Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ariosto

From the Sacramento Record-Union, Volume 98, Number 126, 25 December 1899:

"CHICAGO, Dec. 24. —A special to the "Tribune" from Norfolk, Va., says: The British steamship Ariosto, Captain Baines, bound from Galveston to Hamburg, was wrecked at 4 o'clock this morning, six miles south, off Hatteras, N. C, and twenty-one of the crew were drowned. Captain Baines and eight of the crew were saved by the heroic efforts of the Ocracoke life saving crew, under Captain James Howard. Those who lost their lives attempted to reach the shore in a small boat, which was swamped shortly after it put off from the ship. Captain Baines and the eight men remained aboard and were landed by the life savers in the breeches buoy, but not until after a struggle which lasted all day."

Several weeks ago I was chatting with a neighbor about the wreck of the Ariosto, and he told me his wife's grandmother had come into possession of a wooden bucket from the ill-fated ship, and had passed it down to her granddaughter. A few days ago I stopped by to take a look. Here is a photo of the bucket:














If you enlarge the photo you can clearly read the name, "Ariosto," carved into the bucket. Look for more about the wreck of the Ariosto in a future Ocracoke Newsletter. 

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the entertaining story of Calvin Wilkerson and his Condomed Nautilus. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042117.htm.     

Monday, April 24, 2017

Dorcas

Dorcas is a name not heard very often today. But it was popular in the nineteenth century, especially on Ocracoke Island. At least six women on Ocracoke were named Dorcas.

Dorcas, also called Tabitha (Dorcas is the Greek translation of the Aramaic word for gazelle), was a character in the New Testament who was devoted to good works and acts of charity (see the Acts of the Apostles, 9:36-42). Dorcas Societies are church-sponsored groups that provide clothing to the poor.

Below is a photograph of a stained glass window in St. Michael's Parish Church, Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire U.K. depicting Dorcas. (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorcas.) 

Photo by Alsto911























One of the last Ocracoke women named Dorcas was my cousin, born 1962. Although she does not live on the island, she traces her family roots directly to William Howard, colonial owner of Ocracoke Island.

Several years ago Dorcas and her husband were standing in line to purchase tickets for a recently released popular movie. The line was long, and moving very slowly. Impatient, her husband turned to her and said, "Do you really want to stand here any longer just to see this movie, Dorcas?"

Hearing Dorcas' husband's comment, but never having heard the name before, a woman in front of them turned around, directed her steely gaze directly at Dorcas, and admonished her firmly: "I would not tolerate him speaking to me that way!"

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the entertaining story of Calvin Wilkerson and his Condomed Nautilus. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042117.htm

Friday, April 21, 2017

April Newsletter

In April, 1996, Ocracoke resident Calvin Wilkerson entered the World Submarine Invitational, a human-powered submarine race in San Diego, CA, pitting design teams from around the world.

Calvin's quirky submarine, using paint rollers to force water through 42 condoms, and dubbed the "Condomed Nautilus," competed against MIT, the University of Massachusetts, the University of California, and the U.S. Naval Academy, among other notable institutions.













This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the entertaining story of Calvin Wilkerson and his Condomed Nautilus. You can read it here: https://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news042117.htm

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bus to Norfolk

The first bus service connecting Ocracoke island and points north, including Norfolk, Virginia, was established in the late 1930s or early 1940s. 

Van Henry O'Neal (right) and the Ocracoke Bus, ca. 1940













This is what Earl O'Neal writes in his book O'Neals of Ocracoke Island, their Ancestors and Descendants: "This bus was owned by Stanley Wahab to support his Wahab Village Hotel and other enterprises. It was operated by Van Henry O'Neal. Much of the time he picked people up at their homes, transported them to Hatteras Inlet Coast Guard Station [on the north end of Ocracoke], then carried the passengers on a small boat without the vehicle, to Oden's Dock in Cape Hatteras. From there you rode with the Midgetts, Anderson, Stockton or their dad to Manteo, NC, where they met the Trailways bus to Norfolk VA.... [T]here were no roads, only sand tracks, or if you were lucky and the tide was down, you got a smooth ride on the back of the beach along the edge of the ocean." 

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032117.htm.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lifeboat Man

In the mid-1800s the term "Lifeboat Man" (a sailor qualified to take charge of a lifeboat or life raft) was introduced into our vocabulary by the United States Life-Saving Service. Below is a photo of Ocracoke native George O'Neal's (1890-1968) "Certificate of Efficiency to Lifeboat Man."

Image courtesy Chester Lynn













The certificate reads, "This is to certify that George F. O'Neal having proved to the satisfaction of the undersigned officer, designated by the Secretary of Commerce, that he has been trained in all the operations connected with launching lifeboats and the use of oars; that he is acquainted with the practical handling of the boats themselves; and, further, that he is capable of understanding and answering the orders relative to lifeboat service, is hereby rated an efficient Lifeboat Man."

The certificate was issued October 27, 1916 in the port of Wilmington, Delaware.  

During the first half of the 20th century most young Ocracoke men moved to the northeast to work on dredges and tugboats on the Delaware River. Hence the certificate was issued in that state. 

Current information re. US Coast Guard requirements for Lifeboat Man is available here.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032117.htm.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sand Dollar

As I was walking along the beach a few days ago I noticed this beautiful and intact sand dollar that had just washed up.


















Sand dollars are a type of flattened, burrowing sea urchins in the phylum of Echinodermata and order of Clypeasteroida. When alive they are covered in silky hairs called cilia. Sand dollars are fairly closely related to starfish. 

Sand dollars are rather common on our beaches. "The Legend of the Sand Dollar," which pairs various features of this echinoderm with the Easter story, is often sold along with sand dollars in coastal gift shops.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032117.htm.  

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Ocracoke Brogue

Much has been written about the Ocracoke Brogue. On this blog I occasionally post examples of words, phrases, or grammar that are unique to the island.

Linguists Walt Wolfram and Jeff Reaser have been documenting the Ocracoke Brogue for some time. Although outside influences weaken and threaten this unique dialect, it persists into the 21st century. In addition, Wolfram and Reaser have preserved recordings of many Ocracoke natives. They also return to the island regularly to share their research with locals and visitors.

Just this month sociolinguistics students from NC State University accompanied Wolfram and Reaser to the Ocracoke School to present their findings, and interact with local students. Interestingly, one of the NC State student linguists was Ocracoke native, Katie O'Neal.

Katie O'Neal, photo courtesy Ocracoke Observer



















You can read about their recent visit here: https://ocracokeobserver.com/2017/04/12/ocracokes-hoi-toide-brogue-continues-to-fascinate/.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Ocracoke Water Tank Caper. This is the link: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news032117.htm.