This collection contains the records of the Friends of Portsmouth Island including minutes (1990-2016), correspondence, by-laws, 1994 incorporation documents, grant documents, and issues (1991-2016) of their newsletter Doctor's Creek Journal. Also included are documents related to Homecomings at Portsmouth Village (1980, 1992-2016), a DVD produced by the National Geographic Society titled "Portsmouth: Island with a Soul," and a DVD of a project done by UNC-Chapel Hill students titled "Portsmouth—In Search of the Past."
Friends of Portsmouth Island:
The Friends of Portsmouth Island was established in 1989 under the sponsorship of Carteret County Historical District. The FPI sponsors biannual Homecomings, and yearly publications of the Doctor's Creek Journal as well as outreach programs to neighboring communities.
The goals of the FPI are to promote and encourage the preservation of the historic structures, furnishings, and sites of Portsmouth Island; collect and preserve artifacts, photographs, documents, manuscripts of Portsmouth Island for deposit in the Carteret Museum of History and Art; and to foster and promote public knowledge of and interest in Portsmouth Island's past, present and future.
History of Portsmouth:
Portsmouth was established in 1753 after English settlers seized the lands from the Algonquin people. The colonists based their economy on shipping and storage for colonial businesses, resulting in Portsmouth becoming the largest settlement in the Outer Banks by 1770. Over time, the Ocracoke Inlet (on which Portsmouth lies) began to shallow and could no longer support heavy shipping as it once had. By 1846, shipping moved north to the deeper waterways near Hatteras and Portsmouth began to shrink. The village's population diminished further when Union soldiers marched on the Outer Banks in 1860, and the majority of the population fled inland. Few residents returned to Portsmouth at the war's conclusion; those who returned supported themselves by fishing but Portsmouth never regained its earlier glory and its population continued to dwindle. In 1942, the U.S. Coast Guard Station at Portsmouth was utilized as part of the Coast Watch System until the conclusion of World War II. Portsmouth remained a small but viable village until 1971 when the last three remaining residents either moved away or died. In 1978, Portsmouth was successfully added to the National Register of Historical Places, ensuring the history and integrity of the area for future generations.
The Friends of Portsmouth Island (FPI) collection contains a variety of materials in excellent condition from the 1980s to 2014, ranging from legal documents to public outreach. Included in the collection are the financial record documents that deal with the I.R.S., grants, and letters concerning the incorporation of the Cape Lookout National Seashore into Portsmouth domain. Newspaper articles from the News Times reported on Portsmouth's happenings, including a 2008 interest piece on Dot Willis, the last surviving person born in Portsmouth in attendance at the biannual Homecoming. The collection also contains several black and white photos of Portsmouth Church and the board members of the FPI (one color photo of the Church exists), and negatives of the church and its interior during Christmas, including one color photo of a decorated Christmas tree. Public outreach materials such as the Doctor's Creek Journal, and DVDs of Portsmouth's Homecomings (1980, 1992-2014), a DVD (2002) produced by the National Geographic Society titled "Portsmouth: Island with a Soul" and a DVD of a project done by UNC-Chapel Hill students titled "Portsmouth—In Search of the Past" are contained within the collection.
Gift of Richard Meissner, president of the Friends of Portsmouth Island
Gift of James E. White III, editor of the Doctor's Creek Journal
Processed by Kaitlin Clothier, September 11, 2015
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.