Thursday, November 05, 2015

Tragedy On This Date, 1927

In a comment on a recent post, a reader asked about Ocracokers who have lost their lives at sea. I have learned of more than 40 islanders who were victims of accidents on the water. Following is an article from The Gastonia Daily Gazette, Friday, Nov. 8, 1927, about three Ocracoke fishermen who drowned on November 5, 1927.

"ELIZABETH CITY, Nov. 8 - Trapped by heavy seas in a roaring gale off Ocracoke last Saturday [November 5, 1927], three fisherman lost their lives, and a fourth, able to withstand the buffeting waters, managed to swim ashore to safety. First definite details of the tragedy were received at the coast guard station here today from James H. GARRISH, keeper of the Ocracoke life guard station. The sinking of the craft, the motor boat 2021-T, was witnessed by M.P. GUTHRIE, member of the Ocracoke coast guard crew patrolling the beach Saturday morning. The lone survivor, Joseph GASKINS, was observed wading in the surf near the shore a short time later. He was taken to the coast guard station and the crew set out in a motor boat in an effort to save the others. The body of John P. SPENCER was found floating and by use of a seine, the bodies of William and Ivy O'NEIL [sic] were recovered."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Wreck of the Banana Boat. You can read it here:


  1. JHG was a distant cousin so I was particularly interested.
    While trying to find his parentage I found this...
    You have 40 names so far (wow), so you probably have seen it--but just in case.

    1. Thank you. I did see the article on the ncgenweb page.