On Sunday, December 5, 1819 the sloop Henry wrecked on the south end of Ocracoke Island. Captain Hand was the only person of the seven on board who survived. We are fortunate that a letter he wrote from Ocracoke five days later was published on January 15, 1820 in the Norfolk Beacon and Portsmouth Advertiser.
Capt. Hand's six paragraph letter describes in detail the horrific storm, the demise of his vessel, and his near-miraculous survival. I will publish the entire letter in a future Newsletter, but today I just quote a few lines:
I...am gaining [strength],
having received the kindest treatment, and every possible care from the
inhabitants. My chest has been picked up, but it had been opened, and all my
clothes of value taken out. I am here almost naked...."
This letter is a testimony to the empathy islanders had towards the victims of shipwreck (they provided "the kindest treatment, and every possible care"), but also the feeling of entitlement to any material goods that washed up on the beach.They were kind and generous, but also poor.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of windmills on Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news012113.htm.