At 8 o'clock, on the night of December 3rd, 1902, the barkentine Olive Thurlow dropped anchor in Cape Lookout Bight about 1 1/2 nautical miles from the Cape Lookout Life-saving Station. The Olive Thurlow was 149 feet long, 32.7 feet wide and weighed 577 tons. She had been built in 1876 by the O.B. Rideout Company and was owned by the Pendleton Bros. Co. The ship had been fighting a storm off Bodie Island N.C. and had run with the lashing winds to seek shelter in the Bight. During the storm Captain J.O. Hayes had accidentally jammed his ankle into the steering quadrant and broken it just below the knee.
With the captain having been taken to Beaufort for medical attention, First Mate C. Florian, at the advice of the Life-saving Station Crew, had readied the Thurlow for more bad weather as best he could. This time the wind came out of the WSW and was as bad as Keeper Gaskill (Life-saving station) had ever seen. On December 5th, 1902, the seas dragged the barkentine over toward the beach and dashed her on a shoal. One man, John Chaukly, the Steward, was killed when the mast and rigging fell on him. The rest of the crew floated in on the cabin roof, flopping onto the beach "more dead than alive." The crew was cared for at the Life-saving station and eventually went to Beaufort.
On May 12, 1995, after hearing of a "wreck" discovered 700 yards WSW of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, we applied for and were granted a permit with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, for "Exploration and Recovery" of site 0004CLS located at 34 37'.32N 76 31'.92W. The project goals were to survey, investigate, map and chart the site and to recover any endangered artifacts. The project was completed in October of 1996 and has yielded 50 artifacts and a wealth of information. Several interpretive displays have already been shown.