Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Another Mailboat Story

Dorothy Byrum Bedwell has another paragraph about the mailboat Aleta in her book, Portsmouth, Island with a Soul.

The Aleta at Jack's dock. Click on photo to view a larger image.

"Persons who wanted to sleep on the trip or avoid the brisk wind outside chose to stay in the passenger cabin. I can recall a few unpleasant times on winter trips when we had to stay in the passenger cabin, feeling almost nauseated by the fumes of the engine room and the portable kerosene heater in the middle of the floor. We liked the upper deck where we could chart our progress, feel the wind and taste the salty spray as we plowed our way across the sound."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of slavery on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous11:03 AM

    I suppose depending on prevailing winds the travel time across the sound could vary. Sleep on the trip ?? does this imply hours spent breathing in those fumes... might explain the "tipsy" passenger of earlier accounts, she was desperate for fresh air perhaps.

  2. The trip across the sound on the mailboat took about 4 hours. And if I know anything about some of the passengers in the 1940s & 1950s it was more than fumes from the engine that accounted for the tipsy woman.