Hatteras Island 1704 Visitor
By Baylus Brooks
the North Carolina Colonial and State Records, Volume 1, Page 603, in a
letter written by John Blair, we discover that John Blair visited the
early colony of North Carolina in 1704.
Here's what he had to say:
may also consider the distance that the new colony of Pamtico is from
the rest of the inhabitants of the country, for any man that has tried
it would sooner undertake a voyage from this city to Holland than that,
for beside a pond of five miles broad, and nothing to carry one over but
a small perryauger, there are about fifty miles desert to pass through,
without any human creature inhabiting in it. I think it likewise
reasonable to give you an account of a great nation of Indians that live
in that government, computed to be no less than 100,000, many of which
live amongst the English, and all, as I can understand, a very civilized
have often conversed with them, and have been frequently in their towns:
those that can speak English among them seem to be very willing and fond
of being Christians, and in my opinion there might be methods taken to
bring over a great many of them. If there were no hopes of making them
Christians, the advantage of having missionaries among them would
redound to the advantage of the government, for if they should once be
brought over to a French interest (as we have too much reason to believe
there are some promoters amongst them for that end by their late
actions), it would be, if not to the utter ruin, to the great prejudice
of all the English plantations on the continent of America.
have here in brief set down what I have to say, and shall be ready to
answer to any questions the honorable society shall think convenient to
ask me concerning the country; and shall be both ready and willing to
serve them anywhere upon such encouragement as I can live, according to
my education, after my Lord Weymouth ceases to lay his commands on
the original if you'd like to take a look: http://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/document/csr01-0306
Nation of Indians would clearly be the Tuscarora.
His statement shows us how devastating the ensuing Tuscarora War
would be, a decade later, when the tribe was nearly annihilated.
Whidby - Midgett Headright Records
people collaborate, magical things happen.
As we've been building the Hatteras Neighborhood, the one from
the 1700s that is, I've been collecting information from anyplace I can
find it. Kay Lynn Midgett
Sheppard kindly offered to work with each of the surnames to see what
she can find that I don't already have.
A second set of eyes is a wonderful thing to have.
In this case, she found a
wonderful record that combines two of our Hatteras families, the
Whidbeys and the Midgetts Furthermore, the progenitor of the Midgett line is involved,
Matthew Midgett, and his wife Judeth.
were claimed when individuals paid for the passage of other people.
Generally, the headrights consisted of 50 acres of land awarded
to the individual who paid for their transportation.
If someone paid for their own transportation, they got the 50
acres themselves. Many
times these headrights were bought, sold and traded, like trading cards
and it was sometimes many years before they were actually claimed for
land. However, in this
case, since these families were subsequently found together on the Outer
Banks and on Hatteras Island, it's likely that the Whidby's and
Midgett's were acquainted, perhaps before in the old country as well.
North Carolina Headrights - A List of Names 1663-1744 by Caroline
Records, Land Papers-Wills, 1665-1746 - SS State CCR 187
#12 (no date)
Petition of Georg Whitby to
"his honorable court" to prove rights: in all 32 rights
Whitby and his 6 children
Bell and his Servant
Bell and wife and child
Barrows, his wife and 3 children
Linfield and wife and child
Davison, his wife and 2 Servants
Migett and 3 children [wife & children of Matthew Midgett!!]
Green and wife
Kay's note: The
date on this had to be after May 1709 because Judeth Migett’s 3rd
child was born in May 1709.
I know that in
Virginia, headrights were worth 50 acres each.
I asked Kay Lynn about headrights in North Carolina and she once
again proved to be a wealth of information.
1693/4 a headright was worth about 60 acres but, but that varied
headrights for land was common in early colonial courts.
Individuals claimed rights for themselves, for persons they had brought
into NC and for persons whose right they had acquired by purchase,
transfer, or inheritance. Families and relationships were
sometimes mentioned in the headright but a lot of the time relationships
were just inferred.
earliest NC patents were granted for the service of bringing settlers
into the colony. For this service, a person earned a right for a
given number of acres per settler, or "head", according to the
type of head (male/female/child/free/bonded/slave). It was not
required that a headright be claimed when he or she arrived in the
colony; headrights could be held until a sufficient number had been
accumulated to qualify the patentee for the maximum allowable acreage.
varied with the time period, but the usual stipulation was that the
grantee settle on the land or cause it to be settled, clear and plant a
given number of acres within a specified time, and fulfill other
conditions stated in the document.
the early 1690s acreage restrictions were liberalized and many settlers
allowed their old grants to lapse and applied for larger tracts. A
patent lapsed when the grantee failed to fulfill the stipulated
requirements and lost his or her right to the tract. It then
reverted back to the colony or state to be regranted to a new applicant.
Headright proofs for the mid-1690s are among the few that provided the
names of importees, but it should be remembered that they (and the
grantee) probably had been in the colony for a number of years.
system for claiming headright was changed in 1741. Grants issued
from then until the end of the system in 1754 were for the grantee's own
head and those of his immediate family (wife, children & slaves),
and they need not have been imported into the colony to qualify.
Proofs continued to be presented to the county courts, but reports of
such proofs were forwarded to the Court of Claims. The
colony-level records usually include the numbers of whites and black in
the family but not their names. In a few cases, however, their
names (and sometimes ages) can be found in the county court minutes.
Kay Lynn, for the lesson on North Carolina headrights.