Eastern North Carolina is rich in maritime lore. In the early years, the easiest method of transportation was by watercraft. Our history is full of stories of the exploits of pirates like "Blackbeard" and of the dangers found in the "Graveyard of the Atlantic."

A relic of that seafaring heritage is here on display. In 1966, Captain Walter M. O'Neal, Jr. recovered a large anchor with his shrimp trawler, the Walter and Daphne, in seventeen feet of water north of Drum Inlet. He believed it to be from a British warship. Anchors from the early Nineteenth Century used similar wooden stocks, but the flukes at the bottom of the anchor were arranged in more of an angular way. This anchor's flukes are in a circular arrangement, suggesting that it was constructed in a period of time later than that when British warships were operating regularly off the American coast.

It is marked LOVERING on the wooden stock crosspiece. This marking has led some to suppose that it came from the Charles L. Lovering, a 100-ton schooner built in Camden, New Jersey, in 1859. That vessel is reported to have burned in October of 1878 at an unspecified location on the coast according to the American Record of Shipping for that year. This would seem, at first glance, to be a positive identification.

The problem with that theory is that the museum in Mystic, Connecticut, the home of the owners of the Lovering in that year, can find no record of her loss mentioned in the "Wrecks and Disasters" section of the New York Maritime Register. Furthermore, the older style of wooden stock construction, mentioned above, does not fit with this later vessel. This inconsistency makes dating and identifying the article difficult, at best.

Whatever the vessel it sailed on, it is a visible reminder of North Carolina's strong ties with the sea. Come and see this piece of history and others in "Granny's Attic," the Belhaven Memorial Museum.

Belhaven Treasure #8

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Diane K. Mason, HTML Editor 1998