Gloucester, NC -- Community Leaders

Eloise Nelson Pigott

The calendar hanging in the kitchen of the family home is frozen on November, 2004. Signs of caretakers are everywhere, from the buzz of the lawnmower in the field behind the house to the fresh beverage containers sitting on the countertop. But since Eloise Pigott died in November not one page has turned on the scenic calendar.

The late Eloise Nelson Pigott, as her friends and family describe her, was the embodiment of the Straits/Gloucester community in the down east region of Carteret County.

The home lines the banks of “the Straits” overlooking what is now known as Brown’s Island after the late “Old Man” Julian Brown. And while the home was constructed in 1988, it sits directly on the site of the late J.S. Pigott home place, father of Eloise’s husband, Osborne “Bill” Pigott. The original home, Mr. Chadwick said, had been destroyed twice – once by a tornado or waterspout and a second time by fire – before the late Mr. Pigott opted to build a family home a few hundred yards inland on the property. Mr. Pigott, Mr. Chadwick explains, was the owner of J.S. Pigott’s Grocery on what is now Old Ferry Dock Road. It was Eloise Pigott’s son Charles who returned to the family lot, building a grand two story home in 1988 overlooking the same waters his grandparents viewed during family gatherings in the yard.

“Straits and Gloucester has always been a close community,” Mr. Chadwick said. “Most everyone worked on the water and stuck pretty close to home. Going into Beaufort in those days was by boat or by horse and buggy so it was a big outing. Most of the time everyone got what they needed here. There were grocery stores, schools, churches. People either farmed and raised their own crops or they fished.” In addition, there were several windmills in the community, according to Mr. Chadwick, for grinding corn. “That spirit of community, the sense of everyone working together, was something that Eloise never lost,” he added. “She loved visitors more than anyone I know and she was always very involved in the community.

“Eloise was 20 years older than me and a little younger than my mother, but we related to one another. We had a common history and were connected by our culture. Plus,” Mr. Chadwick said with a laugh. “She accepted my idiosyncrasies. She was really the person who represented our community at every level – at Straits United Methodist Church, at the Gloucester Community Club and at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum.”

Just days before her death, Mrs. Pigott participated in the launching of a skiff built by Heber Guthrie for her daughter Lida, Mr. Chadwick said, even taking a short ride in the wooden vessel. Pictures of her ride will be shared during Tuesday’s celebration, as well as many stories of Mrs. Pigott’s intense dedication to hercommunity. “I’m looking forward to it,” said Mr. Chadwick. “Rodney really enjoys what he is doing and it comes through every time. I’ve learned a lot from these community nights.

Written by Amanda Dagnino for the Careret County News-Times

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