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Early Colonists in NC and VA

Moderators: dpyates, jakayj, suelevin1, dnacommunities, teresapy, D J Thornton

D J Thornton
Posts: 321
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:58 am

Early Colonists in NC and VA

Postby D J Thornton » Thu Sep 17, 2015 5:10 am

I don't know what happened to Helen Campbells website, but I found this at another website searching this article regarding early colonists in Virginia


Helen Campbell

Prior to the white man’s arrival in America, a chain of separate but interacting Algonquian communities thrived along the Atlantic coastline. The Indians thrived in communities from the Chesapeake to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. When warm weather arrived, the Indians used the coastline for fishing and hunting. In the southern regions Indians turned to the planting of crops for foodstuff. Some of the Southeastern Indians tribes became extinct almost immediately upon contact with the explorers from the Old World; the contact with the Indians was catastrophic because the foreign ships carried a plague of diseases. The Native Americans didn’t have any immunity to the diseases, which resulted in epidemics and the deaths of millions of Native Americans. The first African slaves were transported to the Americas in 1510 thus transmitting new diseases from Africa to the Native Americans. In 1551, the English voyagers reported that the Roanoke Islands’ natives were dying by scores.

The First European Settlements

In 1584, an Englishman, Walter Raleigh, led an expedition to look into Spanish defenses in the Caribbean Islands and to explore for a perfect site to build a new settlement. His men explored in Albemarle Sound and landed on the Virginia coastal island (now North Carolina), of Roanoke Island. In 1585, Walter Raleigh tried to establish a settlement on the newfound island. It was the ideal location to plant and grow wild sassafras, an herb prized for it’s medicinal qualities in England. Raleigh sailed back to England to purchase provisions for the coming winter. During a skirmish with the Indians, the settlers killed an Indian chief and the Indians were infuriated. This first group of immigrants abandoned the undeveloped settlement after a year when Sir Francis Drake rescued the settlement from disaster…

…About one hundred miles inland, from Roanoke Island, and adjacent to the South Carolina border, was an area called Robeson County, North Carolina. In 1719, a group of hunters and trappers strayed into the hilly landscape and stumbled upon a tribe of Indians. The Indians had light skin, gray/blue eyes and light brown hair. But most astonishing was the fact that they spoke nearly perfect Elizabethan English. These Indians said that their ancestors “talked from a book.” Their customs were similar to the early English Roanoke Colony. This sighting brought about a theory that the starving colonists at Roanoke took refuge with the Croatan Indians during the first winter when Governor John White didn’t return. To this day the descendants still live in Robeson County, North Carolina. They are known as the Lumbee Indians. The surviving remnants of the Roanoke settlement may have been assimilated into the indigenous tribes. The existence of fair skinned Indians in Roberson, North Carolina substantiates the theory that the Roanoke colonists and perhaps the abandoned Turks and Portuguese and Moors blended in with the Croatan and other Tidewater, Virginia Indian tribes, including the Powhatan and Lumbee Indians. Dr. Robert Gilmor, a Melungeon researcher, suggests the people of the legendary “Lost Colony of Roanoke” intermarried with the Powhatan Indians who had already intermarried with Jamestown Colony. Adding the surnames White and Dare to the Indian population. Other surnames common to the Lumbee Indians are; Applewhite, Atkins, Braveboy, Bridger, Caldwell, Chavers and it’s variants, Cole, Cumbo and it’s variants, Cummings, Drake, Goins, and it’s variants, Humpreys/Humprey, Kearsy, Kitchens, Locklear, Manuel, Morison, Moore, Mainer, Newsom, Oxedine, Ransom, Revels, Thompson, and Wood. The remnants of this mixed raced population were ultimately pushed together in the mountains of south-central Virginia, western North Carolina and upper South Carolina where they became known as the Tri-racial isolates…

…Chief Powhatan – Wahunsonacook 1550s-1618

It is not certain but probable that Don Luis was the father of Wahunsonacook, born in the 1550’s and later became the legendary Chief Powhatan of the Powhatan Confederacy.

The English called Wahunsonacock, Chief Powhatan, King of the Powhatans. Wahunsonacook was a member and chief of the Pamunkey Indians. The Pamunkey were the largest of the many Virginia Tidewater tribes. Their political system was Chiefdom, a sovereignty and supreme power with a king and a province. Some researchers have written, that Wahunsonacock inherited the Chiefdoms of the Powhatans, Arrowhateck, Appamattock, Pamunkey, Mattaponi, and the Chiskiak Indians.

The Powhatans lived in a 9,000 square mile area. Chief Powhatan and his people lived on the North side of the James River in Henrico County. It was a custom for the Ruler of the Powhatans to acquire the name of the tribe, thus Chief Powhatan.

There were hundreds of Indian villages near the Chesapeake Bay. The inlets and rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay, were vital, they were used for transportation and were a major source of food. The rivers and bay provided the Indians with an abundant source of fish, oysters, clams and waterfowl. The Powhatan villages were strategically placed enabling the Indians to have a commanding view of the waterways and the people traveling them, especially their enemies. Historian James Mooney estimated the Powhatan population at nine thousand Indians in the sixteen hundreds and by the end of the eighteenth century they had nearly disappeared as a result of warfare, disease, and inter-marriage with Africans and Europeans. Some were fortunate enough to be adopted among other Indian tribes thus becoming another mixed raced people. In 1685 the Powhatans were said to be extinct, but in reality their survivors continued to move inland, intermarrying with other mixed-race exiled people. In 1691 a law was made to end the intermarriage of Whites to Indians and Blacks. The remnants of this mixed raced population eventually fled to the isolated mountains in the Southeast…

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Re: Early Colonists in NC and VA

Postby suelevin1 » Fri Oct 23, 2015 9:42 pm

DJ, that is an excellent article and explains succinctly about the origins of the people of the area. Thanks for posting it!


D J Thornton
Posts: 321
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:58 am

Re: Early Colonists in NC and VA

Postby D J Thornton » Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:48 pm

A good start on early colonists family trees

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