Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Water, Water Everywhere

As you might imagine, people living on an island miles from the mainland have endured more than an average number of accidental drownings.

According to a newspaper account of July 26, 1885 Ocracoke native, Benjamin Joseph Garrish, Sr., "had a fit and fell overboard and was drowned, in about 18 inches of water, last week."

Benjamin and his wife Mary Jane already had five children. Less than two weeks after Benjamin's death Mary delivered their sixth child. He was named Benjamin Joseph Garrish, Jr.

Benjamin, Jr. served for many years in the U.S. Life Saving Service, often risking his life to save others from a watery grave. His son Monford (Monk) served in the US Coast Guard (the successor to the USLSS) during WWII in the South Pacific and at Ocracoke. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article about the Ocracoke Crab Festival which was held each May from 1984 to 1989. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous8:42 AM

    How sad is that. Where does one find swimming lessons on OI?. Is there not some sort of effort to educate the public in treading water or enforcing the regulations that water craft must have a life preserver on board or personal flotation devices? Come on, where is the notion that there is safety in numbers and take responsibility for numero Uno.

  2. I recognize that name.
    I'm sure he is the brother of my great grandfather Alexander which means he is my grandfather's 1st cousin.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, I think I'm his first cousin twice removed.
    How bizarre a veteran of the Civil War in both the army and the navy should die this way.

    1. You are correct that Alexander Garrish and Benjamin Joseph Garrish Sr. were brothers. Since you are Alexander's great-granddaughter, Benjamin Garrish is you great-grand-uncle, not your cousin. His great-grandchildren are your 3rd cousins.

    2. I just knew I'd get it wrong!
      Names I can remember for nearly 70years but distant relationships boggle my mind.
      Thanks a million for taking the time to set me straight, Cuz-- of course I haven't the vaguest idea which cousin you are.
      Love your blog. Haven't missed a day in 4 years.