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Who was the fellow who used to live at Clarendon Plantation on N.C. 133 in the Leland-Winnabow area ?

Jason Gonzales

Camilla Herlevich, Jesica Blake and Nancy Preston of North Carolina Coastal Land Trust explore the 750 acres of land they secured to protect Clarendon Plantation, off of Hwy 133 in Brunswick County. The property which is still privately owned has many historical sites like this brick encased smoke house which may be one of the oldest brick structures in Brunswick County. Photo By Jeff Janowski/Wilmington Star-News

Q. Who was the older fellow who used to live at Clarendon plantation on Highway 133 in the Leland-Winnabow area for years? I remember him as being a loner having a long white beard to his knees and lived alone. The locals called him a hermit.

A. Well, he wasn’t a hermit, according to multiple sources.

But he was a tad bit of a recluse in his later years.

Our sources believe this question refers to Cornelius D. Thomas. He was known through the area as a local artist who contributed work to the county’s libraries. He was renowned through the area for his work.

According to Tony Rivenbark, executive director of the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Thomas became increasingly homebound and less social.

He was said to have spent more time at the plantation and less time with people.

Thomas died in 2005.

UPDATE: Rachel Pace wanted to share this with MyReporter readers: “Cornelius D. Thomas was my beloved eccentric uncle. He wrote several books on local history as well as being an artist. His art style was Abstract Expressionism. He had many one-man shows in Wilmington, Raleigh and New York. In his later years he didn’t drive but loved having people visit him.”


Are there any plans to restore Clarendon Plantation?

Why is underbrush being cleared on property along N.C. 133 near Orton Plantation?

User-contributed question by:
kevin lee

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