Sunday, November 18, 2012


A few days ago Leroy O'Neal's daughter Kathi sent me a link to a six minute Ocracoke video that her cousin recently uploaded to YouTube. Leroy made the video in 1965 while on a fishing trip to the island (although born on Ocracoke, Leroy moved away when he was a young boy).

Here is the link:

Several minutes of the video are simply Leroy's friends fishing and carrying on with a shark they caught, but there are a few noteworthy segments. Pay attention to scenes of Silver Lake harbor and note all of the traditional wooden skiffs tied to stakes (not at docks). Also notice just a few vehicle tracks on the beach, and no other trucks in sight! Native islander, Murray Spencer (father of William Nathan who works at the "dump"), is the man with gray hair, sunglasses, and a small mustache. You will also see the Pony Island Restaurant and Motel...and enjoy the music of two O'cockers, Jule Garrish & Martin Garrish.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke and the War of 1812. You can read it here:


  1. Wow What a treasure.

  2. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Thanks Philip,

    My first time on the island was in 1984, first time to the village ten years later (without Alvin Lee). Although some things have changed since 1965, its almost as pristine as ever. The vidio was like a trip through Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine.

    TTFN, Bear MacDonald

  3. Anonymous11:23 AM

    The song was bittersweet. The footage reminds me of Coco Beach Fl during the early days before NASA and the population boom. Is there one key moment that catapulted OI into a mecca for tourists a visionary outsider who parlayed a hobby selling real estate into a mega business? the next generation of islanders not willing to exist on a hard scrabble income? A property appraiser bitten by the ocean front property is very expensive and a wonderful tax base bug or a real estate appraisal mind set forgetting higher asking prices beget higher taxes-- is there a higher percentage of rental income properties owned by non residents vs local resident population landLords?

  4. Anonymous11:53 AM


    What were YOUR thoughts upon viewing the clip? An uncle sent a brief snippet to me earlier this year of a 50-year-old home movie that I'd never seen--from my first or second birthday. It was just delightful--magical--to have that glimpse back into the past. I suspect your sentiments were likely the same upon viewing this clip.

    Do you know whether many such images exist--have you seen others? I'd bet they're rare. But to the extent that this image may spark someone else's memory of their own old forgotten home movies, perhaps others may post more.

    Thanks so much for sharing this one.

  5. Anonymous12:41 PM

    what a great film-- loved the music too.

    one question- isn't that the water tower we see around the two minute mark. I didn't think that arrived until the 70's.

  6. Anon 11:23 -- I will answer your questions tomorrow in a blog post.

  7. Anon 11:53 -- I always love to see vintage photos and videos of Ocracoke. They bring back great memories. I hope you are right, that others are prompted to share more old photos and home movies.

  8. Anon 12:41 -- What you are seeing is the cupola of Sam Jones' Berkley Manor, not the water tower. If you pause the video at 1:57 and look closely you will see the rest of the building.

  9. Anonymous1:41 PM

    Martin's song brought tears with the memories.

  10. Debbie Leonard6:33 AM

    What a wonderful video! My husband Neal and I watched it and thought it was so interesting to see the differences. I noticed how much less vegetation there was then.

    I have been told that in the 60's the campground was nothing but grass like now and none of those annoying sandspurs!

    I love reading your blog; it is part of my daily routine!

  11. Anonymous7:30 AM


    Was happy to see this posted so more people can enjoy it.

    Charlie edited the original DVD we had made from the tape. I'll watch the original again to remind myself if anything was cut. If so, I'll send you a copy of the DVD.


  12. What a great video. I've seen it now 5 times; found it while searching on videos of Ocracoke a few weeks ago. It does remind me of places when I was young; different beach (Kure), but similar in a lot of ways... Thanks for posting and giving me a chance to remember, once again!.

  13. Anonymous5:47 PM

    What an absolute treasure to have this video. I was able to identify many of the landmarks. Loved seeing the Berkley Manor when it was in it's prime.

  14. Anonymous12:42 PM

    This is a treasure for sure. Loved seeing them at the Pony Island Motel at the end, one of our favorites! I remember the first time I came to Ocracoke was in the late 70's as a little own children love it dearly. It is our favorite place to come as a family. Thanks for sharing this film.