Friday, October 16, 2015


"Buccaneer" today signifies a pirate or privateer, especially those in the 17th century who operated from the West Indies to the north Atlantic coast of America.

Originally "buccaneer" meant hunters of wild oxen, pigs, and manatees on the island of Hispaniola (the island that today includes the Dominican Republic and Haiti). The term derives from the Arawak word "buccan," a wooden frame for smoking meat. The French word "boucane" evolved from the Arawak, and the derivative "boucanier" came to mean French hunters who used such frames.

It was a short step to the English word "buccaneer." Early English, Dutch, and French pirates often came from the ranks of buccaneers, so the word soon came to refer to the pirates who attacked and plundered Spanish vessels and sometimes entire coastal towns of the West Indies.

By 1684, with the publication of the first English translation of Alexandre Exquemelin's book The Buccaneers of America the term became universally associated with pirates.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a reproduction of a 1960s booklet titled The Great Ocracoke Cat Hunt. You can read it here:


  1. Bear MacDonald6:17 AM

    After all these years I learn that it has nothing to do with "a buck an ear."

  2. Philip,
    I hope the links I sent gave you some NC names and dates to add to your "lost at sea' research. I know it wasn't an easy read.

    1. You have primed my OCD personality for historical research! Have been collecting information for two days now, and have names of about 3 dozen people who were lost at sea. My research will probably become an Ocracoke Newsletter in 2016. Thanks for the links!

    2. Don't mention it.
      So glad I was able to help YOU for a change.
      Can't wait to read it!
      Thanks for another great week.
      Happy weekend.

  3. Anonymous1:34 PM

    New Subject:

    Philip, I just read in the Island Free Press where they are think about charging a 15.00 tax....errrr, toll to cross the Hatteras-Ocracoke crossing by ferry. What are they trying to do kill a day tripping to Ocracoke. Many a time we have said hey, lets run down to Ocracoke for the day, ride some horses, rent a golf cart, ride bikes, get some dinner then come back or spend the night. Spur of the moment. We would have second thoughts if we had to spend 15.00 each way for a simple trip. When you multiply this by a couple of times a year and figure in how many other people are like guys might be hurting each year. The $15.00 would have been spent on a meal or t shirt or kayak rental or a visit to the Village Craftman....State officials can smell money a long way and this is another example. I think a lot more could be made by the state by providing all ferries for free. They might rake in more $$ like that. What do you think?