The Hollowells

(Pasquotank County)

Featured Characters – 1860

Christopher Hollowell

Christopher W. Hollowell

Courtesy of Abby Manning

Erected in 1856 for planter Christopher Wilson Hollowell (1821-1892), Bayside epitomizes the height of antebellum prosperity in Pasquotank County.  The two-and-a-half-story, double-pile Greek Revival residence has two-story porches on front and rear.  The intact center-hall plan interior features double parlors on the southwest that contain round-arched Italianate style marble mantels.  Woodwork throughout the downstairs consists of sophisticated convex, concave, and flat-fluted surrounds.  The staircase has an exuberant octagonal newel with whimsical Gothic-arched balusters.

Christopher Wilson Hollowell was born in Perquimans County in 1821 and remained there until he moved to Pasquotank County in order to manage the plantations of his cousin, James Cathcart Johnston who owned Hayes Plantation. He married Alpine Douglas Bodine in 1855 and built Bayside Plantation for her, which still remains on Weeksville Road south of Elizabeth City. They had four children before Alpine died in 1867. Three years later, Hollowell married Parthenia Gatling, born in Perquimans County in 1848, and had five children with her. A particularly well-off citizen, Hollowell was able to give Federal troops 478 bushels of corn, 20 bushels of wheat, and 2,500 pounds of fodder in December of 1863. Because of this, he was one of few men granted unlimited access in and out of Elizabeth City during Union occupation. Though he had strong Unionist sympathies, Christopher received the hungry and the wounded, provided forage and shelter, and even began a wage labor system for his slaves in 1863, which proved crucial in keeping his large estate productive. After the war, Hollowell managed business interests at the Nags Head Hotel. Hollowell died in 1892, leaving his estate to his wife and children.

 The house and much of the original 700-plus-acre farm remained in family ownership until 1988.  Another large portion became what is now the United States Coast Guard Base. In 1963, items from the Margaret Hollowell estate, became the foundation for the Museum of the Albemarle. Margaret was the daughter of Christopher W. and Parthenia Hollowell.