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

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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.


[6] Colonial and State Records of NC

Letter from Francis Yardley to John Farrar [Extract]

Yardley, Francis

May 08, 1654

Volume 01, Pages 18-19

 [Thurloe's State Papers, Vol. II, P. 273. Reprinted from Hawks's History of N. C.]

Virginia, Linnehaven, 8th May, 1654.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In September last, a young man, a trader for beavers, being bound out to the adjacent parts to trade, by accident his sloop left him; and he, supposing she had been gone to Roanoke, hired a small boat, and, with one of his company left with him, came to crave my license to go to look after his sloop, and sought some relief of provisions of me; the which granting, he set forth with three more in company, one being of my family, the others were my neighbors. They entered in at Caratoke, ten leagues to the southward of Cape Henry, and so went to Rhoanoke Island; where, or near thereabouts they found the great Commander of those parts with his Indians a-hunting, who received them civilly, and showed them the ruins of Sir Walter Raleigh's fort, from whence I received a sure token of their being there.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Immediately I dispatched away a boat with six hands, one being a carpenter, to build the King an English house, my promise, at his coming first, being to comply in that matter. I sent £200 sterling in trust to purchase and pay for what land they should like, the which in little time they effected and purchased, and paid for three great rivers, and also all such others as they should like of, southerly; and in solemn manner took possession of the country, in the name, and on the behalf of the Commonwealth of England; and actual possession was solemnly given to them by the great Commander, and all the great men of the rest of the provinces, in delivering them a turf of the earth with an arrow shot into it; and so the Indians totally left the lands and rivers to us, retiring to a new habitation, where our people built the great Commander a fair house, the which I am to furnish with English utensils and chattels.

* * * * * *

Sir, if you think good to acquaint the States with what is done by two Virginians born, you will honor our country. I have at this instant no present worthy your acceptance, but an arrow that came from the Indians

------------------- page 19 --------------------

inhabiting on the South Sea, the which we purpose, God willing, to see this summer, non obstante periculo.

I humbly take leave, and ever remain, Sir,
Your true honorer and affectionate
Servant to be commanded,


For the worshipful John Farrar, Esq.,
at his Manor of Little Gidding, in

[7] This document doesn't say they ever asked them.  Also, this is Roanoke Island, the mainland Indians might not have known what happened to people on Hatteras Island.

[9] Have not been found as of 2010.

[10] In downtown Fayetteville, NC.

[11] Interestingly enough, in the 1860 census, this George Lowrie, age 62, born in 1798 is also married to a Prissette (Priscilla), age 58.  They have 3 children remaining at home, all of whom are only listed by initials.  George Lowrie and his family are listed as mulatto and are living among other Lumbee, next door to a Blunt and about 3 houses away from a Locklear family (who is also listed as mulatto) in the North District of Robeson Co.  He and his wife were both born in NC.  He owns $150 in personal effects and $300 in land and is a farmer.  There are 3 George Lowrie's listed, age 62, 40 and 22.  In 1850, we find George Lowry, age 52 and his wife Priscilla, age 50, listed as mulatto in Marlboro County, SC, a laborer, owning no land.  This area is also known as a settlement area for Lumbee.  Their children are Andrew, 20, Wesley, 15, Allen, 14, German 12, Allison 6, Haly Griffin age 45 and Purline Griffin age 1.  The Cope family next door is white, but living with them is found Shepherd Locklear, also a mulatto.  Locklear is not found outside of the Lumbee tribe.  Neither George nor Priscilla can read and write in 1850, but their children can.  In 1860 this column is blank.  In 1880, George died of Cholera, listed as a black married male farmer, age 82, died on cholera on the 1880 census mortality schedule.  According to the NC Marriage Collection 1741-2004 on Ancestry, George married Presscella Swett on May 8, 1818 in Cumberland County, NC.  George's parents are shown (unconfirmed) to be William Lowry and Elizabeth Locklear.  His father is shown to be James Lowry born in 1738 in Virginia, d 1811 in Robeson County, NC.

[12] Checking the 1810 census at, we find no similar names except a William Dara indexed to Sampson County.  However, reading he entire census, we find no Dare (or anything similar in that county).  Checking hte 1790 and 1800 census, there are also no individuals with a similar surname.

Settlements were made towards the Pee Dee and at points beyond that river after their location on the Lumber.


The language spoken is almost pure Anglo Saxon, a fact which we think affords corroborative evidence of their relation to the lost colony of White.  Mon (Saxon) is used for man, father is pronounced fayther, and a tradition is usually begun as follows: "Man, my fayther told me that his fayther told him" &c.  Mension is used for measurement, ask for ask, hit for it, hosen for hose, lovend for loving, housen for houses.  They seem to have but two sounds for the letter a, one like short o.  Many of the words in common use among them have long been obsolete in English speaking countries.


They are a proud race, boasting alike of their English and Indian blood, hospitable to strangers and ever ready to do friendly offices for white people.  They are peaceable in disposition, but when aroused by repeated injury, they will fight desperately.  The great mass shun notoriety and carefully avoid places where crowds of other races assemble.  They generally live retired from public highways, and seem to show Indian characteristics more strongly than in former times.  There are 16 churches owned by them in Robeson county, divided among Baptist and Methodist denominations[1].  Their schoolhouses, built entirely by private means, are all framed buildings and provided far better than those of the colored race.


They are great roadmakers, like their ancestors.  The best public roads in NC are found among this tribe.


There has been no census taken separately from the other races, but the number in Robeson county is fully 2500 and considering the settlements in other counties, the total is not less than 5000.  The enrollment of Croatan children in Robeson county between the ages of 6 and 21 years, in accordance with an act of General Assembly passed in 1885 shows about 1100 entitled to the benefit of public instruction, provided separately for the race.


By an act of General Assembly passed in 1887, a Normal School for teachers of the Croatan race was established and the sum of $500 is annually appropriated for 2 years by the State for its support. 


According to the law of NC, all marriages between a white person and a negro or Indian, or between a white person and a person of negro or Indian decent to the third generation inclusive, are null and void, but there was no inhibition of marriage between an Indian and a negro till the General Assembly of 887 amended the law, by declaring all marriages between Croatan Indians and negroes or persons of negro descent to the third generation inclusive, null and void.


P 22 - Chapter 7 - In investigating the traditions prevalent among this singular people, we found many family names identical with those of the lost colony of 1587.  For the information of the reader, we give a list of the names of all the men, women and children of Raleigh's colony, which arrived in Virginia and remained to inhabit there.  This list is found in the first volume of Hawk's History of NC and copied from Hakluyt, Volume III, page 280.


Annoe regni reginae Elizabethae 29.


John White

Roger Baily

Ananias Dare

Christopher Cooper

Thomas Stevens

John Sampson

Dionys Harvie

Roger Prat

George Howe

Simon Fernando

Nicholas Johnson

Thomas Warner

Anthyony Cage

William Willes

William Brown

Michael Myllet

Thomas Smith

Richard Kemme

Thomas Harris

Richard Taverner

William Clement[2]

Robert Little

Hugh Tayler

John Jones

John Brooks

Cutbert White

John Bright

Clement Taylor

William Sole

John Cotsmuir

Humphrey Newton

Thomas Colman

Thomas Gramme or Graham, Graeme

Mark Bennet

John Gibbes



Henry Johnson

John Starte

Richard Darige

William Lucas

Arnold Archard

William Nichols

Thomas Phevens

John Borden

Robert Wilkinson

John Tydway

Ambrose Viccars

Edmund English

Thomas Topan

Henry Berry

Richard Berry

John Spendlove

John Hemmington

Thomas Butler

Edward Powell

John Burdon

James Junde

Thomas Ellis

John Wright

William Dutton

Maurice Allen

William Waters

Richard Arthur

John Chapman

James Lasie

John Cheven

Maurice Allen

William Waters

Richard Arthur

John Chapman

James Lasie

John Cheven

Thomas Hewett

William Berde

Richard Wildye

Lewes Wotton

Michael Bishop

Henry Browne

Henry Rufotte

Richard Tomkins

Henry Dorrell

Charles Florrie

Henry Mylton

Henry Paine

Thomas Harris

Thomas Scot

Peter Little

John Wyles

Bryan Wyles

George Martin

Hugh Pattenson

Martin Sutton


John Bridger

Griffin Jones

Richrd Shabedge



Eleanor Dare

Margery Harvie

Agnes Wood

Winnifred Powell

Joyce Archard

Jane Jones

Elizabeth Glane

Jane Pierce

Andry Tappen

Alice Charman

Emma Merimoth

? Colman

Margaret Lawrence

Joan Warren

Jane Mannering

Rose Payne

Elizabeth Viccars


Boys and Children


John Sampson

Robert Ellis

Ambrose Viccas (sic)

Thomas Archard

Thomas Humphrey

Thomas Smart

George Howe

John Prat

William Wythers


Children born in Virginia


Virginia Dare

? Harvie


Manteo and Towaye, or Wanchese, that were in England returned to Virginia with the colony. 


Governor John White, at the solicitation of the colonists, returned to England.  Simon Fernando, the Spanish pilot of the expedition, also returned.  George Howe, one of the "assistants" of Governor White was killed by the Indians on Roanoke Island soon after the arrival.  Omitting the name of the perfidious Fernando, we have 120 persons in all, including men, women and children, and about 90 family names, represented in the colony.  The names in the foregoing list in italics [RJE - and bold] are those which are found at this time among the Indians residing in Robeson county and in other counties of NC.  The traditions of every family bearing the name of one of the lost colonists point to Roanoke as the country of their ancestors.


If we accept their traditions they held communication with the Eastern coast long after their exodus, and it is not improbable that it was a party of this tribe which Lawson describes in1714, as visiting their old hunting grounds and who described in their ancestors as people who "could talk in a book".


As to the intellectual character of this singular people but little can be written as public schools were unknown prior to 1835 and such education as they obtained up to that date was limited to a knowledge of reading and writing and the fundamental rules of arithmetic.  Hundreds have grown up to manhood and woman hood in perfect ignorance of books.  By nature they are quick-witted, and judging by the few examples of educated ones, they are equal to the whites in mental capacity.  Ex United States Senator Revels of Mississippi belongs to this tribe.  He was born in Robeson county and emigrated to the northwest where he was educated and subsequently resided in Mississippi.


The action of the NC legislature in establishing separate schools for this race and in recognizing them  as the descendants of the friendly Croatans known to the early colonists, is one great step towards their moral and intellectual elevation.  They are almost universally land holders and occupy a territory in the county of Robeson of about 60 thousand acres, adapted to the growth of corn, cotton and tobacco.


P 24, chapter 8 - It has long been a settled conviction that the lost colonists perished from starvation or savage cruelty.  This conviction has arisen from the fact that they were seen no more by white men.


The particulars given by Governor White of the understanding which existed between him and the colonists prior to his departure for England in 1587 and his finding the word Croatan on a tree, in a conspicuous place, on his return in 1590, seem to prove conclusively that the English had accepted the invitation of Manteo's tribe, and had gone to Croatan Island.  The fact that they were seen no more by white men does not prove that they perished.  The same fact exists in regard to the Croatans and the same arguments would prove their destruction also. 


We must remember that the region embracing Croatan Island and the adjacent mainland was unexplored for a long period after the attempt at settlement on Roanoke Island.  The history of those times shows that in 1609 the northeast corner of North Carolina was settled by a colony from Virginia. 


In 1654, 67 years after the English colonists were last seen on Roanoke, Virginia adventurers had explored as far south as the Pamlico and Neuse rivers.  In 1656 a settlement was made on Albemarle Sound.  A colony from Massachusetts was located on the Cape Fear in 1660 and was soon abandoned.  Sir John Yeaman's colony landed on the same river in 1664.  In 1690, a French colony from Virginia settled on Pamlico Sound and in 1698 emigrants from Albemarle also located in that region.


We have cited the facts to show how little was known, from 1587 to 1690, of the region where tradition says the Croatans were settled.


In 1690, the date of the settlement of the French on Pamlico, all the English colonists must have been dead, and the sad story was held only in tradition, and it may be that he Croatans who were then remaining in that region, on the approach of the new colony, removed farther into the interior, where portions of that tribe had previously located.


As previously intimated, the traditions of the Indians now living in Robeson are sufficiently clear to prove that at an early period they located south of Pamlico Sound on the mainland.  Tradition in regard to their ancient dwelling places on the tributaries of Black river in the present county of Sampson are more definite.  The fact that the French, English, Irish and perhaps German names are found among them is accounted for by the tradition that marriages frequently occurred between them and the early immigrants.  The name Chavis which is common among this people is probably a corruption of the French name Cheves.  Goins was O'Guin, as court records prove.  Leary was O'Leary, Blanc or Blonx is French.  Braboy is of recent origin and was originally "Brave Boy" and dates back to the war with the Tuscaroras in 1711 and was conferred on an Indian by the commander of the English for some meritous act.


From the earliest settlement of the country along the Lumber river these Indians have been an English speaking people.  Their language has many peculiarities and reminds one of the English spoken in the days of Chaucer.  The number of old English words in common use among them which have long been obsolete in English speaking countries is corroborative of the truth of their tradition that they are the descendants of the lost Englishmen of Roanoke. 


In traveling on foot they mach in "Indian file"  and exhibit a fondness for bright red colors.  They unconsciously betray many other traits characteristic of Indians.  The custom of raising patches of tobacco for their own use has been handed down from time immemorial.


In building they exhibit no little architectural skill. In road making they excel.  Some of the best roads in North Carolina can be found within their territory.  They are universally hospitable and polite to strangers.  They are proud of their race and boast of their English ancestry.  Like their ancestors, they are friendly to white men. 


Their traditions are generally preserved by the old members of the tribe, but the tradition is universal among them from infancy to old age, that their ancestors came from "Roanoke in Virginia".  By Virginia, they mean territory occupied by the tribe in the vicinity of Pamlico Sound.  In religious matters they are Baptists and Methodists.  The latter belong to what is called the Indian Mission, which is of recent origin. 


"They never forget a kindness, an injury, nor a debt", said an old citizen.  "They may not pay you when the debt is due, but they seldom forget an obligation and are sure to pay you after a time."  In common with all Indians they have great respect for the Quakers and look upon them as all true friends of the Indian.  In the olden times, they had houses of entertainment for travelers.


The number of family names to be found among them, identical with those of the colonists of Roanoke Island is further corroborative of their traditional descent.


The line of emigration from their original seat on the coast was westward and can be traced as far west as the French Broad in Buncombe county.  Though many families of this tribe emigrated from the Lumber river a long while ago, yet the locations of many of them have been found in western NC with unerring certainty.


The writer has been much interested in investigating the traditions prevalent among the Croatans and expresses his firm conviction that they are descended from the friendly tribe found on our eastern coast in 1587 and also descended from the lost colonists of Roanoke who were amalgamated with this tribe.


Through many centuries of time there comes down to us the sad story of the lost legions of Varus.  They mystery that so long hung over the fate of those legions was solved by Drusus who found the bleaching bones of his countrymen in a German forest near the Baltic sea.


The fate of the lost colonists of Roanoke, we submit, is revealed in the forgoing pages. 


To the charitable who are interested in the moral elevation of humanity we heartily comment the Croatans. 

The End.


[1] Both the Methodist and Baptist religions were introduced in the mid 1700s. I would have expected them to be Anglican if they carried the religion of the colonists.

[2]William Clement is omitted on other colonist lists.  This needs to be researched in the original document.



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