Appleton Oaksmith was born in Maine, the son of parents who were to become prominent in the Victorian literary world. Oaksmith left Maine for a life of adventure on the seas and made voyages to China, Panama, Nicaragua, Peru, and the Congo. During the Civil War, he was arrested for slave trading but escaped from jail. He began blockade-running, transporting arms and ammunition to the Confederacy. After the war he became a correspondent for the LONDON GLOBE, covering the Franco-Prussian War. Later he bought land in Beaufort. He invested in the railroad industry and was a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives in 1874. On July 4, 1879, Oaksmith lost three of his children in a boating accident and, he retreated from public life. He died in 1887 and is buried at Hollywood, his Beaufort estate.