Monday, August 29, 2016

Rob Hanks

A few days ago I received this question in an email message: "Who was the ruff looking guy that would just appear out of the woods around the old well (now covered) area if you were walking there [Springer's Point].  He would tell you about Blackbeard and hope you would give him some change.  To my 12 year old mind I was quite certain he was a 'pyrate'  I never learned who he was."

The questioner is referring to Rob Hanks (Robert Dozier Tolson). Rob Hanks (his nickname is a reference to his father Benjamin Henry "Hank" Tolson) was born in 1895, and died in 1961.

OPS Photo, James B. Gaskill Collection

Rob was a memorable island character who, in the 1950s, offered to tell visitors "the story of Ocracoke and Blackbeard" for a dime. He was short and slight of build. He often wore a white sailor's cap, a jacket, and long pants, even in the middle of the summer. Rob Hanks could usually be found at Springer's Point, near where Blackbeard met his end in November, 1718.

If any of our readers remember Rob Hanks, please leave a comment with your story.

Our Ocracoke Newsletter for this month is an article by Philip Howard, My Ocracoke, Living amidst 250 years of Howard family history. You can read it here:

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