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Lost Colony Indigenous Groups




Several Indian tribes may or may not be involved with the Lost Colony and/or descendants of earlier Native tribes that may have assimilated surviving Lost Colonists.  Lots of maybes there, but we don’t know.  This is a journey of discovery.


Most of the Eastern North Carolina tribes were Algonquin speaking tribes. Some, further inland were Souian.


An excellent reference for Eastern North Carolina tribes is found at


Fort Christiana – An early fort built by Governor Spotswood in 1714 on the Meherrin River in current Brunswick County, Va., 3 miles below  present day Lawrenceville, often frequented by many Native tribes to trade.  By agreement, remnants of various nations came to the fort to be educated and converted, including the Catawba, Eno, Meherrin, Meipontsky, Nottoway, Occaneechi, Saponi, Stenkenock, Tutalo, and others.  All of the people living at the fort were known as “Saponi”.  The fort was closed in 1717, but the 400 native people living at the fort at the time it closed remained until 1729.  After that, they dispersed, some to South Carolina, some to Pennsylvania and then to Canada where they joined the Iroquois, some to Louisa County and some to Amherst County ( among the Monacon).  Some headed south into Granville, Northampton, Orange/Person Co., including, it's believed, the Flat River Melungeon area by 1755 and Little Texas a bit later.  Some simply adopted white names and assimilated, including the names of Collins, Bolten, Bell, Goins and Miner which would later become associated with Melungeon families.  Some merged with freed slave communities nearby, and some of these communities still exist in southern and eastern Brunswick Co. today near the towns of Greentown and Antes.   





Monacan – Souian speakers, they mined copper and traded with the Powhattan, among others. There were parts of the Amherst County Monacan tribe located today near Lynchberg found earlier in  Pittsylvania County.  The area along present day US 29 was a Seminole path from northern areas to what is now Florida during their hunting expeditions.  There is a Monacan Indian Museum.

Even before the English arrived, the Indians had encountered sweeping epidemics of disease, carried to this land by Spanish explorers in the 1500s.

Unlike the Powhatans, who maintained an appearance of friendly relations with the colonists, the Monacan people appeared to want little contact with the English. A number of explorers visited their towns and described them, but none remained to learn the Monacan languages, and thus the historical record of these people is poor in contrast to Powhatan history.

Between 1607 and 1720, a series of encounters are recorded, and the Monacans gradually moved westward, away from the advancing settlers. Some stayed for several years at Fort Christianna, in Brunswick County, and these people eventually moved into Pennsylvania and finally to Canada, where they were adopted by the Cayugas, a division of the Iroquois Confederacy. Tuscaroras from North Carolina, who had fought a disastrous war with the English and were decimated as a result, joined them. However, some of the Monacan people stayed in Virginia, entrenched in their ancestral home in the mountains, a place that became known as Amherst County. Other members of their confederacy, such as Saponis, Occaneechis, and Tutelos, joined these remaining Monacans, and the Monacan people adopted the few Tuscaroras who chose to remain in Virginia.  



Mattamuskeet - The Mattamuskeet Reservation was a creation of the Tuscarora War (1711-1715), and was inhabited by remnants of various small groups from coastal North Carolina. The reservation consisted of four miles square of marsh and low ridges along Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County, North Carolina. The sale of reservation lands to white neighbors began as early as 1731, and was completed by 1761. Sporadic references to Indians persisted in Hyde County records until the early nineteenth century. Numerous references to individuals with Mattamuskeet surnames occurred after that time under the general label of "free persons of color."


Sapponi/Sappony – One of the eastern Siouan tribes, formerly living in North Carolina and Virginia. The tribal name was occasionally applied to the whole group of Ft Christianna tribes, also occasionally included under Tutelo. That this tribe belonged to the Siouan stock has been placed beyond doubt by the investigations of Hale and Mooney. Their language appears to have been the same as the Tutelo to the extent that the people of the two tribes could readily understand each other. Mooney has shown that the few Saponi words recorded are Siouan.


As first pointed out by Mooney (1895), the Saponi tribe is identical with the Monasukapanough which appears on Smith's map as though it were a town of the Monacan and may in fact have been such. Before 1670, and probably between 1650 and 1660, they moved to the southwest and probably settled on Otter Creek, as above indicated. In 1670 they were visited by Lederer in their new home and by Thomas Batts (1912) a year later.


Lederer mentions a war in which the Saponi seem to have been engaged with the Virginia settlers as early as 1654-56, the time of the attack by the Cherokee, probably in alliance with them. The first positive notice is by Lederer (1670), who informs us that he stopped a few days at Sapon, a town of the Tutelo confederacy, situated on a tributary of the upper Roanoke. This village was apparently on Otter river, southwest of Lynchburg, Va. Pintahae is mentioned also as another of their villages near by. It is evident that the Saponi and Tutelo were living at that time in close and apparently confederated relation. In 1671 they were visited by Thomas Batts and others accompanied by two Indian guides. After traveling nearly due west from the mouth of the Appomattox about 140 miles, they came to Sapong, or Saponys, town. Having been harassed by the Iroquois in this locality, the Saponi and Tutelo at a later date removed to the junction of Staunton and Dan rivers, where they settled near the Occaneechi, each tribe occupying an island in the Roanoke in what is now Mecklenburg county, Va. Lawson, who visited these Indians in 1701, found them dwelling on Yadkin river, N. C., near the present site of Salisbury, having removed to the south to escape the attacks of their enemies. Byrd (1729) remarks: "They dwelt formerly not far below the mountains, upon Yadkin river, about 200 miles west and by south from the falls of Roanoak. But about 25 years ago they took refuge in Virginia, being no longer in condition to make head not only against the northern Indians, who are their implacable enemies, but also against most of those to the south. All the nations round about, bearing in mind the havock these Indians used formerly to make among their ancestors in the insolence of their power, did at length avenge it home upon them, and made them glad to apply to this Government for protection."

Soon after Lawson's visit in 1701 the Saponi and Tutelo left their villages on the Yadkin and moved in toward the settlements, being joined on the way by the Occaneechi and their allied tribes. Together they crossed the Roanoke, evidently before the Tuscarora war of 1711, and made a new settlement, called Sapona Town, a short distance east of that river and 15 miles west of the present Windsor, Bertie County, N. C. Soon after this they and other allied tribes were located by Gov. Spotswood near Ft Christanna, 10 miles north of Roanoke River, about the present Gholsonville, Brunswick county, Va. The name of Sappony Creek, in Dinwiddie county, dating hack at least to 1733, indicates that they sometimes extended their excursions north of Nottoway river. Their abode here was not one of quiet, as they were at war with neighboring tribes or their old enemies, the Iroquois. By the treaty at Albany (1722) peace was declared between the northern Indians and the Virginia and Carolina tribes, the Blue Ridge and the Potomac being the boundary line.

Probably about 1740 the Saponi and Tutelo went north, stopping for a time at Shamokin, in Pennsylvania, about the site of Sunbury, where they and other Indians were visited by the missionary David Brainard in 1745.


One band, however, remained in the south, in Granville County, N. C., until at least 1755, when they comprised 14 men and 14 women. In 1753 the Cayuga Iroquois formally adopted this tribe and the Tutelo.


In 1753 the Cayuga formally adopted the Saponi and Tutelo, who thus became a part of the Six Nations, though all had not then removed to New York. In 1765 the Saponi are mentioned as having 30 warriors living at Tioga, about Sayre, Pa., and other villages on the northern branches of the Susquehanna.  Some of them remained on the upper waters of the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania until 1778, but in 1771 the principal section had their village in the territory of the Cayuga, about 2 miles south of Ithaca, N. Y. They are said to have separated from the Tutelo in 1779 at Niagara, when the latter fled to Canada, and to have become lost.  A few, a remnant at least, were living with the Cayuga on Seneca River in Seneca County, N. Y., in 1780, based on a treaty made with the Cayuga at Albany, after which they disappear from history.  


Besides the Person County Indians, a band of Saponi Indians remained behind in North Carolina which seems to have fused with the Tuscarora, Meherrin, and Machapunga and gone north with them in 1802.  


There are three Saponi bands that currently have state recognition in North Carolina, the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, the Haliwa-Saponi Indian Tribe and the High Plains Sappony Indian Settlement. Mahenips Band of the Saponi Nation is found in the remote Ozark hills of Missouri with its headquarters in West Plains Missouri. In addition there is the Saponi Descendents Association based in Texas, Saponi Nation of Ohio, and there are other survivors in the United States and Canada who are of Saponi ancestry, including the old Carmel Community, Magoffin County, KY Salyerville Indians and many who claim Saponi ancestry via Melungeon lines, although this claim is controversial.  



Nottoway - A Iroquoian tribe formerly residing on the river of the same name in south east Virginia.  They call themselves Cheroenhaka, and were known to the neighboring Algonquian tribes as Mangoac (Mengwe) and Nottoway, i.e., Nadowa, 'adders,' a common Algonquian name for the tribes of alien stock.  Although never prominent in history they kept up their organization long after the other tribes of the region were practically extinct. As late as 1825 they still numbered 47, with a "queen" on a reservation in Southampton county.  Linguistically they were closely cognate to Tuscarora.


In 1607 the tribe was called Man-goak or Men-gwe by the Powhatan Confederation’s “Algonquian Speakers” and further listed in the upper left hand quadrant on John Smith’s 1607 map of Virginia by the same name in what is now Nottoway County.   The Nottoway were Iroquoian speaking.  


Chowan/Chowanoc – In Algonquin, meaning “people at the South”.  The tribe formerly living on Chowan river, north east North Carolina, about the junction of Meherrin and Nottoway rivers. In 1584-85, when first known, they were the leading tribe in that region. Two of their villages at that time were Ohanoak and Maraton, and they probably occupied also Catoking and Metocaum. Ohanoak alone was said to have 700 warriors. They gradually dwindled away before the whites, and in 1701 were reduced to a single village on Bennetts creek. They joined in the Tuscarora war against the whites in 1711-12, and at its close the remnant, estimated at about 240, were assigned a small reservation on Bennetts and Catherine creeks. In 1820 they were supposed to be extinct. In addition to the settlements named, the Chowanoc also occupied Ramushonok.  


Lumbee _ The Lumbee tribal history as given on the Lumbee official web site begins in 1703 when the Cheraw move from near Danville, Virginia to Cheraw, South Carolina.  Their language is Souian in nature.  They were first recognized by the State of NC in 1885 as Croatan Indians, although they do not care for this name today.  


The first recorded reference as to the origins of the present-day Lumbee population was made in a petition by 36 white Robeson

 County residents in 1840, in which they described ancestors of the Lumbee as being a "free colored" population that migrated

originally from the districts round-about the Roanoke and Neuse Rivers (Sider's "Living Indian Histories" page 173).  


The first attempt at assigning any specific tribal designation to them was made in 1867 when, under investigation by Lieutenant Birney of the Freedmen's Bureau for the murder of several Lumbee ancestors, pastors Coble and McKinnon wrote a letter claiming descent of the Lowry gang from Tuscarora: "They are said to be descended from the Tuscarora Indians. They have always claimed to be Indian & disdained the idea that they are in any way connected with the African race." [2]  


In 1872 George Alfred Townsend published "The Swamp Outlaws" in reference to the famed Lowrie Gang. Townsend described Henry Berry Lowrie, the leader of the gang, as being of mixed Tuscarora, mulatto, and white blood: "The color of his skin is of a whitish yellow sort, with an admixture of copper- such a skin as, for the nature of its components, is in color indescribable, there

being no negro blood in it except that of a far remote generation of mulatto, and the Indian still apparent." Townsend also stated in reference to Pop Oxendine that "Like the rest, he had the Tuscarora Indian blood in him...If I should describe the man by the words nearest my idea I should call him a negro-Indian gypsy."[3] Townsend's statements would be reiterated three years later in both the Memoirs of General Jno C. Gorman and in Mary Normant's "The Lowrie History."  


In 1885, Hamilton McMillan theorized that the Lumbees were the descendants of England's "Lost Colony" who intermarried with the Hatteras, an Algonquian people.[4] A number of other authors subsequently repeated McMillan's speculation as fact.  

However, no extant evidence exists for "Lost Colony" origins. Of the many characteristically Lumbee names, few are shared with members of England's failed colony. While some modern day Lumbees continue to subscribe to this theory, the vast majority of Lumbees discredit the notion of "Lost Colony" origins.  


In Robeson County, Lumbee ancestors were only officially classified as Indian after Reconstruction in 1885. Prior to 1885, Lumbee ancestors were usually described as colored, free colored, other free, mullato, mustie, mustees, or mixt blood in surviving records. Despite the lack of direct genealogical proof, various Department of Interior representatives such as Charles F. Pierce (1912), O.M. McPherson (1914), Fred Baker (1935), and D'Arcy McNickle (1936); various Smithsonian Institute ethnologists such John Reed Swanton (1930s), Dr. William Sturtevant (1960s), and Dr. Samuel Stanley (1960s); in conjunction with Anthropologists such as Gerald Sider and Karen Blu; all acknowledge the Lumbee as a Native American people.  


In the first federal census of 1790, the ancestors of the Lumbee were enumerated as Free Persons of Color. The U.S. Census did not have an "American Indian" category for non-tribal Indians until 1870. Instead, it recorded tribal censuses separately from the federal census. Because the Lumbee ancestors were not formally organized as an Indian tribe until 1885, they were enumerated in the federal census, usually as "mulatto." Up until the 1960 census, census enumerators often categorized individuals themselves, thereby determining the race of a particular individual.  


Genealogists Paul Heinegg and Dr. Virginia E. DeMarce have, using an array of primary source documents, been able to trace the migration of some primary Lumbee ancestral families from the Tidewater region in Virginia into Northeastern North Carolina and then down into present-day Robeson County, North Carolina


Taking historic racial classifications placed on these ancestral families at face value, Heinegg and DeMarce have theorized that ancestral Lumbees were the descendants of mixed-race unions of Europeans in Virginia, who then migrated south into North Carolina along common routes of colonial expansion.[5]  


Croatan - The Croatan were a Native American tribe living in the coastal areas of what is now North Carolina in an area that is now rural Dare County, NC, and encompasses the Alligator River, Croatan Sound, Manteo Island (formerly Roanoke Island), and parts of the Outer Banks including Hatteras Island. They were one of the Algonquian peoples. They were on good terms with English settlers of the Roanoke Island colony, and there has been speculation that the survivors of the colony joined the Croatan.  



Some Lumbee and Sapponi have an oral history of being the Lost Colonists.  In addition, the residents of Hatteras Island near Buxton also continue to have an oral history that they are the descendants of the Lost Colonists.  The Lumbee in 1885 were given the designation of the Croatan Indians.   


Across the line in South Carolina are found a people, evidently of similar origin, designated "Redbones." In portions of west North Carolina and east Tennessee are found the " Melungeons" or "Portuguese," possibly an offshoot, and in Delaware are found the "Moors." All of these are local designations for peoples of mixed race with an Indian nucleus differing in no way from the present mixed-blood remnants known as Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Nansemond Indians in Virginia, excepting in the more complete loss of their identity. In general, the physical features and complexion of the persons of this mixed stock incline more to the Indian than to the white or Negro.  


Meherrin – An Iroquoian tribe formerly residing on the river of the same name on the Virginia-North Carolina border.  Jefferson confounded them with the Tutelo.  according to the official colonial documents they were a remnant of the Conestoga or Susquehanna of upper Maryland, dispersed by the Iroquois about 1675, but this also is incorrect, as they are found noted under the name "Menheyricks" in the census of Virginia Indians in 1669, at which time they numbered 50 bowmen, or approximately 180 souls (Neill, Virginia, Carolorum, 326, 1886). It is possible that the influx of refugee Conestoga a few years later may have so overwhelmed the remnant of the original tribe as to give rise to the impression that they were all of Conestoga blood.  They were commonly regarded as under the jurisdiction of Virginia, although their territory was claimed also by Carolina.  They were closely cognate with the Nottoway.  


The tribal name Meherrin first appears in the form "Maharineck" in the account of an expedition by Edward Blande and others to North Carolina in 1650, and next body Indian census taken in 1669. Later they seem to have adopted a body of Conestoga or Susquehanna fleeing from Pennsylvania after account dispersal by the Iroquois about 1675. This is the only way to account for the fact that they are all said to have been refugee Conestoga. They were living on Roanoke River in 1761 with the southern bands of Tuscarora and Saponi, and the Machapunga, and probably went north in the last Tuscarora removal in 1802. (For information regarding another possible band of Meherrin see "Nottaway.")  


Timuca – A Florida tribe in the area of present-day Jacksonville.  LeMoyne drew this tribe and John White may have been on one of these expeditions as well.  The Seminole and Timuca may have traded as far north as the Carolinas and beyond.

Tuscarora – The place or manner of separation of the Tuscarora from the Iroquois tribes of New York is not known, and they were found in the tract indicated above when the country was first entered by white colonists. John Lawson, Surveyor General of North Carolina, lived in close contact with these Indians for many years and his History of Carolina gives us our earliest satisfactory picture of them. It was his capture and execution by the tribe in September 1711, however, which brought on the first Tuscarora War, though behind it lay a series of encroachments by the Whites on Tuscarora territory, and the kidnapping and enslavement of numbers of Indians.  


Immediately after Lawson's death, part of the Tuscarora, headed by chief Hencock, and the Coree, Pamlico, Machapunga, and Bear River Indians conspired to cut off the white settlers and, in consequence, on September 22, 1711, they rose and massacred about 130 of the colonists on Trent and Pamlico Rivers. Colonel Barnwell, with 33 white men and about 500 Indians, marched against the hostiles, by direction of the colony of South Carolina, drove them from one of their towns with great loss, and invested Hencock's own town, Cotechney. But having suffered severely in two assaults upon the place and fearing lest the white captives in the hands of the Indians would be killed, he made peace and returned home.  


Dissatisfied with the treatment accorded him by the North Carolina authorities, however, he violated the treaty during his retreat by seizing some Indians and sending them away as slaves. This brought on the second Tuscarora War, 1712-13. South Carolina was again appealed to for assistance, and Colonel James Moore set out for the north with about 900 Indians and 33 white men, a number which was considerably swelled before he reached the seat of trouble. March 20 to 23 he stormed the palisaded town of Neoheroka, inflicting a loss upon the enemy of about 950.  


The Tuscarora became so terrified at this that part of them abandoned Fort Cohunche, situated at Hencock's town near New Bern on the Pamlico River and started north to join their relatives, the Iroquois. This was only the beginning of the movement, bands of Tuscarora being noted at intervals as moving north or as having arrived among the Five Nations. They were adopted by the Oneida but, contrary to the general impression, were not granted coordinate rights in the League before September 1722.

A part of the Tuscarora in present day Bertie County on the Roanoke River under a chief named Tom Blunt (or Blount), had, however, remained neutral. They received recognition by the government of North Carolina, and continued in their former homes under their own chiefs. In 1766, 155 removed to New York, and the 105 remaining were brought north in 1802 while a deputation of northern Tuscarora were in Carolina to obtain payment for the lands they had formerly occupied.  

There were 5,000 Tuscarora in 1600 according to an estimate by Mooney (1928). In 1708, Lawson gives 15 towns and 1,200 warriors (Lawson, 1860). Barnwell in 1712 estimates 1,200 to 1,400 fighting men (Barnwell, 1908); Chauvignerie in 1736, 250 warriors, not including those in North Carolina, and on the Susquehanna and Juniata Rivers (Chauvignerie, in Schoolcraft, 1851-57, vol. 3, p. 555). In 1752 the southern Tuscarora were said to number 300 men; in 1754 there were said to be 100 men and 200 women and children and these figures are repeated in 1761. In 1766 there were said to be 220 to 230 all told in the south; next year we read that 155 southern Tuscarora had removed and that 105 remained. Other estimates place the total Tuscarora population at 1000 in 1765, 2000 in 1778, 1000 in 1783, and 400 in 1796. In 1885 there were 828 (evenly divided between New York and Canada). In 1909 there were 364 in New York and a year later 416 in Canada, a total of 780.  


Hatteras -  Lawson (1860) thought the Hatteras showed traces of White blood and therefore they may have been the Croatan Indians with whom Raleigh's colonists are supposed to have taken refuge. They disappeared soon after as a distinct tribe and united with the mainland Algonquians. In 1761, the Rev. Alex. Stewart baptized 7 Indians and mixed-blood children of the" Attamuskeet, Hatteras, and Roanoke" tribes and 2 years later he baptized 21 more.  The Hatteras population has been estimated with the Machapunga and other tribes at 1,200 in 1600; they had 16 warriors in 1701, or a total population of about 80.  


Machapunga - The only village named is Mattamuskeet (probably on Mattamuskeet Lake in Hyde County). However, we should probably add Secotan on the north bank of Pamlico River in Beaufort County, and perhaps the town of the Bear River Indians

The Machapunga seem to have embraced the larger part of the descendants of the Secotan, who lived between Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds when the Raleigh colony was established on Roanoke Island (1585-86) though the Pamlico may also have been included under the same head. They were reduced to a single village by 1701, took part with other Indian tribes of the region in the Tuscarora War, and at its close were settled on Mattamuskeet Lake with the Coree. In 1761 a small number were still living in North Carolina, evidently at the same place, and the Rev. Alex. Stewart reported that he had baptized seven Indian and mixed-blood children belonging to the "Attamuskeet, Hatteras, and Roanoke." On a second visit 2 years later he baptized 21 more.

The Machapunga are estimated by Mooney (1928) to have numbered 1,200, including some smaller tribes, in 1600. In 1701 Lawson gives 30 warriors, probably less than 100 souls (Lawson, 1860). In 1775 there were said to be 8 to 10 on the mainland and as many more on the off-shore banks. In 1761 the number of warriors was only 7 or 8. The Bear River Indians may have combined with these.  



Coree - When the Coree and the Whites first met is unknown, but they appear in the records of the Raleigh colony under the name Cwarennoc. They were greatly reduced before 1696 in a war with another people. They took part with the Tuscarora in their war against the colonists, and in 1715 the remnant of them and what was left of the Machapunga were assigned a reservation on Mattamuskeet Lake in Hyde County, where they occupied one village, probably until they became extinct. A few of them appear to have remained with the Tuscarora.  



Haliwa - The Haliwa tribe in Warren and Halifax Co. NC, have an oral history of being descended from the Lost Colony.  They are very indian featured, always been farmers, have last names that match the last names of Lost Colony members and blue eyes. 


The Haliwa-Saponi are a Siouan-descent Native American tribe of North America's Southeastern Piedmont. In 1670, John Lederer, a German surveyor visited a Saponi settlement along the Staunton, now the Roanoke River in southern Virginia. Thirty years later, John Lawson, commissioned by the Lords Proprietor to survey Carolina colony's interior, encountered groups of Saponi as they conducted trade. Throughout the post-Contact period of increasing English colonial settlement and expansion, Southeastern Siouan Piedmont peoples like the Saponi maintained autonomous villages in what is now northeastern North Carolina and southern Virginia. During the late seventeenth century, the Saponi undertook a political alliance with the culturally related Tottero, or Tutelo, and together comprised the Nassaw Nation. Another related people, the Occaneechi, who were expert traders, also lived in the region. Due to frequent incursions into Saponi territory made by the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois Five Nations), situated in present-day New York, the Saponi and their allies temporarily uprooted themselves and migrated throughout the region of present-day Virginia and North Carolina while continuing to seek economically and militarily advantageous alliances.  


Powhatan - A confederacy of Virginian Algonquian tribes, their headquarters at the falls of the James River. Their territory included the tidewater section of Virginia from the Potomac to the divide between James river and Albemarle sound, and extended into the interior as far as the falls of the principal rivers about Fredericksburg and Richmond. They also occupied the Virginia counties east of Chesapeake Bay and possibly included some tribes in lower Maryland. In the piedmont region west of them were the hostile Monacan and Manahoac, while on the south were the Chowanoc, Nottoway, and Meherrin of Iroquoian stock. Although little is known in regard to the language of these tribes, it is believed they were more nearly related to the Delaware than to any of the northern or more westerly tribes, and were derived either from them or from the same stem. Brinton, in his tentative arrangement, placed them between the Delaware and Nanticoke on one side and the Pamptico on the other.
     When first known the Powhatan had nearly 200 villages, more than 100 of which are named by Capt. John Smith on his map. The Powhatan tribes were visited by some of the earliest explorers of the period of the discovery, and in 1570 the Spaniards established among then a Jesuit mission, which had but a brief existence. Fifteen years later the southern tribes were brought to the notice of the English settlers at Roanoke island., but little was known of them until the establishment of the Jamestown settlement in 1607. The Indians were generally friendly until driven to hostility by the exactions of the whites, when petty warfare ensued until peace was brought about through the marriage of Powhatan's daughter to John Rolfe, an Englishman. (See Pocahontas). A few years later the Indians were thinned by pestilence, and in 1618 Powhatan died and left the government to Opechancanough. The confederacy seems to have been of recent origin at the period of Powhatan's succession, as it then included but 7 of the so-called tribes besides his own, all the others having been conquered by himself during his lifetime.  


Pamunky - The Pamunkeys are part of the larger Algonquian family. This family represents a number of tribes that spoke variations of the same language, although most of their language is lost now. By 1607 the Powhatan Confederacy was formed, of which they were the largest and most powerful tribe.  Both Chief Powhatan himself and his famous daughter Pocahontas were Pamunkeys.

Initial contact with Europeans was around 1570. “And from [1570] on at ever briefer intervals until the first permanent English colony was established at Jamestown in 1607, the Powhatan Confederacy was visited and plagued by white men: Spanish, French, and English” (Barbour, 5). There were an estimated 14,000 members of the Confederacy by the time of English arrival.\  


Algonkian Coastal Indians - When English explorers and colonists first arrived on the coast of North America, they encountered Algonkian-speaking peoples. The term Algonkian* isn’t a tribal name; but one of the largest group of linguistically related tribes in North America. Algonkian-speaking tribes lived in the area from coastal North Carolina to Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. They were the peoples who met the English at Roanoke in 1584, at Jamestown in 1607, and at Plymouth in 1620, and they were among those who first met French explorers and colonizers in Canada. (*Also spelled Algonquin, Algonquian, Algonkin.)  


From Helen Rountree’s book “Pocahontas’s People, The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries.” (Start Here) (or Dare, Bollings, Poythress, Randolf, Blair, etc)  



Mixed Racial Groups  


The following mixed race groups, and others known as tri-racial isolates, may be of interest relevant to various tribes and tribal migrations.  These groups are likely also admixed with African ancestors, freed or possibly escaped slaves.  There are many other opportunities for admixture as well, which may also be seen eventually within some indigenous groups, such as from the 400-500 Portuguese, African and Moorish slaves rescued by Francis Drake in 1785 and deposited on Roanoke Island, or by the Juan Pardo 1566 expedition through the present day states of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and possibly a small portion of Texax.  





A good deal of information is available under the Wikipedia topic of Melungeons relative to all of these groups.





One thing is certain, the Melungeon’s are of mixed race and their origins appear to be mixed and primarily unknown.  Melungeon families have historically claimed to be Portuguese.  Recent research by Jack Goins tracks many Melungeon families and surnames back to the Fort Christanna geography and timeframe.


The term Melungeon was first found in records in 1813 in Scott County,.Virginia and shortly thereafter in Eastern Tennessee.  The core Melungeon families are centered in Hancock and Hawkins County, Tennessee very near the Lee County, Virginia border, and in some cases up the valleys into Lee County.  


Others pockets of these original families can be found in other locations as well and are historically documented. 


Recent researchers have increasingly begun to classify any Appalachian individual of mixed rate heritage as Melungeon, although the primary Melungeon researchers take exception to this practice.   


A Melungeon DNA project is currently underway and the Melungeons appear to have connections to other similarly mixed race groups.  Research is ongoing and results have not been analyzed and released by the administrators.  Melungeon DNA research is primarily focused on the original Melungeon families,  typically identified as “persons of color”, although allowed to vote and own property, in order to attempt to identify their origins.


The phrase “Black Dutch” is often used to refer to those of Melungeon heritage, but that term does not appear to be used universally for Melungeons, but historically has also been used to disguise or explain other dark skinned admixture as well. 


Tri-racial isolates have been grouped into ranges by geography.


The northern range (New York - upper New Jersey - Pennsylvania) includes the large Ramapo Mountain People and smaller groups such as the Slaughters and Bushwhackers.  


The Potomac - West Virginia range includes the Wesorts, Guineas, Issues, Moors and Nanticokes.


The Southern Appalachian range includes the Melungeons and Ramps, Person County Indians, Haliwa Indians, Magoffin County People and Carmel Indians.


The Dead Lake People of the Florida panhandle (Wewahitchka-Blountstown) have been called Melungeons and identified with them, and the Redbones of Louisiana do partly derivefrom this range.


The Southern range includes the Brass Ankles, Red Bones, Turks, Smilings and many other small groups of South Carolina, the Cajans of Alabama and Mississippi, the Dead Lake People of Florida and the Redbones (including the Sabines and Houmas) of Louisiana.



Links for some of these groups follow:  


Person County Indians aka "Cubans and Portuguese" of North Carolina  

Goinstown Indians in Rockingham, Stokes, and Surry counties of North Carolina  

Goins of Rhea, Roane, and Hamilton counties of eastern Tennessee  

Monacan Indians aka "Issues" of Amherst and Rockingham Counties, Virginia  

Magoffin County People of Kentucky (Magoffin and Floyd counties)  

Carmel Indians of Ohio (Highland County)  

Brown People of Kentucky  

Guineas (ethnic group) of West Virginia  

Chestnut Ridge people of Philippi, West Virginia  

We-Sorts of Maryland  

Haliwa-Saponi of North Carolina  

Nanticoke-Moors of Delaware  

Nanticoke-Moors of Delaware  

Turks and Brass Ankles of South Carolina  

Redbones of South Carolina (note: as distinct from Gulf States Redbones).  

Dead Lake People of Gulf and Calhoun counties Florida  

Ramapough Mountain Indians aka "Jackson Whites" of the Ramapo Mountains of New York and New Jersey  

Dominickers of Holmes County in the Florida Panhandle


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