Another Surfman, Rasmus Midgett, who trained at Chicamacomico in 1888-90, was riding his horse on patrol for Gull Shoal Station in Aug. 1899,when he single-handedly rescued ten victims from the barkentine Priscilla. The Coast Guard recognizes that rescue as one of the top ten in the Coast Guard’s long history. Photos, a door from the “Priscilla,” given to Rasmus for his heroism, a replica of Rasmus’ gold life-saving medal, and furniture from Rasmus’ house are on display at the Chicamacomico museum. A great, great grandson, Ernie Foster, provided Chicamacomico with a photo of the gold medal that Rasmus received for the daring rescue and an inspiring, heartfelt oral history of his great, great grandfather’s extraordinary “presence of mind”.
Dozens of courageous rescues took place at Chicamacomico between 1874 and 1954. Both stations, the 1874 and the1911, which replaced it were built to withstand storms, shifting sand, the ravages of time and to provide a safe haven for lifesaver and wreck victims. The Chicamacomico site is lovingly preserved and today provides a window into the history of the ordinary and heroic lifesavers of the Outer Banks
Visitors get a chance to tour the site at their own pace. Each room displays maritime artifacts and stories. The self-bailing motor surfboat No. 1046, the boat from the famous 1918 “Mirlo” rescue is housed in the original Chicamacomico 1874 building. Artifacts from Rasmus Midgett’s family are here. Dailys, Hoopers, Pughs, O’neals, Grays, Wescotts, Williams and many other Hatteras Island families served at this Life-Saving/Coast Guard station and are represented here. The lives of Hatteras Island Life-Saving Service/Coast Guard stalwarts, the Midgett family, are intricately woven into the stories of Chicamacomico.