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Beaufort's Golden Age

We survived threats from the Spanish and French, pirates, American Indians, and slave revolts to become one of the wealthiest districts in the Thirteen Colonies.

Deer skins, Indian slaves, cattle, lumber―these were the products that supported the early Carolina economy. By 1709 Charles Town’s merchants and traders felt secure enough to expand their businesses into the southern frontier. That year landowners and businessmen in Beaufort District petitioned to establish a town around a fort and wooden blockhouse erected in 1706 to defend against a Spanish attack. Beaufort was chartered as a town and seaport on January 17, 1711, and named for Henry Somerset, the Second Duke of Beaufort.

A new threat to Carolina arose in 1715 when a coalition of Indian groups led by the Yamasee attacked plantations around our District and Charles Town. The region remained unsettled until the 1720s. Gradually businesses began to thrive again. Roads, bridges, and ferries were constructed to connect Beaufort to Charleston and the rest of the Thirteen Colonies. 

The King’s Highway ran from Boston to Charleston and on to here then Savannah. From the 1740s until the American Revolution, rice and indigo grown with the skills and labor of enslaved African people generated vast fortunes for the District’s planter class.

Beaufort History Museum
  1. Welcome!
  2. Beaufort County's First People
  3. The Yamasee Indians
  4. Altamaha Town Archaeology
  5. European Superpowers in Carolina
  6. The Greatest and Fairest Haven
  7. Beaufort's Golden Age
  8. Patriots and Loyalists
  9. Antebellum Beaufort – In Town (1782-1861)
  10. Sea Island Cotton
  11. Antebellum Beaufort – Plantations (1782-1861)
  12. Battle of Port Royal (1861)
  13. Beaufort and the Civil War (1861-1865)
  14. The African American Experience (1861-1865)
  15. Model of the New South: Postbellum Beaufort (1865-1893)
  16. Robert Smalls -- The 'King' of Beaufort
  17. The Great Depression – Riches to Rags
  18. The Early 20th Century -- Here Comes the Marines!
  19. The Early 20th Century -- Civil Rights
  20. Rise of the Sunbelt -- Charles Fraser and the Fraser Effect
  21. 21st Century Beaufort -- The 'Chambers' Vision
  22. Preserving Our History
  23. The Greatest and Fairest Haven