Brunswick County Historical Society

History of the Society

The Brunswick County Historical Society was organized August 3, 1954, with Cornelius Thomas as president. From October 1954 until June 1956, the organization did not function. On June 21, 1956, a group met at Clarendon Plantation and reorganized the Society electing Kirby Sullivan president. A constitution was adopted in 1962.

The Society maintained a Brunswick Town Preservation Committee, whose function was to formulate policy and to give financial aid to the historical site.

The Society was active in helping to secure a legislative grant for the construction of a museum/visitor center at Brunswick Town. The Society had a bicentennial Celebration at Brunswick Town on November 15, 1964. Mrs. Harry L. Mintz, Jr., was chairman of the program.

By 1972 members of the Society were seeing the completion of archeological work at the site and the building of the museum/visitor center. This was accomplished by the supervision provided by North Carolina Archives and History and also the daily work of the Director, William G. Faulk, and his staff.

In 1963 the president, Mrs. M. H. Rourk, served as the area chairman for the North Carolina tercentenary celebration of the granting of the Carolina Charter. In recognition of this event, the Society presented a program at Brunswick Town on September 8, 1963. The program, under the direction of Charles Taylor, included Dr. Lawrence Lee, who conceived the idea of preserving the ruins at Brunswick Town; J. Lawrence Sprunt, who donated the land for the site; and Brigadier General John D. F. Phillips, who was the executive secretary of the State Tercentenary Commission.

The quarterly programs of the Society dealt with the history of Brunswick County. The Society has been fortunate in having programs presented by its own members, especially Stanley A. South, archeologist in charge at Brunswick Town and Fort Fisher; R. V. Asbury, formerly official guide at Brunswick Town; and C. B. Berry, surveyor from Ocean Drive, SC. Other notable speakers included Dr. Phillips Russell and Dr. E. J. Woodhouse, former members of the faculty of the University of North Carolina; and Dr. Lawrence Lee of The Citadel faculty.

Some members of this Society are teaching local history and others are researching materials to contribute to the programs. Most of the programs have featured historians from several universities and from the Division of Archives and History.

The Brunswick County Historical Society is a member of the North Carolina Federation of Historical Societies. We respond and cooperate with other historical organizations for mutual benefit in appreciation and preservation of our heritage.

In 1981, the dues were $5.00 and a life membership of $100.

Past Presidents of the Society: 1954, Cornelius Thomas; 1956, Kirby Sullivan; 1957, Foster Mintz; 1958-1961, Rev. Lawrence Bridgers; 1962-1972, Marie Rourk; 1973-1977, Lucille Blake; 1978 Frances Williams; 1979-1981, James Register.

Other officers during this time included Helen Taylor, Gertrude McNeiII, Jeanette Driscoll, Harold Aldridge, Amarette Pierce, Grover Gore, Katherine Carson, Jane Shatterly, Elaine Harmon, Lottie Ludlum, and Johnsie Holden.

*** This abbreviated history was compiled by Gwen Causey using a brief history of the Society written by Mary Wyche Mintz and the 1981 Society officers.