events should have been lower in this century than in the preceding and following ones. M. Kent Brinkley, “The Hurricane History of Colonial Virginia to 1775,” The Electronic Journal of Disaster Science Issue 1, 1999, https://facultystaff.richmond.edu/~wgreen/ejem0102.htm. James E. Hudgins, Tropical Cyclones Affecting North Carolina Since 1586: An Historical Perspective (Blacksburg VA: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2000), p. 3; http://web.archive.org/web/20070311045226/http://repository.wrclib.noaa.gov/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=nws_tech_memos (accessed 11 May 2009).

7James E. Hudgins, Tropical Cyclones affecting North Carolina since 1586: An Historical Perspective, NOAA Technical Memorandum (Bohemia NY: National Weather Service Office, Blacksburg VA / Scientific Service Division, Eastern Region Headquarters, Bohemia NY, April 2000), http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/hq/ssd/erps/tm/tm92.pdf , p. 4. The 1699 storm is known to have hit South Carolina, and Hudgins thinks it likely that it hit the North Carolina coast as well.

8 Ibid., 4-5.

9 Barnes, North Carolina's Hurricane History, 35. Oddly, Dunbar’s map shows no new inlets dating from 1750.

10Hudgins, Tropical Cyclones Affecting North Carolina, 5.

11 Ibid., 6-7.

12 The first contract for a lightship in the U.S. was awarded in Hampton VA in 1819. “History of U. S. Lightships” (http://www.palletmastersworkshop.com/lightship.html; accessed 17 July 2010).

13 The first lightships appeared in the early 1820s. “Early U. S. Lightships” at http://www.uscglightshipsailors.org/lightships/station_hist/lv_ships/EarlyL.htm

(accessed January 5, 2010). David S Cecelski, A Historian's Coast: Adventures into the Tidewater Past (Winston-Salem NC: J.F. Blair, 2000), 21-22.



14 Sarah Olson, Portsmouth Village Historic Resource Study (1982), 63.

15Hudgins, Tropical Cyclones Affecting North Carolina, 8-10; Barnes, North Carolina’s Hurricane History, 37.

16 Barnes, North Carolina's Hurricane History, 34-38; Hudgins, Tropical Cyclones Affecting North Carolina Since1586, 12-13. Barnes does not elaborate on this latter assertion. For commentary on Knotts Island resident Henry Ansell’s recollections of the 1846 hurricane which devastated the area, see Cecelski, A Historian's Coast, 21-27.

17 Barnes treats this period on 39-61, and Hudgins on 13-22. Our account is based on these two discussions.

18 Barnes, North Carolina’s Hurricane History, 49-55, has an extended account of the San Ciriaco hurricane.

19 The history of the church is not easy to reconstruct. Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. and John Milner Associates, Inc., Portsmouth Village Cultural Landscape Report (2007), 30, says it was destroyed in a hurricane in 1899 and rebuilt in 1901, destroyed by another hurricane in 1913 and rebuilt in 1915. Methodist Church records we have consulted provide little data.

20 F. Ross, Jr. Holland, Survey History of Cape Lookout National Seashore (Raleigh NC: Division of History, Office of Archeology and Historic Preservation, 1968), p. 7; Tommy Jones, Fishing Cottage #2, Cape Lookout National Seashore: Historic Structure Report (2003), p. 14; Barnes, North Carolina's Hurricane History, 57-61.

21 Barnes’s “Selected Notorious Hurricanes” table lists eleven storms (1933-1999) that caused a total of 143 deaths and more than $12.5 billion in damages. For the first half of the century, he discusses ten hurricanes, four of which had serious effects upon the Outer Banks. Barnes, ibid, 63-78. chronicles this history. Our discussion combines data from Hudgins and Barnes.

22 A new Methodist church was built two years later. Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. and John Milner Associates, Inc., Portsmouth Village Cultural Landscape Report), 68: Tommy Jones, George Dixon House, Portsmouth, Cape Lookout National Seashore: Historic Structure Report (2004), 10 (http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/calo/calo_pgdh_hsr.pdf; accessed 10 June 2008).

23Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. and John Milner Associates, Inc., Portsmouth Village Cultural Landscape Report, p. 30. One of these hurricanes (presumably the second) also severely altered the landscape of Sheep Island, adjacent to Portsmouth, and damaged the home of the Ed Styron family. They moved into Portsmouth and built another house on the east side of the village. That small (250 sf) two-room house, which they occupied until 1944, is now known as the Ed Styron House (ibid.,125). For full documentation and discussion of this house, see Tommy Jones, Ed Styron House, Portsmouth, Cape Lookout National Seashore: Historic Structure Report (2004); http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/calo/calo_pesh_hsr.pdf (accessed 9 January 2008). See also Jones, George Dixon House, Portsmouth, Cape Lookout National Seashore: Historic Structure Report (2004), 10, 15, 19.

24 Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. and John Milner Associates, Inc., Portsmouth Village Cultural Landscape Report (2007), 125.

25 Barnes, North Carolina's Hurricane History, 80-120, discusses the hurricanes of this period. In addition to the hurricanes discussed here, Barbara (13 August 1953) struck between Morehead City and Ocracoke, but it was a weak Category 1 storm, and damage was not heavy except to crops. Similarly, Carol (30 August 1954), although a Category 2 storm, spared the coast significant damage, and Edna (10 September 1954) passed safely, sixty miles offshore.

26Hudgins, Tropical Cyclones Affecting North Carolina, 32-33.

27 “Total precipitation and path of hurricane Hazel,” Barnes, North Carolina's Hurricane History, 85.

28 Ibid., 108-118.
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