Saturday, October 29, 2011


One the best Ocracoke cookbooks was put together by the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department. It is called "Hoi Toider's Recipes and Remembrances." What makes this cookbook so memorable is that it includes short vignettes about island life.

My father, Lawton Howard, contributed a recipe for rowladen which he and my mother learned about while living in the northeast. Below the recipe is this story:

"Lawton left Ocracoke when he was 16. He and Calvin O'Neal went to Philadelphia where Calvin's father worked for the Army Corps of Engineers. Lawton worked for a month on a tug as a temporary employee. Then he was transferred to another tug and mistakenly, his status wasn't changed. Lawton was a temporary employee for 18 years. However, the mistake was discovered and after taking a load of tests, his status was changed to make him a permanent employee. Things were not all bad during his years as a 'temporary;' he met and married Connie and together they raised two half-way decent sons."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article written by my Uncle Marvin Howard in 1954. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous7:55 AM

    Do you know who wrote the story??

  2. I am not absolutely certain who wrote the story, but I am 99.9% sure that it was Butsie Brown. Butsie was one of three people who compiled this cookbook (the others were Pat Gibson & Dorene Sutton), and she did the illustrations. Butsie also knew my parents better than the other two. Butsie moved off the island several years ago (after her husband Charlie died) to live with her sister. Maybe she is reading this, and will confirm my speculation.

  3. Anonymous12:38 PM

    My grandfather Garrish left OI with my grandmother & my mother for N.E. Philadelphia after the hurricanes of '33 , and I have lived in the same general area for 71 years. I assume you were raised in Philly too, so we have more in common than just our ancestry. Now I'm really curious--where did you live and which schools did you attend...and do you ever miss Philly cheesesteaks?

  4. My father left Ocracoke in 1927, when he was just 16 years old. He moved to the Philadelphia area, as did many other islanders. My dad spent 35 years in the northeast, where he married and raised his family. I moved to Ocracoke in my mid-20s, so I have spent more of my adult life on the island than my dad did. My dad loved hoagies, Tastykakes, and scrapple...all foods he learned to eat in Philadelphia. And I must admit, I order a Philly cheesesteak every once in a while when I am off the island!

    By the way, who were your Ocracoke grandparents? And, do you get to the island very often? Just curious.

  5. Anonymous4:36 PM

    From Anon.12:38--(D.C.)...Until last year, knowing only that my grandparents were Callas(Wm.C.) & Ida Garrish & that he was born on OI before 1900 to Alexander & Epherena Garrish, on a whim I googled him, & as you know , on the web one road always leads to another. In this case, I kept finding myself on Howard St. One of the best things I ever did was find your journal. A whole new world of distant ancestors, fascinating stories & rich island history was opened to me. I haven't missed a day since. While I have never been to Ocracoke, every day I go to your Journal, it 's little like going HOME. Thank you Philip!

  6. Now I remember your Ocracoke connection! Thank you for the kind words. Maybe you will get to the island some day.

  7. Anonymous5:38 PM

    What is rowladen? Can you give us the recipe? I don't have the Fire Department cookbook.

  8. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Where can we get the cookbook?

  9. I will publish the rowladen recipe some day soon. The cookbook is no longer in print. I spoke with Albert, our fire department chief, and he said they may reprint the cookbook sometime, but at this time there is no plan to do that.

  10. Jeremy1:04 AM

    Philip, this is completely off-topic, but I just got back from a quick trip to the island. Every time I ride the ferry, I notice a lot of box-like structures out in the sound sitting on pilings a few feet above the water. They are too far away to see clearly from the ferry and I've always wondered what they are. Could you discuss this sometime? Some type of artificial wildlife habitat? Thanks!

  11. Jeremy, great question. I will discuss these "box-like structures" sometime soon, maybe in a week or so. Keep looking!

  12. Anonymous1:31 AM

    box like structures.. the suspense is killing me.


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