Chesley Midgett Papers, PC.5336


Chesley Midgett Papers, PC.5336


Chesley Midgett is a Dare County resident and descendant of the Midgett family of Hatteras Island, North Carolina. Much of this collection focuses on Midgett's great-grandfather, Little Bannister Midgett, IV, a keeper with the United States Lifesaving Service who served at the Chicamacomico Station. The collection includes two letters, genealogical materials, clippings, images of Little Bannister Midgett, and a hand-illustrated portrait of him.

Descriptive Summary

Chesley Midgett Papers
Call Number
Midgett, Chesley
circa 1920s-1986 and undated
0.210 cubic feet
Outer Banks History Center

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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.5336, Chesley Midgett Papers, Outer Banks History Center, Manteo, NC, U.S.A.

Collection Overview

The papers in this collection were accumulated by Chesley Midgett and largely focus on his Midgett family descendants, especially Little Bannister Midgett, IV. Included are two letters: a 1938 letter from Josephus Daniels to A. Jack Daniels of Wanchese claiming Josephus's connection to the Daniels family line, and a 1953 letter from Ben Dixon MacNeill to Chesley Midgett Sr. about Little Bannister Midgett, IV. Also included is a folder of genealogical research into the Midgett family, a folder of material on Little Bannister Midgett, IV (including photographic negatives, clippings, and an article printed about him in the News and Observer), and a hand-illustrated portrait of Bannister.


These papers were collected by Chesley Midgett, a resident of Roanoke Island, North Carolina, and descendant of the Midgett family of Hatteras Island. The bulk of the collection focuses on Chesley's great-grandfather, Little Bannister Midgett, IV, who went by Bannister. Bannister was born 30 May 1852 in Salvo, North Carolina, to Dorothy B. Payne Midgett (1828-1901) and Little Bannister Midgett, III (1825-1895). He had 11 siblings. As a young man, he enlisted as a surfmen with the United States Lifesaving Service (USLSS). He was a skilled surfman, and according to one high-ranking USLSS official, "considered to be the best surfman on the coast of North Carolina."

Bannister was named keeper of the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station in present-day Rodanthe in 1879. He was transferred to the New Inlet station in 1888, only to be sent back to Chicamacomico in 1894. He oversaw numerous successful rescues there, including during the San Ciriaco Hurricane of 1899. He was still with the USLSS when it merged with the United States Revenue Cutter Service to become the United States Coast Guard in 1915.

Bannister married Sobrina D. P. Midgett 11 January 1874. The couple had 10 children, include Chesley Midgett's grandfather, Joseph Etheridge Midgett (1885-1970). Bannister left the service shortly after the Coast Guard merger and enjoyed 13 years of retirement before passing away in Manteo at the age of 76 on 24 January 1928. He is buried in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Manteo.

Contents of the Collection

Letters, 1938 and 1953
Box 1
Genealogical Research, undated
Box 1
Papers on Little Bannister Midgett, IV, 1986 and undated
Box 1
Portrait of Little Bannister Midgett, IV, circa 1920s
Oversize Folder 1

Subject Headings

  • Midyett (Midgett) Family
  • Midgett, Little Bannister (1852-1928)
  • Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station (U.S.)
  • United States. Life-Saving Service--North Carolina--History
  • Hatteras Island (N.C.)--Genealogy
  • Acquisitions Information

    Donated by Chesley Midgett, June 2017.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Samantha Crisp, September 2021.