Monday, June 12, 2017


New visitors to Ocracoke are often surprised and amazed to discover there are more than 80 cemeteries scattered about in the village. Most are small family cemeteries, although some hold dozens of graves, and there is one larger and newer community cemetery.

People sometimes ask if the older family cemeteries, which are often located near historic houses, are still being used. Yes, they are, however, many of them are quite small, and room for new graves is dwindling as the years roll on.

Of course, there are many older unmarked graves on Ocracoke Island, both in the village and in the dunes along the beach. These are the graves of Native Americans, pirates, victims of shipwrecks, residents whose wooden markers have washed away, and others. Ocracokers sometimes remark that there are more dead people here than living ones!

Ocracoke Cemeteries Map

Key to Cemeteries Map

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Aleta, Ocracoke's mailboat from 1944-1952, compliments of the Core Sound Museum. Click on the following link for photos, text, and audio recordings about this iconic vessel:


  1. Thank you Philip for this information and your exhaustive research. I look forward to exploring some of these places later this summer.

  2. Anonymous8:54 AM

    If one searches on the Internet " Cemetery terms" one discovers an aspect of burials one may not have been aware of, such as some graves are stacked and there is a phenomenon of grave degradtion when the ground sinks above the casket. How deep are graves dug on OI before one hits the water table? Are there paper records tracing the contractual agreements of the burials in the cemeteries that are not "family" plots. When did a burial on OI become"regulated?" This was not a topic I expected to find first thing Monday morning.

    1. Because of the high water table most Ocracoke graves are relatively shallow. The last time I inquired (about 20 years ago) the only NC law re. death and burial had to do with transportation of bodies across county lines. Everything else was covered by public health laws. I don't believe burials are any more regulated today. Maybe another reader knows more.

    2. Anonymous1:43 PM

      Using the term regulated was an effort to imply record keeping/data base etc. The North Carolina department of Archeology initiated a cemetery survey and well there is a great deal about the program on their web site FYI! :)