Davis, NC Events

Family Sketches by Francis Murphy

Papa never forgot anything, for he had a wonderful memory. There were two things he was always proud to tell; that he was a Baptist and a Republican. He spent many hours entertaining his children and his friends with tall tales as well as true tales, and one of his favorite stories concerned the time that Core Sound froze over. It was the winter of 1918, and with Core Sound frozen, my father walked from Davis to the old Clubhouse which was located on the Outer Banks. He visited with Mr. Leroy Davis, the caretaker, and his wife, and also with Mr. And Mrs. Sam Salter who lived in the Ranch House on the Clubhouse property.

Before night, he decided to start back across Core Sound to come home, but the ice was beginning to melt in some places, so he decided he had better wait until the next day to try again. He wound up spending several days on the banks while the sound slowly thawed. Finally, Mr. Leroy lent him a skiff, and Papa built a skid for it. When he came to a place where the ice was melting, the skiff would float, and where the ice was hard, the skiff would skate along on the top.

While he was gone, Mama was left at home with a baby (my brother Wardie), and several other small children. The water in the crock well was frozen, and the wood pile was gone, but Preacher Paul heard about Mama's plight, so he came every morning to draw water and cut wood for the days needs.

When the word was passed around by the grapevine that Francis was on his way home, Mama waked down to the shore to meet him with blood in her eye. Papa always said that it was a foolish thing he did, going off and leaving Mama with a house full of children, but that he sure took a tongue-lashing for it. Still, he loved to talk about that trip, and tell us what a good time he had over at the Clubhouse. There were no phones or mail at that time, and I know that Mama must have spent a miserable few days wondering if Francis was dead or alive. He was the only one around our parts to do such a thing, but he did love an adventure, and didn't get a chance for many in his day.

Source: Once Upon a Time: Stories of Davis, North Carolina by Mabel Murphy Piner, 197988; pp. 50-51 (written by Francis Murphy).

Down East Community Tour
Core Sound Waterfowl Museum