Outer Banks Blogs

From Philadelphia to Ocracoke, 1951

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 04/21/2014 - 04:59
Last summer, at the Wednesday night Ocracoke Opry, I often told the story of crossing Hatteras Inlet on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. I recently wrote the story and published it on our website. It is this month's Ocracoke Newsletter. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Easter

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 04:15
Happy Easter to all of our friends on the island...and off!

(We hope your weather is more spring-like than here. We've had rain, wind, and chilly weather for several days...but the rain should be tapering off tomorrow, with clear skies and sunshine by mid-week.)

Enjoy this season of renewal and rejuvenation!
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Banker Ponies

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 04:43
In September, 2013 I wrote about Beeswax, "one of the best polo ponies in America," who was brought to Ocracoke to interbreed with the local horses. There are, of course, many other stories about our banker ponies -- including their origins, use by the US Life Saving Service, and mounts for the mid-1950s Boy Scout Troop.

Jean Day, in her book Banker Ponies, an Endangered Species, relates this amusing story:

"In 1939 there were 50 to 100 ponies on Ocracoke, about half of them wild, the others broken for riding.

"Big Ike O'Neal of Ocracoke sold some of his horses, including one he called 'Old Jerry' to someone on Portsmouth Island. Imagine Big Ike's surprise when two days later, he saw Old Jerry on a high sand dune at Ocracoke munching sea oats. To do this, Jerry had swum a mile and a half across the inlet where tidal current fought the ocean swell.

"He just wanted to go home."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Value of a Pirate

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 04/18/2014 - 05:12
How much did Alexander Spotswood, Governor of Virginia, offer as bounty for the capture of the lowliest member of Blackbeard's crew?

A buck an ear!

Seriously, the following rewards were offered by Governor Spotswood in November, 1718 to "every Person or Persons" who "shall take any Pyrate, or Pyrates, on the Sea or Land, or in case of Resistance, shall kill any such Pyrate, or Pyrates between the Degrees of thirty four, and thirty nine, of Northern Latitude, & within one hundred Leagues of the Continent of Virginia, or within the Provinces of Virginia or North Carolina":
  • For every private Man taken on Board a Pyrate ship, Sloop, or Vessel....£10
  • For every "inferior officer"....£15
  • For every Lieutenant, Master, or Quartermaster, Boatswain, or Carpenter....£20
  • For every Commander of a Pyrate Ship, Sloop, or Vessel [except, see next]....£40
  • For Edward Teach, commonly called Captain Teach, or Blackbeard....£100
This was pursuant to a Proclamation "Given at our Council Chamber at Williamsburgh, this 24th Day of November, 1718, in the fifth Year of his Majesty's Reign. GOD SAVE THE KING. A. Spotswood"

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Water Table

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 04/17/2014 - 05:17
Yesterday a reader left this question in the comments section: " Any insights into ground water on Ocracoke? Clearly it would vary by location/elevation, but in the area of the Village Craftsmen, for instance, how far down can you dig before you hit ground water?"

In 2008 Lou Ann wrote a humorous article about me installing a pitcher pump behind my house. The article will illustrate what it takes to tap into island ground water. You can read that article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news062908.htm.

At the end of the article I added this geology note:

Ocracoke, like the rest of the Outer Banks, is low and narrow.  As rain falls on these barrier islands water filters through the sandy soil. What does not run off into the Atlantic Ocean or Pamlico Sound flows below the surface where it mingles with underlying sediments that are saturated with salty ocean water. Although some intermixing occurs, fresh water is less dense than salt water, and forms a floating lens above the salt-laden water.

The boundary between the fresh and salt water layers varies with the tides and rainfall, but Ocracoke nearly always maintains a fresh water lens that is about 10 - 15 feet thick, and which lies about 4 - 5 feet below the surface. [Ground water can be] clear and sweet-smelling, though [it] is sometimes darker with an odor. In any case it is always perfect for watering plants or rinsing off after a day at the beach. And a well point and pump can be installed here in less than a day!

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Mistake

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 08:41
I was writing a post about the island water table this morning...and inadvertently published it prematurely. I even got an immediate comment. I just deleted the post, and will publish it again tomorrow, along with a reply to the comment.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Burying the Dead

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 04:40
In his book, Paradise Lost, An Oral History of Portsmouth Island, James E. White, III has this to say about island burials:

"Lionel Gilgo [1915-1983] lived on the Island long enough to see and experience numerous burials on the Island first hand. 'At low tide, the water was about two and a half feet deep when you dig. Now here on this hill you might dig three feet. Up around the cemetery you can't go over three feet. If you do, you're going to come to water. We had to bury them and stand on the casket.'"

Portsmouth Island Graves















Lionel Gilgo goes on the say about one burial that "Four of us had to stand on the casket to keep it down in the hole until we don't get enough sand piled on top of it to hold it down. And then it washed out partially.... That's another thing that caused some people to leave here. They detested that. They didn't want to be buried in that water."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Leonard Bryant, 1960

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 04:53
The following notice was published in the Raleigh News & Observer, November 22, 1960:

White Friends Hold Last Rites for Negro Man

Ocracoke -- Leonard Bryant, 82, a member of the only Negro family on Ocracoke, died last week.

Funeral services were conducted Nov. 16 in the Methodist Church, of which he had been a member and sexton for many years. Since there is no segregation in the church, he had taken communion with the white members during that time. All pallbearers at the funeral were white.

He was buried in the unsegregated community cemetery.

Bryant came to Ocracoke at the age of 19 to help the late George Credle run the old Ponder Hotel. He lived alone in a home adjacent to that of other members of his family; his wife, who has been ill, has been living with a daughter in Winston-Salem.

Survivors include a son, Julius, and two daughters, Mildred and Muse Bryant, all of Ocracoke, and other children, in addition to his wife.

----------------------------------
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.



Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Sound of Sound

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 04:23
Walt Wolfram and Natalie Schilling-Estes, in their book Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks, have this to say about the sound of "sound":

"Despite the fact that the hoi toide sound seems to capture everyone's attention when they talk about the [Ocracoke Island] brogue, there are a number of other distinctive vowel sounds that more subtly act to set the brogue apart from other dialects of American English. One of these is the Ocracoke pronunciation of ow, as in town or sound, as more of an ay as in say, so that town sounds like tain and sound like saind."

They go on to say that "what we hear in these words isn't exactly an ay, just as what we hear in i-words isn't really oy. Rather the Ocracoke ow is actually two sounds spoken quickly together, just like the i sound. To pronounce the ow like an islander, you need to say eh as in bet, followed by ee as in beet. Thus sound comes out sounding like s-eh-ee-nd...-- almost like saind,...but not quite."

Wolfram and Shilling-Estes conclude that "The ow sound provides us with direct evidence that Ocracoke English is not the language of Shakespeare -- but it's certainly not the language of mainland America, either."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Coal

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 04:59
Every now and again a lump of coal washes up on the beach at Ocracoke. If you find some you might wonder where it came from.















Most likely the coal was originally cargo or fuel on a schooner or steamboat that wrecked offshore. The steamboat Home was a coal-fired vessel that wrecked in 1837. The George W. Wells was a collier, and one of the largest schooners ever built. She wrecked in 1913.

A lump of coal may not seem very interesting, but it is a reminder of a grand seafaring tradition, tragedy offshore, and the bravery and courage of members of the US Life Saving Service.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Clam Digger, Flounder Gigger

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 04/12/2014 - 05:08
Native islander, Marcus Lawson, has started a new enterprise on Ocracoke.

Called "Clam Digger Flounder Gigger," this is a great way for visitors to experience Ocracoke Island. It is authentic, definitely not a typical tourist offering.








This is how Marcus describes his venture on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/clamdigger.floundergigger):

"While visiting Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, signing up for an excursion with Clam Digger & Flounder Gigger Charters can be a great way to explore the surrounding waters.

"Get to know the Pamlico Sound on a 24 foot Carolina Skiff, complete with all the equipment you will need to gather clams and to gig flounder. Then you can enjoy fresh local seafood and boast of your fishing skills.

"Call for reservations (252-921-0279) and further information on the fun you and your family can have."

You can also contact Marcus at clamdiggerfloundergigger@gmail.com.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.

 
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Willys Station Wagon

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 04:26
For years I have wanted a Willys station wagon. It is unlikely that I will ever get one. Recently, as I was looking through vintage Ocracoke Island photos I realized how many of these trucks are in the old pictures. Of course, they were the perfect vehicle for managing the island's sandy lanes.

This is the old store, Big Ike's Store. It stood where Captain's Landing is today. It was also the Post Office. The truck belonged to Carlton Kelly who lived in the large house with the widow's walk that backs up to Howard Street.




















If I can't own one of these vehicles, at least I can relive childhood memories every time I look at these old pictures.

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Crazy Guy on a Bike

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 05:02
The people you meet on Ocracoke!

My son-in-law, Fiddler David, was on tour with Molasses Creek recently. He returned home Monday on the Cedar Island ferry. Crossing the sound, David met Mark, a 49 year old cyclist from Germany who has been on the road for three years. We invited Mark for supper Monday night & Tuesday night. What an interesting guy.

Mark with his "naked" bike

















Mark worked at a VW plant back in Germany. One day he just decided that the sedentary life was not for him. So he got on his bike and started pedaling. I am not sure about everywhere he has been, but he told stories about Europe, New Zealand, and the United States. Mark has covered more than 21,000 miles on his bicycle.

Mark has no long-range goal. He simply decides as he travels. I joked that he was like Yogi Berra who said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it."

Mark posted this 7:43 minute video on his website (www.crazyguyonabike.com/mid):



Mark is something of a philosopher. We talked about freedom...the freedom of biking around the world without an itinerary...and the freedom of the settled life (not worrying about finding a place to sleep every night).

He posted this quotation by Victor Frankl on his website:

"The more a person concerns himself with pleasure, the more it recedes.
The more he pursues happiness, the more it eludes him.
To understand this, we have to overcome the popular misconception that happiness is one of man's Basic wants.
What he actually wants is a cause that allows him to be happy. Once a cause has been established,
the feeling of happiness will appear of its own accord. To the extent, however,
that man aims at happiness directly, he loses sight of established cause,
and the feeling of happiness will collapse in itself. In other words, happiness is a by-product
and cannot be approached directly".
-Victor Frankl-

Here is the original quotation, auf Deutsch:

"Je mehr er [der Mensch] nach Glück jagt, um so mehr verjagt er es auch schon.
Um dies zu verstehen, brauchen wir nur das Vorurteil zu überwinden,
daß der Mensch im Grund darauf aus sei, glücklich zu sein;
was er in Wirklichkeit will, ist nämlich, einen Grund dazu zu haben.
Und hat er einmal einen Grund dazu, dann stellt sich das Glücksgefühl
von selbst ein. In dem Maße hingegen, in dem er das Glücksgefühl direkt anpeilt,
verliert er den Grund, den er dazu haben mag, aus den Augen,
und das Glücksgefühl selbst sackt in sich zusammen.
Mit anderen Wort, Glück muß er-folgen und kann nicht er-zielt werden".

Mark left the island this morning. Happy Trails!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Oregon Inlet

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 04/09/2014 - 05:09
Oregon? Inlet...what does the inlet between the Nags Head peninsula and  Hatteras Island have to do with Oregon?

The Territory of Oregon existed from 1848 until it was admitted to the Union and became the state of Oregon in 1859.

Oregon Inlet was opened by a violent hurricane in 1846, two years before the Territory of Oregon was established, and 13 years before Oregon became a state.

According to Roger E. Kammerer, in Recollections of Pitt County, "In [1846*], a number of businessmen in Edgecombe County purchased a steamer in Baltimore, the Oregon, to run as a passenger and freight boat between Tarboro and Washington. It was the first vessel to use a new inlet cut by a hurricane in [1846*], known as Oregon Inlet. The Oregon ran on the Tar and Roanoke Rivers until it failed early as a financial venture and was sold at public auction in Washington, North Carolina on October 6, 1849. It was used later as a freight and excursion boat to Hyde County and Ocracoke. (p. 31)"

*Kammerer writes 1848, but the inlet opened in 1846.

David Stick, in his book The Outer Banks of North Carolina, identifies the vessel as "the side-wheeler Oregon, owned by William H. Willard."

After a brief search of the Internet I discovered that no one seems to know the origin or the word "Oregon," and I was unable to learn why Mr. Willard named his steamship the Oregon.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Five Harmaniacs

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 04:21
Ocracoke Island natives, Walter and Edgar Howard, made a name for themselves on the vaudeville stage in New York and other cities. Edgar played banjo, and Walter played guitar, harmonica, jug, ukulele and washboard. Walter was also a vocalist.

The following clipping (courtesy Walter Howard, Jr.) was from 1926, when Walter was a member of the cowboy band, "The Five Harmaniacs."

















The caption under the photo reads "Above are some of the special artists who will take part in the 'Loew Midnight Frolic' Monday night from station WBRC [Birmingham, Alabama]. They are top, the Five Harmaniacs and bottom two funsters from the Batcheler-Jamieson Revue. These numbers with other Loew artists will make up the feature for the special program."

Walter Howard is on the right. The other members of his band were Jerry Adams, Wayne Durand, Ned Nestor, and Clyde Shugart.

You can read more about the Five Harmaniacs here: http://www.redhotjazz.com/5harmaniacs.html.

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Boston Globe Article

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 05:09
Amy just sent me a link to an article that was published in the Boston Globe two days ago.

The article, titled "Ocracoke Island Tends to Tourists, Bows to History," was written by Diane Daniel.

Miss Daniel has this to say about the Village Craftsmen: "Had I not followed signs to the splendid Village Craftsmen, one of several high-quality shops selling artisans’ wares, I wouldn’t have discovered Howard Street. Just off the main road around the harbor, the half-mile sandy lane shaded with live oaks passes some of the village’s oldest houses, from the 1800s."

Later in the article the author stops by the Ocracoke Preservation Museum and chats with Amy. She also visits the Ocracoke Seafood Company, bikes around the village, kayaks in the Sound, and strolls down to Springer's Point. You can read the article here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2014/04/05/memorable-encounters-ocracoke-island/W3N1Bz0FfX2QBLM3pKtr5I/story.html.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Raleigh

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 04/06/2014 - 04:32
This is a portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh. I can't imagine being so bedecked...even for a sitting for an artist.




















I've been told that the elaborate Elizabethan collars were as much practical as decorative. Someone said they were designed to deflect lice. When a louse fell out of one's hair, it landed in the folds of the collar and rolled out, away from the body. That could be true. Do any of our readers know?

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Roots

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 04/05/2014 - 04:48
I recently finished reading Whisper of the River by Ferrol Sams. This southern novel is an entertaining romp through the college career of young Porter ("Sambo") Osbourne, Jr. Sambo is quite the prankster, but he is intelligent, and has been Raised Right. Through luck and cunning, this young, naive country boy manages to make his four years at Willingham College in Macon a rollicking adventure, and in the process grow up.

Late in the book Sambo has a father/son conversation. Talk turns to "home," their insular, rural community in the fictional county of Brewton, far removed from the big city. Sambo's daddy opines that he would "never be able to live happily in a place where I didn't recognize every name on all the tombstones and know which ones were mine."

Wooden Marker for Tilmon W. O'Neal
















Tombstone for Failing Howard



















Many folks on Ocracoke can identify with Mr. Osbourne.

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Where Are They Now?

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 04/04/2014 - 05:00
On April Fool's morning I sat down at my computer to see if I had any comments on my post about drone lifeguards. After I was finished reading I raised my eyes and glanced out my window. I saw the top of a head at the base of my front steps.

This is what I saw when I opened my door.















My new friends remained in my yard all day, but they mysteriously wandered off during the night. I am told they paid a visit to Kenny Ballance. By morning they had found their way to the coffee shop, but rumor has it they departed last night around 10 pm.


















My guess is that they are still on the island, hoping to find a kind soul to take them in. If you see them, please report their whereabouts to the authorities...or just leave a comment.

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Pamlico Sound

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 04/03/2014 - 04:58
Several days ago a reader asked this question: "Where did the name Pamlico come from?"

Of course, Pamlico Sound is the name of the lagoon or estuary that is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the chain of barrier islands called the Outer Banks. It is approximately 80 miles long and 30 miles wide, making it the largest lagoon on the east coast of the United States.

NASA Photo of Pamlico Sound














The Pamlico River, formed by the confluence of the Tar River and Tranters Creek, is a tidal river in eastern North Carolina that flows into Pamlico Sound.

Following are the various spellings I located on a dozen early maps (mapmakers' names in parentheses):

Pamxlico River, 1657 (Comberford)
Pemptico [River], 1672 (Ogilby)
Pamticoe Sound, 1733 (Moseley)
Pamticoe River, 1770 (Collet)
Pamticoe Sound, 1775 (Mouzon)
Pamtico Sound, 1808 (Price-Strother)
Pamplico Sound, 1833 (Mac Rae-Brazier)
Pamplico Sound, 1861 (Colton)
Pamlico Sound, 1861 (Bachman)
Pamplico Sound, 1865 (US Coast Survey)
Pamlico Sound, 1882 (Kerr-Cain)
Pamlico Sound, 1896 (Post Route Map)

Roger L. Payne, in his book Place Names of the Outer Banks, lists one other spelling, Pamticough, and writes that "the lagoon is named for the Pamlico or Paquiac Indians who inhabited its shores...."

Payne adds, "Paquiac is the Algonquian word for shallow area and actually referred to Pamlico Sound but was misapplied by early mapmakers [to 'portions of Hatteras and Pea islands']."

Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a reprint of a 1948 article about the Mail Boat Aleta, "Boat Hauls Mail, More." You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs
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