Early 20th Century Boardwalk - Beaufort, North Carolina

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.