Beaufort County was formed in 1769 from the parishes of Prince William, St. Luke, St. Peter and St. Helena. The county and county seat were named for Sir Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. French explorers first visited this area long with the English arriving in 1562 to establish a fort. Later, in 1566, the Spanish established a temporary fort on this site The town of Beaufort was founded in 1710 and is the second oldest town in South Carolina. It was visited by pirates, including Blackbeard who is thought to have hidden some of his treasure nearby. Large and rice and sea island cotton plantations later enhanced its economy. During the War Between the States, Federal troops occupied Beaufort in December 1861.
Among the earliest settlers were: Alexander Garden (ca. 1730-1791), Stephen Elliott (1771-1830) and Robert Smalls (1839-1915).
Probate Records Available to members of South Carolina Pioneers
- Deloach, Jesse, 1785 Land Grant
- Deloach, Jesse, 1785 plat
- Goette, Henry, distribution of slaves. Bond of David Horton (1 Feb 1841)
- Lawton, Sarah LWT 1832
- Lawton, Joseph LWT
- Nielson, Nicholas of Hilton Head Island, LWT