Tuesday, March 25, 2014


The 455' long Betelgeuse was the last cargo ship in service in the US Navy. She was launched in 1944. While being towed to Texas in 1976 the Betelgeuse was cut loose from the tug because of high seas. She ran aground at Rodanthe. I took this photo on Feb. 5, 1976.

The three people in the foreground are (L to R) Stefen Howard, Julie Howard, and Amy Howard. Amy is the current Administrator of the Ocracoke Preservation Museum.

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.


  1. Anonymous9:01 AM

    So, Philip, is this how you BAIT us into making you feel needed here, by teeing up such tidbits and then just sitting back and waiting for us to beg for more? If so, your strategy is working brilliantly!

    Whatever became of the "Betelgeuse"? PRESUMABLY she was somehow re-floated and hauled off to her final resting place, BUT...I suspect that re-floating may have been unlikely, which means she may have been scrapped in place, but even THAT seems unlikely.

    Or perhaps somehow her interior was scrapped until the hull itself was light enough to be towed off the shore (though I'd guess this the most UNLIKELY of these scenarios).

    As old-time radio personality Paul Harvey used to suggest, how about "the rest of the story," Philip?

    Once again--as always--you leave us wanting more.


    Great photo, by the way. Wonder if the wreck was somehow guarded (doubt it, back in those days), or whether adventuresome onlookers found some way to scramble aboard and explore the wreck further.

    And what of young Julie Howard, if you don't mind the asking? Regular visitors here occasionally read of Stefan and Amy. Mind sharing a bit about the bell-bottomed lady in the center of this group photo?

    A tall order of questions, I know, Philip, but I suspect you'll field them with your usual graciousness and patient indulgence, which are two other reasons why many of us keep coming back to start our days with you on Ocracoke.

    Thanks again.

    1. Great questions. So, I will answer the questions about the Betelgeuse in tomorrow's post. That will provide a wider audience than the comments.

      Julie Howard is the author of the musical, A Tale of Blackbeard, which is being revived this season after a hiatus of 20 years. Julie is my former wife, and mother of our children Stefen (he lives in the mountains of NC with his family), and Amy (she lives on Howard Street).

  2. Anonymous9:55 AM

    After an internet search for Betelgeuse, some young people may recall a cartoon series of a character by that name, however many more know it as a star, a rather large star up in the night sky. Anyway, that made me think of the most recent episode of Cosmos.-- in which it was reveled ,why publication of Sir Isaac Newton's calculations of the planets elliptical orbit, publication was delayed. The scientific academy had no money due to the fact the previous Volume of research was not selling very well .-- The History of Fish-- ....