Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Winter Wishes

'Twas the night before Christmas & out on the ranch

The pond was froze over & so was the branch.

The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.

The kids were all home on vacation from school,

And happier young folks you never did see-

Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV.

Then suddenly, some time around 8 o'clock,

There came a surprise that gave them a shock!

The power went off, the TV went dead!

When Grandpa came in from out in the shed

With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.

"Just what I expected," they heard him remark.

"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.

Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."

"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom. "With their light,

And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right."

The teen-agers all seemed enveloped in gloom.

Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,

Uncased his old fiddle & started to play

That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.

Mom started to sing, & 1st thing they knew

Both Pop & the kids were all singing it, too.

They sang Christmas carols, they sang "Holy Night,"

Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.

They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,

And Pop read a passage from God's Book of Truth.

They stayed up till midnight-and, would you believe,

The youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.

Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;

And when the kids wakened, the power was on.

"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,"

Said Grandpa - & no one suspected his trick.

Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,

He had pulled the main switch - the old Son-of-a-Gun!


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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Roanoke Colonies Research Newsletter

Roanoke Colonies Research Newsletters online.
These include the years 1993-2003 and open in pdf. Contents of 1996 are: Raleigh Trial Documents • Research Note on Manteo and Wanchese in England • Croatan Archaeological Dig • Thomas Hariot-Related Sites on the Internet • Watersite Theatre Renovation. All are listed when you visit the site

ECU Field Station for Coastal Studies

ECU Field Station for Coastal Studies

at Mattamuskeet: History

Algonquian Indians, of the Secotan chiefdom, lived in the Albemarle-Pamlico region and hunted, fished, foraged, and tended gardens. The first Europeans to explore the lake area (1585) were from Sir Walter Raleigh’s second Roanoke Island expedition. At the time, the Native Americans called the lake “Paquippe.” At the end of the Tuscarora Indian War, the colonial government permitted the surviving coastal Indian tribes to live in the Lake Mattamuskeet area. In 1727, the Lord Proprietors of Carolina gave the “Indians of Mattamuskeet” a land grant of 10,240 acres lying “at Mattamuskeet on Pamplycoe sound.”

Deeds pertaining to the reservation lands also refer to the Indians and lake as “Arromuskeet.” Edward Moseley was one of the men who witnessed the land grant document. It is not clear how or when the name of the lake became Mattamuskeet, but a map drawn by Moseley in 1733 identified the lake as Mattamuskeet and showed the general location of the Mattamuskeet Indian reservation. Mattamuskeet is an Indian word thought by linguists to mean “dry dust” or “a moving swamp.” By 1761, the Mattamuskeet Indians had sold their reservation land to the colonists, assimilated into the white and black population of the region, or left the colony to join other Algonquian tribes. In the public records of Hyde County, the Mattamuskeet descendants were not referred to as Indians after 1804. They were generally grouped with the free blacks of Hyde County and designated “free persons of color.”

In the period between 1835 and 1865, it was common practice in Hyde County to place children of “free persons of color” in indentured apprenticeships, removing them from their families and their roots until they reached the age of 21. Whatever remnants of the Mattamuskeet Indian culture passed into the 19th century was largely destroyed by the apprenticeship practices.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Archaeological Sites and Studies



North Carolina’s First Colonists: 12,000 Years Before Roanoke
Stephen R. Claggett
Office of State Archaeology
North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office

Four hundred years ago the English Roanoke colonists met numerous native inhabitants along the coast of what would become the state of North Carolina. Even earlier, during the 1540s, Spanish explorers under the leadership of Hernando de Soto “discovered” several Indian groups occupying the interior regions of the Carolinas. Today we know that the coastal Indians were part of a larger group occupying the entire mid-Atlantic coastal area, identifiable by a shared language and culture called Algonkian. The Native Americans whom de Soto met included Siouan, Iroquoian and Muskogean speakers, whose descendants are now recognized as the historic tribes of the Catawba, Cherokee and Creek Indians. Within a very short period of time—some 50 years—after those first contacts, the early European explorers of North Carolina had met, interacted with, and begun the process of significant cultural displacement of all the major native groups in the state.
What can we learn about those Indian groups from accounts of the earliest European explorers? Surviving chronicles from de Soto and the Roanoke colonists include many details of the land and its potential or imagined wealth. But with the notable exceptions of the John White paintings and Thomas Hariot’s writings, we possess surprisingly little knowledge about the early historic Indians who lived in our state. Tantalizing bits of information can be gleaned from the early series of exploration accounts, but when the actual diversity and complexities of “Indian” culture are considered, we must conclude that their description by explorers was incidental to those for geography, searches for treasure, or daily hardships of the first European explorers.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Catechna and The Tuscarora War

Outbreak of the Tuscarora War
The Tuscarora War was the most terrible Indian war that ever took place in North Carolina. The Indians struck in the autumn of 1711, and they could hardly have chosen a more advantageous time. The colonists were divided by political disagreement. Edward Hyde had come over from England the previous year to administer the colony as deputy governor. His right to the post was disputed by Thomas Cary who had previously held the office. In the dispute that followed, known as Cary's Rebellion, Hyde and Cary both attracted supporters who actually took up arms against each other. The colony was in the midst of civil war.

The Rebellion ended in the summer of 1711, but there was already evidence of serious unrest among the Indians. At the beginning of the year, the Meherrin had been reported as becoming more and more insolent. By mid-summer this attitude had spread to other tribes. At the same time, it was said that Cary supporters had offered rich rewards to the Tuscarora to attack the followers of Hyde. It was also said that the young men of the tribe had agreed to the offer but had been overruled by the old men. This latter report seems to have lulled the settlers into a false sense of security.

According to one prominent colonist, the increasing hostile attitude of the natives was because the whites "cheated these Indians in trading, and would not allow them to hunt near their plantations, and under that pretense took away from them their game, arms and ammunition." A more immediate cause might have been the founding of the town of New Bern in 1710 by Baron Christoph von Graffenried, the leader of a group of Swiss and Germans settling the area.

New Bern was established on the site of a Neusioc Indian town called Chattooka, or Cartouca. The natives who occupied the land were paid for it and they moved away, but apparently they were not satisfied. As Surveyor-General of the colony, John Lawson surveyed the site. According to von Graffenried, the site had also been chosen for him by Lawson who claimed it to be uninhabited. When it was found to be occupied by Indians, he charged the Surveyor-General with recommending they be driven off without payment. These accusations were not in keeping with Lawson's otherwise sympathetic attitude towards the natives, but, if true, they might explain the terrible fate he met soon thereafter.

In mid-September, 1711, Lawson invited von Graffenried to go with him on a trip up the Neuse. The purpose of the trip was to examine the river and to seek a better route to Virginia. Lawson assured the Baron there would be no danger from the Indians, but the prospect of such a route through, or near, their hunting grounds could have been a matter of great concern to the Indians. In any event, several days after their departure, both men were seized by the natives and taken to Catechna, the Tuscarora town of King Hancock, on Contentea Creek. After questioning the prisoners, the Indians decided to set them free. Before they were to leave the following day, the captives were questioned again. The King of Cartouca, the New Bern site, reproached Lawson who answered in anger. A general quarrel followed in which von Graffenried did not take part, but both he and Lawson were again confined. At another council meeting, the Indians decided to execute Lawson and to free the Baron who had promised presents for his freedom. Von Graffenried did not see it and the natives were very secretive about the manner of Lawson's death. Some said he was hanged and others said his throat was slit with a razor he carried with him. It was generally believed the Indians "stuck him full of fine small splinters of touchwood, like hogs' bristles, and so set him gradually on fire."

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Google Your Family Tree, Inc. Announces New Guidebook for Free Online Genealogy - Google Your Family Tree
PROVO, UT, October 10, 2008 ---, Inc. announced today the availability of Google Your Family Tree, a new book that teaches family historians how to unlock the hidden power of the Internet's most popular search engine. Written by Daniel M. Lynch, the book received an enthusiastic reception in Philadelphia last month when it was unveiled at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) annual conference. Pre-orders for the book have been brisk, and it is expected to ship within two weeks.

"This book is well positioned to become the best-selling genealogy book of all time," said Paul Allen, chief executive officer of "It is the right content, by the right author, at the right time. We couldn't be more pleased to be releasing this book this month as millions of people in the United States celebrate Family History Month.", Inc. and Lynch agreed to the deal in March of this year. "Dan has done an exceptional job documenting the hidden power Google offers to family history enthusiasts worldwide," Allen said. "It is the first such book written specifically for genealogists by an accomplished genealogist and technology expert."

Lynch was recently on the KSL NewsRadio Relatively Speaking Radio Genealogy Show with KSL NewsRadio personality and genealogy author Mary Slawson. During the show, Slawson commented about the book, "I just finished reading it today, and it's incredible. It's up there with Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence book. It will be in every major professional researcher's library and hopefully in most of the beginners' libraries. It's a great book!"

Lynch began his career in the technology industry in 1984 and has also been involved in genealogy research for nearly 30 years. A frequent lecturer and writer, he began sharing his Google tips with fellow genealogists at the local and national level shortly after the search engine launched ten years ago. As the capabilities of Google have expanded, so too have its applications for use by family historians. "Google is easily the most important tool available for anyone engaged in family history research," noted Lynch. The book is 352 pages and sells for $34.95 (USD). To learn more about the book, or to reserve a copy, go to

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Croatan Indians of Sampson County, NC

George Edwin Butler, 1868-1941

The Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina. Their Origin and Racial Status. A Plea for Separate Schools.

Durham, N.C.: Seeman Printery, 1916.

The full text of this is online here.