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The "Collective Afterlife"...

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 04:24
...and Collecting Ocracoke Island History & Stories.

I hope our readers will bear with me as I share some philosophical ruminations today.

I recently read a review of the book, Death and the Afterlife, by Samuel Scheffler. According to the reviewer, Scheffler "does not believe in any form of personal immortality," but he does understand that "the survival of people after our deaths matters greatly to us."

Scheffler asks his readers to imagine scenarios that would rob us of what he calls a "collective afterlife."  In one scenario, every person on Earth suddenly becomes infertile. Although everyone would continue to live to the end of his or her natural life, the human race would eventually die out. What would then matter to us?

I wondered what I would think about collecting and sharing island history and stories. If I learned today that at the end of one hundred and twenty-five years there would be no one left on the planet...and certainly from now on no one would have any real interest in Ocracoke Island history...would I abandon my island research? Of course. What would be the point? I write for future generations as much as for the present.

When I read books and articles of local history collected and written by departed islanders (Alice Rondthaler, Calvin O'Neal, Cecil Bragg, Walter Howard, and others) I often offer them a silent "thank you" for realizing that some of us living today would be grateful for what they saved and preserved during their lifetimes.

Of course, I understand that our sun will eventually burn out (about 5 billion years from now), and that the human race might drive itself to extinction, and that geologic changes in the coast might inundate Ocracoke Island. But those time spans are longer than my human lifetime, and I, like many humans, don't want to think too much about ultimate death, wholesale destruction, and complete annihilation.

So, I continue to collect and preserve Ocracoke Island stories and history. I suppose it's enough for me to think that several more generations, at least, may survive and benefit from my work. In my own way I am celebrating the "collective afterlife" even though I realize even that will not last forever.

In the meantime I am ordering Scheffler's book...and will be reading it between researching Ocracoke Island hsitory.

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

Kunigunde

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 10/05/2014 - 04:30
If you have ever ventured up the small hill behind the live oak tree near the end of Howard Street you might have noticed the grave of Kunigunde Howard. Although, historically, there are a number of unusual Ocracoke Island names, most of them have British origins. Kunigunde has its roots in Germany. (If you've read Voltaire's Candide [the main character, Candide, is from Westphalia], you might remember Cunigonde, Candide's aristocratic cousin, and love interest.)


















Kunigunde Howard was the daughter of German-speaking Hungarian immigrants. She met Ocracoke Island native, Lawton Howard, in the 1930s in Philadelphia. They soon married, and reared two boys, my brother, Lawton Jr., and me.

This is a picture of my mother's 1914 Tauf-Zeugnis (Baptismal Certificate). If you enlarge the image you will see that she is given the name Kundi Czechmeister (for most of her early life she was Kunigunde Guth, but at the time of her baptism her father was using his mother's surname, probably because his parents had not married).


















And this is a 1946 photo of my mother.























You can read more of her story here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news061505.htm.

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

Light at Dusk

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 10/04/2014 - 04:37
Ocracoke has a special beauty even in the half light of a dying day. This photo was taken from Springer's Point soon after the lighthouse came on.














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

Sonic Escape

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 04:34
Tomorrow night at 8 pm at Deepwater Theater Ocracoke Alive, in conjunction with the Beaufort County Arts Council, presents a concert by the flute-violin-cello trio of Julliard graduates, Sonic Escape.


From the Ocracoke Alive web site: "Sonic Escape uses every part of the performer - fingers, mind, voice & story - to reshape the live music experience. The virtuoso members have traveled the world in roles as diverse as soloing at Carnegie Hall, fiddle-dancing in Riverdance, jamming with Beale Street blues bands and playing rock clubs across NYC. Whether Sonic Escape is performing one of their ground-breaking original works, a folk arrangement or a classical masterpiece, they share with audiences as though it's the last note they'll ever play for the best friend they'll ever make!  http://www.sonicescapemusic.com/"

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

Ocracoke Figs

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 04:29
Figs have been a big part of Ocracoke Island life for generations, especially in August & September when figs ripen. Village Craftsmen employee and native islander, Dale Mutro, follows in his grandmama's steps, and puts up many jars of fig preserves every season.

Last week UNCTV aired a segment on Ocracoke figs...















and fig preserves...















You can listen to Dale and other islanders talk about figs, fig preserves, and fig cakes by following this link: http://video.unctv.org/video/2365329684/. The segment on Ocracoke figs begins at 14:17.

The interview with Gaynelle Tillett is priceless! 

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

Bluegrass at Deepwater Theater

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 10/01/2014 - 05:07
Tonight, at 8 pm at Deepwater Theater, the NC Humanities, in conjunction with Dare County Arts Council and Ocracoke Alive, will present "The Culture of Bluegrass Music in North Carolina: My life as an Accidental Bluegrass Musician" by John Santa, NC Humanities Council Roads Scholar.














From Ocracoke Alives' web site: "Gathering in old tobacco barns and general stores across the state, the culture of Bluegrass music and the old South still permeates our everyday lives. While many people associate Kentucky with Bluegrass Music, the fact is many of the pioneers of this indigenous American art form were North Carolina born and bred. In fact, when one considers the confluences of African, Scottish and English musical heritage, a strong case can be made that Bluegrass was, in fact, born here. And there is no one more fervent than the recently converted! Using musical examples (both recorded and performed live) and personal anecdotes of travels across North Carolina from his book, Bluegrass Is My Second Language, the author seeks to illuminate the joys of Bluegrass music to the uninitiated."

If you are on the island, come on out to Deepwater Theater tonight for some exciting entertainment!

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

Henry

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 04:52
I recently came across this 1955 photo of Portsmouth Island native, Henry Pigott (1896-1971), from the Mike Riddick Photo Collection. Henry poled his skiff out into Pamlico Sound every day to meet the mailboat. He retrieved mail and passengers, and gave the captain out-going mail and a list of items Portsmouth Islanders wished to have from Ocracoke.













When Henry Pigott died, the other two residents of Portsmouth moved off the island.

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

Barnacles

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 04:24
Pat Garber begins her chapter on "Barnacles: The Bane of the Seas" (in her book Ocracoke Wild) with this observation by nineteenth century naturalist, Louis Agassiz: "A little shrimp-like animal standing on its head in a limestone house and kicking food into its mouth."


















Pat goes on to explain that for a long time barnacles were believed to be mollusks. Now we know that these critters who foul pilings, anchor lines, and the bottoms of all vessels, from canoes to ocean-going tankers, are marine arthropods, relatives of crabs and shrimp.  

According to Popular Science magazine, "the U.S. Naval Academy estimates that biofouling creates enough hull-drag to increase the Navy's petroleum bill by about $250 million every year."

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

Periauger Video

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 15:03
For readers who might have missed DC's comment on today's earlier post, this 10-minute YouTube video is a great place to see footage of a periauger being constructed and sailed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgmvLCDZc2E.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Periauger

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 04:43
North Carolinians, including Ocracokers, relied heavily on two-masted flat-bottomed vessels called periaugers to transport goods on the rivers, creeks and sounds along the coast in the 18th & 19th centuries. In addition to sails (either gaff-rigged or Bermuda-rigged), periaugers carried oars so they could be rowed.

Periaugers (sometimes called perogues) had no bowsprit, and were originally constructed from dug-out cypress logs. Later, the logs were sometimes split down the middle, and planks added between, to make a larger vessel. Some periaugers were constructed entirely of planks.

The periauger was so common in Colonial America that it was not considered necessary to document the boat thoroughly. Unfortunately, steam-powered vessels eventually replaced periaugers so completely that no physical evidence of the vessels remained by the middle of the 20th century.

In 2003, relying on extensive research and historical records, construction of a replica periauger was begun in Beaufort, North Carolina. This periauger, now berthed in Hertford, North Carolina, is the only known boat of its kind in the world.

Follow these links for more information, and to see photos: http://beaufortartist.blogspot.com/2007/10/periauger.html and http://perquimansrestoration.org/Periauger_OVPE.html.

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

Franklin & Josephus

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 09/27/2014 - 05:17
Last week I began watching the seven-part film by Ken Burns, The Roosevelts, An Intimate History. Episode three chronicles Franklin Delano Roosevelt's appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, serving under North Carolinian, Josephus Daniels, Jr.

While watching the film, I was reminded that Josephus Daniels (1862-1948), at just two years old, was taken to live on Ocracoke after Washington, NC was burned during the Civil War. Until the war ended he lived with his family in a house (which is no longer standing) directly across the road from the Community Store.

In 1913 Josephus Daniels was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Woodrow Wilson.

Josephus Daniels, Jr.


















You can read more about Josephus Daniels and the Civil War in eastern North Carolina here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news022112.htm.

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

A Golden Evening

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 09/26/2014 - 05:04
Two days ago I posted on our Facebook page a photo of a beautiful rainbow that appeared just as I was walking out of my house. Shortly before that I had noticed, as I looked from my porch, a gorgeous golden hue in the western sky. It was so striking that I grabbed my camera and took this picture:














In spite of all the rain we've had recently, this is still an outstanding autumn!

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

Not Tide

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 09/25/2014 - 04:23
So often this time of year islanders and visitors are dealing with storms and hurricanes. Not so, this year. As I write there is not even a single "invest" (a future tropical depression) in the North Atlantic. (And I am not so superstitious as to think that my mentioning this might trigger a hurricane!).

However, we have had rain, rain, and more rain for days. Howard Street & Lawton Lane are just a series of ever-larger puddles. This is a photo of my soggy yard (the water is up to the first step).














So, we will all be happy when the rain finally stops. I am sure folks who are here on vacation right now are wishing they'd chosen a different week. But at least this is rain water, not tide water. We can all be happy about that.

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

Old Age

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 09/24/2014 - 04:38
In Memory of Ann HowardWife of George HowardBorn 1724 Died November 24, 1841Aged 117 years
 

So reads the tombstone in the old George Howard cemetery on British Cemetery Road.

Jonathan Price, in his 1795 map and article, "A Description of Occacock Inlet," writes that about thirty families were living on the island, and that one of the "original proprietors" had reached his "ninetieth year" and did not "appear to feel any of the infirmities of age." This was undoubtedly William Howard, Sr., one-time owner of Ocracoke Island.

Nationwide, about 5% of the "above 65 year old" population of the United States is more than 90 years old.

At the present time there are at least three island residents who are over 90 years old. 

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

September Newsletter

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 09/23/2014 - 05:10
We have just published our latest Ocracoke Newsletter. This month's article is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government that was established in 1861 right here on the Outer Banks, with Hatteras as capital!

You can read all about it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092114.htm


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Fresnel Lens

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 04:22
What is a Fresnel Lens?

Rodney Barfield, in his book Seasoned by Salt, explains: "The Fresnel (pronounced Fre-NEL) lens developed by French physicist Augustin Fresnel, was a technological leap in navigational lighting. It is a glass dome of prisms and bull's-eyes, and light is concentrated at its center into parallel rays that are intensified with a magnifying glass."



















This is a photo of the fourth order Fresnel lens in the Ocracoke lighthouse. Although the Fresnel lens was invented in 1822, and the Ocracoke lighthouse was built in 1823, a Fresnel lens was not installed until 1854.

The Ocracoke light (now produced by a 250 watt quartz-halogen bulb, and magnified by the lens) is equal to 8,000 candlepower, and is visible 14 miles to sea.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Cutter Head

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 04:47
Many of our readers have seen dredges working in Hatteras Inlet or in the Swan Quarter/Cedar Island ferry channel. But I wonder how many have ever seen the dredge cutter head, the working end of the dredge that cuts through the bottom so the sand can be sucked up and deposited in the "hopper," cast over the side from a long pipe, or pumped through a pipeline to a "spoil island."

The other day I noticed that a truck from Cape Dredging Company in Buxton, NC was parked in front of the Pub. On the trailer was a cutter head. So I stopped and made a couple of photos for our readers.





























Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Crime

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 04:38
I subscribe to Google Alerts. Anytime Ocracoke is mentioned on the web I receive a notification. Recently I saw this headline: "Compare Crime Rates, New York, NY -- Ocracoke, NC." So I clicked on the link (http://www.bestplaces.net/crime/?city1=53651000&city2=53748740).

This is what appeared! (According to the web site, "The crime indices range 1-100. A higher number corresponds with more crime. Our crime rates are based on FBI data.") --  

Violent Crime in Ocracoke.............61.2
Violent Crime in New York City....63.5
Violent Crime in the US..................41.4

Property Crime in Ocracoke...........71.2
Property Crime in New York City..31.7
Property Crime in the US................43.5

I suppose the FBI has been investigating murders, rapes, burglaries, arson, and violent assaults on Ocracoke that I was just not aware of! How could I have missed this mayhem right under my nose?

Isn't the Internet just wonderful.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Talk Like a Pirate Day

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 09/19/2014 - 04:40
Arrrrgh, Mateys!

Well, shiver me timbers, today is "International Talk Like a Pirate Day." So dust off your cutlass, don a tricorn hat, or tuck a treasure map inside your dress (if you're not an Anne Bonney or Mary Reed, you might consider different attire)...and face the world of land lubbers like the buccaneer you know you can be.

If you need a bit of encouragement, check out this web site: http://www.talklikeapirate.com/piratehome.html. Remember, talk like a pirate. You can do it!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.




Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Lorena, Ira & Elsie

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 09/18/2014 - 04:45
I recently received a copy of this photograph, taken about 1896. Seated is Lorena Howard Wyche, and two of her three children, Ira Thomas and Elsie Marvin.


















Ira's grand-daughter, Liz Williamson, sent me the picture. It was taken shortly before Lorena died. She was only 31 years old. Elsie continued to live on Ocracoke the rest of her life. Ira went to West Point, and served in WWII as a two-star General.


















You can read General Wyche's story here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092110.htm.

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Coming right up -- International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Click on the logo below for more information:

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of late 19th century steamship traffic to Ocracoke, and the large Victorian hotel that accommodated the guests. You can read the article here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs
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