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My grandfather and great-grandfather were both lock tenders on the Dismal Swamp Canal, at South Mills. The yellow fly menace was real. A Greensboro News & Record story by Jack Aulis (1990) mentions a Dare County Commissioner's description of two types of yellow flies. He added, "One bites all the time and the other bites every chance he gets."

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Jun 13Liked by Jeremy Markovich

Bland Simpson (UNC English Dept faculty and Red Clay Ramblers member) wrote a great book about the swamp, ‘The Great Dismal, A Carolinian’s Swamp Memoir‘. Worth a read.

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author

Bland! A legend.

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Jun 13Liked by Jeremy Markovich

He grew up in Elizabeth City, near the swamp. I have enjoyed talking to him about it, and growing up in Portsmouth my dad talked about going to the canal and swimming!

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Jun 15Liked by Jeremy Markovich

Great article! I taught NC History for several years early in my teaching career (mid 1970's); I'm afraid many of NC 's current residents have never heard of this area.

Looking forward to seeing more "history/geography" based articles.

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Jun 14·edited Jun 14Liked by Jeremy Markovich

25 years ago I took my 42' sailboat (with a 5' draft) through the canal. Tied up at a dock at a highway rest station overnight because the locks were not timed to get a slow boat all the way through before dark. I had a little guide book with me that featured off the beaten path places. If I recall correctly the book said it was the only rest station that served highway and marine traffic. The guide also mentioned areas of the canal that still had parts of the cypress bulkhead that George Washington built. I think i saw bits and pieces of it. It was fun traveling through a cornfield on the canal while seeing hwy 17 travelers gawking with unbelieving eyes at the sailboat in the cornfield because they could not see the canal from their vantage point. Loved this article. Thank you!

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Jun 13Liked by Jeremy Markovich

July Butterfly Count- Saturday, July 13th. Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Suffolk, VA. Join us for our July Count! All skill levels (including beginner) welcome; teams consist of folks with a mix of experience. The Count is a combination of driving and short walks. Please RSVP to susan_stanley@fws.gov if you would like to participate and include your skill level (Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced) and if you need to leave by a certain time (some teams stay out longer than others). The rain date is the following Saturday, July 20th.

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Jun 13Liked by Jeremy Markovich

Nice article. The yellow flies are not there year round. It’s a very different and pleasant experience to visit in the fall, winter and early spring. I have photoed bobcats, otters, minks, bears, owls and many many birds. In July, the Virginia side hosts its annual butterfly count. And in December, teams of us take a morning or a day and count birds. The annual birding festival is the last weekend in April.

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Jun 13Liked by Jeremy Markovich

Subject of my fifth grade geography project, probably unique for the Chicago suburbs. No wonder I ended up down here.

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Jun 13·edited Jun 13Liked by Jeremy Markovich

I live in California but grew up in Raleigh. Last fall my Californian wife and I spent a few days in Edenton, and took a day trip to the swamp. It was source of great amusement among friends and family in CA that we went through the effort to visit a "Great Dismal Swamp"!

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Jun 13Liked by Jeremy Markovich

Still looks to me like a good place to dump a body. Just sayin'...

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