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The Lost Colony Research Group

Genealogy ~ DNA ~ Archaeology


February 2001



Baron Christoph von Graffenried, a leader of Swiss and German Protestants, establishes a colony in Bath County. The town of New Bern is founded at the junction of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, displacing an American Indian town named Chattoka.

June 8: Tuscarora Indians on the Roanoke and Tar-Pamlico Rivers send a petition to the government of Pennsylvania protesting the seizure of their lands and enslavement of their people by Carolina settlers.


In a series of uprisings, the Tuscarora attempt to drive away white settlement. The Tuscarora are upset over the practices of white traders, the capture and enslavement of Indians by whites, and the continuing encroachment of settlers onto Tuscarora hunting grounds.


Early September: Tuscarora capture surveyor John Lawson, New Bern founder Baron von Graffenried, and two African slaves. Lawson argues with the chief, Cor Tom, and is executed near Tuscarora village of Catechna. The Indians spare von Graffenried and the slaves.

Late Sept: The Tuscarora in alliance with other displaced coastal tribes take retribution on colonists along the Neuse River.

September 22: The Tuscarora War opens when Catechna Creek Tuscaroras begin attacking colonial settlements near New Bern and Bath. Tuscarora, Neuse, Bear River, Machapunga, and other Indians kill more than 130 whites.

October: Virginia refuses to send troops to help the settlers but allocates £1,000 for assistance.

Finally Gov. Edward Hyde called out NC militia with assistance from SC, which provided 600 militia and 360 allied Native Americans under Col. Barnwell.


January: SC sends assistance to her sister colony. John Barnwell, member of the SC Assembly, leads about 30 whites and some 500 “friendly” Indians, mostly Yamassee, to fight the Tuscarora in NC.

In a letter dated at Ft. Narhantes, Feb. 4, 1712, Barnwell gives a list of various tribes of Southern Indians who compose his motley army. In his own spelling: The Yamasses, Hog Logees, Apalatchees, Corsaboy, Watterees, Sagarees, Catawbas, Suterees, Waxams, Congarees, Sattees, Pedees, Weneaws, Cape Feare, Hoopengs, Wareperes, Saraws, and Saxapahaws.

Col. Barnwell said the Tuscarora can't be less than 1,200 or 1,400 [warriors], but Gov. Spotswood of VA had placed their fighting strength at 2,000 men in 1711.


January 24: Edward Hyde is commissioned as governor. North Carolina and South Carolina officially become separate colonies.

March 20-23: Barnwell's force attacked and laid waste to villages of the southern Tuscarora and other nations from the Pee Dee Border Lands up to Craven Co, NC. At the Tuscarora stronghold of Fort Narhontes (also spelled Neherooka and Neoheroka ), on the banks of the Neuse River, the Tuscarora were defeated with great slaughter.

The force from South Carolina, consisting of 900 Indians and 33 whites, begins a three-day siege on the Tuscarora stronghold of Fort Neoheroka. Approximately 950 Tuscarora are killed or captured and sold into slavery, effectively defeating the tribe and opening the interior of the colony to white settlement.

Native Accounts generally record the number higher than 1000 taking into consideration numbers from nearby villages and countryside as well as the number of Native people sold into slavery. Those days of tragedy are commemorated by the Fort Neoheroka Historical Marker near present day Snow Hill, Greene Co., NC.

Although a few renegades fight on until 1715, most surviving Tuscarora migrate north to rejoin the Iroquois League as its sixth and smallest nation.

April: Barnwell‟s force, joined by 250 North Carolina militiamen, attacks the Tuscarora at Fort Hancock on Catechna Creek. After ten days of battle, the Tuscarora sign a truce, agreeing to stop the war.

Summer: The Tuscarora rise again to fight the Yamassee, who, unsatisfied with their plunder during earlier battles, remain in the area looting and pillaging. The Tuscarora also fight against the continued expansion of white settlement.

September 8: Governor Hyde dies of yellow fever, during an outbreak that kills many white settlers.

After the Tuscarora War, many of the Tuscarora left NC and migrated north to Penn. and NY, over a period of 90 years. The Tuscarora that sought hidden sanctuary in the swamps of Eastern NC are the ancestors of the present day Tuscarora Tribe of NC/SC.

Immediately following defeat, about 1500 Tuscarora fled to NY to join the Iroquois Confederacy. As many as 1500 additional Tuscarora sought refuge in the colony of VA. Although some accepted tribal status in VA, the majority of the remaining Tuscarora ultimately returned to NC.

Unrecorded numbers, perhaps as many as 3000 by some counts, fled into the swamps of NC, hiding out, at times creeping back to see their homeland, but continuing to hide out for many years to save their families

So the refugee pattern was such that the end of the Tuscarora War resulted in the migration of whole Tuscarora villages or towns. As time went on, these migrations became more of individuals and groups of different sizes.


Seventy of the southern Tuscarora went to SC to assist against the Yamasee. Those 70 warriors later asked permission to have their wives and children join them, and settled near Port Royal, SC.

Chief Blount had no more than 800 by 1715.

A treaty with remaining North Carolina Tuscarora is signed. They are placed on a reservation along the Pamlico River. The Coree and Machapunga Indians, Tuscarora allies, settle in Hyde County near Lake Mattamuskeet. The land will be granted to the Mattamuskeet in 1727, and a reservation will be established.

North Carolina adopts its first slave code, which tries to define the social, economic, and physical place of enslaved people.

The General Assembly enacts a law denying blacks and Indians the right to vote. The king will repeal the law in 1737. Some free African Americans will continue to vote until disfranchisement in 1835.


The few Tuscarora remaining in the colony, led by Tom Blount, are granted land on the Roanoke River in Bertie County, near present-day Quitsna. The Tuscarora left their reservation on the Pamlico River because of raids by tribes from the south.

1719 -1721

Piece meal migrations continue with some stopping short of their intended NY goal. For example, some Tuscarora settle for a time in the Juniata River valley of Pennsylvania. At present-day Martinsburg, WV, on Tuscarora Creek, another group of migrating Tuscarora refugees stop.

A third group is found in present-day Maryland along the Monocacy River. Eventually with continued settlement by European colonists in that area from around 1730, the Tuscarora continue on northward to join the Oneida Nation in western NY.


Tuscaroras become the Sixth Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy in New York. They were originally given refuge by the Oneida and are now considered younger brothers of the Seneca.

300 fighting men; along with their wives, children, and the elderly, resided on Indian Woods

River. But not withstanding this and other agreements, over the next several decades the Tuscarora were pushed progressively out of areas they had previously inhabited . 



The NC Indian Trade Commission is established to regulate trade with native peoples. 


A smallpox epidemic decimates the Indian population in NC, especially in the eastern part of the colony and the Cherokee. It is projected that this epidemic decreased the number of Cherokee by about 50 percent. 


Waxhaw Indians, decimated by smallpox, abandon their lands in present-day Union Co and join the Catawba just to the South. 


When Moravian missionaries visited the Indian Woods reservation, they noted "many had gone north to live on the Susquehanna" and that "others are scattered as the wind scatters smoke.' Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg of the Moravian Brethren visited among the Tuscaroras in Bertie Co. while trying to secure land for the Moravians. He finds them to be "in great poverty." At that time their land was about twelve miles long and six miles at its greatest width. 


The census of 1754 placed the Tuscarora population in eastern North Carolina at an estimated total of 300, 100 men and 201 women and children. This reflected a loss of about 700 during the previous forty years.

The census was undertaken to determine what strength could be mustered from the Tuscarora and used in the French and Indian War for the British.

With the Nottoways, the combined group was sent to Winchester, VA for guard duty on the frontier. During this time, the North Carolina Assembly voted forty pounds proclamation money for support of wives and children of Tuscarora, Nottoway and Meherrin warriors. 


A second smallpox epidemic devastates the Catawba tribe, reducing their population by half. 


In 1763 and 1766 additional Tuscarora migrated north to settle with other Iroquoian peoples in Penn and NY



May 17: Diagawekee, sachem of the NY Tuscaroras and a delegation of the Six Nations arrived in NC. He had come to lead all the Tuscaroras that were willing to march and join the Six Nations. Thus during the first week in August of that year Diagawekee led 155 Indians northward, leaving about 100 older Indians behind.

By this time many of the Tuscarora remaining in the Carolinas had migrated into the Bladen Co., area of NC. From there they dispersed primarily into Robeson and Richmond Co., NC and Orangeburg District, SC. By 1766 there were about 259, but in that same year 155 removed to the north. By 1767 about 104 individuals continued to reside on the reservation in Bertie Co. 


The number of 104 seems to have dwindled to about 80.

The decrease of population together with increase in poverty seems to have accelerated after the death of King Tom Blount/Blunt about 1739. 


A few Tuscaroras joined the Iroquois allies of the British. As a result these allies had to leave their villages in the United States and went to live near what is now Brantford, Ontario, Canada. About 130 Tuscaroras went to the Grand River territory with Joseph Brant and the Mohawks where their descendants remain today.

The original reserve was granted by Frederick Haldimand under Haldimand Proclamation of Oct to Brant and his Iroquois followers for their support of the Crown during the American Revolution. 


A census showed 1,843 Natives on the reserve mentioned above. This included 448 Mohawk, 381 Cayuga, 245 Onondaga, 162 Oneida, 129 Tuscarora and 78 Seneca. There were also 400 from other tribes including Delawares, Nanticokes, Tutelos, even some Creeks and Cherokees (Kelsay 1984). Joseph Brant also invited members of Brant's Volunteers and Butler's Rangers to live on the grant as well.

The Tuscaroras remaining in the US eventually established a reservation by purchasing lands near present-day Lewiston, NY. 


NC Census Data

Total 393,751

Free white persons 288,204

All other free persons 4,975

Slaves 100,572



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