Migration Patterns of Coastal N.C. Indians

Written by Fred Willard
An independent study in English as a requirement for the East Carolina University Honors Program
combined with an Interdisciplinary Minor on the study of "The 1587 Lost Colony"


    The central premise of this research paper is the hypothesis that between 1587 and 1600, the “Lost Colony” migrated only fifty miles from Roanoke Island to Dare, Tyrrell, or Hyde County, NC. The body of evidence supporting this hypothesis contends that if you follow the migration trail of the Croatan Indians from 1584 to present, you will find the “Lost Colony”. This proposed migration pattern has been pieced together by intuition, hunches and second-guesses that by nature must be questioned and brought under academic review. We look forward to this scrutiny. The eleven facts below constitute the core of this premise and a larger research design (Willard: The Roanoke Sagas) that will be submitted for publication in the near future.

This hypothesis is based on eleven very important facts:

    1). This author found an Indian site in 1994, which he brought to the attention of Dr. David Phelps, anthropology professor Emeritus at East Carolina University. Dr. Phelps has been excavating the site for seven years.

    2). In 1998, a gold seal ring was found 56 ft. from the original discovery location. This artifact may be the oldest English artifact ever found on North American soils. This seal ring is registered to the Kendell family in England. Master Kendell is on the roster of the 1585 Roanoke Voyage, under the tutelage of Ralph Lane and Sir Richard Grenville and an Abraham Kendell is on the Sir Frances Drake rescue mission at Roanoke in 1586. Hundreds of very early English artifacts have been found in datable strata. Three more artifacts have been found at Croatan that may date to the sixteenth century (a gun lock, a bale seal and copper and bone jewelry).

    3). The state of North Carolina in 2002 erected a monument designating the site of the relic inlet of Port Ferdinando on Route 12 near the Bodie Island lighthouse. This author presented a paper locating this inlet at a symposium (as an archaeological research hypothesis) held by the Roanoke Research Office (Director Thomas Shields, East Carolina University) in 1999. The paper is being published by the state of North Carolina in the fall of 2002.

    4). through 9). The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research has found six deeds listing the Elks family as Hatteras Indians, Native American Indians or Indian. These deeds are for Indian Town (Croatan, the site found in 1994) and Old Indian Town (another registered Indian site, five miles west of Croatan, on Hatteras Island).

    10). The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research has discovered a signed deed by Samuel Elks selling Buck Ridge near Gum Neck in 1777. Buck Ridge is possibly the Indian village of Tramaskecooc depicted on the John White map of 1585. Many surface artifacts and a reported Indian graveyard have been found in this targeted Indian village. Buck Ridge has been registered as an archaeological site, by this author, but the site has not been confirmed with archaeology at this time.

    11). The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research found sixty-six people living in Chocowinity, NC with the last name of Elks living within three miles of a targeted Indian village named Panawicky (the targeted village of Panawicky has not been confirmed as of this date). A site on Rice Creek was found that produced Indian artifacts and was registered as an archaeological site by this author). The Indian village of Panawicky is depicted in the vicinity on over twenty maps. In Chocowinity, there are approximately five hundred people with Croatan surnames identified in our study (see addenda). David, Darlene, Emily, Charley and Brandon Elks have contributed greatly with this research. With their grateful help, Samuel Elks and his brother Jacob have been identified as being direct ancestors of all of the Elks in Chocowinity. It seems apparent that all of the Elks now living in this small village are direct descendants of the last kings and queens of the Croatan Indians. Moreover there are over fifty people with the last name of Buck in the same community (Buck Ridge is documented as the name of the Indian Site in Gum Neck). Five miles away in Washington there are fifty people with the last name of Squires (another revelation is emerging regarding this surname). The last deeds signed for the Indian reservation lands at Mattamuskeet are by Charles and John Squires, Indian Kings. (See the addenda for the chronology of the Croatan, Elks deeds).

Elks-Pinkham Deed

    The most compelling piece of research found to-date is the last deed we discovered (see the Elizabeth Elks deed of 1801 in the addenda). This deed will be studied and researched for many years to flesh out the story that we think may eventually pass into NC history. If our preliminary evaluation is correct Elizabeth is the last surviving member of the Croatan Indians living on the original Croatan lands. She is probably the sister of Mary and William Elks, who have signed five other Croatan deeds. Elizabeth leaves in the deed, the Croatan lands to Nath Pinkham for "love and consideration", to be held in trust for her unnamed son. Nath is to enjoy all rights to the Indian lands, and he is “not to be molested by any English man” (it is believed Pinkham may be an Indian from the Nantucket whaling fleets). Nath Pinkham is to keep and hold this land until Elizabeth's son turns 21 years of age. This deed is not recorded until 21 years after Elizabeth places "her mark (x)" on the deed.

    The questions posed by this deed are:

    The following information is believed to be factual:

    Elizabeth, Mary, William and Samuel Elks are Europeanized Croatan Indians and are still living on the original Croatan Indian lands as late as 1801. This is almost one hundred years beyond any previously considered date. The Elks surname is well documented as Native American in Hyde County well into the 19th century (Garrow, Shepard/Willard, Hyde County court records)

    Because they are Europeanized Indians, they have left a paper trail that is still discernable. This paper trail leads to Pinetown, Chocowinity and Free Union, NC.

    The hunt for Elizabeth’s unnamed child is on. Research was started with the Pinkham surname. This surname has been found at the end of our proffered "Indian Trail" in Pinetown, NC. The Pinkham family has been interviewed and they were not aware that any of their ancestors were Indian. However, we have found three members of the Pinkham family with a romantic and compelling story from their oral history that may help us solidify research involving the Elizabeth Elks deed. Barbara (Pinkham) Coston recalled oral history passed down from generation to generation in her family. She relates that a Pinkham man:

"Found a young Indian girl under a tree.
He raised her, and then her married her."

    Most of us working on this research think this is possibly the oral tradition and the story represented in the Elizabeth Elks deed that has just been found. The story was passed from generation to generation and found its way down to the present time.


    The Coastal Indians at the period of English contact (1584) were numerous and dispersed in large villages all along the coast, sounds and rivers of North Carolina. These Indians were called Algonquians and were characterized by their linguistic affiliation with many tribes all along the Coast of Northeast America. These Native Americans along our coasts were the most southern speaking of this language group. The southern demarcation lines of this culture were located around the Core Banks or possibly as far north as Portsmouth Island. This linguistic group extended far to the north into New York, Maine and Canada (Phelps: P.C.; Parramore: U.P.P).

    These Native American societies were highly stratified with the king having the right of life or death over his tribal members (Phelps P.C.; Rountree 1989: 4,5,7,11,120,146). There were descending layers of importance in this society; priests wielded great powers along with war captains and men of medicine and witchcraft.

    Shortly after the initial contact, large Indian confederations were formed possibly as a safeguard against European incursions. The most notable was Powhatan (Pocahontas was his daughter) who ruled a great territory to the north on Chesapeake Bay) in what is now Virginia. At the zenith of his power, Powhatan ruled so many Algonquian tribes that he needed eight interpreters just to converse with members of his own affiliated tribe (Smmes 1940, Shepard/ Willard 2002).

    The Croatan Indians occupied several villages on the Outer Banks of NC. Manteo, the son of the queen of the tribe was very instrumental in helping the colony retain a foothold in the new world. The New colonists made enemies of every other Indian group they met. It is only common sense that any friendly Native Americans living in their vicinity would have totally assimilated any surviving colonists. Two hundred years after these first encounters, the story as told in our history books is replete; these Coastal Indians were totally “wiped off the landscape”, “do not exist as a political unit”, and “have vanished” (Phelps, Quinn, Shepard/Willard, Miller, Stick).

    A possible new unearthing is being presented in this paper that is very preliminary in scope. It, however, presents a completely different scenario of Indian migration than was considered previously. Based on eleven newly discovered facts, a large group of descendants of the “Lost Croatan Indians of North Carolina” (and possibly descendants of the 1587 “Lost Colony”) may have survived into the modern era.

Background History

    The Indians of the coast of North Carolina for a period of about sixty years after the contact period were in a dark or black period (There was not any historical record about this culture from this time). There was no contact until the permanent settlement at Jamestown started to expand to the south. The first deed signed by a European in North Carolina was in 1662 near the North Shore of the Albemarle Sound. The name of the Indian's king that signed the deed was Kilcocanen (Phelps: The Carolina Algonquians, Archaeology and History: Americas Four Hundredth Anniversary Slide and Narrative presentation 1994: 3). This marked the first wave of what would be a devastating invasion of Indian lands.

    The Indians from these regions were displaced very rapidly from this time forward with wave after wave of European settlement invasions. The village of Croatan in 1584 had hundreds of Indians living there (Phelps P.C. 1998). The location of this village is in present-day Buxton on the Outer Banks of NC. In 1701, John Lawson visited these Indians and commented on their tradition that they were descendants of early European colonists. This has raised the speculation of a connection related to the enciphered signal left on a tree (Croatoan) in 1587 by Sir Walter Raleigh’s “Lost Colony”. Lawson observed only 20 men that could fight at that time (Lawson, A new Voyage to the Carolinas 1709). By 1729, the Mosley map (published in 1733) indicated “there are no Indians living on the coast but 7 or 8 at Hatteras with the English” (Mosley map 1729). In 1713, most of the Coastal Indians participated in the hostilities of the Tuscarora War, which ended in the defeat of the Indians at Nehoroka Fort in Greene County, NC.

    This became the terminal point in the retreat of Indian cultures from the Coastal Plain. The recognition of this culture slipped away in history with the final blow coming some one hundred years later with the presidency of Andrew Jackson and the “Trail of Tears”. This also was the time of the famous slogan, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian”. We have concluded that this was happening at a much earlier time here on the coast of North Carolina.

Oral Histories Study (Ten hours of taped intervies were completed with this study)

    This oral history study was done with field trips all over the Coastal Plain of North Carolina. Field notes, audio and video tape recordings were taken of these interviews. The exclusive copyrights to all of these materials were granted, in writing, to The Lost Colony Center for Science and Research, Fred Willard, Director. All of the informants have given The Lost Colony Center permission, in writing, to exclusively publish the material in these interviews. These interviews were conducted by and with the help of Fred Willard, Jennifer Mayo, David, Darlene and Emily Elks, Wayne Norman, Michele Oros and Hank Elks, Jr.

Mr. Wayne Norman - Columbia, NC
Buck Ridge

    It became evident in the studies of the Coastal Indians that oral histories might bring to light some missing pieces of the disappearance of a population estimated originally at around 50,000 in eastern North Carolina (Quinn 1955). The first test of oral history in this study came from the area near the Alligator River called Gum Neck. Local informants confirmed our findings of an Indian village on a high mineral ridge near the Alligator River called Buck Ridge. Mr. Wayne Norman, a life-long resident of Gum Neck, related a story that his family passed down. He revealed that on the Buck Ridge site there was an old Indian village; he also reiterated that his family had Indians in their heritage. He took us to the site, and as we stepped out of the car there was a freshly cut drainage ditch next to the road. At our feet next to the car we found Indian pottery, an Indian lithic stone cobble and an Early English piece of ceramics. He also indicated that other local informants reported finding an old Indian graveyard on the ridge. The Lost Colony Center confirmed this graveyard site on May 31, 2002.

Mr. Buddy Brickhouse - Gum Neck, NC

    Mr. Brickhouse also said his family had roots on Buck Ridge. He also is a life-long resident of Gum Neck and runs a small store about two miles from the ridge. Mr. Brickhouse related the same story as Mr. Norman but produced a deed to the ridge that gave a valuable lead to our research. Samuel Elks signed this deed. Our previous research on the Outer Banks revealed that the Elks were the last remaining Croatan Indians living at Croatan. This deed and five more have exposed a definitive migration trail leading from the Outer Banks to three small towns, eighty miles into the interior, called Pinetown, Chocowinity and Free Union.

    Mr. Brickhouse then related a story that his grandfather told him when he was 8 years old. He asked his grandfather “Where did the Indians go?”. His grandfather said “up country.” This information, in conjunction with other studies completed in an Honors class in geography, targeted an Indian village on the Pamlico River from the contact period named Panawicky (this village has many variant spellings). The present location of this targeted village is a small town with the Indian name of Chocowinity. An Indian site in the target area has been identified and registered, by this author, but at this time the Panawicky Indian site has not been confirmed.

Dr. Roy Sawyer - Wales, UK

    Dr. Sawyer grew up with the above-mentioned Mr. Buddy Brickhouse near the Indian ridge in what is now Gum Neck, NC. Dr. Sawyer offered a story to us about a large, very old Indian vessel or pot that came from Buck Ridge when he was a boy. His grandparents also told him that their family was of Indian descent. The more interesting information he offered is that descendants were still living on the site up until the nineteenth century. This is very important because we may have a site that has had continuous habitation from prehistoric times, possibly from 500 AD or earlier through the contact period and into the very late nineteenth century. If this chronology can be confirmed, this site will be very rare and of extreme importance to future archaeologists. Dr. Sawyer is a world-famous scientist on the related use of leeches in therapeutic research, and medical applications of leeches in conjunction with the re-growth of severed limbs. Any article published about leeches in the last twenty years contends that Dr. Sawyer is a leading world expert relating to these studies. Dr Sawyer first found leeches in his grandmother’s front yard near Buck Ridge many generations ago.

Mr. David Elks, Darlene Elks, Emily Elks, Charles Elks and Brandon Elks - Chocowinity, NC.

    Armed with the information from Buddy Brickhouse and having the name Elks on three Croatan deeds (we later found four more deeds with the Elks name), we discovered 66 people living within a three-mile radius of the targeted Indian village of Panawicky with the last name of Elks. The local Southside High School librarian, Ms. Michele Oros, agreed to help as she had a student in school named Emily Elks who was eager to help with the research. After extensive oral interviews and research, four more deeds signed by the Elks family emerged. On five of the deeds, the Elks are designated as Hatteras Indians, Native Indians or Indians (the Hatteras Indians and the Croatan Indians are the same Indian group whose name changed over a two hundred year period [Phelps: P.C.]).

    The Elks family has become very active in the research of the Croatan Indians and has completed a thorough genealogy search of their ancestors. The Samuel Elks who signed the deed in 1777 for Buck Ridge, and his brother Jacob, are the founders of the entire Elks family clan, who now reside in Pitt and Beaufort Counties, North Carolina.

Mr. Carlton Elks - Chocowinity, NC

    Mr. Carlton Elks was one of the first people that we interviewed. He could shed no light about oral history concerning the Elks family having Indian ancestral affiliation. Upon further questions relating to anyone in his family that may have had features that resembled Native Americans he volunteered that one of his great, great, great grandmothers had features that may be of interest to our research. Mr. Elks had a picture of the woman but it was at another relative's house. We set an appointment to review the photograph. Unfortunately Mr. Carlton Elks passed away before we could interview him again. We found out from his son that Carlton’s mother, Mammy Elks, was the one that had the picture. We contacted her and she agreed to be interviewed. (See below).

Mrs. Mammy (Carrow) Elks- Chocowinity, NC

    We contacted Mrs. Mammy Elks after learning she was Carlton Elks mother. When interviewed she reiterated Carlton’s previous contribution, that to her knowledge there where no Indians in their family history. She did have the photograph that Carlton mentioned. She produced a wonderful old photograph of a woman named Prushia Carrow, and her daughter Annie. Prushia looked like a full-blooded Native American Indian. Mammy was ninety-two years old when we interviewed her and she stated she did not remember ever seeing Prushia alive. However, she remembered Annie (Prushia’s daughter) very well. Prushia Carrow’s genealogy and her family bible where discovered within a month of the interview with Mammy Elks. Prushia Anne Carrow’s maiden name was Mayo and there are five of the Croatan Indian surnames in her genealogy (Mayo, McRoy, Carrow, Moore and Hodges).

Mr. Dalton Elks - Chocowinity, NC

    Mr. Dalton Elks was interviewed about three months after Carlton Elks. This interview was done with the assistance of Miss Jennifer Mayo who is closely related to the Elks genealogy. Dalton is also very closely related to Carlton and Mammy Elk. They all live on Elks Road (Elks Road is only three miles from the targeted Panawicky Indian village alluded to above). When we asked him the same question he gave an entirely different answer. When Dalton was very young he had a conversation with his father and his father confirmed that there were Indians in their heritage, though he had no knowledge of the band or tribe to which they belonged. The oral history from the Elks ancestors concerning a possible connection to Croatan Indians seemingly did survive, even though only in the faintest form.

Mrs. Barbara (Pinkham) Coston- Five Points Crossroads, Pinetown, NC

    After the discovery of a deed signed by Elizabeth Elks (“Indian”) living on the Croatan Indian site in Buxton, NC, we started researching the Pinkham surname. Mrs. Barbara (Pinkham) Coston was involved in her Pinkham family genealogy. She came to our attention and she readily agreed to an interview. Mrs. Coston had no knowledge of Indians in her heritage but did relate a very interesting story in her family Pinkham oral history. She offered a story that she heard from two family members that did not know each other. The story alleges that a male Pinkham ancestor “found a young Indian girl under a tree. He raised her and then married her.” (This same story has now been recorded by another Pinkham as having been passed down from one generation to another. See below how this story may coincide with our research on the Croatan Indians).

Migration Patterns of Coastal N.C. Indians

The Croatan Indians

    The Croatan Indians that lived on the Outer Banks abandoned their sound-side village in about 1680 (This was a very well-documented scenario prior to this study [Phelps, Quinn, Paramour, Miller, Kupperman]). The village site in Buxton where they resided starting in about five hundred A.D. was unique to the Outer Banks. The Chacandepeco Inlet, which provided an abundant fin and shellfish diet, was open until about 1680. When the inlet closed, the primary food source was eliminated, probably causing most of them to leave the site. In addition, the site provided the largest maritime forests on the Outer Banks, providing plants and game animals for additional food (Phelps P.C.; Quinn 1955: 865). Horticulture on the Outer Banks is problematic; the word Hatteras from the Algonquian word Hatterask means “a place where nothing will grow" (Quinn 1955: 864). The entire Outer Banks is an alluvial sand deposition inundated with salt-blown air from Atlantic Ocean storms both in the summer and winter. Only very salt-resistant plants can survive for very long in this environment.

    Only two original Croatan Indian names have come down to us, Manteo (whose mother was the Queen) and Menatoan (another great man of the Croatan tribe, possibly Manteo’s brother [Quinn 1955: 890-891]).

    Eighteen names have been closely associated with the Croatan Indians and later with the Mattamuskeet Indians as they merged in a migration pattern that eventually went inland. These names have been found on a large quantity of paper trails left on maps, deeds, court records, census, head right documents and marriage papers (Shepard/Willard 2002).

    The names associated with Indians on the Outer Banks are Gibbs, Elks, Brooks, King, Mashoes, Whahab, Farrow and Jennette. In the period after the Tuscarora War, all of the Indians with these names move to Hyde County on Whapopin Creek and are from this time forward referred to in Hyde County as the Whapopin Indians. (There are four variant spellings of this name. The name was probably assumed from the Whahab name and combines two words Whahab and Popin). It is important to note that almost every Croatan name that has survived into modern times is a European acculturated surname (Willard/Shepard 2001).


    The Lost Colony of 1587 indicated that they intended to go to Chesapeake Bay, but changed their mind and decided to move “fifty miles into the main”. The pre-arranged enciphered message left at the village site on Roanoke Island, indicated that they were with the Croatan Indians (Quinn 1995; Phelps 1996). Prior to this study the word Croatan only encompassed the site discovered in 1993 in Buxton NC. The name Croatoan may in the future encompass all the area from the Outer Banks to and including all of the Alligator flood plain.

    An Honors Geographic study, by this author, utilizing early maps of the coastal region has given some new insight relating to the ultimate fate of arguably the most important lost Indian tribe in North America (See map study list in the addenda). Many of the early maps drawn immediately after Jamestown (1608/1660) focus on the Albemarle watershed and what is now the Dare County mainland. Today there is a small community on the Alligator River called East Lake that has a compelling story that is shrouded in mystery and has only been partially documented. All the maps from around the turn of the eighteenth century to present show this as “Croatan Lands”. The sound between Roanoke Island and the mainland was renamed Croatan Sound and countless stories relating to Indian names and stories come from this area (Phelps,Quinn: The Five Lost Colonies; Shepard/Willard 2002). The place name that emerges very early from these swampy lowlands is Beechland. The Indian word Poquoson means a swampy place with a high center. Moreover, it is in the middle of this Poquoson landform where Beechland can still be found on maps today.

    When the Tuscarora War broke out in 1713 the Indians from this swampy area joined with the belligerent hostile Indians laying waste to hundreds of European settlers. The main bodies of the Tuscarora were defeated about 1714. The Croatan/Mattamuskeet contingents escaped and were able to hide in the Alligator River interior (Beechland) and waged very effective guerrilla warfare for four or five years. Forays into Manteo, the Pamlico basin and a small outpost on the Alligator River (this location has not been found) resulted in nearly one hundred colonists killed (Shepard/Willard 2002). The North Carolina authorities initiated “a peace settlement with John Padgett and his men” (Padgett’s Indian name was Inuquner [Shepard/Willard 2002]. Another important Indian was named John Barbour, whose Indian name was Correuiert [Shepard/Willard 2002]). This peace treaty was supposedly held on the Outer Banks and eventually resulted in a peace settlement (this new emerging research may have found two more original Croatan Indian names). The settlement included a very valuable Indian reservation in Hyde County. A large group of Indians maintained their original lands in Beechland including all the land from the shores of Lake Mattamuskeet to the Pamlico Sound (Garrow: The Mattamuskeet Documents). This was a huge concession by the state authorities resulting in a very large Indian reservation and encampment including almost one million acres of land from the Mattamuskeet Lake, including the entire Alligator River flood plain to Roanoke Island and the Outer Banks of North Carolina (Garrow, Shepard/Willard, Long 2000). This peace treaty anchored the land, which ultimately led the Croatan/Mattamuskeet Indians towards their final destination in two small villages now called Chocowinity (on the Pamlico River) and Free Union (near present-day Plymouth [Shepard/Willard 2002]).

    The Indians in Beechland prospered to the point that there may have been as many as four hundred inhabitants living on this high ridge in the center of the “Alligator Swamp”. In 1840, a catastrophe struck Beechland, which forced the people from this swamp paradise toward their ultimate destination in the interior of NC. A mysterious plague swept through Beechland that wiped out anyone who did not “Run for his or her life”. It was reported as the “Black Tongue” (Long 2002, Shepard/Willard 2002). This illness was never identified until Barbara Midgette of Buxton, NC (in 1999) found this illness listed in a one-hundred-year-old, 7000 page dictionary. The illness was identified as Anthrax and fits the reported practices of this culture as having large herds of cows and pigs. It is reported that many left the area and were the same names that we have traced (through deeds, court records, head rights, marriage certificates and wills) from the Dare County mainland to Hyde County, Mattamuskeet and Gum Neck (see the addenda for the eighteen names).

    A controversial discovery was made in Beechland in the mid-1950’s. A construction crew was making a new road on the old Beechland ridge (just south of the crossroads of Mill Tail Creek Road and Possum Road) and dug up coffins made from whole logs that looked like two canoes (one atop of the other). Small children remains were found in the coffins and it has been reported by some that old English crosses were carved on the lids. I interviewed an eighty-six-year-old man who was operating the equipment when the discovery was made. The location of these graves is well documented by the Lost Colony Research Center and will be located with GPS and registered with the State of NC in the near future. An informant indicated that the crosses were strangely shaped and drew them on a piece of paper for the record (see addenda for a copy of the representation of the cross and its possible identification [Willard 2002; Phelps Pruleen Farm Report; Long 2000]).

Lake Mattamuskeet

    After the Tuscarora War was concluded, the Croatan and Mattamuskeet Indians (there were also a few Coree Indians involved) were persuaded to accept peace and come out of the Alligator swamp, and move to the reservation in Hyde County.

Henry Gibbs Deed

    The chief men, after they moved, were Charles and John Squires, Long Tom, Henry Gibbs, Thomas Whahab, Jennette, John Padgett, John Barbour and John Mackey. This would be the last place of record for these Coastal Indians until the recent new discoveries started coming to light. The first sale of the reservation land was for 500 acres and was to John Gibbs on Whapopin Creek in about 1736 (County Courthouse deeds, Currituck County, North Carolina). The mouth of this body of water is still named Gibbs Point. The Croatan and Mattamuskeet names are permanently merged from this point forward and can be found all along our migration tract. (Shepard/Willard 2002; Garrow).

    There are two distinct trails leaving Mattamuskeet including all the names that are identifiable as Indians from this area. The migration movement is to the west and inland. It follows the south side of the landmass between the Pamlico River and the Albemarle Sound and then to a small village near Five Crossroads on NC Route 32 called Pinetown (one of the most important names in our research has been found here and is Pinkham -- Barbara Pinkham Coston, [Shepard/Willard]). From this point there are two out migrations: one to the Pamlico River and the town of Chocowinity; the other to Welsh Creek on the Roanoke River and the towns of Free Union, Ange and Jamesville. One of the first deeds in Ange is to John Padgett (the leader of the insurgent Indians in the Alligator swamp). Other names associated in the Free Union area are Shepard, Pierce, Boston, Barbour, Mackey, McRoy, Brooks and King (Charles Shepard, who is a Native American/African-American, lives in Free Union and most of the above names are in his genealogical lineage). The primary Indian names in Chocowinity are Elks, Buck, Carrow, Hodges, Pain, McRoy and Mayo.

Pantego, Terra Ceia Road and Pinetown

    The Croatan/Mattamuskeet migration trail is very easy to follow in most areas of the eastern NC Coastal Plain. Almost every week, new clues are being found to make this two hundred-year-old track more discernable. The migration track under consideration here is dim and difficult to follow. This portion of the documentation is very preliminary and tentative and is offered without prejudice with the hope of a more definitive confirmation in the near future. The primary tool for this portion of the research is the name identifications on nautical charts and road maps. Documents such as deeds, court cases and wills in most cases are irrefutable. Names on maps are useful but not as definitive as the other types of documents. We have documented, and proffered in the addenda below, eighteen primary Croatan/Mattamuskeet Indian names. There are about a dozen more that show up in association with these Indians but are not the primary names.

    The landmass to the west basically follows the Albemarle/Pamlico drainage basin. The name association we were able to follow hugs the Pamlico sides of this landmass. We found this interesting and will allude to it below.

    The Pungo River Basin (bordering the west side of Hyde County) has a very strong correlation with the Indian names in our studies. Slades and Fortisque Creeks have many Croatan/Mattamuskeet names. The Pantego area and Terra Ceia Road have special connections with the Mattchapungo Indians (one of the Tuscarora sub-groups). The Pinkham surname is one of the most important names that we are pursuing at this time and many have been found in the small town of Pinetown, NC. In this small village is where our trail terminates its westward meanderings, some one hundred and ninety years after the first English contact in 1584. From Pinetown, the African-American Indians moved to the north and ended up in Free Union and the Europeanized Indians moved to the south and ended up in Chocowinity (Shepard/Willard 2002). It is noted: all of the Indian names we are tracking are Europeanized Croatan and Mattamuskeet Indian names. We have found no identifiable African/Indian names as of this date. There may be no full-blooded Croatan/Mattamuskeet Indians left. If they do exist, DNA studies could possibly identify them.

The Tuscarora Ascendancy

    This research study will come under some intense scrutiny in the years to come and we welcome it. Basically this study is charting new ground and is very preliminary in scope. Many of the migration patterns in this paper have never been reported before, and much more work will need to be done on this research before it finds its way into mainstream North Carolina history. The Tuscarora Ascendancy however is the work of an eminent historian by the name of Thomas Parramore. Mr. Parramore presented his finding at the Roanoke Symposium in 1999. To my knowledge his findings have never been published. Mr. Parramore’s scholarship is paramount. Most of what follows came from the inspiration of his work. His initial research has been expanded into our soon-to-be published papers, “Disappearing Indians” and “The Roanoke Sagas”. Understanding the disappearance of the Algonquian Indians from the contact period is vital in possibly finding traces of “The Lost Colony” and discerning the Croatan/Mattamuskeet migration patterns that we contend were followed after 1590.

    There were thousands of Algonquian Indians on the Coastal Plain during the five Roanoke Voyages (1584/1690). They were living in their domain of "Big Water" for more than a thousand years and were in constant war with their neighbors the Coree, to the south, and Tuscarora, to the west (Quinn, Phelps, Parramore, Miller, Shepard/Willard). The main foe was the Tuscarora, who were Woodland Indians that lived to the west. The Coastal Indians probably held a great advantage in trade and warfare with their large boats, as they were able to carry many warriors with great speed to areas of contention, cutting off and flanking their foes.

    The primary sources from the Roanoke Voyages indicate that every time the colonists visited a new village, word would come back within ten or twenty days that large portions of the Indian population had died. From the time of John White's last visit (1590) until the first Jamestown colonists came looking for members of the "Lost Colony" (in 1608), a dramatic change had taken place in the coastal waters of what is now North Carolina (Harriott 1588; Smith: 1910; Parramore: U.P.P., 1994; Shepard/Willard).

    All of the names of the villages that were on the John White map from the 1585 Roanoke Voyage are documented. After the dark period, as alluded to above, all of the village names changed and the people in the villages became a totally different linguistically speaking group and culture. The Algonquians had a name for these Indians who lived to the west. They called them “Mangoaks”, which was a very deriding term meaning “they are rattlesnakes” (Shepard/Willard 2002). The Algonquians had stood their ground against these “Mangoaks” for at least a thousand years (Phelps: P.C.; Parramore: U.P.P.; Shepard/Willard), but during this twenty-year dark period (1587-1608), they underwent some kind of culture overthrow or downfall. When the colonists at the time of the Jamestown settlements (1608/1612) migrated to the south, they confirmed that they were dealing with the Tuscarora Indians not the Algonquians from the Roanoke times. It was the Tuscarora that negotiated with the Jamestown colonists who had settled the North Shore of the Albemarle Sound. The Indians drew a line east and west on the Albemarle Sound dictating a demarcation line that was not to be crossed. When the Europeans aggressively continued to cross this demarcation line, hostilities broke out. The disputation finally culminated in the outbreak of the Tuscarora War and the Tuscarora’s defeat at their Nehoroka Fort in about 1714 (Parramore: U.P.P.).


    What happened between 1590 and 1608 will probably never be satisfactorily documented. The Coastal Indians may have been decimated by European illnesses to the point that their numbers were very weakened. A final assault just a few years before Jamestown was settled probably resulted in their overthrow. The fate of the "Lost Colony" may have been inadvertently caught up in a war not of their making. There is an abundance of evidence (seven separate sources from Jamestown) suggesting that it was Indians to the west (Tuscarora?) that captured, tortured and enslaved the 1587 Colony. There is also evidence that several hostile tribes may have united for this final assault, which overran these Coastal Indians (Parramore: U.P.P.; Miller; Shepard/Willard 2002).

    Understanding where the "forces of contention" were coming from helps explain some of the anomalies of this Indian migration. The Jamestown colonists migrated and summated on the North Shore of the Albemarle Sound and as the good lands were all taken up in the first fifty years, there was pressure to find land to the south. One overriding fact that may have challenged the colonists to cross the forbidden sound was a need for female companionship. There were nine males for every female coming into the southern province in what was still Virginia at that early date. Knowing that many Europeans inhabited the South Shore of the Albemarle at an early time possibly explains why the migration trail out of Hyde County shied away from the Albemarle Sound and hugged the more southern Pamlico River basin (Rountree, Shepard/Willard 2002). (See reference above re: South Shore migration).

Right Whaling Fleets from Nantucket and the Influx of Indian Populations from the North

    From the John White maps, it is known that the name of the “confederation” of Indians residing on the North Shore of the Albemarle Sound was called “The Weapemeoc”. In some of these villages, in 1585, there were over a thousand inhabitants (Quinn 1955: 295). By 1650, European settlements were being recorded in the Albemarle area. The Weapemeoc name had changed to Yawpim and the Indians were greatly reduced in numbers. Those that survived the European illnesses may have fled to the southern shore to escape the European resettlement onslaught. As indicated above, there was cohabitation and assimilation between European males and female Native American Indians. Many of the most important names in our study all converge, at this time, in a place now called Camden, NC (Shepard/Willard, Wilson, Darlene Elks).

    There also seems to have been a very important migration of Native Americans from the island of Nantucket, in Massachusetts, to the area of Cape Hatteras, NC. A very prosperous Right Whaling fleet was centered on Nantucket Island during the time period of the Jamestown migration to the Albemarle flood plain. The Right Whales migration swathe was between Nantucket in the north and Hatteras to the South. English merchants owned the fleets, but the crews were all Massachusetts Indians. Charles Shepard derived much of the research in this portion of our study. Charles is a Croatan/Mattamuskeet Indian who traces most of his lineage to Beechland and Lake Mattamuskeet. Charles is undoubtedly of Croatan and Mattamuskeet Indian heritage and the study of his lineage would suggest that he may have one of the most pure Croatan Indian lineages remaining today. New research has indicated that Charles may be a direct descendant of Correuiert (John Barbour), one of the main insurgent Indians from the swamplands of the Alligator River in 1714 (Shepard/Willard/Wilson, McMullen, Long 2000).

    Just south of Camden is a place on all of the maps called Indian Town or Yawpim. This small place, in about 1690, attracted what became the most powerful Indian leaders of the Indian tribes of the Mattamuskeet/Croatan Indians of the Eighteenth Century.

    Charles Shepard traced the names of Gibbs and Pinkham to Nantucket with ties to the Indian crews that frequented the waters to Hatteras, NC. The crews would be out for months at a time and would come to a port for supplies. Chesapeake Bay, Roanoke Inlet (near Camden) and Ocracoke Inlet would have been natural stop-over points.

The grave of Heber A. Squyars, direct descendant of John Squires, "Ye Mattamuskeet Indian King", was found at Gum Neck.

    Near Accomack, Virginia on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Indians by the names of Charles Squires and Long Tom were documented as mixed-breed Indians who were employed as interpreters for the Colonies in Chesapeake Bay. Long Tom came into conflict with the authorities and was tried for raping a white woman. He was found innocent of the rape but guilty of cohabiting with her. He was severely beaten and not heard of again until he emerges, with Charles Squires, as one of the great men of the Arrowmuskeet Indians in Yawpim (Semmes 1940, Shepard/Willard 2002). At this same time Samuel Elks inherited land next to a man named Gibbs, also in Yawpim. The Gibbs name is listed as one of the "Great Men" of the Yawpim Indians (Shepard/Willard). By 1713 the Tuscarora War broke out. At its conclusion, Henry Gibbs was living on the Outer Banks next to where deeds were found for William, Mary and Elizabeth Elks, who were listed on six deeds as Hatteras (Croatan) Indians. Samuel Elks was located on Buck Ridge, an Indian site near Gum Neck (the hypothetical site of the Indian village called Tramaskecooc on the 1588 Theodore deBry maps). Charles and John Squires and Long Tom, in 1736, appear as the leaders of the large Indian reservation at Mattamuskeet right after the Tuscarora War was over. It is probable that these aforementioned Indians were in the swamps of the Alligator flood plain waging guerrilla warfare and may have been the ones responsible for the demise of one hundred colonists (Shepard/Willard).


    The attempts to find traces of the enigmatic “1587 Lost Colony” have languished for the last two hundred years. This very preliminary study has possibly brought this search to the doorstep of an important discovery relating to this mysterious and important North Carolina mystery. With the publication of this paper for academic review and a hopeful positive acceptance, our next research focus will be the scientific study using DNA testing.

    The research and funding for the DNA studies are being negotiated and hopefully will be in place sometime within the next year. The research team will attempt to identify living descendants, in England, of members whose names are on the roster of the 1587 “Lost Colony". Well-known families were involved in the Roanoke Voyages and identification of living relatives may be possible. The funding will be used to attempt to match DNA from England to the possible surviving Croatan Indians that are living in Chocowinity, Free Union and Pinetown today. This funding will be done with the exclusive rights of authorship and copyrights belonging to The Lost Colony Center of Science and Research. This research is not a forgone conclusion and may take many years to confirm or possibly reach a negative scientific conclusion (scientific negative conclusions are a very important research tool).

    We have also just concluded negotiations for funding of multispectral imaging through the Remote Sensing Office of Elizabeth City State University under the tutelage of the Vice Chancellor of the University, Dr Carolyn Mahoney. The Center will attempt to locate, with remote sensing, English and Indian contact period fortifications in our target area of Beechland. Ten possible targets have been identified and more will be scrutinized as our research moves forward and more funding becomes available.


Croatan/Mattamuskeet Surnames Found in the Search for "The Lost Colony"

    The Lost Colony Research Center has identified the following European surnames as having a strong correlation and identification with the Croatan and Mattamuskeet Indians from Dare, Tyrrell and Hyde Counties. These names are listed in their order of importance relating to this study (the only name on this list that may be an original Indian name is Carrow). All of these names have many variant spellings; the ones used here are the most common and are found spelled this way on the most important identifiable documents.

  1. Elks
  2. Gibbs
  3. Buck
  4. Pinkham
  5. Carrow
  6. Padgett
  7. Mayo
  8. Berry
  9. Pain
  10. Brooks
  11. Squires
  12. Barbour
  13. Caroon
  14. Hodges
  15. Farrow
  16. Jennette
  17. Whahab
  18. Pierce
Photograph of Prusha Ann Carrow and daughter

Elizabeth Elks Deed

Primary Works Cited

  1. Garrow: The Mattamuskeet Documents. (An unpublished manuscript).
  2. Harriot, Thomas,1588: A Brief and True Report Of The New Found Land Of Virginia. Reprint (1972) by Dover Publications, Inc., New York.
  3. Kupperman, Karen: Settling with the Indians. 1980, Rowman and Littlefield.
  4. Long, Mary Wood: The Five Lost Colonies. Published by The Family Research Center, Elizabeth City, NC, 2000.
  5. Miller, Lee: Roanoke. 2000.
  6. Parramore, Thomas: The Tuscarora Ascendancy. (An unpublished paper in the possession of this author).
  7. Phelps: Personal correspondence, lectures and newspaper articles relating to the Croatan discoveries. 1996-2001.
  8. Rountree, Helen and Davidson: Eastern Shore Indians of Virginia and Maryland. 1997, The University Press of Virginia.
  9. Rountree, Helen: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia. 1989.
  10. Rountree, Helen: Powhatan’s People. 1990, The University Press of Oklahoma.
  11. Semmes: Captains (Indians) and Mariners of Maryland. 1940, John Hopkins University Press.
  12. Shepard, Charles/Willard, Fred: The Roanoke Sagas. 2002 (An unpublished paper in the possession of this author. Supporting research from Ruth Wilson; Phil McMullen; David, Darlene, Brandon, Charles and Emily Elks.)
Secondary Works Cited

  1. Chambers, Samuel: Personal communication. 1999/2000, Geology Department (Satellite Imaging) Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC.
  2. Coates, Donald R.: Coastal Geomorphology. 1972, State University of New York, Binghamton, New York.
  3. Cummings, William P.: The Southeast in Early Maps. 1955/1998, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina and London.
  4. Everts, Craig, Jeter, Battley, Jr., and Gibson, Peter N.: Shoreline Movements. Spingfield, VA, National Technical Information Service, 1983.
  5. Fisher, John: Geomorphic Expressions of Former Inlets along the Outer Banks of North Carolina. 1962 (An unpublished Master's Thesis, The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).
  6. Gares, Dr. Paul: Snapshots of the Carolinas Landscapes and cultures; Shoreline changes along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore; personal communication, lecture notes. Geography Department, East Carolina University, 1988,1989.
  7. Hume, Ivor Noël: The Virginia Adventure: Roanoke to Jamestown: An Archaeological and Historical Odyssey. New York, Knopf, 1994.
  8. Hulton, Paul: America 1585. The North Carolina Press, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1984.
  9. De Ore, Luis Jeronimo: Relations of the Martyrs of Florida, “Donde se an fortifcado los ingleses”. Circa 1617, Madrid [?]. Reprinted in 1931/3, edited by P. Atanasio Lopez, XVII, 2 vols. The translation is by Dr. Maynard Geiger (Franciscan Studies, no.18) New York, Joseph F. Wagner, 1936.
  10. Miller, Lee: Roanoke. 2001.
  11. Powell, William: North Carolina Through Four Centuries. The University of North Carolina Press, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1998.
  12. Riggs, Stanley: Personal communication and lecture notes. 1998, Geology Department, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.
  13. San Juan, Francisco: Personal communication. 1999/ 2000, Geology Department, (Satellite Imaging), Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, NC.
  14. Quinn, David Beers: The Roanoke Voyages. 2 vols., The Hakluyt Society Second Series 104-05, London, The Haklut Society, 1955.
  15. Quinn, David Beers: Set Fair to Roanoke: Voyages and Colonies, 1584-1600. The University of North Carolina Press, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1985.
  16. Sams, Conway: The Conquest of Virginia: The First Attempt. Spartanburg, South Carolina, Reprint Co., 1924.
  17. Smith, John: Travel and Works of Captain John Smith, President of Virginia and Admiral of New England, 1580-1631. Ed. Arber. 2 vols, Edinburgh, John Grant, 1910.
  18. Stick, David: Roanoke Island: The Beginnings of English America. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1983.
Last Croatan Deeds of Record (1756-1823)

    In addition to the Samuel Elks deed of 1777, we have found the following deeds and grants:

  1. A grant to William and Mary Elks, "Hatteras Indians", for Indian Town (Croatan) around 1756. (The site referred to was first discovered in 1993 by the Croatan Group).
  2. A grant to William Elks "and the rest of the Hatteras Indians for Old Indian Town", 1754 (Brooks Point and Kings Creek in present town of Frisco, NC).
  3. A deed dated 1777 for the sale of 100 acres "part of Old Indian Town" to Isaac Farrow (Farrow is another well-documented Indian name).
  4. A deed from William Elks to William Clarke for "a part of Old Indian Town ... and no Indian shall interfere with your rights to this land in any way".
  5. A deed dated 1788, from Mary and Elizabeth Elks, "Indians", for the sale of two hundred acres "a part of Old Indian Town" to Nathan Midgette (William must have died prior to this date). Mary and Elizabeth are recorded as sisters on one of the documents found.
  6. A deed from Elizabeth Elks, "Native Indian", dated 1802 in trust to Nath Pinkham for land known as "Indian Lands" (probably Indian Town, another name for Croatan; more research needs to be done on this conveyance. Mary Elks' name is not on this deed. She may have died just before this date.). "…And Nath Pinkham shall have this land to use occupy and enjoy all the profits of the said lands and timber without any molestation or hindrance of any White person whatsoever…". (Pinkham must also be of Indian origin?) "…during his (Pinkham's) natural life provided my son shall live to the age of twenty one years then and in that case the land shall be at my sons disposal and for his only...".
Map Studies tracing the Geomorphic Features for Relic Inlets, Indian Villages and English Fortifications

  1. 1498, A map of the voyages of John and Sebastion Cabot
  2. 1526, Juan Vespucci.
  3. 1529, Diego Ribero.
  4. 1529, Hieronimo de Verrazzano.
  5. 1540, Sebastian Munster.
  6. 1542, John Rotz.
  7. 1545, Alonso de Santa Cruz.
  8. 1545, Anonymous, Atlas of The Hague.
  9. 1547, Anonymous, London.
  10. 1550, Piere Desceliers.
  11. 1558, Diogo Homem.
  12. 1562, Diego Gutierrez.
  13. 1567, Alonso de Santa Cruz.
  14. 1569, Gerhardus Mercator.
  15. 1580, John Dee.
  16. 1580, Simon Fernandes-John Dee.
  17. 1582, Humphrey Gilbert- John Dee.
  18. 1582, Michal Lok.
  19. 1585, The 1585 sketch map (Anonymous, but may have been drawn by John White).
  20. 1585, John White Manuscript Map A. Map of Raleigh's Virginia.
  21. 1585, John White Manuscript Map B. Map of Eastern North America. The only map or copies of it that name and locate Port Ferdinando. This map was not published until1909.
  22. 1589/1631, Theodore deBry print of John White's Manuscript Map A. Map of Raleigh's Virginia.
  23. 1599/1631, Theodore deBry print of "The Englishmen's Arrival", Mercator/ Hondis.
  24. 1609, Zuniga [#1, John Smith]. (John Smith likely had something to do with this map. See edited Zuniga map by Sams. This is the most important map about the "Lost Colony" that has been found to-date. Prior to this study very little successful research has been done with this primary source. The research from this study may have successfully indexed this map, to modern maps, for the first time. The contact period Indian villages of Panawicky and Pecanick may have been properly delineated for the first time. These villages are designated as locations where surviving members of the Lost Colony may be found in the time period of 1608/1615).
  25. 1609, Zuniga map. Transliterated by Sams.
  26. 1609, Ould [sic] Virginia, [#2 John Smith]. (This map may have very important correlations to the Zuniga map above. The above map was found in Spain in the files of a Spanish spy network that was located in Jamestown in 1608/1612).
  27. 1611, Velasco Map.
  28. 1657, Comberford.
  29. 1682, Joel Gascoyne, Carolina.
  30. 1701/1709, John Lawson. (Surveyed in 1701?).
  31. 1729/1723, Mosley. (Surveyed 1729?).
  32. 1770, Collet.
  33. 1775, Mouzon.
  34. 1801, Price Strother.
  35. 1861, Bachman.
  36. 1861, Colyton.
  37. 1879, U.S.C. & G.S. Oregon Inlet Chart #138.
  38. 1883, Macray Brazer.
  39. 1861, Bachman.
  40. 1861, Colyton.
  41. 1896, Mail Route Map.
  42. 1958, Dunbar Map of Historic Inlets of the Outer Banks.
  43. 1983, (1849/1980) Shore Line Movement (North Carolina Outer Banks).
  44. 1992, Soil Survey of Dare County. North Carolina issued by U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service.
Depiction of Crosses Found on the Coffins at Beechland

    The submission of materials on this subject is being offered without prejudice or authority. The principals interviewed from the Beechland coffin incident have all given the basic same account. Crosses on the coffins are problematical and are only offered as represented. Mr. Tom Anisley was interviewed in 1998 and relayed to this author that one of the principals involved with the discovery at the site showed him what the crosses looked like. In John White's narrative of the voyage of 1600 he indicated that the cross would be drawn on the post or tree if the colony was in trouble. A cross was not found. White did draw a depiction of what the cross would look like. It is a Moline cross, which is the same as Tom Anisley drew when interviewed.

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