When I was visiting my son in Washington, DC recently, I went to a breathtakingly beautiful exhibit of Katsushika Hokusai's paintings that is currently at the National Museum of Asian Art's Freer Gallery.
An anthropologist named Frank Speck took this photograph of an American Indian woman and child on Roanoke Island, N.C., in 1915. He referred to them as "Machapunga Indians" (though I will not), a tribe whose homeland had historically been the area around the Pungo River and Lake Mattamuskeet.
When Charles Farrell took these photographs, Salter Path was the only settlement of any kind on the western two-thirds of Bogue Banks. Lights were few and far between and on clear nights you felt as if you could see every star in the heavens.
My friend Betty Motes recently told me a story about a flotilla of boatmen and their families that used to come from the shipyards of Camden, New Jersey, and spend their winters on Clubfoot Creek.
This is a photograph of Charles P. Dey and his brother John Wesley Dey’s menhaden oil and scrap mill at Lennoxville, a mile and half east of Beaufort, in Carteret County, N.C., circa 1890.
When I was in Southport several years ago, I carried Charles Farrell's photographs to an old menhaden fisherman named Charles “Pete” Joyner. At the time, Mr. Joyner was 93 years old.
When Dr. Linwood Watson and I visited last winter, he also told me about an extraordinary project that the Coharie Tribe in eastern North Carolina has undertaken to deepen their ancestral ties to the river and the land that has been their home for centuries.
One of the great pleasures I had last winter was a visit from Dr. Linwood Watson, a Haliwa-Saponi family physician who has a passion both for growing native plants and for understanding more deeply how they were traditionally used for sustenance and healing in eastern North Carolina’s Indian communities.