Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Ocracoke Scene, 1932

Another paragraph from MotorBoating Magazine, Jan, 1932:

"There is little game on the island, but the village seems overrun with cats. Dogs seem to be scarce. We finally broke through the scrub to the beach and there a mile away was the ocean. We returned to the hotel [Pamlico Inn], ate, and roamed further through the town. There were no street lights, and we were nearly run over several times by youngsters playing hide and seek. Later we sat outside the dance floor at the hotel and watched the younger element cut up. The hotel dances are a nightly performance. Everyone seems welcome. One youngster winds the Victrola and the rest dance, and tramp and stamp around. Tired, we took a last look out over the sound and turned in. The last thing I heard was the Victrola still going strong."

Ocracoke Square Dance, 2010














This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is an essay by Philip Howard explaining why he decided to stay on the island as Hurricane Florence approached. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/why-i-stayed/.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Ocracoke Beach, 1932

From MotorBoating Magazine, Jan, 1932:

"Fortified by breakfast, we started for the beach in the morning. Several wet spots stopped us, but while we were trying to find a way out, the hotel [Pamlico Inn] truck came by and took us over the mile-wide beach to the ocean. Wrecks and parts of wrecks are strewn along this beach, less than a hundred yards apart from end to end of the island. Most of them were old, some very old. It is remarkable how long a keelson of Georgia pine timbers bolted with locust trenails, will last before it weathers enough to rot. Judged by the bleaching bones of ships along these beaches, only two parts of a wooden ship seem strong enough to even partially withstand the surf – the keel and keelson assembly, and the topsides clamped at the deck. These parts are doubled and tripled and bolted through and through. However, there is a limit to their strength as there were no sections visible longer than fifty or sixty feet. Two days later we visited a fresh wreck at Nags Head, a four masted schooner lying in the surf with masts still standing."

Wreckage of the Carroll A. Deering















This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is an essay by Philip Howard explaining why he decided to stay on the island as Hurricane Florence approached. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/why-i-stayed/.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Fresh Figs & Goat Cheese

Post-hurricane Florence, with businesses closed awaiting a visitors re-entry notice, was a rare opportunity to catch up on chores we had been putting off since the beginning of the tourist season. It was also a chance to relax and enjoy the late summer weather.

The last of our figs were ripening, and we decided to treat ourselves to a small gourmet delicacy before dinner...fresh figs and goat cheese.
















We cut the figs in half, topped them with a dollop of goat cheese and an almond. Then we dripped a bit of pure honey and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar over them. Into the broiler they went for a few minutes.

We took the figs out onto the pizer with a bottle of Gewurztraminer wine and enjoyed our evening appetizer as we watched the sun cast ever longer shadows across the sandy lane. Island life is good even after a storm. 

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is an essay by Philip Howard explaining why he decided to stay on the island as Hurricane Florence approached. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/why-i-stayed/.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Why I Stayed

Hurricane Florence has battered North Carolina, leaving a legacy of destruction, flooding, and death. The consequences of the storm are still being felt. We on Ocracoke, who know the power of hurricanes, are heartbroken over the misery Florence is causing for our neighbors to the south and west. This storm will not soon be forgotten.

As many of our readers are aware, most islanders evacuated, but about 200 Ocracoke residents decided to ride out the storm. I was one of them.

Some family, friends, and neighbors have asked why I decided to stay. To them it seemed like a foolish decision. As reply I penned a short essay, "Why I Stayed," which we have published as our September Newsletter. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/why-i-stayed/.

I hope I have conveyed my reasons for what I consider an informed decision. I might have been mistaken, but the situation turned out much as I hoped and expected. I won't second guess anyone else's decision. I hope others will respect mine.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ocracoke Village, 1932

The following paragraph comes from MotorBoating Magazine, Jan, 1932:

"Dropping our baggage [at the Pamlico Inn] and inquiring as to the supper hour, we tramped off toward the village. It has no streets, merely narrow roads of sand, so deep that walking in it is like walking a treadmill. The automobile has invaded Ocracoke and the horses have been turned loose to roam the sand dunes with the cattle. With a population of 500 there are 30 autos. The houses are mostly small, some one story and some two; some are evidently old and others have somewhat modern lines; some are well kept up and some are not. There is a salt water lake in the middle of the town and most of the boats are kept there. At the entrance to this lake is located the Coast Guard Station, which, with the lightkeeper’s house, has the only real grass lawn of the village. The Commanding Officer showed us through the station and explained the uses of his equipment, the several boats, the practice mast, and so on. In each of these stations a man in the tower constantly scans the horizon with a telescope."

The Pamlico Inn












This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Mrs. Godfrey's ghost who haunts the Island Inn/Odd Fellows Lodge. The story is taken from Chapter Three of my book, Digging up Uncle Evans. You can read the account here: https://www.villagecraAftsmen.com/mrs-godfreys-ghost/.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Ocracoke Boats, 1932

From MotorBoating Magazine, Jan, 1932:

"The boats seen at Ocracoke are a gracefully sheered deadrise model with a fairly deep V bottom. All are built of white cedar (Juniper) which is cut in the swamps on the main land. These boats are built on the island. Ribs are spaced about two feet apart, with natural crook knees. The planking is an inch and a quarter thick and there is usually no chine. Also there is no curve to the fore foot although the stem rakes slightly. Two strangers, a high sided clinker built sea-bright dory, and a fairly large Chesapeake Bay bugeye, were seen among the local boats."

A typical Ocracoke Skiff, 2010















This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Mrs. Godfrey's ghost who haunts the Island Inn/Odd Fellows Lodge. The story is taken from Chapter Three of my book, Digging up Uncle Evans. You can read the account here: https://www.villagecraAftsmen.com/mrs-godfreys-ghost/.

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Sigh of Relief

Ocracoke village was spared once again. Hurricane Florence made landfall far enough south of the Outer Banks that we only received tropical storm force winds and minimal flooding in the village. Nevertheless, there was significant overwash on the north end which covered Highway 12 with sand. It may be several days before that road is cleared.

Yesterday, at 7 am, the Swan Quarter ferry resumed operations bringing emergency personnel, essential personnel, and residents back to Ocracoke. We anticipate that visitors will be permitted back on the island soon. 

Long-time readers of this blog know that we have been an important source of storm-related coverage and photos for many years. However, it has become clear that in these times Facebook does a better job of reaching more people with more information more quickly. That is why we directed our readers to the Village Craftsmen Facebook page for up-to-date Hurricane Florence news. Some of our Facebook posts reached 10,000 to 30,000 people, while a typical blog post would only reach several hundred people.

We apologize to our readers who are not on Facebook, but I just didn't have the time or energy during the storm to post in both places.

On the other hand, this blog continues to be the place to post short articles about the history, culture, and traditions of this very special island community. In our posts later this week look for stories about Ocracoke and our community in 1932, then even more insights into island life in the weeks ahead. 

We look forward to sharing more...especially since there was so little damage from Florence, and the village will be back to normal in short order! We hope you will be visiting soon. 

Heartfelt thanks to all of our faithful readers who let us know you were thinking about us and wishing us shelter and protection from the storm. We appreciate you all!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Florence Info

Amy & Lachlan left the island yesterday. David & I are here. Amy has tasked me with updating our Facebook page. I don't think I will have the time or energy to post both on Facebook and on this blog so please follow our posts about the progress of Florence on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Village-Craftsmen-185596684826166/

Many thanks to all of our readers who have sent us messages of concern. We appreciate them all!

Philip
.

Pre-Florence Photos

Just a few photos from this morning.

Some houses boarded up:














The 1718 Brew Pub:














Cars & Boats in the NPS Parking Area:














 Empty Streets:


 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hurricane Florence - Press Release #5

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #5: Hurricane Florence
Mandatory Evacuation for all of Hyde County
Effective at 12:00 pm, Tuesday, September 11, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners have extended the mandatory evacuation order to encompass all of Hyde County, mainland and island. There are no travel restrictions on the mainland at this time. We strongly encourage all residents to evacuate to safety. This storm is extremely dangerous and should be treated as such.

The designated evacuation shelter for Hyde County residents is Knightdale High School, 100 Bryan Chalk Ln, Knightdale, NC 27545. This shelter is open to all Hyde County residents that wish to utilize it. The shelter will open on Tuesday, September 11 at 2:00 pm. The shelter is pet friendly and equipped to handle animals.

We are currently looking for certified bus drivers to help with the evacuation of citizens to the shelter. If you can assist or know someone that can, please contact the EOC at 252-926-3715.

The evacuation of Ocracoke residents and visitors will continue today, with all ferries currently running their regularly scheduled routes. Entry to Ocracoke is restricted to authorized personnel only.
 
Ocracoke entry priorities are as follows:

1) Emergency Personnel and Equipment
2) NCDOT Highway and Power Company Personnel and Equipment
3) Sanitation Personnel and Equipment
4) Mail and Parcel Delivery
5) Commodities and Fuel Vendors until ferry operations cease

Current storm surge models are showing anywhere from 1-9 feet of surge depending on where you are located in the county, increasing from east to west. See picture below for a reference.

County offices will close at noon, Wednesday, September 12. All alcohol sales will be suspended on the mainland at 5:00 pm Wednesday, September 12.

For those without a means to travel to safety, Hyde County is planning to offer transportation and more information will be forthcoming. Officials are finalizing these plans and hope to release more details by Tuesday afternoon. If you have any questions regarding the evacuation, shelter or have any other special needs, please contact the Hyde County Emergency Operations Center at 252-926-3715.



Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 11, 2018 12:00pm

Donnie Shumate 
Public Information Officer
dshumate@hydecountync.gov
(252) 542-0083

Hurricane Florence - Press Release #4

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #4: Hurricane Florence - Hyde County Evacuation Shelter
The designated evacuation shelter for Hyde County residents is Knightdale High School, 100 Bryan Chalk Ln, Knightdale, NC 27545. This shelter is open to all Hyde County residents that wish to utilize it. The shelter will open on Tuesday, September 11 at 2:00 pm. The shelter is pet friendly and equipped to handle animals.

For those without a means to travel to safety, Hyde County is planning to offer transportation assistance and more information will be forthcoming. Officials are finalizing these plans and hope to release more details by Tuesday afternoon. If you have any questions regarding the evacuation or shelter, contact the Hyde County Emergency Operations Center at 252-926-3715.


Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 10, 2018 10:30pm

Donnie Shumate 
Public Information Officer
dshumate@hydecountync.gov
(252) 542-0083

Monday, September 10, 2018

A Very Early Sign...

...of an impending storm (a few cars parked on "higher" ground):


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release #3: Hurricane Florence - Mandatory Evacuation of Ocracoke Island for Visitors and Residents
Effective at 5:00 am Tuesday, September 11, 2018, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners have issued a mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke Island for residents, non-resident property owners and the continued mandatory evacuation of visitors. All alcohol sales on the island will be suspended at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, September 11, 2018.

At 12:00 pm on Monday, September 10, 2018, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners have declared a state of emergency for all of Hyde County and a mandatory visitor evacuation of Ocracoke Island due to the potential impact of Hurricane Florence.

Ocracoke entry will be restricted and the priorities are as follows:

1) Emergency Personnel and Equipment
2) NCDOT Highway and Power Company Personnel and Equipment
3) Sanitation Personnel and Equipment
4) Mail and Parcel Delivery
5) Commodities and Fuel Vendors until ferry operations cease

Information on available shelters and transportation options will be forthcoming.

Hurricane Florence is projected to be a major hurricane with landfall somewhere in the southeastern NC area. All of Hyde County is currently in the cone of uncertainty and current projections show the possibility of tropical storm force winds arriving as early as Wednesday evening.

During a state of emergency, all NC DOT ferry reservations are canceled and tolls are waived. Boarding the ferries will be on a first come first serve basis. Due to the possible flooding and wash over on Hwy 12, impacts may occur well in advance of the storm, we recommend starting your evacuation as soon as possible and utilizing the sound route ferries when evacuating. Decisive action is necessary to insure you arrive at your destination safely.

The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast and issue advisories as appropriate. Also, the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group will continue meeting to receive daily weather briefings and discuss emergency protective measures. Citizens should monitor their local weather outlets, the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices, and the National Hurricane Center for the most timely information.

To see Hyde County's Hurricane and Flood Procedures and Preparation Information, visit our website at http://hydecountync.gov/hurricane_and_flood_info/index.php

##
Hyde County, North Carolina, 30 Oyster Creek  Road, PO Box 188, Swan Quarter, NC 27885
Sent by dshumate@hydecountync.gov in collaboration with
Constant Contact


Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 10, 2018 3:30pm

Donnie Shumate 
Public Information Officer
dshumate@hydecountync.gov
(252) 542-0083

Hurricane Press Release #2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Release #2: Hurricane Florence - Mandatory Evacuation of Visitors on Ocracoke Island

Effective at 12:00 pm Monday, September 10, 2018, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners have declared a state of emergency for all of Hyde County and a mandatory visitor evacuation of Ocracoke Island due to the potential impact of hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence is projected to be a major hurricane with landfall somewhere in the southeastern NC area. All of Hyde County is currently in the cone of uncertainty and current projections show the possibility of tropical storm force winds arriving as early as Wednesday evening.

During a state of emergency, all NC DOT ferry reservations are canceled and tolls are waived. Boarding the ferries will be on a first come first serve basis. Due to the possible flooding and wash over on Hwy 12, impacts may occur well in advance of the storm, we recommend starting your evacuation as soon as possible and utilizing the sound route ferries when evacuating. Decisive action is necessary for Ocracoke visitors to insure you arrive at your destination safely.

The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast and issue advisories as appropriate. Also, the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group will continue meeting to receive daily weather briefings and discuss emergency protective measures. Citizens should monitor their local weather outlets, the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices, and the National Hurricane Center for the most timely information.

To see Hyde County's Hurricane and Flood Procedures and Preparation Information, visit our website at http://hydecountync.gov/hurricane_and_flood_info/index.php


##
Hyde County, North Carolina, 30 Oyster Creek  Road, PO Box 188, Swan Quarter, NC 27885
Sent by dshumate@hydecountync.gov in collaboration with
Constant Contact


Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 10, 2018 12:00pm

Donnie Shumate 
Public Information Officer
dshumate@hydecountync.gov
(252) 542-0083

Florence

As our readers will no doubt realize, the major topic of conversation in the village today is hurricane Florence. Nearly everyone is making final preparations for landfall in North Carolina sometime on Thursday.

I was waiting for an official local advisory to share this morning, but I have not received one yet. Stay tuned! I will post more as soon as I hear an update.


Sunday, September 09, 2018

Press Release #1: Tropical Storm Florence



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Release #1: Tropical Storm Florence

Tropical Storm Florence is forecast to be a dangerous major hurricane near the southeast U.S. coast by late next week, and the risk of direct impacts continues to increase. However, given the uncertainty in track and intensity forecasts at those time ranges, it's too soon to determine the exact timing, location, and magnitude of those impacts.

With the high forecast uncertainty because of the complex weather pattern and low confidence in the long range forecast track, it is critical for everyone to remain vigilant. Although we may have a few days before serious protective measures need to be implemented, at this juncture direct impacts to NC from an extremely powerful hurricane are likely. Citizens should closely monitor Hurricane Florence and continue making preparations should emergency protective measures become required.

Large swells will begin to affect portions of the U.S. East Coast this weekend, resulting in life-threatening surf and rip currents. Beach-goers should exercise extreme caution when deciding to enter the water starting this weekend. Rip currents usually peak during periods of low tide, so when planning your trip to the beach please try to avoid low tide cycles.

Even though the long range forecast is somewhat uncertain, preparedness may alleviate stress and unwanted outcomes exacerbated by waiting for the forecast to materialize.

Individuals should take this opportunity to evaluate their household preparedness by checking/building their emergency preparedness kit, discussing evacuation plans, validating insurance coverage, cataloging valuables, etc. 

With the growing probability that Hyde County will receive direct impacts from Florence, non-resident property owners should consider capitalizing on the rest of this weekend through Monday and use it as an opportunity to secure their properties ahead of the storm.

This is a great time to fill up your vehicle with gas and make sure you have adequate back up fuel for vehicles and generators. If you have a generator that is new or has not been run recently, you should fill it up with gas and make sure everything is working properly.

The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast and issue advisories as appropriate. Also, the Ocracoke Deputy Control Group began meeting this evening to receive daily weather briefings and discuss emergency protective measures. Citizens should monitor their local weather outlets, the National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices, and the National
Hurricane Center for the most timely information.

To see Hyde County's Hurricane and Flood Procedures and Preparation Information, visit our website at http://hydecountync.gov/hurricane_and_flood_info/index.php



##
Hyde County, North Carolina, 30 Oyster Creek  Road, PO Box 188, Swan Quarter, NC 27885
Sent by dshumate@hydecountync.gov in collaboration with
Constant Contact


Sat, Sep 8, 9:42 PM (13 hours ago)

Friday, September 07, 2018

Haircuts

Recently, while enjoying dinner with a cousin/neighbor, talk turned to island barbers. We recalled at least a dozen people who cut hair, mostly nonprofessionals who seldom charged for their services. In years gone by islanders were simply accustomed to taking matters into their own hands, and doing what needed to be done. For example, my father, Lawton, routinely cut the hair of his friend Zora Bable. In turn, Zora cut my father's hair.

Years ago, while working on dredge boats on the Delaware River, my father developed a reputation for doing a pretty good job cutting hair. He charged 50 cents.

Manual Hair Clippers













One day a fellow crew member wanted his hair cut, but explained that he only had a quarter. He assured my father he would pay the other twenty-five cents when he received his pay. My father told him to sit down as he brought out his clippers and comb. Dad proceeded to trim around his fellow-sailor's right ear, then worked his way up until he reached the middle of the top of his head...then stopped. "There's your quarter's worth," Dad said. "I'll finish up after you bring me the other quarter."

 As you can imagine, it wasn't long before Dad got his other twenty-five cents!

Of course, anyone who knew my dad well knew he was just messing with his friend. He would have finished the haircut in due time. But he was enjoying the prank as long as he could.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Mrs. Godfrey's ghost who haunts the Island Inn/Odd Fellows Lodge. The story is taken from Chapter Three of my book, Digging up Uncle Evans. You can read the account here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/mrs-godfreys-ghost/.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Otway Burns

During the War of 1812 the Outer Banks served an important roll by providing a base of operations for American privateers (privately owned armed ships holding a government commission and authorized for warfare, especially in the capture of enemy merchant shipping).

One of the most successful privateers of the time was captain Otway Burns.


















Burns was born in eastern North Carolina, near the small town of Swansboro. His clipper ship, the Snap Dragon, was armed with four 12 pound guns and a pivot gun. His main base was on Bogue Banks, but he frequently anchored at Ocracoke. In his first seven months as a privateer Burns captured ten British vessels (and took 250 prisoners). He plundered the ships for one million dollars worth of cargo.

In 1834 the town of Burnsville was established in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. The town was named after Captain Otway Burns, a tribute to one of the most celebrated naval heros of the War of 1812. In 1909 a statue of Captain Burns was given to the town by Capt. Burns' grandson, Walter Francis Burns, Sr. and was displayed in the center of the town square.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Mrs. Godfrey's ghost who haunts the Island Inn/Odd Fellows Lodge. The story is taken from Chapter Three of my book, Digging up Uncle Evans. You can read the account here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/mrs-godfreys-ghost/.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Lightships

The first lighthouse erected to protect shipping in Ocracoke Inlet (it was built on a small shell island between Ocracoke and Portsmouth) was not illuminated until 1803. When the channel shifted this lighthouse became ineffective for navigation. On May 15, 1820, funds were appropriated to station a light ship in Ocracoke Inlet. This also proved inadequate for its purposes, and after two more years $20,000 was approved for the construction of the present Ocracoke Lighthouse which was built in 1823.

Recently I discovered that another lightvessel was stationed in Ocracoke Inlet, between 1852 and 1859.  It was anchored about 300 yards off the south end of Ocracoke Island. During her years in service, this ship was referred to exclusively by her station name. In 1938 the lightship was retroactively assigned the designation "TT." (See http://www.uscglightshipsailors.org/ocracoke_channel_lightship_station_history.htm.)

In 2016 I wrote about life aboard a lightship. This is what I wrote:

In 1891 Gustav Kobbe wrote an article for Century Magazine, titled "Life on the South Shoal Lightship." The South Shoals vessel (No. 1) was positioned 24 miles off Sankaty Head, Nantucket Island.

Kobbe wrote movingly of life aboard a lightship, a vessel "as much at the mercy of the waves as a vessel stripped of sails or deprived of motive power in mid-ocean. Even in smooth weather the motion is entirely different from that of a ship under way. For a few minutes she will lie on an even keel, and then without warning she will roll so that the water streams in through her scuppers."

Kobbe explains that "the emotional stress under which [the] crew labors can hardly be realized by any one who has not been through a similar experience. The sailor on an ordinary ship has at least the inspiration of knowing that he is bound for somewhere; that in due time his vessel will be laid on her homeward course; that storm and fog are but incidents of the voyage: he is on a ship that leaps forward full of life and energy with every lash of the tempest. But no matter how the lightship may plunge and roll, no matter  how strong the favoring gales may be, she is still anchored [on the shoal]...."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Mrs. Godfrey's ghost who haunts the Island Inn/Odd Fellows Lodge. The story is taken from Chapter Three of my book, Digging up Uncle Evans. You can read the account here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/mrs-godfreys-ghost/.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Puffery in Advertising

Eight Ocracoke Inlet Pilots in 1821 issued a "Press Release" extolling the safety and navigation advantages of Ocracoke Inlet. I don't doubt their findings about the depth of the channel and the condition of the shoal when they made their soundings, but they did make some rather broad and glowing comments about the stability of the inlet. For example, "[the channel] will not be likely to fill up," and it should "improve daily." In addition, "there is not the least danger" to vessels who cannot get over the shoal, for the flood tide will re-float them.

We all know that wind, tide, storms, and hurricanes routinely reconfigure Ocracoke Inlet. What is true one day, may not be so the next. But who can blame the pilots for a little exaggeration? After all, their income depended on Masters bringing their ships through Ocracoke Inlet.

Here is the article, from The North-Carolina Star (Raleigh, North Carolina) Friday, July 27, 1821, Page 3:

THE OCRACOKE NAVIGATION

We the undersigned Branch pilots, living and residing at Ocracoke, do hereby represent to the Public for the benefit of Masters and owners of Vessels, that for several days past we were of the opinion that a new Chanel [sic] was breaking out round [sic] the point of Ocracoke, till on the 8d inst. We came through that way for the purpose of sounding it out, and have the pleasure to state, that on the shoalest part we found 8 feet, although the tide had fallen several inches; and that it is not more than 5 to 10 yards across this shoal, when you drop directly into two fathoms each way, and that the tide does not cross the channel as formerly, but that the channel makes in a true direction with the tide, by which it will not be likely to fill up, but improve daily; and though the wind was blowing fresh from the South, the channel was perfectly smooth and did not break on the shoal as formerly, and that we considered it the best and the safest channel that we have ever seen at this navigation; and what is still more favorable, the Shoal now makes on the inner side of the point of Ocracoke; and should a vessel go on to it drawing 10 feet and not be able to get over, there is not the least danger, as the flod [sic] tide will bring her back into the channel. – We sounded the channel again on the 4th, and found it as the day before.

Thomas Styron,
Christopher O’Neal, Sr.,
James Bragg,
Zoroballe Gaskins,
John Bragg,
William Gaskins,
William Tolson,
Benjmin Williams, Jr.

Ocracoke, July 9, 1821

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Mrs. Godfrey's ghost who haunts the Island Inn/Odd Fellows Lodge. The story is taken from Chapter Three of my book, Digging up Uncle Evans. You can read the account here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/mrs-godfreys-ghost/.

Monday, September 03, 2018

10,000 Pounds of Bluefish

The May, 1985, Universtity of North Carolina Sea Grant newsletter, Coastwatch, published an article about Ocracoke Island fishermen, Sullivan and Uriah Garrish, titled "A Heritage Founded on Fish" by Sarah Friday. One paragraph describes fishing before WWII:

Sullivan Garrish and his brother, Uriah, admit that the fishing and bragging came easy sometimes. "We used to catch 14 and 15.000 pounds" in a day, says Sullivan. "There was a lot of times when we couldn't bring them all in in our boats." He recalls one trip in particular when they had to get another boat's crew to help them pull10.000 pounds of bluefish out of their gill net. The old-timers agree commercial fishing is not easy work. Sullivan said he and Uriah were out before sunrise every morning, weather permitting, from May to October. After netting all the fish they could catch, the crew took several hours to cull, clean, salt and pack the fish in barrels for shipping. Not much fresh fish was sent from the island then. And occasionally instead of shipping their catch the islanders would swap the fish for a load of vegetables from the mainland.

You can read the full article here

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Mrs. Godfrey's ghost who haunts the Island Inn/Odd Fellows Lodge. The story is taken from Chapter Three of my book, Digging up Uncle Evans. You can read the account here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/mrs-godfreys-ghost/.