164 E. Main St. Capt. Styron was the most essential steamboat builder, owner, and captain on the Tar River in the last part of the 19th Century. Born at Portsmouth Island, N.C., in 1848, he gained much of his knowledge of the Tar and other coastal rivers while assisting Confederate forces during the Civil War. At the age of 16, he had served as a courier for the Confederate army. He frequently traveled on the Tar and other eastern North Carolina rivers to deliver messages in that capacity. Because of the Union Army's occupation of the N.C. coast, his duties required a great deal of stealth. He apparently often traveled at night to avoid Union army patrols. After the War, Styron settled in Washington, N.C., and used his knowledge of coastal rivers to design and build steamers for the Tar and other coastal rivers. He became a steamboat captain, and he eventually opened a boatyard in Washington. He built his first steamer, a 73-ft. long, screw-propelled upriver steamer called the Edgecombe, in 1877. The writer William Styron ("Sophie's Choice") was his grandson.