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Women's Arm Wrestling

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 06/16/2014 - 04:37
Yet again our local radio station, WOVV, will be sponsoring Women's Arm Wrestling. The event is scheduled for this Thursday, June 19 at the Beachcomber Campground. The contests begin at 7 pm. For more information, chick on this link: http://www.hydecountync.gov/news_and_information/docs/WOVV_womens_arm_wreslting_June_19.pdf.

A few images from 2012:



















As you can see, the costumes are always creative, elaborate, and quirky. Of course, the enthusiasm and excitement is palpable. Come on out for a fun evening's entertainment...and to contribute to a good cause.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Nets

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 06/15/2014 - 04:35
Commercial fishing is alive and well on Ocracoke, as demonstrated by this photo of local nets I took not long ago.















Whenever you are on the island be sure to stop by the Ocracoke Fish House for fresh, local seafood. It doesn't get any better than that!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Passion

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 06/14/2014 - 04:41
Can you even imagine this comment from a plumber: "I've been working hard all week, but some of my plumber friends are getting together this evening to dig up a septic field just for enjoyment. I think I'll stop by and join in the fun. We won't be getting paid, but, hey, it will be a jolly good time!"

Or this one from a doctor: "A few colleagues are coming over to the house tonight. We're going to have some snacks and a few cold ones. Then we're going to unpack a realistic dummy and pretend we're operating. We've got IV tubes, heart monitors...an entire faux operating room in the basement. This isn't about working towards a degree, or certification. We just love our work so much we want to keep at it in our spare time. Come on over about 6 o'clock. We'll be 'operating' until at least midnight."

But something very similar happens every year...on Sunday evening of the OcraFolk Festival. That's when many of the musicians who have traveled to Ocracoke from afar, and who have worked all weekend providing lively and spirited performances, gather at my house for a final jam session.

Photo Courtesy of Lou Ann Homan













These talented folks come together just for the sheer delight of making music. They bring their guitars, fiddles, dobros, basses, keyboards, and drums...and play until after midnight. In the photo above five fiddlers (Dave, Rob, Libby, Ben, & Cassie) join together for a spontaneous and rousing burst of fast-paced tunes that brought cheers from their fellow musicians. 

It's their passion for music that sustains these wonderful people. We are so fortunate to have them in our lives.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.  
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

A Good Omen

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 04:45
In case you are triskaidekaphobic, here is some good news for this Friday the 13th. Although I had not seen many toads on the island recently (I believe most of them were drowned in hurricane high tides in the last several years), I have noticed several along the Hammock Hills Nature Trail earlier this month.



















It is good to see these amphibians looking robust. I believe they are a sign of a healthy environment.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.  
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Agave

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 05:09
I am not much of a gardener, but was intrigued when my friend, Susan, told me about the agave shoot that had made its appearance on Terrapin Drive. We drove up there to take this photo.



















The plant itself is huge, with giant leaves. But the new stalk rises up to the power lines. It is quite impressive.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.  
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Festival

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 04:27
This weekend's OcraFolk Festival was a huge success. There were so many fabulous musicians, artists, and other performers that I became totally engrossed in the activities, and hardly took any photographs. Below are four pictures that I took, and three that Lou Ann shared with me.

The Crowd at the Live Oak Stage


The Magician Chaz

Jef the Mime and his Bubble Device
Bob Zentz, Jean McDougal, & Cassie MacDonald
on the Wilma Lee














































Auctioneer, Philip Howard
Puppet Parade






























Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Miss Euphemia's Boarding House

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 06/09/2014 - 04:50
In 1974, when Julia Howard wrote her musical, A Tale of Blackbeard, she took some liberties with the history of that infamous seafaring brigand. She invented an island boarding house (or was it a bawdy house?).

Miss Euphemia's Girls Well, actually, the boarding house was only partially invented. A century and a half after Blackbeard's demise there really was an Ocracoke boarding house run by Miss Euphemia Curtis. Miss Euphemia (1819-1882) was the great-great-granddaughter of William Howard, Sr., colonial owner of Ocracoke Island. Her boarding house sat between the Village Craftsmen and the School Road. Miss Euphemia is buried behind the Village Craftsmen.

I recently discovered this notice in the New Berne Times, dated June 14, 1873: "Mr. Editor: For the benefit of your patrons who desire to attend the Camp Meeting at Ocracoke, commencing the 10th of July, I will state that they can obtain good accommodation, at a reasonable rate, by applying in time to Mrs. Euphemia Curtis at that place. Very Respectfully, A.W. Simpson, Jr."

Euphemia Curtis' tombstone reads:

Religion filled her soul with peace
Upon a dying bed.
Let faith look up,
Let striving cease.
She lives with Christ our head.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ocracoke to Hatteras, 1875

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 06/08/2014 - 04:55
Yesterday I published information from "Congressional Series of United States Public Documents, Volume 1693," "Offers for Carrying the Mails." Here is one more record:

Route No. 13127
From Ocracoke to Hatteras, 20 miles and back, once a week

Bidders’ names:
Wallace S. Austin.................Sum per annum: $275.00
Perry Coleman Howard……Sum per annum: $258.00
William H. Fulcher...............Sum per annum: $235.00  Accepted March 8, 1875.

Contract made with William H. Fulcher, dated March 8, 1875, at $235 per annum.

Leave Ocracoke Friday at 8 a.m.; arrive at Hatteras next day by 10 a.m.
Leave Hatteras Saturday at 10.30 a.m.; arrive at Ocracoke next day by 4 p.m.
Bond required with bid $200.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Beaufort to Ocracoke, 1875

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 06/07/2014 - 04:47
The following North Carolina record comes from "Congressional Series of United States Public Documents, Volume 1693" and is titled "Offers for Carrying the Mails."

Route No. 13126
From Beaufort to Ocracoke, 60 miles and back, once a week

Bidders’ name:
Perry Coleman Howard……Sum per annum: $588.00  Accepted March 8, 1875.

Contract made with Perry Coleman Howard, dated March 8, 1875, at $588 per annum.

Leave Beaufort Tuesday at 10 p.m.; arrive at Ocracoke Thursday by 4 p.m.
Leave Ocracoke Monday at 8 a.m.; arrive at Beaufort next day by 4 p.m.
Bond required with bid $500.

Perry Coleman Howard










Perry Coleman Howard was cousin Blanche's grandfather.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

The Community Store

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 06/06/2014 - 04:23
The Community Store reopened its doors on May 24 after being closed for three years. Established in 1918 by Mr. Amasa ("Mace") Fulcher, the store soon established itself as the focal point of commerce and social activity on the "Creek" side of the village.












As island tourism expanded, the Community Store porch, with a long bench and comfortable rockers, became a favorite place for locals and visitors to retreat from the sun, relax, and interact.

Lauren & Joseph, the new proprietors, have had a few unexpected set-backs in getting the shelves stocked, but new items are arriving regularly. You will find fresh produce, organic items, and baked goods, along with cold drinks and snacks. The new entrepreneurs are excited about stocking a larger selection of organic foods as well as milk and eggs from an eastern North Carolina dairy.

Lauren & Joseph plan to expand their products with beer & wine, selected marine items and beach supplies (sunscreen, chap stick, etc.). Before the end of the season they hope to offer deli sandwiches and seating on the rear deck on the shore of Silver Lake.

Be sure to stop by, do some shopping, and encourage the Community Store's new owners to continue working to bring new life into this iconic island business.  

You can read a history of the Community Store here:  http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092106.htm.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Letter from Tobias Knight

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 06/05/2014 - 04:40
In 1718 Tobias Knight, Secretary of the Colony of North Carolina, and Collector of His Majesty's Customs, penned a letter to Edward Teach. The letter begins "My ffriend," and continues with further indications of a close connection between the colony's highest officials and the pirate captain.

I know how difficult it is for us today to think that politicians and criminals might be in cahoots with each other...but try to imagine this nefarious collusion of almost 300 years ago. Herewith the incriminating letter:

November 17, 1718 

My ffriend,

If this finds you yet in harbour I would have you make the best of your way up as soon as possible your affairs will let you. I have something more to to say to you than at present I can write; The bearer will tell you the end of our Indian Warr, and Ganet can tell you in part what I have to say to you, so referr you in some measure to him.

I really think these three men are heartily sorry at their difference with you, and will be very willing to ask your pardon.  If I may advise, be ffriends again, its better than falling out among your selves.

I expect the Governor this night or tomorrow, who I believe would be likewise glad to see you before you goe, I have not time to add save my hearty respects to you, and am your real ffriend, And Servant.

T. Knight

--------------------------------------
Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Bikes

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 05:09
Ever since the state of North Carolina began paving island roads in the 1950s, bicycles have been a popular method of local transportation. But bikes do not work well in sand. This photo was taken at the airport ramp on Memorial Day weekend. These are just a few of the many bikes laid down by the side of the path.















The riders made it that far before abandoning their bikes and walking across to the ocean for a few hours in the sun and surf.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Women's Rights

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 06/03/2014 - 04:58
If I remember correctly, the first women to secure jobs as deckhands on North Carolina ferries were hired in the 1970s. Even then, some men considered it "bad luck" to have women working on boats. Much has changed since then. Today a number of women work on the ferries, and a few are captains.

On the other hand, perhaps the attitudes of the mid-twentieth century are the anomalies. I recently came across this report from 1879, in the Raleigh News & Observer:

"An imperfect diary, kept by Gen. John Gray Blount [1752-1833], contains some interesting information. He states that when he was a very young man, an old man on Ocracoke told him that the first vessel ever piloted over Ocracoke bar, was brought in by a woman name Patsey Caraway, and at that time the channel ran so near the land that you could 'chunk a biscuit' on the deck of a vessel."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.  


Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Silver Lake

Ocracoke Island Journal - Mon, 06/02/2014 - 04:23
Native islanders almost always refer to our harbor as "The Creek." More formally it is called "Cockle Creek," a name used for generations. Prior to WWII this picturesque body of water was shallow...not more than four feet deep. On the southeast border of the creek two languid streams (the "Big Gut" and the "Little Gut") ebbed and flowed as they carried brackish water toward the "bald beach."

The harbor was, and still is, a tidal creek that is connected to Pamlico Sound by "the ditch," the narrow opening used by ferries and other water craft. In the 1930s, and again during WWII, the Creek was dredged to provide a suitable harbor for larger boats and US Navy vessels. In the process, the two streams were filled in.

Local oral history suggests that native islander and entrepreneur Stanley Wahab re-christened the harbor "Silver Lake" after the initial dredging operation in order to attract tourists. There is no doubt that Stanley Wahab popularized the more colorful name in order to promote his new "Wahab Village Hotel" (now Blackbeard's Lodge).

The designation "Silver Lake" is older than that, however. In an 1890 newspaper promotion in The Daily Journal (New Bern, NC), the Spencer brothers, new owners of the Ocracoke Hotel (1885-1900), refer to "Silver Lake, a beautiful sheet of water...immediately in the rear and offer[ing] a sail for the timid who fear the sound or ocean, a bath for those who dread the surf, and fishing for any one who prefer to angle for perch rather than trout or blue fish."

The Ocracoke Hotel, 1898











The Spencer brothers were from Washington, NC, and it took many years for islanders to feel comfortable with the new name for our harbor. Even today, most O'cockers continue to call the harbor "The Creek."

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Ferry Tips

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sun, 06/01/2014 - 04:39
Below is some valuable information from the NC Department of Transportation for folks traveling to Ocracoke via the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries:

Hatteras-Ocracoke: On the Ferry System's most popular summer route, motorists who arrive at Hatteras before 10am or after 3pm will generally avoid the daily crowds, as will travelers who get to Ocracoke's South Dock before 2pm or after 7pm. In addition, the busiest summer days on the Hatteras Inlet route are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. "People who make their day trips on Monday or Friday stand a much better chance of avoiding long waits," says Hatteras Port Captain Walter Goodwin.

Ferry Crossing Hatteras Inlet (NCDOT)















Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Home?

Ocracoke Island Journal - Sat, 05/31/2014 - 04:32
My neighbor, Edward Norvell, sent me these photos of an exposed shipwreck near the Pony Pen. We think these timbers might be what is left of the steamboat Home that wrecked near there in 1837. Ninety people (men, women, and children) lost their lives in that terrible disaster.

Walter Howard recounted the story as he heard it many years ago from Kade Williams. I have reproduced Walter's article on our web site: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news100104.htm.

The ship's timbers were exposed recently, but they are slowly being covered again as strong winds blow across the beach.

































Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.



Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Spartina

Ocracoke Island Journal - Fri, 05/30/2014 - 04:37
On Monday afternoon I biked down to the Community Square. There I met Steve Earley, captain and owner of a beautiful 17' sailboat, Spartina. Steve built this wooden yawl-rigged boat himself...and it was a delight to behold. Steve told me he has sailed his vessel extensively in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina (in the Chesapeake Bay, Pamlico Sound, and even off shore).



















Steve's sailboat is named after an eastern coastal cord grass, and a book of the same name by John Casey, a "classic tale of a man, a boat, and a storm." You can read about Steve's adventures, and see superb photos (Steve is staff photographer for the Virginian-Pilot), on his blog: http://logofspartina.blogspot.com/. You can also read an excellent article by Capt. Rob Temple in the Ocracoke Current: http://www.ocracokecurrent.com/88371.

Life on Ocracoke so often brings us in contact with interesting, talented, and creative folks who enrich our lives with their presence, at times enduring, at other times fleeting. Steve was on his way early the next morning.

Happy sailing, Steve!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

More About the Curious Children

Ocracoke Island Journal - Thu, 05/29/2014 - 05:04
A bit more research re. yesterdays post has yielded the following article from The Tarboro Southerner, dated 6 February, 1879:

"We have received the following letter from a prominent physician of Louisville, Ky., regarding the case [of the three children with night blindness] and trust some one will inform us whether the parents of these children, or their ancestors, were of blood relation:

"Louisville, Ky., Jan. 30th, 1879 Editor Tarboro Southerner: -- I see an extract from your paper in reference to the blindness of some children of James Howard. I have seen a great many such cases. Hemeralopie, or night blindness, is only a symptom. The disease is a pigmentary degeneration of the retina, or perceptive layer of the eye. With the ophthalmoscope, with which the back of the eye can be examined, small spots of black pigment are seen, especially at the periphery of the retina. They commence showing themselves there and gradually travel in towards the centre of the eye, ‘til, in time, it leads to total blindness. Some cases never become entirely blind. You will find that by covering one eye of the child and testing the other that sight is only central. That is, let the child look straight ahead and you will find that it will be unable to see anything held to the right or left, or above or below. The disease is said to come from the marriage of blood relatives. I have found it to be so in only a few cases. It would be interesting to know whether Mr. H. and wife were related or not. If Mr. Howard was not related to his wife before marriage, probably there was some inter-marrying some years back. Nothing can be done to stop the disease. W.C."

From http://www.lvpei.org/resources/eye-faq/blindnessdue.htmlI gleaned this information: "What are the diseases associated with consanguineous marriages? Retinitis Pigmentosa is a hereditary degeneration and atrophy of the retina. It is usually progressive and leads to reduced peripheral vision that causes tunnel vision, night blindness and loss of vision. This disease affects children and young adults."

In fact, my great grandparents were second cousins. They shared one set of common great grandparents. (That makes my father and me fourth cousins once removed...and my children and me fifth cousins once removed...and I am my own fifth cousin! We are fortunate that my mother's family was from Hungary!)

So, was it Vitamin A deficiency or intermarriage?  Perhaps it was a combination of both, but to my knowledge, my grandfather and his siblings did not exhibit night blindness as adults.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Three Curious Children

Ocracoke Island Journal - Wed, 05/28/2014 - 04:50
I recently discovered an interesting newspaper article re-printed in the Cincinnati Enquirer, dated January 10, 1879. Originally published in the Tarboro (NC) Southerner, the article was titled "Three Curious North Carolina Children."

The article is about three children of my great-grandparents James Howard (1839-1904) & Zilphia Howard (1841-1919). The three children are my grandfather, Homer Howard, (1868-1947), Sabra Howard (1870-1951), and Wheeler Howard (1874-1940).

Herewith the article:

"A remarkable case of defective vision is that of three children of James Howard, a seafaring man, whose family live on Ocracoke Island. They become totally blind each day, immediately after the sun goes down. If by chance they happen to be in the yard playing when the sun sets, their playthings are instantly laid aside, and efforts made to reach the house, when they soon after retire, and sleep soundly until sunrise, after which their sight is described as being restored, and to all appearances perfectly unimpaired. The youngest is three and the eldest ten years old -- two boys and one girl, all of light complexion. Their eyes are light blue and there is nothing about them that appears at all strange."

On first reading I thought this an extremely odd story. I had never heard about anything of the sort. Nor had cousin Blanche. She thought perhaps the children were playing a prank on their parents, or maybe my great grandfather was playing a prank on the reporter. We laughed about other mischief the Howards were known for.

However, after a bit of research I discovered that a deficiency of Vitamin A can lead to a condition called "nightime blindness." This is what Wikipedia has to say:

"Nyctalopia (from Greek νύκτ-, nykt- 'night'; αλαός, alaos 'blind, not seeing', and ὄψ, ops 'eye') also called 'Night Blindness' is a condition making it difficult or impossible to see in relatively low light. It is a symptom of several eye diseases. Night blindness may exist from birth, or be caused by injury or malnutrition (for example, a lack of vitamin A). It can be described as insufficient adaptation to darkness."

Given Ocracoke's remote location and the difficulty islanders sometimes had obtaining fresh vegetables, I wouldn't be surprised if the children had a Vitamin A deficiency.

Remember when your mamma told you to eat your carrots to help you see better? Carrots are a good source of Vitamin A.

The connection between night blindness and vitamin A was not made until 1925. L. S. Fridericia and E. Holm figured it out.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs

Poison Ivy

Ocracoke Island Journal - Tue, 05/27/2014 - 05:10
It is that time of year again! Poison Ivy has erupted in various places around the island...along footpaths, climbing on fences, in overgrown lots. This photo of a thriving patch of the dreaded weed was taken earlier in the month along the Hammock Hills Nature Trail (across from the NPS campground).















As long as you can identify this luxurious, bright green, three-leafed plant, and don't go tromping through the woods in short pants, you probably needn't worry about breaking out in a rash. Even on the Nature Trail it is easy to avoid the poison ivy if you simply keep your eyes open!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the curious story of Vera/Charlie Williams. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news052114.htm.
Categories: Outer Banks Blogs
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