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The Island of Portsmouth

Date: 1929 | Identifier: F251.N892 v. 6
Article in The North Carolina Historical Review, v. 6 (1929), about the agriculture on Portsmouth Island, N.C. more...


By [ ]1

Portsmouth2 is an Island situated on the Sea Shore, twenty five miles from the Main land, twenty five miles in length, & varying in breadth from a mile & a half to a quarter, making a part of the chain of banks


extending along our coast from Virginia Southerly as far as the River St. Marys; The soil is not used for agricultural purposes, more than in Gardens & the raising of a few sweet potatoes, for the growth of which article, it appears to be peculiarly well adapted; The banks are justly valued for their advantages in raising stock; Horses, Cattle Sheep Goats &c. are raised in considerable numbers without the least expense or trouble to the proprietors more than that of marking; The food in the Summer Season is mostly of a kind of Wyre grass & young Rushes that grow most luxuriently—In the winter the rushes retain in a Considerable degree their verdure & shelter from the inclemency of the weather a tender under growth, which together yield a subsistence for the stock.

Seven years ago an inhabitant of the Island of his own mark, Sheared 700 head of Sheep—had between two hundred & fifty, & three hundred head of cattle & near as many Horses—The flesh of the beef & mutton is acknowledged by Epicures, to be vastly superior in point of sweetness to that raised on the Main—It is believed the Island at present is over-stocked & much benefit would result from a dimination of one third the present number—

Frequent & severe gales of wind for the last five or six years, have at the various times, swept large numbers of them off the Island and destroyed very much the range; as long however as any vestage of the Island remains, the margin of marsh, about one fourth of the breadth, extending the whole length, will afford a considerable food.


By M. McKenzie1

Chatham 18th July 1811

Messs. Printers

In the last number of the Star2 you express a desire of presenting to your readers a list of all the mines and Valuable quarries in the State, and request information on them Subjects,

You have already noticed a Bed of Coal on Deep river in this County. The Mine is in my neighborhood the Coal is very easily raised appears to be plenty and is Said to be of excellent quality. I have known three European Black Smiths who have worked it Vizt. an Englishman a Welchman & a Scotsman each of whom I have heard pronounce it as good Coal as they ever used in their respective native Countries, and each of them preferred using it to Charcoal.


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