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The History 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

Part Four

William J. Holley was born in Bertie County and had recently moved to Chowan County when he bought Bandon at auction in 1852. He moved into Bandon Plantation the next year. Although he belonged to a wealthy family, his assets were tied up in property of various sorts and it took him four years to pay off Bandon. However, within three years after that he was again prosperous.

The Chowan River was by now not only a major source of commercial fishing but also one of the main routes of transportation. In 1836, a regular steamboat route had been established between Edenton and what would become Franklin, Virginia, where the Norfolk Railroad crossed the river. Around 1850, the Albemarle Steam Navigation Company, which would serve the area for over 75 years, was formed and Holley's Wharf was one of its stops. Among the goods being shipped were corn, timber, fish (from Parson Earl's herring business?) and meat products. It is interesting to note that although the plantation retained the name Bandon for its entire existence, the wharf became so busy and so well known during William Holley's time that it is still referred to as Holley's Wharf.

The goods shipped from this wharf helped Mr Holley become one of the wealthiest planters in the area by 1860, with lands and personal property valued at more than $100,000. Bandon was flourishing. There was no reason for Mr. Holley to make any major changes in the running of the plantation and so things continued much as they had during the ownership of Charles Earl Johnson. William Holley had three daughters and one son by his first wife and another daughter by his second. Oddly enough he seems to have named two of his daughters Elizabeth, the oldest and the youngest. The latter was known as Pattie and would be his heir.

Bandon Plantation was at the height of its glory, as was much of the antebellum South, during the latter years of Daniel Earl Johnson's ownership and the early years of William Holley's. But by 1860, the halcyon days of the South, and of Bandon, were fast coming to an end. The War Between the States was about to wreak its havoc.

On To Part Five

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Copyright 2013 The Chowan Beach Recreation Association, Inc.
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