2 Replies Latest reply on Oct 21, 2021 5:29 AM by Wynne Dough

    Seeking personnel information of New Inlet Life Saving Service Station

    Wynne Dough Newbie

      Greetings. I'm a rank newbie seeking payroll records, logs, inspection reports, or other documents that might identify who served at U.S. Life Saving Service Station New Inlet, N.C. (Hatteras Island), in the years 1894 to 1897. Although this is an end in itself, my present purpose is identifying personnel shown in an undated photograph tentatively identified as the New Inlet crew. The photograph seems to show an integrated crew. Although several integrated crews existed in North Carolina and Virginia in the 1870s, the USLSS reportedly abolished those remaining on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in 1880, when it created a single all-black unit by transferring all the black surfmen to Pea Island to serve under a newly appointed black keeper. Preliminary investigation suggests that this photograph could not have been taken before 1894, however. Another photograph that has turned up seems to show the same crew in a formal pose at a station of a kind built only in the mid–late 1890s. The original structure at New Inlet was built in 1882, and the annual reports do not mention a replacement until 1908. The spotty payroll records available locally start in December 1897. All the men named therein seem to have been white. All this suggests any of several conclusions, including (1) New Inlet had a integrated crew in a period when none is believed to have existed on the Banks. (2) The second photograph shows the New Inlet crew at a New Inlet Station omitted from the annual reports. (3) The second photograph shows the New Inlet crew at another station. (4) The photographs have nothing to do with New Inlet, but may nonetheless show a forgotten integrated crew. (5) The photographs do not show an integrated crew.


      It probably behooves me to continue comparing station records with the 1900 census. The USLSS personnel records in College Park seem to start in 1898. The Atlanta branch reportedly has nearly 5 linear feet of undigitized logbooks (1883–1916). District realignments after the Coast Guard formed in 1915 may have bundled some older North Carolina material with like items from Virginia housed nowadays in Philadelphia. Alas, all three branches are closed. Any thoughts on how, when, or whether to proceed?

        • Re: Seeking personnel information of New Inlet Life Saving Service Station
          Rachael Salyer Ranger

          Dear Wynne Dough,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series Logbooks, 1883-1916 for the Life Saving Station at New Inlet, North Carolina in the Records of the U.S. Coast Guard (Record Group 26) that may contain some relevant information. The series Correspondence, 1881-1923 in Record Group 26 includes some information about North Carolina and personnel as well. These records have not been digitized. Please contact the National Archives at Atlanta (RE-AT) at atlanta.archives@nara.gov for access to and information about these and similar records.


          Next, we located the series Photographic Exhibits Related to Agency History and Events in Record Group 26 that includes photographs from the late 19th century that might be of interest to you. These records have not been digitized. Please contact the National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures (RDSS) at stillpix@nara.gov for assistance with these records.


          Plus, we located the series Station History Files in Record Group 26 that contains some records from the late 19th Century which may include records related to New Inlet. You may contact the National Archives at Washington, D.C. - Textual Reference (RDT1) at archives1reference@nara.gov for more information about these records.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RE-AT, RDSS, and RDT1.


          As a public health precaution due to COVID-19, all National Archives research rooms nationwide, including those at Presidential Libraries, are closed to the public until further notice. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates and the websites for the National Archives at Atlanta, the National Archives at College Park, Maryland , and National Archives in Washington, DC  for the latest information. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We located some additional information about Station Cape Hatteras, North Carolina on the website for the Office of the Historian of the U.S. Coast Guard, and the National Park Service website for The US Life-Saving Service - Cape Hatteras National Seashore has some information about New Inlet. We suggest that you contact these organizations directly for further assistance.


          We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your research!