The Adventures of a Cub Reporter

Onslow
County
History

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                     A Whale of a Story

 Note: The following story is a rough draft and will be redone at a later date. Dr. Stratton C. Murrell has also included The Bear Story, The Four Hundred Dollar Treasure, and now (8-14-2013) The Scotch Bonnet Story.   

 

This story began when I read  in the Jacksonville Daily News that a whale  had been seen at North Topsail Beach on 11-26-2012. I then wrote two letters to the editor because as a local historian I thought  it would be interesting to find a link to this event . I found it in that Samuel Chadwick was listed as a whaler in the book, GRANDPA WAS A WHALER, by Amy Muse. He was from Falmouth, Massachusetts and he settled in the "Straits" which is in the present Morehead City area. Later on, in 1726, he became the first recipient of a whaling license in North Carolina. Then he became HIS MAJESTY'S MOST HONORABLE SHERIFF and what was most interesting to us is that my mother is a Chadwick.

    After some extensive research, with the help of my cousin, Josh Chadwick, III--- I found that the Fighting Chadwicks gained some notoriety when they fought with William, the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. (Billie Jean and I were in this area several years ago duing our tour of England). Historians refer to this event as the battle that changed the history of the world (With credentials like this, it should be an action story as they migrated to America in the Eighteenth century). 

 

 

                              The Bear Story

 

       This is some added information to the story I read in the May 15, 2013 issue of the Jacksonville Daily News: The story and picture was about the bear seen recently on Bear Island which is near Swansboro. Most people would recognize it as The Hammocks Beach State Park. I recognize it as as a place of our family adventures for many years. Here are some of our stories:

 

We Found A Four Hundred Dollar Treasure At Bear Inlet 

       Our adventure began many years ago when my wife, Billie Jean, and I were talking to my father about our interest in collecting shells. He mentioned that a good place to go was to Bear Inlet. We found out later that this was a part of Bear Island and Hammocks Beach. There was a story about this neurosurgeon from New York who purchased Bear Island in the 1920s because he liked to hunt and fish in this area. He later gave this property to his  hunting and fishing guide (more about that story later)  We then went to Bear Inlet in our boat because it is at the other end of the island from the ferry landing. WHEN WE GOT TO THE INLET AND LOOKED AROUND , WE WERE AMAZED AT WHAT WE SAW. It was like nature's treasure. I could hardly believe it.   There were sand dollars all over the place. I have been to various beaches for years collecting shells and it was a rare thing to find a complete sand dollar. But we found 400 complete (sand) dollars for our collection in one day at Bear Inlet.

       Our son, Mark and his cousin Bobby were with us. They were about ten years old and it was great fun collecting those shells. When we got back home we made shell boards for display and we gave several of these boards to our friends. This adventure took place in 1970 and we have never seen that many sand dollars in one place before or since  that time. And there is more to that treasure-- exotic pen shells that are about the size of a person's hand. The inner part of this shell is covered with mother-of-pearl that has an iridescent glow in the sun light. I have done a lot of exploring in this area all of my life and I had never seen a pen shell before this adventure. At this point, Bear Island became a Shell Collector's Paradise. But alas, that was many years ago and there are only a few shells left on the shore. All we have left are the pictures and the memories. But there are other things to see and do.  Call the Chamber Of Commerce in Jacksonville  There is a purpose that goes along with this story and that is tourism (9-2-2013: Thanks to the comments of Bett Padgett, there is the rest of the story And then here is another story:

 

                                THE SCOTCH BONNET STORY

Author's Note: This is a "Story In Progress". Additions and corrections will be made at various times in the future.

       I live in Jacksonville, North Carolina and my doctor's office is in New Bern which is thirty seven miles away. Jack Johnson volunteered to take me there for some minor medical procedures. During the trip we began to swap some stories. I told him about the Four Hundred Dollars (Sand Dollar) Treasure we found at Bear Inlet (which is near Swansboro) and he told me that he took Lani Bryan(of Jacksonville) and some of her friends to Bear Inlet many years ago and they found 250 Scotch Bonnet Shells. This was a significant discovery since the Scotch Bonnet is the official North Carolina state shell, and they are said to be rare outside of the area between Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout. This situation became a critical part of the story. 

       Jack's discovery inspired me to track down the rest of the story with several twists and turns with a surprise and rather noble ending.The first part of the search concerned the story about the Scotch Bonnet and who thought of the Scotch Bonnet as our State Shell  and how  this idea was presented to the North Carolina State General Assembly. The only part of the story I could find was when the bill was presented to the Assembly. As usual,several representatives had different ideas about what shell should represent our state. Monroe Daniels of Dare County presented the bill and his original idea was to give a Scotch Bonnet  shell to each member of the Legislature just to show them what the Scotch Bonnet looked like, but he was probably embarrassed in that he could find only two shells. Some legislators thought that if it was that rare they should pick another shell. And then  I found some information about the North Carolina Shell Club in that they found that there were many Scotch Bonnet shells in the area between Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout, but they were rare on all other parts of the North Carolina coast. And this tied in with Jack Johnson's story about about taking Lani Bryan and some other shell collectors to Bear Inlet where they found 250 scotch Bonnet shells. This is significant because Bear Inlet is at least 50 miles from the Cape Hatteras area. This proved that the Scotch Bonnet is distributed across the coast of North Carolina and is worthy of being designated the state shell. 

 

 

       I then followed my usual procedure of writing a letter to the editor of the Jacksonville Daily News about the information I had found about the Scotch Bonnet. What happened next was the basic plan for all of my stories. Ed Shuller is the editor of the newsletter for the North Carolina Shell Club. He e-mailed me in response to my letter to the editor and I found that the club was updating the history of the club and he sent me a copy of the 1966 bulletin. In this bulletin it told how the North Carolina Shell Club had suggested to the North Carolina Assembly that they should designate an official State Shell and Mrs. Rose McLean (one of the members of the Club ) suggested that it should be the Scotch Bonnet in recognition of the hardy Scotch people who settled in North Carolina. Thanks to the North Carolina Shell Club the bill was signed on May 17, 1965 and the Scotch Bonnet became the first state shell in the USA. Mrs. Rose McLean died in 1974 and at the burial service a silver replica of the SCOTCH BONNET was clutched in her hand.

       Many thanks goes to Jack Johnson for inspiring me to write the story and special thanks goes to Ed Shuller for providing me with some additional information about the Scotch Bonnet. 12-10-2013: Ed recently confirmed that  Mrs. Lani Bryan was a member of the club from 1963 to 1978). He then added the finishing touches-----especially the story about Rose McLean. Doug Wolfe is the historian for North Carolina Shell Club and he also supplied me with some additional information from the Archives and History of the shell club) concerning the Scotch Bonnet story.

       To me, it was a real adventure in tracking down the story and I found that although my friend Lani Bryan was not a major component of the story, she was a part of the mystery. And the mystery is where did all those extra Scotch Bonnet shells come from when no one could find them as the bill for the State Shell was being discussed in 1964. Were they found at Bear Inlet ? 

7-21-2014: More information. When I received my copy of Our State Magazine (dated 8-2014) I saw the story, The Origin Of A Symbol, By Rebecca Lee. It was about how the North Carolina  General Assembly selected the Scotch Bonnet as the State shell. I had already written about this part of the story. But what I didn't know was the connection (according to Rebecca Lee) of the Scotch Bonnet with Charles Darwin. I knew about Darwin and his theory of Evolution. I had read THE VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE, THE ORIGIN OF Species and  several other sources of information by/about Charles Darwin many years ago, but I had never read of his connection with the Scotch Bonnet. The next thing to do was to connect with Rebecca by using Facebook. I told Rebecca that SHE HAD WRITTEN A GREAT STORY AND THAT I WAS Especially interested in the Charles Darwin part. I gave her full credit for this information as I added it to the other items I found out about  the Scotch Bonnet I will probably be asking her some more questions concerning her source material

8-1-2014: I read the story again and I foun that Rebecca Lee found  some information about the Scotch Bonnet that would be surprising to many people in that the Scotch Bonnet is not the usual immobile creature like the oyster. It can move from place to place ---especially when hunting for the Sand Dollar which is its favorite food (see my story about the Scotch Bonnet where Jack Johnson and I found a large number of Scotch Bonnets and Sand Dollars). I have ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES  and VOYAGE OF THE BEAGLE in my Library, but I see nothing concerning her comments on Charles Darwin concerning the Scotch Bonnet.But what she said about Darwin would certainly be an interesting addition(if true) to the story. I complimented her on the Darwin part of the story, but I said I would talk to her later about the details     

 

            

  

        

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

         

                  

 

  

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