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Diamond City Homecoming is set for Saturday, Aug. 17. This event is a way for Diamond City descendants to gather and  celebrate the 120th anniversary of the storm of 1899 that drove their Shackleford Banks ancestors to higher ground. (Dylan Ray photo)

The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center is planning to “go home to a place we’ve never lived” with the Diamond City Homecoming.

This is a day to bring together the families of Shackleford Banks who migrated to Salter Path, the Promise Land and Harkers Island to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the storm of 1899 that drove their Shackleford Banks ancestors to higher ground.

“An event like the Diamond City Homecoming allows us to honor our ancestors and their struggles,” said Shannon Adams, a Diamond City descendant who lives in the Promise Land.  “Even though Carteret County is a wide land mass, events like the homecoming brings out awareness of connections that some folks never realized before. 

“Shackleford Banks is the foundation of strong family connections throughout the country and part of this event is to celebrate our heritage.  Even though communities such as Salter Path, Promise Land of Morehead City and Down East are typically separated by distance and day-to-day life, we have a strong, long term bond,” Mr. Adams said.

The event is hosted by Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center in partnership with the Promise Land Society and Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Diamond City Homecoming will feature many different events.

At the museum, there will be family displays for Diamond City descendants and a table of remembrance for Diamond City families.

A Diamond City Homecoming video will be for sale.  This was filmed at the 2014 homecoming.  These are also on sale at 806 Arendell St. in Morehead City or by mail. 

At 9 a.m., ferries will leave the National Park Services docks for a Wade’s Shore Cemetery service. Private boats are welcome to make the trip for the service.

The service at Wade’s Shore Cemetery will start at 10 a.m. The ceremony will last about an hour, and the ferries will return to the docks around 11 a.m.

Food trucks will offer lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a homecoming service at 2 p.m.

Rodney Kemp and Diamond City descendants will lead the service, which will include readings, music and memories.

“I am honored to be the chairman of the Promise Land Society, a group dedicated to the preservation and memories of their great heritage,” Mr. Kemp said. “Theirs is a heritage that is greatly revered and richly blessed because of its ties to Ca’e Banks and Diamond City and the other communities of the Banks.

“Today these Promise Landers speak with great pride of their ancestors who moved to the mainland, but brought their cherished memories of life on the Banks. It was a lifestyle so appreciated that even today in the Promise Land those true Bankers still live by the traditions and standards they brought across the sound.

“These traditions and standards can be summarized in one word, ‘love,’” he concluded.

Then at 7 p.m., folks will return to Cape Lookout for stories on the porch, lighthouse climbs and a sunset cruise back to Harkers Island.  Private boats are also welcome.

Reservations are needed for ferries and cost $15. Reservations are also needed for the lighthouse climb. They are $8.

For more information, call the museum at 252-728-1500.

According to information provided by the museum, “Diamond City was home to more than 500 fishermen, whalers, boatbuilders and their families at the end of the 19th century.

“From October 1891 until October 1898, 18 recorded storms ravaged these sand banks. People grew weary and began to talk of moving to higher ground away from the only home they had ever known.

“On Aug. 17, 1899, the San Ciriaco hurricane, crossed the coast of North Carolina, leaving behind an unrecoverable path of destruction … wells filled with saltwater and sand … trees were blistered with salt … the landscape barren.

“And thus the migration began in earnest for Diamond City’s families as they began to move inland … taking down their homes and boarding them across skiffs loaded with all their belongings in search of a new place to carry on their way of life.  

“Families moved to Morehead City’s Promise Land and to Bogue Banks’ Salter Path, but most would move just across the sound to Harkers Island.

“Now, generations later, descendants of those Diamond City families hold onto their ancestral ties to these windswept shores with a sacred allegiance to their home place, returning often, renewing their ties to this place and one another.”

Diamond City Homecoming, which is celebrated every five years, brings together families who share these common ties, remembering loved ones they never knew and coming home to a place they’ve never lived, officials said.

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