We appreciate your understanding and for helping us preserve this rare and special collection.
The Hours of the North Carolina Room are as follows:
Photograph from the Louis T. Moore Photograph Collection
Silas Homer Martin was a prominent antebellum businessman in the lumber trade along with partner George Kidder. Silas Martin's eldest son John Slater Martin was employed as sailor. On a journey to the Caribbean Sea, John allowed a younger sister Nancy Adams Martin, nicknamed “Nance” to come along.
Three months into the voyage Nance fell ill and died from consumption (tuberculosis) in Cardenas, Cuba at the young age of 24. John brought his sister's body home stored in a cask of liquor, usually thought to be rum, to help keep it preserved from decomposition in the tropical heat. Nance's body was not removed from the cask and the entire cask was buried in Oakdale Cemetery on June 2, 1857. The small cross that looks like a tree trunk marks the spot where Nance's rum casket was interred.
Three months after Nance’s death, John once more put out to sea on September 10, 1857 with a load of lumber. Caught by what is now believed to have been a Category 2 hurricane, John Martin is believed to have been swept overboard by the storm. The boat was found floating adrift in November 1857 with no survivors. John's body was never found.
The obelisk in the background of the shot above is the Martin family plot and is inscribed with John's name and the words, "Lost at Sea, September 1857".
Special thanks to Oakdale Cemetery Superintendent Eric Kozen.
Images from the North Carolina Room Photograph Collection
Named after the prominent South Carolina governor and signer of the Consitution, the SS Charles C. Pinckney was the 10th of the 243 liberty ships to have been assembled and launched by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington during World War II. The ship was sponsored by Miss Margaret McMahon, a daughter of one of the shipyard’s company officials. At the launch of the ship, then 14-year old Wilmingtonian Katherine Rhett was the official ship’s “maid of honor.” During the war, the shipyard became the largest employer in the entire state with over 20,000 black and white workers running three shifts 24 hours a day.
Nine months after its launch, the Pinckney was to experience a great tragedy. The Pinckney left New York on 5 January 1943 under the command of Captain Frank Theoron Woolverton, Jr. as part of convoy UGS-4 carrying war material to support the Allied offensive in North Africa. Experiencing heavy weather, the ship began to straggle from the convoy. On 27 January 1943, the German submarine U-514 located the ship and shot three torpedoes, one of which hit the ship causing an explosion of the ordnance in the cargo hold and destroying the bow. Most of the crew abandoned ship in four lifeboats and a raft. A contingent of the gun crew stayed aboard and later fired at the German U-Boat when it surfaced just 200 yards away. Reboarding the stricken vessel, it was determined that the ship was too badly damaged to produce propulsion. The submarine fired two more salvos of torpedoes, with the second hitting the Pinckney just after midnight on 8 January and caused the crew to abandon the ship for a second time. U-514 surfaced once more and questioned the crew, but offered no assistance.
Although the four lifeboats tried to stay together, they became separated in the heavy seas later that night. After 11 days adrift, the second mate, four men, and nine armed guards were found by the Swiss freighter Caritas I and taken safely to the Azores Islands. No trace of the three other lifeboats or the 56 men in them was ever found. Captain Woolverton was among the lost.