In 1672, George Fox traveled the area between the Albemarle Sound and the border of Virginia. Someplace between Edenton and Bonner’s Creek (possibly current Blount’s Creek), he visited with an Indian named Pauwaw.
Mavis, the subscriber who brought this to my attention wondered if this could be the genesis of the work powwow, and in an indirect way it may well be.
According to Susan Braine, in her book, “Drumbeat… Heartbeat : A Celebration of the Powwow” (1995), the word powwow has been Anglicized from an Algonquian term “pau-wau” or “pauau” which referred to a gathering of medicine men of spiritual leaders. With the document below, we see that individuals were also referenced by this word, which was probably more of a descriptive title than a name, per se. This also suggests that this man was indeed Algonquian, not Tuscarora, who was the other Indian tribe living in this vicinity.
Journal of George Fox [Extract]
Fox, George, 1624-1691
November 08, 1672 – December 09, 1672
Volume 01, Pages 216-218
EXTRACT FROM THE JOURNAL OF GEORGE FOX FOR THE YEAR 1672.
[Reprinted from Pages 458 and 459 of the Edition Published at Friends’ Book Store, Philadelphia.]
“After this, [eighth day of the ninth month] our way to Carolina grew worse, being much of it plashy, and pretty full of great bogs and swamps; so that we were commonly wet to the knees, and lay abroad a-nights in the woods by a fire: saving one of the nights we got to a poor house at Sommertown, and lay by the fire. The woman of the house had a sense of God upon her. The report of our travel had reached thither, and drawn some that lived beyond Sommertown to that house, in expectation to have seen and heard us; but they missed us.
“Next day, the twenty-first of the ninth month, having travelled hard through the woods and over many bogs and swamps, we reached Bonner’s Creek; there we lay that night by the fire-side, the woman lending us a mat to lie on.
“This was the first house we came to in Carolina: here we left our horses, over-wearied with travel. From hence we went down the creek
——————– page 217 ——————–
in a canoe to Macocomocock River, and came to Hugh Smith’s, where people of other professions came to see us (no Friends inhabiting that part of the country) and many of them received us gladly. Among others came Nathaniel Batts, who had been governor of Roan-oak. He went by the name of captain Batts, and had been a rude, desperate man. He asked me about a woman in Cumberland, who, he said, he was told, had been healed by our prayers and laying on of hands, after she had been long sick, and given over by the physicians: he desired to know the certainty of it. I told him, we did not glory in such things, but many such things had been done by the power of Christ.
“Not far from hence we had a meeting among the people, and they were taken with the truth; blessed be the Lord! Then passing down the river Maratick in canoe, we went down the bay Connie-oak, to a captain’s, who was loving to us, and lent us his boat, for we were much wetted in the canoe, the water flashing in upon us. With this boat we went to the governor’s; but the water in some places was so shallow, that the boat, being loaden, could not swim; so that we put off our shoes and stockings, and waded through the water a pretty way. The governor, with his wife, received us lovingly; but a doctor there would needs dispute with us. And truly his opposing us was of good service, giving occasion to the opening of many things to the people concerning the Light and Spirit of God, which he denied to be in every one; and affirmed it was not in the Indians. Whereupon I called an Indian to us, and asked him, `Whether or no, when he did lie, or do wrong to any one, there was not something in him, that did reprove him for it?’ He said `There was such a thing in him that did so reprove him; and he was ashamed when he had done wrong, or spoken wrong.’ So we shamed the doctor before the governor and people; insomuch that the poor man ran out so far that at length he would not own the Scriptures. We tarried at the governor’s that night; and next morning he very courteously walked with us himself about two miles through the woods, to a place whither he had sent our boat about to meet us. Taking leave of him, we entered our boat, and went about thirty miles to Joseph Scot’s, one of the representatives of the country. There we had a sound, precious meeting; the people were tender, and much desired after meetings. Wherefore at a house about four miles further, we had another meeting; to which the governor’s secretary came, who was chief secretary of the province, and had been formerly convinced.
“I went from this place among the Indians, and spoke to them by an interpreter, shewing them, `That God made all things in six days, and
——————– page 218 ——————–
made but one woman for one man; and that God did drown the old world because of their wickedness. Afterwards I spoke to them concerning Christ, shewing them, that he died for all men, for their sins, as well as for others; and had enlightened them as well as others; and that if they did that which was evil he would burn them; but if they did well they should not be burned.’ There was among them their young king and others of their chief men, who seemed to receive kindly what I said to them.
“Having visited the north part of Carolina, and made a little entrance for the truth among the people there, we began to return again towards Virginia, having several meetings in our way, wherein we had good service for the Lord, the people being generally tender and open; blessed be the Lord! We lay one night at the secretary’s, to which we had much ado to get; for the water being shallow, we could not bring our boat to shore. But the secretary’s wife, seeing our strait, came herself in a canoe, her husband being from home, and brought us to land. By next morning our boat was sunk, and full of water; but we got her up, mended her, and went away in her that day about twenty-four miles, the water being rough, and the winds high: but the great power of God was seen, in carrying us safe in that rotten boat. In our return we had a very precious meeting at Hugh Smith’s; praised be the Lord forever! The people were very tender, and very good service we had amongst them. There was at this meeting an Indian captain, who was very loving; and acknowledged it to be truth that was spoken. There was also one of the Indian priests, whom they call Pauwaw, who sat soberly among the people. The ninth of the tenth month we got back to Bonner’s Creek, where we had left our horses; having spent about eighteen days in north of Carolina.”
Hat tip to Mavis for this document.
Could the name also be referencing the PawPaw tree?
Could it not also reference the PawPaw tree of the area?
I loved reading these words from so many hundred years ago.