Pool Family Papers, PC.5328


Pool Family Papers, PC.5328


The materials in this collection focus on the immediate family and descendants of William Gaskins Pool, who was known for building the first oceanfront house in Nags Head in the mid-19th century and obtaining a famed portrait of Theodosia Burr after her disappearance. The Pool Family Papers, circa 1830s-1980 and undated, primarily relates to the history of the Theodosia Burr portrait and the personal lives of Pool's grandson, Victor Kent Overman, and his immediate family.

Descriptive Summary

Pool Family Papers
Call Number
Pool family
circa 1830s-1980 and undated
0.400 cubic feet
Outer Banks History Center

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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.5328, Pool Family Papers, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC, U.S.A.

Collection Overview

The Pool Family Papers, circa 1830s-1980 and undated, primarily relate to Dr. William Gaskins Pool, his daughter Anna Pool Overman, her son Victor Kent Overman and his immediate family. Many of the documents in the collection relate to the Theodosia Burr portrait obtained by Dr. Pool, including a handwritten account of the portrait's history written by Anna Pool Overman in 1933, images of the portrait, and an article about it. Also included in the collection are numerous family photographs, including two 19th-century portrait miniatures of Joseph H. Pool and a daguerreotype believed to depict Mary Lavinia Pool, circa 1850s. Other family papers in the collection include personal papers of Victor Kent Overman, Sr., such as a baptism certificate and a letter confirming that Overman had passed his pharmacy school examinations in 1916; papers related to Anna Pool Overman, such as her wedding guestbook and application for the Daughters of the American Revolution; and genealogical charts, notes, and clippings.

Arrangement Note



The Pool family of Elizabeth City, North Carolina, can trace its history back to the mid-17th century. The materials in this collection focus on the immediate family and descendants of William Gaskins Pool. Pool was born 19 March 1829 in Pasquotank County to Martha Gaskins Pool (1797-1838) and Soloman Pool (1787-1832). After being orphaned at a young age, he was raised by his older brother George Decatur Pool (1817-1879) and attended the University of North Carolina and medical schools in New York, Philadelphia, and Cincinnati. He opened a medical practice in Elizabeth City in 1853. He married his distant cousin, Mary Lavinia Pool, 26 November 1856. The couple had nine children.

In 1866, Dr. Pool purchased 50 acres of land on the Nags Head oceanfront from the Midgett family for $30. He is credited with building the first oceanfront house in Nags Head, which burned down in the 1920s. He divided the property into several lots that he sold to friends and family, many of whom built houses that are still standing today. This area came to be known as Historic Beach Cottage Row and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. This neighborhood was given the moniker "Unpainted Aristocracy," referencing the vernacular style of large homes trimmed in unpainted cedar shakes that were historically built there.

According to his descendants, in 1869, Dr. Pool attended a local woman, Mrs. Mann, and noticed a striking portrait of a young woman on her wall. Mann told him that her first husband had taken the portrait from a shipwreck decades earlier and gave it to Pool as a gift. The portrait was later determined to depict Theodosia Burr Alston, daughter of Aaron Burr, who perished in a shipwreck in 1813. It was believed to have been painted by John Vanderlyn.

The portrait was inherited by Pool's daughter, Anna Louise Pool (1858-1937), who married John Overman (1848-1919) in 1893. The couple had one child, Victor Kent Overman (1895-1970). Sometime prior to 1933, Anna Pool Overman sold the portrait to the McBeth Gallery in New York, and it was purchased by a descendant of the Burr family. The portrait was eventually donated by the family to the Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University.

Victor Kent Overman married Ethel Margaret Branton (1899-1951). The couple had at least one child before they separated, Victor Kent Overman, Jr. (1918-1997). Many of the documents in this collection were created by these members of the Overman family before passing to Overman, Jr.'s nephew, West Ambrose.

Contents of the Collection

Anna Pool Overman Application to the Society of the Daughters of the Revolution, circa 1930s
Box 1
Article About Theodosia Burr Portrait, undated
Box 1
Clippings, 1933-1980
Box 1
Daguerreotype of an Unidentified Woman (Possibly Mary Lavinia Pool), circa 1850s
Box 1
Ethel Branton and Victor Overman Wedding, 1917
Box 1
Guestbook, Wedding of John Pool Overman and Anna Louise Pool, 1893
Box 1
Obituaries: Anna Pool Overman, John Pool Overman, Harold S. Overman, 1919-1964
Box 1
Photographs, 1880s-circa 1920

Scope and Content:

Photographs consist of portraits of Dr. W.G. Pool, 1880s; Anna Louisa Pool Overman, 1893; Ethel Branton Overman and Victor Kent Overman, Jr. as a baby, circa 1918; and an unidentified toddler, possibly Victor Kent Overman, Jr., circa 1920.

Box 1
Photographs of Theodosia Burr Portrait, undated
Box 1
Pool Family Genealogy Charts and Notes, undated
Box 1
Portrait Miniature, Joseph H. Pool, circa 1830s
Box 1
Portrait Miniature of an Unidentified Man (Possibly Joseph H. Pool), undated
Box 1
Telegram, Death of "Aunt Anna" Pool, 1937
Box 1
Theodosia Burr Portrait Background Written by Anna Pool, 1933
Box 1
Victor Kent Overman, Sr. Papers, 1896-1916
Box 1

Subject Headings

  • Alston, Theodosia Burr, 1783~1813
  • Overman Family
  • Nags Head (N.C.)--History--19th century
  • Pasquotank County (N.C.)--Genealogy
  • Beach Cottage Row Historic District (Nags Head, N.C.)
  • Acquisitions Information

    Donated by West Ambrose, November 2019.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Samantha Crisp, September 2021.