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Leonard Bryant

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 05:35
Below is a reprint of the obituary for Ocracoke Islander, Leonard Bryant (August 11, 1874-November 15, 1960), who died 54 years ago tomorrow:



















White Friends Hold Last Rites For Negro Man
Ocracoke -- Leonard Bryant, 82 [according to my sources, he was 86], a member of the only Negro family on Ocracoke, died last week.

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

He was buried in the unsegregated community cemetery.

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

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Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Persimmons

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 06:05
Many years ago, one of the island teenagers offered me my first persimmon. It had not ripened, and my mouth immediately began to pucker! You can imagine the hilarity that evinced.

Persimmons contain very high levels of soluble tannins which make the unripened fruit quite unpalatable. The tannins can also combine with stomach acids to produce a "foodball" (called a phytobezoar), which can be medically dangerous. Needless to say, I never consumed enough of the unripe persimmon to present any problem.

Persimmon Tree at Ocracoke Methodist Church



















Persimmon trees are relatively common on the Outer Banks. The following recipe was printed in the Spring, 1974 issue of Sea Chest.

Persimmon Pudding

Collect persimmons after frost has hit them and they are soft. Cook as any fruit and push through a colander. One cup of fruit is needed for the pudding mix.

1 3/4 cups of sifted flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 egs
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cream shortening and add sugar gradually. Beat eggs and add spice. Add flour and milk to sugar mixture, beating after each addition until smooth. Add the persimmon pulp.

Pour into a greased pan and bake in a moderate oven (350 degrees) for 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or a lemon sauce.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Songbirds for Supper

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 11/12/2014 - 06:16
This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about wildfowl hunting in 1910. At one time, wild birds were so plentiful on the Outer Banks that it seemed their numbers were inexhaustible. In the late 1800s market hunting with shotguns allowed the taking of dozens of geese and ducks, sometimes by mounting several guns on a boat or sinkbox. In one day hundreds of birds could be killed, then shipped to northern markets.

Of course, we now know that indiscriminate killing of wild birds leads to ecological disaster. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 1934 put an end to market hunting and the wholesale slaughter of waterfowl.

Bird hunting is a long tradition on Ocracoke. Ducks and geese were the primary targets, but small songbirds such as robins were also hunted for food, even within living memory. As late as the 1970s island boys routinely shot small birds within the village.

As David Cecelski writes in his book, A Historian's Coast, "[h]unting coastal birds was an old custom in North Carolina. Long before market gunning, watermen's families savored wild bird dishes ranging from fried tern to stewed blue heron. In fact, few bird species eluded the cook pot."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Lords Proprietors, John Lovick, & Ocracoke

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 11/11/2014 - 05:24
In 1663, eight English noblemen received a charter from King Charles II to establish the colony of Carolina in the New World. These eight men were the "Lords Proprietors," and their job was to oversee the colony on behalf of the King.

The eight Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina were:
  • George Monck, 1st Duke of Albemarle (1608–1670) 
  • Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon (1609–1674) 
  • John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton (1602–1678) 
  • William Craven, 1st Earl of Craven (1608–1697) 
  • Sir George Carteret (c. 1610–1680) 
  • Sir William Berkeley (1605–1677) 
  • Sir John Colleton, 1st Baronet (1608–1666) 
  • Anthony Ashley Cooper, 1st Earl of Shaftesbury (1621–1683). 
On November 11, 1719 (295 years ago today) the Lords Proprietors granted the island of Occacock, containing 2,110 acres, to John Lovick, Secretary of the Colony of North Carolina and a Deputy of the Lords Proprietors.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

More Music

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 11/10/2014 - 05:44
A few days ago David, Amy & Lachlan, as well as several other friends, came over to my house, and brought food and musical instruments. Michael Stanwood, a frequent visitor to the island, was there. After supper he and David filled my living room with fiddle and autoharp music.















Michael plays guitar, autoharp, and several exotic instruments, including the didgeridoo. He is also an artist and storyteller. You can read more about Michael here: michaelstanwood.com.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Shark's Teeth

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 11/07/2014 - 05:52
I posted this photo on our Facebook page two days ago, and it received 7,000 views, a record for us. It was so popular that I decided to post it here for those of our readers who are not on Facebook.


















I was walking along the beach several days ago, and stopped when I saw this tiny bundle of shark's teeth. I was surprised because I had never before found a shark's tooth on Ocracoke.  There were 75-100 small teeth, all connected and obviously from one animal.

I brought them home, and laid them outside, hoping ants would attack the cartilage and separate them for me.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Mattie

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 11/06/2014 - 05:31
I was biking around the village last week when I noticed a group of artists working at their easels in front of the lighthouse. More "plein air" painters, I thought, and wondered what was going on.














So I stopped to take some pictures and ask a few questions. Immediately I spied my friend Anita from mainland Hyde County. Then I discovered there were three other islanders in the group of a dozen or so artists. They were being tutored by Mark Hierholzer, colorist and fine art oil painter from Swan Quarter.


















The group was part of a program of the Mattie Arts Center which was established in 2012 and housed in the old Hyde County court house in Swan Quarter. MATTIE is an acronym for Mattamuskeet Artisans, Teaching, Training, Instructing, and Educating.

Classes at Mattie are dedicated to creating a venue where artists can grow artistically in their craft, communicate creatively with one another, and be inspired by nature.

It certainly looked as if they were accomplishing their goals. I hope I have an opportunity to see some of their finished products.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Three Photos

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 05:44
Just a couple of photos taken crossing Pamlico Sound on the Wilma Lee (More information on yesterday's post)...
















...And work being done on the Simon & Emma O'neal house on Lighthouse Road:















Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Wilma Lee

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 11/04/2014 - 06:13
On Tuesday, October 28, I accompanied Captain Rob, Tom, Chuck & Gary to Jarrett Bay Boat Yard in Beaufort, NC. We were going to pick up the Wilma Lee, now ready to bring back to Ocracoke after repairs were completed.

It was an impressive sight, seeing the Wilma Lee propped on jack stands where the work was done.


















Then the travel lift arrived. Heavy duty straps were attached under the Wilma Lee's hull, and she was lifted up and carried slowly, very slowly, to the water. 














Carefully, the skipjack was lowered into the basin and set free.














We crossed Pamlico Sound. Here is Rob at the helm, Chuck by his side, and the setting sun behind us. We arrived back at Silver Lake about 9:30.














With the addition of new sails, and fully rigged (not exactly sure when that will be), the Wilma Lee will again be ready for sunset cruises and educational programs. Stop down at the Community Square docks to take a look at her.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Pirates

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 05:46
What a fun weekend! Tricorn hats, flintlock pistols, swords and pewter tankards were to be seen everywhere throughout the village. There were cannons, naval battles, madrigals, bawdy songs, history lessons, scallywag school, sword fights and beer gardens. The 2014 Pirate Jamboree was a great success. A few photos:










































Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm

Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Shark

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 05:03
I am not sure why, but it is rare to find sharks' teeth on Ocracoke's beach. However, several days ago I found an entire mouthful of one shark's teeth!

This critter was lying on the beach, not too far above the high tide line. If you enlarge the picture you will see that he still has an impressive array of sharp teeth. I did not try to retrieve any of them.















I am not sure what species of shark this is. Perhaps one of our readers can enlighten me.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Sheperd's Pie & Banjo Music

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 04:43
It is not often that someone I don't know sets up Dutch ovens in my side yard, fills our plates with shepherd's pie & hot biscuits, and graces my living room with fast-paced banjo music!

In fact, it's only happened once...just this past Monday. As it turned out, fiddler Dave recently struck up a conversation with Jim Huskins and his wife Beverly because of their mutual love of music. Then Jim offered to feed our family and the Molasses Creek band members. I didn't meet Jim until he arrived carrying cast iron Dutch ovens. They were soon set up in my yard, heated with charcoal briquettes...and the cooking began.

Jim made the biscuits on my picnic table as the shepherd's pie cooked nearby.


















By 7 o'clock we were all gathered around my dining room table enjoying the fruits of Jim's labor.














But another treat was waiting for us. All of the musicians brought their instruments. After dessert (David had baked an Ocracoke fig cake, and Marcy brought home-made Halloween cookies) we repaired to the living room for an hour of lively music. 



























Towards 10 o'clock, Jim retrieved his hat, and he & Beverly helped us carry the utensils back to their "motor home," a converted 40' airport shuttle bus.














(You can take a look at Jim's bus building blog here: http://www.nomadicista.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=2541. His travelogue about their trip is here: http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=28203.0).

Everything about Jim and Beverly's visit to my home was memorable...delicious food, wonderful conversation, and fantastic music! Sometimes the unexpected can be the most enjoyable.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Rehabilitation

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 04:37
There is good news to share this week. Several years ago the Ocracoke Preservation Society received a bequest from the David and Geraldine Beveridge estate designated to help preserve an island structure. The Society used the money to purchase the Simon and Emma O'Neal house on Lighthouse Road.

The house was subsequently sold, with conservation easements, to a private buyer. He has received approval for the rehabilitation of this house to historic preservation standards, and work began just last week.

This building is a typical turn-of-the-twentieth-century island house, and is located across the street from the Assembly of God church.














We are delighted that OPS saved this house, and we are looking forward to seeing it fully restored and returned to occupancy. Take a look at the progress being made when you walk, bike, or drive down Lighthouse Road.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Costumes

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 04:27
The annual Halloween Parade was held Friday afternoon at the School Circle. Below are a couple of photos. The first is Lachlan as Lizardman and Bones (Bones was just his normal piratical self).


















My favorite (he won the award for "Most Original Costume") was Austin, the little mouse in the trap.














Here are a few other images courtesy of Sally Beachy:




































Halloween is just a few days away. Make sure your costume is ready! If you are on the island be sure to stroll down Lighthouse Road to see the children (and adults) in costume...and maybe get a few treats.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1910 article about waterfowl hunting. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

October Newsletter

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 05:02
Well, it's that time of the month again! We've recently published our latest Ocracoke Newsletter. This month's article is a reprint of a 1910 account of hunting for waterfowl at Ocracoke. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news102114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Weekends

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 10/26/2014 - 04:28
As I mentioned yesterday, I will no longer be publishing posts on weekends. Look for more Ocracoke Island stories & history tomorrow.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092114.htm.  
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Change of Policy

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 10/25/2014 - 04:28
I have been thinking of doing this for a while, and now it begins. Starting today, except under unusual conditions, I will not be publishing blog posts on Saturdays or Sundays.

So, please check back again on Monday. I will continue to publish Ocracoke Island stories, history, and current events on week days. I love collecting and sharing these stories. I hope you will continue to enjoy reading them.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092114.htm.  
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Corned Fish

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 10/24/2014 - 05:30
"Corning" means to preserve in salt. On the Outer Banks before refrigeration, fish were often "corned" to preserve them.

Corned fish were packed in wooden barrels with tight fitting lids to keep varmints out. The barrels were stored in the shade, and the fish would keep for many months.

According to a 2009 article (http://hamptonroads.com/2009/11/forgotten-art-corning-preserves-fish-months) in PilotOnLine.com:

"The fish should be scaled, beheaded and gutted. No trace of entrails or the black membrane that lines the cavity of the fish should remain. Then the fish should be butterflied, so the maximum amount of flesh will be exposed to the salt.... Once the fish is prepped, sprinkle the bottom of the container with a 'heavy dusting' of salt. Lay the fish on the salt and give it a heavy dusting - it is not necessary to completely cover the fish with salt. Continue layering fish and salt. Seal the container and place it in the refrigerator [obviously, old-timers did not have this option, but corning still worked].

"After three or four days, the salt should have pulled the water from the fish to create a brine. Keep an eye on the water level, and when it stops rising, open the container and add enough fresh water to cover the fish completely and enough extra salt so that crystals are visible. You want to have the water dissolve as much salt as possible. The fish is safe to eat when it is "struck through," meaning that the salt has completely penetrated the flesh. To determine if the fish is struck through, press the flesh with your finger. 'It should be firm, hard, like a board,' Merritt [Jim Merritt, owner of The Catch Seafood at Five Points Community Farm Market in Norfolk] said. After that, it no longer requires refrigeration and is ready to eat...."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092114.htm.  
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Spies on Hatteras

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 05:04
In the Fall, 1973 issue of Sea Chest, a publication of the Cape Hatteras School, there is a one-page article titled, "Spies on the Cape."

According to the article (which I found more than a little bit confusing), a young German named Hans Hoff visited Hatteras Island for about a month in 1932. During that time he allegedly took photos of the lighthouse, Coast Guard Station, weather bureau, etc.

Later, during WWII, he and two other German spies were said to have landed on Long Island, New York, in a rubber raft. They were apprehended, tried, and convicted. Hoff, according to the article, was sent to the electric chair.

The article even indicates that a movie was made about this event.

Trouble is, I have not been able to verify any of this story.  The only Hans Hoff I have been able to document was an Austrian Jew (born 1897). He was a psychiatrist who was expelled from Austria in 1938. Hoff seems to have been a shadowy figure who worked as an agent for the OSS, and went to Iraq where he was involved in very questionable practices involving eugenics and experiments on human subjects.

Were there German spies on the Outer Banks during Wold War II? We may never know for sure.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Spies on Ocracoke

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 05:04
During the latter half of the twentieth century I occasionally heard stories of German spies landing on the Outer Banks during World War II.

In my article about Mme. Scheu-Riesz and the 1940 & 1941 summer Artists Colony on Ocracoke (http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112908.htm), I wrote, "Rumors circulated throughout the village suggesting that [Mme. Scheu-Riesz] and her fellow artists might be German spies. Although only a handful of islanders held this view, those closest to the artists reported that they were secretive, and reluctant to socialize with villagers. Workers at the hotel noticed that Workshop teachers and students covered their books and poems, and turned papers over whenever others approached them.

"Most of the Workshop participants enjoyed spending their days on the beach. Islander, Jake Alligood, had an old flat bed truck that he had converted to an island taxi, and he often drove them across the tidal flats to the ocean. It was not unusual for the teachers and students to walk to the beach after dark. Mme Scheu-Riesz seemed especially interested in the flashing beacons and other navigational aids, about which she asked numerous questions. She was also observed making frequent calls, by ship to shore radio, from the Coast Guard Station.

"Several island teenagers, intrigued by the exotic artists and intellectuals, and looking for adventure, decided to snoop around their quarters. They had listened to adults as they discussed the artists' unconventional behavior and different lifestyles. Connections to foreign countries, strange dress, and a degree of eccentricity had made them suspect. Could the artists really be undercover Nazi spies?

"The 'detectives' never discovered any incriminating evidence."

Read the entire article (http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news112908.htm) to learn why Mme. Scheu-Reisz and her colleagues were almost certainly not spies.

More about spies on the Outer Banks in tomorrow's blog.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092114.htm.  
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs
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