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.
William Tolson was born ca. 1770, and is listed as head of household, along with seven children aged 20 years or younger, and one woman (presumably his wife) 40 - 50 years old.William is the largest slave holder on the island, owning 21 of the 128 slaves.
Thomas Tolson (probably William's son) was 30 - 40 years old, with five children and one woman (presumably his wife) 30-40 years old. He owned four slaves.
Daniel Tolson (1816-1879), another of William's sons, was a prosperous antebellum Ocracoke merchant. In 1855 Daniel Tolson, just shy of 40 years old, was appointed postmaster. He served 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. Daniel Tolson purchased a relatively large tract of land on Ocracoke, including Springer's Point, where he is buried in a secluded spot.
|Daniel Tolson's Grave|
Most of Ocracoke's present day Tolsons are descended from William Tolson's son, William Sylvester Tolson (b. ca. 1827) who worked as a pilot guiding sailing vessels through Ocracoke Inlet.
Interestingly, William Sylvester's son, Daniel (1867-1944) married Sabra Howard (1870-1951), and she became Sabra Tolson. Some years later, Sabra Tolson (1894-1970) married Napoleon Howard (1888-1957) and became Sabra Howard! Just one reason tracing family lines on Ocracoke can be so challenging.
Out latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of the Aleta, Ocracoke's mailboat from 1944-1952, compliments of the Core Sound Museum. Click on the following link for photos, text, and audio recordings about this iconic vessel: http://www.coresound.com/saltwaterconnections/portlight/aleta/