ONHGS Picnic - May 2004
Brunswick Town / Fort Anderson, State Historic Site, North Carolina

The town site, once a thriving eighteenth-century port on the Cape Fear River, was partially excavated by historian Lawrence Lee and archaeologist Stanley South in the 1950s and 1960s. Many of the artifacts unearthed during the excavations are on display at the Visitors Center, while others are stored in research collections in Raleigh.

Visitors to the Brunswick Town State Historic Site can view the artifacts from the excavations in the museum and Visitors Center and see the exposed foundations of Russellborough, St. Philips Church, and other colonial-period ruins. Though excavated, the ruins are left uncovered as archaeological exhibits. The thick brick walls of St Phillips Church are still standing

Text courtesy Online Hiways, www.ohwy.com

We had a live fire demonstration by the "Redcoats"

Photos of the day courtesy Carolyn Corbett

And a demonstration of medical practices circa the Revolutionary War

Followed by a sociable lunch!

The Town of Brunswick

This quiet, picturesque site on the banks of the Cape Fear River has an amazing past. In 1726 Maurice Moore, the son of a former South Carolina governor, founded this port town. North Carolina was a colony of England, and the town was named Brunswick to honor George I, the king of England, who was a native of Brunswick, Germany.

The port became a bustling shipping area for exporting tar, pitch, and turpentine. These products, derived from the resin of the longleaf pine, were known collectively as naval stores. This "sticky gold" was essential for building and maintaining the great wooden sailing ships of the Royal Navy and the merchant fleet that plied the oceans between Europe, the colonies, and the islands of the Caribbean.

With two successive royal governors in residence, Brunswick was a political center and the colonial assembly occasionally met in the courthouse. Official port functions required merchants to pay taxes and shipping costs to the local representatives of the Crown. In 1765 the colonists challenged the Crown's authority to distribute the hated tax stamps. That action, eight years before the Boston Tea Party, halted the collection of the tax along the Cape Fear.

Brunswick's decline resulted from several factors, including the growth of Wilmington and the relocation of the royal governor to New Bern in 1770. Few people remained in Brunswick in the spring of 1776 when British redcoats were put ashore from the Royal Navy ship Cruizer. Some reports indicate that much of the town was burned during this raid. By the end of the Revolutionary War, families and merchants had moved to other locations, and the ruins and land became part of Orton Plantation in 1842.

Site photos and this text courtesy North Carolina Historical Sites web page, www.ah.dcr.state.nc.us

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