Colony Research Group
Genealogy ~ DNA ~ Archaeology
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).
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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.:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,