Williams Purchased the "White House" Property


Hammock House circa early 1900
In his History of the Hammock House, Maurice Davis wrote about Robert Williams.

“Robert Williams, a Quaker, was one of the most remarkable men who ever lived in Carteret County. He obviously made no small plans.

“He is first recorded in the county in June 1765 when he purchased from Timothy Alling and Benjamin Olney, merchants, two parcels of 75 acres along Taylor’s Creek designated ‘Taylor’s Old Field’ and the White House, the western part of the land formerly belonging to James Winwright, deceased. Williams also obtained from Mary Whorton, widow of Mattock Whorton, an assignment of her dower rights in the White House land ‘where she now lives.’

“In 1767 he returned to England and married Elizabeth Dearman…In the same year Williams purchased property in New Bern and opened the ‘Ready Money Store.’ He also had a store in Beaufort. By 1769 he had begun to purchase property along Black Creek between the settlement that was to become Newport and the Mill Creek home and mill of William Borden. He dammed the creek and created a large mill pond, using water power to operate a saw mill and grist mill. He also raised rice there and built a brick house using brick and ballast stone brought from England.

“William obviously overextended himself from time to time with his several enterprises and his Quaker brethren—the Bordens and the Stantons—sometimes came to his rescue. In 1773 he lost his house and store in New Bern. William Borden bought his Black Creek property at a sheriff’s sale in 1775. Williams’ managed to retrieve the later. The Hammock property was sold in 1777 as the result of bankruptcy and was purchased by Benjamin Stanton.

“Robert Williams and his first wife Elizabeth, who died in 1773, had one child, Richard. Richard’s secod wife in 1796 was Sarah Stanton, daughter of Benjamin. In the year following Elizabeth’s death, Robert was thrown out of the Core Sound Quaker Meeting [as mentioned above]. Robert, however, made his peace with his Quaker brethren and in the same year married Ann Shoebridge, his first wife’s English friend. They had eight children, three of whom survived to adulthood.

“In 1790 Robert died at his Black Creek plantation ‘Dinnant.’ His widow and family migrated to Ohio.

“It was Milton Williams who came to Carteret County and located his ancestor’s grave at ‘Dinnant’ and marked it with an appropriate stone. However, Robert Williams’ most fitting memorial is the beautiful mill pond which is all that remains of his remarkable ‘Dinnant’ plantation. The saw mill was still producing lumber during the Civil War.”