PO Box 248
June 01, 2004
Ocracoke Island has been the final resting place for many an
ill-fated vessel caught in a storm off our coast.
Shipwrecks of note include the Steamboat "Home"
"Black Squall" (1861), the "Pioneer" (1889), the
"Richard S. Spofford' (1894), the "Ariosto" (1899), the
"George W. Wells" (1913), the "Carroll A. Deering" (1921),
the "Nomis" (1935), and many others. Look
for full-length reports of some of these wrecks in future newsletters)
The Wreck of the Nomis, 1935:
Dale Mutro recently shared the following information with
me. These hand-written notes about storms and shipwrecks were discovered in Myra
Wahab's papers after she died last year. Myra's mother-in-law was Martha
Ann Howard Wahab.
These notes were almost certainly written by Miss Martha Ann or, less
likely, by one of her siblings.
I have made a few editing corrections, and added several
historical references in brackets for clarification. I have also created
links to previous newsletters that have more information.
In the year 1846, July, [a] gale cut Hatteras Inlet out. My father [this
would have been Robert Howard, 1845-1878] was one year old. My grandmother,
Caroline Howard, when he [Robert Howard] was a year old, brought him from
Hatteras, across where the inlet is now cut, [and they] traveled on dry land.
1861, March, a schooner by the name of Black
Squall was wrecked on Ocracoke beach, First Hammock Hills, loaded with
sugar. The crew all saved. The Capt. got his leg broken. Dr. Dudley [the surgeon
at the marine hospital on Portsmouth Island] set the bone.
1870, April the 1st, another schooner name[d] Irelina [?] Jane was
wrecked on the beach near the Knoll.
July 1872, a schooner by the name Johnson was wrecked on Ocracoke beach
loaded with dry goods, crew all saved.
July 1887, a schooner was wrecked on Ocracoke beach loaded with pineapples.
Another storm, August 1887, not much damage. The dining room owned by a man
Miriam washed down, and the furniture came across the creek [Cockle Creek, also
called today Silver Lake].
Oct. 1889, a storm. A steamer by the name Pioneer
went to pieces and her cargo was on the beach. Loaded with general cargo,
everything. [While everyone else on the island was gathering up
"useful" items like canned goods, hoop cheeses, and bolts of cloth,
the young Thomas Wallace Howard, Martha Ann's brother, was picking up books. Although his mother was
disappointed with what he brought home, he loved to read, which eventually led
to his employment as Ocracoke's postmaster for 40 years.]
1899, Aug. 17th, a terrible hurricane wrecked the island and
destroyed homes, boats and blew down many trees. No lives lost. [This is
referred to as "The Old August Storm" and is remembered as one of the
three worst hurricanes to batter Ocracoke. The others were in 1933 &
The Wreck of the Ariosto, Christmas Eve, 1899:
Launching of the Carroll A. Deering ("The Ghost
Ship of the Outer Banks"), 1921:
Look for more stories of storms, shipwrecks, bravery, and heroism in future
Until next month,
Philip and the entire crew at Village Craftsmen
(Photos above are from the book The
Story of Ocracoke. The photos of the Nomis & the Carroll A.
Deering are from the Mariner's Museum. The painting of the wreck of the
Ariosto was made by Charlie Ahman.)