Beaufort NC - Established October 2, 1713

In the early Province of Carolina, a town was established when authorized by legislative action, either by the Lords Proprietors or the General Assembly, thereby granting permission for it to be established, laid out and named.

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. On October 2, 1713, Robert Turner had Deputy-Surveyor Richard Graves lay out the 100-acre town, with 106 lots for sale. At that time, Beaufort became North Carolina's 4th oldest town behind 1705 Bath, 1710 New Bern, and 1712 Edenton.
Plan of Beaufort Towne
(Courtesy State Archives of North Carolina)

Deputy-surveyor Richard Graves undoubtedly dripped ink on the plan and
proceeded to practice with his quill--commenting on the planned town:

"Hungry Town"
"I am Green"
"Beginning of the Book"
"Plan of a Hungry Town" 
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Historian Charles L. Paul was the first to conduct an in-depth documented 
study of early Beaufort. The following text has been excerpted from 
Mr. Paul's thesis, Colonial Beaufort: The History of a North Carolina Town.
Of note:  In the early 1700s, "Core Sound" included the area surrounding the present site 
of Beaufort and was not restricted to the area that is now known as Core Sound.
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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 inter-tribal 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 Harker's 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.


On December 20, 1707, Farnifold Green obtained the first patent for land in the Core Sound area. The 780-acre patent included the south end of the peninsula that extends between North River and Newport River. (Green lived on a large plantation north of Neuse River, near present-day Oriental.) By 1708, Francis and John Shackelford moved into the area from Essex County, Virginia, and settled on the west side of North River about four miles northeast of the present site of Beaufort. In 1708, John Nelson was granted a patent for 260 acres "in Core Sound on the north side of North River."  

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.

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Permission for, the date of, and the men and circumstances connected with the laying out of the town are mentioned in deeds for lots issued for the years before Carteret became a precinct in 1722, before the town was incorporated in 1723. 

Below is one of the first 1713 deeds, from Robert Turner (owner of town from 1713 to 1720) for Lot 4, sold for 20 shillings...“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.” 
 
Carteret Deed Book D, page 91
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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.