The History of the OBX Life-Saving Service

By on April 4, 2024

By Jen Carlson

This year, 2024, marks the 150th Anniversary of the US Life-Saving Service on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first seven life-saving stations in North Carolina were on a very remote and inaccessible barrier island chain that are today’s easily accessible Dare and Currituck County.

The Chicamacomico Historical Association is providing a weekly series of articles about rescues and other significant events in the Service’s history on the Outer Banks and we will be publishing them on the Voice.

The Long Game

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. On 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 motorboat 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.

To learn more visit Chicamacomico Historical Association.

SEE ALSO: The History of the OBX Life-Saving Service

Honoring the Outer Banks Life-Saving Service

Honoring the Outer Banks’ Life-Saving Service


Barnhill Building Group has been selected as the Construction Manager @ Risk by the College of the Albemarle and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade contractors to submit bids for the furnishing labor, materials, equipment, and tools for the new College of The Albemarle – Allied Health Sciences Simulation Lab (COA Health Sciences) located in Elizabeth City, NC. Please note: Only subcontractors who have been prequalified by Barnhill will be able to submit a Bid.

The project consists of the new construction of a 38,000-sf, 2-story expansion to the existing Owens Health Sciences Center and will house classrooms, labs, and a simulation lab. The site is just over just over 4.5 acres and is located on an active campus. This new construction will be a steel structure with a brick and metal panel veneer, curtainwall, and storefront glazing with a PVC roof membrane.

Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages:

BP0100: General Trades

BP0105: Final Cleaning

BP0390: Turnkey Concrete

BP0400: Turnkey Masonry

BP0500: Structural Steel & Misc. Steel

BP0740: Roofing

BP0750: Metal Panels

BP0790: Caulking / Caulking

BP0800: Turnkey Doors/Frames/Hardware

BP0840: Glass & Glazing

BP0925: Drywall

BP0960: Resilient Flooring

BP0980: Acoustical Ceilings

BP0990: Painting & Wallcovering

BP1005: Toilet Specialties / Accessories / Division 10

BP1010: Signage

BP1098: Demountable Partitions

BP1230: Finish Carpentry and Casework

BP1250: Window Treatment

BP1400: Elevators

BP2100: Fire Protection

BP2200: Plumbing

BP2300: HVAC

BP2600: Turnkey Electrical

BP3100: Turnkey Sitework

BP3290: Landscaping

Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business firms are encouraged to complete participation submittals.

HUB/MWBE OUTREACH MEETING: Barnhill Building Group will be conducting a HUB/MWBE Informational Session. You are encouraged to attend the following session to learn more about project participation opportunities available to you. These seminars will help to: Learn about project and scope; Inform and train Minority/HUB contractors in preparation for bidding this project; Assist in registration on the State of North Carolina Vendor link; Stimulate opportunities for Networking with other firms. Location and time TBD. Please visit our planroom at for more information.

Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals, by July 22, 2024, to Meredith Terrell at or hardcopies can be mailed to Barnhill Contracting Company PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612).


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