1806 Lightning Strike - Hammock House

Earliest known photo (circa 1900) 
of the Hammock House, built in 1800
Six years after building the Hammock House, Samuel Leffers wrote the following description in a letter to his brother John Lefferts, Hempstead, New York - "sent by favor of Capt. Duncan" - August 13, 1806. It is interesting to imagine Mr. Leffers as he wrote this letter - sitting at his desk in what would later become known as the Hammock House; he referred to the house and acreage as "Spring Garden."
Sunday morning the 10th, I passed my time at home, being somewhat indisposed, till about 12 o’clock when there come on a heavy shower of rain with some distant thunder. My wife was in a bedroom. Betsey Pugh and Sally Leffers were in the Kitchen and I happened to walk there and make a stand about 6 ft. from the fire place when I observed Betsey at the fire attending to a pot that was boiling. There I lost all sensation, occasioned by a body of lightning coming down the chimney which I cannot recollect seeing, feeling the stroke or hearing the thunder. Betsey was in a worse condition having received a more severe shock and having her feet badly scalded by the pots being over set. Sally was little hurt...My wife coming in frightened almost to distraction ordered Sally to run for help. It rained excessively and the nighest neighbor about 200 yards off and people mostly at Church as was Samuel.

The first thing I recollect was that I was lying on my back on the floor and several people around me raising my head. The circulation from my body downwards seemed totally suspended and my thighs & legs felt like solid masses of lead which I was totally unable to stir. I told the people my legs and feet were dead. They then stripped them and by chaffing and rubbing with camphor soon encouraged the circulation which proceeded gradually downward until the dead weight was in a measure removed and I could stir my feet. As the floor was covered with fire, ashes, soot, broken bricks and lime I was removed to another room. Here I discovered Betsey gasping for breath in the utmost agony, which was all the symptoms of life I could discover in her. The sight of this revived in me a heartfelt grief which I had not felt for myself. After some time I could begin to move my legs and feet.was washed and put to bed. Betsey was also put to bed in a much worse condition and my heart still melts when I recollect what my wife must have felt on this tragic occasion.

I proceed now to give you a short and imperfect account of some of the wonderful and incomprehensible properties of lightning.

The top of the chimney was broken to pieces and fell on the back of the house. As it was a [stack ??] in the middle of the house the rafters and roof kept the part that was confined standing, after which one side was burst off almost to the second floor. The lightning then proceeded down the fireplace where 2 trammels were hanging. The lightning then seems to have separated into a number of parts, one stream struck the jamb of the chimney, a solid wall of bricks about 12 inches thick and drilled a hole through which was not more than a quarter of an inch in diameter at the entrance and not so big as a goose quill on the other side. It then went through the floor took a shiver out of a ([...?...sleeper...] to the door which has a stairway of 3 steps one of the side pieces of which it split and followed to the ground, another stream entered the floor at the opposite end of the fireplace, took a shiver out of the underside of a plank running nearly at right angles with the first mentioned stream to another door and descended to the ground exactly in the manner of the first. Between these two streams we all three stood. Betsey received a violent stroke on the left side of her neck which proceeded down her breast inclining towards her side until it took her arm and proceeded in a spiral manner round her arm and ended in a point. The skin seemed seared and of a dark color. The streak in the widest part about an inch growing less toward each end. Altho` the wound itself is neither much sore or painful yet her whole body is disorder being sore and painful in every part. It is with difficulty she can swallow any kind of nourishment and she is still in a low state but we have good hopes of her recovery.

I now proceed to give an account of myself during this uncommon scene.

It has been long known that one property of lightning is that it is of as subtle a nature that will pass thro` a bar of solid iron without impeding its force or velocity. Another property of this inexplicable something I find is that when it meets a brick wall which it seems resists it subtlety, Though the stream is not bigger than a straw, it will bore its was though with equal velocity. I have reason to believe that a stream of this incompressible something passed though my clothing with out any visible mark and coincided with my body a little below my armpit .. glided down my side nearly to my hip, it then became forked...one stream continued its course in a pretty direct line down my thigh and leg and went off at my heel bursting my shoe behind. The other streak went down the right side of my belly directly to my watch...melted the silver on the edge of the case and left a black tarnish on the edge of the crystal without doing her any other damage. The skin in these streaks is of a deep red color in some places an inch wide and others less. In parts that are fleshy the skin was colored but not injured but in the bony parts, as down the side of my knee the skin seemed seared and was a dark color and some small blisters appeared. Under the crystal of my watch there still remains a very deep red spot, all this done without scorching a thread of my clothing, as I can perceive, altho` they have been washed. The streaks and blister are neither sore or painful and the smart of the whole is not more than what I have felt in one day from being sunburnt...

Old Images of Ann Street Methodist Church

Old Drawing
1907 Postcard (Remodeling/rebuild was done 1898-99)
1908 Photograph
Circa 1940 Photograph 
Circa 1930 Postcard - Durwood Barbour Collection, UNC

The Beaufort News - September 12, 1940

Covering the Waterfront 
by Aycock Brown
(photographs added)

A snip of this article
If Dick Dickinson could drive his father’s big Buick over the new road to Salter Path, I saw no reason why I could not drive my Ford (mine except the share Morris Plan has in it) over the same route. A trip to Salter Path though, is something one plans for weeks before actually trying it, or such was my case. Anyway, armed with my camera and other paraphernalia for making pictures, I started out last Friday afternoon for one of North Carolina’s most picturesque fishing communities—and incidentally, one of the nearest places of isolation to any paved road in the state. Originally I had planned to take a model to use in the photographs that I might take, but before I had gone two miles westward on the WPA built route, I was mighty glad that I was accompanied by William Hatsell and a hitch-hiker I had picked up in Morehead City, instead.

George Smith, the mail carrier, had told me that the road was navigable if I would
remember to shift gears quickly and take the sandiest portions of the route in second gear. I forgot to do that though, on the first mile after leaving the pavement of the West Drive on Atlantic Beach. A truck with a trailer loaded with lumber had started toward Salter Path early Friday morning, gotten as far as the woods, and after getting stuck three or four times, unloaded and started back towards the paved road. At 3 o’clock, the truck was stuck again and as there was nothing I could do except offer help and sympathy, I cut out of the rut and passed—only to find my own rear wheels spinning a hundred feet westward. 

That was when I was glad that I had left the beauties (models) at home and brought along the hitch-hiker and William Hatsell. A bit of shoving on their part soon had my Ford underway again and rather than face the possibility of getting stuck again I stepped on the gas and got far ahead of my two companions before reaching hard ground and coming to a stop. Hatsell and the hitch-hiker coming down the road a quarter of a mile away provided my first picture.

Photo courtesy pineknollhistory.blogspot.com
The last time I had traveled the route, I was accompanied by a couple of models. It was
early in the summer and I was looking for a place where the natural surroundings would suggest Tahiti or the South Seas. One of the models was wearing a sarong. On that voyage through the dunes, I got as far as the Alice Hoffman Estate, took one looks at the sandy stretch up ahead and decided that I had better go no further. The pictures were made over on the beach nearby. I would have liked to have visited Mrs. Hoffman at her place, but everyone had told me that she did not like visitors, and the padlocked gate at the entrance to her Riviera-like property plainly suggested that she was not expecting callers—and especially someone she did not even know.
Photo courtesy downeasttour.com
The sandy spot near the Hoffman Estate entrance has been improved considerably and on Friday we passed there safely. About two miles up the road we met another car coming eastward, and that is another drawback of the trip. The WPA-road’s right-of-way has not been widened along most of the route, so the road is definitely one-way. After a bit of maneuvering, however, we passed and about one mile further another car approached. It was Capt. Harvey Willis, postmaster at Salter Pat and the one resident of the community who had told me enough stories since I have known him to fill a volume. He gave me further notice about how to drive the route and also said that he had come all the way from the village without changing gears. That was encouraging, but I continued shifting when the quick-sand appeared in the ruts up ahead. One of the interesting things to the outsider going along the route will be the sign along the route will be the sign nailed to a tree about six miles west of Atlantic Beach. It reads like this:

A path has been made from the sign to the wreck of the old British blockade runner in the surf near the ocean beach. That old blockader went in the breakers during the Civil War. There is a story about how she had run out of fuel and in attempts to keep steam up, tried burning bacon, which was part of the supplies that were aboard.

First store you reach after arriving at Salter Path is like any of dozens of service stations in
the county. There is a nickelodeon (which is out of order) and a pool table there too, gasoline pumps on the outside and a fine stock of merchandise on the inside. It is not what one would expect to find at Salter Path. There is another store down on the sound shore that is much cleaner than the average rural establishment of its kind and with a good stock of goods too. 

The church is one of the most photogenic
Photo courtesy pineknollhistory.blogspot.com
sites in the village—especially if you will find a spot where it can be framed through a foreground of picturesque oaks. Capt. Willis’ daughter is the assistant at the post office which is located in their residence, the largest and best house in the community. She very obligingly posed for a picture. I asked her if the census taker had been to Salter Path and what the population of the community was. She told me that no census taker had been there to her knowledge and that the population was about 250 persons.

From the sound shore near the huge pile of oyster shells you can look diagonally across
Bogue Sound and see Edgewater Club loom up in the distance. A few weeks ago we carried a story in the Beaufort News about the number of adults working on WPA. Today the project is temporarily stopped, or at least there was no one working on the road last Friday. Most all of the men seemed were in the fishery camps along the ocean beach. So far fishing conditions have not been very favorable, but the Salter Pathers were hopeful that following a hard southwester, a shift would come, a mullet shift. One of the fishing crews on the beach were hopeful that they would make another 44,000 pound catch of fish—like they did last year. I hope they have such luck too, because they really work hard for their living and deserve the break.

Salter Path is the only community west of Atlantic Beach on Bogue Banks today. The
residents have been living there for about 30 years. Previously they lived, or most of them die in another community about two miles west. That was Rice Path. The shifting sands almost engulfed the Rice Pathers, so they came further east to settle. There are no cemeteries in Salter Path. The families bury their dead at Gales Creek, across the sound on the mainland. Years ago there was another community—a church and a cemetery at Bell Cove, about seven miles west of the present village. Some day I plan to visit that former community. We didn’t have time last Friday. Bell Cove today has been shortened to Bellco’ and it is the site of one of the important fisheries on Bogue Banks. Henry K. Fort of Philadelphia owns considerable property on Bogue Banks, including Bellco’. For the privilege of fishing there the residents pay an annual rental, one of the residents of Salter Path told me. Another resident whom I talked with agreed that a proper description of Salter Path’s locality could go like this: “A community on Bogue Banks, about 10 miles west of Atlantic Beach, bounded on the north by Bogue Sound, the south by Atlantic Ocean, the east by Alice Hoffman estate and west by Henry K. Fort’s property.”

Last Friday we returned the beach way and found it an interesting drive—but make sure the tide is low if you attempt it. Just to assure myself that I could go to and from Salter Path safely on two occasions during the same week, I made another trip there last Sunday, westward via the beach and the return through the new road. . . Esther, Hattie and Brantley accompanied me. They found the trip most interesting, a trifle hazardous, and quite bumpy.

New Roadway from Hoffman Estate to Nearby Ocean Surf
    A new driveway has been constructed from the Hoffman Estate on Bogue Banks to the ocean surf. The entrance, adjacent to the State sponsored road leading from Atlantic Beach to Salter Path, is marked with two recently erected concrete posts and it is assumed that a gate will be placed there. No comment could be obtained from any resident of Salter Path about the driveway, but it was hinted that it would be for the exclusive use of the owner of the property and her guests. A ramp has been constructed on the ocean side to provide a safe passage for automobiles or other conveyances in getting from the beach into the forest covered dunes.

Bridge Connects Two Towns - The Beaufort News Nov 24, 1927

The 1927 "Bridge" connecting Morehead City and Beaufort 
was actually TWO drawbridges connected by a causeway.


December 1, 1927

December 8, 1927
December 15, 1927

305 Ann Street & the Taylor's 1931 Golden Anniversary

1907 Postcard - 305 on far right
Contemporary photograph
In 1852, William Leecraft inherited the eastern half of Old Town Lots 74 & 84 from the estate of his father Benjamin Leecraft II (the Leecraft homestead was one the west side of the first block of Turner Street). William built this house at 305 Ann Street a few years before he built its neighbor to the east in 1856.  
In 1894, William Leecraft Arendell sold the home (inherited from his uncle William Leecraft) to Nelson Whitford Taylor Sr. (7 Sept 1856‒13 Sept 1948) and wife Mary Catherine Buckman (9 Nov 1860‒22 Mar 1965); Mary "Ma" Taylor occupied the home until her death at 104. 

In the introduction to my new Beaufort book, Historic Beaufort, North Carolina, A Unique Coastal Village Preserved, F. Borden Mace wrote, "Ma and Pa Taylor were like second parents to many of the children of Beaufort and the area around it. Once, a letter from Europe addressed only to 'Ma and Pa Taylor, North Carolina, USA,' was safely delivered! I was especially close to them because Ma was my Sunday school teacher and I played with her many grandchildren in the neighborhood."

Married February 24, 1881, when Nelson and Mary Catherine celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, the lovely and inclusive affair that was included in the February 26, 1931 edition of The Beaufort News. Click an image to open photo viewer, enlarge and read article snips in sequence.

Warshaw provides insight to Beaufort's historic past

Click an image to open in photo viewer
and read this story in sequence

Confederate Memorial - Unveiled May 10, 1926


The Beaufort News - May 13, 1926

William Luther Paul Family

Raymond Luther Paul
William Luther Paul's father RAYMOND LUTHER PAUL (1842-1929) was born north of Vanceboro, Craven County, NC, son of William Timothy Paul (1818-1888) and Unity Leigh (1822-1855). During the Civil War, Confederate soldier Raymond L. Paul was a private, 1st Regiment, North Carolina Artillery; enlisted in Craven County, June 12, 1861. According to great grandson Grayden M. Paul Jr., company muster rolls show Private R.L. Paul was present at Fort Macon from July 2, 1861 to February 28, 1862. On April 26, 1862, after the fort was captured by Federal forces, Paul was paroled along with the rest of the officers and enlisted men at Fort Macon. (Raymond's father William Timothy Paul was a private in 13th Battalion, North Carolina Light Artillery.) MORE family history, old photos and newspaper articles...


for vendors and how to order
A Unique Coastal Village Preserved 
by Mary Warshaw

An authentic history of the homes, buildings, sites and families, this 200-page volume focuses on ALL (285) Beaufort's unique collection of historic homes built from the 1770s to the early 1900s. Within this account are 150 plaqued home and 135 historic homes yet to be plaqued—all presented street-by-street, with images and histories of the families who called them home.

Special pages present Beaufort's 300 year history, as well as research on the Coree Indians, Taylor's Creek, Piver's Island, Gallant's Channel, Rachel Carson Reserve, Beaufort bridges, and Beaufort architecture.
Through the study of deeds, family records and other sources, more accurate dates were discovered for many of the historic homes, including when, and by whom, the Hammock House was built; four pages are dedicated to this important discovery.

The 8-page introduction, "Fond Memories of Life in Beaufort," written by Borden Mace (1920‒2014), provides readers a special insider's look into Beaufort in the '20s and '30s.

Click Image to Book Site
▪ "Mary Warshaw's talent and fascination with all the details of Beaufort's history will make this book a 'must have' resource for the many people all over the world who know and love Beaufort." —Patricia Suggs, Executive Director Beaufort Historical Association

▪ "How exciting to have Mary unravel some of Beaufort's most intriguing mysteries! This book will be of great interest to residents, descendants and visitors." —John Hagle, President Beaufort Historical Association

▪ "In the 2011 'Preface' to the on-line edition of my Colonial Beaufort: The History of a North Carolina Town, I expressed the hope that 'some future student of Beaufort's history will strengthen its weaknesses and build on its foundations.' Mary Warshaw's new book, Historic Beaufort: A Unique Coastal Village Preserved, has made a significant contribution toward the fulfillment of that hope. The chief emphasis of her research for this book is on 'Beaufort's historic homes and families,' two areas that will greatly enhance our knowledge of the town's heretofore untold history." —Charles L. Paul, Professor Emeritus, Chowan University

Click here to BOOK SITE - for Vendors or How to Order
For signed copies, Email Mary

Mary Warshaw's first Beaufort book 

The Colors of Beaufort, North Carolina
Three Centuries of History Woven Through Art & Words