In 1806 US Representative Samuel W. Dana (Conn.), introduced a resolution instructing the House of Representatives’ Committee of Commerce and Manufactures to “inquire into the expediency of making provision for a survey of the coasts of the United States, designating the several islands, with the shoals and roads, or places of anchorage, within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States.”
In the debate that ensued, Mr. Dana made this report:
"In 1802, an act was passed, authorizing a survey of Long Island
Sound. In pursuance of that act, the Secretary of the Treasury caused a survey to be taken by
two men, who appear to have been, what the act intended, intelligent and proper persons. And
there has since been published a chart of the Sound, handsomely executed, on a large scale,
which must, I presume, be regarded as convenient and
valuable by those concerned in that
branch of navigation.
"At the last session of Congress, an act was passed for another survey. It made provision for
surveying the coast of North Carolina between Cape Hatteras and Cape Fear, with the shoals
lying off or between those capes. I understand that measures have been taken for executing this
act, but that the vessel employed in the service, and all the papers respecting the survey which
had been made, had been lost near Ocracoke Inlet, in one of the desolating storms
experienced on the coast in the course of the present year."
Dana must have been referring to the great storm of October, 1806. Among a number of vessels sunk, wrecked, or dismasted at Ocracoke was the Governor Williams. The following account was reported in The Wilmington Gazette, October 14, 1806:
"I have now to add, to the tale of destruction, the total loss of the immensely valuable, philosophical and mathematical instruments of Col Tatham, he yesterday put them on board the Governor Williams, for the purpose of having them conveyed to Newbern, and they are now buried with her in two fathom water...."
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter highlights several noteworthy
staircases in historic island homes. To read the newsletter, and see
photos, click here: www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092117.html.