Beaufort, North Carolina

We are staying in Beaufort, North Carolina until Friday.  Our first night Tuesday in Homers Marina was on the gas dock due to high winds,  knowing we would have to move in the morning.  Wednesday morning after moving to a slip with the access of Matt (the dockmaster) truck we went in search of a new battery.  One of our not even two yr old starter batteries was dying.  We found one and then on to a grocery store for provisions.  Thursday was our day for seeing all the history in Beaufort and enjoying lunch at a waterfront restaurant.   We always try to find a visitors center for information about the town.

Beaufort was established in 1709 and is the third oldest town in North Carolina.  Originally inhabited by the Coree Indians, then French Huguenots Beaufort was eventually settled by the British.  In 1713 Robert Turner, who held the original land grant for 200 acres, laid out the town and named the streets just as they are today.  The town was named in honor of Turner’s friend Henry Somerse, Duke of Beaufort and was incorporated in 1722.  By the late 18th Century Beaufort was becoming an active seaport.  Inhabited by sailors, pirates, privateers, fisherman, soldiers, and planters, it was diverse community with common thread of the sea.  In June 1718 Blackbeard the pirate ran his flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge and his sloop Adventure, aground near present-day Beaufort Inlet, NC.  Thirty two years later, in August 1750 at least three Spanish merchantmen ran a ground in North Carolina during a hurricane.  One of the three the EI Salvador sank near Cape Lookout.

Edward Teach or Edward Thatch (c.1680-Nov 1718) better known as Blackbeard was a notorious English pirate.  He may have been a sailor on privateer ships during Queen Anne’s war before settling on the Bahamian island of New Providence, a base for Captain Benjamin Hornigold whose crew Teach (Blackbeard) joined in 1716.  Hornigold and Teach (Blackbeard) engaged in numerous acts of Piracy together until 1717 when Hornigold retired from piracy.  Teach (Blackbeard) captured a French merchant vessel off the coast of Saint Vincent.  The ship was La Concorde of Saint-Malo a large French guineaman carrying a cargo of slaves.   Teach (Blackbeard) renamed her Queen Anne’s Revenge and equipped her with 40 guns.  Teach (Blackbeard) became a renowned pirate, his cognomen derived from his thick black beard and fearsome appearance.  A shrewd and calculating leader Blackbeard spurned the use of force, relying instead on his fearsome image to elicit the response he desired from those he robbed.  He was reported to have tied lit fuses under his hat to frighten his enemies.  He formed an alliance of pirates and blockaded the port of Charles Town South Carolina ransoming its inhabitants.  Teach (Blackbeard) stopped all vessels from entering or leaving port and demanded medical supplies from the colonial government of South Carolina.  Teach’s (Blackbeard) flotilla sailed northward along the Atlantic coast and into Topsail Inlet (known as Beaufort Inlet) off the coast of North Carolina.  He ran Queen Anne’s Revenge aground on a sandbar cracking her main mast and severely damaging many of her timbers.  Teach (Blackbeard) ordered several sloops to throw ropes across the flagship in an attempt to free her, with no avail.  Some say that Teach (Blackbeard) intentionally ran the ships aground, to reduce the fleet’s crew implement, increasing their share of the spoils.  Teach (Blackbeard) had learned that Governor Charles Eden was giving pardons to pirates if they surrendered.  Teach (Blackbeard) continued on to Bath Creek, North Carolina with a much reduced crew.  He received his pardon in June 1718.  Governor Charles Eden gave Teach (Blackbeard) permission to sail St. Thomas to seek a commission as a privateer.  He was given official title to a sloop which he named Adventure.

The end of August Teach (Blackbeard) returned to piracy and the governor of Pennsylvania issued a warrant for his arrest.  Lieutenant Maynard found Teach (Blackbeard) anchored on the inner side of Ocracoke Island, on the evening of November  21, 1718.  At sunrise Teach (Blackbeard) turned his guns on Maynard and badly damaged his sloop and killing a third of his forces.  Teach (Blackbeard) boarded Maynard sloop and the two attacked each other with Maynard slashing Teach throat and his crew finishing the job.  Teach (Blackbeard)  head was suspended from the bowsprit of Maynard’s’ sloop so that the reward could be collected.

We went to the Maritime Museum which focuses on North Carolina’s cultural maritime heritage, coastal environment, and natural history.  Exhibit displays include types of watercraft historically used in North Carolina, whaling, shipwrecks, and much more.

The Maritime Museum has a Charles R. McNeill Maritime Library.

The Watercraft Center across from the museum is a facility for repairing and conservation of various watercraft, and offers boatbuilding courses.  The Center also features the John S. McCormack Model Shop where you can learn the art of ship model making.

This is what happens when Johnny and Kent don’t behave and they get a time out.

We had lunch at the Spouter Inn Restaurant with a great view of  Beaufort Inlet.  Johnny had to try a soft shell crab sandwich I’m not to sure about eating one of them.

On February 1, 2012 Beaufort was ranked as “America’s Coolest Small Town” by readers of Budget Travel Magazine.  Beaufort is located in North Carolinas “Inner Banks” region.  The town is home to the North Carolina Maritime Museum and Duke University.

These old historic homes belong to sea captains, shippers and merchants.  Beaufort’s early architecture is characterized by its simplicity and charm.  Boat building tools and skills were used as sea captains copied the double porch styles of the West Indies and Bahamas seen on their seafaring voyages.

St Paul’s Episcopal Church 1857 Thomas Atkinson Bishop of North Carolina laid the corner-stone by the name of St Paul.  Note that the pews in the church are in fact the original temporary pews, they are of simple box like construction

Ann Street UMC congregation was established in 1778, then in 1820 Ann Street members built their first church.  In 1854 the present Ann Street United Methodist Church was built and the old building eventually housed Purvis Chapel African Methodist Episcopal.  During the Civil War Union solders used the church as a field hospital and then a general hospital when yellow fever broke out.  Over the years the church has been restored, however the sanctuary remains much the same as it was in the late 1800. Hand carved woodwork adorn the walls and ceiling, with stained glass windows from 1898.


Purvis Chapel built-in 1820 is the oldest Beaufort church in continuous use, this building was originally constructed by the Methodist Episcopal Church and then given to the AME Zion Congregation.  When the white Methodist built a new church in 1854, Black Methodists were deeded the old Methodist church building known as Purvis Chapel in which to worship independently.


The old Burying Ground grew up around the building used for sessions of the Court and for reading the service of the Anglican Church in St. John’s Parish.  The cemetery was deeded to the town of Beaufort in 1731 by Nathaniel Taylor, following the first survey of the town.  The northwest corner is the oldest part of the cemetery.  The corner looks empty, however a 1992 archeological survey confirmed that there are many graves in this area.  It is probable that some of the unmarked graves contain victims of the Indian wars whose skulls were cleft with tomahawks of hostile Coree and Neusiok Indians.  It is recorded that in September 1711 the area had been depopulated by the late Indian War and Massacre.  The earliest graves are marked with shell, brick, or wooden slabs, because stone markers had to be brought from afar by wooden sailing vessels.  Characteristic of this period are vaulted graves bricked over in an attempt to protect them from high water and wild animals.  Most of the graves are facing east.  Those buried wanted to be facing the sun when they arose on ” Judgement Morn”

There are three graves that are outstanding the first Girl in Barrel of Rum.  In the 1700 and English family settled in Beaufort, their daughter always wanted to see her home town London.  The girl’s father promised her mother he would bring her home, unfortunately she died on the return voyage.  Her father keeping his promise purchased a barrel of rum from the captain and placed her body in it and brought his daughter back to Beaufort for burial.

IMG_1331 This is the grave of a British officer His Majesty’s Navy who died on board ship in the port of Beaufort in 1700.  Not wanting to be buried “with his boots off” he was buried standing up in full uniform.  The tomb says” Resting beneath a foreign ground, here stands a sailor of Mad Georg’s crown name unknown, and all alone Standing the Rebel’s Ground.”


Captain Otway Burns 1974-1850 Historians says he was one of North Carolina’s greatest naval heroes in the war of 1812.  He sailed from Nova Scotia to South America plundering British ships.  His tomb is surmounted by a cannon taken from his privateer, Snapdragon.  The old Burying Ground is in the center of four churches one on each corner.  First Baptist Church, Ann Street Methodist Church, Purvis Chapel Are Zion Church, and One Harbor Church.


The current active court-house was built-in 1907.   The first one was built-in 1724, after Beaufort became the county seat of Carteret Precinct.  The second was built-in 1728 and the third was built-in 1796 at the intersection of Ann and Tumer Street.  Then in 1837 the fourth court-house was built and was later used as a public school and later as a library, until it was demolished in 1914.

Here are some more pictures of old homes, Beaufort Ice Company, Old Jail, and Missy the cat in one of the board walk stores.  We had a nice time walking around Beaufort and learning all the history.

The board walk is beautiful with access to stores and restaurants.

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