In the wee hours of October 3, 1883, a patrolman for the Kitty Hawk station discovered the schooner Luola Murchison stranded close to the station. Keeper James R. Hobbs decided to launch the surfboat and about an hour after initial notification, the crew arrived and boarded the vessel. They immediately assisted the Murchison crew in running the anchor offshore to keep the vessel from working higher up the beach. Shortly after, the Kill Devil Hills crew arrived on scene to assist and at the request of the ship’s master, the crews landed only the personal effects of the eight sailors on board. After the transfer of baggage was complete, the Kill Devil Hills crew returned to Station #13, but the Kitty Hawk crew continued to keep watch in case they needed to head back out for further assistance. They also sent word to Norfolk that a wrecking steamer would be necessary.

Late the following afternoon, the Murchison fell over on her starboard side and was breached by the rough waves. Her master signaled his wish to abandon ship but this time, the sea was too rough for the surfboat. The Murchison crew was brought to safety via the breeches buoy and was taken to the station to wait for the wrecking steamer. Two days after the initial incident, the V. J. Peed arrived on scene and the surfmen transported the Murchison crew to board the Peed to assist in the salvage efforts of their vessel. For nearly two months, the wrecking company made strenuous efforts to get her off ground but eventually on November 20th she bilged, and all further efforts had to be abandoned. The hull and cargo of phosphate were a complete loss but the sails, rigging, and outfit were saved. During that interim period, the Kitty Hawk crew assisted in the efforts to salvage the vessel and provided shelter for the sailors and wreckers when the weather forced operations to be suspended and the crews had to seek refuge on shore.

All in a Day’s Work

Sometimes it’s all about doing the unexpected: In the afternoon of June 26, 1926, the Chicamacomico Coast Guard Station boarded a supply boat about two miles west of the station. The Officer in Charge reported the vessel was transporting a sick passenger, Mrs. Ora Best, to her home in Buxton but weather had forced him to turn back. Captain John A. Midgett, Jr. and the OIC determined it would be best to transport Mrs. Best by land so she was transferred from the supply boat to the station motor boat to return to the station. Captain Johnny and Surfman Dewey Midgett then transported Mrs. Best to her home via a Ford car and she was very thankful to them for taking her home.