THE LATE CAPT. TOLAR - 1896
(Condensed from a Sketch in the Horry (S.C.) Herald.)
Fayetteville Observer, February 18, 1896
Posted January 10, 2010 by Myrtle Bridges
William James TOLAR was born in Cumberland County, N.C., March 11th 1827. He was raised a farmer boy, working
on his father's farm until his marriage, a little before he was twenty one years of age to Miss Isabella McCASKILL,
of Fayetteville, N.C. Early in the fifties he left the farm to engage, first in timber getting along the line of
the then new Wilmington and Manchester R.R., but in 1855 quit this for the turpentine business, in which he continued
actively and successfully until the beginning of the civil war.
The virgin pine forests of Horry District, S.C., attracted him to them about 1st Jan. 1858, and he moved to this
section and made his home about 16 miles from Conwayboro, on the Galivants Ferry road. W.J. Tolar never did things
half-heartedly. Whatever he believed with his whole soul and whatever he engaged in he did it with his whole heart.
He believed in the righteousness of the cause of his adopted State when she decided to secede from the Union and
was among the first of the patriots of his District to volunteer his services to his country. He joined as a private
the first military company raised in Horry. "The Brooks Guards," under Capt. J.H. NORMAN. This company was ordered
to North Island the entrance to Georgetown Harbour early in 1861, before the fall of Fort Sumter. On reaching North
Island the Brooks Guards had one officer (the 2nd Lieut.) absent and W.J. Tolar was called from the ranks to fill
his place. On July 19th the Brooks Guards with nine other companies were organized into the 10th Regiment, S.C.
Volunteers at Camp Marion near Georgetown, S.C., and enlisted for twelve months. Soon after this came the darkest
cloud and the saddest blow in W.J. Tolar's life. He was called from the camp to the bedside of his dying wife, her
he loved so well, who had so lovingly shared all his struggles and hardships to the fight with fortune, to get ahead.
Four children were left. The oldest, a son twelve years of age returned with him to the Camp and the three youngest,
daughter, were sent to the grand parents. Soon after returning to Camp the First Lieutenant of the Brooks Guards
(now Co. B. 10th S.C.V.), Samuel Bell resigned to go home and raise another Company and W.J. Tolar was promoted to
fill his place. Before the end of the twelve months enlistment the Regiment was re-enlisted for "three years of the
war" and at this re-enlistment, Lieut. Tolar was elected Captain and held this position when the "stars and bars" he
had followed so valiantly were folded forever. As to the kind of soldier Capt. Tolar was, we take the liberty of quoting
from a letter recently written by Gen. C.I. WALKER, of Charleston, S.C., his last Colonel and one who was with him from
beginning to end of his military service, Colonel Walker writes:
"Allow me to mourn with you the loss of a brave and true man and friend. I first met Capt. Tolar, when in 1861, the 10th S.C.
Regiment assembled at Camp Marion near Georgetown and during the terrible four years following which tried men's souls,
I was thrown immediately with him in almost daily and hourly association, and I learned to love, esteem and appreciate
the nobility of his character. To his comrades he was all kindness and full of love. His bravery in the most trying
situations was conspicuous. The men of his own company love him devotedly and his heroic bearing was always a high example
to them and to every man in the Regiment. It is recalled to my mind how often I have seen him leading his company into action,
showing the way to glory; his magnificent unflinching courage, directing and encouraging them in their devoted struggle for
their country, their homes, their liberty. I shall never forget the afternoon of July 22nd in front of Atlanta, when he fell,
we all feared mortally wounded, and my keep appreciation of the great loss I and the Regiment had sustained, nor my great
relief and joy when I found the wound was not fatal and that his life was safe. Since the war we have not been thrown much
together, much to my regret, but we have always kept in touch and his joys and successes, his griefs and misfortunes always
had my deepest sympathies. Those of us, who for four long years rallied around the colors of the 40th S.C. Regiment, are
gradually passing away from earth's scenes, I trust to rally again in a purer and better world. None of that body of brave
men have left a nobler name or more brilliant record than my old friend, Capt. W.J. Tolar."
His splendid war record would avail him little in the life he has now gone to live, however, if he had lived for this life
and its fading glories alone, He was converted and joined the Baptist church in the fourteenth year of his age and lived a
consistent devoted Christian life until the end. We ill quote from one who was long his pastor and knew him well: "He was
in every sense a patriot and philanthropist. While he was devoted to business, he was much more devoted to the services of
his God, ever striving to build up and advance his cause. He poured his means into the Lord's treasury, he fed the poor, he
clothed the naked, led the children into the Sabbath schools, supplied them with literature and taught them the way of eternal
life by both precept and example-in a word we would say he was a model Christian gentleman. A great man in Israel has fallen,
a bright light in our Christian constellation has gone out from among us, but still shines above."
Most of his life since the civil war has been spent in business in North Carolina, where he married just before the war closed,
Miss Columbia MIMS, of Fayetteville, and was again most fortunate in his choice, securing a faithful, devoted and loving wife.
His business success was varied and mixed with reverses and he was too liberal to accumulate money, but he left his wife and
three loving children, who gathered around his bedside in his last moments the richer inheritance of a noble, spotless name.
Recent Additions in Cumberland
Index to Newspaper Abtracts
Cumberland County Homepage