Welcome to our Inn - in America's Favorite Town

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This weblog was created to provide guests with detailed information about the INN, the AREA and Beaufort HISTORY, as well as unique GUIDES to help guests enjoy their stays in Beaufort and the Front Street Inn. Please SCROLL down for our OVERVIEW, then use the LINKS IN THE SIDEBAR to navigate to pages by category. 

Our 2-story inn is located in a restored 150-year-old Greek Revival residence that sits as a landmark on the Beaufort waterfront, overlooking Taylor's Creek. This was home to the Capt. Thomas Thomas family for over 100 years and is but one of Beaufort's 100s of architectural treasures, many within easy walking distance.
From the south-facing front porches, one can not only enjoy spectacular sunrises and sunsets, but also wild horses on Town Marsh Island—as boats sail in and out of the harbor.
Beaufort is located just off Beaufort Inlet and its protective barrier islands. It is steps away from the North Carolina Maritime Museum. Within easy walking distance are Beaufort Docks, Beaufort Boardwalk, fine restaurants, unique shops, art galleries and the Beaufort Historic Site. The must-see Old Burying Ground is only a few blocks away.
Visitors will also enjoy touring the barrier islands by boat, while witnessing dolphin, coastal birds and wild horses on Rachel Carson Reserve or nearby Shackelford Banks. Cape Lookout Lighthouse is a short boat ride away. Go shelling on deserted beaches or enjoy a sunset dinner cruise. Kayaking, scuba diving, and deep-sea fishing are also available. 

Off-street Parking
In addition to the south-facing twin porches overlooking Front Street and the Taylor's Creek waterfront, the inn offers another outdoor retreat. Accessed from the upper hallway is a 40’x15’ private balcony canopied by live oaks. 

This lovely oasis is a wonderful place to relax with a book and a glass of wine or perhaps even gather with other guests before dinner or any other time of day.
New Balcony Retreat (click to enlarge)

A Brief History of the Town, Inn and Belcher Fuller House

Laid out and named in 1713, Beaufort is North Carolina's 4th oldest town
behind 1705 Bath, 1710 New Bern and 1712 Edenton.

Farnifold Green obtained the first land patent in the Core Sound area, part of which would later become Beaufort. Many years earlier, this land had been fishing and hunting grounds to the Coree Indians. Green continued to live on his plantation north of Neuse River. In July 1713, two years after the beginning of the Tuscarora War, Green transferred his patent to Robert Turner, a merchant from Craven Precinct. A year later Green was killed on this plantation – massacred by Indians.

On October 2, 1713, after obtaining permission from the Lords Proprietors, Robert Turner hired deputy surveyor Richard Graves to lay out a 100-acre town. Turner named the town Beaufort, in honor of his friend Henry Somerset, the 2nd Duke of Beaufort. Streets were named; allotments were provided for a church, a town-house, and a market place. Slow to grow; as late as 1765 it was described as a town of not more than twelve houses.
This old 4" key was recently found 
hidden under the house. 
Click to enlarge.

1½ centuries later, the 1851 Belcher Fuller House was purchased in 1858 by Captain Thomas Thomas, a successful merchant with his own sailing vessels. The Thomas family occupied the home until 1965 – over 100 years.

Beginning in 1986, after being owned by Jean and Copeland Kell for 20 years, together the Belcher Fuller House and the William Borden House were opened as an award-winning bed-and-breakfast inn known as “The Cedars.” The inn complex operated until 2006; both houses were sold separately to new owners who continue to operate them as lodging for visitors.  

MORE HISTORY LINKS are included in the sidebar.

Fuller Suite

This spacious second-floor suite offers a king or two twin beds, sitting room with sofa bed and a large bath with claw-footed tub and separate shower.
From the late 18th century until 1852, this lot was owned by Fullers. At one time the family owned the block from Front to Ann and Orange to Turner.

By 1734, Edward Fuller Sr. came south from Fairfield, Connecticut and became the first Fuller to settle in the Core Sound area of the southern Outer Banks. In the late 18th century, Edward's son, Nathan, purchased this waterfront property, Old Town Lot 24, from William Borden Jr. 

An inventory of goods belonging to the sloop Middleborrough, Edward Fuller, Master, was made on February 15, 1734. Goods included two blubber spades, three oars, four “Lances for Whaling,” a blubber hook, and 39 empty barrels...

Thomas-Murray Suite

This second-floor room includes a canopied four-poster queen-size bed, large living room with fireplace and a combination shower-tub bath. The room is named for Capt. Thomas Thomas and his wife, Martha Dudley Murray. The Thomas family occupied the home for over 100 years. 

Born in Beaufort in February 1816 to Samuel and Mary Thomas, Thomas
Thomas married Mary Dudley Murray on August 3, 1841. It is believed the couple had sixteen children; only five survived—Isabella, Charles, Samuel, Thomas Murray and William Alonzo Thomas. In 1858, William Fisher Bell sold the property to 42-year-old sea captain Thomas Thomas.

The 1860 Beaufort Census recorded the following in the house: Thomas 44, Martha 41, Isabella 18, Charles 17, Samuel 13, Murray 10 and 8-year-old Alonzo. At the time, Capt. Thomas’ real estate was valued at $5,600 and his personal estate $23,600.

Thomas House at Front & Orange.
Waterfront wharf a block east.
On April 25, 1862, the Thomas family had a birds-eye view of the shelling during the Union siege of Fort Macon. From then until August 1865, they experienced the Union occupation of Beaufort. 

Captain Thomas was a successful merchant with his own sailing vessels. His wharf-front building on Taylor’s Creek was near the corner of Turner Street. In 1888, ten years before his death, a huge fire destroyed his wharf and numerous other stores and warehouses on the waterfront.

Captain Thomas
Martha Dudley Murray
When Capt. Thomas died in 1898, his property was divided among his surviving children and grandchildren; this included many property transactions, re-allotting quarter shares, giving lifetime use or reverting back to siblings. 

William Borden Room

 This second-floor room includes antique four-poster twin-size beds, antique armoire and a combination shower-tub bath. 

William Borden Jr. was the first documented owner of the land on which this house was built.
William Borden Jr. (1731–1799), son of William Borden (1689-1749) and Alice Hull (1693-1730), was born February 6, 1731 in Tiverton, Rhode Island. He came to Carteret County with his family and settled on Harlowe Creek, where his father built a shipyard and sawmill. The first Quaker meeting was organized on August 1, 1733, at the home of William Borden. 

On July 3, 1754, William Borden Jr. married widow Comfort (Lovett) Small (1731-1809) of Carteret County. William Jr. followed in his father’s footsteps and became prominent in town, county and colonial affairs. In 1765 records show that “a good Quaker” near Beaufort distilled turpentine and made other naval stores. He also continued the family shipbuilding business—becoming a leader of that industry in Carteret County. 

Spritsail Skiff 
Date unknown
Trees are blocking view of 
Belcher Fuller House.
Note cistern behind the skiff.
Courtesy ncmaritimehistory.org
William Borden Jr.'s Front Street home, the William Borden House circa 1768, originally a much smaller house only one-room deep, could have been built years earlier. According to research by historian Jean Kell, William Borden Jr. purchased lot #24 at the corner of Front and Orange Streets in 1768; this property was “next to lot #23 where my house now stands.”

Following the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the Fifth Provincial Congress met in Halifax, North Carolina on November 12, 1776. William Borden, Jr. was selected as a delegate from Carteret County. During that season the Bill of Rights was adopted—December 15, 1776. 


Full Continental Breakfast

Our guests start their days in the Shackelford Room, where you will be served a memorable breakfast includilng a platter board of cheeses, a vast array of fresh fruits (when in season and available), selection of yogurt’s and granola, orange & grapefruit juice, crispy bacon, soft boiled, or scrambled eggs, muffins, scones, bread, jam and marmalade. All attractively presented with fine blue willow patterned China, silver dishes, pretty jugs, etc. A real treat and a real feast! If you are here for a while and want to go out for breakfast, see our website for other breakfast choices in Beaufort.

Shackelford Room - Breakfast Room & Common Living Area  

Moseley's 1733 Map
noted "Shakelford" on
the west side of North River. 
This room is named for Francis and John Shackelford; there were the first of a handful of men who were residents of the Core Sound settlement prior to 1713. Therefore, it is appropriate to name a room after them.

It is believed the Shackelford ancestors lived in a small town near London, England, known as Shackelford Village, Godalming, Surry, England.

Roger Shackelford, the immigrant, was a descendant of William de Shackelford (1490-bef.1558). Roger was born in 1629 in Old Alresford, Hampshire, South East England. He fled England in 1658 with French Huguenot Edward Palmer, who had received a headrights grant of 400 acres in the Virginia Colony. (In the headright system, one received 50 acres of land for every emigrant sponsored to America.) Roger Shackelford married Mary Palmer about 1660; she was on the headrights grant.

Of the many sons of Roger and Mary Shackelford, John and Francis Shackelford were born in Essex County, Virginia, but made their way to the Craven Precinct portion of Bath County (now Carteret County) sometime after 1705. They were the first of a handful of men, including John Nelson, John Fulford, Enoch Ward and Robert Turner, who were residents of the Core Sound settlement prior to 1713 (then Craven Precinct, Bath County).
NOTE: Carteret "Precinct" was created in 1722 from part of Craven "Precinct" and both remained as divisions of Bath County until Bath County was dissolved in 1739 and all "Precincts" became "Counties."

Sometime after 1705, Francis and John Shackelford moved their families* (see below) from Virginia to the Core Sound area of North Carolina, then part of Craven Precinct, Bath County. They were the first of a handful of men, including John Nelson, John Fulford, Enoch Ward and Robert Turner, who were residents of the Core Sound settlement prior to 1713. 

Francis Shackelford became active in the affairs of the Core Sound area by 1708, as did his brother, John Shackelford, by 1709.  

On October 30, 1708, Francis Shackelford and Francis Dawson were witnesses to the transfer of a tract of land which later became the site of Beaufort from Peter Wordin to Farnifold Green.

Laura Esther Thomas Room

This first-floor room includes a lovely four-poster queen-size bed, original fireplace, antique Welsh armoire, plantation shutters and bath with separate shower and tub.

Laura Esther Thomas (1890-1986), granddaughter of Capt. Thomas Thomas, was the last of the Thomas family to own and live in the house. She sold property to Copeland and Jean Kell in 1965.

Laura Esther was born February 28, 1890 to Thomas Murray Thomas (1848-1940) and Laura Pelletier (1853-1944). Laura never married. She lived here from at least 1939 until she went into a nursing home in Morehead City, where she died November 3, 1986, at 96

1843 Sacrament Ticket
In her book The Story of the Methodists in the Port of Beaufort, Amy Muse wrote of Miss Laura Thomas' treasured sacrament ticket for the third quarter of 1843, issued to her great-grandmother "Miss Mary" Thomas, signed by John T. Brame.

Laura Esther Thomas - Family Tree

During WWII, with the advent of Cherry Point and the need for housing, the house and many others in Beaufort were made into apartments. (Kell) At that time, there were two other families in the house. The 1940 census recorded Laura E. Thomas 50 as head of household at 301 Front Street. In the home were her parents T.M. Thomas 91, and Laura P. Thomas 86. Laura, who completed one year of college (perhaps as an art student at Greensboro Female Institute), was noted as a clerk-bookkeeper in a doctor's office with an income of $600. Value of home $4,000.

1940 Census

February 23, 1939 issue of The Beaufort News
Laura's parents had celebrated their 62nd anniversary two days earlier.
Thomas Murray Thomas (1848-1940) and Laura Pelletier (1853-1944)
married February 21, 1877.

OF NOTE: In February 1962, Miss Laura Thomas was one of a dozen citizens who attended an early Beaufort Historical Association planning meeting; the BHA officially founded January 25, 1960. Also of note, from about 1930 until his death in 1958, Laura's brother, Charles Walter Thomas Sr. (1878-1958), owned the Josiah Bell House circa 1825, at 138 Turner. 

Jean Bruyere Kell Room

This first-floor room includes an antique four-poster double bed and a large bath with claw-footed tub and separate shower. The room is named for Beaufort historian and author Jean Kell. 

In 1965, Jean Bruyere Kell (1909-2004) and husband Copeland Kell purchased the Belcher Fuller House from Laura Esther Thomas; the purchase price was $100. The Kells owned the house until 1985; they lived in the William Borden House next door while Jean operated an antique shop in the Belcher Fuller House.

During the Great Depression the Kells called 207 Orange Street home. At that time Jean worked for "Miss Nannie" Geffroy at St. Paul's School; they kept a cow at the Noe's barn yard near the corner of Orange and Broad Streets. 

Ms. Kell's first home in Beaufort was the Owens-Bedford House at 113 Live Oak Street. Jean later lived at 314 Moore Street, where she invited people to have their books "autographed at her home - The Little White House with Blue Shutters."

Jean Marie Bruyere was born March 23, 1909 and died October 4, 2004. Her obituary, in Carteret County News, October 6, 2004, reveals much about her life, accomplishments and contributions to the town she loved.


A page from Jean's 
notes on Lots 23 & 24
Click to enlarge
Jean Bruyere Kell, 95, antiquarian, historical researcher, preservationist, author and mother to not only her own children, but to many others who found their way to her heart, died Monday at Britthaven of Newport. Her funeral will be at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Beaufort, with the Rev. Thomas D. Bowers officiating.

Born in 1909 in Glen Ridge, N.J., Mrs. Kell was the daughter of the late Walter Reeve
Bruyere and the late Edith Owen Bruyere. It was as the young wife of Copeland Kell that she began her long-lived love of Beaufort, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Carteret County. She was one of the early leaders of the Beaufort Historical Association, serving for many years as the chairman of the Antiques Show, an important part of the annual Old Homes Tour. She was also instrumental in the formation of the Carteret County Historical Society, the Friends of Fort Macon and the Carteret County Antiques Club. She served seven years as director of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce. She was a charter member of DAR, Morehead City.

An avid researcher, Mrs. Kell's books included Historic Beaufort, a Pictoral Profile, and
Love, Goodwill and Affection, which was made into a musical with lyrics and score by Laurence Stith. She was editor of Carteret County During the American Revolution and Carteret County During the Civil War. Well into her 90s, she had begun plans for Carteret County During World Wars I and II. Children's books included The Pocket Dolly (which was nationally published), When the Pirates Came to Beaufort and When the British Came to Beaufort.
Jean Kell's 1980 photo of
the Belcher Fuller House
when it was her antique shop

Fascinated by English history and antiques, Mrs. Kell and her husband made yearly trips to Britain, especially enjoying the city of Dartmouth in Devon and making many friends there. On her returns to Beaufort, she would serve tea in her antique shop and display her latest acquisitions. During recent years, Mrs. Kell focused her energy on creating dolls and pillows, eagerly collected by friends and visitors to the area. On pleasant evenings, she could often be found sitting on her favorite bench along the Beaufort waterfront, greeting those who strolled by. In 2002, she gloried in leading the Beaufort 4th of July Parade as Lady Liberty.

Mrs. Kell received many awards and commendations. She was appointed chairman of the
Carteret County Bicentennial Commission in 1992, was designated town historian for the Town of Beaufort and in 1980 was given an Award of Merit by the North Carolina Preservation Society. In 2001, she received the Willie Parker Peace History Award by the North Carolina Society of Historians. In 2003, Mrs. Kell was recognized as a distinguished citizen and received the Kathryn Cloud Award from the Beaufort Historical Commission. In an open forum, she spoke movingly of her love of Beaufort and of her hopes that the beauty of the town with its many historic structures would continue to be valued and protected.

She is survived by a daughter, Rosalie; a son, Dugald; 18 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren. Mrs. Kell was preceded in death by her husband, Copeland, and five children.

Now-rare Books: 
Rare 1946 book
  • The Pocket Dolly Book (1946) 
  • Beaufort, North Carolina in Color 
  • Historic Beaufort, a Pictoral Profile
  • The Old Port Town Beaufort, North Carolina 1980  
  • Love, Goodwill and Affection - A novel based on facts found in deeds and court records of the 1730s. This is a story of Janie and other people that really lived in Beaufort.
  • North Carolina's Coastal Carteret County During the American Revolution 1975 - Edited by Jean Kell, who wrote 6 or the 11 chapters.
  • Carteret County During the Civil War (editor)
  • When the Pirates Came to Beaufort (1982) - The story of the 1747 pirate invasion.
  • When the British Came to Beaufort (1992) - The story of the British landing in 1782.
Who's Who:
  • Who's Who in Writers, Editors & Poets. United States & Canada. Third edition, 1989-1990. Edited by Curt Johnson. Highland Park, IL: December Press, 1989.
  • Who's Who in Writers, Editors & Poets. United States & Canada. Fourth edition, 1992-1993. Edited by Curt Johnson. Highland Park, IL: December Press, 1992.    

Below is text from the book cover - Carteret County during the Civil War - edited by Jean Bruyere Kell, published 1999. This short biography was written by Copeland Kell (1905-1995), a portion of his unpublished biography of wife Jean:

Jean Bruyere Kell, antiquarian and historical researcher, is the author of numerous books and articles. She holds cards for the research rooms, not only in Archives of Raleigh, but also the new Public Records office, Kew Gardens, London. She has worked in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.

Her first historical effort was about an old bog iron foundry in Allaire, New Jersey. After the acquisition of her first home in Beaufort, 113 Live Oak Street, and weeks of research, she found the original deed in 1729 to Willie Owen, a tailor, and Thomas Bedford, a carpenter. Hence the Owens-Bedford House, 1730. It was this research of the wills, deeds and court records that provided the basic and story for her very successful musical play, "Love, goodwill and Affection," with lyrics and music by Laurence Stith.

While serving as Chairman of the Carteret County Bicentennial Commission, Mrs. Kell edited and did the layout for "Carteret County During the American Revolution." She also wrote six of the ten chapters. This book has been widely praised and is full of documented information. This includes the day by day reports, found in the governor's letters in the archives, telling of the British landing in Beaufort, NC in April 1782 after the battle of Yorktown. This piece of history has been lost with the passing of time.

Then came "Historic Beaufort," a street by street tour with architectural discussion. This book subsequently appeared in soft cover and is still in demand.

Also, Mrs. Kell wrote four children's books. The first was the "Pocket Dolly Book," which had national distribution and sold 35,000 copies.

Mrs. Kell is a member of both National and State Preservation Societies and has been actively supporting the Beaufort Historical Association for many years. Her efforts won for her the Award of Merit in 1980 by the North Carolina Preservation Society. She is a charter member of the local chapter of the D.A.R. and was director of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce for seven years.

She has been written up in both the "Who's Who of American Women in 1979" and the World Who's Who of Women 1980."

The purpose of her other books on Carteret County and Beaufort has been to preserve the history and capture the unique beauty of the homes as they were at the time of publication. This book was conceived after many years of personal research as well as the research of other Carteret County historians in an attempt to further preserve the history of the place that she loves so well and has for so long. This is what she wants to share with everyone.   -Copeland Kell