Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dipping Vats

Years ago horses, cattle, sheep and goats wandered on Ocracoke Island as on an open range. There were at least two dipping vats filled with an insecticide laced liquid into which islanders herded their livestock to purge them of parasites. One vat was located under an oak tree between the schoolhouse and the health center. Another was behind the Wahab Village Hotel (now Blackbeard's Lodge).

The following account is from the National Park Service web site:  http://www.nps.gov/ethnography/research/docs/caha_ethno_v2.pdf.

Bankers who still had sheep in the 1950s had to get rid of them or pen them when the highway was built.

When the State required two dipping vats to be built and utilized, Ocracokers had difficulty getting some of their wilder stock to cooperate. “One or two horses were gored that was trying to pen them. Several men were run up trees.” Individual cattle could be identified by brands or marks notched in their ear when the calf was born. If a stockman were found to have undipped livestock, they had to appear in court. “That was an expensive thing, because they had to go by boat to Swan Quarter.”

“I recall my father making two trips, because he had not dipped his cattle. The judge said if you can’t dip them, kill them. So, he and others went down with rifles and shotguns. They were just slaughtered, the whole herd was killed out. I’m talking about the ones that was up on the north end, the wild ones never did come up in the village.”

A man recalled helping burying the freshly shot cattle when he was a boy. One of the men shooting the cattle was a Coast Guardsman with a 30-30 rifle. “They thought they killed all of them. We happened to look way down on the point and we saw one standing near the sound a mile down there. He killed it with the first shot.”

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an account of the recent skirmishes islanders have had with North Carolina legislatures over the issue of ferry tolls...and a 1955 newspaper editorial advocating free, state-operated ferries across Hatteras Inlet. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082113.htm.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:28 AM

    OI had the potential to be a quaint Cotswald or Scottish Highlands locale--- cars would slow to allow the farmer walking his herd to the next pasture -- people pay good money to see quaint--- oh you have know those scenes in movies no doubt a James Bond thriller when his jet set life style is halted by the simpler life. But in the 50s the choice to abandon their grass roots ways of life was clearly a quick turn on the heels. Secondly, to me these actions of this nature created PETA. Thoughtless needless destruction of animals due to a time table.!! Convicted Mass murder defendants are on death row for decades but these animals had no one to plead their case for a delay. I find it telling this bit of history is cited in an enthno-historical report -- this new science to awash the reader into the topic, allows for a blood thirsty take on a culture. Why were not the animals herded off island and ferried in the manner in which all the road equipment was brought on shore? Why were stockmen unwilling to dip there animals? There no doubt is more to this story. Lines drawn in the sand on the issue?? . if people resist government intervention in their lives today, no ferry tolls, the garbage collection issue, building code violations, etc.were residents sold a bill of goods that their life would improve with the road. Just what sold everyone on this Culture Change.?? Just the way to start my day PH, to read a troubling report of animal slaughter an east coast battle of Little and Big horns. DD