Early 20th Century Boardwalk - Beaufort, North Carolina

Born in the Allen Davis House

Allen Davis House circa 1774
Below is an excerpt from Francis Borden Mace's 8-page introduction (Fond Memories of Life in Beaufort) of Mary Warshaw's book, Historic Beaufort, North Carolina - A Unique Coastal Village Preserved:

"...Our large rented house at 120 Queen Street, home to Davis ancestors for decades, was a child's paradise. Less than a block from the water, it had a screened-in upstairs sleeping porch and swinging hammock just for kids! The dirt basement was over five feet high with a brick fireplace in the center that extended up through the two-story house. I loved hiding in the long unused lower fireplace during "hide and seek" games. The yard went back forever and included pecan, walnut, fig, pear and peach trees, with a scuppernong grape arbor at rear, surrounded by more than a dozen plum trees.

"At nine years of age after eating green grapes for an hour sitting alone on the very top of the arbor,  I developed a severe stomach ache. After Mother’s 'I told you so,' and hours of increasing pain, Daddy drove us to the hospital in Morehead City to see Dr. Ben Royal, who opened Morehead City's first hospital in 1911. As we crossed a railroad track while I was sitting as close to Mother as I possibly could, I heard her tell Daddy that something ruptured. She did not have to tell me, I knew. I stayed in the hospital for three months with tubes coming out of my stomach for drainage. The kids in my school prayed for me and eventually I was back on my feet. I have not eaten green grapes since..."  

1832 Davis-Mace House and the Mace Family

In 1832, Henry Marchant Cooke and Samuel Leffers Dill deeded to Dill "with privileges and appurtenances." John Philpot Currin Davis gained deed to the house in 1845. In 1852, John willed to wife Charity Bell; legal heirs were the Davis daughters. After widow Elizabeth B. Davis (Lindsay) died in 1930, William Arendell Mace, wife Maybelle Carrow and children moved into the house. Both families have deep roots in early coastal North Carolina and Beaufort history.

Born about 1700, Francis Mace moved south from Nansemond County, Virginia, and married Anne Newby (1708-1752) at the Symons Creek Monthly Meeting in Pasquotank County, NC. Francis was probably a son of Elizabeth Mace, from the Chuckatuck Monthly Meeting in the southern part of Nansemond County, who was widowed by 1702.  This Quaker group was experiencing a surge of members, arriving from Cumberland County, England as recounted by missionaries in 1698. Francis and Anne Mace had six children, born between 1729 and 1748. Francis died about a year after his last child Francis was born. The elder Francis' will was proven 1 Aug 1749 at "Eden House" on Salmon Creek, Edenton.  MORE...

Great Grandparents - William Cramer and Mary Champlin

"On October 9, 1913, my father, William Arendell Mace, married Maybelle Kaiser Carrow. My grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Cramer, who married Nathan Lafayette 'Nat' Carrow in 1890, was born in 1857 to Dr. William Cramer and Mary Elizabeth Champlin. Born in Rhinebeck, Duchess County, New York, Great-Grandfather Cramer came to Beaufort about 1853 from Portsmouth Village where he had served the 'Marine Hospital of Portsmouth.' In 1854, after many love letters 'sailed' north to Mary Elizabeth Champlin, William Cramer, without mincing words, wrote of finding Beaufort a very pleasing coastal village 'to raise a family.' 

Converted courthouse at 401 Ann Street (1970 photo) Later
moved to Restoration Grounds and restored to 1796 Courthouse
"Dr. Crammer immediately returned to Duchess County to make her his bride and made the arduous but exciting return to quiet little Beaufort, with which he had fallen in love. By way of a Conestoga covered wagon, Great-Grandmother Mary Elizabeth Champlin Cramer brought with her a prized possession, an early American childhood rocker to start housekeeping in the old 1796 courthouse, purchased for $325 and thereafter converted into a home.

"Dr. Cramer soon added an apothecary next to the house. Becoming involved in the community, in 1855 he was one of a dozen citizens who helped organize St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

"After years away, Mary Elizabeth's rocker is now located on the Restoration Grounds where it belongs—there with the 1796 Courthouse and 1859 Apothecary." - Borden Mace

1928 Bridge to Atlantic Beach and the Casino Resort

"My father, William Arendell Mace (1875-1933), ran Gaskill-Mace Hardware and was president at Bank of Beaufort and Taylor's Creek Fish Scrap and Oil Co. As president of the Atlantic Beach Bridge Corporation, he helped oversee the building of the 1928 bridge from Morehead City to Bogue Banks, and then managed the Atlantic Beach Casino and Resort. I have good memories of the days when Daddy was involved with the bridge. It was a wooden toll bridge, but we never had to pay, even for the bath houses on the beach. At about seven years of age, I won a prize for best male boy dancer when Paul Whiteman, the "King of Jazz" at the time, was playing at the Casino on a stormy night, and I was the only child, there with my father." - Borden Mace

My Best Friend in Beaufort - Taylor O'Bryan

305 Ann Street - Beaufort, NC
Home of  Taylors and O'Bryans
"My best friend growing up in Beaufort was Taylor O'Bryan. He was the grandson of "Ma and Pa" Taylor, easily the matriarch and patriarch of our village. In 1935, Taylor and I made the front page of The Beaufort News with our newsstand on wheels, "You name it—we have it." As Beaufort's youngest businessmen, we would push our stand to the sidewalk in front of every place that sold papers or magazines, until we had a monopoly in town and took orders for shipment Down East! We even had an office with one desk and two chairs. 

"Taylor and I rode our bikes to Core Creek and also camped on Ocracoke Island. We spent some summers with his mother in Rutherford, New Jersey. Money was short, so we limited our bus trips into New York City to twice a week. We took the first bus and paid a quarter each at the Paramount Theater for a 9am film followed by, say, Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey's Band as a stage show. At 2:30, we would sit in Seventh Heaven's second-balcony seats with our heads hitting the ceiling to see Julie Harris, Ethel Waters and Brandon deWilde in Carson McCuller’s Member of the Wedding. At 8pm we might see Laurette Taylor in Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie! Little did I know that years later I would meet Tennessee Williams and help produce his film version of The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone with Vivien Leigh and Warren Beatty.

World War II Draft Card
"During WWII, on his very first war-time mission flying in the Pacific, Taylor O'Bryan was listed as "missing in action." I lost my best friend. A marker in St. Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery in Beaufort memorizes him."  - Borden Mace

Nelson Taylor O'Bryan (1921-1946) was son of Elizabeth S. Taylor (1887-1972) and Allen O'Bryan, and grandson of Mary Catherine Buckman (1860-1965) and Nelson Whitford Taylor (1856-1948).

Mace Family Friends - The Dickinsons

Fairleigh Stanton Dickinson Sr.

"Fairleigh Stanton Dickinson Sr., of Core Creek, was one of Daddy's closest friends. He came into Daddy's office and said, "Will, I don't think I'll ever get anywhere looking at the asshole of a mule for the rest of my life." My father helped Fairleigh purchase a small sailing vessel, which he used to transport watermelons to Norfolk through the newly opened canal. Fairleigh made enough money to go to New York. Later, on a train west he met Henry Becton from Kinston. They got off the train in Cleveland, returned to Rutherford, New Jersey and started Becton-Dickinson Medical Supplies, which soon became a Fortune 500 company.

"Fairleigh and wife Grace had one son, Fairleigh Stanton "Dick" Dickinson, Jr., who was my age. The family regularly spent summers in Beaufort at the Davis House or the Inlet Inn and were guests in our home. During the 1932 polio epidemic in New Jersey, Mr. Dickinson called my father and asked, "Will, can Dick come live with you and attend Beaufort High School during this epidemic?" Dick left the New York Military Academy at Croton-on-Hudson for our public school. Mother converted our library-music room into a bedroom, which meant our only downstairs toilet was no longer ours—it was a private bath for the new member of our family, at least for a while.

Headstone - F.S. Dickinson Jr.
Tower Hill Cemetery
Edgartown, Massachusetts
"Daddy gave Dick his first boat with a big Evinrude outboard motor. We went everywhere in this boat. As the sun came up, we would be on our way to catch the blues while they were running near the stone jetties off Shackelford Banks this side of Beaufort Inlet. With simple silver plugs just above the hook, on regular cotton line, without rod and reel, we could easily land hundreds of fish in less than an hour as the blues tried to feed on jumping minnows that filled the water for a brief period. Dick was always the "Captain" and I was "First Mate."

"Over the years it was Dick's Daddy, Col. Dickinson, who gave his son bigger and bigger boats. By the mid 1930s, they included a 56-foot Matthews motor yacht named Tar Heel, of Beaufort, N.C. (When war came, Dick turned his boat over to the Coast Guard and he commanded a cutter which led the way onto the beaches off Guadalcanal.) For the rest of the 1930s we extended our playgrounds to Havana, Key West and Bimini in the British West Indies. We also helped start big game fishing in the Gulf Stream, using rods and reels in Carteret County, just 35 miles off Beaufort Inlet and Cape Lookout."
- Borden Mace

Graduation from UNC and World War II

Senior Photo - UNC 1941
Borden Mace graduated from the University of North Carolina in the spring of 1941, and started graduate work in philosophy. 

In September 1941, a few months before Pearl Harbor, Mace volunteered for the Navy. Due to his experience in the visual arts as an assistant at the Bureau of Visual Instruction at UNC, Mace was assigned by the Navy to help organize the training films office, and he served as officer in charge for procurement during World War II, during which time some 5,000 training films and filmstrips were created. Later as photographic and photo-intelligence officer on the USS Bennington, Mace flew over Tokyo on the Navy's first bombing raid on February 22, 1945. Mace was present at Japan's formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. 

See a few of Mace's favorite film projects below.

George Orwell, "Animal Farm" and Sonia

December 29, 1954 - Dinner before the Opening of Animal Farm 
Left to Right: John Halas, Joy Batchelor, Borden Mace and Sonia Orwell
"It's ironic that George Orwell, whose books, Animal Farm and 1984, made him a world figure, never got to enjoy any of the monetary rewards of his major efforts. I first encountered his writing with Homage to Catalonia; the Spanish Wars against dictator Franco were always confusing until I read his book. When George Orwell and his wife, Eileen were in the trenches together and in pain, I felt as if I were fighting alongside them. And when Orwell, whose given name was Eric Blair, discovered that the Russian communists fighting in the trenches with them did not share the same democratic views that he did, I went along with Orwell.

"Years later, after Orwell's death, when I was helping bring Animal Farm to the world's screens, I met Mrs. George Orwell, Sonia Blair. She was charming and very bright. I thought she was delightful as well as beautiful! I must admit I had difficulty picturing her in the trenches with mud on her face, carrying her own rifle. It took me about three days to discover that she had not been in the trenches and that Eileen, his first wife, had since died. Sonia had been George's nurse in a hospital and married him three months before his death. He never got out of the hospital.

"Orwell had gone to Eaton but never went on to Oxford or Cambridge, yet his ability to use the English language is unsurpassed. He certainly experienced 'the hard life' growing up but never complained, instead he wrote about it. Down and Out in Paris and London, Shooting An Elephant in Burma as a British police guardian or The Road to Wigan Pier supply more than enough detail of making ends meet. 

"Despite the rumors that Sonia was a money-grubbing playgirl, the evidence is that Orwell was very lonely and had been pursuing her for some time. In my experience, living until 94, I'm appreciative that she finally accepted his offer of marriage. Hindsight has also brought me to the conclusion that she was a wonderful protector of his literary legacy, and that includes allowing the CIA to use his works as propaganda. MORE...

Appalachian Consortium

This image shows Borden Mace, director of the Appalachian Consortium at Appalachian State University in the 1970s. He was appointed to the position in October 1972. 

Founded in 1971, the Appalachian Consortium was a non-profit organization of Appalachian universities and other educational organizations whose goal was to promote and preserve Appalachian culture and heritage.

IMAGE: Appalachian State University Historical Photographs Collection, University Archives and Records, Special Collections, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC

Friendship with Writer John Ehle

In 1980, the NCSSM opened in the 
old Watts Hospital in Durham, NC

On a visit to Chapel Hill after World War II, Borden Mace met John Ehle, then a student from Asheville and six years his junior. The two men "hit it off" and had a decades-long friendship which resulted in several joint projects.

A huge proponent of education, Mace, along with his friend John Ehle, former NC Governors Jim Hunt and Terry Sanford, was instrumental in founding The North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) in 1980, serving as the school's first principal and deputy director. The school's library is named after Mace and his late wife, Grace Breslin.

Following his success with NCSSM, Borden Mace was asked to advise in the founding of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in 1986, serving as interim director in its first year, and again came out of retirement in 1991 to help establish the School of Filmmaking at the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Borden Mace’s last Hollywood project was with his friend John Ehle in the 1990s, first working to snag the movie deal for
the 1995 film version of Ehle's book, The Journey of August King, then worked with the team as associate producer.

A week before Borden Mace's death, John Ehle was able to visit his long-time friend in his cottage at Noble Horizons in Salisbury, Connecticut.

1995 Interview

by Steve Ward
Appalachian Journal Fall 1995
Appalachian State University

"Beware of Conventional Wisdom"

In November 2013, Borden wrote:

Chasing Monarchs - Mexico - 2012
Pundits often recommend that people ought to marry someone like yourself, with exactly the same values, same religion, same ethnic tribe. In other words find your clone. But unsaid is that doing so can also result in missing out on what could be. That has certainly been my experience! 

After Grace Breslin, my beautiful and good wife of 30 years and a daily Roman Catholic mass goer, died, I looked for another Grace. Instead my Episcopalian soul met and fell head over heels in love with Gloria, a good looking Jewish woman of great style, whose wit, intellect and zest for life captivated me. Both of us had long, successful marriages that ended with the terminal illnesses of spouses six months before we met.

After 11 wonderful years, I lost this new love of my life, Gloria Krasnow Liebenson. To the outside world we were living in sin since we did not marry to avoid problems of inheritance. We were unconditionally committed to each other. Our relationship that began when we were in our 80's gave each other the unexpected and surprising gift of endless banter, debate, travel, a passion for the arts and politics, and so much more. We amazed each other with the different sides of our aging personalities. What fun, what caring, what love, until illness took her away. What great gifts we were to each other so late in life. The cliche of sunset years being the best suddenly became appropriate. Who would have thought it possible? MORE...

Beaufort Natives Offer Insight into the Past

Carteret News-Times - Friday March 7, 2014
Dawson Durrett

BEAUFORT — For nearly 50 people, it was a step back in time Tuesday as the Beaufort Historical Association hosted two guest speakers at the old 1796 Carteret County Courthouse on Turner Street for a living history program.

Borden Mace and his sister Mary Elizabeth Carrow Mace Johnson related nostalgic tales of what life was like for them in Beaufort in the dawn of the 20th century. The small courthouse was packed full of enthusiastic community members, who came to hear how life was and how it had changed.

Mr. Mace is an American movie producer, now living in Connecticut, who has produced hundreds of films. Notable projects include his production of 1954 adaptation of “Animal Farm” and a role as associate producer of “Lost Boundaries” starring Mel Ferrer in his first leading role. His last Hollywood project was in 1996 as producer of “The Journey of August King” starring Jason Patric. In 1991 Mr. Mace served as adviser on the establishment of the School of Filmmaking at the UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem.

Mrs. Johnson grew up in the Mace house on Ann Street until she attended college at the age of 16.  She married and moved around the country until eventually retiring to Pine Knoll Shores in 1980 where she and her husband resided until 2002. They now live in the town of Ocean, overlooking Broad Creek and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Mr. Mace and Mrs. Johnson recounted a number of their childhood escapades and myriad memories of life in old Beaufort. The afternoon in the small courthouse passed quickly as the audience was treated to a series of leisurely anecdotes.
Mr. Mace spoke on the old menhaden industry and the related factories that dotted the county. He also conveyed tales of childhood mischief and indomitable Carteret character. At one point he went into detail to recreate the old house that became the courthouse, and how at 7 years old he witnessed the funeral of his grandfather, an officer in the Confederate Army, looking “resplendent in his uniform.”

Mrs. Johnson remembered how life flowed day after day. She told the assembly that she felt life in the old Beaufort was a privilege, and by her words she clearly cherished it. “Beaufort was wonderful. I wish my children had the same experience. It was so easy going. I could walk everywhere and do anything. Everybody knew each other. It was so wholesome.”
Mr. Mace closed out the forum by presenting a rocking chair he called the “Borden Mace Rocker,” and gifting it to the BHA.

Last Project - Working with Mary Warshaw

During his last eight months, Borden Mace and I connected by email. He had purchased Porchscapes while on his last visit to Beaufort and became what he called "your biggest fan." (I ended up calling him "Bookie," his Beaufort nickname while growing up.)

I helped him find the Mace connection to the Borden family and other family history he had not known. Almost instantly, he began advising me on my new book, North Carolina's Historic Beaufort - A Unique Coastal Village Preserved (released June 2015). 

Bookie's work in films also included work as a publisher. This experience and his love for his home town led him to a genuine interest in my book.  

He ended up writing the introduction, the beginning of which includes, "When Mary asked me to put on paper some of my recollections of growing up in Beaufort, I jumped at the opportunity. I had the good fortune of being born in Beaufort in 1920 and am willing to share the joy of growing up there. In her new book, Mary provides all of us an accurate history; I will limit myself to telling just a bit of what it felt like to me at the time. Others had other experiences and feelings, but before mine are lost in time, compare and enjoy. I hope I am able to add some sense of humanity and humor to Mary's remarkable account."

A Tribute to Georgia W. Neal: At the age of 17 (1937), Bookie worked with Miss Neal on a booklet she produced, The Old Topsail Inlet, A Story of Old and New Beaufort. Since she was "the first artist to recognize and sketch some of Beaufort's old homes," we decided to include a tribute in the book (written by Bookie) including Miss Neal's sketches. 

At 94, Bookie's many long (typo-free) emails amazed me. Besides consulting on various things, he would often get sidetracked and speak of growing up in Beaufort and also about his many experiences as a publisher and movie producer while working for Louis de Rochemont. He would often come up with ideas for the back cover or promotional ideas, which he would take the time to print and put in the mail. 

This was Borden Mace's last project. During his remaining few weeks, confined to his bed, he would often dictate to his dedicated personal assistant, Dana. I continued to send emails.

Dana: "Borden believes so strongly in you and your book. He speaks so fondly of you and is genuinely interested in your success. Working with you on your book over these many months has given him something to look forward to - a project to commit to - and it has energized him. I'll read him your email in the morning. I'm sure he'll be happy to hear from you. Your friendship means a lot to him as well and he most definitely carries you in his heart."

He dictated a response: "The nicest thing I could've heard this morning was when Dana read to me that you referred to your book as "our" book. Thanks for everything. You made an old man very happy.

Though Bookie never had the chance to hold "our" book, The connection was meant to be. Without his support and help, this book would have never been possible!  - Mary

Special Trip into Manhattan - Sept 2014

Sept. 3, 2014 email from Borden Mace: "I decided that taking the METRO into Grand Central would be OK but getting from the train to a cab and hotel would be a hazzle and I run out of energy... ...Therefore on Wednesday next, Dana Lemay, will drive me and Gisela Piccolo, into Manhattan and drop us at an Indian Restaurant with hot and spicy dishes, next door to the Laura Pels Theater, 111 West 46th Street. John Ehle will make a foursome for lunch and afterward I'll hobble next door to see his wife, Rosemary Harris, star in Tom Stoppard's INDIAN INK. After the matinee and a kiss from Rosemary, the Connecticut contingent will happily return to Salisbury the same day. It should be fun and rewarding even if it is a long day's night..."

Rosemary Harris
Sept. 10, 2014 email: "The 9am to 9pm trip to Manhattan was both exhausting and thrilling. After more than a full day of driving and sitting, my legs and ankles were swollen to double their normal size! I literally fell into my bed at 9pm...I awakened at 9am...the joy of yesterday when Rosemary Harris and her husband, John Ehle, were out on the street to welcome us just outside her theatre and the Indian restaurant where we had a relaxing and leisurely luncheon. Tom Stoppard, who I think is the greatest living playwright, did not disappoint - nor did the artists on and off stage. Dana and Gisela helped me back stage later to see Rosie in her dressing room. They enjoyed it immensely as did I. I am very lucky to have such wonderful friends."

Painting of the Old Mace Property - August 2014

August 2014 email from Borden Mace: "As part of my self imposed mental therapy, I paint. Today I finally finished painting my version of my grandfather's house on Front Street. Not in the rundown condition as in the Jack Dudley book, I chose to show it years earlier with a young girl on the front porch  and a rowboat  tied  to a stake. I wanted to show the swing on the porch as per the photo but I gave up; I also added two wooden planks and a short walkway that connect to Beaufort's Broadwalk! The pattern of the wind blown trees replicated in the clouds and in the water is the only  redeeming feature. It is not very good. In fact it's horrible. But it is mine."

"Say Good Morning to the World" Nov 2014

A week before 94-year-old Borden Mace died – 21 Nov 2014 – His personal assistant, and friend asked, "What is it that you want people to know about you?"

"That I lived. And not always wisely but I enjoyed taking risks and being adventuresome and doing the unusual. Beware of an ordinary life.  

"There's a nasty rumor going around that I have nothing left to say. Let me put a stop to that right away. There's plenty wrong with the world and I might as well get part of it off my chest. I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but I can still color. So get off your ass and create something today. There's too much misery when we could be writing music or performing or just saying good morning world, thanks for coming up today. It's as much as we can do, isn't it? To come alive every day. Just by coming alive every day you demonstrate that life is worth living."

Sunrise in Beaufort Harbor