Nelson Whitford "Pa" Taylor

Nelson Whitford Taylor 1856-1948
The Carteret News-Times, September 17, 1948: 

      Beaufort paid solemn tribute to its oldest native Wednesday at 5p.m. when funeral services were held for Nelson Whitford "Pa" Taylor, 92, in St. Paul's Episcopal Church. The Rev. William Martin, rector, conducted the service and interment followed in St. Paul's Cemetery.
      The vestry of St. Paul's were honorary pall bearers, and the grandsons and grandsons-in-law. They were Allen O'Bryan, Nelson W. Taylor III, Clifford Fleet, Dave Mosier, Dave Winegar, and Wiley Taylor Jr. 

      Ninety-two years of fruitful living and 67½ years of happy married life were ended when "Pa" died quietly at his home on Ann Street, Beaufort, Monday [September 13] night at 8:15.
      His physician, Dr. Laurie Moore, had pronounced "nothing organically wrong" with him one week before his 92nd birthday. Those at his bedside said his mind was clear one hour before death, due to old age, claimed him.

      "Pa"  Taylor operated the only wholesale grocery store this side of New Bern for 25‒30 years, and it was said of him that "anyone who needed anything got it whether they had the money to pay or not." People from Beaufort to Cedar Island thought of him as their benefactor.

      His sons recalled that he refused to sell a barrel of flour which cost him $4 for more than $4.25, allowing himself only 25 cents for profit and overhead deductions. Twenty-five cents profit was all he asked on a pair of shoes.
      He was in the mercantile business from the age of 9, when he began helping in his father's store, until he retired at 70.

      Shortly after 1888, Mr. Taylor partitioned off one of his store buildings and started the first bank in Carteret County. It was called the Bank of Beaufort. "Pa" was the banker. The bank moved after one year to the building now occupied by Rumley's Feed Store on Front Street, and "Pa" was president. He later formed, and was president of the Beaufort Banking and Trust Co., the predecessor of the First Citizens Bank and Trust Co. 

      He started out as a merchant, operating his father's old store at the present location of Davis Bros. After the big fire in 1888, he built two brick buildings across the street, forming the Beaufort Grocery Co. in one and a general store in the other. One of these buildings is now occupied by the Beaufort Hardware Co., the other by Jeff's Barber Shop.
      In addition to his Beaufort mercantile interests, "Pa" Taylor owned the oyster factory, shipped clams and mullets, and was president of the Armstrong Grocery Co. in New Bern. He formed the first mail boat line from Beaufort to Ocracoke.
      "Pa's" active life included service in political office. At one time he was mayor of Beaufort and was treasurer of Beaufort and Carteret County for years. In 1901 he was elected to the state legislature for one term.

      The church, St. Paul's Episcopal, where he was a lifelong member, claimed much of "Pa's" energies. He was superintendent of the Sunday school for 35 years. Whenever the church was without a minister, he acted as lay reader, refusing to let the doors be closed. He was vestryman for more than 60 years and honorary senior warden for life.

      Young Nelson Whitford Taylor married Mary Catherine Buckman, now affectionately known as "Ma" on February 24, 1881. Both "Pa" and "Ma" were born in Beaufort, and their forebears lived here for generations.

       "Pa" is survived by his widow, four sons, one daughter, 12 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and one great-great grandson. The latter is Richard Taylor Downes Jr., 1½, of Providence, R.I.
      Sons are Cecil B. Taylor, Boston, Mass; Bayard Taylor, Beaufort; N.W. Taylor Jr., Santa Monica, Cal.; and George E. Taylor, New York City. Mrs. Nannie Hinnant, of Beaufort, is his living daughter, and another daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth O'Bryan, is deceased.
      "Ma" will be 88 in November.

      "Pa" was born on overlooking the waterfront, on Sept. 7, 1856, the son of George W. Taylor and Sidney Ann Taylor. His mother was a Bragg and a cousin of Gen. Braxton Bragg and Gov. Thomas Bragg, of North Carolina. "Pa" was also related to Zachary Taylor, president of the United States.
      "Pa" attended the Newport Academy and the Beaufort school, and was chairman of the town school board for years. While a young man, he was a member of the Beaufort home guard. He walked down Front Street his last time on April 1.

George W. Taylor
Sidney Ann Bragg
     Nelson Whitford "Pa" Taylor was born September 7, 1856 on Front Street, the son of George Washington Taylor and Sidney Ann Bragg. His father owned "Ocean House" hotel. The 1860 Beaufort Census noted the family in the hotel, including 4-year-old Nelson. 
     On April 25, 1862, they were among others watching the siege of Fort Macon. The hotel was located in the general area of the current day Maritime Museum and Watercraft Center.

      Nelson Whitford Taylor (1856‒1948) and Mary Catherine Buckman were married on February 24, 1881. (Minister E.M. Forbes, witnesses A.C. Davis Jr. and W.C. Manson)
      Mary Catherine Buckman (1860‒1965), born in the 1845 Buckman House at 114 Ann Street, was the daughter of Edward S. Buckman and Elizabeth Ward Phelps.

      In 1894, the couple purchased the Leecraft House at 305 Ann Street, built circa 1856 by William Leecraft. Mary "Ma" Taylor occupied the home until her death at 104.

      "Ma" and "Pa" Taylor's children included: Cecil Buckman Taylor, who married Margaret C. Arrington; Bayard Taylor, who married Jean Thackston; Elizabeth S. Taylor, who married Allen Darlington O’Bryan; Nannie Davis Taylor, who married William King Hinnant; Nelson Whitford Taylor, who married Caroline Kingman Cumbow; and George Edward Taylor, who married Eileen St. George Gardner.

In Historic Beaufort, North Carolina, A Unique Coastal Village Preserved, by Mary Warshaw, Francis Borden Mace wrote, "Ma and P' Taylor were like second parents to many of the children of Beaufort and the area around it. Once, a letter from Europe addressed only to 'Ma and Pa Taylor, North Carolina, USA,' was safely delivered! I was especially close to them because Ma was my Sunday school teacher and I played with her many grandchildren in the neighborhood."


Researched and compiled since 2006, this site contains over 200 posts.

Earliest known photograph - View toward Piver's Island   
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The "Beaufort Restoration"

The Russell House once stood on the south side of the Josiah Bell House, 
but was removed from the property, that would become the "Beaufort Restoration." 
Image courtesy the Beaufort Historical Association.
In "Memories of Beaufort in the Nineties," Thomas Carrow wrote, "Uncle George Russell, who had previously run a farm on New Bern Road, came to town sometime about 1890, possibly a little earlier, and set up a store and boarding house that later expanded into the Russell House."

An excerpt from the Founding of the Beaufort Historical Association: Early Days:
“In 1963, the association realized little progress could be made with less than a thousand dollars in the bank. 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 money was used to print a four-page brochure outlining plans for the restoration. 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." 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. ...

J.C. Manson House circa 1825
Josiah Bell House circa 1825
“Those homes, in the 100 block of Turner Street, were the Ruby Becton house, known as the red Joseph Bell House [John Cooper Manson House] on the west side of the street, and the Avery, Thomas [Josiah Bell House], and Everett houses on the east side of the street. The Joseph Bell House was restored. The Avery House, north of the Thomas House, was removed, as was the Everett House, a boarding house in the 1940s that once stood on the south side of the Thomas House.

“Mr. Tarlton commented on the opportunity, in the vicinity of a restoration, for antique shops, museums and restaurants. The "Beaufort Restoration," as it is today, carries out the basic plan, as proposed in 1964, except for a shell road.

“A brochure noted, ‘The Beaufort 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 1700s 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.’
Nathan Fuller House circa 1831
“The brochure described the phases of development. The first, purchase of the Bell House; the second, purchase of the Thomas, Everett and Avery properties, and the third phase, purchase of old Beaufort shops and homes which become available because of encroachment or 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.” (Ruth Barbour)

Houses purchased which remained in their original location on the "Beaufort Restoration"
  • JOHN COOPER MASON HOUSE circa 1825 (originally believed to be the Joseph Bell House) was restored in 2001. 
  • JOSIAH BELL HOUSE circa 1825 remained in the Bell family until purchased by Charles Walter Thomas Sr. before 1930. In 1964, the house was purchased by the Beaufort Historical Association for $10,500. 
  • NATHAN FULLER HOUSE circa 1831 is the administration office for the Beaufort Historical Association.
Houses and buildings moved to the “Beaufort Restoration”
  • About 1975, the R. RUSTELL HOUSE, plaqued circa 1732, (Mattie King Davis Gallery) was moved from the west side of Craven Street near the corner of Front Street. Though plaqued for "Rustell" [Richard Rustull], this house was likely built by William Dennis before 1770. In his 1800 will, he left Old Town lot #13 to family “to be rented out.” In 1802, the Dennis family deeded the lot to Jechonias Pigott, “with premises and all out buildings." (Since this could be one of the oldest houses in Beaufort, a dendrochronological study could determine the approximate building date.) See more research on the building.
  • In the 1980s, the LEFFER’S COTTAGE, plaqued circa 1778, was moved from New Town lot #12, the NW corner of Front and Live Oak streets. Samuel Leffers purchase lot #12 on September 13, 1775; he sold it on September 12, 1776, including a “singular premises.” However, though plaqued 1778, the house was not built until two or three decades after Leffers’ death in 1822. (Early Domestic Architecture in Beaufort, North Carolina, Williamsburg Field Study 2012) See Samuel Leffers
  • The 1797 COURTHOUSE, used as home to the Dr. Cramer/Carrow family from about 1843 until it was acquired and moved in 1976.
  • The 1859 APOTHECARY, built by Dr. Cramer, adjacent to the converted 1797 Courthouse on the north side of Ann Street, was purchased by Dr. Josiah B. Davis in 1864 and move across the street adjacent to his home; it was also used by his son Dr. George Davis. The building was moved in 1974.
  • The 1829 JAIL, originally built by Elijah Whitehurst on the NE side of Courthouse Square, was moved in 1977.

Humphrey Family, Holly Grove Dairy and Phillips Island

John William Humphrey
Humphrey Children
John William Humphrey (1884‒1942) was born in Craven County, NC to John W. Humphrey and Julia Eleanor Arnold. On December 22, 1910, John William Humphrey married Eva Lane Pittman (1886‒1973). They were parents of John "Jack" Pittman Humphrey (1913‒2002), Harriette "Hattie" Lee Humphrey (1914‒2004), Marjorie Faye Humphrey (1918‒2015), and Robert William Pittman Humphrey (1922‒1977), all born in Clarks, Craven County.


About 1927, John William and Eva Humphrey moved the family to Beaufort, where they owned and operated Holly Grove Dairy near what is now the intersection of Live Oak Street and Hwy 70.

Holly Grove Dairy

In 1941, the Humphrey family purchased 217 Front Street. Members of the Humphrey family owned and lived here until 2007.
The home, the Thomas-Humphrey House circa 1909, was built by Thomas Thomas (1883‒1937), on the site of "the old Manney house," which Thomas purchased for $1950. ( Thomas Thomas, son of William Alonzo Thomas and Rosetta Howland Manney, was the grandson of Capt. Thomas Thomas and Martha Dudley Murray.)

On December 26, 1938, John William and Eva Humphrey’s daughter "Hattie" married Llewellyn Phillips (1903‒1998), born in Morehead City to Herbert Orlanda Phillips and Mattie H. Hancock.
"Hattie" Lee Humphrey
Llewellyn Phillips
"Hattie" graduated from East Carolina Teachers College; the 1934 year book noted her as President of Student Government Association, among other superlatives. 

Llewellyn Phillips graduated from the University of North Carolina with a law degree. By 1930, he was recorded at 1006 Evans Street in Morehead City and noted as a lawyer in private practice. 

By 1940, Llewellyn and "Hattie" were living on Evans Street with his mother Mattie Phillips. Llewellyn and his brother H. Orlanda Phillips were recorded as partners in "fish scrap manufacturing."

In 1932, the Phillips brothers purchased Newport Fisheries menhaden plant, including the factory and gear for $2,701. 

The old fish plant burned in September 1953.
(Menhaden plant chimney, Phillips Island, courtesy Bland Simpson, July 2004)

Coree Territory, Indian Villages, and Tuscarora War

The Cwar, Core or Coree Indian tribe once occupied the "Core Sound" area. Their territory included land south of the Neuse River in then Craven County, from Craney (Harker's) Island west, including what is now Carteret County.

Cwareuuock (recorded on the 1606 Hondius Map below) shows an Algonquian ending -euuock,  which roughly translated  "people of" or "land of Cwar." (Blair A. Rudes, UNC Charlotte, The First Description of an Iroquoian People: Spaniards among the Tuscaroras before 1522)
1606 Hondius Map recorded Cwareuuock territory - what is now Carteret County.
"The Coree...had been greatly reduced in a war with another tribe before 1696, and were described by Archdale as having been a bloody and barbarous people. John Lawson refers to them as Coranine Indians, but in another place calls them Connamox and gives them two villages in 1701, Coranine and Raruta, with about 125 souls. They engaged in the Tuscarora War 1711-15, and in 1715 the remnants of the Coree and Machapunga were assigned a tract on Mattamuskeet Lake, Hyde County, NC." (O.M. McPherson - Indians of North Carolina 1915, Documenting the American South) 

Lawson's 1709 Map noted Coranine River and Coranine Sound near Topsail Inlet and Cape Lookout.
TWO VILLAGES: These Indians have been documented on maps as Coranine, Cwareuuock and Cwarewiock. In his 1965 thesis, Colonial Beaufort, historian Charles L. Paul noted, “Before white settlers entered the 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 or 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...A deed, date 1725, describes the tract as follows: "a certain piece of land called ye Indian Town lying on ye west side of Newport River..."

According to Al Pate in The Coree Are Not Extinct - about five years before the Tuscarora War, the Coree had already begun to roam the coast “from the New River of Onslow…to Core Point and into their old homeland on the Pamlico south shore of Coree Tuck.”

Although the earliest settlers, Shackelford, Nelson and others, were relatively safe in their isolation in the Core Sound area, the circumstances of the time were not conducive to more settlement. For several years those south of the Albemarle and north of the Neuse River faced a period of not only political strife but conflict with the lower Tuscarora and Coree Indians. 

Al Pate described his Coree ancestors as a proud people who refused to return friendship “with every beating they took.” Pate wrote, “The Coree War is the Indian war that’s in the records, that history ignored and historians forgot.”

The Coree War described by Pate as “a canoe warfare and pitiful delaying action,” started about eight years before the Tuscarora War and lasted another two years after the Tuscarora headed north. 

From other historians:

The Tuscarora, outraged over enslavement, land encroachment and the deceitful practices of the white intruders, were angered at being pushed off their land--the area of present-day New Bern. King Hancock and his braves, full of resentment and hatred, murdered Deputy Surveyor John Lawson and decided to declare war. 

In September of 1711, according to historian William Powell, King Hancock's warriors, joined by other tribes, including the Coree, "launched an all-out attack along the Neuse and Pamlico, including the town of Bath." The unsuspecting and untrained colonists, also weak from a poor drought-caused harvest, were stunned and frightened. Farnifold Green and others made out their wills.

In 1712 Governor Thomas Pollock appointed Farnifold Green to help supply the army in Bath County and to garrison a small militia in the Core Sound area. Two years later Green’s 1700-acre Neuse River plantation at Green's Creek (near present-day Oriental) was the site of a brutal massacre that ended in the death of forty-year-old Farnifold Green. According to a family historian, also killed were “his son Thomas, a white servant and two Negroes. Another son was shot through the shoulder but managed to escape.”  

With help from Colonel John “Tuscarora Jack” Barnwell, Colonel James Moore and their South Carolina troops, including Indians from other tribes, the Tuscarora were finally defeated at Nooherooka in early 1713. The majority of the Tuscarora survivors migrated north and became the sixth nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. The Coree, as noted by Pate, “grunted at the signing…and hunkered down in their hideaways, deep in the swamps…while their menfolk harried the Albemarle, the women and children of the Coree made their way to rich dry hammocks between the pocosins."

The continuation of the Coree War went on until February 11, 1715, when the colonial government finally returned “a piece of old Pamtico” to the few remaining Coree. However, with names like Core Banks and Core Sound, the Coree left their mark on land south of the Neuse.

Roberson-Pool House circa 1883

Roberson-Pool House before restoration
The house at 211 Turner Street was built between 1880 and 1885. Since the western side of the 200 block belonged to the Roberson family, except for the Jacob Gibble House on lot 103 (217 Turner Street), and only one deed of sale has been found (for the southern portion of lot 93), it stands to reason that Joseph Pigott Roberson, the carpenter, built the house, the lot perhaps willed to Joseph and his sister Cinderella Pigott Roberson Pool. Nephew Russell Manson was head of household in 1930. Therefore, the home was owned by descendants of the Roberson family for at least fifty years, the lot for about 80 years. 


Malachi Bell Roberson, son of Joseph Roberson and Sarah Bell, was born January 1, 1802 in North Carolina, and died February 14, 1855. On January 20, 1827 Malachi married Sarah Ann Pigott (c.18001878), daughter of Jechonias Pigott (17741856) and Cinderella Chadwick (17821818). This was Sarah Ann Pigott’s second marriage; her first was to Elijah Bell in 1818.


Jean Bruyere Kell 1909-2004

James Davis House circa 1817
201 Ann Street
During the Great Depression, Jean Bruyere Kell and husband Copeland lived in an old cottage at 207 Orange Street and kept a cow at the Noe's barn yard near the corner of Orange and Broad Streets. At the time, Jean worked for Miss Nannie Geffroy at St. Paul's School and often sat on the front porch of 201 Ann Street, where Miss Nannie often kept her green parrot. The parrot called her "Ms. Kell."

Owens-Bedford House
The first home Jean Kell purchased in Beaufort was the Owens-Bedford House at 113 Live Oak Street. 

In 1965, Jean and Copeland Kell purchased the Belcher Fuller House from Laura Esther Thomas; the purchase price was $100. The Kells owned the house until 1985; they lived in the William Borden House next door while Jean operated an antique shop in the Belcher Fuller House. Jean later lived at 314 Moore Street, where she invited people to stop by and have books "autographed at her home - The Little White House with Blue Shutters."

Jean Marie Bruyere Kell's obituary, in Carteret County News, October 6, 2004, reveals much about her life, accomplishments and contributions to the town she loved.


Jean Bruyere Kell, 95, antiquarian, historical researcher, preservationist, author and mother to not only her own children, but to many others who found their way to her heart, died Monday at Britthaven of Newport. Her funeral will be at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Beaufort, with the Rev. Thomas D. Bowers officiating.

Born in 1909 in Glen Ridge, N.J., Mrs. Kell was the daughter of the late Walter Reeve
Bruyere and the late Edith Owen Bruyere. It was as the young wife of Copeland Kell that she began her long-lived love of Beaufort, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Carteret County. She was one of the early leaders of the Beaufort Historical Association, serving for many years as the chairman of the Antiques Show, an important part of the annual Old Homes Tour. She was also instrumental in the formation of the Carteret County Historical Society, the Friends of Fort Macon and the Carteret County Antiques Club. She served seven years as director of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce. She was a charter member of DAR, Morehead City.

An avid researcher, Mrs. Kell's books included Historic Beaufort, a Pictoral Profile, and
Love, Goodwill and Affection, which was made into a musical with lyrics and score by Laurence Stith. She was editor of Carteret County During the American Revolution and Carteret County During the Civil War. Well into her 90s, she had begun plans for Carteret County During World Wars I and II. Children's books included The Pocket Dolly (which was nationally published), When the Pirates Came to Beaufort and When the British Came to Beaufort.
Jean Kell's 1980 photo of
the Belcher Fuller House
when it was her antique shop

Fascinated by English history and antiques, Mrs. Kell and her husband made yearly trips to Britain, especially enjoying the city of Dartmouth in Devon and making many friends there. On her returns to Beaufort, she would serve tea in her antique shop and display her latest acquisitions. During recent years, Mrs. Kell focused her energy on creating dolls and pillows, eagerly collected by friends and visitors to the area. On pleasant evenings, she could often be found sitting on her favorite bench along the Beaufort waterfront, greeting those who strolled by. In 2002, she gloried in leading the Beaufort 4th of July Parade as Lady Liberty.

Mrs. Kell received many awards and commendations. She was appointed chairman of the
Carteret County Bicentennial Commission in 1992, was designated town historian for the Town of Beaufort and in 1980 was given an Award of Merit by the North Carolina Preservation Society. In 2001, she received the Willie Parker Peace History Award by the North Carolina Society of Historians. In 2003, Mrs. Kell was recognized as a distinguished citizen and received the Kathryn Cloud Award from the Beaufort Historical Commission. In an open forum, she spoke movingly of her love of Beaufort and of her hopes that the beauty of the town with its many historic structures would continue to be valued and protected.

She is survived by a daughter, Rosalie; a son, Dugald; 18 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. Mrs. Kell was preceded in death by her husband, Copeland, and five children.

Now-rare Books: 
Rare 1946 book
  • The Pocket Dolly Book (1946) 
  • Beaufort, North Carolina in Color 
  • Historic Beaufort, a Pictoral Profile
  • The Old Port Town Beaufort, North Carolina 1980  
  • Love, Goodwill and Affection - A novel based on facts found in deeds and court records of the 1730s. This is a story of Janie and other people that really lived in Beaufort.
  • North Carolina's Coastal Carteret County During the American Revolution 1975 - Edited by Jean Kell, who wrote 6 or the 11 chapters.
  • Carteret County During the Civil War (editor)
  • When the Pirates Came to Beaufort (1982) - The story of the 1747 pirate invasion.
  • When the British Came to Beaufort (1992) - The story of the British landing in 1782.
Who's Who:
  • Who's Who in Writers, Editors & Poets. United States & Canada. Third edition, 1989-1990. Edited by Curt Johnson. Highland Park, IL: December Press, 1989.
  • Who's Who in Writers, Editors & Poets. United States & Canada. Fourth edition, 1992-1993. Edited by Curt Johnson. Highland Park, IL: December Press, 1992.    

Below is text from the book cover of Carteret County during the Civil War, edited by Jean Bruyere Kell, published 1999. This short biography was written by Copeland Kell (1905-1995), a portion of his unpublished biography of wife Jean:

Jean Bruyere Kell, antiquarian and historical researcher, is the author of numerous books and articles. She holds cards for the research rooms, not only in Archives of Raleigh, but also the new Public Records office, Kew Gardens, London. She has worked in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.

Her first historical effort was about an old bog iron foundry in Allaire, New Jersey. After the acquisition of her first home in Beaufort, 113 Live Oak Street, and weeks of research, she found the original deed in 1729 to Willie Owen, a tailor, and Thomas Bedford, a carpenter. Hence the Owens-Bedford House, 1730. It was this research of the wills, deeds and court records that provided the basic and story for her very successful musical play, "Love, goodwill and Affection," with lyrics and music by Laurence Stith.

While serving as Chairman of the Carteret County Bicentennial Commission, Mrs. Kell edited and did the layout for "Carteret County During the American Revolution." She also wrote six of the ten chapters. This book has been widely praised and is full of documented information. This includes the day by day reports, found in the governor's letters in the archives, telling of the British landing in Beaufort, NC in April 1782 after the battle of Yorktown. This piece of history has been lost with the passing of time.

Then came "Historic Beaufort," a street by street tour with architectural discussion. This book subsequently appeared in soft cover and is still in demand.

Also, Mrs. Kell wrote four children's books. The first was the "Pocket Dolly Book," which had national distribution and sold 35,000 copies.

Mrs. Kell is a member of both National and State Preservation Societies and has been actively supporting the Beaufort Historical Association for many years. Her efforts won for her the Award of Merit in 1980 by the North Carolina Preservation Society. She is a charter member of the local chapter of the D.A.R. and was director of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce for seven years.

She has been written up in both the "Who's Who of American Women in 1979" and the World Who's Who of Women 1980."

The purpose of her other books on Carteret County and Beaufort has been to preserve the history and capture the unique beauty of the homes as they were at the time of publication. This book was conceived after many years of personal research as well as the research of other Carteret County historians in an attempt to further preserve the history of the place that she loves so well and has for so long. This is what she wants to share with everyone.   -Copeland Kell

Early Beaufort Public Schools

The 1913 Sanborn Map showed a "Public School" on the west side of Turner 
 Street, across from the new Courthouse; school can be seen on the postcard below.

built on the NE corner of Courthouse Square
  Graded School - High School Freshman Class - 1925
 In this 1925 photograph of the basketball team, houses/buildings 
on Cedar Street can be seen in the background.

By 1926/27, the school needed more classrooms. The graded school building 
was purchased by the county and became the Courthouse Annex.

A new school (first grade through high school)
was built on the north side of Mulberry Street, at corner of Live Oak.

After 18 years -  in 1945, the 1927 Mulberry Street Graded School burned. 

The Gothic Revival entrance with arched door surround, Gothic paneled pilasters, and low-relief quatrefoils were saved and reused in building the c.1945 Town Hall at 215 Pollock Street.

After the 1945 fire, a new school was built at the Mulberry Street location in 1946.
It later became Beaufort High School, then Beaufort Elementary School.
Contemporary photograph of Beaufort Elementary School 
Beaufort Elementary School on Mulberry
2004 Survey and Research Report 
Beaufort Preservation Commission

The school was originally constructed in 1927 as the Beaufort Graded School. The building burned in 1945, but was rebuilt in 1946 on the same site. 

On August 7, 1926 plans for the Beaufort Graded School for white children were adopted by the Board of Trustees. The school was designed by Architect J.M. Kennedy and cost $129,000. The building included 20 classrooms and an auditorium that seated 1,400 people. The structure was 2 stories high with a wing extending to the rear of the building. The new school opened its doors on September 15, 1927 with a celebration that included over 1,000 people demonstrating the overwhelming and ongoing community support for the facility.

In December of 1935 the Beaufort High School Gym was added to the school complex. As noted above, the project was completed under the Works Progress Administration (WPA) program, at a cost of $18,000.

On Sunday, February 4, 1945 the Beaufort Graded School burned from an un-determined cause that even today is thought to be suspicious in nature. The only remaining element of the school is the decorative fa├žade, which was saved and now forms the entrance of Beaufort’s Town Hall on Pollock Street.

According to the February 15, 1945 edition of The Beaufort News, Chairman Raymond Ball and members of the Board of School Trustees of Beaufort Township “asked T.G. Leary, principal to make a rough sketch of a suitable building and work with architect B.H. Stevens and County School Superintendent, J.G. Allen. Mr. Leary’s plans envisioned a two-story building similar in design to the one which burned yet large enough to meet current school needs.”

The plans included a forty-room building with rest rooms, principal’s office, teacher’s rest rooms, and storage space. To save expenses, the building was to be void of monumental and ornate decoration. The cost of the new building was $250,000.

According to the May 31, 1945 issue of The Beaufort News, “The Beaufort Township graded school building soon to be erected on the site of the brick and wood building destroyed by fire last February will be noteworthy for its fire proof rated construction and its superb architectural proportions. Its scholastic efficiency achieved at remarkably low cost and its innovations in line with modern methods of education, which will include a manual training shop, a cafeteria, visual education, commercial and agricultural departments.

Overall size of the new building will be only slightly larger than that of the old but architectural genius has utilized available space, with an efficiency which will produce a building functionality larger than that of the old by nearly twenty-five per cent.

The building will be devoid of monumental and ornate gee-gaws, the County Board of Education in agreement with the architect, B. H. Stephens, that fancy work which would run cost of the building up without adding to its scholastic value can well be dispensed with in a building combining both in excellent proportion and color.

The building will be of brick similar in color and texture to the brick of the old and trimmed in stone of whiter finish than that in the old. Translucent glass brick, steel concrete with use of wood held to a minimum partly because of its fire hazard qualities, its high cost and War Production Board disapproval, will be other structural elements.

The school will have a front 42 feet longer than the old building. The wings will be slightly shorter, partly compensating for the increased length. This, with an improved arrangement of rooms and stairways, will provide additional capacity without greatly increasing the actual ground area.

The auditorium and stage will extend about 35 feet deeper. The auditorium is an independent building but so connected with the building that a person will be unable torealize the separation due to a spacious lobby. On the first floor a passage from the second floor of the school building to the balcony of the auditorium which is placed straight across the rear of the auditorium and so arranged that a full view of the stage is afforded from each of the building’s 240 seats. Pitched to ensure clear stage vision, the ground floor will contain 754 seats. The stage will be 18 feet deep. The ceiling will be 22 feet from the floor at the stage wall.

These features were made possible by the architect whose plans call for placing the new building eight feet east of the site of the old. This location was selected also to provide a better foundation and to present the building with a more prominent approach. The end of the building will be visible the length of Live Oak Street.”

The article further reveals that “the building was to be the epitome of building economy even to include use of as much salvage material from the old building as possible without affecting the permanence and appearance of the new building.”

The school is probably best known for its remarkable accomplishments in basketball. Its “Seadogs” achieved a 91-game winning streak and maintained a win-loss record of 368-75 in the 1950s and 1960s. According to experts, this winning record will most likely stand permanently in North Carolina sports history. The Seadogs were the “winningest” boys’ basketball team in the History of North Carolina. The team was the only Class 1-A school in North Carolina to garner three consecutive state championships.

The record included a State Class A Consolation Championship in 1953-1954, a State Class A Championship in 1954-1955, and State Class A Championships in 1958-1959, 1959-1960, and 1960-1961 game seasons, resulting in perfect 27-0, 24-0, 25-0 records, respectively. The Seadogs also won State Class AA 3rd Place in 1963-1965, and State Class AA District Runners-Up in 1964-1965.

The coach of these outstanding teams was Thomas McQuaid, who has recently been recommended for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame by numerous former students and players. Perhaps the most prominent supporter of Coach McQuaid’s nomination is none other than the renowned University of North Carolina Basketball Coach, Dean Smith. Coach McQuaid’s selection for the Hall of Fame is pending.

When approached about the secret of his accomplishment with the Seadogs, Coach McQuaid attributed the team’s success to their years in grammar school (Beaufort Elementary School) and its basketball program for 9-12-year olds, which also had three undefeated seasons. The coach explained that community and parental involvement, support, and interest were also integral to the players’ drive to succeed.

Apart from its achievements in athletics, the school can also point to unique academic accomplishments. For example, the Class of 1956 was remarkable because more than a third of its members maintained a 90% average for all four years of high school.

The school was also very progressive in the classroom implementing methods not unlike those in the famous Montessori Schools popular between 1907 and the 1930’s that promoted freedom and spontaneity. In this regard Beaufort Graded School had the only known canine to attend the fourth grade and be officially promoted to the fifth. (Attachment E.) “Brownie” Chappell attended the fourth grade class of Miss Lessie Arrington with his student owner during the 1937-38 school year. At the end of the year Brownie was promoted with the other students to the fifth grade. Although Brownie attended the fifth, sixth, and seventh grades with his master for a few days at the beginning of each year, he always returned to “Miss Lessie’s” fourth grade class for the remainder of the year and did so until his death.12[12] Both “Miss Lessie” and Brownie are legendary figures in the history of Beaufort Graded School.

Probably Beaufort’s most famous citizen, Michael J. Smith, attended Beaufort Graded School. Cdr. Smith was a Navy pilot and astronaut, who tragically lost his life in the Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986. A football player, named the “Best Blocker” on the 1962-63 team, Mike was known to stop in the middle of practice when an airplane flew over the field. His coach remembers that Mike would watch it until it was out of sight. This was likely the place that helped to inspire his love of aviation that eventually led him to become a Naval aviator, test pilot, and astronaut.

The school produced several outstanding athletes in addition to its remarkable basketball players. One of the most noteworthy is George Brooks, Jr., Class of 1934, who became a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.

Yet another distinguished athlete was quarterback Butch Hassell, named to the honorable mention list of the 13th annual All-America high school football team—the highest honor ever afforded a county prep football player. He later became an All Atlantic Coast Conference player at Wake Forest University.

For all of the reasons outlined above, the Beaufort Graded School was, and is today, a source of great pride for the community and treasured by those who attended it, taught in it, supported it, and administered its educational programs. The community is dedicated to the preservation of the school and its designation as a local landmark.