White House and Hammock House

The White House

1733 Moseley notes "N.Taylor" (Nathaniel Taylor)
who owned the White House from 1725-1733
A structure in the area east of the town of Beaufort, was noted on early maps as the “White House.” With its position on the waterfront and clear view of the inlet, it would have served as a landmark to help guide early mariners. 

Since Farnifold Green owned the land and had the means, he may have built the "White House" as an outpost - a place to stay when visiting the yet-settled wilderness. 

Green, who lived on a 1700-acre plantation north of Neuse River, (on Green's Creek, near present-day Oriental) had the first land patent for land that would later become Beaufort - 780 acres on "the south end of the peninsula that extends between North River and Newport River" - the patent granted December 20, 1707.

Becoming fearful of the events of the Tuscarora War, Green, still on his plantation north of Neuse (Clear Springs Plantation or Green's Thoroughfare), assigned his patent to Robert Turner in 1711. In 1713, Turner received a formal patent and permission from the Lords Proprietors to lay out the town. Green was massacred by Indians in 1714.

The earliest recorded occupant of the  "White House" was Thomas Austin Sr. In 1725, when Richard Rustull Sr. sold the estimated 200 acres comprising the land known by the name of Beaufort; the eastern boundary was “100 yards to the eastward of the hammock that Thomas Austin formerly lived on.” (deed)

Although there is no record showing when the "White House" was built, or by whom, the earliest owners or proprietors of the Town of Beaufort are said to have owned and lived in the "White House." Robert Turner (1713-1720), Richard Rustull Sr. (1720-1725) and Nathaniel Taylor (1725-1733). 

1738 Chart showing "White House"
The "White House" was mentioned in James Winwright's 1744 will. Winwright had acquired the house and land when he purchased the proprietorship of the town from John Pender in 1742.

In 1754, the 100 acres adjoining the eastern boundary of Beaufort, described as "Taylor's Old Field" and containing the "White House" property, was sold at public auction from the estate of James Winwright for the sum of £15-10 shillings proclamation money. In 1765 Robert Williams purchased the 25 acres "known by the name White House..." for £15. (Charles Paul) At that time, Williams built a Salt Works on that end of town. 
1775 Mouzon Map showing "White House" 
The house did not appear on maps after 1780.

The Hammock House 

The Hammock House, built in 1800 by Samuel Leffers, is not the same house as the "White House," built some 100 years earlier. The "White House" once existed several hundred yards west of the Hammock House. (Research and documentation is included in Mary Warshaw's new book, Historic Beaufort)

The oldest-known photograph of the "Hammock House" shows a dilapidated house with an engaged porch, the same form as many Beaufort houses built close to the turn of the century and the first quarter of the 19th century—the 2-story Beaufort-style house. (1815 Duncan House and 1800 Jacob Henry are good examples.)

The photograph below was scanned from Beaufort-by-The-Sea Journey Back in Time, The Illustrated Heritage Guide to Beaufort, NC by Rick and Marcie Carroll, published by Fish Towne Press, Beaufort, NC.
Earliest known photo of Hammock House 
In 1980, the Carteret News-Times published the photograph with the following caption:

"This is the Hammock House in Beaufort as it looked early in this century. The photograph belongs to George Huntley Jr., Beaufort. According to Elizabeth Springle, Beaufort, the small house in the background was the home of Augusta 'Gus' Mason and his wife Elvira. Their two sons, Allen and Whitford Mason, were captains in the Coast Guard. They also had a daughter, Ida. The small house, believed to be located on Spring Cut leading into Taylor's Creek, burned many years ago. The spring was a source of drinking water for many residents in the area."

Early 1900s
About 1965
According to Maurice Davis' history of the house, James Mason owned the house from 1875-1891, followed by B.L. Jones from 1891-1907.

Contemporary Painting by Mary Warshaw