Monday, September 26, 2016

Whales

In case you missed it, our August, 2015 Ocracoke Newsletter recounted the story of whale and porpoise fishing on the Outer Banks. Most North Carolina whaling was based at Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks, although it extended throughout the region from Hatteras, southward.

Cutting up Whale Blubber










Two mentions in The Weekly Record (Beaufort, NC) in February, 1888 indicate the importance of whale and porpoise fishing to interests in eastern North Carolina:

"A medium size whale was captured near Cape Lookout last week by Capt. Tyre Moor's whaling crew. His whaleship measured about 37 feet in length and will pay the captures about $1,500." (February 17, 1888)

"The whale and porpoise factory of Bell, Daniel and Watson are in full blast with 30 operations in the various departments of work." (February18, 1888)

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092116.htm

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wizard Oil

Ellen Marie Cloud has collected and published a booklet of "Abstracts from Miscellaneous Newspapers Published in Beaufort, NC 1876-1893." In the Weekly Record, February 3, 1888 we learn that "Russia and Germany both continue active war preparations," that there was "a bill introduced to the U.S. Senate by Senator Ransom to appropriate $500,000 to build a light house on Hatteras Shoals," and that "Wizard Oil is for sale by Allen Davis."

Of course, we know that Europe erupted in war a quarter century later. In other news, as it turned out, in spite of the half million dollar appropriation, a lighthouse was not constructed on Hatteras Shoals until 1966! So that leaves "Wizard Oil"? I wondered what that was.



















I soon learned that Hamlin's Wizard Oil was a patent medicine sold in pharmacies and medicine shows (and apparently by individuals) as a cure-all for everything from headache to cancer. Their slogan was "There is no Sore it will Not Heal, No Pain it will not Subdue."

More than one half of its volume was alcohol (no wonder it subdued pain). Other ingredients included camphor, ammonia, chloroform, sassafras, cloves, and turpentine. No doubt many an Ocracoke Islander ingested or applied Wizard Oil to cure various ailments.

From what I gather in my reading some forms of "Wizard Oil" are still around seducing gullible consumers.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092116.htm

Thursday, September 22, 2016

U-576

On July 15, 1942, a convoy of nineteen allied merchant vessels and five escorts were steaming around Diamond Shoals when they were attacked by the German type VIIc submarine, U-576. The Nicaraguan ship, Bluefields, was sunk immediately. Two other ships were damaged. When the U-Boot unexpectedly surfaced in the midst of the convoy she was attacked with deck guns, aircraft, and depth charges. The U-576 sank to the bottom.

US Government Document












Since 2009 several research, educational, and governmental agencies had been searching for the sub. In 2014, with the aid of sonar, the wreck (along with the wreck of the Bluefields) was located 721 feet below the surface, about 35 miles east of Ocracoke. However, it was only on August 24 of this year that researchers got their first look at U-576. She was lying on her side with all hatches sealed, presumably entombing all 45 crewmen. The oldest sailor was 29 years old.

According to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), an estimated 90 vessels, including U-576 and three other subs, were sunk off the Outer Banks between January and July 1942. 1,600 men (1,100 of them merchant seamen) were killed.

You can read more of this story here.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is about earthquakes that have affected Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. You can read the newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092116.htm.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Newsletter

We have just published our latest Ocracoke Newsletter. This month I write about earthquakes (yes, earthquakes) that have affected the Outer Banks. You can read the Newsletter here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092116.htm.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Agnes Scott

Yesterday I wrote about my recent visit to western North Carolina and Howard's Knob. While in the area, I also made a day trip to Decatur, Georgia. In 2014 I wrote about the connection between Ocracoke Island and Agnes Scott College in Decatur.

If you walk through the small cemeteries on Howard Street you may notice the grave of Agnes Scott (1898-1919), great granddaughter of Agnes Irvine Scott (1799-1877), for whom the college was named. Her family discovered Ocracoke in the early 20th century, and Agnes married Ocracoke native, Captain Myron A. Garrish.


















My granddaughter, Zoe Howard, is presently a Junior at Agnes Scott College. She took me on a tour of the beautiful campus. When we passed a portrait of the college's namesake I knew I had to take a photo.



















It is always fun to notice connections between Ocracoke Island and prominent people or places elsewhere.

Our Ocracoke Newsletter for this month is an article by Philip Howard, My Ocracoke, Living amidst 250 years of Howard family history. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082116.htm.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Howard's Knob

Earlier this month I was enjoying spending time in the Appalachian mountains of western North Carolina. While visiting friends in Boone we made a short trip to Howard's Knob.

Philip Howard on Howard's Knob
 











Back home I decided to do some research to find out how the peak got its name.

According to Boone by Donna Akers Warmuth and Donna Gayle Akers, "Howard’s Knob, a prominent peak above Boone, was named for Ben Howard, a frequent visitor to the area from 1739 to 1769, who brought his cattle up from Yancey county to graze. Daniel Boone, for whom the town was named, passed through the area in 1760 on a hunting expedition. Daniel Boone and his hunting companions used Ben Howard’s cabin as a base for their long hunts."

So, who was Ben Howard? And was he any kin to the Ocracoke Howards?

Wikipedia claims that "Benjamin Howard [was] a British loyalist, contemporary of Daniel Boone, and early settler of the area. According to local legend, Howard hid from Whigs on the knoll which was to be named after him."

However, findagrave.com says that "Howard's Knob in Watauga County, NC was named [for] Benjamin Howard [1742-1828], who fought in [the] American Revolution [USA Pvt 1st Maryland Reg Rev War]." 

Was Ben Howard a patriot or a loyalist? We may never know. However, Warmuth and Akers point out that most of the earliest settlers to Watauga County were English and Scotch-Irish who came from the lowlands and foothills of North Carolina. 

Although I haven't been able to find any firm connection between the Ocracoke Howards and Benjamin Howard of Howard's Knob, Benjamin had a son named Cornelius Howard (1782-1860). It is intriguing that William Howard, Sr. (ca. 1700-1794), one time owner of Ocracoke Island, also had a son Cornelius (1767-1803), and Cornelius had a son named Benjamin (1795-1842).

There may or may not be a connection. At any rate, the mountains of North Carolina are beautiful, especially this time of the year. If you are out that way, I recommend a visit to Howard's Knob!

Our Ocracoke Newsletter for this month is an article by Philip Howard, My Ocracoke, Living amidst 250 years of Howard family history. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082116.htm.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

Flat Bottom Skiff

Traditional flat-bottomed wooden skiffs were used for generations by Outer Banks fishermen.

Henry Pigott Meeting the Mail Boat













These boats were generally built upside down. The sides were built first; then the bottom planks were attached. These utilitarian boats were characterized by a sharp angle, called a chine, where the sides met the bottom.

Outer Banks boat builders laid the bottom planks transversely (from side to side). The photo below is of a skiff lying in a yard on Howard Street.

















Today, most island fishermen work from fiberglass boats.

Our Ocracoke Newsletter for this month is an article by Philip Howard, My Ocracoke, Living amidst 250 years of Howard family history. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news082116.htm.