The Dare Stones, 1 through 48
In the September, 2011 issue of the newsletter, we had a lovely article
about what is known as the "Dare Stone". We were fortunate to have this stone with us a few years ago
at a symposium and were able to photograph the stone up close and
Jim Sutherland of Breneau University provided an excellent lecture along
with a translation of the contents of the stone.
stone is the original Dare Stone, found on the banks of the Chowan River
about 6 miles from Edenton, NC.
translation provided by Dr. Sutherland is provided below.
is generally believed that if indeed this, the original Dare Stone is a
legitimate find, this stone was likely not carved in this location, but
may have been sent with a Native runner who might have been headed for
Roanoke Island, but was captured or killed and never made it to Roanoke.
as with everything else having to do with the Lost Colony, the mystery
stone said that the location of the graves was four miles "easte this
river" upon a small hill. If
the stone was going to Roanoke, why would it give these directions?
stone had wound up with Dr. Pearce of Breneau (then College) University
and his son Dr. Pearce of Haywood University.
They did some research and discovered that chisels and mallets were
among the supplies listed for the Lost Colony voyage, so this stone being
authentic was a possibility.
began an extensive search for "the hill" in the proximity of
where the stone was found, but had no luck.
Becoming discouraged, they offered a $500 reward for anyone finding
a stone that might be connected. Then,
as they say, is when the trouble began.
April of 1939, William "Bill" Eberhardt of Fulton County,
Georgia was traveling in South Carolina, had a flat time, changed it and
used a stone he picked up in the red clay ravine near the road for a jack
stand. When finished, he
noticed some writing chiseled on it.
Returning to the ravine, he found 12 more similarly inscribed. The location was a hillside in Greenville county, 12 miles
below Greenville, on the Saluda River.
Eberhardt was not a cultured man. He
was described by a reporter as a single man in his mid-30s who lived alone
in "an unpainted two-room cottage whose windows are draped with tar
paper and whose floors are covered with soiled clothes, empty tobacco
sacks, and remnants of the night before's meal.
He rolls his own cigarettes, reads back issues of newspapers and
roams the woods..."
it was hinted at that he might have been a stonecarver, but with his
schooling that lasted "only a short time," which turned out to
be through third grade, where would be get the knowledge to inscribe old
Elizabethan English in old Elizabethan letters?
of the subsequent stones contained a message, as follows:
Front - Heyr laeth Ananias & Virginia Father salvage mvrther Al
save seaven names writen hery mai God bah mercye Eleanor Dare 1591
- Sydnor Boane Wigan Birge Polle Carewe Bowman Spague Ruckers Bolitoe
Smythe Sakeres Holborn Winget Sloate
- Father wee goe sw
Front - 5 lae hyre mrd bie Inde 1589
- cy(r)v ane lae 200 se
Front - 7 lae hyre mrd bye Inde 1589
- cy(r)v ane Iyh(r)e 200 e se
Front - hyre lae Jvan Moleye Mulgrave ane childe 1589.
- Mrd Bye Inde loke I myle
Front - Jeyr laeth nolan Ogle & wyfe
edge - 1590
- mvrthed bye salvage
Front - Fathe r looke two ba rke of tr ee certan signe am ang tham
Eleanor Dare 1591
Front - salvage mvrther John Sampson William Sole Petter little
John Farre Taylor Myllet haris 1591
- Henry Mylton John Breden Toppon Darige John-son Tydway 1591
Front - Heyr laeth lewes Wotton 1591
- salv age Murther Henry Rufoote Rogers
Front - Heyr laeth Richard Kemme Jame Hynde
Front - Heyr laeth Daniel Bagby hee mvrther bye salvage 1591
- Fovre lae Heyr They Die of moche miserie
Front - Heyr salvage murther samuel To Thill wyfe& cherl 1591
Front - Heyr laeth Dyonis Harvie wyfe & dowt er
Will Dye spendlove 1591
- Mvrthed bye salvage
Front - Father wee goe sw with fo vre goodli e men the yr shew m
oche mer cye theyr ar god sovldi ovus theyr s saide theyr br owt vs tow
you Eleanor 1591
- with mocha labovr wee pvtt certain names heyr
this is true, these stones tell of the murder of an additional 15
colonists, including Ananias and Virginia Dare, buried on this hillside
near present day Pelzer, SC. These
stones have become known as the Pelzer Stones.
Elmer Herd, writing in "The South Carolina Upcountry" says that
these stones tell of a 350 mile trek begun by 117 settlers to the
southwest through NC into SC. By
the time they arrived, their numbers had thinned to only 24 and an
additional 17 were killed and buried on the hillside. The 7 who were left, including Eleanor, then prepared to move
further southwest with some Indian guides.
Drs. Pearce in 1939 purchased the site of the hill, 16 acres, where they
believed the graves to be located and intended to do "significant
searched the ravine where the stones were found and concluded that the
stones had probably originally been placed on the hillside and thrown into
the ravine by men clearing the fields.
They also had Bill Eberhardt thoroughly investigated and as a test,
they offered him either the $500 in cash for a stone or $100 and half
interest in the hill. This
would be worthless to him unless indeed the stones were genuine, and he
chose the $100 plus half interest in the hill.
He later sold his half interest back to the Drs. Pearce for $1400.
1939 and 1940, Breneau College began a pageant portraying the Lost Colony
and later history as revealed by the stones.
In 1937, the Lost Colony play by Paul Greene had opened on Roanoke
next call received by the Drs. Pearce was from a Mr. Tuner in Atlanta who
had found a stone as well.
this time, an additional 34 stones turned up, many of them found once
again by Bill Eberhardt who the Drs. Pearce had sent to search along the
Chattahoochee River in Georgia. Other individuals with no apparent connection to Eberhardt
also found stones, although later, some would allege that there were
connections to Eberhardt.
stones however were no place near the Saluda River, but instead were found
on or near the eastern bank of the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta in a
40 mile stretch about 75 miles from the Saluda site.
These additional stones told of the trek of Eleanor White Dare from
Pelzer, SC to an Indian village on the Chattahoochee, her marriage to an
Indian chieftain and her later removal to a cave near Atlanta, and then
finds were not without controversy.
1941 Saturday Evening Post article famously claimed the stones were
Pearce wrote, on Breneau stationery, to the Saturday Evening Post who
purchased his story and then performed additional investigative reporting.
From the Post Article, we find the descriptions of the next set of
deciphering, the stones said: “Father looke vp this river to great
Salvage lodgement Wee pvtt moche clew bye wage.” On the other side:
“Father the salvage shew moche mercye Eleanor Dare 1591.”
urged Eberhardt to redouble his searching in Georgia.
he brought nine stones from a bend of the river about eighteen miles above
Gainesville. One stone said: “Father looke 5 dae tow backe trale bvrie
al vppon Hil neere river.” On the back: “Eleanor Dare 1591.”
stone said: “Father shew moche mercye tow salvage weste of hilwhere
Ananias & Virginia slayne.” On the back: “Eleanor Dare 1591.”
said: “Father thee accvrse salvage of the easte they hab slayne Al save
seaven Revenge Eleanor Dare 1591.” On the edge was: “Anania & mye
dowter,” seemingly the ones to be revenged.
related this story: “Father day by day some amang vs endeavovr tow
Reconnoittre For signe of yov Eleanor Dare 1591.” “Father wee goe tow
greate Hontaoase lodgement ther king shew moche mercye Eleanor Dare
1591.” “Father it Has bene 5 yeeres sithence yov hab departe maie God
brynge yov hither Eleanor Dare 1592.” “Father wee ben heyr 5 yeeres in
primaeval splendovr Eleanor Dare 1592.”
story seemed to end. The seven survivors had reached a peaceful haven
among friendly savages; lived, in fact, in “primeval splendor” in this
Nacoochee Valley area, a long-time seat of the Cherokees. A year had
elapsed without much progress when the Pearces enjoyed a triumph. Up to
this point the professor had been troubled by his own skepticism, as much
as by that of others. What proof was there the stones had not been strewn
over three states by some diabolical hoaxer? Then through the enterprise
of Professor Pearce old Georgia farmers were found who had seen some of
the stones half a century ago. They had always supposed the inscriptions
were “just Indian writing.”
fresh leads came through the appearance of T. R. Jett, of Henry County,
Georgia. This was in a period during August and September, 1940, when
twenty-two stones had been found by four different people along the
Chattahoochee about forty miles from Gainesville to the south and about
ten miles northeast of Atlanta. Mr.
Jett had been reared there.