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


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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