Monday, May 21, 2007

The easiest way to make $60000.

Here's a piece of unsubstantiated but fascinating outer banks history. Centuries ago, some ancestor of the French Midgett family was either shipwrecked or stranded on Hatteras, and went on to sire the largest family on the Outer Banks, to the extent that "Midgett" has become the most common name in Coast Guard history.

Story has it(and I'm sure this was in the paper, though I've yet to find it) that back in the Seventies, Joseph "Mac" Midgett saw a barge overloaded with jet fuel washed up on the beach somewhere near Rodanthe, and keeping with the local tradition of piracy, he took a shotgun under each arm and walked out into the storm, climbed on top of the barge, and claimed it under the salvage law of the sea. The storm subsided and quite a crowd gathered, including police, reporters, and lawyers from the shipping company who's barge Mac had claimed. The six-six, three hundred pound armed man stood his ground, and the barge turned out to be loaded over legal capacity with volatile fuel, so eventually a deal was struck and Mac climbed down to the beach to the tune of sixty thousand dollars. Apparently Mac invested the money in a service station at the north end of Hatteras which thrives to this day. We stopped and had ice cream there, but could find no record of the story I just related. I'd be interested to hear more information from anyone who can support or refute this tale, as it was told to us by a local ferryman and I didn't take time to visit the local library.

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