Oral History – Dorothy McQuillan – Part 4: ‘Freeman’

by Ann Hertzler

Dorothy McQuillan

Dorothy McQuillan

Dot’s family was related to the Freemans. They all went to school together. Ellis Freeman had a little country store right down there where a lot of people went. The store was on the old road before they put in this double road. He sold gasoline with the old pump. He knew everybody around.

Jack Lewis said a bunch of fellas down there paid his father’s bail to get him out of jail. Many “sea farmers” down here just fished and shrimped. They’d pole all the way across the river to Winnabow and Delco.

Dot knew Corinne Freeman who used to have a place of business in SeaBreeze with her husband Bruce Freeman. Corinne and her friend, Olivia, were the cooks and sold “some good food”.

One of the piers out there came from Bruce’s place where you danced with Big Bands. Dot’s husband took her once to see Duke Ellington or was it Lionel Hampton? Her husband loved to dance, but Dot just never really loved the party life. Dot remembers when Mrs. George Johnson from Seabreeze got the city busses to come in off the main road through SeaBreeze. The last bus would run about 12 or 1 o‟clock.

SeaBreeze had some boats that cost a certain amount to go across and you would dance til you got ready to come back over to

Seabreeze pier

Seabreeze pier

this side. It was an evening thing and a weekend thing, not an everyday thing. Everybody at Seabreeze worked weekends and holidays. There used to be a place over there just for Blacks called Bop City. A lot of Black soldiers from Ft. Fisher used to come up to this neighborhood. Matter of fact, Dot’s sister married a soldier that used to be at Ft. Fisher in the service. Some of the Freemans married some of the guys that used to be down at Ft. Fisher.

Dot remembers Hurricane Hazel going through here tearing everything up. She saw the buildings from Carolina Beach floating down the Inland Waterway – refrigerators, stuff that come out of some of the businesses at Carolina Beach, furniture and big stuff from the houses came floating down the river. And at Seabreeze that water was almost to her mother‟s house.

Hurricane Hazel was bad. Dot thinks they went somewhere when Hurricane Hazel hit but that next morning, they came back. Now victims are sent to the schools but the schools are not a safe place. Gregory school’s dining area is a whole lot of big glass. Most of the time you go to Hoggard; one time the flat top roof caved in. As big as Wilmington is, they should have a good shelter for people to go to for safety during hurricanes.