Indian History of Present Day Berkeley County, West Virginia

Berkeley County WVA

According to missionary reports, several thousand Hurons occupied present-day West Virginia, including the Eastern Panhandle region where Berkeley County is located, during the late 16th and early 17th centuries. During the 17th century, the Iroquois Confederacy (then consisting of the Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, and Seneca tribes) drove the Hurons from the state. The Iroquois Confederacy was headquartered in New York and was not interested in occupying present-day West Virginia. Instead, they used it as a hunting ground during the spring and summer months.

During the early 18th century, West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle region was inhabited by the Tuscarora. They eventually migrated northward into New York and, in 1712, became the sixth nation to be formally admitted into the Iroquois Confederacy. The Eastern Panhandle region was also used as a hunting ground by several other Indian tribes, including the Shawnee (then known as the Shawanese) who resided near present-day Winchester, Virginia and Moorefield, West Virginia until 1754 when they migrated into Ohio. The Mingo, who resided in the Tygart Valley and along the Ohio River in present-day West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle region, and the Delaware, who lived in present-day eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, but had several autonomous settlements as far south as present-day Braxton County, also used the area as a hunting ground.

Following the French and Indian War, the Mingo retreated to their homes along the banks of the Ohio River and were rarely seen in the Eastern Panhandle region. Although the French and Indian War was officially over, many Indians continued to view the British as a threat to their sovereignty and continued to fight them. In the summer of 1763, Pontiac, an Ottawa chief, led raids on key British forts in the Great Lakes region. Shawnee chief Keigh-tugh-qua, also known as Cornstalk, led similar attacks on western Virginia settlements, starting with attacks in present-day Greenbrier County and extending northward to Berkeley Springs, and into the northern Shenandoah Valley. By the end of July, Indians had destroyed or captured all British forts west of the Alleghenies except Fort Detroit, Fort Pitt, and Fort Niagara. The uprisings were ended on August 6, 1763 when British forces, under the command of Colonel Henry Bouquet, defeated Delaware and Shawnee forces at Bushy Run in western Pennsylvania.

During the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the Mingo and Shawnee, headquartered at Chillicothe, allied themselves with the British. In 1777, a party of 350 Wyandots, Shawnees and Mingos, armed by the British, attacked Fort Henry, near present-day Wheeling. Nearly half of the soldiers manning the fort were killed in the three-day assault. The Indians then left the area celebrating their victory. For the remainder of the war, smaller raiding parties of Mingo, Shawnee, and other Indian tribes terrorized settlers throughout northern and eastern West Virginia. As a result, European settlement throughout present-day West Virginia, including the Eastern Panhandle, came to a virtual standstill until the war’s conclusion.

Following the war, the Mingo and Shawnee, once again allied with the losing side, returned to their homes. As the number of settlers in present-day West Virginia began to grow, both the Mingo and Shawnee moved further inland, leaving their traditional hunting ground to the white settlers.

In 1670, John Lederer, a German physician and explorer employed by Sir William Berkeley, colonial governor of Virginia, became the first European to set foot in present-day Berkeley County.  John Howard and his son also passed through present-day Berkeley County a few years later, and “discovered” the valley of the South Branch Potomac River at Green Spring.

From Wikipedia about Berkeley County, West Virginia.

Posted in Cayuga, Delaware, Huron, Iroquois, Mingoes, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Ottawa, Seneca, Shawnee, Tuscarora, Wyandot | 2 Comments

Indians Along the Susquehanna in the 1670s

Susquehanna Seller Map

Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers about 1680

Excerpts from the book, “A History Between the Rivers; The Susquehanna, the Juniata and the Potomac 1609-1958 by C. Arnold McClure.

Page 47 – 1675/76 “…the destruction of the Susquehannocks, a once-powerful group of Indians who had stablished themselves on the lower Susquehanna River and who seem to have served as middlemen in the exchange of beaver skins and European trade goods through  the region between the upper Ohio and the Delaware Chesapeake coastal area…destruction caused  by epidemic and hostile attacks by Iroquois and whites…” (1)

Page 48 – June 18, 1676 – “They (the Iroquois) are bringing 50 captives (other Indians) from a distance of 200 leagues from here (Onondaga, NY), to whom they have granted their lives because they destine them to work in their fields.”  (2)

Page 48 – 1677 – Southern Delaware Indians move into Susquehanna River area and take over trade activities.  “Delawares were generally identified as a ‘woman nation’.”  Northern Delaware known to be more aggressive.  (3)

Page 48 – circa 1677 – Old Susquehanna town near present Conestoga new Indian community formed composed originally of Senecas and Susquehannock captives, then attracting bands of roving Shawnees, Conoys from Maryland and Delawares from further East.  (4)

  1. William A. Hunter, “Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier,” 1999 page 5
  2. Letter from Jesuit Priest, Jean de Lamberville, per Charles A. Hanna in “The Wilderness Trail,” 1910
  3. William A. Hunter, “Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier,” 1999 page 4
  4. William A. Hunter, “Forts on the Pennsylvania Frontier,” 1999 page 10
Posted in Conoy, Delaware, Iroquois, Seneca, Shawnee, Slaves, Susquehanna | Leave a comment

Library of Virginia Native American Resources

The Library of Virginia maintains many collections, and found within them are several Native American resources dating from colonial days.  This document describes those resources and tells you how and where to locate and access them.

Posted in Virginia | 1 Comment

Native American Haplogroup C Update – Progress!!!

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Haplogroup C-P39 is the Native American branch of Y DNA paternal haplogroup C.  It’s rare as chicken’s teeth.  Most Native American males fall into haplogroup Q, making our haplogroup C-P39 project participants quite unusual and unique.  So are the tools needed to identify branches on the Native American haplogroup C tree.

Last week, Family Tree DNA added a group of 9 SNPs found in haplogroup C to their product offering.  This was done without an announcement and without any fanfare – but it’s really important.  Without the ongoing support of Family Tree DNA, we wouldn’t have the Big Y test, nor the refining SNP tests that can be added to the Big Y in areas where the results are ambiguous.  Individuals who don’t want to purchase the Big Y can purchase these haplogroup defining SNPs individually as well.

  • Z30503
  • Z30601
  • FGC21495
  • Z30750
  • Z30764
  • PF3239
  • Z30729
  • FGC263
  • FGC31712

However, because haplogroup C-P39 is so rare – and to date – we have found several new SNPs in every man who has taken the Big Y test – and because those new, never before discovered SNPs are the bread crumbs that we need to follow to discover how our ancestors settled and dispersed across the Americas – we strong recommend the Big Y test at Family Tree DNA for all C-P39 men.  The Big Y test doesn’t just look at known SNP locations, it scans the entire Y chromosome for mutations.  Therefore, it’s both a genealogy and a research tool.

To that end, we very much want to fund this testing from the project coffers where necessary to advance our understanding.  Just to whet your appetite, we have participants now across Canada and also in the American Southwest.  We desperately want these men to take the Big Y test so we can get a much clearer picture of how they are related, and how many mutations they have individually – but don’t share – because that is how we estimate when they last shared a common ancestor.  In other words, the mutations build the branches of the tree.

This week, we’ve ordered another new C-P39 Big Y test.  If you are C-P39 – Native American haplogroup C – and have not yet taken the Big Y – please consider doing so.

If you are Native American and haplogroup C – please join the C-P39 and the American Indian projects.  You can do so from your home page at Family Tree DNA by clicking on the “Projects” tab at the upper left of your personal page, then on “join projects.”  You can search for the word “Indian” in the project list to find the American Indian project and scrolling down to the Y haplogroup projects and clicking on C will take you to the C-P39 link.

project join

If you can contribute to funding these Big Y tests, please do – even small amounts help.  The link to donate directly to the C-P39 project is:

Each individual who takes the Big Y test is also encouraged to upgrade to 111 markers.  We need as much information as we can get.

Marie Rundquist and I are co-administrators of the C-P39 project, and she wrote the following verbiage in honor of the 5 year anniversary of the first discovery of what is now C-P39 in the Native Community.  We, as a community, have come a very long way in just 5 years!

It was in 2010, five years ago, when Keith Doucet first tested for the C P39 Y DNA (formerly C3b) Native American DNA type in the Amerindian Ancestry out of Acadia Family Tree DNA study — with numbers of Doucets (and Doucettes!) having the same, Native American, C P39 Y DNA result.  It’s amazing when you think of our journey and how much this research has benefitted our knowledge of our history in North America!

Who can ever forget Keith Doucet’s discovery?

Or Emile Broome’s Y DNA discovery, also from 2010?

…and the subsequent discoveries of related Doucets and Doucettes and other project members from all regions of the US and Canada who tested in our project and whose results showed the same Native American C P39 Y DNA haplogroup type?

There is great similarity among the DNA test results for our C P39 Y DNA candidates despite differences in geographic locations and surnames, with testers from across the United States, including the American Southwest, the North East, the South, and Canada compared.  Initial Big Y DNA test results for project members have shown remarkable similarity as well.  Additional Big Y test results for tests underway and the availability of 9 new SNPs for our project members help us discover whether this trend is amplified by the additional tests or if we (the C P39 Y DNA project) can distinguish downstream uniqueness among our participants. The C P39 Y DNA test has received the generous support of its members, Family Tree DNA leadership and scientists, product managers, and volunteer administrators in establishing our superior C P39 Y DNA baseline and we are grateful for your support.

Visit the C P39 Y DNA project site to learn more.

Thank you to our project members for your continued participation!  And thank you to Family Tree DNA for their ongoing dedication, research and support.  Collectively, we discover more of our history every day!

If you haven’t tested, and would like to, please test through Family Tree DNA so that you can join the Native American focused projects there.  Here’s an article that will help you decide which test or tests are best for you to take.  Proving Native American Ancestry Using DNA

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Posted in DNA | 2 Comments

Amelia County, VA Tithables 1737-1739 Indians

This 1738 transcription by Robert Young Clay contains, as did the 1737 list previously published, three lists which appear to cover the entire territory. In 1738 we find two Indians listed: Indian Will under William Walthal in the area between Deep and Flat creeks and Indian Jack with Sarah Crawley in the precinct below Deep Creek.  William Walthal does not appear in the 1737 list. Indian Jack is found with William Crawley in 1737. Robert Evans who appeared with Robin, Indian, in 1737 appears alone in 1738.

The Indians listed with George Booker and at Peter Mitchel’s quarter in 1737 do not appear in 1738. The 1739 Amelia tithables include Peter Mitchels Indian Robert but in 1739, no other individuals are noted as Indian.

A number of the tithables were labeled Negro, others were not labeled. All appear to be slaves.

Since the law passed in 1705 specifically stated that all males over the age of sixteen and all Negro, mulatto and Indian women sixteen or older would be taxed, it is possible that those not labeled either Negro or Indian were mulattos. However, a comparison of the 1737 list with this list shows that the label Negro was consistently applied in the list above Flat Creek, rarely applied in the list for the area between Flat Creek and Deep Creek and erratically applied in the list below Deep Creek. While the first two lists were consistent between the two years, the last list was inconsistent with the label being applied to a group one year and not the next. Thus the use of the word Negro appears to have been more a practice of the individual tax taker than anything else.

Published in the Va Gen Soc Vol 35, pages 66, 70, 73, 127, 128.

Posted in Slaves, Virginia | 3 Comments

Fincastle Co., VA 1773 Delinquent Tax List

Published in the Va Gen Soc volume 35 from 1997, pages 8-12

Fincastle County, Virginia1773 Delinquent Tax Lists, transcribed by Julia M. Case

When Fincastle County was created from Botetourt County in 1772, it included the present state of Kentucky, all of West Virginia south of the Kanawha and New rivers and Virginia west of the crest of the Blue Ridge and essentially south of present Roanoke and Craig counties. In 1777 Fincastle was divided into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky counties. Its records were retained by Montgomery County which explains why these delinquent accounts are found among the Montgomery County delinquent lists.

Since the present state of Kentucky was a part of Fincastle County at this time, the Indian land referenced was probably in Tennessee or Ohio.

Please note that I have included all occurrences of any surname that is listed by any individual as “Indian land.”

David Collins Indian Land 1

Sam Collins Indian Land 2

Elisha Collins 1

John Collins 1

Lewis Collins 1

Ambrose Collins 1

John Collins Junr 1

George Couch Indian Land 1

Geo. Collins Indian Land 1

Cha:” Collins ditto (above says Indian land)

Micajah Bunch Indian Land 1

James Colliins 2

Please note that Fincastle County is now an extinct county.  In 1776, it was abolished and became Montgomery and Washington Counties in Virginia and Kentucky County which would eventually become the state of Kentucky.

Posted in Virginia | 2 Comments

Meherrin Settlement History

Mosely 1733 Meherrin

The 1733 Edward Moseley map of North Carolina, above, shows the Meherrin Indian Village to the left.

Colonial Records of North Carolina – October the 28th 1726

This day was Read at the Board the Petition of the Maherrin Indians Shewing that they have lived and Peaceably Enjoyed the said Towne where they now live for such a Space of Time as they humbly conceive Entitles them to an Equitable Right in the same that They have not only lived there for many years but long before there were any English Settlements near that place or any notion of Disputes known to them concerning the dividing bounds between this Countrey and Virginia and have there made large Improvements after their manner for the better Support and maintenance of themselves and Families by their Lawfull and Peaceable Industry

Notwithstanding which Colonel William Maule and Mr. William Gray have lately intruded upon them and have Surveyed their said Towne and cleared Gounds on pretence that it lys in this Government and that the said Indians have allways held it as Tributaries to Virginia. which is not so Praying this Board to take them into their Protection as their faithfull and Loyall Tributaries and to Secure to them a Right and Property in the said Towne with such a convenient Quantity of Land adjoyning to it to be laid off, by meets and Bounds as to them shall seem meet.

Then allso was Read the Petition of sundry Inhabitants Living near the said Indians Shewing That Sundry Familys of the Indians called the Maherrin Indians have lately Encracht and Settled on their Land which they begg Leave to Represent with the true account of those Indians who are not original Inhabitants of any Lands within this Government but were formerly called Susquahannahs and Lived between Mary Land and  Pensilvania and comitting several Barbarous Massacrees and Outrages there Killing as ’tis Reported all the English there Settled excepting Two Families they then drew off and fled up to the head of Potomack and there built them a fort being pursued by Mary Land and Virginia Forces under the Comand of One Major Trueman who beseiged the fort Eight months but at last in the night broke out thro the main Guard and drew off round the heads of several Rivers and passing them high up came in to this Country and Setled at old Sapponie Towne upon Maherrin River near where Arthur Cavenah now lives but being disturbed by the Sapponie Indians they drew downe to Tarraro Creek on the same River where Mr. Arthur Allens Quarters is, afterwards they were drove thence by the Jennet Indians down to Bennets Creek and Settled on a Neck of Land afterwards called Maherrin Neck because these Indyans came downe Maherron River and after that they began to take the name of Maherrin Indians, but being known the English on that side would not Suffer them to live there, then they removed over Chowan River and Settled at Mount Pleasant where Capt. Downing now lives but being very Troublesome there one Lewis Williams drove them higher up and got an order from the overnment that they should never come on the So. side of Wickkacones Creek and they Settled at Catherines Creek a place since called Little Towne but they being still Mischievous by order of the Government Collonel Pollock brought in the Chief of them before the Governor and Council And they were then Ordered by the Government never to appear on the South side of Maherrin, They Then pitcht at the mouth of Maherrin River on the North side since called old Maherrin Towne where they afterwards Remained tho they were never Recieved or became Tributaries to this Government nor ever assisted the English in their Warrs against the Indians but were on the contrary very much Suspected to have assisted the Tuskarooroes at the Massacree. The Baron De Graffen Reed offering his Oath that one Nick Major in Particular being one of the present Maherrin Indians Satt with the Tuscarooroes at his Tryall and was among them when Mr. Lawson the Surveyor Genl. was killed by them So that these Maherrins were not originally of this Country but Enemies to the English every where behaving themselves Turbulently and never lookt on as True men or Friends to the English nor ever paid due acknowledgement to this Government. Some years agoe Col. Maule the then Surveyor Genl. obtained an Order to Survey the Lands at old Maherrin Towne which was accordingly done and Pattented afterwards since that they have paid Tribute to this Government and have been allowed by the Government to remain on those Lands. But since that a great Sickness coming among them Swept off the most of them, and those that remained moved off those Lands at Maherrin Towne and sundry at them have lately Seated their Timber and Stocks and hindring them from Improving their Lands they being unwilling themselves forcibly to Remove the said  Indians least some disorders might arise thereon praying an order to the Provost Marshall That if the said Indians do not Remove off in some convenient time they may be Compelled thereto etc.

Whereupon by the consent of both Parties It is ordered in Council That the Surveyor Genl. or his Deputy do lay out unto the said Indians a certain parcell of Land lying between Maherrin River and BlackWater River Runing three Miles up Blackwater River and then a Streight Line to such a part of Maherrin River as shall be Two miles from the mouth thereof and if the same Line shall leave out the Settlement of Capt. Roger a Maherrin Indian that then the Surveyor do lay out a Tract of 150 acres the most Convenient to his Dwelling. Which Lands when Surveyed, the Surveyor is to make return thereof into the Secretarys Office that Grants may pass for the same to the said Indians. It is further Ordered by this Board that the said Indians shall Quietly hold the said Lands without any molestation or disturbance of any Persons claming the same so as the same Persons Right or pretentions to the said Lands be Reserved unto them Whereby they or those claiming under them shall have the preferrence of taking up the same when the said Indians shall desart or remove therefrom.

The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Second Series – Volume VII – Records of the Executive Council – 1674-1734, pages 167-169.  Editor Robert J. Cain – Department of Cultural Resources Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina 1984

Posted in Jennet Indians, Meherrin, Saponi, Susquehanna, Tuscarora | Leave a comment