Thomas N. Sanderlin Papers, PC.5163


Thomas N. Sanderlin Papers, PC.5163


Thomas Nelson Sanderlin (1848-1932) was a resident of Kitty Hawk, N.C., and a surfman for the Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station. His papers comprise tax receipts, receipts for land purchased from Jesse Partridge, letters from his son, Luther, while stationed in Fort Wood, New York, and a fragment of an early Tyrell County deed.

Descriptive Summary

Thomas N. Sanderlin Papers
Call Number
Sanderlin, Thomas Nelson, 1848-1932
0.17 cubic feet
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 the 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 these materials.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], PC.5163, Thomas N. Sanderlin Papers, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC, U.S.A.

Collection Overview

This collection consists of papers created or collected by Thomas Nelson Sanderlin dating from 1767 to 1906. The oldest document in the collection is a fragment of a Tyrell County deed dated 10 March 1767. Sanderlin's connection to the deed is unclear, although it may reflect the purchase or sale of land by one of his ancestors. The collection also includes receipts for payments for land purchased by Sanderlin from Jesse Partridge, 1877-1879, and Sanderlin's tax receipts for the years 1879-1889. The fourth folder in the collection contains three letters and a letter fragment written by Sanderlin's son, Luther, while stationed at Fort Wood, New York, from 1904 to 1906. The letters discuss Luther's observations and activities at the station, including tourists coming to see the Statue of Liberty, building a chest, spending time with young women visiting the island, planning a trip to Atlantic City with his father, and building and piloting a boat with the U.S. Signal Corps.

Arrangement Note



Thomas Nelson Sanderlin was born 1 September 1848 to Jackson Sanderlin (1818-1869) and Sidney Sanderlin (1823-1883). He served as a surfman for the Kitty Hawk Lifesaving Station until his retirement in 1915 at the age of 64. In 1887, he became one of the five charter members of Kitty Hawk Methodist Church. Sanderlin had three wives: Mary E. Owens (1855-1885), Cora L. Baum (1870-1888), and Ella M. Tillett (1866-1930). He had two children with his first wife, Mary: Joseph Kesler Sanderlin (1875-1885) and Martin Luther Sanderlin (1877-1940). He had six children with his third wife, Ella: Claudia Daly (1892-1974), Alethia (1893-1977), Mattie (1894-1983), Bessie Bell (1896-1919), Thomas Nelson, Jr. (1899-2002), and Oscar Colin (1907-1984), as well as an unnamed child who died in infancy in 1897. Thomas died 26 November 1932 at the age of 84.

Contents of the Collection

1. Tyrell County Deed Fragment, 3 March 1767

2. Receipts for Land Purchased from Jesse Partridge, 1877-1879

3. Tax Receipts, 1879-1889

4. Letters from Luther Sanderlin, 1904-1906

Subject Headings

  • Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station (Kitty Hawk, N.C.)
  • Forts & fortifications--New York (State)--New York
  • Kitty Hawk (N.C.)--History--19th century
  • Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Carolyn Ferguson, March 2017. Ferguson purchased the materials from an estate sale in Kitty Hawk in the early 2000s.

    Processing Information

  • Processed by Samantha Crisp, January 2018.