Roy A. Archbell, Jr., Collection on Andrew S. Austin, PC.5079

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Roy A. Archbell, Jr., Collection on Andrew S. Austin, PC.5079

Abstract

Andrew S. Austin, a native of Hatteras, North Carolina, acquired a tract of land in the 1950s from the heirs of George S. Rollinson and Jesse Rollinson. According to public records of Dare County, the last land transaction that affected this parcel of property, prior to Andrew Austin's acquisition, was in 1849. After Andrew Austin's death, the tract, which borders the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, was divided among his children. In 1985, Howard Phipps, Jr. and his wife, Mary N. S. Phipps, filed a lawsuit against eight Hatteras families, claiming that they were the owners of the property as a result of land transaction that originated with a land grant to a Georgia A. Gaskins in January 1910. The "Gaskins Grant" was a large tract of land that described 400 acres or more and ran several miles along the oceanfront in the Hatteras-Frisco area. Six of the eight families named in the lawsuit claimed their ownership through Andrew S. Austin and were represented by Kitty Hawk attorney Roy A. Archbell, Jr. Though it became apparent that the Phipps' claims, under the Gaskins Grant, would be defeated, it also appeared that they had other potential claims to the same property through George Rollinson. Since both sides recognized the extreme difficulty in establishing the true dividing lines between the George Rollinson parcels, they decided to settle the litigation. As a result there was never a final court adjudication.
The materials in this collection are Archbell's research materials and court documents. They include: correspondence, photographs, genealogical information, deeds, land surveys, maps, witness depositions, and trial exhibits.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Roy A. Archbell, Jr., Collection on Andrew S. Austin
Call Number
PC.5079
Creator
Archbell, Roy A., Jr.
Date
1923-1989
Extent
7.66 cubic feet
Language
English
Repository
Outer Banks History Center

Restrictions on Access & Use

Access Restrictions

Available for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], PC.5079, Roy A. Archbell, Jr., Collection on Andrew S. Austin, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, N.C., U.S.A.

Collection Overview

This collection consists of materials compiled by Roy A. Archbell during the course of litigating the Phipps-Austin family dispute. Prior to donating the collection to the Outer Banks History Center, Archbell removed most of the original litigation materials, such as pleadings, briefs, and motions. These materials are a matter of public record and can be accessed through the repository for the records of the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. These materials also contain occasional redactions indicating deletions. These deletions generally involve billing matters and matters of no historical content.

These materials largely document early land grants covering Hatteras Village, the earliest landowners of Hatteras Village, and the genealogical connections of Hatteras Island's earliest settlers. Included among these materials are modern surveys that depict the relative location of the original Revolutionary War land grants covering virtually all of Hatteras Village; copies of original land grants covering the time period 1711-1766; extensive genealogical notes; U. S. Census reports; aerial photographs; notes revealing the chains of title to almost all oceanfront property in Hatteras Village; surveys and materials which reveal the extensive erosion that has occurred in Hatteras since 1711; and a 1797 division of 684 acres formerly owned by William Ballance among his nine children. Also included in these materials are correspondence and witness depositions.

Arrangement Note

This collection is divided into six main series: Correspondence, Photographs, Trial Research Materials, Defense and Plaintiff Discoveries, Witness Depositions, and Trial Exhibits.

Historical Note

Andrew Shanklin Austin (c. 1889-1962), a life long resident of Hatteras, North Carolina, acquired a tract of land in the 1950s from the heirs of a George S. Rollinson and Jesse Rollinson. According to public records of Dare County, the last land transaction that affected this parcel of property prior to Andrew Austin's acquisition, was in 1849. After Andrew Austin's death, the tract, which is adjacent to the Sea Gull Motel and borders the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, was divided among his children. In 1985, Howard Phipps, Jr., a steel tycoon, and his wife, Mary N. S. Phipps, filed a lawsuit against eight Hatteras families that claimed they were the owners of the property as a result of land transaction that originated with a land grant to a Georgia A. Gaskins in January 1910. The "Gaskins Grant" was a large tract of land that described 400 acres or more and ran several miles along the oceanfront in the Hatteras-Frisco area.

Prior to the litigation filed in 1985, the Phipps family filed an earlier lawsuit in 1962, that also claimed ownership of the same property. The first trial resulted in a determination that the Gaskins grant was invalid because it "did not close." Subsequent to the first litigation being concluded, the Phipps hired new attorneys to investigate their property holdings and to try to establish their claims. These lawsuits filed in 1985, were the second attempt by the Phipps family to establish their claim of ownership under the Gaskins Grant.

A total of eight lawsuits were filed against different property owners in Hatteras Village. Six of these individuals claimed their ownership through Mr. Andrew S. Austin, all of whom retained Kitty Hawk attorney Roy A. Archbell, Jr. to represent them. The other two defendants retained other attorneys to represent them.

Archbell's initial investigation led him to conclude that the Gaskins Grant "overlapped" the properties that had been claimed or owned by Hatteras Islanders for many years prior to the Gaskins Grant of 1910. In order to prove this, Archbell tried to locate the original land grants that covered the property in dispute. After an intensive investigation, he concluded that all of Hatteras Village had been previously granted before the Revolutionary War to various early settlers in Hatteras. These land grants were issued between 1711 and 1766. In the course of Archbell's investigation, it became necessary to try to identify the chains of title to the majority of the property located in Hatteras. This proved to be a difficult undertaking since deed descriptions prior to the 1950s were very weak. Most deed descriptions simply referred to adjoining property owners and frequently did not contain either courses or distances. It then became necessary to develop a comprehensive understanding of all the adjoining properties, in order to determine who the adjoining property owners were from the 1700s through the time of litigation. The development of this information resulted in a "rediscovery" of the history of much of Hatteras Village. It became necessary to identify most of the early settlers of Hatteras Village and to determine who their parents and children were. As a result, a lot of genealogical information regarding the original Hatteras Island families was established.

It became increasingly apparent to the Phipps' attorneys that the defendants would defeat the Phipps' claim, under the Gaskins Grant. However, the Phipps family had other potential claims to the same property. It was discovered that an oceanfront parcel of property had been conveyed by George Rollinson to Colonel John Wainwright in February 1885. This parcel apparently made up part of the "Wainwright Lands" that were utilized as a porpoise factory during the 1800s. This property was ultimately acquired by the Phipps family through some of the same land transactions that involved the Gaskins Grant.

After Phipps' attorneys realized that there was a potential claim under which the same George Rollinson conveyance that Archbell's clients claimed, the nature of the lawsuit changed. The position which Phipps' attorneys took was that the property in dispute lay within the property transferred by George Rollinson in 1885 to John Wainwright. Archbell's clients took the position that the parcel Rollins conveyed to Wainwright was now in the ocean. Archbell's clients claimed that their property was part of another parcel owned by George Rollinson. As a result, the litigation turned into a question of where the dividing lines were between the two George Rollinson parcels. Both sides recognized the extreme difficulty in trying to establish the true dividing lines between the parcels and agreed that it was in everyone's best interest to settle the litigation. As a result, there was never a final court adjudication.

In the course of Archbell's representation of the Andrew S. Austin family, a number of experts were retained to assist in unraveling the complex early history of the village. These experts included: Thomas L. White, Jr., Jasper Hassell, and Margaret N. Hofmann. Thomas White, Jr. was a practicing Dare County attorney from 1970 until his retirement in 2002. A significant portion of White's practice involved the examination of land titles in Dare County. Jasper Hassell, from Edenton, North Carolina, graduated from North Carolina State University in 1960, and became a licensed surveyor in 1961, specializing in "problem surveying." Margaret Hofmann is a professional genealogist and author of numerous books regarding genealogical research and the use of land patents.

The lawyers representing the Phipps family also employed a number of prominent experts to assist in proving their case. These experts included Wesley Mearle Meekins, Jr., McKay Whatley, Jr. and Robert Dolan. Wesley Meekins, Jr. is a Dare County native and has been involved in professional land surveyor in Dare County since 1976. McKay Whatley, Jr., has worked as an architectural historian for the Division of Archives and History of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. He was engaged to examine a large volume of historical materials throughout the country. Dr. Robert Dolan is a full-time professor of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. He has done substantial investigation and research into the issues of beach erosion along the North Carolina coast.

Anyone reviewing these materials should be aware that the court never ruled on who was right or wrong. As a result, the materials reflect both sides' opinion on a variety of issues, with no final resolution having ever been achieved through the court system.

Contents of the Collection

1. Introduction to the Collection, 1980s

2. Correspondence, 1985-1989

1985, 1985
Box 1

1986, 1986

January-April 1986, January-April 1986
Box 1
May-June 1986, May-June 1986
Box 1
July-October 1986, July-October 1986
Box 1
November-December 1986, November-December 1986
Box 1
1987, 1987
Box 1
1988-1989, 1988-1989
Box 1
1986-1987, 1986-1987
Box 1
McCown Correspondence and photostats, 1980s
Box 1

3. Photographs, 1923, 1980s

Aerial of Hatteras Island, from Smithsonian Institution, 1923
Box 1
Hatteras, 1980s
Box 1
Durants Lifesaving Station, 1980s
Box 1

Hatteras Island Aerials, 1985-1986

Roll A, 11 November 1985
Box 1
Roll B, 11 November 1985
Box 1

Fence, 1986

4. Trial Research Materials, 1970-1987

scopecontent:

Austin Family History, 1980s

1 of 2, 1980s
Box 1
2 of 2, 1980s
Box 1

Hatteras Island Families Genealogy Information, 1980s

Volume I, 1980s
Box 1
Volume II, 1980s
Box 1
Genealogical Notes, 1980s
Box 1
Master Index: Categories of Documents, 1980s
Box 1

Categories of Documents, 1980s

1 of 2, 1980s
Box 1
2 of 2, 1980s
Box 1
U. S. Census Records, 1980s
Box 1

1797 Division, 1980s

A-E, 1980s
Box 1
F-J, 1980s
Box 1
Property Maps, 1980s
Box 1
Currituck County Deed Book Indicies, 1980s
Box 1
Hyde County Real Estate Conveyances, 1980s
Box 1

Hyde County Tax Listings, 1980s

1851, 1853, 1855, 1867, 1980s
Box 1
Photostats, 1980s
Box 2
Wally McCown, Original Materials From his Firm, 1980s
Box 2
Green Pond-Scarborough Pond, Williams Trailer Park Area, 1980s
Box 2
David Fulcher Tract and Related Parcels, 1980s
Box 2
Telegraph Line Information, 1980s
Box 2
Durants Lifesaving Station, 1980s
Box 2
Hatteras Inlet, 1980s
Box 2
Moses Austin Heirs, 1980s
Box 2
William Reed Grant Documents, 1980s
Box 2
William Reed Materials, 1980s
Box 2
Work Notebook, 1980s
Box 2

Working Notes, 1980s

Colonial Grants, 1980s
Box 2
Phipps v. Dell, A. S. Austin, Sr., Misc. Title Notes, 1980s
Box 2

Andrew S. Austin Materials, 1980s

1 of 2, 1980s
Box 2
2 of 2, 1980s
Box 2
Phipps Claims Sketches, 1980s
Box 2

Adjoining Titles, 1980s

Part I, 1980s

K-L, 1980s
Box 2
M-Q, 1980s
Box 2
Part II, 1980s
Box 2
S. L. Dosher Materials, 1980s
Box 2
Georgia Gaskins Grant: Exceptions to Wainwright Lands, 1980s
Box 2
Margaret Hofmann Documantation, other than William Reed Materials, 1980s
Box 2

Phipps Claim, 1970-1986

Erosion Information, 1980s
Misc. Andrew S. Austin, Sr. Notes, 1980s
Box 2
Sybil A. Fetterroll Materials, 1980s
Box 2
Working Sketches, 1980s
Box 2

Wallace McCown Material, 1980s

1970-1971, 1970-1971
Box 2
1972-1975, 1972-1975
Box 2
1976-1986, 1976-1986
Box 2
Caleb Stowe Tract, Duncan's Point, 1980s
Box 2

Consolidated Pleadings, 1980s

1 of 2, 1980s
Box 2
2 of 2, 1980s
Box 2
Pleadings, 1986
Box 2
Trial Preparation Notes, 1987
Box 2
Phipps Claims: Newspaper Articles, 1980s
Box 2
Phipps V. Dell, A. S. Austin, Sr., Maps and Surveys and Adjacent Tracts, 1980s
Box 2
Phipps Claim: Henry Gibbs Patent, 1976
Box 2
Dare County Deeds, 1980s
Box 2
Hatteras Land Surveys and Dare County Tax Maps, 1980s
Box 2

5. Defense and Plaintiff Discoveries, 1985-1987

Defense's First Discovery, 1986
Box 3
Defense's Second Discovery, 1986
Box 3
Defense's Third Discovery, 1986
Box 3
Plaintiff's First Request for Admission, 1986
Box 3
Plaintiff's First Discovery, 1986
Box 3
Second Supplementation to Discovery, 1987
Box 3
Plaintiff's First Discovery: Phipps v. Moser, 1985
Box 3
Plaintiff's Third Discovery: Phipps v. Moser, 1986
Box 3

Moser, 1986-1987

Answers to Discovery,1986
Box 3
Second Supplementation to Discovery, 1987
Box 3

Hunter, 1986-1987

Answers to Discovery, 1986
Second Supplementation to Discovery, 1987
Box 3

Robinson, 1986-1987

Answers to Discovery, 1986
Box 3
Second Supplementation to Discovery, 1987
Box 3

Sea Gull: Answers to Discovery, 1986

Plaintiff's First and Second Discoveries, Phipps v. Sea Gull Motel, 1986

Sea Gull/Oden: Second Supplementation to Discovery, 1987

Fetterroll: Answers to Discovery, 1986

Skakle/Fetterroll: Second Supplementation to Discovery, 1987

Phipps Claims: Phipps Second Discovery Request, Necessary Information to Respond, 1987

6. Witness Depositions, 1985-1989

Dolan Deposition, VHS Tape, December 1989
Box 3
Meekins Deposition, VHS Tape, December 1989
Box 3

Transcript, 1986-1987

Gary Andrew Austin Deposition, October 1986
Box 3
Tracy Stuart Austin, Sr. Deposition, January 1987
Box 3
Dolan Deposition, incomplete, 1986
Box 3

Transcripts, 1986-1987

Robert Dolan Deposition, December 1986
Box 3
Charles Andre Fetterroll Deposition, October 1986
Box 3
Jasper W. Hassell Deposition, Volume I, November 1986
Box 3
Jasper W. Hassell Deposition, Volume II, November 1986
Box 4
Patrick K. Hetrick Deposition, January 1987
Box 4
Margaret M. Hofmann Deposition, December 1986
Box 4
Ramona Hunter Deposition, October 1986
Box 4
William Hunter Deposition, October 1986
Box 4
Wallace McCown Deposition, October 1986
Box 4
Outline of Wesley Mearle Meekins, Jr. Deposition taken by Tony Hornthall, July 1986
Box 4
Wesley Mearle Meekins, Jr. Deposition Topics, July 1986
Box 4
Wesley Mearle Meekins, Jr. Deposition, March 1985
Box 4

Transcripts, 1986

Welsey Mearle Meekins, Jr. Deposition, November 1986

Volume I, November 1986
Box 4
Volume II, November 1986
Box 4
Joseph L. Moser Deposition, October 1986
Box 4
Ruby A.Moser Deposition, October 1986
Box 4
Carlos D. Oden Deposition, October 1986
Box 4
Josephine A. Oden Deposition, October 1986
Box 4
Kenneth Wade Oden Deposition, October 1986
Box 4
Howard Phipps, Jr. Deposition, December 1986
Box 4
Howard Phipps, Jr. Deposition, December 1986
Box 4

Transcripts, 1986-1987

Jospeh M. Phelan, Jr. Deposition, January 1987
Box 4
Sybil A. Skakle Deposition, November 1986
Box 4
Hoke Terrell Smith, Jr. Deposition, December 1986
Box 4

Lowell McKay Whatley, Jr. Deposition, January 1987

Volume I, January 1987
Box 4
Volume II, January 1987
Box 4

Thomas L. White, Jr. Deposition, January 1987

Volume I, January 1987
Box 4
Volume II, January 1987
Box 4

7. Trial Exhibits, 1986-1987

scopecontent:

Exhibits, 1986-1987

Robert Dolan Depositions, circa 1986-1987
Jasper W. Hassell Deposition, November 1986
Box 5
Patrick K. Hetrick Deposition, November 1986
Box 5
Margaret M. Hofmann Deposition, December 1986
Box 5
Defendant's Deposition Exhibits, W. M. Meekins, Jr., circa 1986-1987
Box 5
W. M. Meekins, Jr. Deposition 2, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
John H. Phelan, Jr. Deposition, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
Sybil A. Skakle Deposition, November 1986
Box 5
Thomas L. White, Jr. Deposition, January 1987
Box 5

Austin Family, circa 1986-1987

Volume I: A-D, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
Volume I: E-G, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
Volume II: H-K, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
Volume III: L-R, circa 1986-1987
Box 5

Defendant's Exhibit, circa 1986-1987

1A: Volume I of the Trial Transcript of Phipps v. Gaskins, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
1B: Volume II, pp. 1-326 of the Trial Transcript of Phipps v. Gaskins, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
1B: Volume II, pp. 327-508 of the Trial Transcript of Phipps v. Gaskins, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
1C: Volume III of the Trial Transcript of Phipps v. Gaskins, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
2: Record on Appeal of Phipps v. Gaskins, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
3: Plaintiff's Briefs filed in Phipps v. Gaskins, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
4: Defendents A. S. Austin, et. al, Brief filed in Phipps v. Gaskins, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
5: Defendants Cortez Gaskins, et. al, Brief filed in Phipps v. Gaskins, circa 1986-1987
Box 5
Notes Regarding Phipps Exhibits, circa 1986-1987
Box 5

Phipps V. Austin Family, circa 1986-1987

Exhibit A: Documents Referring to the Location of "Dave Fulcher Line", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit B: Documents Referring to the Location of "S. L. Dosher Line", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit C: Documents Referring to the Location of "Frank Stowe Tract", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit D: Documents Referring to the Location of "Station Line", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit E: Documents Referring to the Location of the "Gaskins Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit F: Documents which Describe the "Wainwright Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit G: Documents which Describe "B. B., M. F., and D. W. Ballance Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit H: Documents which Describe "C. E. Rollinson Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit I: Documents which Describe "Frank Stowe Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6

Exhibit J, circa 1986-1987

pp. 1-54, Documents not Introduced at Trial, circa 1986-1987
Box 6
pp. 55-100, Documents not Introduced at Trial, circa 1986-1987
Box 6
pp. 101-200, Documents not Introduced at Trial, circa 1986-1987
Box 6
pp. 201-269, Documents not Introduced at Trial, circa 1986-1987
Box 6
pp. 270-310, Documents not Introduced at Trial, circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit K: Chain of Title for "Gaskins Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit L: Chain of Title for "B. B., M. F., and D. W. Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit M: Chain of Title for "Stowe Tract", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit N: Chain of Title for "Wainwright Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit O: Chain of Title for "C. E. Rollinson Lands", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit AA: Dr. Robert Dolan's Publications, circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit BB: Telegraph Line Documents, circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit CC: Deeds or Paperwritings Describing All or a Portion of "John Peele Tract", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit DD: Surveys Describing all or a Portion of "John Peele Tract", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit EE: Deeds or Paperwritings Describing All or a Portion of "Aaron Ballance Tract", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit FF: Surveys Describing all or a Portion of "Aaron Ballance Tract", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit GG: Deeds or Paperwritings Describing All or a Portion of "Joshua Ballance Tract", circa 1986-1987
Box 6
Exhibit HH: Surveys Describing all or a Portion of "Joshua Ballance Tract", circa 1986-1987
Box 6

Subject Headings

  • Austin, Andrew S., 1889-1962
  • Austin Family
  • Deeds--North Carolina--Hatteras Island
  • Land titles--North Carolina--Hatteras Island
  • Hatteras (N.C.)
  • Hatteras Island (N.C.)--Genealogy
  • Hatteras Island (N.C.)--History
  • Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Roy A. Archbell, Jr. in 2002.

    Processing Information

  • Processed by Kelly R. Grimm, November, 2009
  • Encoded by Kelly R. Grimm, November, 2009