I published this story two years ago, but I think it's worth retelling!
Islanders have always enjoyed playing tricks on each other...and they enjoy just as much telling the stories over and over. Back in 2004 Maurice Ballance (1927-2014) told me a story he had heard from Edgar Howard (1904-1990).
The main character is Arcade Williams
(b. 1842). In the mid-1950s Edgar's brother, Walter, wrote this about
Arcade: "Kade lived in an old house framed entirely from the beams of
shipwrecks. [She] could 'cuss like a sailor' and woe be unto anyone who
her feathers the wrong way, or should by any chance, be the recipient of
caustic, venomous tongue lashing. She is still remembered today for her
wit and vitriolic sarcasm. Aside from those human weaknesses she was a
and didn't have an enemy in the world."
In the late 1800s several young men
decided to play a prank on Arcade Williams. They enlisted the help of
Perry Coleman Howard, the village magistrate. Somehow they convinced
Kade that her neighbor, Caswell Williams, had filed charges against her
for trespassing on his property. They brought her before the
Kade called Mary Louise Williams ("Miss Med") as her witness, but Miss Med didn't show up for the hearing. A runner was sent to fetch her, and he came
back with the news that Miss Med would be there
"as soon as her collards were finished cooking."
declared that he had actually heard enough evidence and ruled in favor
of Caswell. He "fined" Arcade
With that Arcade turned her back to the
magistrate and hobbled away. When she
reached the door she leaned on her cane, turned her head back to the court, and
announced "If you want that five dollars, Coleman, you'll have to get it
out of this." And with that she slapped her rear end and marched outside.
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter
is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at
Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092114.htm.