Known as "Fish Town" in the early 1700's when Blackbeard frequented the coast, "Beaufort Town" was established as a seaport with the right to collect customs in 1722. During the American Revolution, it was the third largest port in the state.
As in most of eastern North Carolina, early trade centered around lumber products. These were shipped from the rich Newport River area plantations to the West Indies in exchange for glassware, cloth, furniture, coffee and rum.
Historically significant, the "Old Burying Ground" was deeded to the town in 1731. It contains graves of soldiers from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Captain Otway Burns' grave with the cannon from his privateer, is perhaps one of the best known.