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Beaufort South Carolina Walking Tour
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Now operating as the Cuthbert House Inn bed & breakfast, this historic home is also known as the John Alexander Cuthbert House. It appears to have been originally built around 1790. It is named after Cuthbert, who began living in the house with his new wife in 1811. He belonged to a wealthy plantation-owning family whose ancestors were from Scotland. The house is also notable for its association with Union General Rufus Saxton, who lived here during and after the Civil War (the Cuthbert family fled Beaufort to escape the Union army). Additionally, in January 1865, Saxton invited Union General William T. Sherman to the house. In 1973, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The John Alexander Cuthbert House was likely built around 1790 and is now a bed and breakfast inn.

Plant, Property, Sky, Window

The Cuthbert Family

The Cuthbert family's roots originate in Scotland beginning in the 15th century (or perhaps earlier). A family descendant, James Cuthbert, immigrated to the South Carolina colony in October 1737. Over time, the Cuthberts established themselves as one of the colony's elite plantation and slave owning families. John Alexander Cuthbert was born in 1790 St. Helena's Parish, South Carolina. The family lived in the house during the hot summer months and entertained guests as well. Unfortunately, Cuthbert only lived for a few more years, dying of yellow fever in 1817 at the age of 26. His wife, Mary, and two sons continued to live at the house and the family prospered.

General Rufus Saxton

After Fort Sumter fell to the Confederates in April, 1861, President Lincoln ordered that all southern ports be blockaded. This included the area around Beaufort, which is called the Port Royal Sound. In November 1861, Union troops seized Confederate on Hilton Head Island, prompting residents to flee the city. Mary and her sons escaped to North Carolina where she owned property. Slaves ransacked the home before it was occupied by Union troops, some of whom scratched their names and hometowns onto a black marble fireplace that is still located in one of the inn's guest rooms.

The house soon became the residence of General Saxton, who was responsible for ensuring the surrounding cotton plantations continued to operate. He was also tasked with managing the newly freed slave population and recruiting former male slaves to join the Union army. Saxton knew General Sherman from their days fighting Native Americans so it is perhaps unsurprising that Saxton invited Sherman to the house in 1865. Sherman had just completed his "March to the Sea" campaign and was moving his army into the Carolinas.

Saxton bought the house after the war and lived here for ten years. The next owner was a local lumberman named Duncan Wilson, who expanded the house to its current size and Adam-style design. It is unclear how long it has operated as an inn.

"Cuthbert House Inn History." Cuthbert House Inn. Accessed February 12, 2021.

"The Founding of Beaufort And The History of The Cuthbert House Inn." Cuthbert House Inn. Accessed February 12, 2021.

Ruhf, Nancy R. "John A Cuthbert House." National Park Service - National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. June 13, 1972.

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