powered by google
Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from the North Carolina Governor's Council to the Virginia Governor's Council, including depositions concerning the North Carolina/Virginia boundary
North Carolina. Council
June 17, 1707
Volume 01, Pages 657-663

[B. P. R. O. B. T. Va. 58.]
LETTER TO THE VIRGINIA COUNCIL


North Carolina June 17th 1707

Honble Gent:

We received yours containing the complaints of the Maherine Indians pretending encroachments made on them by the Inhabitants of this Government &c Upon consideration of which we thought we could not better answer yours than by sending you the true state of that matter being always as willing to give all reasonable satisfaction concerning our proceedings as Zealous to assert the undoubted Right of the Lords proprietors and her Majestys Subjects of this Governments Of a long time before the memory of man the Lands on the Southside of that River which is now called Maherine were in the Rightfull possession of the Chowanoake Indians by Virtue of a Grant from the Yawpin Indians and no other Indians (as plainly appears by successive accounts of that Nation by Original Writings and undoubted evidences) has had any Right to any Land there to this day and when first the Lords Proprietors of Carolina

-------------------- page 658 --------------------
by Virtue of their Charter from his late Majesty King Charles the 2d took possession of this province that nation submitted themselves to the Crown of England under the Dominion of the Lords proprietors and continued peaceably till about the year 1675 about which time by incitements of the Rebelious Indians of Virginia who fled to them they committed hostility upon the Inhabitants of this Government in Violation of their Treaty Whereupon by virtue of the Authority for making peace and Warr granted to the Lords proprietors by their Charter, open war was made upon the said Indians in prosecution whereof (by Gods assistance though not without the loss of many men) they were wholly subdued and had Land for their habitation assigned them where they remained to this day so that all the tract of Land on the Southside of the Maherine River was at that Time resigned into the immediate possession of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina as of their province of Carolina and has been peaceably by them held without any Claime now thirty years during which Time the Maherine Indians removing themselves from their ancient place of habitation (where by Virtue of a Treaty with Commissioners appointed by his late Majty King Charles 2nd they were settled) placed themselves at the mouth of the Maherine River on the North side and a great part of the Tract of Land on the southside lyeing wast some of their straglers planted corne and built Cabbins on the Chowanacke old fields and continued more and more to make their Incroachments till they became an Intolerable annoyance to her Majestys subjects Commiting Repeated Injurys upon their stocks and makeing frequent affrays upon their persons as far as Moratuck River for the necessary Redressing of which growing Incroachments and preventing worse mischiefs which is daily threatened and Reasonably feared, the Government here (and which was the least that they in discharge of their duty could do) held a treaty with the Chiefs of the said Indians and instead of insisting upon satisfaction for the wrongs already done were content to make only necessary provision for the security of her Majesty's subjects for the future. In order to which it was concluded that the stragling and vagrant Indians of that Nation should remove to their town on the North side of the River that towne they should peaceably enjoy for a certaine tribute which was as we believe the first title that ever they had to it for their treaty with the Commrs aforementioned gives them no more right to the Land whereon they now dwell than it would do to Land on the Northside Potomack or the southside of Cape Feare if they should remove themselves to either of those places: and it seems to us yet more advisable and would tend
-------------------- page 659 --------------------
more to her Majestys service and present settlement as well of Virga as of this Province that they in force of their said treaty and for preserving of their Right to their Majesty's protection by virtue of it should be compelled to return to the place of their former habitation, than that they should be suffered to possess the mouth of a navigable River considering how they have hitherto behaved themselves which we seriously Recommend to your Consideration noe need to Relate to you our Reasons for makeing the Maherine River the bounds who are all very well acquainted with ye Indians planting Corne without fence so that no English can seate near them without danger of trespassing by their Cattle and Horses and which ye Indians and especially that Nation are very ready to Revenge without measure, so that the Question is not between the Right of Lewis Williams and ye Maherine Nation but whether near a hundred familys of her Majty's subjects of Carolina should be disseased of their freehold to lett a few vagrant and Insolent Indians rove where they please without any Right, and Contrary to their Agreement besides we have always thought it necessary that the Indians should live together in towns where all their young men may be under the immediate inspection of their own Governrs to prevent their private mischiefs that may be more easily done and concealed in single and separate familys Your proposition concerning further settlement We in all friendship recd. but because of the uncertainty we could not proceed to make any order or proposition in answer to it till by the Copys of the Depositions to be taken on your behalf which we hoped to receive we might have certain Information how far the Contraverted Grounds was extended to us ward we knowing no bounds to Carolina but Weyanoake River till further informed intending no further to enter into that Controversie but only to Represent the Case to the Lords Proprietors in order to their laying it before her sacred Majesty Seeing no cause to doubt of the success in so clear a Case. To this we add that Lewis Williams can't be called any new settlement for he had Right to that Land some yeares agoe And he has been hindered settleing by those Indians who have dallyed with this Government from time to time by promise to Depart and at last being called to shew reason of their Delay they only could alledge that they had cleared some ground for which they desired satisfaction and Williams being willing to be in peaceable possession of his Land at any Rate Condisended to pay them a horse and fifteen bushells of corne which was all they at that time desired & the Greatest part tbey have received and ye Remainder has been tendered but upon their Return from Virginia they have Refused to receive the Remaining part and made a barbarous assault upon him in his
-------------------- page 660 --------------------
own house so that his Life is doubted of and his family in Danger of further trouble from which we believe it our Duty to rescue him for we can't interprett your Propositions to mean that in the mean time any of her Majestys subjects should be left to the merciless insults of savage people but that every one in the Respective Governments as they are now deemed should quietly enjoy their propertys till the matter be determined to which we readily assent and as soon as we know how far you do claime shall take all necessary order in it

We have sent you inclosed Copys of such Depositions as we have taken relateing to the bounds and desire you will send us those that have been taken by you according to your promise. We are

Your humble servants
EDWARD MOSELY
W GLOVER
FRAN: FOSTER
SAMUEL SWANN


North Carolina ss.

Before me Edward Mosely Esqr one of the members of the Council and Authorised to take the Depositions of certain persons relateing to the boundarys of this Government Personally Came and appeared Charles Merritt aged fifty five years or thereabouts, Who on his Oath on the Holy Evangelists taken saith that he Came into Virginia in or about the year 1666. And lived about twenty yeares on the south side James River and then lived on A Plantation of Collo Benjamin Harrisson on Blackwater and within call of the Weyanoake Indian Forte and consumed there five yeares during which time this Deponent had frequent Discourses with the Indians and was by them informed that they never Claimed to the Southward of the Maherine River But at the time that the Appachoukanough was Routed and taken for the Massacre he had committed the Weyanoakes (being his Confederates and fearing the English) removed themselves from that place which is now called Weyanoake in James River to Warraekeeks on Weyanoake River and after when the Poackyacks killed their King they were by the English brought from thence and placed on the Blackwater aforementioned as Tributarys. where this Deponent lived by them and this Deponent further saith that he was informed by the Weyanoaks that the Weyanoke River now Called Nottoway was their bounds and that they never Seated to the Southward of Warr-a-keeks

the mark of
CHARLES P MERRITT.

Capt at Jurat Duodecimo
die Jany Anno Dom̄i 1707
Coram me
Edwd Moseley

-------------------- page 661 --------------------

North Carolina ss.

Before me Edward Moseley Esqr one of the members of the Council and being authorised to take the Depositions of Certain persons Relateing to the boundarys of the Government personally came and appeared John Smyth aged sixty two yeares or thereabouts borne in Newport Parish in the Isle of Wight Couty abt fourteen miles from Blackwater River who on his Oath on the holy evangelists taken saith that he lived in Newport parish till the year one thousand six hundred seventy three or thereabouts at which time this Deponent came and lived about five miles off Blackwater and about thirty miles off Weyanoake River which was always in this Deponents memory Known to be the first River on the Right hand as you go down Blackwater till within these twenty years or thereabout the Nottoways comeing to live nearer the River than they used to do and the Weyanoakes being all declined it Gained the name of Nottoway and this Deponent further saith that he never knew or heard of any other River that was Called Weyanoak except the abovesaid by the Virginians lately Called Nottoway

JNO SMYTH

Capt and Jurat Vicessimo
primo die Januar anno 1707
Coram me
Edwd Moseley


North Carolina ss.

Before me Edward Moseley Esqr one of the members of the Council and being Authorized to take the Depositions of Certain persons relateing to the boundarys of this Government, personally Came and appeared Richd Booth aged sixty three years or thereabouts who on his Oath on the Holy Evangelists taken saith that in or about the year 1661 this Deponent came into Virginia and served Major Merritt six years (who then lived about Twenty miles from the Weyanoake Indian Town the Weyanoks living very near a plantation that now belongs to Collo Harrison betwixt Blackwater River & Weyanoake River which Weyanoake River by reason of the Declension of the Weyanoake Indians and the Nottoway Indians removing nigher to it has since in this Deponents memory gained the name of Nottoway River by the Virginians) And this Deponent further saith that in the year 1667 he being employed by one William West to go in a Canoe with Certain goods &c to the Maherine Indian Towns one Jno Browne and a certain Weyanoake Indian called Tom Frusman being in the Canoe with him as they went down Blackwater River this Deponent then being a Stranger in those parts any other than by hearesay enquired what river that was they first mett with on

-------------------- page 662 --------------------
their Right Hand they answered it was Weyanoake and Opposite to the Rivers mouth was a field belonging to the Weyanoakes it being then about one of the Clock in the afternoon this Deponent enquired how far it was to Maherine River they answered they should gett there before sun down which they did accordingly whereby this Deponent Computed it was about thirteen miles by Water and this Deponent further saith that he never understood that the Weyanoake Indians ever lived to the Southward of that River

RICHd BOOTH.

Capt et Jurat Decimo
die January Anno 1707
Coram me
Edward Mosely


North Carolina ss.

Before me Edward Moseley Esqr one of the Council and being authorized to take the Depositions of Certain persons relateing to the boundarys of this Government.

Personally Came and appeared Jno Browne aged sixty eight yeares or thereabouts who on his Oath on ye holy evangelist taken saith that in the year 1659 or 60 he this Deponent came into Virginia and lived in Henrico County some years and then came to live on Blackwater River and that at that time this Deponent understood and was informed that the first River (as they went down) on the Right hand was Weyanoake River And this Deponent further saith that he never heared it called by any other name till severall years after when the Weyanoakes declining and the Nottoways removing nearer the River, and he this Deponent with severall others usually going to the Nottoways to fish first gave it the Generall name of Nottoway And this Deponent saith that at the mouth of the said river there is an old field Known at this day by the name of Weyanoake neck And this Deponent further saith that he never knew that the Weyanoake Indians ever lived lower than that River.

JNO BROWNE

Capt et Jurat Decimo
die Januar Anno 1707
Coram me
Edwd Moseley


North Carolina ss.

Before me Edward Moseley Esqr one of the members of the Council and being authorized to take the Deposition of certain persons relating to the boundarys of this Government. Personally came and appeared William Brush aged sixty five years or thereabouts who on his Oath according to the forme of his profession taken saith that in or about the year one thousand six hundred and fifty eight or fifty nine he this Deponent

-------------------- page 663 --------------------
came into Virginia and lived twenty yeares or thereabout within sixteen miles or thereabouts off Weyanoake River and about fifteen years more within twelve miles of Weyanoake River being the first River on the Right hand as you go down Blackwater River and about twelve miles above Maherine River During the Major part of which time the Deponent never heard it go by any other name than Weyanoake and this Deponent further saith that about twelve years agoe (one of this Deponents Neighbours) Nathan King took up a peice of Land lyeing opposite to the mouth of the said River which Land was Commonly said by the neighbours to lye at the mouth of Weyanoake River to distinguish it from other Land the said Nathan had and this Deponent further saith that he never knew or heard of any other Weyanoke River than that aforementioned and which by the Virginians has lately been called Nottoway by Reason the Nottoway Indians having of late been the chief dwellers near it


Capt et Jurat Vicesimo
primo die Januar Anno 1707
coram me
Edwd Moseley

September the 15th 1707