Beaufort Timeline

Clear Springs Plantation
Craven County-near Jasper
▪1707 - First Land Patent: The Lords Proprietors granted Farnifold Green 780 acres between Core (Newport) and North Rivers; Green continued to live north of Neuse River on "Clear Springs Plantation."

▪1708 - John & Francis Shackelford,
born in Essex County, Virginia, settled on west side of North River about 4 miles northeast of present-day Beaufort.

Lawson Captured by Indians
▪1711-1715 - Tuscarora War: The first few brave settlers, in what would become Carteret County, may have encountered a few Coranine or Coree Indians. According to descendant Al Pate, in The Coree Are Not Extinct, the Coree, about five years earlier, had already begun to roam the coast “from the New River of Onslow…into their old homeland on the Pamlico south shore of Coree Tuck.” Although the earliest settlers in the "Core Sound" - Shackelford, Nelson (1708 North River) and few others - were relatively safe in their isolation, the circumstances of the time were not conducive to more settlement. The Tuscarora, outraged over enslavement, land encroachment and the deceitful practices of the white intruders, were angered at being pushed off their land--the area of present-day New Bern. King Hancock and his braves, full of resentment and hatred, murdered Deputy Surveyor John Lawson and decided to declare war. In September of 1711, King Hancock's warriors, joined by other tribes, including the Coree, "launched an all-out attack along the Neuse and Pamlico, including the town of Bath." The unsuspecting colonists, also weak from a poor drought-caused harvest, were stunned and frightened. Farnifold Green and others made out their wills. 

1713 Plat of Beaufort Town
▪1713 - Beaufort laid out and named: With Green's patent was officially assigned to Robert Turner of Bath, on October 2, 1713, an Act of the General Assembly officially approved a town be laid out and named. Turner hired surveyor Richard Graves to lay out a 100-acre town; named for Turner's friend and Lords Proprietor Henry Somerset, the 2nd Duke of Beaufort.

▪1713 - John Shackelford and Enoch Ward purchased 7000 acres of "Sea Banks," then part of Bath County; Shackelford's portion became known as Shackleford Banks, the "el" transposed in the surname, beginning on early maps.

Queen Anne's Revenge
▪1718 - June: Black Beard's Queen Anne's Revenge grounded near Old Topsail Inlet; the pirates he had abandoned described Beaufort as a "poor little village at the upper end of the harbour."

1720 - Richard Rustull purchased the town land from Robert Turner. 

▪1722 - Lords Proprietors appointed Beaufort as a port “for the unloading and discharging Vessels.” 

▪1722 - Carteret Precinct was carved from Craven Precinct; Beaufort chosen as site of courthouse.

▪1723 - Beaufort Incorporated: Laws of North Carolina - An Act, for Incorporating the Seaport of Beaufort, In Carteret Precinct, Into a Township, by the Name of Beaufort.

Barque Louisa Bliss - Beaufort to San Francisco in 1850

Eastern Carolina Republican - New Bern, NC
In Historic Beaufort, North Carolina - A Unique Coastal Village Preserved, the account of the Busk House circa 1846 gives more information on those who ventured from Beaufort to San Francisco: 

308 Broad Street
BUSK HOUSE circa 1846 – plaqued
     Born about 1797, in 1820 sail maker James Busk first married Keziah Parks in Baltimore County, Maryland. In 1854, Busk married Sabra Harker (c.1800–c.1860), daughter of Clarissa Fulford and Ebenezer Harker. (Sabra's grandfather, Ebenezer Harker, purchased 2400-acre Craney Island in 1730; known since as Harker's Island. Ebenezer Harker's aunt, Abiah Lee Folger, was mother of Benjamin Franklin.)
     In 1859, 62-year-old James Busk married 24-year-old Lucretia A. Marshall, daughter of William P. Marshall and Tamer Simpson. On a broken tombstone in St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery, 1865 is inscribed as Busk's date of death.
     It is interesting to note that James Busk was among the 1850 crew that sailed barque Louisa Bliss from Beaufort, around Cape Horn, to San Francisco with a cargo of lumber from William C. Bell & Co. (partners Thomas Duncan, M.B. Roberson, Benjamin Leecraft and B.L. Perry). Others in the adventuresome crew were locals: A.M. Fales, Brian Rumley,* S.S. Duffy, W.P. Hellen, LeRoy Piver, James Gillikin, David W. Noe, W.F. Hatsel, J.L. Manney and Charles Whitehurst.
     1997 Survey: 2-story, side-gable house with boxed eaves, interior end chimney and 2/2 sash. Hipped porch has chamfered posts with Doric capitals, traditional railing and open ceiling.

*Mentioned in the ad, Brian Hellen Rumley (1809-1853) was agent for W.C. Bell & Co. Brian, brother of James and John, was son of John Rumley and Sarah Gibble. Brian married Brancy Hatsell in Onslow County in 1832. After the California trip, he later died at 43 from yellow fever in Kingston, Jamaica and was buried there.

Hammock House was built in 1800
Oldest known photo (c.1900) of 
the Hammock House published 
1980 in Carteret News-Times
My main goal in compiling Historic Beaufort, North Carolina: A Unique Coastal Village Preserved was to present an authentic history of the town’s homes, buildings, sites and families. Among the missing pieces of the puzzle of Beaufort’s past was when and by whom the Hammock House was built—a house long assumed to be the “White House” seen on early 18th-century maps. I was determined to find the answer.

All architectural historians I consulted believe the Hammock House to be a late-18th or early-19th century house. Using this time frame, I knew Samuel Leffers owned the 25-acre “White House” property, plus adjoining acreage, from 1795 until 1811.

One morning, it occurred to me to carefully reread Leffers’ letters to his brother John in Long Island, New York, written between 1800 and 1821. In an October 19, 1800 letter Leffers wrote, “My situation at present is agreeable, my new house is calculated to my fancy and pleasantly situated, we have a fine prospect of the Sea, in front have a good garden and spring of water and are about 200 yards from the eastern most boundary of Beaufort town."

Leffer's new house appears to have been built about 300 yards east of the White House, which was 100 yards west of the town boundary, the boundary having also been described as "100 yards to the eastward of the hammock that Thomas Austin formerly lived on." (The "White House" was located between Fulford and Gordon Streets.)

On March 11, 1811, Leffers sold his 45-acre property, including the 1800 "Hammock House," to Henry Marchant Cooke for $1300 (Deed Book P, page 320). On April 16, 1811, Samuel wrote his brother, "…as Mr. Cooke is an intimate acquaintance of mine and has an agreeable wife and but one child and I am particularly attached to the pleasant situation which I have enjoyed for 10 years past I have agreed to continue as a boarder with Mr. Cooke..."

Henry Marchant Cooke and his wife, Frances Barry Buxton, were married in New Bern in 1809. Their first child was born in New Bern. Eight of their remaining thirteen children were born in the Hammock House; four were born (1820 to 1826) at 207 Front Street in the old Benjamin Leecraft Perry House before they moved back to the Hammock House. In 1831, after owning the Hammock House for twenty years, Cooke sold the property, at a loss, to Leggett, Fox & Company of New York City. 

So…the pieces of the puzzle fell together—architectural style, time frame, owner of the property, Leffers’ letter, and the chain of custody—the letter being the clincher.

Four pages of research are included in Historic Beaufort, North Carolina: A Unique Coastal Village Preserved—presenting the White House and Hammock House as two separate structures.

Mary Warshaw

1800 Hammock House - Warshaw painting

New Beaufort Book - Just Released
Click to Book Site
for Vendors or 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 

Caleb Bradham's mother-in-law was born in Beaufort.

1827 Hatsell House
Pepsi-Cola's Caleb Bradham
(NC Museum of History)
In March of 1838, Mary Elizabeth Hatsell was born in Beaufort in the 1827 Hatsell House at 117 Orange Street, to Andrew Lee Hatchell and Charity Fuller. On December 15, 1869, Mary Elizabeth married Bryan Griffin Credle. In 1901, their daughter Sarah Charity Credle married Caleb Davis Bradham - the New Bern pharmacist who concocted "Pepsi-Cola." On June 16, 1903, the U.S. Patent Office registered the "Pepsi-Cola" trademark.

When Charity and Caleb Bradham married, Caleb gave his father-in-law, Bryan Griffin Credle, one share of "Pepsi-Cola" stock. Charity and Caleb's daughter, Mary McCann Bradham, was pictured in a photo ad when she was about four years old - making her the first and youngest "Pepsi Girl". Charity and Caleb Bradham had two other children - Caleb Darnell Bradham, born in 1905 and George Washington Bradham, born in 1907. About 1925, Mary McCann Bradham married William Dossey Pruden Sr.


Front Street looking west shows the boardwalk & Custom House flag
(Before the turn of the century, the Custom House was relocated 
from 115 Front Street to the east corner of Front and Craven Streets.)
Circa 1898-1900 photo courtesy Beaufort Historical Association

ATLANTIC HOUSE HOTEL circa 1851-1879
ATLANTIC HOUSE: For 28 years, until the violent hurricane of 1879, the Atlantic Hotel or Atlantic House, was a significant part of the Beaufort waterfront. Gray’s 1880 New Map of Beaufort, shows the "Atlantic Hotel Lot" on the waterfront between Pollock and Marsh Streets. 
     In her 1991 book, The Atlantic Hotel, Virginia Pou Doughton wrote of Josiah Pender building the hotel in 1859…”the structure was three stories high, with triple porches and numerous windows to catch the breeze. It was a light framework covered with squares of planking to resemble stucco and was supported on pilings out over the water.” 
     However, an account on Josiah Solomon Pender, in the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography: Vol. 5, P-S, stated, “In 1856 he bought his favorite oceanfront hotel, the Atlantic House, which had been erected in 1851, had served as the Hammond Military Hospital (1862‒65), and was destroyed by a hurricane in 1879. [Before it was destroyed] it was connected with the mainland by a good bridge.” It is likely that this early bridge/boardwalk was rebuilt after the 1879 hurricane.

GRAY’S 1880 MAP shows the boardwalk starting between Craven and Queen Streets – extending to Pollock Street. The Atlantic Hotel LOT was on the waterfront between Pollock and Marsh Streets. By the 1913 Sanborn Map, Front Street had been extended to Queen Street. 

Postcards below - circa 1908-1911
"White House," circa 1844, sits on the west side of the Inlet Inn, 
the house moved to this location before 1913.
View from the front porch of the Inlet Inn - inset on an Inlet Inn postcard

THE OLD INLET INN: The earliest part of what became the first Inlet Inn was built in the 1850s as a private residence. Noted on Gray's 1880 Map as "Sea Side House,” proprietor Charles W. Lowenberg sold to the Morris family in the early 1900s.  It was known as "Morris House" until Carrie Dill Norcom operated it as a boarding house named "Norcom House." Purchased by Congressman Charles Abernathy in 1911, the house was greatly expanded and named the "New Inlet Inn." 

There was a ballroom on the second floor. Fresh water was pumped by windmills. The beach and boardwalk of the 1911 Inlet Inn disappeared as a result of the dredging of Taylor's Creek and the extension of Front Street. In 1967, before preservation guidelines were in place, most of the inn was torn down for construction of the BB&T Bank building just east of the current 1985 Inlet Inn. One wing of the original Inlet Inn was salvaged and is now a private residence.
Postcard courtesy Linda Sadler


Duncans Went to Garbacon Plantation during the Civil War

When Union troops took over Fort Macon (April 25, 1862) and occupied the town of Beaufort during the Civil War (1862-1865) - the Thomas Duncan family, refusing to take an oath of allegiance, was provided transportation "beyond the lines." According to family legend, the Duncan family at 105 Front Street stashed some valuables, perhaps in the cistern, and went to Garbacon Creek Plantation in South River. (“Garbacon” was derived from the fact that gar, a small variety of the bony fish, when hung out to dry, looked like strips of bacon.)

Garbacon Creek Plantation was owned by Capt. John Nelson (1675-1759); he also owned large tracts of land north and south of the Neuse River. Capt. John Nelson signed a petition in 1712 asking that the court be held in the area. He was on the first vestry of St. John’s Parish. Capt. Nelson’s great-great grandson John Hancock Nelson inherited Garbacon and also purchased 201 Front Street from Thomas Duncan in 1875.  This photograph of the original Nelson plantation was uploaded to in 2001 by Gail Swain.

Image courtesy of The History Place (Museum of the
Carteret County Historical Society).
A year after the occupation of Beaufort, 27-year-old Wm. B. Duncan received this letter, dated June 23, 1863, from Brig. Gen. Spinola. (Carteret County History Museum archives)

William Benjamin Duncan (1836-1911), son of Thomas Duncan (1806-1880) and Elicia Howland (1814-1869), first married Sarah Ann Ramsey (1835-1867) in 1856; they were parents of William Ernest (1858-1929); Isaac, born 1859; Thomas Isaac (1860-1938); Edward Carl (1862-1920); and Graham Duncan, born 1864. In 1873, William Benjamin Duncan married Emily Frances Jones in 1873; they were parents of David Jones (1875-1904); Emily E., born 1876; Sarah E., born 1879; Julius Fletcher (1881-1963); James Shepard (1884-1969); and Lillian Duncan (1885-1953). William B. Duncan inherited the Duncan House.

"Miss Nannie's" Book

Years ago, I found this book, Hints to Small Libraries, in the "library" of the 1815 Duncan House on Front Street. Published in 1898, the book was likely acquired by Nannie Pasteur Davis Geffroy about the time St. Paul's School reopened in 1899 or soon after.  CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE.

Nannie signed her name on the inside of the cover - Mifs [or Nifs] N.P. Geoffrey - possibly using the old-style double "s" for Miss. (She was, however, married at the time;* she also used the old spelling of Geffroy) If Nifs -  NIFs (non-instructional facility) refers to a school building without classrooms or a library building without public areas.

In her book, The Old Port Town Beaufort North Carolina, historian Jean Bruyere Kell spelled the name "Geoffroy." Mrs. Kell worked for Nannie Geffroy at St. Paul's School during the Depression and used to sit on the porch of the house at 201 Ann Street (now plaqued James Davis House circa 1817). Nannie Geffroy used the house as office, school infirmary and home away from home (311 Ann) while she dedicated her life to St. Paul's School. (The 1900 Beaufort Census recorded name as Geoffrey. Informant on her death certificate, half sibling Ella D. Davis gave spelling as Geffroy.)

St. Paul's School: In 1858, St. Paul's School opened in a building behind and just east of 201 Ann Street. Led by Van Antwerp, with teachers Caroline Van Antwerp, Elizabeth Roberson and Sarah Pasteur, the school closed in 1867. The school reopened in 1899 under the guidance of Rev. Thomas P. Noe, with help from Sarah Pasteur Davis' daughter Nannie Davis Geffroy (born Mary Ann Davis, she changed her name sometime after her mother's death and before she married Malachi Geffroy). A new school was erected in 1900 on the lot east of the church, followed in 1906 by Watson Hall Dormitory between the church and 201 Ann Street. The 1858 school building was then used as a Manual Training School. From 1899 until her death in 1936, Nannie Geffroy was first as secretary-treasurer, then headmistress of St. Paul's School. 

*Malachi Roberson Geffroy (1861-1938) and Nannie P. Davis (1865-1936) were married 31 Aug 1885 by minister E.M. Forbes; witnesses: Alonzo Thomas, John D. Davis and James L. Manney. Both were buried in St. Paul's Cemetery. 

Robert William Sailed to Beaufort in 1765

In his History of the Hammock House and Related Trivia, Maurice Davis wrote about Robert Williams, who owned the "White House" property from 1765 to 1777.


“Robert Williams, a Quaker, was one of the most remarkable men who ever lived in Carteret County. He obviously made no small plans.   


“He is first recorded in the county in June 1765 when he purchased from Timothy Alling and Benjamin Olney, merchants, two parcels of 75 acres along Taylor’s Creek designated ‘Taylor’s Old Field’ and the White House, the western part of the land formerly belonging to James Winwright, deceased. Williams also obtained from Mary Whorton, widow of Mattock Whorton, an assignment of her dower rights in the White House land ‘where she now lives.’

“In 1767 he returned to England and married Elizabeth Dearman…In the same year Williams purchased property in New Bern and opened the ‘Ready Money Store.’ He also had a store in Beaufort. By 1769 he had begun to purchase property along Black Creek between the settlement that was to become Newport and the Mill Creek home and mill of William Borden. He dammed the creek and created a large mill pond, using water power to operate a saw mill and grist mill. He also raised rice there and built a brick house using brick and ballast stone brought from England. CLICK HERE TO MAIN SITE

Stantons - Early Beaufort NC Settlers

This photo was included in the 1922 William Henry Stanton 
book; Stanton was obviously told it was the "oldest."   
Known then as the "Jennie Thomas" house, first block 
of Orange Street, the house faced the water and was just 
south of the 1827 Hatsell House.  
Click the image to enlarge.
Born in Newport, Rhode Island 22 May 1688, Henry Stanton (1688-1751) was the son of John Stanton (1645-1713) and Mary Clarke (1641-1711).

When Henry and Mary Stanton made their way to the Beaufort area of Carteret County, they brought with them children Alice, Hannah, Henry and Joseph. In addition to the acreage bought from Porter in 1721, Henry added to his area landholdings with purchases from George Cogdell and Carey Godby in 1732 as well as from King George II in 1736, 1740 and 1741. 

Henry Stanton had the first shipyard in the new Quaker Colony on Core Creek/Newport River just north of Beaufort. Henry’s wife Mary died after 1742; he married Lydia Albertson in 1745. Their children were Benjamin, Sarah, Avis and John—all born in Beaufort.

The first Quaker meeting in Carteret County was organized on August 1, 1733, at the home of shipbuilder William Borden (who had come from R.I. about 1732 and had a shipyard off Harlowe Creek/Newport River). Subsequent meetings were held at the home of Henry Stanton until a meeting house could be erected.

Henry Stanton died about 1751. His son Benjamin, born 1746, added to the Stanton properties. According to Maurice Davis’ History of the Hammock House, Benjamin Stanton owned and used the "White House" as a “townhouse” from 1777 until 1785. Stanton and other Quakers, “made effective use of the hammock/hummock property while they owned it, erecting a windmill to grind grain and using the frontage on Carrot Island Channel/Taylor’s Creek to dock their ships. Part of this was during the period when Beaufort was an important port of supply for the Continental Army. The Quakers were pacifists, but they were not averse to helping in other ways to support a cause in which they had an important stake.”

In March 1790, Benjamin Stanton purchased Carrot Island from Nehemiah Harris. Two years later, Benjamin purchased “Banks land” from Joseph W. Davis.

After son Benjamin’s death in 1798, his wife Abigail, and other Quakers in the area, made their way, by horse and covered wagon, to the Ohio wilderness; Abigail took a brood of still minor children and left behind the few who had married. CLICK HERE TO MAIN SITE...

About 1733, Richard Jr. (son of the second proprietor of Beaufort) first married one of the daughters of Henry Stanton; she died before 1739.

Miss Annie Morton;
daughter of D.W. Morton and Minnie Stanton.

James Davis; eldest son of Joseph W. Davis Jr. and Susanna Stanton.

Origins of the Marine Lab in Beaufort

The Seaside School (Gibbs House) of Johns Hopkins University   
Colorized sketch by Henry Osborne published in a special German edition
 of Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper - November 27, 1880

"Surface Collecting near Fort Macon" 
was the second image published in this 
special German edition of Leslie's Illustrated

Although many scientist and naturalists visited and documented the Beaufort, North Carolina area from the mid to late 1800s, Dr. Elliot Coues, an army physician stationed at Fort Macon in 1869-70, provided the greatest publicity for the potential of the Beaufort region for natural history research. The area became a significant place for scientist to gather information. From 1880-1886, professors and students of Johns Hopkins University maintained a laboratory at the Gibbs House, which was rented from Laura Gibbs Ramsey.   


In 1880, the Johns Hopkins was provided a steam launch, which was built at Bristol, R.I., and arrangements were made to spend a longer period at the seaside. The session was opened on April 23rd at Beaufort, N.C., and closed September 30th. A house was hired and fitted with working accommodations for six investigators and directed by W.K. Brooks. Dr. Brooks supervised these advanced students. 


During about six weeks during 1881, an elementary class in Zoology was announced. Daily lectures were to be given along with dredging and collecting expeditions. Applicants were required to attend "the whole course, and to devote themselves to study, although, bearing in mind that most of the students will probably have just finished a year's collegiate study elsewhere, the work in the laboratory will be so arranged as to leave abundant time for out-door life, and for the enjoyment of fishing, boating and bathing." The fee for instruction was $25. Those qualified would be allowed to study for the rest of the season without extra charge. "Boarding and lodging can be obtained in the town of Beaufort, within a short distance of the laboratory, for from $20 to $30 a month. The diversified fauna of this locality, together with its mild and uniform climate, renders it a desirable place for study during the hot months of summer." (Johns Hopkins University Circular)


Excerpts from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper - November 20, 1880
The Johns Hopkins Seaside Laboratory

     ...Illustrations of the Johns Hopkins Seaside Laboratory, which has been located during the past season at Beaufort, on the coast of North Carolina. The work of the laboratory, which was organized three years ago, has been to study the marine life of Southern waters…The first season’s work, in the Summer of 1878, was carried on in Hampton Roads, Va., at Fort Wool…In the following Spring the laboratory was established at Crisfield, on the “Eastern Shore” of Maryland, a village which is the centre of the oyster trade for the Southern Chesapeake… 

     This season it was decided to push still further south in order to get within reach of the more Southern or semi-tropical forms of life, and, after some deliberation, Beaufort, N.C., and old and well-known collecting ground, was fixed upon as headquarters for the Summer…Our illustrations, most of which are from sketches by Henry F. Osborne, show some of the apparatus and the way it is used, and one or tow of the interesting forms of life are shown. One represents a party “dipping” and “towing” from the little steam launch, which has proved of invaluable, or, rather, indispensable, service in the work…
     The town of Beaufort, though a rather out-of-the-way place, is a well-known Southern Summer resort. The
prevailing cool sea breezes render the climate very delightful, and this is itself a sufficient inducement to many. But there are many other attractions, such as fishing, bathing, boating, etc., and the town rather picturesque. The attention of the newly-arrived visitor is immediately arrested by the old-fashioned windmills which grind corn for the omnipresent “pone” or Southern cornbread. Seen from a distance, they give a decidedly Dutch look to the place—an impression which is, however, scarcely sustained by a nearer view of the battered and weather-beaten old houses of which the village is largely composed.

      It is proposed to resume the work at Beaufort next Summer, and it is not impossible that a permanent laboratory may be there erected if the location is found, upon thorough trial, to be well adapted for that purpose. At present a large dwelling-house, situated at the water’s edge, is made use of for a laboratory. This mansion enjoys no little celebrity from its architectural superiority to its less pretentious neighbors, and from the fact, often reiterated by inhabitants of Beaufort—that it is built of cypress wood and copper nails.

After renting the house to Johns Hopkins from 1880-1886, about 1893, Laura Gibbs Ramsey added the upper front porch. (N. Russell) For three years (1899-1901), before a permanent laboratory was finished on Piver's Island in 1902, Laura again rented the house - this time to the U.S. Fish Commission.

1851 Gibbs House - 1972 National Register photograph
In the May 5, 1899 issue of Science magazine, the assistant Commissioner of Fish and Fisheries, Hugh McCormick Smith, announced that the U.S. Fish Commission would maintain a marine biological laboratory at Beaufort, NC. The only other permanent station at Woods Hole, Massachusetts, had been established in 1885. 

Joseph Austin Holmes, North Carolina State Geologist and head of Natural History Survey from 1891-1905, was primarily responsible for gaining support of the federal government for establishing the fisheries laboratory at Beaufort. Professor Henry Van Peters Wilson, professor and chairman of zoology at the University of North Carolina from 1891-1935, pressed for the establishment of the laboratory at Beaufort.
Professor Wilson
Dr. Henry Van Peters Wilson had spent several seasons in Beaufort as a Johns Hopkins graduate student. In 1899, Wilson, who had continued conducting research in Beaufort during the summers, was placed in charge of the new laboratory, which was for the study of questions pertaining to fish-culture, fisheries and marine biology. Professor Wilson was granted $300 with which he rented a "commodius building" (Gibbs House) on the waterfront and provided it with suitable laboratory equipment and a small working library.

A steam launch was assigned and on June 1, 1899 the U.S. Fish Commission Laboratory was opened for its first season. At this time Beaufort was reached by boat from Morehead City. Twelve men, faculty and students from various universities, had come to Beaufort by September - to use the laboratory for various projects. Even though these men conducted various research projects, all contributed in the effort to determine the animals and plants in and near Beaufort Harbor, including their abundance, local distribution, breeding times, habits, etc. The foundation was laid for a museum collection and a record book was opened.

Before the Laboratory reopened for its second season, President Theodore Roosevelt had signed an act of Congress authorizing the establishment of a permanent biological station on the coast of North Carolina. Land was acquired with the help of Alonzo Thomas and others - the laboratory on Pivers Island was officially opened on May 26, 1902.

Biological Station at Beaufort 1916

 The Bureau of Fisheries and its Biological Station at Beaufort, N.C.
Click an image to open lightbox viewer.
Larger images follow text.

Department of Commerce
Bureau of Fisheries
Hugh M. Smith, Commissioner
Library of Congress. 1916