Snapshot of Maritime History

Silver Chalice 
Michael B. Alford, then the curator of maritime research at the North Carolina Maritime Museum, designed Silver Chalice to represent and interpret the type of work boat vessel used in 1585 during Richard Grenville's exploration of coastal North Carolina and in the establishment of the Ralph Lane colony. Geoffrey Scofield, as master builder, supervised construction of Silver Chalice at the Beaufort Museum for the Elizabeth II. Elizabeth II is now the centerpiece at Roanoke Island Festival Park. Images courtesy  

USS Monitor - The Beaufort Link 
Although Swedish inventor John Ericsson submitted plans, in 1854, to Napoleon III for an “impregnable battery” that included a revolving cupola, it wasn’t until 1861 that Ericsson’s plans for such an ironclad ship were accepted by the US Navy Department.
USS Monitor was launched from Continental Iron Works in Greenpoint, NY on January 30, 1862. In October Monitor spent several weeks at the Washington Navy Yard where it was repainted and modified. Battle damages were repaired with iron patches – each scar was labeled according to its origin: “Merrimac”- “Minnesota”- “Ft. Darling” and “Merrimac’s Prow”.
Shortly afterwards, on December 24, 1862, orders were issued for Monitor to proceed to Beaufort, North Carolina. On December 31 she encountered a severe storm several miles off the coast of North Carolina. Efforts by the crew were in vain and the ship slowly sank – four officers and 16 crewmen lost their lives. MORE...

Periauger, a long-lost Colonial boat, was constructed in Beaufort at the North Carolina Maritime Museum by The Periauger Project. The project was a unique partnership of the Perquimans County Restoration Association (the parent organization of the historic 1730 Newbold-White House in Hertford, NC), the North Carolina Maritime Museum, Perquimans County and East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies. The project was made possible by a successful private fundraising campaign and through a grant from the NC Department of Transportation’s Enhancement Program. MORE...

Geoffrey Scofield built Swift at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort in 1982-1984. Its current owner is Dr. Thomas Loftfield of Wilmington, North Carolina, who keeps it in use.
Whitehall rowing boat...
Image courtesy 



Bonnerton Boat
Benjamin Franklin Sawyer built this split-log dugout kunner in Hyde County, North Carolina, in the 1870s. It worked in the Alligator River and on Albemarle Sound for well over a century, most of the time under the ownership of the Sawyer family. Luther G. Sawyer and his son, Steve, donated the boat to the North Carolina Maritime Museum in 1992, and it currently is on exhibit in the Boat Shed in Beaufort. Image courtesy

Mail Boats

Prior to bridge and road construction in the eastern part of the Carteret County, mail boats were a lifeline for folks - used to deliver passengers, cargo as well as mail to points east of Beaufort - all the way to Ocracoke Island. The photo to your right is an example of a typical US Mail Boat. 

The Beaufort mail boat was in service until the 1957. At one time Matt Marshal ran the mail boat from Beaufort. The town of Marshallberg was renamed for him. The Down East community of Marshallberg was originally named Deep Hole Point. It is said that clay dug from the area was used to fill ramparts and cover easements at Fort Macon on Bogue Banks - leaving a large hole. MORE...

Shad Boat - Spirit of Roanoke

Photo circa 1900
Sometime about the mid-1870’s, Roanoke Island boat builder George Washington Creef began building a new style boat. Creef, who had earlier built log boats, combined those techniques with conventional planking methods and produced a craft that sailed very well, was able to carry heavy loads, and could navigate in shallow water. Creef shaped his boat hull from the root ball of Atlantic white cedar, also known as Juniper, trees that grew along the shoreline of the pocosin wetland region of southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina. MORE...

Model by Jim Goodwin - Click Image for More

Crissie Wright

On January 7, 1886, the Philadelphia schooner Crissie Wright, on her way from Baltimore to Savannah, was forced to beach herself three miles east of Beaufort during the bitter winter of 1886. Six of the crew drowned and froze to death. Two of the crew were lost at sea and three were buried in a common grave in Beaufort’s Old Burying Ground.

Amy Muse wrote, in the History of the Methodist Church, “…..that winter so cold that no one remembered its like before or has acknowledged its equal since. The winter when Crissie Wright foundered on Shackelford Banks, the crew lashed to the rigging and freezing while men who would rescue them could only signal helplessly from our shore unable to put out a boat in the storm.

The Nellie B. Dey, Mr. Dey's fish boat, finally brought the victims in to the wharf at the foot of Turner Street. But one man was revived; the others were laid out in the sample room of Mr. Billy Dill's hotel on the southwest corner of Front and Turner Streets and Mr. Jurney buried them in the graveyard back of the Church.

Whaling License issued to Samuel Chadwick 1726
Samuel Chadwick the Whaler
Chadwick's license: "To Samuel Chadwick you are hereby permitted with three boats to fish for whale or Other Royall fish on ye Seay Coast of this Government and whatsoever you shall catch to convert to your own use paying to ye Hon, ye Governor one tenth parte of ye Oyls and bone Made by Vertue of this License. By ye Hon. y Govern. Ord."
Samuel Chadwick 1691/96-1749 came to the Core Sound area from the Cape Cod area in 1726. He was born in Falmouth, Barnstable County, Massachusetts to Samuel Chadwick 1645-1707 and Mary Stocker 1670- married January 22, 1685. His grandfather John Chadwick 1601-1680, the immigrant, was born in Rochdale, Lancashire, England. Samuel, the whaler, married Mary Bosworth 1695-1749 about the same time he ventured to the Straits area of Core Sound, North Carolina. It appears that Samuel’s brothers and/or cousins Ephraim Ephraim 1700-1762 and Ebenezer Chadwick 1685-1765 were part of the whaling group that  traveled to North Carolina. MORE...

Written in 2000 for the the Museum's 25th Anniversary

Hampton Mariners Museum 1960 Turner Street - Drawing by Mamre Wilson
Though the museum has roots back to the 1898 International Fisheries Exposition 
in Bergen, Norway, the year 2000 was chosen as the 25th Anniversary.

"My family and I came down from New Bern on an excursion train," recalls J.O Barbour, long time resident, and machinist and local businessman, describing an event he says happened about 1917. "We went over to a building on Piver's Island. It was open to the public on occasion, but it wasn't an everyday thing. I saw huge turtles there and they were alive and kept in a circular pen. That was quite a sight for a kid five or six years old. And we went in the building and saw the exhibits. I remember that very well." MORE...