Bettie, NC Family Origins

Family Origins

“Down East” and the Outer Banks was inhabited by family whose names were generally Nelson, Willis, Guthrie, Salter, Lupton, Gillikin, Taylor, Day Fulcher, Lee, Fulford, Goulding (now Golden), Wade, Davis, Gaskill, Lawrence, Gaskins and many, many more.

In what is now Bettie, the Bell and Hellen families settled—coming from counties west and north of here—and Virginia. The two families built and lived in large houses on the point in Bettie (the old houses long since have rotted to the ground) where North River meets Ward’s Creek. Many, many of the older members of these families were buried in a private family cemetery there on their plantations. This land was near the water and now erosion has eaten many yards of the land and into the old cemetery. People have seen parts of tombstones and pieces of what they thought to be caskets floating down the river. The area is now a forest and the roads also are grown up. It is impassable. This Bell family is the same Bell family of old Col. Joseph Bell and his grandson Josiah Bell (whose old homes have been restored in Beaufort. Joseph’s has—the red house on Turner Street, Beaufort and Josiah’s is in the process of being restored. It is painted yellow and is located on the restoration grounds on Turner Street in Beaufort). Arthur is another family name originating in Bettie. Seth Arthur came to this country (an Englishman) with the British during the Revolutionary War. He loved it so he turned from the British and fought on our side. He was the first Arthur in this county and upon marrying Betsy Rumley (sister to Jacob Rumley, a Captain in the Revolutionary War) settled in Bettie. He gave the ground for the first (now public) cemetery in Bettie and his remains are still there. Ironically, he was the first to be buried there.

There was another family who moved to Bettie from Halifax District in Northhampton County, by the name of Artis, of French descent, and gradually changed their name to Arthur. It was so close, perhaps they thought it would be less confusing. But the real Arthurs are descendants from Seth Arthur and they are, by now, far reaching. The Arthurs in Morehead City are direct descendants of his. Only last week we received a letter from one of the Arthur girls from Morehead city, who is now a teacher at Tulane University in New Orleans, requesting information regarding the Arthur side of her family, which we do have. One would not believe the descendants living right here in Morehead City. Most of them do not even know it and the young ones could not care less, I suppose. It is when we reach a certain age (whatever age that is) that we begin to wonder who we were and from where we came. Certainly we are long before now “just real Americans”—still it’s nice to know our background—or is it?

Three Chadwick brothers came here from the western part of the state of Virginia–it is not exactly known for sure to us–neither is the name of the third brother. One was Solomon Chadwick and one Bartholomew. Some report these Chadwicks to have been the first. We are not sure if Solomon Chadwick lived in Bettie, or was visiting there, however he courted and married Abigail Bell, Colonel Joseph Bell’s granddaughter (Andrew Bell, born prior to 1675, was Joseph Bell’s father) and settled in Bettie. They had one daughter, Charlotte, who married Gilbert Arthur (son of Seth Arthur). David Arthur was their son. We have mentioned both these Arthurs before. Bartholomew Chadwick married Charlotte Bell, sister to Abigail. According to our records, they had no children.

Abigail’s grave is still in Bettie on the old V. B. Salter, Sr. plantation where a whole cemetery (which many of our ancestors buried there) was plowed up by some unthoughtful person or persons. Her (Abigail’s) grave is the only one left unmolested and is silently resting underneath an old oak tree. She was born in 1768–died in 1812—44 years and 9 days old, the tombstone says. Benjamin Leecraft also married one of Col. Joseph Bell’s granddaughters, Susannah. Their daughter, Susan Leecraft, married her first cousin (a great grandson of Col. Joseph Bell) Josiah Fisher Bell. They also lived in Bettie and raised a large family. It is not known how many of the other Bells were on Bettie or for how long; or when or how many moved to Beaufort. Back to the Bell—Leecraft, Bell—Bell families; we said the Bell cousins settled or stayed in Bettie and raised large families. They did and their grandchildren were many. One of their daughters married a Delamar from Beaufort, others married on Bettie settling there. One married John Werst Hellen. She was Mary Evelyn and they later (after having a large family) moved to “town” where they were schooled, married and left Beaufort, all in different directions. Bettie has much more history than one would think. John West Hellen was the son of Brian Hellen (the second) a lawyer and Clerk of court. His father was Isaac Hellen Esq. an educator and also surveyor.

Source: Thumbnail History of Carteret County; Compiled by Reba Hellen Salter Singer. Dedicated to The Morehead City Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution; 1976. Pp. 9.

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