Hurricanes and Other Terrible Storms – from the Bill Reaves Files

1761 Federal Point
In 1761, the pilot road across the beach at the “Hawl-over” was blown out by a terrific hurricane and was converted into what was to be known as “New Inlet.” (Wilm.Star, 8-25-1877)

Between August 12th and Sept. 2nd, 1871
A most violent northeast gale visited the coast, producing some apprehension, according to Henry Nutt, for the safety of the government works in progress, and later during the month, much rainy weather prevailed, retarding operations somewhat. From the violence of the storm some of the unfinished cribs and preparatory timber was displaced, which involved some loss of time and labor to replace them in position again. This was successfully and speedily accomplished through the energy and skill of the local superintendent, and all is now going on well again. (Wilm.Star, 9-6-1871)

September 2, 1871
A report issued on this date mentioned that the beach south of the government works was growing. The catch-sand fences had proven successful. Not a rail had been removed by the recent storm, and the brush had been completely covered with sand to the top of the fence, presenting an embankment 3 to 5 feet high, and far above the reach of any tide. This, and the weak parts of the beach where the wind had blown out trenches between the hills, was now being strengthened by a system of cultivating the “beach grass”. This grass bore transplanting well; none of that which was set out in July and August had died; but all growing and doing well, and it was suggested that transplanting could be done at any season of the year. Where the “beach grass” was planted, it had not only successfully resisted the blowing away of sand, but has already collected, it at many places, a foot or over in height. (Wilm.Star, 9-8-1871)

July 1, 1880
A large water spout was witnessed between Fort Fisher and Sow’s Marsh, near the mouth of the river. The wind at the time was blowing nearly a hurricane. The water spout covered a space of about 50 yards in circumference, and moved a distance of about 1 1/4 miles. The water from the spout ascended to an altitude of about 100 to 150 feet, and looked like a white funnel-shaped cloud. The phenomenon was witnessed by about 75 persons, including the employees at the government works and a large number of fishermen. (Wilm.Star, 7-4-1880)

August 17, 1887
The wind blew a perfect gale at Carolina Beach, and at Zeke’s Island, it was reported the houses were in danger of blowing over. (Wilm.Messenger, 8-20-1887)

August 28, 1893
During the hurricane there was a high tide at Carolina Beach. It broke over the beach into the sound and washed up the boardwalk in front of the cottages. Some of the fences were blown down, but no other damage was done. Capt. Harper brought his steamer WILMINGTON to the beach to be in readiness to take the people off. They found everything quiet and no one alarmed. Residents in the cottages situated for a mile along the beach preferred to stay in their cottages. Many of the beach visitors wanted the opportunity to see the ocean in all its grandeur, with the wild waves lashing the beach, throwing the surf high in the air. The river was remarkably smooth at the pier, on account of the land-locked situation of the wharf, and no rough water was experienced until later when it returned to Wilmington. (Wilm.Star, 08-29- 1893)

August 6, 1902Hurricane
News reached Wilmington at 4:30 in the morning of August 7th that a storm had played havoc at Carolina Beach on the night of August 6th. The hotel was blown down and several people were injured, though no lives were lost. Mrs. Alice Phillips suffered a broken ankle and contused back. She was in the ruins for 1 1⁄2 hours before help could reach her. Capt. John Barry suffered sprains and other injuries to both ankles. Mrs. John Barry had a severe injury to her left lower limb, fracture of the femur and ankle, which caused suffering on account of her advanced age from the nervous shock.

Tobe Howard, bar-keeper at the hotel, suffered a laceration of the scalp, with contusion of both arms, jaw and shoulders. Mrs. Tobe Howard suffered a laceration of the forehead. Mrs. Howard, after her rescue, went bravely into the rescue work and in the absence of a physician she assisted nobly Miss Furpless, even going as far as to tear her own clothing to make bandages for the injured. J.E. Haywood and 5-year-old daughter, of McColl, S.C. were in the hotel. Mr. Haywood suffered a severe sprain of the right ankle, left leg broken just above the ankle and a dislocation of the same ankle: a severe contusion of the spine.

The little girl was on the second floor of the building and escaped without injury. Accompanied by Mr. J.S. Thompson, of Hasty, she will return home today.

Mr. Haywood and Mr. Thompson came down the day before and expected to stay some time, but the storm changed their minds. J.M. Rumley, of Beaufort, N. C. suffered injury to the back, left hip and knee.

The old Oceanic Hotel had not been used strictly for hotel purposes in several years and during the past two seasons, Capt. Harper had refused to rent it as a hotel but merely as a pavilion for the entertainment of excursionists, with a restaurant attached. It was fortunate that it was not used as a hotel, else the consequences of the storm might have been more terrible. Capt. Harper and every person connected with his boat or interests on the beach did all in their power for the suffering ones.

The first knowledge in Wilmington of the catastrophe at the beach was through Robert Freeman, colored, who was sent for Dr. Andrew H. Harriss by Capt. Furpless. Though alone at the beach, Dr. Harriss accomplished wonders in administering to the wants of the wounded and improvised cots and stretchers were made and all placed on a flat car, which reached the pier safely. The wounded ones were placed on the steamer and by 8 o’clock all the sufferers were taken to the hospital in Wilmington and later to their homes. At the hospital Dr. Harriss was assisted in his work by Dr. Pride J. Thomas, and Dr. W.D. McMillan.

Mr. W. H. Biddle, of Masonboro, reported that the tornado, or cyclone, lasted for about five minutes, carrying destruction in its path. There was much damage to corn, trees were uprooted, fences blown down among other damages. The cyclone moved in a path nearly two miles. The most serious loss and injury by the storm was in the wreck of the old Hotel Oceanic, the large two-story wooden structure, owned by the New Hanover “Transit Company, and operated by Mrs. Rebecca Eilers, of Wilmington.

The storm came in from the south-west and it blew the middle part of the hotel toward the ocean. Eight of the occupants of the hotel were engaged in dancing at the time in the dining room of the old hotel and were taken completely unawares.

The only one to escape was Mr. Sebastian Winner, who was picking a guitar for the dancers. He was near the door and got on the outside before the crash came, but his guitar was smashed to smithereens. He received only a slight injury on the leg.

Mr. Marion Winner, father of Sebastian Winner, was the first to reach the scene, but very soon afterwards he was joined by Capt. Thomas McGee, Mr. Robert S. Collins, who was spending some time with his family at the beach; Mrs. Hans A. Kure, Captain Furpless, Capt. J.C. Smith, Mr. Henry Stolter, Mr. J.S. Thompson, of Hasty, who was stopping at the Kure House across the sound; Miss Furpless, daughter of Capt. Furpless, and Mose and John Evans, two colored men employed by Capt. J. W. Harper.

All the injured ones except Mr. Hampton Smith, who was most seriously injured were taken from the hotel ruins by 10 o’clock. Young Smith, the son of Capt. J. C. Smith, the well-known steamboat man, was not rescued until two hours later and it was then by the heroic effort on part of Capt. Tom McGee. He is said to have lifted almost the entire roof.

August 29, 1935
Torrential rains washed out a number of roads in New Hanover County, sent the fresh water lake at Carolina Beach out of its bounds to flood nearby houses. The rain storm was the greatest in the 64-year history of the local weather station, with 5.97 inches of rain recorded during the 28 hour period between 4 p.m. Thursday and 8 p.m. last night.

The waters of the fresh water lake, just 100 yards from the Atlantic Ocean at Carolina Beach were receding slowly and water was still standing in a number of cottages. In addition a half mile section of state highway No.40 beside the lake was under water and traffic to Wilmington was diverted over the old route via the Ethyl-Dow Chemical Company plant and Kure’s Beach.

Early Schools at Federal Point – from the Bill Reaves Files

“Back to School”
From the Bill Reaves Files: Notes on Early Schools at Federal Point

1870 – Anthony A. Hawes offered his resignation as a member of the School Committee for Federal Point Township, which was accepted, and R. B. Freeman was appointed in his place. WILM.STAR. 12-7-1870.

September 4, 1875 – The Board of Trustees of Federal Point Township met and organized by electing T.M. Gardner, Esq., as chairman. The school committee for the township were (sic) duly qualified as was also the Constable, Balaam Wade, who gave a bond of $500 as a renewal of his former bond, he having been re- elected. The Clerk was granted further time in which to prepare his bond. WILM.WEEKLY STAR, 9-10- 1875

March 9, 1877 – The school house for white pupils was destroyed during a terrible storm. An application made by Stephen Keyes of Federal Point township for $50 from the general school fund to rebuild the schoolhouse in Federal Point Township was granted by the County Commissioners. WILM.STAR, 6-6-1877

April 21, 1877  – Charles M. Epps was the teacher in the public school for colored children in Federal Point Township. His records showed that he had 34 “scholars of African race,” 24 boys and 10 girls. The average attendance was 24. There was only one teacher.

January, 1878 – The Board of Education of New Hanover County ordered that an apportionment of two dollars be made from the school fund per capita to the public schools of the various districts. The apportionment for Federal Point-District No. 3 – 82 white children; amount $164; 84 colored children; amount, $168. WILM.STAR 1-16-1878.
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Fourth of July Through the Years

Shoo-fly Train

Shoo-fly Train

July 3, 1887(Advertisement) SURF BATHING ON THE FOURTH OF JULY AT CAROLINA BEACH. The steamer PASSPORT will run on the following schedule: Leave Wilmington 8:00 a.m.; 11:00 a.m.; 3:00 p.m; 6:00 p.m. Train leaves the Beach 1:00 p.m.; 7:00 p.m.; 10:00 p.m.


FOURTH OF JULY. Steamer LOUISE will leave her wharf at foot of Market Street, July 4th, at 8:00 a.m. for Rocks, Smithville and the Forts.


July 4, 1887 – Owing to the inclement weather on the 4th of July, there was not so large a crowd at the Beach as was expected, but those who went down had a good time. The Oceanic Hotel had “open house” and every excursionist paid the generous proprietor a visit. (Wilm.Messenger, 7-6-1887)

July 7, 1906 – Justice G.W. Bornemann meted out justice with an impartial hand. The judge is a firm believer in order at our two beaches and says that whenever disturbances are raised at the resorts he intended to deal with them in the severest possible manner.

Two men, Will Hudson and “Bill” Terry were before the judge charged with an affray at Carolina Beach on July 4th. The fighting began over Hudson cursing at Terry. Terry knocked down Hudson. The judge said Terry was justified in his action as he was not looking for any trouble at the time that he was cursed. Terry still had to pay the costs of court, and Hudson received a severe sentence for his conduct, the judge imposed a fine of $10 and costs, which amounted to $16.45. (Wilm Dispatch, 7-7-1906).

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

Carolina Beach Boardwalk

July 4, 1911 – Carolina Beach celebrated the Glorious Fourth in an appropriate manner. The Daughters of Liberty, an auxiliary of the Junior Order of United American Mechanics, operated an all-day excursion from Wilmington. Hundreds took advantage of the delightful trip down the river. Surf bathing was very popular. A band was on hand for the occasion and dancing was an attractive feature of the day. Including an excursion run from Town Creek, in Brunswick County, which brought about 200 people, it was estimated that there were over 1,000 pleasure seekers taking part in the day’s festivities. The steamer WILMINGTON was kept busy. (Wilm Dispatch, 7-5- 1911)

July 4, 1920 – Sheriff George C. Jackson spent the national holiday at Carolina Beach, and he commented that for the first time in many years no accidents, no disorderly conduct, or any display of effects of intoxicating liquors (a luxury of by-gone days), not even any drunkenness occurring from the consumption of the southern drink, monkey rum, was reported.

The traffic on the Carolina Beach Road was the heaviest that had been on the road for a long time, and two traffic officers were on duty on the road all day. Sheriff Jackson counted as many as 300 cars parked on the beach at one time. Between 4,000 and 5,000 people visited the beach and a safe and sane holiday was observed. (Wilm Dispatch, 7-6-1920)

July 1, 1930 – Plans for a gala 4th of July were going forward rapidly at Carolina Beach, according to T.A. Shepard, chairman of the 4th of July celebration committee. A large number of entertainment features had been arranged, including dancing from 10 a.m. until midnight, a fireworks display on the beach, boat races, swimming races, and numerous other events. The program will include a performance by Chief White Eagle, an Osage Indian, who was to do a snake dance, etc., and a boxing match between Burriss and Eddleman.  (Wilm News, 7-1-1930) ; (Wilm Star, 7-2-1930)

July 7, 1933 – A survey to determine the volume of traffic over the Carolina Beach highway was being made by vehicle counters stationed at the Inland Waterway Bridge. Deputy Sheriff W.J. Smith of Carolina Beach declared the data would be used to have the state highway department increase the width of the road through the use of federal funds.

A total of 7,051 automobiles passed through the bridge (one way) on the Fourth of July, while the number registered last Sunday was 5,200. Other counts were to be made. The Fourth of July crowd at the beach was estimated at 10,000 people by Deputy Smith. The recent development of the resort town was also to be used in the argument for a wider highway. Forty-two new cottages, stores and other structures had been built this season.  (Wilm Star, 7-8-1933)

July 4, 1934 – It was estimated that between 12,000 and 15,000 persons visited Carolina Beach alone during the holiday, while Walter Winner of Fort Fisher Beach reported the largest crowd of bathers and fishermen at that resort in the past four years. Kure’s Beach also reported a large attendance.

Thousands of blacks, traveling by automobile, by truck and on foot visited Seabreeze Beach during the day. Dances were held at the Carolina Beach pavilion and the Greystone roof garden. Each place reported a capacity crowd. Only one fatality was reported at any of the locations. A black man, Robert Harper, was drowned at Seabreeze when he ventured out over his depth in the Inland Waterway. His body was not recovered. Jimmy Tolbert and his Royal Melodians played at the Carolina Beach Pavilion and Cliff Smith and his Orchestra furnished music at the Greystone with Miss Julia Ellington as soloist. (Wilm News, 7-5-1934)

Carolina Beach

Carolina Beach

 Celebrating the Fourth of July Through the Years –  from the Bill Reaves Files

The legacy of H.A. and Ellen Kure – From the Bill Reaves files

From before the turn of the twentieth century, it was clear that the Kure Family was to be instrumental in the development of the southern beaches of New Hanover County. Below are notices from Wilmington newspapers.

April 28, 1900 – Captain Harper, the genial master of the steamer WILMINGTON and proprietor of the Oceanic Hotel at Carolina Beach, said that he had furnished the 20-odd rooms in the Oceanic Hotel and would have them to let this summer. The rooms would be in charge of Mr. Joe Yopp. It had been decided not to have boarding accommodations in the hotel building, and dining arrangements could be made with Mr.H.A.Kure and Dr.J.D.Webster in their well arranged boarding houses nearby. The bath houses were to be in charge of Mr. Vrans Swann, as usual. The saloon and cafe were to be conducted by Mr. W. V. Hardin, of Wilmington. WILM.STAR, 4-29-1900.

May 6, 1900 – Mr. H.A. Kure was thoroughly overhauling and putting in first class the Carolina Beach Hotel. The rooms in the hotel were to be well furnished and were to be rented by the day, week, or month. There were several first class dining halls accessible to the hotel. WILM.MESSENGER, 5-5-1900.

May 7, 1900 – Mr. H.A. Kure went to Carolina Beach with about 25 men to begin to set things to rights for the coming season. He reported that he would have about fifty rooms at his disposal and he was going to change the name of his place from the Kure House to the Carolina Beach Hotel. He also had purchased the cottage of Mr. W.L. Smith, next door to his own place, and he was to build a dining room 46 x 18 feet there. The hotel was to open on May 25th. WILM.DISPATCH, 5-5-1900; 5-24-1900.
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Snow’s Cut Bridge – From the Bill Reaves Files

snows_cut-steelJuly 4, 1929
Bids for construction of a temporary bridge over the Inland Waterway, at the point were it crosses the Carolina Beach highway, at an estimated cost of $10,000 was asked for and was to be opened in the office of the Wilmington District engineer.The temporary span would be constructed for traffic over the 75-foot ditch. It was announced also that bid for a permanent bridge over the canal at this point, were asked for and the bids were to be opened by the district engineer of July 25th. This structure was to cost approx. $100,000. Wilm Star, 7-4-1929

December 14, 1929
Bids for the erection of a steel bridge on the Carolina Beach highway at the point of intersection of the Intra-Coastal Waterway, now under construction, were to be opened today in the Wilmington office of the North Carolina District of Army Engineers. This was the second time that bids had been received. The first were rejected because of high estimates. The span will be approx. 225 feet in length and was to be one of two types of draw bridges. It was not know yet when work on the span would start. Wilm Star, 12-14-1929

January 20, 1930
Construction of the temporary wooden bridge at the intersection of the Carolina Beach road with section five of the Beaufort-Cape Fear inland waterway system was scheduled to begin in the near future. Detour approaches and embankments had already been constructed. The temporary span was to be used for 11 months or so. The wooden bridge was to be built on the river side of the beach highway. Wilm News, 1-20-1930

March 9, 1930
Rapid progress on the dredging of Section Five of the Intracoastal Waterway canal had brought earlier use than expected for the temporary wooden bridge across the waterway on the Carolina Beach Road. The temporary bridge was not entirely completed but the structure was deemed safe for traffic. The early traffic was due to crowds of people wanting to view the progress of the dredging, and they crossed and re-crossed the bridge. The temporary bridge was built about 200 yards north of the main highway bridge. The highway was severed by the dredge before the wooden bridge was completed and forces had to speed up for the opening. So many spectators came by automobile to see the progress of the dredge that traffic at one time was almost an unbroken line of cars from the city to the beach. Wilm Star, 3-10-1930

March 27, 1930
Secretary of War in Washington allotted $135,000 for construction work on the Inland Waterway from Beaufort to Cape Fear River. According to the Wilmington office of the U.S. Army engineer, this money was to be used in the construction of a permanent bridge across the waterway on the Wilmington-Carolina Beach highway, as there was only a temporary structure at the crossing point on the highway at present. Bids for work on the bridge were opened some time ago, but the award of the contract was never made by the engineering department. In the meantime, money for the bridge had been spent on dredging work, on section 4 of the waterway. This allotment was thus made by the Secretary of War for the erection of the bridge. Wilm Star, 3-28-1930

April 4, 1930
The connection of the Cape Fear River with Myrtle Grove Sound, by way of the Inland Waterway, was completed when the dredge of the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Company, working on Section Five of the Waterway, cut through to the sound. Reaching the sound brings near completion of the work on Section Five, which was halted for some time by the failure of the company to which the contract was originally awarded. Wilm Star, 4-5-1930

snows_cut_1964November 25, 1930
Construction of the $110,000 draw-bridge over the Inland Waterway near Carolina Beach on Route No. 40, was begun by the Roanoke Iron and Bridge Works, of Roanoke, Va. A small group of workmen began the building operations.
A center pier was to be set in place within the next few days. The span was to be completed before the 1931 season at the beach. The contract was let over a year earlier by government officials but on account of various changes in the plans work had been delayed until today. Local labor was to be used where possible.
Wilm Star, 11-26-1930; Wilm News, 11-13-1930;11-20-1930;11-25-1930 6-5-1930;11-13-1930;1-20-1931;3-12-1931

April 6, 1931
The Wilmington District Engineers reported that the draw bridge spanning the Inland Waterway canal would probably be open for traffic by July 1st. The bridge was to have an 80-foot draw and a clearance of 20 feet when closed. The span will be in constant use when completed due to the many small vessels using the waterway canal. At present a wooden bridge is being used. Wilm Star, 4-6-1931; Wilm News, 6-15-1931; Wilm News, 8-15-1930

October 22, 1931
The temporary wooden bridge over the Inland Waterway on the Carolina Beach Road was burned yesterday at the command of the district army engineer’s office. Oil soaked waste was used in starting the blaze. After the draw burned through and fell into the canal, all the wreckage was removed. Wilm News, 10-23-1931

April 22, 1947
The Snow’s Cut bridge was thrown out of business by a broken shaft, which jammed a gear. D . W. Stewart, operator of the bridge, said that the damages would not interfere with inland waterway traffic, and a new bridge shaft would soon be installed. Wilm News, 4-23-1947

November 11, 1961
Pillars to support the new fixed span bridge across the Inland Waterway near Carolina Beach were in place. The bridge was not a “high-level” bridge, but was high enough to permit passage of boats using the waterway and would eliminate most of the congestion caused by pile-up of autos held up by the draw. THE STATE magazine, 11- 11-1961


July 1, 1920 – Food Prices – From the Bill Reaves Files

Room and Board

A.W. Pate, proprietor of the Greystone Inn, Carolina Beach, offered the following rates:

  • American Plan  – $5.50
  • Weekly (without bath) – $28.00
  • European Plan $2.00 – $2.50
  • Weekly (with bath) – $31.50
  • Meals – $1.25

June 16, 1929 (advertisement) BAME’S CAFÉ, Carolina Beach, Now Open for Season. We Serve Regular Sea Food Dinners. Also Vegetable Dinners and Chicken Dinners. Try Our Fish and Corn Fritters and Coffee – 50 cents. Special Rates to Parties. We Sell $5.50 Meal Ticket for $5.00. We Appreciate Your Patronage. J.R.BAME,Manager. WILM.NEWS DISPATCH, 6-16-1929

Land Values in the early Twentieth Century

April 22, 1904. – Real Estate Transfer- Marion F. Schroeder transferred to Brooks & Taylor, for $75, tract of land containing 50 acres, more or less, in Federal Point Township, beginning at a point known as the Old Newton Landing.  WILMINGTON STAR, 4-23-1904.

November, 17, 1905. – Real Estate Transfer – Ed Taylor and wife and John W. Brooks and wife to Samuel A. Lewis, of Shallotte, Brunswick County, for $95, a tract of land containing 50 acres and situated on the eastern side of the Cape Fear River near the old Newton Landing. WILMINGTON MESSENGER, 11-18-1905.

June 1, 1906. – Real Estate Transfer – Melvin L. Smith and wife to Ellen Kure, for the sum of $325, lot on Carolina Beach. WILMINGTON MESSENGER, 6-1-1906.
December 20, 1910 Real Estate Transfer – W. F. F. Newton and wife, et al., transfer to Archibald J. Hanby, for $100 and other considerations, 103 acres of land in Federal Point Township, adjoining lands of W. A. Ainsworth and others. WILMINGTON STAR, 12-21-1910.




The Vanished House – 1914

May 2, 1914

The Vanished HouseTHE VANISHED HOUSE – A two-room frame dwelling recently erected by Messrs. G. H. and M. A. Currie, of Clarkton, in Federal Point Township, to replace one that was burned by an incendiary three months earlier, was torn down and removed to some point not yet revealed to the owners and the tenant, Taylor Clifton, an aged white man, who was missing and there was a suspicion that he had met with foul play. Mr. Clifton had lived in the house for two weeks earlier, having moved there from Clarkton, and he had relatives living in Wilmington.

The house was completely dismantled with every vestige of lumber removed, and with it all the furniture and effects in the dwelling. The site of the house was between the river and the ocean about 1 1⁄2 miles south of the Carolina Beach pier. It had been completed only two weeks before its disappearance on the site of the burned dwelling. (Wilmington Dispatch, 5-11-1914)

May 12, 1914
The vanished house on the Cape Fear River, near Carolina Beach pier, was found.

May 12, 1914
THE VANISHED HOUSE – The vanished house on the Cape Fear River, near Carolina Beach pier, was found. Deputy Sheriff W. H. Kermon reported that he found the lumber of the dwelling that disappeared in the yard of Mr. T. H. Nelson. Five men, Messrs. A. W. Pate, W. M. Pate, and T. H. Nelson, white, and Frank Murphy and Henry Farrow, colored, were arrested under a warrant charging that they had removed the house. Warrants were out for two other colored persons.

The old man who mysteriously disappeared about the time the house was torn to the ground was reported as having left Wilmington on a north-bound train. Why he left the house immediately preceding its demolition was still a question.

One of the owners admitted that there had been a controversy about the land upon which the dwelling was located between G. H. and M. A. Currie, of Clarkton and the Hanover Transit Company, of which Mr. A. W. Pate was president. (Wilmington Dispatch, 5-12-1914)

May 13, 1914
THE VANISHED HOUSE – Complaint in the case of Alexander W. Pate and Joseph J. Loughlin against Geroge H. Currie and his wife, Nell A. Currie. W. H. Kermon and H. Mack Godwin, was instituted in Superior Court. It was an action for $10,000 alleged damages to land in federal Point Township which the plaintiffs claim have been in their absolute possession for over 30 years.

The land in controversy, Mr. Currie claimed was inherited by him. It was now a part of a large tract which Messrs. Pate & Loughlin, under the name of New Hanover Transit Company, were developing in Federal Point Township.

The bringing of the suit by Messrs. Pate & Loughlin follows closely the indictment of Mr. Pate and six others on a charge of demolishing and removing a small two-room frame dwelling which was located on the land in dispute and occupied the site of another small building which had been burned about three months earlier. The building had been erected by the defendant Currie.

The plaintiffs allege that the defendant in the action did, with force and arms, on December 22nd, 1913, enter upon a portion of this tract at the southwestern part and trespassed upon land which had been in the possession on the plaintiffs for a long time and was at that time posted. It is further averred that a shack was built without the knowledge of the plaintiffs and that the defendants did wrongfully place some person in charge of the building for the purpose of wrongfully taking possession of the land in question. A few days later the shack was burned and the plaintiffs aver that they are informed and believe that the fire occurred through the negligence of the agent of the defendant. The defendants repeatedly trespassed and entered upon the land after having been warned not to do so.

The complaint further sets out that the defendants had greatly damaged the property and had cut down trees. On or about April 29th, the defendants with a large force of men did build a barbed-wire fence along a portion of the lands in spite of a protest entered by Thomas E. Nelson, an agent of the plaintiffs.

A small house was built on the lands and this act had brought a cloud on the title to the land which had caused the plaintiffs great damage. The plaintiffs contended that the defendants had wrongfully, maliciously and willfully, with force and arms, attempted to wrest the possession of a portion of the said lands from the plaintiffs.

It was also set forth in the complaint that G. H. Currie and two servants or employees, W. H. Kermon and H. Mack Godwin, both of whom were armed with pistols and one with a black-jack, trespassed upon the land and that the latter two did, over protest of the agent of the plaintiffs, spend the night of May 10th upon the lands. The plaintiffs alleged that H. Mack Godwin did use threatening language to some of the plaintiffs or their agents. (Wilmington Dispatch, 5-15-1914)

June 2, 1914
THE VANISHED HOUSE – Two hundred dollars was Taylor Clifton’s price for decamping, according to evidence before the Recorder Judge in the case of J. J. Loughlin, Esq., and T. H. Nelson who were being tried for destroying a house near Carolina Beach. Clifton was now appearing against Nelson and Loughlin and his story served to clear some foggy points in the case.

He said that he was taken to the house by Mr. Currie, and instructed to stay there. On the following day, Mr. Loughlin came to him and asked him who he was and what he was doing there. Clifton said he told him that he was there for Mr. Currie and had instructions to keep trespassers off the property. Mr. Loughlin then told him that the property did not belong to Mr. Currie, and that he had best get off. Clifton then said that he did not see Mr. Loughlin again until several days later at Carolina Beach, when he informed Loughlin that he would not get off the land until he had heard from Mr. Currie. Nothing then occurred for several days.

Clifton said he could not sleep at night, because of unusual noises around the house – men talking in low tones of voice, etc. He said he was frightened. Ten days after he had arrived at the house he was approached by a man named Bryan, whom he said was employed by the Hanover Transit Company, of which Mr. Loughlin was an officer. Bryan asked him how much he wanted to get out. Clifton said that he replied that he would not leave for less than $200.

Bryan then replied that he would see what he could do, and left. He returned the next night and said that Clifton had a chance to get the $200 if he wanted it, whereupon the old man told him to bring it along.

Bryan arrived about daylight next morning, brought the $200, delivered it to Clifton, and received from Clifton $25 for his services. Clifton then left in an automobile that had been provided, came to Wilmington and then went to Virginia, where he spent a week and then returned to North Carolina, where he was arrested. The case was continued. (Wilmington Dispatch, 6-2-1914)

‘Federal Point Files’ – From the Bill Reaves Files

July 4th at the Beach – through the years.

From  the Bill Reaves –  Federal Point Files

July 4, 1873
The 4th of July holiday was celebrated by a group of 15 gentlemen who went down the river on the steam tugboat JAMES T. EASTON to Federal Point.  They celebrated the 4th by raising a large flag and listening to an oration by A. T. London, Esq.  Some of the officers and soldiers from the garrison at Smithville were present and the occasion was hugely enjoyed.  While there, the group visited the New Inlet Dam or as we call the Rocks, and inspected them with Henry Nutt, who was chairman in charge of the work.  (Wilm.Weekly Star, 7-11-1873)

July 4, 1928    
A big celebration was held at Carolina Beach to celebrate the holiday.  The program of events was as follows:

11 to 12:30 – Free music and dancing in Danceland Pavilion.
3 to 5:30 – Dancing
5 – Fishing Boat Races in the Ocean
5:30 – Swimming Races and Athletics
8:40 – Dancing in Danceland
9:30 – Grand Fireworks Display
10 p.m. to 1 a.m. – Dancing in Danceland
Music by The Carolinians.  Dancing all day!        (Wilm.Star, 7-1-1928) (adv)

July 4, 1930  
The first flight card ever presented at Carolina Beach was offered at the Pavilion, under the promotership of T.A. Shepard and T.H. Skipper. The welterweight boxing bout was between Ken Burris, of Fort Bragg and Wilmington, and Dave Eddleman, of Charlotte.  There was also a middleweight bout between Al Massey of Goldsboro, and Red Collins, of Charlotte, and a lightweight bout between Carter Casteen, of Wilmington, and Hugh Penny. (Wilm.Star, 7-2-1930)

July 4, 1934  
It was estimated that between 12,000 and 15,000 persons visited Carolina Beach alone during the holiday, while Walter Winner of Fort Fisher Beach reported the largest crowd of bathers and fishermen at that resort in the past four years.  Kure’s Beach also reported a large attendance.  Thousands of blacks, traveling by automobile, by truck and on foot visited Seabreeze Beach during the day.  Dances were held at the Carolina Beach pavilion and the Greystone roof garden.  Each place reported a capacity crowd.

Only one fatality was reported at any of the reports; a black man, Robert Harper, was drowned at Seabreeze when he ventured out over his depth in the Inland Waterway.  His body was not recovered.  Jimmy Tolbert and his Royal Melodians played at the Carolina Beach pavilion and Cliff Smith and his Orchestra furnished music at the Greystone with Miss Julia Ellington as soloist.  (Wilm.News, 7-5-1934)

What Were They Thinking?

From the Bill Reaves Federal Point Files

[as published in the FPHPS Newsletter, May, 2009]

Well it’s done!  It has taken two years for the FPHPS History Center volunteers to finish transcribing three boxes of 3X5 cards  from the Bill Reaves – Federal Point files into digital format.  A HUGE thanks to Gail McCloskey, Lois Taylor, Cathy Wahnefried, and Juanita Winner who typed and typed and typed, sometimes in the middle of the night.   The files are now available for keyword searching at both the History Center and the Local History Room at the New  Hanover County Public Library in Wilmington.

[Update – March, 2014: the entire Bill Reaves Federal Point Files are now available on the FPHPS website.  Search is available via the ‘Search’ oval at the top right of all FPHPS website pages.]

This month we look at:

Sea Turtlesadult_turtle

June 14, 1891 – Carolina Beach Notes: Turtle egg hunting is engaged in by all the residents with much success.

June 22, 1896  – Mr. McSween, engineer on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, caught a large turtle near the hotel and presented it to the guests of the Hotel Oceanic.  The turtle weighed about 400 pounds and measured 5 feet by 3 1/2 feet.  It was to be served on Friday at 5 p.m.  (Wilm Messenger, 6-24-1896).

June 24, 1897    – Carolina Beach Notes: A turtle which had been recently captured was butchered by Mr. Will West and was found to contain 613 eggs after laying 133 earlier, making a total of 746.  Turtle steak and soup was added to the Sunday menu.  (Wilm Dispatch, 6-24-1897)

June 27, 1915   – The party started out primarily for the purpose of hunting for turtles and did find a turtle nest.  A turtle weighing 200 pounds was captured at the beach and it was later liberated at the urgent request of a large number of visitors, who were moved to sympathy by the turtle’s tears. (Wilm Dispatch, 6-28-1915)

August 2, 1915    – A turtle weighing about 200 pounds was captured at Carolina Beach Saturday night at 11 p.m. in front of Mr. Thomas E. Cooper’s cottage.  The turtle had come ashore to build a nest.  An examination of the nest a few minutes later revealed 98 eggs.  Mr. Joseph J. Loughlin was summoned because of his experience with turtles.  The turtle did not give much resistance and was turned over on his back.  Biddle Brothers, who conducted a restaurant, was to use the turtle in making soup.   (Wilm Dispatch, 8-2-1915)

June 25, 1922  – “Madam Turtle,” aged about 500 years, was lured on the beach to the edge of the boardwalk by the electric light at the Fort Fisher Beach mistaking it for the moon.  She was also lured by the sweet music of the “Rockaway Five” orchestra.  If she had not been disturbed by all these influences, she probably would have laid her hundred eggs.  Lawrence Kure and E.W.L.Gilbert , assisted by a score of visitors, dragged the turtle up  to the pavilion where she was placed on exhibition.   She weighed about 500 pounds.  After exhibiting, she was to be returned to the Atlantic Ocean.  Before she was disturbed she had laid about eleven eggs.  At some time in her long life, she had probably met a shark as her right hind foot was gone.   (Wilm Dispatch, 6-26-1922)

July 25, 1926  – A Sea Turtle weighing between 400 and 500 pounds was captured alive at Fort Fisher by Walter Winner, W.P. Holmes, H.E. Rouark, J.C. Pigott.  The turtle was exhibited at Mr. Winner’s place of business.  114 eggs were also found. (Wilm Dispatch, 7-16-1926)

August 6, 1931  – A truck was employed at Fort Fisher Beach in effecting the capture of a 500 pound sea turtle.  Walter Winner had caught one turtle and was returning with a truck to haul it in when a second was spotted.  The turtle was frightened by the noise of the truck and headed back into the waves but the truck pulled in front of it and it was stopped.  The turtle was loaded on the truck, and Mr. Winner and his companions proceeded to pick up the first turtle now lying on its back.   (Wilm News, 8-7-1931)

June 14, 1933 – Walter Winner, sport fisherman of Fort Fisher, reported that someone had murdered several large sea turtles within the past few nights as they came up on the beach to lay their eggs between Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher.  Some of the turtles had been killed by large clubs and knives.  On June 13th, a party of Asheville fisherman caught a 100-pound turtle nearby. (Wilm News, 6-14-1933)