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Journal of a Lady of Quality
Appendices: - IV. Brunswick


THE town of Brunswick, which lay about twelve miles within the bar of the Cape Fear River, was located on the lands of Maurice and Roger Moore, upon high ground along the western bank. Maurice Moore, the chief promoter, had come from South Carolina in 1719, had settled at first in Chowan county on Albemarle Sound, and in 1722 had taken up lands on the Cape Fear. In 1725 he "caused a plot or plan containing 360 acres of land to be admeasured and laid out in lots, which 360 acres is but part of a larger tract or parcel of land containing 1500 held by patent thereof" of the proprietors. Forty of the 360 acres were added by Roger Moore "to make the said town more regular" (N. C. State Records, XXIII, 239). The terms of settlement were that a house, i by 20, should be built on each lot sold or "in such size as shall seem habitable" within eight months (Register's Office, Conveyances, A, pp. 71-72). The lots contained half an acre each and were numbered, the numbers running to 350. In 1731 it was said that the town was "like to be a flourishing place by reason of its excellent situation for the trade of those parts" (N. C. R. III, 261), but Hugh Meredith, writing in the same year, reported that it was "but a poor, hungry, unprovided place, consisting of not above 10 or 12 scattering mean houses, hardly worth the name of a village," but, he added, "the platform is good and convenient, and the ground high considering the country" (Pennsylvania Gazette, May 6-13, 1731). Because of the slow growth of the place, a bill was passed in 1745 by the provincial assembly organizing a town government and settling and securing the tides to the land. Possession of the soil was vested in a board of commissioners, of which Richard Quince and W7illiarn Dry, 2d, were members. There is no certainty as to how many lots were sold or how many houses were built, though the owners of about fifty can be identified. We read of "Front Street," the "Street on the Bay," and the "Second Street on the Bay." Other Streets were probably laid out, but may not have been named.

A little north of the centre, placed according to the true meridian and occupying one block, was St. Philip's Church (76 ft. by 54 ft.), the walls of which, two feet nine inches in thickness, are still standing. Until 1762 or 1763 the only place of worship in Brunswick had been an "old chapel" with but 15 actual Communicants (N. C. R. VI, 730) ; but in that year the church, which had been begun in the early fifties, was finally and after long delay roofed in (ib., V, 18, VI, 235, 237), and must have been used for services soon after. There was no parsonage. On the north of Brunswick was the plantation Russeliboro, named for its first owner, Captain Russell of H. M. S. Scorpion, an estate of about fifty acres, which afterwards became the borne, first of Governor Dobbs and then of Governor Tryon. The site of the Tryon house has recently been located and suitably marked (Sprunt, Chronicles of the Cape Fear, zd ed., pp. 103-10G). On the south was York plantation, belonging to Nathaniel Moore.

The town contained at least one ordinary, known as Roger's tavern, and probably many more. Except as a port of entry and clearance, and a residence of sea-captains, merchants, and storekeepers, it was never conspicuous, though courts were held there, business was transacted, physicians practiced, missionaries labored for many years without glebe, church, or salary, and neighborly intercourse was carried on of a social and friendly character. Disorder and crime prevailed also, for as early as 1739-1740 we learn that both court house and jail were greatly needed (New Hanover Counts' Records, 1737-1741'). There lived the Drys, the Moores, the Quinces, and others of the better sort who constituted the provincial group of those who opposed many of the policies of Governor Gabriel Johnston and his friends, and who resisted with vigor the governor's efforts to develop Wilmington at the expense of Brunswick. They had invested money in lands and buildings there and hoped that from its lucrative trade in naval stores, lumber, and rice it would in time become a great city. Burrington had said as early as 1736 that it would be a place of very great trade as soon as it became well peopled (ib., IV, 169). But all were destined to be grievously disappointed. With the rise of WiImington, Brunswick steadily declined; and even in 1775 Miss Schaw could describe it as but a poor town "with a few scattered houses on the edge of a wood," and her brother could call it "but a straggling village." See also Appendix VI.


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