Beaufort SC



Trying to decide what we are all going to due today.

Beaufort is the second oldest city in South Carolina chartered in 1711 and is located on Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Sea Island and South Carolina Lowcountry.  Beaufort is conveniently located between Charleston and Savannah along the ICW.   Spain first ventured into area waters in 1514 but it was French explorer Jean Ribaut that claimed the Port Royal Harbor and the Sea Islands.  The Spanish returned in 1566 building Fort San Felipe and the Santa Elena Settlement on Parris Island.  Their dominion endured until 1587 when the British drove them out.  By 1711 the English chartered in Beaufort had flourished as a center for shipbuilding and the colony was established as a slave society through the Civil War.  The city initially grew slowly subject to numerous attacks from Native American tribes and threats of Spanish invasion.  As protection the British constructed Fort Frederick in 1735.

In 1712 the Parish Church of St. Helena was established as the Church of England and the oldest church in America.  The original church was built on the present site in 1724 and appears today as it did in 1842, following its finale enlargement.  St. Thomas Heyward Jr. (1746-1809) a signer of the Declaration of Independence served as a parishioner during the Revolutionary War.  During the Civil War, Federal forces invaded and occupied Beaufort and the Sea Islands in November 1861.  Federal chaplains conducted services in St. Helena’s until 1864, when the church was converted to a convalescent hospital for colored troops.  When they left all that remained of the prewar furnishings was the small baptismal font found in a rubbish pile in the churchyard.

IMG_9488The present altar was carved by the sailors of the U.S.S new Hampshire which was stationed in Port Royal Sound during the reconstruction of the church.  The ships officers presented the altar to St. Helena’s as a gift of reconciliation.  St. Helen’s survived two of the most destructive hurricanes in the 1890’s and the great depression of the 1930’s.

St. Helen’s is among the most historic burial grounds in America.  The old churchyard has had 750 burials of record, since it was established in 1724, with the interment of Colonel John “Tuscarora Jack” Barnwell.  The graves of nearly 100 veterans of every major conflict since 1711 are marked with the flag under which they fought.  We were able to tour the beautiful old church and its churchyard.


Beaufort Arsenal originally constructed begun in 1795 – 1799.  The brick and tabby arsenal has participated in a number of U.S. Wars.  During the Revolutionary War a volunteer company served valiantly.  The artillery also saw action during the Civil War during the battle of Port Royal.  The building had deteriorated substantially by 1852.  With the threat of secession pushing through South Carolina and being led by Beaufort own Senator Robert Barnwell Rhett, the town needed to think about military protection.  The local wealthy cotton planters raised $2,835 to rebuild the arsenal.  That is when the second floor was added as a large drill area.  The arsenal was once home to the Beaufort Volunteer Artillery, which was organized in April of 1775 and has the distinction of being the fifth oldest military unit in the United States.


The Arsenal Museum opens a fascinating window on the past offering insight into the rich history of the Low country.  Historic artifacts on display represent native American settlements, the earliest 16 the century Spanish settlement, and Union occupation during the Civil war.


The city of Beaufort relied on phosphate mining before a devastating hurricane in 1893 and fire in 1907, which brought extensive destruction and economic turmoil.  Remnants of the original English colonial settlement of Beaufort are found downtown in the historic district.  The city expanded in the 20th century with much of the growth attributed to the increased military influence during the 1940’s and 50’s.   Marine Corps military base first built-in 1861 and used from 1915 to present day as the U.S. Naval hospital.  During the Revolutionary War, Beaufort was occupied by British troops and during the Civil War Union Soldiers occupied Beaufort.

Beaufort is rich in history and southern charm and remains the area’s Queen Belle, with ante bellum mansions, sail dotted bays and fashionable boutiques.  We started our tour of Beaufort by walking the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront park, that winds along the glistening Beaufort River with a vista of marsh islands, and intersecting waterways.  There are horse dawn carriages instead of trolleys through yesteryear, in the historic neighborhood where elegant mansions stand beneath moss strewn oaks.

The Verdier house was built-in 1804 by John Mark Verdier a French Huguenot.  The home is a gracious antebellum architectural style.  It was a focal point of the town, a visible statement reflecting verifiers significant wealth from trading indigo and farming 1,000 acres of sea island cotton.  Beaufort was one of the first communities captured by the Union when the Civil War erupted in 1861.  Union soldiers establish their headquarters in John Mark Verdier house.  The house remained under Union control until Verdier’s daughter in law Caroline reclaimed it at a tax sale, at the wars conclusion.  The house remained in the Verdier family until the 1943 when a group of visionary citizens railed to save it from demolition.

This picture is what they called the greeting area, if you were not a family member you could not go any further into the home.  The second picture is off the original wall paper found when plaster board was removed.

Joseph Johnson home known by locals as the Castle was under construction in 1859 prior to the start of the Civil war for Dr. Joseph Fickling Johnson.  He moved his family into the house in 1846 the mansion was incomplete.  Decorative features such as ironwork and railings could not make their way to the builder, J.S. Cooper, due to the presence of Union Blockade ships.  The Castle was the last home-built in Beaufort before the Union occupation of the town, in December 1861.  Federal troops made use of the Johnson home initially as their quarters and later as a military hospital.

This is the Lewis Reeve Same House built-in 1852, a planter who at one time owned half of Dataw Island.  Rev. Thomas Fuller Sams acquired the property after his mother’s death in 1857.   The Union occupied this home and was used as a hospital.  The house was used in the movie “Prince of Tides”  Thomas Hepworth home they believed was built-in 1717 and the oldest surviving home.  The home shows a rare glimpse into colonial era.


Edgar Fripp house a large Italianate style frame house built-in 1853 for his brother James Fripp, as his summer home.  During the Civil War his home was used as a Union hospital #7.  The home was used as a guest house from 1930-1974 called the Tidalhom and used in the film “The Big Chill” and “The Great Santini.”  William Wigg Barnwell House built-in  1816 has been moved and restored by Jim Williams of “Midnight in the Garden Good and Evil”.

Here are some pictures of Beaufort historical home Elizabeth Hext house built-in 1805 and the Tallbird home , Detreville home, and many more.

You can enrich your stay at The Beaufort Inn, a beautiful bed and breakfast full of style charm and southern hospitality or the Cuthbert House Inn Anchorage built-in 1770.

Then you have some of the oldest churches in Beaufort.   The Baptist Church built-in 1844, has been restored and additions have been added.  The the original bell still rings every Sunday.  First African Baptist church built-in 1865 by former slaves who came together and purchased the land for the church.  St Peters Church built-in 1846 on land purchased by Irish immigrant Michael O’Connor, who deeded it to the Diocese.  Church of Cross is an Episcopal Church built-in 1857, the rose-colored glass in the windows came from England.  Carter United Methods built-in 1922 with white pillars.  Temple Beth Israel is a Jewish synagogue built in 1905, by the members.  Jews have resided in Beaufort SC since as far back as the 1760.  Berean Presbyterian is an African-American Church,  built in 1892 with Gothic revival architecture.  It’s the one with the small steeple red top.

The Tabernacle was built by the Baptist church members in 1841.  Previous to the Civil War the tall building with the prominent white steeple was used as meeting, lecture, and prayer home by their members.  The steeple was added to the building in 1873  but had to be rebuilt after the Sea Island hurricane of 1893.  The Baptist church was organized by the Rev. Soloman Peck of Boston, Massachusetts with most of its 500 members African-American.  The cemetery contained grave of the Bythewood family dating to 1817.  A memorial to Robert Smalls (1839-1915) is also located in the cemetery, where smalls and his first wife Hannah are buried.  The mosaic windows were created by Mrs. Lizzie Lee Meyers.  She was diagnosed with cancer and decided not to take treatments, instead she was just going to go when the Lord take her.  Lizzie creative all the Mosaic windows before her passing in March 1983.  She went to Charleston and took a course about mosaic windows.  She then contacted churches, even as far as England that were tearing out their old windows so she could buy the broken glass for her project.  The new windows were installed in the church one by one each taking about a month to complete.


Robert Smalls was born in Beaufort in 1839, the son of slaves belonging to Henry McKee family.  He freed himself, his crew and their families from slavery on May 1862, by commanding a Confederate transport ship the CSS Planter, in Charleston Harbor.  He sailed it from Confederate – controlled waters to the U.S. blockade past the guns of Fort Sumer and turned it over to Federal forces.  This courageous escape made him an instant hero for the Union.   Smalls and his family used prize money awarded from the Planter to purchase the house in Beaufort, once owned by the family that had owned him.   After the war his distinguished career of public service included election to the South Carolina house of Representative (1868-1870) and Senate (1870-1875) as well as four terms in the U.S. house of Representatives.  Small also served as a major-general in the set militia and later served as port Collector for Beaufort.

These are random pictures of Beaufort, what a historic city.  I enjoyed just walking around taking in all the southern old mansions, and the beautiful walk along the water.

We received a coupon for a free sample of chocolate from the The Chocolate Tree.  We walked five block just to get the free candy.  Of course that is one way to get customers into their store.  Kent had to have a turtle and Johnny wanted chocolate covered marshmallows.  They make 99 percent of their chocolate in-house and it all looked so good.

Beaufort has starred in many movies over the years.  During the 1980s and 90s especially filmmakers flocked to this area for its spender and variety.  Here are some of the Movies. The Jungle book, Forrest Gump, Big Chill, The Prince of the tides, and a few more.  So glad we got to see this beautiful historic city.


We were unable to leave Beaufort marina Wednesday or Thursday severe weather with many thunderstorms and high winds.  We are hoping for good weather and low winds on Friday.



This sunset makes it all worth while .

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