The Forgotten Abandoned Colonial Town of North Carolina that Was Burned by British Soldiers


In early North Carolina, Brunswick Town was a significant town. Its ruins are located in Brunswick County.

It was the Cape Fear region's first prosperous European settlement, a significant British port in the 18th century, and the residence of two provincial governors.

Before being attacked by the British Army during the American Revolutionary War and never rebuilt, Brunswick Town existed for 50 years, from 1726 to 1776.

86 years after the town was abandoned, a sizable chunk of it was buried under earthworks when Fort Anderson was being built during the American Civil War.

During the 20th century, Brunswick Town became into an archaeological dig site for the Cape Fear region.

Ruins of colonial businesses and residences from the 18th century, St. Philip's Church, Fort Anderson, and Russellborough, the former governor's mansion, are all included in the Brunswick Town Historic District.

The National Register of Historic Places lists the town's historic area and St. Philip's Church.

About Brunswick Town

Founded in the 1720s, this prosperous port city was once a hive of trade and the colonial era's administrative center for the Cape Fear region.

The community was first established as "Brunswick Towne" close to the meeting point of the Cape Fear River and Town Creek, and thanks to its advantageous location, it expanded quickly.

It developed into a crucial commerce hub for products like naval supplies, timber, rice, and indigo.

When the town was chosen as the county seat of New Hanover County in 1745, its significance was further cemented.

Along with being important economically, Brunswick Town was also crucial in the turbulent events leading up to the American Revolution.

The Provincial Congress of North Carolina was held there in 1775, where important choices about the resistance to British rule were made.

At this meeting, the "Brunswick Resolves," a statement of colonial rights and autonomy, was famously accepted.
Hepburn-Reynolds House foundation in Brunswick Town Historic District (2008)Photo byBrunswick Town, North Carolina/Wikipedia

Brunswick Town - Abandoned

Wilmington's expansion and Governor Tryon's move to New Bern expedited Brunswick Town's collapse.

Due to worries about a British onslaught during the American Revolutionary War, the few remaining families left by 1775.

Patriots stormed Fort Johnston in 1775, and under Captain Collett's command, British soldiers from the Royal Navy ship Cruizer burnt much of Brunswick Town, including Saint Philip's Church, in 1776.

General Clinton and General Cornwallis led the British forces that later returned to the town to burn some of it again.

Only a few families returned after the war, and by 1830 the village had been entirely deserted and had been sold to Frederick Jones Hill.

Confederate troops constructed Fort St. Philip (later Fort Anderson) during the Civil War to defend Wilmington.

St. Philip's Church was hit by Union cannonballs during the 1865 assault on Fort Anderson.
St. Philip's Church RuinsPhoto byBrunswick Town, North Carolina/Wikipedia

Brunswick Town- nowadays

As a well-preserved archaeological site, Brunswick Town provides tourists with a rare chance to travel back in time and discover the ruins of this important colonial settlement.

The visitor center offers insightful information on the town's significance and history.

Visitors can come across the remains of old roadways, colonial building foundations, and interpretative signs as they go through the site.

St. Philip's Anglican Church, a restored 18th-century church where the "Brunswick Resolves" were signed, is one of the site's noteworthy attractions.

The church is a representation of the town's lasting history and its role in the formation of a country.
Boardwalk overlooking the Cape Fear RiverPhoto byBrunswick Town, North Carolina/Wikipedia


This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.

Comments / 2

Published by

Mohammad, a Raleigh, NC content writer, passionate about uncovering local treasures, beautifully weaves tales of hidden gems in city and state.

Raleigh, NC

More from Mohammad

Comments / 0