Fort Neoheroka 300 Years Later – Tuscarora Commemorative Monument

NooherookaThe Tuscarora War began in 1711, a result of European incursion onto Native lands and the capture and enslavement of Indian children, and ended in 1713 with the massacre of over 950 of the Tuscarora at Fort Neoheroka.  In total, over 2000 Tuscarora were killed or enslaved during the Tuscarora War.

After that, the remaining Tuscarora were eventually awarded a reservation in Bertie County, NC, but in the late 1700s, most of the Tuscarora sold the land and migrated north to join their Iroquoian brethren in New York, becoming the sixth of the Six Nations.  Not all left.  Some had intermarried and stayed, and although the Tuscarora Nation officially disowned them, their descendants still today carry the blood of their ancestors, whether they are officially recognized as Tuscarora or not.

This past weekend, in an event coordinated by ECU, the Tuscarora people, both northern and southern, were honored by a memorial commemorating their loss of life at Fort Neoheroka, 300 years ago, between March 21 and 23.

A number of Tuscarora from North Carolina were present.  Johnathan Chavis took this photo at the entrance of the new monument, with Timothy Jacobs on the left and Billy Oxendine at right.

neoheroka entrance

Chris Hardison, also Tuscarora, present at this weekends events and has kindly graced us with the gift of his photography and videos he took of the dedication.  His comments were that this event was a gift of bringing together of people who had been separated by miles, years and events beyond their control, but they were once again one.  Hopefully, the healing has begun and the rift will be no more.

After looking at Chris’s photos, below, please take a look at the video links.  Chris recorded the dedication, several songs and dances and some social time as well.   Thanks to Chris and Johnathan for so generously sharing.

Neoheroka momument

The monument before the dedication ceremony.  The stumps, according to the artist, symbolize the Iroquois Nation.

The dark bands are bronze engravings.

neoheroka engraving 1

This one shows the long house.  The one below shows a wampum belt.

Neoheroka engraving 2

neoheroka rock

This wedge rock behind the arch represented the bunkers behind the fort, according to the artist, but to some of the Tuscarora from North Carolina in attendance, it represented the splitting of the people that occurred beginning with the massacre in 1713 and was completed in 1802 with the final removal trip North, accompanying the stragglers to New York to resettle.  This was the wedge driven between the northern and southern Tuscarora, as anyone who remained in the south was no longer considered to be Tuscarora.

neoheroka area

This photo shows the area at Snow Hill where the fort stood.  It’s a field today.

neoheroka dedication

This photograph is of the dedication.  The arch symbolized the long house and walking under the arch symbolized the entry into the Six Nations.

Now, take a look at Chris’s videos of the event.  Keep in mind when you hear the dedication songs that the northern and southern Tuscarora have joined their voices together after more than 200 years apart and they have never sung these songs in unison before.  This is a heart warming, soulful event.  As Chris said, this is an important chapter in Tuscarora history, just being written today.

Nyaweh Chris!

There is even a group of Tuscarora youth walking back to New York from North Carolina, called the Tuscarora Migration Project.  Their mission is to raise awareness of indigenous survival, climate change and the need for human powered movement.  Take a look as these young people retrace the ancient steps of their ancestors on their 1300 miles, 70 day, relay event using bikes, canoes and walking.  You can follow their blog, their progress, and support them on their historic journey.

Tusc migration

Posted in Iroquois, New York, North Carolina, Six Nations, Tuscarora | 4 Comments

The Albemarle Insurrection of 1679

Did you know that Albemarle County, NC had an insurrection in 1679?  They did, and apparently the Indians were considered to be a part of the problem, along with Negroes.  It doesn’t say, but I suspect these are free negroes, not enslaved people, as those in bondage would be severely disciplined for their participation in an insurrection.

It’s interesting that in many of these documents, North Carolina with her rich swamps is often portrayed as a safe-haven for those who need to hide or to disappear.  Escaped slaves, Indians, debtors, etc.  After the Tuscarora War, the whites hunted for years for the Indians who were hiding in the swamps.  They weren’t hiding there, they were living there, outside the reach of the encroaching settlers.

Representation concerning the rebellion in Albemarle County

No Author


Volume 01, Pages 256-261

——————– page 256 ——————–

[B. P. R. O. Colonial Papers.]


It is humbly tendred to the consideration of the most Illustrious and Right Honorable the Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina.

That the Rebellion of the Inhabitants of the County of Albemarle was not accidentall or casually arose from any present or sudden provocation given, but rather the effect of a more mature or deliberate contrivance, which I humbly conceive will so appeare to your Lordships by the ensuing particulars as here circumstanced, the mane substance whereof can be clearly proved by the evidence of divers credible witnesses upon oath before any person or persons, your Honors shall think fit to empower to take cognizance of the premisses.

That the Principalls and Heads of this Rebellion were not only prompted thereunto by ambition and envy or the private pekes and particular disgusts they had to those Gentlemen your Honors thought fit to entrust with the Government, but alsoe more especially those personall and particular crimes they knew themselves guilty of and accountable for whenever a Governor should come.

That this was a deliberate design of no sudden growth may be proved by their generall charge wherein all their former actions seem to have a naturall tendency to this their last and horrid end, At first their severall times disturbing the Courts, subverting the Government, dissolving Parliaments, Their industrious labor to be popular and continued making of factions and parties.

Their poysoning the peoples eares, unsetling and disquieting their minds, by diffusing and dropping abroad, by their Agents false and dangerous Reports tending much to the indignity of your Honors and reproach of your Government, and among divers others, that your Honors intended to raise the Quitrents to two pence and from two pence to six pence per acre. Now what they have done since is so notorious and obvious to every eye, as the imprisoning your Lordships’ Deputies, putting the President who was likewise his Majesty’s Collector into Irons, their Generall arming on the first appearance of Gilham’s shipp in Pascotanke

——————– page 257 ——————–

River, their seizing and carrying away the Records, Lastly their arrogating and assuming to themselves the supreme and sovereign power, by first dissolving then erecting Courts of Judicature, convening Parliaments without Writs, and as if they had the sovereign and absolute power they put out make New Officers not only in Courts and other publick services of the Country, but even where The King is more immediately concerned, turning out His Majesty’s Collectors, putting in others, clearing and discharging Ships, but last of all their most horrid treasonable and tyrannicall actings in erecting a Court for tryall of life and death without the Lords Deputies or Commission of Oyer and Terminer or any other colour or pretence of Authority, either from His sacred Majty or your Lordships, and particularly in the cases of Mr Thomas Miller and Mr Timothy Biggs.

But their speciall, particular and respective crimes are here annexed to their severall names here in the margin in the order following (vizt)

Capt Valentine Bird. He being appointed by the Country to be Collector of His Majesty’s Duty of the penny per pound, for all Tobacco not exported for England, did without power from or the privity or consent of either my Lord High Treasurar or his Majesty’s Commissioners of the Customs suffer the New England Traders to load and carry away the Tobacco of the Country without paying the said Duties, by which meanes they are now run in arreare to His Majesty one hundred and fifty thousand weight of Tobacco, and finding the hazard he had run in case another Collector should be sent he with above one hundred more, most whereof were Pastotankians, which after led the other Precincts into Rebellion there, with him subscribing a Paper against the payment of the said Duty, but after hearing by the report of Crawford that Mr Eastchurch was coming Governor and Mr Miller Collector, Bird and the rest of the subscribers were the first that took armes and opposed Miller at his first landing fearing they should be questioned for what they had done so, as soone as ever Gilham arrived they again take armes and by their Agents invite the other three Precincts to joyne with them, and till the generall elaps of the Country they were only in this defection and Bird was their Leader and drew the first sword, encouraged hereunto by Captain Zackery Gilham who supplied them with many fire armes and other weapons of War, came with some of his Seamen armed to Captain Crawford’s house, where the President and two other of the Deputies were taken prisoners.

George Durant. hath several times before not only contemned but opposed the authority established by your Honors, and in the head of a

——————– page 258 ——————–

Rebell rout by force subverted the Government turning out and placing in whom he and they thought fit at pleasure, and openly threatning that, if ever Mr Thomas Eastchurch came in Governor, he would turn Rebell. And as if these were too small crimes, he hath viciated a Record of Court by adding, razing and other wayes altering the verdict of a jury, and as foreman giving it in contrary to what the whole Jury had returned upon oath, particularly in case of Mr Thomas Miller. And in fine hath all along when at home beene one of the most violent, active and the most outrageous of all the Conspirators and Insurrectors.

Capt. William Crawford hath formerly as well as now industriously made it his business to be popular, make factions and then head them and very subtily though clandestinely and underhand, will be found one of the chief contrivers as well as acters in this Rebellion, but (besides) his particular crime, in the imbezling and taking of the file of the Records, a gratious grant of your Lordships to the Country. And having formerly got the Records into his Custody, divers of them are since not to be found: and this he did, as may be judged; (since he could make no private advantage thereby) purposely to keep the people ignorant of your Honors good intentions to this Country and might find fitter occasions thereby to insence them against your Lordships and the government.

Capt: John Willoughby He is a person that runs himself into many errors and premuniries through his extra-judiciall and arbitrary proceedings in the Courts of Judicature, and for instance in the case of Mr Thomas Eastchurch, who by reason of their tyranny and injustice to himwards would have appealed to your Lordships, but was thus answered by Willoughby That they were the Court of Courts and Jury of Juries. He is a person that through a naturall habit of pride or ambition hath been alwaies imperious amongst his equals, courteous to his inferiours, because factious and would be popular; stubborne and disobedient to superiors, evidenced by his scornfull and peremptory refusing obedience to the summons of the Palatine’s Court and his beating the sworn Officer that served the same: and for this and other scornes and contempts put upon the Court, and continuing still obstinate, he was outlawed: The next Parliament approving of the proceedings against him, set a fine on his head for his said contempt. And hereupon he disavowes your Government by addressing his complaints to the Governor and Councill of Virginia, and notwithstanding the discountenance he met with there, yet he returns not homewards till he heard the Country was up in armes.

——————– page 259 ——————–

Capt: Thomas Cullum frequently sells powder, shot and fire-armes, as well to those Indian nations that are not as those that are in amity with the English, expresly contrary to the Laws of all the English Provinces which make it death to sell either to our enemies. And on notice given to the Magistrates of Virginia, Warrants were there issued out for apprehending him, and if he had there been taken (although in another Government) he must have stood a tryall for his Life for the same or like fact there committed.

Lieut: Col: John Jenkins being some time made Governor by the appointment of Cartwright was after for severall misdemeanours displaced and imprisoned; yet although never legaly discharged, raiseth a party of riotous persons in armes, and these with some others vote him Generalissime, neither he or they pretending to any other right or authority than what he derived from this Rebell Rout, these turne out the Palatines Court, dissolve the Assembly, place and displace whom he and they pleased by an arbitrary power and force. But yet although Jenkins had the title yet in fact Durant governed and used Jenkins but as his property, for of all the factious persons in the Country he was the most active and uncontrolable.

John Culpeper, a person that never is in his element but whilst fishing in troubled waters, he was forced to fly from Ashley River for his turbulent and factious carriage there. He both here and in New England with some of the discontented Traders plotted there and underhand here incouraged the hot headed people to this rash and ill-advised Rebellion. Culpeper being their Secretary or Register and one of their Caball or Grand Councill in matter of advise, this being the second disturbance he hath made here, besides what he hath done in Ashley River, New England and Virginia and therefore a man they much hearken to for his experience sake.

Patrick White is one that with Willoughby applyed himself to the Governor of Virginia, that beate Mr Miller when he landed, and an active man in this Rebellion, and hath formerly been a disturber of the Government.

Capt: James Blount, although one of the Great Councill or Assistant to the Deputies is one of the chief persons amongst the Insurrectors, and although I wrote to him, the speaker and rest of the Burgesses of Chowan Precinct, yet when the Sheriffe or Chief Martiall came with my letter and endeavoured to raise Posse Comitatis for keeping the peace and securing of that your Lordships Country, he the said Blount with one Captain John Vernham took the Martiall and his men Prisoners and raised forces against the Government.

——————– page 260 ——————–

Bonner and Slocum two other of the Burgesses joyne with Cullum, Blunt and Vernham. So that all the five Burgesses of Chowan, although contrary to their Oathes of Allegiance and Obedience, and to their proceedings in Parliament, are in this defection and by their bad example have drawn in the Country people. There are besides these about eighty or an hundred which may be ranked in a second Classe differing no more from the former than second rates from first. And all or most of these have been guilty of former insurrections with some of their Leaders above named, especially such as live in Pascotanke, vizt Lieutenant Wells, Seares, Jennings, Ellis, Bonesby and his two sons, Cotes, with divers others of the Precinct.

Now the rest of the people may rather be reputed newtrall, for if they have complyed (as many of them have done) it is only through want of Courage that they have sacrificed their faith to their fears, and for the same reason will on the first appearance of a party from your Honors although but 60 or 70 men on pardon published and examplary justice done on the Ring-leaders who do overawe them, they will then gladly returne to their duties, their necessities also constreighning them, for they cannot subsist without planting of Corne and Tobacco, well knowing that without these two (having made them their sole dependence) they must perish by hunger or want of cloathing, unless the Chief leaders build Capers and imploy them to rob the Merchants to supply their wants as they come into the Capes of Virginia which is not above 20 or 30 leagues from this Inlet; and they are apt enough to tell them, that in respect of the openness of the Road, shallowness of the Inlet, fastness of the Country, and by reason of the woods, swamps, rivers, creeks and runs, this Country being no waies accessible by Land but to the northward from Virginia, and that but by three passes or avenues, by which meanes they may possibly be persuaded they may be as safe from His Majesty’s Frigates as if they were in Sally.

I mention not this to discourage your Honors, but do likewise assure you that they are as inconsiderable, as rash and disobedient: the whole number I do not say of men but Tythables that is of working hands consist of about 1400 persons, a third part whereof at least being Indians, Negros and women will, the rest once being declared Rebells, quickly desert them and come in in hope either of liberty or better usage. So that in fine I can no way bring the number of Rebells that may be expected in armes to amount to 100 men, and these by reason of the several rivers and creeks which run north and south, and divide the severall Precincts, so that they cannot suddenly joyne. If therefore a Ship

——————– page 261 ——————–

from England with goods and servants which I am confident would answer the charge, two or three Sloopes prest from Virginia, all man’d with about 60 or 70 men divided into two parties, one whereof might run up to Chowan up the Sound in a night, and there I am sure they would meet with many Loyall and lusty young men, who would immediately joyne with them and on notice divers who fled to Virginia would return for Pasquimans, there were but 3 or 4 noted Rebells as Jenkins, Durant, Sherrell, Greene, Pricklove and Lininton, most of the rest being Quakers, who stand firme in their obedience although they will not fight, the archest Rebells and greatest number being in Paccotanke. And although it is easy to reduce them either by the way above proposed or by those soldiers as are yet behind in Virginia or by Volunteers from thence, near two hundred having promised Mr Eastchurch to march in with him as soone as he should obteine Licence from the Governor there, but his death prevented his designe, the Governor assuring him by his messingers that nothing should be wanting on his part wherein he might serve him, they there and also in Maryland being exceeding sensible of the dangerous consequences of this Rebellion, as that if they be not suddenly subdued hundreds of idle debters, theeves, Negros, Indians and English servants will fly into them & from thence make Inroads and dayly Incursions, whence great mischief may follow which may better be foreseene and prevented than after remedied, for considering the vast coast and wild woods of the backside of Virginia they may come from Maryland & the Wilderness between Virginia and Albemarle extending one hundred miles without one Inhabitant they may and some already do go into them in defiance of all the care the Governor and Magistrates there take for prevention.

Hat tip to Mavis for this document.

Posted in North Carolina | Leave a comment

Thomas Merrett, an Indian or Not?

Whoever thought a comma could make such a difference.  One of our subscribers, Mavis, sent me this document for the Native Names project, thinking that Thomas Merrett was an Indian.  At first glance, I thought so to, and then I took another look.

Caleb Calloway is entering head rights.  This means he gets credit, generally free land, or free except the surveying and associated filing fees, for each person he imports into the colony.  The word “imports” is also often misunderstood.  It can mean from across the seas, the British Isles, or elsewhere, but it can also mean from Virginia, which is just up the coast a bit, or another state.  The idea of course is that these people will be coming to what was then Carolina to live, to homestead, to work, etc.

The record we are interested in is at the end of this document. I left the irrelevant parts because as with all old records, you often need to look at the rest of the records to get an idea of context.  So, take a look at the use of commas, or lack thereof, and then read the last record.

My thoughts are that Thomas Merrett was one of the 4 headrights, as were Daniel Pembrooke and Arthur Long.  The fourth was an Indian boy without an English name, so he was just referred to as an Indian boy.  His name was not important to this transaction, but the fact that he was “imported” means money to Caleb Calloway.

Why would an Indian boy be being imported on a boat with white people in 1693?  Indians typically transported themselves wherever they wanted to go.  The exception, of course, was people who were enslaved or apprenticed.  This Native boy was probably not in control of his own destiny, whether by virtue of slavery, apprenticeship or because he was an orphan.  It would be interesting to follow these three white men to see if any of them had slaves, and if so, if we would be lucky enough to find another description someplace indicating one of them was an Indian.

If Thomas Merrett was the name of the Indian boy, he is not known to have been mentioned later.  The only further mention in the Colonial Records of Thomas Merrett was in 1766 as a jailer in Edgecombe County, so not likely to be the same Thomas Merrett.

Minutes of the Perquimans Precinct Court

North Carolina. Precinct Court (Perquimans Precinct)

February 05, 1694

Volume 01, Pages 392-396

[Records of Perquimans Precinct Court.]



Alexandr Lillington Esqr

Caleb Calloway Esqr

John Barrow Esqr

Thomas Lepper Esqr

Wilkesons Vers Lillington & Hartley

A Judgmto Confest by Major Lillington & Mrs Susanna Hartly as Attorneys to Capt George Clarke for £35: s19: wth Cost alias Execution: Ordered that Major Alexander Lillington & Mrs Susanna Hartly in their Capacityes aforesaid doe pay unto Colloll Wm Wilkeson ye Sume of £35: 19 Cost as aforesaid

Wilkeson Exer to Jno Davis Vers Lillington Att to Holland

A Judgmte confest by Major Lillington as Attorney to John Holland of Virginia for ye Sume of £4: s2: d6. due to ye sd Wilkeson Executor to Mr John Davis disceas: Ordered yt Major Lillington in his capacity aforesaid pay unto Collll Wilkeson ye Sume of £4: s2: d6. wth Cost Alias Execution.

Mason vers White

In an action of ye Cace referred to ye Jury following Mr John Philpott Mr Patrick Henly Mr Richard Smith Mr John ffendall Mr John Tweegar Mr Timo Clare Mr Wm Butler Mr Richard Chested Mr Thomas Horton Mr Roger Snell Mr Robert Beasley Mr Cornelious Lerry: Ordered

——————– page 393 ——————–

that the defendt pay unto the plantt: s17: d6: wth Cost alias Execution

Philpott vers Nowell

Mr John Philpott wthdrawes the action agt Rich Nowell.

Mr Tho Lepper has proved Ten rights whose names are as followeth Tho. Kent Ann Kent Sarah Kent Rebecca Kent Ann Kent John Thomas Wm Brown Wm Brickstone Tho Lepper Nicholas Robeson

Caleb Calloway enters ffoure Rights: Danll Pembrooke Tho Merrett an Indian Boy in all ffoure. Arthur Long

Posted in North Carolina | 2 Comments

Yawpim Indian Town in Currituck County, NC

When Kay Lynn Sheppard sent me the extracted Currituck court notes, I found four records that spoke directly to an Indian Town or Indian line.

5 Mar 1778 – John Standley of Currituck County enters 100 acres.  Borders on the east side of Richard Standley’s land, on James Dary’s land, widow Fenton’s land, & on the Indian line.  Ordered for survey.

14 Mar 1778 – James Ryan of Currituck County enters 400 acres of swamp land in Currituck County near the Great Swamp Bridge leading to Indian Town.  Borders the back of said Ryan’s plantation, John Thomson’s line & Joshua Campbel.  Entered before Ashel Simmons, JP at May Court.  Said entry was duly done in open court.  /s/ Solo. Perkins

31 Dec 1778 – Robert Barnit of Currituck County enters 100 acres bordering the SW side of said Barnit’s land, North River on the South, the Indian line on the South & East, & Hugh’s place.  /s/ Jas. Ryan, E.T.

14 Oct 1784 – Mr. Samuel Ferebee enters 250 acres of land & swamp in Currituck County near the Great Swamp Road from Indian Town to Coenjock Bay, which swamp leads from North River and borders a corner in Francis Williamson’s patent.  Ordered for survey.  /s/ John Simmons, E.T.

Of course, I wanted to know where this Indian Town was located.  Kay Lynn was most helpful there as well, locating it on two old maps.  On the 1808 Price-Strothers map, you can see it listed as Indian Town.

currituck 1

On the earlier, 1733 Mosley map, it’s actually called Yawpim, reflecting the name of the tribe whose village and reservation were located there.

currituck 2

It’s worth noting on this map that the Poteskite Indians are also shown not far from the Yawpim, as are the Mattamuskeet and the Hatteras on the south side of Albemarle Sound.

currituck 3

This land for the Yawpim Indians was set forth as a reservation in 1704.
(Original in Court House at Edenton, N. C.)

Att a Councill held att the House of Captn John Heckleford in Little River Aprill ye 12th 1704. Prsent the Lords Deputyes.
Ordered that the Surveyr Generall or Deputy Shall (with what Expedition is possible) Upon Complaint of the Yawpim Indians Lay out for the sd Indians (where they now live) four miles Square of Land or the Quantity not injoining any of the old Settlements which was made before the Order of Councill bearing Date in October 1697, And Mr. John Hawkins, Mr. Thomas Taylor, Mr. Robert Morgan & Mr. John Relfe or any three of them are hereby required to attend the Surveyr or Deputy etc to be directed to Captn Tho: Relfe to Execute with speed and make returnes.”

Source: North Carolina Historical and Genealogical Register, by J. R. B. Hathaway, Genealogical Publishing Company Inc., Baltimore Co MD, 1965, 1970-71, 1979; Clearfield Company Inc., Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore Co MD, 1998, 2002, volume 3, page 73-74

This was followed on the next two pages by a very similar order for the Chowan Indians.

This “History of Indian Town” tells us a little more.

As with many other early towns created in North Carolina, there simply isn’t much information currently available regarding the village of Indian Town, first within Currituck County, then because of minor boundary changes it ended up in Camden County.

One can easily find its location on many maps that were produced in the 1790s and well into the late 1800s, but one cannot find much else out about this town. Indian Town was located well up the North River – about halfway up the border between Currituck and Camden County – a tad north of what is now the town of Camden (on the east side of Camden County), and a bit south of the town of Currituck (on the other side of the county from Indian Town).

US Postal records provide us a little insight. Indian Town was granted a Post Office on August 10, 1793 and its first Postmaster was Mr. Thomas P. Williams of Currituck County. On February 1, 1882, the Post Office records indicate that Indian Town was moved to Camden County, and its first Postmaster in that county was Mr. Samuel S. Leary. This PO was in continuous operations until May 15, 1934, when it was closed for good.

Posted in Hatteras, Maps, Mattamuskeet, Poteskeet, Yeopim | 1 Comment

The Mysterious Bohuron Tribe in Northeast Georgia

One of our blog subscribers sent me info on the Bohuron Tribe.  I have never heard of them, so I contacted Richard Thornton who had penned this piece and asked his permission to reprint in there.  In addition, he was kind enough to put together some maps that show the various locations mentioned during different timeframes.  Thank you Fletcher for sending this my way and to Richard for permission to reprint and for the maps as well.

If you have any information or tips releative to the information below, please contact Richard at You can visit his website at

The Mysterious Bohuron Tribe in Northeast Georgia

. . . and equally mysterious “Creek” names from Northeast Georgia

Help is needed!   While doing research for the Native American history of Jackson County, GA, I stumbled across extensive references to an “Indian” tribe that Anglo-American settlers called the Bohuran, Bouran, Bouharon or Bouharen.  French colonial maps in the 1700s call them the Bemarin.  I can find absolutely no mention of them in major Georgia historical sources, but they definitely existed. Most of the information came from “The Early History of Jackson County, GA by G. J. N. Wilson (published 1818) or from brief French colonial sources. Here is what we know so far.

At the time of contact with English settlers from South Carolina, the Bohuran lived in the Blue Ridge Foothills, immediately south of the Nacoochee Valley – between the headwaters of the Oconee River and the Chattahoochee River.


Their province composed present day Banks and northern Hall Counties.  Immediately north of them were the Apalache, who were mentioned in the chronicles of the de Soto and de Laundonniére Expeditions.


By the mid-to-late 1700s, the Apalache were living on the Apalachee River in Gwinnett, Walton, Morgan and Putnam Counties – while the Bohuran were in their same location.  After the American Revolution, both tribes assimilated into the Creek Confederacy when they moved westward.


In 1770 a war was fought between the Bohuran and the Tallasee Creeks, who had moved into the region just north of Athens, GA after being evicted from the Smoky Mountains by the Cherokees.  The Talasee Creeks won and the Bohuran were absorbed into the Creek Confederacy.  Here is where things get kornfuzing.   Wilson called the Bohurans, “Cherokees,” and said that they were long time allies of the Spanish, while the Talasee were long-time allies of the British.  He said that the Cherokees and Creeks were fighting in proxy for their European masters. However, the Spanish had already been evicted from Florida in 1763.  Both the Cherokees and Creeks were allies of the British in their wars with the Spanish.

Its gets much worse . . .

Wilson provided the names of several Buhuron leaders and their wives or daughters.  Several of the names are clearly Portuguese or Spanish.  The principal chief was Amercedes (Portuguese.)  One sub-chief’s name was Juanico (Portuguese or Basque.)  One woman’s name was Elena (Hispanic.)  The other Buhuron names mentioned do not seem to belong to any language I recognize. I can read all Latin-based and Scandinavian languages.

This is why I need your help. The other names include:

Nyxster, Radoarta, Arharra, Shulamuzaw, Lapsidali (woman,) Banna (woman,) Elancydine (woman,) and Eltrovadine (woman.)  Trova is a Spanish word, but this may be coincidental.  Do any of you recognize these words from another language?   Could they be Shawnee, Southern Siouan, Medieval Iberian, Sephardic Jewish, Moorish or Gaelic words?

The personal names that seemed to come closest to the words above are from the histories of the ancient Etruscans and Carthaginians.  Could they have belonged to one of the obscure 15+ regional languages that modern Spanish replaced during the past 200 years?

Many of the “Creek” words are untranslatable

This two century old history book contains much more information about the Creek Indians in northeast Georgia than about the Buhurans, but many of the Creek personal names or place names cannot be translated by either Itsate (Hitchiti,) Koasati or Mvskoke dictionaries.  One of the Creek leaders had a pure Chickasaw name. However, a large percentage of the words were untranslatable.  This leads me to believe that there are some “lost” Creek languages.

The primary reason that I got so upset about the Oklahoma Muscogee-Creek Cultural Heritage Office getting involved with the Track Rock Gap controversy without consulting Eastern Creeks, was that the Muscogee Creeks never lived in most of Georgia, South Carolina, southeastern Tennessee or western North Carolina.  They were confined to a triangular province in west-central Georgia and along the western side of the Chattahoochee River in Alabama.

There are many Georgia and South Carolina Creek words (and traditions) that would be incomprehensible to Oklahoma Muscogee-Creeks.  For example, Itsate (Archaic Hitchiti) uses “pa,” “po” or “pas” like the Itza Mayas do, everywhere that Mvskoke used “fa.”   The Itsate and Totonac word for town is “tula” whereas it is “tvlwv” in Muskokee.  A village is a talula in Itsate, while it is a tvlvfa in Mvskokee. House is chiki in Itstate, Totonac and Itza Maya, but chuko in Mvskoke.  You get the gist. When someone like me, who knows a modicum of Eastern Creek, Totonac and Maya, has no clue what a Eastern Creek word means . . . and can’t find it in a Creek dictionary . . . you know that there are major gaps in the history books.
Ramoja:  This was the name for the Green Corn Festival used by the indigenous “Creeks” in northeast Georgia.  There is no “r” sound in known Creek languages.  This word sounds Middle Eastern.  The newly arrived Tallasee Creeks used the word “posketaw” for the Green Corn Festival.  We know that one!

Thumagoa: The name of the “Creek” town, which later became the county seat of Jackson County, Jefferson, was Thumugoa.   René de Laundonniére, (French Huguenot colonist 1562-1565) wrote that the Thumugoa lived upstream a bit on the Altamaha River from Fort Caroline.  The Thamugoa were arch-enemies of the Natives on the Georgia coast. They worshiped the South American sun god, Hoya, and their high king used the Coastal Peruvian title of Parakusa,not the Maya and Itsate Creek word, mako,  or the Mvskoke word, mekko.

The Spanish word for them, Timucoa, is what they are now called.  The Spanish called all the Indians in northeast Florida and lower-southeast Georgia, Timucua.  Jefferson, GA is 221 miles upstream from where the Thumagoa lived in 1565.  Nere, Nara and Narulin were names of Thumagoa girls living in Jackson County.

Nodoroc:  There is a “mud” volcano in Barrow County, GA about 12 miles southwest of the former “Creek” town of Thumagoa.  Until a massive earthquake occurred in the New Madrid Fault in 1813, Nodoroc belched black smoke.  Its mud was so acidic that an animal that fell in the pit would be dissolved within a day.  “Creek” Indians living nearby, told white settlers that Nodoroc was the Creek word for “the gateway to hell.”   Unfortunately, there is no similarity between “nodoroc” and the known Creek words for either gateway or hell.  In fact, there is no “r” sound in the Creek languages. What language was this word derived from?

Ustanali – This is the name of the super-powerful Muscogean ethnic group that controlled most of northeast Georgia (outside of the mountains) in the 1560s.  They could field 6,000 soldiers in a war.  Their capital was apparently in the large town on the Tugaloo River, near where it joined the Keowee River to become the Savannah.  By controlling the Oconee and Savannah Rivers, the Ustanali also controlled the flow of gold, silver, mica, greenstone and crystals coming out of the mountains.  In the 1700s they moved to northwestern Georgia.  The Oostanaula River gets its name from them.

Unicoy – Contemporary historical markers say that this is a Cherokee word of uncertain meaning that became the name of a major trade route from the Savannah River to the Tennessee River.  Turns out that it was actually the name of a “Creek” queen, who lived in Jackson County, GA in the late 1700s.  However, her name cannot be translated by a modern Creek dictionary.

Lakoda Trail – This is the “Creek” name of a major trade route between the Savannah River at Augusta, GA and the Little Tennessee River in Graham County, NC.  It corresponds to US Highway 129 today.  This word can also not be translated by a modern Creek dictionary.

Many of the Creek personal or place names mentioned in Wilson’s book, would be untranslatable to a Muskogee Creek, but understandable to an Eastern (or Itsate) Creek.  For example, a Creek chief, named Enomako, came down from the mountains to meet with the Talassee.  The Eno were originally a Creek tribe near Charleston, SC.  Mako is the Itsate and Maya word for chief.  It is equivalent to mekko in Mvskoke.

We know that these people, who used such words and Nodoroc and Ramoja, were a branch of the Creeks, however.  They also had many personal and place names, which one could find in Alabama or Oklahoma.  Just who composed the other part of their ancestry remains an unsolved mystery.

The truth is out there somewhere!

Roberta’s note:  The Eno were originally a tribe found near the VA/NC border.  They don’t appear to be Creek.  They may have been Siouian, but we’re not sure.  Yardley mentions them in the VA/NC border region in 1654 and describes them as a “great nation” who had resisted the northern advances of the Spanish.  In 1672 they were living near the Occaneechi who lived on the Roanoke River and by 1701 when Lawson mentions them, they are living by the Tuscarora on the Neuse River in NC.  By 1720 or so , they had moved into SC and merged with the Catawba.  Their language still existed in a Catawba Village in 1743, but they are not heard from thereafter.

Posted in Apalachee, Bohuron, Cherokee, Creek | 2 Comments

Parker David Robbins – Chowanoke, Legislator, Inventor

parker david robbins

Parker David Robbins (1834-1917)

Second Regiment, United States Colored Cavalry

A Union Army veteran and delegate from Bertie County to North Carolina’s constitutional convention of 1868, Robbins represented the county for two terms in the N.C. House of Representatives as a Republican, elected by county voters in 1868 and 1870.  He later served as postmaster of Harrellsville, in Hertford County, for two years.

Yet his most enduring claim to fame was as inventor.  A carpenter and mechanic by trade, Robbins held U.S. patents for a cotton cultivator and a saw-sharpening machine, both granted to him in the mid-1870s.   Robbins also built houses in Duplin County, where he lived for the last four decades of his life, and where he built and piloted a steamboat for years along the Northeast Cape Fear River.

Born into a free, mixed-race family with Chowanoke Indian and mulatto ancestry, Robbins was the oldest son of John A. Robbins, a Bertie County farmer, and an unknown mother.  He and his younger brother Augustus—also a state legislator in the 1870s—were apparently educated privately, perhaps at a Gates County school for Indians, according to one family account.

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Identifying Native Chromosome Segments

If you’ve been following along with “The Autosomal Me” series on the blog, the next segment, Part 7, “The Autosomal Me – Start, Stop, Go – Identifying Native Chromosome Segments” was just published today.

While this series is obviously focused on minority Native admixture, using my own Native admixture, contributed by both parents, as a working example, the same techniques work to identify majority admixture or minority admixture of any other ethnicity.  It’s especially interesting if you have the DNA of at least one parent, because you can visually see and compare your DNA to theirs.  This series shows you how to use the various tools available to do just that.  An example of my DNA (top row) compared to my mother’s (second row) on a Native segment of a chromosome is shown below.  The third row shows our matching DNA segments with the black indicating the part that doesn’t match, so the part that was contributed to me by my father.

step 7 - 7

In our upcoming segments, we’ll be applying all of this to genealogy.  Come along for the ride.  Not only is it fun and educational, it’s a very personal gift from your ancestors.

Posted in DNA | 3 Comments