Newsletter – October, 2021

October Meeting

Monday, October 18, 2021

7:30 PM

Due to Governor Cooper’s order, we do ask that everyone who attends wear a mask.

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, October 18, 2021, at 7:30 pm, at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

This month author, Jeremy Moss, will speak to us on the amazing and true story of the Cape Fear’s most famous pirate. Using his book, The Life and Tryals of the Gentleman Pirate, Major Stede Bonnet as a backdrop, Moss re-creates the lives and history of some of history’s most famous pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard.

Awash with myth-busting history, Moss tells the story of the real pirates of the Caribbean, sharing accounts of their daily life, social issues, natural disasters, political intrigues, bloody battles, and, of course, buried treasure, walking the plank, flying the Jolly Roger, pirate-speak and much more, all while weaving in interesting connections to the history of North Carolina and tying in lessons-learned from the research, writing and publication process.

How the unlikeliest of pirates came to stand among the New World’s most notorious and successful pirates.

Major Stede Bonnet was living the good life by the age of 28. Bonnet was a wealthy, well-married father of three children, and the family lived on a 400-acre estate on the lush Caribbean island of Barbados

Then Bonnet had a “humor to go a-pirating,” and left it all behind…

An heir to an established land-owning aristocratic family in Barbados, Major Stede Bonnet enjoyed luxuries equal to those of the finest houses in London. “A Gentleman of good Reputation” and a “Master of a plentiful Fortune,” he was given “the Advantage of a liberal Education,” but the call of the sea-and perhaps more significantly, the push of his obligations as a father and  husband cast Major Bonnet onto an unlikely and deliberate course toward piracy.

The Golden Age of Piracy. Through Bonnet’s story, Moss introduces the most notorious of pirates, including Charles Vane, Charles Condent (also known as “Billy One-Hand”), Robert Deal, “Calico” John “Jack” Rackham, Israel Hands, Benjamin Hornigold, William Kidd, Mary Read, Anne Bonny, and the pirate to whom Bonnet would forever be connected, Edward Teach or Thatch (infamously known around the world as “Blackbeard”). Follow Bonnet through his improbable and exciting journey in the Golden Age of Piracy.

 

From the President – October, 2021

By: Elaine Henson

John W. Plummer, Jr.   Part Two

When John W. Plummer, Jr. became our first mayor on September 7, 1925, Carolina Beach was a fairly small community that grew exponentially in the summer.  The Plummers were part of the summer enclave while living in town the rest of the year.  We don’t know the number of full-time residents of Carolina Beach in 1925 because the unincorporated community was counted with the residents of Federal Point (Monkey Junction to Fort Fisher) in the 1920 census. It was counted in the 1930 census since it had become a municipality.  That census listed 69 full-time residents.

Caroline Rowell King Plummer
 Post Mistress of Carolina Beach 1927

 

John Wilkinson Plummer, Jr.
  Mayor of Carolina Beach
1925-27 & 1927-29

In 1925 Mayor Plummer had several priorities in mind.  He also served as the Commissioner of Public Safety, so the first item on his list was to hire a police officer for the resort. That was definitely needed in the summer months when the population swelled with cottage owners and visitors to the hotels, boardwalk and beach. The beach town was not without protection, as the New Hanover County Sheriffs Department did regular summer patrols.

Mayor Plummer also wanted to improve the limited lighting, increase the water supply and build more boardwalks.  By April of 1926 Tidewater Power Company began working on a transmission line from Wilmington and building a transformer station at the beach. It would provide electricity year-round for the beach.  They later extended the line to Wilmington Beach and the new Breakers Hotel there that had opened the summer before. At the same time another deep water well was dug to make the fourth one at Carolina Beach. It could produce 100,00 gallons of water every 24 hours.

By July there was a meeting of the government and citizens in the ballroom of the brand new Carolina Beach Hotel to approve a resolution for a bond issue.

The Carolina Beach Hotel overlooked the lake, about where the Carolina Beach Elementary School is located now.
 

[Carolina Beach School sits on the site of this hotel that burned on September 13, 1927] An advisory committee was appointed under Public Works Commissioner E. Fleet Williams and the bond passed soon after.  It was to fund street improvements, the new power line, the deep well and more boardwalks. Under Mayor Plummer, the new town government was up and running.

On May 11, 1927 Mayor Plummer was re elected to a second term at a town meeting with over 100 citizens in attendance.  He was joined by Commissioner of Finance J. Edwin Bunting and Commissioner of Public Works L.T. Landing. On July 7, 1927 a rural substation post office was established at Plummer’s Store with Mrs. Caroline Plummer named as the first postmistress of Carolina Beach.  The mail was delivered to the post office from Wilmington each day and was then delivered to the residents by rural carriers. Mayor Plummer served until 1929 when he was replaced as mayor by Dr. Auley McRae Crouch.

Their son Robert C. Plummer followed in his father’s business and became the first president of the Carolina Beach Chamber of Commerce when it was formed in 1937.  Robert Plummer was married to Margaret Johnson Plummer; they lived in Wilmington at 2802 Market Street and had a cottage at Carolina Beach where they spent summers.

Margaret Johnson Plummer
1910-2004

Robert Cronly Plummer
1908 – 1960

 

                                 

On a personal note, Mrs. Margaret Plummer was my much-loved 6th grade teacher at Bradley Creek Elementary School on Oleander Drive where the Arboretum is now. That building burned in 1982 and was rebuilt on Greenville Loop Road.  Mrs. Plummer loved literature and read to us every day when we got back from lunch. After becoming a teacher, I was inspired by her and read to my classes every day after lunch for my 31-year teaching career.

 

 

 

 

 


Ann Plummer Corr and her husband Bill at the first Walk of Fame at the Carolina Beach Lake in 2015. They are standing at the stone to honor her grandfather, John W. Plummer, Jr. our first mayor.

The first recipients of the Carolina Beach Walk of Fame were honored with a ceremony and engraved stone at the Carolina Beach Lake on January 24, 2015.

John W. Plummer, Jr. was honored as our first mayor. His granddaughter Ann Plummer Corr was there with her husband Bill.  Ann and Bill had retired to Wilmington in 2003 and lived at the family cottage on Carolina Beach Avenue North while their new home was being built in town.  We happened to meet one day while they were out walking their dogs and discovered that she was my 6th grade teacher’s daughter.  We became instant friends and Ann has become one of my history sources.  She supplied the portraits of her grandparents and a lot of information along with her cousin Suzanne Ruggiers.  And, Ann still has her grandfather Plummer’s ice cream recipe!

Mrs. Margaret Plummer died in 2004 and I attended her funeral. Ann and Bill moved to Atlanta in 2019 to be close to their daughters, sadly Bill died last year.  Ann is excitedly about our upcoming Centennial and hopes to attend some of the celebration.

 

 

 

 

Society Notes – October, 2021

By Darlene Bright, History Center Director

  • The History Center had ­­­­­­­­­­­­­ 66 visitors, the highest it’s been since Covid 19 started.
  • Welcome to new members: Alannah Keeler of Carolina Beach, Martha Capel Breslin of Carolina Beach, and C. and Dolly Knowles of Apex, NC

 Our Friend, Danny Thompson

By:  Leslie Bright

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Danny Thompson on September 22nd from a heart problem.  Danny was a good friend and member of our Society.  He would literally go out of his way to give you the shirt right off his back.  He showed up 20 years ago at Carolina Beach and I met him through mutual friends.  He was different and obviously interested in making friends and getting to know everyone.

He drifted around awhile and landed a job with the Town of Carolina Beach.  Turns out, he could drive and operate anything with wheels.  Eventually, he joined the Society to help out as he did with just about every other function in town.  If the Society had a need, he filled it.  He welded bed frames to make our audio visual stand.  He constructed a mobile table that our Society still uses for every meeting to serve refreshments.  He married our past president, Judy Rhudy, and continued to be on call for any occasion.  He had a habit of showing up, out of the blue, from time to time.  I will still look for him.


Memories of Carolina Beach – From Rick McLean

The following is and are excerpt from a letter former Carolina Beach Town Manager, Rick McLean, sent to to Bobby Nivens (Britt’s Donuts) after a visit to the Beach.

Rick McLean in Retirement

“The Bame Family has long and deep connections to Barber Junction North Carolina, not too far from Mooresville. My Dad, Webb McLean, knew the Bame family when he was young, visited Carolina Beach, and stayed at the Hotel Bame before he married my mother, Violet Cook McLean. After they were married Mom and Dad visited the Hotel Bame often before I was born.

When I called Mom to tell her we were moving to the Beach and I was going to be Town Manager she told me “you don’t know this, but Carolina Beach is where you came from.” Dad was experiencing some health issues and he was recuperating at Carolina Beach when I was conceived.

Our family vacationed at Carolina Beach every summer and every Labor Day weekend during my childhood. We always stayed with Dad’s friend, George Bame, at the Hotel Bame.

I remember Britt’s Donut shop, and enjoyed the donuts from the original beach location across the Boardwalk.

As my brothers and I grew older and family circumstances changed, we stopped visiting Carolina Beach. Needless to say I was intrigued when I applied and pleased when I accepted the job as Town Manager.

Eager to learn about our new home we visited the Boardwalk and Britt’s Donut shop with no idea we were about to taste the best donuts in the world and meet fine folks who would remain forever friends.

 Shortly after we arrived I mentioned to Bobby that our daughter, Gretchen, was going to work part-time at the Pizza Parlor next door. Bobby was kind enough to tell me that it would be better if she went to work for him. I later learned how wise his advice was.

 About a year later I was seeking an Executive Assistant and Lynn Nivens Prusa applied. Obviously I knew what a wonderful family she came from and I was pleased to learn how qualified she was. Thus began a wonderful working relationship and Lynn’s long successful career with the Town of Carolina Beach. I made some pretty dumb decisions during my 25 years as Town Manager, but hiring Lynn Prusa ranks as one of the best decisions I have ever made. Thank You Lynn!

All chapters end sooner or later, and Judith and I were presented with the opportunity to return to Mooresville, where both of our families have lived since the 1700’s. We made the difficult decision to leave many wonderful Carolina Beach friends and return to Mooresville.

We left a big part of our lives and a big part of our hearts in Carolina Beach and we still value very highly the wonderful memories and friends from Carolina Beach.”

[Editor’s Note: I worked as Assistant to Rick for approximately two years before Lynn was hired. I have lived in Carolina Beach since 1968, and I felt Rick was the best Town Manager, and the best boss I ever had. We all sure hated to see him and his family leave us but certainly understood their decision to return to Mooresville. – Darlene Bright]


A Sad Farewell to an Island Icon

After 33 years of service, A&G BBQ, one of our long time business members, has friend their last chicken and cooked their last pig! Robert and Angela Stalnaker decided to hand up their aprons and retire.