From the 1770 "Plan of the Town & Port of Beaufort" by French surveyor and cartographer Claude Joseph Sauthier

Beaufort NC, established 1713, is state's 4th Oldest Town

INACCURATE: Beaufort established 1709
ACCURATE: Beaufort established 1713

In the early 1960s, 1709 was chosen as what has become Beaufort's "traditional" date. After much research (according to Mamre Wilson), the choice was based on one passage found in Samuel A'Court Ashe's 1908 book, History of North Carolina, "...Many planters now occupied the lands on the Pamlico; the French colony had been increased by accessions from Virginia; lands along the shore, even between the North River and Core River (near the present town of Beaufort), were taken up in 1709..." 

1713 plan of Beaufort ▪ NC Archives and History
Click to enlarge.
However, until 1713, there is no record of settlers on land that belonged to Farnifold Green, who lived north of Neuse River but likely held hopes of creating a port. (On December 20, 1707 Green was the first to obtain a patent for land in the "Core Sound" area—780 acres which included the future site of 100-acre Beaufort.)  

At the time (early 1700s) settlers along the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers faced political discord, yellow fever, drought, and conflict with Indians. Aware of the dangers, Farnifold Green remained on his plantation north of Neuse River, made out his will in October 26, 1711, and assigned his 1707 "Core Sound" patent to Robert Turner on July 18, 1713. Later, Governor Eden officially signed over Green's 780-acre patent to Turner. Confirmed by payment of £4.15 sterling, Turner was given "all privileges of hunting, hawking, fishing and fowling, with all profits, commodities and hereditaments to the same belonging, except one-half of all gold and silver mined."

      As far as settlers in the area in the early 1700s, in Colonial Beaufort, Charles L. Paul noted: "By December 1708, John Nelson was granted a patent for 260 acres 'in Core Sound on the north side of North River.' In 1708, brothers Francis and John Shackelford settled on the west side of North River.     
     "Other names connected with 'Core Sound' prior to 1713 were John Fulford, Robert Turner, James Keith, William Bartram, Peter Worden, Thomas Blanton, Thomas Lepper, Thomas Sparrow, Lewis Johnson, Richard Graves, Christopher Dawson, Enoch Ward, Thomas Cary, and Thomas Kailoe. Some of these, notably Cary and Lepper, lived elsewhere and were only speculating in land. John Fulford, Enoch Ward, and Robert Turner were definitely 'Core Sound' residents.  

In the early Province of Carolina, a town was "born" when approved by the Lords Proprietors—thereby granting permission for it to be established, laid out and named. For Beaufort, this approval came in the fall of 1713. On October 2, 1713, Robert Turner, then land patent owner, hired deputy surveyor Richard Graves to lay out the town. 

Thus, on October 2, 1713, Beaufort officially came into existence—North Carolina's 4th oldest town, behind 1705 Bath, 1710 New Bern, and 1712 Edenton.

Deed from Robert Turner of said Province...
lot number 4....plat made by Richard Graves
...land lying being in Core Sound laid out by 
said surveyor...2nd day of October 1713 and
by ye permission of ye lords proprietors
intended for a township by ye name 
of Beaufort.Carteret Deed Book D - Page 91
"The dates, men and circumstances connected with the 'Beaufort plan' were mentioned in all deeds issued for the years before Carteret became a precinct in 1722. These deeds stated that the town was laid out '2nd day of October 1713 and by ye permission of ye Lords Proprietors intended for a township by the name of Beaufort.' (Before 1722, Beaufort was a part of Craven Precinct, Bath County; therefore, Beaufort deeds were recorded at the New Bern Courthouse.)   

"Numerous lots were sold in Beaufort immediately after it was laid out, but few of the purchasers made their homes in the town...As late as 1765 it was described as a town of not more than twelve houses." (Paul)