Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Black Squall

The 2017 Ocracoke Student Arts Partnership and Arts Week will tell the Tale of the wreck of the Black Squall on Ocracoke in 1861. It's a fascinating story of a traveling circus that made an unplanned stop at Ocracoke Island.


The activities and classes with these two programs will culminate in a student community performance of The Wreck of the Black Squall at 7 PM, Thursday, April 13 at the school gym. Both the Arts Partnership and Arts Week will include elements of performing arts from juggling and steel drums, to singing and tumbling. Each group of students, will have opportunities to showcase what they have learned as part of a retelling of this fascinating Ocracoke story.

When the Black Squall wrecked off of Ocracoke Island in April of 1861, the storm washed ashore the remnants of a circus troupe, including giant tents, silk ribbons, dancing ponies, and a menagerie of animals. Walter Howard wrote an account of this wreck in the 1950s, as he learned it from Old Kade Williams, who was 17 in 1861. Nixon’s Circus, sometimes called Nixon’s Royal Circus and Menagerie of Living Animals, was en route from a performance in Havana, Cuba to Philadelphia, when it encountered a terrible storm. 

If you are on the island this week, be sure to come out to the school at 7 pm Thursday to see the performance. If you can't be there you might want to watch a video of Philip Howard telling the story.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link:   


  1. Anonymous7:09 AM

    Last week a tremendous weather event dominated our decisions early in the week. Fortunately the rain and the lightening occured at night. As we were visiting the Low Country the morning was spent visiting Folly Beach to see what washed ashore. A Few large helmet Darth vader like Jelly fish were seen and on the return walk-- yeah we walked right past the smelly bloated marine animal up the shore line. Upon discovering it and debating what it could have been I thought it was a see lion. It had a large somewhat elongated neck. Anyway we don't know what it was, there were some bones visible, it looked as if something tried to eat it. PH do unmentionable items wash ashore on your walks ? I guess if they are unmentionable ( gross) you won't mention it.

    1. Yes, dead sea creatures occasionally wash ashore -- turtles, dolphins, etc. Very rarely a dead whale shows up. Fortunately that hasn't happened for decades.

  2. Especially enjoyed this one, today. Followed the link to the story, too, which added greatly to the enjoyment.