An interesting entry from The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Second Series – Volume VII – Records of the Executive Council – 1674-1734. This entry describes a petition by the Meherrin to have land surveyed for them to be assigned a reservation, and a second petition from local inhabitants claiming that the Meherrin have not always been in the area where they were living at the time of the petition, that they are actually Susquehannahs who had come into the colony of North Carolina from the region between Pennsylvania and Maryland.
(Note: This has been typed for use on the Coastal Carolina Indian Center website exactly as it appears in the Colonial Records volume. Remember, at the time, punctuation and spelling was many times different than what we’re used to today.)
From The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Second Series – Volume VII – Records of the Executive Council – 1674-1734.
From pp 167-169
Editor Robert J. Cain – Department of Cultural Resources Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina 1984
October the 28th 1726
This day was Read at the Board the Petition of the Maherrin Indians Shewing that they have lived and Peaceably Enjoyed the said Towne where they now live for such a Space of Time as they humbly conceive Entitles them to an Equitable Right in the same that They have not only lived there for many years but long before there were any English Settlements near that place or any notion of Disputes known to them concerning the dividing bounds between this Countrey and Virginia and have there made large Improvements after their manner for the better Support and maintenance of themselves and Families by their Lawfull and Peaceable Industry Notwithstanding which Collonel William Maule and Mr. William Gray have lately intruded upon them and have Surveyed their said Towne and cleared Gounds on pretence that it lys in this Government and that the said Indians have allways held it as Tributaries to Virga. which is not so Praying this Board to take them into their Protection as their faithfull and Loyall Tributaries and to Secure to them a Right and Property in the said Towne with such a convenient Quantity of Land adjoyning to it to be laid off, by meets and Bounds as to them shall seem meet.
Then allso was Read the Petition of sundry Inhabitants Living near the said Indians Shewing That Sundry Familys of the Indians called the Maherrin Indians have lately Encracht and Settled on their Land which they begg Leave to Represent with the true account of those Indians who are not original Inhabitants of any Lands within this Government but were formerly called Susquahannahs and Lived between Mary Land and <388> Pensilvania and comitting several Barbarous Massacrees and Outrages there Killing as ’tis Reported all the English there Settled excepting Two Families they then drew off and fled up to the head of Potomack and there built them a fort being pursued by Mary Land and Virginia Forces under the Comand of One Major Trueman who beseiged the fort Eight months but at last in the night broke out thro the main Guard and drew off round the heads of several Rivers and passing them high up came in to this Country and Setled at old Sapponie Towne upon Maherrin River near where Arthur Cavenah now lives but being disturbed by the Sapponie Indians they drew downe to Tarraro Creek on the same River where Mr. Arthur Allens Quarters is, afterwards they were drove thence by the Jennet Indians down to Bennets Creek and Settled on a Neck of Land afterwards called Maherrin Neck because these Indyans came downe Maherron River and after that they began to take the name of Maherrin Indians, but being known the English on that side would not Suffer them to live there, then they removed over Chowan River and Settled at Mount Pleasant where Capt. Downing now lives but being very Troublesome there one Lewis Williams drove them higher up and got an order from the overnment that they should never come on the So. side of Wickkacones Creek and they Settled at Catherines Creek a place since called Little Towne but they being still Mischievous by order of the Government Collonel Pollock brought in the Chief of them before the Governor and Council And they were then Ordered by the Government never to appear on the South side of Maherrin, They Then pitcht at the mouth of Maherrin River on the North side since called old Maherrin Towne where they afterwards Remained tho they were never Recieved or became Tributaries to this Government nor ever assisted the English in their Warrs against the Indians but were on the contrary very much Suspected to have assisted the Tuskarooroes at the Massacree. The Baron De Graffen Reed offering his Oath that one Nick Major in Particular being one of the present Maherrin Indians Satt with the Tuscarooroes at his Tryall and was among them when Mr. Lawson the Surveyor Genl. was killed by them So that these Maherrins were not originally of this Country but Enemies to the English every where behaving themselves Turbulently and never lookt on as True men or Friends to the English nor ever paid due acknowledgement to this Government. Some years agoe Col. Maule the then Surveyor Genl. obtained an Order to Survey the Lands at old Maherrin Towne which was accordingly done and Pattented afterwards since that they have paid Tribute to this Government and have been allowed by the Government to remain on those Lands. But since that a great Sickness coming among them Swept off <389> the most of them, and those that remained moved off those Lands at Maherrin Towne and sundry at them have lately Seated their Timber and STocks and hindring them frm Improving their Lands they being unwilling themselves forcibly to Remove the said Indians least some disorders might arise thereon praying an order to the Provost Marshall That if the said Indians do not Remove off in some convenient time they may be Compelled thereto etc.
Whereupon by the consent of both Parties It is ordered in Council That the Surveyor Genl. or his Deputy do lay out unto the said Indians a certain parcell of Land lying between Maherrin River and BlackWater River Runing three Miles up Blackwater River and then a Streight Line to such a part of Maherrin River as shall be Two miles from the mouth thereof and if the same Line shall leave out the Settlement of Capt. Roger a Meherrin Indian that then the Surveyor do lay out a Tract of 150 acres the most Convenient to his Dwelling. Which Lands when Surveyed, the Surveyor is to make return thereof into the Secretarys Office that Grants may pass for the same to the said Indians. It is further Ordered by this Board that the said Indians shall Quietly hold the said Lands without any molestation or disturbance of any Persons claming the same so as the same Persons Right or pretentions to the said Lands be Reserved unto them Whereby they or those claiming under them shall have the preferrence of taking up the same when the said Indians shall desart or remove therefrom.