Monday, November 30, 2015

Spencer House

Below is a photo taken by National Park Service ranger, Henry Raup, sometime between 1974 and 1978. The house on the left, built ca. 1940, is still standing.














The house on the right, a traditional island "story and a jump," was built in the early 20th century by Andrew Spencer. The last resident was his cousin, Caswell Spencer (1886-1905). The house stood until 1989 when it was demolished. Descendants of the Spencers continue to live in the house on the left.

Can any of our readers identify where this picture was taken?

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Capt. Horatio Williams and his schooner, the Paragon. You can read the story here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112115.htm.

10 comments:

  1. Anonymous4:07 PM

    I heard termites, like all other bugs are rampant on Ocracoke? Is this true? Are they worse on an island vs. a solid mainland? I sat on the grass in a Ocracoke yard one time and could not believe how fast and intense I realized that was a mistake. I'll bet this house, close to the lighthouse was ready to fall down from the termites.

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    1. I don't know that termites are any worse on Ocracoke than on the mainland. Termites need to have access to water (that usually means the ground), so checking foundation pillars for their tunnels (and destroying them, or preventing them from reaching the ground [e.g. with chemicals) is one way to prevent termite damage. Sitting on the grass probably won't expose you to termites...maybe ants, though.

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  2. Anonymous7:05 PM

    My family and I just returned from yet another Thanksgiving week on Ocracoke Island. This was our third or fourth (or maybe fifth) over the years. We've learned to plan around the weather and have finessed our travel plans to avoid the worst of the holiday traffic. Even just four or five days before we set off for the island, we were hemming and hawing--to go or not to go. As always, we're glad we chose to visit. Perhaps the most compelling factor in our decision-making was the persistent, day-to-day updates and insights we gleaned throughout the year via your posts here, Philip, as well as the Facebook updates of the good folks over at the Ocracoke Preservation Society. The work they're doing, digitizing and sharing their archives, just adds new layers to the island's charm and is the main reason why we choose to drive so far, and past so many other miles of perfectly good North Carolina sand and surf, to reach a favorite destination unlike any other. Thanks for your efforts, and for those of your colleagues in community-building at the OPS.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words!

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  3. Anonymous5:50 AM

    Lighthouse Road, perhaps?

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    1. Lighthouse Road it is. As cousin Blanche would say, "Go to the head of the class!"

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    2. Anonymous4:31 PM

      Actually Philip, your blog is an awesome class and I feel so honored to take part every morning! Enjoy your trip!

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  4. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Philip - I'm wondering if the death date for Caswell Spenser, 1905 at age 19, is correct. The numbers don't add up. The story and a jump house was built in early 1900s, he was the last resident. That's a maximum of 4 years he lived there before dying, after which the house stood empty for 85 years before being torn down? A death date of 1965, plus or minus, would fit the numbers you have given.

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    1. I think I did make a mistake, but I am not sure of the correct dates. Actually I am in Berlin right now, so I don't have access to my research. However, friends are staying in my house. I will send them an email and ask them to find the correct dates in Earl O'Neal's book. This may take a couple of days, so check back now and then. Thanks for the keen observation!

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    2. According to Earl's book, Caswell Spencer was born 12-17-1886, & died 12-25-1905. He was the son of John William Spencer and Madora Curl Simpson. He never married. It looks like I will have to do some more research when I get back home. Look for an update sometime in the New Year.

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