American Indian Records

Various American Indian Records  

By Steven Pony Hill

Note by FOC: I probably have duplicated much of Pony's information, and may have mixed it in time.  All such errors are mine alone, and do not reflect on the fascinating collection of records submitted by Pony.  I will try to straighten this out as time permits.  My primary interest was in getting this information on the web quickly.

Early Court Records of Jackson County Florida

All records located in basement level, Jackson Co, Courthouse, Marianna, Florida

Nov. 1857 STATE V. GRANDISON HICKS: "Giving Liquor to a Negro" -found guilty on two charges…verdict set aside…new trial

THOMAS J. PERKINS executor of the estate of JAMES M. WILLIAMS deceased V. ELI P. MOORE


STATE V. JAMES BUTTS: "Adultery & fornication with free mulatto" -indictment quashed on motion of Defendant…questioned applicability of   the law.

Dec. 1857 STATE V. GRANDISON HICKS: "Giving Liquor to a Negro" Grandison Hicks appeared to present bond…Horace Ely and Robert Dickson as sureties….state prosecutor refused to prosecute.

STATE V. ALFRED BAZZELL: "Giving Liquor to a person of color" State prosecutor refused to prosecute.

THOMAS W. GAUTIER in behalf of a man of color named DICK V. WILLIAM CLARK: "Debt"


STATE V. GRANDISON HICKS: "Giving Liquor to a slave" Found guilty….sentenced to 99 lashes on his full back.

STATE V. ALFRED BAZZELL: "Giving Liquor to person of color" Found guilty….sentenced to one month in prison.

STATE V. WASHINGTON, a slave: "assault with intent to kill a white Person"

STATE V. JOHN AMMONS: "murder" Transported to Calhoun County to hold till Court date.

STATE V. DAVID BUNCH: "carry arms secret"

July 1859 STATE V. CATO, a slave: "Rape"   Transported to Calhoun County to hold till Court date.

STATE V. MARY, a slave: "Arson"

May 1860 STATE V. JOHN BOGGS: "assault with intent to kill"

STATE V. SHURARD SCOTT: "carry arms secretly" Martha E. (Scott) Hill called as witness for defense….

STATE V. AARON DAVIS: "selling spirituous liquors to a person of Color"

April 1861 STATE V. ADAM, a slave: "burning a gin house"





FOR COPIES CONTACT: Reference Services; South Carolina Dept. of Archives & History; 8301 Parklane Road; Columbia, SC 29223

Series:L10018 item:022A; Date:June 19, 1819

John Matthews and others (Indians and Free Blacks) Vs. Samuel Burger, tax collector and John Cleary, Sherrif both of Charleston District

Series:S213003 volume: 0JW page:604; Date:March 3, 1843

Ansley Davis, an Indian or the descendent of a Free Indian woman, to Joseph DeReef, bill of sale for a slave named Fanny and her children.

Series:S165005 item:67; Date:December 7, 1858

Committee on the Colored Population, report on a resolution of inquiry on imposing the capitation tax on Egyptians and Indians, as now on Free Blacks, mulattoes, and mestizoes. (4pages)

Series:S165015 item:12; Date:December 9, 1859 Edgefield District SC

Frederick Chavis and other free persons of color, petition inquiring if persons of Indian descent are considered to be free persons of color and liable for the poll tax. (2pages)

(mentions names of Frederick Chavis, Lewis Chavis, Durany Chavis, James Jones, Bartley Jones, Mary Jones, Jonathan Williams, Polly Dunn - - "Two among them, Polly Dunn and Bartley Jones, are free people of color, but their ages-sixteen and seventeen years-exclude them from being taxed. Six others do not qualify under the term "free person of color" as they are of Indian ancestry.")

Series:S165015 item:88; Date:November 20, 1828

Betty Hunter, a supposed mulatto, petition and supporting papers, since she has been compelled to pay double taxes as a free negro under a misconception, she requests a refund. (12 pages)

(mentions names of Betty Hunter, Robert Foster, Isaac Going, Rebekah Going, Absalam Bailey)

Series:S165015 item:12; Date:October 21, 1836

Sally Kelch, a supposed mulatto, petition to be refunded a double tax and questioning the applicability of the tax. (2pages)

Series:S213003 Vol:002H page:212; Date:1750

George Hunter, surveyor general of SC to Andrew Deveaux, surveyor of Indian lands in Granville County, appointment and instructions as deputy surveyor.

Series:S213003 Vol:021 page:551; Date:1753

Alexander Wood of St. James Goose Creek Parish, planter, to his half breed Indian slaves named Dukey Cox and George Cox, born of his Indian slave named Jenny, and Minerva Watkins, born of his Indian slave named Moll, manumission upon his death.

Series: S213197 Box:01 item:023; Date:1767

Robert Anderson, unrecorded plat for land not granted, 100 acres known as Indian springs, Craven County, between the Chawraws and pine tree hill, surveyed by John Wade.

Series:S165005 item:036; Date:December 17, 1791

Committee report on the petition of Simeon Spring, Thomas Brown, and George Sutusky, beloved men of the Chickasaw Nation, petitioning asking that their lands on the Savannah River, which were confiscated in 1783, may be returned.

Series:S165015 item:011; Date:1820

Sally Nicholson, native of the Cherokee Nation, petition asking to be allowed to possess a certain tract of land beside the Keowee River.

Series:S165015 item:032; Date:1821

Inhabitants of SC, petition and supporting papers asking that John McKenzie be allowed to practice his method of Choctaw Indian herbal medicine. (52 pages)

Series:S108092 reel:067 frame:0455; Date:1822

Peter Harris, a Catawba Warrior, petition and supporting papers requesting a compensation for Revolutionary service.

Series:S165015 item:26; Date:1855

Trustees of the Fishing Creek Seminary, petition and supporting papers, for the payment of the tuition of George Alexander, a Catawba Indian. (8 pages)

F.P.O.C. Petitions from several States

Library.uncg.edu Petition Analysis Record #11085911; Location: Adams C. MS year:1859

Natchez free woman of color Agnes Eahart asks for a special license to remain in Mississippi. She is the mother of many children-Elizabeth, Andrew, Mary, Margaret, David, Napoleon, Emma, Elina, William, Almon, and Melvin-all born free; and she can post a $5,000 good behavior bond.

Library.uncg.edu Petition Analysis Record #11285610; Location:Northampton Co. NC year:1856

Northampton Co. residents seek a law allowing three free black families to remain in the State. They assert that Anthony Copeland, Warren Boon, and Joshua Small, moved from Virginia to NC between 1840 and 1844, married colored women from the County. Copeland, a brick layer by trade, and the other men, are industrious, honest and law abiding. The free men of color were unaware of the NC law prohibiting free blacks from entering the State.

Library.uncg.edu Petition Analysis Record #11279002; Location:Gates Co. NC year:1790

The petitioners request the legislature to pass a law validating acquisition of land by a group of descendants of Indians and blacks. In 1724 the Chowan Indians received 11,360 acres of land in Chowan County, later Gates Co. The Indians sold most of the land. The Indian men all died, and the women "mixed with negroes." The free blacks and their mixed-blood children served as soldiers for the colonials in the Revolution. Supported by William Lewis, Samuel Harrell, and other white men, they seek title to "small remnants of the aforesaid tract of land."

Library.uncg.edu Petition Analysis Record #11484304; Location:McMinn Co. TN year:1843

George Sherman arrived in the state in 1839 and now asks permission to remain in Tennessee. A certificate signed by a notary public in New York states that he is of "mulatto" complexion with wooly hair and is "an Indian, one of the Narragansett tribe."

Library.uncg.edu Petition Analysis Record #11678401; Location:Northampton Co, VA year:1784

A six-hundred acre Indian reservation has become "An asylum for free negro & other disorderly persons, who build huts thereon & pillage & destroy the timber without control." There are only five or six of the Gingaskin tribe left on the land. The petitioners request that the trustees be appointed to lay off "a convenient part of the said land" for the Indians while leasing out and taxing the remainder. The rents would be divided among the Gingaskin.

Library.uncg.edu Petition Analysis Record #11684302; Location:King William C. VA year:1843

Free holders and other white inhabitants of King William County ask the legislature to sell fifteen hundred acres on the Pamunky River and other lands that were set apart during the colonial era for the Pamunky Indians. The lands were only "set apart," not "granted away." "Now the Pamunkys form only a small remnant of the population, having so largely mingled with the negro race as to have obliterated all striking features of Indian extraction." The lands, the petitioners state, are now inhabited by two "unincorporated bands of free mulattoes in the midst of a large slave holding community."

More f.p.o.c. Petitions from various States

1723 - Virginia

"That all free Negroes, mulattos, or Indians (except tributary Indians to this government) male and female, above the age of sixteen, and all wives of such Negroes, mulattos, or Indians shall be accounted tithables"

May 28, 1745 - Louisa Co. VA

"Ordered that William Hall, Samuel Collins, Thomas Collins, William Collins, Samuel Bunch, George Gibson, Benjamin Branham, Thomas Gibson, and William Donathan be summoned to appear at the next Court to answer the presentment of the Grand jury this day made against them for concealing tithables within twelve months past."

…pled not guilty…

November 6, 1752 - Henrico Co. VA

Grand Jury presentment against Thomas Moseley, David Going, James Matthews, and William Gwinn for not listing their wives as tithables, "being mulattos". Presentment against Jane Scott, Patt Scott, Lucy Scott, Betty Scott, Elizabeth Scott, Sarah Scott, and Hannah the wife of John Scott for not listing as tithables, "being mulattos."

May 1765 - Halifax Co. VA

Grand jury presentment against William Chandler, Shadrack Gowin, Peter Rickman and Phillip Dennum for concealing a tithable.


1738 - North Carolina

"every white person male of the age of sixteen years and upwards all Negroes Mulattoes Mustees male or female and all persons of mixt blood to the fourth generation male and female of the age of twelve years and upwards shall be tithables."

1749 - Granville Co. NC

Edward Harris refused to pay the tax on his wife (the daughter of William Chavis).

August 1756 - Edgecombe Co. NC

Edward Gowen was prosecuted for concealing tithables.

1761 - Granville Co. NC

Joseph Gowen, Thomas Gowen, and Michael Gowen refused to list their wives.

1765 - Granville Co. NC

Edward Gowen refused to list his wife.

1765 - Edgecombe Co. NC

Francis Jenkins, a Mustee, indicted for failing to list his wife.

1805 - Sampson Co. NC

Petition of Stephen Carrol for services while he pursued accused murderer Johnathan Chavers, a free man of color also called John White. He finally captured Chavers and placed him in jail at Fayetteville.

1794 - South Carolina

"seeking to repeal the Act for imposing a poll tax on all free Negroes, Mustees, and Mulattoes. They wish to support the Government, but the poll tax caused great hardship among free women of color, especially widows with large families. Tax collectors hunted them down and extorted payment." Petitioners: Isaac Linagear, Isaac Mitchell, Jonathan Price, Spencer Bolton, William N. Swett, and 29 other unnamed f.p.o.c.

1806 - Richland Dist. SC

"Sundry female persons of color" resident in Richland District petitioned the Senate concerning the discriminatory tax levied on them. Petitioners: Elizabeth Harris, Dicey Nelson, Lydady Harris, Keziah Harris, Clarissa Harris, Elenor Harris, Katherine Rawlinson, Elizabeth Wilson, Jerry Sweat, Sarah Jacobs, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Holley, Edey Welsch, Sarah Bolton, Nancy Grooms, Mary Jeffers, Sarah Jeffers, Mary Jacobs, Rachel Portee, and Sarah Portee.

1809 - South Carolina

Petition to the Senate to excuse "people of color and free Negroes" who paid property tax from also having to pay the capitation tax. Petitioners: Jehu Jones, Thomas Inglis, James Mitchell, Isaac Austin, William Clark, John Livingston, William Cooper, William Pinceel, Joseph Humphries, Phillip Manuel, Robert Hopton, Corlus Huger, James Wilson, C.G. Pinceel, George Logan, Peter Robertson, Henry Chatters, Richard Holloway, William Eden, John Martin, Morris Brown, Abraham Jacobs, Ed Chrighton, George Chrigton, John Francis, Jehu Jones jr., George H. Bedon, Moses Irving.

August 1809 - Marion Dist. SC

Thomas Hagans refused to pay the levy "upon all Free Negros, Mulatoes and Mestizos," claiming he was a white man. In October 1812 the Court ruled that he was of Portuguese descent and acquitted him.

1825 - South Carolina

Free man of color, John Chavis, submitted in 1823 a petition to secure a pension for Revoluntionary War service. Although it was denied, it was only because Chavis did not have a white guardian. Chavis was killed when a tree fell on him.

Jefferson Co. MS

Petition by 12 residents regarding Malachi Hagins, was married to a white woman and the couple had 10 children. Asked Legislature to extend to Hagins and his children "all the rights, privileges and immunities of a free white person of this state."

1859 - Warren Co. MS

Warren Co. whites petition that a 60 year old free man of color names Jordan Cheever, who fought as a soldier in the War of 1812, be permitted to remain in the state.

1859 - Franklin Co. MS

Ann, Caldwell, a free woman of color, asks for a special Act to allow her to remain in the state.

1860 - Carroll Co. MS

Citizens write on behalf of Wiley Wiggins, a 22 year old free person of color, who had lived in the area 6 years.

1867 - Pike Co. MO

James Gambol, L. Davis, Joseph Montgomery, Jerry Bell and Ralph Wheeler, petition as free persons of color ask that the State remove all legal restrictions "on account of race or color.

1819 - Green Co. TN

Free man of color, Joshua Hall, paid taxes, performed military duty, participated in the War with Britain.

1819 - Cooke Co. TN

Free man of color, Obadiah Going, seeks "the privileges of a citizen." He states that it is his misfortune to be the descendant of persons of mixed race.

1826 - Washington Co. TN

Free man of color, Phillip Bell, age about 22 years, complains of "many inconveniences & disadvantages" particularly his inability to "prove his accounts by his own oath." As a result he cannot collect debts owed to him by whites.

1832 - Madison Co. TN

Free man of color, Richard Matthews, seeks permission to marry a white woman. Matthews says he is "of the Portuguese Blood.

Library.uncg.edu Petition Analysis Record #11279002 - location: Gates County, North Carolina year: 1790

"The petitioners request the legislature to pass a law validating acquisition of land by a group of descendants of Indians and blacks. In 1724 the Chowan Indians recieved 11,360 acres of land in Chowan County, later Gates County. The Indians sold most of the land. The men all died, and the women mixed with negroes. The free blacks and their mixed-blood children served as soldiers for the colonials in the Revolution. Supported by William Lewis, Samuel Harrell, and other white men, they seek title to small remnants of the aforesaid tract of land."

This petition follows a pattern common among those from people attempting to acquire land set aside for Indians. Though it is obvious that the Indians still reside on the land, they infer that the remnant families have more black than Indian blood, and so, obviously do not deserve to retain title to Indian lands. This petition does go a little overboard, however, by stating that by some mysterious circumstance, all the Indian men suddenly died, and that the remaining women all mixed with negroes. Isn't it funny how they tried to make it appear they were trying to help these people by giving them title to a small piece of the land, and releasing the rest for them to grab up?

The families subject to this petition wre listed as "Other free people" in 1790 Gates Co. NC including: Abraham Reed, Benjamin Reed, Elisha Parker, George Bennett, Hardy Robbins, Hardy Reed, James Robbins, Joseph Bennett, John Cuff, Jane Reed, James Weaver, James Boon, Micajah Reed, Muney Mitchell, Rachel Reed, Seabrook Hunter, William Hunter, William Taylor, and William Jenkins.

On June 30, 1914, O.M. McPherson published the following "A Report on the Condition and Tribal Rights of the Indians of Robeson and Adjoining Counties of North Carolina" excerpts below:

- The Croatan Indians comprise a body of mixe-blood people residing chiefly in Robeson County NC. A few of the class of people reside in Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Scotland, and Hoke Counties, NC, and in Sumter, Marlboro, and Dillon Counties, SC.

- They further have had a tradition among them that their ancestors, or some of them, came from "Roanoke in Virginia"

- excerpt of letter of Hamilton McMillan of Fayetteville NC dated July 17, 1890: "The Croatan tribe lives principally in Robeson County, NC though there is quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter County, SC there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. Whereas the Indians now living in Robeson County claim to be descendants of a friendly tribe who once resided in eastern North Carolina, on the Roanoke River."

- At one time the Croatans were known as "Redbones," and there is a street in Fayetteville so called because some of them once lived on it. They are known by this name in Sumter County, SC, where they are quiet and peaceable, and have a church of their own. They are proud and high-spirited, and caste is very strong among them.

This stands as one of the earliest references to the mixed-blood settlement in Sumter County. McMillan presented himself as a person well acquainted with the Sumter Co. people, and he proposed them to be Indians, and closely related to the present-day Lumbees.

early 1700's journal of the German Graffenrield, who often traveled with John Lawson, mentions several times the names of King Taylor, and King Hantcock, who seemed to be the influential leaders of the hostile portion of the Tuscarorora allied with some of the other coastal groups (including the Eno and others) during the Tuscarora War of 1713.

King Tom Blount is mentioned as the leader of a friendly portion of the Tuscarora who were living north of the main body of Tuscarora (in the Roanoke area) and seemed to be a mixed alliance of Nansemond, Saponny, Occanechi, Hatteras, and others, who remained in the area of the Fort Christanna section and attempted to steer clear of the War.

"Recollections of Seventy Years"; Payne, Daniel Alexander (1811-1893) publishing house of the A.M.E. Sunday School Union, 1888 Nashville Tennessee:

"I was born of free parents in the city of Charleston, SC. on the 24th of February 1811....I remember my father was a man of brown complexion...it is said that he was born of free parents in the State of Virginia, but, when a mere lad, was decoyed on board a ship with cakes and amused in the cabin until the vessel was out to sea. He was taken into the port of Charleston and sold as a slave to a house and sign painter. His father was an Englishman by the name of Paine."

"As far as memory serves me my mother was of light-brown complexion...she told me that her grandmother was of the tribe of Indians known in the early history of the Carolinas as the Catawba Indians, The husband of her grandmother was a black man named Alexander Goings, who was remarkable for great bodily strength and activity."

Gideon Gibson: originally from the NC/VA border-Roanoke River area- names as administrator of the estate of Matthew Driggers on July 13, 1755. Gideon moved to SC in the 1730's and caused oncern among the white inhabitants because in 1731he came to the attention of the SC Commons House of Assembly when a member announced in chamber that several "free colored men with their white wives had immigrated from Virginia with the intention of settling on the Santee River." Gov. Robert Johnson of SC summoned Gideon and his family to explian their presence there and after meeting them reported:

"I have had them before me in council and upon examination find that they are not Negroes nor slaves but Free People, that the father of them here is named Gideon Gibson and his father was also free, I have been informed by a person who has lived in Virginia that this Gibson has lived there several years in good repute and by his papers that he produced before me that his transactions there have been very regular. That he has for several years paid taxes for two tracts of land and had seven Negroes of his own, That he is a carpenter by trade and is come hither for the support of his family...I have in consideration of his wifes being a white woman and several white women capable of working and being servicable in the country permitted him to settle in this country."

Gideon's son, Gideon Gibson (II) was living on the south side of the PeeDee River at a place called Duck Pond. On July 25, 1767 as a leader of the Regulators, Gideon was involved in a skirmish with a constable's party near Marr's Bluff on the Pee Dee River. The South Carolina Gazette reported in 15 Aug 1768 that Gibson's band of Regulator's was composed of;

"gang of banditi, a numerous collection of outcast Mulattos, Mustees, Free Negroes, etc. all horse theives from the borders of Virginia and other northern Colonies...headed by one Gideon Gibson..."

Henry Laurens, a prominent Charleston Merchant, described Gideon in this way;

"Reasoning from the colour carries no conviction...Gideon Gibson escaped the penalties of the Negro law by producing upon comparison more of the red and white in his face than can be discovered in the faces of half the descendants of the French refugees in our House of Assembly..."

Thomas Ivey; on 14 Aug 1809 in Marion District SC, Thomas Hagan refused to pay the tax on "all Free Negroes, Mulattoes and Mestizos" claiming that he was a white man. Two white men, Robert Coleman and John Regan testified that they were acquantied with with Thomas Hagans grandfather, Thomas Ivey when he had been living on Drowning Creek in NC. They stated that Ivey was "of Portuguese descent, that his complexion was swarthy, his hair black and strait - that his wife Elizabeth was a free white woman, very clear complexion." They testified that Thomas Ivey's daughter Kesiah Ivey married Zachariah Hagan and they were the parents of Thiomas Hagan.

for an excellent website which details the early history of the eastern Siouan peoples and some of their modern day descendants in the NC/VA border refer to:  http://www.ibiblio.org/dig/html  look under the history portion.... PONY HILL

The information I have gathered on the so-called "Turks" is due to an attempt to locate the original ancestors of my Indian community here in northwest florida. An Isham Scott (born 1790's) moved down here in 1828 from Sumter SC.

The true history of the "Turks", which can be verified by historical documentation, is that they are of American Indian ancestry from a group of Algonquin and Siouan speaking remnants who gathered at Fort Christianna on the Virginia/North Carolina border.

A group of these English speakin, Christianized Indian-White mixed-bloods was living in Halifax North Carolina at the time of the Revolutionary War, and also maintained a village among the Catawba at the NC/SC border (this village was called TURKEY TOWN). There were several families identified as Indian including Jacob Scott, Isham Scott etc.

When Thomas Sumter's home in Sumter was burned by British forces attempting to capture him, he headed NORTH (not to the coast as some have said) into the North Carolina frontier to muster men to form militias. IT was here that Sumter first linked up with these Indian mixed-bloods who readily joined his cause and caused much ruckus.

By 1810 Halifax county was begining to fill up with white people, and the Catawba tribe had leased off almost all of its land, and so, some of these Indians moved down to Sumter at the invitation of General Sumter. Scott, Benenhaley, Driggers, Oxendine, etc. Indian families first appear on the records of South Carolina in 1810.

The Benenhaley surname remains spelled almost exactly the same back to its roots among the Eastern Shore Algonquin speaking Indians of Maryland who joined the Fort Christianna Indians in the 1780's. The fictional story of the "Turks" descending from pirates, Arabs, Turkish sailors, etc. all appears to have begun with the 1930's publications of several ethnologists like Brewton Berry who interviewed local white people about their theories as to where the "Turk" label originated. These fancyful romanticized legends recounted by local townsfolk have since been recounted as fact by present-day historians.) The most plausable theory as to where the "Turk" label originated was from "Turkey Town Indians" shortened over time to "Turkey Indians" to "Turks".

These same family members who remained in Robeson, Warren, and Halifax counties NC are now known as "Lumbee" and "Haliwa-Saponi" Indians. Those of us who moved down here to Florida in 1828 are known as "Cheraw-Saponi" Indians. In 1857 several families from here (northwest Florida) joined a 'wagon train' for Louisianna and these families are now known as "RedBones". Though we have all been labeled differently by our white and black neighbors, we all descend from the same Indians.

The actual documentation does not directly disagree with the oral tradition (though the oral tradition should also be suspect unless it pre-dates 1900, as family members seperated from the Sumter core groups often read articles which "explained" their history - this was common among Melungen descendants who lived away from Tennessee, read newspaper articles about their relatives, then would "testify" that they descended from Portuguese, when the Tennessee group kept saying "We are Indians")

From what I can gather the Benehaleys of Sumter all descend from Jose Benenhaley who married Elizabeth Oxendine in Halifax (most Likely). I cannot support any serious connection between the Scott family and Benenhaley family prior to 1900, as both families lived on opposit ends of Providence district (there was never fewer that 100 households between them). IT was possible that after these families started attending the seperate "Turk" school, that a connection was assumed. The Scott family descended from Isham SCott who resided in Halifax NC and married Rebecca James.

I did find the following documentation that seems to support a Maryland origin for the Benenhaleys:

- In 1790 a "Sam Ben" (who is censused 10 years later as "Sam'l Benhnally") is censused as an "other free person" in Queen Annes, Maryland. (along with William Mahnor, George Sparks, Charles Stewart, etc.)

- IN 1800 a "John P. Benaley" is censused as a white family with 2 "other free persons" in Mid Neck-Cecil County-Maryland (along with John Stephens, Jason Ballard, Sam Lyons, James Mackey, Ben York, Will Atkin, etc.)

- In 1810 a "Joses Ben" is censused as exempt from the personal tax and taxed for 2 slaves, in Pasquotank, North Carolina.

- In 1820 a "Jose Benanhale" is censused as 4 white males, 8 white females, in Sumter District SC.

- In 1820 a "Jabez Benenhaley" is censused as 1 white male, 1 white female, in Worcester, Maryland

-In 1830 a "Elizabeth Benenhaly" is censused as 3 free colored males, 5 free colored females, in Sumter SC.

-IN 1840 a "Elizabeth, Jos, and Sylvander Benenhale" are censused as Free colored persons in Sumter SC.


I would have to question the "oral tradition" about Joseph Benenhaley for several reasons. Is this oral tradition from a family who still remains in Sumter and "this is what the old people said", or is it from a removed family whose information stems from genealogy, books, and newspaper articles?

The grandson of General Sumter refererred to Benenhaly as "Joseph Benenhaly" and that the General had enlisted him as a scout after "finding him in the wilderness". I could not fathom why Sumter would have enlisted a supposed Arab sailor (pirate) to scout for his militia in the North/South Carolina interior forests and swamps. Many of these "Tories and Indians" continued their outlaw ways after the War and this may have sprung the notion that they were 'pirates' (my own g-g-g-grandfather had a bounty on his head in Bladen NC for his actions during and after the Rev War, and there is a strong oral tradition in my family of them being "Indian Outlaws"). Sumter, who grew up with Joe's children, never referred to him as "Yusef Ben Ali"

The name "Yusef Ben Ali" appears to have been a fairly recent invention. In all the pre 1900 documentation he appears as "Joseph" or "Joe" "Benenhale", "Benenhaile".

Brewton Berry referred to an incident prior to 1830 where local Sumter whites had tried to challenge wether "Joe Benenhaley" could legally register to vote. Berry mentions that General Sumter testified on Joe's behalf and explained that he was a "Mestizo" (white-Indian, possibly Spanish white-Indian". If someone could get ahold of the actual documentation of this incident, it would be the best evidence of the Benenhaley origin, as there would be many first-hand accounts, as Joseph himself gave testimony.

As I mentioned before, I would question anything written or said about the "Turks" after 1900. All the evidence that I have seen is that these families from Sumter always claimed Indian origins, and nothing else. It was always the white "historians" who tried to give them some exotic ancestry. It is my opinion that "Joe" or "Joseph" "Benenhaly" was always known by that name, and this "Yusef Ben-Ali" is a recent invention, a result of good intentioned ethnologists in the 1930's.

Side note: There are many local "historians" here who would gladly testify in court that they had grown up with my grandparents and give "oral testimony" that they were "Creek Indians who hid out in the swamps to avoid the trail of tears" though all our ancestors originate on the Virginia/North Carolina border (far from the CReeks). Even my own grandmother would testify with a tear in her eye that "my grandmother left on the trail of tears", when in reality, her grandmother (Nora Bass) was living in Thomas County Georgia in 1900 and died there at an early age.

Actually my whole legal name is "Steven Pony Hill", I was named after my grandmothers brother "Albert Pony Hill"...it is o.k. with me to be quoted.

The only 'oral tradition' that exists in my family is that we originated from Indians. No one ever mentions our white ancestors (though its obvious that we are far from full-bloods). I descend from the Isham Scott family and the James Moses family who lived in Sumter from 1810 to about 1820, after moving down from Halifax and then moving on to Florida. the Moses family lived about 10 households down from the Benenhaleys in Providence, Sumter.

As far as the "Yusef Ben Ali" reference, I can find no documentation of this earlier than Brewton Berry. I believe it originated with him, and even he said "Joseph Benenhaly...possibly Yusef Ben Ali" as he tried to make a case for possible arab ancstry to justify the Turk label. If his name had actually been "Yusef Ben Ali" I believe it would have appeared as such on some, if not all, of the documentation (census, court, land etc.) Brewton Berry also misrepresented that the 1790 petition of "Sundry Free Moors"came from the Turks (which it did not...I have also seen this falsehood recounted in other books, and on the net as truth) and Berry mentioned the old 1820's case invlolving the voting dispute and refered to him as "Joseph Benenhaley". I'm sure if those old records had mentioned Joseph claiming his name was originally "Yusef" and he was Arabic, that Berry would have surely quoted it. (someone needs to get a look at these old records and end this debate).

I live in Florida. The Bass side of my family (Alexander Bass) also lived in Thomas County GA prior to the Civil War, then moved down to the Ocala area (Marion Co.) then back up to Thomas Co. Ga by 1900, then back down to FL by 1920. Alexander was a documented descendant of the Nansemond (Bass) and Saponi (Goins) Indians and his wife (Nora Holly) was tradionally a full-blooded Indian as well.

5 Jan. 2005

From what I have seen, and I believe what you will find, is a reaccuring theme in regards to these descendants of mixed-blood christianized Indians from the Virginia/Carolina border:

Someone questions the ancestry of one of these people, families, groups, etc. and it starts up some kind of investigation (school enrollment, tax status, voting priviledges, etc.).

Local white people are brought in to testify and they say some variance of the same theme "I have known the insert name here family all my life. Their skin is dark like a colored person, though their hair is different. It is said that there is Negro in their blood, but they don't associate with Negroes."

The people in question themselves always testify to some variation of the same thing...."My grandfather insert name here was a white man and served in the (Revolutionary/Civil/etc) War...his wife was insert name here and she was a full blooded Indian. There is only White and Indian blood in my veins and no other."

Before long, some well-meaning historian, Professor, Anthropologist, etc. appears and says "You silly back woods country people, these people are not mullatoes...they are a tri-racial isolate...the reason they don't look like the stereotype of the Western Indian is because they are the grandchildren of Portuguese sailors/Moorish pirates/shipwrecked Italians/lost colony of Roanoke/etc."

Generations later, historians, book writers, genealogists, etc. look at these records to get information and recount any one of the above theories to explain the "proof" of the origins of this "mysterious group of people". Even the descendants of the people themselves gradually pick up the popular explanation and pass it on as "Oral tradition".

You can find a variation of the above with any remnant group in the south-east; Melungeons in Tennessee, RedBones in Louisianna, Lumbees, Issues, Red Legs, Brass Ankles, POnd Shiners, Domminickers, and yes, even Turks. The best advice a descendant of one of these groups can get is to not listen to the stories,legends, exotic origin theories, etc. that are thrown out by local people, historians, etc. Look for the actual documented evidence, census records, and when it all boils down listen to what your grandparents and their parents said that their roots were.


The "Free Moor" petition was credited to the Turks by Brewton Berry in his book "Almost White" in the 1960's, where he quoted Anne King Gregorie in her 1950's book "History of Sumter County SC" and this misinformation has been repeated in countless newspaper, magazine, and of course internet accounts. As far as I can tell, no one has ever done the 'on the ground' hard core research on the "Turks" (actually going to Sumter and looking at old court cases, land records, interviewing elders, etc.)


First off let me say this, I have no doubt that prior to the Civil War that the community of mixed-blood persons residing in Sumter County were probably referred to as "Turks". That this label was meant to define a Turkish origin for the group, I do not believe. In other areas at the same time, people of the same mixed-blood were called "Portugeuse" and "Moors" yet their ancestors are not from Portugal or the coast of Africa. 'Turk' was used the same way 'Melungeon' was used in Tennessee...not to explain the origin of a people, just to give a label to a mixed-blood community in order to differentiate it from the whites and blacks around them.

That your ancestor referred to himself as a "Turk" when he lived away from Sumter as a way of explaining his dark skin, is no surprise. In his mind, i suppose, it was a way to explain his racial origin, "I'm not full-blooded Indian, I'm not part Black, I'm a Turk from Sumter County" The fact that he applied for Indian land (it was not freely offered, an individual had to apply) but was turned down because he was a 'Turk' (which at the time was known to the Indian Office as mixed-blood persons of Indian descent but of unknown tribal origin-see below-) should be evident that he at least believed he had some Indian blood. However, at the time, persons called 'Turk' in Sumter were very offended by that label. When a class action suit was filed to allow 'Turk' children into white schools it was very clear that "you do not call them Turk to their face", and it was also noted by historians and ethnologists in the 1930's and 1940's that these people would get fighting mad if you called them Turk. I also have no doubt that there are probably people who now proudly claim to be 'Turk', there are people now who proudly claim to be 'Melungeon', but this is now a more racially tolerant South....prior to World War 2, a sure way to get a black eye was to go to Sumter and call someone a 'Turk' or go to Tennessee and call someone a 'Melungeon'.

Before his death in the early 1800's, Joe Benenhaley was the subject of a court case in Sumter where citizens were objecting to his right to vote. Dr. Brewton Berry made note of this incident in his 1940's book "Almost White". Berry notes that Benenhaley was called to testfiy as to his racial origin. (an important note here is that Berry recounts the testimony as that Benenahley was a 'mestizo' but no mention of 'Turk'..Tom Sumter, the General's grandson, also called Benenhaley a "mestizo" in his history book but made no mention of Turkish origin) While Benenhaley was testifying, General Sumter stormed into the Courtroom, walked up to the witness stand and firmly shook Benenhaley's hand. (it was well known in the South at that time that no respectful Southern gentleman would shake a Negroes hand) This was all the judge needed to see, and the case was promptly dismissed.

In the 1930's, a court case was pressed to allow 'Turk' children to attend white schools. Reports from this case reveal that all the children subject to the proceedings (including Benehaley, Scott, Ellison, Tidwell, Deas families) were presently attending a special 'Indian School' and all the grandparents claimed to be "of Indian ancestry".

Here are a few historical references as to the racial origin of the 'Turks':

-"The Croatan Indians comprise a body of mixed-blood people residing chiefly in Robeson County, NC. A few of the same class of people reside in Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Scotland, and Hoke Counties, NC, and in Sumter, Marlboro, and Dillon Counties, SC. 1914 letter from special Indian agent O.M. McPherson to Commissioner of Indian Affairs

-"The Croatan tribe lives principally in Robeson County, NC, though there is quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter County, SC, there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. Those living in east Tennessee are called "Melungeans", a name also retained by them here, which is a corruption of "Melange", a name given them by early settlers (French), which means mixed." 1888 pamphlet published by Mr. Hamilton McMillan of Fayetteville, NC.

-"At one time the Croatans were known as "Redbones," and there is still a street in Fayetteville so called because some of them once lived on it. They are known by this name in Sumter County, SC, where they are a quiet and peaceable people, and have a church of their own. They are proud and high-spirited, and caste is very strong among them."1891 article of Dr. William T. Harris, Papers American Historical Association.

-It is well known that for the majority of the War, General Sumter camped on the Indian lands which were inhabited by the confederated Cheraw and Catawba tribe. Every able-bodied male Indian of that group was enlisted as scouts and warriors under various captains who served under Sumter's command. Sumter never approached the coast, and there are almost entire libraries of writings about Sumter's campaigns which were written by people who witnessed the battles. I'm sure that if Sumter had a Turkish guide during the War, someone would have noted it (why would Gen. Sumter, a man familiar with the area, retain a 'guide' from Turkey?). The only written record states that Sumter used Indian guides, scouts, spys, and warriors extensively.


A South Carolinian advertised in the North Carolina Central and Fayetteville Gazette on July 25th, 1795 for the return of his servant Nancy Oxendine;

"$10 reward to deliver to the subscriber in Georgetown, a mustie servant woman named Nancy Oxendine, she is a stout wench, of a light complexion about 30 years old. It is supposed she has been taken away by her brother and sister, the later lives in Fayetteville."

A "mustie" was a person with one white parent and one Indian parent.


Joe Benehaley married a Miller woman born in NC who was recorded as a "free person of color"

On July 12, 1766...Isaac Miller, one of the chief men of the Tuscarora Indians, signed a lease of 8,000 acres of reservation land in Bertie Co. NC.


Check out a new addition to Paul Heinegg's "free african americans" website ... a series of letters written in 1872 regarding the Lumbees of Robeson County ( called "The Swamp Outlaws") very fascinating stuff....PONY


1766 & 1777 Bertie County, NC

Tuscarora Indians

Listed as Tuscarora Indians on deeds to lease over 8,000 acres in southwest corner of Bertie County, North Carolina between the Roanoke River and Roquist Poccosin:

James Allen Billie Owens

Sarah Basket John Owens

Thomas Basket Nane Owens

William Basket William Pugh

Betty Blount John Randel

Billy Blount Sr. Billy Roberts

Billy Blount Jr. Tom Roberts Jr.

Edward Blount John Rogers

George Blount Harry Samuel

Sarah Blount John Senicar

Thomas Blount Thomas Senicar

Samuel Bridgers Ben Smith

William Cain John Smith

John Cain Molly Smith

Molly Cain Thomas Smith

Wineoak Charles Sr. Billie Sockey

Wineoak Charles Jr. William Taylor

Billie Cornelius Bridges Thomas

Charles Cornelius Tom Thomas

Isaac Cornelius Lewis Tuffdick

Billy Dennis West Witmel Tuffdick

Sarah Dennis Whitmel Tuffdick

Billy George Isaac Wealer

Skipnose George James Wiggians

Watt Gibson John Wiggins

James Hicks Molly Wineoak

John Hicks Bette Yollone

Sarah Hicks

Senicar Thomas Howell

Tom Jack

Capt. Joe

John Litewood

Isaac Miller

James Mitchell

Billie Mitchell

Billie Netoff


1735 to 1808 Southampton Co., VA Indians

Listed as Nottoway and Nansemond Indians on land deeds in Southampton, Virginia:

1735……………….King Edmunds, James Harrison, Ned, Peter, Robert Scoller Sam, Wanoke Robin, William Hines, Frank, Wanoke Robin Jr. Cockarons Tom, Cockarons Will.

1750……………….Sam, Frank, Jack Will, John Turner, Wat Bailey, George Skipper

1795……………….John Turner, Celia Rogers (a Nansemond), Suky Turner

1808 Special Census on Nottoway in Southampton:

adults: Litteton Scholar, Tom Turner, Jemmy Wineoak, Edy Turner, Nancy Turner, Betsy Step

Children: Tom Step, Henry Turner, Alexander Rogers, John Woodson, Winny Woodson, Anny Woodson, Polly Woodson, Fanny Bartlett, Solomon Bartlett, Billy Woodson,   Jenny Woodson



John Smitt……a white trader born in England. He travels to Virginia, begins   a lucrative trade with the local Indians and marries Nottuck, an Indian maiden.

Thomas Larson…a white indentured servant working as a carpenter for William Thames, a wealthy plantation owner. While serving out his time, he meets and marries Jane, an African slave girl that Thames imported from the West Indies. Larson saves his money and purchases his wife and children from Thames.

Nattapuches…….an American Indian boy, one of a tribe that lived along the banks of the Roanoke River. While still a young man, Nattapuches attends a Missionary school, learns English, and is given the Christian name of Matthew John.

Missiayuk……….an American Indian girl, one of a tribe that lived along the banks of the Roanoke River. Missiayuk is captured by Shawnee raiding party and sold into slavery in Virginia.   eventually she learns English, accepts Christianity, is released from servitude by law, and returns to her former   home along the Roanoke.

Jean Louis………a French river boat captain operating on the Roanoke River. while in port at the coast he meets Manuella, a mixed-blood Portuguese girl from Brazil who was serving as a ship's cook.   Louis is so taken by the girl that he purchases her from the Captain, and takes her in-country to be his wife.



Jean and Manuella Louis settle at Tanner Landing on the Roanoke River, an area named so because it is an area the early fur traders would tan their skins. Here Jean and Manuella encounter a small band of Indians including Matthew John and Missiayuk. Because most of the Indians already speak English, and are "good Christians", the Louis family easily set down their roots and begin a successful ferry business. Jean and Manuella's son, Manuel Louis, soon succumbs to his father's prompting and marries Missiayuk.

John Smitt, in an attempt to keep his trading business afloat, now travels farther south to continue trade with the Indians. Smitt's travels bring him to the Roanoke, and he soon employs Jean Louis to ferry him up the river. Smitt finds the Indians at Tanner Landing to be especially hospitable, and he soon strikes up a deal to purchase 100 acres of prime riverfront land from them. The following fall, John Smitt brings his wife Nottuck (who now has assumed the English name "Nancy") and two children (John and Elizabeth) to live at "Smitts Pleasure", the name he has assumed for his plantation. As the years slowly pass, John Smitt Jr. marries Jeanette Louis, the only daughter of Jean and Manuella, and Elizabeth Smitt soon falls for the courting of Matthew John.

Unwilling to bear the new taxes ruled against his "free Negro" wife, Thomas Larson and his family leave Virginia and eventually settle at Tanner Landing. Jean Louis soon observes Thomas' skills as a carpenter and employs him to build a mill at the Landing. Within the next ten years, Thomas and Jane have four beautiful daughters, who are aggressively courted by the young men of Tanner Landing. The oldest daughter, Jane Larson, marries John Smitt III. Mary Larson marries John Louis. Nancy Larson marries Matthew Louis, and the youngest daughter, Christina Larson, marries Jacob Smitt.

Just before the Revolutionary War, James MacIntosh, a Scottish immigrant, settles at Tanner Landing. Much to the chagrin of his cousins at the coast, he soon marries Gabriella John, the granddaughter of Matthew John and Elizabeth Smitt. James and Gabriella have two children before James is mustered into service in the North Carolina Militia. Unfortunately, James does not survive the War, and Gabriella eventually never remarries.


Now the fun part begins. In 1790 a federal census taker arrives at Tanner Landing. This is how he documents the community:


Jacob Johns……7 free persons of color

John Smitt…………2 free persons of color

Mark Lewis……..4 free persons of color

Alexander Lewis….2 free persons of color

Manuel Johns…….4 free persons of color

Jacob Smitt……..11 free persons of color

Lewis Smitt……..2 free persons of color

Jack Landers……2 free persons of color

Mark Landers…..4 free persons of color

Gabriella McIntosh….3 free persons of color

Matthew Smitt…..4 free persons of color

Lewis Johns………4 free persons of color

A century passes slowly and the people at Tanner Landing continue to intermarry among themselves and also with local Scottish descendants. After the Civil War, Tanner Landing gets renamed "McIntosh Landing" by petition of the "Sundry citizens of the County of Northington" to pay honor to the heroic defense of the Landing by "Deadshot" Lewis McIntosh, who legend says, fired a single shot at the approaching Union schooner "Valiant" which struck the Union boat captain in the head. The Union boat crew was so disarrayed by this event that they turned the boat around and headed back to the coast.

In 1900, a series of anthropologists visit the community at McIntosh Landing. They are mystified by this community of olive-skinned, black haired people who claim to descend from "the Roanoke tribe of Indians." White citizens living in the area derisively call them either Tanners or Northington Mulattoes, but never when any of them are around. One old timer even recounts to the visiting anthropologists that the real ancestor of these people was a Scottish pirate who had made a deal with the devil to trade his immortal soul for the devil's daughter's hand in marriage. The offspring of this pirate and his devilish wife traveled up the Roanoke on a black ship and soon intermarried with a band of wild Indians. The learned academics leave and soon publish endless articles and books where they proudly claim that the members of this quite settlement are "Tri-racial Isolates" and "the descendants of white settlers, Indians, and escaped slaves."

Though this is entirely a work of fiction, it does serve to show the natural tendency of humans to ignore the beautifully complex nature of history in favor of placing people and events into neat categories. Until we can truly study with an open mind, we will never understand the complexity of the story behind these communities.

19 Jun 2005

Greetings Mr. Hill, my name is Govind Sanyal. My father is from India and my mother is Native American descent. I am emailing you to thank you for your superb research and providing me with the missing link to my Native geneology. I had great difficulty in documenting my Reeds as Chowan Indian until Gene Snyder a fellow researcher and Chickasaw tribal member had emailed me the data you had provided on the Chowan Indians. Benjamin Reed was my fourth great grandfather who had married Sarah Ferris the daughter of Caesar Ferris and Naomi (George?). The Ferrit/Ferris family were Pawtucket Massachusett Indians who had ventured into South Carolina. These New England Indians I believe were part of a Diaspora out of New England and out of the New York Brotherton enclave because of the one drop rule. An indication of this type of Diaspora was George Sherman living in Tennessee in 1839 but had in his possession a certificate notarized in New York. George Sherman had a family member in South Carolina, James Sherman whose affidavit of Indian descent (Hicks, Theresa M. p305) stated that he was born in Redding Connecticut, the home of the Paugussett Indians.  Hicks(p319) also mentioned Samuel Edwards who assisted in the transportation of these New England Indians to Kentucky/ Tennessee area via Charleston S.C. was a Mashpee seaman.   Apparently some of these Indians had stayed in Charleston because in the early 1800s the city was a Mecca for free people of color. Subsisting in a piracy type culture. My Reed/Ferrit family had intermarried with those Seminoles who were bought into captivity with Osceola to Charleston for "safekeeping." They were bought to Sullivan Island off Charleston and imprisoned at Fort Moore. A few decades earlier before foreign slavery became illegal ca.1810, Sullivan Island was the place where newly arriving Africans were quarantined and prepped for the slave market. Now Sullivan Island was the place of transition for Seminoles held in captivity, to detribalize them by enslaving them by statistically changing them into Negroes.  Thank you again for your splendid and accessable research and information.  Govind Sanyal

These records are Copyright ©2005 Govind Sanyal, all rights reserved.

The Turks, 19 Jun 2005

Mr Hill,I read your information on the turks..  Me I am not a turk descentant but I have been married into the family for 34 years..never once have I heard the stories as you have told them...many in my family have passed down stories of the orgin and some of the story tellers are very old like 90 to 100..grant you the beginning came much earlier than that but this is a group of people that are proud of where they came from so they passed it down thur generations...I myself am sick and tired of the benenhaley's being put down..my kids are benenhaley's...they are good law abiding commiunty citizens..in the book, History of Sumter, they are they are deemed a poor class of people...well just check Shaw records and see how much land was purchased from the Benenhaley's...the Turks have had thier fill of all trying to explain them...they know who they are now so everyone should leave them alone..my son has reseached them also and his findings and yours appear to be different..just let me say this:

The turks are family loyal people that cause no problems in society and they would really like to be left alone.  They know how they got here so why is it posted on the internet..if there name was brown would there be all this attention?  No I don't think so...As far as you being in Fla kin to the Turks well thats hard to swallow cause they all stick together..every Turk I know of resides in the state of SC.....any response to this would be appreicated....

A true Turk in every sense of the word.

Phyllis Benenhaley

Phyllis, thanks so much for your mail, it is good to hear from people in your area so a balanced story will be known...since those 'mails' were printed by Dr. Clark, I have since seen documents which have convinced me that Joe Benehaley was indeed a man of Arab (Turk) descent...because of Joe's prominant position as a community leader and land owner, the rest of the community began to be called "Turk" as well, but make no mistake, The Benenhaley family was most likely the only family with a Turkish ancestor.....Joe married Elizabeth Miller, a woman descended from Isaac Miller of Bertie County, North Carolina. Isaac was included on the Tuscarora Indian census of 1777 Betie County. Others who moved down into Sumter at about the same time as Joe (1805) were the Lowry,Ivey, Johnson, Chavis, Locklear, Hathcock, Ammons, Oxendine and Scott families (see 1790 census of Halifax NC). All of these families were from Halifax County North Carolina, and they also had brothers and sisters who settled at Robeson County, and Marlboro County South Carolina.The ancestors of these families have many documents identifying them as Indians. It is my understanding that many of the Benenhaleys intermarried with these families (Joe Benehaley jr. married Catherine Scott..etc etc). If a member of the Benehaley family claims to be of Turkish descent, they would be telling the truth...however, many of the other families (Ellison, Scott, Oxendine, Tidwell) do not have a Turkish ancestor and primarily descend from white and Indian ancestors, as all of the 1860, 1880, and early 1900 documents attest.

Most of the information you observed on that site was taken from 1930's records from the Turk school board case and from reports of several ethnologists who visited Sumter in the 1920's, 30's, and 40's. I do not testify as to the accuracy of those records, I have only quoted them (which is why I state where the quote came from, not push it forward as my opinion). For example, a letter from Sumter County in 1861 which recorded that Isham Scott, the father of Fleming Thomas Scott, was descended from French and Catawba Indian parents, and that he had married Margaret, a white woman.

As to who I descend from......several of my ancestors had moved down from Halifax and settled briefly at Sumter just after 1805. (Isham Scott..1st cousin of the older Isham Scott mentioned above) and James Manning, were both listed on the 1810 Sumter Co. census, and I descend directly from them, as do many of the Indians in my community. In 1829, these Indians moved down into northwest Florida and served as "Friendly Indian" scouts in the local militia. We are not Turks, do not claim to be, or state that we are closely related...but we do all descend from the same Indian ancestors, and share common ancestors with the Lumbee Indians, the Hali-wa Saponi Indians, The Waccamaw Sioux Indians, etc. etc.

Pony Hill


--from "INDIANs OF NORTH CAROLINA" in response to a senate resolution of June 30, 1914, a report on the condition and tribal rights of the Indians of robeson and adjoining counties of north carolina"..letter from the secretary of interior....by special Indian agent O.M. Mcpherson..."The Croatan Indians comprise a body of mixed-blood people residing chiefly in Robeson County, N.C, A few of the same class of people reside in Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Scotland, and Hoke Counties N.C., and in Sumter, Marlboro, and Dillon Counties, S.C."

-- letter from Mr. Hamilton McMillan of Fayetteville NC addressed "RED SPRINGS NC, JUly 17, 1890"..."The Croatan tribe lives principally in Robeson County, NC, though there is quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter, SC, there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee."

-- PETITION OF CROATAN INDIANS..To the honorable the Congress of the United States, December 1887...."The undersigned, your petitioners, a part of the Croatan Indians..." signed by James Oxendine, Ashbury Oxendine, Zackriors Oxendine, J.J. Oxendine, Billy Locklear, Malakiah Locklear, Preston Locklear, John Ballard, Crolly Locklear, G.W. Locklear, Patrick Locklear, Luther Deas, Marcus Dial, Joseph Loclear, Alex Locklear, Solomon Oxendine, A.J. Lowry, John A. Locklear, Silas Deas, James Lowry, Olline Oxendine, George Brayboy, William Sampson, Steven Carter, Peter Dial, Willy Jacobs, Quinn Gordan, Murdock Chavis."

-- The Lost Colony of Roanoke by stephen B. Weeks, 1891...."At one time the Croatans were known as "Redbones," and there is a street in Fayetteville so called because some of them once lived on it. They are known by this name in Sumter County SC, where they are quiet and peaceable, and have a church of their own. They are proud and high-spirited, and caste is very high among them."


Jos Belanhaly...7, Sarah Camp...5, Fred Carter...6, John Chavis...3, Robert Chavis...3, Azana Clark...9, Mary Clark....4, William Driggers...5, Flaud Hagan...1, Obediah Hagan...6, Lucy Hathcock...3, Mary Locklear...1, John Manning...6, E. McMillan...4, Jesse Mitcham...6, Nelly Mitcham...4, Aaron Oxendine...5, David Scott...15, Fred Scott...3, Isaac Scott...7, Isham Scott...5, Isham Scott...5, Isham Scott...7, James Scott...8, Newman Scott...5, William Shorter...5, Cassiah Smith...2, Christo Smith...3, Jacob Yarberry...5


from Lawson's "History of Carolina" 1718...."Chuwon Indians, Town 1, Bennets Creek, fighting men 15

Land purchase by settlers -1713- chief men of the Chowan Indians...."Thomas Hoytes, James Bennett, Carles Beasley, Jeremiah Purkins" (NC colonial records vol.IV p.33-5)

1734- "James Bennett, Thos Hoyter, Charles Beasley, Jeremiah Purkin, John Robins, John Reeding, and Nuce Will, Chief Men of the Chowan Indians..." sold land on Bennett's Creek in the part of Chowan County which later became Gates County.

12 April 1790- James Robins, Benjamin Robins, George Bennett, and Joseph Bennett sold to Samuel Lewis and Samuel Harrell for $100 the last remaining 400 acres of the original tract of 11,360 acres from Chowan Indian grant of 1724 near Bennett's Creek


Abraham Reed, Bashford Robins, Benjamin Reed, Elisha Parker, George Bennett, Hardy Robins, Hardy Reed, James Robins, Joseph Bennett, John Cuff, Jane Reed, James Weaver, James Boon, Micajah Reed, Seabrook Hunter, William Hunter.

1833 minute book 24, quarterly superior court of norfolk county, pp.27,28: "the Court doth certify upon satisfactory evidence of white persons produced before it, that Asa Price, Wright Perkins, Nathan Perkins, Pricilla Perkins, Nelson Bass, Willis Bass, Andrew Bass, William Bass son of Wiliiam Bass, Joseph Newton and Henry Newton, Allen Newton, Polly Newton, Sally Newton and Hestor Newton, are not free-Negroes or Mulattoes, but are of Indian descent..."

1833 same pp.43,44:"...that Andrew Bass and Lavina his wife, Elizabeth Bass wife of William Bass son of William Bass, Jemima Bass Sr, Peggy Bass, Jemima Bass Jr, Elizabeth Lidwin, Mary Anderson, Prisceilla Flury, Jerusha Bass, Frances the wife of James Newton, Lucy Trummell, Andrew Bass Jr, Patsy Bass, William Newton, Betsy Weaver, Nancy Weaver, and Sally Weaver, that they are not free-Negroes or Mulattoes, but are of Indian descent..."


some Chowan cousins

an interesting note is the "MOWA CHOCTAWS" of Mobile and Washington Counties, Alabama...the primary ancestors of this group were (1)Daniel Reed (born 1775 to 1780) and his wife Rose Goins.(2) David Weaver (born 1799 to 1802) and his wife Cecilia Edenfils (who later married Phillipe Chastang). (3) Lemuel Byrd who married a daughter of David Weaver. When the Mowa "Choctaws' petitioned for federal recognition, the B.I.A. rejected their application and stated that , though the group was consistantly identified as being Indian, they could not prove a connection to the historic Choctaw tribe, and their ancestors were documented as being from the NC/VA border. REED, WEAVER, and BYRD are surnames that appear among the Indian families of Gates County, NC, and the REED, WEAVER, BYRD, and GOINS surnames also appear in Halifax NC....


Elisha Parker


Thanks for the information on Polly Dunn, I don't know if she is in my lines or not but I will try and find out. Yes the 1790 census with Elisha Parker is my ggggrandfather. I am Tuscarora but as you say many Nations moved along this NC/VA. My ggggrandfather Elisha was born in Nansemond County Va as far as I know. But I also have Saponi,Nottoway and Meherrin blood, thats why I was wondering if we had blood of the Chowan Indians also since Elisha was on the petition. I appreciate any information that you might have.

Nyah-weh again, Mike Dunn



The "positive" Chowan families from earliest records of at least 1730 were the Bennett, Perkins, Beasley, Hoyte/Hoyter/Hoytes, Reed & Robins. By 1800 they had also included the Martin and Weaver families. The head researcher of the Nansemond Nation, Fred Bright, is under the opinion that the Perkins, Weaver, Newton families were Chowan.

At about the time of the Tuscarora War, many remnant groups were wandering back and forth across south-eastern VA, eastern NC, and northern SC. When the War broke out a band of non-hostile Tuscarora under King Blount travelled north and settled with a group of Nansemond/Nottoway/Meherrin/Cheraw living in the area between the Nottoway and Roanoke Rivers (close to the Fort Christiana site). When the War ended, these Indian families could move more freely as the last hostile tribe had been eliminated. They were settleing anywhere they could safely remain, and were especially attracted to reservated lands. Christianized, acculturated mixed-blood families descended from the once powerful Powhatan and Eastern Sioaun Nations could be found spread from the Nanticoke reserve, the Pamunkey reserve, the Nottoway reserve, the Tuscarora reserve, all the way down to the Catawba reserve. These families bore such widespread "Free person of color" surnames as Bass, George, Gibson, Going, Collins, Scott, Hathcock, Reed, Archer, Stewart, Mitchell, Perkins, Weaver, etc. etc.

the 1777 land record of the tuscarora reservation of Bertie Co.NC included such family names as Allen, Basket, Blount, Cain, Cornelius, Dennis, George, Gibson, Hicks, Miller, Mitchell, Owens, Pugh, Roberts, Smith, Taylor, Thomas, Tufdick, Wheeler, Wigiins and Wineoak.

the 1808 special census of the Nottoway in Southampton Co. VA included such family names as Rogers, Turner, Step, Woodson, Bartlett, and Wineoak.

It would be very difficult to verify if a certain surname indicated descendancy from a specific nation....The eastern sioux (called by the group name "Cheraw" if you were in SC, "Tutelo" if you were north of VA, "Saponi" if you were in VA, or "Catawba" if you were in NC, but all referring to the same group of siouan speaking villages) were closely allied with the Chowan and a western band of the Nansemond (one historian has identified that the Nansemond were effectively broken in two by 1700, consisting of the more acculturated band around Norfolk, and a more traditional band called "Portuckee" that removed across the Meherrin)...even though the Siouan bands spoke a different language than the Algonquian Chowan and Nansemond, they intermarried and socialized extensively....

Florida seemed to be a favored destination for mixed-bloods until well after the civil-war....when Henry Berry Lowry vanished it was reported by many of his relatives that he had "gone to Florida"..observe the following quote from a W.P.A. interview of Louisa Davis in Winnsboro, South Carolina in the mid-1930's...

"I was born in de Catawba River section. My grandpappy was a full-blood Indian; my pappy a half-Indian; my mother, coal-black woman....They say I was a pretty gal, then, face shiny like a gingercake, and hair straight and black as a crow....After de War (Civil War), my pappy went to Florida. He look just like a Indian, hair and all, bushy head, straight and young lookin', wid no beard. We never heard from him since."

Jack Hitt wrote:

Mr. Hill,

I'm am working on a story about the resurgence of interest in what anthropologists call the little races (i.e., Melungeons, Redbones, etc.). I saw an online piece you wrote about the Turks of Sumter County.

Best regards,

Jack Hitt

Steven Pony Hill responds:

Its good to see that people are interested in this facinating story!

I can share what little I know....The Turks are one small branch of a number of related mixed-blood communities which include the Melungeons of Tennessee, the Lumbees of NC, Brass Ankles of SC, Cubans of NC, Portuguese of VA, and Red Bones of LA.

There are volumes of research written about the NC groups so I will not waste your time by going over them, but will share what I know about the Turks, Red Bones and my own relations here in Northwest Florida.

About the time of the Revolutionary War, mixed-blood families from the NC/VA border began moving south to such areas as Robeson and Sampson Counties. These persons were the descendants of mixed-blood Indians who had been living in such areas as the Bertie County Tuscarora reservation, Gates County Chowan reservation, and the old Fort Christanna site. In early 1800's branches of these families continued southward along the Pee Dee river into SC. By 1810 the "Turk" community had already spread roots in Sumter county under such individuals as Joseph Benehaley (a man of Arabic descent), Ridd Ammons, John Chavis, Robert Chavis, William Driggers, Obediah Hagan, David Ivy, Lucy Hathcock, Mary Locklear, Aaaron Oxendine and Isham Scott (who were all persons of Indian descent migrating in from the Robeson NC area)...because Joseph Benenhaley was such an influential man in this community, they all eventually were given the label of Joseph's nickname...."Turk".

At about the same time, in nearby Marlboro County, a community of families also migrated in from southern NC, who were closely related to the group in Sumter, including such individuals as Isham Scott (1st cousin to the Isham in Sumter), Abner Driggers, Lothlin Locklear, Joseph Ivy, etc.

In about 1828, pressured by oppresive new laws and tax regulations against "free-colored persons" (many of these same individuals attempted to have themselves held non-liable for such laws and taxes because they were "persons of Indian descent", but for the most part were unsuccesful)...numbers of the SC families migrated into southern GA and northern FL. The Florida branch (Scott, Chavis, Perkins, Hagan, Ammons, Goins, Mayo families) settled along the Appalachicola River (present-day Jackson, Calhoun, Liberty counties) and along the Choctawhatchee River (presnt-day Holmes, Washington counties) where many of their descendants still live today.

In 1857 a group of these FL families gathered up a "wagon train" and travelled to Rapides Parish to join the Perkins, Chavis, Goins, Nash, Sweat and Willis families which had already formed a community there. This community would eventually be given the label that had followed them from SC...."Red Bones"

This was only one of many migration patterns that the mixed-blood families used to spread out from NC, another was a route that took them through Tennessee (the early founders of the Louisiana branch used this route before they were joined by the Florida families)..The Tennessee Melungeons are the result of this migration route including such families as Gibson, Hathcock, Collins and Goins.

Another interesting note which has been ignored by researchers is the fact that one branch of these people have achieved recognition as an Indian nation by the B.I.A.....In the early 1800's groups of these same mixed-blood families traveled to southwestern Alabama and lived with a few remnant Creek families (Stedham, Moniac, Hollinger & Weatherford) who had a small parcel of reservation land there. By 1850 these immigrant families (Gibson, Deas, Taylor & Hathcock) had intermarried and become part of the community (side note...on 1850 census the Hathcock family which had come in from Sc were the only ones recorded as "Indian" the Creeks were recorded as "white")..the Creek bloodlines remained to some small degree, but the SC families were the largest and most predominant group. In the early 1900's these families applied for compensation as "Cherokees" and were censused as "mixed-blood Cherokee"...yet their descendants were given federal recognition in the 1980's as "The Poarch Band of Creeks"!!

From: Artie Martino;  Subject: Aaron Oxendine Jane Scott d. 1822; Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 13:46:38 -0400

Do you know of an event that could have caused the deaths of my gggrandparents: Aaron Oxendine b. 1781 Mill Branch, Robeson County, NC, and Jane Scott b. 1791? Both died in 1822--the same year their daughter Geanny Miranda was born in Stateburg, Sumter, SC.   Do you know anything about Charles Oxendine b? father of Aaron?  Understand the term "Molatoe" used to describe Indians.  

Colonial Tax Lists

[Byrd, William L., III, Bladen County Tax Lists, 1768-1774, Volume I]. (Robeson was formed from Bladen in 1797).

1770, pp.24-46

Molatoes: Isaac, Jno., Eliza & Hannah Hayes, John Combow, John Johnston & wife, Titus Overton & wife, John Bullard & Gutridge Lockelier, Benja. Lamb, Simon Cox, Gilbert Cox & James Percey, Cannon Cumbo, James Carter Senr. & Junr. & Isaac Carter, Frederick Goan & wife, John Waldon, Adam Ivey, John Phillips, Isaac & Needham Lamb, Arthur Lamb, Wm Wilkins, Charles Oxendine, Elisha Sweeting, Sarah & James Sweet, Daniel Wharton & wife, David Braveboy, Peter Causey & son David, Joseph Clark, Ishmael Cheeves, James Doyel & Wife, Thos. Groom, John Hammons, Richd. Jones & wife, Solomon James, Solomon Johnston & wife, Solomon Johnston Junr. & wife, Major Locklier, James Lowry & Wm Jones, Jacob Lockleer, John Lockleer & wife & son Wm.


I'm not sure of any event in 1822...perhaps there was a disease epidemic that year?...Thanks for the info on the Robeson, Sumter connection..it has been my position that many of the families that came down into Sumter between 1805 and 1820 actually came from the Bladen area, but I have been met with resistance from persons who live in Sumter ("Turks"), who, for some reason, do not wish to have a connection to the Lumbees.

Please see attached for examples of Indians being described as "Mulattoe"....

I recognize the surnames in the tax list...the predominant number of these families entered the Bladen area in the 1740's to 1750's traveling south from the Halifax NC, Mecklenburg VA area. These are all mixed-blood Indian families who descend from the remnant bands of Nottoway, Nansemond, Saponi, Occaneechi, Woccon, Roanoke, and friendly Tuscarora under chief Blount. These varied tribes interrmarried in the early 1700's and their ancestors founded the "tri-racial" communities spread out from Delaware, VA, NC, SC, Louisianna and Florida.


"The Bingham Family": Elizabeth Bingham was presented by The Northampton County VA Court on 13 NOV 1739 for bastard bearing...presentment dismissed on 11 DEC 1739 becuase she was "an Indian"

-Southy Bingham was sued on 13 DEC 1785 for 1 pound by John Evans, Ephraim Stevens placed his security...Southy was presnted on 14 March 1792 to the northampton Co. VA court for "tending crops on the Indians' land"

- Scarburgh Bingham a twelve-year-old "Indian" bound to Savage Cowdy by the Northampton Co. VA court on 12 JAN 1762. Scarburgh was sued on 8 JUN 1779 by Abraham Collins, and he was sued again on 11 JUL 1789 by Mary Jeffery.

- Elizabeth Bingham was bound to William Scott, Sr. on 9 SEP 1766 in Northampton Co VA. Elizabeth married Nathan Driggers on 23 Jan 1794 by Northampton Co VA bond.

William Scott, an "Indian" taxable on 2 horses in the lower district of Henrico Co VA in 1783, 1786 and from 1802 to 1804.

- Henry Bingham married Ritter Collins 13 June 1794 by Northampton Co VA bond, Ralph Collins security.

- Moses Bingham married Esther Collins, 25 year old daughter of Rafe Collins on 24 NOV 1819 by Northampton Co VA bond.

- Tinsey Bingham married William Gardner 25 NOV 1797 by Northampton Co VA bond, Issac Stevens security.

- Tamar Bingham married Ralph Collins 20 DEC 1799 Northampton CO VA bond.

- Betsy Bingham married Thomas Baker 5 DEC 1805 by Northampton Co bond, Nathan Driggers security.

- Polly Bingham married William Jeffery 26 Jan 1803 bond.

- John Collins married Betsy Jefferies 3 FEB 1803 by Northampton Co VA bond.

- Lighty Collins married Lear Driggers 3 FEB 1794 by Northampton Co VA bond.

From 1870 to 1930 I noticed the following surnames listed for the Pamunkey Indians: Lancaster, Bradby, Dungee, Collins, Sweat, Cook, Wynn, Miles, Allmond, Sampson, Major, Langston, Dennis & Page. here are some records I found pertaining to a few of these families....

18 OCT 1817..Petersburg VA...."John Sampson, a lad of Colour (son of Sally Major, a free woman) about nineteen years old, 5 feet 9 inches high, of light yellow brown complection. has stait hair, cow lick in his hair, born free in King William County, said to be of Indian descent & by trade a shoemaker. Registered by desire of his mother." (Register of Free Negroes 1794-1819. no. 877)

John Dungee, a pilot on the Chesapeake Bay who was "descended from the aborigines of this domain" according to the petition which he and his wife Lucy Ann made to the VA Legislature from King William County on 19 DEC 1825.

Billy Dennis & Sarah Dennis listed on Bertie County deeds as Indians of the Tuscarora tribe 1766 to 1777...I do not observe the 'Dennis' surname appearing among the Pamunkey until after 1870, likewise with the Castillo, or Custelow surname...both of these surnames appear to have migrated in from NC.


In the mid-1800's General T.S. Woodward published a compilation of his letters entitled "Woodward's Reminences"...anyone who has done research on the Creek Indians, Creek Wars, or relating to the Creek Indians at Poarch Alabama I'm sure has used this book as a bible!

General Woodward mentions all the friendly Creek Indians, thier mixed ancestry, and the events surrounding the Red Stick War, and Jacksons foray into Florida. But, Woodward also makes several references that are of interest to persons researching the Algonquian and Siouan groups of the east....

(pardon my vagueness here, I dont have the book sitting in front of me)

- Woodward mentions how every dark-skinned person from Virginia he meets in the area (southern alabama, northern Florida) claims descendancy from the tribe of Pocahontas.

- Woodward mentions his own Indian ancestry, of how he descended from an Indian maiden of South Carolina with the surname of Silves who married a Stokes. Woodward often mentions how he was easily identified as being part Indian, and could pass for an Indian.

- It will interest all to note Woodward descended from Milly Chavis (born about 1749) who was living with her family at Marlboro, SC in the 1760's and married Edward Silves (the Silves family of SC was censused in 1790 SC as "other free persons" along with the Chavis family)

These records are Copyright ©2005 Steven Pony Hill, all rights reserved.

Return to Native American Page

"Turks" of South Carolina Page

American Roma Records Home Page

SCGenWeb Home Page

Comments, information, records, whatever, please contact ye webmeister.


Copyright ©2005 Steven Pony Hill, all rights reserved, and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same without written permission of the author.  It may be used in your family history or genealogy, for which purpose it was intended.