Friday, October 28, 2016

Gold & an Ox Roast

Ocracokers have long been recognized as clever and resourceful.The tale is told that during the early days of the Civil War, when Union troops invaded Portsmouth and Ocracoke Islands, most of the residents fled. Word got around to those who stayed behind that the federal soldiers were convinced that many islanders had gold stashed away...and they were searching for it.

Roasting a Pig, from On the Spanish Main
by John Masefield 1744

The remaining islanders dug a deep pit and buried their gold in the pit. Then they piled log wood in the pit and set it on fire. When enemy soldiers came by they saw a large ox roasting on a spit over the fire. The Ocracokers invited the soldiers to join them for the feast. The soldiers never knew how close they were to the gold.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here:


  1. Anonymous8:07 AM

    How is the 1744 woodcut print/image related to the anecdotal "report" of another pig roast to hide gold during the 1860's. It seems to me that perhaps roasting a pig over a spit was a practice that has stood the test of time. It also seems to me, that there are so many Southern myths about hidden gold during the Civil War it seems comical. However, The "gold" at the time was the cash crop cotton-- now it is something more aromatic.

    1. I added the image not because it had anything specifically to do with the Ocracoke Civil War story, but just because I wanted to include an image of roasting on a spit.

    2. It's your blog!
      And I liked it.
      But now I'm as curious as a journalist about this gold... who, what when, where and how?

    3. Anonymous11:23 PM

      what convinced the Union soldiers the islanders would have gold. Stories of Spanish Galleons wrecking on the shoals back in the 1500s. Ha. Or this obsession with Blackbeard which still exists today. Yes it is PH's blog of Lore.DD

  2. Anonymous12:51 PM

    clever and resourceful? Hardly, read upon it. this was a old trick used in earlier times. sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't...this doesn't make them any more clever and resourceful than people in miami, or ny or's just a blog story, entertaining though because i haven't heard it in a long time. but like the comment above said - it's your blog.