This small quaint seaport has roots back to April 7, 1730 when Isaac and Jonathan Green Sr. purchased from Ebenezer Harker "a certain plantation and track of land containing by estimation 441 acres situate lying and being in ye Carterett in ye county of province of aforsaid being ye west side of ye mouth off White Oak River." By 1771 Theophilus Weeks started a town on his plantation, laying out a plat and selling lots. Formerly known as Bogue, Week's Point, The Wharf and New Town, the town was officially designated by the North Carolina General Assembly on May 6, 1783. Above photo (from North Carolina State Archives) courtesy Jack Dudley, as included in Swansboro - A Pictorial Tribute

A Brief Overview of the Town's History

1733 Moseley Map - Part of the Great Western Ocean

During the period of first white contact, the INDIAN TRIBES INHABITING THE AREA of the present State of North Carolina were of three linguistic stocks — the Iroquoian, Siouan, and Algonkian. Swansboro was most probably originally an Algonkian Indian Village.

1730, Swansboro started as a small settlement at the mouth of the White Oak River. Jonathan and Grace Green settled here from Massachusetts. Jonathan Green (son of Mary Chase and Benjamin Green 1685-1744 of Falmouth, Massachusetts) built a house at the mouth of the White Oak River. Mr. Green died a short time later. Grace Green married THEOPHILUS WEEKS, who had settled in Hadnot Creek. The Weeks family were farmers and innkeepers. Mr. Weeks was later appointed port inspector.

Weeks then sold a portion of his land which, in 1783, which was in
corporated as the colonial port town of Swannsborough. It was so named in honor of Samuel Swann, former speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons. Swannsborough was situated near numerous pine forests and was able to produce much of the materials needed for shipbuilding. So, naturally, shipbuilding became its major industry.

During the Revolutionary War, a number of patriot privateers operated from the harbor, and several saltworks were built nearby. By 1786, Swansboro had assumed such importance that it was declared a separate customs district.

Captain Otway Burns was the town's most famous ship builder. He was famous for building the first steamboat constructed in North Carolina, the Prometheus, and also had served as Commander of the privateer ship the Snapdragon.

Swansboro continued to prosper until the Civil War. Shipbuilding and the export of naval stores were the mainstays of the local economy. The Civil War brought an end to the port's boom days. Swansboro was twice occupied by Union forces, in 1862 and 1864. After the war, the naval stores trade fell off. Eventually, the town's sole industry was commercial fishing.

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