Colony Research Group
Genealogy ~ DNA ~ Archaeology
enough, Family Tree DNA says that at 24 generations, which was Ancestry's
estimated number of generations, there is a 97+% likihood that indeed they
have a common ancestor.
what we've learned is that Ancestry, aside from providing no tools or
explanation, is very, very conservative. In this case, the number they
give you is more likely their 100% sure number, not their "most
likely" number. In fact, if we divide their number in half, it's
learned that Family Tree DNA's 50th percentile is much closer to reality,
without any tweaking that you can do based on known pedigree charts.
Meherrin and the Susquehanna Indians
records are wonderful resources with lots of buried treasure. Of course,
you have to dig for it - because it's treasure - after all. Sometimes
after reading these old records two or three times, I stop and ask myself,
"What just happened here?" this was one of those times.
of the lessons we've learned with our continued studies is that the Native
people did not remain in one place very long. They were always somewhat
mobile, but the infringement of the Europeans hastened these moves...plus
there were always enemy indians to worry about. This petition found in the
North Carolina records gives us a huge amount of information. But first,
let's look at a bit of history about the Meherrin Indians.
Meherrin Indians lived on or near the Meherrin River near the
Virginia/North Carolina border. The spoke an Iroquoian language, as did
the Nottoway and the Tuscarora, who were considered their
"cousins." Historically they lived in Virginia above the fall
line (Petersburg and Richmond), but by the early 1700s had been pushed
south by European settlement.
following record tells some of their story.
of the North Carolina Governorís Council
27, 1726 Ė October 28, 1726
02, Pages 641-645
day was read at the Board the Petition of the Meherrin Indians shewing
that they have lived and Peaceably Enjoyed the said Towne where they now
live for such a space of time as they humbly concieve (page 643) Entitles
them to an Equitable Right in the same that they have not only lived there
for many years
long before there were any English Settlements near that place or any
notion of Disputes known to them concerning the dividing bounds between
this Country and Verginia and have there made large improvements after
their manner for the better support and maintanance of themselves and
Families by their Lawfull and Peaceable Industry Notwithstanding which
Coll Wm Maule and Mr William Gray have lately intruded upon them
and have Surveyed their sd Towne and cleared Grounds on pretence that it
lye in this Government and that the sd Indians have allways held it as
Tributaries to Verginia which is not so praying this Board to take them
into their Protection as their faithful and Loyall Tributaries and to
secure to them a Right & Property in the said Towne with such a
convenient Quantity of Land adjoyning to it to to be laid off by meets and
Bounds as to them shall seem meet
allso was Read the Petitions of Sundry Inhabitants Living near the said
Indians Shewing That Sundry Familys of the Indians called the Meherrin
Indians have lately Encroacht and settled on their Land which they begg
leave to Represent with the true accot of those Indians who are not
original Inhabitants of any Lands within this Governmt but were formerly
called Susquahannahs and Lived between Mary Land and Pensilvania and
committing several Barbarous Massacrees and Outrages there Killing, as tis
reported all the English there settled excepting Two Families, they then
drew off and fled up to the head of Potomack and there built them a fort
being pursued by the Mary Land and Verginia Forces under the Comand of One
Major Trueman who beseiged the fort Eight months but at last in the night
broke out thro the main Guard and drew off round the heads of several
Rivers and passing them high up came into this country and settled at old
Sapponie Town upon Maherrin River near where Arthurs Cavenah now
lives but being disturbed by the sapponie Indians they drew down to
Tarrora Creek on the same River where Mr Arthur Allenís Quarters is;
afterwards they were drove thence by the Jennetto Indians down to Bennets
Creek and settled on a Neck of Land afterwards Called Maherrin Neck
because these Indians came down Maherrin River and after that they began
to take the name of Maherrin Indians; but being known the English on that
side would not suffer them to live there, then they removed over Chowan
River and Settled at Mount Pleasant where Capt Downing now live but being
very Troublesome there one Lewis Williams drove them higher up and got an
order from the Governmt that they should never come on the So. side of
Wickkacones (page 644) Creek and they settled at Catherines Creek a place
since called Little Towne but they being still Mischievous by order of the
Government Coll Pollock brought in the Chief of them before the
Govr & Council and they were then ordered by the Governmt never to
appear on the south side of Maherrin They then pitched at the mouth of
Maherrin River or the North side called old Maherrin Town where they
afterwards remained tho they were never recieved or became Tributaries of
this Governmt nor ever assisted the English in their warrs against the
Indians but were on the contrary very much suspected to have assisted the
Tuskarooroes at the massacree The Baron De Graffen Reed offering
his Oath that one Nick Major in Particular being one of the present
Maherrin Indians Satt with the Tuscarooroes at his Tryall and was among
them when Mr Lawson the Surveyr Genl was killed by them So that these
Maherrins were not originally of this Country but Enemies to the English
every where behaving themselves Turbulently and never lookt on as true men
or friends to the English nor ever paid due acknowledgement to this
Government Some years agoe Coll Maule the Surveyr Genl obtained an
Order to Survey the Lands at old Maherrin Towne which was accordingly done
and Pattented afterwards since that they have paid Tribute to this
Governmt and have been allowed by the Governmt to remain on those Lands
but since that a great sickness coming among them swept off the most of
them and those that remained moved off those Lands at Maherrin Towne and
Sundry of them have lately seated and Encroached on your Petitioners Lands
some miles higher up the River, destroyed their Timber & Stocks and
hindering them from Improving their Lands they being unwilling themselves
forcibly to remove the sd Indians least some disorders might arise
thereon; praying an order to the Provost Marshall That if the sd Indians
do not remove off in some convenient time they may be compelled thereto
by the consent of both parties It is ordered in Council That the Surveyr
Genl or his Deputy do lay out unto the said Indians a certain parcell of
Land lying between Maherrin River and Blackwater River Running three miles
up Blackwater River and then a Straight Line to such a part of Maherrin
River as shall be Two miles from the mouth thoreof and if the same line
shall leave out the settlement of Capt Roger a Maherrin Indian that then
the Surveyr Genl do lay out a Tract of 150 acres the most convenient to
his Dwelling Which Land when Surveyed the surveyr is to make return
thereof into the Sectys Office that Grants may pass for the same to the
said Indians It is further Ordered by this Board that the sd Indians shall
Quietly hold the sd Lands (page 645) without any molestation or
disturbance of any Persons claming the same so as the same Persons Right
or pretentions to the sd Lands be Reserved into them whereby they or those
claiming under them shall have the preferrence of taking up the same when
the said Indians shall desart or remove therefrom.
is the time when I'm asking "what happened?" Let's see what we
can summarize. It's obvious that the Indians are unhappy because the white
people have once again encroached on land where the Indians lived, and
have historically lived. This is a fundamental disconnect between the
European idea that somehow the land was "available" for them
because the Indians didn't hold an English deed and the Indians concept of
land usage without any concept of ownership. To them, the Creator
"owned" the lands and they lived on them, used them, but never
owned them in an English sense.
Meherrin lived in their town and have lived in their town near the
Virginia/North Carolina border.
Indians have been tributary Indians to Virginia but Mauls and Gray are
intruding on their lands saying they are in North Carolina.
and Grey surveyed their towns for land patents.
Susquehanna joined the Meherrin and were originally from Pennsylvania and
settled at the Old Sapponie Town upon the Meherrin near where Arthur
were disturbed by the Sapponie and went to live on Taruora Creek on the
same river near Mr. Arthur Allen's quarter.
Jennetto Indians drove them to Bennetts Creek. The Jennetto Indians were
also Iroquoian. This seems to be a Sapponi term for the Seneca, also
called Sinnegers and the Oneida Indians who roamed and struck fear into
the hearts of tribes from Virginia through South Carolina. Bennett's Creek
was the location of the Tuscarora Reservation, although depending on when
they were driven there, it may have been before the Tuscarora were granted
Meherrin settled at Meherrin Neck
moved to the Chowan River and settled at Mount Pleasant where Capt.
Williams drove them higher up and they settled at Catharines Creek at a
place called Little Town.
settled at the mouth of the Meherrin at a place called Old Meherrin Town.
Major, a Meherrin Indian was accused of being a Susquehanna and that he
participated in the Degraffenreid Trial and the subsequent death of John
Lawson in 1709, events which precipitated the Tuscarora War.
came at this time and the Indians removed up the river of the land of the
petitioner. I thought the petitioners were the Indians. This is confusing.
laid out between Blackwater and the Meherrin Rivers 3 miles up Blackwater
and a straight line to the Meherrin 2 miles from the mouth of the river.
Unfortunately, when looking at a map, this leaves some question as to
exactly which rivers were being discussed, because the Meherrin and the
Blackwater are not adjacent.