Last night I took a late evening walk. My thoughts turned to technology -- cell phones, satellite radio, the Internet -- and I was thinking how liberating it would be to give them all up. Simplifying my life would also save me money! But then I was reminded of some of the benefits of modern technology. As our readers know, I publish a monthly on-line newsletter where I share local island history and stories. Last year I published the story of the wreck of the Ariosto which happened on Christmas Eve, 1899. Every now and then I wonder what happened to Captain R. R. Baines, master of the Ariosto, but I've never learned anything more than what I've heard locally about the wreck.
Imagine my surprise several days ago when I received an email from Capt. Baines' great-great grandson! He knew little of the Christmas Eve wreck, though he had heard about it, and knew the name of the ship. So he "googled" Baines and Ariosto, and discovered my on-line article. It turns out that he lives in Chile (I believe Capt. Baines was from Antwerp, and his vessel from Great Britain), and he has several pieces of silverware from the Ariosto. He loves history, and is a retired Naval officer, and now a yacht captain.
I am hoping he will send me photos of the silverware (engraved with the name of the ship) and of his great-great grandfather. I am also looking forward to learning how his family emigrated to Chile, and any other stories of Captain Baines.
So I finally decided that technology, especially the Internet & email, can be very helpful. Without it our grasp of Ocracoke Island history would be more limited. I am now working on a second volume of island history and stories which will include an account of the wreck of the Ariosto. I'm hoping the story will be richer and stronger after corresponding with Captain Baines' descendant. Look for it sometime late next year.
If you are still looking for holiday gifts you can go to our on-line catalog by clicking here.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Artists' Colony that operated on the island more than 65 years ago. You can read it here.
To read about Philip's new book, Digging up Uncle Evans, History, Ghost Tales, & Stories from Ocracoke Island, please click here.