Monday, December 10, 2018

Chance for Tavern

The first Tolson on the Outer Banks was John Tolson who purchased lot #1 on Portsmouth Island in 1756. However, it was not until  1830 that any Tolsons (William and Thomas) appeared in the federal census of Ocracoke.

By the mid-nineteenth century Daniel Tolson (1826-1879) had become a prosperous antebellum Ocracoke merchant. In 1855 Tolson, just shy of 40 years old, was appointed postmaster. In that same year he purchased a large tract of land which later became known as Springer's Point. Daniel Tolson served as postmaster until 1866, at a weekly salary of $9.17. In 1857 he was half owner of the the five year old, 55' long schooner, Patron. During his life he had owned 22 slaves. Daniel Tolson is buried in a secluded spot at Springer's Point.

On October 8, 1856, shortly after his purchase of Springer's Point, which included a number of houses and other buildings, Daniel Tolson ran an advertisement in a Washington, NC, newspaper.

Tolson House at Springer's Point

The ad was titled,

"Chance for Tavern," and read:

"On Ocracoke, Hyde Co. N.C. I have three or four commodious and convenient buildings with necessary out houses. A garden and pasture requisite for support of a hotel for which purpose, I will rent them for a month, or any number of months -- Close at hand can be had oysters clams and fish. Here we can view the egress and regress of ships, the bar and Portsmouth, snuff the ocean's salubrious breeze which renders it highly pleasurable and pleasant, as a summer resort. WHO WILL TAKE THE OFFER?

Daniel Tolson"

Today Springer's Point is a nature preserve managed by the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust.

Springer's Point

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is a chapter from Philip Howard's book, Digging up Uncle Evans, about the 1837 wreck of the Steamboat Home, one of the most horrific wrecks ever on the North Carolina coast. You can read it here:


  1. Phillip, not to criticize you but slavery was abolished in the whole of the USA in 1865 at the end of the civil war and the outer banks was under the control of the Union before that. If he died in 1879 then he couldn't of owned slaves.

    1. Jason, you are absolutely correct. At the time of his death he did not own any slaves. I have corrected the article. Thank you!!

    2. Phillip, no worries. Your post are very well written and its defining easy to make a mistake or typo.