History Left A Definite Mark At This One Fascinating Spot In North Carolina
Long before the days of now, when hungry explorers leapt off ships and started their lives in this new land, there were small colonial towns of Revolutionaries paving their way into American culture as we now know it. Homes were built with wood and brick, you didn’t travel too far… or if you did, you risked never coming back. Along the coast, small colonial villages thrived as both ports and early cities of the Revolution. Yet war was always on the doorstep, leaving many fleeing these small villages they’d so diligently carved a life in.
One such town is located within thick growths of live oak and pine. It's home to a sense that the ocean is not far, yet in here you're protected. Towering brick walls enclose what was once Brunswick Town. Today, the mark of cannonballs on the wall and a lingering emptiness haunt Brunswick Town and display it as a Colonial Ghost town.
Brunswick Town was first founded in 1726 by Maurice Moore. Located near the Cape Fear River, the town quickly grew into a popular port known for its proximity to the water and goods. With the founding of nearby Wilmington (then known as Newton) in 1733, both towns joined forces becoming a prime location for exporting forest products to the Royal Navy and Merchant Ships. This unity between towns became known as 'The Port of Brunswick.'
Pictured above - Gates of Old Orton Plantation dating back to 1730.
In its heyday, Brunswick Town elevated from a thriving port city to important political hub. The Revolutionary War was stirring and talks of separation from the crown were held in buildings around Brunswick Town. The first royal Governor even moved here and declared it the official port of entry for the Cape Fear River. Although exports were now reaching Europe and the West Indies, Brunswick Town couldn't quite compete with nearby Wilmington. The construction of St. Phillips Church (which today is a quintessential walk-through for any visitor) helped keep the town alive throughout the decline of the port industry.
While Wilmington was slowly leading the ships towards their port, Brunswick Town maintained faith to continue, until they were attacked by Spanish Privateers and held captive until Colonel William Dry and Brunswick citizens drove them away. By 1775, the Royal Governor was at his new residence at Tryon Palace and many who started a new life here had fled in fear in of British attacks.
In 1776, British troops ravaged Brunswick Town, burning most of the town's structures including St. Phillips Church and leaving only skeletal remains of houses (like the Leach-Jobson House pictured above). Brunswick Town was left quiet, abandoned, only a shell of what it used to be...until the Civil War. In 1862, Confederate Troops discovered the remaining bits of Brunswick Town and felt it the perfect place to build earthworks and trenches. It became Fort Anderson.
In 1865, an attack on Fort Anderson by Union Troops left marks from cannonballs hitting the walls of St. Phillip's Church. Today, the damage is still evident and visible. Exacavation on Brunswick Town began in 1958 and today it's a beautiful, interesting piece of history many can explore and walk through.
Brunswick Town is such a fascinating place and this time of year is perfect to visit. Have you been here before?
While Brunswick Town is not so much eerie but more beautiful and silent,
there’s some other ghost towns that aren’t so quaint.
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