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The Lost Colony Research Group

Genealogy ~ DNA ~ Archaeology

Newsletter

March  2012


The first known Virginian to settle in North Carolina was Indian trader Nathaniel Batts in 1654.  We only know about that event because of a later court hearing in Virginia in which Batts told of his purchase from local Indians.  Batts remains in North Carolina to this day, although his grave has probably submerged beneath Albemarle Sound.  The island known as “Batt’s Grave” sank quite near to Durant’s Neck in Perquimans County, where another trader, George Durant made his purchase from Yeopim chief Kilcacenen in 1662 (NCCR, 1: 19). 

Another quick peninsula east, we find Pasquotank County and the home of the New Begun Creek community and Little River Meeting House, the place of worship of many of North Carolina’s first Quakers.  This is the area above the Albemarle Sound and known collectively, with Currituck and Chowan Counties as “Albemarle.”  Pasquotank was the home of our hero and possibly another Quaker, Col. Thomas Boyd. 

Studying Hatteras Island at this time involves the records of Currituck County, but also those of Hyde County and many deed records appear in Hyde before 1739.  The surprising part is that Hyde County is not the only place we find Hatteras deeds before 1739.  Why?  Much like the separate colonies before the Revolution, early North Carolina “counties” held something of an autonomous nature as well… apparently they often claimed remote Hatteras Island as “ungoverned territory.”  This may also have had something to do with Quakers trying to remain anonymous with regard to England’s official Anglican Church who often discriminated against peaceful Quakers that refused to fight battles.  As Boyd shows us, however, not all Quakers were pacifistic.  However, we only speculated that Boyd was a Quaker.  The only clue to the difference in religion is the unusual way that Pasquotank Precinct began its deeds, with “To all Xtian people to whom these presents shall come…” and the particular Christian wording that usually follows. 

Why is this important to the study of Hatteras Island?  Well, that “workshop” that Phelps uncovered was run by heretofore unknown Europeans, but presumably by newly-arrived North Carolinians.  Quakers, also slave traders at this time and not yet the guardians of Indian virtue that they will later become, were quite well-disposed to them nonetheless.  If anyone would share an island in peace with natives, it would be the Quakers.  If anyone were to keep such a business venture secret, it would be Quakers. 

Of the Pasquotank men that had later dealings with Hatteras Island, we find Valentine Wallis who constructed a home near the “workshop” location before 1740 that was later occupied by Job Carr and then, Hezekiah Farrow.  Wallis was born and christened in Middlesex County, Virginia in 1699, son of William Wallace (not the guy from Braveheart) and Ann (possibly) Blount.  He had a brother William, sisters Sarah, Jane, Mary, and, interestingly “Anne Kinnecum,”  a name rather similar to the chief of the Yeopim that sold George Durant his land, “Kilcacenen.”  Valentine’s mother remarried after William died to a Richard Grey of Perquimans and had another son, Richard Grey Jr.  Grey/Gray is yet another Hatteras surname (See below and also: Pasquotank Co., NC Record of Deeds 1700-1751, Deed A: 242).

North Carolina Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol. 1 by Hathaway, p. 46 – Note the name “Kinnecum,” similar to “Chief Kilcacenen” that sold the land to George Durant in 1662.  Note also that Grey/Gray is another Hatteras surname. 

Other records showing the Wallis connection to Hatteras come through Pasquotank deeds before 1739 when Currituck County began the process.  One is for 1734 and gives us the details of the long-misunderstood Valentine Wallis presence on the island.  It also involved his younger brother William Jr.:

Pasquotank County Deed Records, Book C: 345 (transcription taken from published source) – Note the land on Flatty Creek adjacent to John Boyd and the land (570 acres) on Hatteras Banks, that he formerly lived on.

Apparently, Valentine and his brother planned to move away from both Pasquotank County and Hatteras Island at this time, going to Carteret County where we find many Pasquotank County names as well, including the second-most populous Quaker community in North Carolina. 

There seems to have been a great deal of Boyd contacts with Hatteras, although there has been none alluded to aside from the “capture” incident involving the Indians in 1712.  Might there be a closer connection to Boyd, producing the militia structure that included the Hatteras Indians?  Yes, there is… and it is a surprising one indeed.

John Whitby is a name that is often seen on Hatteras, especially in late eighteenth-century deed records.  The blending of the English settlers and the Indians makes itself known in studies of the “persons of color” on the island and how they suddenly change to “white” in the 1800 census.  Names like Whitby, Basnett, and Quidley appear in genealogical records that detail their mixed relationships.  Going back to Pasquotank County once again, we find the Whitbys, or Whedbees have their origins there as well.

North Carolina Historical & Genealogical Register, Vol. 1 by Hathaway, p. 508-9 – Note the names Whedbee, Reed, Davis, and Foster.  These are all Hatteras settlers and probably used the island earlier, prior to the issuance of official deeds c1716.  William Reed received the first recorded deed in 1712.  Christian and Joseph are his sons.  Note also the first will mentioned for Ann Whebee… her “sons” William and Thomas Boyd and daughter, Winnifred Boyd.  Thomas Boyd’s wife, Winnifred, is a Whedbee, making his relationship with the Hatteras Indians all that more significant.  They likely knew these Indians well, indeed, may have been related to them through decades of living side by side them. 

Pasquotank Deed Book A: p. 302 -  John Whitby appointment of attorneys, 1723.  Note the name of John Clark, another Hatteras surname that came there through the Thomas Robb /Henry Davis connection as grandchildren.  This name prevails all over eastern NC today, especially in Hyde County and on Hatteras Island in Trent Woods.

 

Even more surprising, we see that Thomas Boyd married Winnifred Whedbee and was a brother-n-law not only of the Reeds (first official settlers of Hatteras), but also of John, Richard, and George Whedbee.  Just to throw in some other names, the O’Neals, who at one time, own the Indian Town at Trent Woods on Hatteras, also hail from Pasquotank as do the Fosters, John and Macrora Scarboro/Scarbro, Davis (specifically Thomas & Elizabeth close to Currituck) and Robb (vague hints and closer to Currituck... only after 1716 when he came over as prisoner), Matthew Midgett (in present day Camden on "Alligator Creek" that flows into North River), Jno. Jennet, Oliver, Miller, William Rawlinson/Rolinson, and more. 

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