Monday, July 18, 2016


Two years ago I posted a few paragraphs about Ocracoke native Wilbur Gaskill (1912-1980) and the artist JoKo. Wilbur was a colorful island character, and a regular fixture at Corkey's Store. He could often be found on the porch carving small birds with his penknife.

You can read that post here:

A few days ago Outer Banks photographer, Michael Halminski, posted a couple of photographs of Corkey's Store and Wilbur on his blog:

Wilbur died 36 years ago. I wonder if any of our current readers remember Wilbur.

I recall one evening 40 or so years ago when I went to Corkey's about 8 o'clock in the evening. Two off-island college-age young ladies were there trying to shoot a game of pool. Wilbur, who had been imbibing, kept reaching onto the table (without saying a word, but gesticulating in his unique manner) and re-positioning the cue ball. The young ladies got to laughing so hard they couldn't even remain standing. It was one of the funniest encounters I have ever witnessed in a public place. I suppose they are still telling their story of visiting Ocracoke when so many unique island characters called this island home.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about one of the early July 4th Parades written by Alice Rondthaler in 1953. It is accompanied by vintage photos.You can read the Newsletter here:


  1. Anonymous8:56 AM

    Thank you for the link to the talented photographer. I viewed several other postings he made. All very good. Now this Wilbur was only 68 years old when he died. He looked rather frail in the photo. Was he a shrimper, waterman, clam-man? I am curious as to what the life expectancy of island living is now a days?

    1. Let's just say that Wilbur wasn't the best at taking care of himself. But he certainly was memorable.

      Like anyplace else, some folks die young, and others live long and healthy lives. Ann Howard, according to her tombstone at least, lived to be 117 years old (1724-1841).

  2. Keith1:31 PM

    Hello Phillip. Keith Gaskill here (Clayton's brother, Enoch's son and yes, Wilbur's nephew). To say that Uncle Wilbur was a character is an understatement! I have fond memories of him and spent many a day with him as a youngster, several of those sitting on the “pizer” at Corkey’s! I've brought many of my friends to the island over the years and those fortunate enough to have met Wilbur never forgot him. To this day, his carved birds still remain prominently placed in many of their homes. I really enjoy reading your blog and happily relate to island life as it used to be many years ago. Keep up the good work!