Monday, April 20, 2015

Saw

Last Thursday I posted this picture of a two-man cross cut saw, and asked readers to guess what it was used for on Ocracoke Island.








The very first comment by "NJ Reader" got it right. It was used to cut ice. For many years ice was brought to the island in large blocks on the mailboat and on several different freight boats. Those blocks of ice were cut into manageable sizes for use in home ice boxes, in fish houses, and on fishing trawlers. Ocracoke was wired for electricity in 1938, and immediately established an ice plant (where Kitty Hawk Kites is located today).

It took islanders a little while to abandon ice boxes, and to embrace electric refrigerators, but it has now been many decades since anyone on the island has used ice for home refrigeration.  Flake ice is now made at the fish house for use by local fishermen.

The ice saw has not been used for decades. It is now part of the collection at the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum thanks to a generous donation by a part-time resident.

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Blue Bottle

I stumbled across this "blue bottle" jellyfish a few days ago.















You may know it by its more common name, the Portuguese Man O' War.

This jellyfish is in the Class Hydrozoa, and the Order Siphonophora. It is actually a colony of individuals called zooids, which are incapable of living independently. It fills an air sac with gas, allowing it to float on the surface of the ocean. Tentacles dangle below the surface, with stinging cells that "contain one of the most powerful poisons known in marine animals and can inflict severe burns and blisters even when the animal is dead on the beach." (National Audubon Society Field Guide To Seashore Creatures)

Don't let the beautiful, blue color fool you. This critter is best left alone!

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Saw

Chester Lynn called me a couple of days ago. He owns Annabelle's Florist and Antique Shop on the Back Road, and he wanted to show me a two-man crosscut saw that was used on Ocracoke more than eighty years ago.








I had seen other antique saws like this one, but I had always understood that they were used in logging and forestry work. You may be wondering what this saw was used for on Ocracoke Island. It wasn't for cutting trees.

If you think you know, or have a guess, for how this saw was employed, please leave a comment. I will post the answer on Monday.

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fred Cannon

If you have visited Portsmouth Village you may have noticed a bronze memorial plaque in the Methodist Church dedicated to Fred Cannon.

Fred was a fisherman/crabber who cherished the primitive and solitary life on Portsmouth island in the 1960s. He lived without indoor plumbing or electricity.

The September 1969 issue of National Geographic published an article, "Lonely Cape Hatteras, Besieged by the Sea," that had this to say about Fred Cannon:

"Few outsiders visit Portsmouth, and that suited at least one of the five residents just fine. Fred Cannon, who lived alone at one end of the island, told me: 'I haven't had a tie on since I cane out of the service in 1946. Ain't that wonderful?'

"For Fred Cannon, only death could take him from the island's solitude which he cherished. In April of this year [1969], his 16-foot skiff was found swamped in Pamlico Sound. His personal belongings washed up on the beach. An investigation by the Coast Guard concluded that he fell overboard and perished."

Fred Cannon, just one of many eccentric Outer Bankers, who lived life his own way. 

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Ocracoke Coloring Book

Kitty Mitchell published The Ocracoke Coloring Book in 1976. It was chock full of eccentric characters and snippets of what island life was like four decades ago. Surprisingly, much has remained the same.

Ocracoke Preservation Society decided to reprint The Ocracoke Coloring Book, and it is now available in their gift shop.














There will be a few of our readers who remember Kitty's book, and many more who will enjoy a glimpse into the past by way of this reprint of Kitty's quirky, whimsical drawings and island scenes. The Ocracoke Current has published more about the new venture here: http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/110303.

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Taxes

As April 15 nears we think of income taxes.

Speaking of taxes, below is information about Ocracoke Island unpaid property taxes (for the years 1834, 1835, & 1836) that  I found in the Feb. 28, 1838 issue of The Weekly Standard (Raleigh, NC).

1 acre of land owned by Nathan Spencer..............tax owed,   $7.38
50 acres of land owned by John Williams............tax owed,   $4.47
50 acres of land owned by Benjamin Williams....tax owed, $10.20
60 acres of land owned by Abner Howard............tax owed,   $9.43
250 acres of land owned by George Williams.....tax owed, $20.54

Oh, how times have changed!

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Cross of Lorraine Division: The Story of the 79th

The following is from a small booklet covering the history of the WWII 79th Infantry Division of the US Army --

On October 25, 1944 the G-2 report of the Nazi 361st Volksgrenadier Div. addressed the following warning note to its subordinate units:

"The 79th Division is said to have fought particularly well in Normandy, and is considered as one of the best attack divisions in the U.S. Army."

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Ocracoke Island native, Major General Ira Thomas Wyche was the Commanding General of the 79th. General Wyche, son of Rev. L. O. Wyche and Lorena Howard, was born on Ocracoke Island in 1887.

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The booklet explains that This was the division ...first to enter Cherbourg...first across the Seine...the division that swept through France like an avenging flame...the division with a combat itinerary like a railroad time table...the division that by sheer guts and a fighting devotion to duty had ousted a desperate foe from the hell that was Foret de Parroy...this was the famed Fighting 79th -- the Cross of Lorraine Division -- back at the task it had thought completed 26 years ago.

You can read the entire booklet here: http://www.lonesentry.com/gi_stories_booklets/79thinfantry/index.html.

And you can read more about General Wyche here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092110.htm.

Our latest monthly Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.