Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Dorian Update

Many friends and family members have called, emailed, and texted, concerned about me, Amy, David & Lachlan, and the Village Craftsmen. I have been too overwhelmed to reply individually, so I am posting this summary of the situation for them and any of our other readers.

On Friday, as tide water came rushing down the lane across from my house and from both directions on Lawton Lane, I watched, stunned, as the water steadily rose up my fence. When it breached the points on the palings I knew it was higher than in the '44 hurricane, the worst storm in living memory.

Water poured onto my pizer, then under the doors, and came bubbling up between the floor boards. Before it receded (probably in less than an hour...I can't remember), my house, Amy & David's, the Village Craftsmen, my brother's trailer, my office/laundry building,  my workshop, and Amy & David's storage shed were all inundated with between 2 and 12 inches of water.

As heartbreaking as that was, many other islanders fared far worse. Tidewater rose 3 to 4, or more, feet in some houses, several people had to be rescued from attics and roofs where they had fled from the rising tide, and numerous businesses and public buildings, including the Methodist church (I haven't heard about the Assembly of God), the school, the health clinic, the post office, and the Variety Store had extensive damage.  Some people lost everything to the rising water.

Fortunately, there were no deaths, and I have heard of no major injuries.

As I write, recovery efforts are underway with help from the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the US Army, numerous other state, county, federal, and charitable agencies, and friends and neighbors. The outpouring of love, concern, and financial, commodity & labor donations is emotionally overwhelming.

Municipal water was restored a couple of days ago, and electric power was turned on to some homes and businesses yesterday. I have electric (and hot water & A/C!!) but several circuits are disconnected. Amy & David only have generator power, and the Village Craftsmen only has power to the second floor. More than 350 homes and businesses had their meters removed because of flood water damage.

It will take, weeks, months, and maybe longer to fully recover from Hurricane Dorian. But Ocracoke islanders are resilient, and are determined to get back to normal as soon as possible.

Much more information about Hurricane Dorian and its impact on Ocracoke is aviailable on the internet, including Village Craftsmen's Facebook page, the Ocracoke Current, and the Ocracoke Observer. There you will also find information about making donations for hurricane relief efforts. The Outer Banks Community Foundation is one of the best.

Heartfelt thanks to all of our family and friends who have been so concerned about us. We are survivors.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Water is receding very slowly. Many houses and businesses flooded.
An inch of water in my house!
Tide coming in!


7:58

Wind has definitely shifted. Coming from the N now. No tidal flooding yet on Lawton Lane, but getting reports of flooding elsewhere.

7:48

Winds probably 50-75 mph now.

7:40

Wind still getting stronger. Maybe 45-50 mph. No tidal flooding on Lawton Lane. But lots of standing rain water.

7:12

Wind is stronger again. Maybe 35-40 mph.

7:05

Looks like the eye of the storm is just south of Ocracoke village. I've heard reports of some tidal flooding, but none in my neighborhood yet.

6:55

Wow! The wind is calming way down. About 20 mph now.

6:40

Power out again. Probably the beginning of a long outage!

6:30 Report

Woke up at 6:15 to howling wind. According to wunderground.com it's blowing 55 mph with gusts over 80 mph. Power went out right after I got up. Dorian has turned, and the projected track of the storm is now just west of Ocracoke, up Pamlico Sound!

Power and Wind

Power back on. A little windier. 30-35 mph.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Power

Power out.

Dorian...8:45 pm

Dorian seems to be moving forward more slowly than anticipated. The eye of the storm is expected to arrive about 8 am tomorrow morning. Right now the wind is blowing about 20 mph with intermittent rain. No power outages yet.

For the last few days island captains have been taking their boats out of the water or tying them securely to docks and piers.















Everyone on the island seems to be well prepared for Dorian. We are hoping for the best throughout the night and early in the morning.

Hurricane Dorian Press Release #7


Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 5, 2019 6:30pm

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hurricane Dorian Press Release #7
Hyde County is currently under a hurricane and storm surge warning. A mandatory evacuation of all Hyde County residents is in effect. A curfew remains in place for Ocracoke Island from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am. A countywide ban on alcohol sales will remain in place until the order is lifted.

The forecast has not changed much since yesterday. Hurricane Dorian is a still a strong category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. Hyde County is expecting sustained winds of 80-90 mph with gusts over 100 mph. Rainfall totals are predicted to be between 8-10 inches with localized areas of up to 15 inches. Flash flooding is very likely during this event. Do not attempt to drive through areas with flooding. Storm surge levels could range between 3-6 feet above ground level. Water levels will rise very rapidly on the sounds, particularly soundside Outer Banks, as the storm passes.

Tropical storm force conditions are expected to arrive around 7:00 pm this evening and continuing through Friday afternoon. Hurricane force conditions are forecasted to begin around 5:00 am Friday morning lasting several hours. Multiple tornadoes in the outer bands of the storm have already impacted eastern NC. Make sure you have multiple ways to receive emergency weather alerts.

Based on the current forecast, Tideland EMC anticipates widespread power outages with restoration activities lasting several days or longer. Tideland line crews will be joined by eighty-one additional personnel from Virginia, South Carolina, and Maryland as well as in-state crews. The extra personnel have been pre-staged in area hotels and consist of line workers and tree removal crews, nearly tripling Tideland's existing repair workforce. Tideland members should report power outages by calling 1-800-882-1001 or by texting OUT to short code 85700.

The Hyde County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will remain operational throughout the duration of this storm and the recovery process. If you have any concerns or need assistance call the EOC at 252-926-3715. If you have an emergency call 911. Continue monitoring our social media outlets and website www.hydecountync.gov
for updates.

Hurricane Dorian Press Release #6


Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 4, 2019 7:00pm

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hurricane Dorian Press Release #6
Hyde County is currently under a hurricane and storm surge warning. A mandatory evacuation of all Hyde County residents is active as of Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 5:00 am. A curfew will go into effect for Ocracoke Island from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am starting tonight, Wednesday, September 4, 2019, until lifted. A ban on alcohol sales started on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm for Ocracoke and will begin on Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 4:00 pm for the mainland.

Hurricane Dorian is a strong category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph as of the 5:00 pm update. Hyde County is currently expecting sustained winds of 80-90mph with gusts over 100mph. Rainfall totals are predicted to be between 8-10 inches with localized areas of up to 15 inches. Storm surge levels could range between 3-6 feet. Tropical conditions are forecasted to begin Thursday night and continue into Friday. 

The general population shelter for evacuees from Hyde County is located at Northampton County Cultural and Wellness Center, 9536 NC Hwy 305, Jackson, NC 27845.  The shelter is open and accepting evacuees as of noon on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Pets are allowed at this shelter. Please bring vaccination records, food, and a kennel if you are traveling with your pets. Anyone with special medical needs that need to evacuate should contact the EOC at 252-926-3715 for guidance. If you do not comply with the evacuation order, please be aware that emergency services may not be available to you after tropical storm force winds begin.

Hyde Transit will be assisting those who need aid with evacuation transportation. For details of the transit schedule see Hyde County Press Release #5 or visit our Hurricane and Flood webpage at www.hydecountync.gov. If you have questions about transportation assistance, please call Hyde Transit at 252-926-1637.  For the last transportation assistance departure, please call Hyde Transit by noon on Thursday, September 5, 2019.

The Hyde County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is now activated and will remain operational throughout the duration of this storm. If you have any concerns or need assistance call the EOC at 252-926-3715.  If you have an emergency call 911. Continue monitoring our social media outlets and website www.hydecountync.gov for updates.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Hurricane Dorian Press Release #5


Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 4, 2019 10:00am

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hurricane Dorian Press Release #5
The general population shelter for evacuees from Hyde County is located at Northampton County Cultural and Wellness Center, 9536 NC Hwy 305, Jackson, NC 27845.  The shelter will be open and accepting evacuees at 12 noon on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. Pets are allowed at this shelter. Please bring vaccination records and a kennel if you are traveling with your pets.

Anyone with special medical needs that need to evacuate should contact the EOC at 252-926-3715 for guidance.

Hyde Transit will be assisting those who need aid with evacuation transportation.  Please arrive at the designated stop at least 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time.  The transportation schedule is as follows:


Evacuation Route 1 - Thursday, September 5, 2019

10:00 am - Departs Davis Ventures
10:30 am - Departs Mattamuskeet High School
11:00 am - Departs O.A. Peay School
11:30 am - Departs Scranton Post Office
12:00 pm - Departs Mount Olive Church


Evacuation Route 2  - Thursday, September 5, 2019

2:00 pm - Departs Davis Ventures
2:30 pm - Departs Mattamuskeet High School
3:00 pm - Departs O.A. Peay School
3:30 pm - Departs Scranton Post Office
4:00 pm - Departs Mount Olive Church


If you have questions about transportation assistance, please call Hyde Transit at 252-926-1637.  For the last transportation assistance departure, please call Hyde Transit by noon on Thursday, September 5, 2019.  

The Hyde County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is now activated and will remain operational throughout the duration of this storm. If you have any concerns or need assistance call the EOC at 252-926-3715.  If you have an emergency call 911.

Hurricane Prep

Most folks who are staying on the island have completed their hurricane preparations. Cars are beginning to appear on every piece of high(er) ground.

















As someone said a couple of days ago, "Waiting for a hurricane is like being stalked by a turtle."

Hurricane Dorian Press Release #4



Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 3, 2019 5:00pm

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hurricane Dorian Press Release #4
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners have ordered a mandatory evacuation of all Hyde County residents in advance of Hurricane Dorian that will go into effect on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 5:00 am. A curfew will go into effect for Ocracoke Island from 10:00 pm to 6:00 am starting Wednesday, September 4, 2019, until lifted. A ban on alcohol sales will begin on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 4:00 pm for Ocracoke and Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 4:00 pm for the mainland.

If you do not comply with the evacuation order, please be aware that emergency services may not be available to you after tropical storm force winds begin.

Hyde County is currently under a Hurricane Watch. A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible within the next 48 hours. Now is the time to finish your preparations and secure any loose items in your yard. Current predictions show the most likely time we will start experiencing tropical storm force winds is Thursday.

The Hyde County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is now activated and will remain operational throughout the duration of this storm. If you have any concerns or need assistance call the EOC at 252-926-3715. If you need assistance with evacuation transportation please call Hyde Transit at 252-926-1637. If you have an emergency call 911.

Hyde County Government offices will be closed from Wednesday, September 4, 2019 through Friday, September 6, 2019. All Hyde County convenience sites will close at 12:00 pm on Wednesday, September 4, 2019. The Hyde County Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm will be postponed. We will announce the rescheduled date as soon as it becomes available.

Only residents, homeowners, or vendors with an Ocracoke re-entry pass on their vehicles will be allowed on ferries inbound to Ocracoke beginning at 5:00 am on September 3, 2019. Priority boarding will be suspended for all vessels leaving Ocracoke, and tolls have been waived for ferries heading from Ocracoke to Cedar Island or Swan Quarter.

The Ocracoke-Hatteras, Ocracoke-Cedar Island, and Ocracoke-Swan Quarter ferry routes will run their published schedules. The final departure from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter will be September 4 at 3:45 pm, the final departure from Ocracoke to Cedar Island will be September 4 at 1:00 pm, and the final departure from Ocracoke to Hatteras will be September 4 at 2:00 pm. 

Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor services suspended operations today, September 3, 2019 at 10:00 am on Ocracoke Island for the duration of the weather event. This includes the Ocracoke campground, visitor center, ranger programs and off-road vehicle permit sales office.

The National Hurricane Center has initiated probabilistic surge mapping and low lying areas of Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, could start receiving storm surge of greater than one (1) foot above the ground within the next three (3) days. Locally higher amounts of greater than three (3) feet above the ground are forecast for areas surrounding the Pungo River and Lake Mattamuskeet. This is well ahead of the Dorian's arrival, which is projected to occur on Thursday into Friday, and these values will only increase over the coming days.

In addition, the Weather Prediction Center has forecast six to ten (6-10) inches of precipitation to accumulate across Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, over the next seven (7) days. 

The combination of higher than normal tides, storm surge, and building surf conditions significantly threaten the transportation routes that serve Ocracoke Island.  The dunes that protect Highway 12 on Ocracoke are already being weakened during high tide cycles and it is possible that dune over wash precedes the peak weather conditions.  When evaluating your evacuation plans, this needs to be taken into consideration.

The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast for Hurricane Dorian and issue advisories as appropriate.  For the most current and official information please monitor the National Hurricane Center website at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Hurricane Dorian Press Release #3

Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 2, 2019 3:00pm

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hurricane Dorian Press Release #3
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners have ordered a mandatory evacuation of all visitors from Ocracoke Island in advance of Hurricane Dorian that will go into effect on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 5:00 am. A mandatory evacuation of Ocracoke residents will go into effect on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 5:00 am. The Hyde County Mainland Deputy Control Group will meet tomorrow, September 3, 2019 at 10:00 am to discuss the forecast and any additional emergency protective measures necessitated by the weather conditions. 

Due to the current forecast of Hurricane Dorian, the Hyde County Board of Commissioners meeting scheduled for Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 6:00 pm will be postponed. We will announce the rescheduled date as soon as it becomes available.

Only residents, homeowners, or vendors with an Ocracoke re-entry pass on their vehicles will be allowed on ferries inbound to Ocracoke beginning at 5:00 am on September 3, 2019. Priority boarding will be suspended for all vessels leaving Ocracoke, and tolls have been waived for ferries heading from Ocracoke to Cedar Island or Swan Quarter.

The Ocracoke-Hatteras, Ocracoke-Cedar Island, and Ocracoke-Swan Quarter ferry routes will run their published schedules. The final departure from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter will be September 4 at 3:45 pm, the final departure from Ocracoke to Cedar Island will be September 4 at 1:00 pm, and the final departure from Ocracoke to Hatteras will be September 4 at 2:00 pm. The Ocracoke Express passenger ferry will end service for the 2019 season at the end of the day today. 

Cape Hatteras National Seashore visitor services will be suspended tomorrow, September 3, 2019 at 10:00 am on Ocracoke Island for the duration of the weather event. This includes the Ocracoke campground, visitor center, ranger programs and off-road vehicle permit sales office.

The National Hurricane Center has initiated probabilistic surge mapping and low lying areas of Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, could start receiving storm surge of greater than one (1) foot above the ground within the next three (3) days. Locally higher amounts of greater than three (3) feet above the ground are forecast for areas surrounding the Pungo River and Lake Mattamuskeet. This is well ahead of the Dorian's arrival, which is projected to occur on Thursday into Friday, and these values will only increase over the coming days.

In addition, the Weather Prediction Center has forecast six to ten (6-10) inches of precipitation to accumulate across Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, over the next seven (7) days. 

A high risk of dangerous rip currents will exist for the remainder of this event and will persist throughout this week and swells from Dorian will continue to build as it tracks towards North Carolina.

The combination of higher than normal tides, storm surge, and building surf conditions significantly threaten the transportation routes that serve Ocracoke Island.  The dunes that protect Highway 12 on Ocracoke are already being weakened during high tide cycles and it is possible that dune over wash precedes the peak weather conditions.  When evaluating your evacuation plans, this needs to be taken into consideration.

The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast for Hurricane Dorian and issue advisories as appropriate.  For the most current and official information please monitor the National Hurricane Center website at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Hurricane Dorian Press Release #2

Hyde County, NC

Press Release: September 1, 2019 9:00pm

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Hurricane Dorian Press Release #2
The Hyde County Board of Commissioners have enacted a State of Emergency in advance of Hurricane Dorian that will go into effect on Monday, September 2, 2019 at 5:00am. Local officials will meet again on Monday at 1:00 pm to discuss the forecast and any additional emergency protective measures necessitated by the weather conditions. 

Given the current forecast for Hurricane Dorian, the NCDOT Ferry Division has announced that Monday, September 2, 2019 will be the last day the passenger ferry "Ocracoke Express" will be in operation this season.  The early discontinuation of service will allow the vessel to embark to safe harbor long before the arrival of adverse conditions.

Individuals should remain vigilant and review their household hurricane and evacuation plans to ensure they are prepared to take action if necessary.  If you do not have a hurricane plan, you can visit https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for step-by-step guidance on how to plan and prepare for them.  It is strongly recommended that Hyde County residents and nonresident property owners have their preparations completed by Monday at sunset and ready to take action as early as Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Center has initiated probabilistic surge mapping and low lying areas of Hyde County, including Ocracoke Island, could start receiving storm surge of greater than one (1) foot above the ground within the next three (3) days.  This is well ahead of the Dorian's arrival, which is projected to occur on Thursday into Friday, and these values will only increase over the coming days. Please keep in mind that highways along the coast frequently suffer overwash during periods of surge and everyone should make their evacuation plans accordingly.

In addition, the Weather Prediction Center has forecast six to ten (6-10) inches of precipitation to accumulate across Mainland Hyde County over the next seven (7) days and ten to fifteen (10-15) inches to accumulate across Ocracoke Island over the same time frame.

The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast for Hurricane Dorian and issue advisories as appropriate.  For the most current and official information please monitor the National Hurricane Center website at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Hurricane Dorian Press Release #1

The following is from Sunday evening, 6 pm:

Hyde County, NC

Press Release: August 31, 2019

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


Hurricane Dorian Press Release #1
The Ocracoke Deputy Control Group met this evening, August 31, 2019, at 6:00pm to receive an update on Hurricane Dorian from the Hyde County Emergency Services Department. No immediate actions were recommended during this meeting. The control group will meet again tomorrow, September 1, 2019, at 6:00pm  to discuss any future protective measures. We hope accurate and timely information will help to facilitate the decision making process when or if protective measures are necessary. Life safety and property protection/conservation are the highest priorities.

Individuals should remain vigilant and review their household hurricane and evacuation plans to ensure they are prepared to take action if necessary.  If you do not have a hurricane plan, you can visit https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan for step-by-step guidance on how to plan and prepare for them.  It is strongly recommended that Hyde County residents and property owners have their preparations completed by Monday at sunset and ready to take action as early as Tuesday morning. 

Even though Hurricane Dorian is at least a couple of days away from directly impacting the Southeast U.S., an enhanced risk of dangerous rip currents will exist this holiday weekend and persist through next week. Also, large swells from Dorian will begin impacting the Eastern North Carolina coast on Sunday.  Ocracoke beach goers should monitor the US National Weather Service Newport/Morehead City forecast and be mindful of the conditions when deciding to enter the water.  

The Hyde County Emergency Services Department will continue to monitor the forecast for Hurricane Dorian and issue advisories as appropriate.  For the most current and official information please monitor the National Hurricane Center website at https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Paul Green & Blackbeard

Many of our readers know of Paul Green (1894-1981), Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author of  "The Lost Colony," the Outer Banks' outdoor drama that has been regularly produced since 1937. Green's work inspired numerous other historical outdoor dramas, and is the longest-running of them all.

Only recently did I discover that Paul Green, with his wife, Elizabeth Lay, wrote an earlier one-act play about Blackbeard and Ocracoke Island. I have been unable to locate a copy of the Blackbeard play, but I did discover the words to a song in that production. It is sung by Bloody Ed, tailor and cook aboard Blackbeard's sloop the Adventure.  

Bloody Ed’s Song

In a winding shroud of green sea weed
    There many a dead man lies---
And the waves above them glitter at night
     With the stare of the dead men’s eyes.
No rest, no sleep, ten-fathom deep
    They watch with their glittering eyes.

Forever washed by the deep sea tides
    With the hanging coral sands,
For their treasured gold in their own deep graves
     They search with their bony hands.
No rest, no sleep, ten fathom deep
    They dig with their bony hands.

Hoping to secure a copy of the play one day!

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mailboats

From the turn of the 20th century until the early 1950s mail, passengers, and some freight was delivered to Ocracoke by one of several mail boats which were designed like the distinctive North Carolina shad boat. The Aleta, which carried mail and passengers from 1938 until 1952, is the best known island mail boat.
















But there were others. Motor powered mail boats that crossed Pamlico Sound from Beaufort, Morehead City or Atlantic included  the Meteor, the Hero, the Viola, the Lillian, The Kitty Watts and the Ripple. In 1953 Ansley O'Neal, captain of the Dolphin, secured the mail contract. The Dolphin operated until 1964, although mail also came by way of Hatteras soon after Frazier Peele established a private ferry service across Hatteras Inlet in 1950. The Dolphin, the last of the island's mailboats, made its last delivery in 1964.

In the nineteenth century and before, bugeye sailing vessels brought mail and freight to Ocracoke.

Today mail is delivered to Ocracoke by truck and ferry across Hatteras Inlet.

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Thursday, August 08, 2019

Post Office

In 1952 Ocracoke's postmaster, Elizabeth O’Neal Howard, and her husband Wahab Howard, built a new, 18’ X 24’, 432 square foot post office.  The new post office had 150 lock boxes. It was situated near the old store/original post office that dated from the late 1700s. (You can see the roof of the old building on the right side of the photo below.)

Ocracoke Post Office, ca. 1957













A brick Post Office replaced the 1952 building in 1967. In 1997 the Post Office was relocated to its present site on NC12 across from Howard's Pub. A few years later the 1957 building was moved and turned into a rental cottage, and the 1967 building was repurposed as a gift shop.

I wonder how many of our readers can tell me where the 1957 Post Office originally stood, and where it is now located, and which gift shop occupies the brick building. Please leave a comment if you know.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

In Celebration of a Small Town

In 1980 Ocracoke had about 650 people living here. Today the population is about 1,000 residents....still a small town.

A few days ago I was perusing a number of old island newspapers, and was amused by a 1980 article, "Ocracoke Welcomes New People." The focus of the article was five different people/families who had recently moved to the island. This is what the paper had to say about where they were living (the last one is my favorite):
  • She lives in the Dave Beveridge trailer.
  • They live near Jimmy Jackson.
  • He is staying with Mrs. Boos.
  • They are living in the Eleanor Gaskins house.
  • The have built a new house "up Trent" where Dan and Jean Robinson used to live.
Of course virtually everyone reading the article understood where the new residents were living. This is part of what makes living in a small town so wonderful.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Drum Fish

Last week I published a link to David Cecelski's on-line article about the connection between Ocracoke and Philadelphia. In that article Cecelski mentions "Old Drum," a quintessential island dish prepared from channel bass, potatoes, onions, boiled eggs, and cracklings.

He writes, "According to Blanche [Howard Jolliff], the Ocracokers in Philly had a special fondness for the bars along Delaware Avenue. So, she told me, an old saying was that if somebody ran down Delaware Avenue yelling “Old drum! Old drum!” a crowd would have poured into the street!" (Read the entire article at https://davidcecelski.com/2019/07/12/ocracoke-and-philadelphia-an-outer-banks-village-a-great-seaport-and-the-bond-between-them/.)

As fate would have it, soon after the article was written I was given a goodly portion of channel bass (drum) and blue fish. A traditional Sunday evening dinner resulted:





























You might want to try it sometime. Here is Danny & Margaret Garrish's recipe as printed in the Ocracoke Cookbook:

The "ceremony:" Boil drum in lightly salted water until it flakes. In another pot, boil about 2 medium potatoes per person. Hard boil 2 eggs per person. Dice a good size bowl of onions. Dice and fry-out (render) salt pork until brown and crunchy.

Assemble at the table, fixing each plate individually. Mash potatoes with fork, flake drum in with potatoes and sprinkle generously with diced onion. Add salt, pepper and chop up the hard boiled egg in the mixture, adding a good helping of cracklings and grease. Sprinkle with vinegar if desired. Enjoy!

Be sure to mix enough on the first plate. Somehow the second plateful never tastes as good as the first. Never plan anything for a couple of hours after you eat this. Just slide under the table and rest a spell. Don't forget the baked cornbread and lots of butter.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ocracoke and Philadelphia

Two and a half years ago I wrote, "Visitors to Ocracoke are often surprised to learn that many island families have connections with Philadelphia and the surrounding area. "


Delaware Avenue, Philadelphia, 1905















You can read that blog post here:  https://villagecraftsmen.blogspot.com/2017/01/philadelphia.html.

Just last week, noted award-wining North Carolina historian, David Cecelski, wrote a much more thorough and illuminating article detailing the many connections between Ocracoke and Philadelphia. You can read that article here: https://davidcecelski.com/2019/07/12/ocracoke-and-philadelphia-an-outer-banks-village-a-great-seaport-and-the-bond-between-them/.

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Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Homer Howard House, ca. 1903

Just a few days ago my cousin Lorie gave me this vintage photo of my house. I had never seen it before.

(Click to enlarge)













Sitting in the rocking chair on the left is my grandfather, Homer Howard (1968-1947); in the rocker on the right is my grandmother, Aliph O'Neal Howard (1876-1950). My grandfather appears to be in his mid-30s; my grandmother, in her mid-20s. My uncle, James Enoch, was born in January, 1903. If he is the baby in the picture, my grandmother would have been 27 years old, and my grandfather, 35 years old. In 1903 my uncle Marvin (the young boy in the photo?) was 6 six years old, and my aunt Agatha (one of the two girls?) was nine years old. I don't have a guess about who the other girl might be.

There are several interesting details in this photo. My father (Lawton, b. 1911) always told me he understood there was at one time an open porch on the back of the house (where the kitchen is today; originally the kitchen was a separate building behind the house), but did not remember it. If you enlarge the photo you can clearly see the open porch.

We believe the house was built about 1865. In this photo the windows have "six over six" sashes (six lights or panes in each sash), a typical 19th century arrangement. Later the windows were replaced with two over two sashes, a style that did not become popular until the late 1800s/early 1900s.

The four dark objects on the roof are not holes or openings; they are handmade "roof jacks" used to provide safe footing while installing or repairing a sloped roof. Note the wooden scaffolding on the far side of the house. 

Below is a photo of the house today: 














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Tuesday, July 02, 2019

William Howard

From 1717 to the summer of 1718 William Howard served as quartermaster (senior officer) of Blackbeard's crew.

Lt. Robert Maynard and his Royal Navy sailors defeated Blackbeard in a naval battle at Ocracoke on November 22, 1718.  After the battle the sixteen surviving pirates (Blackbeard was killed, so was not among them) were taken to Virginia to stand trial. According to most accounts, all but two were convicted and hanged by the neck.* Samuel Odel was released because he just happened to be aboard Blackbeard's ship and was not actually a member of the pirate crew. Israel Hands, former sailing master, was pardoned, perhaps because he had been crippled by a gunshot from Blackbeard some time before the final battle.

In 1759 William Howard purchased Ocracoke Island. Most historians and scholars believe William Howard, owner of Ocracoke Island, was the same William Howard who had served as Blackbeard's quartermaster. But how could William Howard the pirate have purchased Ocracoke if all of Blackbeard's crew (with the exception of Samuel Odel and Israel Hands) were either killed in the battle of Ocracoke or hanged in Virginia?

As it turns out, William Howard had departed Blackbeard's company in July or August, 1718. Shortly thereafter he was among those seen in taverns in coastal Virginia. Alexander Spotswood, Governor of Virginia, had William Howard seized as a vagrant seaman having no lawful business in Virginia.

Public Gaol, Williamsburg
Image Source: Galenfrysinger.com




















Criminal proceedings were instituted against him. In spite of employing John Holloway, "one of the chief lawyers" of the colony, Howard was tried without a jury, and convicted of "Pyracy and Robbery" on the High Seas.

William Howard was found guilty of piracy and sentenced to be hanged. Fortunately for him, on the night before his scheduled execution the king's Act of Grace (pardon for all piratical acts committed before July 23, 1718) arrived in Williamsburg. William Howard was released...good news for all residents of Ocracoke who can trace their roots to William Howard!  

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*Kevin Duffus, author of The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate, contends that most of Black Beard’s captured crew members were not hanged in Virginia and that several returned to their communities in eastern North Carolina. 


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Col. Frederick A. Olds

Frederick Augustus Olds (1853-1935)  was a North Carolina historian, newspaper columnist, lecturer, and editor who was an early advocate of preserving and sharing the history of North Carolina and her people.

In a new book by Larry E. Tise, Circa 1903, North Carolina's Outer Banks at the Dawn of Flight, the author devotes Chapter 6 ("A Jaunt Around the Carolina Coast") to the 1908 recollections of Col. Frederick A. Olds.



















According to Tise, Olds describes Ocracoke's "snowy white lighthouse," mentions the Doxsee Clam factory, and comments on the island's competing Northern and Southern Methodist churches. He is also fascinated by the "refreshing...broad dialect" of the locals.

Olds was one of the early writers to observe that the residents of Ocracoke and other Outer Banks villages were "the only North Carolinians who had the privilege 'of seeing the sun rise from and set in the water....'"

Look for Tise's book in your local library or independent book store. 

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Mr. Stacy Howard's Cool House/Little Free Library

Ocracoke Island just acquired its first Little Free Library. The Library is installed in the front yard of Village Craftsmen on Howard Street.

This Little Free Library is a re-purposed cool house (sometimes called a milk house or a screen house) originally built by Ocracoke native, Mr. Stacy Howard (1885-1968), in 1925.

Cool houses were used to help preserve food (fish, salt pork, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables) before the electrification of the island in 1938.

This Cool House was restored recently by Philip Howard, owner of Village Craftsmen. This is a public book exchange. When you are on the island please stop by to visit the library. You are welcome to take a book to read or leave one for someone else to find.

We like to think that Mr. Stacy, who was an avid reader, would be pleased to see his cool house used today to promote reading. 

Here are a few more photos (compliments of Tom Baxter) of us moving the cool house/library to its permanent site:



 



















You can read more about the Cool House, and see more photos here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/mr-stacys-cool-house/.