Monday, September 01, 2014

Uncle Stanley

My Granduncle, Stanley O'Neal, lived on Howard Street. He was a kind old gentleman, born in 1885. He worked as the cook at the US Coast Guard Station. By the time I was a youngster Uncle Stanley was almost deaf, but he still enjoyed listening to records on his Victrola. He died in 1956, when I was 12 years old.

This is picture of Uncle Stanley (on the left), me, and my father, taken about 1951 or 1952.













This is Uncle Stanley posing in his sailor uniform:


















This is Uncle Stanley's gravestone, near Cutting Sage Road.



















And this is a recent photo of Uncle Stanley's house on Howard Street. Now owned by Elizabeth and John Rinaldi, Uncle Stanley's house is a comfortable rental cottage. There is more information here: http://www.ocracokeislandrealty.com/OuterBanks/VacationRentals/Ocracoke/Details/Dc40_GaskinsOneal/.













 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 31, 2014

Live Oak

Yesterday I published a photo of an unusual pine tree. Here is a picture of one of the most impressive live oaks on Ocracoke Island.














I am sure many of our readers recognize this tree.  It is called Blackbeard's Oak. You can read more about this tree and other live oaks here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012909.htm.

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 30, 2014

Interesting Pine

Ocracoke has a number of impressive live oaks. They are old, massive, and gnarled, sometimes with long twisting branches that almost touch the ground. At the same time, their broad crowns present beautiful silhouettes against the moonlit sky, especially on Howard Street. 

Below is a photo I took of an unusual pine tree on Ocracoke Island.


















Can any of our readers tell us where this tree is located?

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 29, 2014

A Beautiful Day

As summer draws to an end and autumn approaches, the weather on Ocracoke can be spectacular. Cooler days with less humidity combine with bright skies and warm water to entice almost everyone outside.

This photo was taken several days ago, looking out across the marsh and Pamlico Sound. The Cumulus clouds were billowed up in great piles. What a beautiful day it was.















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. 

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.