Monday, August 21, 2017

Eclipse

According to http://nationaleclipse.com, "Between 1776 and 1918, 16 total solar eclipses crossed over what was or would eventually become U.S. soil."

The web site goes on to explain that, "[t]he total eclipse of June 24, 1778, was the first of its kind for the newly independent, but still at war, United States of America.

The North-Carolina Weekly Gazette in New Bern published this report on June 26, 1778 (transcription follows):













"Newbern, June 26. On Wednesday last, the great eclipse of the sun, as calculated by astronomers in the almanacks, and said to happen in this latitude, and be visible here, was observed with great attention, and some surprise to the ignorant, the weather being tolerably clear, and the moon’s passage over the sun’s disk, being distinctly seen during the whole iimmersion. This was the greatest eclipse of the sun ever seen here by the oldest people now living among us, and exhibited a scene truly awful. The gradual obscurity of the sun, the decrease of her light, the fickly face of nature, and at last the total darkness which ensued, the stars appearing as at midnight, and the fouls seeking for their nightly shelter, caused a solemnity truly great, and, tho’ proceeding from a natural cause, the moon’s passing between the sun and our earth, which she must necessarily do in certain periods in different latitudes, was beheld with astonishment and gratitude to the supreme RULER of the universe, by whose almighty power the motions of such vast bodies are regular and uniform, and the delightful system of the world kept intire and complete."

According to nationaleclipse.com, "The eclipse first entered the continent in Spanish-, French-, and British-controlled land and then slid out into the Atlantic Ocean through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. New Bern, North Carolina, was close to the southern edge of the eclipse path...."

To see photos of the 2017 eclipse on Ocracoke, take a look at our Facebook page later today.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.  

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fishcakes

Washington (Washie) Spencer (1901-1988) was a native Ocracoke fisherman who loved his island home. His grandson, Vince O'Neal, owner of the Pony Island Restaurant, carries on the family tradition by working the water to supply fresh fish for local restaurants.

Vince is also a strong supporter of the Ocracoke Working Watermen's Association, and often provides fish cakes for events using an old family recipe. If you are not on the island for one of these events, you can still enjoy Ocracoke fish cakes. Just stop by the Fish House on Hwy 12, and pick up the main ingredient. Then follow Washie's recipe.

Washie Spencer’s recipe for Fishcakes:
  • 12 fillets of fish (fresh catch of the day) 
  • 3 eggs 
  • ½ cup flour 
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • 6 cubed potatoes 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover fish and potatoes. Bring fish and potatoes to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft. Drain and let cool. Add remaining ingredients to fish and potatoes in a large bowl and mix well. Hand pat into cakes and grill or fry to a golden brown.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Fig Festival

Tomorrow, August 18, is the first day of this year's Annual Fig Festival. The Fig Festival celebrates Ocracoke's sweetest tradition: fig preserves and fig cakes!

This year's event begins on Friday afternoon/evening on the grounds at the Ocracoke Preservations Society Museum. Learn about Ocracoke fig trees and fig recipes, and vote for your favorite in the Fig Preserves contest. Join in a Traditional Ocracoke Square Dance to the tunes of Molasses Creek! 

Photo by Trudy Austin



















On Saturday, the Fig Festival moves to the historic Community Square. Local vendors provide fresh figs, fig preserves, local cookbooks, fig-smoked BBQ, and other fig-tastic items. Bring the kids for crafts and games, and enjoy live music throughout the day until the main event -- the Fig Cake Bake-Off with free samples for everyone.

The fun continues with a dance party in Community Square. We hope to see you there!

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.  

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MTS Trail

On Saturday September 9, 2017 people all across the state of North Carolina will be hiking and paddling different segments of the North Carolina  Mountain To Sea Trail.

The Outer Banks Region of the trail covers 81 miles, has 20 different segments, starts/ends at Jockeys Ridge State Park and Silver Lake Ferry Dock in Ocracoke. The MST in a Day event commemorates a speech on September 9, 1977 by Howard Lee, then the NC Secretary of Natural Resources and Community Development. He told a National Trails Symposium in Waynesville that North Carolina should create a “state trail from the mountains to the coast, leading through communities as well as natural areas.”

Catherine Peele, Segment Leader for the Mountain To Sea Trail In A Day event for the Outer Banks Region, remarked that "We are pushing to get the entire trail covered in one single day which is the 40th Anniversary of the trail!"

Photo by Paul Travis











There are a total of 1,175 miles of the trail divided into various short legs. Legs average 3-5 miles, which means that just about anybody, of any age, can hike, & can find a suitable leg (dirt trail, road, greenway, beach, flat or steep.)

If you will be on the island Saturday, September 9, please consider hiking one of the three legs of the trail on Ocracoke Island (one is 4.5 miles long; one 3.2; and one 6.6).  Of course, many other segments of the trail are available to hike. To register to hike, and for more information, please visit the MTS web site.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

One of Ocracoke's Iron Men

John T. Parris, Jr. penned the following obituary at the death of Ocracoke islander, Capt. Tom Gaskins, in 1947:

"Ocracoke Sees the Passing of One of its Iron Men as Capt. Tom Gaskins Departs.

"Captain Tom Gaskins sailed today [July 5, 1947] for the Islands of the Blessed and tonight the ghost skippers of the Seven Seas gathered to welcome him into their celestial harbor.

"The long shore-leave that his age has imposed on him came to an end at noon when his heart stopped beating and he crumpled to the ground of the oak-shaded yard of his home where he had lived alone for a dozen years or more.

"Only an hour before, the 93-year-old one-time skipper of schooners and clipper ships had been sitting down on the quay spinning yarns of a bygone era when sailing vessels with two and three raking masts, their topgallant and royal sails furled, stood in the roadstead off Ocracoke....



















"Born on Ocracoke island, Dec. 19, 1854, Captain Tom took to the sea when he had barely reached his 'teens.

"For almost 40 years he sailed up and down the Atlantic Coast.... The two ships of his life were the Annie Wahab and the Paragon, both two-masted schooners....

"So perhaps he has found the Annie Wahab up there in the Island of the Blessed and is sitting around signing on a crew to take her out of that stormless sea where he can let her canvass billow full and white."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Monday, August 14, 2017

Hyde County Medicine, 1889

The following article comes from The Washington Gazette (Washington, Beaufort Co. N.C.) - Thursday, August 14, 1889; pg. 3; column 2. It was republished in Miscellaneous Newspaper Articles for Hyde Co., NC (1796 - 1940).

WHAT A WOMAN CAN DO

SWAN QUARTER, Hyde Co. N.C. - Miss Jennie WHITLEY one of the principals of the Misses WHITLEY and BROWN High School, at Washington, now teaching a public school at Otales Chapel, in Hyde county, had one of her pupils bitten by a ground rattlesnake. There being no physician near by and the little boy two or three miles from home, Miss WHITLEY sent to a near neighbor’s house, procured a pint or more of Holland gin and gave her little patient a sufficient quantity, as in her good judgment would have the desired effect, first having bandaged the boy’s leg above the wound remembering the old adage that “the hair of the hound would cure the wound.” But seeking no further friendship for the snakeship [sic], took a toad frog, cut it open and bound the bleeding side to the wound; she then sent her little patient to his home. Dr. William O. WHITFIELD was called at once, but upon examination of the case found that Miss WHITLEY had so treated in the outset that the patient need not fear for the safety of the child. The little boy is well and out again declaring his intentions to bruise the serpent’s head. [Kindly submitted by Robert Henderson]

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ocracoke Surf Film Festival, 2008

According to Surfline.com, "In 2007, the Global Surf Network was born to bring the surf film and the independent surf filmmakers to venues where movie experiences can be amplified. Also, the organization founded by Rob [Beedie] believes there's a social side in surf films for stoking young and oldies.

"The Global Surf Network is putting up several surf film festivals that promote the sport and boost new filmmaking careers."

According to The Molasses Creek Journal, "In August [August 15, 2008], [Deepwater] theater was the venue for the 1st Annual Ocracoke Island Surf Film Festival, which raised over $2400 for OYC [Ocracoke Youth Center].














"Sponsored by the Global Surf Network, the film fest included several different documentaries and short films, and one feature movie (shown on the sort-of-big screen inside), interspersed with live musical performances (on the theater’s front porch.)"













To my knowledge that was Ocracoke's first and last Surf Film Festival. 

For surfing enthusiasts: check out these surf film festivals from around the world; and here is a list of the best surfing movies. Enjoy!

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Richard S. Spofford

The three-masted schooner, Richard S. Spofford, wrecked at Ocracoke at 3:30 a.m., December 22, 1894. The Ocracoke US Life-Saving crew and their keeper, James Howard, were stationed 14 miles away, at Hatteras Inlet, and unaware of the wreck until much later in the day. Keeper Terrell from the Portsmouth Island station responded when he was informed of the wreck at daybreak but, lacking proper equipment and a trained crew, was unable to rescue the sailors.

Five of the ship's crew launched the ship's yawl in an attempt to reach shore, but were thrown into the raging breakers when it swamped and capsized. To everyone's surprise, they all managed to reach the beach where they were pulled ashore by onlookers.

Keeper Howard and his crew arrived at the wreck at 8 pm. The remaining three crew members were clinging disparately to the bowsprit as the schooner rolled dangerously each time the surf broke over the ship. Because of the cold, darkness, and raging storm it was not until daybreak that a line was successfully fired to the vessel. The captain and one crew member were safely brought to shore in the breeches buoy. The steward, Sylvester Chase, had fallen from the quarterdeck the day before and had died lashed to the capstan.

Breeches Buoy Rescue















The official government report addressed the death of Chase: "The diligence and devotion of both the keepers and the men under their command throughout the entire occurrence are well attested. It was the first instance of a wreck in the vicinity since the appointment of Keeper Terrell, and his promptness and fertility of resources go far to prove the fitness of his selection. Keeper Howard has rendered long and satisfactory service, which is not sullied by his record at this disaster."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Fig Tales

It is fig season again, and many islanders' kitchens are filled with figs boiling on their stoves to make preserves.

Fred Mallison, in his book To Ocracoke! relates a tall tale he overheard from Captain Ike O'Neal. Mallison was a young boy visiting the island in the 1930s, and he and friends enjoyed hanging around the docks listening to the old sailors. One day he heard Cap'n Ike tell "about the time he was becalmed at sea for a week. Their food gave out, he said, and he and his crew lived on two pound figs and a case of condensed milk. That was why he did not eat figs any more. I began to fit out a sea story from Cap'n Ike's tale. I imagined Captain Ike confronting a half mutinous crew, as he carved equal slices from a pound fig as big as a watermelon. And with a cutlass. Captain Bligh could not have done it better."















A pound fig is so called because of its large size (sometimes as big as an orange, but not a watermelon!). It has a purplish color, and smells of cinnamon. It is one of at least nine cultivars grown on Ocraocke Island.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.  

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Young Republicans, 1941

Beginning on Friday, August 8, 1941, the North Carolina Young Republicans (the oldest political youth organization in the United States) hosted their annual meeting on Ocracoke Island. This, of course, was before the establishment of ferry service to the island. Two boats were chartered to depart from Belhaven, NC, at noon, and were scheduled to arrive on the island about 5 pm. Rooms were reserved at the Wahab Village Hotel and the Pamlico Inn.

Wahab Village Hotel

Pamlico Inn





















Lodging in private homes was also arranged if the number of attendees exceeded the space available at the inns. As many as 70 prominent Republicans from North Carolina and Washington, DC, were expected to attend for a weekend of square dancing, beach parties, fishing tournaments, and a few short speeches.

You can read more about this meeting in an article from The Beaufort News (Beaufort, N.C.), August 7, 1941:

N.C. Young Republicans Invade Ocracoke Friday
---------------------------------------------
Nationally Known Republicans To Be Present
---------------------------------------------
SEVERAL FROM HERE PLANNING TO ATTEND

John Wilkinson, Jr., of Washington North Carolina called the Beaufort News early today and reported that unless the Draft extension legislation in Washington, D.C, was settled today that a few of several prominent Republican members of U. S. Congress would have to cancel their plans to attend as guests [at] the annual invitation meeting of the N. C. Young Republicans on Ocracoke Island this week-end. "However," said Mr. Wilkinson who is State president of the organization, "a number of outstanding Republican leaders have definitely stated they would be present. Among these is senator Brewster of Maine, one time governor of the Bay State.

Among the North Carolina notables who will be present is National Committeeman Jonas of Lincolton; former Republican candidate for N. C. Governor, Robert H. McNeill; officials of the National Republican federation from all parts of the United States and others. Wilkinson stated that at present he was expecting at least 70, and possibly more members in the party which will board two special boats at Belhaven on Friday at noon, arriving at Ocracoke Island about 5 o'clock.

The islanders will be down at the waterfront when the Republicans arrive for their two-day invasion which will feature fun, fishing and a small amount of business. After being greeted in an old fashioned manner by the islanders the parties will be assigned to quarters at the island hotels and inns or in private homes if the hotels and inns are overflowing. There will be island suppers and then in the open air at Wahab Village the first big event will take place, a square dance to a special orchestra brought to the island by Carl Jacobson in the Spanish Casino and its open air dance floor.

On Saturday morning there will be a bit of business to be attended to, perhaps a short speech or two, and then after lunch, with a variety of prizes offered, there will be a fishing rodeo. During the early evening a clam bake, oyster roast and fish fry is planned to be followed by beach parties and more square dances. After this, the remainder of the time the Republicans spend on the island will be devoted to ad libbing. They will leave Sunday morning.

Considerable interest is being shown in this meeting. Editor Brown left Thursday to cover the meeting for newspapers and magazines which have given him assignments. On Friday C. G. Gaskill, Leonard Safrit, Capt. Oscar Noe and others will leave for the island.

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This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Monday, August 07, 2017

National Lighthouse Day

On August 7, 1789, President George Washington signed into law a bill that transferred the management of all existing lighthouses and other navigation aids, including buoys, unlighted beacons, and public piers, to the federal government. It was only the ninth law passed by the US Congress, and America's first public works project.  The Treasury Department was assigned the task of overseeing the nation's lighthouses.

Ocracoke Lighthouse, built 1823


















To commemorate the passage of the Lighthouse Act, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill designating August 7, 1989, as National Lighthouse Day. Although that bill only applied to 1989, the US Senate passed a resolution making August 7, 2013, National Lighthouse Day. Again, the legislation only applied to that one year.

Efforts are underway to designate August 7 as a permanent holiday. You can read more here.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Friday, August 04, 2017

Latin Scholar

A couple of weeks ago I spent a delightful hour and a half enjoying breakfast with Bobbie Rondthaler Woodwell and her family. Towards the end of our time together Bobbie (she is the daughter of Theodore and Alice Rondthaler, mid-20th century Ocracoke school principal and teacher) showed me a letter her father wrote to her mother in 1959. Two paragraphs mention student James Barrie Gaskill, local commercial fisherman who died recently

1959 Letter













This is what Mr. Rondthaler wrote:

"I am teaching the Latin much better than I have for several years. The three girls and James Barrie are eating it up, and they are all fun. Doing much more impromptu blackboard work.

"That James Barrie types out eight to a dozen practice letters a day, and makes a pretty creditable job of most of them. Comes into the Latin room off and on to ask some surprising detail: 'Mr. Rondthaler, would you put Vice-President on the same line or drop it down? It's a long name.'"

Who knew James Barrie was a Latin scholar?

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Yipee!!

At 5:00 pm today, Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative announced that transmission power had been restored to all of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. As a result, both Hyde and Dare counties will announce that Ocracoke and Hatteras islands will be open to visitors beginning Friday, August 4 at noon.

Heartfelt thanks to all of the people who made this happen!!

These include Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, Lee Electrical Construction , New River Electrical Corp., NC Dept. of Transportation, Governor Roy Cooper, Hyde County Emergency Management, the NC Ferry Division, Gregory Poole, Hyde County Government, Lumbee River EMC, Jones-Onslow EMC, Edgecombe-Martin EMC, Roanoke Electric Cooperative, Brunswick EMC, NC Electric Membership Corporation, and of course the Tideland EMC crews from both the island and the mainland.

And a special thank you to Heidi Smith, Manager of Tideland's Corporate Communications, who did a great job keeping us all regularly informed throughout this entire incident. 

Update and Story from 1990

Update: As of 8 pm yesterday, the timeframe for restoration of electric power to Ocracoke Island from this point forward was 2-3 days. This includes the time required for testing after all construction is complete and before transmission service can begin.

More information at: http://www.tidelandemc.com/news_flashes/14.

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Now for a look back into history for another Bonner bridge story, this one from 1990:

Early in the morning of October 26, 1990, 90 mph winds drove the hopper dredge, Northerly Isle, into the Herbert C. Bonner bridge, destroying 370' of the structure, and severing electric and telephone wires to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.













It soon dawned on residents and visitors on Hatteras that the only way to the mainland was now by way of two ferries, first across Hatteras Inlet, then from Ocracoke to either Cedar Island or Swan Quarter. Three days after the bridge collapsed there were 275 cars in line for the two ferries from Ocracoke to the mainland. The line stretched through the village, and down NC12 towards the NPS campground. Many people had to sleep in their cars overnight.

When the extent of the problem became obvious Ocracoke islanders began taking sandwiches, soft drinks, and other essentials to the stranded motorists. Families with babies and the elderly were offered free motel rooms.

Although power was restored four days later, it was months before the bridge was repaired. In the meanwhile the state of North Carolina made arrangements to run emergency ferries across Oregon Inlet.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Bridge Update & Late 1970s Outage

Here is the latest update on the power outage: http://www.tidelandemc.com/news_flashes/14. Cape Hatteras Electric Corporation is estimating a "4-6 day timeframe [later this morning it was revised to 3-5 days....keep checking Tideland for the latest updates] from now for complete transmission restoration."
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And here is our history post (another tale of power interruption):

In the fall or winter of the late 1970s (no one seems to remember exactly when) someone shot the transmission cable suspended from the underside of the Herbert C. Bonner bridge. Power was interrupted to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands for days. I haven't been able to locate any news reports about that incident. Some people I spoke with think a hunter was the initial suspect, but authorities later decided it was an act of vandalism. I am wondering if any of our readers can shed more light. 

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This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Update

Here is the latest update from Tideland EMC: http://tidelandemc.com/news_flashes/14.

Bridge & Cable, 2017 & 1978

This is the latest message from Tideland EMC:

7:00 PM EST
JUL 31 2017
Island on Mobile Generator Power

TRANSMISSION UPDATE: Mon., July 31, 7:00 PM
Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative (CHEC) continues its execution of two simultaneous solutions to restore transmission service to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

Significant progress has been made on the overhead solution and today crews have already set seven of the required 10 transmission poles. Construction work will continue this evening.

Excavation and dewatering continue at the site of the damaged underground transmission cables. Two of the three cables have been uncovered. The first was severed and has already been spliced back together. Tests on the second cable indicate that it is uncompromised. Crews are close to the third cable, but because of the complex dewatering process, conditions have been challenging. PCL Construction will continue to excavate the trench through the night.

You can read the full report, with photos, here: http://tidelandemc.com/news_flashes/14.

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As promised, here is news about the Bonner bridge from 1978:













The caption under the photo above (with a hand-written date of 4-11-1978) reads, "The bridge stopped sinking Sunday at 11 inches below horizontal."

I am not sure when the sinking first appeared but it had continued for several days. The Virginian-Pilot reported this information:

"When the Bonner Bridge was dedicated in 1964 water was only 2 feet deep under the southern end of the span. In the last 14 years, Oregon Inlet has moved south, and the water under the sagging section has deepened to 30 feet.

"Pilings that once were buried more than 20 feet in the sand now have as little as 7 inches of sand holding them in place."

The sagging span threatened to sever the electric cable carrying 34,000 volts, which the manager of Cape Hatteras Membership Electric Corp. said would cause "a hell of a mess." 

In 1978 48 new 100-foot-long pilings were driven 50 feet into the bottom of Oregon Inlet to prop up the sagging span.

----------------------------------------------------

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Monday, July 31, 2017

Power Outage

By now all of our readers must have heard about the major power outage on Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands. If not, simply do an internet search for Ocracoke in the news!

Power outages and problems with the Herbert C. Bonner bridge over Oregon Inlet are nothing new to us on the Outer Banks. Here are three previous issues which you may or may not have heard about:
  •  April, 1978: The Bonner bridge sinks 11 inches, causing a visible and worrisome dip in the bridge's roadway. The bridge is closed to all traffic.
  • June, 1983??: I may have the date wrong, but power to Hatteras and Ocracoke is suddenly cut off. It takes a while, but eventually the electric company discovers that the transmission cable suspended from the underside of the bridge has been damaged by a shot from a hunter's weapon. I don't think the authorities ever solved the mystery of how or why that happened. Power was off for several days.
  • October 23, 1990: A dredge breaks loose and rams the bridge taking out a large section of the roadway. Remarkably, no one is injured or drives into the chasm. A huge traffic jam develops on Ocracoke as thousands of people trying to leave Hatteras Island are forced to drive south to take the Cedar Island or Swan Quarter ferries to the mainland. Ocracoke businesses and residents come to the aid of stranded motorists, providing sandwiches and water as well as lodging for families with small children and the elderly.
Look for more information and photos about the above events in upcoming blog posts.

Today islanders are coping the best we can, hoping for a quick repair of the damaged cable. As you can imagine, the biggest impact of this disaster is a major loss of revenue. The latest unofficial word is that repairs may take up to two weeks, maybe more. Because Ocracoke relies on seasonal business, the consequences can be devastating. As a rough estimate, a day's worth of business in June, July, or August is equivalent to about a week's income from a non-seasonal business.

Click here for a recent update from Tideland EMC:  http://tidelandemc.com/news_flashes/14.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Tidelande EMC Update

Tideland Electric Membership Corporation has posted a damage update report
at 4 pm today. You can read it here: http://tidelandemc.com/news_flashes/14.

I wonder if PCL Construction read the following message on the Tideland web page:

Call 811 Before You Dig
Protect your underground utilities from damage. 


Since 1978 North Carolina 811 has provided you a fast and easy communications link with your local utility providers. You give us information about your excavation, we transmit the information to the utilities and then they send out locators to mark your underground lines for FREE.  So remember, call 811 or 1-800-632-4949 three working days before ​you plan on digging.

Power

As most of our readers have probably heard by now, on Thursday morning the construction crew working on the new Oregon Inlet bridge severed the main electric transmission line serving Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

Ocracoke is now on intermittent generator power. Visitors from both islands have been (or are being) evacuated, and residents are being asked to conserve electricity by using only basic equipment (lights and refrigerators), and to keep air conditioning and water heaters off.

Islanders are coping. Amy, David, and I have a small generator that keeps our fridges cold and provides a few lights. Last night I decided to sleep on my back porch in my hammock. I even had enough breeze to be comfortable. Although it is overcast today, with a few sprinkles, I am hoping to get to the beach later.

There is no official word yet about when permanent power might be restored, but we are told it may be days or even a couple of weeks. Keep posted for more information as it becomes available.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lighthouses

From the introduction to Brilliant Beacons, A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin, published by W.W. Norton & Company, Inc:

"The sea is a dangerous place, and the greatest dangers loom closest to shore. Although storms imperil mariners wherever they are, they can confidently maneuver their ships on the open ocean without the fear of encountering unseen hazards or running aground. But as ships graze the coast, their risks multiply....

"The history of American's lighthouses is wondrously wide ranging. It is about the farsighted colonies that built the first lighthouses on the east coast to welcome commerce to their shores, embracing the founding of the nation and its dramatic expansion across the continent...."

The Ocracoke lighthouse was built in 1823. It remains intact, virtually unchanged, and shining brightly for nearly 200 years.













Although Ocracoke is the shortest lighthouse on the Outer Banks, many consider it the most picturesque. Located in the village of Ocracoke in a spacious yard and surrounded by gnarled cedars, the keeper's quarters, and its various outbuildings, the lighthouse is a popular destination for artists, photographers, historians, and casual visitors.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Toads

During WWII the US Navy regularly sprayed Ocracoke village with DDT to combat the hoards of hungry mosquitoes that attacked its personnel stationed here. In addition to killing mosquitoes, many other insects and other animals were affected. Some were nearly wiped out. Frogs and toads were among the major casualties.

According to oral tradition, an Ocracoke woman who was originally from Hatteras Island returned home after the war for a short visit. There she collected a pair of toads and put them in a shoebox. Back on Ocracoke she released the toadss in her garden.

Today, toads and frogs are thriving on Ocracoke. They have been particularly numerous around my house and on the Hammock Hills Nature Trail this summer.



















This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Torpedo Bottle

Below is a photo of island native, Bradford, holding an antique bottle unearthed on Ocracoke. Embossed on the bottle are these words: Webb's Double Soda and Other Waters - To Her Majesty - Islington - London.

 
















According to MidLife Pickers, this bottle "was likely made in the UK between 1850 and 1880 because it is made of thick heavy glass and has an applied blob top."

The web site goes on to explain that "torpedo bottles date from the middle of the 19th century to the early 20th century. They were made of heavy glass and in most cases held carbonated water. They were sealed with a cork, which needed to remain wet. A dried out cork led to shrinkage, which allowed carbonating gases to escape. Therefore, the bottles were purposely shaped in a way so that they could not stand up, but had to remain on their sides, thus preventing the possibility of a dried out cork."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Henry Pigott

Henry Pigott is a legend on Portsmouth Island. He was the last male resident of the island when he died in 1971. The US National Park Service has produced a brochure celebrating the life of Henry.

"One inhabitant," reads the brochure, "was Henry Pigott, born May 5, 1896. His ancestors first came to Portsmouth as slaves. However, after the Civil War when most people of color left Portsmouth, Henry’s ancestors stayed and made it their home. Henry’s grandmother, Rosa Abbot, was a jack of all trades. She was a midwife, doctor and nurse; she also worked in the gristmill, fished and oystered. Her daughter, Leah, had seven children: Ed, Ike, Henry, Mattie, Georgia, Rachel, and Elizabeth (Lizzie). Henry and his sister Lizzie remained on Portsmouth for most of their lives, while their other siblings, faced with the decreasing economy of Portsmouth, left to seek their fortunes elsewhere Lizzie served as the town’s unofficial barber. Many people recall going 'Down the Banks' to Lizzie’s for a haircut. While both Henry and Lizzie continued to fish and oyster for a living, Henry became the 'mailman.' Henry would pole out to the mail boat, retrieve mail and passengers, and give the Captain of the mail boat a list of items needed from Ocracoke. (By this point in history, the economy of Portsmouth no longer supported a general store.) The items needed would either be brought back to Portsmouth via the mail boat or delivered by a resident of Ocracoke who was coming over to the village."

Henry Pigott Meeting the Mailboat













The NPS brochure also relates the story of a reporter who thought Henry was crazy to live on nearly-abandoned Portsmouth Island with mosquitoes and no electricity or water. "Pigott thought for a moment," according to the brochure, "then replied that he had done some traveling. He had been to New York City. He had even seen all the modern innovations. Then he paused and added, 'And I’m not sure which one of us is crazy.'”

You can read the entire brochure here: https://www.nps.gov/calo/planyourvisit/upload/Henry2000.pdf.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm

Monday, July 24, 2017

Where Civilization is an Echo

On August 12, 1984, the New York Times published an article by Joan Gould about the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was titled "Where Civilization is an Echo."

At that time Ocracoke had a population of 657 people, and fishing trawlers were a common sight in the harbor, especially when the weather turned nasty.

Photo by Megan Spencer
Courtesy Ocracoke Current



















Although Ocracoke has changed some in the last third of a century (not as many trawlers are to be seen tied up at local docks nowadays), Ms. Gould presents a rather thorough portrayal of the island.  "History," she observes,  "lingers here like old coins in the back pocket of a suit, forgotten until someone shakes it out and sends it to the cleaners."

Click here to read Joan Gould's article.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a contemporary account of the December 24, 1899 wreck of the Steamship Ariosto. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July Newsletter

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the 1899 wreck of the British Steamship, Ariosto.

We have published information about this wreck in the past. This month we are sharing a contemporary account of the disaster from the Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 98, Number 126, December 25, 1899.

Water Bucket from the Ariosto














You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news072117.htm.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Shakespeare

The distinctive Ocracoke Island brogue is sometimes mistakenly described as Shakespearean. In fact the Ocracoke dialect has evolved considerably since the Elizabethan Age.


















However, islanders and visitors will have an opportunity to transport themselves to the 16th century this Sunday, July 23. At 3 o'clock at the Ocracoke Library attendees will be reading a couple of scenes from one of Shakespeare's plays. Discussion will follow. 

No previous study or knowledge required! Everyone is welcome to join in the fun! Hope to see you there.

For more about the Ocracoke Brogue and Early Modern English click here:
http://dialectblog.com/2011/07/07/ocracoke-brogue/.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1944 Storm Story

Yesterday I shared a story recounted by NC journalist Lawrence Maddry. In his column "They Make 'Em Tough in N.C." he told this story about boat-builder Willie Austin of Avon:

"The worst storm Willie could recall was the hurricane of 1944. He pointed with a finger to the newel post inside his house, showing where the water had risen to 5 feet above the floor.

"'I'd say about 90 percent of the houses around here were knocked off their foundations during the 1944 storm,' he said. 'Houses were floating everywhere like boats.'

"He laughed recalling neighbor Clemmie Gray's experience during the storm.

"'During that blow Clemmie was sitting in his house talking to his wife and watching the hurricane's doings through the window. Then he turned to her and said, 'Look out! That house over yonder is moving right at us.'

"Willie slapped his knee in merriment. I didn't see the humor.

"'Only it wasn't the other house that was moving at all,' he explained. 'Clemmie's was floating, and the other house was standing still.'"

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Scuttle the Floor!

As you might expect, Ocracoke has a number of storm and hurricane stories. This one, told by islander Ike O'Neal (1885-1968) about the 1899 hurricane to Associated Press columnist Hal Boyle, was recounted by Lawrence Maddry, former journalist for the Virginian-Pilot.

"[Ike O'Neal] said as the tide rose around their home, his father handed him an ax and told him to scuttle the floor [to allow rising water to enter, and prevent the house from floating off its foundation].

"'I began chopping away and finally knocked a hole in the floor.' O'Neal recalled. 'Like a big fountain the water gushed in and hit the ceiling, and on top of the gusher was a mallard duck that had gotten under our house as the tide pushed upward.'"

Below is a photo of the Captain Bill Thomas & Eliza Gaskill Thomas house (more recently called the Barksdale Cottage). This house was built in 1899, soon after the hurricane mentioned above. It was the first house on Ocracoke specifically built with a trap door in the floor to allow the owners to let the tide in.


















This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.

Monday, July 17, 2017

New York Bills

On Friday I wrote about a vendue held on Hatteras Island in 1812. The Notice included this sentence: "[The] articles...will be sold for Dollars and Cents, or New-York Bills."

I wondered what a New-York Bill was. This is what I learned. "For most of the colonial period, trade consisted of bartering and using foreign money. But soon, the colonies began printing their own money, which functioned more like a gift certificate. The bill would allow the recipient to withdraw silver money from a bank" (https://www.littlethings.com/early-american-currency/).















The New York Bill pictured above says, "THIS BILL shall pass current in all Payments in this State for TWO SPANISH MILLED DOLLARS, or the Value thereof in Gold or Silver; according to the Resolution of the Convention of New-York, on the Thirteenth Day of August, 1776."

It also says, "Tis Death to counterfeit."

According to Wikipedia, "The Spanish dollar was the coin upon which the original United States dollar was based, and it remained legal tender in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857."

Spanish Dollar, Photo by Coinman62












Even on the remote islands of the Outer Banks New York Bills and Spanish Dollars were still being used as late as the early nineteenth century. 

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   

Friday, July 14, 2017

Vendue

The following notice about a vendue (public auction to sell wreckage and cargo salvaged from a wrecked ship) on Hatteras Island was published January 4, 1812, in The North Carolinian Republican.


"Notice Is hereby given to all persons, that there will be sold on the 7th day of January, 1812, on the Sea Beach, on Keneceate, near Ezekiel Hooper’s, 8 miles North of Cape Hatteras Light-house, the Wreck of the Schooner THETIS of Fairfield, all her tackel and apparel, and what of her Cargo that has been saved; consisting of 14 Hogsheads of RUM, some APPLE BRANDY, WINE, CIDER, BUTTER, CHEESE, TEA, POWDER, DRY GOODS, and many other small articles, which will be sold for Dollars and Cents, or New-York Bills. The sale will commence at 12 o;clock, by order of William Pike, and sold by JOSEPH FARROW, Commissioner of Wrecks. Dec. 26, 1811”

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   
 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Perils of the Sea

The following account is from The Gastonia Daily Gazette - Friday, Nov. 8, 1927:

TRAPPED IN GALE, THREE LOSE LIVES

ELIZABETH CITY, Nov. 8 - Trapped by heavy seas in a roaring gale off Ocracoke last Saturday, three fisherman lost their lives, and a fourth, able to withstand the buffeting waters, managed to swim ashore to safety. First definite details of the tragedy were received at the coast guard station here today from James H. Garrish, keeper of the Ocracoke life guard station. The sinking of the craft, the motor boat 2021-T, was witnessed by M.P. Guthrie, member of the Ocracoke coast guard crew patrolling the beach Saturday morning. The lone survivor, Joseph Gaskins, was observed wading in the surf near the shore a short time later. He was taken to the coast guard station and the crew set out in a motor boat in an effort to save the others. The body of John P. Spencer was found floating and by use of a seine, the bodies of William and Ivy O'Neil [sic] were recovered.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

British Invasion

A NC Highway Marker in Swan Quarter proclaims "A British force under Admiral Cockburn occupied Portsmouth and Ocracoke, July 12-16, 1813. S.E. 30 miles across Pamlico Sound."











The North Carolina Historical Highway Marker Program website includes this essay to further explain what happened in July, 1813:

"On June 12, 1812, tensions between the United States and Great Britain concerning American expansionism and the Royal Navy’s impressment of American sailors resulted in a declaration of war. Although a small number of North Carolinians, most notably Captains Benjamin Forsyth and Johnston Blakeley took part in the conflict as members of the United States military, the state played only a minor role in the war.

" Perhaps the most important contributors to the state’s war effort were the privateers such as Otway Burns who outfitted their vessels in North Carolina’s port cities. Burns’s vessel, the Snap Dragon, savaged British shipping off the coast. In July 1813, a little over a year after the war was declared, a British fleet comprised of a 74-gun man-of-war, three frigates, a brig, three schooners, and several transport vessels containing nearly 3,000 British soldiers and marines, appeared off North Carolina’s coast. Under the command of Admiral George Cockburn, the expedition was headed to Norfolk and Hampton from Bermuda, intent on destroying privateering bases.

" Cockburn’s fleet landed troops at Ocracoke and Portsmouth on July 11-12, after a brief sea engagement with an American privateer, the Anaconda, and a French vessel, the Atlas. The Anaconda was sunk, and the Atlas was captured, but the Mercury, an American Revenue cutter managed to outrun the British fleet and escape. Among the British troops landed on the two islands were 300 regulars of the 102nd Regiment of Foot and 400 marines and sailors, all under the command of Lt. Col. Charles Napier.

"The British plundered the islands of “200 head of cattle, 400 sheep, and 1,600 fowls of various kinds.” The troops paid the inhabitants for what they took but at prices far below actual value. The Redcoats also took customs collector Thomas Singleton’s “papers in his library” and “tore up his law books.” Only one American, Richard Carey, a Portsmouth native, was killed during the expedition. While attempting to flee the island with his wife and family in a small boat, Carey was fired on and mortally wounded by a British marine.

"As news reached the mainland of the British invasion, militia units from across the state gathered at New Bern. Fortifications were dug and musket flints, bullets, and powder gathered. The militiamen were described as being “high spirits and eager to meet the brutal foe. God grant that they may do honor to themselves and country.” Poorly armed, with little military experience, they would have been no match for the British regulars. One citizen soldier described the corps as “with our sparse columns hastily marshaled and but poorly furnished—without any assurance of victory, than a firm and intrepid spirit.

"The North Carolina militia would never have the opportunity to test that “spirit.” On July 16, the British fleet departed, headed up the eastern seaboard for Halifax, Nova Scotia. Admiral Cockburn would later gain infamy as the British officer who burned Washington, D.C. in 1814, while Lt. Col. Napier would eventually leave the North American theatre to fight against Napoleon. Napier remained in the army until shortly before his death in 1853, having served during his military career in North and South America, Europe, South Africa, and India."

You can read more about Ocracoke and the War of 1812 on our Ocracoke Newsletter page: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102112.htm.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

First Paying Job

In the past I published a few paragraphs from a 1939 interview with Ocracoke native Isaac (Big Ike) O'Neal (1865-1954). Here is another excerpt, reprinted especially for all of the parents in our reading audience!

"I remember the first money I ever made. There was a clam factory here on the island. The man who owned it paid 25 cents a basket for a five-peck basket of clams. I was eight years old, went to Hatteras to get clams, came back with thirteen bushels. I took a yawl boat and was gone two weeks and the man paid me 75 cents, the first money I ever made. And that wasn't money; the clam factory man paid off with due bills that you had to trade out at his store. I got three 25 cent due bills.

"How did I feed myself during the two weeks I was away from home? Well, I started out with two or three pones of corn bread, some sweet potatoes and a cask of water. I took along my steel and flint. Clams were plentiful and two or three times I would catch me a fish and broil it over the coals after I made a fire. Slept on the beach rolled up in the sail cloth which I'd taken off the yawl when I tied up for the night."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   

Monday, July 10, 2017

Ice Cream

My father (born in 1911) enjoyed telling me about eating ice cream when he was a boy growing up on Ocracoke. At that time Mr. Walter O'Neal operated a general store where the Silver Lake Motel is located today. Periodically in the summer Mr. Walter would churn ice cream. Then he would hoist a flag high up on a flagpole as a signal to the villagers that he had ice cream for sale.

Mr. Walter, standing on the porch of his store













According to Fred Mallison, in his book To Ocracoke!, by the 1930s Capt. Bill Gaskill, owner of the Pamlico Inn, provided a "special import service." Mallison writes that "the Sunday night boat always brought a heavy, smoking, wooden box for the Pamlico Inn. A truck from the Maola Ice Cream Company in Washington [NC] delivered it just before sailing time. The box traveled wrapped in quilts in the hold, and it was filled with blocks of ice cream packed in dry ice. Cap'n Bill stored the box in a cool place and sold all of it that was surplus to his hotel guest's needs."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   

Friday, July 07, 2017

July 4 Parade

This year Ocracoke Island hosted another grand Independence Day Celebration, complete with a sand sculpture contest, old car show, square dance, fireworks, and parade, among other activities.

Below are several photos of the parade (taken by Jim Fineman of Manteo). In the parade were Lady Liberty, a headless Blackbeard, a bagpiper, a horticulturalist, Jebediah Quigg and his Fig Picker assistants, tropical ladies (and gentlemen), surfers, and more.





















This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   

Thursday, July 06, 2017

The Business of Shrimping

New York native Carl Goerch (1891-1974) loved North Carolina, and especially Ocracoke. In 1956 he wrote what may be the first full-length book written about the island. Its title was simply Ocracoke. The book's 58 short chapters contain descriptions of island characters, the local square dance, funeral practices, shipwrecks, religious life, and much more. They are a splendid chronicle of island life in the mid-20th century.

Here are some excerpts from Goerch's chapter "The Business of Shrimping":

"A typical shrimping boat is 40 feet in length.... The boat, [with a captain and two men, leaves] the dock...at about four o'clock in the morning.... First thing to be done is heave the try net overboard.... If the showing of shrimp is...good, the the big net goes overboard.... After [an] hour and one-half is up, the big net is hauled up.... The men put on their oilskins and gloves.... If the haul yields as much as 75 pounds, the men are satisfied. They sell the shrimp at prices ranging from 25 to 35 cents a pound...."

Photo by Meagan Spencer


















Goerch asked one of the shrimpers how much money a man makes at this business.

The answer: "That's like asking how much money does a man make shooting craps."

Carl Goerch's book Ocracoke is available for sale at Village Craftsmen.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   


Wednesday, July 05, 2017

1960 Video

I recently discovered this 6 minute YouTube video of Ocracoke in the late 1960s. I am not sure whose footage it is, but I think I recognized some island folks. You will see one of the earlier state-run ferries, the Methodist Church, the old schoolhouse, an Easter egg hunt at the lighthouse, and even a snowball fight (!), as well as families having fun in the surf.  Enjoy.


(Here is the direct link if the embedded video is truncated or missing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcNoz_iNIdg).

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.  

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

July 4

Happy Independence Day from all of us at Village Craftsmen!!

Photo by IceFlowStudios.com

On this date in 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. It declared, of course, that the thirteen American colonies were now a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire.

That was 241 years ago. Happy Birthday USA!

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.   

Monday, July 03, 2017

Independence Day Celebrations

Ocracoke Island's Independence Day Celebrations begin today!

Monday, July 3:

 6:00pm – 8:00pm: TRADITIONAL ISLAND SQUARE DANCE
Music with Molasses Creek; Philip Howard as square dance caller.
Located at Community Square

8:00pm – 9:15pm: GATHERING AT THE NPS DOCKS
Fun dance tunes and patriotic songs spun by a local deejay

9:15pm: FIREWORKS!!!!
Gather at the NPS docks and around Silver Lake Harbor to see the Pyrotechnic Show shot from the NPS Parking Lot

Tuesday, July 4:

8am – 10am: MEET JOBELLE!
Jobelle was born May 7th, and is the newest member of Ocracoke’s wild pony herd.
At the NPS Pony Pens

9am:  FLAG RAISING CEREMONY and SINGING OF NATIONAL ANTHEM                                                                                                                                  
Led by Ocracoke Boy Scout Troop # 290 at Ocracoke School flag circle on School Road

9:30am – Noon: 39th ANNUAL SAND SCULPTURE CONTEST                                                                                            
At the NPS Lifeguard Beach

10am – 2pm: CLASSIC CAR SHOW
On the Pony Island Motel lawn; sponsored by Jimmy’s Garage.

10am – 2pm: OCRACOKE LIGHTHOUSE                                                                                                                   
The lighthouse will be open for viewing – all are welcome to see inside!
  
4pm:  OLD TIME OCRACOKE PARADE                                                                                                                        
All are welcome to enter! Entrants should register by July 2nd, by emailing a photo of the entry form to info@ocracokevillage.com
Pick up your parade entry number between 1–4 PM on July 4th at Ocracoke Station.
Entry forms available at the Post Office or request a form from info@ocracokevillage.com
Parade route starts at Ocracoke Oyster Company, left on Lighthouse Rd., right on Creek Rd., right on Silver Lake Dr., follow road around harbor to Parade’s end at NPS Parking Lot. Cash prizes!

6pm: STORYTELLING WITH DONALD DAVIS 
On the lawn at Books to Be Red; bring your own chair or blanket

7pm: NATIONAL ANTHEM AND AWARDS PRESENTATION
Winners announced for Parade and Sand Sculpture Contest!
On the lawn at Books to Be Red

EVENING CELEBRATION
At the Ocracoke Day Use Area/Lifeguard Beach                                                                                        

7pm–10pm: COMMUNITY BEACH FIRE
Bring your beach blanket, chair, and marshmallows to roast.
OCBA will provide a beach fire for all to enjoy.

Sponsored by the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association with lots of assistance!


This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.

Friday, June 30, 2017

17th Cenutry Transportation in North Carolina

Transportation in eastern North Carolina during the colonial era was often fraught with difficulties. Roads were poor, bridges and ferries non-existent or unreliable, and inlets shallow and dangerous to navigate.

The following paragraph is excerpted from Cultural Resources Studies, Eastern North Carolina above Cape Lookout, prepared by: Wilmington District U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with: N.C. Division of Archives and History, Archeology and Historic Preservation Section, May 1986 (image added): 

"Water transport [in eastern North Carolina in the 17th century] encompassed a wide variety of boats among which the canoe, the rowboat, and the perriauger were the most popular.

Perriauger, 1862











 ["This drawing of the Hatteras lightkeeper’s boat is likely the only extant image of a North Carolina perriauger. The early perriauger was built much like the split-log canoe but was larger and might have decking. It typically carried two masts. (Drawing by Edwin Champney, 1862, courtesy of the North Carolina Outer Banks History Center)” (From https://blog.ecu.edu/sites/dashboats/periauger/)]

"George Fox [founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)], in his travels in 1672, used a canoe and rowboat. Legislation passed by the Albemarle Assembly in 1673 to regulate trade with Virginia, principally by means of Currituck Inlet, required entrance and clearance fees for decked vessels but exempted open boats. Larger craft, having to contend with shallow inlets [including Ocracoke Inlet] and narrow rivers, consisted of sloops, shallops, ketches, and barks. Shallops and sloops, which were light, two-masted vessels, were especially popular. They were used for trade principally with New England (primarily Rhode Island and Massachusetts) and the West Indies.... The shallow inlets and shifting sands at Ocracoke militated against the use of deep draft vessels engaged in trans-Atlantic trade."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a recording of Rex O'Neal telling about the time he fell overboard when he was gigging for flounder. The story was recorded for Coastal Voices, an oral history project about the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks and Down East region of coastal North Carolina. Click here to listen to Rex telling his story: https://carolinacoastalvoices.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/rex-oneal-gigging-flounders-2/.