In the fourth of our series on prominent islanders for whom streets and other landmarks are named, today we mention Sarah Ellen O'Neal Gaskill. Miss Sarah Ellen has two streets named for her: Sarah Ellen Drive in the "Trent" area (near Jackson Dunes), and Sarah Ellen Lane, on the southwest side of Silver Lake.
In November of 1980 Miss Sarah Ellen was chosen as "Person of the Month" by the staff of the Ocracoke Island News. This is what Stephanie O'Neal wrote:
"There is a person on the island who is very special to all. she has an enormous good nature and loving disposition. she is sturdy and has spread her good nature and love to all her friends and relatives on the island...
"Sarah Ellen Gaskill was born on Ocracoke Island on November 9, 1879,the daughter of Howard and Charlotte O'Neal. She has lived on the island all her life. Her father was a fisherman and she grew up to marry a fisherman, Benjamin Gaskill, with whom she shared 46 years of marriage and five sons....
"Miss Sarah Ellen is blessed with good health and is happy. She saw the first Christmas tree at the United Methodist Church on the island almost 101 years ago.
"This is a special month for Miss Sarah Ellen. She was 101 years old. Happy Birthday from the Ocracoke Island News staff."
As a young woman, Sarah Ellen worked shucking clams at the old Doxsee Clam Factory. Over the years she witnessed many changes to the island. Miss Sarah Ellen died September 22, 1984. She was 104 years old.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a reproduction of a 1960s booklet titled The Great Ocracoke Cat Hunt. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092115.htm.