the  Lost Colony, a book by Hamilton McMillian, published 1888

This project is not part of DNA sales. This project uses   

Web space provided by, sponsored by

Please read notice in the bottom bar.

Advertisements at the top and bottom of the pages are not part of this project, 

visiting the links helps pay for the website space. 


This website has music on subsequent pages.

Please turn your volume down if needed.


Home    Site map

The Lost Colony by Hamilton McMillan, published in 1888

Owned by Roberta Estes


McMillan Revisited


Roberta Estes - copyright 2010


This original document was written by Hamilton McMillan in 1888.  I have transcribed the original and added research notes where the data was adequate to either verify what Mr. McMillan wrote or to add more information.


Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony, an Historical Sketch of the Attempts of Sir Walter Raleigh to Establish a Colony in Virginia with the Traditions of an Indian Tribe in North Carolina indicating the Fate of the Colony of Englishmen Left on Roanoke Island in 1587 by Hamilton McMillan (1888)


P 1 - In 1583, "Elizabeth by the Grace of God, of England, France and Ireland, Queen, defender of the faith" granted to Sir Walter Raleigh, his heirs and assigns forever, letters patent "to discover, search, find and view such remote heathen and barbarous lands, countries and territories, not actually possessed of any Christian Prince, nor inhabited by Christian people as to him, his heirs and assigns, to every or any of them shall seem good, and the same to have hold and occupy and enjoy, to him his heirs and assigns forever."


It was provided further that a settlement should be made in the territory granted within 6 years next succeeding  the date of the letters patent.


This grant was made during one of the most critical periods of British history.  The Protestant Elizabeth has espoused the cause of the Netherlands and had given high offense to Spain by rejecting the proposed matrimonial alliance with Philip, the reigning monarch of that country.  The Armada, consisting of 140 ships of war and carrying fully 30,000 men threatened at attack upon England.  Powerful allies stood ready to assist King Philip.  The length of time necessary to complete this powerful armament had afforded to Elizabeth opportunity to prepare for the impending danger. Sir Walter Raleigh then enjoyed high favor at court.  The Queen early discovered his soldierly qualities and intellectual ability and in addition to high rank which she bestowed upon him, readily granted him and his heirs extensive territory in North America. Raleigh was one of the most skillful generals of his time and while actively engage in preparation for the threatened invasion of England found opportunity to fit out an expedition to the coast of America to make discoveries and to locate a colony in compliance with the terms of his grant.  The commanders of the expedition were Philip Armadas and Arthur Barlowe who sailed with 2 barques from the coast of England on the 15th day of April 1584 (old style) and reached the cost of America in July of the same year.  They sailed along the coast for 120 miles before they found any river or entrance issuing into the sea.  These navigators probably entered Hatteras Inlet on the coast of what is now NC and having anchored "within the haven's mouth of the left hand of the same", they went in boats "to view the land adjoining and to take possession of the same in right of the Queen's most excellent majesty as rightful Queen and Princess of the same."  The land thus taken into possession was Roanoke Island about 7 leagues distant from the anchorage.


After a stay of nearly 2 months, the expedition returned to England, carrying two of the natives, Manteo and Wanchese.  The disposition of the natives towards the Englishmen was friendly and though no reason is given for carrying two Indians to England, it was probably understood that a second expedition would soon follow and that they could return to their own country  at an early day.  There was good policy in impressing them, as prominent men of their own land, with the greatness of England.  Manteo and Wanchese returned in another expedition to Roanoke, the former to become Lord of Roanoke, the later to become the determined enemy of the English. 


A second expedition under Sir Richard Grenville, the cousin of Sir Walter Raleigh, sailed from England on the 9th of April 1585.  This expedition consisted of 7 vessels, and arrived at Roanoke during the following July.  In August following, Sir Richard Grenville returned to England after leaving a colony on Roanoke Island under Master Ralf Lane.


Lane explored the surrounding country making many valuable discoveries, and finally despairing of aid expected, embarked with his entire colony on the fleet of Sir Francis Drake, which stopped at Roanoke and sailed for England.


This departure of Lane's colony left no Englishman on the shores of North America.


Page 3 - Chapter 2 - In less than one month from the departure of Lane, Sir Richard Grenville arrived at Roanoke with supplies an after a fruitless search for the colonists, he left 15 men on the island to hold possession of the country.  After the departure by Grenville, these men were seen no more by Englishmen. 


Not discouraged by repeated failures, Sir Walter Raleigh fitted out another expedition under John White as Governor, who with others of the colonists, were incorporated as "the Governor and Assistants of the Cittie of Raleigh in Virginia".  The city of Raleigh was designated to be built on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.


Governor White was instructed to call at Roanoke to ascertain the fate of the 15 men left there by Sir Richard Grenville.  The commanders of the ships seemed to have been independent of the authority of Governor White, and fully aware that a voyage to the Chesapeake Bay would delay their expected cruise in the West Indies, refused to transport the colony to its destination, thus compelling White to stop at Roanoke Island.  The vessels soon departed in search of Spanish prizes.


After reciting many incidents, Governor White relates that "on the 13th of August, our savage, Manteo, by the commandment of Sir Walter Raleigh, was christened in Roanoke and called Lord thereof, and of Dasmonquepeuk, in reward of this faithful service."  "the 18th, Eleanor, daughter of Governor White and wife to Ananias Dare, one of the colonists, was delivered of a daughter in Roanoke, and the same was christened there the Sunday following, and because this child was the first Christian born in Virginia, she was named Virginia."


Governor White relates that a violent tempest arose on the 21st of August which lasted for 6 days and threatened the destruction of one of the vessels then ready to sail for England.  Governor White was sent back to England by the planters to act there as factor for the colony.


The Croatan Indians who visited Roanoke Island invited the colonists to reside with them, and the latter, prior to the departure of the Governor, expressed to him their intention to accept the invitation and to remove 50 miles "up into the main".  It was understood that if they went to Croatoan, they were to carve the word Croatoan on the bark of a tree in some conspicuous place, that he Governor might know where to find them on his return.  It was further understood that if they left the Island in distress they were to carve the Christian cross above the word Croatoan. 


On the 27th of August, White sailed for England and the colonists were seen no more by white men.


Page 4 - chapter 3 - On his arrival in England, Governor White found all things in commotion.  The long threatened storm of war had burst upon England and the services of Sir Walter Raleigh and others who were interested in the distant colony, were enlisted in the national defense.  It was a critical period of British history.  Queen Elizabeth relied upon the skill of Raleigh, under whose guidance the Armada was defeated, and "liberty of person and liberty of conscience were once more free".


On the 22nd of August 1588, Governor White by aid of Sir Walter Raleigh sailed from England with 2 barques to visit the colony at Roanoke.   These vessels, disabled in fighting ships encountered during the voyage, were compelled to return to England.  No further attempt to reach the colony was made till the 20th of March 1590, when White again sailed for Virginia with three vessels.  Nearly 6  months passed before the vessel reached Roanoke in the following August.


In his account of this voyage as published by Hakluyt, Governor White said that "on the 15th of August, towards evening, we came to anchor at Hattorask in 36 1/3 degrees, in 5 fathoms of water, three leagues from the shore.  At our first coming to anchor on this shore, we saw a great smoke rise in the isle Roanoke, near the place where I had left our colony in the year 1587 which smoke put us in good hope that some of the colony were there expecting our return out of England.  The 16th and next morning, our two boats went ashore and Captain Cooke and Captain Spicer and their company with me with intent to pas to the place at Roanoke where our countrymen were left.  At our putting from the ship, we commanded our master-gunner to make ready 2 minnions and a falcon, well loaded, and to shoot them off with reasonable space between every shot, to the end that their reports might be heard to the place where we hoped to find some of our people."


Omitting some unimportant details we extract from White's narrative the following:  "Our boats and all things filled again, we put off from Hattorask, being the number of 19 persons in both boats, but before we could get to the place where our planters were left, it was so exceedingly dark that we overshot the place a quarter of a mile, when we espied towards the north end of the island (Roanoke) the light of a great fire through the woods to which we presently rowed: When we came right over against it, we let fall our grapnel near the shore and sounded with a trumpet a call, and afterwards many familiar tunes and sons and called to them friendly; but we had no answer, we therefore landed at day break and coming to the fire we found the grass and sundry rotten trees burning about the place.  From hence we went through the woods to that part of the island directly over against Dasamonguepeuk, and from thence we returned by the water side round about the north point of the island until we came to the place where I left our colony in the year 1587.  In all the way we saw in the sand the print of the savage's feet of two or three sorts trodden in the night, and as well entered up the sandy bank, upon a tree in the very brow thereof, were curiously carved these fair Roman letters, C.R.O., which letters presently we knew to signify the place where I should find the planters, seated, according to a secret token agreed up on between them and me at my last departure from them, which was that in any way they should not fail to write or carve  on the trees or posts of the door the name of the place where they should be seated, for at my coming away they were prepared to remove from Roanoke 50 miles into the main.  Therefore at my departure from them in August 1587, I willed them that if they should happen to be distressed in any of those places that they should carve over the letters of a name a cross (cross shape) in this form, but we found no such sign of distress.  And having well considered of this we passed through the place where they were left in sundry houses, but we found the houses taken down and the place very strongly enclosed with a high palisade of great trees with curtains and flankers, very fortlike, and one of the chief trees or posts at the right side of the entrance had the bark taken off, and 5 feet from the ground, in fair capital letters, was graven "Croatoan", without any cross or sign of distress.  This done, we entered into the palisado, where we found many bars of iron and two pigs of lead, 4 iron fowlers, iron locker, shot and such like heavy things thrown here and there almost over grown with grass and weeds."  "But although it grieved me much to see such spoil of my goods, yet on the other side, I greatly joyed that I had safely found a certain token of their being at Crotoan, which is the place where Manteo was born, and the savages of the island our friends."


Foul weather compelled Governor White to return to the fleet, and on the following day, with a favorable wind they prepared to sail to Croatan, but owing to the loss of all their anchors, save one, and the approaching foul weather, it was determined to sail to St. John or some other island southward for fresh water and after obtaining victuals and necessaries in the West indies and spending the winter there, to return in the spring to seek the colonist at Croatoan. One of the vessels being in a leaky condition was compelled to sail for England.  The other vessel after cruising for awhile in search of Spanish prizes, finally sailed for England and arrived at Plymouth on the 14th of October, 1590.


P 7 - From the story of Governor White, it is evident that Croatoan was situated southward from Roanoke Island, and up on the coast, for the voyages attempted to sail to it upon the open sea.  It is probably that the island mentioned was one of the long 

islands curtaining the coast and embracing within the present county of Carteret.  It is so located on one of the olde maps, bearing date of 1666[1].  On a map published by order of the Lords Proprietors in 1671, the peninsula embracing the present county of Dare is called Croatan.[2]  Lawson's map of the year 1709 also locates Croatan in the same region[3].  The sound immediately west of Roanoke Island still bears the name of Croatan.  The name of the island belonging to the tribe was Croatoan, while the name of the tribe inhabiting it, may have been Croatan.  The name Croatan was given to the tribe by the English from the name of a locality within their territory.  That part of their territory lying west of Roanoke Island was called Dasamonguepeuk by some of the natives.  Manteo, by order of Sir Walter Raleigh, was made of "Lord of Roanoke and Dasamonguepeuk", the first instance of a title of nobility being conferred on an American.  There can be little doubt that the territory now embraced within the counties of Hyde, Tyrrell and Dare was claimed and occupied by the friendly tribe of Manteo at one time, and was designated as Croatan, and at another time occupied by a different tribe of hostile Indians who called it Dasamonquepeuk.  Croatoan, the principal seat of Manteo and his tribe lay to the southward.  The name carved upon the tree according to a secret understanding between Governor White and the planters prior to the departure of the former, was Croatoan, and was understood by him to mean an island southward from Roanoke, "for there" he related, "Manteo was born and the savages of the island, our friends."


P 8 - For nearly three hundred years after the departure of White no trace of the lost colony had been discovered, with the exception of the following related by Lawson, an early historian, who wrote in 1714: "the Hatteras Indians who lived on Roanoke Island, or much frequented it, tell us that several of their ancestors were white people and could talk in a book, as we do; the truth of which is confirmed by gray eyes being frequently found amongst these Indians, and no others.  They value themselves extremely for their affinity to the English, and are ready to do them all friendly offices."


Purchas tells us that several subsequent voyages were made at the expense of Sir Walter Raleigh, to discover his lost countrymen, but without success.  Commanders of ships in those days were more anxious to capture Spanish vessels than to find lost Englishmen and it is doubtful if a single ship touched at Croatan or Roanoke to make enquiries, after the departure of White in 1590. 


Chapter 4 - Who were the Croatons?  The term Croatan or Croatoan was applied by the English to the friendly tribe of Manteo whose chief abode was on an island on the coast southward from Roanoke.  The name Croatan seems to indicate a locality in the territory claimed by Manteo and his tribe as Hatteras Indians, and from an incident to be related hereafter, this title seems to have been recognized by these Indians.  From the first appearance of Amadas and Barlowe to the departure of Governor White in 1587 relations of the most friendly character are known to have existed between this tribe and the English colonists.  Their chief, Manteo, in reward of his faithful services to the English, was, by command of Sir Walter Raleigh, baptized as a member of the Church of England and was made Lord of Roanoke and of Dasamonguepeuk.


For reasons given in the succeeding pages, we believe the term Roanoke, then applied to the island, was afterwards given to a large extent of territory contiguous to Pamlico Sound, in fact to all the territory claimed by Manteo.  The tribes at that early day, seemed to have had no settled boundaries to the territories claimed by them and occupied the land adjacent to their principal seats, alternately with other tribes, as hunting grounds.


The history of this tribe, as connected with the early attempts to colonize our eastern coast, is of peculiar interest and is worthy of extended notice.


Harriott, who accompanied Lane's expedition to Virginia, in describing the Indians on our coast, says "they are a people clothes with loose mantles made of deer skins and aprons of the same around their middles, else naked, of such a difference of stature as we of England, having no edge tools or weapons or iron or steel to offend us withal, neither know they how to make any."  "The language of every government is different from any other, and the further they are distant, the greater is the difference."  "They believe that they are many gods, which they call Mantoac but of different sorts and degrees, one only chief and great God which has been from all eternity."  "They also believe the immortality of the soul, that after this life as soon as the soul is departed from the body according to the works it has done, it is either carried to heaven, the habitable of the gods, there to enjoy perpetual bliss and happiness, or else to a great pit or hole, which they think to be in the furthest part of the world towards the sunset, there to burn continuously[4], the place they call Popogusso."


In reading this account of the religion of the natives, we conclude that at some period they had communication with more civilized races from the East who impressed upon them some idea of faith more exalted than the common among savages.  Some may be ready to accept the absurdities of monkish fancy and readily believe them to be descendants of the "lost tribes" who had retained something of ancient Jewish faith.  The difference in color, language and other characteristics renders it difficult to accept such a theory.  The knowledge of this western land is as old as the time of Plato and Solon, who mention an island in the west called Atlantis "and a great continent which lay beyond it".  The Persians established a colony in the West Indies a thousand years ago, which, by "abstaining by all admixture with the black aborigines, differs but little from their progenitors in the parent country."  The Welsh colonized the Carolina coast in the 12th century.  In 1660 Rev. Morgan Jones in travelling in the Tuscarora country was captured by the Doegs, a branch of that tribe who spoke Welsh.  He describes them as settled upon Pontigo river near Cape Atross.  This statement seems to confirm the Welsh chronicle which describes Madoc's colony.  Long before the discovery of Columbus the Basques sent fishing vessels to the northern part of America.  The Norse records describe voyages to the American coast, reciting facts and dates which are confirmed by Irish and Arabic chronicles, and also by the inscription on Woman's Islands on our northern coast bearing date of April 25, 1135[5].  If we discredit the accounts of these early voyages we may discredit anything of ancient date recorded in history.  The Sanscrit root syllable ap and the Latin root ak, both meaning water, are detected in the names of scores of rivers and bays on our Atlantic coast facing Europe, where vessels driven by the northeast trade winds, would probably reach our shores. 


We cite these facts in support of the theory that colonies were in past times, located on our coast, and in course of time were neglected and forgotten by the parent countries and became absorbed by native tribes.  If this theory is accepted in will account for traditions of wrecked vessels prevalent among the Indians described by Harriot, as well as for their religious notions so far above those commonly found among savages.  Prescott, as quoted by Dr. Hawks in speaking of Indians found on the Atlantic coast of North America, says, "they had attained to the sublime conception of one Great Spirit, the creator of the universe, who immaterial in his own nature, was not to be dishonored by an attempt at visible representation and who pervaded all space was not to circumscribed within the walls of a temple."


What may have been the origin on the tribe, known to us through the English colonists as Croatan, can only be a matter of conjecture.  They had traditions of vessels wrecked in past times, and the affirmed that iron implements found among them were obtained from such wrecks.  Children with auburn hair and blue eyes were noticed among them, which impressed the belief that they had had communication with the white people.  From the appearance of Amidas and Barlowe in 1584 to the departure of Governor White in 1587, their demeanor towards the whites was friendly.  The treatment received by Manteo during his visit to England may have enhanced the good feeling towards the English.  What became of them?


Page11 - Chapter 5 - After the departure of Governor White from the coast of Virginia in 1590, 5 expeditions were fitted out at the expense of Sir Walter Raleigh for the relief of his distressed countrymen at Roanoke.


After the settlement of Jamestown in 1607, Captain John Smith sent a hardy woodsman to the Chowanoke Indians, who lived near the head of Albemarle Sound, under the pretense of sending presents to their king, but his object was to make inquiries concerning the Roanoke colony.  Captain Smith sent two other men to the Mangoaks, on the river Nottoway, but they returned as the other had done, without any information except that the white people were all dead.  (Vide Williamson's His. Of NC Vol 1 p73)


It is evident from the story of Governor White, as given on a preceding page, that the colonists went southward along the coast to Croatoan Island, now a part of Carteret county, in North Carolina, and distant about one hundred miles in a direct line from Albemarle Sound.  The Mangoacks were seated northwest from Albemarle and it is not surprising that the messenger returned without definite information.  The statement of Lawson, as to the tradition of the Hatteras Indians, may throw some light on the fate of the English colonists, but it is a matter of surprise to us at this time that a historian would not pursue the investigation of that tradition far enough to ascertain who those ancestors were who could "talk in a book".  Europeans had been upon the coast even before the arrival of Amidas and Barlowe in 1584.  Persons were noticed among the native with auburn and chestnut colored hair and traditions existed concerning wrecked vessels.  Iron implements were found among the Croatoan Indians made of spikes and nails obtained from a wreck on their coast, which occurred about 20 years before the arrival of the English colony.  A previous wreck in 1558 was mentioned, some of the crew were saved and were supposed to have been lost in their attempt to leave in the frail boats of the natives.  Lawson wrote in 1714, 127 years after the colonists were last seen on Roanoke Island.  Sixty nine years after the settlement on that island and 60 years before the event related by Lawson, Roanoke was visited by an Englishman, Francis Yeardly, who, in a letter to John Farrar, Esquire, dated May 8, 1654, relates a visit made to Roanoke Island by himself and others, "where or thereabouts they found the great commander of these parts with his Indians ahunting, who received them civilly, and showed the ruins of Sir Walter Raleigh's fort, from which I received a sure token of their being there.  After some days spent to and fro, in the country, the young man, the interpreter, prevailed with the great man and his war captains to come in and make peace with the English, which they willingly condescended unto." - (Vide Hawks His NV Vol 2 p 17)[6].  So that at that early day the island was occupied by Indians who knew nothing of the lost Englishmen[7], and who pointed out Raleigh's fort as an object of curiosity, without any tradition as to the fate of those who built it. 


Reverend Mr. Blain, who as a missionary to the settlement son Pamlico Sound, after describing the difficulties of his situation, writes to his patrol Lord Weymouth, as follows:  "I think it likewise reasonable to give you an account of a great nation of Indians who live in that government, computed to be no less than 100,000 many of which live among the English, and all as far as I can understand, a very civilized people."  This letter was written in 1703.  Mr. Blair speak of a desert of 50 miles in extent to be crossed in reaching the place.  At the time in which he writes, the descendants of the missing colonists must have held only a tradition respecting the events attending the attempt at colonization on Roanoke Island.  The number mentioned by Mr. Blair is evidently an exaggeration and the location of the tribe is indefinite.  There is reason to believe that descendants of the colonists were living in a region of the country southwest of Pamlico at the time in which he writes and that they emigrated Westward towards the interior where a large body of Croatan Indians and descendants of the lost colonists had previously located.  It is probably that the civilized Indians mentioned were a portion of the Croatan tribe, as there was no other tribe in which the reference could apply.  At that early day very little was known of the region to the Southwest of Pamlico Sound and the missionary may have traveled 100 miles in reaching the place of his labor which seemed to be at a great distance from other precincts visited by him.


At the time he writes, 1703, there were no settlements of white men known to exist beyond the region around Pamlico Sound.  Subsequent to that date white emigrants penetrated the wilderness and in 1729 there was a settlement made on Heart's Creek[8], a tributary of the Cape Fear, and near the site of the present town of Fayetteville.  Scotchmen arrived in what is now Richmond County in North Carolina as early as 1730.  French Huguenots in large numbers emigrated to South Carolina after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and some of them had penetrated as far North as the present Northern boundary of that State, in the early part of the 18th century.


At the coming of white settlers there as found located on the waters of Lumber River, a large tribe of Indians, speaking English, tilling the soil, owning slaves and practicing many of the arts of civilized life.  They occupied the country as far west as the Pee Dee but their principal seat was on the Lumber, extending along that river for 20 miles.  They held their lands in common and land titles only became known on the approach of white men.  The first land grant of land to any of this tribe, of which there is written evidence in existence, was made by King George the 2nd in 1732 to Henry Berry and James Lowrie, two leaders of this tribe, and was located on the Lowrie Swamp east of Lumber River in present county of Robeson in NC.  A subsequent grant was made to James Lowrie in 1738.  According to tradition there were deeds of land of older date, described as "White" deeds and "Smith" deeds, but no trace of their existence can be found at this date[9].


Many of these people at a later period purchased their lands from persons who obtained large patents from the King.


Occasional bands of immigrants arrived on the Lumber River from ancient settlements towards the east, while other moved west towards the Pee Dee, Catawba, and French Broad rivers.  These people were hospitable, and friendly relations were established between them and their white neighbors.  Subsequent to the coming of white settlers a portion of the tribe went north towards the Great lakes and some of their descendants can be found at this time in Canada, West of Lake Ontario.  Another emigration occurred at a later date and the emigrants became incorporated with a tribe then located near Lake Michigan.  Many families, described as white people, emigrated towards the Allegheny mountains and there are many families in Western NC at this time who are claimed by the tribe in Robeson County, as descendants of the lost English colonists, who had preserved their purity of blood to that degree that they could not be distinguished from the white people.  These Indians build great roads connecting distant settlement with their principal seat on the Lumbee, as the Lumber river was then called.  One of the great roads constructed by them can be traced from a point on Lumber River for 20 miles to an old settlement near the mouth of Heart's Creek, now Cross Creek[10].  Another great highway still bearing the name of the "Lowrie Road" and used at this day as a public road extends from the town of Fayetteville through Cumberland and Robeson Counties, in a SW direction towards an ancient Croatan settlement on the Pee Dee. 


James Lowrie, previously mentioned as one of the grantees in the deeds made by George the 2nd, and recognized as a chief man of his tribe, is described as an Indian who married Priscilla Berry, a sister of Henry Berry, the other grantee mentioned.  James Lowrie was a descendant of James Lowrie of Chesapeake, who married a Croatan woman in Virginia, as Eastern NC is still designated by the tribe, and became the progenitor of all the Lowries belonging to this tribe.  According to the prevalent tradition respecting this family, the men were intellectual and ambitious and as a chronicler of the tribe described them, became "leaders among men".  Many persons distinguished in the annals of NC are claimed as descended from the original James Lowrie of Chesapeake.  "You will find the name of James Lowrie", remarked the chronicler, "wherever you find a Lowrie family."


Henry Berry, the grantee previously mentioned, was a lineal descendant of the English colonist, Henry Berry, who was left on Roanoke Island in 1587. 


Many of this tribe served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and enjoyed pensions within the memory of persons yet living.  A considerable number served during the War of 1812, some of whom received pensions within the recollection of the writer.  From the close of the Revolution to the year of 1835, they exercised the elective franchise equally with white men, performed militia duties, encouraged schools and built churches, owned slaves and lived in comfortable circumstances.  By an ordinance of the NC State convention of 1835, the elective franchise was denied to all "free persons of color".  To effect a political purpose, it was contended that these citizens were "free persons of color" and afterwards they were debarred from voting till the year 1868, when a new constitution was adopted.  After the adoption of the new State constitution, they were allowed the benefit of public schools, but having been classed for a long period as "free persons of color", they were compelled to patronize schools provided for the negro race.  Owing to a bitter prejudice against negroes, but few availed themselves of the privilege, the greater part preferring that their children should grow up in ignorance rather than they should be forced to associate with a race which they hold in utter contempt.  Separate schools have since been provide for their race, by the legislature of NC which, by special act, recognized them as Croatan Indians.


P 16 - Chapter VI - During the late way between the states, an incident occurred which caused the writer to investigate the traditions of this tribe.  Three young men of the Lowrie family were drafted, according to military law, to work on the fortifications at Fort Fisher in Eastern NC, and while on the road to the nearest depot in Robeson County, they were killed, it is supposed, by a white man who had them in custody.  An inquest was held, and at its conclusion, an old Indian named George Lowrie[11], addressed the people assembled, in substance as follows: "we have always been friends of white men.  We were a free people long before the white men came to our land.  Our tribe as always free.  They lived in Roanoke, Virginia.  When the English came to Roanoke, our tribe treated them kindly.  One of our tribe went to England in an English ship and saw that great country.  When English people landed in Roanoke we were friendly, for our tribe was always friendly to white men.  We took the English to live with us.  There is the white man's blood in these veins as well as that of the Indian.  In order to be great like the English, we took the white man's language and religion for our people were told they would prosper if they would take white man's laws.  In the wars between white men and Indians, we always found on the side of the white men.  We moved to this land and fought for liberty for white men, yet white men has treated us as negroes.  Here are our young men shot down by a white man and we get no justice, and that in a land where our people were always free."


The incident above occurred in the latter part of 1864 and owing to the troubled state of the country at that time, and for several years afterwards, no investigation could be made till the year 1875, when the writer became a citizen and had opportunity of interviewing the leading persons of the tribe.


After the year 1835 these Indians who murmured greatly at the injustice done them in being classed as "mulattoes" or "free persons of color" became suspicious of white men and at first we found difficulty in eliciting any facts relating to their past history.  After years of patient investigations, gathering here and there, we present the following summary of traditions prevalent among them.


The tribe once lived in Roanoke in Virginia, as they persist in calling Eastern NC.  The name Roanoke is applied to the country around Pamlico Sound, embracing Hyde, Tyrrell and Dare counties on the North, with the series of island as far South as Carteret county and embracing that county with Craven and Jones.  Croatoan or Croatan was a locality far to the south, off the coast of Carteret, and was the principal seat of the tribe.  Their leading man was made Lord of Roanoke.  The name Manteo they do not recognize, but are familiar with a Mayno, a name very common among them and representing a very quite law abiding people.


At an early date after the colony became incorporated with the tribe, they began to emigrate westward.  The first settlement made was probably in what is now Sampson county on several small rivers tributary to Black River.  A portion located on the Cape Fear, near a place now bearing the name of "Indian Wells" and at Heart's Creek in Cumberland county, now Fayetteville. It is impossible to ascertain at what date the tribe located in Robeson, but it is probable that they have resided there for 200 years.  According to their universal tradition, they were located there long before the troubles with the Tuscaroras began in 1711.  Some of the tribe fought under "bonnul" as they term Colonel Barnwell, and we have reliable evidence that they brought home a few Mattamuskeet Indians as prisoners and slaves.  The descendants of these Mattamuskeet had their traditions also.  The name Dare was not recognized by them in our first investigations, but we afterwards discovered that they pronounce the name variously as Darr, Durr and Dorr.  This discovery was made when we related to an old chronicler of the tribe the story of Virginia Dare, the first white child born on American soil  This name Dorr or Durr has disappeared on the Lumber river since the War of 1812[12].  The name Dorr appears on the muster roll of a company composed in part of Indians from Robeson county which served in the war, in the US Army.


Several chroniclers or old persons who keep the tradition of the tribe have informed us that there are families bearing the name of Dorr or Durr to be found in western NC who are claimed by the tribe as descended from the English colonists of Roanoke.  These chroniclers affirm that the Dares, Coopers, Harvie and others retained their purity of blood and were generally pioneers in emigration.  Many names are corrupted so that it is difficult to trace their history.  The name Goins was originally O'guin, as appears from ancient court records.  The name Lumber as applies to the river was originally Lumbee or Lombee.  The name Manteo is nor familiar to them.  While they have a tradition of their leader or chief who went to England, yet they have preserved no name for him.  The nearest approach to the name of Manteo is Maino or Mainor.  An old women whom we interviewed spoke of their great man as Wonoke.  This name may be a corruption of Roanoke for we must remember Manteo was made Lord of Roanoke.  Mattamuskeet Lake, according to the tradition preserved by these Indians was a burnt lake or lake caused by water filling a hole burnt in the ground.  We are indebted for this tradition to an aged gentleman of Roberson county who was familiar with the traditions of the tribe from about 1820-1824.  He mentioned several persons who represented that they were descended from Mattamusket Indians who were taken prisoners, in the war between the whites and the Tuscaroras, by the tribe n the Lumber River.  These Mattamuskeets could locate the dwelling places of their ancestor who lived in what is now Hyde county in the vicinity of Mattamuskeet Lake.  In our investigations we could find no traditions respecting these persons.  The names given by our informants have all disappeared.  Large numbers have immigrated since the beginning of the present century.  Within half a century about 40 families have left the county of Roberson from about Plainview and went into the northwest.  "Traditions are fading fast", our informant remarked "as far back as 1820 their traditions were more vivid than now and were familiar to old and young.  Now you will find their ancient traditions confined to comparatively a few old persons."


Pungo Lake is known among them as Mattapungo.  They have no tradition as to any river named Roanoke.  This name is invariably applied by them to the territory previously described as occupied by their tribe on the Eastern coast.  Hawks, as previously mentioned, speak of the tribe in 1587 as Hatteras Indians,


When the Act of the North Carolina General Assembly was read to them, recognizing them as Croatans, an intelligent Indian remarked that he had always heard that they were called Hatteras Indians.  The line of emigration extended westward from what is now Carteret County and can be traced according to tradition as far west as the French Broad in Buncombe county.  Tradition respecting localities occupied by the tribe at the time of the absorption of the English colony is vague, but definite enough to establish the belief that their territory once embraced portions, at least, of the present counties of Carteret, Jones and Craven.  It is not at all probably that any of the English colonists left by Governor White ever lived  west of the county of Jones.  The settlement on the Lumber river in Robeson county was made during the 17th century, possibly as early as 1650.  The revocation of the Edict of Nantes occurred in 1685 and thousands of French Huguenots, driven to exile, found refuge in South Carolina.  As early as 1709, a colony of these exiles located in the Eastern part of NC.  Some of these Huguenots penetrated the interior as far as the Lumber river in the early part of the last century, and found the country north and east of them thickly populated by Indians who had farms and road and other evidences of civilized life, and had evidently resided there for a considerable time before the approach of white men.



next page


Contact Information: 

Electronic mail

General Information/Project Membership: [email protected] 


The Lost Colony Research Group is in NO WAY affiliated with The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research.  The Lost Colony Y-DNA and MT-DNA projects at Family Tree DNA are NOT IN ANY WAY  affiliated with The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research,
regardless of what their links imply.


"Please notify us of any claims to the contrary."


There is no fee to join our group and no donation of monies or objects are needed to participate in "The Lost Colony Research Group".


As with any DNA project, individuals pay for their own DNA testing, but the
group itself  - is strictly volunteer and free to join, upon approval of membership.


Neither, myself, nor the Lost Colony Research Group together or individually are  responsible for the personal content submitted by any individual to this website.


Send mail to [email protected] with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2008 Last modified: February 27, 2011



The art work on this website is my (Nelda L. Percival) original art work and has not been released to any person or organization other then for the use of Lost Colony Research Group and the store front owned by the same. My art work has never been part of the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research's property. My art used here and at the store front was drawn precisely for the projects run by Roberta Estes and ownership has not been otherwise released. This project also uses the artwork of Dr. Ana Oquendo Pabon, the copyright to which she has retained as well. Other art works are the copyrights of the originators and may not be copied without their permission.
All DNA Content on this site belongs to the individuals who tested and or their representatives . The person who tested does not give up ownership of their DNA or DNA results by posting them here.
Where Copyrighted data has been cited the source has been included........
Some Native American art work is from  Some of their art was used as a bases for different creative graphics.