Andersons of Colonial N. Carolina

meant what they said, said what they meant

a little Indian lingo there…

with one comment

A commenter just caused a pingback which got my attention…

The subject was a John Bays who the commenter claims is of Indian extraction… along with his purported son James Rutland. All this ruckus just so happens to coincide with me working exactly on that map…

I have no info on Mr Bays nor Mr Rutland… however, if you read my notes in the “blurb” next to Deep Creek, I did mention some history of just that spot where Bays and Rutland settled.

It seems Lewis Williams was pissed at the Indians along with Thomas Pollock and a Capt Downing found the Meherrin Indians “Troublesome”. They had to go

The “Minutes of the NC Governors Council” in 1726 gives the account mentioned in my “blurb”. My observation is that the real problems started a bit earlier… certainly by 1700 but more likely the 1710ish era. There was an “understanding” between the colonists and the Indians prior to 1700 that the “settlers” would stay to the East side of Chowan River.

The so-called Tuscarora War was the result starting in 1711. The Indians held themselves “generally” in “check” until that time. They simply were pushed too far…

Leaving my historical account there and picking back up on Mr Bays and Mr Rutland… savvy Indians who did not particularly want to die or become a slave sold by South Carolina tribes would “assimilate” into the “white” world. It was quite common at the time. I am forever coming across them in my research. Interesting to me is that it was no big deal at the time… the situation seemed to be that if you could pull it off with hard work you were accepted by your neighbors. Half-breeds were quite common then… no insult intended… its just a fact. Cher getting a hit song out of it notwithstanding…

An anecdote to the above accounts…

This area is several miles south of the above account.

A favorite author of mine is Caiborne T. Smith, he wrote the below article in 1996:

Woodward, Thomas

by Claiborne T. Smith, Jr., 1996


Thomas Woodward, surveyor general of the Albemarle, was born in England. Assay master of the Mint under Charles I, he was dismissed from this position on 23 Oct. 1649 by John Bradshaw, president of the Council of State, because of his loyalty to the Crown. Woodward went to Virginia, publicly declaring never to see England again until the return of Charles II to the throne. In November 1661, after the Restoration, John Woodward, a son of Thomas who seems to have remained in England, petitioned the king; reciting the loyalty of his father, he requested that the house and office of assay master be put in his possession until his father’s return or, if his father was dead, to have a grant of it himself. This request was granted, for when John Woodward died in 1665, King Charles II advised the warden of the Mint that the office of assay master was vacant by reason of the death of John Woodward and in the absence of Thomas Woodward, who, if alive, was at some plantation in Virginia. John Brattle was to exercise the office during Woodward’s absence. Thomas Woodward, however, never returned to England.

Assuming a prominent role in Virginia, he served as clerk of court of Isle of Wight County from 1656 to 1662. On 25 Sept. 1663 Sir William Berkeley, governor of Virginia and himself one of the recently appointed Proprietors of Carolina, issued twenty-nine grants in the Albemarle region. These were the first grants of land made in what is now North Carolina. Thomas Woodward was the surveyor appointed to lay off these grants, and of the twenty-nine, three were made to Woodward and members of his family. These tracts, representing over 5,000 acres, lay on the Pasquotank River and on the western side of the Chowan.

Thomas Woodward seems to have remained in the Albemarle section for several years. On 2 June 1665 he sent an interesting report to John Colleton, one of the Lords Proprietors, concerning the new colony and acknowledged his official appointment as surveyor. The report revealed him to be a man of education, as he referred to Bacon’s essay on plantations and quoted a proverb in Spanish. While in Carolina, he served as secretary for the colony and was a member of the governor’s Council. He and Governor William Drummond were commissioners to treat with Maryland and Virginia for a cessation of tobacco planting for the year 1667. This conference, called in response to a sharp drop in the price of tobacco, was held at Jamestown on 12 July 1666.

Woodward returned to Isle of Wight, Va., where he died. In his will, dated 5 Oct. 1677 and probated the same year, he mentioned his wife, his son Thomas, and his daughters Katherine, Elizabeth, Mary, Rachel, and Philarite. Provision was made for the children, if any, of his deceased son John in England. The inventory of his estate listed a parcel of books. The surname of his wife Katherine is unknown; her will was probated in Isle of Wight in 1684.

The above Thomas Woodward would patent land which would eventually become known as Mount Pleasant on the western shore of the Chowan River. Woodward himself seems to have deserted the actual patent but it was picked up by Thomas Giles and eventually fell to Thomas Bray in 1714 or so. These accounts are not to be found in any North Carolina records but in Virginia patents.

Read the description to Woodward’s patent in 1667:

“1100 acs. Isle of Wight or Nansemond Co., 17 Apr. 1667, p. 45. Upon the black water or toward the head of Chawon or Chawonock Riv., includ. an old Indian feild called Mountsack.”

It doesn’t take much to read between the lines… the Virginians did not have a clue yet about that area of Carolina… they could not distinguish between the Blackwater River and the Chowan River. Hell, they had not figured out a border between Isle of Wight and Nansemond… they would not lay out a boundary between the colonies for another sixty one years.

Thomas Woodward must have had balls about the size of a full grown bull…(excuse my analogy ladies but you catch the drift). Surely the area was inhabited by Indians who more than likely wanted to trade. Be wary of Greeks bearing gifts

But more to the point of my actually making a point… this creates a new appreciation in my mind of when I now run across these numerous and sundry references scattered thru’ the records of “an old Indian field”. Mount Pleasant must have been something to behold in 1667… enough so that Woodward felt compelled to grab it for himself. He was ‘castletrash’ after all… those bastards could not help themselves… it was the zeitgeist of colonialism to just take it… overtures of buying it from the Indians notwithstanding.

For a flavor of the area (of Nansemond) from a modern Indian perspective… google “Indigenous Life on the Nansemond River” I like the visuals of the Indian settlements… seems pretty accurate to me.


I am presently working on this map…

This is where the original 1100 acre deed of Thomas Woodward in 1663 had devolved to by 1715…

I read a humorous account by an attorney once where he exclaimed in effect “hell, do you want a title search back to the Indians”…

well, here it is.

I would post the map but I still have some others to track down and add…tedious but fascinating at the same time.

Written by anderson1951

January 11, 2023 at 8:06 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. fun description of the 250A on Gum Branch / Bertie A:244 {was interested in the Outlaws at one time}



    January 13, 2023 at 10:00 pm

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