Over the next several months, we will be showcasing some of wonderful people who have lived in Oriental in times past to give you a glimpse of their fascinating life stories.
Come with us as we let the world spin gently backwards in time through conversations with current residents who knew them well, as well as through historical records, and in the journey, find some of the precious things we miss…dignity, respect, hands that were strong, incredibly capable and generous and words that were courteous and kind…
Our first sketch connecting with our past appropriately begins with Carl Neuerburg, who along with his wife, Mary, were the first “outsiders” to settle in Oriental, Sept. 1959. Carl had been searching for a good location to call “home” by investigating sites all along the Eastern sea coast from New England to Florida. Based upon a recommendation to “look at Oriental” from Larry Gwaltney’s aunt and uncle, Red and Helen Eubanks, Carl, in a fashion that was typical of his meticulous, analytical way of approaching life, studied the geodetic charts and concluded that the best sailing water was indeed off the quaintly-named little town of Oriental, NC. History has certainly proven Carl’s assessment to be correct!
Shortly after moving here, Carl purchased his 26’ Dickerson Sloop in 1960. Named the “Pecan Mary” in honor of his wife, it was the first seagoing, pleasure sailing yacht tied up in OrientalHarbour. Demonstrating knowledge of what is truly valuable in life, Carl said in an interview in 1975, “Oriental provides good sailing, excellent climate and friendly people. What more could be desired?”
Born in Linz-Rhein, Germany, Carl took great pride in his personal history and experiences. When he was 17 years old, he rounded the dangerous waters of Cape Horn on a square rigger, which is a 3-4 mast windjammer with a crew of about 30-34, which sailed from Bordeaux, France to New York City. This was prior to WWII and, once in harbor, Carl knew he did not want to return to live in Germany, so he jumped ship there in NY. Even though he could not speak English, he secured a job on a merchant ship. He later became a US citizen and for the next 20 years he worked as navigating officer of oil tankers for Standard Oil.
Not knowing what to do with his pay check, since he did not need to send money home to his family in Germany, he told close friend, Bob Pittman, he invested it “the same way my captain did” which was in Standard Oil stock. Carl was “rich” by the ripe old age of 45 and very generous with his material resources as well as his time and expertise.
He was a big contributor of the Fire Company and because of his donations, they were able to purchase a new fire truck which had his name in gold leaf on it. He was often the Grand Marshall of village parades as recognition of his many contributions to the community which were motivated by his love and concern for the welfare of Oriental and its people.
Carl loved to make pound cakes and give them away. He also was always giving away Hersey bars to the town children. He enjoyed riding his bicycle that had a basket to hold his hammer around town. Donned in his sparkling white bib overalls, he was always ready and willing to help people with their projects, including house building!
Until the time for the mail to arrive that is, then Carl would disappear!
He loved to write and, being keenly interested in so many things, kept detailed journals with information about the boats which sailed into Oriental, the people who were on them, the weather, trees he planted, etc. Meticulous in his records, many of his writings are now in the OrientalHistoryMuseum. He was also a great letter writer and would stay in touch with friends communicating the same kind of interesting information through his Christmas cards and letters.
Not surprisingly, Carl had many good friends, including Mr. Dickerson, the owner of the company from which he bought his sailboat. Carl would get very excited when Mr. Dickerson would come visit him here in Oriental from the Chesapeake Bay area, which happened about once a year. In
Love of the water was in his soul from having lived as a boy on the Rheine River near a ferry crossing, to his high adventures as a young sailor, to his successful career on the huge oil tankers, to his sweet reward of living on and sailing the “best waters” of Oriental, NC., Carl Neuerburg was a handsome, intelligent, courageous, generous and caring man whose contributions and love have been a big part of what we enjoy today as Oriental, NC.
Thank you, Carl Neuerburg.
– by Lorraine Yaeger
- A special “Thank You’ to Mr. Bob Pittman for supplying background information and personal reminiscences of his good friend, Carl Neuerburg.