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The Belcher Fuller House is located on Old Town Lot 24. The lot was first mentioned in 1768 when William Borden Jr. purchased corner Lot 24 and stated therein "next to Lot 23 where my house now stands." In the later part of the century, Borden sold his property to Nathan Fuller.
|From 1816 Resurvey of |
Beaufort by Jonathan Price
Mary and Nathan's son, Belcher Fuller Sr. (1776-1828), inherited Lots 23 and 24, including the 1768 William Borden House.
In 1828, Belcher Fuller Sr. willed his properties to wife Zilphia Guthrie Fuller (1785-1846) "to dispose of as she sees fit," but also left to sons Belcher Jr. and William "my Lot 23 in common..."
|Zilphia to William 1841|
|Belcher Fuller to |
Wm. Fisher Bell 1852
In June 1852, Belcher Fuller Jr. (1817-1870) sold the western portion of Lot 24, corner of Front and Orange Streets, to William Fisher Bell, "a certain half of lot of land...number twenty four Old Town, being the westernmost half of said lot bordering on Orange & Front Street...To have & to hold the said premises..."
In 1858, William F. Bell sold the property to 42-year-old sea captain Thomas Thomas.
|Capt.Thomas Thomas |
|Martha Dudley Murray |
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.
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.
|Watching the Siege of Fort Macon |
from Beaufort waterfront April 25,1862
Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper
|Capt. Thomas home and wharf-front building|
Gray's 1880 Map of Beaufort
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 or giving lifetime use or reverting back to siblings.
|1898 Sanborn Map|
On the 1930 census, 84-year-old daughter Isabella Thomas Midgett (1842-1932), widow of Benjamin Midgette, was noted as owning the home and was living alone; value of home $6000. Members of the Thomas Murray Thomas family were in the home by the 1940 census; they had moved from 215 Front (Morse House). Daughter Laura Esther Thomas (1890-1986) was listed as head of household with her parents, 91-year-old Thomas Murray Thomas (1848-1940) and 86-year-old Laura Pelletier Thomas (1853-1944); value of home $4000.
During WWII, the house was divided into apartments. During that time, there were two other families in the house.
Thus, Capt. Thomas' granddaughter, Laura Esther Thomas, was the last Thomas to own the home, sold in 1965 to Jean and Copeland Kell. Laura, who never married, died in 1986, at 96, in a nursing home in Morehead City. Laura lived at 301 Front Street for at least 25 years, from 1940 until she went into the nursing home.
|Belcher Fuller House - 1980|
Old Port Town, Beaufort NC - Jean Kell
Sign posted for Antique Shop
NOTE: In 1900, Thomas descendants, Alonzo and Nancy Davis Thomas, Samuel Thomas, Thomas M. and Laura Pelletier Thomas, Benjamin J. and Isabella Thomas Midyette, helped fund the purchase of Piver’s Island and transferred the deed to the government, so that the island could be used to establish a U.S. Fish Commission marine laboratory, one of the first in the country. The island was once known as "Still Island," due to a distillery operated there.
The 1997 Ruth Little Survey described the house: 2-story, Greek Revival house with low hipped roof, high foundation, and pedimented 2-story entrance porch with boxed Doric posts, turned balustrade and replacement front door. House has plain siding, 9/6 and 6/6 sash. The center-hall plan interior retains simple vernacular Greek Revival finish, including a mantel taken from Asher Benjamin pattern books.
|1936 Photo by Francis Benjamin Johnston|
Belcher Fuller & Wm. Borden Houses