|Front Street - Downtown Beaufort|
Beaufort's history with pirates is well known and very colorful. The legendary Edward Teach or Thatch, better known as Blackbeard, once quartered here. The 1718 shipwreck of his infamous Queen Anne's Revenge was found within the nearby Beaufort Inlet in 1996. The North Carolina Maritime Museum, located in town, has an exhibit with numerous artifacts found within the wreckage.
Blackbeard wasn't the only pirate to find their way to Beaufort. In the Summer of 1747, Spanish Pirates raided and captured numerous ships within the harbor. In August of that year, the pirates would land and briefly hold the town. Local militiamen soon organized and pushed the privateers out to sea.
Beaufort was not out of the woods yet. In April 1782, a few months after Cornwallis' surrender of British troops at Yorktown, Beaufort was again attacked by a foreign nation. This time the British Navy sailed up from Charleston to raid the town. They held the town briefly before heading back to sea.
During the Civil War, Beaufort and the surrounding areas were quickly captured by Union forces. The result was much of the town was spared during the war. During World War II, nearby Fort Macon served as a garrison to monitor German U-Boat activity.
Today, Beaufort is still a small town with just over 4,000 residents. Though fishing is not as strong of an industry as it once was, Beaufort thrives as a popular tourist location for visitor's to North Carolina's Crystal Coast. Along with shopping and restaurants, there are numerous inns and Bed & Breakfasts within the town.
Only minutes from Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle, Beaufort is also a popular daytrip destination for visitor's of those beaches. The activities and small town charm can allow for a full day away from the beach.
|The Boardwalk in Beaufort|
One of the more popular attractions in Beaufort is a cemetery. The Old Burying Grounds dates to the town's founding and like many old cemetery's has a cast of unique characters and historical figures buried here.
The cemetery was deeded over to the town in 1731. There are approximately 200 plots here and those that are interned hold unique stories to the town's colonial and coastal roots.
|Grave site of Captain Otway Burns|
There's also the grave site of a British officer. He is buried stranding straight up. The common grave of the crew of the "Crissie Wright," a schooner that ran aground nearby during the winter of 1886 is here. Six members of the crew froze to death or drowned. The common grave is the final resting point for three members of the crew.
|The Little Girl in the Rum Keg grave site|
The father was a prosperous merchant captain and included his daughter on a voyage to England. On the return trip to the colonies, the daughter became extremely ill and died. The father, who had promised to his wife to return with their daughter, decided not to have her buried at sea. With a long journey still ahead, he purchased a keg of rum - the only items on board that could somewhat preserve the body - and buried her inside. Upon return to Beaufort, instead of exposing his heartbroken wife to viewing the body, Sloo had his daughter buried within the barrel of rum as her casket.
Beaufort is a charming small town. A town full of history, quirkiness, and mystery. It is a hidden gem of North Carolina's coast and one that I wish I could visit more often.
All photos taken by post author - July 2008.