Mattie King Davis Gallery - Research on the House

The Mattie King Davis Gallery, on the Beaufort Restoration Grounds, is plaqued "Rustell house c.1732." 

In History of the Hammock House, Maurice Davis wrote, "In the settlement of the estate of Richard Rustull Jr., his widow [Sarah Cogdell who had married William Dennis in 1747] was given the small house and outbuildings on Old Town Lot 13, Old Town, was enlarged and became the town house of the Dennis family and also used as an ordinary."
Signature and seal from the will of Richard Rustull Jr.

HOWEVER, in Richard Rustull Jr.'s 1739 Will (proven 1747), he did not bequeath any property in Old Beaufort Town. There was also no mention of his wife and widow inheriting anything. His son John specifically receives among other property, including 100 acres. The will states, I like wise constitute make and ordaine my sole executors of this my last will and testiment my honred fathers Rich:d Rustull Sen and Henry Stanton Sen to be my sole executors of the same..."

In 1748, Arthur Mabson willed Old Town Lot 13 to his nephew William Coale; Coale sold it to William Moseley in 1755 for £40; the increase in the sale price possibly indicated a small structure had been erected somewhere on the lot, perhaps a story-and-a-jump. 
In her book, The Old Port Town, Beaufort, North Carolina, historian Jean Bruyere Kell (1909-2004) referred to the house as the Jechonias Pigott House circa 1831, "a house originally on Front Street facing the water, later moved to Craven Street and then to its present location." (Shipbuilder Jechonias Pigott (1774-1856) married Cinderella Chadwick in 1798.)

The 1880 Gray's Map of Beaufort noted two structures on lot 13; Jane Pigott owner. See map below.

The 1885 Sanborn Map noted a two-story house on Old Town lot 13; by the 1893 map, a porch or porches had been added. See Sanborn map snips below.
In 1965, while located at 111 Craven Street, the house was surveyed and drawn by Frank M. Hough Jr., NC State University; see 1965 drawings below.

The 1997 Ruth Little Survey described the house as a "two-story, three-bay house with unusual pyramidal-hipped roof, beaded siding, 9/6 sash, and shed porch with chamfered posts and traditional railing. Moved to this location from Craven Street about 1975."

Early chain of title for lot #13 Old Town Beaufort: (from deeds and court minutes; research assistance by Andrew C. Wells.)
  • 4 Jun 1723 - Commissioners Joseph Bell and Richard Rustull Sr. deeded to John Shackelford Shaw, two half-acre Lots #13 and #14 for £1* 
  • 6 Jun 1727 - John Shaw assigned deed above, Lots 13 and 14, to Richard Rustull Sr.** 
  • Sept 1731 - Richard Rustull Sr. sold Lot 13 to Mary Galland for  £3***
  • Chain of title broken
  • June 1748 - Arthur Mabson willed Lot 13 to nephew William Coale 
  • 4 Mar 1756 - William Coale sold Lot 13 to William Moseley for £40****
  • 5 Jun 1756 - William Moseley sold Lot 13 to John Chitherall with premises.
  • Chain of title broken
  • In 1770 a license was granted to William Fisher to keep an ordinary in the house of William Dennis in Beaufort. (Dennis, however, owned two houses/lots in Beaufort - Lot 8 and Lot 13.)
  • 1802 - James, Francis and Reuben Dennis, along with sister Sarah Dennis Pelletier (wife of Jerome Pelletier) [all children of William Dennis (1720-1800) and second wife Mary Nash]  deeded to Jechonias Pigott with premises and all out buildings.
  • 1853 - David Rice deeded part of Lot 13 (corner of Craven and Front) to Jechonias Pigott. 
  • 1855 - Jechonias Pigott willed Lot 13 to daughters Jane and Nancy, where he was residing with all improvements thereon. 
  • The house and lot was owned by Jane Pigott (born 1805) on the 1880 census.
Lot #13 - Corner Front and Craven Streets - Original 1713 Plan of Beaufort
*Original deed (book A pp.37-39): Dated 4 Jun 1723, registered Jun 1723. Commissioners Richard Rustull [Sr.] and Joseph Bell, in consideration of £1-10-0 paid to Richard Rustull [Sr.] by John Shaw, two tracts of 1/2 acre each called No. 13 and No. 14. Witnessed by R:t [Robert] Atkins and John Hatton. Signatures of Richard Rustull [Sr.] and Joseph Bell. Registered by John Hatton, Clerk of Court.

**Original deed (book C p.178): Dated 6 Jun 1727, unregistered but recorded. John Shaw assigns to Richard Rustull [Sr.] the deed above. Witnessed by Theo:ls Norwood and Richard Williamson. Mark of John Shaw. Acknowledged before Den Osheal, Clerk.

***Original deed (book D pp.95-96): Dated 22 Mar 1730/1, registered Sep 1731. Rich:d Rustull [Sr.] of Carteret Precinct, Bath County in consideration of £3 current money sells to Mary Galland, a lot of 1/2 acre in the "town of Port Beaufort" No. 10 [sic], formerly belonging to John Shaw and made over to the grantor. Contains a clause that she must build a habitable house on the 20' by 15' lot within two years. Witnessed by Jo. Bell and Jm:s Winright. Acknowledged before Jm:s Winright. Carteret Court minutes 1731 (Rebecca Willis Sanders' abstract): RICHARD RUSTULL ESQ CAME INTO OPEN COURT AND ACKNOWLEDGED A DEED FOR A LOTT IN BEAUFORT TOWN NUMBER 13 TO MARY GALLAND AND ORDERED TO BE REGISTERED. [Mary Galland was most likely the wife of John Galland, Richard Rustull's clerk of court in the 1727-29. Gallant's Point and Gallant's Channel took his name.]

****Original deed (book F pp.381-383): Dated 4 Mar 1756, registered Mar 1756. William Coale, mariner of Carteret County in consideration of £40 proclamation money sells to William Mosely, joiner, a lot of 1/2 acre, No. 13 in the "Old Town" which was left to the grantor by the last will and testament of Arthur Mabson, deceased. Witnessed by David Lewis and Rob:t Read. Signature of William Coale. Acknowledged before Jn:o Smith, Clerk. Carteret Court minutes, Mar 1756 term (Rebecca Willis Sanders' abstract): A Deed from William Coale to William Moseley for 1 lot in Beaufort Town know by No 13 was proved by the oath of Robert Read and ordered to be registered. 

     It appears that either Mary Galland, Arthur Mabeson or William Coale built a small structure on Old Town Lot 13 before 1756, when Coale sold to Moseley for £40. 
     William Dennis could have built the two-story house with no porches before 1770. In his 1800 will, he left both lots, #8 and #13 to family "to be rented out."
     A dendrochronology study would settle the question....  


Moseley's 1733 Map noted R. Rustul NE of Beaufort
In 1720, Richard Rustull Sr. (1669-1761) purchased 780 acres between the North and Core (Newport) Rivers from Robert Turner, who had the patent transferred to him in 1713 by Farnifold Green. An approximate 100-acre portion of Rustull's purchase had been laid out in 1713 and named Beaufort. As required by the 1723 act of incorporation, Rustull increased the size of the town to 200 acres. In December, 1725, Richard Rustull sold the 200 acres, which included both the old and new sections of the town, except for the few lots sold, to Nathaniel Taylor of Carteret Precinct for £160 sterling. (Carteret Deed Books) Rustull retained the rest of the 780 acres which he had purchased from Robert Turner five years earlier and continued to live just outside of the town. (Charles Paul, Colonial Beaufort) The acreage retained by Rustull, at that time, amounted to about 580 acres.

Richard Rustull Jr. was born about 1700 and died before September 1746, supposedly in the "White House," noted on Moseley's 1733 map as the "I.Taylor" house. About 1733, Richard Jr. first married one of the daughters of Henry Stanton; she died before 1739 and left behind two children, John Lott Rustull and Mary Rustull. About 1742, Rustull married Sarah Cogdell. After Rustull's death in 1746, Sarah married William Dennis.  

When William Dennis (1720‒1800) married 21-year-old Sarah Cogdell, William was granted guardianship of the two Rustull children, posting bond of £40. William and Sarah had four children before she died about 1757. About 1760, William married Mary Nash. In his 1800 will, he left much land in several counties, including his Carteret County plantation and "two lots in Beaufort to be rented out for the use of my wife and children." In 1802, the children of William Dennis and his second wife Mary Nash—James, Francis, Reuben and Sarah—deeded Old Town Lot 13 to Jechonias Pigott, "with premises and all out buildings."  


Gray's 1880 Map - Jane Pigott owned Lot 13
Shipbuilder Jechonias Pigott (1774-1856) was born in Carteret County, the son of Elijah Pigot (1725-1789) and Sevil Fulford (1738-1820). Jechonias married Cinderella Chadwick 28 Feb 1798; she was born in Straits, the daughter of Gayer and Elizabeth Chadwick.
  • In an 1850 household on Front Street were: Jechonias 74, Jane 45, Micajah 42, Jechonias 41, Nancy 34 and Parker 32. 
  • In the 1860 Census, Jane was head of household; value of real estate was $2,000, value of personal estate $10,500. In the household were Jane, Micajah, Jechonias and Nancy.
  • In the 1880 Beaufort Census, 75-year-old Jane Pigott was noted as the only occupant of home on Front Street. 
  • Gray's 1880 Map of Beaufort noted Jane Pigott as owner of Lot #13 Old Town. 
  • Jane died 20 June 1890.
Children of Jechonias and Cinderella Chadwick Pigott: Sarah Ann (1800-) married Elijah Bell in 1818 and Malachi Bell Roberson in 1827; Jane (1800-1890); Micajah (1808-1879); Jechonias (1809-1869); Nancy (1816-1862) and Parker (1818-) married Thomas B. James 18 April 1852.

Contemporary aerial showing the approximate original location of the house on LOT 13 facing Front Street, it's short move to 111 Craven, and current location on the Restoration Grounds.
FIRST FLOOR - Drawing by Frank M. Hough Jr. 1965
SECOND FLOOR - Drawing by Frank M. Hough Jr. 1965
1885 Sanborn Map - SW corner Front & Craven Streets

 1893 Sanborn Map - 1-story porch

1904 Sanborn Map - 2-story porch



Death Certificate
Mattie King Hancock Davis was born August 1, 1905 and died from rheumatic heart disease on January 24, 1975; she died in Onslow County at the Naval Regional Medical Center at Camp Lejeune. She was survived by her husband Ernest J. Davis; the couple was married December 31, 1928. Her death certificate recorded their home address as 915 Front Street, Beaufort. Mattie King Davis was buried in St. Paul's Cemetery in Beaufort.

Laura Duncan Davis Piner, 1931-2002, artist, teacher and granddaughter of Sterling Price Hancock and Sallie Gertrude Davis, was instrumental in converting the house into a gallery named after her mother Mattie King Hancock Davis.