Early 18th Century Farnifold Green Homestead

Clear Springs Plantation
Part of Green's 1707 Land Grant NORTH of the NEUSE

1676 Map noted "Green's Land"
Brief History of Farnifold Green's Family

 In July of 1653, Farnifold's grandfather, Roger Green (1620-1671) was granted land on “Roanoke river and the land lying upon the south side of Choan river and the ranches thereof…”

Farnifold Green
(1674-1714) came to North Carolina in 1697 and married Hannah Kent Smith. He and Hannah appeared frequently in early land records of then Bath County. Their children are noted in the order mentioned in Green's will: Thomas, John, Farnifold, James, Elizabeth and Jane.

Clear Springs Plantation
In 1707, the Lord's Proprietors granted 1700 acres to Farnifold Green on the north side of the Neuse River. Green was active in various enterprising pursuits, including raising cattle on the Outer Banks near Ocracoke Inlet. He also held the patent on land that would become Beaufort.

A few years later, obviously aware of the dangers of the Indian uprising, Farnifold Green made out his will on October 26, 1711 and assigned his “Newport Town” holdings to Robert Turner for four pounds, fifteen shillings. Turner proceeded to have Richard Graves lay out the town of Beaufort. After Green was massacred by Indians in 1714, Graves married his widow Hannah.

In 1714, Indians attacked his Green’s Creek plantation, killing 40-year old Farnifold Green, one of his sons, a white servant and two African Americans. The plantation, house, stock of cattle and hogs, were plundered and entirely destroyed by the Indians.

As noted in the nomination of this property to the National Register, of Green’s three surviving sons, James may have built “Clear Springs” on land inherited from his father Farnifold. MORE...

James Davis (1780-1861) - Builder of Beaufort Houses

Master Carpenter, Brick Mason and Cabinetmaker

Click images to enlarge

James Davis and Ancestors 

The Davis family has been in Beaufort and Carteret County since William Davis (1692-1756), son of James Davis (1669-1748) and Elizabeth White came to this area in the early 1700s. According to family history, William himself came to this country in 1700 from Wales and arrived in Carteret County in 1715.

Stories of Davis by Mabel Piner relates that William Davis was “of Welsh descent, whose grandfather William Davis came to Virginia in 1622 on the ship “Margaret and John.”

Other sources claim that William Davis, carpenter, came to the Core Sound area in 1736 after selling his land in Perquimans. According to Maurice Davis' History of the Hammock House, Davis had sued Robert Cox in Perquimans County after Cox had accused him of stealing an axe and hiding it in a potato patch. Davis also noted, “It is interesting to note that in March 1728 Joseph Wicker, Esq., Warden of the Anglican Church, was ordered to pay William Davis for the construction of a new [Beaufort] court house.” 

Satellite View of Davis Island
Historian Charles L. Paul wrote in Colonial Beaufort, "The years between 1725 and 1729 witnessed the construction of Beaufort's second courthouse. This courthouse was constructed by William Davis and served Carteret Precinct throughout the remainder of the colonial period." (Carteret Court Minutes) 

In 1723, Joseph Wicker (1679-1743) came to Carteret County and bought a small island where he and his wife and children made their home. (According to Mr. Paul, Joseph Wicker, Carteret County's first Registrar, "owned numerous tracts of land in the county, including Davis Island, much of the Outer Banks across from Davis and, I assume, much of what is now Davis.") 

On Moseley's 1733 map, Wicker's name was included on the east side of North River. When Joseph Wicker died, he left the island to his daughter, Mary, who had married William Davis about 1713. They raised eight sons and a daughter in what is still known today as the Davis Island family home. Their son Joseph Wicker Davis Sr. (1722-1792) was born in Pasquotank Precinct; he married Sarah Gaskill about 1754 in Carteret County. He was a captain in Col. William Thompson’s militia of 1771.

Core Creek - North of Beaufort
James Davis was born on July 3, 1780 in Core Creek, Carteret County. He was the eldest son of Joseph Wicker Davis Jr. (1755-1826 born and died on Davis Island) and Susanna Stanton (1761-1827 born on the east side of the Newport River), who were married in Carteret County in 1776. 

James Davis’ known siblings, all born in a Quaker colony on the east side of the Newport River: 

Abigail born 1777; Jacob (1784-1821) married Mary Stanton in 1808; Benjamin born 1786 married Margaret Morris; Jesse (1788-1859) married Alice Mace in 1810; Joseph born 1790; Susanna born 1791; Mary (1794-1836) married Silas Small in 1818; Esther (1797-1841) married Jesse Adams in 1816; Rhoda (1799-1863) married William Mace; Sarah (1801-1837); and Enoch (1803-1869) married Hannah Fuller.

Memorial marker for
Joseph Wicker Davis 1755-1826 and Susanna Stanton Davis 1761-1827
Old Quaker Cemetery, Beaufort, NC

James Davis 1780-1861
James Davis was received by request at Core Sound Quaker Monthly Meeting on March 5, 1791. He was later disowned by Quakers for marrying outside his faith, but evidently remained in the general area. In 1803 he married Elizabeth Adams (1783-1868), daughter of Nathan Adams and Mary Canaday, who were farmers in Core Creek. Their children are noted below. 

Becoming a skilled builder, Mr. Davis often referred to himself as an “ar-chi-tech.” He left his mark on lots all over town—many well-constructed homes that have weathered centuries of coastal storms. One of Davis’ early structures was Beaufort’s first “Market House,” built in 1812. He was also a brick mason at Fort Macon when it was built (1826-1834). 

From his early years as a Beaufort builder, until his retirement, James Davis and his carpenters did all their work by hand. When Davis built these and other homes, up to the time of his retirement about 1850, there was still no saw mill.*
Elizabeth Adams Davis 
     Ginny Costlow, owner of the 1817 Davis House on Ann Street, wrote of Davis' craftsmanship: “James Davis built his houses to last, using the ancient and time-honored technique of timber frame construction, more commonly known today as post and beam. This process involved framing out the structure using wooden pegs (treenails or trunnels) to secure the mortise and tenon joints, the pegs not only replacing scarce hand wrought nails but also allowing the house to breathe and move during the years of battering storms in this coastal climate.
     “As further evidence of the remarkable materials and methods James Davis utilized in his construction practices, his own house at 201 Ann Street showed no evidence of damage to it's large sills when undergoing renovation this past spring. In fact, over it's nearly 200 year history, the only damage evidenced came from wear was to an addition in the early 20th century which used far inferior material from the original yellow long-leaf heart pine once growing in abundance in eastern North Carolina. In addition, when original sheathing was removed, there were ghost marks of another end wall, with its peg still visible in the corner brace - visible and intact.
     “There is no question that the timber frame construction of builder James Davis was meant to stand the test of time; Beaufort is fortunate to have many surviving examples of his legacy.”

Houses Believed Built by James Davis

Pigott-Nelson House 
circa 1805-07 (1790 plaque)
205 Front Street    
     After the death of James Wallace, Jane Gaskill Wallace, daughter of Valentine Gaskill, married Micajah Pigott (1772-1807) in 1803; he died four years later. Jane Pigott died in June 1810; in her will she left Thomas and Esther Cooke what was then the Pigott family home, corner of Front and Moore Streets—lot # 30 Olde Town.  
      In 1815, 28-year-old Capt. Thomas Cooke perished in a storm near Cape Lookout. When Esther died, she left the property to children, James Wallace Cooke and Harriet Wallace Cooke, who went to live with Uncle Henry Marchant Cooke at the Hammock House. Fifteen in 1827, James Wallace Cooke attended the US Naval Academy and eventually commanded C.S.S. Albemarle. Going to sea in 1834, James designated his portion of Old Town Lots 29 & 30 to sister Harriet, who sold to Benjamin Leecraft Perry in 1838. In 1875, John Hancock Nelson (1814-1876) purchased this home from Thomas Duncan for $2000. John's widow, Mehitable Mason Nelson, lived here until her death in 1916, when it was inherited by daughter Laura Closs Nelson and husband Thomas I. Duncan; they sold the property to Joseph House in 1922. 

B.L. Perry House circa 1812 
207 Front Street     
Harriet Wallace Cooke sold the original house located on Old Town Lot 29 to Benjamin Leecraft Perry (1811-1868). In 1835, Capt. Perry married Elizabeth Vail Manney, daughter of Dr. James Manney. Recorded on censuses as a "merchant," Capt. Perry was one of the wealthiest men in Beaufort before the Civil War; 1860 census: real estate value $7000, personal estate $20,000. Many visitors boarded with Capt. Perry.
     After their 1912 marriage, Julius Fletcher Duncan (1881-1963) and wife Frances E. "Fannie" Dudley (1876-1922) owned the old Perry home. When "Fannie" tired of the old house, in the early 1920s "Judge" Duncan hired a contractor to dramatically rebuild the structure. It has been said that many of the old framing members were recycled into the new house. 

J. Forlaw House circa 1817 
206 Ann Street     
In 1817, John H. Forlaw (1797-1858) married Elizabeth Coale Bell, born about 1792 to Caleb Bell and Susannah Coale. John and Elizabeth had three sons and a daughter: Louis S. (1820-1901) married Martha Ann Smith in 1845, then Nancy L. Buckman in 1875; Jesse L., born about 1823, married Hester Ann Howland in 1848; John W., born about 1828, was noted with paralysis in 1880, living with his brother Louis. Charlotte D. Forlaw was born about 1832. About 1930, this became a boarding house, run by Maude Garner and Rose Ramsey, widowed daughters of William Rice and Susan James Longest. 

Davis-Duncan House 1815
105 Front Street
     In 1804, a year after James Davis and Elizabeth Adams were married, Elizabeth’s father, Nathan Adams, acquired land on the west end of Front Street—half of lot 111 Old Town and sold it to his daughter. Six years later, in 1810, Nathan Adams sold James Davis the other half of the lot; Davis built the east end of the house. In 1820 Davis sold the property to Benjamin Tucker Howland, father of Elicia Howland Duncan. In 1832, Howland sold the property and his part of their business to his son-in-law Thomas Duncan IV—all for only $600. Sometime after 1832, Duncan built a ship store on the western end of the property. The two structures were joined before 1882.

James Davis House circa 1817  201 Ann Street
     In 1817, thirty-seven-year-old James Davis purchased lot #76 (201 Ann) from Sheriff Thomas Marshall for $3 in unpaid taxes. Davis had already built a few structures in Beaufort, including the first “Market House” (1812) and the westernmost Front Street house, where he and his family most likely resided while he was building his circa 1817 home on Ann Street.

Andrew Lee Hatsell House 
circa 1827 - 117 Orange Street
     Andrew Lee Hatchell, born in 1803, son of William Hatchell and Esther Green of Bogue Sound, found his way to Beaufort by 1826 and married Charity Fuller, daughter of Belcher Fuller and Zilphia Guthrie. In his 1827 will, Belcher Fuller left Old Town Lot 55 to daughter Charity. The home remained in the Hatsell family until 1910; at that time the house was rented by Fannie Duncan, with children David and Emily Frances Duncan. 

     The 1997 Little Survey described the Hatsell House as “one of the best preserved examples of the Beaufort two-story house. Traditional, Beaufort-style, two and one-half story house with engaged two-story porch with side-hall plan. Wide boxed eaves with returns, plain siding, single shoulder Flemish bond gable end chimney with glazed headers, 9/9, 9/6 and 6/6 sash and original chamfered porch posts with round railings.”

James Davis House circa 1829 
215 Moore Street
     Davis’ home on Moore Street was the third house built for his own use, most likely constructed before 1826 when he sold his 1817 home on Ann Street. Though unique with its center chimney, five fireplaces and raised basement, where Davis had a cabinet shop, the circa 1829 Moore Street home was built as a traditional, Beaufort-style, side-gable coastal cottage. 

    Floors were laid with twelve-inch pine but the construction was simple—built with hand-hewn pegs and hand-wrought nails. Framing members were marked with roman numerals. The original oyster-plaster walls, including those above the mantle-free fireplaces, were most likely whitewashed.  

William Jackson Potter House circa 1832 – 707 Ann Street
     William Jackson Potter, son of David and Mary Adams Potter, was born on October 31, 1801 in Anne Arundell County, Maryland. William came to Beaufort in 1827 to work as a brick mason during the construction of Fort Macon. It was there that he met James Davis, a Beaufort builder, who was also doing brick work at the fort. A year later, on October 8, 1828, William Jackson Potter married James and Elizabeth Adams Davis’ daughter, Elizabeth Harris Davis.   

     From 1828 to 1835, Potter supervised the building of the jail and Taylor Masonic Lodge, later the Odd Fellows Lodge on Turner Street; after working at Fort Macon during the day, he and other masons built the structures by torchlight. Potter not only served two terms as postmaster, 1840–1847 and 1853–1862, but was also a town commissioner in the years 1847 and 1853. In September 1855 Potter and others were involved in forming a new parish—St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
      W.J. Potter, Elizabeth Harris Davis and two of their children, Ella Jane and Stephen D. Potter were buried in the Old Quaker Cemetery.

Children of James and Elizabeth Harris Davis

Christopher A. Davis was born August 26, 1803. He married his second cousin Elizabeth Howland on October 18, 1828 in Carteret County, bondman John W. Morgan and witness G. Rumley; Elizabeth was on 15 years old. Christopher died on August 6, 1881. Elizabeth Thamer Howland was born March 14, 1813 in Georgetown, South Carolina to Benjamin Tucker Howland (1778-1862) and Elizabeth Throckmorton (1783-1854). Elizabeth T. Howland Davis died March 3, 1885.

Joel Henry Davis was born September 12, 1804. On March 4, 1829, he married Sarah Chadwick (1799-1869), daughter of James Chadwick (1761-1826) and Mary Ann Bell (1767-1838). James Chadwick was son of Thomas Martin Chadwick (1730-1802), who was son of whaler Samuel Chadwick (1695-1749). Mary Ann Bell was the daughter of William Coale Bell.

Joel Henry Sr. and Sarah had four known children: Frances J. born in 1829 married Henry Rieger, Laura (1834-1913) married William J. Carson, Joel Henry Jr. (1843-1913) married Sarah Chadwick Gibbs, and James Chadwick, noted below, married twice. Joel Henry Davis, a farmer turned merchant, died in Lennoxville, Carteret County, on August 18, 1868; buried in St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery.

Joel Henry and Sarah’s son James Chadwick Davis (1837-1904) married Sallie Pasteur in 1861; they had three known daughters: Laura born in 1868, Carolina P. born in 1872 and Mary Ann born in 1865. Mary Ann (1865-1936) changed her name to Nannie Pasteur Davis sometime after her mother’s untimely death and before her 1885 marriage to Malachi Geffroy. From about 1900 until her death in 1936, Nannie Pasteur Geffroy used the 1817 James Davis House at 201 Ann Street as an office, infirmary and home as she dedicated herself as headmistress of St. Paul’s School.

James Chadwick Davis’ second marriage in 1877 was to Laura Gertrude Duncan (1853-1937), daughter of Thomas Duncan and Elicia Howland. J.C. and Laura had two known children, Sally Gertrude (1878-1944) married Sterling Price Hancock; their daughter Mattie King Hancock married Ernest J. Davis—the Mattie King Davis Gallery was named for her. Their other daughter, Etta P. born in 1879, married Halbert Lloyd Potter about 1899.

Mary Wicker Davis was born May 23, 1806 and died January 4, 1884.

Sarah Amanda Davis was born April 5, 1808 and died April 4, 1885.

Elizabeth Harris Davis was born January 19, 1810 in Core Creek. She married William Jackson Potter on October 8, 1828. Potter (1801-1886), son of David Potter and Mary Adams of Somerset County Maryland, came to Carteret County to work on the building of Fort Macon, where Elizabeth’s father James was also worked as a brick mason during that time (1826-1834). Potter was a merchant who also served two terms as postmaster. Elizabeth and Wm. J. Potter had ten children.

Susan J. Davis was born March 5, 1816. Susan married David B. Wharton (1801-1877) in 1840. In 1852 David and Susan Davis Wharton purchased property on Ann Street from Guy Buckman for $600. What may have initially been built as a single-family home, shortly afterward became a boarding house. In The Story of the Methodists in the Port of Beaufort, Amy Muse, noted “in 1852 our preacher, Abram Weaver, stayed with ‘Miss Susan’ Wharton on Anne Street.” The house was known for years as “The Jennie Bell House,” and later as the Guy Buckman House. Susan died May 11, 1881 in Carroll, Iowa.

Ann Canaday Davis was born April 3, 1817 and died October 10, 1832.

Joseph James Davis (1821–1877) was born January 29, 1821. In the 1860 census, Joseph James Davis was living in the Straits district in the home of David Wharton. Mr. Wharton was a farmer and at that time Davis is listed as a “mechanic.” As mentioned, Mrs. Wharton (Susan) was Joseph James’ sister. Joseph James married Louisa R. Arthur on February 13, 1862. The marriage was performed by Josiah F. Bell, justice of the peace; witness was James Rumley, clerk of court. Louisa was the daughter of Gilbert and Charlotte Arthur of Straits. Louisa evidently died prior to the 1870 census, where both Joseph James Davis and his brother William were noted as widowers. Joseph James Davis was appointed postmaster on June 9, 1862. 

William Davis was born about 1823. William was recorded as a teacher in 1850 living with Davis family in Harlow’s Creek. By 1870, William was 47 and recorded as a widower and “Assistant Postmaster.”

The Old Quaker Cemetery The Old Quaker Cemetery, also known as Core Sound Meeting Burial Ground, is located on NC 101 northeast of Beaufort, on the west side of the highway, behind and south of Tuttle's Grove United Methodist Church. 

James and Elizabeth Adams Davis (headstones above), along with seven of their children, were buried in the Davis family plot: Christopher A. (1803–1881), Mary Wicker (1806–1884), Sarah Amanda (1808–1885), Elizabeth Harris (1810–1904), Susan J. (1816–1881), Ann Canaday (1817–1832) and Joseph James (1826–1877). 

Christopher A. Davis 1803–1881
Mary Wicker Davis 1806–1884
Sarah Amanda Davis 1808–1885
Elizabeth Harris Davis 1810–1904 with
husband William Jackson Potter 1801-1886
Joseph James 1826–1877
Ann Canaday Davis 1817-1832
Susan J. Davis 1816–1881
Other early Beaufort residents buried in the Old Quaker Cemetery include: Henry Stanton (1688-1751), William Borden (1689-1749), William Borden Jr. (1731-1799), Joseph Borden (1769-1825), Stephen D. Potter (1829-1850), George Pharaoh Lewis (1841-1905), Ella Jane Potter (1851-1896), Olivia Merrill (1880-1881), and Sylvester Albert Merrill (1882-1940). Below are two of the oldest.

William Borden 1689-1749
Joseph Borden 1769-1825 
(son of Wm. Borden Jr. 1731-1799)
*A sawmill was finally constructed sometime between 1843 and 1850; several men were involved from the beginning and it changed hands many times, until 1870, when Thomas Duncan became the outright owner.

Excerpts - James Rumley Diary: March 1862 - August 1865

Scene in Beaufort during the bombardment of Fort Macon
April 25, 1862 Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper

Rumley's diary was kept from March 13, 1862 to August 1865
James Rumley was not only a Beaufort resident at that time, but also Clerk of Court for Carteret County. Whitelaw Reid, in After the War, described Rumley as “a functionary of near thirty years service.”

The diary begins:

“On the morning of Thursday the 13th of March 1862, the inhabitants of Beaufort were aroused by the sound of heavy cannonading in the direction of New Bern, which continued, with slight interruptions, for several hours. This, together with the non-arriving of the cars due from that place the previous night, induced the belief that the Federal fleet, known to be in the waters of North Carolina, had ascended Neuse River and attacked the defensive work below New Bern.

“On the evening of Friday the 14th intelligence reached us that on the previous day the Federal fleet, after thoroughly bomb-shelling the wood, landed a considerable force on the south shore of the Neuse, below the river batteries, and on Friday attached the woods. After a sharp conflict the guard retreated.

“On Friday and Saturday the 21st and 22nd of March 1862, Gen. John G. Parke, U.S.A. with troops from New Bern occupied Carolina City, Carteret County. On Sunday the 23rd he sent a flag of truce to Fort Macon with a proposition to the Commandant to surrender the fort.

“On Monday 24th, several Federal officers, under a flag of truce from Gen. Parke, came to Beaufort to invite some of the citizens to a conference with Gen. Parke at Carolina City. On the same day Col. Taylor, Benjamin L. Perry and James Rumley, proceeded to Morehead City, where they received from Gen. Parke a message to the citizens of Beaufort requiring an answer.

“Tuesday, 25th of March, James Rumley and Robert W. Chadwick by request of the committee of safety, proceeded to the headquarters of Gen. Parke at Carolina City, to bear an answer to his message of the day previous; and had an interview with him touching the situation of Beaufort during the contemplated investment of the fort.

“During the night of the 25th of March, two companies of U.S. Troops, under command of Major John A. Allen of the 4th Regiment Rhode Island Volunteers, occupied the town and vicinity. A few days after this, another company was added to the garrison. All persons leaving town are now requested to have written papers. To obtain these, an oath of allegiance has to be taken by each applicant. Very few citizens do this willingly. Some are compelled by their situation to do so.

“All communication between Beaufort and Fort Macon is cut off.

“The first act of the professed Union savers, upon their entrance into the town, was the seizure of a vacant private dwelling house belonging to a widow residing in the town, a barrack for their soldiers. Without ascertaining from the owner whether they could get the keys or not, they broke open the door, took possession of the premises, and hoisted the United States flag over the roof of the house. At any other point on the harbor within range of the guns of Fort Macon, this act would have provoked a fire from the fort. Their next act, worthy of notice, was to press into their service, chiefly as boatmen, fifteen or twenty slaves, without consulting their owners, who were then residing in the town. These slaves aver that the Federal officers promised to pay them and not their owners, for their services. We judge this is true, and that other secret influences are aiding to corrupt the slaves, from the fearful signs we see of a growing excitement among them. They evidently think a jubilee is coming.

“The next act of outrage upon private rights, was the seizure of the Atlantic Hotel in Beaufort, the property of Capt. Pender. In this building was a great deal of valuable furniture. Capt. Pender was absent on private business. Mrs. Pender had lately died. The building was occupied by a lady who remained there in charge of three of Mrs. Pender’s children, infants of tender years. The building was entered by officers, soldiers and negroes and robbed of all its most valuable furniture, which was carried off. As there was no act of the Federal Congress, authorizing a seizure of property in this way, it will no doubt, be appropriated to the private use of officers, soldiers and negroes.

“Premises of Dr. King have been entered and searched under an order from the Military Commandant of the town. Ostensible object was to look for powder, supposed to be in the Doctor’s possession. The real object, doubtless, was to annoy the family for their well known hatred of Yankees. Not satisfied with a fruitless search for powder and the plunder of 15 barrels of corn from the private stores of the family, this Military commandant, or Military Governor as he is styled, has posted two armed sentinels in the gentleman’s private yard, to intercept communication between his family and the citizens of the place.

“Wednesday, 23rd of April 1862. Attention was directed today to a Federal steamer which appeared in the eastern channel of the harbor and sent a flag of truce in the direction of Fort Macon, bearing to the Commandant of the fort, it is supposed, notification of an intended attack, and a proposition for a surrender of the fort. The flag of truce was met by a boat from the fort. After having apparently a short parley, the latter returned to the fort. Late in the evening they met again.

“Thursday the 24th. The flags of truce were out again this morning, attracting all eyes on the harbor. Gen. Burnside, the Federal Commander, and Col. White, the Commandant of the fort, had an interview in person on Shackelford’s Banks. Col. White declined to surrender the fort. Order has been given to the Federal batteries on Bogue Banks to commence firing on the fort.

“Friday, 25th of April. At an early hour this morning the Federal batteries on Bogue Banks, comprising one battery of four 8inch siege mortars, one of five 10inch siege mortars, and one of three rifled siege guns, opened fire on the fort; the farthest battery  being 1300 yards distant. The garrison at the fort vigorously returned the fire. About 10 o’clock A.M. three Federal steamers at sea drew up within good range of the fort and opened a heavy fire of bombshells…one of them received a shot from the fort, which went through her, and they all backed out of the fight. This naval exploit hurt nobody. But the shots from the batteries made the dust rise in clouds from the embankments and walls of the fort, while now and then the smoke of bursting bombshells within the fort could be seen rising above the walls. The bombs were thrown with little precision from batteries or ships and sometimes burst high in the air and scattered their fragments over land and sea. Their explosions were like peals of thunder. Discharges from the heavy cannon and mortars jarred the earth beneath us and shook every tenement around. The day seemed suited for holier work. The sun was shining brightly, and the wind was blowing softly from the sea, while the fight was going on. But the scene was one of painful interest to the inhabitants of Beaufort, many of whom had husbands, brothers or sons in the doomed fortification. About 5 o’clock P.M. the firing ceased at the fort. Soon after the batteries ceased to fire. A parley ensued.

“Saturday, 26th of April. This morning the garrison surrendered and were released on parole. Fort Macon is now occupied by a Federal garrison. The loss in the garrison was eight killed and fourteen wounded. The Federal loss was one killed and a few wounded. So say the Federal officers.

“The long expected contest for the possession of Beaufort Harbor is over. The flag of the United States now waves over its shores and its waters. But that flag, once the cherished symbol of our national glory, excites no enthusiasm in us now. Borne and polluted by the hands of fanatics and tyrants it has become the most loathed and hated ensign that ever waved over any people.

“Gen. Burnside visited Beaufort today. Some of the citizens presented him with a petition setting forth the spirit of insubordination daily manifesting itself, and the desertions occurring among the slaves, arising from an undue excitement produced among them by the presence of this army, which is threatening our country with ruin. The petition reminded him of his offers of protection in his proclamation to the people of this state, and requested him to make an order prohibiting slaves hereafter from entering the lines of his army, at their several stations on this harbor, and thus avoid the difficulty created by a late act of the Federal Congress prohibiting the surrender of fugitive slaves after they have entered the lines of the army. He received the petition very courteously and promised to grant the request.

“May 1862. Within a few days after the fall of Fort Macon the town of Beaufort was occupied by six companies of the 4th Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers. A Military Governor, Col. Rodman and a Provost Marshall, Major Allen, have been appointed for the town. Civil liberty has now fled. The presence of armed sentinels within and without the town, indicate the reign of military despotism. The darkness of night, starless and rayless, enshrouds. Between us and our southern friends the curtain is drawn, through which no ray of light n or even of sympathy can reach us. Our minds are groping in a wilderness of gloomy thought. The past, bright with the memories of a once glorious country, rises before us at times in mournful contrast with our present state of political darkness and run, which o’er the dark abyss of the future hope scarcely throws a beam of light.

“Slaves are now deserting in scores from all parts of the country, and our worst fears on this subject are likely to be realized. The order, which General Burnside promised to make to prevent them from entering his lines, has not been made. His lying proclamation was a Yankee trick. These runaway negroes are allowed to pass the sentinels at any time, even in the night. Often white citizens are required to retire to their homes. They are welcomed at the different quarters by officers and soldiers, while they lying scoundrels who receive them declare they do not encourage them to come among them and do not want such nuisances. An infamous law of the Federal Congress, prohibiting the surrender of fugitive slaves, enables these fanatics to make their quarters perfect harbours of runaway negroes. Officers employ them in various capacities and pay them for their services, ignoring the rights of the owners and violating the law of the state. They get information from them as to the political opinions and conduct of the owners and in some instances arrests of citizens have been made and property been seized upon negro testimony.

“The soldiers go, without hesitation, into the kitchens among the negroes and encourage them to leave their owners. Some of them have been promenading the streets with negro wenches. The inhabitants are filled with loathing and disgust by the presence of this pestilent army. The disastrous effects of their conduct towards the slave population have been represented to Gen. Parke, who has taken up his quarters here for the present. He has promised to correct the evil, but does not do it.

“June 7th 1862. The Hon. Edward Stanley, Military Governor of North Carolina, arrived here today. He deeply laments the bad effects of the war upon our slave population. He is clothed with power to restore fugitive slaves to their owners, but deems it prudent to avoid the exercise of such power to any great extent at present on account of the presence of an abolitionized army, and will direct his efforts mainly to the establishment of such regulation at the different posts as will prevent the escape of slaves from the state until peace is restored, when he thinks they will be returned to their owners. He will establish a Custom House and Post Office.

“Most of the vacant dwelling houses in town have been taken by the Federal officers for barracks for their soldiers or quarters for themselves. Among others, the house of Mr. E.H. Norcom, who is absent with his family, has been occupied by ten or twelve officers, the Provost Marshall among them, who has his office there. Nearly all the house furniture of the family had been left there, even Mrs. Norcom’s wardrobe. The kitchen and backyard have become a perfect den of thieving runaway negroes. These have had free access to every part of the dwelling. They have appropriated to themselves such articles as they wanted and especially bed furniture and table furniture. They have taken the whole of the lady’s wardrobe, and even her bridal dress has been worn by negroes. A big buck negro was lately seen seated in the parlor, thumming on Mrs. Norcom’s piano.

“At the house owned by Mr. Benjamin Lecroft, which was also occupied by officers, negroes have been allowed to take furniture and even the dresses of Mr. Lecroft’s deceased wife and child, which had been left there by him. These have been worn by negroes.

“The mask, which concealed at first the hideous features of fanaticism, is now thrown off and the conduct of the troops in reference to slaves has become alarming to the inhabitants. Those fanatics feel a bitter hatred toward slaveholders, and the lying stories the slaves have told them of the cruelty of their owners has made their hatred stronger. If any citizen were to chastise a disobedient slave, he would run the hazard of being mobbed by ruffianly soldiers. If an owner attempts to recover a runaway slave, he runs the same risk. Owners have permission to take their slaves wherever they find them, if they can do so without forcible means. If the slave is willing to go the owner can take him along with him. If not, the soldiers will interfere and protect the slave. The consequence is very few runaways are recovered.

“Citizens in search of their slaves have been threatened with violence and compelled to desist. A few days ago, while some of the troops were embarking on board a steamer at King’s wharf, (supposing they were taking their final leave of Beaufort) they attempted to take off with them a number of slaves belonging to citizens of this county. Some of the owners, who were present, discovered their slaves and seized them. The ruffians who were engaged in this attempt to kidnap them immediately attempted to rescue them, and would have done so but for the  timely efforts of an officer, Capt. King, (the only one out of a number present) who manfully exercised his authority, and prevented the outrage. Then troops for some unknown cause were ordered back to town. When they returned, two of them went forcibly into a private dwelling in town where on of the negroes referred to was tied, seized the negro, a boy, and carried him off to their quarters. The other negroes who had been wrested from the soldiers succeeded in getting back to them.

“These thieving soldiers, on attempting a second time to embark, contrived a new mode of kidnapping. They boxed up the negroes and carted them to the wharf with their baggage, unobserved. In this way four negroes were conveyed on board the steamer, Empire City, lying in the harbor. They were discovered however, by the master of the vessel and were sent back to Beaufort…………”

The diary continued until August 1865, when James Rumley wrote,
“All our exiles are home. No military force is now stationed in our midst and our place begins to look natural. The dark night which settled upon us in March 1862 is passing away. And though the day upon which we are entering is not clear, and shadows rest upon the horizon, yet we hope, as the day advances, the clouds may roll away, and the skies may grow brighter than the early dawn assures. And over the day, we trust, that no night of starless gloom like that we have passed through, may ever come.

“And here we close.”

This is only a portion of the diary - transcribed from an old copy:
Diary of James Rumley
March 13, 1862-August 1865
Beaufort, North Carolina

Post Civil War Visitors to Beaufort

From Whitelaw Reid's 
After the War: a Southern Tour: May 1, 1865 to May 1, 1866
Chapter III-IV, Page 22-36
Published 1866

James Whitelaw Reid (1837-1912), born in Xenia, Ohio, was an American journalist who later served as editor, president and chairman of the family-owned New York Herald Tribune. Reid also served as US Ambassador to France, the Court of St. James and to Britain. He was the Republican vice presidential nominee on the losing ticket headed by incumbent President Benjamin Harrison.

After the inauguration of President Andrew Johnson, Chief Justice Salmon Portland Chase (1808-1873), appointed by President Lincoln, was determined to visit the southern cities, to learn as much as possible, from actual observation, the true condition of the country. Aboard revenue cutter Wayanda, Chief Justice Chase, with orders issued by President Johnson, twenty-eight-year-old Whitelaw Reid, after an invitation and pass from the president, accompanied the party. Beaufort was the first stop on this southern journey. According to Reid, “the trip would have been begun some weeks earlier, but for the deed of horror in Ford's Theater.”

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, April 9, 1864 (Image added to illustrate Beaufort, NC about that time)
Excerpts from Reid's book:

The journey began with rough seas and sea sickness…

…Toward evening the sea calmed down, and one after another emerged on deck. The air was delightfully bracing; the moon sent its broad streams of light, shaking across the waters; the revolving light of Hatteras shone out—guide and safeguard to a hundred eyes besides our own—and so with calmest weather, and a delicious beauty of scene that no words need be vainly employed in efforts to describe, we spent half the night in watching the passage of the ship by the most dangerous part of the Atlantic coast. Next morning, at breakfast, we were steaming under the guns of Fort Macon into the harbor where Butler and Porter rendezvoused for Fort Fisher.

As a boat's crew slowly pulled some of our party through the tortuous channel by which even the lightest gigs have to approach the single landing of Beaufort, the guns of the naval force began to thunder out a salute for the Chief Justice. "How many guns does a Chief Justice receive?" inquired one, as he counted the successive discharges. “You’d a great deal better ask," reprovingly hinted the Doctor, "how many guns a Baptist minister receives!" 

“Well, how many, Doctor!" “Oh, just count these up, and then you'll know!" With which church-militant suggestion, we rounded to at a crazy old wharf, climbed up a pair of rickety steps that gave the Doctor premonitions of more immersion than even he had bargained for, and stood in the town of Beaufort, North Carolina. In front of us was the Custom House [113 Front Street - now the south end of Sunset Lane]—a square, one-story frame building, perched upon six or eight posts—occupied now by a Deputy Treasury Agent. A narrow strip of sand, plowed up by a few cart wheels, and flanked by shabby-looking old frame houses, extended along the water front, and constituted the main business street of a place that, however dilapidated and insignificant, must live in the history of the struggle just ended. Near the water's edge [Piver's Island] was a small turpentine distillery, the only manufacturing establishment of the place.

The landing of a boat's crew, with an officer in charge and a flag fluttering at the stern, seemed to be an event in Beaufort, and we were soon surrounded by the notabilities. A large, heavily and coarsely-built man, of unmistakable North Carolina origin, with the inevitable bilious look, ragged clothes and dirty shirt, was introduced, with no little eclat, as "the Senator from this District." 

"Of what Senate?" some one inquired. "The North Caroliner Senate, Sir," 

"Umph, Rebel Senate of North Carolina," growled the Captain, sotto voce; "you make a devil of a fuss about your dignity! North Carolina Rebel Senate be hanged! A New York constable outranks you." But the Senator didn't hear; and his manner showed plainly enough that no doubts of his importance ever disturbed the serene workings of his own mind. The Clerk of the Court, the Postmaster, the doctor, the preacher and other functionaries were speedily added to the group that gathered in the sand bank called a pavement.

"How are your people feeling?" some one asked. "Oh, well, sir; we all went out unwillingly, you know," responded the legislator, fresh from the meetings of the Rebel Senate at Raleigh," and most of us are very glad to get back." 

"Have you no violent Rebels yet?" "Yes, quite a good many, among the young bloods; but even they all feel as if they had been badly whipped, and want to give in." "Then they really feel themselves whipped?" "Yes, you've subjugated us at last," with a smile which showed that the politician thought it not the worst kind of a joke after all.

"And, of course, then you have only to submit to any terms the conquerors may impose?" "No, sir—oh, ah— yes, any terms that could be honorably offered to a proud, high-minded people!" The rest of the dignitaries nodded their heads approvingly at this becoming intimation of the terms the "subjugated" State could be induced to accept. It was easy to see that the old political tricks were not forgotten, and that the first inch of wrong concession would be expected to lead the way to many an ell.

"What terms do you think would be right?" The County Clerk, a functionary of near thirty years' service, took up the conversation, and promptly replied, "Let Governor Vance call together the North Caroliner Legislater. We only lacked a few votes of a Union majority in it before, and we'd be sure to have enough now." "What then?" "Why, the Legislater would, of course, repeal the ordinance of secession, and order a convention to amend the Constitution. I think that convention would accept your constitutional amendment. "

"But can you trust your Governor Vance? Did not he betray the Union party after his last election?"

"Yes, he sold us out clean and clear."

"He did nothing of the sort. North Caroliner has not got a purer patriot than Governor Vance." And so they fell to disputing among themselves.
I asked one of the party what this Legislature, if thus called together, would do with the negroes?

“Take 'em under the control of the Legislater, as free niggers always have been in this State. Let it have authority to fix their wages, and prevent vagrancy. It always got along with 'em well enough before."

“Are you not mistaken about its always having had this power?"

"What!" exclaimed the astonished functionary. “Why, I was born and raised hyar, and lived hyar all my life! Do you suppose I don't know?"

“Apparently not, sir; for you seem to be ignorant of the fact that free negroes in North Carolina were voters from the formation of the State Government down to 1835."

“It isn't so, stranger." 

"Excuse me; but your own State records will show it;* and, if I must say so, he is a very ignorant citizen to be talking about ways and means of re-organization, who doesn't know so simple and recent a fact in the history of his State."

* North Carolina, by her Constitution of 1776, prescribed three bases of suffrage:
1. All Freemen twenty-one years old, who have lived in the county twelve months, and have had a freehold of fifty acres for six months, may vote for a member of the Senate. 2. All Freemen, of like age and residence, who have paid public taxes, may vote for members of the House of Commons for the county.
3. The above two classes may, if residing or owning a freehold in a town, vote for members of the House of Commons for such town: provided, they shall not already have voted for a member for the county, and vice versa.
By the Constitution, as amended in 1835, all freemen, twenty-one years of age, living twelve months in the State, and owning a freehold of fifty acres for six months, should vote, except that

"No free negro, free mulatto, or free person of mixed blood, descended from negro ancestors to the fourth generation inclusive (though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person), shall vote for members of the Senate or House of Commons."

The last clause would seem to have looked to amalgamation as a pretty steady practice, for such zealous abolition and negro-haters. Under the Constitution of 1776, free negroes, having the requisite qualifications, voted as freely as any other portion of the voting population.

The Cracker scratched his head in great bewilderment. “Well, stranger, you don't mean to say that the Government at Washington is going to make us let niggers vote?"

“I mean to say that it is at least possible."

"Well, why not have the decency to let us have a vote on it ourselves, and say whether we'll let niggers vote?"

“In other words, you mean this: Less than a generation ago you held a convention, which robbed certain classes of your citizens of rights they had enjoyed, undisputed, from the organization of your State down to that hour. Now, you propose to let the robbers hold an election to decide whether they will return the stolen property or not."

"Stranger," exclaimed another of the group, with great emphasis, "is the Government at Washington, because it has whipped us, going to make us let niggers vote?"

“Possibly it will. At any rate a strong party favors it."

"Then I wouldn't live under the Government. I'd emigrate, sir. Yes, sir, I'd leave this Government and go north!"

And the man, true to his States'-Rights training, seemed to imagine that going north was going under another Government, and spoke of it as one might speak of emigrating to China.

Meantime, the younger citizens of Beaufort (of Caucasian descent) had found better amusement than talking to the strangers in the sand bank of a street. 

One of them wagered a quarter (fractional currency) that he could whip another. The party thus challenged evinced his faith in his own muscle by risking a corresponding quarter on it. The set-to was at once arranged, in the back-yard of the house in front of which we were standing, and several side bets, ranging from five to as high as fifteen cents, were speedily put up by spectators.

One of our party, who joined the crowd at the amusement, reported that half-a-dozen rounds were fought—a few "niggers" gravely looking on from the outskirts of the throng—that several eyes were blacked, and both noses bruised; that there was a fall, and a little choking and eye-gouging, and a cry of "give it up;" that then the belligerents rose and shook hands, and stakes were delivered, and the victor was being challenged to another trial, with a fresh hand, as we left the scene of combat; and so closed our first visit to a North Carolina town.

Shortly after our arrival in the harbor, the military authorities had provided a special train for us—that is to say, a train composed of a wheezy little locomotive and an old mail agent's car, with all the windows smashed out and half the seats gone. By this means we were enabled, an hour after our visit to Beaufort, to be whirling over the military railroad from the little collection of Government warehouses on the opposite side of the harbor, called Morehead City, to Newbern.

The whole way led through the exhausted turpentine forests of North-eastern North Carolina, which the turpentine growers have for many years been abandoning for the more productive forests of upper South Carolina. Here and there were swamps which Yankee drainage would soon convert into splendid corn land; and it is possible that Yankee skill might make the exhausted pineries very profitable; but, for the present, this country is not likely to present such inducements as to attract a large Northern emigration.

The poorer people seem to be quietly living in their old places. "Where the paroled rebel soldiers have returned, they have sought their former homes, and evince a very decided disposition to stay there. Throughout this region there is, as we learned, comparatively little destitution. The ocean is a near and never-failing resource; and from Newbern and Beaufort (both of which have been in our possession during the greater part of the war) supplies have gone through the lines by a sort of insensible and invisible perspiration, which it would be unkind, to the disinterested traders who follow in the wake of an army, to call smuggling.

Passing the traces of the works thrown up at the point where Burnside had his fight, we entered the remarkable city of log cabins, outside the city limits, which now really forms the most interesting part of the ancient town of Newbern…

Page 31…A dispatch from General Sherman (on his way north from Savannah, and forced by bad weather to put in at Beaufort) had reached Newbern…

Page 33-36…A heavy gale blew on the coast all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and neither General Sherman’s Captain nor our own thought it wise to venture out. Meanwhile, delegations of the Beaufort people came off in little sail-boats to visit the “Wyanda,” bring us flowers and strawberries, and talk politics. Since their last demonstrations, a few days ago, they had toned down their ideas a good deal; and the amount of their talk, stripped of its circumlocution and hesitation, was simply this: that they were very anxious to re-organize, and would submit to anything the Government might require to that end. They said less against negro suffrage than before—frankly said it would be very obnoxious to the prejudices of nearly the whole population, but added, that if Government insisted on it, they would co-operate with the negroes in re-organization “But the poor, shiftless creatures will never be able to support themselves in freedom. We’ll have half of them in poor-houses before a year!” * Nothing could overcome this rooted idea, that the negro was worthless, except under the lash. These people really believe that, in submitting to the emancipation of the slaves, they have virtually saddled themselves with an equal number of idle paupers. Naturally, they believe that to add a requirement that these paupers must share the management of public affairs with them is piling a very Pelion upon the Ossa of their misfortunes.

*And yet an official report, since published in the newspapers, shows that out of three thousand whites in Beaufort last winter, between twelve and fourteen hundred were applicants for the charity of Government rations. Out of about an equal number of negroes, less than four hundred were dependant on the Government! The secret of the disparity was, that the negroes took work when they could get it; the whites were “ladies and gentlemen,” and wouldn’t work……

My room-mate, the Doctor, appointed me a “deacon for special service”—even he had absorbed military ways of doing things from our neighbors—and I arranged for his preaching in Beaufort, Sunday morning. The people were more than glad to welcome him, and he had a big congregation, with a sprinkling of black fringe around its edges, to appreciate his really eloquent discourse; while the trees that nodded at the pulpit windows shook out strains of music, which the best-trained choristers could never execute, from the swelling throats of a whole army of mocking-birds. An old Ironsides-looking man, who had occupied an elder’s seat beside the pulpit, rose at the close, and said he little expected to have ever seen a day like this. Everybody started forward, anticipating a remonstrance against the strong Unionism and anti-slavery of the Doctor’s sermon, but instead there came a sweeping and enthusiastic indorsement of everything that had been said. He saw a better day at hand, the old man said, and rejoiced in the brightness of its coming. How many an old man, like him, may have been waiting through all these weary years for the same glad day!

At other times there were fishing parties which caught no fish, though General Sherman sent t hem over enough fine ocean trout to enable them to make a splendid show on their return; and riding parties that got no rides, but trudged through the sand on foot, to the great delectation of the artist who sketched, con amore, the figures of gentlemen struggling up a sandy hill, eyes and ears and mouth full, hands clapped on hat to secure its tenure, and coat tails manifesting strong tendencies to secede bodily, while in the distance, small and indistinct, could be perceived the ambulance that couldn’t be made to go, and underneath was written the touching inscription, “How Captain Merryman and Mr. R. accepted Mrs. W.’s invitation, and took a ride on the beach at Fort Macon.”

At last the gale subsided a little, and we got off. Another salute was fired as we steamed out; the “Wayanda” returned a single shot in acknowledgment, and all soon we were among the breakers, pitching and writhing, for and aft, starboard and larboard, diagonally crosswise and backward, up to the sky and down, till the waves poured over the deck, and the masts seemed inclined to give the flags and streamers at their tops a bath. But for some of us, at least, the seasickness was gone. Io Triumpe!

After the War: a Southern Tour: May 1, 1865 to May 1, 1866
by Whitelaw Reid ▪ Published 1866 ▪ Chapter III-IV, Pages 22-36.