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Portsmouth The Way It Was

Portsmouth The Way It Was


PORTSMOUTH ISLAND, THE GHOST VILLAGE OF THE OUTER BANKS, attracts curiosity seekers and history lovers, both. The island was once a thriving seaport. Now it is uninhabited.This is its true story.


Ellen Fulcher Cloud's PORTSMOUTH: The Way It Was shares the island's history, based on documents, personal letters and photographs she unearthed. Learn of military forays from the Spanish Invasion through the Civil War. Discover the story of America's first marine hospital, established here in 1820, and of Dr. Samuel Dudley, the wealthy physician later in charge. Meet John Wallace, the businessman "Governor of Shell Castle," and the brave members of the U.S. Life-Saving Service. Understand the integral role of the island's one Black family, listen in on a daylong conversation with Mrs. Mattie Gilgo about life more than a century ago, and get an inside look at the village school and postal service.


Then witness Portsmouth's eventual transition to a modern-day oddity—an empty village of still-standing homes, lifesaving station, church, and post office, maintained by the National Park Service with help from the Friends of Portsmouth Island…a virtual "Ghost Village."


This award-winning book depicts a way of life that is all but forgotten. It should find its way onto the shelf of every Outer Banks lover.

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