Turner Sold to Rustull in 1720

Portion of 1737 Moseley Map
In his October 1970 account in The North Carolina Historical Review, Charles L. Paul documented Robert Turner’s encouraging but false start in lot sales. In the first three months of 1713, after the town was laid out by Richard Graves, 28 lots were sold to 14 different investors. Nineteen of these were waterfront lots—about half of those then available with water view and access.

Realizing that few, if any, of these investors lived in the immediate area, in 1714, Turner added a provision in his sales contracts—a house of not less than 20 feet by 15 feet had to be constructed within one year of the sale. Only five lots were sold that year—all lapsed due to unfulfilled building stipulations.

In 1720, during the reign of King George I, a discouraged Turner sold his 780 acres to Richard Rustull for 150 pounds sterling and moved to the Pamlico River area.

As noted by Charles Johnson (Daniel Defoe) in his History of the Pirates - some of Edward Teach's (Blackbeard's) crew, which he had abandoned on a small barrier island after Queen Anne's Revenge was grounded off Beaufort Inlet in 1718, spoke of a “poor little village at the upper end of the harbor…”

Though Richard Rustull owned the town of Beaufort for only five years, he played an important role in the development of the early town. He increased the size of the town from its original 100 acres to 200 acres. The lots were sold for 30 shillings each—20 shillings paid to Rustull, and the other 10 shillings went to purchasing guns to help protect the town. He helped established a church to be known as St. John’s Parish, gave land to be used for the courthouse, served as Justice of the Peace and was one of the first town commissioners.

In 1722, when Carteret Precinct was carved out of Craven Precinct, Beaufort was chosen to be the site of the area courthouse. That same year the Governor confirmed an order from the Lords Proprietors that appointed Beaufort as an official port.