Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Traders

By 1612 it was reported there were 40-50 men who had taken Native wives, some had went to live among them, as well as a few women. These men would no doubt become some of the first 'Indian traders' and interpreters. 

Cedar Creek Monthly Meeting and It's Meeting House
by Mrs. Douglas Summers Brown
"Virginia historians generally concede that Hanover county and its adjacent territry was settled soon after the landing of the first colonists, though prior to 1700 there were but few there besides trappers and traders and an occasional frontier family. It was not until 1720 that the actual permanent settlement of this area was begun, but from then until 1740 its development and progress was rapid.  These early settlers were in great part the sons of families from the lower counties along the banks of the James, particularly from New Kent and Henrico."

John Bunch received 450 acres from Phillip Freeman 1662 in New Kent County. The Freeman participant in the Melungeon DNA Project that has Native American DNA from Hancock County are related to the Gibson, Moore, and Sexton families and appears to descend from the Freeman family of New Kent also.  This John Bunch born about 1630-1640 is probably too old to be the John Bunch found in 1716 patent record below with Robert Hix but could be his brother, either a trapper or trader, who apparently had been in South Carolina with Robert Hix, David Crawley/Crawly etc. 

Chowanoke Descendants Community

"The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Second Series, Volume VII entitled RECORDS OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL on page 416 has a deposition given by Richard Booth in which he states that in the year 1667 he took a canoe with trade goods to the Meherrin Indian Town down the Blackwater River. On his right the Weyanoake River joined in about 13 miles north of the Meherrin River. Accompanying him on this journey was “a Certain Weyanoake Indian Called Tom Freeman.” Also accompanying him was a man named John Browne.  These Freeman are not documented ancestors of the Native Freeman found in the Melungeon DNA study but does need to be researched.See more on the Chowan Indian and Freemans HERE

Captain Robert Hicks/Hix, his father in law, John Evans, David Crawley, Richard and George Smith, William Byrd, George Reeves, Thomas Busby, Adam Ivey, Peter Poythress, etc., were all neighbors and associates of the Gibsons in Charles City/Surry Counties, and all known Indian traders.
Many of the early names associated with Melungeons, Lumbee, Redbones etc., were found living along Chippoakes Creek. 

The Line of Adam Ivey of Charles City County
"These citations tell us that Adam Ivey was a small-scale tenant farmer, almost certainly growing tobacco.  Fifty acres was a small landholding, but a single field worker was capable of managing only three or four acres of tobacco in those days.  Fifty acres was a typical holding for a planter with only himself to work the fields.[5]  His location can be approximated, since nearly all the persons mentioned in these records lived south of the James River in the neck of land bounded by Upper Chippoakes Creek and Wards Creek.  This neck included what was later the parish of Martins Brandon, in which Adam Ivey apparently lived at his death, in what would later become Prince George County.  It was quite close to Surry County, Upper Chippoakes Creek being the later boundary between Prince George and Surry."
1712 “Gilbert Ivy and Adatm Ivy being brought before this Board and examined on Suspition of trading with the Tuscaruro Indians contrary to the orders and proclamation prohibiting that Trade,” [sons of Adam and Elizabeth Ivey]

1713 “Capt Robert Hix Commander of the detachment sent out for discovery of the Indian Settlements on the Frontiers of this Collony…”

“Whereas Cap’ Robert Hix & Lieu* David Crawly who commanded the detachment of the Tributary Indians Sent out by the Governour to discover the settlements of the Tuscoruros have faithfully discharged the Trust reposed in them…”

“Whereas Robert Poythres of the County of Prince George being accused of Supplying the Tuscaruros with Ammunition during the prohibition of Trade with the sd Indians was this day brought before the Council, & there charged with the said Offence by the oath of Robert Lang…”

1716 Patent to Robert Hix, dated October 31, 1716, for 1070 acres, new land, Surry County; on North side of Maherin River; near Arthur Kavenaugh's house, for 3 Lbs., 15 Shillings, and Importation of 7 person: Saml. Bushel, Edward Evans, John Engles, Jno. Verrell, John Bunch, David Crawly, and Robert Hix. Virginia Patent Book 10, page 307. 

Robert Hix and David Crawly had been in Virginia prior to 1716, on 23 December 1714 Francis Lightfoot *imported* David Crawly. Frances Lightfoot is believed to be the wife of Gibby Gibson. Col Francis Lightfoot appeared as security on the will of Gibby Gibson and his executors sued the Gibson and associated families in Bertie County in 1730/31;

30 April 1727 George Rawlinson [son in law of Gibby Gibson] gives his promissory note to Francis Lightfoot - Witness Richard Grinselle.

9 June 1731 Order to the Provost Marshall to summon George Rawlinson planter of ----Precinct to appear in General Court at Edenton the last Tuesday in Jul next to answer Phillip Lightfoot & Benjamin Harrison executors of Francis Lightfoot dec'd

8 March 1730 -At a court held for James City County in Virginia. Philip Lightfoot one of the executors of Francis Lightfoot dec'd produced 2 accounts against John Gibson & John Smith of North Carolina & Richard Grinsell [who was storekeeper & bookkeeper to sd francis] testified that they were true accounts; that there were accounts against Miles Jackson, Edward Young, Philip Jackson, Francis Young & Gideon Gibson. Signed by R. Hickman, Cl Cur

9 August 1731 - Order to the Provost Marshall to summon Gideon Gibson planter of Bertie Precinct to appear in General Court at Edenton the las Tuesday in Oct next to answer Philip Lightfoot & Benja Harrison excrs of Francis Lightfoot dec'd n a action for 65 pounds. John Palin Chief Justice.

Oct General Court 1731 Philip Lightfoot & Benja Harrison executors of Francis Lightfoot dec'd complained against John Gibson [John is father of George Gibson of Orange Co., North Carolina] planter of Bertie Precinct. They stated that the defendant at Prince George County in Virginia did on Jan 24 1724 become indebted to the plaintiff; testator in the sum of 5 pounds 2 1/2 sh VA. Signed by David Oshel for the plaintiffs.

On 11 December 1721 Hubbard Gibson sold to Peter Poythress 200 acres on the Blackwater, part of a tract granted unto John Poythress, son of the deceased Francis Poythress, which 200 acres sd. John Poythress sold said Gibson 11 December 1704, sd. land borders on land sold to John Poythress by Hercules Flood.

Bertie County Deed Book M – 1777 - Various Abstracts
297-(315) Whitmell Tufdick, William Roberts, William Blount, Lewis Tufdick, John Randal, William Pugh, James Mitchel, Winoak Charles, William Basket, John Owens, Thomas Roberts, Walter Gibson, Billy Cane chieftans of the Tuscarora Indians in Bertie County to Thomas Pugh Sr. of same. 28 May 1777. The lease for 99 years @ 8 pounds per year of 100 acres, joining Black Gut Neck on Town Swamp, Roanoke River. Signed by: Billy (x) Blunt, Wineoak (x) Charles, Ben (x) Smith, Walter (X) Gibson, Thomas (X) Roberts, John (X) Ra nndel, Whitmell (x) Tuffdick, Billey (X) Cane, Lewis (x) Tufdick, Billey (x) Baskit, William (x) Pugh, Williams (x) Roberts, James (x) Mitchell. WITNESSES: Zedekiah Stone Jr., Thomas Whitmell Jr., May Ct 1777. John Johntston CJC



Gideon GIBSON had lived near the Occoneechee Neck adjacent to land owned by Arthur KAVANAUGH, Ralph MASON, and Richard TURBEVILLE before buying land on Quankey Creek from Robert LONG [LANG], a Chickasaw and Cherokee Indian trader. LONG also owned land at Elk Marsh and Plumbtree Island. LONG had received his land patents at Quankey Creek and Plumbtree Island on 1 March 1719/1720. (34)

When Richard TURBEVILLE and his family moved to North Carolina, they lived on the Occoneecheewith other Chickasaw traders and next to ANDERSON, COLSON, PACE, MASON, GIBSON, LANG(LONG), and Thomas WHITMELL.(47)

From the Early Clarks of Carolina By Doug Tucker

Edward Clark Jr’s immediate neighbors included many of the so called Chickasaw Indian Traders, e.g. Robert Lang, John Pace, Thomas Whitmell, etc. Who settled near Occoneechee Neck between 1713 and 1725. These traders would take Indian trail south in the late fall to the Chickasaw and Cherokee winter camps along the bluffs of the Broad River.

Both Gibsons were part of the small community of Indian traders known as the “Chickasaw Traders” who between 1710 and 1730, settled along the main north/south Indian trail near where if forded the Morattock (later Roanoke) River, and area the traders named Occoneechee Neck. Chowan and Bertie Precinct land records establish that Gideon Gibson acquired land from William Maule and Robert Lang (an Indian trader) in 1721 and 1722 along the south shore of the Roanoke River adjacent to Quankey Creek.

While these early Virginia families no doubt mixed with the Native tribes ruled by Powhatan there is overwhelming evidence to show they were part of the Fort Christianna tribes under Captain Robert Hix and David Crawley, and then began trading with the Tuscarora and eventually the Chickasaw and Cherokees. Stay tuned for Part II.

I have added a Melungeon Forum where you can ask questions, post corrections or comments. Here;  MELUNGEON FORUM


  1. Per John Punch record.

    Why did the English authority in Virginia believe they had the legal right to hold a person in perpetual bondage? If the social mores' of the day were that a Christian couldn't be held in bondage for their entire lifetime? The English only recognized "The Church of England" as the only legitimate religion in the Virginia Colony? John Bunch II/III was trying to marry Sarah Slayden in the "Church of England" religion, because it was the only religion recognized in Colonial Virginia.

    John Punch, Victor the Dutchman, and James Gregory were trying to escape to Maryland. Maryland was founded as a refuge for practicing Roman Catholics by the Calverts.

    The Portuguese would be Christening people in the Roman Catholic faith- Christian.

    Portuguese shipping arrived in Japan in 1543,[1] and Catholic missionary activities in Japan began in earnest around 1549, performed in the main by Portuguese-sponsored Jesuits until Spanish-sponsored Franciscans and Dominicans gained access to Japan. Of the 95 Jesuits who worked in Japan up to 1600, 57 were Portuguese, 20 were Spaniards and 18 Italian.End

    The first mission of the Portuguese was to covert the people they found to Catholicism (Christianity) but the Virginia Colony reverted to the Crown in 1627, and the only religion that would have been recognized would be the Church of England.

    I am guessing prior to the 1627 date, that the Africans that had been imported into the America's Christian Catholic baptisms would have been recognized as legitimate, and after the 1627 date in English colonies they wouldn't be recognized because they weren't baptized in the Church of England faith? Thus they could hold those people in perpetual bondage, because they didn't recognize Catholics?

    There were Brents and Reeds, that were allied of the Calverts that lost their land back in England, because they refused to renounce their papist ways.

  2. Chief Billie Cane was Billie Cornelius son of Charles Cornelius.


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