The town of Brunswick was the first successful European settlement in the Cape Fear region, established in 1726. It became a major British port and was home to two provincial governors. An early ship manifest notes “157 Scotch Highlanders” among the cargo and estimates are that at least 20,000 Scottish immigrants landed in Brunswick and later Wilmington during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Brunswick was burned during the American Revolution and never rebuilt, as dredging of the river had made Wilmington accessible to larger vessels.
Now a State Historic Site, many of the remains of the town and foundations of its buildings are clearly visible, despite the construction of a Civil War era fort on a portion of it. The specific location we have been offered is the land on which our Scottish ancestors would have made their first steps into a new life in a new land.
The project being planned for Brunswick Town will provide an additional enhancement to historical site in terms of:
- Exploration of the life, culture, and history of the the immigrants’ homelands
- Provide information about the motivations of those who settled Brunswick Town
- Highlight the importance of Brunswick Town in settling the Southeast Region of the United States – the migration from Brunswick Town
- Explore cultural interactions between completely different societies: especially the Highland Scots and the First Peoples of the Region (the Lumbee Indians)
- Promote an understanding of how these interactions impact and influence the unique character of the region today
- Add a new dimension to the site of Brunswick Town that will encourage more visitors
- Develop a venue for special events highlighting the history of our region