Return to Dare County
Both letters transcribed and submitted by: Coley W. Jordan
Typed as correctly as possible from a copy of the original letters owned by Robert J. Rolison of Matthew, NC. No attempt was made to correct spelling or grammar in any form.
Aug 6th 1945
Mr. Joseph S. Rolison
My Dear Sir:
I am in receipt of yours of July 31st, and will have to admit that I never was more surprised in my life getting a letter from one of my near relatives that I did not know I had. Well I have learned that it is the unexpected that always happens now to start with please, take all my bad writing, bad mistakes and bad spelling for love and friendship. I am getting fairly old, brought up when schooling was of little concern along our Banks. So please be patient, don't tire and I will try to tell you a little something about your and mine ancestors. Viz. Our Great Grand father a Scotchman by the name of Rubin Rolinson was ship wrecked on the beach somewhere about where Hatters Inlet now is. He never went away, but continued to stay on that part of the banks, lived with the natives and married one of their fair madens. Her name I have forgotten but to them was borned three sons. Viz. Ephram, Jessie and George who was my grandfather. If they had any sisters I never learned of them. If I did I have forgotten about them of course you know of your people George had borned to him four sons, Viz. Erasmus, Gibbons, Rawson and Kenneth, five daughters, Elizabeth, Margarett, Marah, Liddie and Annie. They are all dead but Annie she lives at 111 Ann St. Beaufort N.C. To Jessie was borned on son Rubin, one daughter Fannie. They are both dead, Annie (her marriage name is Midgett) is the only living child of Georges's on Jessie's Children. "Again" to my father Erasmus there was borned four sons and four daughters, (including one set of Twins) Viz. George, Gibbons who live at 322 fourth St. Portsmouth Va. Edward who lives at 3 Walnut Terrace, Santa Cruz Calif. That is his home address, but he is in the US Marine Hospital in San Francisco Calif. has been their for two and half years with a Tumor in his hip. My younger Brother is living at Buxton NC his name is Warren R. Rollinson. Gibbons and Edward is retired from the service. Gibbons from the Lighthouse service. Ed from the Coast Guard. Warren is a House Macanic and makes good money. I grew a fisherman until I was 21 years old. I took to sailing vessals at the age of 24. I made Master at the age of 36. I got mate paper for ocean going steam ships at the age of 44. I was made Master, and served until 1923. My health got so bad also my hart went weak. I had to quit the sea have been at home since. I have a little garden and do a little fishing once and a while. I have non but my wife, she is six months younger than me. If I live to Oct. 31 I will be 75. We have two sons, William E. who lives at Manteo N.C. he is retired from the Coast Guard. Daniel R. who live at Taylor S.C. he is retired from the C. G. two daughters, Lovie Farrow, 911 Crowell Ave, Norfolk Virginina. Mrs E. E. Clark 425 Harrison St. Portsmouth, Va. I have ten grand children, four great grand children. Gibbons has one son living at Bay Shore, N.Y. I do not know his no.
My Bro. Warren has two sons, George and Charlie they live either at Bay Shore or Long Island. Gibbons son is named Hoyett W. all three is in the C.G. you can Call their Commander of that district and he will tell you where they are. They are all very fine fellows they all have families living up there.
Dear Cosin Joseph, as I now will address you. I will try to answere your questions. But first as I told you in the beginning our Great Grandfather Rubin was cast ashore on the beach. The date I do not know. I supose he married at Hatteras his sons married at Hatteras and lived there many years before they moved further up the bank which is now known as the village of Frisco. About half way between Hatteras and Buxton. Up until about the latter part of the 1870's this part of the banks was in Hyde Co. I do not know the date it was anxed to Dare Co. So your great Grandfather lived and died in Hyde Co. It was about the time your father left the Banks that we was anixed to Dare Co. He moved as I have sense learned to Pamlico Co. at a place called Bay River, but do not know the name of the Village or P.O.
Q 2. As before stated your Father was named Ephram Rolinson, but later there was a man named Rolinson who was elected to represent Dare Co. in the general assembly. It seamed that the name Rolinson and the name Robinson of time get confused. So the Mr. Rolinson got a act passed to have an another L added to the name Rolinson making it Rollinson. So this is about the best I can tell you about the names.
Q 3. Your father must of migrated from Dare but I am not sure as I was too young to know the date of the moving. And do not know the date of transfering this part of Banks to Dare. But I will look the date up and let you know later. It was about the date of 1884 or 85 that your Uncel John came up here from Pamlico Co. and sold the land that your Grandfather left here, he moved away without selling his land. A man named George P. Austin bought later. My brother Gibbons bought it and build himself a house on it. It now belongs to a Mr. Shurman Barnett.
Being that the Mr. Rollinson getting a act passed in the general assembly to add another L to our name then Rollinson is the only legal way to spell our name, I supose you will agree with me.
I think it was in 1935 that I was driving through Pamlico Co. and stopped at a place called BayBorough and to ultimate surprise ran bang into your uncil Jessie and I believe it was Billy also. When they found who I was they both grabed me around the neck, one in front the other to my my back and litterly swamped me under. I got my arms around them and we all stood their and cryed kissed each other they were just over joyed and so was I.
* I note your offer to compensate me for giving you what little information I know now. Just listen, Just finding out that I have another relative of my Fathers that is living is more then all the compensation you might offer.
I have not half way given you all the information I would like to. All this is such a surprise to me, and being that I am getting old and my memory is not as good as it use's to be and I have not had any occasion to memorize dates pertaining to this matter. I will admit I have about run out of them. But I promise that I will try and look some dates and give to you. And Dear Cosin, at any time or any thing I can render you any service it will give me much joy and pleasure to render it to you. I know you will get awfully tried trying to make out this letter. I will try and bring it to a close. But I know you will pardon and old mans bad writing and a few of his mistakes. As before stated away back years ago, they had no deffinate way to spell our name, some spelled it Roluson some Rolison, some Rolinson and some Rollinson. But the legal and only right way according to the act of the legislation of the assembly of 1885 or 1886 (I forgot which) is Rollinson.
Now Cosin Joseph, please write me again and tell more about yourself. What is your occupation, your mother, your everyday life and etc. Thanking you for writing me. Hoping this will help you some also ask me about anything you may want to know and I will endevor to give you any information I can, and in the meantime I will look up some dates.
Trusting this find you and yours well and happy. And wishing you the very best of everything. I remain always your cosin.
George K. Rollinson
Oct 8th 1945
Dear Cousin Joseph;
Your letter of Sept 18th to hand to day, (of course it has been home sometime, as usual I have been away) and sure enjoyed hearing from you again. Am awfuly sorry to have kept you waiting so long for an answer. I am like most of the other fishermen. I am away from home most of the time. I assure you I enjoyed your letter, it sure interested me, I had no thought of your uncils and aunt being so old. Although I hadn't thought about myself. I was just a little tot when they moved away, and I will be 75 years old the 31st of this month (if I live to see it) so they must be all of 85 or 90 years old.
Your letter found me and my good wife enjoying fairly good health (thank God). I am botherd a little with the Rhumatism also my wife has the something like the witis that bothers her at times. You see we are just where we started 53 years ago, nobody but ourselves. We raised up our six children and they married and left us (all but one that died young). Then we took one of our grand daughters and raised her up, now she has left us, she has been on her own for two years, she has a good position in one of Woolworth big stores. So it is just her and I, but we are very happy. We have lots of other peoples children running in to see us, so that helps to keep away the blues. All of our grand children lives to far away to visit us very often. They only come once a year, and we visit them once a year, driving the hollydays.
Well I supose I will try and answer your inquires in so far as I can.
Q 1. Yes, they spelled the Rolinson.
Q 2. No, I have not learned what town or county they came from. I only know he was called a Scotch Highlander. I do not know what part of Scotland is called the Highland.
Q 3. I have been told by my Grandfather that his father named his children after his Brothers in Scotland, but he did not know how many there was of his family.
Q 4. I do not know where there was any Irish in your family or not only my family. My Mother was the Daughter of a true blooded Irishman, her mother was of English Blood.
Q 5. Yes, he married (as I have been told) a very beautiful maden, but where she was of any Indian Blood I do not know. Although there must have been Indian girls along the banks at that time. Because there is a set of people living on Hatteras proper that sure showes the trace of Indian Blood in them. Their name is Oden. I have never talked with any of them about their ancestors. They are a very sensitive people and they think they are of some Royal Blood.
Yes, if my mind serves me right it was in 1885, that cousin John was here and sold his fathers property. He had non of his own to sell, just his fathers. He sold it to a man named Geo. P. Austin, he built a house on the land, later he sold it to a man named James B. Whedbee, later he sold it to my brother. W. G. Rollinson, three years ago he sold it to the present owner Shurman Barnett.
Oh no Joseph, your droping in on us would not be of much surprise, because I think I know you alright. You have about pictured yourself to me so throughly I believe I would know you should you drop in at anytime besids we have lots of straingers to see us. They here of me and come to see me. But I don't know who they are.
I hope you will come this way, and be sure to let me know about the time you might come along so I can be home. As I told you in the beginning I am away from home quite a lot. It would hurt badly if you should stop to see me and I be gone.
About the rout, you will have to follow the Buss rout from Norfolk to Manteo N.C. Then follow the mail route. Stop over night in Manteo and pull out with Mail Buss. At 6 am follow her down the Banks, that will put you at my house about 11:30 to 12 noon. But you can't drive any further than Hatteras, 6 miles south of us. But you can catch a boat, put your car on the boat which will land you at Englehard in about two and half hours. That puts you on the main rout to take you anywhere south. Otherwise you will have to retrace your rout back to Manteo and catch the ferry across the Croatan sound (30 minutes run) to Mans Harbor, then you can hit the main rout south.
Nowthere, If you will think this will be to round about way to come see me. Just let me know and I will try and meet you at one of our daughters who lives in Portsmouth Va. We are thinking to go spend the holldays with our daughter who lives in Portsmouth and Berkly Va. So if you think it will be to inconvenient for you to come this way, we will be too glad to meet you there, or most anywhere. At least, let me here from you before you get ready to start your journey. And I will let you know all about how the driving will be down the beach, and in fact I will tell you all about the trip down here.
Now listen, try and not keep me waiting as long as I have you. Also anything I may pick up or learn I will let you know.
Hoping this finds you and family well and enjoying the very best of everything and hope to here from you again soon.
Remain Always Your Cousin
George K. Rolison
PS. If you get to tired trying to read this, let me know.
© 2009 Kay Midgett Sheppard & Marla Beasley