for Hyde Co., NC
(1993 - 1998)
BIRTHDAY DINNER HONORS PARISHIONERS
The Engelhard Baptist Church honored Mildred and Huron GIBBS (photo) the first Sunday in January with a birthday dinner. Also recognized was the birthday of Leonard PUGH of Gulrock who frequently attends the church. Huron GIBBS was 89 years of age on December 18 and Mildred will be 85 on February 3. The couple was presented a plaque in recognition of their many years of faithful service to the church. Huron served as deacon and Mrs. GIBBS sang in the choir for a long period of time. They are still active, and Huron helps to take the offering during each worship service. The GIBBS' have been married for 66 years. They have a son, Al, a daughter-in-law, Josephine, and a granddaughter, Lorna, who along with husband John QUIDLEY presented the couple with a great-grandson, Dillon QUIDLEY, last year. The couple runs one of the last "real country" stores remaining in Hyde County. It is housed in a building that belonged to the blind BALLANCE's of Hyde County. In the late 1800s and previous to that, was a store building of Thomas P. BALLANCE (1798-1853). A visitor to the store today would receive a lesson in mercantile heritage by observing the operation. Both Mr. and Mrs. GIBBS come from a long line of Middletown families. He is a great-grandson of Hilliard GIBBS who served as Sheriff of Hyde County during the mid-nineteenth century. Mrs. GIBBS is a great-great-granddaughter of Zachariah BURRUS who died in 1842. The BURRUS family came to the Middletown area from Hatteras. The couple were presented Outstanding Citizenship Awards by the Engelhard Rotary Club in 1990. Leonard Theodore PUGH was celebrating his 84th birthday on January 3 and was presented with several gifts by the church and its pastor. PUGH descends from a long line of early settlers of Gulrock with ancestors like PAYNE, MIDGETT and BROOKS in his background. Each first and third Sunday, PUGH journeys to Engelhard to hear his good friend, the Rev. Jim DAVENPORT of Manteo, preach at the Baptist church. PUGH was joined on Sunday by his daughter Elsie and his son Leonard PUGH, Jr. and his family for the occasion. Special music was provided by Wayne ROBINSON and Jim KELLY of Manteo who are members of the gospel group "Undivided." A large gathering of friends and neighbors of the couple and PUGH were present and enjoyed the bountiful Sunday buffet that Hyde cooks are so noted for preparing. (The Coastland Times - Sunday January 17, 1993)
Mr. and Mrs. Michael B. MANN of Manns Harbor announce the birth of a son, Michael Cole, on Jan. 16 in Albemarle Hospital, Elizabeth City, weighing 7 pounds, 1 ounce. He joins a sister, Farron, and a brother, Carter. Grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Harry C. MANN of Manns Harbor, Mr. and Mrs. Bill WAITS of Engelhard and D.A. ROGERS of Greenville, formerly of Manteo. Great-grandparents are Doris ROGERS and Wilma SCARBOROUGH of Manteo and Grace MANN of Manns Harbor. (The Coastland Times - Tuesday, January 26, 1993)
PROFILE: GENEVA ODOM
Geneva ODOM (photo) was born to John Nuby MIDGETTE and Mattie Williams MIDGETTE on April 19, 1932. She was born on Ocracoke in the house she grew up in. She has five brothers and they are: Ellis Thomas MIDGETTE, 67,. Jesse James MIDGETTE, 65, John N. MIDGETTE 59, Elmer Gray MIDGETTE, 55, Carnel F. MIDGETTE, 55. She also has two sisters: Mattie Joyce SPENCER, 57, and Janet F. MIDGETTE who died of diphtheria when she was seven and a half. Her dad fished and took out fishing parties. Her another stayed at home, cooked and cleaned and watched the children, which was a full time job. Geneva's mother's parents were Neva Mae O'Neal WILLIAMS, who Geneva was named after, and Ellis William WILLIAMS. Her, father's parents, Mary and Thomas MIDGETTE lived next door where she grew up. The house that she grew up in was a simple house with three bedrooms. The back room was the boys', the girls' room was the middle room, and her parents' room was the front room. They had no inside plumbing and they had to go outside to an outhouse. She remembers her first day at school, she was scared to death. She went to school from first to eighth grade. She had two teachers and a couple of high school students teach her for eight years at school. She says, "I tried to be a good student and I liked school but I wish I had finished high school." Her memories of her childhood were very happy and since her family did not have a lot of money to buy toys, they played with broken dishes and empty cans. "We played with what we had," she, said. "One time we would take chairs and pretend that we were a train going to Philadelphia. The boys would be the conductors and the girls would be the passengers. She and her friends played many things together. They would play house; the girls were the mothers and the boys were fishermen. They would also play baseball, volleyball, hide-and-go-seek and tag. When the weather was right they would go claming, fishing, and swimming. "I was always scared to go on the dock when I was little because I thought that I was going to fall through the cracks in the dock. I would always hold on to my dad's leg-and yell 'don't let me fall in' till my dad took my hand." Holidays were the best time. Christmas was exciting and scary. When Santa came to the house we would run away from him and pile up on Dad or hide behind the couch. I would get a coloring book or a doll for Christmas." Fourth of July was when everyone came back for vacation. It was the most special holiday because it was a family get-together. They would have parades, horse-penning, and everyone would cook and sell their delicious food. The only time she would go and meet her friends was when she went to school, choir, church or to Jake ALLIGOOD's dance hall, where they danced, ate popcorn and peanuts and listened to Frank SINATRA and Dean MARTIN. When she was about ten or eleven she would deliver mail to the older people on the island for twenty-five cents. The money she got for delivering mail was spent on paper, pencils, cookies or divided up with her brothers and sister. She did other jobs growing up like maid work, waiting on customers, waitressing, cleaning rooms, and working in the kitchen of the Coffee Shop, which is the Island Inn now. In 1948, at age sixteen she got married to Edward C. O'NEAL in a South Carolina courthouse. They had two children together, Edward C. O'NEAL, JR. and Mary Anna PAUL. Edward C. O'NEAL, JR. is married to Joyce Salem O'NEAL and they have one daughter, Carmen O'NEAL. Mary Anna PAUL is married to James C. PAUL and they have three children: James C. PAUL, John David PAUL, and Tina Lee VANDERMYDE. Geneva now has a great-granddaughter, Samantha Mary Jean VANDERMYDE. Her second marriage was to Red Cohen ODOM when she was twenty-nine. They had two children. She had Jana Mae McLEOD who is married to Tim McLEOD and they have two boys, Chalmus and Adam James McLEOD. She also had Darryl Cohen ODOM who is married to Michelle ODOM and they have one son, Nicolas Cohen ODOM. Today she lives in the house that her father's parents lived in with her daughter Jana McLEOD and her family. She has been working at the Variety Store for fifteen years doing stock and helping with the customers. "Kids in school are better advanced than in my day," says Geneva. " A lot of kids need someone to love them. Most of all, people in general need God in their lives more than what they have and show love toward others." (February 1, 1993 in an unknown newspaper)
COUPLE WED IN SCRANTON
Kay O'Neal DECKARD of Swan Quarter and Gene T. TUTEN of Washington (N.C.) were united in marriage recently at Scranton Christian Church in Scranton with the Rev. Linwood ADAMS of Pantego officiating. The bride is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Paul O'NEAL of Swan Quarter. The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Elmer TUTEN of Washington. Wedding music was provided by Mrs. Olian WILLIAMS, SR. of Scranton. Given in marriage by her son, Gilbert Glenn DECKARD, the bride wore a mauve gown with long sleeves and a peplum waist which formed a V below the waist in back. She wore a spiral beaded pearl headpiece and carried an arm bouquet of three mauve roses with variegated greenery, and mauve filler tied with a satin pink ribbon. Ushers were Adam Wayne O'NEAL, nephew. of the bride, and Russell WYNN of Everetts, brother-in-law of the groom. Mrs. Eunice WILLIAMS of Scranton directed the wedding, and Mrs. Lenora R. BRIGHT of Swan Quarter presided at the bridal register. A reception followed in the church fellowship hall and was hosted by the bride's co-workers at the Department of Social Services in Swan Quarter. Eloise R. MIDGETTE of Ponzer served the three-tier wedding cake which was made by the bride's cousin, Mrs. Hazel A. WOOLARD of Pantego. Mrs. Jackie T. WYNN of Everetts and Mrs. Joyce T. MILLIGAN of Washington, sister of the groom, presided at the punch bowl. Decorations were provided by Walter E. BISHOP, Mrs. Elaine J. SWINDELL and Mrs. Frances W. CARAWAN. The bride is a graduate of West Hyde High School. The groom is a graduate of Campbell University and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is employed by the State Commission for the Blind. Following a wedding trip to Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach, the couple will make their home in Swan Quarter. (The Coastland Times - Sunday March 7, 1993)
Keith and Teresa SUTTON of Raleigh announce the birth of a daughter, Kelly Renee', on March 19 in Wake Medical Center. Maternal grandparents are Jerry and Louise MIDGETT of Ocracoke Island. The paternal grandmother is Gerry SUTTON of Goldsboro. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, March 25, 1993)
HYDE BAUMS HOLD ANNUAL REUNION
The 25th Hyde County BAUM Family Reunion was held at the Engelhard Community Center on August 1 with approximately 75 relatives, friends and guests attending. Prior to the meal, Clare BAUM provided a selection of piano favorites as the group enjoyed viewing the BAUM pictures of R.S. SPENCER, JR. and the BAUM photo albums from each reunion that the group maintains. Mary Spencer TILGHMAN of Kinston and R.S. SPENCER, JR. of Engelhard served as hosts for this year's meeting. They were assisted by members of their families and members of Rachel Baum McGRATH's family. Mrs. TILGHMAN presided and welcomed the group. Walter BAUM of Chapel Hill and Fairfield gave the response and notified the group that next year's reunion will be held on the first Sunday in August at the homeplace of Patricia Baum HERMAN and Myla Baum CUTRELL with Dorothy BERRY serving as chairman. Registration was held by Rachel McGRATH, daughter of William Jacob and Farrow Mae Smith BAUM. The other surviving daughter and the oldest family member, Katie Baum BALLANCE, age 97 of Swan Quarter, was unable to attend this year. Following the covered dish meal, Mrs. TILGHMAN held drawings for door prizes which were drawn by age groups. Jethro ARMSTRONG from Miami, Fla. and his family were welcomed. "This the first reunion in many years that I have been able to attend." ARMSTRONG is the son of Lucy Baum ARMSTRONG who was a daughter of William Jacob and Farrow Mae Smith BAUM. Family groups were recognized with reports given of the number of each group attending. Mrs. TILGHMAN reported for the Elizabeth Baum SPENCER descendants while Mrs. McGRATH recognized her family members attending. Other groups were the Lucy Baum ARMSTRONG descendants, Katie Baum BALLANCE family, Samuel Emmett BAUM descendants, Eunice Baum BERRY descendants, Archie BAUM descendants, Mary Harris BAUM descendants and Willie Edison BAUM descendants. Family historian and genealogist R.S. SPENCER, JR. told of the deaths of five people who had been faithful in attending the BAUM Reunion each year: Mildred Baum CUTRELL of Camden, Geraldine BALLANCE of Engelhard, Grace BALLANCE of Fairfield, Garland BERRY of Fairfield, and Tony HERMAN of Williamston. He noted the contributions of each one and the love they exhibited toward their BAUM ties. SPENCER told of a great-great-grandmother of President Bill CLINTON being a North Carolina BAUM: Esther Elvira BAUM who was likely the daughter of. Lemuel BAUM of Randolph County. Lemuel BAUM is thought to be the son of Moses BAUM. At this time there is no proof for kinship with the Hyde County BAUM lines. SPENCER reported on the broken tombstone of Priscilla Williams SMITH, mother of Farrow Mae Smith BAUM. The stone lies on the ground in the Williams Cemetery between Fairfield and Engelhard. He admonished the group to help in the financial costs of repairing and resetting the stone. The Engelhard historian then told the group of a possible change in their kin. He located a document in the North Carolina Archives in Raleigh dated 1741 which showed Maurice BAUM and wife Martha as administrators of John MANN, JR. Maurice BAUM was the son of Abraham BAUM, the immigrant ancestor of the Hyde County line. The administrator of John MANN, JR. provides a clue that Martha may be his widow though she could also be his sister or not even any kin. Rhoda SPRUILL, born in 1740, was thought to be a child of Maurice and Martha BAUM. She may instead, be a half-sister to Elizabeth, Abraham and Maurice II. This idea is reinforced by the failure of Abraham to include Rhoda in his 1784 will. SPENCER noted further research is needed to establish or disprove his theory. The semi-annual cleanup for the BAUM Cemetery near the Mother Vineyard was announced for November 22 and family members were encouraged to participate. Abraham BAUM, who died in 1833, is buried there. He was the son of Maurice BAUM and the father of Thomas BAUM who came from the sand banks to Hyde in the early 1800s. Noted gospel singer Buddy GIBBS of Chesapeake, Va. entertained his kinfolk with several selections as he has done at nearly everyone of the 25 reunions. The reunion was concluded with a wish for good health and a safe return next year of those present. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, August 29, 1993)
JOSEPH BAUM DESCENDANTS VISIT HYDE
(Photo accompanied this article with the following caption: Clare and Walter BAUM of Fairfield and Chapel Hill, owners of the Thomas BAUM house "Sicamoreland," entertained descendants of Joseph BAUM during their recent pilgrimage to Hyde County. Walter is a great-great-grandson of Thomas, brother of Joseph. Among the 35 descendants visiting were Elizabeth WINGO, noted researcher and publisher of Norfolk, Va. area history, and Elizabeth HANBURY, author of "Currituck Legacy-The Story of the BAUM Family." Later in the day everyone visited the house Joseph owned when he lived in Hyde County.)
Each year the descendants of two sons of Abraham BAUM (1742-1833), Thomas and Joseph, hold their family reunions on the first Sunday in August. The descendants of Thomas meet in Hyde County and those of Joseph at the Northwest River Park in Chesapeake, Va. This year on the Monday after their reunion, 35 descendants made a pilgrimage to Hyde County. Walter and Clare BAUM received the group at the restored home of Thomas BAUM on Lake Mattamuskeet near Fairfield where they enjoyed a picnic lunch in the spacious yard, a review of the history of the house and its restoration, and a tour. Walter BAUM, a great-great-grandson of Thomas BAUM, is the present owner of the property. He and his wife have restored the house preserving the original structural features, and adding a wing at the rear that blends with and complements the 1816 house. Next the visitors traveled east on Route 1311 to the home of Mrs. Christine Fulford RAMON near Engelhard. R.S. SPENCER, JR., Hyde historian., and descendant of Thomas BAUM introduced the group to Mrs. RAMON and gave a brief history of her home. The original part of the house was built by Joseph BAUM after he purchased land on Indian Ridge from his father in 1812. He lived there until the mid-1820's when he moved to the Currituck Banks in the area now called Pine Island. BAUM sold his Hyde County home and property to Benjamin SANDERSON in 1828. Mrs. RAMON is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Benjamin SANDERSON. His descendants have occupied the home continuously since its purchase in 1812. The 1812 and 1828 original deeds for the property were displayed. Among the Joseph BAUM family visitors to Hyde County were members from New Jersey, California, Louisiana, Florida, Virginia and Elizabeth City. Wesley BAUM from Orlando, Fl. is the chairman of the Joseph BAUM annual reunion. Members from all branches of descent from Abraham BAUM who settled on the North River in Currituck prior to 1715 have joined a trust for the maintenance of the family graveyard at Mother Vineyard on Roanoke Island. The family received a grant from the colonial North Carolina government in 1753 for 640 acres "on the North East side of Roanoke Island about a mile and a half above the Town" and another 430 acres in 1763. It was there on Roanoke Island that Thomas and Joseph BAUM had lived before moving to Hyde County. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, August 29, 1993)
Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Van O'NEAL, JR. of Ocracoke Island announce the birth of their first child, a son, Ronnie Van O'NEAL, III, on September 6 in Albemarle Hospital. Mrs. O'NEAL is the former Julia GIBBS. Maternal grandfather is John A. GIBBS of Engelhard and maternal great-grandmother is Mrs. Nancy Elizabeth GIBBS, also of Engelhard. Paternal grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Ronnie Van O'NEAL SR. of Ocracoke. Paternal great-grandparents are Mr. and Mrs. Van Henry O'NEAL and Mr. and Mrs. Irvin GARRISH, all of Ocracoke. (The Coastland Times -Sunday, September 19, 1993)
DESCENDANT OF BLACKSMITH RETURNS TO SPEAK
AT SOCIETY ANNUAL FALL MEET
The Hyde County Historical and Genealogical Society and the Beaufort County Genealogical Society held a joint meeting on October 3 at the home of T.J. and Sally MANN at Woodstock. Thurston MANN welcomed everyone to Woodstock and told a little about how the MANN family came to be at Woodstock. The invocation was given by Leon BALLANCE. Ray SPENCER, president of the Hyde County society, called on the secretary, Chris OAKLEY, for the minute's of the last meeting. Betty MANN gave the treasurer's report and she reported that Hyde County has 289 members at this time. She also announced the publication of the 1900 Census of Hyde County, by Chris OAKLEY is for sale. John ODEN, president of Beaufort County society, said their membership was lately 200. He also thanked the "Woodstock Committee," taken from both societies, for the good job they had done to put the meeting together. Members of the committee were: Ray SPENCER, Victor and Kay JENNETTE, Sybble SMITHWICK, and Louise COWELL. R.S. SPENCER, JR. introduced the speaker, Steven DENMARK (photo) from Seattle, Washington. He is the fifth great grandson of William DENMARK, a blacksmith that lived at Woodstock in the 1700's. He spoke on the history of Woodstock and the people that lived there as though they were his neighbors and friends. He focused on the time period from 1720 until 1760. After the meeting, everyone enjoyed fellowship and eating barbecue plates catered by the Sidney Fire Department. Cakes were made by ladies of both societies. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, October 17, 1993)
SCHOONER, LUTHER B. MAY
On the last day of July, 1906, the Luther B. May, schooner of Hatteras, left her home port en route to Engelhard loaded with fish. Her crew consisted of two men, Capt. I.B. BALLANCE and Charlie FOSTER, both of Hatteras. They reached Engelhard about noon, put out their fish and started on their trip back home. Three passengers were making the return trip with them. They were Mrs. Sallie BURRUS, Miss Jennie BURRUS and a young boy by the name of Bennie JENNETT, all of Middleton. When they were about half across the Pamlico Sound a storm overtook them, a storm such as we often see in July and August. There was hard thunder and lightening and a gale of wind which was so terrific that it capsized the boat, throwing the two men and the boy, who were on deck, overboard, but the woman and the girl were in the cabin and were unable to get out. There was not time for the men to save them and they were drowned.
The men got back to the boat after a long struggle and crawled on the bottom pulling the boy up after them, and then began two of the longest days and nights man ever lived through for that is the time they had to stay on the boat's bottom. They pushed a pole down the centerboard well, so they would have something to hold to. During the night this broke and threw them overboard, but they were able to get back. Several times they were washed off only to crawl back and try it again. They had to take turns holding the boy in their arms to keep him from being drowned. After 52 hours they were rescued. Just imagine how long each of these hours might have seemed out there in the middle of the sound with nothing to eat or drink with them waiting for help. They were rescued by George McKINNEY and taken back to Middleton to the home of Charlie JENNETT who gave them clothes and cared for them until a searching party from Hatteras came to get them. Then it was quite a while before they were able to work, due to exposure. (The Coastland Times - Tuesday, May 31, 1994)
THE OCRACOKE CHARTER FLEET
by Pat Garber [partial article]
"Captain Tburston GASKILL (photo with grandson, Alex, age 7) was the granddaddy of the charter boat fishing fleet on Ocracoke; everybody looked up to him," reminisces Woody OUTLAW, captain of the charter boat, "Outlaw." Ronnie O'NEAL, another island charter boat captain. remembers that Captain Thurston was "kind of an idol to me; he taught me just about everything I know." Thurston GASKILL, age 91, is no longer steering his boat across the waves in search of fish to catch, but he certainly is not forgotten. His methods and words are echoed in the practices of most of Ocracoke's dozen or so charter boat captains, all of whom remember him with fondness and respect. He resides in a nursing home in Nags Head now, with his wife Nora, but in May he returned to Ocracoke for a visit. He was relaxing on the front porch of his daughter, Annie Lou's home when I met him. His great-grandson, Alex, a spunky 7 year-old, was chatting with him and flitting around the porch, and his daughter rocked nearby on a porch swing. Captain Thurston was resting in a wheelchair, although he is not confined to one. His years sit well with him. A small man in size, his silver-white hair is a sharp contrast to the weathered lines of his sun-baked face. He has an air of dignity and calmness, and it is easy to imagine him at the helm of his boat. His sense of humor was apparent when, after introducing myself an explaining that I would like to ask him some questions for an article I was writing, I asked him to let me know if he grew tired or wanted to stop. "You'd better not say that," he replied, "or I'll say let's stop right now. I guess I've been interviewed enough times in my life already!" He grinned slightly as he said it, however, and graciously gave me the information I wanted. Thurston GASKILL was born in 1902 at Ocracoke. His family, long-time residents of the island, were, he believes, they were among the first settlers here after the Indians, and "might even be descendants of BLACKBEARD the Pirate." As a boy he lived on the shore of Silver Lake, then known as Cockle Creek. Here he fished for little pin fish, making his own "hand line" with a reed pole and a pin that he bent into a hook. His first cousin, Clinton GASKILL, remembers the two of them catching and riding the Ocracoke ponies, which at that time roamed free on the island. They walked out together every evening on the steamboat dock to meet the mail boat. When he was 13, Thurston moved with his family to the west side of the island, where his parents, William and Annie GASKILL, had purchased Pamlico Inn. Back then, 100 visitors on the island would be a lot, and rates at the Inn were $17.50 per week, including three good meals. William GASKILL also owned a hunting club on a small island to the west of Ocracoke, called Beacon Island. Thurston accompanied his father when he took small parties there to hunt for geese and ducks. He remembers when it was legal to shoot and sell waterfowl, before the Migratory Bird Act was passed in 1917. They hunted from blinds and from batteries-winged boats which were sunk in the water, recalls Clinton GASKILL. Onetime Thurston and his father brought back 325 ducks, geese, and brant, which they sent to the mainland. "There aren't as many as there used to be now," he reminisces. In those days visitors to Ocracoke would come across on the mail boat from Morehead City, an all-day trip. Thurston and his father would run them over to Beacon Island in a big, flat-bottomed skiff, homemade from cedar and cypress. They would spend four to five days at the "camp," as the hunting club was called. "They came from all over the east coast," said Captain Thurston, speaking of the hunters. "Even then Ocracoke was known for its hunting and fishing." His father and he were trapped at the camp in the "big freeze of the century," in December 1917. They spent 21 days there, unable to leave because of snow and ice. Thurston's father also took people out fishing, using the same flat-bottomed skiffs. Thurston began taking out fishing parties when he was 16. They caught a lot of channel bass back then, he remembers; a lot more than today. In the early days, they used hand lines 40 to 50 feet long with a lead weight attached three feet from the hook. Lures were made from loon and chicken bones, feathers, and wood plugs. (The Island Breeze - June 1994)
BAUMS HOLD REUNION
The 27th annual BAUM reunion gathered August 7 at the homeplace of W. Edison BAUM in Fairfield. Ninety-one relatives and friends were in attendance. Sharon GIBBS gave the welcome and announcements. It was decided that next year's reunion will be held in Engelhard. R.S. SPENCER gave the invocation followed by a picnic on the front yard after which SPENCER presented updated information. Walter BAUM spoke about an award received by Doug GUTHRIE who was present from South Carolina. (The Coastland Times - Tuesday, August 16, 1994)
GIBBS HONORED UPON RETIREMENT
Lola Midyette GIBBS (photo) of Engelhard was honored in Fairfield recently with a reception for her retirement from The East Carolina Bank. Mrs. GIBBS, assistant cashier, served the bank for 32 years, most recently as branch manager for the bank's Fairfield office. She began work in August 1962. E. Royden CLARKE, president and chairman of the bank's board of directors, presented her with an engraved silver tray. More than 100 friends and customers attended the event including her two sons, Eric Tracy GIBBS of Greensboro and Guy Freeman GIBBS of Fairfax, Va. Also her sister, Lillian SPENCER of Engelhard, attended. The East Carolina Bank, established in 1919, is a state-chartered institution with assets of $150 million. It has 12 offices in eastern North Carolina-six of which are on the Outer Banks-and its home base is in Engelhard. The banks is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. (The Coastland Times -Tuesday, September 13, 1994)
Janet Marie RITCHIE and Keith Andrew GASKINS (photo) exchanged their wedding vows on Saturday, September 24 at 1 p.m. in the sanctuary of Ocracoke United Methodist Church. The Rev. Lisa Creech BLEDSOE officiated at the ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Janet G. RITCHIE and Warren R. RITCHIE, both of Ocracoke. Parents of the bridegroom are Mr. & Mrs. Earl Hill GASKINS of Ocracoke. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, October 9, 1994)
HYDE CO. HISTORICAL & GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY
SET BOOK SIGNING [partial article]
The Hyde County Historical and Genealogical Society met at Fairfield United Methodist Church at 2:30 p.m. on October 9. The meeting was called to order by president Ray SPENCER. Invocation was given by Leon BALLANCE. Approximately 60 people were in attendance. First-time members and visitors were introduced: Mary Lib THOMPSON from Winterville, Ann GRIFFEN from Belhaven and Edith SIMPSON from Swan Quarter. Membership for 1994, so far, is 296 paid members. Erma SAWYER, representing Beaufort County Genealogical Society, announced the sale of two new publications by BCGS. They are "Beaufort County, NC Record of Marriages, 1851-1868," by John H. ODEN, III and "Abstracts of Marriages and Deaths of Extant Washington, NC Newspapers, Vol. 2, 1884-1904," by Jim and Esther CHAUNCEY. They sell for $10 each. On Sunday, November 20 from 2-4 p.m., HCH&GS will host a tea and book signing for Joe LIVERMAN for the recent publication of his book, "High Days and Holidays." R.S. SPENCER, JR. announced that he had obtained some glass negatives and had pictures developed from them for the society. They were of different places in Belhaven. He would like for anyone having glass negatives depicting people or places in Hyde County to contact him. The speaker for the afternoon was Robert G. ANTHONY, JR., son of Kay Mann ANTHONY, a native of Middleton. He is the curator of the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He gave a slide presentation and spoke on the UNC Collection and some of the records it contains. (The Coastland Times - Tuesday, October 18, 1994)
VINTAGE HOUSE RESTORED FOR MUSEUM
[partial article--photo of house]
When members of the Ocracoke Preservation Society decided to take on the task of restoring a vintage island home several years ago, they began a project that today provides a unique look back at life in a simpler time. Although work remains to be done, the society has made impressive progress on the refurbishing of the Capt. David WILLIAMS homeplace, built around 1890 by a member of the local Life Saving Service (now the United States Coast Guard). Originally located adjacent to the Anchorage Inn and Marina, the two story structure has since been moved to a plot of land owned by the National Park Service near the ferry offices and present day Coast Guard station. The parlor features vintage photographs of Capt. David WILLIAMS and his wife Alice Wahab WILLIAMS, as well as a boat model fashioned by Ernest SCARBOROUGH in the 1920's. In the kitchen, an antique scale used in the original Community Store by Amasa FULCHER can be seen; the scale is on loan to the museum by his daughter, Fannie Pearl FULCHER. In the bedroom, an exquisite suite of furniture is highlighted by a hand-crocheted bedspread. On the wall hangs a portrait of "Hetty Tom" WILLIAMS, an Ocracoke midwife who delivered over 550 babies between 1822 and 1899. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, October 23, 1994)
WED IN VIRGINIA
Sharon BALLANCE (photo) and Charles Edwin LOVING, JR., both of Mechanicsville, Va., exchanged vows Oct. 29 in Mechanicsville United Methodist Church with Grant BOMBERGER officiating at the double-ring ceremony. The bride is the daughter of Leon and Jean BALLANCE of Engelhard. The bridegroom is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Edwin LOVING, SR. of Glen Allen, Va. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, November 6, 1994)
PHYSICIAN TURNED AUTHOR [partial article]
The Hyde County Historical Society hosted the book signing party for Dr. Joe LIVERMAN, a native of Tyrrell County. "High Days and Holiday-Scenes From a Tyrrell County Childhood", spans a period beginning in 1916 up to 1936. The doctor said the his book, which took a year to write, begins with his forefathers and primarily involves life in Tyrrell County and real people who have lived there. June LIVERMAN, Dr. LIVERMAN's wife, added that all of their children became familiar with the stories contained within the book's pages, long before their father produced them in book form. Dr. LIVERMAN is the only medical doctor in Hyde County. He has been practicing here for 40 years. When asked how he finds time to do all that he does-like writing a book-he simply said "You just pace yourself." Readers can look forward to more written word from this country doctor. He says that he is in the process of preparing another book. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, December 8, 1994; pg. 4B)
Extension Homemakers from the Engelhard-Nebraska Club met at the Olde Store in the Nebraska community on Dec. 8 for their annual Christmas party and luncheon. Attending were (photo) Inez SPENCER, Lois VOLIVA, Mamie Ruth MANN, Elsie BERRY, Magdelene BALLANCE, Molly O'NEAL, Elizabeth MARTIN, Jean BALLANCE, Edith PUGH, and Ercell GIBBS. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, December 25, 1994)
PRIVATE RECEIVES SERVICE AWARD
Marine Pfc. Pierre M. O'NEAL, son of Jim and Beverly D. O'NEAL of Route 1, Swan Quarter, recently received a Certificate of Commendation. O'NEAL was cited for superior performance of duty while assigned with Marine Air Control Squadron Four, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, Okinawa, Japan. He consistently performed his demanding duties in an exemplary and highly professional manner. The 1993 graduate of Mattamuskeet High School joined the Marine Corps in August 1993. (The Coastland Times - circa January 1995)
CELEBRATES 95th BIRTHDAY
Dan MIDGETT (photo) of Columbia, with his daughter, Melba AMBROSE of Kill Devil Hills, at a reception for family and friends in honor of his 95th birthday on Jan. 29 in Columbia. MIDGETT has 10 children living, and eight were present at his birthday. His daughters are Doris CLAYTON of Ponzer, Mattie BERRY of Engelhard, Mary ROBINSON of Columbia (with whom he lives), Jackie WILLIAMS of Belhaven, Mildred CHRISMAN of Bath, and Nancy BRICKHOUSE of Columbia. His sons are Earl MIDGETT of Florida, Bobby MIDGETT of Bath, Rudolph MIDGETT who is deceased, and Gene A. MIDGETT of Georgia. He has two sisters living. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, February 12, 1995)
OCRACOKE NAMES TRACED IN NEW BOOK BY NATIVE
Roots . . . in this ever-changing world, the past and the people who came before us are becoming more important. That may be especially true of the Outer Banks, where natives have seen their rich heritage infringed upon by outside influences. They struggle to retain at least a small part of their past to pass on to the next generations. Ocracoke historian and author Ellen Fulcher CLOUD is doing her best to see that the heritage of island families doesn't die. Her recent publication, entitled "From Whence We Came...the History of the Original Ocracoke Names," brings together genealogy and anecdotes on such folks as the BALLANCE's, FULCHER's, GASKILL's, O'NEAL's and STYRON's. "I give you a little history of the natives, the founders," writes Ms. CLOUD in the preface. Following are excerpts from the book:
Hollaway BALLANCE, son of Elisha BALLANCE, SR. and Louisa GARRISH enlisted in the Confederate Army in Oct. 1861. He was captured in July 1864 at Petersburg, Va. He was listed as Prisoner of War at Point Lookout, Md. on Aug. 5, 1864 and transferred to Elmira, N.Y. on Aug. 8, 1864. Hollaway died of pneumonia at Elmira, N.Y on November 7, 1864 and was buried there. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, June 15, 1995)
MIDGETT REMEMBERED FOR YEARS OF SERVICE
left to right - E. Royden Clarke, Chairman of the Board at East Carolina Bank, presents gifts to Bernard Midgett and George Midgett in honor of their father, P.D. Midgett, who served almost 40 years on the Bank's Board of Directors
ENGELHARD - The children of a long-time member of the East Carolina Bank's Board of Directors were presented a gift recently on behalf of the bank's board in honor of their father. E. Royden CLARKE, Chairman of the Board and Bank President, presented a framed resolution to each of P.D. MIDGETT, JR.'s children to honor their father who died in January. MIDGETT served on the bank's board since 1954. The Board of Directors adopted a page-long resolution which summarized the many contributions of MIDGETT to his community, and it was read at the bank's annual shareholder meeting in late May. MIDGETT, originally from Dare County, brought electricity to much of Hyde County and to mainland Dare County through his Pamlico Power and Light Company for 50 years, beginning in 1935. A former North Carolina senator, he was a leader in a number of community projects in Hyde County, including his influence in securing the road across Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County which was completed in 1942. He was one of the founders of the Engelhard Rotary Club in 1935 and was a charter member of the Southern Albemarle Association, organized in 1935. His children are P.D. MIDGETT, III of Southport, George MIDGETT of Denver (near Charlotte), Bernard MIDGETT of Buxton and Martha Midgett KELLY of Newport News. George and Bernard received the framed resolutions on behalf of their family members. (The Coastland Times - July 1995)
Mr. and Mrs. Mitchea WHITFIELD of Engelhard are pleased to announce the birth of a son, Shavon Latrell, on April 4, at the birthing center at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Greenville. He weighed six pounds. He joins a brother Scotty Lavon at home. Mrs. WHITFIELD is the former Sylvia M. MANN. Maternal grandparents are Wester and Meredis MANN of Engelhard. Paternal grandparents are Mary E. WHITFIELD of Engelhard and Mrs. & Mrs. Edward BROWN, also of Engelhard. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, April 10, 1997)
SPENCER FAMILY REUNION
The descendants of Christopher Columbus SPENCER (b.1843) and his wife Mary Ben Brooks SPENCER (b. 1850) held their second annual reunion in the Engelhard Community Center on Sunday, July 27. Present were about forty-five persons including grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great- grandchildren of Kit and Mary Ben. They had come from, Engelhard, Middletown, Swan Quarter, Pantego, Washington, Kill Devil Hills, Elizabeth City, Kinston, Apex, and Charlotte in North Carolina, and from Chesapeake, Norfolk, Smithfield,. and Tappahannock in Virginia. After a welcome from Donna CREDLE and an invocation by Paul SELBY, all the family enjoyed a varied buffet provided by Martelle's of Engelhard, with desserts brought by those attending. R.S. SPENCER, JR. then presented information about various developments in the area including those associated with the National Register of Districts and Houses the, Hyde County Historical and Genealogical Society and the Chamber of Commerce. Pictures were taken of the five separate groups of descendants of each of Kit and Mary's children: William John, James Monroe, Samuel Davis, Romulus Sanderson, and Alice Lee Spencer COX. Terree NEAL read a poem she had written in memory of her late grandmother, and Julian MASON read one based on his memories of Engelhard when he was a boy. R.S. SPENCER, JR., its editor, reviewed the second issue of Spencer Seas, which was distributed at the reunion and this year focused on Kit's childhood, youth, and parents and on his Civil War service. The organizing Reunion Committee this year was: Agnes ETHERIDGE, Nellie HARRIS, Jane HOOD (who also did the flower arrangements), R.S. SPENCER, JR., and Donna CREDLE, Chairperson. Those present thanked all who had made the reunion possible and began discussing and anticipating the next gathering of the family. (The Beaufort-Hyde News - Wednesday, August 13, 1997. This article was also found in The Coastland Times - Thursday, August 7, 1997)
HYDE COUNTY 4-H'er ATTENDS 50th 4-H ELECTRIC CONGRESS
James MIDYETTE (photo), 14 year old son of Emory and Rhoda MIDYETTE, was one of 172 4-H'ers from across North Carolina selected to attend the three-day event for their achievement in 4-H electric projects. According to Laurie LEWIS, 4-H Extension Agent, "James was selected for this trip based on his work in the Electric Presentation Area. During State Presentation Finals last summer, James earned third place honors with his presentation." North Carolina Power provided the trip and helped sponsor the congress. This trip, held July 14-16, provided 4-H'ers the chance to interact with each other and learn about the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, home base for the week. During the trip 4-H'ers attended workshops, banquets, and even took a side trip to Carowinds. The roller coasters at Carowinds proved to be too much for some of the 4-H'ers. In the end, everyone at the 50th Annual State 4-H Electric Congress enjoyed themselves and are ready for next year's trip. (The Beaufort-Hyde News -Wednesday, August 13, 1997)
BAUM FAMILY REUNION
Descendants of Thomas (1776-1873) and Mahala Swindell BAUM (1800-1862) met at the Engelhard Community Center on Sunday, August 3, for their annual reunion. Seventy-eight persons were present from many places in North Carolina as well as several in Virginia and South Carolina, and Geri Guthrie BUSICK and her family from Rockville, Maryland, attended their first BAUM reunion in Hyde County. Bill DUDLEY of Climax, North Carolina, served as reunion chairman. Evelyn DIXON of Swan Quarter welcomed the group and gave the invocation. After a bountiful covered-dish buffet which featured annual BAUM dishes as Hazel CARAWAN's black walnut cake, Evelyn DIXON's brown sugar pound cake, and ponebread by Evelyn DIXON and Mary Spencer TILGHMAN, Chairman DUDLEY reviewed last year's reunion which was held at the home of Thomas and Mahala BAUM near Fairfield, and hosted by Walter and Clare BAUM, the current owners. The chairman then gave the financial report and discussed plans for a new edition of Baum Beacon, the family newsletter. DUDLEY told of the deaths of Lillian BAUM of Camden and Edna Baum PETTIGREW of Wake Forest, two family members who died since the last BAUM reunion. He encouraged family members to help him keep the family information on his computer genealogical program current by providing news of family events. R.S. SPENCER, JR. reviewed historical happenings in Hyde county and also discussed events concerning the Baum-Meekins Graveyard in Manteo where Abraham BAUM (1742-1833), the father of Thomas BAUM is buried. He noted that Abraham's was the fourth oldest grave in Dare County that is marked with a tombstone. SPENCER provided copies of North Carolina Confederate pension records of Leroy SMITH, the father of Farrow Mae Baum SMITH. Stephanie BUSH, the granddaughter of Geraldine Baum BUSH, entertained the group with a gospel song. Then Buddy GIBBS, the son of Susan Baum GIBBS, presented his annual medley of gospel songs which was greatly enjoyed by his BAUM cousins and their friends. (The Beaufort-Hyde News - Wednesday, August 13, 1997)
60 YEAR MEMBER OF LODGE HONORED
Ralph O'NEAL (photo) was recently honored for his 60 years of membership and service in the Masonic Lodge. O'NEAL began his membership at Fairhill #520 on January 16, 1937, from there transferring to Mattamuskeet Lodge #328 in Engelhard where he is a past master, and most recently transferring to Manteo Lodge #521 where he is acting master. He received his recognition from Worshipful Brother Wayne DOOLIN, past district deputy grand master, District 56, Virginia Beach, Va. Also honored for 60 years of service was Chesley MIDGETT, who was unable to attend the ceremony for health reasons. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, October 16, 1997)
Mr. & Mrs. Bubbie BOOS of Ocracoke announce the birth of their first child, Brittany Marie, on Wednesday, September 17 in Albemarle Hospital. The baby measured 20 inches and weighed six pounds, eight ounces. The mother is the former Judy ROGERSON. Grandparents are Mr. & Mrs. Ward GARRISH of Ocracoke and Mr. & Mrs. John C. ROGERSON of Wilmington, Delaware. Great-grandparents include Iona W. TEETER of Ocracoke and the late Frank D. TEETER, SR., and Aureila O'NEAL of Wilmington, Del. and the late Julian Bell O'NEAL. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, October 16, 1997)
SEARCH TO BEGIN FOR SHIP PLUNDERED BY BLACKBEARD
Researchers will resume their search for BLACKBEARD the Pirate's final prize ship in Ocracoke Inlet as underwater archaeological surveys begin on Saturday, May 2. Underwater archaeologists with Surface Interval Diving Company (SIDCO), a Beaufort-based firm, will continue searching for the remains of a French merchant ship captured and sunk by BLACKBEARD and his crew in 1718. The ship, called the "sugar ship" in reference to the cargo of sugar and cocoa it was carrying, was captured without a fight by BLACKBEARD who ignored the terms of the King's pardon he had received only months before. BLACKBEARD brought the ship to Ocracoke Inlet where its cargo was removed. He then burned the ship to the waterline to hide the evidence of his crime. The capture of the sugar ship had far-reaching implications. North Carolina Governor HYDE and some members of his cabinet were accused of collaborating with BLACKBEARD after they received a share of the ship's cargo. Some contemporary, historians now feel HYDE and his contemporaries were unfairly tarnished by the allegations, and were simply following the dictates of 18th century maritime salvage laws. The event was more significant for BLACKBEARD. Virginia Governor SPOTSWOOD saw the brazen act of piracy as a way to finally rid the seas of the shaggy menace to his south.. He dispatched Lt. Robert MAYNARD and a contingent of British troops to capture him. MAYNARD found BLACKBEARD's ship lying at anchor in Teach's Hole, one of the pirate's favorite haunts just off the shore of Ocracoke Island. After a quick but furious battle, MAYNARD carried the day---and BLACKBEARD's head back to Virginia where it was displayed on a spit. SIDCO divers will try to pinpoint the location of the wreck through a series of dives beginning in May and continuing throughout the summer. Initially work will focus on underwater obstruction, commonly known as "snags," which have been plotted by local commercial fishermen. Researchers believe one of the snags may be the remains of the sugar ship, believed to be lying under the relatively shallow water of the historic inlet. Research work, which has been permitted by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, is underway with additional assistance from the National Park Service, the Ocracoke Preservation Society, and the local merchants on Ocracoke Island. For additional information about Ocracoke Island, BLACKBEARD, or the colonial history of Ocracoke and the Outer Banks, contact the Ocracoke Preservation Society. (The Coastland Times - Tuesday, April 28, 1998)
Mr. and Mrs. David HARRIS and Courtney of Greenville, announce the birth of a daughter and sister, Caitlin Elizabeth, born on Wednesday, August 19 at Pitt Memorial Hospital. Caitlin is the maternal granddaughter of Carolyn G. NICHOLSON of Engelhard and the late J. Allen GIBBS. Her paternal grandparents are Eloise HARRIS of Swan Quarter and the late Gilbert HARRIS. Her maternal great-grandmother is Lois M. GIBBS of Raleigh. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, October 1, 1998; pg. 1B)
MEN AND THE SEA
On the last day of July, 1906, the Luther B. May, schooner of Hatteras, left her home port enroute to Engelhard loaded with fish. Her crew consisted of two men, Capt. I.B. BALLANCE and Charlie FOSTER, both of Hatteras.
They reached Engelhard about noon, put out their fish and started on their trip back home. Three passengers were making the return trip with them. They were Mrs. Sallie BURRUS, Miss Jennie BURRUS and a young boy by the name of Bennie JENNETT, all of Middleton.
When they were about half across the Pamlico Sound a storm overtook them, a storm such as we often see in July and August. There was hard thunder and lightening and a gale of wind which was so terrific that it capsized the boat, throwing the two men and the boy, who were on deck, overboard, but the woman and the girl were in the cabin and were unable to get out. There was not time for the men to save them and they drowned.
The men got back to the boat after a long struggle and crawled on the bottom pulling the boy up after them, and then began two of the longest days and nights man ever lived through for that is the time they had to stay on the boat's bottom. They pushed a pole down the centerboard well, so they would have something to hold to. During the first night this broke and threw them overboard, but the were able to get back. Several times they were washed off only to crawl back and try it again. They had to take turns holding the boy in their arms to keep him from being drowned.
After 52 hours they were rescued. Just imagine how long each of these hours might have seemed out there in the middle of the sound with nothing to eat or drink with them waiting for help.
They were rescued by George McKINNEY and taken back to Middleton to the home of Charlie JENNETT, who gave them clothes and cared for them until a search party from Hatteras came to get them. Then it was quite a while before they were able to work, due to the exposure. (The Coastland Times - Tuesday, October 20, 1998; pg. 13A)
Jennifer and Steve O'NEAL, JR. of Fairfield announce the birth of their first child, a son, Steve Monroe O'NEAL, III, on Saturday, September 19 at Martin General Hospital in Williamston. He weighed six pounds and 11.2 ounces and was 19.75 inches long. Maternal grandparents are Roy and Gwen ALLEN of Roper. Great-grandparents are Elwood and Grace ALLEN of Roper and Rachel K. RESPESS also of Roper. Paternal grandparents are the late Steve and Frances O'NEAL of Ocracoke. (The Coastland Times - Thursday, October 22, 1998; pg. 6B)
HISTORICAL GROUP MEETS IN PONZER
(Partial of lengthy article)
The Hyde County Historical & Genealogical Society held its fall meeting on October 18 at Riverside Restaurant in the Ponzer community in western Hyde county with a large crowd attending.
Russell TYSON, president of the Beaufort County Genealogical Society, and John ODEN, president of the North Carolina Genealogical Society, were recognized and told the group that the abstracts of Beaufort County Deed Book 1 are almost ready for publication. Ellen WILLIAMS of the Hyde County Society reported that she and Betty MANN were editing the manuscript of Hyde County Deed Book B which has been transcribed by Allen NORRIS for publication by the time of the spring meeting. She also noted that the book on Hyde County bastardy records by Crestena OAKLEY and R.S. SPENCER. JR.'s abstracts of 18th-century Hyde County estate records should also be ready by that time.
R.S. SPENCER, JR. commended Sybble SMITHWICK for the willingness to share her vast knowledge of Ponzer and the use of her records in preparation of the meeting and journal. He then told of his efforts in finding a member of the family for whom Ponzer was named and finally, utilizing a penciled note of Miss SMITHWICK on a page of her material, he called telephone information for Greensboro and reached a Ponzer listing. That lead to a call to Carolyn Ponzer TAYLOR, granddaughter of Karl Lewis PONZER, SR., who was then introduced.
Mrs. TAYLOR noted that her grandparents, Karl Lewis PONZER, SR. and Grace Short PONZER, moved to Hyde County in 1918 as he began work as a civil engineer for the North Carolina Farms Company and was involved in the drainage project at Lake Mattamuskeet from 1918 to 1924.
President CLARK then introduced Dewey CLAYTON of the Ponzer community as the second speaker. Mr. CLAYTON was born in the Shallop's Creek community (now called Ponzer) in 1905 and spent his career as an electrician, having graduated from the Coine Electrical School in Chicago. Mr. CLAYTON used a map prepared for the meeting and told some of the history of the Ponzer community. Having lived nearly 93 years and being blessed with a good memory, Mr. CLAYTON shared some interesting and amusing stories about early school conditions, Ponzer's first post office, early seafood industry in the community, and his memories of the New Holland, Higginsport, and Mt. Vernon Railroad.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m. and members enjoyed refreshments prepared by the staff of Riverside restaurant. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, November 1, 1998; pg. 6B)
FROM OUT OF THE PAST
(The following information was gathered from the pages of the August 5, 1938 issue of The Dare County Times)
SWAN QUARTER NEWS
T.C. TUNNELL, local furniture dealer, returned home Friday from High Point where he has been attending the Southern Furniture Market for the past week.
Mr. and Mrs. John T. MIDGETT of Lake Landing announce the wedding of their daughter, Sally Dixon, to Mr. Sherrill FISHER of Lake Landing and Raleigh on Sunday morning, August 7. The ceremony to take place in the Amity Methodist Church at Lake Landing.
The Howard Inn at Swan Quarter is now under the management of Mr. Leslie O'NEAL. Mr. O'NEAL has been serving tourists passing through Hyde County for the past several years and we feel sure that tourists will be glad to learn that he now owns a hotel as well as his tourist cabins at New Holland.
W.L. SPENCER, prominent lawyer of Raleigh and former resident, was business visitor in Swan Quarter on Sunday and Monday.
Mr. and Mrs. J.M. BERRY, Mr. and Mrs. J.E. SPENCER spent last weekend in Manteo. (The Coastland Times - Sunday, November 8, 1998; pg. 14A)
REPLICA OF BLACKBEARD'S SHIP MAY BE BUILT
by Jeffrey S. Hampton
SWAN QUARTER - Queen Anne's Revenge, the flagship of BLACKBEARD, will sail the seas again if Hyde County officials get their way.
Sparked by the international interest in the 1996 discovery of what is believed to be the remains of Queen Anne's Revenge Hyde County officials plan to build a life-size replica of the ship. "We envision it as a floating history center," said Margie BROOKS, chairwoman of the tourism committee of the great Hyde County Chamber of Commerce.
The county received a $20,000 grant from N.C. Department of Cultural Resources early this month to find out what it would cost to build and operate the ship and whether it would draw enough tourists. The study will begin in January and should be finished in the spring, BROOKS said.
The plan is to raise enough private funds to build and maintain the ship, BROOKS said. It would remain in Ocracoke during the winter and travel to ports from Norfolk to Charleston, S.C. during the height of the tourist season, she said. The ship would be built as authentically as possible and staffed with a crew that would look and speak much like BLACKBEARD's crew.
Hyde County officials have no estimates on the costs, but they face a project similar to the construction of the Elizabeth II. The Manteo-based ship is a replica of one of Sir Walter Raleigh's ships that explored the Outer Banks in the late 1500's.
"It's kind of like a marriage," said Horace WHITFIELD, the current captain of the Elizabeth II, who also served as its original captain from 1984 to 1987. "it's not anything anyone wants to enter into lightly." Supporters of the Elizabeth II studied the project for years and raised $700,000 in 18 months, and it was launched in November 1983. More than 100,000 visitors tour it each year. It would cost about $2 million to build the Elizabeth II today, WHITFIELD said.
The wreck believed to be the Queen Anne's Revenge was discovered in November 1996 by a private research firm. Divers from the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Unit have since recovered artifacts, including three cannons. Fifteen other cannons have been found at the site but have not been raised, according to the state cultural resources department. Archaeologists have not found anything that definitely identifies the ship, but all evidence suggests that it is the Queen Anne's Revenge, the resources department said. No other ship of that size was known to have sunk in the area.
BLACKBEARD captured the French slave ship, the Concorde, in the eastern Caribbean in 1717. He renamed the ship Queen Anne's Revenge and increased its number of cannons from 14 to 40. The ship carried a crew of 125 to 150 pirates, the resources department said. It was 90 feet long, 25 feet wide and could carry 200 tons. The ship ran aground and sank near Beaufort Inlet in May 1718. BLACKBEARD was killed by British troops on Ocracoke Island in November 1718. (The Virginian-Pilot - December 31, 1998)
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