The Life-Saving Service was officially established in 1871. As a section of the Department of Treasury the USLSS exclusively targeted the systematic rescue of shipwreck victims. The first establishment of the Life-Saving Service occurred in North Carolina in 1874 when seven stations were built on the northern barrier islands.
The first station was built on Ocracoke Island, near Hatteras Inlet, in 1883. Capt. James Howard was the keeper.
|Hatteras Inlet USLSS, Ocracoke|
The original crew consisted of six surfmen who took turns scanning the ocean from the station's cupola during daylight hours, and patrolling the beach on foot during the night. Eventually, because of the great distance on Ocracoke, surfmen were permitted to patrol on horseback.
Earl O'Neal lists the following surfmen who were serving in 1900 (for more information see http://www.ncgenweb.us/hyde/LIFESAVE.HTM):
- George Lafayette Fulcher, Jr.- B. 04-19-1844 D. 09-30-1908
- George Lafayette Fulcher III - B. 1871 D. Unknown
- Robert W. Gaskill - B. 12-14-1846 D. 11-09-1918
- James Wheeler Howard Sr. - B. 12-04-1874 D. 11-02-1940
- Charlie S. McWilliams - B. 1871 D. Unknown (He became Portsmouth Island Station Keeper on October 8, 1903.)
- George W. Simpson Sr. - B. 12-08-1842 D. 07-25-1912 James Hatton Wahab - B. 01-31-1861 D. 08-08-1913 David Williams - B. 03-27-1858 D. 04-05-1938
Over the years, the brave men of the Ocracoke Life-Saving Service saved the lives of many seafarers, sometimes in dramatic and life-threatening conditions. To read more click here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/lifesaving-ocracoke-island/.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about Old Christmas in Rodanthe. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/old-christmas-rodanthe/.