Brunswick County (1764)

Written By Jonathan Martin

Culled out of New Hanover and Bladen Counties in 1764, Brunswick County is the southernmost county in North Carolina. Brunswick was named in honor of King George I, the Duke of Brunswick and Lunenberg. The county seat has been relocated numerous times from Brunswick Town, to Lockwood Folly, to Smithville (now known as Southport), and then finally to its current location at the Bolivia township.

Brunswick County’s easternmost border is the Atlantic Coast, and its beaches and communities attract tourists and vacationers from across the Unites States. Sunset Beach, Oak Island, Holden Beach, Bald Head Island, and Ocean Isle Beach are local and tourist favorites. In addition to the county’s numerous beaches, the Cape Fear River is another geographical feature that makes the county’s western border. Also, the shipping route of the Intracoastal Waterway meanders through Brunswick County as well.

Brunswick County has many sites that offer a glimpse into the region’s colonial and Civil War history. The Bald Head Island Lighthouse (“Old Baldy”), the Brunswick Inn, Fort Johnston, and the Orton Plantation are just a few places of historical importance. Also, there are several museums and cultural groups such as Southport Maritime Museum, the Bald Head Island Conservatory, and the Brunswick County Historical Society.

Brunswick County’s fishing industry has had the most impact on the county’s economy, but agriculture and manufacturing have been on the rise in recent years. During the late 1700s and throughout the 1800s, Brunswick County led the state in rice production. Many farmers in the area grow corn, berries, tobacco, and raise different types of livestock. Also, several manufacturers within the region are involved in lumber, polyester, and citric acid production.