Carteret County lost a staunch supporter and friend in December 2014 when Ruth Peeling Barbour died. She left a legacy of honesty, generosity and courage. More important is the fact that she left Carteret County a better place for its citizens.


Ruth began her work in Beaufort in 1946 at The Beaufort News and within a year became editor of the Carteret County News-Times. With her tremendous intellect and love of research and the printed word, she kept locals and visitors aware of events, happenings and life in Carteret County for more than 30 years. She made it her business to learn every facet of life in Carteret County and that knowledge, combined with a wide range of interests, helped her enhance the quality of life for its citizens.


Ruth continued writing editorials following her retirement in 1976, including a weekly column entitled Sou’easter under the name “Capt. Henry.” Her list of activities was long and included charter membership in the Carteret Business and Professional Women’s Club, serving as a member of the Carteret County Friends of the Library, the County Salvation Army Advisory Board and as president of the Carteret Community Theatre. Her love of the theater led her to write and direct six plays, all based on Carteret County history. She also was a member of the Carteret Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a board member of the State Society of Historians and the N. C. Society of the Daughters of 1812 and the Snap Dragon Chapter. She was a volunteer for The History Place in Morehead City and an active supporter of the Beaufort Historical Association, where one of her biggest contributions was the book she created recording the Association’s first 40 years, which remains an invaluable resource for the organization today.


Ruth was also a motivating force behind the creation of the Carteret Community Foundation, at that time called the Carteret Giving Foundation.

In 2007 Ruth’s contribution to the people of Carteret County included a $500,000 endowment to Carteret Community College Foundation in memory of her husband and her grandfather.



Ruth’s estate called for the creation of the following funds through the Carteret Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Carolina Community Foundation:

  • J.O. and Ruth Barbour Memorial Fund for the Beaufort Historical Foundation to support the Beaufort Historical Association;
  • J. O. and Ruth Barbour Memorial Fund for Elementary Education in Carteret County to support instruction in the basics, acquire classroom equipment, compensate teachers and capital improvement for facilities; and the
  • J. O. and Ruth Barbour Memorial Fund for Wildlife Habitat Conservation to support conservation projects in Carteret County that would contribute to the preservation, maintenance, or reestablishment of woodland and other natural areas that provide suitable and desirable habitats for wildlife, with particular emphasis on birdlife.


For information about contributing to any of these endowments or other funds held by NCCF, please contact us at 919-828-4387 or 800-201-9533 or email Beth Boney Jenkins at bjenkins@nccommunityfoundationn.org.

Note: This post is created from articles that ran in the Carteret County News-Times and also the newsletter published by the Beaufort Historical Association. All references and passages are used with permission.

All photos courtesy of the Beaufort Historic Site.

Click here to view Ruth Barbour’s obituary.

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