Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Sharpies are flat bottomed sailboats that were popular in Carolina waters in the 1800s, and were often used for oystering. They were long and narrow. Although the first sharpies were probably designed and built in New England, they became popular along the Carolina coast because of their extremely shallow draft. Carolina sharpies sometimes had lateen (triangular) sails. Sometimes they were gaff-rigged.

On this date in 1887 the sharpie, Hattie, was stranded near Ocracoke, on Legged Lump. According to the wreck report, the Hattie was 7,800 tons, and carried a crew of two. She was stranded three to four miles from the Life Saving Station, "on the reef almost dry." She was discovered at 8 am. The Life Saving crew arrived at 10 am. All hands worked hard "to get her off as they was in a bad condition." They used pumps, block & tackle, and skids, but failed to free the vessel during two high tides.

The next morning the Life Savers returned to the sharpie, and with anchors, ropes, pulleys, and muscles were able to float the Hattie, after about three hours of "hard work in water." She then "went her way all right."

According to keeper Howard, the captain "gave many thanks for our assistance..." and "sead that if they wold have to stad ther and starve if it wold not bin for our service."

In our latest Ocracoke Newsletter I share information about our many local cemeteries, with examples of some of our more interesting epitaphs. 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.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:27 AM


    Of Land and Sea the Sharpie takes us on a float

    But when you run aground you hear the sound but it is not a gloat

    You cry distress until you rest with feet on solid turf

    You stand alone all hands off deck

    at the edge of the surf
    they and watch and wait
    as the rescue dragoons
    fight the monsoon what is there to do

    But make a entry in the captains log of the fate of the boat
    as it is a
    foot note