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homecoming brings life to portsmouth island

Deserted for 45 years, Portsmouth Island just south of Ocracoke is remembered by the families of the last residents. Decedents gather twice a year to recall life in the village in the beautifully preserved building the National Park Service maintains, and if you’ve never been to Portsmouth, it’s an ideal time to go. Homecoming will be Saturday, April 30th this spring, is a family friendly gathering, that includes a giant potluck dinner, children’s activities and the first 500 people who sign in at the event receive a special Portsmouth pin. As reported in the Ocracoke Observer, boats leave Ocracoke starting at 8 am from the NCCAT dock and are $20 per person.

Portsmouth Methodist Church. Photo by P. Vankevich

Portsmouth Methodist Church. Photo by P. Vankevich, Ocracoke Observer

inside the old church

The interior of the church. Note the gas lights- there was never electricity on Portsmouth. This photo was taken in 2000.

Its last three residents left the island in 1971, and while the village is under the purview of the National Park Service, Friends of Portsmouth Island has done much over the years to preserve the remaining structures.

With the theme this year of “The Families of Portsmouth,” two babies will be christened by the Rev. Ivey Belch of Ocracoke at a service in the restored Methodist church.

This year there will be a Descendant Tent, where Portsmouth families will bring their photos, scrapbooks, family trees, etc. to share with everyone.  There will be a special “Roll Call of Families” during the Homecoming program under the big tent.”


Read the rest of this fantastic story on Portsmouth Island on the Ocracoke Observer.

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