Very Local History: Bizarro Wilmington


Midmost Coast podcast episode 013 | Very Local History: Bizarro Wilmington

The port city of Wilmington, North Carolina once had an evil twin across the river. In the colonial days of America, Wilmington came out the victor in a struggle to the death.

This is a gross dramatization of the story of Brunswick Town, the lost provincial capitol of North Carolina, and the ill fated revival of the grounds during the American Civil War with the construction of Fort Anderson.

The ruins of the St. Philips church

The ruins of the St. Philips church | Photo Credit: Sean Gallagher

Show Summary

Setup for Brunswick Town

  • The Cape Fear Indians
  • The Tuscarora War
  • Just a little bit of geography

The settling of Brunswick Town

  • The prominent South Carolinian Moore family moves to Beverly Hills
  • The Romulus and Remus of Brunswick Town, Maurice and Roger Moore
  • Getting fat off of longleaf pines, tar, pitch and turpentine

Rivalry with the Town with Too Many Names

  • “New Town” is formed in 1733
  • In the 1730’s Brunswick town becomes seat of county government
  • Governor George Burrington moves to Brunswick Town, is not impressed
  • The Moores, or “The Family,” run Brunswick town as their fiefdom
  • The new governor, Gabriel Johnston, goes to war with “The Family”
  • “Newton” becomes Wilmington in 1940, steals Brunswick Town’s thunder

Origin of the ruins

  • The Russellborough “Castle”
  • The St. Philips Church

An Unfortunate Series of Attacks

  • The Spanish raid in 1748
  • The Stamp Act of 1765 unrest
  • The hurricane of 1761
  • The British invasion

The end is not the end

  • Brunswick Town is burned down
  • Confederate fort is built on site in 1862
  • Fort Anderson is attack in 1863
  • Everyone runs away in 1865

Modern day recap

  • The present-day state park preservation
  • Sleepy Hollow on location


Some of Sean’s pictures on Midmost Coast’s Facebook page.

Some of Allen’s pictures on Midmost Coast’s Facebook page.


The official website of the North Carolina historic site of Brunswick Town and Fort Anderson.

Gabriel Johnston, sixth provincial governor of North Carolina, now on Wikipedia.

More about the Cape Fear Indians -and the Moore plantation- on NCpedia.

More on longleaf pines and the shipbuilding industry.

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