Saturday, October 20, 2012

Try Yard Creek

Although Outer Bankers engaged in commercial whaling in the nineteenth century, it was never more than a minor industry. For the most part Bankers primarily processed "drift whales," whales that washed up on the beach. Ocracoke's connection to whaling lives on in the name of the northernmost creek that crosses NC Highway 12 -- Try Yard Creek. Near there whale blubber was "tried" or "rendered" for the oil.

According to Rodney Barfield in his book, Seasoned by Salt, the first documented license for whaling in North Carolina was issued to Samuel Chadwick of New England. The 1725 license reads "To Samual Chadwick you are hereby permitted with three boats to fish for Whale or Other Royall fish on ye Seay Coast of this Government and whatsoever you shall catch to convert to your own use paying to ye Hon. ye Governor one tenth parte of ye Oyls and bone Made by Vertue of this License."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a gallery of photos of fences on Howard Street and Lawton Lane. To go directly to the this month's Newsletter click here:

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:17 AM

    Drift whales what a nice way of phrasing it. Was the navy testing sonar back then to cause an other wise healthy whale to become adrift dying a slow death due to internal bleeding?. When drift whales washed a shore did a crowd of well meaning citizenry with no vested interest in harvesting a whale--gather to render assistance? Perhaps not, as opportunity was knocking and it appears the hard scrabble existence --what was then living on the OBX - any means to ad to the larder was a gift from above.