|1997 Survey: House has lost all of its|
exterior 18th-century characteristics.
Several "stories" tied to the house at 209 Front Street are inaccurate.
1) Inaccurate:"Sloo House circa 1768"
Accurate: Shepard House circa 1770In September 1768, Nathaniel Sloo owned the lot less than a month. He sold the lot to Solomon Shepard's bride-to-be Jane Miles. (Sloo's purchase of the lot is the only record connecting him to Beaufort.) In the 1777 sale of the property to William Fisher, the deed noted the fact that Jane and Solomon Shepard had "improved the lot with a house." Before 1773, Solomon's brother Jacob Shepard and wife Sarah Lewis moved into the house. More on the house...
2) Inaccurate: The Old Burying Ground tour guide brochure reads: Sarah Gibbs (d.1792) & Jacob Shepard (d.1773) – Sarah was married to Jacob Shepard, a seaman. Jacob’s ship went to sea, but never returned. He was presumed to be dead. Later, Sarah married Nathaniel Gibbs and had a child with him. After an absence of several years, the shipwrecked Jacob Shepard unexpectedly returned to Beaufort to find his wife married to another man. The two men agreed that Sarah would remain with Gibbs as long as she lived, but must spend eternity at the side of Jacob Shepard.
Accurate: Before 1753, Sarah Lewis (c.1740‒1792) married Jacob Shepard (1733‒1773). After Jacob Shepard's death from smallpox in 1773, widow Sarah married Nathaniel Gibbs (who first married Mary Whitehurst). After Sarah's death, Gibbs married Alice Easton in 1795. Gibbs died in 1806 and was buried in Washington, Beaufort County. Of Jacob and Sarah’s children, their daughter Hannah met and married Capt. Charles Biddle when he sailed into Beaufort during the Revolution and helped build a small fort.
3) Inaccurate: Although little is known of Nathaniel Sloo, his name is referenced in a number of online stories as the father of the little girl buried in a barrel of rum in the Old Burying Ground.
The Beaufort Historical Association's Old Burying Ground self-guide tour pamphlet reads: "Girl in Barrel of Rum – Here is the grave of a girl buried in a barrel of rum. As the story goes, an English family, with a young daughter, came to Beaufort in the late 1700s. Wanting to see her homeland, the girl finally persuaded her mother to allow her to make the voyage. Her father promised his wife he would return her safely, but she died on the voyage home. Instead of burying her at sea, and not wanting to break a promise to his wife, the father placed her body in a barrel of rum and brought it to Beaufort for burial."
Since there is no documentation for the "girl in a barrel of rum" or a connection between either Nathaniel Sloo or the Sloo/Shepard house, any narrative (written or oral) regarding this matter may want to refer to the story as "legend" or "oral history."