B.L. Perry Residence

Old Beaufort Postcard - Date Unknown
Benjamin Leecraft Perry Residence - 207 Front Street
The postcard was published by Clawson's Emporium - 429 Front Street
The card was found in the Duncan House at 105 Front Street.
 

History of the House

Thomas Cooke (1787-1815) came to Beaufort and married Esther Mihetable Wallace on April 8, 1810. He served as postmaster from July 1, 1813 until May 11, 1814 and was a town commissioner in 1814 (US Post Office records). 

Thomas' wife Esther was the daughter of Jane Gaskill (1767-1810) and James Wallace (1767-1799). After the death of James Wallace, Jane Gaskill Wallace, daughter of Valentine Gaskill, married Micajah Pigot (1772-1807) in 1803; he died four years later. 

Jane Pigot died in June 1810; in her will she left Thomas and Esther Cooke what was then the Pigot family home at 205 Front Street, corner of Front and Moore Streets—lot #30 Olde Towne. Jane Pigot also gave them lot #29 next door at 207 Front Street. Houses on these lots were most likely constructed in the early 1800s by a prolific builder of that time—James Davis.

The old Pigot home at 207 was believed to be the 1812 birthplace of Thomas and Esther Cooke's son James Wallace Cooke, commander of the Confederate ram Albemarle.

In 1820 the Henry Marchant Cooke family moved to the home, which had been left to his brother Thomas’ children, James and Harriet. Born in this Front Street house were William Gaston, Mary Elizabeth, Silas Lechmere and George Badger Cooke. In the late 1820s, the family moved back to the Hammock House.

In 1838, Harriet Wallace Cooke, daughter of Esther and Thomas Cooke, sold lots #29 and #30 to Benjamin Leecraft Perry. B.L. Perry (1811–1869), son of David Perry and Nancy Leecraft, had married Elizabeth Manney in 1835. B.L. Perry was involved in coastal trading and was one of the wealthiest men in Beaufort before the Civil War. Many visitors boarded in “Cap’n” Perry’s wharf-front home.

It appears that Thomas Duncan purchased these properties after the 1869 death of B.L. Perry Sr. In his 1878 Will, Thomas Duncan left the house on lot #29 to his daughter, wife of Benjamin L. Perry Jr.: “To my dau. Marietta wife of Benjamin L. Perry, all my estate in and to lot #29 and part lot #31 and to water front lots south of Front Street and south of said lot and part lot, and I direct my execs. to assign or be paid to my daughter the judgement on record in Carteret Superior Court in my favor and against Mrs. Elizabeth V. Perry…”

According to family, after WWI Fannie Dudley Duncan, perhaps 1920, wife of lawyer Julius Fletcher Duncan, was tired of the old house; Duncan razed the "old Perry House" and built on the same foundation/footprint - known today as the Jule Duncan House.