Jack Fryar Talks About Charles Towne, Early Colonial Settlement

Monday, August 19, 2019

7:30 PM

The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, August 19, 7:30 pm at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.

It’s been a while since we hosted our long-time friend, Jack Fryar, who returns this month to tell us about Charles Town, an early colony established in 1664 on the Brunswick side of the Cape Fear River. He will also premiere his new book, Charles Town on the Cape Fear. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

Jack E. Fryar, Jr. is a life-long resident of southeastern North Carolina, born and raised in Wilmington. He has been a professional writer and publisher since 1994.

In 2000, Jack founded Dram Tree Books, a small publishing house whose titles tell the story of North Carolina and the Carolina coast. He has authored or edited twenty-three volumes of North Carolina and Cape Fear history, and is a frequent lecturer for historic groups in the region.

Jack is also the editor and publisher of a new digital magazine, Carolina Chronicles, covering the history of North and South Carolina. The free magazine can be accessed at www.carolinachroniclesmagazine.weebly.com.

His historical specialty is colonial North Carolina, particularly during the seventeenth century. Jack has served as a United States Marine, worked as a broadcaster, freelance magazine writer, sports announcer, and book designer. He holds a Master of Arts in History and another one in Teaching from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. He currently teaches History at E.A. Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C.

 

Podcasts of Note

By Rebecca Taylor

What’s a podcast?  Basically, it’s a radio show that you listen to through an “app” on your phone, or you can just call them up on your computer. It’s taken me awhile to get into them but with nothing I want to watch on TV or listen to on the radio in my car, I’ve begun to explore what’s out there. Here are a few of my current favorites.

Cape Fear Unearthed
https://omny.fm/shows/cape-fear-unearthed/playlists/podcast

Created and narrated by Hunter Ingram, of the Star-News, “Cape Fear Unearthed” is now in its 2nd year of presenting curious, unusual, and often mysterious events in our local history. With each episode Hunter presents a historical event and then follows each story with an interview with a local historian about what is the REAL history.

Among the topics he’s covered are well known stories like the Maco Light, the Fort Fisher Hermit and The Lumina. Other topics were new stories to me including: The Suicide Club, Trouble the Wrightsville Beach whale, and the Ghosts of Gallows Hill. Among his commentators are Chris Fonvielle, Beverley Tetterton, Jan Davidson, Jim McKee, Eric Kozen, and Madeline Flagler.

And if you’d like a little preview of this month’s program be sure to listen to “The Downfall of Charles Town” that includes an interview with Jack Fryar. https://omny.fm/shows/cape-fear-unearthed/the-short-life-of-charles-town?in_playlist=cape-fear-unearthed!podcast

 

Stuff You Missed in History Class https://www.missedinhistory.com/podcasts

With hundreds of episodes of little known or misunderstood events and people in history, this weekly podcast covers an amazing variety of periods and cultures around the world. Among my favorites: “Fearless, Feisty and Unflagging: The Women of Gettysburg,” “Lakshmi Bai — Who is India’s Joan of Arc?,” and, “Laura Bridgman’s Education.”

Locals will be especially interested in the two part “The Wilmington Coup of 1898: https://www.missedinhistory.com/podcasts/wilmington-coup-part-one.htm. And, if you were at our program last month you may remember the mention of the Port Chicago disaster. This episode from July 2019 fills in a lot of questions: https://www.missedinhistory.com/podcasts/the-port-chicago-disaster.htm

 

History Chicks  http://thehistorychicks.com/

My favorite, and I think the most carefully and thoroughly researched, is History Chicks which focuses on sometimes famous but often misunderstood women throughout history. With over 100 episodes, it’s hard to choose which are my favorites, but they include an amazing scope of fascinating women including, Harriett Tubman, Audrey Hepburn, Anne Frank, Ida B. Wells, Eleanore of Aquitaine, Lizzie Borden, Beatrix Potter, Agatha Christie, Clara Barton, Jackie Kennedy, and Coco Chanel.  Who knew?

 

President’s Letter – July, 2019

By Elaine Henson

Kure Memorial Lutheran Church Part III

In 1953, the growing congregation began planning for a new church building to replace the barracks church.  Their first full time pastor, Rev. David Johnson, had a background in building design and construction, so he took a lead role in planning the new church. He designed a traditional cruciform, cross-shaped, floor plan and building with modern low lines, a Roman brick exterior and contemporary windows. Interior walls would be masonry painted concrete block.  The roof was to be supported with arches and purlins laminated on the job from three quarter inch Douglas fir timbers.

Everything was put on hold until after clean up from Hurricane Hazel, which came ashore on October 15, 1954. Hazel is the only Category Four Hurricane to hit our area in all of the 20th Century to date. It came in on a lunar high tide, wreaking havoc and leaving much devastation.

On February 6, 1955, groundbreaking ceremonies were held with Dr. F. L. Conrad, President of the North Carolina Synod.  Assisting him were Mrs. Ernest Lineberger of the United Lutheran Church Women and Miss Judy Lewis from the Kure’s Luther League.  The barracks church was moved to the back of the lot and they laid out the foundation.

Again, the men of the church were the volunteer labor.  The only paid full time worker was Bob Ford as Construction Supervisor with Rev. Johnson acting as advisor. Construction went quickly and soon cranes were lifting the arches and purlins into place.

Next: Kure Memorial Lutheran Church, Part IV

Seafood on Federal Point – 1948-1956 (part 1)

Oral History
by:  Howard Hewett,  Jones Creek, TX – July, 2015 – Part 7

Background

Howard Hewett

Howard Hewett

Some of the following background information is from my recollection of the events as I grew up on Federal Point between 1939 and 1956, and what my father, Howard Curtis Hewett Sr, and my grandmother, Addie Jane Lewis Hewett, related to me. Other background information is from research and is so noted.

A major portion of our seafood came out of the bays south of where we lived in Fort Fisher.  But first, it is important to understand how those bays were formed.

A major Atlantic storm in 1761 opened an inlet that crossed the peninsula south of the current Fort Fisher monument. The New Inlet had a major impact on the main channel or ‘Bald Head’ channel of the Cape Fear River resulting in the significant decrease in depth.

By 1839, sand, silt and forming shoals from the New Inlet threatened the southerly approach to the river from the Bald Head channel. There were concerns that the Bald Head channel would not be available to shipping coming into the river from the southerly approach. The alternate route would force shipping to go out around ‘Frying Pan Shoals’ and enter the river through the New Inlet. This added to their passage time into Wilmington.

Northerly shipping traffic could enter the New Inlet, which avoided the treacherous Frying Pan Shoals located 29 southeast of Smith Island.

New Inlet as recorded in Civil War mapping records, 1864 (Cowles, Davis, Perry, & Kirkley)[Enlarge]

New Inlet as recorded in Civil War mapping records, 1864
(Cowles, Davis, Perry, & Kirkley)
[Enlarge]

In 1870 funds were appropriated to close the New Inlet and other breaches that occurred as a result of storms and gales. The land mass was a narrow strip of sandy beach with very low swampland on the river side. The map above is an excellent representation of the topography of Federal Point in 1864. By observing the map, one can see what a formidable task the closing of the New Inlet and breaches were.

In 1871, another storm further deepened the New Inlet. Actual construction work to close the New Inlet took place from 1870 to 1891. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were the overseers of the rock dam project.

They sank wooden cribbing and then added stones to bring the dam to sea level. Asst. Engineer Henry Bacon suggested that they add heavy granite capstones to bring the structure to two feet above sea level.

In 1877, a storm opened a breach between Smith Island, commonly called ‘Bald Head’ and Zeke’s Island which Civil War Military Maps recorded as ‘Zeeks Island’ (see the map right).

From 1881-1891, a dam similar in construction to the one built between Buchanan Battery to Zeke’s Island dam was built from Zeke’s Island to Smith Island.

When all the construction was completed, the upper section from the Buchanan Battery to Zeke’s Island was approximately 5,300 feet. The Swash Defense Dam from Zeke’s Island to Smith’s Island was 12,800 feet. The total distance of the project was over three miles (Reaves, 2011).

In 1891, the New Inlet was declared officially closed (Jackson, 1995). This rock dam is known by the locals as “The Rocks.” With the closing, tidal basins formed between The Rocks and the Atlantic. For our family, these bays became a plentiful source of shellfish.

During the time that I was growing up on Federal Point, there was the existence of another inlet south of the original New Inlet. We called it “Corncake Inlet.” I do not know exactly when Corncake Inlet opened, but it was a much smaller inlet. I do recall that Corncake Inlet would be wider and deeper depending on storm activity. Corncake Inlet was the source for fresh seawater for the bays.

My best recollection from stories told by my dad is that a schooner carrying corn went aground on a shoal while entering the inlet and remained there for a several days. These schooners were called corn-crackers because of their cargoes. I always wondered if that is how the inlet received its name. I assume it was opened before The Rocks were completed, but these breaches opened and closed depending on storm activity.

Dad liked to take our boat up toward the Corncake Inlet to fish for sheepshead at a place that he referred to as the “cribbing.” As I can best remember, it was east of the rock dam, basically located in the direction of Corncake Inlet. I believe that the cribbing was the remains of a temporary cofferdam that controlled some of the water flowing through the inlet into the river during the rock dam construction. I based this on the heavy flow of water traveling through this cut when we were fishing at this location.

However, after completing some research, I discovered another possibility. The cribbing may have been the remains of a stone dike cribbing built in 1853 by Captain Daniel P. Woodbury (Rayburn, 1984). What I recall seeing was mainly a wooden structure at water level. There could have been stones under the water.

[More next month about shrimping, clamming and oyster roasts. And mark your calendar now! Howard will be visiting from Texas and will present a program on his memories of Federal Point On Monday November 2, here at the History Center at 7:30 pm.]