Mail Boats

Prior to bridge and road construction in the eastern part of the Carteret County, mail boats were a lifeline for folks - used to deliver passengers, cargo as well as mail to points east of Beaufort - all the way to Ocracoke Island. The photo to your right is an example of a typical US Mail Boat.

The Beaufort mail boat was in service until the 1957. At one time Matt Marshal ran the mail boat from Beaufort. Originally named Deep Hole Point, the Down East community of Marshallberg was named for him. (It is said that clay dug from the area was used to fill ramparts and cover easements at Fort Macon on Bogue Banks - leaving a large hole.)

One of the murals in the Beaufort Post Office depicts Orville G, the supply and mail boat on its way to nearby Cape Lookout Lighthouse. In conveying the boat with a stormy sky and rough sea, the artist* shows the hardships incurred the crew of the boat and by the keeper of the light.

Mr. Kelly Willis was mail carrier for Harkers Island when the bridge was completed in 1941, when he began transporting the mail by car.

*This and four other murals painted in 1940 by a Russian immigrant, Simka Simkhovitch, are now considered by the US Post Office and historians as a national treasure.
Simkhovitch was engaged by then-postmaster Wiley Higgins Taylor Sr. and was paid $1,900 for his work. Simkovitch's fee was funded by the Fine Arts Program, a federal project that provided work for artists during the Great Depression.