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The First Explorations of the Trans-Alleghany Region by the
Virginians 1650- 1674
By Clarence Walworth Alvord and Lee Bidgood
Published by The Arthur H. Clark Company, Cleveland, Ohio,
After the brilliant researches of Francis Parkman and ,Justin Winsor, it is
remarkable that a new chapter in the history of the explorations of North
America has remained so long unwritten; yet the story of the discovery of the
Trans-Allegheny region by the Virginians is here first told in its
entirety. Since the success of these early enterprises has been doubted and
frequently denied by our best historians, the attempt to piece together the
story from the scattered sources and to determine its truth needs no excuse. For
the same reason, it is desirable that all the sources, whether previously
printed or not, be published in order 'that others may test for themselves the
conclusions. If the memory of these hardy English explorers be revived and given
a place by the side of their better known but not more daring French
contemporaries, Mr. Bidgood and myself will feel rewarded for our pains. As I
read again the manuscript before sending it to the press, I cannot but feel that
a great injustice has been done these Virginians by history. Although the pen of
a Francis Parkman could hardly raise them to the rank of Joliet, Marquette, and
La Salle, for these latter opened to the knowledge of mankind a continent, still
the names of Wood, Batts, Fallam, and Needham should surely be as well known as
those of the many lesser lights that surrounded these greater French explorers.
At the request of the publishers, the following expansion of abbreviations
has been adopted in the reprinting of the manuscript originals: Majestie;
Lordship, and, which, with; and occasionally others have been expanded. In the
case of the letter "u" used for "v" and of "yt"
for "that," the usual practice of making the alterations has been
followed. "Ye" used for "the" has been retained in some
For assistance in the preparation of this volume .......... thanks are due
first to Miss Agnes Laut who kindly loaned us her manuscript and notes. We wish
to make acknowledgments to Dr. J. Franklin Jameson, Dr. Solon J. Buck, Mr. James
Mooney, Mr. Earl G. Swem, and Professor Frederick J. Turner for valuable
assistance and suggestions; and also to Miss Margaret L. Kingsbury for
cooperation on the bibliography.
CLARENCE W. ALVORD.
University of Illinois.
The Discovery of the Ohio Waters
The Indies are discovered and vast treasures brought from thence every day.
Let us, therefore, bend our endeavors thitherward, and if the Spaniards or
Portuguese suffer us not to join with them, there will be yet .region enough for
all to enjoy. - LORD HERBERT.
On the fourteenth of June, in the year 1671, there was gathered on a hill
overlooking the rapids at that picturesque center of the Great Lake system of
North America, Sault Ste. Marie, a crowd of Indians, inhabitants of the shores
of these inland seas. To this spot there had come in canoes representatives of
the Potawatomi, the Sauk, the Winnebago, the Cree, the Ottawa and their
neighbors, to the number of fourteen tribes to listen to the message of their
"great father" from across the water. This message had been brought to
them by Daumont de Saint-Lusson, who, arrayed in all the gorgeous coloring of
silk and velvet, such as might be seen in the court of Louis HIV, was the center
of a little group of Frenchmen, dressed like 'himself in colors to impress the
savage mind or else in the raiment of the Jesuit fathers, no less impressive if
more somber. With the accompaniment of religious ceremony and amidst the silence
of men and nature, a huge cross of wood was reared and planted in the ground.
The Frenchmen, with heads bared to the breeze, sang the Vexilla Regis. Beside
the cross was then raised a cedar post carrying a metal plate engraved with the
royal arms, and the Europeans broke out again in the chant of 'the Exaudiat.
After this, one of the Jesuits lifted up his voice in prayer to Heaven that God
might bless this enterprise of the "most Christian monarch."
Advancing with drawn sword in one hand and in the other a clod of earth,
Saint-Lusson read in a loud voice the following proclamation to the nations of
In the name of the Most High, Mighty, and Redoubted Monarch, Louis,
Fourteenth of that name, Most Christian King of France and of Navarre, I take
possession of this place, Sainte Marie du Saut, as also of Lakes Huron and
Superior, the Island of Manitoulin, and all countries, rivers, lakes, and
streams contiguous and adjacent there unto, both those which have been
discovered and those which may be discovered hereafter, in all their length and
breadth, bounded on the one side by the seas of the North and of the West, and
on the other by the South Sea: declaring to the nations thereof that from this
time forth they are vassals of his Majesty, bound to obey his laws and follow
his customs; promising them on his part all succor and protection against the
incursions and invasions of their enemies; declaring to all potentates, princes,
sovereigns, states, and republics, to them and to their subjects, that they
cannot and are not to seize or settle upon any parts of the aforesaid countries,
save only under the good pleasure of His Most Christian Majesty, and of him who
will govern in his behalf; and this on pain of incurring his resentment and the
efforts of his arms. Vive Le Roi.(1)
With such impressive ceremonies and presumptuous language was inaugurated the
period of active discovery and occupation of the great American inland valley by
Three months after Daumont de Saint-Lusson proclaimed the dominion of the
grand monarque over land, lakes, and rivers of the West, three Englishmen of the
colony of Virginia crossed the Appalachian divide and pitched camp by the side
of a stream whose waters, after joining the Ohio flowed to the Mississippi River
and the Gulf of Mexico. Footsore and weary after the hard journey over the
mountains where they had experienced the perils of cold and hunger, with their
homely clothing torn to shreds by the brambles, there was no possibility of
equaling the grand ceremony which, a few weeks before, had been performed far to
the north on the banks of the lakes, nor has such display been characteristic of
the English advance westward. In the simplicity of their actions these first
British Americans in the western valley foreshadowed the great migrations of the
future. First of all, as good and loyal subjects, they cried out: "Long
live Charles the Second, by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, France,
Ireland and Virginia and of all the Territories there unto belonging." They
then proceeded to set their marks upon their discovery: four trees were barked;
on one was branded the royal insignia; on two others the initials of Governor
Berkeley and of the man who had sent them forth, Abraham Wood; and on the
fourth, those of the two leaders of the party, Thomas Batts and Robert Fallam.(2)
Thus almost at the same moment, the two great rivals, France and England, set
up their claims to the immense interior valley. The struggle for its mastery,
perhaps the most portentous in the annals of history, which was to last almost a
century, was inaugurated. The subject of this volume is the history of the first
act played by men of English speech in this century long drama. It is one of the
ironies of history that an event which redounds so much to the credit of
Englishmen, and substantiates so completely the claims of the mother country to
that particular territory for which she made war on her rival at such a cost of
blood and money, is practically unknown and has even been frequently denied by
historians. The names of Frontenac, Joliet, Marquette, and La Salle are familiar
to every school-boy, while those of their English competitors in exploration,
who were in every respect their equals in daring and enterprise, have remained
till this day in obscurity, almost in oblivion.
The brilliant pen of Francis Parkman, which has made the name of La Salle a
household word, wherever is found the love of adventure and of history, wrote:
It has been affirmed that one Colonel Wood, of Virginia, reached a branch of
the Mississippi as early as the year 1654, and that about 1670 a certain Captain
Bolton penetrated to the river itself. Neither statement is sustained by
What the most brilliant and at the same time most careful historian of
America wrote has been followed without investigation by his successors. Justin
Winsor, after investigating the sources, arrived at the same conclusion. In one
of his well-known volumes on western history, he wrote:
There is much less certainty that at about the same time, as is claimed, some
Englishmen pushed west from the head waters of the James River in Virginia, and
passed the mountains. The story is told in Coxe's Carolana as coming from a
memorial presented to the English monarch in 1699, and the exploit is ascribed
to a Colonel Abraham Wood, who had been ordered to open trade with the western
Indians, which he did in several successive journeys. No satisfactory
confirmation of the tale has ever been produced.(4)
Within these pages are printed the sources of information concerning the
western explorations of the Virginians and they leave no doubt about the event.
Unquestionably, Englishmen were among the first to see the waters that flow
westward and southward. They camped by the side of a branch of the Ohio two
years before Joliet and Marquette made their famous expedition which disclosed
the great Mississippi to the world. They knew the region of the upper Ohio years
before the French had any record of the river's course.(5)
If priority of discovery is the proof of do minion, then the territory in
dispute between France and England, that caused the French and Indian War,
belonged by right to the latter, as she claimed; and contemporary pamphleteers,
like Dr. John Mitchell were absolutely correct in the mustering of their proof,
although they were misled concerning some of the facts and the actual date of
Before recounting the story of these hardy Virginians, who first crossed the
great divide, it is necessary to remind ourselves of the environment of which
they were a product, for their actions were not isolated phenomena, nor were
their discoveries wholly disassociated with the event in the far north, an
account of which opens this introduction.
Historians have generally interpreted the seventeenth century as one of the
pivotal eras in the world's history. It saw the end of the religious wars, the
organization of the modern state, and the rise of new world powers. No less than
in the world of politics, the century was the turning point from the old to the
new in the world of business. The former supremacy of the city merchant- barons
in Italy and Germany had passed away. With the opening of new and broader fields
of enterprise in Asia and America, business had become nationalized; and finally
by the seventeenth century there were developed the great stock companies for
trading and colonizing. This change brought with it tremendous business
expansion. Enterprises were started that foreshadowed the Mississippi plans of
John Law and the South Sea Bubble. The European population was educated in
get-rich-quick schemes of every variety; and rapidly the market for the sale of
shares in such undertakings was developed. Men were looking everywhere for rapid
financial returns. In the history of business as of politics, the close of the
century marks the beginning of the present day world.
This desire for quick profits was the most powerful motive of discovery in
the new world. It was the hope of gain that lured men to undertake the long,
wearisome, and dangerous voyage across the Atlantic and incited explorer,
warrior, and trader to plunge into the interior through the unknown dangers of
the almost impenetrable forests. The hope of profits moved the statesmen at home
to urge these adventurers to renewed efforts and to play their own cards
craftily in the diplomatic game. The great nations of Europe were all seeking to
acquire dominion in America that they might share in the treasures of the
"Indies." Spain had been first, then came Portugal; and after a
hundred years, the two great rivals, France and England, reached out for North
America. Their stake in the game of profits was the great interior valley, long
before discovered by Spanish adventurers, but never exploited and so almost
In both countries associations of moneyed men were formed for the
exploitation of this world that was being opened up. Their first thought had
been to rival Spain in the finding of the precious metals, and Portugal in the
discovery of a new route to Asia.. When these twin expectations seemed less
attainable, they laid their plans for the development of the fur trade, which in
the course of time became an effective force in the discovery and colonization
of America. In this enterprise, France had an advantage from her position on the
St. Lawrence River with its direct water communication into the interior; and
soon French traders and priests were roaming over the Great Lakes, where they
heard of the "great water" beyond. Before the first Virginians reached
the head waters of the Ohio, it is probable that more than one wandering
Frenchman had crossed the narrow divide that separates the Lakes from the
Mississippi system, but there is only one recorded instance that is not open to
At the time when the first successful English exploration was being executed,
the French were making plans for the expedition of Joliet and Marquette which
has brought them so much renown.
The success of the fur traders of Quebec and Montreal who, with their
supporters in France, had secured the monopoly of the rich territory around the
interior lakes, acted only as a spur to the ambition of other Frenchmen, who
sought eagerly for similar fields. In La Salle, these rivals of the Jesuits and
their trading friends found a worthy leader. The southern shore of the lakes
offered a promising opportunity. La Salle's exploratory expedition into this
region, in 1668, was a failure on account of ill health, for he did not reach
the Ohio as was claimed for him later by his friends.(8)
From his talks with the Senecas, however, he was persuaded of the possibility
of his plans and soon found many supporters in France who were ready to advance
money in the enterprise. It was La Salle's fortune to open up the Illinois and
Mississippi region and there to organize the fur trade; but his activities fall
after the period narrated in this volume, and therefore belong to a later period
of the rivalry between his country and England.
The contrast offered by the rapid western advance of the French with the
slower movement of the English is one of the commonplaces of American history.
The founder of Quebec saw the Great Lakes; and before his death, one of his
followers, jean Nicollet, had reached the western shore of Lake Michigan. La
Salle, a gentleman of France, who became familiar with court life, plunged into
the wilderness shortly after his arrival in Canada, and fifteen years later had
reached the Illinois River. The rapidity and boldness of this westward advance
arouses the imagination. In the actions of its leaders there is typified the
eternal conflict of man with nature. The Frenchman alone in the wilderness, a
thousand miles from his connections, is a Prometheus confident in his strength
hurling defiance at Zeus. Undoubtedly this is one of the reasons why the heroes
of French exploration are so well known; their exploits have all the elements
that appeal to the romantic aspirations of our nature.
The English advance, on the other hand, has been slower and more secure. They
have not reached out into the unknown, until the settlements at their back have
offered them a safe base for their operations; and in all periods of our
history, the men of adventure have generally been reared in a society
particularly well fitted to train them for the life of exploration. These
conditions have been found on what is known as the frontier, that line between
civilization and savagery, ever slowly, irresistibly, and inexorably advancing
The Englishmen, who were to become the rivals of the French explorers, were
members of the first real American frontier; and, therefore, a few words of
explanation of this unique society is necessary for a complete understanding of
From 1607 to 1645 the English frontier was the American shore line, and the
newcomer in stepping from his ship to terra firma abandoned security and
civilization for the dangers and barbarisms of the border land and entered upon
the work of adjusting himself to the new environment. All Virginia was in 1644
still exposed to the Indian menace, and a large proportion of its settlers
actually perished in the rising of that year. Nothing more than a pioneer life,
economic and social, existed in any or all the groups of settlements that
constituted the colony. The next year, as a direct result of Opechancanough's
massacre, forts were established along the first inland frontier, the fall line
of the rivers. These were destined to be successfully maintained and
strengthened from time to time; and no serious Indian raid broke through this
line of defense. Henceforth savage warfare was transferred from the tidewater
territory to the country between the falls and the mountains.
To this region there gradually drifted the characteristically pioneer and
border elements of the population; and in the next generation, there was evolved
the first truly American backwoods society with all its familiar activities:
Indian trade, exploration, hunting, trapping; raising of hogs, cattle, and
horses, which were branded and ran loose on the wild lands; pioneer farming,
capitalistic engrossment, and exploitation of the wilderness. The American
frontiersman, a new type in history, was developed before 1700. He was not
inferior in any respect save numbers to his descendants of the eighteenth and
The military posts at the falls of the James, the Appomattox, the Pamunkey,
and later, the Rappahannock, the Blackwater, and the Nansemond, at once became,
and for a century remained, the foci of this new society, the points of
departure of western adventure and exploitation, centers of trade and traffic
with settlers and savages far and near. They were the Leavenworths and Laramies
of our first inland frontier; and in the course of time cities have developed on
some of these sites, as has so frequently been the case during the American
westward march. In the protected region between the fall line and the ocean,
economic and social development proceeded rapidly; and, though frontier
conditions lingered for many years between the rivers and about the edges of the
great swamps, pioneer life had in the main been transferred before the end of
the century to the second frontier belt, pushed out by a new and distinct
civilization, the famous society of tidewater Virginia, with which, however, we
are not here concerned, except to remember that the pioneer community was never
completely separated from the better populated settlement of the coast, whose
relation to it was that of a parent.
The period of exploration actually began with the first settlement. Tidewater
Virginia is everywhere easy of access by ships and boats, and was promptly
mapped by John Smith and his companions. The earliest settlers, also, soon
obtained from the Indians some vague notions of the principal features of the
interior, such as the Appalachian mountains.(10)
Smith and Newport in the spring of 1607 and again in the autumn of 16o8
passed beyond the falls of the James, and on the second trip reached the Monacan
[Manakin] town, some thirty miles above the falls.(11)
Other adventurers may in very early times have made their way some little
distance above the head of tide on the rivers.
The first serious project to explore and exploit the country beyond the reach
of navigation seems to have been formed in 1641. In June of that year, four
prominent men of the colony petitioned the Assembly for "leave and
encouragement" to undertake discoveries to the southwest of Appomattox
River. The legislators complied in March, 1643, with a law which assured the
adventurers any and all profits which they could make out of their undertaking,
for a term of fourteen years, reserving only the royal fifth from any mines that
might be discovered.(12)
It does not appear that the projectors carried out their enterprise, for
prior to 1652, when the next similar grant was made, their concession had been
None of them reappear in the subsequent history of western exploration.
The importance of the act of 1643 lies in the fact that it served later as a
precedent, often specifically cited, for similar legislation applying to the
southern as well as to the western frontier.(14)
The usual duration of the grant was, as in the first instance, fourteen
years, and the monopoly of trade was always absolute for that time; but in 1652
the important qualification was made, and subsequently followed, that of the
lands discovered the favored parties should have first choice, but that later
comers were not to be excluded from patenting the remainder.(15)
Perhaps the Indian outbreak of 1644 had interfered with the plans of these
first adventurers. That disaster, on the other hand, prepared the way for new
operations, for its suppression was followed, in February, 1645, by an act
establishing forts at the falls of the James, at Pamunkey, and on the ridge of
Chickahominy, all north of the James.(16)
In March of the year following the Assembly provided for a fourth post, at
the falls of the Appomattox, to protect south side Virginia and from which
expeditions might be led against the Indians. "Fort Henry," as it was
called, had a garrison of forty-five men.(17)
Its commander, Captain Abraham Wood, was to play an important part in the
Regular military establishments are always too expensive for rude and thinly
settled communities to maintain.
The salaries of the four commanders each receiving six thousand pounds of
tobacco annually-were probably the heaviest expenditure, but constituted in
themselves a grave tax on the community. Vile find the Burgesses ingenuously
reasoning in the preamble of an act of the October session of that very year
(1646) that the forts are very necessary, but if maintained at public cost, a
great burden; hence it will be best to have them kept up by individual
"undertakers," who will in compensation receive land and privileges.
Acting on this principle, the posts were transferred to persons named in the
act, with suitable arrangements in each case. Fort Henry passed to Abraham Wood.
That portion of the act which provided for the transfer to him is worth reading,
for it is not only representative of the remaining cessions, but it also clearly
illustrates the dependence of institutions on conditions and the revival of
discarded systems, such as feudalism, whenever in new times and places the
conditions from which they first sprang are reproduced.:
Be it therefore enacted that Capt. Abraham Wood whose service hath been
employed at Forte Henery, be the undertaker for the said Forte, unto whom is
granted six hundred acres of land for him and his heirs for ever; with all
houses and edifices belonging to the said Forte, with all boats and ammunition
at present belonging to the said Forte, Provided that he the said Capt. Wood do
maintain and keep ten men constantly upon the said place for the term of three
years, during which time he, the said Capt. Wood, is exempted from all public
taxes for himself and the said ten persons.(18)
This fortified post remained the property and the home of Abraham Wood for at
least thirty years; and there, doubtless, he died, leaving it as an inheritance
to his children. He himself always called it "Fort Henry," but the
station or the settlement that grew up about it was long known as Wood.(19)
Only when the town was incorporated, in 1748, does the name
"Petersburg" seem to have become attached to it.(20)
Under Wood and his successors, this establishment was the most important and
interesting of the stations that dotted the fall line in Virginia.
On the other important rivers were similar posts, centers like it of all the
varied activity of the frontier. That one which grew into the city of Richmond
is particularly well known through the activities and writings of the Byrds.
Cadwallader Jones, at the head of tide on the Rappahannock, in 1682, had a
considerable trade with the Indians four hundred miles to the south-southwest,
and wrote to the Proprietor of Maryland for permission to secure in that
province shell money for carrying it on.(21)
The military history of all the posts can be followed in 'the laws and the
state papers of the colony; but Fort Henry is entirely typical of all, and we
know more about it than about any of the others. From it went out the
Occoneechee or Trading Path southward to the Catawbas and beyond, and also the
trail leading westward to the headwaters of the Roanoke and over the mountains
to the New River - the two great roads of early trade and settlement, both of
them first explored by Abraham Wood and his associates.
Fort Henry in Wood's time was a place like Augusta, Georgia, in the middle of
the eighteenth century or Chicago in the early nineteenth, or any one of a dozen
others that come to mind as examples of the western frontier town and military
and trading center. In it were conducted all the familiar activities of similar
settlements of a later period, and with proper geographic changes we may without
serious error project back upon it our clearer picture of the life of the far
western posts whose romantic and picturesque qualities have won so large a place
in literature. Although the contemporary documents are relatively scanty, yet
they enable us to describe directly the old Virginia post, and to show it as the
prototype of western towns of all times, even of Athabasca Landing in our own
Garrisons were from time to time provided by the Assembly. Later, in the last
decade of the seventeenth and early years of the eighteenth century, one of the
squadrons of rangers went out, at stated intervals, from its palisades to beat
about the country for hostiles. Just across the river was situated the principal
village or "town" of the Appomattox Indians, who furnished Wood with
messengers, hunters, porters, and courageous and faithful guides. At its
warehouses were fitted out the pack-trains of the Indian traders. Sometimes
these traders were the servants or paid agents of Wood or of his associates,
sometimes they were free traders, "of substance and reputation," who
received goods on credit, and contracted to pay for them at a stipulated price.
Wood imported from England the varied articles of barter, chiefly:
Guns, Powder, Shot, Hatchets (which the Indians call Tomahawks), Kettles, red
and blue Planes, Duffields, Stroudwater blankets, and some Cutlery Wares, Brass
Rings and other Trinkets. These Wares are made up into Packs and Carried upon
Horses, each Load being from one hundred, fifty to two hundred Pounds, with
which they are able to travel about twenty miles a day, if Forage happen to be
In the early days, before the competition of Charleston began to be felt, the
pack-trains might count a hundred horses. Guided by only fifteen or sixteen men
they filed off with tinkling bells southward along the Occoneechee path to visit
the Indians of the South Carolina and Georgia piedmont, or even to swing around
the end of the Appalachian mountains and track northward again to the
Chiefs of distant tribes, like the "king" of the Cherokee, came in
with their followers to trade and treat with Wood and received suitable
entertainment; though rival traders and the Indians ''of the nearer tribes,
anxious to retain their position as middlemen, tried by force or fraud to
intercept them and frequently succeeded. Exploring expeditions were sent out
from time to time, and these were often followed by supporting and searching
Such was the residence and business headquarters of Abraham Wood, who was to
prove himself the Frontenac of Virginia, the organizer of the first great
explorations of British America. He made himself so much a part of the frontier
community and was so actively concerned in person or through his agents in the
western expeditions throughout the generation prior to 1676, that the history of
westward expansion during the period is almost a biography of this remarkable
man. Inquiry into his origin and his life before he became commander of Fort
Henry in 1646 encounters most serious difficulties. A lad named Abraham Wood
came to Virginia in the "Margaret and John" in 1620, as an indentured
servant, and he was living in the service of Captain Samuel Mathews on that
worthy's plantation across the river from Jamestown in 1623 and in 1625.(24)
This boy is usually identified with the distinguished man of later years. The
ages would seem to fit well, and after diligent search, it has been impossible
to find mention of another Abraham Wood in the colony in the early seventeenth
century. Since the rise to prominence of a former indentured servant is in
several instances established, that fact cannot militate against the identity.
It should be noticed, however, that before the dissolution of the London Company
in 1624, it was practically necessary for anyone, not a member of the company to
enter into indenture of some sort in order to go to the new country; and the
census of 1625 shows that on many of the "particular plantations" all
except the commander were ranked as "servants." The terms of these
indentures are unknown and there is no reason to suppose that all were alike, so
that it is not necessary to think that Abraham Wood, the servant, was a menial,
or a field hand, or that his extraction was not good and colonial connections
helpful.(25) The surname Wood is indeed not uncommon in early Virginia,(26) and
there is no certain proof of the identity of the boy and the man, yet there is
no direct evidence to the contrary, and the identification seems on the whole
sufficiently probable to receive provisional acceptance.
The first appearance of Abraham Wood as a man, and undeniably the Wood of
history, is in 1638, when, according to the identification just accepted, he was
twenty-eight years old. From that time until 1680, the records have by assiduous
patching of tiny fragments been made to give us a reasonably continuous, though
by no means complete and satisfactory account of him. No record of the date or
circumstances of his death has been found, and he passes from the stage as
shrouded in obscurity as he entered it. During forty-two years of known active
life he attained eminence as a landowner, politician, soldier, trader, and
explorer. His position in each of these lines of endeavor was as high as the
colony afforded, and the first adequate presentation of his life reveals him as,
with the possible exceptions of Bacon and Berkeley, the most interesting and
commanding figure of contemporary Virginia.
Apart from the services to Western exploration, which would in any case have
entitled him to a place in American history, Wood's career merits careful study
as that of a typical Virginian of the seventeenth century. Even in the obscurity
of his origin he was representative of a large section of the successful
colonists of his time. As with most of his fellows, no personal or family
records have preserved his memory to us. A single letter, now first printed, is
the only known paper that has come down from his hand. In the direction of his
energies and in the methods by which he achieved success, he is the perfect
example of the seventeenth century Virginian of the upper or "planter"
class. The following condensed sketch of his personal fortunes aims to add
another to the small group of individual or family studies which alone enable us
to make a basic and reliable analysis of the economic foundations, structure,
and conditions of growth of early Virginian society, and particularly of the
To secure land, and in large amounts, was the earliest care of any ambitious
colonist. Accordingly, we first find Wood busily engaged in taking up large
tracts in Henrico and Charles City Counties. On May 14, 1638, he patented four
hundred acres in Charles City, on the Appomattox River.(28) The next year he
secured two hundred acres in Henrico, and in 1642, seven hundred more in the
same county.(29) In 1646 he acquired another six hundred acres in the Fort Henry
tract, by special grant of the Assembly.(30) His land hunger, as well as the
means of satisfying it, apparently increased with his growing power, for on June
g, 1653, we find him patenting one thousand, five hundred, fifty seven acres on
the south side of the Appomattox River in Charles City County,(31) and acquiring
another seven hundred acres in Henrico in the following year, and apparently
finishing his endeavors in this direction on September 16, 1663, by patenting
two thousand and seventy-three acres in Charles City, on the south side of the
Appomattox, adjoining Fort Henry.(32)
The grants listed include a total of six thousand two hundred and thirty
acres, unless, as is probable, one or more of them was a re-grant of patents
allowed to lapse by nonpayment of fees. This amount alone is large for the early
time and for the soon thickly settled and valuable lands along the tidal reaches
of the James and Appomattox; but it is extremely improbable that it includes all
of Wood's holdings, particularly in view of the fact that no addition has been
found later than 1663. This is enough to illustrate the gradual method of
acquisition, and to show the man as one of the substantial landowners of the
colony by the time he had reached middle life. Perhaps, after 1663, the press of
other and more profitable and absorbing interests diverted his attention from
the engrossing of wild land.
Men who would rise in early Virginia turned naturally and necessarily to
politics, and for large landowners success was easy and almost automatic. Six
years after his appearance as a patentee, Wood made his entrance into the
political field as member of the House of Burgesses for Henrico County, at the
session beginning October 1, 1644. He continued to serve in this capacity for
two years and was present at the session mentioned and at those beginning
February 17, 1644/5, November 29, 1645, March, 1645/6, and October 5, 1646. As
burgess for Charles City County, he was present at the sessions beginning
November 20, 1654, and December, 1656. During this time he rendered the usual
service on committees, being placed on the committee for private causes,
November 29, 1654, and on the committee on markets, March 20, 1655. His most
important service of this kind was on the committee "for Review of
Acts" (December, 1656), designated to codify the laws of the colony. This
committee labored diligently at its task, and digested all the acts of Assembly
into one volume, in which form they were enacted at the session of March,
The Council was the goal of political endeavor in colonial Virginia. It was
not merely the upper branch of the Assembly, but an administrative body advisory
to the governor, and the highest court in the colony. It numbered but a dozen
men, and these were usually, even uniformly, the most influential and wealthy in
the colony. Membership was for life, and a council seat was the highest place
open to a colonist. In the spring of 1658, Wood passed into this body. It was
during the period of the provisional government, and vacancies in the council
were being filled by the local authorities. There may have been a conflict
between the executive and the popular chamber over the manner of Wood's choice,
for he is reported as elected councilor by the burgesses, March 13, 1657/8,(35)
and again as being nominated by the governor and approved by the House, April 3,
Wood lived to serve in this, the highest governing body of the colony, for at
least twenty-two years. His name occurs occasionally in its fragmentary records,
but nothing of importance about him is preserved." The last appearance is
in a curious connection. For January 23, 1679/80, there has been preserved a
tantalizing fragment of the council journal: "For insulting words to
Major-- General Wood, forgiveness to be asked."(38) Evidently the
septuagenarian councilor retained his spirit, and some indiscreet unknown was
forced to eat his words. His death must have occurred shortly thereafter.(39)
In colonial Virginia law was closely associated with politics. Even before
the emergence of a group of trained lawyers, the ordinary prominent citizen took
a keen and intelligent interest in legal affairs. The association of landowning,
too, with local judicial service was almost as strong as in contemporary
England. Wood's career is somewhat typical in this regard also. His service
while in the House of Burgesses on the committee for private causes and that for
review of acts has just been mentioned. In 1656, we find him petitioning the
House that courts be held on the south side of the river, for the benefit of the
inhabitants of the south side of Charles City County.(40) For some years he was
one of the justices of the peace of his home county.(41) Finally, on November
28, 1676, he was appointed by the home government a member of the special
commission of oyer and terminer for Virginia, which was to settle affairs in the
colony after Bacon's Rebellion.(42) He thus rendered distinguished service, and
received honorable recognition in this, as in all other lines of endeavor
characteristic of the colony in his day.
Nearly every prominent Virginian of the seventeenth century served as an
officer in the colonial militia. The intimate connection between land-holding
and leadership in the public defense, inherited from sixteenth century England,
had not been broken. A commission in the militia meant, not only title, uniform,
and parade duty but also readiness for prompt active service, sudden alarms,
toilsome marches through the wild country, and often dangerous fighting, varied
with garrison duty for a few, and occasional general musters against actual or
expected naval attacks from overseas.(43)
Abraham Wood is first mentioned as a militia soldier in 1646, when his rank
was that of captain. In thirty-four years of known service he rose successively
through every grade to the ranking position of major-general, in which his
military authority in the colony was, for at least a decade, inferior to that of
the governor only. Just when he entered the militia is not known, but he is
listed as "Mr." in the records of the burgesses until the session of
October, 1646, so it is probable that the command at Fort Henry in the spring of
that year was his first commission. By 1652 he is "Major" Wood, and in
1655 he is described as "Lieutenant-colonel." In December of the
following year he received his promotion to the colonelcy of the Charles City
and Henrico regiment, by special act of the Burgesses growing out of the
legislative investigation and removal of Colonel Edward Hill for misconduct as
commander in the well-known affair at the forks of the Pamunkey, where the
Virginians and friendly Pamunkeys were so badly defeated by the strange
Ricahecrian Indians from beyond the mountains. Just when he was made one of the
major-- generals of the colony does not appear, but it was not earlier than 1663
nor later than 1671.(44)
The Charles City and Henrico regiment had more Indian fighting to do than any
other of the militia bodies, owing to the location of the counties in question;
and Wood must have gained much experience in active service. This, together with
his unrivaled knowledge of the western country and of the Indians, made him
probably the most trusted and valued of the militia officers. During the serious
Indian troubles early in 1676, Berkeley complained to the home government that
Wood was "kept to his house through infirmity," and that certain of
the subordinate officers were either dead or for various reasons
unavailable.(45) The unaccustomed vacillation and inefficiency of the governor
in this crisis may have been due in great measure to the absence of his reliable
commanders. The old general's health seems to have mended, how ever, for in the
Indian alarm of 1678 general supervision of all arrangements for defense was
committed to "Major [General?] Abraham Wood," and all persons were
warned to obey him.(46)
Wood's last public service, so far as known, was the conduct of negotiations
with a threatening Indian war confederacy in the winter of 1679-1680. Nicholas
Spencer wrote to the Lords of Trade and Plantations on March 18, 1680, that
"Colonel Wood, a person well skilled in all Indian affairs," had been
chosen by the governor and council to try to effect the desired arrangement with
He negotiated the same with great prudence and at length arranged that the
chief men of the Indian confederate hostile towns should meet at Jamestown on
the last of this month, to be heard on behalf of their towns and to answer the
charges against them. They received every assurance of safe protection but
appeared not, whether kept back by the knowledge of their guilt, or
misapprehensions of our sincerity (for which the Christians have given but too
good reasons), or perverted by the clandestine designs of some Indian traders,
who wished to upset this arrangement of Colonel Wood for their own ends, I
cannot guess. I incline to think the last is the true reason. . . When we
consider that Captain Byrd killed seven surrendered Indians and took away their
wives and children prisoners, on the mere suspicion that they were assassins of
our people, we can hardly wonder at the failure of the treaty.(47)
Because of the lack of Wood's letters and other papers, it is impossible to
give any satisfactory account of his activities as a trader; but the documents
printed in this volume display the character and extent of his interest in the
Indian trade. The early date and broad sweep of his explorations, and the large
sums of ready money expended on them;(48) the many incidents in the documents
revealing the extent of his Indian connections and influence; the favorable
location of his trading post and the growth of Petersburg upon its site; and the
jealousy of other traders, mentioned in his letter to Richards (49) and in
Spencer's letter just quoted, all go to show that his ventures in this traffic
must have been the most extended and among the most successful of the time. From
the analogy of contemporaries and rivals, like William Byrd, we may infer that
he was also a local merchant, but there is no direct information on the point.
In the economic society of that day, trade was the greatest avenue to the
acquisition of ready money, and Wood's fortune, was, like those of so many of
the most prominent Virginians of the time, doubtless based largely upon it.
Of the family and descendants of Abraham Wood but little has been learned.
Whom he married is not known. The only child whose existence and identity are
certain is a daughter, Mary. (50) Like her father's, her career was typical of
the American pioneer society. Her married life covered not less than fifty-nine
years, counting intervals of widowhood. During this time she had three husbands
and probably out lived the last of them.(51) Whether it was Peter Jones, her
last husband, or one of his descendants, who robbed Wood of his rightful fame by
giving a name to the town of Petersburg, is a subject of dispute, and no clear
proofs are offered for either assertion.(52) Nothing further concerning Wood's
family has come to light, and inasmuch as his will was probably lost in the
destruction of the Charles City records (53) the facts may never be fully known
After having thus learned to know the man it is time to turn to his
activities as an explorer, the story of which is so largely a part of the
general history of the westward movement of his era.
The governors of Virginia had occasionally displayed an interest in westward
exploration, and in the possibility of crossing the mountains, long before any
serious plans for that purpose were made. Thus the governor and council wrote to
the Privy Council on May 17, 1626, that "discoveries by land....are of
great hope both for the riches of the mountains and probabilities of finding the
passage to the South Sea . . ." and desired that munitions for this and
other purposes be furnished by the home government.(54)
No reflection of the private project of 1641-1643 (55) has been found in the
governor's correspondence; but when interest in exploration revived after the
establishment of the fall-line posts, the executive as well as private parties
and the burgesses gave attention to the subject. From letters which reached
England from Virginia in March, 1648, we learn that Indian rumors had already
come to Governor Berkeley concerning the lands beyond the mountains, of its
great river systems, of the Gulf of Mexico, and of the red capped Spaniards,
riding on donkeys, who occasionally visited its shores. Berkeley was reported to
be on the point of leading a party to pass the mountains and visit this country,
and thus open the trade route to Asia for which the earlier explorers had so
vainly sought - a project which he kept more or less in mind for twenty years
but never carried out.
An unknown writer's words bring us still something of the excitement and
confident expectation felt by the people of that day.
And the Indians have of late acquainted our Governor, that within five days
journey to the westward and by South, there is a great high mountain, and at the
foot thereof, great Rivers that run into a great Sea; and that there are men
that come hither in ships, (but not the same as ours be) they wear apparel and
have reed Caps on their heads, and ride on Beasts like our Horses, but have much
longer ears and other circumstances they declare for the certainty of these
things. That Sir William was here upon preparing fifty Horse and fifty Foot, to
go and discover this thing himself in person, and take all needful provision in
that case requisite along with him; he was ready to go when these last ships set
sail for England in April last: and we hope to give a good ac account of it by
the next ships, God giving a blessing to the enterprise, which will mightily
advance and enrich this Country; for it must needs prove a passage to the South
Sea (as we call it) and also some part of China and the East Indies.(56)
In a similar pamphlet printed the next year we hear of pearls, of mines, and
of the proximity of the South Sea beyond the mountains, together with
suggestions for exploration. Some idea of the Ohio-Mississippi waterway was now
taking a more definite shape, for this writer states that of the great rivers
heading out from the Gulf of St. Lawrence, one, as yet undiscovered, runs along
all the back of Virginia, southward toward Florida." It is to be observed
that the distance which separated Virginia from these alluring regions was even
then conceived as far smaller than is the actual fact. Farrer appended to his
map of 1651 the opinion that "the Sea of China and the Indies" could
be reached in ten days overland from the head of James River.(58)
At least one important journey into the western country was actually made
during these years.(59) On the twenty-seventh of August, 1650, a little party
filed out from Fort Henry and directed their march towards the southwest. These
first adventurers were Edward Bland, an English merchant settled in Charles City
County, Captain Abraham Wood, and two gentlemen of the colony, Sackford Brewster
and Elias Pennant by name, all mounted, together with a white servant of each of
the first two, and an Appomattox Indian guide, on foot. The Tuscarora villages
seem to have been the objective point. The Virginia piedmont across which their
journey took them is a rolling or hilly country sloping gently to the east. At
the time when the explorers entered this practically unknown land, it offered a
pleasant variety of forest and grass lands, intersected by narrow meadow and
swamp tracts in the stream "bottoms." Here, as almost everywhere, the
Indians followed the custom of burning over the country in the fall, so that the
level uplands and long gentle slopes were kept as open grazing country, pasture
for deer, elk, and buffalo. The poorer, stonier, and steeper ground was covered
with forests of deciduous growth, and the bottoms, where not cleared by the
Indians for their fields, were covered with a practically impenetrable tangle of
well-nigh tropical luxuriance. Food for the wild things was plentiful, so that
game was found in almost inconceivable plenty, and the abundant watercourses
teemed with fish, particularly - in the rivers and larger streams - the huge
sturgeon. Even today the country abounds in wild fruits and flowers as do few
other regions, and berries of every sort line the road-sides and fill the open
spaces in the woods in midsummer.
It was with feelings of admiration, wonder, and awe, that the explorers
entered this region which gave such hope for the future, and with keen eyes they
marked the spots for plantations and cities, that their descendants would enjoy.
They picked up an additional guide at a Nottaway village some twenty miles out,
on the first day, and kept on in a southwestwardly direction for five days. They
crossed the Blackwater, Nottaway, and Meherrin Rivers, with several of their
tributaries, and on the fifth day reached the falls of the Roanoke, where the
Dan and Staunton unite to form that river, at the present site of Clarksville,
Virginia, close to the North Carolina line, and in an air line some sixty-five
miles from their starting point. Bland estimated that they had traveled one
hundred and twenty miles; and making allowances for the natural exaggeration of
distances traversed in the wilderness, and for the deviations in their course,
this was not a surprising overestimation. He was also under the erroneous
impression that they had actually come to a westward-flowing river, and does not
speak of the country thereabout as a part of Virginia, but as an entirely
separate region - "New Brittaine."
The party passed through numerous Indian villages on the way, where they were
not very hospitably received. The demeanor of the natives grew more and more
unfriendly and threatening as they advanced, and several attempts were made to
frighten or deceive them. Some of the latter met with success. A runner, who was
dispatched to the Tuscarora chief and to an Englishman supposed to be then among
the Tuscaroras, went instead to give the alarm to a tribe farther down the
river. Fearing the plots that seemed to be forming around them, they contented
themselves with examining the falls, the sturgeon fishing place, and the
adjacent country, and then turned back, regaining Fort Henry in four days, by a
slightly different route. They slept on their arms and set a watch every night
during the journey, but met with no harm or bloodshed.
Bland made a careful and apparently accurate note of the distances,
directions, and streams crossed every day, and in addition observed and recorded
the topography and soil at every sub-stage of the journey. Drainage, timber, and
vegetation are faithfully described. Much of the land crossed was then champaign
country. With the soil about the Roanoke River the travelers were especially
delighted, and they even persuaded themselves that its climate was superior to
that of settled Virginia.
The narrative makes it plain that the region covered was already familiar
ground to the Virginia traders. Bland's party professed to come to trade, but he
at least was evidently more interested in land looking; and his praises of the
new country as a region for colonization, and especially the ardent exhortation
"To The Reader" to further its settlement,(60) and the quotation from
Raleigh, (61) reveal him as antedating William Byrd by three quarters of a
century as the original "boomer" of this "Eden." On his
return Bland promptly obtained an order from the Assembly (October 20, 1650),
allowing him to explore and colonize the new country, provided he should attempt
it with a hundred well-armed men.(62) His book, printed in London the following
year, and affording our knowledge of the expedition, was doubtless published
with a view to aiding in the assemblage of this force. His early death, about
1653, probably prevented the execution of the plan.
Bland and his party told. the Indians that they were sent out by the governor
of Virginia. 63 Whether this was spoken in truth or merely to overawe the
natives, Berkeley seems to have referred the question of further exploration to
the home government for settlement, for an order of the Council of State of
September 25, 1651, directed "the Committee of the admiralty to consider
what is fit to be done concerning the discovery to be made to the west of the
falls of James River in Virginia and report thereon."(64)
Whether the Admiralty reported does not appear, but in the following year
private parties were actively interested, and received encouragement from the
Virginia Assembly. In November, 1652, the latter body passed an order, reciting
the fact of the grant of 1643 (65) and of its subsequent voidance, and giving to
William Clayborne, the celebrated parliamentary commissioner and enemy of Lord
Baltimore, and Captain Henry Fleet, a gentleman prominent in the colony, a
monopoly of trade for the usual term of fourteen years, and first choice of
lands, in any regions in which they might make new discoveries. "Major
Abraham Wood and his associates" received separately the same privileges.
(66) The order which Bland had secured from the Assembly in 1650 had named him
specifically, but had allowed "any other" the same license to
prosecute the colonizing enterprise. Whether Wood was instrumental in securing
this provision, and proposed to act separately, or whether he was associated
with Bland in 1650, and whether Bland was among Wood's associates in 1652, or
whether he had already passed from the stage, or whether, again, Wood had in
mind a different venture, cannot be determined. It is a likely conjecture that
Wood was always the moving spirit, even in the expedition of 1650,
notwithstanding the fact that Bland wrote its history and made himself the most
conspicuous 'figure in it.
More tantalizing still is the order of the Assembly of July, 1653, wherein
"diverse gentlemen" who had "a voluntary desire to discover the
Mountains and supplicated for license" to do so were permitted to go on
their quest, provided they should take a force strong both in men and
ammunition.(67) Who these gentlemen were, or whether they fulfilled their
desire, cannot be found in the records now known to be extant. Could we find out
their names and fortunes the most baffling problem of this whole period of
exploration, namely, Wood's alleged discoveries of 1654, might be solved.
Cropping out in all the literature of Mississippi Valley exploration, from
the eighteenth century to the monographs of contemporary scholars, is the bare
statement, now calmly presented as a fact, now contemptuously mentioned as a
lie, that in the year 1654, or at various times in the decade following that
year, Abraham Wood gained the banks of the Ohio, or of the Mississippi, or of
both. It can probably never be either proved or disproved with absolute
certainty, but long and patient search has yielded the facts about to be
recited, and only these. They .are trustworthy as far as they go, and in spite
of meagerness appear to warrant the statement in categorical form of the
conclusions drawn from them.
Dr. Daniel Coxe, whose career will be dealt with later,(68) was the first to
mention the episode. His account appears in a memorial to King William,
presented to the Board of Trade Nov. 16, 1699,(69) and in the younger Coxe's
book Carolana.(70) Coxe states that at several times during the decade 1654-1664
Wood discovered "several branches of the great rivers Ohio and Meschacebe."
In confirmation, Coxe alleges that he was at one time in possession of a journal
of a Mr. Needham, one of the agents Wood employed in his exploring expeditions.
Now Wood's men did discover branches of the Ohio and Mississippi, in the years
1671-1674; and the Needham referred to was employed in the most brilliant of
those discoveries. Since Coxe states incorrectly both Wood's title and place of
residence,(71) it is most probable that his information about the date was also
in correct. One of Coxe's later memorials to the Board of Trade, which
constitutes the last chapter of this volume, omits all mention of the episode.
It would seem that subsequent writers have simply followed Coxe, either at
first or second hand. The earliest and most often cited of these, the authors of
the State of the British and French Colonies (1755) and of the Contest in
America, reproduced Coxe's statements with fair correctness, attributing to Wood
the discovery in 1654 of certain branches only of the great western river
system. Later historians, of whom Parkman and Winsor are the most distinguished,
have usually reproduced the story so as to make it appear as if Wood or his
agents were said to have discovered the Mississippi itself. The whole tone of
the Fallam journal (72) and of Wood's letter regarding the explorations of
1673-1674, (73) and especially Wood's references in that letter to the
discoveries of Batts and Fallam in 1671,(74) make it reasonably certain that
Wood had not been on the western waters at any prior time.(75)
Dismissing, therefore, this alleged discovery of the western waters in 1654
as unproved and even improbable, let us return to the course of events
concerning which there is less doubt. About the year 1658 three gentlemen of the
colony, Major William Lewis, Mr. Anthony Langston, and Major William Harris
applied to the Assembly for a commission to explore the mountains and the
country to the westward, and "to endeavor the finding out of any
Commodities that might probably tend to the benefit of this Country." The
commission was granted, both for their encouragement and for that of others of
similar public spirit;(76) but the sources do not inform us of the result of
This ended the period of preliminary explorations into the territory lying
between the falls of the rivers and the mountains. The accounts that have been
preserved for us are meager enough, but from them and later ones it is evident
that the Virginia traders had become fairly familiar with the back country, and
'that trade routes to the Indian tribes of the region were regularly followed.
Besides this opening of the trade, land speculators had begun to view the
country and were planning its colonization, although actual settlement had not
yet advanced much beyond the fall line.
In the seventh decade of the seventeenth century, western exploration
.received an impetus that was to carry it to a successful fulfillment of its
object, the crossing of the mountains. This impetus, probably, did not originate
in Virginia, but was an influence extending hither 'from the mother country, to
which it is necessary to turn for an explanation of its character. In 1660, the
period of the English Commonwealth was definitively brought to a close by the
crowning of King Charles II. The contrast of the gaiety and gorgeousness of his
court with the somber hues of its predecessor has always exercised an influence
on the imagination to such an extent that we are prone to forget, in describing
the contrast, that the age of the Restoration is one of tremendous expansion in
all lines of human endeavor. The court of Charles II was not the breeder of
mistresses and poor poets only, but it swarmed with explorers, adventurers,
promoters of financial schemes, and speculators of every variety. The modern
business world seemed to have jumped full grown from the head of Britannia. The
court became fully alive to the necessity of fostering these new enterprises and
at the same time keeping them under control. For that purpose, a special board
was appointed, whose duties were later placed in the hands of a committee of the
Privy Council.(77) The merchants were not the only ones interested in this new
business expansion, but found eager supporters among the nobles and even in the
king himself. Profits seemed to become the lodestone of the generation.
Certain men, in the inner circle of public life, placed themselves at the
head of the undertakings which promised the largest returns. The names of Lords
Ashley (later Shaftesbury), Albemarle, Clarendon, Arlington, Berkeley, and
Craven, and Sir George Carteret, appear in various groupings on all the
important charters or as engaged in some manner in the various enterprises.
It was the Duke of York with his personal friends, Clarendon, Carteret, and
Berkeley who originated the movement to seize New Amsterdam, in 1664, from the
Dutch. A short time afterwards, the first cargo of furs arrived in the Thames
from that region, and London merchants began to catch a glimpse of the wealth to
be derived from this traffic. Their interest in a business, somewhat new to
them, was heightened by the arrival of M. des Grosseilliers, bearing a letter of
introduction from the British ambassador at Paris, Lord Arlington, to Prince
Rupert. There was no man better able to impart information concerning the
profits of the American fur-trade than Grosseilliers. He had been one of the
most successful fur traders of Canada for years, and his business had led him as
far west as the present site of Wisconsin and north to Hudson's Bay. Angered at
his treatment in Canada and France he came to seek his fortune in England and
was immediately received as adviser by some of the members of the inner circle
of politicians. In 1668, Grosseilliers was provided with a ship on which he set
sail to Hudson's Bay. The day of his return was one of triumph for he brought
with him a rich cargo of furs.
Practically a new business was thus introduced into England. The firms in
London and Bristol, which had cured and dealt in furs up to this time, were not
comparable, in the quality or quantity of their output, to the great houses of
Leipsic, Amsterdam, Paris, and Vienna, to which even the English noblemen and
wealthy merchants resorted for their fur-trimmed costumes; but there was now
started an enterprise which turned the course of trade and made London the
center of the market for furs. The English world was thoroughly awakened to the
possibilities, and it is probable that the necessary rivalry with France added
zest to the adventure. Some lines of poetry, written in 1672 and attributed to
Dryden, express the popular craze.
Friend, once 'twas Fame that led thee forth; To brave the Tropic Heat, the
Late it was Gold, then Beauty was the Spur; But now our Gallants venture but
for Furs .(78)
The immediate outcome of Grosseilliers's success was the formation of the
Hudson's Bay Company, among the members of which were Prince Rupert, the Duke of
Albemarle, Earl Craven, Lords Arlington and Ashley. It is not necessary to
follow further the history of this long-lived company, which down to the present
time has exercised a very great influence on the imperial politics of Great
Britain. For the present purposes, sufficient has been said to explain the
influences out of which the company grew and to know the interests of the
society in which lived the men who were instrumental in imparting a new impetus
to western exploration in Virginia.
The English always had in view other interests besides trade in the founding
of colonies, and the main motive of the Lords Proprietors in securing a charter
to Carolina in 1663 appears to have been the profits accruing from the
exploitation of land, as is shown by their advertisements.(79) It is not
surprising to find that the proprietors belonged to the same group of
politicians who were interested in New York and the Hudson's Bay Company.(80)
Their representative in America was Sir William Berkeley, the Governor of
Virginia, to whom was entrusted the inauguration of the new government.(81)
With the development of the interest in the fur trade, shortly after the
founding of the colony, the thought was very natural that by crossing the
mountains to the West, an entrance could be gained to the territory which the
French fur-traders were exploiting. There were, as a matter of fact, three
points of departure that were under the influence of the same group of
politicians, namely Hudson's Bay, New York, and the South (Virginia and
Carolina); and within a short time, there were made most earnest efforts from
all three points to secure the monopoly of the trade from the French, in spite
of the king's well-known predilection for that nation.
The profits of the fur-trade were not the only allurement to these western
expeditions. It was not to be expected, when such men as Frontenac and La Salle,
with their more complete knowledge of the water systems of the interior valley,
were still dreaming of the discovery of a short waterway across America to the
rich commerce of Asia, that those whose information was still very meager,
confined, as it was for the most part, by the great mountain belt immediately to
the westward, should not also nurse the hope that they possessed the key to this
great communication across the continent and should place more emphasis in the
first instance on this phase of their undertaking, as being the one most likely
to spur the imagination. It is to be noticed also that another attraction, as
old as the hope of the discovery of a water communication with Asia, namely, the
finding of mines of the precious metals comparable to those in the possession of
the Spaniards, was still an active spur to action. Thus the lure that attracted
men westward was triple-headed: Asiatic commerce, mines of gold and silver, and
the fur-trade. All these furnished the impetus to the Virginians to undertake
discovery, just as they all were spurs to the French at the north; but in the
end, the last was the permanent impulse and has remained, even till our own day,
the guide to westward advance.
Although direct proof of any instructions being sent by the Lords Proprietors
of Carolina to Sir William Berkeley of Virginia is lacking, no explanation of
the renewed interest in western exploration is adequate, except to connect it
with this outburst of English enthusiasm for western enterprises. Carolina
itself was not sufficiently developed to offer a base from which such
expeditions could start, whereas in Virginia, the frontier posts had already
become the centers of Indian trade and around them were collected the first
group of American pioneers, trained from childhood to endure the hardships of
such enterprises. Furthermore Governor Berkeley, the American agent of the
interested noblemen, had in Abraham Wood, the man best fitted to organize and
carry to completion the work.
The date when this new impetus was felt in Virginia is known. In the spring
of 1668, Governor Berkeley began preparing a great expedition "to find out
the East India sea," as he writes to Lord Arlington, who, as has been seen,
had just sent Grosseilliers with that letter of introduction to Prince Rupert,
which ended in the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company. Berkeley declared that
two hundred gentlemen of the colony had engaged to accompany him and he
expressed the hope of finding silver mines on the way, "for certain it is
that the Spaniard in the same degrees of latitude has found many."(82)
Heavy rains checked the undertaking, and the memory of what befell Raleigh for
his unauthorized adventure on the Oronoco caused him to defer the expedition
until a royal commission could be secured. If this should be granted, he
promised to make the journey, in the spring of 1670, in sufficient force to
overcome "all opposition whether of the Spaniards or Indians."(83) It
is probable that the politicians supporting Berkeley could not obtain the royal
mandate, for King Charles in the year after this letter was written entered into
the secret treaty of Dover with Louis XIV, which is certainly sufficient
explanation of the fact that the subsequent explorations were undertaken without
the royal patronage. Governor Berkeley never made the projected trip in person;
but he did, in the year mentioned, dispatch agents, who failed, however, to
cross the Blue Ridge.
Before the governor entrusted the great undertaking to the hands of Abraham
Wood, an opportunity to prosecute the work of discovery was offered him by the
presence in the colony of a German physician, John Lederer by name, who
possessed a bent for travel in strange lands. Of the man's origin and early
career, there is no certain knowledge. He remained in Virginia a year and a half
and probably longer, and during that time made three attempts to penetrate the
wilderness, but did no better than to traverse the piedmont and on two occasions
to gain the summit of the Blue Ridge. Shortly after returning from his last trip
he was compelled to leave Virginia in some haste. Lederer alleged that the cause
of his flight from Virginia was popular anger at the large subsidies devoted by
the governor to his expeditions, but the truth of this is not certain.(84) He
went to Maryland, and there made friends, one of whom, Sir William Talbot,
prepared from Lederer's oral narratives and Latin memoranda of his travels a
little book, which was dedicated to Lord Ashley. This was published in London in
1672 and is reprinted as the third chapter of the present volume.
Lederer may be characterized as the Hennepin, or better as the Lahontan of
English exploration. His story contains a good many obvious untruths, and in the
matter of his alleged journey into the Carolinas the latter part of his second
expedition - he undoubtedly made a deliberate but clumsy attempt to deceive. In
general the criticism of his veracity should not be too severe, for most of his
striking untruths in matters of detail were not lies, but the misconceptions of
a European, new to the country, or merely the harmless exaggerations natural to
a certain type of mind.(85) Hence while it is true that his unsupported word is
open to a certain suspicion, it is believed that no material risk of inaccuracy
is incurred in accepting his narrative where there is no external or internal
evidence of its improbability.
Lederer started on his first expedition, March 9, 1669, from the Chickahominy
Indian village at the falls of the Pamunkey, accompanied only by three Indians.
He pursued his way up the river, and passed its head springs on the thirteenth.
On the next day he gained from a hilltop his first distant view of the Blue
Ridge, lying like a low cloud on the horizon, before which his Indian guides
prostrated themselves in reverence to the mountain spirits. The day following he
crossed the Rapidan. He was now traversing the western edge of the piedmont, a
land of sunshine and clear rushing streams, nestling securely under the
southeast flank of the blue mountain wall.
On the seventeenth of March, after nine days of travel, the little party were
under the face of the mountains, probably in Madison County. Lederer found the
slopes and approaches densely set with hardwood timber, which offered as great
an obstacle to the traveler as did the height and steepness of the ranges. He
was the first white man to view the beauty of this region and on his several
trips had an opportunity to learn how nature here presents an ever changing
scene. Here the blues of the mountain barrier, varying from amethyst or deep
purple to sky-blue or pale mist-like gray, and the gorgeous sunsets, are to be
seen at all seasons. In spring, the hollows and the moist, open spaces at the
foot of the mountains flame with the blossoms of the Judas tree or redbud; in
fall the foliage shows a brilliancy and harmony of color unmatched outside the
Appalachian region. Wherever fire or axe or thinness of soil have given it light
and room the mountain laurel grows. In May it blooms in the lower woods and on
the rough little foothills irregularly dotting the western edge of the piedmont.
In June the main ranges show mile after mile of blossom; in the cool
stream-notches and north-side hollows of the higher slopes and summits, the
laurel is joined by its larger and handsomer cousin, the rhododendron, pink and
white; and there one finds midsummer yet gay with bloom.
Lederer required a full day to ascend the mountain. The horses were left at
the foot, but even to man, the dense underbrush offered almost insuperable
obstacles. At last he reached the summit, which was probably here as elsewhere a
range about a mile wide, so wind-swept by the winter blast ac to be only
partially timbered. His eyes naturally sought first of all the west, but here
was only disappointment for the view was cut off by higher ridges, a sight that
was to prove so discouraging to the Virginia explorers, who felt that there was
no end to the mountains. When he turned away from this hopeless scene, his eyes
ranged over the piedmont which he had crossed. It looked almost level and faded
away into an horizon, so delusive that, on a misty morning, many a later visitor
has claimed, as did Lederer, that he "had a beautiful prospect of the
Atlantic washing the Virginian shore." The doctor's first journey ended on
the summit of the Blue Ridge. After wandering about in the snow for six days,
vainly trying to find a pass, the cold proved unendurable, and he descended and
retraced his path homeward.
Whether Governor Berkeley dispatched Lederer on his first and third journeys,
the latter does not explicitly state. The second expedition, however, was
certainly fathered by the governor; and for our knowledge of the first part of
it, we are not dependent solely on Lederer, but have also a letter of the
governor's secretary, Ludwell, to the home government, in which the results of
the expedition are briefly reported(86) Ludwell does not give any names, but the
correspondence of dates and details is so close as to leave no doubt as to the
identity of the parties. Lederer was accompanied by Major Harris, the same who
had a dozen years previously manifested a desire to explore the mountains,(87)
and who seems now to have been in command, of "twenty Christian horse and
The party set out from the falls of the James (the site of Richmond) on the
twenty-second of May, 1670.(88) On the third day, they passed through the
Manakin village on the James, only twenty miles above the falls, and paying no
attention to the advice of the Indians as to trails, struck out due west by
compass. They soon found it very bad going, and wore out man and horse in trying
to hold a straight course over the rough and rocky hills south of James River.
After four or five days of this kind of travel they strut k the James again, in
Buckingham County, probably near the Appomattox County line.(89)
The river here they found to run nearly due north and to be as wide as it is
a hundred miles lower down, rocky, and very swift. Harris did not recognize it
as the James. About ten miles distant beyond the river they made out the ragged
outlines of the foothills that form one fragment of the broken chain which
geologists style "the Atlantic coast range," and of which the well
known "Monticello" is a more northerly link. Their characteristic
morning mists seemed to augur the proximity of the western waters; but Harris,
completely discouraged by the difficulties of the country and considering the
river impassable, turned homeward. After some unpleasantness, Lederer claims to
have produced a commission from the governor authorizing him to proceed by
himself; and he struck off southward accompanied by a single Susquehannock
On the fifth day after he separated from Harris, he came to the village of
the Sapony Indians, on a branch of the Staunton River in Campbell County,
Virginia. Here he was hospitably received and directed on his way. Three days of
easy travel carried him fifty miles southwest to the village of the Occaneechi,
then located according to his map and description on an island in the Dan River.
These Indians, the fiercest and most treacherous of the Siouan tribes of the
Virginia piedmont, bore out their reputation for bloodthirstiness by
treacherously murdering six strange mountain Indians who had come to treat with
them, the second night that Lederer was there. Frightened, he slipped away and
pursued his course southwest. He visited successively the Eno Indians, the
Shakori, and the Wataree, and came, on June 21, to the village of the Saura,
then apparently located on a northern affluent of the Yadkin and by Lederer's
computation seventy-four miles southwest of the Occaneechi village on the Dan.
So far Lederer's narrative bears evidences of truth. It may be that he
obtained from Virginia Indians some of the information regarding the country and
natives described; but it is, so far as it can be checked, correct. After he
left the Saura village, no certainty can be evolved from the mass of palpable
falsehood. Some names can be recognized as those of tribes residing in the South
Carolina piedmont; but Lederer could never have visited them, for his narrative
is full of many fantastic tales about them and their country. Space does not
permit the recounting and critical examination of the story of his experiences
from this point until his arrival at the Appomattox village across from Fort
Henry on the seventeenth of July. It makes pleasant reading: Silver tomahawks,
Amazonian Indian women, peacocks, lakes "ten leagues broad," and
barren sandy deserts two weeks' journey in width, when located in the Carolina
piedmont sound like the tales of Baron Munchhausen.
Lederer was to make yet another attempt to find a way across the mountain
barrier, this time in company with a certain Colonel Catlett, nine mounted
colonists, and five Indians. They left the falls of the Rappahannock, near the
present town of Fredericksburg, on August 20, 1670, and following the north fork
of that stream, reached the Blue Ridge on August 26, probably about the border
line between Rappahannock and Fauquier Counties. Leaving their horses with some
of the Indians, they ascended the ridge on foot. From the summit they beheld the
Great North Mountain discouragingly far away across the Shenandoah Valley to the
northwest. They were so tired by the climb and chilled by the change in
temperature on the mountain top that they contented themselves with drinking the
King's health in brandy and then made their way down the mountain and homeward.
The beginning and closing pages of Talbot's book are filled with Lederer's
notes on the geography of the Atlantic slope, on Indian customs, and with advice
to travelers and traders in the wilderness. The information seems to be
remarkably correct and valuable and the advice, for the time, judicious. The
German doctor departed sometimes from the ways of truth, but he contributed much
to the exploration of the piedmont and was the first white man 'on record to
look into the Valley of Virginia. He gave occasion, moreover, for the production
of a book of great historical and ethnological value.
If Governor Berkeley was responsible for Lederer's three expeditions, and he
probably was, his persistency in following up the results makes him the equal,
if not the superior of the contemporary French governors. The plan to send out a
party equipped to pass the river which had stopped Harris and Lederer, of which
mention was made in Ludwell's letter, may have resulted only in the last
expedition of the German explorer; but, the next summer, other plans were being
formulated. Lord Arlington was informed in June, that "the heats of summer
are now too far advanced for a journey to the Mountains but after a pause upon
what is already done and we have taken breath I doubt not but that we shall go
further in the discovery." The belief was to be justified, and Englishmen
were soon to drink of the western waters.
This new effort to "goes further" was made under the auspices of
Abraham Food. On the first of September, 1671, there filed out from the
Appomattox Indian village across the river from Fort Henry a little party which
was to make the first recorded passage of the Appalachian mountains and thus to
lay a foundation for England's claim to the waters that seek the gulf. It
consisted of Captain Thomas Batts, a successful colonist of good English family,
and two other gentlemen, Thomas Wood, perhaps a kinsman of Abraham Wood, and
Robert F allam. They were accompanied by a former indentured servant and
Perecute, an Appomattox chief, whose faithfulness and iron courage should have
preserved his name. Robert Fallam kept the journal of the expedition, a brief
document, but containing notes of the essential facts from day to day, so that
this is the easiest of all the westward journeys to trace accurately. Several
copies of the journal were made and transmitted to England by different persons,
and what is probably the most accurate of them is reprinted in the fifth chapter
of this volume. The three gentlemen bore a commission from Major-general Wood
"for the finding out tile ebbing and flowing of the Waters on the other
side of the Mountains in order to the discovery of the South Sea."
They struck off due west along a trail that was evidently already familiar,
and having five horses made rapid progress. On the fourth day 'they reached the
Sapony villages, one of which Lederer had visited the year before. They were
"very joyfully and kindly received with firing of guns and plenty of
provisions." They picked up a Sapony guide to show them to the Totero
village by "a nearer way than usual," and were about to leave when
overtaken by a reinforcement of seven Appomattox Indians sent them by Wood. They
sent back Mr. Thomas Wood's worn out horse by a Portuguese servant of General
Wood's whom they had found in the village, and pushed on to the Hanahaskie
"town," some twenty-five miles west by north, on an island in the
Staunton River. Here Mr. Thomas Wood was left, dangerously ill.
The rest of the party kept on westward, and the next day about three o'clock
they came in sight of the mountains. The country was now very hilly and stony.
On the eighth of September they bore slightly north, over very rocky ground,
crossing the Staunton River twice during the day. About one o'clock they passed
a tree upon which had been burned the letters M.A. NI. At four o'clock they
arrived at the first foothill of the Blue Ridge. Pushing on over it, they camped
that night under the main range. The next morning they forded Staunton River
again, climbed one of the irregular ranges which break the surface of the
valley, crossed "a lovely descending valley" about six miles in width,
and again dropped sharply into the Roanoke (91) Valley at the Totero town, not
far from the modern city of Roanoke. Here, among the Toteros, they remained for
two days, for Perecute was very sick with fever and had an attack of ague every
afternoon. The Indians proved to be very hospitable.
On the twelfth day, the travelers left their horses at the village and
securing a Totero guide set out on foot southwestwardly, up and down mountains
and steep valleys, crossing and re-crossing the Roanoke and its tributaries. At
four o'clock Perecute was again seized with ague, so they camped beside the
Roanoke, almost at its head, and beneath the main range of the Alleghenies.
The trail from the Roanoke to the New could not have been very far from the
line now followed by the Virginian Railway, except that on the descent it
probably bore down the divide between Lick and Crab Creeks. In the morning a
three mile walk brought the travelers to the foot of the divide, and another
three miles of steep and slippery path led them to the top. They sat down there
very weary and gazed over high mountains "as if piled one upon the
other," as far as the eye could reach - "a pleasing though' dreadful
sights" wrote Fallam. The descent into the beautiful valley of the New
River was easy. Three miles beyond the divide they came to two trees, one
branded M A. N I., the other cut with the letters M A and other marks which were
undecipherable. Close by was a swift run, flowing northwest the western waters
at last. So Batts and Fallam were not the first white men to pass the eastern
continental divide and drink from the waters that flow into the Ohio, that
thirteenth day of September, 1671. They were simply the first to leave us their
The explorers marched on over rich ground, watered by many streams flowing
into the "great River," through "brave meadows, with grass about
man's height." During the day they crossed the New River three times, first
about three and one-half miles due north of the present town of Radford. The
farther they went west the richer was the soil, and the more numerous the open
meadows and old fields. For the next three days, they tramped through the
valley, traversing a pleasant land, but were delayed and distressed by many
misfortunes. Food was exhausted by the fourteenth of September. The party
stopped to hunt, but owing to the dryness of the ground the Indians could kill
no game, so for two days they had only the wayside haws to stay their stomachs.
Perecute continued very ill but insisted upon further advance. The Totero guide
deserted on the fifteenth. On the sixteenth they managed to kill some game, but
their Indians were restive, and having reached the New River again it was
thought best to call a halt. They had come to the point where the New breaks
through Peters' Mountain, at Peters' Falls, in Giles County, Virginia, and on
the West Virginia line.
Early the next morning the explorers prepared to take possession of the
country thus discovered, the story of which act has already been told in the
opening paragraphs of this volume. Remembering the terms of their commission,
the white men made their way through some tangled old fields, which the Mohetan
(Cherokee) Indians had not long since cultivated, down to the water side, stuck
up a stick, and persuaded themselves that the water was ebbing, though not very
rapidly. The Indians would not let them stop long; but as they were turning
homeward they saw from a hilltop a fog and a glimmer as of water, and returned
in the confidence that they had reached the tidal waters on the confines of the
western sea. From his letter of two years later it is seen that Wood knew
When the travelers reached the Hanahaskie village on the way back, they found
that Mr. Thomas Wood had died and was buried. They made faster time on the
return, and came into Fort Henry on Sunday morning, October 1. "God's holy
name be praised for our preservation," piously wrote Mr. Fallam.
There is an account of the achievements of Batts and Fallam other than their
journal, and much better known. It is found in Robert Beverley's History of
In it the genesis of the expedition is ascribed to Governor Berkeley, Wood is
not mentioned, the leader is styled "Captain Henry Batt," and the
numbers of the party given as about fourteen white men - all unnamed and as many
Indians. No dates, precise distances or details are given, and the whole affair
is clouded in an atmosphere of vagueness. Beverley's personal opinion is that
the explorers did not cross the mountains at all, but rather skirted them
southward. When they were actually starving, he represents them as traversing a
hunter's paradise of incredibly numerous and tame animals. Beverley's narrative
was written more than a generation after the event, and was evidently based on
vague tradition. It should be regarded as devoid of any value or authenticity
whatever. It has, nevertheless, an importance; for historians, and particularly
those of Virginia, have almost without exception derived from it their sole
knowledge of the expedition, thus naturally bringing discredit on the whole
affair. Beverley should be associated with Coxe as the twin perverter of the
history of western exploration in Virginia in the seventeenth century. As in the
case of Coxe, the later writers, whether credulous or contemptuous, who have
copied the story have done their part to twist the account. Some have not
troubled to look up even Beverley himself at first hand, and Batts' very name
undergoes surprising transformations.(93)
It should not be supposed that Abraham Wood was alone in his desire to obtain
knowledge of the mountain trails and of the mysterious waterways and seas that
lay beyond. The period was one in which fur-trading was politically and
economically one of the dominant industries of the colony, and when there was a
corresponding activity in furthering the work of western exploration on the part
of those who held great financial interests in the Indian trade. The stake which
Berkeley had in the fur business was a matter of common knowledge in the colony
and a cause of his growing unpopularity with the agricultural element, and
particularly with that part of it which had pushed out close to the fall-line
frontier. Bacon's rebellion, the seeds of which were being planted in these
years, was in one aspect the prototype and one of the bloodiest examples of the
sort of struggle which is going on at this moment in the Peace River Valley
between the settlers and the Hudson's Bay Company. Bacon, who lived on the edge
of the farming frontier, complained bitterly, in his statement of grievances to
the home government, of Berkeley's financial interest in the fur-trade, charging
that "these traders at the head of the rivers buy and sell our
blood."(94) In the rebellion, to which Bacon has given his name, the great
traders either clung to the government, as did Wood, or tried to hedge, as did
Byrd was Wood's principal rival in the attempt to open the great western
country. We learn from Fallam's journal that when his party was at the Totero
village, midway in the valley of Virginia, on its return (September 19, 1671) ,
Byrd with a "great company" had just been within three miles of the
place on an exploring expedition.(95) We know nothing more of Byrd's activities
in exploration, but after Wood's death he was regarded as the best informed man
concerning western matters in the colony, and had sources of information
sufficiently remote to hear as early as 1688 of the descent of the French into
the Mississippi Valley, and to be apprehensive that it would result in cutting
off the Virginia fur-trade.(96)
If Beverley is to be believed, Governor Berkeley was greatly aroused by the
news of Batts' success and resolved to go exploring in person, and we are told
that the Assembly passed an act to further the plan, but that it was not carried
out before Bacon's Rebellion intervened.(97) Certain it is that during the
winter (January 22, 1671/2), he wrote to the committee for trade and plantations
that he would send out a party in February, and hoped after their return to be
himself an eye witness to the "happy discovery to the West" which he
had so often contemplated. There is nothing to inform us whether he dispatched
the explorers; or if so, what they accomplished; and from this time the record
is silent regarding the old governor's plans. Although he may have originally
chosen Wood to carry out the plans of exploration, the next expeditions seem to
have been undertaken by the latter on his own initiative; yet the first may have
been the one the governor expected to send out in February.
From the foregoing narrative, it is clear that by 1671 much had been done.
Wood may well have gone in person or sent out men who passed the Blue Ridge
before Batts and Fallam. The fact that he commissioned the latter simply to find
out about the tidal waters beyond the mountains would seem to indicate that the
passes were already known. The men who left their initials east of the Blue
Ridge and again beyond the Alleghanies were probably not his; but whosoever they
were, their markings show that by 1671 at least three parties of white men had
been far beyond the Blue Ridge along the New River trail, and two of them beyond
the Allegheny divide. The path which Fallam followed is seen from his references
to it to have been a plain Indian trail, doubtless well known to the guides.
From the behavior of the Indians in firing salutes and the like it appears
certain that in the villages along the route, as far as that of the Toteros,
white men were welcome and familiar guests. So far had the Virginians progressed
on the way to Kentucky, a century before Daniel Boone and forty-five years
before Spotswood's "pleasant summer picnicking excursion" into the
The trail to the present site of Tennessee was the next to be traced. The
information concerning the expeditions which ended in the opening of the trade
with the distant Cherokee Indians has been preserved in a letter written by
Abraham Wood to his friend, John Richards of London. Richards had been in
Virginia, whence he returned to England and was employed as treasurer by the
Lords Proprietors of Carolina, so that it was natural that the important letter
containing an account of the explorations should be addressed to him.(98) This
letter passed into the hands of the Earl of Shaftesbury, whose secretary, John
Locke, annotated it. It is published for the first time in this volume.
The heroes of this, the most truly remarkable as well as romantic of the
English explorations of the seventeenth century, were James Needham, a gentleman
who had been a freeholder of the infant colony of South Carolina during the
first two years of its settled existence, and who had possessed there a
reputation for reliability and courage in wilderness travel,(99) and Gabriel
Arthur, an illiterate but clever lad who was probably an indentured servant of
Wood. Accompanied by eight Indians they made a start from Fort Henry on the
tenth of April, 1673.
Wood evidently determined that lack of food should not be a cause of failure
as in the case of Batts and Fallam, so he provisioned the party for three
months. This time, however, a still more serious obstacle intervened. The
Indians of the frontier and just beyond were frequently jealous of the white
traders' enterprises in the hinterland, for these meant to them the loss of
profits on the trade for which they acted as middlemen, and the arming with
European weapons of more numerous and possibly hostile tribes in their rear.
Most of the Indians of the Virginia piedmont, however, seem to have been very
friendly to the traders and exploring parties; but the Occaneechi, though of the
same eastern Siouan stock as the rest, formed a notable exception. Few in number
but fierce and treacherous, they were strongly fortified on their island in the
Roanoke River at the modern Clarksville, Virginia, just below the confluence of
the Dan and Staunton; and recruiting their numbers from vagabonds and fragments
of various tribes, they exercised a great influence on the neighboring peoples
and were a great hindrance to the white advance into the interior.(100) The
great fur-trading highway through the Carolina piedmont crossed their island,
and was named the Occoneechee or Trading Path. Bland and Wood had journeyed thus
far in 16So, and in 1673 this trail was frequented for many miles beyond. These
Indians, or their neighbors farther on, prevented Needham and Arthur from
crossing the mountains on their first expedition.
The persistent Wood sent them out again on the seventeenth of May, with a
change of mounts for each of the white men. About the twenty-fifth of June they
met a band of Tomahitan, who seem to be identical with the Mohetan and the
Cherokee, on their way from the mountains to the Occaneechi village. Despite the
machinations of the Occaneechi, who were naturally angry at the loss of their
position as go-between in the trade, eleven of the Cherokee pushed through to
Wood's plantation, and then overtook Needham with the main band on the way to
the Cherokee country, and effected an exchange of letters.
Nine days the party traveled southwest from the Occaneechi village, crossing
nine eastward-flowing rivers and creeks, to Sitteree, the last village before
reaching the Cherokee country, and doubtless on the headwaters of the Yadkin.
There they left the trail and struck due west over the great North Carolina Blue
Ridge. Four days of hard going, when they had sometimes to lead their horses,
brought them to its narrow crest.
This Carolina Blue Ridge, which they traversed, differed only in its greater
magnitude and wildness from the Virginia portion. The gorges are here deeper,
and their wooded sides black rather than blue, when seen near at hand. The
rhododendrons grow more luxuriantly '.on the higher and colder summits, and
sooner begin to replace the laurel as one ascends; and at from four to five
thousand feet the oaks and chestnuts give way to stately conifers, the spruce,
the white pine, and the balsam, which two or three hundred miles farther north
are found only on the higher knobs and ridges or in the more inaccessible
notches. Here, too, rock faces and crags more often break through the
forest-clad slopes; and little waterfalls, frequent throughout the length of the
Blue Ridge, become more numerous as one goes southward.
The descent from the summit was found to be easier and within half a day
Needham and his party were crossing a level and well watered valley, bounded by
tier after tier of noble mountain ranges. Five shallow rivers were crossed, all
flowing northwest, and hence most probably the head streams of the New. By this
time all but one of the horses had died. They held on due west, crossing a
country abounding in game, observing the phenomenon which gives the Great Smoky
Mountains their name, and at the end of fifteen days from Sitteree were on the
banks of a westward-flowing river the home of their Cherokee friends.(101) The
Cherokee village stood on a high bluff and was strongly fortified with a twelve
foot palisade and parapet on the landward sides. By the waterside were kept a
hundred and fifty large war canoes, and in the magazines were large stores of
dried fish. White men and horses had apparently never before been seen in the
town, so they were the objects of respectful but intense curiosity. The one
surviving horse was tied to a stake in the center of the town; and abundant food
of whatever sort the Indians possessed, vegetable and animal, was offered it.
The two white men and their Appomattox Indian - the single one of the eight who
had been courageous enough to attempt the passage of the mountains -were placed
on an elevated platform, that the multitude might see but not press upon them.
Novel as were the English visitors, the Cherokee had long been acquainted
with the Spaniards of Florida. They possessed, indeed, some sixty Spanish
flintlock muskets, and other European implements, and must have traded with the
Spaniards directly or through intermediaries for many years. This intercourse
had recently ceased, because a party of Indians which had gone to Florida to
trade had been half murdered, half enslaved. After a period of captivity two had
succeeded in escaping, and brought word to the tribe of their barbarous
treatment. Since then, the Cherokee had nursed a deadly enmity for the
Spaniards, and on that account Needham had less difficulty in binding them in
friendship to the English. One of the two, who had been prisoners among the
Spaniards and had learned their language, twice visited Wood's plantation and
described the Spanish settlements to him in person.
After a short rest, Needham determined to return to Fort Henry, in company
with a dozen Cherokee, and to leave Arthur behind to learn the language. On the
tenth of September he reached home, made hurried preparations for another
journey, and within ten days had turned his face again toward the mountains. His
intention was to make only a short visit to the Cherokee and bring Arthur back
with him in the spring. Naturally Wood had been greatly elated at the success of
the expedition and had high hopes of the future. He eagerly followed Needham's
westward journey, as news of his progress was brought to him, and heard that his
agent had safely passed the Eno village and all seemed well. On the
twenty-seventh of January, 1674, however, a flying report reached him that his
men had been murdered by the Cherokee in their country. Then rumors of the
disaster followed each other faster and faster, but the facts were difficult to
learn, for the Indians were, as always, fearful of telling the exact truth. Wood
dispatched a runner to make inquiries; but before his return, one Henry Hatcher,
an independent trader, friendly to Wood and well acquainted with the Carolina
piedmont,"' arrived and notified Wood that Needham had certainly been
killed, and identified the murderer.
From eye-witnesses Wood later heard the story in all its details. With
Needham was an Occaneechi, Indian John or Hasecoll by name, a precious scoundrel
who had gone on the first expedition and been suitably rewarded, and retained by
Wood to go on the return trip and escort the party safely past his dangerous
friends. It was the trader Hatcher, however, who persuaded the Occaneechi to let
them pass, and even then several warriors accompanied the explorer, doubtless,
as Wood suggested, to see the murder. Near the mountains the treacherous
protector became threatening; but Needham maintained a fearless and defiant
attitude, his only hope of safety. That evening at their bivouac at the ford of
the Yadkin, the treacherous Hasecoll shot the Englishman through the head,
before he could draw sword or the Cherokee spring to his rescue. Ripping open
Needham's body, he tore out the heart and held it up in his hand, and with face
turned eastward bade defiance to the whole English nation. He then commanded the
frightened Cherokee to go home and kill Arthur, looted the pack-train to his
satisfaction, and made off with the booty loaded on Needham's horse.
Our knowledge of the life of this discoverer of Tennessee, James Needham, is
all too meager. What manner of man was this who rivaled the deeds of
contemporary Frenchmen whose names, unlike his, are so well known in history?
That will never be known. We are even ignorant of the full extent of his
discoveries, for the journal he kept, although known to several in the
eighteenth century, has been lost. All that can be done is to accept the
estimate of him and his work by one who knew him well. James Needham's epitaph
has been written by his friend and superior, Abraham Wood, in these words:
So died this heroic English man whose fame shall never die if my pen were
able to eternize it which had adventured where never any English man had dared
to attempt before and with him died one hundred forty-four pounds starling of my
adventure with him. I wish I could have saved his life with ten times the value.
Two hundred and thirty-eight years have elapsed since these words were
written, and it is to be hoped that at last the pen of Abraham Wood will
"eternize" the memory of one to whom history has been so long unjust.
The dazed Cherokee, after the murder of Needham, hurried home and reported
what had occurred. The chief of the village was away so that the party friendly
to the Occaneechi was, for a moment, in the ascendancy. They seized Gabriel
Arthur, bound him to a stake, and heaped dry reeds about him. In spite of the
protests of some of the Indians, it seemed that another life was to be
sacrificed on the altar of exploration. At the critical moment, the chief, ;gun
on shoulder, entered the village; and, hearing the commotion, ran to the rescue.
An adopted member of the tribe, angered at this interference, defiantly grasped
a torch and started to light the pyre; but the war chief shot him dead, cut
Arthur loose with his own hands, and led him to his lodge.
The chief promised Arthur to escort him home in the spring, but in the
meantime armed him in Indian fashion and sent him out with a war party,
doubtless with regard to his safety. The Cherokee, like their neighbors on all
sides, were continually at war and sent out bands of warriors often hundreds of
miles distant. On such expeditions Arthur was sent and experienced a remarkable
series of adventures. Unfortunately he was unable to write and hence kept no
journal; his memory of elapsed time and of directions cannot be regarded as
accurate, but the main outlines of his story appear trustworthy.
He was first taken on a foray against one of the small Spanish mission
settlements in the Apalache country in West Florida.(103) The band lurked for
some time in the vicinity of the post and of an outlying slave settlement, but
the strong brick walls defied attack; so after ambushing and killing a Spanish
gentleman and a Negro and robbing the bodies, they hurried homeward.
In a little while another raid was ordered, this time directed against an
Indian village in the immediate vicinity of Port Royal, South Carolina. After
being reassured that the Cherokee would do no harm to the English settlers,
Arthur went with the party as commanded. Six days brought them over the
mountains to the head of Port Royal River. There, they made bark canoes and
swiftly descended the stream to a point from which a day and night march to the
southeast brought them upon their quarry. Creeping near an English house on the
way, Arthur overheard an exclamation which told him that it was Christmas time.
At dawn the band surprised the doomed village, slaughtered the inhabitants, but
true to their word let a chance English trader go free, and in less than two
weeks of swift marching had red-crossed the mountains with their plunder.
The chief now took Arthur with him on a visit to his friends the Moneton,(104)
ten days' journey due northward, on the Great Kanawha about a day's march from
where it flows into the Ohio, and something like a hundred miles below the point
at which Batts and Fallam had turned back.
On the Ohio then dwelt a very numerous Indian people, probably the Shawnee,
enemies of the Cherokee.(105) Combining duty with pleasure, the visiting band
went three days out of their homeward way to "give a clap to some of that
great nation;" but this time they received as good as they gave. Arthur was
wounded by two arrows, one through the thigh, overtaken, and captured. His long
hair saved his life, for the Cherokee kept theirs cropped close to prevent an
enemy from laying hold of it. When his captors had scrubbed his skin with water
and ashes and found him white, they gave him back his weapons and made much of
him. The Shawnee were at this time entirely unacquainted with firearms, had no
iron weapons or utensils of any sort among them, and had not been even remotely
touched by the fur-trade. Arthur saw them singeing a beaver preparatory to
cooking it, and attempted in sign language to tell them of the possibility of
exchanging pelts in Virginia for knives like his, and promised to come again to
them with articles of trade, at which they were greatly pleased. They finally
gave him provisions and started him on his way to the Cherokee.
After his return, the Cherokee took him on one more expedition, a short
hunting trip down their river; and then, about the tenth of May, 1674, the chief
with eighteen of his people laden with furs, started to escort the young man to
Fort Henry. At the Saura village four Occaneechi were waiting to waylay Arthur.
Being so few, the Cherokee fled, all deserting their white companion except the
former captive among the Spaniards. The young man escaped his would-be slayers,
however, and after many adventures, traversing by night the Occaneechi territory
and their very island, and living on huckleberries, he came safely into Fort
Henry with his companion, on the eighteenth of June, 1674.
Meantime the Cherokee chief, with three of his men, came around by the
mountains through the Totero village to the upper course of the James, where
they made a bark canoe, descended the river to the Manakin town and thence came
across to Fort Henry, on the twentieth of July. Arthur and the "king"
were much rejoiced to see each other, and Wood entertained the chief for some
days in proper style, and rewarded him well for saving Arthur's life. The
Cherokee promised to return in the fall with a more courageous band; and his
host entertained no doubts that he would do so, if not intercepted by rival
In his letter to Richards, Wood wrote that his ventures received no
encouragement in Virginia, but rather the reverse; that after Needham's return
he had placed the situation before the Assembly, but did. not even receive a
reply; and that at all stages, his explorations were blocked or hampered in
every possible way by his enemies. He appealed to his correspondent, therefore,
to secure patronage for him in England.
At this point the known contemporary records of the efforts of Wood and the
other men of his time to explore the western country come to an end. The
particular impetus to such achievements lost itself in the forces that broke out
in Bacon's Rebellion, which involved Virginia in a turmoil lasting several
years. In England also the persons who had inspired the adventure found other
objects to occupy their attention. Thus Lord Shaftesbury, who seems to have been
the principal promoter, lost his influence at court and was forced into exile;
and the remembrance of his purposes passed away with his political death.
Any attempt to summarize the results and significance of this quarter century
of endeavor must be guarded and somewhat tentative, for a new phase of the
history of English advance is here treated and there is lacking the guidance of
long discussion and criticism by the historical fraternity.
In the first place, the collected records show that by 1674 a distinct class
of frontiersmen were already formed in Virginia. They were of English stock,
some of excellent antecedents, many former indentured servants. The leaders and
large traders, like Bland, Wood, Batts, Fallam, and Needham were well educated
and kept careful journals when exploring. Others were ignorant, even illiterate,
and thus the stories of many of the pathfinders of the Appalachian wilderness
are forever lost to us."(106)
Yet they were as a class intelligent, courageous, and surprisingly adaptable
and resourceful, even when illiterate. Three classes may be distinguished,
though individuals passed through all three: first, the great traders like Wood,
Cadwallader Jones, and the Byrds, dwelling in state better than any Canadian
seigneur in their plantation posts at the fall line; second, the substantial
free traders like Henry Hatcher;(107) third, the indentured servants and the
employees of the great traders, of whom several are mentioned in each of the
The Virginia frontiersmen are seen as familiar visitors in all the Indian
villages in the Virginia and Carolina piedmont. Before the end of the
seventeenth century, some of them had settled among the Indians, sometimes even
beyond the mountains, perhaps marrying Indian wives.(108) The trail through to
the New River was evidently used by the fur-traders, and they kept on to the
Ohio at an early date, for in 1700 the French commandant at Detroit stated that
for some years the English had been quietly coming to the Beautiful River (Ohio)
with their packs; and he instructed his Indians to proceed thither, cut them
off, and pillage their goods.(109) In the eighteenth century, when the settlers
poured into the New River Valley, there remained a remembrance of the
path-finder in that region, for the stream itself was known as Wood's
River,(110) a fact which proves a continuous intercourse between the region and
Virginia, for otherwise the name would soon have been forgotten.
The results of the southwestern explorations by Needham and Arthur were still
more important. It is true that the pathless route across the mountains which
they followed was probably not used by later travelers, who kept on around the
southern end of the Appalachians; but Needham opened the Cherokee trade to the
Virginians, and allied that great tribe to the English interest, a service of no
small value in the westward progress of the English-speaking people. The traders
from Virginia reaped the profits of the fur-trade in that locality for years,
before the Carolina colonists reached the mountains. When, a little before 1700,
the latter began to divide the trade, English influence expanded rapidly, and in
1700 the French found Carolina traders on the Mississippi."l The influence
of the English among the powerful tribes of the southwest during the first third
of the eighteenth century, and its effect on the attempts of the French to
colonize and control the lower Mississippi Valley are too well known to need
more than mention.
The movement which has been discussed, when viewed in the broadest way, is
simply a part of the westward thrust of the English population, proceeding from
the oldest and most populous of their colonies. Looking at it from the point of
view of the men of that time, the reason which produced this great movement, was
simply an effort to grasp one of the two principal business opportunities then
open to the Virginia colonists: one of these was tobacco growing; the other, the
exploitation of the hinterland.
Of the economic opportunities offered by the West the most important at this
early date was the Indian trade. An examination of the documents here collected
shows that without exception every exploring expedition or project concerning
which there exists any considerable information was in some degree inspired by
the wish to share in the profits of the lucrative fur-trade. The large financial
returns which it afforded, especially when carried on in virgin territory and
among tribes still naive in their valuations, need not be enlarged upon. These
early adventures secured for the Virginians the trade of the southern piedmont
and Appalachians, and a share of that of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys.
The search for mines was the economic motive next perhaps in importance.
Nothing of mineral value was found by them, but from the very earliest mention
of a desire to explore the mountains throughout the period under consideration,
the prospect of finding mineral wealth is brought forward and reiterated as a
leading reason for explorations. Visions of gold, silver, copper, and other
mineral riches lured the imaginations of the Virginians even after a century of
disappointment, and William Byrd, on his journey to "Eden," found
people on the Roanoke and Dan Rivers fairly crazy on the mine question - and
shared the dementia himself.(112)
A surer basis for gain in the development of the new regions lay in the soil
itself. Bland, Lederer, and Fallam noted the character of the soil and products
and indications as to climate in the country which they traversed. Other
explorers from whom there are less detailed accounts were doubtless equally
interested. The peculiar situation in Virginia lies in the fact that all the
leading fur-traders were planters as well, and naturally turned to the soil.
While the other planters were decrying the traders, the latter were themselves
considering the settlement of the new and pleasant lands with which their men
had familiarized them. The right to first choice of lands was one of the
benefits always conferred in the concessions by the Assembly to explorers. By
1674 the piedmont had become sufficiently known to be ready for the agricultural
settler. Plans for extensive colonization beyond the fall line began with Bland
and grew more and more numerous toward the end of the century. The process of
the engrossment of land in western Virginia was pushed so rapidly and
successfully, that the land speculators could seize the opportunity offered by
the crowds of Scotch-Irish and Germans landing in America in the eighteenth
century, to turn the stream of immigration towards the great valley. It was from
the successors of Bland, Byrd, and Wood that the new-comers bought their
In this analysis, the purpose which is most persistently put forward by the
explorers themselves should not be omitted, even though it was unattainable. In
French Canada and in the English colonies, the hope of discovering a water
communication across the continent persisted for generations, and explorers went
in every direction and underwent countless hardships and dangers in the pursuit
of this will-o-the-wisp. The motive cannot, therefore, be passed over in
silence, for, although there was no possibility of finding such a water course,
still the search for it was of untold value in increasing the knowledge of the
world. The grandeur of the enterprise has without doubt appealed to men and
governments which might not have been moved to action by the hope of the more
solid benefits of the fur-trade.
The motives behind these explorations were almost purely economic. Political
designs scarcely entered though they are occasionally mentioned - because the
rivalry with Spain had now practically ceased and that with France was just
beginning. Mere love of adventure doubtless helped in securing such men as
Needham for the field force, and it may be supposed, helped to tinge the
undertaking with pleasure for the rest, as it would for any group of men of
In their manifest attention to the overshadowing strength of the agricultural
settlements made by the English, political historians have somewhat overlooked
or done injustice to a movement, the fuller knowledge of which must revise our
statement of the bases of the French and English claims to the Mississippi and
Ohio Valleys. Economic historians of Virginia, intent upon the plantation system
and labor matters, tend also to neglect this important factor in the economic
development of the colony. The truth is that upon the agricultural base of the
English settlements was imposed an English counterpart of New France, with all
the throbbing and varied life of its rival.
Although historians have so completely ignored the achievements of these
Virginians that their names are almost unknown and the explorations of James
Needham are now for the first time given a place in history, yet the British
public of the eighteenth century still retained the remembrance of their deeds.
When the question of the right to the Ohio Valley came to an issue between
France and England, each country sought for proofs of her right by priority of
discovery. France could find nothing among the papers of her great explorer, La
Salle; but England possessed the proof of the exploration of Batts and Fallam,
and her people had long become familiar with the region through their numerous
successors. What Englishmen had so long possessed could not be lightly
The final decision concerning the dominion over the region was not reached by
the muster of legal proof; that was an issue to be decided by war alone; and
even today, the historian, considering the uncertainty and complexity of the
question of dominion based on priority of discovery, must hesitate to pronounce
judgment. The British title to the Ohio Valley seems as equitable as that of the
French to the Mississippi, for her hardy adventurers had equaled the deeds of
the French, if difficulty alone is considered, and had placed the insignia of
their king upon the banks of the New River. Almost contemporaneously both
nations staked their claim in the wilderness, the right to which was not to be
determined until after the lapse of nearly one hundred years; and France, in
disputing the justice of the English claim to the Ohio Valley, cast into the
scales of war all her possessions in America.
The names of Wood, Batts, Fallam, and Needham have not been honored by
history as have those of Joliet, Marquette, and La Salle; yet the waters they
discovered, although they re-echoed for a period with the gay songs of the
French voyagers, now flow past cities which hum with the business activities of
men of English speech. These Virginians "built better than they knew,"
and, in spite of the injustice of history, the Greater West is a monument to
1. Parkman, Francis. La Salle and the discovery o f the Great West, 51.
2. See pages 191-192.N
3. Parkman, Francis. La Salle, 5.
4. Winsor, Justin. Cartier to Frontenac, 183. See also his Mississippi Basin,
452, for a similar statement.
5. See pages 24-25 for the so-called La Salle discovery.
6. The Contest in -qmerica between Great Britain and France (London, 1757),
7. We shall not enter into the discussion of who first reached the branches
of the Mississippi. Historians seem inclined to deny that jean Nicollet visited
the Wisconsin in 1734. The question of the two French traders of 1754 and of the
wanderings of Grosseilliers and Radisson is very complex. There seems to be no
doubt about Father Allouez's visit to the Wisconsin River in 1670. If he was the
first white man to cross the divide, the French discovery preceded the English
by a little over a year. Shea, John G. Discovery and Exploration of the
Mississippi Valley, xx-xxv; for bibliography of discussion of jean Nicollet's
expedition, see Wisconsin Historical Collections, vol. xi, i, footnote i.
8. Although many have suspected the accounts of La Salle's discovery of the
Ohio, the majority of historians have accepted it upon very slender evidence.
Mr. Frank E. Melvin of the University of Illinois has finally proved, in our
opinion, by the use of new evidence, its falsity. His essay on this subject will
soon be published. The latest writer concerning this region, Mr. Hanna, in his
Wilderness Trail, vol. ii, 87 et seq. is also prepared to reject the tale as a
fabrication, and writes that it is "only a question of time when that
evidence will be declared to be wholly false."
9. See Turner's brilliant essay, "The Significance of the Frontier in
American History," in American Historical Association, Report, 1893, p.
10 "Mountaynes Apalatsi:" Capt. Newport's Discoveries, 1607 Public
Record Office, London; also American Antiquarian Society, Transactions, vol. iv,
40, 46-48 ; and Brawn, A. First Republic in America, 34.
11 American Antiquarian Society, Transactions, vol. iv, 40 et seg.; Smith,
John. Generall historie of Virginia, vol. i, 195-197
12 See pages 101-102; also footnote 114 for discussion of the date of the law
13. See page 102.
14. See pages 102, 104, 112; Hening, W. VV. Statutes at Large, vol. i, 380
381, vol. iii, ¢68; Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, America and West
Indies, 1699, no. 399
15. See pages 102, 104.
16. Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large, vol. i, 293-294.
17 Hening, w. W. Statutes at Large, vol. i, 315.
18 Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large, vol. i, 326.
19. Augustine Herman's Map of Virginia and Maryland (London, 1670), in
Virginia and Maryland Boundary Report (11873); A New Map of Firginia, Mary-land,
and the improved parts of Pennsylvania, and New Jarsey (1719).
20 Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large, vol. vi, 211.
21 Public Record Office, Colonial Papers, vol. xlviii, no. 22, Cadwallader
Jones to Lord Baltimore. February 6, 1681/2.
22 Byrd, William. Writings, 234-235.
23 Ibid., 184-185, 234-235 ; Lawson, John. History of Carolina,
"Preface," and 81-82, 95-96, and passim.
24 "List of the Living and Dead in Virginia," February 16, 1623, in
Colonial Records o f Virginia (Richmond, 1874), 46 ; "Muster of the
Inhabitants in Virginia," 1624/5 in Hotten, J. C. Emigrants, 233. The boy's
age is given here as ten, but it is not certain whether that is to be taken as
his age in 1625, when the muster was taken, or in 1620 when he was brought over.
25. Compare the case of Adam Thoroughgood.
26. Smith, John. History of Virginia, vol. i, 234, 237, vol. ii, 55, 137,
149, 261; indices of the Calendar o f State Papers, Colonial, for the period,
27 Bassett's account of the rise and decay of the Byrd family, in his
introduction to the Writings of Byrd, is much the best of these studies. The
close similarity of the career of Wood to that of his younger contemporary, the
first William Byrd, will be observed.
28 William and Mary Quarterly, vol. ix, 230.
29 Virginia County Records, vol. vi, 82.
30 See pages 30-31.
31 William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. x, 26, 246.
32 Virginia County Records, vol. vi, 82.
33 William and Mary Quarterly, vol. x, 27, 248.
34 Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large, vol. i, 293, 289, 299 322. 373 386, 422,
426, 427; Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. viii, 388, 389, being
excerpts from the Randolph Mss.
35 Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large, vol. i, 432.
36 Ibid., 505. To make the episode yet more confusing, the notes made by
Conway Robinson from the council records destroyed in the burning of the old
General Court-house an evacuation day, 1865, state that Wood was sworn
councillor, June 2, 1657; but this is probably an error. Virginia Magazine of
History and Biography, vol. viii, r6¢. See also Ibid., vol. ix, 308.
37 Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large, vol. i, 526. Virginia Magazine of History
and Biography, vol. xii, 205 (1660), vol. iv, 245 (1667.)
38 Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. ix, 188.
39 A list of signatures of the councillors on May 10, 1682, is extant, and
Wood's name is not among them; but only nine names appear. Virginia Magazine of
History and Biography, vol. xviii, 249.
40 Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large, vol. i, 426.
41 "Records of Charles City Co.," June 4, 1655, February 3, 1657,
in William and Mary Quarterly, vol. iv, 167-168.
42 Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, America and West Indies, 1695/6,
43 The best account of the structure and services of the Virginia military
establishment is in Bruce's Institutional History of Virginia, part iv,
especially chap. ii, on the character and function of the officers.
44. Hening, W. W. Statutes at Large, Vol. i, 299, 315, 322, 373 426; Virginia
Magazine of History and Biography, vol. viii, 389; William and Mary Quarterly,
vol. ix, 27, 248 ; post, page 184.
45 Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, America and West Indies, 1675-1676 no.
46 Bruce, Philip A. Institutional History of Virginia, vol. ii, 91 and
footnote, 91-92 (from Henrico Co. records).
47 It is barely possible that the Abraham Wood of this and the preceding
incident may have been a son of the subject of our sketch, as the title assigned
him in each instance would indicate; but both are probable mistakes. Calendar of
State Papers, Colonial America and West Indies, 1677-1680 no. 1326.
48 See pages 210-211, 216.
49 See page 225.
50. It is stated in the William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. xv, 234-235, that
Thomas Wood was a son of the general, but no ground for the assertion is given,
and none except inference can be found.
51 The first was John Bly, whose will was probated in London, May 16, 1664.
No children are mentioned. (Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol.
xiii, 57.) The second was Thomas Chamberlayne, who with his wife, Mary,
recorded, in 1686, a deed conveying to certain parties land devised to them by
Wood. (Ibid., vol. viii, 76.) The third was Peter Jones. He owned the estate at
his death and left eight children, by his wife Mary. Two of these were named
Abraham and Wood respectively. This Mary may have been a granddaughter of
Abraham Wood. (Will of Peter Jones, in Ibid., Vol. iv, 284-288. Genealogy,
William and Mary Quarterly, vol. xix, 287-292).
52 Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. iv, 465-466 ; William and
Mary Quarterly, vol. xv, 234-235. The origin of the name "Petersburg"
in compliment to any of the Peter Joneses seems indeed assumed rather than
53 Letter of W. G. Stanard, March 12, 1908.
54. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. ii, 53.
55. See page 28.
56. A perfect description of Virginia (London, 1649); also in Force, Peter,
Tracts (Washington, 1836), vol. ii, no. 8, 13-14.
57 Virginia richly and truly valued (London, 1650) ; in Force, Peter, Tracts,
vol. iii, no.11, 41-45
58. Farrer's Map of Virginia, 1651 in Fiske, Old Virginia and her neighbors,
vol. ii, 12.
59. See pages 109-130.
60 See pages 110-111.
61 See pages 112-113.
62 See page 112.
63 See page 117.
64. Calendar o f State Papers, Colonial, America and West Indies, 1574-1660.
65 See page 28.
66 See page 102.
67. See page 103.
68. See pages 229-232, footnote 184.
69. Calendar o f State Papers, Colonial, America and West Indies, 1699, no.
70 Coxe, Daniel. Carolana, 114, 120.
71 "Colonel Wood in Virginia inhabiting at the Falls of James
river." Coxe, Carolana, 120.
72 See pages 183-193.
73 See pages 210-226.
74 See page 210.
75 State of the British and French Colonies (London, 31755), reproduces Coxe
exactly. [John Mitchell, The Contest in .America (1757), speaks of "A large
branch of the Ohio, called Wood River, from Colonel Wood of Virginia, who
discovered it first in x654, and several times afterwards, of which an authentic
account is to be seen in the archives of the royal society, besides the accounts
we have of that discovery from our historians." The "authentic
account" referred to is that of the Batts-Fallam party of 1671, sent to the
Royal Society by Mr. Clayton, and printed hereinafter with an accompanying
commentary by Mitchell, who in the passage quoted means that it is a narrative,
not of the supposed journey of 1654, but of one of the "times
afterwards." Mitchell also repeats from Coxe the stories of the alleged
discovery of the Mississippi by parties from New England and New Jersey in 1672
and r678 [see pages 233, 243], and subsequent writers have sometimes apparently
confused these with the exploits attributed to Wood. Ramsey [Annals of
Tennessee, 37), and Martin [North-Carolina, vol. i, 115], say that Wood reached
the Ohio in 1654. Adair [American Indians (1775), 308] claims that Wood was the
first discoverer of the Mississippi, 1654-1664. Thomas Jefferys [History of the
French Dominions in America, 134], claims the first discovery of the Mississippi
for Wood, 1654-1664. On Jefferys's map [Winsor, Mississippi Basin, 421], it is
stated that Wood went beyond the Mississippi in the decade mentioned. Rafinesque
[Marshall, History of Kentucky, 37), says that Kentucky was first discovered by
Colonel Wood in 1654. Parkman [La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West, 5]
repeats the story that Colonel Wood reached a branch of the Mississippi in 1654,
to dismiss it as unfounded. Winsor [Cartier to Frontenac, 183] mentions Coxe's
version of the matter but does not credit it. In the Mississippi Basin on page
229, he states it as a fact that Colonel Abraham Wood led an expedition up the
Dan River and through the Blue Ridge to the New River, in 1744 [sic], while on
page 452 he refers to the unsupported narrative of adventures of Colonel Wood in
1654-1664 as a part of the English scheme to push their claims to the
Mississippi Basin about 1764. There is no evidence other than Coxe of a journey
by Wood in 1654. The fact that Batts and Fallam found marked trees on their
route on both slopes of the mountains in 1671 proves that other white men had
preceded them, but not that Wood was the man or the date 1654; on the contrary,
had the marks been left by Wood, his agents would mast likely have recognized
them as such.
76 See page 103
77 Andrews, Charles. Colonial self-government, 22 et seq.
78. Quoted in Willson, The Great Company, 1667-1871, vol. i, 61. For the
whole discussion of the Hudson's Bay Company and the rise of the fur trade,
consult the same.
79. See various pamphlets printed in Salley's Narratives of Early Carolina,
1650-1708, in Original Narratives of Early American History.
80 Of the eight original proprietors three were promoters of the Hudson's Bay
Company, namely Lords Albemarle, Craven, and Ashley, and two were relatives of
such promoters, Sir Peter Colleton and Sir Philip Carteret. The other three, the
Earl of Clarendon, Lord Berkeley, and Sir William Berkeley were close political
81. Chalmers, Political Annals of the United Colonies, partially reprinted in
Carroll's Collections of South Carolina, vol. ii, 283.
82. The letter printed post, pages 175-176, is dated May 27, 1669.
83. It is to be noticed that Berkeley thought at this time only of the
Spaniards and not of the French.
84 The records of Surry County for 1673 contain an item to the effect that
Pr. Lederer's estate was attached for debt [Clayton-Torrence, Wm. Bibliography
of Colonial Virginia, 8x]. This was two years after his flight to Maryland, and
is susceptible of several explanations, but in view of Lederer's doubtful
reputation for veracity it at least throws suspicion upon his account of the
reasons for his departure.
85 In the former class fall his famous yarn about seeing the Atlantic from
the summit of the Blue Ridge, his mention of the existence in the Virginia
underbrush of leopards and lions, but "neither so large nor so fierce as
those of Asia and Africa," his accounts of absolute monarchy among certain
Indians, and of the great stares of pearl found in their village [post, pages
141, 147-148, 1531. Many of these will be explained in the notes. Of the second
sort are his frequent remarks on the vast number of wild animals of various
sorts encountered, and on the magnitude and steepness of the mountains.
86. See pages 177-178.
87 See page 103.
88 Lederer says May 20, but Ludwell, writing three weeks after the return of
the main body, is more likely to be correct.
89. June 3, Lederer states.
90. According to Lederer this was on June 5. Ludwell says that the expedition
was twelve days advancing and six returning, which would make the date June 2.
He does not mention any division of the party.
91. The upper reaches of the Staunton -called Sapony by Fallam-bear the name
"Roanoke." 92. Beverley, Robert. History o f Virginia, 62-64.
93. Some authors who have certainly or apparently followed Beverley at first
or second hand are: Wynne, General History of the British Empire in America,
vol. ii, 221 ; Burk, History o f Virginia, 149; Howison, History of Virginia,
383 ; Cooke, Virginia, 2334. Batts becomes "Boas" in the Stale of the
British and Trench Colonies, 118; "Bolton" in Adair's American
Indians, 308, and in Parkman, La Salle and the Discovery o f the Great West, 5.
94. Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, America and West Indies, 1676, p.
95 See pages 192-193.
96 Clayton's letter, post, pages 194-195.
97 Beverley, Robert. History of Virginia, 63. Little or no credence is to be
placed in this account, particularly as the act mentioned can not be found.
98. See Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, ,America and West Indies, nos.
901, 1124, 1402, 1673.
99. James Needham came to South Carolina on September 22, 1670. He was
involved in a lawsuit in October, 1671. In August, x672, he was despatched by
the council in company with Henry Woodward, then the mainstay of the colony in
regard to exploration and Indian relations, to arrest a traitor who was
attempting to reach the Spaniards through the landward wilderness. Nothing
further is known of him, and the identification with Wood's agent is of course
not proved, but extremely probable. South Carolina Historical Collections, vol.
v, 271, 302, 345, 411
100. As stated above (,pages 67-68), Lederer's directions would place them on
the Dan, about Danville; but not too great credence should be given to him. They
were certainly in that location in 1650, however. Mooney places them at the
confluence of the Dan and the Staunton when Lederer visited them. Later they
certainly were there; but were found by Lawson in 1701 on the Eno. See Mooney,
"Siouan Tribes of the East" in Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin
22; and article "Occaneechi," Handbook of 4merican Indians, Bulletin
101. After a prolonged study of all the data in Wood's letter it is
impossible to fix with confidence the identity of this river. It may have been
the Tennessee or any one of its main branches; but all in all, the French Broad
or the Little Tennessee seem the likeliest conjecture.
102. Byrd, William. Writings, 309
103. The precise location cannot be determined. Small fort-towns such as
Arthur describes were common in the Apalache country. See McCrady, South
Carolina under the Proprietary Government, 392-333 Needham mistakenly located
the Spanish settlement an the lower course of the Cherokee's river. Arthur
stated that the war party traveled eight days west by south, as he guessed, and
this was probably not very far wrong.
104. The word, according to Mooney (letter of Jan. 7, 1909) is Siouan. The
identity of the tribe is doubtful. From location and similarity of name they may
perhaps be simply the Mohetan of Fallam's journal, and belong to the Cherokee.
The Mohetan told Batts and Fallam that their villages were about half-way
between Peters' Mountain and the Ohio.
105. The reports of this tribe given by the Mohetan to Batts and Fallam
correspond with those given to Arthur by the Moneton.
106. Compare Lawson, History o f Carolina, "Preface."
107. Byrd, William.Writings, 234-235.
108. For instance, Stewart, whom Lawson found long established in the upper
Yadkin Valley in 1700 [Lawson, History o f Carolina, 96], or Doherty, who
settled among the Cherokee in 16go. Logan, History of South Carolina, vol. i,
168 ; Ramsey, Annals of Tennessee, 63.
l09. New York Colonial Documents, vol. ix, 706.
110 Journal o f Dr. Thomas Walker, Filson Club Publications, vol. xiii, 36;
Christopher Gist's Journals, 65, 254 (last in journal of John Peter Salley,
1742) ; in early land grants, circa 1745, in West Virginia Historical Magazine,
Apr., 19ox, p. 6 ; in report of way viewers Patton and Buchanon, 1745, in Scott,
History of Orange County, Virginia, 31; Jefferson and Frye, Map of Virginia,
1751; Mitchell, Map of the British Colonies, 1755.
111. Jesuit Relations, vol. lxv, 115, 206; Charlevoix, P. F. X. de. History
of New France, vol. v, 124.
112. Byrd, William. Writings, 283, 284-285, 286, 288-289, 291, 304, 306, 307,
113. Turner, "The Old West," Wisconsin Historical Society
Proceedings, 1908, pp. 193-207, and citations therein given.
Encouragement from the Assembly Act of Assembly, March, 1642/3
Order of the Assembly, November, 1652
Order of the Assembly, July 1653
Order of the Assembly[1658?]M
Order of the Assembly, March 1659/60
Encouragement from the Assembly
Act of Assembly, March 1642/3 (114)
For as much as Walter Austin, Rice Hoe,(115) Joseph Johnson and Walter Chiles
for themselves and such others as they shall think fit to join with them, did
petition in the Assembly in June 1641 for leave and encouragement to undertake
the discovery of a new river or unknown land bearing west southerly from
Appomattake river, Be it enacted and confirmed, that they and every of them and
whom they admit shall enjoy and possess to them their heirs, executors or
administrators or assigns all profit whatsoever they in their particular
adventure can make unto themselves by such discovery aforesaid, for fourteen
years after the date of the said month January 1641, Provided there be reserved
and paid unto his majesty's use by them that shall be appointed to receive the
same, the fifth part Royal Mines whatsoever, Provided also, that if they shall
think fit to employ more than two or three men in the said discovery that they
shall then do it by commission from the Governor and Counsel.
Order of Assembly, November, 1652 (116)
Whereas an act was made in the Assembly, 1642, For Encouragement of
discoveries to the westward and southward of this country, granting them all
profits arising thereby for fourteen years, which act is since discontinued and
made void; It is by this Assembly ordered, That Coll. Wm. Clayborne, Esq.(117)
and Capt. Henry Fleet, they and their associates with them either jointly or
severally, May discover and shall enjoy such benefits, profits, and trades, for
fourteen years as they shall find out in places where no English ever have bin
and discovered, nor have had particular trade, and to take up such lands by
patents proving their rights as they shall think good: Nevertheless not
excluding others after their choice from taking up lands, and planting in these
new discovered places, as in Virginia is now used.
The like order is granted to Major Abra. Wood and his associates.
Order of Assembly, July, 1653 (118)
Whereas diverse gentlemen have a voluntary desire to discover the Mountains
and supplicated for license to this Assembly, It is ordered by this Assembly,
That order be granted unto any for so doing, Provided they go with a
considerable party and strength both of men and ammunition.
Order of Assembly 1658? (119)
Whereas Major William Lewis preferred a petition to the house therein
requesting that a Commission might be granted unto them, Mr. Anthony Langston
and Major William Harris,(120) to discover the Mountains and Westward parts of
the Country and to endeavor the finding out of any Commodities that might
probably tend to the benefit of this Country.
"It is ordered for encouragement to them and others that shall be of the
like public and Generous Spirits that a Commission shall be granted them to
authorize their Undertakings and all such Gentlemen as shall voluntarily
accompany them in the said discovery."
Order of Assembly, March, 1659/60 (121)
Whereas it hath been formerly granted by act of Assembly in one thousand, six
hundred and forty and one, And by order of Assembly in one thousand, six
hundred, fifty and two, for encouragement of discoverers to the westward and
southward of this country, granting all profits arising thereby for fourteen
years, It is by this Assembly ordered, That Mr. Francis Hamond and his
associates either jointly or severally may discover, And shall enjoy such
benefits, profits and trades for fourteen years as he or they have found or
shall find out in places where no English ever have been or discovered or have
had particular trade, And to take up such lands by patents (proving their
rights) as they shall think good, not excluding others after their choice (from
taking up lands and planting in those now new discovered places as in Virginia
now is used) But wholly from the trade during the said fourteen years, that
being wholly appropriated to the said Francis Hamond and his associates.
114 Printed from Hening, Statutes at Large, vol. i, 262. An act practically
identical with this is printed in the Virginia Magazine o f History and
Biography, vol. ix, 55. It is drawn from a contemporary manuscript in the
possession of the Virginia Historical Society, and probably came originally from
an order book of Charles City County. The confusion of dates is probably due to
two mistakes: the misreading of "Jan." as "June" where it
first occurs, and the assignment by the other transcriber of the date of the
petition to the act.
All the petitioners save Rice Hooe were burgesses for Charles City County in
1641. Virginia Magazine, vol. ix, 51.
115. Hooe was born about 1599, and came to Virginia in 1635; was burgess for
Shirley Hundred Island in 1642, and for Charles City County in 1644, 1645, and
1646. Beginning in 1637, several large land patents in his favor are preserved.
For full sketch of his life, see Virginia Magazine of History and Biography,
vol. iv, 427. For the family pedigree see Hayden, Virginia Genealogies.
116 Printed from Hening, Statutes at Large, vol. i, 376. Original source the
Randolph Mss.117 William Clayborne is the well-known parliamentary commissioner
and disturber of the province of Maryland. Consult index of any extended work on
118. Printed from Hening, Statutes at Large, vol. i, 381. Randolph Mss.
119. Printed from the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. viii,
391. Contained in the Randolph Mss. but not printed by Hening. The date is not
stated, but from the location in the volume appears to be 1658.
120. Major William Harris is the same who accompanied Lederer on his second
expedition. He received his rank in December, 1656, was Abraham Wood's
subordinate in the Charles City County regiment, and is again mentioned in the
militia records of that county, July 2, 1661. Hening, Statutes at Large, vol. i,
426; William and Mary Quarterly, vol. iv, 167-168.
121. Printed from Hening, Statutes at Large, vol. i, 548.
The Discovery of New Brittaine
Edward Bland's The Discovery of New Brittaine (122)
KNIGHT Great Favourer of the Westerne Plantations, and a
Member of the Parliament of England.
NOBLE SIR: The great Encouragement that I have
found from your Worthy self to propagate the Public Affaires, as well Foreign as
Domestique, hath embolden me to presume humbly to present this small Piece of
the Discovery of the Westerner Part of Virginia, wherein you shall find by the
Industry of the Surveyors of that Part, the great Benefit that may accrue to the
English Plantation; in regard of the many and several Commodities that may
thence arise, by reason of the fertility of the Soil, Nature having provided so
plentifully for all things, that with no extraordinary great Charge it may be
affected, to the great Profit, and more Glory of this English Nation: And
whereas your self hath been, and still are a Chief e Agent in that, and other
Plantations, so (under God) you may be a means for converting divers of those
poor Indians to the Christian Faith. For the World Both take notice you observe
the Orators saying; That you were not borne for your self, but for your Country:
Which that you may ever doe, shall be the Prayer, Sir, Of your most humble
servant, J. S.
TO THE READER: Who ever thou art that desires the Advancement of God's
glory by conversion of the Indians, the Augmentation of the English
Commonwealth, in extending its liberties; I would advise thee to consider the
present benefit and future profits that will arise in the wet setting Virginia's
Confines, especially that happy Country of New Brittaine, in the Latitude of
thirty-five and thirty-seven degrees, of more temperate Climate than that the
English now inhabit, abounding with great Rivers of long extent, and
encompassing a great part, or most of Virginia's Continent; a place so easy to
be settled in, in regard that Horse and Cattle in four or five days may be
conveyed for the Benefit of Undertakers, and all inconvenience avoided which
commonly attend New Plantations, being supplied with necessaries from the
Neighborhood of Virginia.
That the Assembly of Virginia (as may be seen by their Order since my return
hereto procured) have conceived a hundred to be a sufficient force and
competence for the establishment of that Country in which Tobacco will grow
larger and more in quantity. Sugar Canes are supposed naturally to be there, or
at least if implanted will undoubtedly flourish For we brought with us thence
extraordinary Canes of twenty-five foot long and six inches round; there is also
great store of fish, and the Inhabitants relate that there is plenty of Salt
made to the sunne without art; Tobacco Pipes have been seine among these Indians
tipped with Silver, and they wear Copper Plates about their necks: They have two
Crops of Indian Come yearly, whereas Virginia hath but one. What I write, is
what I have proved; I cordially wish some more then private Spirits would take
it into their consideration, so may it prove most advantageous to particular and
public ends; for which so prayed,
Your faithful servant,
October 20, 1650. By the Assembly
It is Ordered by the Grand Assembly, that according to the Petition of Mr.
Edward Bland, Merchant, that he the said Bland, or any other be permitted to
discover and seate to the Southward in any convenient place where they discover;
and that according to his Petition for furthering his Designs bee permitted to
have correspondence with the Indians, and also receive the benevolence of the
well-affected, and use all lawful means for effecting thereof, provided that
they secure themselves in effecting the said Design with a hundred able men
sufficiently furnished with Arms and Munitions.
JOHN CORKES, Cler. Dom. Com.
The Discovery of New Britaine
August 27, I650. The Right Honorable Sir W. Berkly, Kt. being
Governour and Captaine Generall of Virginia, Edw. Bland Merch. Abraham Wood,
Capt. Elias Ponnant and Sackford Brewster, Gent.,124 foure Men, and one Indian
named Pyancha, an Apparnattuck 125 for our Guide, with two servants, foure
Horses and Provision, advanced from Fort Henry, lying on Appamattuck River at
the fals, being a branch of James River, intending a South western Discovery.
This day wee passed over a branch belonging to Blackwater lake, running South
east into Chawan River; at that place wee were forced to unlade our Carriages by
reason of the great rains lately fallen, which otherwise is very passable for
foot, being firm gravelly ground in the bottom, and left from Fort Henry twenty
miles, and some twelve miles from this place we traveled unto a deep River
called the Nottaway Creek some one hundred paces over sandy bottoms (and with a
little labor may be made passable) unto a Nottaway Town lying some two miles
from the River. Hither we came within night, and by reason of our sudden
approach and hallowing of Robert Farmer, servant to Mr. Bland, the Inhabitants
ran all away into the Woods, with their Women and Children; therefore by us it
was named Farmers Chase. After our arrival there within a small space of time
one Indian man appeared, and finding of us peaceable, and the white flag bore
before us by our Guide whom they knew, he made a hallow and the rest came in
from their skulking holes like so many timorous Hares, and showed us what
courtesies they could. About two hours after came to us Oyeocker elder brother
to Chounterounte one of the Nottoway Kings, who told us that his brother
Chounterounte, and other of the Nottaway Kings would come to us next day by
Noone, and that the day before Chounterounte and all his men had been a hunting,
and it happened that Chounterounte had shot one of his brothers in the leg, and
that thereupon he was gone down wards. We stayed until next day at Noon but he
came not, and then we journeyed unto the Town be longing unto Oyeocker, who
kindly invited us thither, and told us he thought that Chounterounte would meet
us there, and also of his own accord proffered us to be our guide whithersoever
we went. The Land generally to this Town is Champion, very rich, and the Town
situated in a rich level, well timbered, watered, and very convenient for Hogs
August 28. We journeyed with our new entertained Guide Oyeocker, lying
between South, and South and by West, from the first Town upon a very rich level
of Land: sixteen miles from this place we came unto the River Penna Mount, being
another branch of Chawan River, eight miles on the South side it hath very rich
Land and Corn-fields on both sides the River, and is about some two hundred
paces wide, and runs out with elbows : at the place of our passage over this
River to this second Town is shallow upon a Sandy Point, and with a very little
labor may be made passable both for foot and horse, or any Carriage by Land, or
pentater with small Boats, and some two miles higher there is a sound passage no
deeper then a mans ankle. Within night came Chounterounte unto our Quarters
frowning, and with a countenance noting much discontent, down he sets, and looks
about him, salutes the English with a scorn full posture, and then our
Appamattack Guide, and tells him, I am sorry for thee friend, thou wilt be
knocked on the head; after this some pause was made before any discourse,
expecting the English would begin, but finding us slow, he thus spoke: There was
a Wainoake Indian told him that there was an Englishman, a Cockarous126 hard by
Captaine Floods, gave this Indian Bells, and other petty truck to lay down to
the Tuskarood127 King, and would have hired him to have gone with him, but the
Wainoakes being doubtful what to doe, went to Captaine Flood for advice, who
advised them not to go, for that the Governor would give no license to go
thither; here upon Chounterounte was by us questioned, when and who it was that
had told him so, and if he did know that Wainoake Indian, to which he answered
doubtfully, and demanded of us whither we did intend to go; we told him the
Tuskarood King had invited us to trade, and our Governor had ordered us to go,
and speak with an Englishman amongst them, and to enquire for an English woman
cast away long since, and was amongst those Nations. Chounterounte persuaded us
to go no further, alluding there was no English there, that the way was long,
for passage very bad by reason of much rain that had lately fallen, and many
rotten Marrishes and Swamps there was to passe over, in fine we found him, and
all his men very unwilling we should go any further; but we told them, that let
the wales and passages be never so bad, we were resolved to go through, and that
we were not afraid of him nor his Nation, nor any other, for we intended no
injury, and that we must go, for we were commanded by our King; these words
caused Chounterounte to assimilate a fear in his countenance, and after delivery
of himself, at our going away next day, when we had mounted our Horses,
Chounterounte came privately unto us, and in a most serious manner intimating
unto us, that he loved us, and our Nation, and that he lively apprehended our
danger, and that our safety concerned him, for if any accident happened
otherwise then good to us, he should be suspected to have a hand in it, and
withal wished us to go no further, for that he certainly knew that the Nations
we were to go through would make us away by treachery; we answered him, that we
were not afraid to be killed, for that any one of us were able to deal with
forty through the protection of our great God, for we were commanded by our
August 29. We traveled from this second Town to Maharineck,128 eight
miles upon barren Champion Lands, and six miles further is a branch that runs
South west, with rich Lands upon it; and from thence some six miles further, is
a Brooke some hundred paces over, and runs South and a little to the West, on
both sides of the Creek: for Four miles or thereabouts is very rich Lands, well
Timbered and Watered, and large dry Meadows, South and by West: From this Creek
is another, some eight miles off, that opens it self into divers small Guts,
made by the inundation of Freshest of Waters; and the passage lies some two
hundred paces from the Path, and this Creek is some ten miles from Maharinecke
Town, and was by us named Newcombs Forrest. It was night when we entered into
Maharineck, where we found a House ready made for us of Matts; and Corn stalks
laid in several places for our Horses, the Inhabitants standing, according to
their custom, to greet us: and after some discourse with their Werrowance, a
Youth, to whom wee presented several gifts, we certified them the cause of our
coming was to Trade in way of friendship, and desired the great men that what
Wares or Skins the Town did afford, might be brought to our Quarters next
morning; and also a measure for Roanoak, which they promised should be done, and
so left us to our selves a while, until wee had refreshed our selves with such
provisions as they had set before us, in most plentiful manner; and afterwards
the great men and Inhabitants came, and performed divers Ceremonies, and
Dancing's before us, as they use to doe to their great Emperor Apachancano, when
they entertain him in most solemn manner and friendship.
August 30. Being wearied with our last days travel, we continued at
Maharineck, and this day spoke with a Tuskarood Indian, who told us that the
Englishman was a great way off at the further Tuskarood Town, and wee hired this
Turkarood Indian to run before, and tell his Werrowance wee intended to lay him
down a present at Hocomowananck, and desired to have him meet us there, and also
wrote to that effect to the Englishman in English, Latine, Spanish, French and
Dutch, the Tuskarood promised in three days to meet us at Hocomawananck. In the
afternoon came two Indians to our Quarters, one of whom the Maharinecks told us
was the Werrowance of Hocomawananck River, seemed very joyful that wee could go
thither, and told us the Tuskarood would have come to us to trade, but that the
Wainoakes had spoken much to dishearten them from having any trade with the
English, and that they intended divers times to have come in, but were afraid,
for the Wainoakes had told them that the English would kill them, or detain
them, and would not let them *go without a great heap of Roanoake middle high,
to which we answered that the Wainoakes did not affirm any such thing to our
faces, and that they had likewise spoken much against the Tuskarood to the
English, it being a common thing amongst them to vilify one another, and tell
nothing but lies to the English.
This day in the morning the Maharineck great men spoke to hear some of our
guns go off. Whereupon we shot two guns at a small mark, both hitting it, and at
so great a distance of a hundred paces, or more, that the Indians admired at it.
And a little before night the old King Maharineck came to us, and told us, that
the people in the Town were afraid when the guns went off, and ran all away into
the Woods. This night also we had much Dancing.
August 31. Wee went away from Maharineck South East two miles to go over
Maharineck River, which hath a bottom between two high land sides through which
you must pass to get over, which River is about two hundred paces broad, and
hath a high water mark after a fresh of at least twenty foot perpendicular by
the trees in the breaches between the River, and the high land of the old
fields. This River is the southerly last and main branch of Chawan River, and
was by us named Woodford River, and runs to the Eastward of the South. On both
sides of Woodford River is very much exceeding rich Land, but especially on the
further side towards Hocomawananck. Immediately after the passage over this
River, are old Indian fields of exceeding rich Land, that bears two Crops of
Indian Corn a year and hath timber trees above five foot over, whose trunks are
a hundred foot in clear timber, which will make twenty Cuts of Board timber a
piece, and of these there is abundance.
As also exceeding rich Land, full of great Reeds thrice as big as the largest
Arrow Reeds we have about our Plantations; this good Land continues for some six
miles together unto a great Swamp, and then begins a pyny barren Champion Land
with divers Branches and Pecosans, yet very passable, running South and by West,
unto a deep River some a hundred paces over, running South, and a little to the
East, which River encloses a small Island which wee named Brewsters Island, some
eighteen miles from Woodford River due South, and by West, with very exceeding
rich Land on both sides of it for some six miles together, and this River we
also named Brewsters River, it being the first branch of Hocomawananck River and
a little lower down as the River runs, is such another River as Chickahamine
River (which is a mile broad.)
After we had passed over this River we traveled some twenty miles further
upon a pyny barren Champion Land to Hocomawananck River, South, and by West:
some twelve miles from Brewsters River we came unto a path running crosses some
twenty yards on each side unto two remarkable Trees; at this path our
Appamattuck Guide made a stop, and cleared the Westerly end of the path with his
foot, being demanded the meaning of it, he showed an unwillingness to relate it,
sighing very much: Whereupon we made a stop until Oyeocker our other Guide came
up, and then our Appamattuck Guide journeyed on; but Oyeocker at his coming up
cleared the other end of the path, and prepared himself in a most serious manner
to require our attentions, and told us that many years since their late great
Emperor Appachancano came thither to make a War upon the Tuskarood, in revenge
of three of his men killed, and one wounded, who escaped, and brought him word
of the other three murdered by the Hocomawananck Indians for lucre of the
Roanoake they brought with them to trade for Otterskins. There accompanied
Appachancano several petty Kings that were under him, amongst which there was
one King of a Town called Pawhatan, which had long time harbored a grudge
against the King of Chawan, about a young woman that the King of Chawan had
detained of the King of Pawhatan : Now it happened that the King of Chawan was
invited by the King of Pawhatan to this place under pretense to present him with
a guilt of some great value, and there they met accordingly, and the King of
Pawhatan went to salute and embrace the King of Chawan, and stroking of him
after their usual manner, he whipped a bow string about the King of Chawans
neck, and strangled him; and how that in memorial of this, the path is continued
unto this day, and the friends of the Pawhatans when they pass that way, cleanse
the Westerly end of the path, and the friends of the Chawans the other. And some
two miles from this path we came unto an Indian Grave upon the East side of the
path: Upon which Grave there lay a great heap of sticks covered with green
boughs, we demanded the reason of it, Oyeocker told us, that there lay a great
man of the Chawans that dyed in the same quarrel, and in honor of his memory
they continue green boughs over his Grave to this day, and ever when they go
forth to Warre they relate his, and others valorous, loyal Acts, to their young
men, to animate them to doe the like when occasion requires. Some four miles
from Hocomawananck is very rich Champian Land: It was night when we came to
Hocomawananck River, and the Indian that came with us from Woodford River, and
belonged to Hocomawananck, would have had us quartered upon the side of a great
Swamp that had the advantage of several bottoms of the Swamp on both sides of
us, but we removed to take our advantage for safety, and retreat, in case any
accident should happen, which at that time promised nothing but danger, for our
Guides began to be doubtful, and told us, that the Hocomawananck Indians were
very treacherous, and that they did not like their countenances, and shape well;
this place we named Pyanchas Park: about three hours after we had taken up our
Quarters, some of the Inhabitants came, and brought us roasting ears, and
Sturgeon, and the Hocomawananck Indian that came with us from Woodford River,
came not unto us until next day, but his Warrowance told us before wee came from
Woodford, hee could not come until that day at night. The next day morning after
our coming to Hocomawananck the Inhabitants seemed to prepare us a house. But we
about eight of the clock set forward to go view the place where they killed
Sturgeon, which was some six miles from the place where we quartered by Pyanchas
Park, where there is a River Running very deep South, exceeding deep, and foure
hundred paces broad: The high water marks of this River between both sides of
the River perpendicular, from the top of the Bank to the River, is forty five
foot upon a fresh; this River was by us named Blandina River: from Pyanchas Park
to the place where they kill Sturgeon is six miles up the River running
Northerly, and all exceeding rich land Both upwards and downwards upon the
River, at this place where they kill Sturgeon also are the Falls, and at the
foot of these Falls also lies two Islands 129 in a great Bay, the uppermost
whereof Mr. Blande named Charles Island, and the lowermost Captaine Wood named
Berkeley Island: on the further side of these Islands the Bay runs navigable by
the two Islands sides: Charles Island is three miles broad, and -foure miles
long, and Berkeley Island almost as big, both in a manner impregnable, by nature
being fortified with high Clefts of Rocky Stone, and hardly passable, without a
way cut through them, and consists all of exceeding rich Land, and clear fields,
wherein grows Canes of a foot about, and of one years growth Canes that a
reasonable hand can hardly span; and the Indians told us they were very sweet,
and that at some time of the year they did suck them, and eat them, and of those
we brought some away with us. The Land over against Charles Island we named
Blands Discovery, and the Land over against Berkeley Island we named Woods
journey, and at the lower end of Charles Island lies a Bay due South from the
said Island, so spacious that we could not see the other side of it: this bay we
named Pennants Bay, and in the River between Charles Island, and the main Land
lies a Rocky Point in the River, which Point comes out of Charles Island, and
runs into the middle of the River: this Point we named Brewsters Point, and at
this Point only, and no other is there any place passable into Charles Island,
and this Brewsters Point runs not quite from Charles Island to the main Land,
but when you come off the main Land to the Rivers side, you must wade about
fifty paces to come upon the Point, and if you miss `the Point on either side,
up or down the River, you must swim, and the River runs very swift. Some three
miles from the River side over against Charles Island is a place of several
great heaps of bones, and here the Indian belonging to Blandina River that went
along with us to the Fals, sat down, and seemed to be much discontented, in so
much that he shed tears; we demanded why those bones were piled up so curiously?
Oyeocker told us, that at this place Appachancano one morning with four hundred
men treacherously slew two hundred forty of the Blandina River Indians in
revenge of three great men slain by them, and the place we named Golgotha; as we
were going to Blandiva River we spake to Oyeocker our Guide to lead us the way,
and he would not; but asked our Appamattuck Guide why we did not get us gone,
for the Inhabitants were jealous of us, and angry with us, and that the Runner
we sent to the Tuskarood would not come at the day appointed, nor his King, but
ran another way, and told the Indians that we came to cut them off; whereupon
our Appamattuck Guide stepped forth, and frowning said, come along, we will go
see the Falls and so led the way, and also told us that the Woodford Indians
lied, and that Indian that came to us, which the Woodford Indian said was the
King of Blandina River, was not the Werrowance of Blandina River; whereupon we
resolved to return (having named the whole Continent New Brittaine) another way
into our old path that led to Brewsters River, and shot off no guns because of
making a commotion, and adding to the Natives fears. At Blandina River we had
some discourse with our Appamattuck Guide concerning that River, who told us
that that Branch of Blandina River ran a great way up into the Country; and that
about three days journey further to the South West, there was a far greater
Branch so broad that a man could hardly see over it, and bended it self to the
Northward above the head of James River, unto the foot of the great Mountains,
on which River there lived many people upwards, being the Occonacheans and the
Nessoneicks, and that where some of the Occanacheans lived, there is an Island
within the River three days journey about130 which is of a very rich and fertile
soil, and that the upper end of the Island is fordable, not above knee deep, of
a stony bottom, running very swift, and the other side very deep and navigable:
Also we found many of the people of Blandina River to have beards, and both
there, and at Woodford River we saw many very old men, and that the Climate
according to our opinions was far more temperate then ours of Virginia, and the
inhabitants full of Children; they also told us that at the bottom of the River
was great heaps of Salt; and we saw among them Copper, and were informed that
they tip their pipes with silver, of which some have been brought into this
Country, and 'its very probable that there may be Gold and other Metals amongst
September 1. About noon from Woods journey wee traveled some six miles
North East, unto the old Path that leads to Brewsters River: within night we
quartered on the other side of it, and kept good watch this Path runs from Woods
Journey North and by East, and due North.
September 2. In the morning about eight of the clock, as every one was
mounted, came to our quarters Occonosquay, son to the Tuskarood King, and
another Indian whom he told was a Werrowance, and his Kinseman, with the Runner
which wee had sent to the Tuskarood King, who was to meet us at Blandina River
that night; the Kings son told us that the Englishman would be at his house that
night, a great way off; and would have had us gone back with him, but we would
not, and appointed him to meet us at Woodford River where hee came not, wee
having some suspicion that hee came from Woodford River that night, and that our
Runner had not been where we had sent him, through some information of our
Nottaway guide, which afterwards proved true, by the Relation of the Werrowance
of Blandina River, whom about Four Hours after wee had parted with the Kings
son, wee met on the way coming from Woodford River with a company of men,
thinking he should 'have found us at Blandina River that night, according to his
order and promise; with whom falling into discourse, he told us that the King of
the Tuskaroods son, and our Runner were the night before at Woodford River; but
the Kings son told us he came from Blandina River, and beyond, and hearing we
were gone before he came, he had traveled all night from Blandina River to
overtake us. This day about Noon we came to Woodford River Town, and tarried
there that night, we found the old Werrowance, and all his great men gone, yet
had courteous quarter; but not without great grounds of suspicion, and signs
that they were angry at us: at our coming back to Woodford River we had
information that some Spies of Wainoake had been there a little before we came,
and that the King of Wainoake and Chounterounte had sent Runners to all the
Nations thereabouts, informing them that the English were come to cut them off,
which we supposed to be some greater Polititians then Indian Consultations, who
had some private ends to themselves, and minded nothing Jesse then a public
good; for we found that the Runner whom we employed to carry our message to the
Tuskarood King, ran to the Waynoakes, and he whom the Woodford Indians told us
was the Werrowance of Blandina River, was a Woodford Indian, and no Werrowance,
but done of purpose to get something out of us, and we had information that at
that time there were other English amongst the Indians.
September 3. By break of day we journeyed from Woodford River to a path
some eight miles above Pennants Mount running North, and by East and North,
North, East, which was done by the advice of our Appamattuck Guide, who told us
that he was informed that some plots might be acted against us, if we returned
the way that we came, for we told Chounterounte we would return the same way
again: And this information our Guide told us he had from a woman that was his
Sweet-heart belonging to Woodford River. This day we passed over very much rich,
red, fat, marle Lande, between Woodford River Town, and the head of Pennants
Mount, with divers Indian fields; the head of which River abounds much with
great Rocks of Stone, and is two hundred paces over, and hath a small Island in
it named Sackfords Island. Between Pennants Mount River head, and the head of
Farmers Chase River is very much exceeding rich, red, fat, marle Land, and
Nottaway and Schockoores old fields, for a matter of six miles together all the
trees are blown up or dead: Here it began to rain, and some six miles further we
took up our quarters, and it proved a very wet night. At the first other
Nottaway old fields, we found the Inhabitants much perplexed about a gun that
went off to the Westward of them, the night before wee came thither, which our
Appamattuck Guide conceived were the Wainoake Spies, set out there to prevent
our journeying, and we found several Agers about the place where the Indians
told us the gun went off.
September 4. About eight of the Clock we traveled North, North-East some
six miles, unto the head of Farmers Chase River, where we were forced to swim
our horses over, by reason of the great rain that fell that night, which
otherwise with a little labor may be made very passable. At this place is very
great Rocky stones, fit to make Mill-stones with very rich tracks of Land, and
in some places between the head of Farmers Chase River and Black water Lake, is
ground that gives very probable proof of an Iron, or some other rich Mine. Some
sixteen miles from Farmers Chase, North, and by East, and North, North-East,
lies Black water Lake, which hath very much rich land about it, and with little
labor will be made very passable. From Black water Lake we did travel to the old
fields of Manks Nessoneicks, and from thence some twelve miles North, North East
we came unto Fort Henry about the close of the Evening, all well and in good
health, notwithstanding from the time we had spoken with Chounterounte at
Pennants Mount, we every night kept a strict watch, having our Swords girt, and
our Guns and Pistols by us, for the Indians every night where we lay, kept a
strict guard upon us.
THE DISCOVERERS, viz. Mr. Edward Blande, Merchant; Abraham Wood, Captaine;
Mr. Elias Pennant; Mr. Sackford Brewster; Robert Farmer, Servant to Mr. Blande;
Henry Newcombe, Servant to Captaine Wood; Guides Oyeocker, a Nottaway Werrowance;
Pyancha, an Appamattuck War Captaine.
122. Printed from a transcript made in Washington of a "first
edition" in the Congressional Library. It has been reprinted by Sabin,
N.Y., 1873. The reprint omits the dedication to Sir John Danvers. It has been
recently reprinted in Salley, Narratives of Early Carolina, 5 et seq.
123 Edward Bland was an English merchant who had been engaged in the Spanish
trade. He came to Virginia in 1643, and resided at Kimages, his estate of eight
thousand acres, in Charles City County. There he died and was buried in 1653.
Bland Papers, vol. i, 147; genealogy, ibid., vol. i, 145-149. Harleian Society
Publications, vol. xxxviii; Familiae Minorum Gentium, vol. ii, 421, et seq.,
gives in full the genealogy of the English and Virginia Blands. Ibid.. 421.
notice of Edward Bland.
124. The Brewsters were a Suffolk family, gentry of consideration for a long
period. See Augustine Page, History of Suffolk, 283. Sackford Brewster of
Sackford Hall, Suffolk, lived in Surry County, Virginia, and married there.
William and Mary Quarterly, vol. iv, passim; consult index.
125 For all the Indian tribes mentioned in this volume, consult the Handbook of
American Indians, Bulletin 30, Bureau of American Ethnology. Where no article is
found entered under the name given in the present volume, turn to the synonymy
at the end of Part a of the Handbook. A very few names, occurring in rare or
hitherto unpublished narratives, will not be found.
126 A brave fellow. Beverley, History of Virginia, 131.
129. These two islands are just below the falls of the Roanoke River, where it
is formed by the confluence of the Dan and Staunton, at Clarksville, Virginia.
They are now called Occoneechee and Totero, respectively, from the Indian tribes
which afterward occupied them. From 1673 and perhaps earlier (see Introduction)
the Occoneechee fortified themselves in the one which Bland calls Berkeley
Island, and by reason of their strategic and secure location were able to offer
great annoyance to the fur trade which passed along the great Trading Path into
the Carolina piedmont, crossing their island, and to the advance of agricultural
settlement in the region. As a result, Bacon visited them there in 1676 and
inflicted a terrible defeat upon them [William and Mary Quarterly, vol. xi,
121]. Later they were joined by the Toteros, who took the other island as their
residence. Both tribes suffered here as in their previous heme from the attacks
of the Iroquois. William Byrd in his Journey to the Land of Eden, describes the
region and particularly the two islands with some detail, and repeats some
charming legends of the Iroquois conflicts which centered about them. Byrd,
William.Writings, 244-247, 286, 288-290.
130. The branch of the Roanoke to which the Indian had reference was the Dan.
The Occaneechi appear to have resided on an island in it not far from Danville,
Va., and Lederer claimed to have found them there as late as 1670. For the
Occaneechi see, in addition to the Handbook of American Indians, Mooney, Siouan
Tribes of the East, Bulletin 22, Bureau of American Ethnology.
The Discoveries of John Lederer Sir William Talbot's The
Discoveries of John Lederer (131)
To the Right Honourable
A N T H O N Y Lord Ashley,
Baron Ashley of Wimborn St. Giles,
Chancellor of his Majesties Exchequer,
Under-Treasurer of England,
One of the Lords Commissioners of his Majesties Treasury, one
of the Lords of his most Honourable Privie Council, and one of the Lords
Proprietors of CAROLINA
My LORD, From this discourse it is clear that the long looked-for discovery
of the Indian Sea does nearly approach; and Carolina, out of her happy
experience of your lordships success great undertakings, presumes that the
accomplishment of this glorious design is reserved for her. In order to which,
the Apalataean Mountains (though like the prodigious wall that divides China and
Tartary, they deny Virginia passage into the West Continent) stoop to your
lordships dominions, and lay open a prospect into unlimited empires; empires
that will hereafter be ambitious of subjection to that noble government which by
your lordships deep wisdom and providence first projected is now established in
Carolina; for it will appear that she flourishes more by the influence of that,
than the advantages she derives from her climate and sol., which yet do render
her the beauty and envy of North-America. That all her glories should be seen in
this drought, is not reasonably to be expected, since she sate to my author but
once, and then too with aside-face; and therefore I must own it was never by him
designed for the press, but published by me, out of no other ambition than that
of manifesting to the world, that I am, My Lord, Your lordships most humble and
TO THE READER. That a stranger should presume (though with Sir William
Berkly's Commission) to go into those parts of the American Continent where
Englishmen never had been, and whither some refused to accompany him, was, in
Virginia looked on as so great an insolence, that our traveler at his return,
instead of welcome and applause, met nothing but affronts and reproaches; for
indeed it was their part, that forsook him in the expedition, to procure him
discredit that was a witness to theirs; therefore no industry was wanting to
prepare men with a prejudice against him, and this their malice improved to such
a general animosity, that he was not safe in Virginia from the outrage of the
people, drawn into a persuasion, that the public levy of that year, went all to
the expense of his vagaries. Forced by this storm into Maryland, he became known
to me, though then ill-affected to the man, by the stories that went about of
him: Nevertheless finding him, contrary to my expectation, a modest ingenious
person, and a pretty scholar, I thought it common justice to give him an
occasion of vindicating himself from what I had heard of him; which truly he did
with so convincing reason and circumstance, as quite abolished those former
impressions in me, and made me desire this account of his travels, which here
you have faithfully rendered out of Latin from his own writings and discourse,
with an entire map of the territory he traversed, copied from his own hand. All
these I have compared with Indian relations of those parts (though I never met
with any Indian that had followed a southwest-course so far as this German) and
finding them agree, I thought the printing of these papers was no injury to the
author, and might prove a service to the public.
A General and Brief Account of the North American Continent
North, as well as South-America, may be divided into three regions: the
flats, the highlands, and the mountains. The flats, (in Indian, Ahkynt) is the
territory lying between the eastern coast, and the falls of the great rivers,
that there run into the Atlantick Ocean, in extent generally taken ninety miles.
The highlands (in Indian, Ahkontshuck) begin at those falls, and determine at
the foot of the great ridge of mountains that runs through the midst of this
continent, northeast and southwest, called by the Spaniards Apalataei, from the
Nation Apalakin; and by the; Indians, Paemotinck. According to the best of my
observation and conjecture, they lie parallel to the Atlantick sea-coast, that
bearing from Canada to Cape Florida, northeast and southwest, and then falling
off due west as the mountains do at Sara: but here they take the name of Suala;
Sara in the Warrennuncock dialect being Sasa or Sualy.
The flats, or Ahkynt, are by former writers made so well known to
Christendom, that I will not stop the reader here, with an unnecessary
description of them; but shall only say, that by the rankness of the sol., and
salt moistness of the air, daily discoveries of fish-shells three fathom deep in
the earth, and Indian tradition; these parts are supposed some ages past to have
lain under the sea.
The highlands (or Ahkontshuck) though under the same parallels, are happy
notwithstanding in a more temperate and healthful air. The ground is over-grown
with underwood in many places, and that so perplex and interwoven with vines,
that who travels here, must sometimes cut through his way. These thickets harbor
all sorts of beasts of prey, as wolves, panthers, leopards, lions, etc. (which
are neither so large nor so fierce as those of Asia and Africa) and small vermin
as wilde cats, foxes, racoons. These parts were formerly possessed by the Tacci
alias Dogi; but they are extinct; and the Indians now seated here, are
distinguished into the several nations of Mahoc, Nuntaneuck, alias Nuntaly,
Nahyssan, Sapon, Managog, Mangoack, Akenatzy, and Monakin, etc. One language is
common to them all though they differ in dialects.132 The parts inhabited here
are pleasant and fruitful, because cleared of wood, and laid open to the sun.
The valleys feed numerous herds of deer and elks larger than oxen: these valleys
they call Savanx, being marsh grounds at the foot of the Apalatxi, and yearly
laid under water in the beginning of summer by floods of melted snow falling
down from the mountains.
The Apalataean mountains, called in Indian Paemotinck, (or the origin of the
Indians) are barren rocks, and therefore deserted by all living creatures but
bears, who cave in the hollow cliffs. Yet do these mountains shoot out to the
eastward great promontories of rich land, known by the high and spreading trees
which they bear: these promontories, because lower than the main ridge, are
called by the Indians Tanx-Paemotinck (alias Aquatt). To the northeast the
mountains rise higher; and at Sara they sink so low, that they are easily passed
over: but here (as was said before) they change their course and name, running
due West, and being called Sualy now the Sualian mountains rise higher and
Of the Manners and Customs of the Indians inhabiting the
Western harts of Carolina and Virginia
The Indians now seated in these parts are none of those which the English
removed from Virginia, but a people driven by an enemy from the Northwest, and
invited to sit down here by an oracle about four hundred years since, as they
pretend: for the ancient inhabitants of Virginia were far more rude and
barbarous, feeding only upon raw flesh and fish, until these taught them to
plant corn, and showed them the use of it.
But before I treat of their ancient manners and customs, it is necessary I
should shew by what means the knowledge of them has been conveyed from former
ages to posterity. Three ways they supply their want of letters: first by
counters, secondly by emblems or hieroglyphics, thirdly by tradition delivered
in long tales from father to son, which being children they are made to learn by
For counters, they use either pebbles, or short scantlings of straw or reeds.
Where a battle has been fought, or a colony seated, they raise a small pyramid
of these stones, consisting of the number slain or transplanted. Their reeds and
straws serve them in religious ceremonies: for they lay them orderly in a circle
when they prepare for devotion or sacrifice; and that performed, the circle
remains still: for it is sacrilege to disturb or to touch it: the disposition
and sorting of the straws and reeds, shew what kinds of rites have there been
celebrated, as invocation, sacrifice, burial, etc.
The faculties of the minds and body they commonly express by emblems. By the
figure of a stag, they imply swiftness; by that of a serpent, wrath; of a lion,
courage; of a dog, fidelity: by a swan they signifie the English, alluding to
their complexion, and flight over the sea.
An account of time, and other things, they keep on a string or leather thong
tied in knots of several colors. I took particular notice of small wheels
serving for this purpose amongst the Oenocks, because I have heard that the
Mexicans use the same. Every nation gives his particular insignia or arms: The
Sasquesahanaugh a Tarapine, or small tortoise; the Akenatzy's a serpent; the
Nahyssanes three arrows, etc. In this they likewise agree with the Mexican
Indians. Vid. Jos. a Costa.
They worship one God, Creator of all things, whom some call Okxc, others
Mannith : to him alone the high-priest, or Periku, offers sacrifice; and yet
they believe he has no regard to sublunary affairs, but commits the government
of mankinde to lesser deities, as Quiacosough and Tagkanysough, that is, good
and evil spirits: to these the inferior priests pay their devotion and
sacrifice, at which they make recitals, to a lamentable tune, of the great
things done by their ancestors.
From four women, viz. Pash, Sepoy, Askarin and Maraskarin, they derive the
race of mankinde; which they therefore divide into four tribes, distinguished
under those several names. They very religiously observe the degrees of
marriage, which they limit not to distance of kindred, but difference of tribes,
which are continued in the issue of the females: now for two of the same tribe
to match, is abhorred as incest, and punished with great severity.
Their places of burial they divide into four quarters, assigning to every
tribe one: for, to mingle their bodies, even when dead, they hold wicked and
ominous. They commonly wrap up the corpse in beasts skins, and bury with it
provision and household stuff for its use in the other world. When their great
men die, they likewise slay prisoners of war to attend them. They believe the
transmigration of souls: for the angry they say is possess with the spirit of a
serpent; the body with that of a wolf; the timorous, of a deer; the faithful, of
a dog, etc. and therefore they are figured by these emblems.
Elizium, or the abode of their lesser deities, they place beyond the
mountains and Indian Ocean.
Though they want those means of improving human reason, which the use of
letters affords us; let us not therefore conclude them wholly destitute of
learning and sciences: for by these little helps which they have found, many of
them advance their natural understandings to great knowledge in physick,
rhetoric and policies of government: for I have been present at several of their
consultations and debates, and to my admiration have heard some of their seniors
deliver themselves with as much judgment and eloquence as I should have expected
from men of civil education and literature.
The First Expedition from the head of Pemaeoncock, alias
York-River (due West) to the. top of the Apalataean Mountains
Upon the ninth of March, 1669, (with three Indians whose names were Magtakunh,
Hopottoguoh and Naunnugh) I went out at the falls of Pemaeoncock,laa alias
York-River in Virginia, from an Indian village called Shickehamany, and lay that
night in the woods, encountering nothing remarkable, but a rattle-snake of an
extraordinary length and thickness, for I judged it two yards and a half or
better from head to tail, and as big about as a mans arm: by the distention of
her belly, we believed her full with young; but having killed and opened her,
found there a small squirrel whole; which caused in me a double wonder: first,
how a reptile should catch so nimble a creature as a squirrel; and having caught
it, how he could swallow it entire. The Indians in resolving my doubts, plunged
me into a greater astonishment, when they told me that it was usual in these
serpents, when they lie basking in the sun, to fetch down these squirrels from
the tops of the trees, by fixing their eyes steadfastly upon them; the horror of
which strikes such an affrightment into the little beast, that he has no power
to hinder himself from tumbling down into the jaws of his enemy, who takes in
all his sustenance without chewing, his teeth serving him only to offend withal.
But I rather believe what I have heard from others, that these serpents climb
the trees, and surprise their prey in the nest.
The next day falling into marsh grounds between the Pemaeoncock and the head
of the River Matapeneugh, the heaviness of the way obliged me to cross
Pemaeoncock, where its North and South branch (called Ackmick) joyn in one. In
the peninsula made by these two branches, a great Indian king called
Tottopottoma was heretofore slain in battle, fighting for the Christians against
the Mahocks and Nahyssans, from whence it retains his name to this day.134
Traveling through the woods, a doe seized by a wild cat crossed our way; the
miserable creature being even spent and breathless with the burden and cruelty
of her rider, who having fastened on her shoulder, left not sucking out her
blood until she sunk under him: which one of the Indians perceiving, let fly a
lucky arrow, which piercing him through the belly, made him quit his prey
already slain, and turn with a terrible grimas at us; but his strength and
spirits failing him, we escaped his revenge, which had certainly ensued, were
not his wound mortal. This creature is something bigger than our English fox, of
a reddish grey color, and in figure every way agreeing with an ordinary cat;
fierce, ravenous and cunning: for finding the deer (upon which they delight most
to prey) too swift for them, they watch upon branches of trees, and as they walk
or feed under, jump down upon them. The fur of the wilde cat, though not very
fine, is yet esteemed for its virtue in taking away cold aches and pains, being
worn next to the body; their flesh, though rank as a dogs, is eaten by the
The eleventh and twelfth, I found the ways very uneven and cumbred with
The thirteenth, I reached the first spring of Pemaeoncock, having crossed the
river four times that day, by reason of its many windings; but the water was so
shallow, that it hardly wet my horses patterns. Here a little under the surface
of' the earth, I found flat pieces of petrified matter, on one side solid stone,
but on the other side isinglass, which I easily peeled off in flakes about four
inches square: several of these pieces, with a transparent stone like crystal
that cut glass, and a white merchandise that I purchased of the Indians, I
presented to Sir William Berkley, Governour of Virginia.
The fourteenth of March, from the top of an eminent hill, I first descried
that Apalataean mountains, bearing due west to the place I stood upon: their
distance from me was so great, that I could hardly discern whether they were
mountains or clouds, until my Indian fellow travelers prostrating themselves in
adoration, howled out after a barbarous manner, Okee poeze i. e. God is nigh.
The fifteenth of March, not far from this hill, passing over the South-branch
of Rappahanock- -river, I was almost swallowed in a quicksand. Great herds of
red and fallow deer I daily saw feeding; and on the hill-sides, bears crashing
mast like swine. Small leopards I have seen in the woods, but never any lions,
though their skins are much worn by the Indians. The wolves in these parts are
so ravenous, that I often in the night feared my horse would be devoured by
them, they would gather up and howl so close round about him, though tethered to
the same tree at whose foot I my self and the Indians lay: but the fires which
we made, I suppose, scared them from worrying us all. Beaver and otter I met
with at every river that I passed; and the woods are full of grey foxes.
Thus I traveled all the sixteenth; and on the seventeenth of March I reached
the Apalataei. The air here is very thick and chill; and the waters issuing from
the mountain-sides, of a blue color, and allumish taste.
The eighteenth of March, after I had in vain assayed to ride up, I alighted,
and left my horse with one of the Indians, whilst with the other two I climbed
up the rocks, which were so encumbered with bushes and brambles, that the ascent
proved very difficult: besides the first precipice was so steep, that if I
looked down I was immediately taken with a swimming in my head; though
afterwards the way was more ease. The height of this mountain was very
extraordinary: for notwithstanding I set out with the first appearance of light,
it was late in the evening before I gained the top, from whence the next morning
I had a beautiful prospect of the Atlantick-Ocean washing the Virginianshore;
but to the north and west, my sight was suddenly bounded by mountains higher
than that I stood upon. Here did I wander in snow, for the most part, till the
four and twentieth day of March, hoping to find some passage through the
mountains; but the coldness of the air and earth together, seizing my hands and
feet with numbness, put me to a ne plus ultra; and therefore having found my
Indian at the foot of the mountain with my horse, I returned back by the same
way that I went.
The Second Expedition from the Falls of Powhatan, alias
James-River, in Virginia, to Mahock in the Apalataean Mountains
The twentieth of May 1670, one Major Harris135 and myself, with twenty
Christian horse, and five Indians, marched from the falls of James-river; in
Virginia, toward the Monakins; 136 and on the two and twentieth were welcomed by
them with volleys of shot. Near this village we observed a pyramid of stones
piled up together, which their priests told us was the number of an Indian
colony drawn out by lot from a neighbor-country over-peopled, and led hither by
one Monack, from whom they take the name of Monakin. Here enquiring the way to
the mountains, an ancient man described with a staff two paths on the ground;
one pointing to the Mahocks, and the other to the Nahyssans; but my English
companions slighting the Indians direction, shaped their course by the compass
due west, and therefore it fell out with us as it does with those land-crabs,
that crawling backwards in a direct line, avoid not the trees that stand in
their way, but climbing over their very tops, come down again on the other side,
and so after a days labor gain not above two foot of ground. Thus we obstinately
pursuing a due west course, rode over steep and craggy cliffs, which beat our
horses quite off the hoof. In these mountains we wandered from the twenty-fifth
of May till the third of June, finding little sustenance .for man or horse; for
these places are destitute both of grain and herbage.
The third of June we came to the south-branch of Jamesriver, which Major
Harris observing to run northward, vainly imagined to be an arm of the lake of
Canada; and was so transported with this fancy, that he would have raised a
pillar to the discovery, if the fear of the Mahock Indian, and want of food had
permitted him to stay. Here I moved to cross the river and march on; but the
rest of the company were so weary of the enterprise, that crying out, one and
all, they had offered violence to me, had I not been provided with a private
commission from the Governour of Virginia to proceed, though the rest of the
company should abandon me; the sight of which laid their fury.
The lesser hills, or Akontshuck, are here unpassable, being both steep and
craggy: the rocks seemed to be at a distance to resemble eggs set up an end.
James-river is here broad as it is about an hundred mile lower at Monakin;
the passage over is very dangerous, by reason of the rapid torrents made by
rocks and shelves forcing the water into narrow channels. From an observation
which we made of straws and rotten chunks hanging in the boughs of trees on the
bank, and two and twenty feet above water, we argued that the melted snow
falling from the mountains swelled the river to that height, the flood carrying
down that rubbish which, upon the abatement of the inundation, remained in the
The air in these parts was so moist, that all our biscuit became moldy, and
unfit to be eaten, so that some nicer stomachs, who at our setting out laughed
at my provision of Indian-meal parched, would gladly now have shared with me:
but I being determined to go upon further discoveries, refused to part with any
of that which was to be my most necessary sustenance.
The Continuation of the Second Expedition, from Mahock,
Southward into the Province of Carolina137
The fifth of June, my company and I parted good friends, they back again, and
I with one Sasquesahanough-Indian, named Jackzetayon, only, in pursuit of my
first enterprise, changing my course from west to southwest and by south, to
avoid the mountains. Major Harris at parting gave me a gun, believing me a lost
man, and given up as a prey to Indians or savage beasts; which made him the
bolder in Virginia to report strange things in his own praise and my
disparagement, presuming I would never appear to disprove him. This, I suppose,
and no other, was the cause that he did with so much industry procure me
discredit and odium; but I have lost nothing by it, but what I never studied to
gain, which is popular applause.
From the fifth, which was Sunday, until the ninth of June, I traveled through
difficult ways, without seeing any town or Indian; and then I arrived at
Sapon,138 a village of the Nahyssans, about an hundred miles distant from Mahock,
Scituate upon a branch of Shawan, alias Rorenockriver; and though I had just
cause to fear these Indians, because they had been in continual hostility with
the Christians for ten years before; yet presuming that the truck which I
carried with me would procure my welcome, I adventured to put myself into their
power, having heard that they never offer any injury to a few persons from whom
they apprehend no danger: nevertheless, they examined me strictly whence I came,
whither I went, and what my business was. But after I had bestowed some trifles
of glass and metal amongst them, they were satisfied with reasonable answers,
and I received with all imaginable demonstrations of kindness, as offering of
sacrifice, a compliment showed only to such as they design particularly to
honor: but they went further, and consulted their Gods whether they should not
admit me into their nation and councils, and oblige me to stay amongst them by a
marriage with the kings or some of their great mens daughters. But I, though
with much a-do, waved their courtesies, and got my passport, having given my
word to return to them within six months.
Sapon is within the limits of the Province of Carolina, and. as you may
perceive by the figure, has all the attributes requisite to a pleasant and
advantageous seat; for though it stands high, and upon a dry land, it enjoys the
benefit of a stately river, and a rich sol., capable of producing many
commodities, which may hereafter render the trade of it considerable.
Not far distant from hence, as I understood from the Nahyssan Indians, is
their kings residence, called pintahae from the same river, and happy in the
same advantages both for pleasure and profit: which my curiosity would have led
me to see, were I not bound, both by oath and commission, to a direct pursuance
of my intended purpose of discovering a passage to the further side of the
This nation is governed by an absolute monarch; the people of a high stature,
warlike and rich. I saw great store of pearl unbored in their little temples, or
oratories, which they had won amongst other spoils from the Indians of Florida,
and hold in as great esteem as we do.
From hence, by an Indians instructions, I directed my course to Akenatzy, an
island bearing south and by west, and about fifty miles distant, upon a branch
of the same river, from Sapon. The country here, though high, is level, and for
the most part a rich sol., as I judged by the growth of the trees; yet where it
is inhabited by Indians, it lies open in spacious plains, and is blessed with a
very healthful air, as appears by the age and vigor of the people; and though I
traveled in the month of June, the heat of the weather hindered me not from
riding at all hours without any great annoyance from the sun. By ease journeys I
landed at Akenatzy upon the twelfth of June. The current of the river is here so
strong, that my horse had much difficulty to resist it; and I expected every
step to be carried away with the stream.
This island, though small, maintains many inhabitants, who are fixed here in
great security, being naturally fortified with fastnesses of mountains, and
water of every side. Upon the north-shore they yearly reap great crops of corn,
of which they always have a twelve-months provision afore hand, against an
invasion from their powerful neighbors. Their government is under two kings, one
presiding in arms, the other in hunting and husbandry. They hold all things,
except their wives, in common; and their costume in eating is, that every man in
his turn feasts all the rest; and he that makes the entertainment is seated
betwixt the two kings; where having highly commended his own chear, they carve
and distribute it amongst the guests.
At my arrival here, I met four stranger-Indians, whose bodies were painted in
various colors with figures of animals whose likeness I had never seen: and by
some discourse and signs which passed between us, I gathered that they were the
only survivors of fifty, who set out together in company from some great island,
as I conjecture, to the northwest; for I understood that they crossed a great
water, in which most of their party perished by tempest, the rest dying in the
marshes and mountains by famine and hard weather, after a two-months travel by
land and water in quest of this island of Akenatzy.
The most remarkable conjecture that I can frame out of this relation is, that
these Indians might come from the island of new Albion or California, from
whence we may imagine some great arm of the Indian ocean or bay stretches into
the continent towards the Apalataean mountains in the nature of a mid-land sea,
in which many of these Indians might have perished. To confirm my opinion in
this point, I have heard several Indians testify, that the nation of
Rickohockans.139 who dwell not far to the westward of the Apalataean mountains,
are seated upon a land, as they term it, of great waves; by which I suppose they
mean the seashore.
The next day after my arrival at Akenatzy, a Rickohockan Ambassadour,
attended by five Indians, whose faces were colored with auripigmentum (in which
mineral these parts do much abound) was received, and that night invited to a
ball of their fashion; but in the height of their mirth and dancing, by a smoke
contrived for that purpose, the room was suddenly darkened, and for what cause I
know not, the Rickohockan and his retinue barbarously murdered. This struck me
with such an affrightment, that the very next day, without taking my leave of
them, I slunk away with my Indian companion. Though the desire of informing my
self further concerning some minerals, as auripigmentum, etc. which I there took
special notice of, would have persuaded me to stay longer amongst them, had not
the bloody example of their treachery to the Rickohockans frightened me away.
The fourteenth of June, pursuing a south-southwest course, sometimes by a
beaten path, and sometimes over hills and rocks, I was forced to take up my
quarters in the woods: for though the Oenock-Indians, whom I then sought, were
not in a direct line above thirty odd miles distant from Akenatzy, yet the ways
were such, and obliged me to go so far about, that I reached not Oenock until
the sixteenth. The country here, by the industry of these Indians, is very open,
and clear of wood. Their town is built round a field, where in their sports they
exercise with so much labor and violence, and in so great numbers, that I have
seen 'the ground wet with the sweat that dropped from their bodies: their chief
recreation is slinging of stones. They are of mean stature and courage, covetous
and thievish, industrious to earn a penny; and therefore hire themselves out to
their neighbors, who employ them as carriers or porters. They plant abundance of
grain, reap three crops in a summer, and out of their granary supply all the
adjacent parts. These and the mountain-Indians build not their houses of bark,
but of watling and plaister. In summer, the heat of the weather makes them
choose to lie abroad in the night under thin arbors of wild palm. Some houses
they have of reed and bark; they build them generally round to each house
belongs a little hovel made like an oven, where they lay up their corn and mast,
and keep it dry. They parch their nuts and acorns over the fire, to take away
their rank oiliness; which afterwards pressed, yield a milky liquor, and the
acorns an amber-colored oil. In these, mingled together, they dip their cakes at
great entertainments, and so serve them up to their guests as an extraordinary
dainty. Their government is democratic; and the sentences of their old men are
received as laws, or rather oracles, by them.
Fourteen miles west-southwest of the Oenocks, dwell the Shackory-Indians,
upon a rich sol., and yet abounding in antimony, of which they showed me
considerable quantities. Finding them agree with the Oenocks in customs and
manners, I made no stay here, but passing through their town, I traveled till
the nineteenth of June; and then after a two days troublesome journey through
thickets and marsh grounds, I arrived at Watary above forty miles distant, and
bearing west-southwest to Shakor. This nation differs in government from all the
other Indians of these parts: for they are slaves, rather than subjects to their
king. Their present monarch is a grave man, and courteous to strangers: yet I
could not without horror behold his barbarous superstition, in hiring three
youths, and sending them forth to kill as many young women of their enemies as
they could light on, to serve his son, then newly dead, in the other world, as
he vainly fancied. These youths during my stay returned with skins torn off the
heads and faces of three young girls, which they presented to his majesty, and
were by him gratefully received.
I departed from Watary the one and twentieth of June: and keeping a
west-course for near thirty miles, I came to Sara: here I found the ways more
level arid ease. Sara is not far distant from the mountains, which here lose
their height, and change their course and name: for they run due west, and
receive from the Spaniards the name of Suala. From these mountains or hills the
Indians draw great quantities of cinabar, with which beaten to powder they color
their faces: this mineral is of a deeper purple than vermilion, and is the same
which is in so much esteem amongst physicians, being the first element of
I did likewise, to my no small admiration, find hard cakes of white salt
amongst them: but whether they were made of sea-water, or taken out of
salt-pits, I know not; but am apt to believe the later, because the sea is so
remote from them. Many other rich commodities and minerals there are undoubtedly
in these parts, which if possessed by an ingenious and industrious people, would
be improved to vast advantages by trade. But having tied my self up to things
only that I have seen in my travels, I will deliver no conjectures.
Lingua Bile non est ultra narrabile quidquam.
These Indians are so indiscreetly fond of their children, that they will not
chastise them for any mischief or insolence. A little boy had shot an arrow
through my body, had I not reconciled him to me with gifts: and all this anger
was, because I spurred my horse out of another arrows way which he directed at
him. This caused such a mutiny amongst the youth of the town, that the seniors
taking my horse and self into protection, had much ado (and that by intreaties
and prayers, not commands) to appease them.
From Sara I kept a south-southwest course until the five and twentieth of
June, and then I reached Wisacky. This three-days march was more troublesome to
me than all my travels besides: for the direct way which I took from Sara to
Wisacky, is over a continuous marsh overgrown with reeds, from whose roots
sprung knotty stumps as hard and sharp as flint. I was forced to lead my horse
most part of the way, and wonder that he was not either plunged in the bogs, or
lamed by those rugged knots.
This nation is subject to a neighbor king residing upon the bank of a great
lake called Ushery, environed of all sides with mountains, and Wisacky marsh;
and therefore I will detain the reader no longer with the discourse of them,
because I comprehend them in that of Ushery.
The six and twentieth of June, having crossed a fresh river which runs into
the lake of Ushery, I came to the town, which was more populous than any I had
seen before in my march. The king dwells some three miles from it, and therefore
I had no opportunity of seeing him the two nights which I stayed there. This
prince, though his dominions are large and populous, is in continual fear of the
Oustack-Indians seated on the opposite side of the lake; a people so addicted to
arms, that even their women come into the field, and shoot arrows over their
husbands shoulders, who shield them with leathern targets. The men it seems
should fight with silverhatchets for one of the Usheryes told me that they were
of the same metal with the pommel of my sword. They are a cruel generation, and
prey upon people, whom they either steal or force away from the Usheryes in
Periago's, to sacrifice to their idols. The Ushery-women delight in
feather-ornaments, of which they have great variety; but peacocks in most
esteem, because rare in those parts. They are reasonably handsome, and have more
of civility in their carriage than I observed in the other nations with whom I
conversed; which is the reason that the men are more effeminate and lazy.
These miserable wretches are strangely infatuated with illusions of the
devil: it caused no small horror in me, to see one of them writhe his neck all
on one side, foam at the mouth, stand bare-foot upon burning coals for near an
hour, and then recovering his senses, leap out of the fire without hurt or signs
of any. This I was an eye-witness of.
The water of Ushery-lake seemed to my taste a little brackish; which I rather
impute to some mineral waters which flow into it, than to any saltiness it can
take from the sea, which we may reasonably suppose is a great way from it. Many
pleasant rivulets fall into it, and it is stored with great plenty of excellent
fish. I judged it to be about ten leagues broad: for were not the other shore
very high, it could not be discerned from Ushery. How far this lake tends
westerly, or where it ends, I could neither learn or guess.
Here I made a days stay, to inform myself further in these countries; and
understood both from the Usheries, and some Sara-Indians that came to trade with
then, that two-days journey and a half from hence to the southwest, a powerful
nation of bearded men were seated, which I suppose to be the Spaniards, because
the Indians never have any; it being an universal custom among them to prevent
their growth by plucking the young hair out by the roots. Westward lies a
government inhospitable to strangers; and to the north, over the Suala-mountains,
lay the Rickohockans. I thought it not safe to venture my self amongst the
Spaniards, lest taking me for a spy, they would either make me away, or condemn
me to a perpetual slavery in their mines. Therefore not thinking fit to proceed
further, the eight and twentieth of June I faced about, and looked homewards.
To avoid Wisacky-marsh, I shaped my course northeast; and after three days
travel over hilly ways, where I met with no path or road, I fell into a barren
sandy desert, where I suffered miserably for want of water; the heat of the
summer having drunk all the springs dry, and left no signs of any, but the
gravelly channels in which they run: so that if now and then I had not found a
standing pool, which provident nature set round with shady oaks, to defend it
from the ardour of the sun, my Indian companion, horse and self had certainly
perished with thirst. In this distress we traveled till the twelfth of July, and
then found the head of a river, which afterwards proved Eruco; in which we
received not only the comfort of a necessary and reasonable refreshment, but
likewise the hopes of coming into a country again where we might find game for
food at least, if not discover some new nation or people. Nor did our hopes fail
us: for after we had crossed the river twice, we were led by it upon the
fourteenth of July to the town of Katearas, a place of great Indian trade and
commerce, and chief seat of the haughty Emperour of the Toskiroro's, called
Kaskufara, vulgarly Kaskous. His grim Majestic, upon my first appearance,
demanded my gun and shot; which I willingly parted with to ransom my self out of
his clutches: for he was the most proud imperious barbarian that I met with in
all my marches. The people here at this time seemed prepared for some
extraordinary solemnity: for the men and the women of better sort had decked
themselves very fine with pieces of bright copper in their hair and ears, and
about their arms and neck, which upon festival occasions they use as an
extraordinary bravery: by which it should seem this country is not without rich
mines of copper. But I dare not stay to inform my self further in it, being
jealous of some sudden mischief towards me from Kaskous, his nature being body,
and provoked upon any slight occasion.
Therefore leaving Katearas, I traveled through the woods until the sixteenth,
upon which I came to Kawitziokan, an Indian town upon a branch of Korenoke-river,
which here I passed over, continuing my journey to Menchaerinck; and on the
seventeenth departing from thence, I lay all night in the woods, and the next
morning betimes going by Natoway, 1 reached that evening Apamatuck in Virginia,
where I was not a little overjoyed to see Christian faces again.
The Third and Last Expedition from the Falls of Rappahanock-River
in Virginia, (due West) to the top of the Apalataean Mountains
On the twentieth of August 1670, Col. Catlet of Virginia and my self, with
nine English horse, and five Indians on foot, departed from the house of one
Robert Talifer, and that night reached the falls of Rapp ahanock-river, in
The next day we passed it over where it divides into two branches north and
south, keeping the main branch north of us.
The three and twentieth we found that it only wet our horses hoofs.
The four and twentieth we traveled through the Savanae amongst vast herds of
red and fallow deer which stood gazing at us; and a little after, we came to the
Promontories or spurs of the Apalataean-mountains.
These Savanae are low grounds at the foot of the Apalataens, which all the
winter, spring, and part of the summer, lie under snow or water, when the snow
is dissolved, which falls down from the mountains commonly about the beginning
of June; and then their verdure is wonderful pleasant to the eye, especially of
such as having traveled through the shade of it so shallow, the vast forest,
come out of a melacholy darkness of a sudden, into a clear and open skie. To
heighten the beauty of these parts, the first springs of most of those great
rivers which run into the Atlantick ocean, or Cheseapeack bay, do here break
out, and in various branches interlace the flowry meads, whose luxurious herbage
invites numerous herds of red deer (for their unusual largeness improperly
termed elks by ignorant people) to feed. The right elk, though very common in
New Scotland, Canada, and those northern parts, is never seen on this side of
the continent: for that which the Virginians call elks, does not at all differ
from the red deer of Europe, but in his dimensions, which are far greater: but
yet the elk in bigness does as far exceed them: their heads, or horns, are not
very different; but the neck of the elk is so short, that it h hardly separates
the head from the shoulders; which is the reason that they cannot feed upon
level ground but by falling on their knees, though their heads be a yard long:
therefore they commonly either browse upon trees, or standing up to the belly in
ponds or rivers feed upon the banks: their cingles or tails are hardly three
inches long. I have been told by a New-England gentlemen, that the lips and
nostrils of this creature is the most delicious meat he ever tasted. As the red
deer we here treat of, I cannot difference the taste of their flesh from those
The six and twentieth of August we came to the mountains, where finding no
horse way up, we alighted, and left our horses with two or three Indians below,
whilst we went up afoot. The ascent was so steep, the cold so intense, and we so
tired, that having with much ado gained the top of one of the highest, we drank
the kings health in brandy, gave the mountain his name, and agreed to return
back again, having no encouragement from that prospect to proceed to a further
discovery; since from hence we saw another mountain, bearing north and by west
to us, of a prodigious height: for according to an observation of the distance
taken by Col. Catlet, it could not be less than fifty leagues from the place we
Here I was stung in my sleep by a mountain-spider; and had not an Indian
sucked out the poison, I had died: for receiving the hurt at the tip of one of
my fingers, the venoms shot up immediately into my shoulder, and so inflamed my
side, that it is not possible to express my torment. The means used by my
physician, was first a small dose of snake-rootpowder, which I took in a little
water: and then making a kinds of plaister of the same, applied it near to the
part affected: when he had done so, he swallowed some byway of antidote himself,
and sucked my fingers end so violently, that I felt the venoms retire back from
my side into my shoulder, and from thence down my arm: having thus sucked half a
score times, and spit as often, I was eased of all my pain, and perfectly
recovered. I thought I had been bit by a rattlesnake, for I saw not what hurt
me: but the Indian found by the wound, and the effects of it, that it was given
by a spider, one of which he showed me the next day: it is not unlike our great
blue spider, only it is somewhat longer. I suppose the nature of his poison to
be much like that of the tarantula.
I being thus beyond my hopes and expectations restored to my self, we
unanimously agreed to return back, seeing no possibility of passing through the
mountains: and finding our Indians with our horses in the place where we left
them, we rode homewards without making any further discovery.
Conjectures of the Land beyond the Apalataean Mountains
They are certainly in a great error, who imagine that the continent of
North-America is but eight or ten days journey over from the Atlantick to the
Indian ocean: which all reasonable men must acknowledge, if they consider that
Sir Francis Drake kept a west-northwest course from Cape Mendocino to
California. Nevertheless, by what I gathered from the stranger Indians at
Akenatzy of their voyage by sea to the very mountains from a far distant
northwest country, I am brought over to their opinion who think that the Indian
ocean does stretch an arm or bay from California into the continent as far as
the Apalataean mountains, answerable to the Gulfs of Florida and Mexico on this
side. Yet I am far from believing with some, that such great and navigable
rivers are to be found on the other side the Apalataeans falling into the Indian
ocean, as those which run from them to the eastward. My first reason is derived
from the knowledge and experience we already have of South-America, whose Andes
send the greatest rivers in the world (as the Amazones and Rio de la Plata,
etc.) into the Atlantick, but none at all into the Pacifique sea. Another
argument is, that all our water-fowl which delight in lakes and rivers, as
swans, geese, ducks, etc., come over the mountains from the Lake of Canada, when
it is frozen over every winter, to our fresh rivers; which they would never do,
could they find any on the other side of the Apalatxans.
Instructions to such as shall march upon Discoveries into the
Two breaches there are in the Apalataean mountains, opening a passage into
the western parts of the continent. One, as I am informed by Indians, at a place
called Zynodoa, to the northward; the other Sara, where I have been myself : but
the way thither being through a vast forest, where you seldom fall into any road
or path, you must shape your course by a compass; though some, for want of one,
have taken their direction from the north-side of the trees, which is
distinguished from the rest by quantities of thick moss growing there. You will
not meet with many hindrances on horseback in your passage to the mountains, but
where your course is interrupted by branches of the great rivers, which in many
places are not fordable; and therefore if you be unprovided of means or strength
to make a bridge by felling trees across, you may be forced to go a great way
about: in this respect company is necessary, but in others so inconvenient, that
I would not advise above half a dozen, or ten at the most, to travel together;
and of these, the major part Indians: for the nations in your way are prone to
jealousies and mischief towards Christians in a considerable body, and as
courteous and hearty to a few, from whom they apprehend no danger.
When you pass through an even level country where you can take no particular
remarks from hill or waters to guide your self by when you come back, you must
not forget to notch the trees as you go along with your small hatchet, that in
your return you may know when you fall into the same way which you went. By this
means you will be certain of the place which you are in, and may govern your
course homeward accordingly.
In stead of bread, I used the meal of parched maize, i. e. Indian wheat;
which when I eat, I seasoned with a little salt. This is both more portable and
strengthening than biscuit, and will suffer no moldiness by any weather. For
other provisions, you may securely trust to your gun, the woods being full of
fallow, and savannas of red-deer, besides great variety of excellent fowl, as
wilde turkeys, pigeons, partridges, pheasants, etc. But you must not forget to
dry or barbecue some of these before you come to the mountains: for upon them
you will meet with no game, except a few bears.
Such as cannot lie on the ground, must be provided with light hammocks, which
hung in the trees, are more cool and pleasant than any bed whatsoever.
The order and discipline to be observed in this expedition is, that an Indian
scout or two march as far before the rest of the party as they can in sight,
both for the finding out provision, and discovery of ambushes, if any should be
laid by enemies. Let your other Indians keep on the right and left hand, armed
not only with guns, but bills and hatchets, to build small arbors or cottages of
boughs and bark of trees, to shelter and defend you from the injuries of the
weather. At nights it is necessary to make great fires round about the place
where you take up your lodging, as well to scare wildbeasts away, as to purify
the air. Neither must you fail to go the round at the close of the evening: for
then, and betimes in the morning, the Indians put all their designs in
execution: in the night they never attempt any thing.
When in the remote parts you draw near to an Indian town, you must by your
scouts inform your self whether they hold any correspondence with the
Sasquesahanaughs : for to such you must give notice of your approach by a gun;
which amongst other Indians is to be avoided, because being ignorant of their
use, it would affright and dispose them to some treacherous practice against
Being arrived at a town, enter no house until you are invited; and then seem
not afraid to be led in pinion'd like a prisoner: for that is a ceremony they
use to friends and enemies without distinction.
You must accept of an invitation from the seniors, before that of the young
men; and refuse nothing that is offered or set before you: for they are very
jealous, and sensible of the least slighting or neglect from strangers, and
mindful of revenge.
Touching Trade with Indians
If you barely design a home-trade with neighbor Indians, for skins of deer,
beaver, otter, wildcat, fox, racoon, etc. your best truck is a sort of course
trading cloth, of which a yard and a half makes a matchcoat or mantle fit for
their wear; as also axes, hoes, knives, sizars, and all sorts of edged tools.
Guns, powder and shot, etc. are commodities they will greedily barter for: but
to supply the Indians with arms and ammunition, is prohibited in all English
In dealing with the Indians, you must be positive and at a word: for if they
persuade you to fall any thing in your price, they will spend time in haggling
for further abatements, and seldom conclude any bargain. Sometimes you may with
brandy or strong liquor dispose them to an humor of giving you ten times the
value of your commodity; and at other times they are so hide-bound, that they
will not offer half the market-price, especially if they be aware that you have
a design to circumvent them with drink, or that they think you have a desire to
their goods, which you must seem to slight and disparage.
To the remoter Indians, you must carry other kinds of truck, as small
looking-glasses, pictures, beads and bracelets of glass, knives, sizars, and all
manner of gaudy toys and knacks for children, which are light and portable. For
they are apt to admire such trinkets, and will purchase them at any rate, either
with their currant coyn of small shells, which they call roanoack or peack, or
perhaps with pearl, vermilion, pieces of christal; and towards Ushery, with some
odd pieces of plate or buillon, which they sometimes receive in truck from the
Could I have foreseen when L set out, the advantages to be made by a trade
with those remote Indians, I had gone better provided; though perhaps I might
have run a great hazard of my life, had I purchased considerably amongst them,
by carrying wealth unguarded through so many different nations of barbarous
people: therefore it is vain for any man to propose to himself, or undertake a
trade at that distance, unless he goes with strength to defend, as well as an
adventure to purchase such commodities for in such a design many ought to joyn
and go in company.
Some pieces of silver unwrought I purchased my self of the Usheries, for no
other end than to justify this account I give of my second expedition, which had
not determined at Ushery, were I accompanied with half a score resolute youths
that would have stuck to me in a further discovery towards the Spanish mines.
131. Printed from the reprint of G. P. Humphrey, Rochester, N.Y., 1902. It
has also been reprinted by Harpel, Cincinnati, 1879, with an explanatory
introduction by H. A. Rattermann. This introduction is of little value.
Rattermann says that Lederer came to Virginia in x668, and that he spoke various
languages, but does not give any certain source of information other than the
book itself. He makes several speculations as to Lederer's identity, but thinks
him most likely to have been a Tyrolese. He is entirely credulous as to
Lederer's account of his performances, states that the latter from modesty
rather underestimated than overestimated his distances, and thinks that the
Doctor really went as far as Florida on his second expedition. His explanations
of Lederer's marvelous yarns are rather clever. A German translation of the
book, also by Rattermann, was published in Das Pionier, a German periodical of
Cincinnati, in 1876. For other reprints, see "Bibliography."
132 All the tribes mentioned were of the Eastern Siouan group. See Mooney,
Siouan Tribes of the East.
134. The fight at the forks of the Pamunkey in 1656 in which Totopotamoi fell
was really with the strange Ricahecrian Indians from beyond the mountains. See
135. See footnote 120.
136. The Manakins or Manacans were visited by Newport as early as 1608, and are
very frequently mentioned in the records of the colony. Their village was on the
James, twenty miles above the falls. A celebrated Huguenot colony settled on its
site in 1699. Mooney, Siouan Tribes o f the East, 26.
137 It is doubtful where Lederer did go after leaving the main body. We have
seen that Rattermann accepts his claims at full value, and adds to them. On the
other hand Cyrus Thomas, in the American Anthropologist, Vol. v, 724, concludes
after a detailed criticism of Lederer's story that "the journey into the
Carolinas is a myth." He thinks that all the local items mentioned by
Lederer in the account of this journey were obtained from Indians on the
Virginia frontier. We have already observed (Introduction) that as far as the
Santa village the story bears evidence of verisimilitude.
138. The Sapony village was at this time on Otter creek, flowing into Staunton
River in Campbell County, Virginia. The Saponys are among the most frequently
mentioned of the Eastern Siouan tribes. See Mooney, Siouan Tribes of the East.
139 The Rickahockans or Ricahecrians entered Virginia from beyond the mountains
in 1656. Through misunderstanding and mismanagement they were attacked, and
inflicted a severe defeat upon Colonel Edward Hill and the friendly Pamunkeys,
at the forks of the river of that name. Neill, E. D. Virginia Carolorum,
The Bureau of American Ethnology identifies these Indians with the Cherokee
[Mooney, Siouan Tribes of the East, also Handbook of American Indians, art.
"Cherokee"]. They have also been identified with the Erie or Rique,
who were defeated and expelled from their home on Lake Erie in 1655. [See
Parkman, Jesuits in America, 438-441; Charlevoix, History of New France, vol.
ii, 266.] They are referred to in many cases under the name
"Riquehronnons" or "Rigueronnons"-Iroquois designations.
[See Thwaites, Jesuit Relations, index s. v. "Eries;" Handbook of
.American Indians, article "Erie," and synonyms.] They retired behind
the Blue Ridge after defeating Hill, and remained there for several years.
* Colonial Papers, Public Record Office, vol. xxiv; Winder Papers, Virginia
State Library, vol. i, 252.
Governor Berkeley as a Promoter of Exploration
Letter of Sir William Berkeley to Lord Arlington, May 27, 1669
Letter of Thomas Ludwell to Lord Arlington, June 27, 1670
Letter of Sir William Berkeley to the committee for trade and plantations,
January 22, I671/2
Letter* of Sir William Berkeley to Lord Arlington May 27, 1669
MY MOST HONORED LORD140 I did this last spring resolve to make an Essay to
doe his Majesty a memorable service which was in the Company of Two hundred Gent
who had engaged to go along with me to find out the East India sea, and we had
hopes that in our journey we should have found some Mines of silver; for certain
it is that the Spaniard in the same degrees of latitude has found many But my
Lord unusual and continued Raynes hindered my intentions nor can I in reason be
sorry for it though I am of that age that requires that very little time should
be misspent Yet I considered since; that though the motives to this voyage were
only ardent Intentions to doe his Majesty service Yet I had not his Majesty
Commission to justify so bold an under taking to this I added the memory of the
misfortune of Sir Walter Rawleigh. But my Lord if his Majesty be pleased I steal
prosecute this design and will send me his commission to doe it I shall this
next spring go with such a strength that steal secure me against al opposition
whether of the Spaniards or Indians and my Lord if we meet with the Spaniards it
will be in those Degrees of latitude which his Majesty Predecessors have claimed
these four score years and more my Lord.
My lord the Gent that brings you this letter is one that has long lived in
this country and with many of his own Regiment resoled to accompany me in this
Expedition he is as understanding a man as can be expected from one as has spent
most of his time in a desert and if his Majesty please to divert himself by
Asking questions of the nature posture and condition of his Colony I doubt not
but he will give his Majesty ful satisfaction this Gent who is cald Coll Parkes
I have desired to wait on your Lords for your letter and commands which I
beseech you to let him have for every line of your lordships I lay up in my hart
as an additional honor my lord I am Your Lordships most humble and most obedient
[sign'd] WILL BERKELEY.
May 27, 1669, Virginia.
Letter of Thomas Ludwell to Lord Arlington141
[From Colonial Papers, Public Record Office, Vol. xxv, no. 40]
VIRGINIA June 27th, 1670.
RIGHT HONORABLE: In my last I sent the account of the as. per hogshead and in
this you will receive the account of the leavy in tobacco to which I have at
present little to adde which is that on the 22th of May last the Governor sent
out a party of men to discover the mountains who returned after eighteen days,
twelve of which were going and six returning their discovery was not so
considerable as to trouble your Lordship with the particulars of it only this
that after four or five days travel over the mountains they were taken up by a
river of (as they guess) four hundred and fifty yards wide very rapid and full
of rocks running so far as they could see it due north between the hills the
banks whereof were in most places according to their computation near one
thousand yards high and so broken that they could not coast it to give a more
ample account of its progress the mountains they passed were high and rocky and
so grown with wood as gave them great difficulty to passe them, but from the
last they were on which was at the river before mentioned, they judged them
selves with in ten miles of other hills barren and naked of wood full of broken
white cliffs beyond which (so long as they staid) they every morning saw a fog
arise and hand in the air till ten a clock from whence we doe conjecture that
those fog arise either from morasse grounds or some great lake or river to which
those mountains give bounds and there we doe suppose will be the end of our
labor in some happy discovery which we shall attempt in the end of some with
provisions to passe the river as also to try for mines, being yet very confident
that the bowels of those barren hills are not without silver or gold, and that
there are rivers falling the other way in to the sea as well as this to the
east, I heartily pray wee may discover what may be satisfactory to his Majesty
and for the honor and wealth of his kingdom; My Lord I humbly thank you for all
your favors and doe beg your belief that I am with my whole heart My Lord your
Lordships most obedient humble servant.
Endorsed: Virginia June 27th, 70. Mr. Ludwell.
Letter * of Sir William Berkeley to the Committee for Trade
and Plantations, January 22, 1671/2
[Colonial Papers, Public Records Office, vol. xxviii, no. 6]
MY LORDS: By my Brother Culpeper I gave your Lordships an Account of this
place according to your Lordships commands and hope it came safely and timely to
your Lordships hands.
My Lords in that letter I intimated to your Lordships how great a want we had
of some men skillful in the Making of silks and humbly desired your Lordships to
procure his Majesties Royal Commands to the Consuls of Naples and Sicily to send
some into England We will bear the charge of their transport and Annual Wages as
soon as they shall arrive in England And I doe now again humbly desire your
Lordships to move his Majesty in it for my Lords if we had but six able men that
would teach us the right way of feeding Worms and Winding Silks we should in a
short time Make an unexpected progress in it.
My Lords by the last ships I hope to give yours Lordships an account of a
happy discovery to the West But I dare not much boast of it til I have been an
Eye witness of it my self which I intend god willing to be after some
Discoverers which I send out this next February shall come back
My Lords I beseech you honor me with what commands you find necessary for his
sacred Majesties service; and they shall be faithfully Executed by My Lords Your
Lordships most humble and obedient servant
Jan. 22, 1671/2, Virginia
Endorsed: January 22th, 1671/2. A Letter from the Governor of Virginia
received the [torn away.]
140. This letter is here printed, as the heading indicates, from a transcript
made in Richmond of the transcript in the Winder Papers in the Virginia State
Library. It has also been printed in the Virginia Magazine of History and
Biography, Vol. xix, 258-260.
141. This is a narrative of the expedition headed by Major Harris, and should be
read in connection with Lederer's account of it [second expedition, first part].
The Expedition of Batts and Fallam
John Clayton's Transcript of the Journal of Robert Fallam
Extract from a letter of John Clayton to the Royal Society, August 17, 1688
John Mitchell's "Remarks on the Journal of Batts and Fallam"
The Expedition of Batts and Fallam
John Clayton's Transcript of the Journal of Robert Fallam
A Journal from Virginia, beyond the Apailachian mountains, in Sept. 1671.
Sent to the Royal Society by Mr. Clayton, and read Aug. 1, 1688, before the said
Society142 Thomas Batts,143 Thomas Woods and Robert Follows 144 having received
a commission from the honorable Major General Wood for the finding out the
ebbing and flowing of the Waters on the other side of the Mountains in order to
the discovery of the South Sea accompanied with Penecute a great man of the
Apomatack Indians and Jack Weason, formerly a servant to Major General Wood with
five horses set for ward from the Apomatacks town about eight of the clock in
the morning, being Friday Sept. I, 1671. That day we145 traveled above forty
miles, took up our quarters and found that we had traveled from the Okenechee
path due west.
Sept. 2. we traveled about forty-five miles and came to our quarters at Sun
set and found we were to the north of the West.
Sept. 3. we traveled west and by south and about three o'clock came to a
great swamp a mile and a half or two miles over and very difficult to pass. we
led our horses through' and waded twice over a River emptying itself in Roanoake
River. After we were over we went northwest and so came round and took up our
quarters west. This day we traveled forty miles good.
Sept 4. We set forward and about two of the clock arrived at the Sapiny
Indian town. We traveled south and by west course till about evening and came to
the Saponys west. Here we were very joyfully and kindly received with firing of
guns and plenty of provisions. We here hired a Sepiny Indian to be our guide
towards the Teteras, 146 a nearer way than usual.
Sept. 5. Just as we were ready to take horse and march from the Sapiny's
about seven of the clock in the Morning we heard some guns go off from the other
side of the River. They were seven Apomatack Indians sent by Major General Wood
to accompany us in our Voyage. We hence sent back a horse belonging to Mr.
Thomas Wood, which was tired, by a Portugal, belonging to Major General Wood,
whom we here found.147 About eleven of the clock we set forward and that night
came to the town of the Hanathaskies which we judge to be twenty-five miles from
the Sapenys, they are lying west and by north in an Island on the Sapony
River,148 a rich Land.
Sept. 6. About eleven of the clock we set forward from the Hanathaskies; but
left Mr. Thomas Wood at the town dangerously sick of the Flux, and the horse he
rode on belonging to Major General Wood was likewise taken with the staggers and
a failing in his hinder parts. Our course was this day West and by South and we
took up our quarters West about twenty miles from the town. This afternoon our
horses strayed away about ten of the clock.149
Sept. 7. We set forward, about three of the clock we had sight of the
mountains, we traveled twenty-five miles over very hilly and stony Ground our
Sept. 8. We set out by sunrise and Traveled all day a west and by north
course. About one of the clock we came to a Tree marked in the past with a coal
M.A N I. About four of the clock we came to the foot of the first mountain went
to the top and then came to a small descent, and so did rise again and then till
we came almost to the bottom was a very steep descent. We traveled all day over
very stony, rocky ground and after thirty miles travel this day we came to our
quarters at the foot of the mountains due west. We past the Sapony River twice
Sept. 9. We were stirring with the Sun and traveled west and after a little
riding came again to the Supany River where it was very narrow, and ascended the
second mountain which wound up west and by south with several springs and
fallings, after which we came to a steep descent at the foot whereof was a
lovely descending Valley about six miles over with curious small risings...150
Our course over it was southwest. After we were over that, we came to a very
steep descent, at the foot whereof stood the Tetera Town151 in a very rich swamp
between a branch and the main River of Roanoke circled about with mountains. We
got thither about three of the clock after we had traveled twenty-five miles.
Here we were exceedingly civilly entertained.
Sept. 9-11 Saturday night, Sunday and Monday we staid at the Toteras.
Perceute being taken very sick of a fever and ague every afternoon, not
withstanding on Tuesday morning about nine of the clock we resolved to leave our
horses with the Toteras and set forward.152
Sept. 12. We left the town West and by North we traveled that day sometimes
southerly, sometimes westerly as the path went over several high mountains and
steep Values crossing several branches and the River Roanoke several times all
exceedingly stony ground until about four of the clock Perceute being taken with
his fit and very weary we took up our quarters by the side of Roanoke River
almost at the head of it at the foot of the great mountain. Our course was west
by north, having traveled twenty-five miles. At the Teteras we hired one of
their Indians for our Guide and left one of the Apomatock Indians there sick.153
Sept. 13.154 In the morning we set forward early. After we had traveled about
three miles we came to the foot of the great mountain and found a very steep
ascent so that we could scarce keep ourselves from sliding down again. It
continued for three miles with small intermissions of better way. right up by
the path on the left we saw the proportions of the Mon.155 (whereof they have
given an account it seems in a former relation which I have not. - Note by Mr.
Clayton). When we were got up to the Top of the mountain and set down very weary
we saw very high mountains lying to the north and south as far as we could
discern. Our course up the mountain was west by north. A very small descent on
the other side and as soon as over we found the values tending westerly. It was
a pleasing tho' dreadful sight to see the mountains and Hills as if piled one
upon another. After we had traveled about three miles from the mountains, easily
descending ground about twelve of the clock we came to two trees marked with a
coal MA NI. the other cut in with MA and several other scratchments.
Hard by a Run just like the swift creek at Mr. Randolph's in Virginia,"'
emptying itself sometimes westerly sometimes northerly with curious meadows on
each side. Going forward we found rich ground but having curious rising hills
and brave meadows with grass about man's height. many rivers running
west-north-west and several Runs from the southerly mountains which we saw as we
marched, which run northerly into the great River. After we had traveled about
seven miles we came to a very steep descent where are found a great Run,157
which emptied itself so we supposed into the great River northerly, our course
being as the path went, west-south-west. We set forward west and had not gone
far but we met again with the River, still broad running west and by north. We
went over the great run emptying itself northerly into the great River. After we
had marched about six miles northwest and by north we came to the River again
where it was much broader than at the two other places. It ran here west and by
south and so as we suppose round up westerly. Here we took up our quarters,
after we had waded over, for the night. Due west, the soil, the farther we went
is the richer and full of bare meadows and old fields."' "Old
fields" is a common expression for land that has been cultivated by the
Indians and left fallow, which are generally overrun with what they call broom
grass. - MR. CLAYTON.
Sept.14. We set forward before sunrise our provisions being all spent we
traveled as the path went sometimes westerly sometimes southerly over good
ground but stony, sometimes rising hills and then steep Descents as we marched
in a clear place at the top of a hill we saw lying south west a curious prospect
of hills like waves raised by a gentle breeze of wind rising one upon another.
Mr. Batts supposed he saw sails; but I rather think them to be white cliffs.160
We marched about twenty miles this day and about three of the clock we took up
our quarters to see if the Indians could kill us some Deer. being west 'and by
north, very weary and hungry and Perceute continued very ill yet desired to go
forward. We came this day over several brave runs and hope tomorrow to see the
main River again.
Sept. 15. Yesterday in the afternoon and this day we lived a Dog's life-
hunger and ease. Our Indians having done their best could kill us no meat. The
Deer they said were in such herds and the ground so dry that one or other of
them could spy them. About one of the clock we set forward and went about
fifteen miles over some exceedingly good, some indifferent ground, a west and by
north course till we came to a great run that empties itself west and by north
as we suppose into the great River which we hope is nigh at hand. As we marched
we met with some wild gooseberries and exceeding large haws with which we were
forced to feed ourselves.
Sept 16. Our guides went from us yesterday and we saw him no more till we
returned to the Toras.161 Our Indians went arranging betimes to see and kill us
some Deer or meat. One came and told us they heard a Drum and a Gun go off to
the northwards. They brought us some exceedingly good Grapes and killed two
turkeys which were very welcome and with which we feasted ourselves and about
ten of the clock set forward and after we had traveled about ten miles one of
our Indians killed us a Deer and presently afterwards we had sight of a curious
River like Apamatack River.162 Its course here was north and so as we suppose
runs west about certain curious mountains we saw westward. Here we had up our
quarters, our course having been west. We understand the Mohecan 163 Indians did
here formerly live. It cannot be long since for we found corn stalks in the
Sept. 17. Early in the morning we went to seek some trees to mark our Indians
being impatient of longer stay by reason it was like to be bad weather, and that
it was so difficult to get provisions. Vice found four trees exceeding fit for
our purpose that had been half bared by our Indians, standing after one the
other. We first proclaimed the King in these words: "Long live Charles the
Second, by the grace of God King of England, Scotland, France. Ireland and
Virginia and of all the Territories there unto be longing, Defender of the faith
etc." firing some guns and went to the first tree which we marked thus with
a pair of marking irons for his sacred majesty. Then the next for the right
honorable Governor Sir William Berkley, the third thus for the honorable Major
General Wood. The last thus: RF. P. for Perceute who said he would learn
Englishman."' And on another tree hard by stand these letters one under
another'' TT. NP. VE. R after we had done we went ourselves down to the river
side; but not without great difficulty it being a piece of very rich ground
where on the Moketans. (166) had formerly lived, and grown up with weeds and
small locusts and thistles to a very great height that it was almost impossible
to pass. It cost us hard labor to get through'. When we came to the River side
we found it better and broader than expected, much like James River at Col.
Stagg's, the falls much like these falls.167 We imagined by the Water marks it
flaws here about three feat. It was ebbing Water when we were here. We set up a
stick by the Water side but found it ebb very slowly. Our Indians kept such a
hollowing that we dare not stay any longer to make further trial. Immediately
upon coming to our quarters we returned homewards and when we were on the top of
a Hill we turned about and saw over against us, westerly, over a certain
delightful hill a fog arise and a glimmering light as from water. We supposed
there to be a great Bay.168 We came to the Totems Tuesday night where we found
our horses, and ourselves well entertained. We immediately had the news of Mr.
Byrd and his great company's Discoveries three miles from the Tetera's Town. We
have found Mohetan Indians who having intelligence of our coming were afraid it
had been to fight them and had sent him to the Totem's to inquire. We gave him
satisfaction to the contrary and that we came as friends, presented him with
three or four shots of powder. He told us by our Interpreter, that we had been
from the mountains half way to the place they now live at. That the next town
beyond them lived upon plain level, from whence came abundance of salt. That he
could inform us no further by reason that there were a great company of Indians
that lived upon the great Water.
Sept. 21. After very civil entertainment we came from the Toteras and on
Sunday morning the 24th we came to the Hanahaskies. We found Mr. Wood dead and
buried and his horse likewise dead. After civil entertainment, with firing of
guns at parting which is more than usual.
Sept. 25. on Monday morning we came from thence and reached to the Sapony's
that night where we stayed till Wednesday.
Sept. 27. We came from thence they having been very courteous to us. At night
we came to the Apamatack Town, hungry, wet and weary.
Oct. 1 being Sunday morning we arrived at Fort Henry. God's holy name be
praised for our preservation.169
Extract from a Letter * of Mr. Clayton to the Royal Society,
read to them October 24, 1688170
WAKEFIELD, Aug. 17, 1688.
My last was the journal of Thomas Batt, Thomas Woods, and Robert Fallam. I
know Col. Byrd, that is mentioned to have been about that time as far as the
Toteras. He is one of the most intelligent Gentlemen in all Virginia, and knows
more of Indian affairs than any man in the Country. I discoursed him about the
River on the other side the Mountains said to ebb and flow, which he assured me
was a mistake in them, for that it must run into a Lake now called Petite, which
is fresh water, for since that time a Colony of the French are come down from
Canadas, and have seated themselves in the back of Virginia, where Fallam171 and
the rest supposed there might be a Bay, but is a Lake, to which they have given
the name of Lake Petite there being several large lakes betwixt that and Canada.
The French possessing themselves of these Lakes, no doubt will in a short time
be absolutely Masters of the Beaver trade, the greatest number of Beavers being
caught there. The Colonel told me likewise that the communication of the Lake of
Canada, he was assured, was a mistake, for the River supposed to come out of it
had no communication with any of the Lakes, or they with one another, but were
1 They traveled 40 miles from the Apomatack's Town.
2. 45 miles.
3. 40 miles.
4.. Arrived at Sapiny till two o'clock.
5. Came to Hanahasky 25 miles from Sapiny.
6. 20 miles.
7. 25 miles.
8. Came to the foot of the first mountain due west, 30 miles
9. Came to Toteras Town, 25 miles.
12 Leave Totera and come to the River Roanoke, almost at the head, 25 miles.
13. 22 miles.
14. 14 miles.
15. 15 miles.
16. 10 and see a large River running north.
17. they proclaim'd K. Ch. 2.
Remarks * on the Journal of Batts and Fallam; in their
Discovery o f the Western Parts of Virginia in 1671172 by John Mitchell, M.D.,
This discovery of Batts and Fallam is well known in the history of Virginia,
and there is no manner of doubt of its being authentic, although it has not yet
been published by the Royal Society. The account given of this Discovery by R.
B. (Robert Beverley, Esq., a Gentleman of note and distinction in the Country,
who was well acquainted with it and its History) agrees very well with this
original account of it; although' he is not so particular in describing the
place that these Discoverers went to, that we may be able to fix upon the Spot,
which I think we may do from the journal itself, and that from the following
1. The Appamatuck Town, the Place that they went from, is well known in
Virginia to this day, at least the River it stood upon, which is the Southern
Branch of James River, that is well known by the name of Appamattox; and Capt.
Smith, who was at this Town of Appamatuck, as he calls it, lays it down on the
River of Appomatox, a little below the Falls, opposite to where the Towns of
Petersburg or Blandford now stand; as may be seen by comparing his map of
Virginia with our Map of North America.*
2. From this Town of Appamatuck they set out along the Path that leads to
Acconeechy, which is an Indian Town on the Borders of Virginia and Carolina,
marked in all our Maps; from which path they traveled due west. Now you will see
both these Roads laid down in our Map of North America, and exactly as they are
described in this journal, they being the two Roads that lead from the Falls of
Appamattox River Southward to Carolina, and westward to our Settlements on Wood
River174 in Virginia.
3. This Road that goes to the westward, which was the one that our Travellers
went, crosses three Branches of Roanoke River, a little below the mountains,
just as it is described in the journal, as may be seen by comparing the journal
with our Map abovementioned. This .Branch of Roanoke River is called Sapony
River in the journal., which has been called Staunton River, (in memory of the
Lady of the late Governor of Virginia) ever since the survey of those Parts in
running the Boundary Line between Virginia and Carolina in 1729. The Sapony and
Totera Indians mentioned in the journal were then removed farther South, upon
the Heads of Pede River, as may be seen in the Map of Carolina by Mr. Mosley,
one of the surveyors in running that Line; and they are Now removed to the
Southward of that, among the Catawbas, as it is well known that all the Indians
of those Parts have done for many years, in order to protect themselves against
the Iroquois, who have over run all those Parts; and here we find a river that
still retains the name of Spongy or Johnston River, but a great way to the
southward of the River mentioned in the journal by that name.
4. From these Branches of Roanoke River they passed over the mountains, and
came to a large River West of the Mountains, running North and South; which
plainly appears from this account of it to have been what we call Wood River in
Virginia, which is well known and well settled by our People there, both above
and below the Place where these People discovered it; and they frequently pass
the Mountains now in going to and from Wood River, about the same place that is
described in the journal.
5. Nigh this River they saw from the tops of the Mountains an appearance of a
water at a distance, like a Lake, or arm of the Sea. The same observation is
made by another Person, Mr. Christopher Gist, who lately surveyed this Country
hereabouts, and indeed upon the spots described in the journal, as appears from
both their Routes as laid down in our Map above-mentioned, which cross one
another about the Place where these Discoverers fell in with the Great River, as
they call it. The water seen by Gist was known by him to be Wood River a little
lower down, where it passes a great Ridge of the Mountains that lye to the
6. When they arrived at this River, they were informed of a numerous and
warlike Nation of Indians, that lived on the Great Water, and made Salt, the
accounts of whom prevented their going any farther; all which is agreeable to
the History of those Times. The Indians they mean were the ancient Chawanoes or
Chaouanons, who lived to the westward and Northward of the Place that these
Discoverers were at; and were at this Time, 1671, engaged in a hot and bloody
war with the Iroquois, in which they were so closely pressed at this time, that
they were entirely extirpated or incorporated with the Iroquois the year
following. These People might make Salt no doubt, as the present Inhabitants of
those Parts do, from the many Salt Springs that are found on the Rivers Ohio and
Missisipi. And as for the great water that they lived upon, that appears even by
name to have been the Missisipi, which is so called from Meseha Cebe, two words
in the Indian Language that signify the Great River or Water; so that if we had
the Indian name of this Great Water, mentioned by our Travellers, instead of the
Interpretation of it in English, it is possible it might have been the same with
Missisipi; and whether or not, the name they give it we see means the same
7. The Distance that these people traveled was three hundred and thirty-eight
miles, besides what they went on the fourth day of their journey, which they do
not mention, but by their usual rate of traveling might be about eighteen or
twenty `miles, which makes about three hundred and sixty miles in all, and
almost due west. This is much farther to the westward than we lay down Wood
River at present, when we have had its true western Distance actually measured,
in running the Boundary between Virginia and Carolina. But it is very probable,
as Mr. Beverley says in his History, that these Travellers in passing the
Mountains in particular might not advance above three or four miles a Day in a
Strait Course. It has been generally found by our Surveyors in the woods of
America, as I have been told by some of them, and as appears indeed from their
Surveys compared with the Accounts of Travellers, that a true measured distance
on a strait course is about one third of the usual Distance computed by
Travellers in the woods, where they have no strait Roads and known Distances to
guide them. Accordingly we find from these Surveys of the Country, that it is
about one hundred and forty Miles in a strait course from the Falls of Appomatox
River to Wood River in Virginia, which is a little more than one third of the
Distance computed by our Discoverers.
Again; it is an usual way to compute Distances in the Woods of America by
Days journeys, and those that are used to it, come pretty nigh the truth, by
allowing twenty-five or thirty Miles a Day according to the Road, which makes
about ten Miles a Day in a strait Course. Now these People traveled fifteen
Days, and by this rule must have traveled one hundred and fifty Miles on a
strait Road; and accordingly we find it just one hundred and sixty Miles from
the Falls of Appomatox River in Virginia, where they set out, to Wood River,
upon the Road as it is laid down in our Map of North America, in which the
Longitude or western Distances are laid down from the late Surveys of those
From these several considerations compared together, it plainly appears, that
the Great River, as they call it, which these People discovered on the West side
of the Mountains of Virginia, was this Branch of the River Ohio that is well
known by the name of Wood River; which is the chief and principal Branch of the
Ohio, that rises in the Mountains of South Carolina, and running through North
Carolina and Virginia, falls into the Ohio about midway between Fort du Quesne
and the Missisipi; and the place they discovered it at seems to be about the
middle of that River; which has always retained the name of Wood River, from
this Major General Wood, or Col. Wood as he is called in Virginia, who we see by
the journal was the Author of this Discovery.
This journal then is a plain Narration of well Known Matters of Fact,
relating to the Discoveries of those western Parts of Virginia, and that many
years before any others even pretend to have made any Discoveries in those or
any other of the western Parts of North America, beyond the Apalachean
Mountains. It contains likewise plain Proofs of the other Discoveries that were
made here and hereabouts some time before, which were made by one Needham, by
order of Col. Wood of Virginia; and the inverted Letters, MA., NE. found on the
trees by our Travellers, seem to have been the names of these two Persons, cut
on the Trees as a Memorial of their Discoveries, as is usually done by
Travellers in the Woods, and as we see was done by ours at this Time.175 The
many Letters they found on the Trees on Wood River, are likewise plain Proofs of
others having been there before them. This is a plain confirmation of what is
related by Mr. Coxe176 in a memorial presented by him to King William in 1699,
and by several others, that all those western Parts of Virginia were discovered
by Col. Wood, in several journeys from the year 1654 to 1664.
These Discoveries are the more interesting at this Time, as those Parts are
now claimed by the French merely and solely upon a frivolous Pretext of a prior
Discovery by Mr. La Salle in 1680; who built the Fort of Crevecour on or below
the Lake Pimiteoni in that year, which seems to be the Lake Petite alluded to in
the extract of M. Clayton's Letter, from a very imperfect knowledge of it; which
Lake upon the River Illinois is not less perhaps than a thousand miles beyond or
to the westward of Fort du Quesne and the other places the French now claim on
the River Ohio in consequence of that Discovery as they call it.
Besides M. La Salle had even that Discovery of his, that has been so much
extolled and magnified, from the English; who by being so well settled in so
many Parts of this Continent, might surely very naturally conclude and easily
know from many accounts of the Natives, that there was a very extensive
Continent to the westward of them; which these Discoveries in Virginia, as well
as the Travels of Ferdinando Soto through Florida and over the Rio Grande, as he
calls it, or the Missisipi, in 1541, that had been published to the world, might
give them some more particular ac, count of, and excite their curiosity to make
farther Discoveries in it. Accordingly, in the year 1678, a Party of People from
New-England discovered all the western Parts of America to the Northward of
Virginia, as far as the Missisipi, and a great way beyond it; which Discovery of
the English gave occasion to the Discovery of the same Parts two years
afterwards, by Mr. La Salle; for the Indians who were with the English and
served them as Guides in this Discovery went to Canada upon their return. and
gave an Account of these Discoveries of the English to the French, who thereupon
set out to make the same Discovery; by virtue of which they now pretend to claim
nine tenths at least of all the known Parts of the Continent of North America,
and all the rest that is not known, which may be-as much more by all
It is true, our People have not wrote many Histories of their Discoveries, as
the French have, nor even published those that have been wrote, we see, any more
than the Spaniards; but that we have made many such Discoveries, appears best
from the Settlements that we have made, which compared with those of the French
are about twenty to one. In the year 1714, immediately after the Treaty of
Utrecht, Col. Spotswoode, Governor of Virginia went over the Apalachean
Mountains himself in Person, in company with several Gentlemen of the Country,
that are and have been well known to me, who had a good Road cleared over them,
and many Settlements were made beyond those Mountains soon afterwards, both in
the Northern and Southern Parts of Virginia, but chiefly in the Northern Parts
leading towards the Ohio; which Settlements extended to Logs Town on the River
Ohio, long before the late encroachments and usurpations of the French there.
The English first settled on the Ohio from Pennsylvania in the year 1725, as
appears from their Treaty with the Indians at Albany in y 5¢, and many other
accounts. In 1736 those Parts were duly surveyed and laid off by a company of
Surveyors as far as the Head Springs of the River Patowmack; and in 1739 or 1740
a Party of People were sent out by the Government of Virginia, and traversed the
whole Country, down Wood River and the River Ohio, to the Missisipi, and down
that River to New Orleans; ... whose journals I have seen and perused, and have
made a draught of the Country from them, and find them agree with other and
later accounts. About that Time a number of People petitioned the Government of
Virginia to grant them a Settlement upon the River Missisipi itself, about the
mouth of the River Ohio, which they offered to maintain and defend, as well as
to settle, at their own charge, so well were all those western Parts of Virginia
then known and frequented by our People; but they were refused this Request by
our Government itself, who have always prudently thought it more expedient to
continue their Settlements contiguous to one another, than to suffer them to be
straggling up and down in remote and uncultivated Deserts, as we see the French
have done, in order thereby to seem to occupy a greater extent of Territory,
whilst in effect they hardly occupy any at all. Yet we are not without many of
those Settlements among the Indians likewise, and that in a Country which we
have purchased from them three several times. In the year 1749 our People made a
Settlement among the Twightwee Indians at Pickawillany, which is reckoned by our
Traders five hundred Miles beyond Fort du Quesne, to which they were invited by
the Natives themselves, who came down to Lancaster in Pennsylvania for that
purpose, and made a Treaty to that effect with our People there Jul. 22d., 1749.
By this means we had several Settlements all along the River Ohio, and all over
the Country between that River and Lake Erie, and that long before the French
ever set a foot upon it, or knew any thing about it, but by Hearsay. And on the
South Side of the Ohio, we are not only well settled on Wood River, that is
described in this journal, but likewise on Holston River that lies upwards of
one hundred and fifty Miles to the westward of the Place that these People
discovered on Wood River in 1671; and. again on Cumberland River that lies as
much farther to the westward of that; all which Places and Settlements you see
marked on a map of period.
142. Two copies were made of Fallam's journal, one by the Reverend John
Clayton, the other for Dr. Daniel Coxe, designated herein, for convenience, as
the Clayton and Coxe copies, respectively. The Coxe copy was sent to the home
government by Dr. Coxe in March, r687, probably in connection with one of his
colonial schemes, in pursuit of which he fairly deluged the Lords of Trade with
documents, year after year, and is in Public Record Office, Colonial Papers,
vol. xxvii, no. 42, and printed in the New York Colonial Documents, vol. iii,
193 et seq. It is in the third person throughout, with many minor alterations
and omissions, the former chiefly designed to make it more intelligible to
British readers. The significant variations will be noted in their places.
The Clayton copy was made in Virginia at some time between 1684 and 1686, during
which time the Reverend John Clayton, was rector at Jamestown [William and Mary
Quarterly, vol. xv, 235]. It was sent by him to the Royal Society, of which he
was a member, while he was "rector of Crofton at Wakefield in
Yorkshire" [Miscellanea Curiosa (London, 1727), vol. iii, 336], and read
before them in Aug., 1688. Three other letters from Clayton to the Royal Society
and bearing on Virginia are printed in the Miscellanea Curiosa, and reprinted in
Force, Tracts, vol. iii, no. 12.
The journal as copied by Clayton is in the Royal Society Guard Books, 7, part x
[Andrews and Davenport, Guide to Ms. Materials for History of U.S. to 1783 in
British Museum, etc.]. It is also in British Museum, vol. 4432, entitled
"Papers Relating to the Royal Society," and was copied therefrom by
Bushnell and printed in the American Anthropologist, vol. ix, 4556; from which
the present version is printed. The Clayton copy is also printed in Fernow, Ohio
Valley in Colonial Days (Albany, 1890), 220-229, from the Sparks collection in
Harvard Library. It is reprinted from Fernow, without credit, in the William and
Mary Quarterly, vol. xv, 234-241.
143 Thomas Batts [Batt, Batted was in Virginia as early as 1667. He was son of
John Batts and grandson of Robert Batts, fellow and vicar-master of University
College, Oxford. With his brother Henry, to whom Beverley ascribes the
leadership of the present expedition, he patented five thousand, eight hundred,
seventy-eight acres of land in the Appomattox Valley, August 29, 1669. Henry
Batts was burgess far Charles City County in 1691. Thomas Batts died in 1698,
and his will is on record in Henrico County. Neill, Virginia Carolorum, index s.
v. "Batt," and especially page 327; Calendar State Papers, Colonial,
America and Lest Indies, r689-i69z, no. 1408: Bruce, Economic History of
Virginia, vol. i, 482, Vol. ii, 164.
144 In every copy of this journal other than that in the Anthropologist, and in
Wood's letter, the name is "Fallam," and this is undoubtedly correct.
145 The third person is used here and throughout the copy in the New York
* "Sapong" throughout in the New York Colonial Documents.
146 "Tolera" throughout in New York Colonial Documents.
147 New York Colonial Documents: "One of their horses being tired they sent
148 This is the Staunton River.
149 New York Colonial Documents: two of their horses strayed.
150 New York Colonial Documents: read in the hiatus "sometimes indifferent
good way, their course etc."
151 Near Salem, Va.
152 New York Colonial Documents: this sentence does not appear; the information
condensed into the entries for Sept. 9 and 12.
153 New York Colonial Documents: the entry for Sept. 12 is paraphrased and the
last sentence omitted.
154 New York Colonial Documents: omit the first sentence of this entry and state
that the mountain was reached "after a mile's travel."
155. New York Colonial Documents: omit this sentence.
156. New York Colonial Documents: "a pretty swift small current." The
stream referred to is Swift Creek, which empties into the Appomattox near
Petersburg, and which in 1670 was called "Randolph's River." Augustine
Herman, Map of Virginia and Maryland (London, 1670) in Virginia and Maryland
Boundary Report, 1873.
157. This "great run" was really the New River and identical with
their "great river." That they realized this is shown by the second
sentence following and by the last words of the entry for Sept. 14.
158. This paragraph varies greatly in the New York Colonial Documents,
apparently due to a desire of the transcriber to make the geography clearer. But
his version is not any more understandable and is probably incorrect.
160. New York Colonial Documents: "Mr. Batts supposed he saw houses, but
Mr. Fallam rather tooke them to be white cliffs . . ." This sentence shows
that Fallam wrote the journal.
161. This sentence is in New York Colonial Documents put under the entry for
Sept. :5. Expedition of Batts and Fallam.
162. New York Colonial Documents: "the Thames agt Chelcey."
163. New York Colonial Documents: "Mohetans." The sentence is
transposed and paraphrased.
164. New York Colonial Documents: "P for Perecute who said he would be an
165 The letters I N are inserted before the rest, in New York Colonial
166. "Mohetans" in New York Colonial Documents.
167. New York Colonial Documents: "full as broad as the Thames over agt
Waping, Ye falls, much like the Falls of James River in Virginia." On
Augustine Herman's map of Va., 1670, an island in the James below the falls is
called "Staggs Ile." The Stegg referred to was the uncle of William
Byrd I. See Byrd, William, Writings, pp. xiv-xv. The point reached by the
explorers was Peters' Falls, where the New River breaks through Peters'
Mountain, near Petersburg, Va.
168. New York Colonial Documents: "Bog."
169. New York Colonial Documents condense and paraphrase the entries Sept.
21-Oct. 1, and read in lieu of the last sentence "Christo duce et
* Supplement to the Letter Books, Vol ii, 483.
170 This is one of the three letters of Clayton to the Royal Society regarding
Virginia published in the Miscellanea Curiosa and in Force's Tracts [footnote
142]. It is also in the Royal Society Transactions, vol. xvii, no. 206, p. 978,
December, 1693. In all these three forms the first sentence, men tioning the
Fallam journal, is omitted. The next three sentences are altered and transposed,
and the statement that Byrd had been as far as the Toteras disappears. The
present extract is printed in Fernow [footnote 142] from the Sparks collection,
and in the Anthropologist (vide ibid.), vol. ix, 54 et seq., just as found
herein. We follow a transcript of the original manuscript, made originally in
London by Miss Agnes C. Laut, but also collated for this volume.
171 This sentence remains thus in all the versions.
* British Museum, 4432, Papers relating to Royal Society.
172. Printed in Fernow, Ohio Valley in Colonial Days, 230-240, and in the
.Anthropologist, vol. ix, 55 et seq. [footnote 142]. Printed herein from copy of
the original manuscript made in London by Miss Agnes C. Laut, and collated in
173. These words are in another hand and blacker ink, but not enclosed in
brackets in the manuscript.
*This refers to Mitchell's Map of the British Colonies (1755).
174. Vide, footnote 142.
175. Mitchell's attempted solution of this puzzle is interesting, but hardly
176. History of Carolana.
177. Mitchell evidently is following Coxe's story, see pales 229-247.
The Journeys of Needham and Arthur
A Memorandum by John Locke
Letter of Abraham Wood to John Richards, August 22, 1674
The Journeys of Needham and Arthur
A Memorandum * by John Locke (179)
Virginia come was worth in September, 74 150 11. tobacco per barrel the
barrel contains 5 bushels and the tobacco counted worth about 15s.
The cheapest time to buy come is Oct. Nov. and Dec: which is newly after
harvest and he thinks new Borne then may be worth ; 100 11. tobacco per barrel
The Indian come requires most labor in planting and tillage as 5 to 1
compared with wheat, and is of a courser taste, but nourishes laborers better,
and bring a far greater increase commonly 5o for one Dry seasons after sowing
are naught for the Indian come good for wheat wherefor they commonly soave both,
so that when one misses the other hits
They have a sorts of wheat, winter wheat which they soave in September and
summer wheat which they soave in March both ripe in June or July.
The Indian come they gather in the beginning of Octob .
Major Generall Wood lives in the most south west part of Virginia, about 60
miles from ye mountains upon Apomatock river, which falls into James river and
ye chanel of it lies from James river south.
Endorsed: Virginia, Husbandry.
Letter181 of Abraham Wood to John Richards August 22, 1674
To my Honoured Friend, Mr. John Richards in London, present.
That I have been att ye charge to the value of two hundred pounds starling in
ye discovery to ye south or west sea Declaro: and what my endeavors were in two
years you was made sensible of by ye hands of Thomas Batt and Robert Fallam in
part: att my own charge ye effects of this present year I am now to give you an
account of in as much brevity as I can.
About ye loth of April : 1673: I sent out two English men and eight Indians,
with accommodation for three months, but by misfortune and unwillingness of ye
Indians before the mountains, that any should discover beyond them my people
returned effecting little, to be short,
on ye 17th of May: 1673 I sent them out again, with ye like number of Indians
and four horses. about ye 25th of June they met with ye Tomahitans as they were
journeying from ye mountains to ye Occhonechees. The Tomahaitans told my men
that if an English man would stay with them they would some of them corn to my
plantation with a letter which a eleven of them did accordingly, and about forty
of them promised to stay with my men att Occhonechee until ye eleven returned:
ye effect of ye letter was they resolved by Gods Blessing to go through with ye
Tomahitans. ye eleven resolve to stay at my house three days to rest themselves.
I hastened away another English man and a horse to Occhonechee to give them
intelligence; but by the extremity of rain they could not bee expeditious, so
that through ye instigation of ye Occhonechees, and through ye doubt they had,
as I suppose, of ye miscarrge of their men att my plantations, being so possest
by the other Indians, ye Tomihitans went away, and my two men with them, and as
since I understand ye eleven over took them, before they came to ye mountains,
with my letter, which rejoiced ye two English men and one Appomattecke Indian
for no more dare to go a long with them; they journeyed nine days from
Occhonechee to Sitteree : west and by south, past nine rivers and creeks which
all end in this side ye mountains and empty them selves into ye east sea.
Sitteree being the last town of inhabitance and not any path further until they
came within two days journey of ye Tomahitans; they travel from thence up the
mountains upon ye sun setting all ye way, and in four days get to ye top, some
times leading their horses sometimes riding. Ye ridge upon ye top is not above
two hundred paces over; ye decent better then on this side. in half a day they
came to ye foot, and then level ground all ye way, many slashes upon ye heads of
small runs. The slashes are full of very great canes and ye water runes to ye
north west. They pass five rivers and about two hundred paces over ye fifth
being ye middle most half a mile broad all sandy bottoms, with pebble stones,
all fordable and all empties themselves north west, when they travel upon ye
plains, from ye mountains they go down, for several days they see straged hills
on their right hand, as they judge two days journey f rom them, by this time
they have lost all their horses but one; not so much by ye badness of the way as
by hard travel. not having time to feed. when they lost sight of those hills
they see a fog or smoke like a cloud from whence rain falls for several days on
their right hand as they travel still towards the sun setting great store of
game, all along as turkeys deer, elks, bear, wolf and other vermin very tame, at
ye end of fifteen days from Sitteree they arrive at ye Tomahitans river, being
ye 6th river f rom ye mountains. this river att ye Tomahitans town seems to run
more westerly than ye other five. This river they past in cannoos ye town being
seated in ye other side about four hundred paces broad above ye town, within
sight, ye horse they had left waded only a small channel swam, they were very
kindly entertained by them, even to adoration in their ceremonies of courtesies
and 2 stake was sett up in ye middle of ye town to fasten ye horse to, and
abundance of corns and all manner of pulse with fish, flesh and bear oil for ye
horse to feed upon and a scaffold sett up before day for my two men and
Appomattocke Indian that their people might stand and gaze at them and not
offend them by their throng. This town is seated on ye river side, having ye
clefts of ye river on ye one side being very high for its defense, the other
three sides trees of two foot over, pitched on end, twelve foot high, and on ye
tops scaffolds placed with parapets to defend the walls and offend their enemies
which men stand on to fight, many nations of Indians inhabit down this river,
which runes west upon ye salts which they are att war with and to that end keep
one hundred and fifty cannoes under ye command of their forte. ye least of them
will carry twenty men, and made sharp at both ends like a wherry for swiftness,
this forte is four square; 300; paces over and ye houses sett in streets, many
horns like bulls horns lye upon their dunghills, store of fish they have, one
sort they have like unto stocke - fish cured after that manner. Eight days
journey down this river lives a white people which have long beards and whiskers
and wears clothing, and on some of ye other rivers lives a hairy people, not
many years since ye Tomahittans sent twenty men laden with beaver to ye white
people, they killed ten of them and put ye other ten in irons, two of which ten
escaped and one of them came with one of my men to my plantation as you will
understand after a small time of rest one of my men returns with his horse, ye
Appomatock Indian and 12 Tomahittans, eight men and four women, one of those
eight is hee which hath been a prisoner with ye white people, my other man
remains with them until ye next return to learn ye language. the loth of
September my man with his horse and ye twelve Indians arrived at my house praise
bee to God, ye Tomahitans have a bout sixty guns, not such locks as ours bee,
the steels are long and channeled where ye flints strike, ye prisoner relates
that ye white people have a bell which is six foot over which they ring morning
and evening and att that time a great number of people congregate together and
talks he knows not what. they have many blacks among them. oysters and many
other shell-fish, many swine and cattle. Their building is brick, the
Tomahittans have amongst them many brass pots and kettles from three gallons to
thirty. they have two mullato women all ye white and black people they take they
put to death since their twenty men were barbarously handled. After nine days
rest, my man with ye horse he brought home and ye twelve Tomahittans began their
journey ye 20th of September intending, God blessing him, at ye spring of ye
next year to return with his companion att which time God sparing me life I hope
to give you and some other friends better satisfaction. all this I presented to
ye Grand Assembly of Virginia, but not so much as one word in answer or any
encouragement or assistance given.
The good success of ye last journey by my men performed gave me great hopes
of a good success in ye latter for I never heard from nor any thing after I
employed Mr. James Needham 182 past from Aeno an Indian town two days journey
beyond Occhoneeche in safety but now begins ye tragical scene of bad hap. upon
ye 27th of January following I received a flying report by some Indians that my
men were kind by ye Tomahitans passing over their river as they were returning,
now daily came variable reports of their miscarriage. All Indians spake darkly
to hide ye truth from being discovered for fears ye guilt of ye murder would be
laid upon them selves. I sent an other man out to inquire what might bee found
out of truth in ye business, but before his return upon ye 25th of February came
one Henry Hatcher an English man, to my house which had been att Occhonechee a
trading with them Indians, and tells me that my man I last sent out was stopped
there by ye Occhenechees from Boeing any further until Hattcher persuaded them
to let my man pas, which they did accordingly, this Hatcher further told me that
Mr. James Needham was certainly kind att his Boeing out, but by whom he knew
not, but as ye Occhonechees said by the Tomahittans that went with him, but said
Hatcher I saw ye Occhonechees Indian known by ye name of John, a fat thick bluff
faced fellow, have Mr. James Needhams pistons and gun in his hand, as the Indian
himself told Hatcher.
This Indian John by his Indian name is called Hasecoll, now you are to note
that this Indian John was one that went with Mr. James Needham and my man
Gabriell Arthur att ye first to ye Tomahitans and returned with Mr. James
Needham to my house where he ye said John received a reward to his content and a
greed with me to go a game with him. and endeavor his protection to ye
Tomahittans and to return with Mr. James Needham and my man to my house ye next
spring and to that end received half his pay in hand. Ye rest hee was to receive
at his return. My poor man Gabriell Arthur all this while captivated all this
time in a strange land, where never English man before had set foot, in all
likelihood either slain, or att least never likely to return to see ye face of
an English man, but by ye great providence and protection of God almighty still
survives which just God will not suffer just and honest endeavors to fall quite
to ye ground. Mauger ye deivill and all his adherents, Well, shall now give a
relation, what my man hath discovered in all ye time that Mr. James Needham left
him att ye Tomahitans to ye 18th of June 74.. which was ye day Gabriell arrived
att my house in safety with a Spanish Indian boy only, with difficulty and
hazard and how Mr. James Needham came to his end by ye hands of the barbarous
rogue Indian John that had undertaken his protection and safety and as brief as
I can give a touch upon ye heads of ye material matter my mans memory could
retain, for he cannot write ye greater pity, for should I insert all ye
particulars it would swell to too great a volume and perhaps seem too tedious to
ye courteous and charitable Reader so I beg pardon for ignorant errors, and
shall again come to Mr. Needhams, where wee left him. from Aeno hee journeyed to
Sarrah, with his companions ye Tomahitons and John ye Occhoenechee accompanied
with more of his country men which was to see ye tragedy acted as I suppose, it
happened as they past Sarrah river an Indian let his pack slip into ye water
whether on purpose or by chance I cannot judge, upon this some words past
between Needham and ye Indian. Ochenechee Indian John took up Mr. Needham very
short in words and so continued scolding all day until they had past ye Yattken
town and so over Yattken river, not far from ye river Mr. Needham alighted it
not being far from the foot of ye mountains, and there took up their quarters.
Still Indian John continued his wailing and threatening Mr. Needham took up a
hatchet which lay by him, having his sword by him threw ye hatchet on ye ground
by Indian John and said what John are you minded to kill me. Indian John
immediately caught up a gun, which he himself had carried to kill meat for them
to eat and shot Mr. Needham near ye burr of ye ear and killed him not
withstanding all ye Tomahittans started up to rescue Needham but Indian John was
to quick for them, so died this heroic English man whose fame shall never die if
my pen. were able to eternize it which had adventured where never any English
man had dared to attempt before and with him died one hundred forty-four pounds
starling of my adventure with him. I wish I could have saved his life with ten
times ye value. Now his companions ye Tomahittans all fell a weeping and cried
what shall wee doe now you have kind ye English man wee shall be cut of by ye
English. Indian John drew out his knife stepped across ye corpse of Mr. Needham,
ripped open his body, drew out his hart, held it up in his hand and turned and
looked to ye eastward, toward ye English plantations and said hee valued not all
ye English. Ye Tomahittans reployed, how dare you doe this, wee are all afraid
of ye English. Indian John reployed he was paid for what he had done and had
received his reward and then laid a command upon ye Tomahittans that they should
dispatch and kill ye English man which Needham had left att ye Tomahittans and
immediately opened the packs took what goods he pleased, so much as Needham's
horse could carry and so returned back.
Now wee return back to my man Gabriell Arther. Ye Tomahittans hasten home as
fast as they can to tell ye news ye King or chief man not being att home, some
of ye Tomahittans which were great lovers of ye Occheneechees went to put Indian
Johns command in speedy execution and tied Gabriell Arther to a stake and laid
heaps of combustible canes a bout him to burn him, but before ye fire was put
too ye King came into ye town with a gun upon his shoulder and hearing of ye
uproar for some was with it and some a against it. ye King ran with great speed
to ye place, and said who is that is going to put fire to ye English man. a
Weesock borne started up with a fire brand in his hand said that am I. Ye King
forthwith cocked his gun and shot ye wesock dead, and ran to Gabriell and with
his knife cut ye thongs that tide him and had him go to his house and said let
me see who dares touch him and all ve wesocks children they take are brought up
with them as ye Ianesaryes are amongst ye Turkeys. this king came to my house
upon ye 21th of June as you will hear in ye following discourse.
Now after ye tumult was over they make preparation for to manage ye war for
that is ye course of their living to forage rob and spoil other nations and the
king commands Gabriell Arther to go along with a party that went to rob ye
Spaniard, promising him that in ye next spring hee him self would carry him home
to his master. Gabriell must now bee obedient to their commands. in ye
deplorable condition hee was in was put in arms, gun, tomahawk, and targett and
so marched a way with ye company, being about fifty. they traveled eight days
west and by south as he guest and came to a town of Negroes, spacious and great,
but all wooden buildings Hear they could not take any thing without being spied.
The next day they marched along by ye side of a great carte path, and about five
or six miles as he judged came within sight of the Spanish town, walled about
with brick and all brick buildings within. There he saw ye steeple where in hung
ye bell which Mr. Needham gives relation of and heard it ring in ye evening.
hear they dare not stay but drew of and ye next morning laid an ambush in a
convenient place near ye cart path before mentioned and there lay almost seven
days to steal for their sustenance. Ye 7th day a Spanniard in a gentile habit,
accoutered with gun, sword and pistol. one of ye Tomahittans espying him at a
distance crept up to ye path side and shot him to death. In his pocket were two
pieces of gold and a small gold chain. which ye Tomahittans gave to Gabriell,
but hee unfortunately lost it in his venturing as you shall hear by ye sequel.
Here they hastened to ye negro town where they had ye advantage to meet with a
lone negro. After him runs one of the Tomahittans with a dart in his hand, made
with a piece of ye blade of Needhams sword, and threw it after ye negro, struck
him though between his shoulders so hee fell down dead. They took from him some
toys. which hung in his Bares, and bracelets about his neck and so returned as
expeditiously as they could to their own homes.
They rested but a short time before another party was commanded out a game
and Gabrielle Arther was commanded out again, and this was to Porte Royall, Here
hee refused to go saying those were English men and he would not fight a against
his own nation, he had rather be killed. The King told him they intended no hurt
to ye English men, for he had promised Needham att his first coming to him that
he would never doe violence a against any English more but their business was to
cut off a town of Indians which lived near ye English, I but said Gabriell what
if any English be att that town, a trading, ye King sware by ye fire which they
adore as their god they would not hurt them so they marched a way over ye
mountains and came upon ye head of Port Royall river in six days. There they
made perriaugers of bark and so past down ye stream with much swiftness, next
coming to a convenient place of landing they went on shore and marched to ye
eastward of ye south, one whole day and parte of ye night. At length they
brought him to ye sight of an English house, and Gabriell with some of the
Indians crept up to ye house side and listened what they said, they being
talking with in ye house, Gabriell hard one say, pox take such a master that
will not glow a servant a bit of meat to Bate upon Christmas day, by that means
Gabriell knew what time of ye year it was, so they drew of secretly and hasten
to ye Indian town, which was not above six miles thence. about break of day
stole upon ye town. Ye first house Gabriell came too there was an English man.
Hee hard him say Lord have mercy upon me. Gabriell said to him run for thy life.
Said hee which way shall I run. Gabriell reployed, which way thou wilt they will
not meddle with thee. So hee ran and ye Tomahittans opened and let him pas clear
there they got ye English mans snapsack with beads, knives and other petty truck
in it. They made a very great slaughter upon the Indians and a bout sun rising
they hard many great guns fired off amongst the English. Then they hastened a
way with what speed they could and in less then fourteen days arrived att ye
Tomahittns with their plunder.
Now ye king must go to give ye monetons a visit which were his friends, mony
signifying water and ton great in their language Gabriell must go along with him
They get forth with sixty men and traveled term days due north and then arrived
at ye monyton town situated upon a very great river att which place ye tide ebbs
and flows. Gabriell sworn in ye river several times, being fresh water, this is
a great town and a great number of Indians belong unto it, and in ye same river
Mr. Batt and Fallam were upon the head of it as you read in one of my first
journals. This river runes north west and out of ye westerly side of it goeth
another very great river about a days journey lower where the inhabitance are an
innumerable company of Indians, as the monytons told my man which is twenty days
journey from one end to ye other of ye inhabitance, and all these are at war
with the Tomahitans. when they had taken their leave of ye monytons they marched
three days out of their way to give a clap to some of that great nation, where
they fell on with great courage and were as courageously repulsed by their
And hear Gabriell received shot with two arrows; one of them in his thigh,
which stopped his running and so was taken prisoner, for Indian vapor consists
most in their heels for he that can run best is accounted ye best man. These
Indians thought this Gabrill to be no Tomahittan by ye length of his hair, for
ye Tomahittans keep their hair close cut to ye end an mime may not take an
advantage to lay hold of them by it. They took Gabriell and scoured his skin
with water and ashes, and when they perceived his skin to be white they made
very much of him and admire att his knife gun and hatchet they took with him.
They gave those thing to him a game. He made signs to them the gun was ye
Tomahittons which he had a desire to take with him, but ye knife and hatchet he
gave to ye king. they not knowing ye use of guns, the king received it with
great sheaves of thankfullness for they had not any manner of iron instrument
that bee saw amongst them whilst he was there they brought in a fat beaver which
they had newly kind and went to swrynge [sic] it. Gabriell made signs to them
that those e skins were good amongst the white people toward the sun rising they
would know by signs how many such skins they would take for such a knife. He
told them four and eight for such a hatchet and made signs that if they would
let him return, he would bring many things amongst them. they seemed to rejoice
att it and carried him to a path that carried to ye Tomahittans gave him
Rokahamony for his journey and so they departed, to be short. when he came to ye
Tomahittans ye king had one short voyage more before hee could bring in Gabriell
and that was down ye river, they live upon in perriougers to kill hogs, bear and
sturgeon which they did incontinent by five days and nights. They went down ye
river and came to ye mouth of ye salts where they could not see land but the
water not above three foot deep hard sand.183 By this means wee know this is not
ye river ye Spaniards live upon as Mr. Needham did think. Here they killed many
swine, sturgeon and beavers and barbecued them, so returned and were fifteen
days running up a against ye stream but no mountainous land to be seen but all
After they had made an end of costing of it about ye loth day of May 1674, ye
king with eighteen more of his people laden with goods begin their journey to
come to Forte Henry att ye falls of Appomattock river in Charles City County in
Virginia, they were not disturbed in all their travels until they came to Sarah,
where ye Occhenechees were as I told you before to await Gabrills coming. There
were but four Occohenechees Indians there so that they dare not adventure to
attempt any violent action by day. Hear they say they saw the small truck lying
under foot that Indian John had scattered and thrown about when he had killed
Mr. Needham. when it grew pretty late in ye night ye Occhenee began to work
their plot and made an alarm by an hubbub crying out the town was beset with
innumerable company of strange Indians this puts the town people into a sodane
fright many being between sleeping and waking, away rune ye Tomahittans an d
leave all behind them, and amongst ye rest was Gabrills two pieces of gold and
chain in an Indian bag away slips Gabriell and ye Spanish Indian boy which he
brought with him and hide themselves in ye bushes.
After ye Tomahittans were gon ye four Occhenechees for there came no more to
disturb 'them, made diligent search for Gabriell. Ye moon shining bright
Gabriell saw them, but he lying under covert of ye bushes could not be seen by
that Indians. In ye morning ye Occhenechees having mist of their acme passed
home and Gabriell came into ye town again and four of ye Tomahittans packs hires
four Sarrah Indians to carry them to Aeno. Here he met with my man I had sent
out so long ago before to inquire for news desperately sick of ye flux, here hee
could not get any to go forth with his packs for fears of ye Occhenechees, so he
left them and adventured himself with ye Spanish Indian boy. ye next day came
before night in sight of ye Occhenechees town undiscovered and there hid himself
until it was dark and then waded over into ye island where ye Occhenechees are
seated, strongly fortified by nature and that makes them so insolent for they
are but a handful of people, besides what vagabonds repaire to them it beefing a
receptacle for rogues. Gabriell escapes clearly through them and so wades out on
this side and runs for it all night. Their food was huckleberries, which ye
woods were full of att that time and on ye r 8th June with ye boy arrived att my
house, praise be to God for it. now wee come again to ye king of ye Tomahittans.
With his two sons and one more who took their packs with them and comes along by
Totero under ye foot of ye mountains, until they matt with James river and there
made a canoe of bark and came down the river to the Manikins. from thence to
Powetan by land, and across the neck and on ye 20th of July at night arrived att
my house and gives certain relation how Mr. James Needham came by his death.
This king I received with much joy and kind entertainment and much joy there was
between Gabriell and ye king, that once more they were met again. I gave the
king a good reward for his high favor in preserving my mans life. Hee staid with
me a few days promising to bee with me again att ye fall of ye leafe with a
party that would not be frited by ye way and doubt not but hee 'will come if hee
bee not intercepted by self ended traders for they have strove what they could
to block up ye design from ye beginning. which were here too tedious to relate.
Thus ends ye tragedy I hope yet to live to write cominically of ye business. If
I could have ye countenance of some person of honor in England to curb and
bridle ye obstructors here for here is no encouragement att all to be had for
him that is Sir, Your humble servant.
From Forte Henry, August the 22th, 1674.
Endorsed in Locke's hand: Carolina Discoverys crosse the mountains by Major
Generall Wood 1674
178. Probably Howard and Salley, 1742. Gist, Christopher. Journals.
* Shaftesbury Papers, section 9, bundle 48, no. 83.
179 This memorandum is printed in the Calendar o f State Papers, Colonial,
4merica and West Indies, 1669-1674, no. 1428. The original has been carefully
compared with Locke's handwriting and it is undoubtedly genuine.
180. John Richards, Wood's friend and the recipient of his letter, describing
the explorations of 1673/4, was appointed by the Lords Proprietors of Carolina
as their "Treasurer, and Agent in matters relating to their joint carrying
on of that Plantation," in room of the late Peter Jones, December 4, 1674.
Colonial Papers, Amer. and W.I., 1669-1674, no. 1402. He is several times
mentioned in the series just cited [nos. got, 1138, 1139] as the bearer of
letters to Lord Arlington from Colonel Codrington in Barbadoes, first on July
27, 1672. He was in Virginia on August 4, 1673 [ibid., no. 1124]. A letter of
October 23, 1673 [ibid., no. 1153] shows him to have been a correspondent of
181. From Public Record Office of London, Shaftesbury Papers, section ix, bundle
48, no. 94. It is endorsed: "Supposed to be the Carolina colonies first
journey to Mississippi." Here printed for the first time; from a transcript
made in London by Miss Agnes C. Laut but collated for this volume in London. The
critical discussion of this important document will be found almost exclusively
in the Introduction rather than in footnotes. The names of Indians mentioned
were written as a guide in the margin by John Locke. These have been omitted.
182. For what has been found regarding Needham, see page 79.
183. Arthur seems to be in error somewhere. Either the party went to the
Chattahoochee or Alabama River and descended it to the Gulf, or what is more
likely, they simply paddled down the Tennessee to some broad, sandy shoal, and
Arthur's imagination and anxiety to reach the South Sea did the rest.
* British Museum Additional Manuscripts 15903, f., 116.
184. Printed from transcript made in London; hitherto unpublished.
The ascription of this document to Edward Billing is certainly incorrect;
Billing died in Jan., 1687, and the author continually refers to events that
happened many years later. Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol.
It was written by Dr. Daniel Coxe, of London. Coxe was born in 1640 and died in
his ninetieth year. He never visited America, deeply interested as he was in its
affairs. He was an M.D. of Cambridge, a scientist, and a Fellow of the Royal
Society. In the course of his life-long pursuit of plans for colonization in
America he accumulated a great store of documentary information regarding the
early history and exploration of the continent, and in preserving some of it
rendered a distinct service to contemporary geography, and to American history.
Regarding the question of his personal truthfulness and the explanation of the
"travelers tales" that are sometimes found in his writings, we cannot
do better than quote the acute and judicious Governor Nicholson of Virginia, who
was well acquainted with Coxe and his various writings. Nicholson writes, Aug.
27, 1700, "I believe he is an honest gentleman and a very good doctor...
but I am afraid several people have abused the Doctor's good nature and
generosity by telling him of strange countries and giving him maps
thereof."-Calendar o/ State Papers, Colonial, ,America and West ladies,
1700, no. 739. P. 497.
Coxe was interested in bath the jerseys, and after the death of Edward Billing
in 1687 purchased from the family their lands in West Jersey, together with the
right of government in the province, under the grant of the Duke of York to
Billing. Coxe sold this latter, and most of the lands, in March, 1692, to Lane
In his "Account of New Jersey" [printed in the Pennsylvania Magazine o
f History and Biography, vol. vii, 327-335 Coxe writes: "I have made greate
discoveryes towards the greate Lake whence come above 100,000 Bevers every year
to the French Canada and English at New Yorke, Jersey, Pensilvania. I have
contracted Freinshipp with diverse petty Kings in the way to and upon the sd
greate Lake and doubt not to bring the greatest part of the sd Traffick for Furs
into that part of the Country where I am setled and by my patent I am intituled
to the said Trade Exclusive of others."
He further states that one of his tracts on the Delaware is admirably located
for Indian trade, and is only six days easy journey from the great lake. He adds
"I have been att greate Expence to make friendshipp with the Indians,
discover the passages to the Lakes, and open'd a way for a vast trade
thereunto." It should be stated that this "Account of New Jersey"
was advertising literature, written while he was trying to sell the province.
On April 24, 1690, Coxe petitioned the Council for a grant of land in America
between 36 E° 30' and 46 E°
30'. The request was referred to the Lords of Trade, urged by him before them,
and refused. [Calendar o f State Papers, Colonial, America and West Indies,
r689-r69z, nos. 843, 1027, 13177, 2767]
At some time prior to 1698 he purchased the rights to the patent of Carolana
(see page 238) which included Norfolk County, Virginia, and the English rights
to the Mississippi Valley west of the Carolinas. He at once began to bombard the
government with appeals for the confirmation of his patents and for assistance
in his colonizing schemes. Despite the opposition of the Virginia government,
his title to the Carolana patent was confirmed by the highest legal authority,
the Lords of Trade listened rather favorably to his plans, and some countenance
was for a time given his endeavors. Coxe himself says that it was the death of
King William, in 11702, which ended the government's favor, but before that time
political reasons, mainly the danger of trouble with the Spaniards and French,
and practical difficulties had produced a change in the attitude of the Lords of
Trade [Calendar o f State Papers, Colonial, America and West Indies, 1699, nos.
855, 86x, 867, 953, 957, 966, 970, 972, 974, 1050, 1051, 1067, 1081, 1082,
1083]. The documents submitted by Coxe record the fact that he was ordered by
the Lords of Trade to come before them and prove certain of the allegations made
in his memorial [no. 967].
In 1698 the Doctor fitted out two armed vessels to explore the regions to which
he laid claim. He had already interested the Huguenot refugees in London in his
plan, and intended to settle them on the Mississippi. Several of the Huguenot
gentlemen volunteered to accompany the expedition. Come provided his captains
with a map made from Spanish sources, and they found and entered the river,
being the first to do so in seagoing vessels. They proceeded up the stream to
the point still known as English Turn, and on the way encountered Bienville
(Sept. 15, 1699), were warned off by him, but took it coolly and promised to
come again. One ship was wrecked on the return voyage, but the other arrived in
England in February, 1700. The journals and charts of its officers were
immediately laid before the council, and the captain, Bond by name, called in to
verify them. Fide post, pp. 11a-113 ; Calendar of State Papers, Colonial,
America and West Indies, 17oo, nos. 124, 127, 132; Jesuit Relations, vol. Ixv,
172-173, 270, footnote; Charlevoix, History of New France, vol. v, 124; Sauvole,
Journal, Vol, iii, 229-238; La Harpe, 29; Margry, Decouvertes et Etablissement
des Francais vol. iv, 361.
But Coxe had already (Jan. 2, 1700) abandoned for the time his plan of settling
on the Mississippi, and after considering Jamaica as the solution of the
difficulty and being forced to give it up, too [Calendar o f State Papers,
Colonial, America and West Indies, 17oo, no. 56], be pressed his claims to
Norfolk County and arranged to send the Huguenots thither. A body of several
hundred were actually despatched. They found all the lands occupied and the
climate unhealthy, and underwent some distress, from which they were relieved by
the people of the colony, and were finally settled by the government at Manakin
Town in the piedmont [ibid., nos. 2, 143, 146, ;139 xiii, 18, 26, 28, 132, 681,
Coxe never entirely abandoned hope of reviving his project for a colony on the
Mississippi, and sent many other communications to the Lords of Trade regarding
his Carolana patent [ibid., 1701, nos. 721, 1042 xii, 1166, p. 637]. The
memorial here printed is one of these communications, and was sent in some time
after 1702 [see Carolana, 41-42]. It follows the original memorial of 1699, with
some omissions and some additions. The scheme which it proposes for dividing
Carolana at the Mississippi River between France and England is again proposed
in Carolana, 34.
Dr. Daniel Coxe was succeeded in his pretensions by his son, Colonel Daniel
Coxe, who composed the book Carolana (London, 1705) from his father's papers.
For sketch of the son's life see Pennsylvania Magazine o f History and
Biography, vol. vii, 326. The title to Carolana remained in the Coxe family
until 1769, when the heirs surrendered it to the British government in exchange
for a hundred thousand acres of land in New York. The senior Coxe is perhaps
better remembered as the author of one of the earliest plans for colonial union
than as a colonizer. A good sketch of the life of Dr. Coxe is found in the
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, vol. vii, 3117-326. It is by U.
D. Scull of Oxford, England, and is prepared principally from unpublished
manuscripts in the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The author did not, however, have
the aid of the colonial state papers, which have been principally relied upon in
the preparation of the present sketch.
The reference is to a volume entitled Dernieres deconvertes dans l'Amerique
septentrionale de M. de la Salle. The authorship of which was ascribed to Tonty,
but denied by him. It was published in 1697 not 1679 as stated in the document.
The English translation was published at London in 1698.
185. No such records have been found, though diligent search has been made for
them. This was probably a case in which Dr. Coxe was imposed upon. At any rate
it seems to be the origin of one of the most persistent of the unproved stories
of English exploration.
* For other accounts of this episode consult New York Colonial Documents, Vol.
iii, 395, 436; consult index.
186. This is that abstracted in Calendar of State Papers, Colonial, America and
West Indies, 1699, no. 967, and in Carolana.
187. What precedes is the authoritative account of the origin and transmission
of the title to Carolana, approved by the attorney-general and other high legal
188. This is quite true, for the French officers saw the map. See footnote 184.
* An examination of the registers has been made and no such entry found.
189. This appears quite clearly a case where Coxe was imposed upon both with
sorry and map.
190. This gentleman was one of the two leaders of the large band of Huguenots
whom Coxe sent to settle in Virginia the next year.
191. We have not found this journal but in a long discussion of the navigability
of the Mississippi, written by General Phineas Lyman in 1766 [Lansdoune Mss.,
Vol. xlviii, 263 et seq.] long extracts of the journal of Captain Bond (the
captain above mentioned), are quoted. According to these the English ships
sailed about one hundred miles up the river.
192 Compare Carolana, 34.
Coxe's Account of the Activities of the English in the Mississippi Valley in
the Seventeenth Century
A Memorial by Dr. Daniel Coxe
Coxe's Account of the Activities of the English in the
Mississippi Valley in the Seventeenth Century
A Memorial* by Dr. Daniel Coxe
Report relative to the English discoveries in Carolina and Florida, and the
settlement -of English and French claims (temp. George 1) : the writer Edward
Billing"], speaks of himself as having been Governor of New Jersey towards
the end of the reign of Charles II184 Mr. Tonty one of the French king's
Governors in Canada owns in his book printed at Paris, That in the year 1679
when he was there the Iroquois were possessed of a Territory Extending from the
Lower End of the Island Montreal], where the two great Rivers meet which form
the River St. Laurance of two hundred Leagues Extent, which is to the west end
of the Lake Erie. And elsewhere, that they had conquered the Miamihas and
Illinois, Chavanoues three great Nations as far as the River Meschacebe, And
that Northward they had conquered the Kicapous, Maschoutens, etc: for which and
divers other passages in his Book which seemed to favor the English pretensions,
The book was called in by the French king, and I could not at Paris procure that
book under thirty Livers, which was at first sold for one Liver, which book was
translated into English 1698 from my French Copy.* All these Countries and all
the Peninsula between the Leaks of Ontario Erie and the Hurons a most beautiful
and fruitful Country, Conquered before by the Iroquois, and four great Nations
Expelled were sold by them unto the English Government of New York (which
agreement or sale is now in the Plantation Office) during the Government of
Coll. Dungan at the beginning of King James the 2d's Reign. These Countries
reach unto the North bounds of my Patent and Mr. De-Clerke in his Book of the
French discoveries printed at Paris by order 16gi owns the Illinois were driven
by the Iroquois 1680 out of their Country and went to settle among the Ozages,
who dwell west forty or fifty Miles beyond the River Meschacebe, second part,
page 205. And the same Author Glories page r35 that the French by the Order of
Mr. Denenville Seized upon the English Forts and Country of Hudson's Bay in the
year 1686, a time of profound Peace in the Reign of King James the second, their
great Monarchs best Ally; and there is no Colony in America whereunto the
English can pretend a better Title, having been beyond all dispute the first
discoverers and the first planters, and which they had long possessed without
any Claim from any foreign Nation.
The French indeed pretend that they took with them Mr. [blank in Ms.] and
Radison when they planted the bottom of the Bay who understood the Language and
were Naturalized English and a great help unto them, for the Algonquin Language
spoke by the Natives of Canada reaches to Hudson's Bay and all along the North
parts for above four hundred Leagues. For which Claim, if these were any
Grounds, wee have a much better to all or most of the discoveries made by Mr. de
Salle, who having notice that our English had two or three years before made a
discovery from the Massachusetts Collony with twelve men up and down the River
Meschacebe, and the River running from the West there unto, as will appear from
the Records thereof at Boston, the chief City of New England, as I have often
been told by the present Governor Collonell Dudley.185 Mr. de Salle debauched
divers of these Indians who were in that discovery and who were his Guides and
Interpreters from the beginning to the End: They were thirty-one in Number and
with them twenty-three French-as Mr. de Clerke owns page 214.
As a further proof of what wee may expect from the french at Canada if ever
they gain power wee may observe what account Mr. de Tonty gives of two Noble
Atchievments the beginning of the year 1687, At which time there were so great a
friendship and Correspondence between King James the second and the french king.
Mr. Denonville understanding that the English after their purchase of the
aforementioned Country of the Irocois had made Leagues of friendship with, and
were Invited by the Nations round the Leakes of Erie Huron etc - to Trade
amongst them, found no other Expedient to prevent our progress then secretly to
Inform all the French under his Government that they should make war with the
Irocois and all their Allies. The English knowing nothing hereof sent two fleets
of Canoes not fitted for war but only for Trading, and in them the greatest
Cargo was ever sent out of the Colony of New York, who are very conveniently
situated and much better then the French for that purpose.
The English Navigated they thought very securely, not Expecting any harm from
the French, not their Allies, being altogether Ignorant of the War the French
had agreed amongst themselves against them. The French by their Spies having
notice of their Motions Surprised one part in the Lake of the Hurons, Consisting
of five hundred English, Dutch, and their Confederates, killing one half and
taking most of the rest Prisoners. with their Canoes, Arms and Goods. And other
Detachments of the French Surprised the other Body in the Lake Errie, who were
composed of English, Irocois and Ouabaches (who lives in a few Leagues of the
River Meschacebe) under the Conduct of Major Grigory or Mackgreger, and after
having killed the greatest part of them, took their Baggage and Merchandize,
with a great Number of Slaves, amongst them twenty-five English with the Major
from whom I had the same Account, which is fully related by Monsieur Tonty page
133.* The French own according to Mr. Lehonton, they took to the value of So,ooo
Crowns in goods besides what were destroyed. Many English died in prison and of
hardship, and our Indians were given up to their Indian allies, a great part of
them died under the most Exquisite Torments. And further to manifest their
Enmity to the English I will add an Account of their very hard Usage of one of
their own Country men, Related by the Barron le Houton, a fair Impartial writer
(who was then present) in his thirteenth chapter of his first Book of Viages.
The next day (after one of the aforementioned Surprises) a young Canadian,
called Fontain Marion was shot to death; his case stood thus; he was perfectly
well acquainted with the Savages of Canada, and after the doing of several good
services unto the King desired leave from the Governor Generall to continue his
Travels in Order to carry on some little Trade, but his request was never
granted. Upon that he resolved to remove to New England, the two Crowns being
then at peace, where he had a welcome reception, for he was an active fellow and
one who understood almost all the Languages of the Savages, Upon which
Consideration, he was Employed to Conduct the English Traders before mentioned,
and had the misfortune to be taken with them. Now to my mind says the Barron Le
Hunton, the Usage he met with from Us was very hard, for wee were at Peace with
England, and besides that Crown laves claim to the Property of the Lakes of
Canada, and Circurnjacent Parts.
In obedience unto your Lordships Commands I thought it expedient to add unto
the Memorial presented unto King Wm.186 and wherewith he was so well satisfied
that he was pleased to order a Council which was very numerous, wherein it was
Read, Debated, and Accepted unanimously with great Applause, and his Majesty
often declared he was so sensible of the English Nations Interest in this
Affaire both for promoting their Trade and securing them from the Inconveniences
that might accrue unto the English Plantations upon the Continent, especially
New York, Jersey, Pensilvania, Virginia, Maryland and Carolina, that he was
pleased to Order me frequently to consult my Lord Summers, then Lord Chancellor,
the Earle of Pembrook, Lord High Admirall, Lord Lansdown, then Lord Privy Seal,
and others who all gave me the greatest Encouragements to proceed as did his
Majesty frequently with assurance of his Aid and Assistance both of Ships Men
and Money. It pleased God to take him to himself, and notwithstanding my
frequent Applications afterwards, I had many promises, tho' never found any good
effects thereof. Other Affairs which seemed unto them of greater moment wholly
taking up their thoughts. Whereupon I have ever since desisted from prosecuting
further an Affaire which could never succeed without Aid and Countenance from
the Public. But since the Lords justices and your Lordships have thought fit to
revive the consideration of this Undertaking and your Lordships have required me
to acquaint you with whatsoever of moment have come to my knowledge relating
unto you our just due and right unto the Province of Carolina or Florida all
which I shall sincerely and Impartially without reserve or disguise communicate
unto your Lordships.
King Charles the first by his Letter Patents did grant to Sir Robert Heath
knight his Attorney Generall, and to his heirs and assigns for ever, all the
Province of Carolina together with divers powers, Privileges and Advantages in
the said Letters Patents mentioned.
Sir Robert after Conveyed his Interest unto the Lord Matrevers, Son and heirs
to the Lord Arundale, who had a wonderful Inclination and great Sagacity in
Promoting the Plantation of Northern American and some of the Islands there unto
Adjacent. After ye Patent of Carolina was Consigned unto him, he immediately
began to plant the Northernmost part of it Bordering upon Virginia. And that
there might be a perfect good correspondence between him and that Colony by the
Neighborhood of his Colony, Sir John Harvy, Governor and the Council of
Virginia, did grant by King Charles the first his Order signified by his Letters
Patents Bearing date the Eleventh day of April in the thirteenth year of his
Reign, a Tract of Land to be called the County of Norfolk, as will at large
appear by the Copy of the deed faithfully transcribed from the Original, which I
have in my possession, it being conveyed unto me with the Province of Carolina
The Lord Matrevers was at great expense and trouble to plant that little
Province. He designed from thence to propagate his plantations to the south
having many Plantations Tenants Magazins etc. for his views were chiefly
Carolina. Thereupon he commissioned divers Persons some to Plant the North part
of his Province of Carolina, as Hartwell and others, the South part as Captain
Henery Hawley and his friends, what I could recover of these Transactions I lay
before your Lordships; but the Duke of Norfolk's Steward often assured me that a
vast number of writings and maps relating to this Country were burnt by a fire
happed in the Duke of Norfolk's house the latter end of king Charles the Reign
The Lord Matrevers upon his Fathers Death being Earle of Arundell and Surry
Earle Marshall of England, made considerable Employments or Patents for them,
when the War with the Scotts in 1639 where he was Generall for King Charles
broke out and out of zeal for his Prince carried them along with him, that and
the following year, which at that time hindered the peopling of that Province.
And he being afterwards discontented, of which the Earle of Clarendon in his
history gives a full Account, withdrew himself, traveled and dyed, as I remember
at Padua in Italy 1646. His eldest Son proving a Lunatick and continuing so to
his death, was Succeed by his Brother Henry, then a Roman Catholick, and in
great trouble about the time of the Popish Plott, and being otherwise diverted
first neglected then disposed of it unto Sir James Shaen who had formed a noble
design and Engaged great Numbers in it, but a strange misfortune frustrated all.
It descending unto his son, Sir Arthur, of whom the present Proprietors
purchased it,187 from this Crayon it is obvious unto all Understanding
Considering persons unto what great troubles and dangers most of our Colonies on
the Continent must be Exposed. If powerful Ambitious, Covetous or unkind
Neighbors should possess the Country on the East side of the River Meschacebe
into which run many great Rivers of long course which proceed from the Back of
our Plantations of Pensilvania, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina,
they being of very easy access, the Rivers having no Falls or Cataracts, but an
interrupted course unto their heads, so that upon very frivolous Pretenses they
may in process of time be as troublesome to them all as they were formerly to
the Colonies of New England, New York and Hudsons Bay.
Before I render an Account of my own Discoveries, It will not be amiss to
mention that a Company was formed in the protectorate of Cromwell by divers
gentlemen and merchants upon ye Rupture with Spain whose subscriptions and
agreements about the setting of the Country I here present your Lordships which
I received from Sir Wm. Waller the younger, whose father, one of the chief
Generals for the Parliament during the late unhappy Civil Wars, was the chief
Contriver and promoter of this Undertaking. They sent divers Ships well manned
and victualed, who discovered all the Coast of Florida from ye Bay of Apalachy
on the west side of the Peninsula of Florida for above two hundred miles and
within twenty Leagues of the River Meschcebe, gave names to about a hundred
Rivers, Harbours, some from the names of the Captain's Ships, and others, to
Chief Adventures in the Expedition, others from the names of some commodities
they met with, as Pearl River, Logwood River, Fustick River, or from the names
of some resemblance they did bear to Rivers, Harbours, etc. in England. They
planted and settled in two or three places where they resided some years, and
sent such description of the Country and Samples of divers Commodities, as dying
woods, and Roots, Cotton, Indico, Cochinil, Pearl, etc., which last are not only
in many places upon the Sea Coast but plentiful in divers freshwater Rivers and
so large and Orient that Mr. Persivall who was divers years Governor of Carolina
for the Earl of Shaftsbury and ye other Proprietors, divers Traders brought out
of this Country Pearls which he showed me, at the Earle of Shaftsburys which
were valued some at Twenty, Thirty or Forty and one at a hundred pounds.
The Company before mentioned being well satisfied herewith provided several
Ships well victualed and furnished all manner of ammunition whatsoever was
needful for Plantations, and above two Thousand men, Soldiers and Planters
besides women. But the Protector dying, the Confusions succeeding discouraged
them and put a Period to their Noble design. And those who resided in the
Country not being supported withdrew and went to English Plantations at Jamaica,
Barbadoes, and other Islands. And one of them Captain Watts was after the
Restoration knighted by King Charles ye second and made Governor of Island of
I had a large and exact map of this Country so far as they had discovered,
being about Two hundred miles upon the Coast and about as far into the Country
which I unhappily lent about twenty years since and could never recover it. But
I had before shown it for divers years to above a hundred persons of good
judgment, most of whom upon that and many other Inducements had proffer'd to
Join with me in Settling that Country.
I shall now proceed to give an Account of my own Discoveries with the first
occasion and progress of them. About Thirty-eight years ago attending on the
present Duke of Somerset at Petworth in Sussex where I continued many days,
among many remarkable Books contained in a Noble Library Collected by divers
Earles of Northumberland I met with the Expedition of Ferdinando Soto throughout
most parts of Florida written in Spanish by the Celebrated Garzilazia Delatega
author of the History of Peru translated into English by Sir Paul Ricaut, and
soon after my return a book in Quarto published by ye Famous Mr. Hacluite being
a translation of the same Expedition out of Portuguese written by a Gentleman of
Elvas, who with divers other Gentlemen Portuguese accompanied the Spaniards from
ye beginning to the End, written with great judgment and Fidelity. Out of which
with great Labor and pains I framed a Map which to be true and Accurate almost
all of it was confirmed by latter discoveries and by means hereof my Ships found
the Mouth of the River within less than twenty leagues as I had laid it in my
Chart 188 and which the French in their Mappa before and divers years since
place on hundred leagues more to the West, and it is well known the French king
sent two Fleets, one by Mr. Salle, and another, neither of which could find the
Mouth of the River. Apprehending I might be serviceable to my Prince and Country
if could make further discoveries of this River and others entering there into
from our Provinces, I being Proprietary and Governor of New Jersey, and kept a
Correspondence with the Governors and Chief Traders into the Continent of all
the Neighbor Colonies from New England to South Carolina, learned from Coll.
Dudley afterwards Thirteen years Governor of New England who being here
president for the representing the state of that Country unto King Charles the
Second and his Council assured me among many other remarkable things that ten or
twelve went a Trading from the back or West side of New York five or six years
before found a great River which appears to be the famous River Hohio thence
entered the Meschacebe and ascending thence another great River, which runs from
the North West which since appears to be the Yellow River as far as the Spanish
Plantations, and brought home with them the leg of an horse of whom did see many
feeding in the Meadows, which relation was taken by the Chief Magistrates at
Boston and enters into their Register where it yet remains.*
Upon this I Encouraged several to attempt further Discoveries whereupon three
of my Tenants in a Burchen Canoe went up Schnil Kill (a River comes into
Delaware at Philadelphia) above one hundred miles, then by a branch into a
Branch of the great Tasquehana River thence into the South branch of the same
river to its head, and Carrying their Canoe over some small hills entered the
great river Hohio which after a course of six hundred miles joins the
Meschacebe, and going up that River went up ye great Yellow River three days
Voyage, which River comes from the hills which separate New Mexico from
They went and returned through above forty Nations of Indians who all treated
them very kindly and gave them many furs for Indian trade they carried with
them. I had from them a large Journal written and a large Map very exact abating
the want of the latitudes which they had not Skill nor judgment to take, which
chart and journal about Twenty six years ago I lent Mr. Penn, but could never
recover them, tho' I was informed he kept them for the Instruction of the People
of his own Colony, who were chiefly Employed in the Indian Trade.189
Afterwards I gained further knowledge from very intelligent persons, Major
Gregory who used the New York Trade, and were some thousand miles with the
Indians Divers ways, as also with the Chief Traders in Virginia, Collon. Bird,
Mr. Needh : and others in North and South Carolina, especially Mr. Percivall and
Mr. Woodward, the latter with divers others having passed the hills that
separate Carolina from Carolana as far as the River Meschacebe divers ways and
as I have been informed some English settled among the Chicazas a large and
valiant Nation whose bounds extend to the Great River, as also among the great
Nation of the Cheraquees, whereof if I had time, I believe I could soon gain
more perfect and certain information.
Being fully satisfied about the inland Country I thought it advisable to make
a discovery of all ye sea Coast, harbors, and Rivers entering out of Carolana
into the North side of the Gulf of Mexico; whereupon in the year 1698 I fitted
out two small Galleys well Manned and victualed for a years and a half which
carried between them twenty Cannon and sixteen Pedrarios besides plenty of other
Arms for offence and Defense, and Store of Ammunition. They went first to
Charles Town in Carolina to take in some further Provisions of Rice, Salt, Beef,
Pork etc. and settle a good understanding between me and that Colony, I having
been Intimately acquainted with the Governor and Chief persons of that Province,
which was effected to our Mutual Satisfaction. There went in these Ships about
Thirty English and French volunteers with a design to remain in some convenient
place of the Province of Carolana, and if possible upon the Great River or some
other entering there into, most men of good Science, great Courage, and some of
Quality, as the Marquis de la Muce190 a French Refugee who left above four
thousand pounds sterling a year that he might enjoy the free Exercise of the
Protestant Religion, who was greatly favored by the King, and had a Pension of
six hundred pounds per annum and a considerable Office near the Queen. The Baron
de Sailly sent his two sons; the rest both English and French were all
I give no Account of the Voyage having herewith Tendered two of the Journals
written by very honest experienced Seamen, one the Capt., the other his mate,
chosen by him who was soon after a Capt. The other Capts. Journal who commanded
the larger Ships is wanting, he being cast away in his return upon or near the
Islands of Scylly, he and all his men with the Cargo being lost. By which two
Journals it appears that they carefully and diligently searched all the coast of
Carolana Florida to the westward Fourteen degrees Longitude. And that in all the
said space they found neither French Settlements or any sign that any French had
been settled in any part or place upon the said coasts in all the said Tracts.
And that having been one hundred Miles up the great River Meschacebe they found
not any sign of a French Settlement in the said River or any of its three great
Branches whereby it emptieth itself into the Bay or Gulf of Mexico. The Journal
will give an Account where when and how they took possession for the King of
I believe there will be great difficulties in a Treaty between us and the
French about settling the Boundaryes of our English Colonies upon the Continent
of North America, and those of the French, particularly the Provence of
Carolana, of which they seem very fond, having already made some settlements and
are preparing to make more and greater. But I apprehend I have found an
expedient beyond all just Exceptions, which I hope may prove satisfactory unto
The River Meschacebe by them stiled Missisipy runs through the middle of this
Province, and the lands on ye west side rather larger than that on ye east. And
it hath been very long generally believ'd that the western side abounds most
with Mines of Gold and Silver, bordering upon those belonging to Mexico and New
Mexico in which are the Richest Mines belonging to the Spaniards in North
My Proposall 192 is that we should abandon above halfe the Province totally
and finally to the French which is on the West side of the Great River, and
retain unto our Selves all that on the East Side, all the Rivers whereof proceed
from our Colonyes of Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pensilvania and New York. And
that all the land on ye East side of the River to the River Illinouecks, by them
called the River of the Ilinois, unto the head thereof, and five or six Leagues
further unto the Lake of the Ilinois and then South to the north Border of
Carolina may be adjudged to belong to the English. It being purchased of the
Indians (and much more) in the beginning of King James the second his Reign by
Governour Dungan, after Earle of Limerick, which is recorded in the Plantation
Office. And that the Navigation of the River of the Ilinois should be free to
the English into and from the Great River, and from thence down the River into
And because it may be supposed that the French will not willingly abandon
their Settlements on the west side of the River, That they may be allowed to
keep them, They not being prejudiciall to the English Plantations, being two
hundred miles remote from any Great River coming out of our Plantations,
Conditionally that the French plant no more upon the East side of the Great
River within the bounds above mentioned: All which will be manifest unto your
Lordships from a Strict View of the Mapp, I had the honour to leave with your
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