By Jeannette Holland Austin
Although the Spanish landed twice on the island of St. Helena off the Carolina coast, they did not settle there. All that they did was to remove some peaceful Indians to use as slaves. When Jean Ribault landed on Parris Island with his French Huguenots in 1562 a French gentleman said of them "they had the means to achieve some notable thing, worthy of eternal memory." On May 27th, 1562, Ribault anchored in ten fathoms of water off what is known today as Parris Island, just a few miles from Port Royal. " Ribaut and his men landed, and while they walked through the forest, flocks of wild turkey flew above their heads, and around they beheld partridges and stags. Upon returning to the ships, they cast their nets in the bay, and caught fishes in numbers so wonderful that two draughts of the net supplied enough for a day's food for the crews of both ships." Ribault built a fort which he named Charlesfort before returning to France to report his discovery, leaving behind a garrison of twenty-six men. Three years later another French ship landed at Port Royal but the Spanish had already destroyed the fort. The Spanish built a fort for themselves which the Indians destroyed and another fort in 1677. The latter fort was constructed of cedar posts and tabby because two years later two American officers found the outlines of an old fort of tabby and cedar which they believed to be Ribault's fort. In 1732, the English built their fort. An old house still stands in Beaufort, more than two hundred years old which appears to be built over the fort. It includes a large porch and pillar, and the lower portion built with tabby in which there are loop-holes for rifles and beneath them a stone ledge for ammunition. Source:Beaufort County, South Carolina by N. L. Willet.
Archaealogical Diggings of Charlesfort known as the Charlesfort-Santa Elena Site
Beaufort County Wills and Land Grants
Beaufort County was formed in 1769 from the parishes of Prince William, St. Luke, St. Peter and St. Helena. The county and county seat were named for Sir Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. French explorers first visited this area long with the English arriving in 1562 to establish a fort. Later, in 1566, the Spanish established a temporary fort on this site The town of Beaufort was founded in 1710 and is the second oldest town in South Carolina. It was visited by pirates, including Blackbeard who is thought to have hidden some of his treasure nearby. Large and rice and sea island cotton plantations later enhanced its economy. During the War Between the States, Federal troops occupied Beaufort in December 1861.
Among the earliest settlers were: Alexander Garden (ca. 1730-1791), Stephen Elliott (1771-1830) and Robert Smalls (1839-1915).
Probate Records Available to members of South Carolina Pioneers
- Deloach, Jesse, 1785 Land Grant
- Deloach, Jesse, 1785 plat
- Goette, Henry, distribution of slaves. Bond of David Horton (1 Feb 1841)
- Lawton, Sarah LWT 1832
- Lawton, Joseph LWT
- Nielson, Nicholas of Hilton Head Island, LWT
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