Every now and again a lump of coal washes up on the beach at Ocracoke. If you find some you might wonder where it came from.
Most likely the coal was originally cargo or fuel on a schooner or steamboat that wrecked offshore. The steamboat Home was a coal-fired vessel that wrecked in 1837. The George W. Wells was a collier, and one of the largest schooners ever built. She wrecked in 1913.
A lump of coal may not seem very interesting, but it is a reminder of a grand seafaring tradition, tragedy offshore, and the bravery and courage of members of the US Life Saving Service.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.