Friday, March 09, 2018

Lillie F. Schmidt

On this date in 1883 the schooner, Lillie F. Schmidt wrecked on Ocracoke's beach. The following letter from the vessel's master, addressed to the United States Life Saving Service, was dated March 18, 1883. 

DEAR SIR: March 9, at 5:15 a.m., the schooner Lillie F. Schmidt, of Philadelphia, bound from the port of Savannah, Georgia, via Bermuda, to Baltimore, stranded in the breakers about five hundred yards from the beach, about four miles north of Ocracoke light. At the time a strong gale blew from the southward, with thick weather and rough sea. At 8 a.m. was sighted by people from Ocracoke village, who proceeded to the life-saving station, northeast end of Ocracoke Island, and notified Captain J.W. Howard of the stranded vessel, and he and crew, with apparatus, proceeded to wreck as soon as possible, to save the crew. Arriving abreast at 2:30 p.m., prepared and shot a line across the vessel, rigged the breeches buoy, and all hands were safely landed in three-quarters of an hour from arrival on beach abreast of vessel, which, in my opinion, was well done, owing to the great distance vessel was from the beach. Myself and crew being much fatigued and the distance being so great, with no way of getting there without walking the whole distance, Captain Howard arranged and sent us to the village of Ocracoke, where we were all taken care of. I desire to express my grateful thanks to the captain and crew for his and their timely aid and prompt service in landing myself and crew safely from wreck to shore and attending our wants. Your respectfully, P.C. VAN GILDER, Master of Schooner Lillie F. Schmidt

For more information about the wreck see our two previous posts (from 2009 & 2013):

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter, a newspaper article published in 1923 titled "Quaintest Town in America," provides a fascinating glimpse of Ocracoke Island life a century ago. You can read it here: .


  1. Anonymous6:30 AM

    A tribute to the good people of Ocracoke Village.

  2. From Savannah to Baltimore via Bermuda, makes you wonder what they were doing off Ocracoke. Did they miss Baltimore on the final leg, or were they trying to reach Burmuda’s Latitude before heading to sea?

  3. Anonymous5:36 PM

    I guess you are related to Captain Howard. You have a colorful family. One of the best things about your family is that so much is recorded. That's great. You should feel lucky.
    Another exciting entry in the adventures of the Howards. Thumbs up!