Ocracoke Island Journal

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An Occasional Journal of Daily Island Life.Philiphttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01572532603071469799noreply@blogger.comBlogger3711125
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Festival 2015

Wed, 06/03/2015 - 04:46
The 2015 Ocracoke Music & Storytelling Festival begins this Friday, late afternoon, with stories, fish fry, art auction, jazz, blues, and a world music jam.

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The festivities continue all day on Saturday & Sunday morning, and include almost non-stop music plus clogging, juggling, a puppet parade, flea circus, additional stories...and more!

Click to Enlarge


















Saturday evening features an open house on the skipjack Wilma Lee, and a traditional Ocracoke Island square dance, along with more music and storytelling.

The Ocracoke Festival showcases an outstanding collection of talent from the island, North Carolina, and elsewhere. What a great weekend! Hope to see you.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.

Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Recent Arrivals

Tue, 06/02/2015 - 04:53
First there were mice and rats...brought to the island centuries ago as stowaways on sailing ships. I don't know how nutria got here, but I see them every once in a while. Then, sometime within the last 40 years, someone released a pair of minks. Next it was squirrels. What were these people thinking?

Deer are another recent arrival. They probably swam over here from Hatteras. I have seen two, just north of the NPS campground, and tracks are fairly common "down below" (anywhere north of the village).

Five years ago Gene Ballance sent me this photo of a raccoon foraging on his back porch. It was the first I had heard of raccoons on Ocracoke.
















Just last week Frankie Garrish told me he startled two raccoons who were feeding in the cat dishes in Cousin Blanche's yard.

There have been raccoons on Portsmouth Island for many years. I suppose a couple of them were washed over to Ocracoke during a storm. It is probably impossible, now, to get rid of them.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Detached Kitchens

Mon, 06/01/2015 - 04:11
When I was a child my grandparents' house (the house I live in today) had a detached kitchen. By the time I was born a kitchen (with a newfangled kerosene cook stove) had been installed inside the house. The old kitchen was converted to a spare bedroom. Eventually, termites and water damage did so much damage that the kitchen was torn down.

To my knowledge, the only original detached kitchen still on the island is at Cousin Blanche's house. Actually, the porch has been extended to connect the two structures, and the old kitchen is now a storage area, but it still looks basically the way it did many years ago. Here are three photos I took earlier this month:

















Blanche told me she remembers when some islanders constructed outdoor temporary summer kitchens from saplings and tree branches. They would be used for just one season, then dismantled. But they served to keep the intense heat from the wood cook stove out of the main house.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Betimes

Fri, 05/29/2015 - 04:51
This is another old-time word that you can still occasionally hear around Ocracoke village.. betimes. It means "early."

Betimes seems to have become common in the 13th century in England, but it is seldom heard today.

Several days ago a reader mentioned the Thrush Green novels by Miss Read (Dora Saint). I have not yet read any of them, but I understand they are set in a small village in southern England, and I am told the author uses the word "betimes."

Also, you will find the word in 2 Chronicles 36:15, in the  King James Version of the Bible: "And the Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place."

Rise up betimes, and take a stroll along the beach. You will probably experience a beautiful sunrise, and you might even find a scotch bonnet.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

One of the Most Mischievous and Vilest Villains

Thu, 05/28/2015 - 04:38
On 14 July, 1719, Capt. Ellis Brand of HMS Lyme penned a letter to the Lords of Admiralty. In it he referenced William Howard, quartermaster to Blackbeard the Pirate who many believe was the same William Howard who later became colonial owner of Ocracoke Island, as "one of the most mischievous, vilest villains that had infested that coast.” Author Kevin Duffus (Looking Glass Productions) photographed these two pages of the letter at the British Archives at Kew, and graciously offered to allow me to post them here.



















Here is my best transcription of the relevant passage:

I having on board my Ship a pyrate that I had some time before taking up which knew this fellow when he was Quartermaster in Tachs Ship of forty guns call’d the Queen Anns Revenge, and he being allow’d to be a good Evidence I did desire of the Governor that this Quartermaster might be brought to Tryal, which he concented to and there being publick Notice of it several appeared against him, and it was made appear to the Court that he was One of the Most Mischevious and Vileist Villians that had infested that coast; he was found guilty and receiv’d sentence of Death Accordingly and his life is only owing to the Ships Arrival that had his Majesties pardon on board, the night before he was to have been exicuted; ....

Ellis Brand 
In the interest of  providing some balance to the legacy of my probable ancestor, Kevin added this comment in his email to me: "I’m sure that William Howard was not so vile. Mischievous maybe, but not vile. At some point I hope to remember where I read that Howard had traveled to the Bahamas to testify on behalf of a physician forced into piracy by Blackbeard."
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Curlicue

Wed, 05/27/2015 - 04:20
As nearly everyone knows, Wilbur and Orville Wright, bicycle enthusiasts and remarkable innovators, accomplished the first controlled, powered, sustained heavier-than-air flight, on December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

The Wright brothers hailed from Dayton, Ohio, but traveled to the Outer Banks because the wind and terrain were more suitable for their flight experiments. You might think that soaring above the ground (even at just 10 feet of altitude) was a dangerous undertaking, but simply getting to Kitty Hawk in the first years of the 20th century was quite risky, as Wilbur's September, 1900, journal illustrates. A few excerpts:

"At 4:30 left for Eliz. City and put up at the Arlington where I spent several days waiting for a boat to Kitty Hawk. No one seemed to know anything about the place or how to get there. At last on Tuesday afternoon I engaged passage with Israel Perry on his fiat-bottom schooner fishing boat [the Curlicue]."

"The [skiff that took Wilbur to the fishing boat] leaked very badly and frequently dipped water, but by constant bailing we managed to reach the schooner in safety. The weather was very fine with a light west wind blowing. When I mounted the deck of the larger boat I discovered at a glance that it was in worse condition if possible than the skiff. The sails were rotten, the ropes badly worn and the rudderpost half rotted off, and the cabin so dirty and vermin-infested that I kept out of it from first to last."

"The boat was quite unfitted for sailing against a head wind owing to the large size of the cabin, the lack of load, and its flat bottom. The waves which were now running quite high struck the boat from below with a heavy shock and threw it back about as fast as it went forward. The leeway was greater than the headway. The strain of rolling and pitching sprung a leak and this, together with what water came over the bow at times, made it necessary to bail frequently."

"In a severe gust the foresail was blown loose from the boom and fluttered to leeward with a terrible roar. The boy and I finally succeeded in taking it in though it was rather dangerous work in the dark with the boat rolling so badly."

"[There was] another roaring of the canvas as the mainsail also tore loose from the boom, and shook fiercely in the gale. The only chance was to make a straight run over the bar under nothing but a jib, so we took in the mainsail and let the boat swing round stern to the wind. This was a very dangerous maneuver in such a sea but was in some way accomplished without capsizing."

You can read the entire journal entry here:  http://www.wright-brothers.org/History_Wing/Wright_Story/Inventing_the_Airplane/Off_on_Adventure/Off_on_Adventure.htm.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Exchange Students

Tue, 05/26/2015 - 04:46
Over the last 25 years Ocracoke School has had a number of foreign exchange students. They came to us from Japan, Germany, Denmark, Argentina, Thailand, and Columbia. Ocracoke Island students have studied in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Japan, Australia, Denmark, Romania, Austria, and Ghana.

Pictured below (from l. to r.), with former Ocracoke School teacher Karen Lovejoy (herself a high school exchange student to Germany) are four of our foreign exchange students: Amy Howard (Germany), Emma Lovejoy (Denmark & Ghana), Molly Lovejoy (Austria), and Caroline Temple (Romania).














When Emma was living and studying in Ghana she met Esuon.They fell in love, he recently moved to the US, and they are now planning a fall wedding. Last week the Karen Lovejoy/Dave Frum family welcomed Esuon to Ocracoke with an outdoor potluck dinner at their home.

Potluck at the Lovejoy/Frum Home

L. to R.: Karen, Dave, Esuon, Emma, & Molly

Emma & Esuon





































Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ocracoke Art

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 04:47
It is always fun to see plein air painters on Ocracoke. The other day I noticed a young artist on the corner of NC12 & British Cemetery Road (near the Harborside Motel). He was busily working on a painting of the two hexagonal buildings where Island Golf Carts and WOVV are located.















I stopped to chat for a few minutes. The artist was Mark Hunter Brown, a native North Carolinian who now lives in Chicago. In addition to showing his work in Chicago, Mark has also exhibited in Missouri, Ohio, Oregon, and Italy.

Here is a painting he made a couple of days ago, of the Wilma Lee.















You can see more of Mark's paintings, and read more about him, on his web site: http://markhunterbrown.com/home.html.

I also understand that Mark will be spending most of the summer on the island...and he will be playing William Howard in this year's production of A Tale of Blackbeard

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Firemen's Ball

Fri, 05/22/2015 - 05:43
The tenth annual Ocracoke Firemen’s Ball will be held tomorrow, Saturday, May 23, at the Ocracoke Community Center.



















The event (the major fund raiser for the fire department) begins at 5 p.m. with a pig pickin’ followed by a silent and a live auction. The evening ends with live music by The Ocracoke Rockers, The Aaron Caswell Band, and The Dune Dogs.

Bidding for Great Items & to Support OVFD















This is the schedule of events:

5:00 – 6:30 Barbeque dinners @ $12.00 each
5:00 – 6:30 Silent auction (also, Firemen’s Ball t-shirts for sale)
7:00 Live Auction
8:30 -Midnight Music and Dancing

More information here and here

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

May Newsletter

Thu, 05/21/2015 - 04:58
We have just published our latest Ocracoke Newsletter, Part II of Crystal Canterbury's account of her first visit to Portsmouth Island. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052115.htm. If you haven't read Part I, no worry. There is a link to Part I at the beginning of the article.

Enjoy!
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Friends of Portsmouth Island

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 05:18
The Friends of Portsmouth Island held their spring membership meeting Saturday, May 16, at the Ocracoke Community Center. Several dozen people attended. Many were able to trace their ancestry to historic Portsmouth Island families.

The meeting commenced after a delicious and nutritious brunch provided by various members. After the secretary's and treasurer's reports, James White presented a plaque to Ken Burke in recognition of his contributions to the history of Portsmouth.

James White & Kenneth Burke


















Ken Burke discovered Portsmouth in the 1950s, and immediately fell in love with the island, the village, and the people. In 1958 Ken wrote about Portsmouth as his honors thesis for a degree in history from the University of Richmond. It is titled The History of Portsmouth, North Carolina From Its Founding in 1753 to Its Evacuation in the Face of Federal Forces in 1861.

As James White explained, this was the first, and continues to be one of the most important documents chronicling the history of this unique island community. Ken Burke's text can be accessed on the web at  http://scholarship.richmond.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1410&context=honors-theses.

After the presentation, Glenn and Brenda White shared stories and photos documenting their time as National Park Service volunteers in Portsmouth Village.

The next Portsmouth Island Homecoming is scheduled for April 30, 2016. 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Paraguay

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 04:36
The 242' freighter, S. S. Paraguay, was built in 1900 to carry ore on the Great Lakes. Shortly thereafter, the Paraguay was converted to an oil tanker, plying the sea lanes in the North Atlantic Ocean. 

S.S. Paraguay, Courtesy M.W. Kates.(http://www.fleetsheet.com)












On December 4, 1927, the Paraguay (recently renamed the Kysikos) encountered a punishing gale off shore of the Outer Banks. While working the pumps in an effort to keep the embattled ship afloat, several crewmen were washed overboard by a huge wave. Early in the morning of the next day the Paraguay was driven ashore just north of Kitty Hawk. In spite of the weather, rescuers from the Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station managed to launch a life boat, and succeeded in rescuing the remaining 24 crew members.

While rehabilitating my house I discovered the following account of the Paraguay in a 1927 newspaper clipping laid down under the linoleum:

"Beachcomber Pays $100 for Wrecked ship And Expects to Realize $65,000 From It

"Underwriters of a Greek tank ship named Paraguay, which went ashore off Kitty hawk, N. C., during a storm on Dec. 4, have sold for $100 a property which is expected to yield the present owner more than $65,000.

"One of the beachcombers, who makes a practice of buying wrecks for such stores aboard as may be salvaged, paid $100 for the Paraguay. He took off wireless apparatus and stores worth $4,500 and sold the rest of the hulk to dealers in Norfolk, Va., for $1,500 or more.

"The wreck is laden with 800,000 gallons of fuel oil, and the beachcomber expects to sell this for $60,000. The former owners of the Paraguay lose nothing, since they were insured.

"Two men were lost off the Paraguay when she struck the beach. The tanker broke in half almost as soon as she hit, but the cargo section is intact and the oil still aboard. The salvager expects to have no trouble beaching the cargo."

According to Minor Kates, Jr. on his web site (http://www.fleetsheet.com/paraguay.htm), "the Kyzikos [the Paraguay] rests just offshore of Kill Devil Hills at Mile Marker 7. This site is very popular with scuba divers."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Salt

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 04:32
Amy loaned me her copy of Mark Kurlansky's 2002 book, Salt. It was fascinating to learn how important and valuable salt has been in the history of the world. And that got me to wondering...were there ever attempts to harvest or produce salt in eastern North Carolina? This is what I discovered in David Stick's book, The Outer Banks of North Carolina:
  • In September, 1775, the Provincial Congress offered a bounty of 750 pounds "to any person who shall erect and build proper works for Manufacturing common Salt on the sea shore."
  • Two ventures were begun in the Beaufort, NC, area, one designed to flood coastal areas and produce salt by solar evaporation, the other producing salt by boiling salt water in large vats.
  • Heavy rains thwarted one operation; the drowning of the operator terminated the other venture.
  • The wreck of the Success (sailing from Bermuda to North Carolina) in January, 1788, and loss of her cargo of salt, was of great concern because there had been an acute shortage of salt in North Carolina since the outbreak of the Revolutionary War.
  • In September, 1776, delegates from the North Carolina Council of Safety wrote to the delegates to the Congress in Philadelphia that, "It is impossible for us to describe the distressed Situation of this State for the want of Salt. The Inhabitants in general say only let them have that article and they will fight so long as they have Existence, in support of the just rights of their Country. Without it, themselves, Families and stocks must perish."
  • Benjamin Franklin then made available pamphlets on "making Salt by Sun Evaporation or by Culinary fire."
  • After this information was distributed on the Outer Banks, it was reported that "The Humour of Salt boiling seems to be taking place here....Every Old Wife is now scouring her pint pot for the necessary operation."
Salt was an important product that was used to cure fish and ham. Without it, eighteenth century Outer Banks sustenance and commerce was in serious jeopardy. Luckily, abundant salt water and Ben Franklin's pamphlet saved the day!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

What's With These Road Names?

Fri, 05/15/2015 - 03:57
While driving around Ocracoke Village you may have noticed the intersection of Ocean View Road and Old Beach Road.















These two roads are surrounded by houses, cedars,and other thick vegetation. There is certainly no view of the ocean...nor are they on, or even near, the beach. You may wonder, What gives?

The answer to the question lies in the history and geology of Ocracoke Island. Before NC Highway 12 was built in 1957, the area between the village and the National Park Service campground was three miles of barren tidal flats...sand, shells, and hardly a blade of sea grass. During high tides, ocean overwash inundated the flats.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the National Park Service and the State of North Carolina decided to protect the new highway by building a continuous row of artificial dunes between NC12 and the Atlantic Ocean. Over the years vegetation took root on the dunes and the sound-side flats (islanders have always called that area The Plains). First it was just grasses. Then came yaupons and myrtles, and later cedars. Today, even pines and a few oaks are starting to grow there.

Where once the beach extended as far as the Thurston House B&B (my dad said islanders thought Thurston Gaskill was crazy to build his house "on the edge of the beach"), then retreated to where the Variety Store is located, the "bald beach" is now contained by the ocean-side dune ridge.

So, 75 years ago you could see the ocean from Ocean View Road, and Old Beach Road was a sand track that would take you right across the Plains to the surf.

And now you know.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Senators & Pirates

Thu, 05/14/2015 - 05:01
As regular readers of this blog probably already know, I enjoy words and their origins...and I especially enjoy obscure words that relate to Ocracoke, or in today's case, pirates. I recently learned that the English word, freebooter (one who pillages and plunders, especially a pirate), derives from the Dutch words vrij (meaning free) + buiter (meaning booty). The French have a cognate,  fribustier or flibustier; and the Spanish have filibustero.   

In the mid-19th century a "filibuster" came to mean a meddler or troublemaker, especially a US citizen who interfered in the affairs of Central American nations. For example, William Walker (1824-1860) has been described as an "adventurer, filibuster, and revolutionary leader who succeeded in making himself president of Nicaragua (1856–57)."*

Of course, a filibuster also came to mean a long, windy senatorial speech intended to thwart passage of specific legislation. Regardless of your political persuasion (and I write this not to provoke partisan politics, but as interesting trivia related to Ocracoke and pirates!), you may be amused to discover that the word filibuster is related to pirates and senators.

You can read more about the word filibuster here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/blog/how-senators-are-like-pirates.htm.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm

* http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/634642/William-Walker
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Distemper

Wed, 05/13/2015 - 04:35
Most of us, when we hear the word "distemper," think of an infectious disease that afflicts dogs. Canine distemper is caused by an unidentified virus that manifests in lethargy, fever, excessive discharge of mucus in the nose & throat, intolerance of light, and vomiting.

But, if you happen to pay a visit to the Ocracoke Health Clinic, you may hear an older island native in the waiting area comment that he or she is there to see the doctor for distemper. Knowing the local doctor is not a veterinarian, you finally figure out that the person sitting next to you is talking about his/her own illness.

"Distemper" is an eighteenth century word that simply meant any illness or disease. While the definition of the word has been narrowed today to refer almost exclusively to an illness afflicting dogs (and sometimes cats and horses), a few old-time Ocracokers still use the word in its older, more general sense.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

"Shipwreck"

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 04:59
Just a couple of days ago I was told about a small boat that washed up on Ocracoke's beach. Of course I wanted to see for myself.















The fiberglass boat was quite a derelict. It certainly looked like it had been adrift for a while. The motor was long gone, the paint was peeling, the hull was cracked & broken, and small mollusks were growing all over the bottom. I suppose it was pushed onto Ocracoke's beach by the wind and waves generated by tropical depression Ana.

I wonder who will remove it.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

British Cemetery

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 04:42
In the spring of 1942, the British Navy sent 24 armed trawlers to the east coast of the United States to augment the fleet of the US Navy in WWII.

On May 11, 1942, the captain of the German U-boat, U-558, fired three torpedoes at the British armed trawler, Bedfordshire. The third torpedo struck the vessel amidships with devastating results. The ship sank within minutes, killing everyone on board.

The bodies of four British sailors washed ashore at Ocracoke, and were laid to rest near the Capt. David Williams cemetery. Every year since then, the US Coast Guard, British & Canadian military officials, and local Outer Banks organizations honor the crew of the Bedfordshire and other sailors who lost their lives protecting the United States from Nazi aggression.

Samantha Styron Reading History of the Bedfordshire's Sinking















This year the commemorative event was held on Friday, May 8, at 11:00 am.

US Coast Guard Pipe Band















You can read more about the British Cemetery ceremonies in the Ocracoke Current and the Ocracoke Observer.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is an article by island resident, Crystal Canterbury, about her very first visit to Portsmouth Village, on the last day of 2014. You can read Part I here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042115.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs