Roosevelt On the Outer Banks

Franklin Roosevelt in an ox cart driven by Alvin T. Mason

This photo of F.D.R. appeared in the Jan. 26, 1949 issue of Life Magazine- part of a collection of photographs from the life of F.D.R. The photograph was taken about 1918 at the Pilantary Club near Portmouth Island. In 1984 William Monroe Mason wrote in The Heritage of Carteret County, Vol. II: 

"My father, Alvin Thomas Mason, was born October 8, 1879. My father was keeper of the clubhouse on the outer banks in the early days of their marriage [to Amelia Newton 1898].

"There was no law in those days against shooting birds. There were plenty of ducks and geese for the killing. Many were shipped to companies in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago for food and plumage.

"The clubhouse was owned by the Mott family of New York. My mother told me one time that the Motts invited Franklin Roosevelt, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy [1913-1920], to the clubhouse to hunt. My dad took Mr. Roosevelt out and fitted him in a duck blind.

"In those days, Dad used an ox cart to carry all the decoys, everyone, and their equipment. He would drive the cart out into the water to the blind, put all the decoys and equipment out and return to shore. Mr. Roosevelt enjoyed his hunt very much and planned to come back but never did."