2.20.22 2

Brunswick Town

Last time I was out on the coast, I took Belle to Brunswick Town. It’s one of my favorite spots in Brunswick County. I’ve been dozens of times through the years. My Aunt Sandy used to take Ebie and me when we were growing up. The place stuck with me, and I continued to visit into my teen years & adulthood.

The History of Brunswick Town

For a town that existed for a mere 50 years, Brunswick Town has a rich, colorful history. Brunswick was founded in 1726 by Maurice Moore, who named it after George I, King of England and Duke of Brunswick. It was the first permanent colonial settlement on the lower Cape Fear River.

As home to two royal governors, Arthur Dobbs and William Tryon, Brunswick Town served as the unofficial capital of the North Carolina colony. The governors lived in succession at Russellborough plantation on the outskirts of town. Due to their residency, the Governor’s Council often met in the courthouse.

Ruins of Russellborough

The vibrant port thrived on exported naval stores. Tar, pitch, and turpentine were derived from the nearby longleaf pine forests. These goods were then shipped to England, where they were used for building and maintaining the wooden sailing ships of the Royal Navy.

When the Stamp Acts passed in 1765, local merchants were forced to pay taxes to local representatives of the English Crown. Brunswick revolted by preventing British ships from unloading the stamps, arresting Royal officials, and surrounding Governor Tryon’s home. Their protests forced the resignation of the Comptroller of Customs, William Pennington – and halted stamp tax collection in the Cape Fear region. 

Nearly a decade before the renowned Boston Tea Party, Revolutionary sentiments smoldered on North Carolina’s coast. However, the town’s acts of rebellion are probably the reason for its destruction.

Brunswick Town declined due to several factors, including competition with Wilmington’s port and the relocation of political seats. Few people remained in Brunswick in 1776 when redcoats came ashore and burned the town in May.

The ruins became part of Orton Plantation in 1830 when Frederick James Hill paid $4.25 for the port. During the Civil War, Confederates built earthworks and trenches that covered several structures, preserving sections of Brunswick until they were excavated in 1958. 

James Laurence Sprunt donated the site to North Carolina in 1952. Sixteen years later, Brunswick Town Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Visiting the Historic Site

Brunswick Town features a visitor’s center, the ruins of St. Phillip’s Church, the foundation of Russellborough, the archeological remains of colonial homes, and the earthen walls of Fort Anderson.

Located at 8884 St. Philip’s Rd. SE in Winnabow, the historic site is open Tuesday-Saturday. They are closed for most major holidays. Admission is free.

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  1. Shawn Willis wrote:

    Thank you, for all the information very well done. You are on gettr. Was messaging with you. Read all your stories on here. I do hope all goes well with your surgery. Stay strong have hope. And remember EVERY DAY ABOVE GROUND IS A GOOD DAY. No matter what is happening cherish it.

    Published 2.24.22
    • Cassie wrote:

      Hey there! Gettr is so much fun. I’ve met so many awesome people over there! I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. <3

      I don't know if surgery will happen yet or not. The last time I went to the doctor, they didn't have my medical records. They put me on a new medication - and I'm doing really well! Hopefully I'll know more soon.

      Yes, sir! I'm so grateful that SVT can be cured. I'm so happy with my life. I want to be here to enjoy it for years to come!! 🙂

      Published 2.24.22