Indian Slaves on the 1720 Currituck County, NC Tax List

Old tax lists are often goldmines – unmined goldmines.  Also, often unpublished.  Fortunately, the Currituck County Genweb hostess has published these lists which have been extracted by volunteers.  Hat tip to Kay Lynn Sheppard for all of her work on the various eastern NC Genweb county sites she hosts, monitors or mothers, whatever the correct word might be.

The 1720 tax list was the most detailed of any in Currituck County.  It has been posted on the Gebweb site as well at

In 1720, Richard Sanderson did not have Indian Tom nor the mulattoe boy Jack.  He did have two female slaves, but that’s all in 1720.  However, this tax listing would only encompass his Currituck holdings, not any land or tithes he had in Albemarle County or elsewhere.  He may have owned Indian Tom and Mullattoe Jack at this time, but they were not taxed in Currituck County.

William Williams has an Indian woman, Sue, in 1720 and William Swann had an Indian man, Lewis.  These people were all listed as living at Powell’s Point in Currituck County.

At Cowinjock, which is on the Outer Banks Islands, Fos: (probably Foster) Jarvis owned Davy, an Indian man.

These were the only Indian slaves listed in Currituck County in 1720. 

We know that many other Indians lived there, but were not enslaved.  Those Indians however were not taxed as they did not “own” land in the typical English way.

Often, we find Native American DNA that emerges as a surprise to the participant in African American families.  Indian slavery relegated the slave to the domicile of the other slaves.  African slaves eventually outnumbered Indian slaves, as the Indians dwindled in number from both slavery, disease and dislocation.  Over the generations, the Indian heritage was lost, and only the fact that they were perpetually enslaved remained.

About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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