Monday, October 24, 2016

Kitty Hawk

I have discovered more than fifty different spellings for Ocracoke in various historical documents and maps. The name is clearly of Native American origin, probably from "Wingandacon" which became "Wococon" or "Wokokon" on early maps. Some researchers believe the first Europeans believed the Indians were telling them the name of the place, when they were actually saying, "You wear good clothes."

Kitty Hawk is another Outer Banks village with an interesting name. Many legends have developed about where the name came from. Dragonflies, which are common on the Banks, are often called skeeter hawks, and some have suggested this as the origin of the name. Huak (probably an imitation of the sound made by a goose) is also an Indian word. It refers to this common waterfowl in eastern North Carolina. Could this be where Kitty Hawk derives its name?

More likely, Kitty Hawk is an Anglicanization of the Algonquian word Chickehauk, an Indian settlement located on James Wimble's 1738 Map of North Carolina:

The detail below shows "Chickehauk" just to the left of "Three sand hills."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:

Friday, October 21, 2016


We normally publish a new Ocracoke Newsletter each month. However, because Hurricane Matthew monopolized our attention for the last several weeks, we have decided to continue to promote our September Newsletter about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks.

In case you missed this Newsletter, you can read it here:

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Portsmouth Village

A reader recently asked how Portsmouth Village fared during Hurricane Matthew. This is what I learned from a knowledgeable source:

Portsmouth Village was not too badly affected. There was some tide in several buildings -- the Visitors Center, the Visitors Center shed, the Post Office, the School, the Life-Saving Station, and the stable.

Everything had been put up so there was not much damage. However, quite a few large cedars were blown over. The Methodist church and the Haulover dock were unscathed. Henry Pigott's house was not flooded.

Of course, it could have been much worse.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


One of the island's most cherished dinners is Old Drum, Ocracoke style. We can no longer get old drum, but David purchased some younger drum (channel bass) at the fish house before the storm. We made a great meal out of it that very day!

My Recent Dinner Table
Here is Danny & Margaret Garrish's recipe as printed in the Ocracoke Cookbook (I like to read it aloud before we partake):

The "ceremony:" Boil drum in lightly salted water until it flakes. In another pot, boil about 2 medium potatoes per person. Hard boil 2 eggs per person. Dice a good size bowl of onions. Dice and fry-out (render) salt pork until brown and crunchy.

Assemble at the table, fixing each plate individually. Mash potatoes with fork, flake drum in with potatoes and sprinkle generously with diced onion. Add salt, pepper and chop up the hard boiled egg in the mixture, adding a good helping of cracklings and grease. Sprinkle with vinegar if desired. Enjoy!

Be sure to mix enough on the first plate. Somehow the second plateful never tastes as good as the first. Never plan anything for a couple of hours after you eat this. Just slide under the table and rest a spell. Don't forget the baked cornbread and lots of butter.

Drum Dinner Ocracoke Style

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Howard Family

I wonder how many readers remember my father, Lawton Howard (1911-2002). He had an impish sense of humor that endeared him to everyone he met. If you don't remember Lawton you can read about him here:

This following photo shows his family in Spring, 1912. Lawton is the baby in his mother's arms.

The photo was taken by the corner of my house on Lawton Lane.

Back row: Wheeler Howard (my father's uncle), Agatha Howard (my father's oldest sister), Aliph Howard (my father's mother), Lawton Howard, Homer Howard (my father's father).

Front row: Cordelia Howard (my father's sister), Lawrence Simpson (my father's 2nd cousin), Edward Simpson (my father's second cousin), Evans Howard (my father's brother).

Sitting, in front with dog: Marvin Howard (my father's brother).

On horse: James Enoch Howard (my father's brother).

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:  

Monday, October 17, 2016


Village Craftsmen has re-opened after Hurricane Matthew. Take a stroll down Howard Street (almost no damage to the live oaks and cedars along the lane), and stop by to say hello. We have a gallery full of quality American-made handcrafts.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:


Although Hurricane Matthew downed several trees and brought tides higher than most islanders could remember, and several homes had significant floodwater damage, by and large Ocracoke was spared widespread devastation. For the past week we have been cleaning up debris from yards and emptying outbuildings that were flooded. Hyde County has hired a contractor who will be coming to the island, starting this Wednesday, to haul away water-damaged items that have been placed alongside the roads.

Piles of debris may not be very attractive, but they will soon be gone. The island is drying out, and the weather has been superb...bright, sunny skies, temperatures in the mid-70s, and low humidity. 

As always, Ocracokers have weathered a serious storm by working together as a community, neighbors helping neighbors. We are looking forward to another beautiful fall and more stellar weather. We expect to see visitors returning to the island later today.

Full Moon over my House

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:

Island Open to Visitors

The chairman of the Hyde County Board of Commissioners has issued a proclamation for the Termination of the Mandatory Visitor Evacuation Order Issued for Ocracoke Island, effective 5 a.m. today, October 17, 2016 (,798,711).

Islanders have been working hard on clean-up after Hurricane Matthew. Welcome back to Ocracoke Island. The weather is terrific!

Saturday, October 15, 2016


October 15, 2016 @ 5:00 PM

Ocracoke Deputy Control Group Submits a Recommendation to Lift Ocracoke Visitor Restriction and Mandatory Evacuation Order

The Ocracoke Deputy Control Group (ODCG) met today and unanimously voted to recommend lifting the Ocracoke visitor restriction and mandatory evacuation order.  The recommendation submitted by the ODCG will require a vote by the Hyde County Board of Commissioners and if approved, a proclamation will be signed to allow visitors entry on Monday, October 17, 2016, at 5:00 AM.  Visitors, returning on Monday, need to be mindful of the ongoing recovery efforts and exercise caution before and after the debris removal operations begin on Wednesday, October 19, 2016.  Heavy machinery will be working in and around the village next week as they remove tremendous amounts of storm debris.

On October 10, 2016, President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for the State of North Carolina triggering the release of Federal funds to help individuals and communities recover from Hurricane Matthew that began on October 4, 2016, and continuing.  Hyde County has received a FEMA Individual Assistance (IA) Declaration which allows homeowners, renters, and businesses to apply for vital short-term and long-term recovery assistance.  

Assistance can include grants for:

  • Temporary housing
  • Essential home repairs
  • Uninsured and underinsured personal property losses
  • Other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance

Applicants will be asked for the following information:

  • Social Security number
  • Address of the damaged primary residence
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • A current contact telephone number
  • An address where they can receive mail
  • Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds

Residents can apply at, 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585.  Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362.  The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week, and multilingual operators are available.  Disaster Recovery Centers also will be opening in flood-impacted communities during the next several weeks for those who would like to talk with someone in person.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) case intake center at the Ocracoke Community Center, 999 Irvin Garrish Highway, is now closed.  Based upon the needs assessments completed, which totaled twenty-eight (28), UMCOR volunteers will be establishing teams and a base of operations on Ocracoke Island.  The UMCOR Coordinator reported that they are hoping to begin work within the next couple of weeks.

Hyde County disaster survivors requiring mental health services in the wake of Hurricane Matthew may visit the Trillium Health Resources kiosk located at the Hyde County Government Center, 30 Oyster Creek Road; Swan Quarter, NC 27885, or citizens can call Trillium Health Resources Access to Care at 1-877-685-2415.

Hyde County's debris removal contractor has completed an initial assessment to determine debris volumes and equipment needs.  Ocracoke debris removal operations will begin on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 and will continue until volumes have diminished to a locally manageable level.  Citizens may transport vegetative storm debris to the designated mainland convenience sites or you can place it on the shoulder of the NCDOT right-of-way as outlined in the diagram provided.  The Swan Quarter and Engelhard convenience sites will accept your vegetative storm debris.  The debris contractor will not collect storm debris on private property.  Please do not transport your storm debris to the Temporary Debris Storage Sites (TDSS) on Ocracoke Island or the mainland.  Attached, please find instructions detailing how your debris should be separated and placed within the NCDOT right-of-way to be retrieved.

Hyde County is transitioning from response to recovery and the coalition of federal, state, local, and private partners have made significant progress.   The list of accomplishments and pending items include:

  • Local propane vendors are assessing damages, resetting propane tanks and making repairs.
  • National Park Service is assessing beach access ramps, boat ramps and other infrastructure.  Three beach access ramps are available (63, 67, and 70) and the NPS boat ramp is not accessible.
  • Ocracoke Health Center is open and has received medicine and supplies with assistance from the United States Coast Guard.
  • Emergency Medical Service (EMS) ground transports have resumed with the restoration of ferry services to Hatteras.
  • Hyde County Department of Social Services has initiated post-disaster programs to help those who receive food and nutrition services.  Please contact Hyde DSS at 252-926-4476 for more information on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • Hyde County has waived all permit fees for reconstruction necessary due to Hurricane Matthew, however permits are still required by the Hyde County Building Inspector's Office.
  • Insurance adjusters and building contractors are being allowed access to Ocracoke if they possess valid credentials.  
  • Stores are stocked and prepared to support the returning visitors.
  • Hyde County has received an Individual Assistance (IA) declaration from FEMA.

The Fairfield Drainage District has declared a drainage emergency due to inundation from the Alligator River which is impacting mitigation structures in the district.  Hyde County is coordinating with the Fairfield Drainage District and Mattamuskeet Association to identify and obtain resources for their response and recovery efforts.  Although conditions have improved, there has been standing water on NC Hwy 94 between Fairfield and Columbia at the Northwest Fork and these conditions may fluctuate.  The NCDOT and County of Hyde are urging commuters to remain alert and aware of the road conditions while traveling in the Northwest Fork area.

Tideland EMC has completely restored services in Hyde County, however there have been intermittent power outages since restoration of transmission to Ocracoke.

NCDOT Ferry Division has restored all services to Ocracoke Island.  Please refer to for the latest ferry information.  Through early Monday morning, only residents, non-resident property owners, vendors and essential service personnel are allowed access to the village.  Please be prepared to show documentation of the aforementioned statuses to gain access to the island.  Individuals wishing to gain access will need to have the appropriate reentry tag or they will be required to produce evidence of property ownership or residency.

If traveling throughout North Carolina, please refer to or for the latest road closures and routes open to travel.  When using the TIMS site, you must select the region or individual counties you are traveling through to obtain specific information regarding your travel plans.

Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor services and facilities on Ocracoke Island, including the visitor center, off-road vehicle permit office, and campground, will re-open on Monday, October 17. The status of beach access ramps will be posted on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Facebook page here:

Water is still standing on many roadways and properties in Hyde County, please do not drive through flood waters or on flooded roads.  Water only two feet deep can sweep away most automobiles.   Death can occur as a result of careless or unsuspecting motorists who attempt to drive through flooded roads.  Turn Around.  Don't Drown. If your vehicle is flooded please disconnect the battery cables to prevent a fire from occurring.

Please be advised, flood waters may contain sewage and other harmful contaminants. Keep children and pets out of flood waters.

The WOVV radio tower was destroyed during Hurricane Matthew and a temporary antenna is providing limited coverage within the village.  Citizens can tune in and obtain the most current Ocracoke news by live streaming their programs at

Please maintain awareness and monitor for further updates from Hyde County Public Information.


Teresa Adams
Public Information Officer