Beaufort Laid Out & Named - October 2, 1713

1713 Map of Beaufort drafted by deputy surveyor Richard Graves
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Though "traditionally" dated circa 1709, the township of Beaufort was
laid out and named October 2, 1713.* After obtaining permission from the Lords Proprietors, Robert Turner, then owner of the 780-acre land patent, hired deputy surveyor Richard Graves to lay out a 100-acre town, with 106 lots for sale.

The following documentation of the establishment of the township of Beaufort is included in historian Charles L. Paul’sColonial Beaufort: The History of a North Carolina Town, 1965. Images have been added.
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“The Indians who inhabited the Core Sound area before the white settlers arrived were of the Coree tribe. Little is definitely known about the tribe. It may be assumed that they were once a rather numerous group, but by the time of the arrival of settlers into their area, their number had been reduced by intertribal conflicts to the extent that John Lawson, surveyor-general of North Carolina, described them as having only twenty-five fighting men during the first decade of the eighteenth century.

“Before white settlers entered their area, the Coree had two villages. One of these was located on the north side of the Straits of Core Sound which separates Harkers Island from the mainland, a location not more than seven miles east of the present site of Beaufort nor more than eight miles north of Cape Lookout. The other village was located on the west side of Newport River, but the exact spot cannot be given. 

Hondius-Mercator Map - 1609-1610
The Cwareuuock tribe name, as noted on 17th century maps, 
evolved to Coree. In 1701, Lawson referred to the tribe as Coranine 
with two villages, Coranine and Raruta.
“Farnifold Green obtained the first patent for land in the Core Sound area. The patent was granted December 20, 1707, and although Green did not live in the Core Sound area, other settlers were soon making their homes there. In 1708 John Nelson was granted a patent for 260 acres 'in Core Sound on the north side of North River,' and, from that time on, was closely connected with that immediate area.

"Francis and John Shackleford moved into the area from Essex County, Virginia, sometime after 1705. Francis became active in the affairs of the Core Sound area by 1708, as did John by 1709. Both of these men received numerous patents before 1713 but settled on the west side of North River about four miles northeast of the present site of Beaufort. Other names connected with the Core Sound settlement prior to 1713 were John Fulford, Robert Turner, James Keith, William Bartram, Peter Worden (also spelled Wordin), Thomas Blanton, Thomas Lepper, Thomas Sparrow, Lewis Johnson, Richard Graves, Christopher Dawson, Enoch Ward, Thomas Cary, and Thomas Kailoe. Some of these, notably Cary and Lepper, lived elsewhere and were only speculating in land. Fulford, Ward, and Turner, though, were definitely Core Sound residents during that period.


“Indications are that the Core Sound settlement had some importance before 1713. A notation on Christoph von Graffenried’s map of 1710 described Core Sound as being populated almost entirely by Englishmen who furnished seafood of all kinds to the settlers. In 1712 Captain Edward Adlard owned a sloop named the ‘Core Sound Merchant,’ which indicated trade in the area before that date. A third indication of the importance of the Core Sound settlement before 1713 is that in 1712 in the midst of the Tuscarora War, the General Assembly ordered a garrison stationed at Core Sound. The purpose of the garrison, so Governor Thomas Pollock declared in 1713, was ‘to guard the people there from some few of the Core Indians that lurk thereabout....’

“As soon as settlers moved into the Core Sound area, the port potential of the future site of Beaufort was recognized. December 20, 1707, Farnifold Green obtained a patent for the south end of the peninsula that extends between North River and Newport River. One month later, January 21, 1708, Peter Worden, then of Pamlico River, secured a patent for 640 acres on the west side of North River, part of which was included in Green’s patent. By October of that year, Worden recognized Green’s ownership, and on October 30, 1708, he cleared Green’s title by giving him a deed for ‘one certain Messuage or tenement of Land situate lying and being on the South side of North River, near to the Point of Land called Newport Town, with all its rights and privileges....’ In seeking to acquire the land, evidently the two men had its port potential in mind since Topsail Inlet, now known as Beaufort Inlet, penetrated the barrier of the Outer Banks just two miles south. The site was named Newport Town and the name of the river that flows by it on its west side was changed from Core River to Newport River. 


The 1711 Death of John Lawson 
Drawing by Christoph Von Graffenried
“Possibly the Tuscarora War of 1711-1713 delayed the establishment of a town within
Topsail Inlet. Within seven months after the power of the Tuscarora Indians had been broken in March, 1713, a town was laid out on the southwest corner of the tract of land which Farnifold Green had obtained in 1707. In the meantime, Green had sold the land to Robert Turner, a merchant of Craven Precinct. 

“Sometime prior to the fall of 1713, permission had been obtained from the Lords Proprietors to lay out a town by the name of Beaufort at this site, and on October 2, 1713, Robert Turner had Deputy Surveyor Richard Graves lay out the town. A plat was made of the town by Graves and recorded in the office of the secretary of the colony. Streets were named; allotments were provided for a church, a town-house, and a market place; and lots were offered for sale. On that date, October 2, 1713, Beaufort came into existence. Though minor alterations were made throughout the Colonial period, the main characteristics of the plan of the town never changed. 
Henry Somerset 
2nd Duke of Beaufort

"The name Beaufort came from Henry [Somerset, the 2nd] Duke of Beaufort, one of the Lords Proprietors, who in 1713 was Palatine of Carolina, the chief position among the Proprietors. Turner Street obtained its name from Robert Turner, the father of the town. Moore Street was probably named for Colonel James Moore, who seven months before had brought an end to the Indian war. Pollock Street was named for Thomas Pollock, acting Governor of the colony from 1712 to 1714. Both Queen and Ann Streets were named in honor of the then reigning monarch of England, while Orange Street honored the memory of William III of Orange who had preceded Queen Anne on the English throne. Craven Street was named in honor of William Lord Craven, another of the Lords Proprietors.

“Though the town of Beaufort was laid out in 1713 with the permission of the Lords Proprietors, it was not officially incorporated by the Colonial government until ten years later. In the meantime, on October 19, 1720, Robert Turner had sold the 780 acres, which included the town lands, to Richard Rustull for 150 pounds sterling and had moved to the Pamlico River area, which might indicate that his investment was not yielding satisfactory returns. 


“Numerous lots were sold in Beaufort immediately after it was laid out, but few of the purchasers made their homes in the town. As late as 1765 it was described as a town of not more than twelve houses. About 1765, however, settlement became more substantial, and in the next few years efforts were made to give Beaufort more of the atmosphere of a well-ordered town.

Carteret Deed Book D, page 91
* "Permission for, the date of, and the men and circumstances connected with the laying out of the town are mentioned in most of the deeds of lots issued before the town was incorporated in 1723."

 In a deed from Robert Turner, Turner wrote, “by a platt taken & made by Richd Graves dept. surveyor, which platt being recorded in ye survey offices, do represent ye form & shape off a certain off lands lying & being in Core Sound layed out by ye sd survayer ye 2d day off October 1713 & by ye permission off ye lords proprietors intended for a township by ye name off Beaufort.” 

North Carolina's Five Oldest Towns also includes the 1723 Act of Incorporation.

Charles L. Paul earned his Assoc. of Arts degree at Chowan College, Bachelor of Arts degree at Carson-Newman College, Master of Divinity degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and a graduate assistantship as well as Masters of Arts Degree at East Carolina University. He was a professor of history at Chowan University for 39 years.