"The weather was smoky with strong winds, flood tide, sea very high." So wrote Keeper J.W. Howard about the wreck of the schooner, Lillie F. Schmidt, on March 9, 1893. The ship stranded on the bar about 500 yards offshore at 6 am. She was ten miles from the Life Saving Station.
According to the keeper's log book, the distance was "long and laborious." After being alerted to the wreck just before 11 am, it took the station crew (with the help of mules) three and one half hours to pull the half ton "beach cart" loaded with their life saving gear to the schooner. By 3:30 in the afternoon all seven sailors had been brought safely ashore in four trips by breeches buoy.
Keeper Howard noted that "the men of wrecked schr were so worn out could not get them to station -- sent them up to the settlement and had them cared for the distance was so great that they could not travel." The life savers returned, with their beach cart, to the station at Hatteras Inlet.
There was no beach patrol that night. As keeper Howard recorded in his log, "up til 12, men was so tired and worn out after walking over twenty miles [the keeper's report is an understatement...remember they were also pulling and pushing a half ton cart with iron wheels over sand in strong winds and flood tide, plus rescuing seven seamen] I thought theys ought to rest."
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Lou Ann's story of participating in the 2008 Christmas Bird Count on Portsmouth 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.