Blare House circa 1779

111 Marsh Street Images (circa 1980) scanned from  
The Old Port Town - Beaufort by Jean Bruyere Kell
In 1779, Frances Blare sold the original 4-room house to John Shepard for "a cow and a calf." (Kell) John Shepard, born about 1753 in Carteret County to Jacob Shepard and Sarah Lewis, married Miriam Wallace on June 29, 1771; their son William was born in Beaufort in 1779.

Charles Laban Abernathy (1872-1955) lived here from about 1890 until 1905 and mostly likely remodeled the house, probably reorienting it to Marsh Street. He moved to Beaufort where he founded the Beaufort Herald newspaper. He practiced law in Beaufort and was also solicitor for the 3rd judicial district. (Wrenn)  Abernathy married Nancy "Minnie" May in 1896.      

The house was owned by journalist and writer Irving Addison Bacheller (1859-1950), who founded the first modern newspaper syndicate in the United States. Sowing of the Two Fields, in Wesleyan Literary Monthly in 1910, was documented, by copyright, as written in Beaufort. In a 1913 article in the Potsdam Courier, NY, Martin V.B. Ives wrote, “Having been given a letter of introduction to the gentleman, Mr. John Royal by my friend Dr. Irving Bacheller, who became acquainted with Mr. Royal during the two winters Dr. Bacheller sojourned at Beaufort for his health…

Noted on Front Street with his widowed sister Sallie Broadhurst in 1910, Nathaniel Hancock Russell (1875–1951) owned the Marsh Street house by 1920. Born in Hubert, Onslow County to Daniel Ward Russell (1827-1886) and Margaret Ann Duffy (1835-1908), 31-year-old Nathaniel Russell was engineer on the first passenger train to Beaufort in 1906.  

On June 1, 1916, Nathaniel Russell married Maude Littleton Frazier (1889-1929) in Loudoun County, Virginia. They were parents of Susan E. Russell, born about 1918, and Thomas Hancock Russell, born in 1920. Maude Russell died from pneumonia in 1929. About 1932, Mr. Russell married Cora Lorena Cutler (1898-1991) of Long Acre, Beaufort County; they became parents of Nancy Duffy Russell. In the house in 1940 were Nathaniel 65, Cora 42, Thomas 19, Susan 17, Nancy D. 6 and lodger-barber Henry Russ. 

Nancy Duffy Russell (1933-2003) spent her lifetime in the house, leaving only to attend St. Mary’s and Salem College. She taught music at Havelock High School for over 38 years, played the organ and was Altar Guild Chairman at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and was organist for Ann Street Methodist Church and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Morehead City. She was also regent for the Daughters of the American Revolution and obtained funding from the state for the documentation of Beaufort’s African-American community, which resulted in Beaufort's African-American History and Architecture by Peter B. Sandbeck. As an integral part of Beaufort's early preservation movement and town commissioner, Miss Russell was instrumental in obtaining funding for development of guidelines used by the Historic Preservation Commission, which she chaired for 10 years.

As a tireless researcher and historian, Nancy’s dream was to have her weekly “Beaufort Scrapbook” articles (Beaufort Gam) published in book form. After her death, the Nancy Duffy Russell Preservation Trust and the North Carolina Maritime Museum made Beaufort Scrapbook a reality.

The house appears on Gray's 1880 map, oriented facing the water.