Hamilton McMillan’s List

Hamilton McMillan wrote a book in 1888 titled “The Lost Colony”.  Mr. McMillan spent his entire career as an advocate for the Lumbee, then called variously the Croatan Indians, Cherokee and the Indians of Robeson County.  His achievement which probably had the most lasting effect on the Lumbee was his ability to secure special schools for their children.  An original copy of his book can be seen at: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/rml/mcmillian.htm.

I transcribed this book, and applied more recent research techniques to the task at hand.  My paper, “McMillan Revisited” can be seen in its entirely at:   http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~molcgdrg/rml/mcmillian2.htm

One of the most interesting aspects of McMillan’s book was his list of colonist surnames that, in his decades of interacting with the Lumbee as well as his extensive research, he had discovered were associated with an oral history of being descended from the Lost Colony.  You’ll notice in his book that when he doesn’t know, he says so, and when a theory doesn’t fit, he says that as well.  Given his apparently honesty, there is no reason to think that this list is anything but accurate, to the best of his knowledge.

McMillan spent decades gathering information about the Lumbee and working among them.  He has this to say about the colonists and the Lumbee families he believed descended from them.

“Governor John White, at the solicitation of the colonists, returned to England.  Simon Fernando, the Spanish pilot of the expedition, also returned.  George Howe, one of the “assistants” of Governor White was killed by the Indians on Roanoke Island soon after the arrival.  Omitting the name of the perfidious Fernando, we have 120 persons in all, including men, women and children, and about 90 family names, represented in the colony.  The names in the [following] list in italics [and bold] are those which are found at this time among the Indians residing in Robeson county and in other counties of NC.  The traditions of every family bearing the name of one of the lost colonists point to Roanoke as the country of their ancestors.”

His list appears on the following page.  We know that James Junde was either mistranscribed or mistyped by McMillan and on the original 1589 Hakluyt list, it was James Hynde.  Similarly, Alice Charman is actually Alis Chapman.

P 22 – Chapter 7 – “In investigating the traditions prevalent among this singular people, we found many family names identical with those of the lost colony of 1587.  For the information of the reader, we give a list of the names of all the men, women and children of Raleigh’s colony, which arrived in Virginia and remained to inhabit there.  This list is found in the first volume of Hawk’s History of NC and copied from Hakluyt, Volume III, page 280.

Annoe regni reginae Elizabethae 29.


  • John White
  • Roger Baily
  • Ananias Dare
  • Christopher Cooper
  • Thomas Stevens
  • John Sampson
  • Dionys Harvie
  • Roger Prat
  • George Howe
  • Simon Fernando
  • Nicholas Johnson
  • Thomas Warner
  • Anthyony Cage
  • William Willes
  • William Brown
  • Michael Myllet
  • Thomas Smith
  • Richard Kemme
  • Thomas Harris
  • Richard Taverner
  • William Clement
  • Robert Little
  • Hugh Tayler
  • John Jones
  • John Brooks
  • Cutbert White
  • John Bright
  • Clement Taylor
  • William Sole
  • John Cotsmuir
  • Humphrey Newton
  • Thomas Colman
  • Thomas Gramme or Graham, Graeme
  • Mark Bennet
  • John Gibbes
  • John Stilman
  • John Earnest
  • Henry Johnson
  • John Starte
  • Richard Darige
  • William Lucas
  • Arnold Archard
  • William Nichols
  • Thomas Phevens
  • John Borden
  • Robert Wilkinson
  • John Tydway
  • Ambrose Viccars
  • Edmund English
  • Thomas Topan
  • Henry Berry
  • Richard Berry
  • John Spendlove
  • John Hemmington
  • Thomas Butler
  • Edward Powell
  • John Burdon
  • James Junde (Hynde)
  • Thomas Ellis
  • John Wright
  • William Dutton
  • Maurice Allen
  • William Waters
  • Richard Arthur
  • John Chapman
  • James Lasie
  • John Cheven
  • Thomas Hewett
  • William Berde
  • Richard Wildye
  • Lewes Wotton
  • Michael Bishop
  • Henry Browne
  • Henry Rufotte
  • Richard Tomkins
  • Henry Dorrell
  • Charles Florrie
  • Henry Mylton
  • Henry Paine
  • Thomas Harris
  • Thomas Scot
  • Peter Little
  • John Wyles
  • Bryan Wyles
  • George Martin
  • Hugh Pattenson
  • Martin Sutton
  • JohnFarre
  • John Bridger
  • Griffin Jones
  • Richrd Shabedge


  • Eleanor Dare
  • Margery Harvie
  • Agnes Wood
  • Winnifred Powell
  • Joyce Archard
  • Jane Jones
  • Elizabeth Glane
  • Jane Pierce
  • Andry Tappen
  • Alice Charman (Chapman)
  • Emma Merimoth
  • ? Colman
  • Margaret Lawrence
  • Joan Warren
  • Jane Mannering
  • Rose Payne
  • Elizabeth Viccars

Boys and Children

  • John Sampson
  • Robert Ellis
  • Ambrose Viccas (sic)
  • Thomas Archard
  • Thomas Humphrey
  • Thomas Smart
  • George Howe
  • John Prat
  • William Wythers

Children born in Virginia

  • Virginia Dare
  • ? Harvie

The amazing thing is the sheer number of families with identical surnames, about 43%.  I decided to see if the surnames were so common that we would expect by sheer chance to find them in both groups.  Surely names like Smith and Jones could be expected to be found in any group carrying English surnames, but what about the rest?

The result of this research is the following data table based on the 1881 census, in least- to-most frequent order.  McMillan’s “Lost Colony” surnames are bolded.

1881 Order – Least Frequent to Most Frequent

Surname Rank Order 1881 Rank Order 1998
Berde Na Na
Borden Na Na
Bordon Na Na
Bridgers Na Na
Cheven Na Na
Cotsmuir Na Na
Daridge Na Na
Darige Na Na
Earnest Na Na
Farre Na Na
Florrie Na Na
Gibbes Na Na
Glane Na Na
Graeme Na Na
Gramme Na Na
Hemmington Na Na
Junde Na Na
Kemme Na Na
Lasie Na Na
Merimoth Na Na
Mylton Na Na
Nicholes Na Na
Pattenson Na Na
Phevens Na Na
Prat Na Na
Rufoote Na Na
Rufotte Na Na
Scot Na Na
Shabedge Na Na
Shaberdge Na Na
Shaberge Na na
Starte Na Na
Stilman Na Na
Tappen Na Na
Topan Na Na
Tydway Na Na
Wildie Na Na
Wildye Na Na
Wythers Na Na
Ernest 18000 17040
Cage 16673 11630
Myllet 12490 25553
Viccars 10918 15711
Archard 9603 11146
Stillman 9529 10713
Willes 8705 22625
Spendlove 7547 7287
Mannering 6832 7110
Dorrell 6434 6615
Taverner 6138 7424
Start 5240 6261
Sole 5087 5906
Wyles 4852 5044
Wotton 4545 5613
Burdon 3871 3954
Harvie 3782 5127
Millett 3442 2742
Dare 3406 3221
Tayler 2648 5104
Charman 2517 2408
Baily 2306 7251
Bridger 1745 2270
Colman 1623 2332
Tomkins 1508 1537
Clement 1474 1901
Hewett 1341 2137
Burden 1178 1291
Paine 1136 1649
Milton 1114 1061
Bennet 1084 4745
Wilde 1008 850
Pierce 989 1260
Withers 933 1082
Sampson 911 949
Browne 844 297
English 812 730
Bright 732 839
Arthur 638 869
Dutton 625 684
Humphrey 549 639
Nichols 450 671
Warner 421 376
Howe 388 337
Waters 362 370
Smart 304 311
Lucas 303 306
Coleman 287 216
Gibbs 286 299
Little 283 304
Pratt 225 356
Sutton 197 204
Warren 195 203
Lawrence 194 126
Bishop 183 195
Newton 149 176
Berry 145 164
Payne 126 115
Brooks 109 121
Butler 108 97
Stevens 104 100
Harvey 103 105
Graham 90 76
Powell 82 80
Chapman 73 77
Ellis 68 72
Wilkinson 64 74
Bennett 62 51
Allen 49 42
Cooper 30 31
Martin 29 24
Harris 28 22
Scott 26 30
Wright 16 13
White 14 16
Wood 13 21
Johnson 12 10
Taylor 5 5
Brown 4 4
Jones 2 2
Smith 1 1

The table above proves quite interesting.  The names closest to the bottom are the most frequently found, and it is telling that 15 most common surnames are found in both groups. I would expect this in any group of people bearing English surnames.

On the other end of the spectrum, the surnames where we found nothing are most likely misspelled versions of the correct surname, whatever that might be. In some cases, Andy has offered alternatives and they are reflected in the demographic papers for that surname.  In other cases, such as Merimoth, we may never know.  Cage, Viccars, Willes, Harvey/Harvie and Dare are the least common surnames that continue to have a presence in the UK.  Finding these and other relatively rare surnames in both groups causes me to wonder if this is something other than coincidence.

Fortunately, because of their rarity, these would be the surnames most likely to be tracked in the UK.  Finding the right Smith family, for example, would be nearly impossible without a definitive family connection and a solid genealogy to the present.

Finding a Viccars might be another matter, and tracking a Viccars family might be much easier as it’s unlikely that there are many.  In fact, aside from adoptions (historical or contemporary), it’s conceivable that the entire Viccars family may descend from a common source, one common ancestor.  Of course, we won’t know that until we can find some Viccars males to DNA test, which brings us full circle in our discussion of the origins of the colonists.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Lost Colony, Lumbee. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Hamilton McMillan’s List

  1. Pingback: Indian by Birth: The Lumbee Dialect | Native Heritage Project

  2. Tery Kempf says:

    I did DNA tests on myself and spouse- we both showed Lumbee through Gedmatch- MDLP World Oracle. He is linked to Harris and Wood- I am linked to Davis, Byrd and Smith. Spouse also shows Arctic Amerind at 1.69%. What are the odds and what is the next step?

    • Well, that’s interesting, because if you look at the Lumbee Y and mtDNA project, you’ll notice that the core Lumbee surname are either African or European haplogroups – with no Native. They are not a federally recognized tribe. So who knows what that means and what kind of reference population is being used.

      • Tery Kempf says:

        That is good to know- all of us also have some African and European lineage. Gedmatch shows all- I can give you Gedmatch numbers if you wish to look at the differences- I just am surprised.
        Thank you
        My Halogroup is T2b4a and spouse is E-V13

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