paintings photographs drawings






The Real Captain Charlie

Flavius B. Hall, Jr.

Captain Charlie's Restaurant is located on the corner of Highway 24 and Front Street in downtown Swansboro, North Carolina. When tourists and even Swansboro locals enter the famous eatery most do not realize the rich and remarkable life that its namesake, Charles William Buckmaster, Sr., lived. Yes, there was a real Captain Charlie. His name has become synonymous with one of the greatest restaurants in eastern North Carolina. Fresh seafood is still being prepared with the original southern recipes and techniques developed by Captain Charlie himself in the 1940s. He believed in and was dedicated to the restaurant's renowned motto (written by his business partner Durward Aman), "Where cooking is an art and eating is a pleasure."

Who was this man whose name has lived on for decades after his death? For starters, he was the author's Uncle Charlie who, with much kindness to a little boy growing up in the 1950s, gave him his first adventurous deep sea fishing experience in the salty blue waters of the Atlantic Gulf Stream. Captain Charlie was well known as a vital business man who was born and raised in Swansboro, served his country in the United States Coast Guard during World Wars I and II, saved numerous lives as a Guardsman, married and raised three children, managed a restaurant, and was Captain of the chartered fishing boat named the "Douglas," after his grandson.

The Real Captain Charlie by Flavius B. Hall, Jr.

The Real Captain Charlie chronicles the life of Charlie and Beatrice Holland Buckmaster, beginning with their early years of growing up in Swansboro and their marriage in 1921. As a newlywed couple, Beatrice and Charlie moved to the Bogue Inlet Coast Guard Station on Bogue Island, North Carolina where Charlie worked as a Surfman. During the 1920s the western end of the island was not inhabited, except for the few residents at the Station and occasional fishing camps. The only way to the island was by boat. This made for many adventurous situations. One such brave undertaking was that Charlie was highly instrumental as a leader in fighting against the "Rum-runners" of the Prohibition era. He was an expert at navigating the Coast Guard "picket boats."

Along with Charlie's courageous experiences in the Coast Guard, his story reveals that he had strong and inventive talents as a cook. Long before the famous "Captain Charlie's Restaurant" had been established, he owned two other restaurants, "The Seafood Cafe" on Swansboro's Front Street (early 1940s) and "The Riviera Club" (late 1940s - early 1950s) across the White Oak River Bridge. The Real Captain Charlie is told with selected sections written as a narrative, others with historical significance, and some sections allowing the images to direct the storyline. To enhance the total text, dozens of photographs, straight from various family albums, help to reveal the rich family history behind this tale. Several have never before been published including: photographs of Bogue Inlet Station, the devastation of Hurricane Hazel in 1954, The Swansboro U.S.O Club, The Seafood Cafe, The Riviera Club, Captain Charlie's Restaurant, the "Douglas" charter-fishing boat, and numerous family photos and resources.

This localized story is every American's story of family love, faith, grief, support, disappointment, sorrow, pride, strength, triumph, and the true comprehension of "belonging." Captain Charlie Buckmaster, Sr. along with his loving wife Beatrice, their dedicated children, caring family members, and special and supportive friends all helped to carve the real Captain Charlie into a lasting legacy and icon for Swansboro.

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designed by Vision IPD all content Flavius Hall 2015