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Monday, July 09, 2018

Brunswick Town: An Illegal Beginning for the Lower Cape Fear

Source: William Cumming, Southeast in Early Maps, Plate 48.

John Barnwell’s Map of circa 1722 – Note that a road seems to have been established from the inhabited portions of the Winyaw area of South Carolina to the Lake Waccamaw area just west of the Cape Fear River, some years before the official land grants in 1725 upon which Maurice Moore would found Brunswick Town, also on the west side of the river. The assumption had usually been that, since the river was thought by many to be the dividing line between the two Carolinas, that land on the west side would be located in South Carolina. Moore intended Brunswick Town to lie in South Carolina territory, on illegal grants given him by the North Carolina governor.

Another note of interest is the notation (here annotated) that Col. Barnwell was wounded on land that Roger Moore later obtains between the two branches of the Cape Fear River in a single 5,500-acre grant in 1726.

Brunswick Town and Wilmington

Brunswick Town and Wilmington

Price: $9.95

This story of Brunswick Town, the Cape Fear region’s first port city, provided a deep-water port that accommodated trans-Atlantic shipping on the only easily accessible river in the colony of North Carolina. Contemporary accounts stated that it was like to be a “flourishing place,” while town lot sales reflected its profitability in 1731. However, Brunswick Town was not destined to remain and its founder, Maurice Moore and his family would suffer great economic trials as a result of the founding of Wilmington across the river. Gov. George Burrington's opposition to the Family was wholly political. Brunswick Town barely lasted until the American Revolution and today, remains only a vague memory. Baylus C. Brooks, author of Blackbeard Reconsidered: Mist's Piracy, Thache's Genealogy, delivers another brand new view of North Carolina's history!

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