William Hatcher, Indian Trader

William Hatcher of Virginia and his sons were Indian traders.  Of course, those words come with a whole passel of baggage.  That meant that they provided much needed services between the Native people and the colonial settlers.  It also meant that the Hatchers, if they were like other traders, provided liquor to the Indian people.  Not that the Indians didn’t like it, they did, all too much, and alcohol and its affects would be a large part of what devastated the Native American population.

Being a trader also meant that very personal alliances were formed, often sealed by “a kiss,” so to speak.  Traders had wives and children within the tribes, sometimes in multiple villages and tribes.  Many also had their European wife too, back home, wherever that was.  A few of the traders actually made their full time home with the tribes and in essence, lived with, were adopted by and “became” as Indian as a white man could.

This wasn’t the case with the Hatchers, as they clearly retain their property in Virginia, but Edward Hatcher acknowledged his daughter, Sarah Hatcher, an Indian girl.

But there is a darker side too.  Indian traders traded in Indian lives.  Of course, the Indian slaves were provided to them by the very Indian tribes they traded with.  Capture and death or enslavement was part of the Indian war culture, so ti was nothing new.  What was new was that with a bottomless market for slaves, warfare was introduced for the purpose of capturing other Native people, so slaves were no longer the results of warfare, but had become the driving purpose behind attacks.

What this tells us is that Indians from outside the region of unknown tribal provenance will be found in Virginia and all of the early colonies.

From the Hatcher family website:  http://hatcherfamilyassn.com/index.php

** Henrico Co, VA Wills and Deeds 1677-1705, p.216, 16 Jan, 1681: An agreement between Edward Hatcher, Thomas Shippey and John Davis to go on a trading expedition among the Indians.

** Henrico County, Virginia, Wills and Deeds, 1677-1705
Compiled by Benjamin B Weisinger III, p.222

Edward Hatcher for love & affection to my daughter Sarah Hatcher, an Indian girl, Kate. 1 Aug. 1682
Wit: Sam Knibb, Ben Hatcher
Signed: Edward (E) Hatcher
Recorded 1 Aug. 1682

** Henrico County, Virginia
Record Book #5 1688-1697, p. 532
LDS Film 31770
Transcribed by Cecil Q Larsen

Henrco. County December the first AD 1694
Heno. Cty.

Whereas I am credibly Informed that Edward Hatcher Senr in Company ot Joseph Tanner did on Monday night last being the 20th of this instant call at the House of Wm Puckett & that there the sd Edward Hatcher Senr. did report & divulge on his certaine knowledg that the late Mrs. Bannister & all her family were cut off by Indians & that some of them were Hanged up in Trees by the Jaws others lying Dead on the Ground and in pticular Jack came last an Indian was Cutt into four quarters. And not being there therwith content ye sd Hatcher & Tanner did Raise divers of the Horse & foot pretending they had authority to do, who by virtue of the sd Reports & false pretences did meet in Armes at the sd Wm Pucketts the next day expecting further orders. Which sd False reports are directly contrary to & in Contempt of the 91 Act of Assembly in ye Printed Laws & to ye manifest Affrighten & Terror of divers of their Majties. good subjects.
These are therfore in their Majties. names to Will & require you forthwith to cause the sd Edwd. Hatcher Senr. & Joseph Tanner to make their __soual(?) appearance before me to answer wt. shall be objected agt. them or either of them concerning ye premises. And that you sumon for evidence in the premises Wm Puckett & Anne his wife, James Westbrook, Peter Ashbrooke senr. Edward Tanner, Tho. Edwards & Thomas Chetham who all Likewise forthwith to appear & give in their evidence accordingly & hereof you are not to fail at also to make returne of this Warrant as you answer the contrary dated under my hand this 23 day of Augt. Anno 1694.
Pet. Field
To ye Sher. of Heno. Cty. or his Deputy

** Library of Virginia
Goochland Co Chancery Court online documents
Transcribed by Nel Hatcher

The Deposition of Robt Napier aged Eighty ffive —- being Examined & Sworn Saith that between fifty & Sixty years ago Capt John Lydall Jr went to Henrico & he bought of one Edward Hatcher an Indian woman named Bettey wch he called Betty Hatchor & she had a reputed Daughter Called Sarah Hatcher wch was the reputed mother of Indian Jack Hatcher wch Said Indian Bettey was brought in to this Collony by the Said Edward Hatcher an Indian Trader & sold by him to Serve according to Law this Depon?t further Saith that he bought of Edward Hatcher an Indian Trader of the same company an Indian boy between Fourteen[?] & Sixteen[?] years of age & that he Expected he was to Serve only to the age of thirty one or thirty three to the best of my remembrance & further this Depon?t Saith not

[signed] R Napier

Janu?y 5th 1753
Taken before us
Sam?l Jordan
John Cobbs


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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4 Responses to William Hatcher, Indian Trader

  1. I from john l hatcher tn and mary cummings looking indian line

  2. curtis hubbard says:

    I am from john landrum hatchet and. Cummings lime phone 8174438312 your family

  3. ** Henrico County, Virginia, Wills and Deeds, 1677-1705
    Compiled by Benjamin B Weisinger III, p.222

    Edward Hatcher for love & affection to my daughter Sarah Hatcher, an Indian girl, Kate. 1 Aug. 1682
    Wit: Sam Knibb, Ben Hatcher
    Signed: Edward (E) Hatcher
    Recorded 1 Aug. 1682

    The gift above is not to his daughter Sarah Hatcher, an Indian girl, but a gift to his daughter Sarah Hatcher of an Indian girl Kate. A Sarah Hatcher may have indeed been Indian, as seems very clear in the 1694 document. But the Sarah Hatcher who received the gift of an Indian girl in 1682, is not described as Indian in that document.

  4. Sean Morrissey says:

    William Hatcher was one of my 10th great-grandfathers. Was his wife a Native American? If so, what Nation was she from, and what was her name?

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