For this month’s Newsletter we are going to take a stroll down Lawton Lane and Howard Street and look at the many fences around houses, yards, and cemeteries. You can click on any photo to view a larger image. Enjoy!

Walking down Lawton Lane from NC 12 (which is in the background) you will pass my fence (left, below), then Amy & David’s (right, below).

If you look to the northwest you will see the private lane leading to “Cousin Elsie’s” On the corner is “Diabando” ( Marvin & Leevella’s).

Starting on Howard Street from the School Road, the Natural Selections chain link fence (covered with vines) is on your left; the Homer Howard cemetery (with vines growing on the gate) is on your right.

Next are several other graveyard fences with mosses and lichens growing on them.

Gates and fences surround each of the small family cemeteries.


The Village Craftsmen fence is a simple, traditional design.

Some fences are white.

Others are unpainted.

Blanche’s yard has a simple wooden fence around it.

Lela’s house is framed by another white fence;

Just up the lane is the fence around the old George Gregory Howard property, then the fence at the Methodist parsonage (with one of the largest live oak trees on the island).

Next to the parsonage is John & Elizabeth’s place, the old Stanley O’Neal house.

Then there is Betty & Chris’s fence around the old Virginia Howard home, one of the oldest houses on the island.
Lindsey Howard’s fence is one of my favorites. It is covered with lichens.

Next up is Matt & Michelle’s (Dicie’s House).

Across the lane is a simple “rope fence” strung between posts.

Elsie & Irvine’s house, now owned by Kathy and Bob Phillips, is next.

At the end of the lane is Fred & Ernie Westervelt’s fence, adorned with flowers this time of year.


Ocracoke Island, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, was first settled by Europeans in the mid 1700’s.  In 1759, at nearly 60 years old, William Howard purchased the entire island for £105, and moved here.

Over the years the village grew.  Families built modest homes, a church was established, schools were built, and businesses flourished as shipping, fishing, and, eventually, tourism blossomed.

Many island homes in the nineteenth century were constructed from materials salvaged from schooners that wrecked on Ocracoke’s beach.  These and other historically significant structures are included in an area of approximately 200 acres around Silver Lake harbor.  In 1990 the Ocracoke Historic District was established, with more than 200 contributing structures identified.

The Homer and Aliph Howard home is one of these contributing structures.

In 1893, Homer Howard (great-great-great grandson of William Howard) married Aliph Dean O’Neal (great-great-great-great granddaughter of William Howard).  As a wedding present, Homer’s father, James Howard, purchased a nearby small home and had it moved to his property on Howard Street.

(This house is being rehabilitated.  As work proceeds, additional information and photos of the project will be posted here.  Please scroll down, and check back periodically to follow our progress.)

You can click on most of the photos below to view a larger version.

The Homer & Aliph Howard Home, on the left, as it appeared ca. 1932, and, on the right, January, 2004:


This house is representative of the basic island home, the historic “story and a jump,” a diminutive frame house, one and a half stories high. In typical fashion, it has a front porch and a one-story shed addition in the rear.  It was built ca. 1860 for Thompson Bragg (born ca. 1837/38), who never married, and it originally sat where the School Road lies now, not far from NC Highway 12.

Homer and Aliph Howard had 13 children.  Although only eight of these children lived to attain maturity (listed below in bold type), all of them were born and reared in this 1000 square foot home.  The house was heated, first by wood, and later by a kerosene space heater. There was no indoor plumbing and the kitchen was a separate building connected to the rear of the house by a wide wooden boardwalk. Aliph prepared meals on a cast iron wood-burning cook stove. Family members obtained water from a pitcher pump that was connected to a large round wooden cistern.






Birth Date


Death Date

Aliph Dean O’Neal Howard

F (Mother)

March 19, 1876

December 13, 1950

Homer Howard

M (Father)

June 21, 1868

May 15, 1947



May 11, 1894

March 11, 1986

Marvin Wyche


September 11, 1897

March 26, 1969

Failing H


November 04, 1899

July 14, 1900



March 04, 1901

Died at birth or soon after

James Enoch


January 21, 1903

January 04, 1972



October 26, 1905

January 21, 1923

Cordelia Zilphia


May 16, 1908

April 19, 1993

Neva May


June 09, 1910

Died at birth or soon after

Lawton Wesley


October 10, 1911

March 23, 2002

Thelma Gray


December 23, 1912

Aliph Carena


May 13, 1915

July 22, 1915

Homer Rodheaver


July 13, 1917

May 29, 1966

Aliph Dean


September 26, 1918

October 12, 1918

Thelma Gray Howard Babb (Aliph & Homer’s tenth child), a feisty, witty, active, and fun-loving woman who turned 91 years old in December of 2003, lives in Texas.

Homer & Aliph Howard with Thelma’s daughter Becky (note round cistern behind Homer), 1939:

This house was sold outside of the family in the mid 1960’s (about a decade after Aliph died), but Philip Howard, Homer and Aliph’s grandson, bought the property again in 1990.  Although several people have owned this house, and even more have lived in it, no truly major renovations were ever made.

In the mid-1930’s the small open porch on the rear shed addition was converted to an indoor kitchen.  And in the mid-1950’s a small bathroom was added on the first floor, the roof was replaced, and plywood was nailed to all of the floors and to most of the walls and ceilings.  Otherwise, few alterations were made.  As a result, although the house shows the effects of nearly 150 years of wear from humans, critters, and storms, it remains remarkably well preserved.

In 2003 Philip obtained approval from the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office for an historic rehabilitation of this significant island structure.  Work was begun in January 2004.


Use the links at the top of the page to see a record of ongoing work done on the Homer  & Aliph Howard home.

Check back periodically for additional photos and more information about the progress of this project.