Ocracoke Island Journal

Syndicate content
An Occasional Journal of Daily Island Life.Philiphttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01572532603071469799noreply@blogger.comBlogger3668125
Updated: 1 day 7 hours ago

Village Craftsmen

Thu, 04/02/2015 - 04:30
Village Craftsmen is again open for the season. We opened last week, excited to be able to offer even more quality American-made handcrafts from several new suppliers.



Village Craftsmen has been a source of fine hand-made pottery, glassware, wooden items, musical instruments, and much more since 1970.

Located on historic Howard Street, the stroll down the unpaved lane (you can also drive, and we have ample parking) passes 300-year-old live oaks, centuries-old family cemeteries, and cottages constructed with timbers salvaged from shipwrecks.

The photos below are a very small sample of some of the unique, finely crafted items we offer.

























Be sure to stop in and say hello on your next visit to Ocracoke Island. We are proud of our quality merchandise and friendly staff.

Our Spring Hours are Tues - Sat: 10-4 & Sun: 10-2
(Closed Mondays & Easter Sunday)

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Movie

Wed, 04/01/2015 - 04:31
Just a few days ago, 21st Century Fox, a satellite motion picture studio based in Wilmington, NC, announced plans to produce a major motion picture on Ocracoke Island.

The psychological thriller (tentatively titled "Ghost Ship") is based on the story of the 1921 wreck of the ill-fated, five-masted schooner, Carroll A. Deering, often called "The Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks." Word on the street is that Johnny Depp and Robert De Niro have both been cast in leading roles.

The Carroll A. Deering














Shooting is scheduled to begin sometime in the fall, and islanders are already excited about the possibility of being cast as extras.

For more information directly from the studio click here.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ocracoke Lighthouse Trivia

Tue, 03/31/2015 - 04:34
Following are several little-known facts about the Ocracoke Lighthouse.
Photo by Eakin Howard


















  •  1794...Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, proposes "erecting a light-house on Occracock island, or elsewhere, near the entrance of Occracock inlet...."
  • 1798...A wooden lighthouse is built on nearby Shell Castle Island (it is destroyed by lightning in 1818)
  • 1822...Jacob Gaskill sells, for $50, two acres of land to the United States for the purpose of building a lighthouse
  • 1823...The present brick Ocracoke Lighthouse is built by Noah Porter for $11,359.35 (Congress had budgeted $20,000)
  • 1854...A new fourth-order Fresnel Lens replaces the old reflecting illuminating apparatus (In 1853 Thornton Jenkins, Secretary of the Lighthouse Board, also reports that "[a]t the same time the present revolving light at Ocracoke...will be changed to a Fixed White Light...." This is the only reference I have ever found indicating that the Ocracoke Light was at one time a revolving light.)
  • 1860...New lantern is installed
  • 1862...Confederate troops remove the lamp and lens, to prevent use by Federal forces
  • 1863...Union forces re-fit and re-exhibit the Ocracoke Light 
  • 1867...Lard oil replaces whale oil as lamp fuel
  • 1878...Kerosene replaces lard oil
  • 1899...Fourth-order Franklin lamp replaces old valve lamp
  • 1929...Light is electrified
  • 1950...Metal staircase replaces old wooden staircase
  • 1955...The Ocracoke light is automated

Below are the Keepers of the Ocracoke Light, all highly skilled and dedicated public servants:
  • Joshua Taylor (or Tayloe), 1823-1829 (his title was Collector [of Customs] & Superintendent of Lighthouse) 
  • Anson Harker, 1829-1846 (first person of record listed as Keeper; Joshua Taylor is listed as Superintendent) 
  • John Harker, 1847-1853 (probably Anson Harker's son) 
  • Thomas Styron, 1853-1860 
  • William J. Gaskill, 1860-1862 
  •  Enoch Ellis Howard 1862-1897 (the longest serving Keeper; he died in office) 
  •  J. Wilson Gillikin 1897-1898 
  • Tillman F. Smith 1898-1910 
  • A.B. Hooper 1910-1912 
  • Leon Wesley Austin 1912-1929 
  • Joseph Merritt Burrus 1929-1946  (the last keeper to serve under the US Lighthouse Service)
  • Clyde Farrow 1946-1954 (Ocracoke's last lighthouse keeper, after the Lighthouse Service was merged with the US Coast Guard)
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

A Glimpse into the Past

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 04:22
Below is a transcript of a portion of an interview with Martha (Mattie) Daly Gilgo (1885-1976, former resident of Portsmouth Island, NC) by her grandson, Julian Gilgo, June 17, 1969, transcribed by Ellen Fulcher Cloud, and included in her book, Portsmouth, The Way it Was.

Julian: About how many people were living there (on Portsmouth Island) when you were young?

Mattie: O-o-o-h dear Lord, there was hundreds. Portsmouth has been a place in this world. I've seen myself ---and I'm only 83 years old, and I've stood on the porch and seen 30 to 40 vessels on their way in. Just between Ocracoke and Portsmouth, down there what they call Teach's hole.

----------------
Sometimes we have to be reminded of how important Ocracoke Inlet was for commerce along the eastern seaboard. At the turn of the twentieth century, as Mattie Gilgo relates, dozens of sailing vessels could often be seen anchored in Pamlico Sound. They were carrying lumber, cotton, turpentine, rum, and various other cargoes to and from ports as far away as New England and the West Indies, or even more distant places. Ocracoke wasn't always as isolated as it is often portrayed. 
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
(Post revised at 11:27 am, 3/30/15.)
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Where is Fernando Po?

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 04:29
On January 23 I wrote about native islander, Eliza Ella ("Miss Lizerella") Styron O'Neal (1890-1953), who never left the island in her entire 63 years (except to venture a mile or so out into Pamlico Sound in a small boat).

That got me thinking about how things have changed, and how widely traveled present-day islanders are. I mentioned this to my daughter Amy, and she posted a question on Facebook for Ocracoke islanders: How many different countries have you lived in or visited?

At last count, there were 143 places, some of which I had never heard of (including Fernando Po)! They are listed below. I know some of them are territories of other countries (e.g. Anguilla), are actually parts of larger countries (e.g. the Galapagos Islands), have been altered (e.g. the Czech Republic is part of the former Czechoslovakia), are special regions (e.g. Hong Kong), or may no longer exist as separate countries (e.g. East Germany).

However, this list (literally, from A to Z) includes places in the spirit of Amy's question. I even wanted to include Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation in north central Montana, where I lived in the winter of 1968-1969, because it felt like a foreign country (or, more honestly, I felt like a foreigner in their country).

I know this is an incomplete list, but I think it's pretty impressive. Islanders, please leave a comment if we haven't included some place you have lived in or visited, and all readers, please leave a comment with suggestions for exotic places we might want to visit:
 
Andorra
Anguilla
Antarctica Antigua
Argentina Aruba Australia Austria Bahamas Barbados Belgium Belize Bequia Bermuda Bonaire Botswana Brazil Bulgaria
Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cayman Islands Chili China Columbia
Cozumel Cuba
Croatia Curacao
Czechoslovakia Czech Republic Denmark
Djibouti Dominican Republic
East Germany Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Equatorial Guinea Estonia Ethiopia Fernando Po Fiji Finland France French Polynesia Galapagos Islands Gambia Germany Ghana Goa Greece Greenland Grenada Guam Guatemala Haiti
Hawaii (before it was a state) Holland Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland
India Indonesia Ireland Israel Italy Japan
Johnston Atoll
Kazakhstan Kenya
Kwajalein Island
Lebanon Liechtenstein Lesotho Luxemburg Macao Majorca Malaysia Martinique Mexico Monaco Montserrat
Morocco Namibia Netherlands Nevis New Zealand Nicaragua Nigeria Norway Panama
Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Puerto Rico Rhodesia Romania Russia Saba Saipan San Marino Saudi Arabia Scotland Senegal Siberia Sicily Singapore South Africa South Korea
South Viet Nam Spain Sri Lanka St. Kitts St. Lucia St. Maarten
St. Thomas St. Vincent Ste. Barthe Sudan Sweden Switzerland Taiwan Tanganyika Thailand Tortola Trinidad Turkey Turks & Caicos Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates
Uruguay
Uzbekistan Venezuela Virgin Islands Wales Yemen Zanzibar
Happy travels to all! And we hope Ocracoke is always on your list of favorite places to visit or to call home.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Two Quotations...

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 05:07
...from Ann Ehringhaus' 1988 book, Ocracoke Portrait:

"I don't think Ocracoke is a haven for any one group of people. I think it's a haven for a wide, wide variety of people. I don't think there is one character that typifies Ocracoke. I think for a small town it's probably the most diversified community I've ever been in."

"Someone asked me if Ocracoke was like a penal colony. I had to laugh. Utopia it's not, but there is a great sense of community here. I feel like moving to Ocracoke has been my reward. This is where I want to be."

If you haven't already read Ann's book, I encourage you to get a copy, and enjoy her iconic photos & insightful comments by islanders and visitors.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.




Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Stunning Photos

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 04:53
In January I posted information and a link to Garrett Fisher's aerial photos of the Outer Banks. Earlier this month Garrett flew over Hatteras and Ocracoke again. He has posted another gallery of stunning photos of shoals and sand bars in the inlets, tidal flows, currents, soundside marshes, and ocean beaches.

Oregon Inlet by Garrett Fisher


















Follow this link to view 30 more photos that Garret took on March 8, 2015: http://garrettfisher.me/flight-nc-obx-to-charlotte/.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Orgy. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Ocracoke Orgy

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 05:17
Well, if that didn't get your attention, I don't know what will!

That's the title of our latest Ocracoke Newsletter...The Ocracoke Orgy. If you want to know more (there is even a picture), just click on this link: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Answer to Puzzle

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 04:48
Jeff and Lou Ann are correct. The answer to Friday's puzzle is the fourth-order Fresnel Lens installed in the Ocracoke Lighthouse. In 1822 French scientist and inventor, Augustin Fresnel, discovered a method, using glass prisms and bull's eyes, to focus and magnify a beam of light. His invention revolutionized lighthouses. This is a drawing of the first-order Fresnel Lens that was installed in the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in 1854:




















Although the Ocracoke Lighthouse was built in 1823, it was originally fitted with a reflective system. Not until several decades later did the United States Lighthouse Board convert to the more efficient Fresnel Lenses. A fourth-order lens was installed in Ocracoke's tower in 1854. Below are two photos by Eakin Howard. The second photo was taken from the bottom, looking into the interior of the lens. It shows the electric lamp changer.





















You can read more about the Fresnel Lens here: http://www.nps.gov/caha/learn/historyculture/fresnellens.htm, on various other Internet sites, or in Theresa Levitt's excellent 2013 book, A Short Bright Flash, Augustin Fresnel and the Birth of the Modern Lighthouse.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

A Puzzle

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 04:36
In 1862, the Illustrated Times of London had this comment about a marvelous invention that had gained popularity around the world:

"[It] is a manufacture from which emanate the useful and the beautiful as kindred and inseparable spirits; where the highest faculties of the mind and deepest sympathies of the heart have equal place; and where the genius of humanity inspires and blesses the genius of science."

The object of the Times' encomium is a remarkable artifact, an example of which can be found on Ocracoke Island today, although very few people have ever laid eyes on it.  Can you guess what the Times was referring to?

I will publish the answer on Monday.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Three Early Shipwreck Reports

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 04:35
These reports are transcribed exactly as published in the Pennsylvania Gazette (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). The long s (ſ) was in common usage in the mid-eighteenth century 

Tuesday, January 16, 1753: "Capt. Freeman from North Carolina, as he came out the 23d of December laſt, heard at Ocracock Bar, That two Sloops were caſt away between that Place and Cape Hatteras; that it was ſuppoſed they were New-England Men, by ſome Cyder and Earthen Ware being found on board; but that the People had got aſhore, and were gone up to the North County; Capt. Freeman ſaw one of [t]he Sloops, and fays, they run aſhore but a few Days before."

Thursday, April 5, 1753: "We have Intelligence, by a Veſſel in five Days from North-Carolina, That a Boſton Ship, bound into Ocracock, was caſt away the Beginning of March Laſt, near the Inlet, and the Veſſel and Part of the Cargo loft."

Thursday, June 6, 1754: "Capt Jackſon, from Edenton in North Carolina, in three Weeks, ſays, That fourteen Days ago, a Schooner, bound from Antigua, called the Queen Caroline, John Sawyer Maſter, was caſt away on Ocracock Bar; and that the Crew were ſaved, but the Veſſel and Cargo entirely loſt."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Poem

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 04:30
March 16 was Old Quawk's Day, so two days ago I posted the story of this colorful Ocracoke Island resident (you can read the post here: http://villagecraftsmen.blogspot.com/2015/03/old-quawks-day.html).

That post inspired one of our regular readers to compose a wonderful poem about Old Quawk. Robb Foster has graciously given me permission to share his verse:

Old Quawk’s Day - by Robb Foster

March, the ides, of Winter's end
A sorrowed tale will oft portend
That Caesar is just one to fall
The season, late, had one more squall

We stood in awe of dark'ning skies
The winter, still, had one reprise
The song she sang that day Cimmerian
For we, the children, here Silurian

We bade the day considered lost
For no man, wise, would pay the cost
To fish amongst a roiling sound
To cast that day, our ending, drowned

But on that day one stood too proud
Cursing God and Mother loud
He left this isle and safety’s sight
To save his nets despite this plight

Unto his own he stayed up north
So rarely would he venture forth
He left us here to pine upon
Why here, these shores, he wandered on?

Bolder he than all of us
Above the gale we heard him cuss
Raucous wails, the tempest spoke
Though, not above this fiery bloke!

Some say a pirate, some shipwrecked
This moorish hermit, we suspect
These tales as told will have no end
The squawking recluse failed to bend

For on that fateful mid-March Day
We watched the cullion sail away
No trace of him was ever found
No blighted skiff adrift, the sound

Beware the Ides of March, my friend
And if you doubt, I’ll swear again
Pay heed, old Quawk, we never found 
This day, the wise, stay island bound  

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Farthest North Palm

Tue, 03/17/2015 - 04:57
That's the title (Farthest North Palm) of one chapter in Carl Goerch's 1956 book, Ocracoke. It is a short chapter, only four paragraphs, so I am reprinting it here, along with a vintage photograph provided by Chester Lynn. (You can see the steeple of the original Assembly of God church in the far left of the picture.The Williams Brothers Store has been long gone.)

"This palm tree grew in the front yard of Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Styron and, so far as I know, it was the most northerly palm tree anywhere along the Atlantic coast. There may be one or two smaller ones farther north, but nothing as large as this one. A storm came along recently and ruined it."













"Here's how the tree came to be there:

"A long time ago, one of the Styron boys was selling the Pennsylvania Grit, a weekly publication popular a couple of generations ago. He proved to be an excellent salesman and won a prize.

"The prize was the palm tree. It was just a little shoot when it arrived but it has done extremely well by itself."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Old Quawk's Day

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 04:38
Today is Old Quawk's Day!

In the late 1700's or early 1800's a man of indeterminate origin made his home on Ocracoke, but not in the area of the present-day village. Several miles north, on a small hill he built his simple home of bull rushes and driftwood. He had arrived on the island, some said, on a schooner from a distant land. Others claimed he had been shipwrecked on the beach and had decided to remain here. It was even rumored that he had once been a pirate. At any rate he was different from the other residents.

Not only was he dark skinned (some think he was of African, West Indian, or perhaps Puerto Rican descent), he was not a friendly sort of fellow. It is said he was often surly and disagreeable, preferring his solitude to interaction with the rest of the island community. When he got excited or argumentative people thought he squawked like a night heron. Hence the nickname, Old Quawk, or Old Quork. No one knew his given name.

Like many of the other men of the island, Old Quawk fished nets in Pamlico Sound. On March 16 many years ago the weather had turned nasty. Storm clouds formed on the horizon, the wind picked up and the sea was running rough. All of the fishermen were concerned about their nets but more concerned still for their safety. It was agreed among them that the day was much too stormy to risk venturing out in their small sailing skiffs.

All agreed, save Old Quawk. His nets were too important to him and he had no fear. Cursing the weather, his neighbors and God himself, he set out in his small boat to salvage his catch and his equipment. He was either very brave or very fool-hardy, or both. He never returned, and he and his boat were never seen again.

For two hundred years, seafarers from Ocracoke and even farther north on the Outer Banks paid healthy respect to the memory of Old Quawk by staying in port on March 16.

Old Quawk lives on in the names of landmarks near where he made his home: "Quork Hammock" and "Old Quoke's Creek." Next time you cross the bridge that leads across the creek that bears this colorful character's name think of him on his last tempestuous day, his fist raised to the heavens, cursing and inveighing against God and Mother Nature.

Perhaps you will even be a tad more cautious if you decide to go boating on March 16. Or maybe you will wait for another day, when the forecast is a bit brighter!

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

"Two Great Rivers...

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 04:49
...in the sea shaped and continually reshape the Outer Banks. Close onshore is the Labrador Current, running cold and dark down the Atlantic coast from the Arctic. At Cape Hatteras it encounters the Gulf Stream, warm and blue and 25 times larger than all the freshwater rivers of the world, carrying bright fish from the tropics and yellow-green sargassum fronds from the Sargasso Sea.

"The place where the currents meet shifts according to the barrier from which the wind blows and the flow of rainwater from the continent, so that now they simply slide beside each other far offshore, and the bow of a ship may be in water 22 degrees warmer than the stern; and again they clash at right angles just off the beach at Diamond Shoals, and any boat or ship that wanders into the melee is likely to join the thousands of others that have come to grief in what Alexander Hamilton named the Graveyard of the Atlantic."

So wrote Hank Burchard in the Washington Post (probably in the 1970s or 1980s, although the tear sheet I have is undated).

It is not unusual, when swimming at Ocracoke, to notice a pocket of warm, tropical water from the Gulf Stream...and then, just seconds later, to feel a cool patch from the Labrador Current.  Just one of the peculiarities of living on this narrow barrier island so close to the Gulf Stream.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Doxsee's

Thu, 03/12/2015 - 04:54
A couple of months ago Chester Lynn asked me to make digital copies of several of his vintage Ocracoke photos. This is a picture of the Doxsee Clam Factory, a turn-of-the-twentieth-century commercial enterprise that was located on the sound shore, across the "ditch" from the US Coast Guard Station/NCCAT building.














In case you missed it, in 2010 I wrote an Ocracoke Newsletter about the Clam Factory. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112110.htm.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Sharks

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 05:03
Before I write a few words about sharks, I have a message for 13-year-old Mike, who left a comment recently about the mailboat Aleta. Mike, please send an email to our Village Craftsmen address (it's on this page: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/contact.htm). Put "For Philip" in the subject box, and I will write back with information about your idea.

Now, on to sharks....

...On Monday night the National Park Service sponsored a presentation about sharks by Charles Bangley, a PhD candidate in the Coastal Resources Management Program at East Carolina University. It was part of the "Know Your Park Citizen Science Program."

Mr. Bangley explained his work tagging and tracking many species of sharks that migrate and reproduce in North Carolina waters, especially near Cape Hatteras. He pointed out that the presence of sharks is a reliable indicator of a healthy ecosystem.

Although Mr. Bangley only mentioned white sharks briefly in his presentation, many of the audience's questions were about that well-documented species. He explained that shark attacks on humans are extremely rare. He even cited an amusing statistic. According to Bangley you are more likely to be bitten by another human being on the New York City subway, than to be bitten by a shark!

A hearty "Thank You" to the National Park Service for sponsoring these fine programs for island residents and visitors.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm.  
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

One Lane

Tue, 03/10/2015 - 04:31
Here is another photo from Chester Lynn's collection, taken in the late 1950s.













This is what we know today as the northern section of NC12. The last three miles on the north end of the island were not originally paved. Instead, the state laid down one lane of WWII metal landing mats. If you met a car coming from the other direction, one vehicle had to drive onto one of the pull-offs, or, as sometime happened, back up in order to pull off.

The signs read, "One Traffic Lane for 3 Miles," "Passing Lane 1000 Ft  Intervals," & "Speed Limit 25."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Seahorse

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 05:08
Last week David Tweedie found a small seahorse lying on the beach near the pony pen.














The seahorse is an interesting marine critter. It is a fish (in the genus Hippocampus) that swims in an upright position. Its tail is curled, and is capable of grasping seaweed to stay anchored.

Seahorses exhibit an unusual reproductive method of operation. They court for hours, after which the female deposits eggs in the male's brood pouch. After fertilizing the eggs, the male carries the eggs until they hatch. Meanwhile, the female returns daily for a short "morning greeting."

Check the Internet for more fascination information about these curious creatures.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is research into the origin of the Ocracoke Island Wahab family. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs