By the time Frank Treat turned thirteen-years-old he had sailed aboard the schooner Robert F. Bratton which almost sank in the Atlantic Ocean on a trip from Charleston, South Carolina, to New Bern, North Carolina. In his own words, “Frank Treat is now twelve years old and is a salty old seaman.” He met a Captain John Day and sailed on the Carrie Farson, and then Captain John Beverage who enticed him on board the “Unity R. Dyer, a two topmaster.” Frank Treat reported, “We were in several storms. Once we were blown off the coast in a hurricane. It took us fourteen days to sail back. We lost our deck load and we came near sinking from open seams in the deck. That was really the worst time I had ever seen.” In October of 1893 Frank Treat’s ship, the Davidson, “went ashore about three miles south of Cape Henry and was a total loss….I was pulled ashore through the breakers on a line,” he recounts.
|Frank Treat Fulcher|
After this adventure, Frank Treat signed up as mate on the Russian ship Pauline bound for Hamburg, Germany. He was seventeen years old, “in the possession of two good fists” and “could take care of myself.” As he relates the story, “I helped shanghai the crew and when they discovered where they were, there was trouble in the air, but by this time I had become quite a man, so I talked them out of mutiny. Fifty-seven days crossing the Atlantic.” Others would recall that he ruled his crew with “fist, marlin spike, and boot toes.”
From Hamburg, Frank Treat made a voyage on the “full-rigged ship Achilles” to Sydney, Australia. It took them 120 days via the Cape of Good Hope, and 143 days to return, by way of Cape Horn, to Rotterdam, Holland. Off the coast of New Zealand “a storm....carried us sixty-nine degrees south of the Equator, down in the Antarctic ice drifts. Man Alive! It was below zero.”
In 1896, when Frank was eighteen years old, he was quartermaster on the steamer, Neptune, which left Rotterdam for Baltimore, Maryland. He later became a Methodist preacher.
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of Ocracoke Lodge No. 194, Independent Order of Odd Fellows. You can read the Newsletter here: /