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Marine Salvage

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 03/26/2014 - 05:16
Yesterday, in response to the photo of the beached Navy vessel, the Betelgeuse, a reader asked these questions:

" Whatever became of the "Betelgeuse"? PRESUMABLY she was somehow re-floated and hauled off to her final resting place, BUT...I suspect that re-floating may have been unlikely, which means she may have been scrapped in place, but even THAT seems unlikely.

"Or perhaps somehow her interior was scrapped until the hull itself was light enough to be towed off the shore (though I'd guess this the most UNLIKELY of these scenarios).

"As old-time radio personality Paul Harvey used to suggest, how about 'the rest of the story,' Philip?"

Well, here is the rest of the story: I am no expert on maritime salvage laws, but two Midgett brothers on Hatteras Island seem to have been. In a 2008 article in the Island Free Press, about 
shipwreck salvaging on the Outer Banks, author Daniel Couch recounts the history of "wreck busting."

Couch writes, " When a ship wrecked along the beach, the international maritime salvage laws came into play. It is still recognized law today, with some exceptions. Simply stated, the first on board took possession providing they 'raced' to reach the notary public to have their claim registered."

Couch goes on to explain how "wreckers" were then employed to deal with the ship and the cargo.

He writes, "A recent example of this was the 1976 beaching between Kinnakeet and Chicamacomico of the World War II liberty ship Betelgeuse, bound from Philadelphia to a Galveston scrap yard, when it was cut loose by the sea tug towing her as bad weather threatened to wreck both vessels. Two Rodanthe men, Mac Midgett and Steve Midgett, the first to board her under maritime salvage laws and after the prerequisite trip to a notary, were awarded an undisclosed amount of money to 'guard' the vessel by the insurance company."

Eventually the ship was pulled from the beach and towed away. The Midgett brothers received their payment.

My first thought was, "Wow, what an easy way to make some extra money!" And then I thought, with my luck the owners of the ship would say they didn't want it any longer, and it now belonged to me. Then the National Park Service would demand that I remove the ship from the beach. Before long I would be bankrupt.

But I have to give it to Mac and Steve Midgett. I heard they attached a 9 lb. Danforth anchor to the Betelgeuse to claim her!

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

Betelgeuse

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 03/25/2014 - 04:37
The 455' long Betelgeuse was the last cargo ship in service in the US Navy. She was launched in 1944. While being towed to Texas in 1976 the Betelgeuse was cut loose from the tug because of high seas. She ran aground at Rodanthe. I took this photo on Feb. 5, 1976.



















The three people in the foreground are (L to R) Stefen Howard, Julie Howard, and Amy Howard. Amy is the current Administrator of the Ocracoke Preservation Museum.

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

Wilma Lee

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 03/24/2014 - 05:02
The 46' skipjack Wilma Lee is back in Silver Lake after a routine Coast Guard dry dock inspection this winter. One final inspection is pending, and the Wilma Lee should be ready to sail with passengers by Easter.














A sunset cruise on the Wilma Lee is a highlight of any visit to Ocracoke. The vessel can carry up to 42 people, so whether you are traveling alone, with a large group, or planning a special event be sure to make your reservations.


 











The Wilma Lee is owned by Ocracoke Alive, a local non-profit organization dedicated to educational and cultural programs. 

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

Award

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 03/23/2014 - 04:46
Many of our readers know Lou Ann...writer, storyteller, actress, photographer, and teacher. She spends much of her summers on Ocracoke leading Ghost & History Tours, volunteering to share history and stories at the Lighthouse, participating in the Wednesday evening Opry shows, helping at the Ocracoke Preservation Museum,and generally contributing to the life of our island community.
For the rest of the year Lou Ann lives in the Midwest. On Thursday, March 20 Lou Ann was honored for her contributions to her Indiana community. For many years she has helped bring stories, theater, music, and other cultural events to her area. Her own performances at local libraries, civic centers, churches, and other venues have become a major part of her community's arts and humanities outreach.

Several years ago Lou Ann was named an Indiana State Storyteller by Governor Evan Bayh.  She has also received several commissions from Storytelling Arts of Indiana and Indiana Landmarks, as well as two teacher fellowship grants from the Lilly Endowment.
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On Thursday, March 20, in Wells Theater at Trine University the mayor of her town, the honorable Richard Hickman, presented Lou Ann with "The Mayor's Arts & Humanities Award for Substantial & Long-term Contributions to the Cultural Life of the Angola Area."
Mayor Hickman, Lou Ann & Her Award















Lou Ann was excited, and honored by the recognition (somehow all of her family & friends managed to keep the award a secret until the hour of the presentation). In accepting the award Lou Ann shared her approach to life. “You do things you love," she said. "I tell my students, ‘passion, passion, passion.’”

Congratulations, Lou Ann!

And be sure to look for Lou Ann this summer as she brings her talents and her enthusiasm for art, the humanities, and history to Ocracoke Island. We are honored to have her as a valuable member of our community also.

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

Dolphins

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 03/22/2014 - 05:09
I went to Portsmouth Island a couple of weeks ago with Dick & Cheri, friends from Concord, NC. On the way over we encountered several pods of dolphins. Dick made a video, and pulled a few still shots for me to share with our readers. It is always a treat to see dolphins in Pamlico Sound.
















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

Mail Boat Aleta

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 03/21/2014 - 04:29
I have already published photos and stories of the Aleta in past blog posts and in Ocracoke Newsletters. This month our Newsletter continues that coverage with a reprint of a 1948 article about Ocracoke Island's iconic Mail Boat Aleta. This article provides another perspective on this vessel that kept Ocracoke connected with the mainland of North Carolina...and the rest of the outside world.

You can read our latest Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ocracoke Observer

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 03/20/2014 - 04:24
Local Press Release:

The Ocracoke Observer is under new ownership.
Islanders Connie Leinbach and Peter Vankevich purchased and will now run this newspaper effective March 12. Ruth Fordon will continue as editor. This print monthly newspaper is a free publication made available throughout Ocracoke Island and connecting points and areas in Hyde and Dare counties.
The new owners, while looking to enhance the web presence of the paper, believe in the worth of print newspapers and the special niche this monthly has for Ocracoke Island.
Founded in 1999, the paper covers news and culture primarily relating to Ocracoke Island.  Future plans for the paper include creating an online presence and making past articles available online.Connie Leinbach has an extensive industry background as a daily news reporter, free-lance writer, publicist and newspaper publisher. She has also worked in arts management as a theater company manager and arts agency executive director.
Peter Vankevich worked in the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress including being head of the Copyright Information Section for 16 years, and has been a freelance writer for the Hill Rag. He has a radio show called Theme Tunes on the Ocracoke community radio station WOVV 90.1 FM and online, and he serves as a volunteer fireman. 
The new co-owners live full-time on the island and have written for the Observer for several years.  For more information, contact the owners at ocracokeobserver@gmail.com, or 252-928-1811.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Screen Houses or Cool Houses

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 03/19/2014 - 04:23
On Friday, March 14, I published some photos of my recent visit to Portsmouth Island. I have had questions about the small screen house (sometimes called a cool house or a milk house) in Henry Pigott's yard, and exactly what it was used for. Realizing that I did not provide any independent confirmation of my description of the screen house and my explanation of its use, I searched the Internet for more information. None was forthcoming. 

So...several days ago I carried this photo of Henry Pigott's Portsmouth Island screen house across the lane, and showed it to cousin Blanche (she is 94 years old).

 












I made just this simple request: "Blanche, tell me what this is, and what it would be used for." 

This is what she said:

"It's over at Portsmouth, but I don't know where. It's one of those little...what did they call them. I can't think right now what mama called them. It's a screened in box. If you're going to kill you a chicken on Saturday, you put them in this box to keep them cool til Sunday.

"It was to keep food cool so it couldn't spoil. Mama used to keep her salt pork in it on the bottom shelf. A lot of people had them. They made them themselves." 

Of course, these screen or cool houses wouldn't keep food fresh for very long, say in July and August. But they were useful for protecting food for short periods, especially overnight.

I am wondering if screen houses like this are unique to the Outer Banks. I haven't been able to find any other references to them on the Internet. 

This is a photo Dave Frum took of the Screen House/Cool House behind the Salter House on Portsmouth:



 











And this is a closeup of the sign:
















Here is a photo of the screen house Blanche's daddy made many years ago:
















You can read more here: http://villagecraftsmen.blogspot.com/2012/10/screen-house.html.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm.   
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Petition

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 03/18/2014 - 05:00
On Thursday I wrote about de-funding for lifeguards on Ocracoke's beach.  The Superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore does not believe it is important to have lifeguards for 2014. 

If you think this policy is a mistake, please sign this petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/save-our-lifeguards-put-lifeguards-back-on-our-beaches

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Clarification

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 03/17/2014 - 06:39
The Old Quawk story was published yesterday evening.  March 16 is Old Quawk's Day.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Old Quawk

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 03/16/2014 - 17:33
I almost forgot -- today is Old Quawk's Day!! I wrote the following story 14 years ago. Enjoy.


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, or hammock, 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 the other men of the island, Old Quawk fished nets in Pamlico Sound.  On March 16 many years ago the weather 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 weak-kneed 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.  At any rate, he never returned and he and his boat were never seen again.

For more than one hundred and seventy five 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.  Superstitions pass with time, however, and nowadays many islanders do not even note the date, let alone pay it any heed.

Nevertheless, Old Quawk lives on in the names of landmarks near where he made his home: "Quork Hammock" and "Old Quork'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!
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Village Craftsmen

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 03/16/2014 - 04:45
Spring is almost here...and Village Craftsmen is now open for the season! As always, we offer only fine American made handcrafts.

Pewter Measuring Cups












Our current hours are:

Sunday.....10-2
Monday (Closed)
Tuesday - Saturday.....10-5

We specialize in traditional and utilitarian pottery, but we also carry a large selection of glassware, wooden items, kitchen utensils, jewelry, decorative pottery, and much more. Once again we've added new and exciting items for the spring. Don't miss visiting the first craft gallery on the island -- in business since 1970.

To see more items, click on the "Village Craftsmen Catalog" link on the right.

Hand Thrown Pottery Colander










On your next visit to the island, be sure to stroll down Howard Street, notice the historic homes & ancient live oaks, take a peek into our family graveyards, and browse the shelves of Village Craftsmen. 

We are looking forward to seeing friends again, both old and new.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Wahab Village Hotel

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 03/15/2014 - 04:35
This is what Blackbeard's Lodge (originally Wahab Village Hotel) looked like in the 1950s:








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The first floor on one side was a movie theater; the other side was a roller skating rink!

This was in the days when movies were projected with reels of film. A full length movie required two full reels...but Ocracoke only had one projector. So there would be an intermission while the projectionist changed reels.

I remember watching a Science-Fiction movie one summer evening when I was a teenager. After intermission and dimming of the lights we looked up on the screen to see cowboys racing across the badlands on their horses. Someone had sent the wrong second reel. What an uproar from the audience!

Of course we were all given a refund...but I never did see the second half of the Sci-Fi movie.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Across the Inlet

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 03/14/2014 - 04:41
I love going to Portsmouth village. On Monday I went with Donald & Merle and our off-island friends, Dick & Cheri. We could not have chosen a more perfect day.

Donald Austin carried us across. The water was "slick ca'm" as islanders say. Out in the Sound we passed several pods of dolphins. Dick took a few photos that I will share in another blog.

Although it was a little chilly out on the water, we warmed up as soon as we disembarked and started walking into the village. We spent more than four hours strolling along wooded paths and visiting the post office, the schoolhouse, the life saving station, and several homes. We lounged on the edge of the Salter house porch and enjoyed a picnic lunch before heading back down the dock to board our boat.

Here are a few photos:

Walking toward the Schoolhouse
An old Water Cistern
Where are the Students?
View of the Methodist Church from a Footpath
Henry Pigott's Tiny Cottage
Henry's Screenhouse

















































































Mark April 26 on your calendar. That's the date of the 2014 Portsmouth Island Homecoming. On Monday we had the island completely to ourselves. For Homecoming there will be hundreds of folks on Portsmouth.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm.   
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Lifeguards

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 03/13/2014 - 04:27
The superintendent of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore has no plans to hire lifeguards for 2014!

A portion of Ocracoke's beach has been protected by lifeguards during the summer season for more than half a century. Now we are told that budget issues have prompted authorities to eliminate all lifeguards in the Seashore.

Sundae Horn has written an excellent article in the Ocracoke Current with more information. You can read it here: http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/83509.

If you agree with a great many islanders and visitors to Ocracoke who want to keep lifeguards on our beach, please take a moment to contact the following elected representatives to voice your concerns.

Rep. Walter Jones’s Office:
202-225-3415
252-931-1003
Email: https://jones.house.gov/contact-me

Senator Kay Hagan's Office:
202-224-6342
252-754-0707
Email: www.hagan.Senate.gov/?p=contact

Senator Richard Burr's Office:
202-224-3154
910-251-1058
Email: http://www.burr.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm

Cape Hatteras National Seashore superintendent Barclay Trimble can be emailed here: barclay_trimble@nps.gov

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Wayne Teeter

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 03/12/2014 - 04:28
I published this 1950s photo in September of 2012. Stanley Gaskins, in the white t-shirt, is standing with his left hand on the pony's neck. I am sitting astride the horse, and Wayne Teeter is posing in the striped shirt.  The picture was taken on Lawton Lane, in front of my grandmama's house. Of course, we are all barefooted.












When I came to Ocracoke for the summer, Stan, Wayne, and I spent many hours running around together -- exploring the woods at Springer's Point, swimming in the creek (Silver Lake), gigging for flounders in Pamlico Sound, messing about with ponies (I never did learn to ride very well), attending square dances, and generally getting into mischief. I was just two weeks older than Wayne.

Stan died several years ago.

This past Sunday morning, Wayne died unexpectedly. Wayne was a colorful native Ocracoker. In addition to serving in the Coast Guard, working as a commercial fisherman and operating local businesses (at one time he owned and operated Tradewinds Tackle Shop, Wayne's Fish House, and cultivated soft crabs in a homemade facility in his back yard), he served for a while as the island's county commissioner, and was active in the Assembly of God church. Wayne was outspoken, so you always knew where he stood on issues, but I never knew Wayne to speak his mind without a smile and good humor.Wayne was fond of stating that the biggest mistake of his life was quitting school in the 9th grade. "I should have quit in the 6th grade," he would say!

Wayne's funeral will be held this Friday at the Ocracoke Assembly of God at 11 a.m.

We will miss Wayne, an island icon for 69 years.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm.   


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Friendship

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 03/11/2014 - 05:13
Mr. Walter (1885-1976) and Miss Armeda ("Meter" 1890-1977) O'Neal were close friends of my parents. I loved to visit their house. When they died their refrigerator was still propped up on cinder blocks.  They had put it there as a precaution when the storm tide from the 1944 hurricane was washing over the island. They also had a plaster cast of a two-headed turtle they had discovered years before. It was quite a curiosity for a youngster.

Mr. Walter O'Neal (in white hat) at his Store












Mr. Walter liked to take us to the beach to find sand dollars. On the way he often recited one of his favorite poems:

Make new friends, but keep the old
Those are silver -- these are gold
New-made friendships, like new wine,
Age will mellow and refine.

Friendship that has stood the test
Of time and change are surely best.
Brow may wrinkle, hair grow  gray
Friendship never knows decay.

So 'midst old friends, tried and true,
Let us now our youth renew.
But old friends, alas! may die,
New friends must their place supply.

Cherish friendship in your breast--
New is good, but old is best;
Make new friends, but keep the old,
Those are silver -- these are gold.

Sage advice from one old time O'cocker.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Warts

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 03/10/2014 - 04:17
In 1972-1973 the Ocracoke High School yearbook staff collected traditional Ocracoke Island home remedies. The following three cures for warts sound like they came right out of the mouths of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn:

  • Take a bull rush and rub on your warts. Then put it back in the same hole you pulled it from
  • Take a glass of vinegar, and place a penny in it. Soak your wart a couple of times a day until it goes away
  • Steal your mama’s dish rag and bury it
It has been more than forty years since these remedies were collected. I wonder if any islanders alive can remember trying any of them.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Who, Whom

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 03/09/2014 - 04:20
I know he (or she) is difficult to see...but that's the snowy owl perched on the top of a sand dune. So at least one of these fascinating creatures is still patrolling our beaches. The picture was taken with my smart phone about a week ago.















A few days after I took this photo I had a discussion with a neighbor about grammar. She then sent me this Sandra Boynton owl cartoon. Enjoy!



















Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Concert on the Ferry

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 03/08/2014 - 06:09
Last weekend I joined several other islanders in Swan Quarter for the annual "Music Across the Sound" performance. Some folks use the 2 1/2 hour ferry ride to read, nap, play cards, or catch up on work.

Fiddler Dave, Sundae, and Marcy used some of their time to rehearse for the performance.















If you are ever on the ferry with local musicians, don't be timid and walk away. Stay for a free concert.  You'll be glad you did.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter documents the day telephones came to the island. The article includes images of Ocracoke's first telephone directory which lists a total of 63 subscribers. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs
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