More weird stories from Old Wilmington by Chris Fonvielle

Wilmington historian and author Chris Funvili.

In the old western “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” the tagline was “When a legend becomes reality, print the legend.”

However, Wilmington historian Chris Fonville still wants to explore the facts. In his latest book, Curious Tales from Old Wilmington and the Fear of the Lower Cape, he tries to find out what really happened in regards to some of his favorite local legends.

Chris Funvili is the author of the book

More: local historyIn a new book, Weird Tales of Old Wilmington, the historian removes the facts from the legend

This volume, a follow-up to Fonvielle’s 2021 book “Curious Tales,” deals with five more domestic stories.

Most locals have heard the story of Nancy Martin (“Nance”), the little girl who died at sea before the Civil War and was buried in Oakdale Cemetery in the barrel of rum in which her body was preserved. There may have been a barrel, notes Fonvili, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. However, newspaper clippings of the period show that Nance died on the beach of “consumption” (the archaic term for tuberculosis) in Cárdenas, Cuba.

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