This page is dedicated to my
great-grandmother Barbara Ann Catchings Perry "Ani-Yun’wiya"
Special Thanks to Douglas Belcher for encouragement and sharing his knowledge.
Native-American History at Laurel Hill
Native-American Interpretive Sign at Laurel Hill, J. E. B. Stuart’s Birthplace.
One of eight interpretive signs at Laurel Hill about the history of the property.
TEXT FROM INTERPRETIVE SIGN: Native American Site
"The archaeological investigation of the Laurel Hill property by the College of William and Mary’s Center for Archaeological Research in 1993 revealed the presence of Native American activity on this crest during the Archaic and Woodland Periods (circa 12000 BC to 900 A.D.). This site appears from the recovered artifacts to have been occupied and reoccupied by Paleo-Indian and Archaic Native American groups exploiting the resource rich Ararat River Valley to the north. The Paleo-Indian peoples may have used the site on the high ground above a water source, the Ararat River, as a hunting campground. The Archaic peoples were hunter-gatherers and the majority of artifacts found are from this period.
Thus, this prehistoric site appears to have been the site of intermittent Native American activity spanning a period of some 13000 years ending with Woodland period ending circa 900 A.D. There was no evidence of occupation in the Late Woodland period circa 900 to 1600 A.D.
The Native American site extends approximately 300 feet north and south and approximately 60 feet east to west of this point. The site was defined by the recovery of prehistoric lithic tools and projectile points through controlled surface collection methods. Photographs of the recovered artifacts are shown."
Patrick County was home to people long before Englishmen made their way from the James River and Chesapeake Bay. The archaeological investigation of the Laurel Hill property by the College of William and Mary’s Center for Archaeological Research in 1993 revealed the presence of Native American activity along the Ararat River during the Archaic and Woodland Periods (circa 8000 B.C. to 900 A.D.).
An interpretive sign (text listed above) shows some of the recovered artifacts from the occupation by Paleo-Indian and Archaic Native American groups living off the resource rich river valley. The Paleo-Indian (11,000 to 8,000 B. C.) peoples may have used the site on the high ground above the water source as a hunting campground. The Archaic peoples were hunter-gatherers and the majority of artifacts found are from this period.
This prehistoric site appears to have been the site of intermittent Native American activity spanning a period of some 13000 years ending with Woodland period ending circa 900 A.D. There was no evidence of occupation in the Woodland period circa 900 to 1600 A.D. The interpretive sign at Laurel Hill denotes the Native American site. The site extends approximately 300 feet north to south and approximately 60 feet east to west from that point. Archaeology recovered prehistoric lithic tools and projectile points through controlled surface collection methods.
Inhabitants in this area from the Woodland era 900 B. C. to 1600 A. D. spoke a variation of the Siouan language. The Tutelo people lived to the north in places such as present day Salem, Virginia. The Sauras lived to the east along the Dan River. The Catawba lived to the south and the Cherokee (who spoke Iroquoian) and Shawnee (who spoke Algonquian) to the west. These were conservative family groups in which the women owned property (not land) and passed it on to their daughters (clan membership, rights and privileges and access to choice land areas). Men married into the women’s families. These peoples did not follow boundaries such as the state line near Laurel Hill, but the rivers of the region.
They survived by hunting, fishing and farming the three sisters: corn, beans and squash and lived in villages trading local soapstone for copper and pottery. Other food crops grown or gathered by these peoples included nuts such as acorns, gourds, sunflowers, persimmons, grapes, berries and "goose foot" or chenopodium. a green leafy plant called tobacco. Most of these peoples died off due to disease or left the area before anyone settled at Laurel Hill. Signs of these people are still with us such as Highway 220 between Roanoke and Greensboro was the Tutelo-Saura Path and later the Great Wagon or Carolina Road. Local tradition has it these native peoples used a trail along the river for travel and lived nearby in a village. November is the designated month to remember Native peoples and their culture.
Regional Indian History
Wolf Creek Cherokee Indian Tribe in Stuart http://www.wolfcreekcherokeetribe.com
INDIAN TOWNS ON THE SMITH, MAYO, AND DAN RIVERS
When the English first settled in Virginia in the 1600’s, there were a number of Indian towns located on the Dan River and its tributaries, the Smith and Mayo Rivers. At the mouth of Goblintown Creek on Smith River in Patrick and Franklin Counties was a village, which is now under the waters of Philpott Lake. The creek’s name is derived from the town. This was also called Peach Tree Bottom. The first European land survey made at this site in 1748 refers to the peach trees planted by the Indians. On the north side of the river, at the mouth of Nicholas or Jamison’s Creek was one of the largest Indian villages in the area. Because it was covered with animal bones and various fresh-water shells, this was called Bone Bottom by the early settlers. Visited by the English traders from the James River settlements, objects of European manufacture found here were nails, gunflints, and glass beads. A 1955 report by the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, mentions this site.
Other historic Indian towns were also located in the area. Two such villages were in what is today Henry County. On Town Creek (Buttram-town Creek), which flows into the Smith River above Bassett is the Philpott Archaeological Site. Glass trade beads, tubular beads, and brass ornaments have been found here. A village site on the Mayo River in the western part of the county has produced glass and copper or brass objects.
To the south on the Dan River were the historic Saura villages of Upper Sauratown (Stokes County) and Lower Sauratown (Rockingham County). Upper Sauratown , the Mayo River village site, and the Philpott Archaeological Site were all located on the Tutelo-Saura Path, an Indian trail running from the Valley of Virginia to the Carolina Piedmont. The Native Americans living in the Fairy Stone State Park and Philpott Reservoir area when the English first came were the Saura (Cheraw) Indians.
THE SAURA (SUALA, SARA, SAWRO, SARRAW, CHERAW) INDIAN NATION
The Saura Indians lived in villages on the Dan River and its tributaries, the Smith and Mayo Rivers, from around A.D. 1450 to 1710. They were preceded in the area by the Dan River Culture, A.D. 1000 to 1450. Their neighbors were the Monacan and the Tutelo in the north. To the east were the Sapony and the Occoneechee. The tribes to the south were the Eno, the Saxapahaw, the Keyauwee, and the Catawba. Their western neighbors were the Cherokee and the Shawnee.
For protection, a palisade usually surrounded the Saura towns. Two types of circular houses were built. One type of house was built with wall posts and covered with wattle and daub (plaster). A thatched domed-shaped roof was added. Circular bark houses were also constructed. These were framed out of hickory, cedar, or pine and covered with elm, chestnut, or cedar bark. The houses had a diameter of about 25 feet. Split river cane was used to make mats and baskets. The smooth, sand tempered, burnished pottery that was made by the Saura Indians is identical to the vessels being made today by the Catawba Indians of South Carolina. This is called Oldtown Pottery.
Hunting and fishing, the gathering of roots, acorns, nuts, and berries, and farming provided for an ample food supply. The Saura Indians planted corn, beans, squash (the three sisters), gourds, and sunflowers. By the 1600’s, the Indians were also growing peaches and watermelons with the seeds being obtained from the Spanish or English traders. Food was often placed in storage pits for safe keeping.
At death, the Saura Indians were buried near their houses. Most burials were oriented towards the rising sun in the east and contained grave goods. Large earthen ovens located at the burial sites would suggest that a death feast was given for departed loved ones.
THE DECLINE OF THE SAURA NATION AND THEIR MOVE TO THE SOUTH
Trade with the English from eastern Virginia had been established by 1650. By the 1670’s, a great quantity of European trade goods was being exchanged for animal skins and prisoners of war. The Indian traders, Joseph Hatcher, Henry Hatcher, and Benjamin Bullington, were reported to have been trading with the Saura in 1673. The German traveler, John Lederer, visited them in 1670, and the English explorers, James Needham and Gabriel Arthur, passed through one of their villages on the Saura (Dan) River in 1673. With the increase in trade and the contact with the Europeans, the Saura were exposed to new diseases for which they had no immunity. Epidemics took their toll with large numbers of deaths occurring. Intertribal warfare added to this suffering.
The Iroquois and other Indians of the northeast armed by the Dutch and the English began to increase their raids against the southern tribes. The Tutelo-Saura Path running through the heart of the Saura Nation was renamed the Warrior’s Path or the Iroquois War Trail. With repeated attacks by their enemies, and a declining population, the Saura abandoned their homeland and began to move southward into the Carolinas. By 1710, they were gone.
THE SAURA (CHERAW) INDIANS IN HISTORY
Joining the Keyauwee Indians, the Saura Nation migrated south along the Yadkin (Pee Dee) River into the border area between the colonies of North Carolina and South Carolina. In 1711, they participated in the Tuscarora War siding with North Carolina. The Saura joined other southern Indian nations in the Yamassee War against the colony of South Carolina in 1715. It was said that they purchased their guns and ammunition from the Virginia Indian traders during this war. That same year the Saura population was given as 510 people living on the Pee Dee River. Weakened by this conflict, the Saura and those incorporated with them petitioned the Virginia Council in 1717 for permission to return to their old homeland on the head of Roanoke River.
During this period, part of the Saura Tribe moved to the Catawba Nation in South Carolina. The rest of the tribe continued living along the Pee Dee River. In 1732, the Sapony and the Saura Indians living in the Catawba Nation petitioned the colony of Virginia for permission to move to their old home. Virginia granted them the right to return and seat themselves on any land not already granted on the Roanoke or Appomattox Rivers. The Saura ceded their Pee Dee River land in South Carolina in 1737. Those living among the Catawba continued to have their own village and leaders. South Carolina records in 1738 list John Harris as the King of the Cheraw. Gradually merging with the Catawba, this band of Cheraw Indians had a population of 70 people in 1768. In 1771, the Cheraw who had remained along the Pee Dee River were living near Drowning Creek in what is today Robeson County, North Carolina. On the approach of British General Cornwallis’ army in 1781 during the American Revolutionary War, the pro-patriot Catawba fled with their women and children to Virginia. The Saura (Cheraw) tribal name is preserved today in the Sauratown Mountains of Stokes County, North Carolina and the South Carolina town of Cheraw.
THE LUMBEE-CHERAW INDIANS AND THE CATAWBA INDIAN NATION
The Saura (Cheraw) Indians are the ancestors of both the Lumbee-Cheraw Indians of Robeson County, North Carolina and the Catawba Indian Nation of York County, South Carolina. The Lumbee currently have over 40,000 enrolled tribal members and are the ninth largest tribe in the nation. Their community established its own Indian school system in 1885 and teachers’ college (normal school) in 1887. This institution is known today as Pembroke State University. The largest Indian church in the United States, Prospect United Methodist Church, was organized by the Lumbee in the 1870’s. A special honor came to the tribe in 1998 when one of its members was crowned Miss Indian World. To showcase the state’s Native American heritage, the North Carolina Indian Cultural Center is being built in the town of Pembroke. The Lumbee are members of the National Congress of American Indians and are actively involved with Indian policy, education, and legal issues. Recognized by the state of North Carolina, the tribe is presently working for full federal recognition.
The Catawba Indian Nation is located in York County, South Carolina and is federally recognized. The tribe’s reservation is situated along the Catawba River on land where their ancestors were living when the Europeans first arrived. Known as the "people of the river," there are about 2,500 tribal members and most are followers of the Mormon faith. Their leader is Chief Gilbert Blue. Winning a land claim case in 1994, the Catawba are today experiencing a cultural renaissance. Drum groups, Catawba dancing and language classes, and pottery instructions are being sponsored by the tribe. The art of Catawba pottery making is a living treasure going back thousands of years. A living link with the tribe’s past, the smooth and burnished pottery is one of the oldest art forms remaining in North America. Since 1997, the tribe has operated the Catawba Bingo in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Catawba Cultural Preservation Project Center is located on the reservation and offers a variety of educational programs. This modern facility contains the tribal museum, a gift shop, and a meeting room.
INDIAN TRAILS ALONG THE SMITH, MAYO AND DAN RIVERS
The Saura tribe was using a number of Indian trails during the historic period. Some of these probably had been traveled on for thousands of years. The Tutelo-Saura Path was a section of a longer trail running from modern Pennsylvania to Georgia. Coming from the Tutelo town in the Roanoke Valley, it passed through the Saura town at Philpott, crossed the Smith (Irvine) River at the Great Indian Fields, passed through the Saura town on the Mayo River, entered North Carolina, led to the large Upper Sauratown village, and crossed the Dan River. An important artery in the native trade network, this trail was later used by the Iroquois and other northern Indians after the 1670’s to raid and make war on the Indians of Virginia and the Carolinas. The English renamed the road the Warrior’s Path or the Iroquois War Trail. Indian hunting and war parties were still using this important footpath in 1728 when William Byrd II passed through the area surveying the colonial boundary line. Thousands of European settlers in the 1700’s would also make use of this trail and change its name to Morgan Bryan’s Road and the Carolina Road.
Another important Indian path in the area was the Saura-Sapony Trail or Old Indian Trace. This road ran from the Lower Sauratown on the Dan River to the Sapony towns on the Staunton (Roanoke) River and was later used by the European pioneers moving down from Pennsylvania and eastern Virginia. To the south in North Carolina was the Saura Fork or Oconee Path that led west from the Occoneechee Path to the Upper Sauratown, the Yadkin River, and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
INDIAN RAIDS DURING THE FRENCH AND INDIAN WAR
The first European settlers moved into the Fairy Stone State Park and Philpott Reservoir area in the late 1740’s. A part of Lunenburg County when the first land surveys were made, the region was placed in the new county of Halifax when it was created in 1752. During the French and Indian War (1756-1763), this western settlement experienced a number of raids led by Indian tribes from the Ohio Valley. In March, 1758, a mixed war party of 50 Shawnee, Delaware, Wyandotte, and Mingo Indians divided into three groups and attacked the settlers living on the head of the Roanoke River, the south part of Mayo River, and the head of the Town (Goblintown) Creek. Captured at this time, was Isham Bernat (Barnett) who lived on the north fork of Goblintown Creek and Robert Pusey, a Halifax County officer, who lived on Otter Creek of Smith River. The prisoners were first taken to the New River, then traveled up to the Ohio River Indian towns, and finally were delivered to the French at Fort Detroit. Most of these captives were ransomed and returned to their homes. Another raid took place in September, 1763 on the Smith and Mayo Rivers with some prisoners and many horses being taken.
THE CHEROKEE INDIAN NATION
The Cherokee Indians claimed most of the land in southwest Virginia during the 1700’s. This territory was from the top of the Blue Ridge (Blew Ledge) westward. The Halifax County Militia marching from the "Gobling Town" in the summer of 1758 encountered and talked with a Cherokee war party. In the treaty with the Cherokee at Hard Labor, South Carolina in October, 1768, the British government purchased most of the tribal holdings east of the New River in southwest Virginia.
NATIVE AMERICANS STILL LIVE IN THE AREA TODAY
Some Indian people continued to live in this section of Virginia and North Carolina after the Indian Nations had moved away or ceded their land. Usually a hundred Indians were listed in each of the Patrick County census records when they were taken in the 1800’s. An Indian school was provided for the Indian citizens of Rockingham County, North Carolina until the 1950’s. Located at Goinstown, this school served students from both Rockingham and Stokes Counties. Many Native Americans have moved into this region because of the jobs that are available. Among the tribes represented in the area’s population are the following: Mattaponi, Monacan, Lumbee, Haliwa-Sapony, Cherokee, Creek, and Shawnee. There are also Melungeons and Mexican Indians in the community.
INDIAN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
A number of significant archaeological sites are to be found in the area. The Smith River National Register of Historic Places Rockshelter District contains 15 rockshelters located in the Upper Smith River Valley. Six of these are situated at Philpott Reservoir. All of these sites have produced cultural remains. In the Smith River, adjacent to the old K-Mart store in Martinsville is a well preserved V-shaped stone fish-trap. This has been placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Landmarks. This Indian fish-trap has been dated at about A.D. 1350. The corn remains found at the Clark Archaeological Site on the South Mayo River in Patrick County are some of the oldest discovered in the state of Virginia. This corn has been dated at A.D. 1015.
Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville http://www.vmnh.net/
National Museum of the American Indian http://www.nmai.si.edu/
Wolf Creek Cherokee Indian Tribe in Stuart http://www.wolfcreekcherokeetribe.com
Monacan Indian Tribe http://www.monacannation.com/
Virginia Native American Sites http://www.virginia.org/site/features.asp?FeatureID=188
Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology http://www.wfu.edu/MOA/
Wolf Creek Indian Village http://www.indianvillage.org/history.html
Virginia’s Explore Park http://www.explorepark.org/
Native American Genealogy http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/
Eastern Band of the Cherokees http://www.cherokee-nc.com/
Wolf Creek Cherokee Band http://www.wolfcreekcherokeetribe.com /
Native American DNA Testing http://www.comanchelodge.com/cherokee-blood.html
Dawes Five Civilized Tribes Roll http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/dawes.php
Kern Clifton Native American Roll http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/kern.php
Wallace Native American Roll http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/wallace.php
Old Settlers Native American Roll http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/settlers.php
History of the Cherokee http://cherokeehistory.com/index.html
Wolf Creek Indian Village http://www.indianvillage.org/
Further Reading about Native-American History
Axtell, James. The Rise and Fall of the Powhatan Empire.
Billings, Warren M. Jamestown and the Founding of the Nation.
Davis, Stephen. Time Before History.
Egloff, Keith and Woodward, Diane. First People: The Early Indians of Virginia.
Gaillard, Frye. As Long as the Waters Flow: Native Americans in the South and East.
Green, Barbara. Virginia Indians Bridging the Centuries.
Hertz, Eleanor West. The Chickahominy Indians of Virginia: Yesterday and Today.
Holton, Woody. "Land Speculators Versus Indians and the Privy Council" in Forced Founders: Indian Debtors, Slaves, & the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia.
Houck, Peter W. Indian Island in Amherst County.
Hoxie, Frederick E. Encyclopedia of North American Indians.
Hudson, Charles. The Southeastern Indians.
Milling, Chapman J. Red Carolinians.
McCary, Ben. Indians in Seventeenth Century Virginia.
Mooney, James. The Siouan Tribes of the East.
Nash, Gary B. "Cultures Meet on the Chesapeake"
Red, White and Black: The Peoples of Early America.
Paredes, J. Anthony. Indians of the Southeastern United States in the Late 20th Century.
Perdue, Theda. Native Carolinians: The Indians of North Carolina.
Rights, Douglas L. The American Indian in North Carolina.
Ross, Thomas E. American Indians in North Carolina: Geographic Interpretations.
Rountree, Helen C. "A Century of Culture Change," Pocahontas's People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia Through Four Centuries.
Rountree, Helen C. The Powhatan Indians of Virginia: Their Traditional Culture.
Salmon, Emily J. and Campbell, Edward D. C. (ed), The Hornbook of Virginia History.
Swanton, John R. The Indians of the Southeastern United States.
Time-Life Editors, Tribes of the Southern Woodlands.
Waugaman, Sandra F. We’re Still Here: Contemporary Virginia Indians…
Williams, Walter L. Southeastern Indians Since the Removal Era.
Winkler, Wayne. Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia.
Woodward, Grace S. The Cherokees.
Benthall, Joseph L. Archeological Investigations of the Shannon Site, Montgomery County, Virginia.
Library of Virginia, Richmond, 1969.
Coleman, Gary N. and Richard P. Gravely. "Archaeological Investigations at the Koehler Site. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archeological Society of Virginia. Volume 47, Number 1 (March 1992) pp. 1-50.
Davis, R. P., Stephen J. Eastman, Thomas O. Maher and Richard P. Gravely.
Archaeological Investigations at the Belmont Site, Henry County, Virginia.
Research Report No. 15
Archaeological Investigations at the Box Plant Site, Henry County, Virginia.
Research Report No. 13.
Archaeological Investigations at the Philpott Site, Henry County, Virginia
Research Report No. 19.
Research Laboratoreis of Archaeology, UNC-Chapel Hill.
Holland, C. G. An Archeological Survey of Southwest Virginia. Smithsonian Contributions to Anthropology, No. 12.
Mathis, Mack A. and Jeffery J. Crow. The Prehistory of North Carolina: An Archaeological Symposium.
Ward, H. Trawick and R. P. Stephen Davis. Time Before History: The Archaeology of North Carolina.
Ward, H. Trawick and R. P. Stephen Davis. Indian Communities on the North Carolina Peidmont A. D. 1000 to 1700. Monograph No. 2 Research Laboratories of Anthropology. UNC-Chapel Hill.
Blumer, Thomas. Images of America: The Catawba Indian National of the Carolinas.
Blumer, Thomas. Bibliography of the Catawba.
Blumer, Thomas . Catawba Indian Pottery: The Survival of a Folk Tradition.
Brown, Douglas S. The Catawba Indians: The People of the River.
Hudson, Charles M. The Catawba Nation.
Merrell James H. The Indians New World: Catawbas and Their Neighbors…
Merrell, James H. The Catawbas.
Speck, Frank G. Catawba Hunting, Trapping and Fishing.
Alderman, Pat. Nancy Ward: Cherokee Chieftainess.
Chiltoskey, Mary U. Cherokee Words With Pictures.
Conley, Robert J. and David G. Fitzgerald. Cherokee.
Conley, Robert J. The Witch of Goingsnake and Other Stories.
Duncan, Barbara R. and Brett H. Riggs. Cherokee Heritage Trails Guidebook.
Duvall, Deborah L. Images of America: The Cherokee Nation and Tahlegush.
Duvall, Deborah L. Voices of America: An Oral History of the Tahlequah and Cherokee Nation.
Finger, John R. The Eastern Band of Cherokees 1819-1900.
Finger, John R. Cherokee Americans: The Eastern Band in the 20th Century.
Foreman, Grant. Sequoyah.
Galloway, Mary R. U. Aunt Mary Tell Me A Story.
Hail, Raven. The Raven SpeaksL Cherokee Indian Lore in Cherokee and English.
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants, Their Uses, A 400 Year History.
Hendrix, Jancy B. Traditional Cherokee Food.
Hill, Sarah H. Weaving New Worlds: Southeastern Cherokee Women and Their Basketry.
Jones, Billy M. and Odie B. Faulk. Cherokees: An Illustrated History.
Kilpatrick, Jack F. and Anna G. Friends of Thunder: Folktales of the Oklahoma.
Leftwich, Rodney L. Arts and Crafts of the Cherokee.
Lossiah, Lynn K. The Secrets and Mysteries of the Cherokee Little People…
Mankiller, Wilma and Michael Wallis. Mankiller: A Chief and Her People.
Mooney, James. Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Forumlas of the Cherokee.
Museum of the Confederate Indian. Journal of Cherokee Studies
Neely, Sharlotte. Snowbird Cherokees: People of Persistence..
Perdue, Theda. The Cherokee
Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual. Contemporary Artists and Craftsmen of the Eastern Band…
Reed, Jeannie. Stories of the Yunwi Tsunsdi: The Cherokee Little People..
Reed, Marcelina. Seven Clans of the Cherokee Society.
Ross, Gayle. How Rabbit Tricked Otter and Other Cherokee Trickster Stories.
Rossman, Douglas A. Where Legends Live: A Pictoral Guide to Cherokee Mythic Places.
Rozeman, Vicki. Footsteps of the Cherokees.
Scheer, George F. Cherokee Animal Tales.
Shumate, Jane. Sequoyah: Inventor of the Cherokee Alphabet.
Simon, Charnan. Wilma P. Mankiller: Chief of the Cherokee.
Sonneborn, Liz. Will Rogers: Cherokee Entertainer.
Speck, Frank G. and Leonard Broom. Cherokee Dances and Drama.
Ulmer, Mary and Samuel Beck. Cherokee Folklore.
West, C. W.Among the Cherokees: A Biographical History of the Cherokees…
Woodward, Grace S. The Cherokees: A Guide to the Eastern Homelands…
Blu, Karen I. The Lumbee Problem: The Making of an American Indian People.
Boughman, Arvis L. and Loretta Oxendine. Herbal Remedies of the Lumbee Indians.
Braboy, Connee.The American Century Series: Pembroke in the 20th Century.
Dial, Adolph L and David K. Eliasdes. The Only Land I Know.
Dial, Adolph L. The Lumbee.
Evans, William M. To Die Game: The Story of the Lowry Band Indian.
Sider, Gerald. Living Indian Histories: Lumbee and Tuscarora People in NC.
Smith, Joseph M. The Lumbee Methodists.
Starr, Glen E. The Lumbee Indians: An Annotated Bibliography.
Cook, Samuel R. Monacans and Miners: Native American and Coal Mining Communities…
Houck, Peter W. and Mintey D. Maxham. Indian Island in Amherst County.
Waugaman, Sandra F. and Danielle M. Langhotlz. We’re Still Here: Contemporary Virginia Indians…
Wood, Karenne and Diane Shields. The Monacan Indians.
Callahan, Jim. Lest We Forget: The Melungeon Colony of Newman’s Ridge.
Elder, Pat S. Melungeons: Examining An Applalachian Legend.
Goins, Jack H. Melungeons: And Other Pioneer Families.
Kennedy, N. Brent. The Melungeons: The Ressurrection of a Proud People.
Winkler, Wayne. Walking Toward the Sunset: The Melungeons of Appalachia.
Hale, Horatio. "The Tutelo Tribe and Language" Proceedings American Philosophical Society.
Kurath, Gertrude P. Tutelo Rituals On Six Nations Reserve, Ontario.
Oliver, Guilia R. M. A Grammar and Dictionary of Tutelo. Univeristy of Kansas Thesis.
Speck, Frank G. The Tutelo Spirit Adoption Ceremony:
NATIVE SITES IN THE PHILPOTT AND FAIRYSTONE AREAS
L.C. Carter discovered and collected material from this site on north bank of Smith River and on the east side of mouth of Nickolas (Jamison’s) Creek. One of largest Indian sites in area is now flooded by Philpott Dam. The site was two acres in size. Bone Bottom was a small sandy bench of land on the north bank of the Smith River on the east side of the mouth of Nickolas (Jamison’s) Creek. Possibly the largest Indian village in Franklin County. The site is referred to as the "Bone Bottom" because it was covered with the bones of animals, human skeletons, and various shells. L. C. Carter and Dr. Holland visited the site on August 15, 1948. Test holes were dug. This field was covered by 30 feet of water when the Philpott Dam was completed in 1952. Rock shelters were discovered on the south side of the river a few miles upstream. (The bottom is probably a Dan River site)
There were two villages in Henry County and one in Patrick County that were occupied during the historic period. They were visited by English traders from the James River settlements. The locations of these towns are known. At the mouth of Goblintown Creek on Smith River was a large village which is now under the waters of Philpott Lake. This was Peach Tree Bottom or Bone Bottom. Bone Bottom received its name from the European settlers because of the numerous animal bones and fresh-water clam shells which littered its surface. Peach Tree Bottom was named because of the peach orchards planted by the Indians (obtained by trade with the Spanish and English). Objects of European manufacture that were found here were horseshoe nails, gun flints, and glass beads.
On Town Creek (Buttram-town Creek) which flows into the Smith River above Bassett, is the Philpott archaeological site. Glass trade beads and tubular beads and brass ornaments have been found here. Glass and copper or brass objects have been discovered at a village site in the western part of Henry County on the Mayo River.
The Smith and Mayo Rivers are all tributaries of the Dan River. To the south on the Dan River were the historic Saura villages of Upper Sauratown (Stokes County) and Lower Sauratown (Rockingham County). The Indians living in Patrick and Henry Counties when the English first came were the Saura (Sara, Cheraw).
The houses at Upper Sauratown (Stokes County) were all circular with an average diameter of 25 Feet with wall posts covered in wattle and daub and thatched dome-shaped roofs. Features found in the village include storage pits, earthen ovens, and refuse pits. Plant remains fond include corn, beans, squash, peach pits, nutshells, cane fragments. Animal bones are abundant.
Early Regional Surveys. The Great Indian Fields of Ready Creek of Irwin River. (1746)
…Pig River on the south side near the Indian Town… (1747)
…On both sides of Blackwater River…above the Indian Fields… (1747)
…Indian field mountains on the branches of Irwin River…(1747)
…Robert Pusey…at the fork of Otter a no. br. Of Irwin Rr…1747-1748)
…the Indian fort …above the mouth of Hatchet run on Pig Rr….(1748)
…Middle Fork of Mayo River …near the old Indian field…(1748)
…John Turner 400 begin: at the Mouth Gobling Town Cr. Thence up both sides. (1748)
…also 200 begin: at the lower End of the Peach Tree Bottom on Ye. No. side Irwin Rr. (1748)
Saura History and Culture. Upper Sauro Town, Lower Sauro Town, and Sauro Town Mountains. William Byrd states that the Sara left the Dan River around 1703 to join the Keyauwee Indians living on the Yadkin (Pee Dee) River. Byrd refers traders visiting the Sara towns in 1673. Great quantity of European trade goods found at Upper Sara Town. Suffered from repeated attacks from the Iroquois from the north and epidemics caused their decline. In 1768, there were 60 to 70 Sara (Cheraw) living with the Catawba in South Carolina. Over 510 were living on the Pee Dee in 1715.
The Sara had corn, beans, squashes, peaches, watermelons, and sunflowers as cultivated plants. There were 87 burials found at Upper Sara Town. The town had a stockade, and some burials were under the houses. Cane matting was used in 13 burials and most burials were oriented towards the rising sun in the east. Grave goods accompanied most burials.
Sara Culture. Trade with the Europeans in eastern Virginia had been established by 1650. Houses were framed out of hickory, cedar, or pine. The bark of elm, cedar, and pine was used to cover them. Split cane mats and baskets were made. Gourds and sunflowers were also grown.
The German Traveler, John Lederer, visited the Sara in 1670. In 1673, the English explorers, Needham and Aurthur, visited the Sara on the in their village on the Sara River (Dan) River.
At the Madison Cemetery archaeological site on the Dan River, a total of 120 burials have been found. A large number of deaths occurring during a short period of time was probably caused by an epidemic. Red ocher was found in many of the graves and death feasts were probably held.
The Sara Indians are the ancestors of both the Lumbee Indians of Robeson County, North Carolina and the Catawba Indians of York County, South Carolina. The Sara Indians left their name in various parts of the Carolinas.Their name is preserved in the Saura Town Mountains and the South Carolina town of Cheraw.
Saura (Suala, Sara, Sawro, Cheraw,Sarow, Sarraw, etc.) The Saura participated in the Tuscarora War of 1711 and the Yamassee War of 17l5. John Harris, King of the Charraws, was listed as one of the chiefs of the Catawba in South Carolina records in 1738.
For many years the corn found at the Clark Archaeological site located along the South Mayo River in Patrick County was the oldest found in Virginia (ca. A.D. 1015).
In 1986, 6 prehistoric rockshelters within Philpott Lake property and a total of 15 rock shelters in the Upper Smith River Valley were included in the Smith River National Register of Historic Places Rockshelter District.
The Warrior’s Path from the north crossed the Smith (Irvine) and Mayo Rivers. The Philpott Archaeological site, the Gravely site, and Upper Sauratown were located along this path. The Iroquois and other Indians of the northeast traveled on this trail to trade and Make war with the Indians of the South. There were trade networks. This was also referred to as the Iroquois War Trail. Indians hunting and war parties were still using this path in 1728 as reported by William Byrd II. A hunters camp and burning woods were discovered. The Europeans would also use this trail and called it the Carolina Road, Morgan Bryan’s Road, etc. Paleo spear points found in the area indicate the presence of man on the upper Dan River as early as 10,000 to 12,000 years before the present.
The smoothly-burnished pottery made by the Sara Indians is identical to the vessels be made today by the Catawba Indians of Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Indian traders, Joseph Hatcher, Henry Hatcher, and Benjamin Bullington were trading with the Sauro Indians in 1673.
In 1732, the Sapony and the Saraw Indians petitioned the colony of Virginia for permission to return from the Catawba Nation and live in their old home. The colony granted "…Sapony Indians to return into this Colony with such of the Saraws as shall thing fit to incorporate with them and to seat themselves on any Lands they shall chuse, not being already granted…on the River Roanoke or Appomattox…"
On the approach of British Gen. Cornwallis’ army in 1781, the Catawbas fled with their women and children to Virginia. ( There is a community call Catawba in Roanoke County, Virginia. )
Prehistoric Dan River Phase, 1000 to 1450 AD
Early Sauratown Phase, 1450 to 1620 AD
Middle Sauratown Phase, 1620 to 1670 AD
Late Sauratown Phase, 1670 to 1710 AD
Oldtown Pottery- Smooth, sand tempered, burnished.
In 1717, the Virginia Council received "…applications…by Saraw Indians and others incorporated with them (on PeeDee River) for liberty to seat themselves on the Head of Roanoke River."
The Tutelo-Saura Path and the Saura-Saponyi Trail (Old Indian Trace) were located in the area. The first ran from the Tutelo town in the Roanoke Valley to the Upper Sauratown on the Dan River. The second ran from the Saponi towns on the Staunton River to Lower Sauratown on the Dan River. The Iroquois used these trails after the 1670’s in their raids on the southern indians.
Isham Bernat (Barnett) living on Goblingtown Creek was captured by a party of mixed Shawnee, Delaware, Wyandottes, and Mingoes in March, 1758. There were 25 raiders and 26 taken prisoner. Joined 2 other parties for a total of 50 indians. The three parties had gone to the head of the Roanoke, to the head of the Town, and to the south part of Mayo River. They were taken to the New River, the Ohio River, the Lower Shawnee Towns, the Wyandotte town, and Fort Detroit. Barnett lived on the North Fork of Gobling Town Creek. Barnett was interviewed in Pennsylvania in 1759.
Robert Pusey and family was taken prisoner by the Shawnee Indians in the raid of March, 1758. Pusey lived on Otter Creek of Smith (Irwin) River and was a Halifax County officer.
A raid took place in September, 1763 on the Smith and Meho Rivers. Some prisoners and many horses were taken. The Smith River National Register of Historic Places Rockshelter District contains 15 rockshelters located in the Upper Smith River Valley. Six of these are located at Philpott Lake. All of the sites produced cultural remains (lithic and some ceramics).
Several hundred Indians were listed in the Patrick County census records during the 1800’s. An Indian school was provided for the Indian citizens of Rockingham County, North Carolina until the 1950’s. This was located at Goinstown and served students from both Rockingham and Stokes Counties. In 1771, the Cheraw were living near Drowning Creek in what is today Robeson County, North Carolina.
The Cherokee Nation claimed most of the land from the top of the Blue Ridge (Blew Ledge) westward during the 1700’s. The Halifax militia marching from the "Gobling Town" in the summer of 1758 meet and talked with a Cherokee war party. In the treaty with the Cherokee at Hard Labor, South Carolina in October, 1768, the British government purchased most of the tribal holdings east of the New River in southwest Virginia.
In the Smith River, adjacent to the old K-Mart store in Martinsville is a well preserved V-shaped stone fish-trap. This has been placed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Landmarks. This Indian fish-trap has been dated at about 1350 AD.
Sources For Native Sites in the Philpott and Fairystone Area
Archaeological Society of Virginia, 1992. MIDDLE AND LATE WOODLAND RESEARCH IN VIRGINIA: A SYNTHESIS.
Brown, Douglas S. THE CATAWBA INDIANS, THE PEOPLE OF THE RIVER. The University of South Carolina Press, 1966.
Carter, Loy C. "Bone Bottom," QUARTERLY BULLETIN, ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF VIRGINIA, 3, No. 2, 1948.
Chianto Extracts From Drury Stith’s Entry Record Book
Clayton, Debbie. THE SAURAS EARLY INHABITANTS OF ROCKINGHAM COUNTY. Rockingham Community College, l971
Evans, Clifford, A CERAMIC STUDY OF VIRGINIA ARCHEOLOGY, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 160.
Gravely, Richard P. "The Indians of Henry County, Who Were They?," THE VIRGINIA EXPLORER, Vol. 2, No. 8, September, 1986.
Merrell, James. THE INDIANS NEW WORLD.
Myer, William E. INDIAN TRAILS OF THE SOUTHEAST.
Navey, Liane. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE MORTUARY PRACTICES OF THE HISTORIC SARA, Chapel Hill, 1982.
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1992. ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND HISTORICAL SURVEY AND HISTORIC PROPERTIES MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR PHILPOTT LAKE, ROANOKE RIVER BASIN, VIRGINIA.
Ward, H. Trawick. "A Review of Archaeology in the North Carolina Piedmont: A Study of Change," THE PREHISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA, AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL SYMPOSIUM, North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1983.
Ward and Davis INDIAN COMMUNITIES OF NORTH CAROLINA PIEDMONT.
Wilson, Jack H. Jr. FEATURE FILL, PLANT UTILIZATION AND DISPOSAL AMONG THE HISTORIC SARA INDIANS. Chapel Hill, 1977.
Copyright 2005 Thomas D. Perry. No material to be used without permission. Contact Information: P. O. Box 50 Ararat VA 24053 email@example.com