Founding of BHA

Beaufort Historical Association - 53 Years Old - January 25, 2013

 Below are articles published in 2010 when BHA turned 50
Carteret County News Times, January 2010
First Two Chapters of:

 The Founding of the Beaufort Historical Association
Ruth Barbour
“Early Days”

Beaufort’s rebirth in the middle of the 20th century, not as a port of commerce, but as an historic retirement-vacation resort, did not just happen.  The start was modest – goals shrouded in the future.  Those who experienced the rebirth saw the nebulous beginnings of change in the 1940’s, following the Second World War.

Several activities came together that led to the Restoration on Turner Street, a restoration of 18th and 19th century buildings fostered by the Beaufort Historical Association.

The immediate objective of a few people who began to awaken to Beaufort’s unique heritage was to rescue the Old Burying Ground, suffering long from neglect.  In the fall of 1948, a group of civic and religious organizations decided something should be done to improve the condition of Live Oak Cemetery,” the graveyard between Ann Street United Methodist Church and the First Baptist Church.

Besides that interest, the Beaufort Women’s Club, hostess to district woman’s clubs in 1957, opened several private homes for their guests to tour.  A third factor leading to the town’s rejuvenation, and perhaps most significant in promoting popular interest in the town’s heritage, was the success of Beaufort’s 251st anniversary celebration in 1960.

All this, in the decade-and-a-half  following the war, motivated citizens to preserve their historic buildings – and eventually to reopen Beaufort’s vista toward the sea.

The cemetery was accessible from Ann and Craven Streets and extended north to Purvis Chapel, on the southwest corner of Craven and Broad Streets.  Dating back to 1731, forty-five years before we declared independence from England, it resembled two centuries later, a miniature jungle.

As early as 1947, a group of energetic citizens were chopping away at vines and briars.  A thousand dollars had been spent to restore 136 graves and stones “without donations” and another thousand dollars was needed.

Assisting in the work, particularly n listing the graves in the cemetery, were Dr. Thomas Ennett, representing the Beaufort Rotary Club; Rufus Sewall and Odell Merrill of the Jaycees;  David F. Merrill, representing the town board of commissioners;  M. Leslie Davis, First Baptist Church, and Mrs. David F. Merrill, Beaufort Woman’s Club.

They were encouraged in their work by a commendatory letter from Inglis Fletcher, writer of historical novels set in North Carolina, who was vice-president of the Society for the Preservation of Antiquities.

The cemetery association published a pamphlet on the project in 1949. Early in 1950 Mrs. David F. Merrill was elected its president.

Before the organized effort to restore and preserve what was interchangeably called “An  Street Cemetery” and “Live Oak Cemetery,” now called the “Old Burying Ground,” M. Leslie Davis was considered the town historian.  Grayden Paul, town historian for much of the 20th century, says most of his information came from Mr. Davis.

In 1959 the town was 250 years old but the date slipped by and Mr. Paul, not one to let a mere thing like a year deter him, felt that the town should celebrate – in 1960.  To finance the celebration, he decided that a thousand dollars would be a good start.  If only 10 people contributed $100, the amount would be in hand.  He went before the town board and received its blessing.  “I knew if we could get $100 from each business in town, we’d have enough money to put on the whole celebration.  I got my first check from Lockwood Phillips, publisher of The News Times,” he recalls.

He made a promise to each contributor, the first 10 of whom he handpicked, that not a penny would be spent that was not in hand.  He was not going to incur debt, as some towns had done, to celebrate their founding. The money was raised, the celebration was a success, and this was the spark that ignited general interest in capitalizing on Beaufort’s past.

Mr. Paul’s small group that started things rolling for the town’s 251st anniversary in July 1960 was the nucleus of the Beaufort Historical Association.  The founding date of the Beaufort Historical Association, Inc. is Jan. 25, 1960, according to the incorporation certificate on file in the County Register of Deeds office, Beaufort.

The incorporators were C. Odell Merrill, W. Roy Hamilton, Paul S. Jones, Myrtle Duncan, who by a later marriage became Myrtle Duncan Sutton, and Grayden M. Paul.  The certificate of incorporation was filed with Thad Eure, secretary of state, Raleigh, Feb. 4, 1960.

In the fall of 1960 thought was given to an annual celebration. Discussed was the possibility of scheduling in 1961 some of the events of the birthday celebration.

Odell Merrill, one of the incorporators, and son of the David F. Merrill’s who were active in the cemetery restoration, was named head of the association.  Other officers serving with him were James H. Potter III, vice-president;  Mrs. Myrtle Duncan, secretary;  Mrs. Hazel Harris, treasurer;  and Grayden Paul, finance chairman and business manager.  Directors were Mr. and Mrs. Roy Hamilton, Charles W. Davis, Paul S. Jones, Mrs. Charles Hassell, and Mrs. Julius Duncan, Jr.

Mr. Merrill was register of deeds for the county at that time.  He recalls that some of the infrequent meetings were held in the register of deeds office in the courthouse.  He himself collected data on a few of Beaufort’s old homes, recalling particularly, research on the home on the northeast corner of Ann and Craven Streets, which at that time was occupied by Mrs. Horace (Sadie Lee) Loftin.

“A lot of people dated a house from the time the lot was first listed for taxes, but that was not always the year a house was put on it,” Mr. Merrill says.  “I got old tax records and microfilm from Raleigh.  I concluded that if the tax value remained consistent for a number of years, then the value suddenly went up one year, that was the year a house was put on it.”

The association intended some day to mark houses with a plaque, denoting the date.  He suggested to the county commissioners that placing a photograph of homes with the deeds would be helpful, especially to researchers a hundred years hence, but the proposal was not adopted.

In January 1961 at a meeting at the courthouse, Mrs. Charles Hassell was elected chairman of the board of directors of the Beaufort Historical Association, succeeding Mr. Merrill.  (Chairman of the board and president were one and the same.)  Mrs. Vance (Joyce) Fulford, Jr., was elected treasurer, replacing Mrs. J. P. (Hazel) Harris, Jr., and Mrs. G. W. (Myrtle) Duncan, was re-elected secretary.

The directors agreed that the organization’s purpose would be “to utilize Beaufort’s historic background to the fullest to promote summer tourist trade.” Anyone who contributed to the town’s 251st anniversary program would be considered a member and was invited to renew membership for a fee of $1.00.

Mr. Merrill and Mrs. Richard (Shirley) Babcock were appointed to develop long-range plans for “future historical type summer attractions.”  Named to work on immediate plans for the summer of 1961 were Mrs. William Roy Hamilton, Mrs. Vance Fulford, Jr., and James H. Potter III.

Mr. Potter and Mr. Hamilton were designated to explore ways of financing future projects.  Mr. Paul and Mrs. Babcock were appointed to continue work “toward a permanent county history museum in the old county jail.”

A contract with Mr. Paul was signed concerning his operation of the Alphonso, a “museum of the sea.”  The Alphonso, the hull and deck of a sharpie launched in 1911, was rebuilt by Mr. Paul, dry-docked at the south end of Pollock Street, and opened as one of the attractions for the town’s 251st anniversary celebration.  It continued as a waterfront attraction, maintenance and operation financed largely by the Beaufort Merchants Association, until 1978.  After 18 seasons, the 77-year-old vessel, home of numerous artifacts, was considered unsafe for public use and was burned by Beaufort firemen.

When Mrs. Hassell resigned the chairmanship in May 1961, Mrs. William Roy Hamilton, at a meeting of the association’s board of directors at her home in June, was named acting chairman. Only 18 persons had joined the association that year, so Grayden Paul, with the title of finance chairman, was also made chairman of a membership drive.  The goal was to obtain 200 members who would pay a membership fee of $5.

Mr. Paul, who originated and directed the popular re-enactment of the 1747 pirate invasion at the 1960 anniversary celebration, announced that the invasion would be staged again Saturday, Aug. 5, 1961.  At this same meeting at the Hamilton home, Mrs. Harvey (Evelyn) Smith, replaced Odell Merrill on the board of directors.  Mrs. Hamilton became the association president.

In July of that year, it was announced that in addition to the pirate invasion Aug. 5, the association would sponsor a tour of 41 historic town landmarks, the people making the tour to do so in their private cars.

The success of that summer’s “Spanish Invasion Day” served as momentum to move the association into its third year, but lack of money was an ever-present problem.

At the association’s February 1962 meeting plans were made to repeat the pirate invasion in the summer and continue the museum if memberships brought in $1,200 to finance them.  There was only $200 in the treasury.

Sixteen hundred persons had paid admission to the museum the previous summer.  Mr. Paul reported that income of $25 a week (admission was 25 cents per person, 10 cents each for school children in groups) had paid four teen-age girls as hostesses, and Mr. Paul.  His salary was $300 for the season.  He estimated that $900 would be needed to refit the pirate longboat and buy supplies, such as gunpowder, for the invasion.

Attending the February meeting, besides the president, were Mrs. F. W. (Edna) Heslep (late became Mrs. Bill Bjerke), Mr. and Mrs. John L. Crump, Dr. John Costlow, Mrs. John Lucas, Mrs. Ernest J. Davis, James H. Potter III, Mrs. Vance Fulford, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Ben Jones, Miss Laura Thomas, Mrs. Gilbert Potter, Mrs. Charles Cheek, Mrs. Charles Hassell, and Ruth Peeling Barbour.

In April 1962 at a meeting in the courthouse, Mrs. Hamilton was re-elected president.  Other officers chosen were Dr. John Costlow, vice-president;  Mrs. Ben Jones, secretary-treasurer;  and Mrs. Charles Cheek, corresponding secretary.

Slides of the Old Bury Ground were shown and hope expressed that Van Potter, who had long taken an interest in the cemetery and was considered an authority on it, would tape a commentary to accompany the slides. That, unfortunately, was never done.

Dr. Costlow presented a design for plaques to go on historic buildings.  He was assisted by Ms. Elizabeth Merwin, Beaufort, artist and specialist in heraldry.  The design is the one in use today.  It embodies a blue and silver checked border taken from the Duke of Beaufort’s coat of arms and signifies fair play.  The Lancaster red rose at the bottom represents the Lancaster line, which figures in the duke’s family.  A gold menhaden at the top harks back to “Fish Town.” The name by which Beaufort was known in the early 1700’s.

Producing the plaques eventually involved many people, but the first ones were done by Bert Brooks who applied seven base coats of white acrylic paint.  Dr. Costlow did the color work in his kitchen.  His report that as many people paid admission to see restored homes in 1961 as paid to see baseball games that season, aroused interest of those skeptical of the project.

In May 1962 county commissioners agreed to let the historical association use the old county jail for exhibits.  Either party could end the agreement by giving notice 30 days prior to May 7 of any year.

Mr. Paul and F. C. Salisbury, president of the County Historical Society, asked county commissioners in January 1960 not to dismantle the old jail on the northeast corner of the courthouse square.  It was in use then as a storage building.

The association president proposed to county commissioners in February 1962 that the first floor of the jail be used as an historical attraction, to be opened to the public in May.  The board suggested a dollar-a-yea rental.  The agreement was concluded in May.

Mrs. Gilbert Potter and Mrs. Peggy Simmons were named co-chairmen of the jail project. June 1 was set as the night to clean the jail, and work, by association members, went on all summer.  By August the first floor had been painted and was ready for displays.  Old documents, prints, maps, and photos had been requested but there was little response, even though people were told their items would be photocopied and returned.

Those willing to cooperate were to contact Miss Ada Whitehurst who, with her sisters Ethel and Mildred, became the jail museum curators.

People were issued a special invitation to visit the jail museum from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 1962, but it was not until May 1963 that it opened on a regular basis, 1 to 4 p.m. daily.  Plans for the future included furnishing a cell on the second floor as it was in the 19th century.

Early in 1963 the association voted to cooperate with other organizations in town in maintaining the Old Burying Ground,  The association named Thomas Respess as its representative on the project.

In March 1963 the association announced that plaques were in place on the following 20 buildings: The Duncan house (1790), 105 Front St.;  Davis house (1821), 127 Front St.; Nelson house (1790), 201 Front St.;  Morse house (1771), 215 Front St.; Easton house (1771), 229 Front St;  Sabiston house (1857), 307 Front St.;  Carteret Academy or Beaufort Female Institute (1854), 505 Front St.;  Caleb Bell house (17700, 817 Front St.;  Gibbs house (1851), 901 Front St.; Buckman (1845), 114 Ann St.;  Beveridge house (1841), 123 Ann St.;  P. Piver house (1750), 131 Ann St.;  J. Davis house (1817), 201 Ann St.;  Mace house (1832), 619 Ann St.;  Willis house (1820), 700 Ann St.;  Hatsell house (1827), 121 Orange St.; Langdon house (1764), 135 Craven St.;  Cramer house (1796) courthouse now on Restoration grounds);  Purvis Chapel (1820), southwest corner Broad and Craven Streets;  and county jail (1829), Craven Street, just south of Cedar, now on Restoration grounds.  Most of the dates are approximate.

Association officers elected in March 1963 were Dr. Costlow, president;  Mrs. Cheek, vice-president;  Ms. Ethel Whitehurst, recording secretary;  Ms. Patsy Hardesty, corresponding secretary;  and William Nicholson, treasurer.

At the following meeting in April the association decided to sponsor a “station wagon antique show” on the lot between the Masonic hall and Odd Fellows lodge on Turner Street (space now occupied by the county public library and the Masonic lodge parking lot).  The dealers would pay a $10 exhibit fee and show wares from the back of their station wagons.  People attending would pay an admission fee.  This was the first antique show sponsored by the association and would take place at the same time as the Beaufort Woman’s Club Old Homes Tour.  Subsequent antique shows were indoors.

The Woman’s Club sponsored the first Old Homes tour in May 1957.  It was so successful, the club planned another for 1958.  There was no tour in 1959, but the club sponsored it again for the town’s 251st anniversary in 1960, continuing it as an annual event until 1980, when the historical association assumed sponsorship as part of the Old Homes Weekend the last weekend in June.

When the Woman’s Club first proposed an Old Homes tour, a club scrapbook of 1958 says, “People did not oppose our plans in the beginning – they just laughed at us.  “Pay money to go inside my neighbor’s house?  It’s nothing to see.  Why it’s at least 150 years old.  Who want to see that?”

Mrs. Myrtle Duncan Sutton, Marion, N.C., recalls, in a letter dated March 27, 1989, how the Woman’s Club developed the idea: “The club decided to have a special event to which all clubs of the New Bern District would be invited.  The event was a tour of five historic Beaufort homes.  It was an idea whose time had come!  We had visitors galore.  At the time of the tour, Ruth Davis (Mrs. Charles Davis) was president.  Mabel (Mrs. W. M.) Gilchrist was project chairman.  Every club member participated.”

The five homes opened on that 1957 tour were Mrs. Julius (Sarah) Duncan’s home at the west end of Front Street, the home of Mrs. Joseph (Elizabeth) House, 201 Front St., the Buckman house, 114 Ann, Mrs. W. N. (Mabel) Gilchrist’s home (Pinner house), at Howland Rock, and Mrs. Graham (Myrtle) Duncan’s home, 124 Queen Street.  (The Buckman house was owned at that time by George and Eileen Taylor.)

The 1958 tour on Wednesday, June 18, featured the Buckman house;  Morse house, 215 Front St., Mace house, 619 Ann, Taylor house, 305 Ann, and the Hatsell house, 117 Orange St.  The Beaufort Club won recognition from the State Federation of Woman’s Clubs for this tour.  The club’s major project in 1959 was town beautification.

Mrs. Sutton says: “Everyone wanted to know when we would have another tour, so two years later (1960) we planned another as part of Beaufort’s birthday party.  Mabel Gilchrist sold us on the idea of a bus trip.  ‘Get Grayden Paul to run it,” said Ruth Ivey Davis (Mrs. M. Leslie Davis).”

Mr. Paul agreed, but he said the club would have to write his script.  He took the club on a trial trip, which approximated what the bus tours are today.  “Twenty women telling him what to say,” Mrs. Sutton writes.  “He survived and has developed his own story.”

Chapter 2
On the Money Trail

In 1963 the association realized little progress could be made with less than a thousand dollars in the bank.  So, in December of that year a decision was made to mount a major fund-raising drive for “The Beaufort Restoration.”

A grant of $200 was received by the association from the N.C. Society for the Preservation of Antiquities.

The $200 was used to print a four-page brochure outlining plans for the Restoration.  The brochures were distributed at a series of fund-raising meetings, and mailed to former Beaufort residents living out of town.  The Restoration was a new concept and the brochure contained a sketch showing location of buildings as well as a description of the steps to be followed to take the project to completion.

Beaufort’s former mayor, William H. Potter, headed the campaign.  At the first meeting in January 1964 at St. Paul’s parish house, Mr. Potter told his audience that the Restoration was not a project for Beaufort residents only “but for all people interested in the heritage embodied by the town.”

Another meeting was held that month at the courthouse, and the third, early in February at Beaufort School.

An estimated total of 175 persons was reached through the three sessions.

At the first, Mr. Potter outlined the organizational plan.  Four divisions, consisting of 12  persons each, were set up, headed by Braxton Adair, Mrs. Charles Cheek, Jim Wheatley, and Miss Lena Duncan.  At the third meeting another division, headed by Gerald Hill, was added.

The duty of these committees, according to Mr. Potter, was to arouse interest in acquiring historical properties for the Restoration and raise funds to “support the new work.”

Speaking at the third meeting, in addition to Mr. Potter and Dr. Costlow, were W. S. Tarlton, superintendent of historic sites, and James Craig, curator of arts, State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh.

Mr. Craig’s assistance was solicited to assure furnishings in the Restoration homes earmarked for purchase, would be authentic.  Those homes, in the 100 block of Turner Street, were the Ruby Becton house”, now known as the red Joseph Bell house on the west side of the street, the Avery, Thomas, and Everett houses on the east side of the street.

Dr. Costlow noted that a hundred homes in town were built before the War Between the States.  Mr. Tarlton commented that in the vicinity of a Restoration, opportunity for private enterprise presents itself in the form of antique shops, museums and restaurants.  That has proved true in Beaufort.

The Restoration as it is today carries out the basic plan, as proposed in 1964, except for a shell road.

The Joseph Bell House, dating back to 1767, before the American Revolution, was preserved and restored.  The Avery house, located north of the Thomas house was removed as was the Everett house, which, in the 1940’s was a boarding house.  It stood on the south side of the Thomas house.

The Thomas house, an early 19th century home, authenticated as the Josiah Bell House, was retained, restored, and now serves as headquarters for the Restoration.The brochure, which set the tone for launching the Restoration, notes: “As one becomes familiar with efforts throughout the United States to restore buildings and retain some portion of our early heritage, it becomes increasingly apparent that the emphasis is frequently placed on retaining those sites association only with the influential military or government leaders.  It would appear that we have forgotten that the place these gentlemen held and the direction kin which they so ably led this country was possible only because of the support given them by the citizens.  These citizens, working hard to develop their farms, their businesses, and their communities, were scattered throughout the area of the original colonies, living in town similar to Old Beaufort.  The Beaufort Historical Association feels that the preservation of their portion of our heritage is important to a balanced perspective of our past and toward a better understanding of the role which has been played by the citizens in shaping our country.  The proposed Beaufort Restoration will provide a glimpse of how the average citizens of a small sea coast town live and the part they did play.”

The brochure goes on: “The Restoration is a plan to set up, near the downtown area of Beaufort, a group of old Beaufort houses and shops.  It will recreate a portion of the town as it would have appeared to the seafaring men of the 1700’s as they sailed through Old Beaufort Inlet.  The area which has been selected includes the center of Old town, originally the site of the market place and the stage coach stop from New Bern.  The ‘Village,’ which is proposed, would be open to the public on a regular basis, for sightseeing, for educational purposes, and to ‘history buffs’”

The brochure then describes the phases of development.  The first, purchase of the 1767 Bell House;  the second, purchase of the Thomas, Averett and Avery properties, and the third phase, purchase of old Beaufort shops and homes which become available because of encroachment of through other circumstances.  They would be moved to the Restoration grounds, set up and restored as they would have appeared when they were first constructed.

The brochure concludes:  “The Beaufort Restoration will add one more attraction to the beaches and sports fishing for which Carteret County has become famous.”

In April of 1964, it was estimated that $15,000 had been raised in cash and pledges during the Restoration Campaign.  According to the year-end fiscal report, the total was actually $17,151.97, most of it in pledges.  For example, some businesses in town pledged $100 a year for the coming two years.

Cash had been needed prior to that, however, to buy the Becton house, owned by Ruby Taylor Becton Coppedge and her husband.  When county financial institutions refused to lend it,

J. O. Barbour, Jr., a member of the finance committee, volunteered to contact an acquaintance, L. J. Eubank, at First Federal Savings and Loan in New Bern.  The loan was granted and the house purchase for $8,000 in March 1964.

At the April 13 meeting of the association, Gilbert Potter, chairman of the finance committee, reported purchase price of the “Thomas house” to be $10,500.  The owners agreed to execute a deed of trust.  Down payment would be $1,000, with the remainder at $1,000 annually, 6% interest, new owners to occupy at once.  The property was referred to as the “Thomas house” since it had been, in memory of man, the Charles Thomas property.  But at the time of the association’s purchase it was owned by heirs of the Dorothea S. Barnes estate.

Since options on the Everett and Thomas properties expired in two days and there was not enough money to buy both, the association approved a motion by Mr. Potter to buy the Everett property at $6,302.25 with cash on hand, which was about $7,000, and borrow to buy the Thomas and Avery properties.  Again, Mr. Barbour went to First Federal in New Bern and borrowed the necessary funds.  Deeds conveying the Everett and Avery properties to the association were recorded in May1964, Carteret County registry.

“The second loan was easier to negotiate than the first, because we had never missed a payment,” Mr. Barbour says.  The only signature needed on the note was that of the association’s president.  Cost of the Avery property was $5,264.50.  The fiscal report5 for the year ending Dec. 31, 1964 reported the amount outstanding on the loan from First Federal as of that date was $7,886.83.

Gilbert Potter, finance chairman, says the association never had to ask for an extension on the loans.  Future money-raising campaigns were successful, but when the first properties were acquired, those in charge of finances not only faced acquisition costs, but cost of repair, maintenance and utilities, as well as insurance.  And they weren’t sure where the money would come from.

Students from the School of Design, N.C. State University, were working on a scale model of the town as it might have looked in 1700.  That project was not completed but the students did finish drawings of several Beaufort homes.  They were displayed by Dr. Costlow at a meeting of the Restoration planning committee May 22, 1964 at the town hall.  The drawings are now in the possession of N.C. State University, Raleigh, according to Dr. Costlow.

Prior to the Old Homes Tour in 1964, electricity was turned on in the Bell and Thomas (Josiah Bell) houses, and water turned on in the Joseph Bell house. The first association meeting in the Thomas house was in September of that year.

Committees at work were Mrs. Charles Cheek’s furnishings committee, Holden Ballou’s building and grounds maintenance committee, John Mease’s committee whose primary responsibility was restoration of the Joseph Bell house, Mrs. Hugh Salter’s Beaufort Garden Club committee (the club agreed to provide an 18th century garden and yard around the Bell House) and a hostess committee headed by Mrs. Ernest (Mattie King) Davis, assisted by Ms. Gladys Chadwick.

One hundred twenty volunteers had served as hostess-guides at the Bell House during the summer.  They welcomed 600 visitors.  No admission was charged, but donations were accepted.
In addition to newspaper publicity, the president, committee chairmen and others appeared on television and radio describing the Restoration.

During this momentous year, the association lost two good friends.  Mrs. William Roy Hamilton, known to members as Anne Clyde, and F. C. Salisbury, president of the County Historical Society, died.

Mrs. Gilbert (Pat) Potter, past secretary and active in many association projects, says, “Anne Clyde discovered the Joseph Bell House.  I remember how excited she was.  Ruby Becton was living there at the time.  She said me, “Pat, com look, come look!”  She showed me the architectural features, such as chair rails, and other characteristics that told us it was a very old house.”  Subsequent research confirmed, of course, that it was 18th century.

Mr. Salisbury supported the association in its effort to preserve the 19th century jail, gave programs at several association meetings, and instrumental in getting state cooperation  for placement of historical markers.
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In 1965 the association received two notable financial boosts.  The Richardson Foundation, of Greensboro and New York, set aside $100,000 for disbursement by the Department of Archives and History, Raleigh,  Of that amount, $4,500 was offered to the association on condition that it be matched with $9,000.

The matching was achieved, and exceeded, during a fund drive headed by Braxton Adair and Ivey Mason, Jr.  The drive yielded $15,950.95  Included in that amount was $10,000, a gift from Robert P. McLarty, a great-great-great grandson of Joseph Bell, Sr. Mr. McLarty, of Vero Beach, Fla., donated the money to aid in restoration of the 1767 Bell House.

Dr. Costlow recalls that one Sunday afternoon Mr. McLarty and his wife, in their vintage Rolls Royce, came to the door of the Costlow home.  The McCarty’s were invited in, and Mr. McLarty stated that his ancestor was Col. Joseph Bell of Beaufort.  Dr. Costlow took them on a tour of the Joseph Bell house.  He informed the McLarty's of the association’s fund drive to complete purchase of the house and restore it.  On departure, Mr. McLarty indicated that is some financial help were needed, to give him a call at the Vero Beach home.

“By the last week of the fund-raising drive, it was apparent we were not going to meet our goal.”  Dr. Costlow says.  “I called Mr. McLarty, indicating that we anticipated a shortfall of about $10,000.”

A highlight of the fund drive was a money-raising dinner dance at the home of Mrs. Harvey (Evelyn) Smith, West Beaufort.  Mrs. Agnes Grant supervised and planned the event, assisted by Beaufort Jaycees, the Junior Woman’s Club, and the Beaufort Rescue Squad.  The day before the dance Dr. Costlow received a check from Mr. McLarty in the amount of $10,000.  He presented it at the dance (held in a hall at the Smith fish factory).