James Iredell Waddell Born

On July 3rd, 1824 James Iredell Waddell was born in Pittsboro in Chatham County. Waddell served 20 years in the United States Navy prior to joining Confederate forces. He is best remembered as the captain of the commerce raider CSS Shenandoah. which among other accomplishments destroyed the New England based whaling fleet off Alaska in the summer of 1865.

Mayflower Whale Killed off Shackleford Banks

On May 4th, 1876 whaling crews from Shackleford Banks attacked a pod of whales passing off Cape Lookout, .killing at least three–“Mayflower,” “Lady Hayes,” and “Haint Been Named Yet.” “Mayflower” became one of the state’s most famous cetaceans thanks to the fact that the whale’s skeleton spent more than a century on exhibit in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.

Right Whale Taken off Shackleford Banks

On March 20th, 1894 a 53-foot right whale was taken off Shackleford Banks in the vicinity of Wades Shore, approximately four miles east of Beaufort Inlet. There were three whales spotted that day, but only one was harvested. The crew captained by Joe Lewis was first to row aside the female right whale, allowing harpooner Mart Guthrie a clear shot. As the whale swam faster and farther from shore, another crew from Morehead City, this one captained by Mart Willis, joined in the chase to subdue the great animal. The whale produced 39 barrels of oil and 864 lbs of baleen valued at $1,900.

Right Whale Killed

On March 16th 1916 a 57 foot right whale was taken in the shallows at Cape Lookout by a one boat crew led by Charlie and John Rose. The whale yielded 38 barrels of oil. Some believe that this was the last whale taken in North Carolina waters by shore-based whalers. The whale fishery had slowed down due to several factors, mainly a lack of whales along the North Carolina coast due to overharvesting in other areas of the Atlantic.
March 16 trying out oil

This 1894 engraving from the Bulletin of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture depicts the process of rendering harvested whale blubber down to oil. After the fat from the blubber is melted it is easily poured into barrels ready to be shipped.