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Ocracoke Lighthouse and the Old Salts

Ocracoke Lighthouse and the Old Salts


Two of Ellen Fulcher Cloud's beloved books have been combined to create one volume.

Old Salt is a name given to men of the sea-men who make their living working on the water and risk their lives every day doing so. They have salt water in their blood. Take one of these men, put him on the mainland behind a desk or in a factory or any other job away from the sea and he would not survive.

From 1715, when the first pilots were assigned to Ocracoke, until the 1960's, almost every man on the island "went down to the sea" as their only means of livelihood. Today only a few make their living solely from the sea, but there are still those descended from the O'Neal, Gaskill, Garrish, Balance, Funcher, Spencer or Styron families of the original settlers who find time to go out to the fishing grounds with nets and crab pots, and are still defined as "Old Salts."

Persons interested in the history of the families of the island will find the following lists especially helpful: Ocracoke men in the Civil War; licensed pilots; ship builders and purchasers; vessels and their owners and masters; seafaring men; and members of the Life-Saving Service.

Maps, drawings by the author, and photographs enrich this interesting narrative, and an index provides access to the names of people and places cited in this volume.

Ocracoke Lighthouse is an informative account of the history of the oldest lighthouse on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Constructed in 1823 it is the 2nd oldest light in operation on the East coast. The volume begins with the establishment of the lighthouse and follows with chapters on maintenance, biographical information about the keepers, and Keeper Wesley Austin's Logbook. There is a chapter on other lighthouses, light vessels, and beacon lights in the vicinity of Ocracoke, with names, dates and salaries of the keepers. There is a first-person account of the successful efforts of Ocracoke natives, including the author to protect the lighthouse from being altered in a manner unsuitable for historic structures.

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