This small quaint seaport has roots back to April 7, 1730 when Isaac and Jonathan Green Sr. purchased from Ebenezer Harker "a certain plantation and track of land containing by estimation 441 acres situate lying and being in ye Carterett in ye county of province of aforsaid being ye west side of ye mouth off White Oak River." By 1771 Theophilus Weeks started a town on his plantation, laying out a plat and selling lots. Formerly known as Bogue, Week's Point, The Wharf and New Town, the town was officially designated by the North Carolina General Assembly on May 6, 1783. Above photo (from North Carolina State Archives) courtesy Jack Dudley, as included in Swansboro - A Pictorial Tribute

David Ward Sanders and Family

This ink-wash drawing of Sander's Plantation at Hatchell's Point was done during the Civil War by H.E. Valentine - July 13, 1863. Valentine noted the site was on route to Swansboro, NC. 
Image courtesy Virginia Tech Imagebase - H.E. Valentine Sketchbook
In her 1959 paper on the early history of Onslow County published in The Commonwealth of Onslow by Joseph P. Brown, Lucy Green wrote, “At the outbreak of the Civil War one of the show-places of the area was Palo Alto Plantation*, owned by David W. Sanders, and the entire plantation was given over to the raising of cotton. During a raid by Federal troops the place was overrun by soldiers, the house and barns plundered and the slaves driven off. Today the house stands as a memorial to the cotton era in this area.” Is this house H.E. Valentine sketched during the Civil War and was perhaps remodeled after the war? If not, it is on the same land owned by D.W. Sanders.
Map Showing Site of Palo Alto Plantation - Sander's 1840-1860 Farm and Distillery
David Ward Sanders' Lineage:
Isaac Sanders 1777-1821 Sanders Family Cemetery
John Sanders 1645-1712, born in Wasmond, Virginia, married Sarah Davis.
Francis Sanders 1676-1744, born in Isle of Wight, Virginia, married Mary ____.
John Sanders 1690-1751, born in Virginia, married Mary Neal.
John Sanders 1725-1796, born in Virginia, married Rebecca Shepherd.
Isaac Newton Sanders 1777-1821, born in Onslow County, married Ruth Ward.
David Ward Sanders 1800-1860, born in Onslow County, married Alice Mitchell.

Children of Isaac Newton Sanders and Ruth Ward: David Ward Sanders 1800-1860, Daniel S. Sanders 1800-1854, Benjamin W. Sanders 1807-1880, John A. Sanders 1809-1880, Edward Ward Sanders 1811-1854, Nancy Sanders 1813-1846 and Isaac Newton Sanders 1817-1866. (Jones Family Tree on

In his 1821 Will, Isaac Sanders "loaned to his wife land he had purchased from John Sanders including house and salt works; after her death to Isaac. To son David, three hundred acres lying on the southwest prong of the New River. To Daniel and Benjamin lands bought from John Sanders including house, salt works and one hundred acres of land adjoining the wood place together with my Inland lands near Bear Inlet. To John A., Edward all my land not otherwise disposed of including my piney lands.”

His marker in the Sanders Family Cemetery in Hubert reads: "In Memory of  ISSAC SANDERS who was born the 19th day of May 1777, and died the 8th day of Sep. 1821, & was the Father of 11 Children." This cemetery is on private property off Bear Creek Road.

Portrait circa 1852
Artist: William Carle Brown
TN State Library and Archives
August 20, 1800 – August 26, 1860
  • NC Clerk of Superior Court
  • Representative 1855
  • Constitutional Convention
  • Grandson Daniel L. Russell Jr. was NC governor 1897-1901
  • David’s wife Alice Mitchell was the daughter of George Warren Mitchell 1770-1830 and Phoebe Ogden Starkey 1790-1857 of Onslow County.
Children of David W. and Alice Mitchell Sanders: Caroline Elizabeth Sanders 1825-1845 (mother of Governor Daniel Russell), Isaac B. Sanders 1829-1851, twin of George Edward Sanders 1829-1836, J.B. Sanders born 1829 and Benjamin Sanders born 1831.

1820 Census, Onslow County, North Carolina:: 4 Persons in Household

1830 Census: 31 Persons in Household  including 23 Slaves

1840 Census: 87 Persons – 82 Slaves – 57 Engaged in Agriculture
Free White Persons - Males - 10 thru 14: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 30 thru 39: 1
Free White Persons - Males - 40 thru 49: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 30 thru 39: 1
Free White Persons - Females - 60 thru 69: 1

1850 Census, White Oak, Onslow County, North Carolina:
Farmer D.W. Sanders, 49, Alice 44, Phoebe O. Mitchell 70, J.B. Sanders 21 “sawyer,” Oden Taylor 20 overseer. Value of real estate owned was $28,000.

1850 Slave Schedule, White Oak Township: D.W. Sanders - 134 slaves including children of slaves. The 1860 Slave Schedule noted D.W. Sanders with 188 slaves and 32 slave houses.

1850 Manufacturing Schedule – Turpentine Distillery: $4000 Capital invested; Raw Materials – Quantity 30,000, Value $37,500; Steam Power; 6 hands employed; Wages $72 per month; Annual – Quantities 25,000, Rosin and Turpentine, Value $35,800.

1860 Census, White Oak, Onslow County, North Carolina – Post Office Palo Alto:
Farmer David W. 64, Alice 54 and M.W. Draughn 26 overseer.

Part of D.W. Sanders 1859 Will
In his 1859 will, David Ward Sanders left a great deal of money, for that time, to his wife and children along with “my plantation & Negroes to be kept together under the direction and control of Danl. L. Russell, one of my Exr. for two years at least, after that he to act with them at his pleasure either to farm or rent out the lands and hire out the Negroes.”

The following were buried in Hickory Hill (D.W. Sanders Cemetery) located adjacent to 3210 Belgrade-Swansboro Road, Maysville, Onslow County, NC:

  • Alice Mitchell Sanders and David W. Sanders
  • 1) Isaac B. Sanders son of David W. and Alice Sanders, age 22 yrs 5 mos 6 days 2) George E. 1836 twin brother of Isaac B. Sanders age 6yrs 11 mos 5 days 3) Carolina E. 1842 wife of Daniel L. Russell and daughter of David W. and Alice Sanders, age 20 yrs 3 mos 9 days
  • 1) Daniel Lindsay Russell* 1845-1908 son of Daniel Lindsay Russell and Elizabeth Caroline Sanders—Statesman – Jurist – Soldier. Gov of NC 1897-1901. CAPT CO. G 2NC ARTILLERY CSA 2) Sarah Amanda Sanders Russell, 1844- 1913 daughter of I.N. and S.C. Burns Sanders, wife of D. L. Russell - Inspirer of educators, temperance advocate, woman suffrage pioneer
Many of the above details were found on the Jones Family Tree at

Governor of North Carolina 1897-1901
*Daniel Lindsay Russell, Jr. (1845-1908) was elected to office by the uneasy Fusion alliance of Republicans and Populists in the bitter and racially charged election of 1896. The "Maverick Republican" was born in Brunswick County. At age six, he went to live at the Onslow County home of his grandfather. Russell studied at the Bingham School and the University of North Carolina; the Civil War cut short his education.

Daniel L. Russell 1845-1908 - Sanders-Hickory Hill Cemetery
Russell was nineteen when he was elected in 1864 to the state House. He won election as a Superior Court judge, remaining in that position for six years. In 1878 he ran for the U.S. House and served a single term. Out of political office, he castigated the Democrats for their use of the racial issue, charging that blacks had been innocent victims of white barbarity.

By the early 1890s agrarian unrest and economic depression split the Democratic Party. An alliance with Populists resulted in victories in 1896 that removed control of the legislature from the Democrats and placed Republican Russell in the governor's office. During Russell's administration, the Railroad Commission gave way to a Corporate Commission and a new law provided for popular election of the Commissioner of Agriculture. Some of the greatest gains came in education.

One of Russell's disappointments was his inability to recover the North Carolina Railroad from its lease to the Southern Railway. In the last two years of his term, the Democratic Party resurrected the racial issue and staged the "Red Shirt" campaign, capturing the legislature and many state offices. The Democrats virtually negated any gubernatorial powers, witness Russell's ineffectiveness in using state troops to quell the 1898 Wilmington race riot. Further insult followed when Russell was forced to accept the "grandfather clause" effectively prohibiting blacks from voting.

After leaving office, Russell returned to Brunswick County to try to recoup financial losses due to agricultural failures. At his death in May 1908, his estate cleared only $1,000. Russell is buried in a family plot at Belgrade in Onslow County. Source

Side Porch - PALO ALTO
  • In 1874 (Bk. HH, p. 49), James and William Hatsel bought from D. W. Sanders land known as Hatchell’s Point lying at mouth of Hadnot’s creek. This land included the mill site and the Dudley Cemetery
  • PALO ALTO PLANTATION was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The house at 1706 Belgrade Swansboro Road, Maysville, is noted as having Federal and Greek Revival elements. Periods of historic significance 1825-1849 and 1850-1874. 
Mr. & Mrs. David Ward Sanders
Click to enlarge


Anonymous said...

There is a portrait of David Ward Sanders in the Tennessee State Archives.

bgibson135 said...

Alice Mitchell, D.W. Sanders's wife, from the same source.

Mary Warshaw said...

Regarding the above comments, the photos from this source have been added to the bottom of the post.