Davis, NC Community Leaders

The Ponds

Sylvester Edmund Pond hailed from Branford, Connecticut. He was born May3, 1857 and died February 26, 1920. He married Virginia (Jenny) Davis in 1890 and this is how they met.

In the fall of the year 1888, Sylvester Pond was on his way south by yacht to spend the winter. In the years before the Inland Waterway was completed, all boat traffic went through Core Sound. One evening, the yacht was anchored off Davis, and seeing the lights of the village, he decided to make a visit. At a country store, he learned that there was to be a "box supper" at the school house and he decided to go. It just happened that he bid on and bought the box belonging to Virginia Davis, and according to custom, he shared the box with her and walked her home. The next morning, he left for Florida, but he couldn't get the girl off his mind. In the spring when they started north, he stopped to see her and when fall came again he stopped at Davis once more. They corresponded through that winter, and became engaged the following spring. Sylvester and Jenny had three children: Blakely, Elizabeth (Libby) and Delia Pond.

Blakely Pond, born 11/23/1895, died 9/14/1974, and his wife had two sons. Eugene Pond, born 9/27/1926, married in 1955 to Andra Hamilton of Durham, and they have two children; Andrew Blakely Pond, born 11/4/1956 and Heather Hamilton Pond born 12/15/1960. The second son Larry Edward Pond was born 12/15/1937 and married Dorothy Lee Willis. Larry has four children: Richard Pond, born 10/14/1962, Priscilla Pond, born 9/23/1965, Catherine Rose Pond, born 7/24/1970. Died 7/13/1971, and Ann Elizabeth Pond born 5/19/1977.

Libby Pond had no heirs, but Delia Pond married a Davis and had two daughters: Thelma Davis, born 9/15/1929, married a Pittman and Margaret Rose Davis, born 12/2/1934, who married a Gaskill.

The following is Eugene Pond's recollection of a newspaper account from the Madison, Connecticut paper of 12/12/1883. He has read it so many times, that he can almost recite verbatim. It concerns his grandfather and great-grandfather. James J. Dodd, the steward of the schooner " Charles Sprague," out of Stonington, Connecticut, wrote to his father, John Dodd of Madison about the dire peril of the "Sprague," a three masted schooner of some 800 tons, with Samuel L. Pond of Brandford, Master. On November 20, 1886, about 300 miles east of Sandy Hook, NJ, the were struck by a hurricane. The Pond family has given me permission to use excerpts of the letter.

"We had been in heavy weather for three or four days, when the wind intensified to full hurricane force, and all we could do was scud under bare poles. We ran before it for four days in the worst weather I have ever seen in a lifetime of seafaring. At about seven bells into the second watch, the after davit carried away on the jolly boat, and the Captain thought he could save her. We passed a line around the boat and bent if to the mizzen-mast halliard, and tried to hoist her, when the largest sea I ever saw boarded and breached us from stem to stern. The boat came aboard over the taff-rail and caught the Captain between it and the wheel box. At about the same instant, the mizzen mast top broke out and crashed down on deck. If this had not happened, nearly all hand would have been swept overboard. Most of the crew was injured and tangled in the rigging. The wrecking crew cut away the gear and got the Captain down below.

The storm was raging topside, and the Captain told Mr. Hamilton to seek refuge under the first lee. He told his son Sylvester, our second mate, to look out for his mother and the rest of his family because he knew he would soon meet his maker. After a while, he told them he couldn't see and to raise him up. We started to raise him, but he lost his grip and we knew he was dead. He had lived only twenty hours. What a plight to be in–over half of our crew was seriously injured and it took two men to manage the helm as the rudder was damaged and would only respond to the wheel about half the time. We had to try to keep the sea on our starboard quarter, if possible, and try to outrun the storm.

After first light on the fifth day, the wind hauled further to the Northwest and fell out somewhat. At two bells of the second watch, we sighted land. Mr. Hamilton had not been able to get a fix, but by dead reckoning he thought it was the outer cape of Hatteras. The rift closed in the fog and spindrift, but we knew we had seen the loom of land. Under a "jerry-rigged" foresail, we beat off some to give the shoals a wide berth. (Diamond Shoals)
The Captain's body purged and we knew we were going to have to give him a burial at sea. The sail-maker sewed him up in brand new canvas and put ample weight at his feet. Mr. Hamilton gave the burial at sea with all hands attending. He read from the "Book", 2nd Peter, 5th chapter, verses nine to eleven. Then the inboard end of the plank was raised and the Captain found a grave in the deep.

This was about thirty miles to the south of Hatteras on the north edge of the gulf Stream on Thanksgiving day of 1883. We are now anchored in the bight of Cape Lookout attempting to repair the ship. She is almost a wreck, but after some weeks, we will be able to sail for Smithville, NC to effect the rest of the repairs. It looks as though the sea will get you, if you go to sea long enough, but what else do I know?"

Sylvester Pond, the second mate aboard this vessel, never went back to sea after he married Jenny, but made his living in the coasting trade, with two "but-eye" sharpies, the Red, White and Blue (Old Blue) and the Eva Mae. He lived out his life at Davis Shore (Glory Land) and died 2/26/1920 and was buried at Davis Shore.

Source: Source: Once Upon A Time: Stories of Davis, North Carolina by Mabel Murphy Piner, 1979; pp. 53-54.

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