NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


Previous section

Next section

Chapter III. — Perturbed State of the Virginia Indians During the Voyages Subsequently Made to that Coast, in the Sixteenth Century.

1586.

THE early intercourse of the English with the Virginia tribes partook of an entirely friendly character. The interests of both parties were subserved. The Indians were delighted to exchange their commodities for European fabrics, of which they stood more in need; while this new branch of commerce promised to be very remunerative to the adventurers. The friendship of Powhattan's brother, Granganameo, who resided on the island of Roanoke, was secured by the first voyagers, and, through the means of Manteo and Wasechoe, who accompanied the first ships on their return to England, considerable advance was made in the study of the habits and tribal relations of the Indians, and of the geography of their country. The first event which disturbed these friendly relations, was the extraordinary course taken by Sir Richard Grenville, in retaliation for the theft of a silver cup from his mess furniture. Manteo, having made some progress in English, returned from England with the colonists, and was of great service to them as an interpreter, guide, and adviser. So great was the sense Sir Walter Raleigh entertained of the merits and morals of Manteo, that he directed him, when baptised, to be given the title of "Lord of Roanoke." Granganameo, who had welcomed Amidas, continued to be friendly, but this friendship was incited by a motive which did not at first appear. He expected the English to aid him against Wingina, his elder brother, or half-brother — a powerful and ambitious party sachem, who, unfortunately for the English, appears not to have yielded to the sway of Powhattan, and against whom he was, consequently, at war. This hope, and policy of Granganameo, was gratified. In a short time the colonists began to regard Wingina with great suspicion. They watched his motions, and, in the end accused him of concocting a plot to exterminate them. Amidas had been abundantly supplied by Granganameo, with venison, herring and other fish; and he had been received by his wife at Roanoke, during the absence of the chief, with great attention and hospitality; but it appeared that he did not consider the island to be a safe permanent residence, for, on a subsequent voyage, Sir Richard Grenville found him located at Cape Hatteras. One of the first acts of Sir Richard, on reaching

-- 90 --

Occoquon, was to send to the island of Roanoke, and announce his arrival to Wingina, who is styled "the King." Manteo kept up friendly relations with both chieftains. He accompanied an agent to visit the tribes on the main land, and proved himself a very trustworthy person. Sir Richard was so much pleased with this reconnoissance, that, accompanied by a select body of men, he repeated the visit to the main land, and discovered several Indian towns. During this excursion the loss of the silver cup occurred, in revenge for which he burned an Indian town, and destroyed the corn-fields of its inhabitants.

After committing this imprudent action, he, with some precipitancy, returned to England, consigning the government of the colony to Mr. Ralph Lane, and the charge of the ships to Captain Amidas. Mr. Thomas Harriot was directed to continue his observations on the manners and customs of the Indians. Lane immediately removed the colony to Roanoke, at the entrance to Albemarle Sound, and, employing persons to make a thorough survey of the coast, thus made himself acquainted with the geography and resources of the country. These researches extended southwardly eighty leagues, to the Neus river, and northwardly to the territory of the Chesapeakes, an Indian tribe located on a stream, named by the English, Elizabeth river. [77]

These explorations were extended towards the northwest, up the Albemarle Sound and Chowan river, a distance of 130 miles. Lane personally directed the exploring party, and was accompanied by Manteo. The Chowan is formed by the junction of the Meherrin and Nottaway. At this point Lane entered the country of the Chowanocks. [78]

The ruling chief, a lame man, named Menatonon, possessing an excellent understanding, told Mr. Lane a notable story of a copper mine, and a pearl fishery, the latter of which he located on the coast. He intermingled his narrative with a strange tale, that the head of the Maratuc, now called Roanoke river, sprang out of a rock which was so close to the sea, that, when high winds prevailed, the "foam from the waves was driven over into the spring." Presuming this sea to be an arm of the Gulf of Mexico, or the South Sea (Pacific), Lane undertook a very chimerical voyage to find it. Every hardship was endured while prosecuting this hazardous undertaking, with the hope of making golden discoveries. At last the explorers were compelled to subsist on a pint of corn per day, and, when this was exhausted, they boiled two mastiff dogs, with sassafras leaves. After some days spent in a fruitless search, the adventurers were glad to return to their quarters at Roanoke.

-- 91 --

At this time Granganameo died. He had been the tried friend of the English, and was at all times seconded in his good offices by his father, Ensenore. Their joint influence had been sufficient to restrain Wingina's malice and perfidy. But after Granganameo's death, being afforded a free scope for the pursuit of his machinations, he at once changed his name from Wingina to Pemissapan, and became the inveterate enemy of the Virginia colonists. By his representations he had been instrumental in entailing much suffering and hardship upon Mr. Lane, in his explorations of the Chowan river; but when the governor returned, bringing with him the son of Chowanock as a prisoner, and Manteo, and others, related the bravery and power of endurance of Lane's company, his haughty aspect was changed, and the bravado speeches made during their absence, were heard no more. These reports of the capacity of the colonists to sustain themselves, were confirmed by a present of pearl sent to Mr. Lane from Menatonon, the king of the Chowanocks, and another present from Okisco, the chief of Weopemcoka, a powerful coast tribe. These friendly demonstrations had such an effect upon Wingina, that he directed weirs to be constructed, for the supply of the colonists with fish, and caused them to be taught how to plant their fields of corn. But this friendship was speedily interrupted by the death of the venerable and wise chief, Ensenore. The two best political friends of the English being now dead, Wingina, under pretence of celebrating his father's funeral, invited a large number of Indians to assemble, with the intention of annihilating the colony at one blow. The plot was revealed by Skico, the son of Menatonon, who had been taken prisoner by the expedition to the head of the Chowan river.

The colonists immediately seized all the Indian canoes on the island, thinking thus to entangle the Indians in their own toils. But the latter took the alarm, and, after a skirmish, in which five or six of their number were slain, the remainder made good their escape to the forest. Both parties now maintained the closest watch over each other's movements; but, after much manoeuvring, Wingina was at length entrapped and slain, together with eight of his principal warriors.

-- 92 --

Previous section

Next section


Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
Powered by PhiloLogic