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RECREATION ASSOCIATION, INC.
CHOWAN BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA
of Chowan Beach
by George Farrell and Rawl Gelinas
Preface Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5
Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10
Holley was one of the wealthiest men in
Chowan County and Bandon Plantation was
intensely productive. Then came the War.
While Bandon escaped physical destruction
by enemy troops it was not spared the
devastation caused by financial hardship.
With the emancipation of his slaves, Mr.
Holley's work force shrank to six, who
stayed to work for only room and board.
Even that was hard to provide.
the total production of the once fruitful
plantation had diminished to 1000 bushels
of Indian corn, ten bushels of Irish
potatoes, and fifty bushels of sweet
potatoes. The once large herds of cows had
dwindled to 52 head, and they produced
that year only fifty pounds of butter.
Some of them had to be slaughtered for
meat to feed his family of five and the
six hands left to work the land and the
fishery. The income for that year was less
reduced from a very wealth planter to a
man beset by financial woes. His personal
worth had shrunk from over $100,000 to
$2000. He sold off part of Bandon's land
to try to pay his debts. But as the land
and his income dwindled the debts grew.
The acreage was down from the original
2350 to 1600 and Bandon, which in its
proud past had been an enormously
productive plantation, was now a barely
self-sufficient farm. His debts had
mounted into the thousands by the early
nothing left but to mortgage Bandon. In
fact he mortgaged it twice, once in 1884
and again in 1886, both times to W.D.
Pruden. By now William Holley was in his
mid-sixties, living alone on his farm. He
was unable to do either the farm work or
the upkeep on the buildings and had no
money with which to hire anyone to do it
he must have been, he had not given up all
hope. Mr. Holley planned to repay his
debts and own Bandon free and clear again.
He expressed his faith in the outcome by
making a will leaving Bandon to his
youngest daughter, Pattie Holley Hays,
wife of James M. Hays. This he did shortly
after signing the second Deed of Trust to
W.D. Pruden in 1886. But his dream was not
to be realized and only his death, at age
70, in the summer of 1890 saved him from
seeing the loss of his once thriving
plantation. In December of the next year
Mr. Pruden advertised that Bandon would to
up for public auction in thirty days.
still had rights to the property but sold
them to John Martin Forehand only three
days after the sale was announced. He must
have had great confidence that he would
win the bid to have bought them before the
actual auction was held! In the end he did
prove to be the highest bidder and on
January 16, 1892 bought Bandon with its
1600 acres for a paltry $5,500.
To Part Six
Copyright © 2013 The Chowan
Beach Recreation Association, Inc.
Portions Copyright © 2010 George Farrell
and Rawl Gelinas