Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Charlie Mac Again

Charles Caswell McWilliams (1892-1972) carried mail by truck from Hatteras to Ocracoke between 1949 and the early 1970s. During the 1940s and early 1950s there was no paved road to Hatteras Inlet. "Charlie Mac," as he was called by most, drove a 4-wheel-drive Army surplus ambulance.

Charlie Mac Disembarking from Ferry

Charlie Mac was also an accomplished carver. See our earlier post for photos of some of his carved birds.

"Charlie Mac" Photo by John Wall

Charlie Mac, who was rarely seen without his cigar, was the grandson of John Small McWilliams (1823-1889), a merchant from Washington, NC who moved to Ocracoke at the outbreak of the Civil War to teach school.

Charlie Mac's father, John Wilson ("John Mac") owned a store on Cockle Creek (Silver Lake), and was appointed postmaster in 1883 at a salary of $24.52 per month. John Mac's brother, Charles Small McWilliams, was the keeper of the Portsmouth Island US Life Saving Station.

Today there are no McWilliamses living on Ocracoke, although several of Charlie Mac's descendants live here or still own property on the island.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here:


  1. Anonymous9:05 AM

    That fellow's giant forearms make him look as if he's part bear. Terrific photo of him; very evocative of his time, place, and lifestyle. As always, thanks for sharing.

  2. Anonymous10:14 AM

    Shiver me Timbers, that is Popeye.

    "Army surplus", God love" Army Surplus " it is the engine that drives the underground economy.

  3. Anonymous9:49 PM

    I've posted before when Philip has mentioned Charlie Mac's Ambulance, it's a Dodge WC54 3/4 ton Ambulance built between 1942-1945. Philip, I've seen photos, films, etc.later of what I've always figured was the same ambulance later in life, when someone cut the roof off just behind the the doors. - - My week of R/R on the island is only 10 days away, can't wait - Nollie