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 ancientfaces.com in 2001 by Gail Swain.


CLICK TO ENLARGE
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...


NOTE:
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
CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN VIEWER 

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)

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

St. Paul's School 1909-10 Catalogue


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Catalog repository - New Bern-Craven County Public Library