Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Shell Castle & John Wallace

In 1789 John Gray Blount and John Wallace obtained five islands between Ocracoke and Portsmouth. The most prominent island was dubbed Shell Castle Rock. Wallace and Blount established a piloting and lightering enterprise there that eventually included warehouses, a grist mill, a windmill, a store, a fishery, two residences, and a wooden lighthouse. Wallace was given the title "Governor of Shell Castle."

This image depicting the commercial enterprise that was established on Shell Castle island in the late 1700s/early 1800s was printed on a pitcher that is now on display at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh:

John Wallace's tombstone reads:

Here are Deposited
the Remains of
Captain John Wallace
Governor of Shell Castle
who departed this life
July 22, 1810
Age 52, 6 months.
Shell Castle mourn! your pride is in the dust
Your boast, your glory's in the dreary grave.
Your sun is set ne'er to illume again
The sweet asylum from th' Atlantic wave.
Yes, here beneath this monumental stone 
This awful gloom amid the silent dead
Thy founder lies whose sainted soul we laid
To heaven's high mansion has its journey sped.
Mourn charity, benevolence bewail
Kind hospitality his lot deplore
And own with one unanimous acclaim
 Misfortune's sons will view his like no more.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is Allie (Teenie) Scott's 1968 story of Simon Garrish, Jr. and the US Life-Saving horse, Sambo. You can read it by clicking here:

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