Farnifold Green - Owner of First Land Patent


Above is an 18th century map of eastern North Carolina showing the "Whitehouse" on the outskirts of Beaufort. High on a "hummock," the "Whitehouse" evidently served as a landmark to help guide early sailing vessels. The "Whitehouse" may have been built as an outpost by Farnifold Green, who had the first land patent between North and Core (Newport) Rivers.

Farnifold Green was born on May 30, 1674 in St. Stephen's Parish, Northumberland County, Virginia. Records list Farnifold Green as coming to North Carolina with the Nicholas Tyler family in July of 1697. Farnifold married soon after he arrived. He and his wife Hannah Kent Smithwick, widow of John Smithwick, appear frequently among the early land records of then Bath County (later Beaufort County).
Green had a plantation was on the north side of the Neuse River, but was evidently active in various enterprising pursuits, including raising cattle on the Outer Banks near Ocracoke Inlet. What is interesting is the fact that the above 1676 map shows an area noted as "Greens Land" - some 20 years before Farnifold Green supposedly arrived in North Carolina and had a plantation in this same area. It appears that the Virginia Assembly granted land along the Roanoke and Chowan Rivers to Farnifold's grandfather, Roger Green, in July of 1653. Roger Green has been born in Norfolk, England about 1620. His son Timothy, born about 1650, was Farnifold's father. 

On December 20, 1707, Farnifold Green was the first to be issued a land grant from the Lords Proprietors for land that included 780 acres—part of that land that would eventually become early Beaufort. Even though Green lived north of the Neuse River, he must have been aware that the barrier islands and cape, surrounding this land grant, had been providing a safe haven for ships and realized the possibilities for his land becoming not only a town, but a port.

About the same time, Peter Worden of Pamlico River was granted a patent for 640 acres on the west side of North River, which overlapped Green’s patent. In their settlement, documents referred to a point of land called “Newport Town” which gives evidence that there may have been a few settlers between the rivers and in the Core Sound area. John Shackelford, who witnessed this agreement, had land on a barrier island and was perhaps involved in whaling - on what would be known later as Shackelford Banks.

Green also had the first land patent for Craney Island, which later became Harkers Island. He was named to the Provincial Assembly in 1709. In 1711, he requested help in defending the colonists from the hostile Indians. He was appointed by the Assembly to oversee troops that had been assigned to put down the Tuscarora outbreak.

Obviously aware of the dangers of the times, Farnifold Green made out his will on October 26,1711.  "On July 18, 1713, Turner purchased all of the seven hundred and eighty acre tract which Green had patented in 1707. Craven Will Books, A, 10-11." (Charles L. Paul, Colonial Beaufort)

In 1714, Indians attacked his Green’s Creek plantation, killing 40-year old Farnifold Green, one of his sons, a white servant and two African Americans. The plantation, house, stock of cattle and hogs, were plundered and entirely destroyed by the Indians.

Green’s widow, Hannah, later married her third husband, surveyor Richard Graves, who was hired by Robert Turner to draw up the town plat of Beaufort.

The above information was gathered and compiled from various sources Charles L. Paul's Colonial Beaufort, Mamre Marsh Wilson's Beaufort, North Carolina, Maurice Davis' History of the Hammock House, local history and ancestry.com.