The other day, while wandering around old graveyards, Amy and I were reminded of several unusual old Ocracoke names: Bersheba, Napoleon, Sabra, Letha, & Lydie, e.g. We found Arcade Williams' grave. She is the old lady (born 1844) who told Walter Howard, when he was a young boy, the colorful stories of the wrecks of the Home (1837) and the Black Squall (1861).
And we found Rob Hanks' grave. In the 1950s he would "tell you the story of Ocracoke" for a dime. When I pointed the grave out to Amy, she said, "Why do you call him Rob Hanks? His marker says his name is Robert Dozier Tolson." Well, they called him Rob because his first name was Robert, and then they added Hanks because his father's name was Benjamin Henry (Hank) Tolson, I guess to distinguish him from any other Rob. I wondered if this was a common practice in other communities, or if it was peculiar to Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. If any of our readers know of this custom elsewhere please let us know.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter provides more information about the majestic live oaks on Ocracoke Island. 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.