"Pecan Tree Inn"

Franklin Masonic Lodge circa 1866
Hugh Jones House circa 1900
Pecan Tree Inn since 1992
Photo after 1926

This lot, in the first block of Queen Street and only steps from Taylor’s Creek, was deeded to the Franklin Masonic Lodge in 1866 by Rebecca Pigot. The laying of the cornerstone was celebrated by members of the lodge and other lodges in town, all decked out in full regalia. The parade proceeded down Front Street to the Queen Street site.

After his marriage to his cousin Annie Leecraft Jones in 1897, Hugh Cole Jones acquired the property in1900 and converted the lodge into a private residence.

Hugh Cole Jones (1870–1954) was the son of Benjamin Leecraft Jones and grandson of the Reverend John Jones. He grew up in the stately Jones house at the corner of Broad and Live Oak Streets. The 1900 Beaufort census shows Hugh Jones as a wholesale merchant with a general store. The 1930 census describes him as manager of a hardware store with real estate value of $6000.

Hugh Jones’s wife Annie Leecraft Jones (1876–1958) was the daughter of Howard Cole Jones and Esther Adams. Annie and Hugh shared the same grandfather—the Reverend John Jones. Annie and Hugh’s 1897 marriage marked the first marriage in the newly remodeled Ann Street Methodist Church.

According to Debra Hancock Wolfe, in The Heritage of Carteret County, Annie Jones was the first woman to serve on a school board. She also taught in the Masonic Lodge that became her home. Annie was also a Sunday-school teacher for thirty years and president of the Woman’s Club.

When he purchased this structure, Hugh Jones added five bedrooms and three beautiful Victorian porches. It is believed that the Jones house was the first in Beaufort to have gas lighting, indoor plumbing and a telephone. Some accounts say that Mrs. Jones insisted that the phone be installed on a pine tree in the yard in case it attracted lightning.

Jones children reared in the house were: Annie Neal, born in 1898; Howard Cole (1900–1997); Nellie Blair, born in 1903; Benjamin Leecraft (1904–1991); Bessie Lee, born in 1909 and twins—Helen Louise and Hugh Allen, born in 1917. Hugh Allen died in a plane crash during World War II.

In his book, Beaufort by the Sea, Memories of a Lifetime, Neal Willis remembered the lodge being called “The Yellow Lodge” due to its color at the time. Neal’s father, “Cap’n” Jack Willis, belonged to the Knights of Harmony who met at the lodge. Neal Willis also remembered going to school in the building in 1933 after a hurricane damaged the Beaufort school.

Being one of the larger buildings in Beaufort, it often doubled as a schoolhouse. Subsequent years saw it used for Sunday school, a tea house, a doctor's office and an apartment house that was popular with students at the Duke Marine Laboratory on Piver’s Island.

In 1992 the Hugh Cole Jones house was restored by Joe and Susan Johnson and converted into a lovely bed & breakfast—the Pecan Tree Inn.

The Franklin Lodge was described by the 1997 Ruth Little Survey: “Stylish Queen Anne two-story house has deck-on-hip roof with widow’s walk, pedimented front and side-gable wings. Plain siding, 1/1 replacement sash, two tall interior brick chimneys, two-story cutaway, bracketed bay windows in front, side-gable wings and first-story entrance with sidelights and transom. Elaborate wraparound porch has turned posts, railing, spindle frieze, sawnwork brackets and upper balustrade. On Gray’s 1882 map the Masonic Lodge stood on this lot. Enlarged and remodeled as a house circa 1900.”

Pecan Tree Inn
Beaufort, NC Historic Home for Sale