Friday, February 19, 2016

House Timbers from the Sea

Thurston Gaskill (1902-2000) was a much loved Ocracoke native and hunting & fishing guide. In an interview in David Shears' 1989 book, Ocracoke Its History and People, Thurston talks about working on the water for six decades. He also explains how islanders procured much of the lumber for their houses.

"All the framing on this house," he says, referring to his home, now the Thurston House Inn, "came from the sailing vessel George Truitt, wrecked in 1928 in Ocracoke Inlet. It was picked up by me. When the ship came ashore there was thousands of pieces of timber of various sizes washed up on the beach. Well, everybody in them days, you went down there to salvage what you could. You'd pile up your pile of lumber there and put your initials on it. Then later a sale would be held. Each pile of lumber would be auctioned. The man that actually collected it had a big advantage because he got -- I think -- a fifty per cent rebate. So I got enough lumber to build maybe two or three houses."

The George W. Truitt, Jr. was a 700-ton, four-masted schooner carrying 645,000 feet of lumber from South Carolina to New York City when she went ashore February 20, 1928, in a 40-mile-an-hour gale. According to the official shipwreck report, the ship's captain and crew "were saved by the heroic efforts of the coast guardsmen from the Ocracoke, Hatteras Inlet and Creed' Hill stations of the U.S. Coast Guard."

1910 Oil Painting of the George W. Truitt, Jr.
by Antonio Jacobsen

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about islanders who worked on the water, and lost their lives at sea. You can read the Newsletter here:


  1. Anonymous2:46 PM

    What and where is/was the Creed Hill Station?

  2. Anonymous2:49 PM

    What and where is/was the Creed Hill Station?

    1. The Creeds Hill Station was 4 miles SW of the Cape Hatteras lighthouse, near Frisco.

  3. Anonymous4:32 PM

    Philip, another good entry in your daily blog. Thank you. Interesting. Makes me want to search online for more info on this...Thanks again NS