Wednesday, December 20, 2017

American Indians in NC

Much of the history of the Outer Banks begins with Sir Walter Raleigh's 16th century expeditions to North Carolina. However, native peoples were hunting, fishing, and in some cases, living permanently on these sandy banks long before that.  

From Cultural Resources Studies, Eastern North Carolina above Cape Lookout, prepared by: Wilmington District U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, in cooperation with: N.C. Division of Archives and History, Archeology and Historic Preservation Section, May 1986 (image inserted):

"Indians living in northeastern North Carolina at the time of permanent white settlement linguistically belonged to the Algonquian tradition ...with the exception of the Tuscarora and the Meherrin who linquistically belonged to the Iroquoian tradition. The Algonquians in North Carolina, the southernmost of that language group on the North American continent, lived in an area extending from the Virginia border southward to Bogue Inlet and from the Outer Banks as far inland as present Plymouth, Washington, and New Bern.

North Carolina Algonquian
"The tribes, within this linguistic tradition included the Pasquotank, Yeopim, Poteskeet, Chowanoc, Machapunga, Bay or Bear River, Pamplico, Hatteras, Neusioc, and possibly the Coree. Such tribes were small in number and dominated by the more powerful, numerous, and warlike Tuscarora who lived just to the west of the Algonquians and to a great extent controlled the Algonquians. The Meherrin, who lived mainly in Virginia but who moved into North Carolina under pressure of the northern government, were confined to the east bank of the Chowan River as early as 1676.

"Early European contact with the aboriginal inhabitants of North Carolina resulted in an exchange of weapons, living habits, and language. However, the whites quickly overwhelmed the Algonquians. In fact, the rapid disintegration of the Indian way of life and the astonishing numerical decline in aboriginal populations have been the principal themes of North Carolina Indian history. Contributing greatly to the decimation of the Indians were disease and warfare. An epidemic In 1695 devastated the Pamplico tribe. The Chowanoc were destroyed by war in 1677. While the Iroquoian tribes held out for a longer period, they were defeated in the Tuscarora War of 1711-1714, which eventually resulted in the virtual disappearance of the Indians from northeastern North Carolina."

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is my analysis of a sentence penned by surveyor Jonathan Price in 1795. The sentence reads, "Occacock was heretofore, and still retains the name of, an island. It is now a peninsula; a heap of sand having gradually filled up the space which divided it from the bank."  You can read my analysis here:  


  1. Anonymous8:33 AM

    Dateline 2099. The Caucasian peoples of the early 21st century populated both urban and rural sections of North America. Due to a number of polices and unfunded mandates which contributed to the decline of what some considered western Civilization wait, if western civilization vanished those in control would not be anthro-apologists fretting about such a thing. Oh Merry Christmas Y'all.

  2. Where can I learn more?
    I have always wondered which tribe I am related to through the O’Neals.
    Since you also descended from them, maybe you have
    some more information to share in a future newsletter.

    1. I am only aware of one reference to the O'Neal/Morning Dew connection. If I ever learn more I will publish my findings.

    2. So I assume that means that there is no known information regarding the tribe of Morning Dew.Thanks so much,
      I do appreciate your response.

    3. Am also a descendent of David O'Neal and Morning Dew. Haven't been able to find much, with the exception that David O'Neal was a 16 yr old cook on the John Evangelist ship that sank in 1590. I can't find anything more than that, except that they had a son together and the lineage continues from there. (7/6/2019