Ocracoke Island Journal

Syndicate content
An Occasional Journal of Daily Island Life.Philiphttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01572532603071469799noreply@blogger.comBlogger3412125
Updated: 1 day 6 hours ago

Bare Feet

Tue, 05/06/2014 - 04:00
Summertime means bare feet on Ocracoke. When I was a boy I liked nothing better than running through soft sand on the island (except when the sand was so hot it scorched my feet...or where the sand was covered with sand spurs!).

Lachlan takes his shoes off at every opportunity. When I saw him with his bare feet propped up on my porch swing a few days ago I knew I had to take this photo.















Lachlan's feet were so dirty! They reminded me of when I was a teenager. I walked the village lanes with friends until after dark. My feet would be filthy dirty. When I returned home I was usually too tired to wash up properly (we had to fill a galvanized tub for bathing), so I just pulled on a pair of socks before I got into bed!

I have taught Lachlan that trick, but most of the time he is responsible, and cleans his feet before turning in for the night.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

An Unexpected Discovery

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 04:30
On Saturday, as I was walking along the beach, I stumbled upon a cache of seashells tossed up by King Neptune.















The first item that caught my eye was the large, bright white sand dollar. Just a few steps away was a large area covered mostly with broken shards of seashells.

Upon closer inspection I noticed a couple of sturdy lettered olive shells. Within a very few minutes I had gathered a dozen and a half olives and a small piece of coral, as well as the sand dollar.

I left more shells for the next person who happened by. Keep your eyes open as you stroll along our beach (but don't ask me to tell you where I found these shells!).  

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

"Blackbeard" Costumes

Sat, 05/03/2014 - 04:56
Julia Howard's musical, A Tale of Blackbeard, was performed on the island 9 summers between 1974 and 1994. This well-loved play with lively action and catchy tunes (who, of those who have seen the musical, doesn't remember "Avast, Avast" & "Hey Diddle Honey"?) will be back this season. Performances are scheduled for May 15, 16, 17, & 18...and every Monday evening from June 9 to August 11.

1987 Performance, courtesy, Amy Howard













This Monday afternoon (May 5), from 3:30 until 5:00 the company, in cooperation with the Ocracoke Preservation Society, will have former "Blackbeard" costumes on exhibit at the museum. Pirate fare, including biscuits, beef jerky, and grog (non-alcoholic...sorry), will be served. The exhibit will remain up through the month of May.

As a special treat, the current cast of village girls and pirates will provide a sneak preview of several of their songs!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Latest News Re. Lifeguards

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 04:59
According to the Ocracoke Current, "The National Park Service issued a notice of intent to contract for lifeguard services on Ocracoke for five days a week (Monday – Friday) this summer." The NPS is hoping Hyde County will ante up the money to fund lifeguards on the weekends.

Of course, islanders think it is the Park Service's responsibility to provide lifeguards seven days a week during the season.

Click on this link to learn more about this issue, and what you can do to make your voice heard:
http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/86888. Be sure to read the last paragraph!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm. Be sure to read the last paragraph!
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Wind

Thu, 05/01/2014 - 04:18
I recently discovered a colorful chapter entitled "Hatteras" in an 1895 document...The 48th in the War, Being a Narrative of the Campaigns of the 48th Regiment, Infantry, Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers, During the War of the Rebellion

The author, Oliver Christian Bosbyshell, Late Major, was with Union troops when they attacked Fort Hatteras and Fort Clarke on Hatteras Island in 1861. The following excerpt in which Bosbyshell describes the windy conditions on Hatteras will be familiar to any resident or visitor to the Outer Banks, especially campers.


Flags of the 48th Reg."Generally it was not a difficult matter for a soldier to pitch a tent. It would not have been difficult at Hatteras if the wind could have been subdued. Wind! Speaking of wind, do you remember how the wind blew at Hatteras? What a dreadful draft it was! Hark! its [sic] snapping the tent-fly now. It is a mighty, rushing torrent of air, sweeping continuously in furious blasts, with irresistible force—keen, sharp, penetrating, unrelenting in its terrific power, unabating in its fury—driving the sand into mouth, nose, eyes, ears and hair. ’Twas such a wind greeted the pitching of the tents around Fort Clarke. The more the boys tugged and pulled to keep the tents upright, the more the wind seemed to howl, 'You can’t! you shan’t!' then it would come along with such a whack that every muscle had to be strained to keep the tent in place. Under these circumstances the ordinary Yankee got his blood up, and wind or no wind the tents had to go up, and at last, at last, they were secured. It was night, however, and an early retirement after the day’s hard labor was deemed advisable. To the sound of the flip, flap, flopping of the tent-flys, and ever roaring of the breakers, forgetfulness crept over the 29 camp as each tent lodger snoozed calmly as a summer morn, when flop, whiz-z-z the corner of the tent blew up! Misplaced confidence in a sweetheart teaches the lover to sigh at the fickleness of woman, but, oh to have a tent prove false upon 'a lone, barren isle,' and, in the midst of a terrific rain storm, be obliged to face a Hatteras wind, with scant protection against its fury, frantically holding fast to the frail canvas house, waiting for a lull in the blast (vain hope) to afford an opportunity to repeg, is so overpoweringly harrowing to the feelings, and so indescribably uncomfortable, that it is only those who actually experienced it who fully understand its supreme misery."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Fire House

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 04:17
The dedication of our new Fire House took place Sunday afternoon. A crowd of folks showed up to listen to a few short speeches (the best one was by our fire chief, Albert O'Neal -- "We couldn't have done this with you all. Thank you!"), and for the unveiling of the bronze dedication plaque. There was time to tour the facility...and to partake of homemade goodies. Here are a few photos.

Neighbors gather to listen to the Presentations













Many Folks arrived on Bikes
Tommy & Julia Hutcherson
The Dedication Plaque
Turn-out Gear
Our Shiny Red Firetrucks












































































Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Portsmouth

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 04:44
The theme of this past weekend's Homecoming on Portsmouth Island was a celebration of the 100 year old Methodist Church. Because of a recent minor back injury I decided not to risk the boat ride over. However, my friend, Jim, from Manteo, went. It was a beautiful day with clear skies, a gentle breeze...and very few mosquitoes. Nearly 500 people were in attendance. Jim graciously offered some of his photos for me to share with our readers. Click on any one to view a larger image.

Washington Roberts House
US Life Saving Station Dormitory
Henry Pigott's Skiff (Surfboat in Background)Island Cemetery
Opening of W. Roberts House
Interior, W. Roberts House
View Through a Window
View of Doctor's Creek from Henry's Kitchen
Dinner on the Grounds (Methodist Church in Background)
Pot Luck Dinner Fare!
























































































































































Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Annie Lou Gaskill Gaskins Exhibit

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 04:25
This Wednesday, April 30, the Ocracoke Preservation Society will be honoring the family of Annie Lou Gaskill Gaskins with a special exhibit from 4 - 6 pm.

Annie Lou is the grand-daughter of Ocracoke native, William D. ("Captain Bill") Gaskill (1869-1935) and Annie Belle fulcher (1879-1941), also of Ocracoke.


Capt. Bill Gaskill













Capt. Bill was lost at sea in 1935. Captain Bill and Miss Annie owned the Pamlico Inn. The Inn was destroyed in the 1944 hurricane.
The Pamlico Inn










Come out to the museum on Wednesday to chat with Annie Lou and her extended Ocracoke Island family. Snacks will be served.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Sandals

Sun, 04/27/2014 - 04:27
Amy stopped by Saturday morning. "What are those sandals doing over there in the corner of your yard?" she asked.




















"Oh, Katie was walking by last night, on her way to Zillie's," I said. "She wanted to go barefooted, and asked if she could leave her sandals here. Of course, I said she could. So Katie plopped her footwear over the fence, and continued on her way."

After giving Amy the explanation, I thought...what a unique place this is. It is not every community where neighbors leave their shoes in your yard so they can enjoy walking barefooted to meet friends and enjoy a glass of wine.

Who knows, the sandals may still be in my yard the next time you walk down Lawton Lane, a subtle symbol of a great community.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Old Jerry

Sat, 04/26/2014 - 04:54
I wrote about Old Jerry several days ago. Here is another story about the banker pony, Old Jerry, from Jean Day's book, Banker Ponies, an Endangered Species:

"Jerry was quite a character. He liked the ladies' straw hats. Not to wear -- but to eat. One day when a lady from the big city lost her bonnet, she finally found it. The only problem was that Old Jerry had eaten half of it."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Bristol or Bath

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 04:28
"Edward Teach was a Bristol man born, but had sailed some time out of Jamaica in privateers, in the late French war; yet though he had often distinguished himself for his uncommon boldness and personal courage, he was never raised to any command, till he went a-pirating, which I think was at the latter end of the year 1716, when Captain Benjamin Hornigold put him into a sloop that he had made prize of, and with whom he continued in consortship till a little while before Hornigold surrendered."

So begins Capt. Charles Johnson's chapter, "The Life of Captain Teach," in his 1724 book, A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates.

Blackbeard the Pirate, 1725 image


















Kevin Duffus, author of the 2008 book, The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate, disputes Capt. Johnson with these words: "Imagine -- not anywhere among the voluminous records, including a 1698 Bristol census, nor millions of words written about the infamous bearded pirate, is there a single, conclusive, definitive shred of evidence that Edward Thatch or Teach came from Bristol."

Later in his book, Duffus writes that "we have a preponderance of circumstantial evidence which strongly suggests that Black Beard was James Beard's son -- Edward Beard, who likely was born around 1690 in South Carolina...." According to Duffus, Capt. James Beard soon settled in Bath Town, North Carolina, and owned a plantation adjacent to Tobias Knight, secretary of the government of North Carolina under Governor Charles Eden. If "Black Beard" grew up in Bath that would explain many otherwise puzzling details of his last days, including the pirate's close connection with Tobias Knight and Governor Eden.

So...was Blackbeard's hometown Bristol, England or Bath, North Carolina?  We may never know for sure, but Kevin Duffus may convince you to choose Bath. Read his excellent book to learn more.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ione

Thu, 04/24/2014 - 05:17
While crossing Hatteras Inlet you may have noticed several pilings on the north end of Ocracoke Island. These are all that remain of the US Coast Guard Station that once stood there. Because of erosion and encroaching surf, the station was abandoned in the early 1950s.

Hatteras Inlet USCG Station, 1953












On September 9, 1955 Hurricane Ione dealt the fatal blow to the station. Most of the building collapsed into the raging surf. Eventually everything washed away except the few pilings that are visible today.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

OPS Auction, Race, Homecoming & Dedication

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 04:44
There are several events taking place on Ocracoke this coming weekend. 

On Friday, April 25, the Ocracoke Preservation Society will hold its first-ever auction of various items collected over the years. Items to be auctioned will include duplicates of books, postcards, "State" magazines, and other donations earmarked for fund-raising opportunities...as well as many miscellaneous items. The auction begins at 3 pm. Ocracoke student artwork will also be for sale.

On the following day, Saturday, April 26, the Ocracoke Community Radio WOVV, Ocracoke School Athletic Boosters Club and the Ocracoke Community Park will sponsor the Third Annual Ocracoke Island 10k/5k and 1 Mile Family Fun Run.

Also on Saturday morning, island enthusiasts will gather at the docks to cross the inlet for the bi-annual Portsmouth Island Homecoming. Historic houses and other buildings, including the Life Saving Station, the Post Office and the Schoolhouse, will be open for viewing. Other events are planned, including a pot luck dinner on the grounds.

On Sunday, April 27, at 2:00 pm, the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department will dedicate our new Fire Station. Although there are still a few minor things to do before the new station is completed, members of the fire department invite you to join them for the official dedication.

Ocracoke Fire Station, 2014










Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Devil on the Deck

Tue, 04/22/2014 - 04:53
Most of our readers are probably familiar with numerous stories about Blackbeard -- the braided, ribbon-bedecked beard; the lighted fuses under his hat; his final battle (and beheading) at Ocracoke in 1718; etc. -- but I wonder if many of our readers know this story, as told by Capt. Charles Johnson in 1724:

"Those of his crew who were taken alive [after the final battle], told a story which may appear a little incredible, however we think it will not be fair to omit it since we had it from their own mouths. Once upon a cruize [sic], they found out that they had a man on board more than their crew, such a one was seen several days amongst them, sometimes below, and sometimes upon deck, yet no man in the ship could give an account of who he was, or from whence he came, but that he disappeared a little before they were cast away in their great ship; but, it seems, they verily believed it was the Devil."

Blackbeard's Flag














Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of traveling to the island on Frazier Peele's ferry in 1951. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

From Philadelphia to Ocracoke, 1951

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

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

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

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

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

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