Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sound Shore Restoration

On Tuesday six students and their teachers from UNC-Chapel Hill came to Ocracoke to plant salt water grass along the shoreline at Springer's Point.














The students are enrolled in the Environmental Studies program at Chapel Hill, and worked for three hours helping to stabilize the shoreline, and learning first hand about environmental protection and preservation of sensitive coastal ecosystems.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Taken

Several days ago a neighbor left on my kitchen table four pages of hand-written notes about the 1909 wreck of the German steamship, Brewster (look for a future Ocracoke Newsletter about this shipwreck).

In her third paragraph my neighbor wrote, "One by one the men taken the life ring over to L. S. [Life Saving] boat." Then she added, "They taken about 9 men at a time to Hatt. [Hatteras] Inlet...."

I was reminded of this interesting use, by native islanders, of the word "taken" for "took." I even discovered the same usage in one of the Life Saving Service reports about the wreck of the Brewster: "I tacon [taken=took] the Cape Hatteras life boat in tow and carried hur under the beach in the bite of Cape Hatteras."

In an email from Walt Wolfram, Director of the North Carolina Language and Life Project, he explained that "the use of 'taken' for 'took' is one of those cases where the past tense and participle have merged in English," and  "the historical participle is used for both past and participle." Other examples Walt offered were "she seen," "he come," and "they done."

This usage is not as common on Ocracoke as it once was, but if you listen carefully you will occasionally hear it even today.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Wig-Wag

While reading about a 1909 shipwreck on Ocracoke I came across this sentence: "Keeper Barnett then picked up the Creeds Hill life boat and towed her near the station and wigwag[ed] a surfman on the beach to ... come off with the Jersey boat and carrey [sic] the crew of said station on shore."

I did not know what it meant to "wigwag" a surfman, though I suspected it had something to do with signaling. This is what I discovered from Wikipedia:

"In the 1850s,  U.S. Army Major Albert J. Myer, a surgeon by training, developed a system using left or right movements of a flag (or torch or lantern at night). Myer's system used a single flag, waved back and forth in a binary code conceptually similar to the Morse code of dots and dashes. This is sometimes called the wig-wag method of signaling, or 'wig-wagging'."

Signal Corps Insignia

Wig-Wag Flag Movements

























I learn something new almost every day!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hatteras Ferry Route

For months the Hatteras ferries have been taking a longer route to avoid running aground in the narrow, shallow former channel. In spite of constant dredging by the US Army Corps of Engineers, they have not been able to keep the shorter, 40-minute, run open.

Photo Courtesy Amy Howard



















The US Coast Guard has now announced that the longer, one-hour crossing, has now been made permanent. More information is available from the Virginian-Pilot, on-line: http://hamptonroads.com/2014/08/alternate-hatteras-inlet-ferry-route-made-permanent.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Changing Times

Sometimes, as I read hundred year old newspaper reports about Ocracoke, I am struck with how differently the news was reported back then. I have a difficult time fathoming why writers and editors chose to mention certain details, and to ignore others. The following article was published in The Raleigh Christian Advocate on July 8, 1885:

"[Ocracoke] Island is about fifteen miles long by two and a half wide, about 450 persons live on it, the inhabited part not more than three and a half miles long by one and a half wide. They have not a bar-room here, and there is not a Jew, nor a lawyer, nor a doctor, nor a Baptist here, only one grown negro here and that one has not been away I think in eighteen or twenty years."

I really don't have any further comment, except to wonder again why the writer chose to mention Jews, lawyers, doctors, and Baptists...and not Muslims, florists, opera houses, Catholics, or any number of other religions and professions. I suppose you just had to live in the late 1800s.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Progress

From the Newbern [NC] Daily Progress, December 20, 1862:

"Stove in Church -- For the first time in the history of Portsmouth [Portsmouth Island, NC], a stove was made use of Dec. 7th, for warming the church, having been placed therein by Dr. Loren H. Pease, so that the Islanders and Hospital inmates can now safely attend religious services in winter, as well as other seasons of the year. Verily this has well been styled 'an age of progress,' and there are many incidental advantages growing out of the war."

I am not aware of any photographs of the original Portsmouth Island church. It was destroyed in the 1899 hurricane. The photos below are of the second and third churches built on Portsmouth.

Portsmouth Church, 1900-1913
Cape Lookout National Seashore





















Portsmouth Church, Present Day




















Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm

Friday, August 22, 2014

Alice Rondthaler

In March of 2012 I published an Ocracoke Newsletter about Alice & Theodore Rondthaler. I recently discovered the following short article in the August 2, 1974 Carolina Beachcomber. It illustrates Alice's dry sense of humor.

JoKo & Alice Rondthaler, 1974

















"Coffee ice cream on the front porch was a highlight of our visit to the home of 'Mrs. Ocracoke,' Alice Rondthaler. Her current interest is the creative summer program sponsored by the Methodist Church and she was making plans to have a yard sale, and also a tour of her home, her late husband's shop and trailer. 'Only 10 cents for a look at the building; a look under the bed to see a Greek Bible for another 10 cents; and cans and cans of used paint, all colors and sizes, will be for sale. You get to shake the cans, too, before you pay your 10 cents,' Mrs. Rondthaler smiled."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.