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.
On March 19th, 1839 The Republican, a newspaper published in Washington, North Carolina, reported that a right whale was taken a few miles south of Portsmouth village. It produced 60 barrels of oil.
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.
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.
On March 12th, 1878 somewhere in the vicinity of Cape Lookout a large whale was harvested by one of the shore based whaling crews of Shackleford Banks. In keeping with the Shackleford tradition of giving names to memorable whales, this whale was named “Extremely Fat Whale”.