February 2008

Word on the Street

A gentleman from Aberlady, Scotland emailed the Town wondering where we got the name Aberlady Bay for a street in Emerald Isle. The street is in Spinnaker’s Reach so I contacted the developer, Randy Campbell. After telling me he was Scottish and liked Scotch whiskey, Randy told me he had named all of the streets after shipwrecks. Those that know Randy know that you frequently get a comical answer and a chuckle before you get the real answer.

I am sure some of you knew the streets were named after shipwrecks, but I thought others might like to know a little of the history. That spurred me to do a little research and this is what I have gathered.

Aberlady Bay:

On May 10, 1889, the Aberlady Bay of North Shields, England went aground on Lookout Shoals ten miles to the southeast of the Cape Lookout Life Saving Station. The ship was under the command of a Captain McGregor and was en route from Port Royal, South Carolina to Norfolk, Virginia to load coal when she went aground with a broken prop. The captain and four men rowed to shore, the keeper of the Life Saving Station sighting the boat land about 1.5 miles north of the station. 

The keeper transported the men to Beaufort, about 11 miles distant, where they telegraphed for assistance. The tugs Blanche and Alexander Jones were dispatched from Wilmington and Norfolk and arrived the next day. The tugs were unable to get the Aberlady Bay off the shoal, and she broke in two in heavy seas on May 13, becoming a total loss. Captain McGregor and the crew of 21 men were transported to Norfolk.

Crissie Wright:

This is one of Carteret County’s most significant shipwrecks. It inspired the development of the Cape Lookout Life Saving Station and the local saying, “It’s as cold as the Crissie Wright time.” The rescue attempt is captured in a mural in the Beaufort Post office by WPA Russian painter Simka Simkovich. Beaufort’s Masonic Lodge is named for the wreck which has inspired various poems and songs by locals.

The Crissie Wright was launched July 11, 1874 and was built by Blew and Phillips shipyard in Bridgeton, New Jersey. She set sail from Baltimore on December 31, 1885, with 500 tons of phosphate headed for Savannah, Georgia. After making her way through the Chesapeake Bay, the ship entered the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean and was off the coast of North Carolina in early January when a winter squall turned into a violent storm.

Local legend says the Crissie Wright lost her rudder and anchored off Shackleford, but the weather turned so quickly no crew member could get off the boat before the temperature dropped below 20 degrees and all froze to death, except the cook. Five of her crew are buried in a common grave in Beaufort’s Old Burial Ground. Captain Thomas P. Clark of Berlin, New Jersey was an identified crew member whose body was sent back home for burial.

Governor Stafford:

This ship was a 307 gross / 261 net ton wooden hulled sidewheel steamer built in 1884 at Camden, New Jersey. She was 129.6 feet in length, 26 feet in beam and 7.5 feet in depth of hold, and had a single cylinder steam engine with a 28 inch bore and a 72 inch stroke. 

In 1900, the Governor Stafford was in passenger service in Florida, operated by the Gulf S.B. Co. Her home port at that time was Cedar Keys. In 1908, however, her home port changed to New York. The Governor Stafford was in passenger service with a crew of ten when she foundered on July 24, 1908 at Bogue Inlet. Thankfully, no lives were lost. 

Louise Howard:

The Louise Howard was a 173 gross / 116 net ton wooden hulled schooner built in 1917 at East Boothbay, Maine. She was 126.8 feet in length, 26.5 feet in beam and 12.3 feet in depth of hold. Her home port was New York. 

On August 14, 1921 the New York Times reported: “The fishing schooner Louise Howard, from New York, went aground today in a half gale off Beaufort Bar. The crew of ten men was taken off by the Coast Guard, despite the heavy sea. The schooner was to have engaged in shark fishing and carried nearly a ton of dynamite, her commander said."

M.B. Davis:

This ship was an 18 ton wooden hulled schooner built in 1913 at Davis, NC. She was 53 feet in length, 15.9 feet in beam, and 3.4 feet in depth of hold. Her home port was Beaufort, NC.  She was lost on December 8, 1917 at Bogue Inlet. Based on her size, she could have been a sharpie schooner.


This British steamer sank December 28, 1911 just one-and-one-half miles from Cape Lookout Point. She was built in 1902 by Allan, Black & Co., at Irvine’s Shipbuilding and Dry Dock. She was 4,027 tons and wrecked while on a voyage from Galveston to Cork and Liverpool with a cargo of cotton and phosphate.


Two additional ships with ties to the street names in Spinnaker’s Reach are the Friendship and Col. Hansen which were both lost in 1846. I am looking for additional information on these two ships.

Posted by VC3 Admin Friday, February 1, 2008 3:11:00 PM