Newsletter of The Lost Colony Research Group

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The Lost Colony Research Group

Genealogy ~ DNA ~ Archaeology

Newsletter

 

 

February 2011

 

 

Later, in 1734, the Chowan Indian chiefs, James Beard, Tomas Hoyter, Charles Beazley and Jeremiah Pushing sold land to John and Tabitha Freeman (Chowan Deed book W-1 p 216). 

In April 1734, the Chowan sold land to Thomas Garrett.  The deed from James Bennett, Thos. Hiter, Charles Bearley (sic, probably Beasley), Jeremiah Ruffin, John Robins, John Reding, Hull Will, Indians of Chowan Precinct in the County of Albemarle to Thos. Garrett of the same precinct and county for land in Chowan Precinct, part of patent dated 1724 on Gum Br., bordering Capt. Aron Blansherds (full description is included). 7 Apr. 1734. Witnesses Mitchell Ward, Henry Hill.

All grantors signed with a mark, except Hull Wills.

In 1751, the headmen of the tribe, James Bennett and John Robbins, Indians, and John Freeman, planter sold the Chowan land to Richard Freeman, in the following deed:

 

Chowan County - To all to whom these presents shall come we James Bennet & John Robins Chowan Indians & John Freeman Planter of the County and Province aforesaid Know Ye that we the aforesaid James Bennet, John Robins  & John Freeman for and in consideration of the sum of Twenty Pounds Lawfull money of Great Britain to us in hand paid by Richard  Freeman of the county and Province aforesaid, Planter, the receipt of which we do hereby acknowledge have granted bargained sold  conveyed confirmed & deliver and do by these presents grant Bargain Sell Convey Confirm and Set Over unto the aforesaid Richard Freeman one certain tract or parcel of land &  pocoson lying on the No. side of Bennets Creek commonly called & known by the name of the Chowan Indian Land Two Hundred acres by Estimation beginning on Blanchards Line running then west ... together with all and singular the appurtenances thereunto belonging unto the said Richard Freeman, his heirs and assigns forever hence they yielding and paying  to our Sovereign Lord  the King the yearly quit rents of and by(?) required for every hundred acres hereby granted by the said James Bennet, John Robins and John Freeman as aforesaid to the said Richard Freeman his heirs..the aforesaid James Bennet, John Robins, & John Freeman and do bind ourselves and each of our heirs and by these presents to forever  warrant and defend unto the said Richard Freeman his heirs and the above mentioned tract or parcel of land and pocoson from all manner of persons whatever...whereof we the aforesaid Ja. Bennet, Jn Robins Chowan Indians and John Freeman, Planter have hereunto set our hand and seals this --- of January, 1751

 

Signed & Sealed & Delivered in the presence of Richard Garret, Reuben Hinton, George S. Outlaw - Chowan County  for January County Court 1751

 

These may testify that the within Deed of Sale of Land from James Bennet, John Robins, & John Freeman to Richard Freeman was duly proved in open Court by the oath of Richard Garret and on motion is ordered to be registered.  Registered January 23, 1751

 

Signed Sealed & Delivered in the presence  of:

 

Richard Garret                    James B. Bennett

Reuben Hinton                     John R. Robins

George S. Outlaw                  John Freeman

 

Chowan County       January County Court 1751

 

Present His Majesties Justices These may codify that the within Deed of Sale of Land from James Bennet John Robins & John Freeman to Richard Freeman is hereby proved in open Court by the oath of Richard Garret & on Motion is ordered to be Registered.  Registered Jan 23, 1751

It is unclear from this extraction whether or not James Bennett or John Robins could sign their names, but I strongly suspect from the B. initial and the R. initial above, that these were not initials but "marks" made by the native men.  In this timeframe, European men by and large did not have middle names.  These men were clearly stated to be Indians.  John Freeman, on the other hand, appears to have signed his name and was not stated to be an Indian.  I wonder what his relationship to the Chowan Indians was.  Did he marry a female of the tribe?  And how was Richard Freeman related to John?

Fletcher Freeman believes that Tabitha, the wife of John, was a Native female, possibly the daughter of Chief Hoyle.  She could well have been, but there is no proof of such.  One possibility is that Chief Hoyle had himself become Christian (given the 1712 record) and with him, his children, including Tabitha, who would also have been given a Christian name upon baptism.  This would have enabled her to marry John Freeman, as he would not have been marrying a "savage"

Fletcher Freeman found records indicating that John Freeman was a reader at the Indian Town Chapel  in 1733 and again in 1743.  Interestingly, Edward Mosley who drew the famous Mosely Map of 1733 was also a member there and had been Thomas Hoyter’s attorney in 1723 according to the North Carolina Records.  Another member of Indian Town Chapel was Tom Blount, probably the man after whom Tuscarora Chief Tom Blount named himself, signifying kinship.  If this is not the case, how did John Freeman come to be listed with the Chowan Indians, although one deed record is somewhat ambiguous with his name omitted in one listing and included in another in the same document?  It is possible that he was a witness, not a conveyor in one deed, but in the second deed, he is clearly a conveyor.

In 1752 Bishop Spangenberg wrote from Edenton, "The Chowan Indians are reduced to a few families, and their land has been taken away from them."

Due to colonists' encroachments and violations of treaties, by 1754 only two Chowanoke families: the Bennetts and the Robbinses, remained in the Bennett's Creek settlement.

 

A report of Governor Dobbs in 1755 stated that the tribe consisted of two men and five women and children who were "ill used by their neighbors."

 

Bennett and Robbins males served in the Revolutionary War.  By 1790, European guns and disease was reduced the Chowan from thousands to a handful of people.  Their leaders had European names.  John Robbins was one of them and a lovely website documenting his family is found here - http://www.roanoke-chowan.com/Stories/MarvinTJonesStories/AChowanokeFamily.htm

 

During a sale of Chowanoke land in 1790, it was written that the Chowanoke men had died, "leaving a parcel of Indian women, which have mixed with Negroes, and now there are several freemen and women of Mixed blood as aforesaid which have descended from the s[ai]d Indians."

 

In the 1790 census, there are two Robbins and two Bennett families listed as "free people of color" in Gates County, but none of the other surnames mentioned above as Native are found in that location.  In Tyrrell County, an Elizabeth Will is found, but the rest of the surnames seem to have disappeared.

 

By 1810, only Robbins families were left at the Bennett's Creek settlement. They seemed to have assimilated by 1822, having dispersed and married their more numerous white and black neighbors.

 

Many Robbinses migrated to the free states of Ohio and Indiana after Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion of 1831.

 

Noah Robbins stayed, but he was classified as "colored" in the fear-born backlash from the failed 1831 rebellion and possibly to remove any residual treaty obligations.  All colored, even if they were born free as Indians, were required to register and carry their "paper", as follows, at all times.

“State of North Carolina, Gates County August Court of Pleas, 1831…

..It was then and there ordered that the Clerk of said Court should [grant] to the said Noah Robbins a certificate certifying that he is a free man of colour and a native of said County and there in entitled to all rights and privileges of free persons of colour. Given under my hand and seal of office the 25th day of August Anno Dom 1831.”

Some of the Bennetts moved further south in Anson County, North Carolina with Native American trading families. Their descendants can be found there; some are members of one of the several Pee Dee Indian tribes.

 

One group of Robbinses remained intact. They first moved to Colerain in Bertie County,  downriver on the Chowan. Many Robbins family descendants have since become members of the Meherrin tribe, based in Hertford County.

 

Fletcher Freeman mentions that he has seen another record that indicates that at least some of the Chowan merged with the Meherrin.  He feels this makes more sense because both were Algonquian speaking and both lived near each other on the Chowan river. 

 

Sadly with the end of these records, the Chowan disappear from the historical records, as Indians. 

 

We don't have any known descendants of any of these Chowan surnames who have taken the Y DNA test.  Looking through the projects, there are no Native haplogroups for any of these surnames except for one Beasley gentleman from Texas and Freeman from Texas, Tennessee and Virginia.  There is no indication that any of these individuals are from the Chowan families.

 

Our Lost Colony group member who does descend from the John Freeman family of Gates County is haplogroup R1b1b2, a European haplogroup, which is exactly what we would expect to see from a European man who married a Native woman.  If they had daughters, and someone descends through all females from a daughter, indeed, we could test their mitochondrial DNA to see if Tabitha was a Native Chowan woman.

 

Health in 1880

Seldom do we get to peek into the past and the lives of our ancestors.  Occasionally, thanks to some preserved record, we are allowed that luxury.  Medicine in 1880 was much different than today.  Occasionally symptoms could be relieved, but seldom could maladies be cured, especially serious illnesses.  For example, antibiotics would not be available for another 65 years.  Most of the cures of the day were homemade concoctions, some fairly effective and some worst than nothing.  Anyone up for having leaches suck your blood?  No?  I didn't think so.

The 1880 census had a column for health that asked if on the day of the enumeration visit, if the person was sick or temporarily disabled or unable to attend to their duties.  If so, they were to write the malady.  Some census takers wrote nothing, some wrote only the very worst situations.  In District 80, Union Township, Pope County, Illinois, the census taker did us a large favor and wrote quite a bit.  The census for this district was 17 pages in total and several were only partially filled.  However, there were quite a few different entries in the Health field.  Pope County, Illinois was probably not much different than anyplace else, unless a particular location was having an epidemic of some sort.  So peeking at the maladies of Pope County would probably be much the same as any other area.  Here's what we find...

Gender

Age

Malady

M

39

Gunshot

M

59

Rheumatism

M

21

Broken thigh

F

47

Heart disease

M

30

Kidney disease

F

27

Weak eyes

M

47

Burnt

M

36

Lung disease and piles (piles are hemorrhoids)

M

64

Perceration of the head (first three letters not clear)

F

61

Rheumatism

M

34

Broken art

F

13

Weak eyes

M

21

Palsied

M

75

Old age

F

49

Dropsy

M

75

Old age

M

42

Gunshot

M

37

Gunshot

M

33

Broken arm

M

41

Lame back

F

43

Lame hip (married to lame back above)

M

36

Pain in side and rheumatism

M

60

Lung disease

F

34

Crippled shoulder (was an unmarried school teacher0

M

15

Rheumatism

F

40

Rheumatism

M

84

Weak eyes (that's all at 84?)

M

12

One-eyed

F

39

Neuralgia

M

14

Mute

M

63

Rheumatism

F

35

Not known (but she had borne 6 children)

F

12

Rheumatism

M

41

Rheumatism

F

42

Phthisic

F

45

Lame back

M

49

Piles

M

13

Weak eyes

F

35

Billions fever

M

21

Measles

F

20

Weak eyes

F

17

Measles

M

52

Rhein and diarrhea

M

28

Corunenanea (this word was very difficult to read)

M

19

Broken arm

M

50

Broken arm

F

29

Debility

M

36

Debility

M

43

Gunshot

M

42

Preacing (sic)

M

60

Pensioner (very difficult to read - may be another word)

F

22

Crippled (but was married and had 1 year old child)

F

15

Weak eyes

M

36

Piles

M

30

Bronchitis

F

71

Rheumatism

M

28

Rheumatism

M

45

Rheumatism

M

37

Gunshot

M

35

Rheumatism

M

28

Consumption (tuberculosis)

I'm surprised at the number of gunshots - 5 - all men.  I wonder if some of those were from the Civil War.  Only a couple of items that antibiotics would have helped.  Those types of maladies did not tend to be long term - you either recovered or died.  Two cases of measles in one family.  One man of 21 was palsied.  I wonder why.  Did the man with the pain in the side have appendicitis? 

Pregnancy wasn't mentioned as it was the "normal" state for a married woman of childbearing age.  However, surprisingly, men had piles, but no women reported them.  Were they just too modest?  There were several broken bones, all in men.  Lots of people with weak eyes.  They were probably near-sighted and today would have worn glasses.  How much we take for granted and how grateful those people would have been for a pair of glasses.

 

New Native American Haplogroups

You may look at the article below, and wonder why the discovery of a new Native American haplogroup is important to our research.  If the Colonists survived, they assimilated with the Indians.  Most of the colonists were male, and there were few English women along, and of the women who were settlers, many were married.  Understanding the genetics of the Native people is critical to the search for the  colonists, asuming they survived.  Furthermore, one of the individuals who participated in the testing may be associated with the Pee Dee or Lumbee, and the Lumbee carry an oral history of being descended from the colonists.  I was and am thrilled to be able to participate in such a personal way in scientific discovery.  An article for academic publication is in the works as well.

 

Roberta Estes, robertajestes@att.net, www.dnaexplain.com

 

Sometimes scientific breakthroughs result from a combination of newly developed scientific techniques, synchronicity and opportunity.  In other words, being at the right place at the right time, sprinkled with a little bit of luck. 

 

For the tens of thousands of Americans today who seek their Native American ancestors via Y chromosomal DNA testing, that search just got a little bit easier, thanks to Leonard Trujillo, Thomas Krahn at Family Tree DNA and Rebekah Canada, the haplogroup Q project administrator. 

 

For the past decade, since the advent of genetic genealogy, it has been accepted that subgroups of haplogroup C and Q were indicative of Native American ancestry.  Specifically, subgroups C3b and Q1a3a, alone, are found among the Native peoples of North and South America.  Other subgroups of haplogroup C and Q are found elsewhere in the world, not in North or South American, and conversely, C3b and Q1a3a are not found in other locations in the world.  This makes it very easy to determine if your direct paternal ancestor was, or was not, Native American.  Or so it seemed.

 

And then, of course, there were the baffling and tantalizing exceptions that caused me to suspect that there was yet at least one more Native American Y haplogroup.  A few years ago, in the course of my business, I ran into a gentleman whose paternal line did not have an oral history of Native heritage, but his family was associated with a specific isolate group who did indeed have both a strong native oral heritage combined with documented (paper) Native ancestry.  This grouping of individuals was found in colonial Virginia and may have been Saponi descendants.  His haplogroup proved to be Q1.  Q1 was not thought to be Native American at that time, but I was very suspicious, especially since his haplotype, meaning his actual marker values, matched no European people.  Neither did he match any Native people.  However, at that time, we had no further tools to address this mystery.

 

A few years later, another gentleman tested to be Q1a3, and his ancestor hailed from the PeeDee River region of South Carolina, an area known to be heavily populated with Native people historically, many of which became the Pee Dee and Lumbee today.  However, haplogroup Q1a3 is also known to exist in people of European ancestry who have never lived stateside and who have absolutely no ancestry from the Americas.

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