10 and 11th May, 1701.
The 10th of May, last, I with Coll. Randolph, Capt. Epes, 39 Capt. Webb, &c., went up to the new settlements of ye ffrench Refugees at ye Manakan Town. Wee visited, about seventy of their hutts, being, most of them, very mean; there being upwards of fourty of y'm betwixt ye two Creeks, w'ch is about four miles along on ye River, and have cleared all ye old Manacan ffields for near three miles together, as also some others (who came thither last ffeb'ry, as Blackman told us) have cleared new grounds toward the Lower Creeke, and done more worke than they y't went thither first. They have, all of y'm. some Garden trade and have planted corne, but few of y'm had broke up their ground or wed tbe same, whereupon I sent for most of y'm and told y'm they must not expect to enjoy ye land unless they would endeavour to improve it, and if they make no corne for their supsistance next yeare they could not expect any further relief from the Country. Mon'r de Joux promised at their next meeting to acquaint them all w'th w't I said, and to endeavour to stirr y'm up to be diligent in weeding and secureing their corne and wheat, of w'ch latter there are many small patches, but some is overrun w'th woods, and the horses (of w'ch they have severall, w'th some Cows) have spoiled more; most of y'm promise faire Indeed, they are very poor, and I am not able to supply y'm w'th Corne (they being about 250 last month), having bought up all in these two counties, and not haveing received one month's provision from all ye other Countyes, there being some in the Isle of Wight, but cannot hire any to fetch it. There are above 20 families seated for 4 or 5 miles below the Lower Creeke and have cleared small plantations, but few of y'm had broke up their grounds. Wee went up to ye Cole, w'ch is not above a mile and a-half from their settlement on the great upper Creeke, w'ch, riseing very high in great Raines, hath washed away the Banke that the Coal lyes bare, otherwise it's very deep in the Earth, the land being very high and near the surface is plenty of Slate. 40. Tho' these people are very poor, yet they seem very cheerful and are (as farr as wee could learne) very healthy, all they seem to desire is y't they might have Bread enough. Wee lodged there that night and returned the new Road I caused to be marked, which is extraordinary Levell and dry way and leads either to the ffalls or the mill, a very good well beaten path for carts.
REGISTER CONTAINING THE BAPTISMS MADE IN THE CHURCH OF THE FRENCH REFUGEES AT MANNIKIN-TOWN IN VIRGINIA, IN THE PARISH OF KING WILLIAM, IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD, 1721, THE 25TH MARCH. 82-DONE BY JAMES SOBLET, 83 CLERK.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
If you haven't tried this site yet, you need to, it is a treasure of information. The Digital Library of Appalachia provides online access to archival and historical materials related to the culture of the southern and central Appalachian region. The contents of the DLA are drawn from special collections of Appalachian College Association member libraries.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Yellow Store Historical & Genealogical Record
“Out in the country, about 12 miles from this city, there is a store which for 126 years has held its trade, despite the disadvantage of its location, by a type of advertising it has followed since long before advertising developed into a science. Its color and the capitalization of that color in its name have made the "Old Yellow Store" a historic landmark throughout Eastern Tennessee. For 126 years, every time this store has been repainted, it has been repainted yellow.
Captain De Wolfe Miller, an old merchant of the place, tells how his grandfather built a raft of logs and floated them down the river with his family to the present site of the Yellow Store. Impressed with the country, he decided to locate, ad entered twenty acres of government land. Soon he made larger entries until he owned a large body of land and the Yellow Store was built.
But in those days, he says, "there were but few things kept in a store. The people tanned the leather, and made their own shoes, and then got the raw cotton, spinning and weaving their own clothes. I was a grown man before I ever wore a suit of "store clothes". In those days the people led the simple life and their wants were nothing compared with what people these days feel they just must have. My grandfather ran a tanyard and a shoemaker was a part of the store force.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Written and Complied by Richard Haithcock and Vicky Haithcock
Identifying todays Occaneechi, Saponi and Tutelo of the Saponi Nation and Piedmont-Catawba Core family names: example, Haithcock may have evolved in 1673 from Indian John Hasecoll / Hasecott to Hayscock / Hesscot in 1728 to Haithcock, Hethcock to Haith, Hathcock arid Heathcock to present.
The Saponi Nation consist primarily of the Saponi arid the Piedmont-Catawba, Tutelo and the surviving Occaneechi from Bacon's Rebellion, Fort Christianna arid Junntapurse.
Their ancestoral names are:
They can be found in Greensville, Brunswick, Halifax and Mecklenburg Counties, Virginia; Caswell, Orange, Alamance, Cabarrus, Stanly, Person, Granville, Halifax, Randolph and Northampton Counties,
North Carolina and in Ross, Lawrence, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Fayette, Greene and Pike Counties, Ohio and Hamilton, Vigo, Randolph Co.'s,
Indiana and in Cass Co., Michigan.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Anthropologist consultant, Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina
Testimony before the Committee on Indian Affairs
United States Senate
Legislative hearing on S.660, “To provide for the acknowledgment of the Lumbee Tribe
of North Carolina, and for other purposes.”
July 12, 2006
communities, and have taught these subjects as an adjunct professor at Wellesley College.
Between 1982 and 1988, I conducted a number of studies for the Lumbee Tribe of North
Carolina. Each of these included fieldwork in the community for periods of time varying from a
week to three weeks. In all, I spent more than twenty weeks in Robeson County carrying out a
variety of research projects. Besides being responsible for synthesizing the thousands of pages of
documentation collected during the ten years it took to carry out the archival research, and for
designing and carrying out the community research, I had the honor of writing the petition that
was submitted on December 17, 1987, to the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research (now the
Office of Federal Acknowledgment) under the federal regulations that govern acknowledgment
of eligible Indian tribes, 25 C.F.R. Part 183. Specifically, I drafted the Historical Narrative
section, and researched and wrote the sections dealing with community and political continuity.
Subsequent to the completion of the petition, I continued research with the Lumbee Tribe, most
recently in 2002. The material that follows is based on my twenty years’ research on the Tribe’s
history and community.
Over the course of the past twenty-five years, I have worked on 28 tribal petitions for
federal acknowledgment. None has exceeded the Lumbee petition in documentation and no
group has exhibited more evidence of community cohesion and political continuity than the
Lumbee Tribe. It is my professional opinion that the Lumbee Tribe exists as an Indian tribe and
has done so over history. I will outline below the main arguments and evidence in support of this
An Overview of Lumbee Tribal History:
Sunday, July 13, 2008
From Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter 7/13/08
Has URLs for the Archives of every state.
On the Misfortune of Indentured Servants (1754)
Both in Rotterdam and in Amsterdam the people are packed densely, like herrings so to say, in the large sea-vessels. One person receives a place of scarcely 2 feet width and 6 feet length in the bedstead, while many a ship carries four to six hundred souls; not to mention the innumerable implements, tools, provisions, water-barrels and other things which likewise occupy much space.
On account of contrary winds it takes the ships sometimes 2, 3 and 4 weeks to make the trip from Holland to.. . England. But when the wind is good, they get there in 8 days or even sooner. Everything is examined there and the custom-duties paid, whence it comes that the ships ride there 8, 10 to 14 days and even longer at anchor, till they have taken in their full cargoes. During that time every one is compelled to spend his last remaining money and to consume his little stock of provisions which had been reserved for the sea; so that most passengers, finding themselves on the ocean where they would be in greater need of them, must greatly suffer from hunger and want. Many suffer want already on the water between Holland and Old England.
When the ships have for the last time weighed their anchors near the city of Kaupp [Cowes] in Old England, the real misery begins with the long voyage. For from there the ships, unless they have good wind, must often sail 8, 9, 10 to 12 weeks before they reach Philadelphia. But even with the best wind the voyage lasts 7 weeks.
But during the voyage there is on board these ships terrible misery, stench, fumes, horror, vomiting, many kinds of sea-sickness, fever, dysentery, headache, heat, constipation, boils, scurvy, cancer, mouth-rot, and the like, all of which come from old and sharply salted food and meat, also from very bad and foul water, so that many die miserably.
Add to this want of provisions, hunger, thirst, frost, heat, dampness, anxiety, want, afflictions and lamentations, together with other trouble, as . . . the lice abound so frightfully, especially on sick people, that they can be scraped off the body. The misery reaches the climax when a gale rages for 2 or 3 nights and days, so that every one believes that the ship will go to the bottom with all human beings on board. In such a visitation the people cry and pray most piteously.
When in such a gale the sea rages and surges, so that the waves rise often like high mountains one above the other, and often tumble over the ship, so that one fears to go down with the ship; when the ship is constantly tossed from side to side by the storm and waves, so that no one can either walk, or sit, or lie, and the closely packed people in the berths are thereby tumbled over each other, both the sick and the well - it will be readily understood that many of these people, none of whom had been prepared for hardships, suffer so terribly from them that they do not survive it.
I myseif had to pass through a severe illness at sea, and I best know how I felt at the time. These poor people often long for consolation, and I often entertained and comforted them with singing, praying and exhorting; and whenever it was possible and the winds and waves permitted it, I kept daily prayer-meetings with them on deck. Besides, I baptized five children in distress, because we had no ordained minister on board. I also held divine service every Sunday by reading sermons to the people; and when the dead were sunk in the water, I commended them and our souls to the mercy of God.
Among the healthy, impatience sometimes grows so great and cruel that one curses the other, or himself and the day of his birth, and sometimes come near killing each other. Misery and malice join each other, so that they cheat and rob one another. One always reproaches the other with having persuaded him to undertake the journey. Frequently children cry out against their parents, husbands against their wives and wives against their husbands, brothers and sisters, friends and acquaintances against each other. But most against the soul-traffickers.
Many sigh and cry: "Oh, that I were at home again, and if I had to lie in my pig-sty!" Or they say: "O God, if I only had a piece of good bread, or a good fresh drop of water." Many people whimper, sigh and cry piteously for their homes; most of them get home-sick. Many hundred people necessarily die and perish in such misery, and must be cast into the sea, which drives their relatives, or those who persuaded them to undertake the journey, to such despair that it is almost impossible to pacify and console them.
No one can have an idea of the sufferings which women in confinement have to bear with their innocent children on board these ships. Few of this class escape with their lives; many a mother is cast into the water with her child as soon as she is dead. One day, just as we had a heavy gale, a woman in our ship, who was to give birth and could not give birth under the circumstances, was pushed through a loop-hole [port-hole] in the ship and dropped into the sea, because she was far in the rear of the ship and could not be brought forward.
Children from 1 to 7 years rarely survive the voyage. I witnessed misery in no less than 32 children in our ship, all of whom were thrown into the sea. The parents grieve all the more since their children find no resting-place in the earth, but are devoured by the monsters of the sea.
That most of the people get sick is not surprising, because, in addition to all other trials and hardships, warm food is served only three times a week, the rations being very poor and very little. Such meals can hardly be eaten, on account of being so unclean. The water which is served out on the ships is often very black, thick and full of worms, so that one cannot drink it without loathing, even with the greatest thirst. Toward the end we were compelled to eat the ship's biscuit which had been spoiled long ago; though in a whole biscuit there was scarcely a, piece the size of a dollar that had not been full of red worms and spiders nests .
At length, when, after a long and tedious voyage, the ships come in sight of land, so that the promontories can be seen, which the people were so eager and anxious to see, all creep from below on deck to see the land from afar, and they weep for joy, and pray and sing, thanking and praising God. The sight of the land makes the people on board the ship, especially the sick and the half dead, alive again, so that their hearts leap within them; they shout and rejoice, and are content to bear their misery in patience, in the hope that they may soon reach the land in safety. But alas!
When the ships have landed at Philadelphia after their long voyage, no one is permitted to leave them except those who pay for their passage or can give good security; the others, who cannot pay, must remain on board the ships till they are purchased, and are released from the ships by their purchasers. The sick always fare the worst, for the healthy are naturally preferred and purchased first; and so the sick and wretched must often remain on board in front of the city for 2 or 3 weeks, and frequently die, whereas many a one, if he could pay his debt and were permitted to leave the ship immediately, might recover and remain alive.
The sale of human beings in the market on board the ship is carried on thus: Every day Englishmen, Dutchmen and High-German people come from the city of Philadelphia and other places, in part from a great distance, say 20, 30, or 40 hours away, and go on board the newly arrived ship that has brought and offers for sale passengers from Europe, and select among the healthy persons such as they deem suitable for their business, and bargain with them how long they will serve for their passage money, which most of them are stffl in debt for. When they have come to an agreement, it happens that adult persons bind themselves in writing to serve 3, 4, 5 or 6 years for the amount due by them, according to their age and strength. But very young people, from 10 to 15 years, must serve till they are 21 years old.
Many parents must sell and trade away their children like so many head of cattle; for if their children take the debt upon themselves, the parents can leave the ship free and unrestrained; but as the parents often do not know where and to what people their children are going, it often happens that such parents and children, after leaving the ship, do not see each other again for many years, perhaps no more in all their lives.
It often happens that whole families, husband, wife, and children, are separated by being sold to different purchasers, especially when they have not paid any part of their passage money.
When a husband or wife has died at sea, when the ship has made more than half of her trip, the survivor must pay or serve not only for himself or herself, but also for the deceased.
When both parents have died over half-way at sea, their children, especially when they are young and have nothing to pawn or to pay, must stand for their own and their parents' passage, and serve tffi they are 21 years old. When one has served his or her term, he or she is entitled to a new suit of clothes at parting; and if it has been so stipulated, a man gets in addition a horse, a woman, a cow.
When a serf has an opportunity to marry in this country, he or she must pay for each year which he or she would have yet to serve, 5 to 6 pounds. But many a one who has thus purchased and paid for his bride, has subsequently repented his bargain, so that he would gladly have returned his exorbitantly dear ware, and lost the money besides.
If some one in this country runs away from his master, who has treated him harshly, he cannot get far. Good provision has been made for such cases, so that a runaway is soon recovered. He who detains or returns a deserter receives a good reward.
If such a runaway has been away from his master one day, he must serve for it as a punishment a week, for a week a month, and for a month half a year.
Title :On the Misfortune of Indentured Servants (1754)
Creator :Gottlieb Mittelberger
Publisher :Department of Alfa-informatica, University of Groningen
Contributors :George Welling, Garry Wiersema, Y.B.Adema
(Size) :main text (15k), comments (6k)
Source :The text is taken from :
Gottlieb Mittelberger's Journey to Pennsylvania in the
Year 1750 and Return to Germany in the Year 1754.
Translated from the German by Carl Theo. Eben.
(Philadelphia, John Jos. McVey,1898), pp. 19-29.
Rights :All rights reserved on HTML-versions by the publisher.
Copying for non-commercial purposes is allowed.
Friday, July 11, 2008
David Moore, lead archeologist at the site, was standing about 75 yards away. When he heard the shouts, he made his way over to the group.
What got the crowd excited was a find by Jeane Jones, of Dalton, Ga., of a tiny blue Spanish glass bead believed left behind from the first European settlement in the interior of what is now the United States.
It was the second glass bead found last week. One man found a piece of metal believed to be from the same era.
On July 12, the public will get a chance to take a look at the glass beads and other artifacts found at the site, as well as observe archaeologists at work.
Archaeologists will be on hand to discuss the site and lead tours. Primitive skills experts also will demonstrate how native people crafted their weapons and tools.
Warren Wilson College and Western Piedmont Community College Archaeology Field School is sponsoring the open house.
Full Article Here:
Monday, July 7, 2008
By David Holthouse
The Armenian Genocide in History Read More
The Sites: A list of genocide denial websites. Read More
Information for Teachers Read More
Early this year, the Toronto District School Board voted to require all public high school students in Canada's largest city to complete a new course titled "Genocide: Historical and Contemporary Implications." It includes a unit on the Armenian genocide, in which more than a million Armenians perished in a methodical and premeditated scheme of annihilation orchestrated by the rulers of Turkey during and just after World War I.
The school board members each soon received a letter from Guenter Lewy, a professor emeritus of political science at the University of Massachusetts, rebuking them for classifying the Armenian genocide in the same category as the Holocaust. "The tragic fate of the Armenian community during World War I," Lewy wrote, is best understood as "a badly mismanaged war-time security measure," rather than a carefully plotted genocide.
Turkish president Abdullah Gul warns of severe repercussions to the relations between the United States and Turkey if the "Armenian allegations are accepted."
Lewy is one of the most active members of a network of American scholars, influence peddlers and website operators, financed by hundreds of thousands of dollars each year from the government of Turkey, who promote the denial of the Armenian genocide — a network so influential that it was able last fall to defy both historical truth and enormous political pressure to convince America's lawmakers and even its president to reverse long-held policy positions.
Lewy makes similar revisionist claims in his 2005 book The Armenian Massacres in Ottoman Turkey: A Disputed Genocide and in frequent lectures at university campuses across the country. Speaking at Harvard University in March 2007, he chalked up the ghastly Armenian death toll to "bungling misrule," and stressed that "it is important to bear in mind the enormous difference between ineptness, even ineptness that had tragic consequences" and deliberate mass murder.
"Armenians call the calamitous events of 1915-1916 in the Ottoman Empire the first genocide of the twentieth century," he said. "Most Turks refer to this episode as war time relocation made necessary by the treasonous conduct of the Armenian minority. The debate on what actually happened has been going on for almost 100 years and shows no signs of resolution."
But it's not only Armenians calling the slaughter a genocide, and there is no real debate about its essential details, according to the vast majority of credible historians. Although Lewy's brand of genocide denial is subtler than that of Holocaust deniers who declare there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz, it's no less an attempt to rewrite history.
"The overwhelming opinion of scholars who study genocide — hundreds of independent scholars, who have no affiliations with governments, and whose work spans many countries and nationalities and the course of decades — is consistent," the International Association of Genocide Scholars stated in a 2005 letter to the Turkish government.
"The scholarly evidence reveals the following: On April 24, 1915, under cover of World War I, the Young Turk government of the Ottoman Empire began a systematic genocide of its Armenian citizens — an unarmed Christian minority population. More than a million Armenians were exterminated through direct killing, starvation, torture, and forced death marches. The rest of the Armenian population fled into permanent exile. Thus an ancient civilization was expunged from its homeland of 2,500 years."
Full Article Here:
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Bacon's Rebellion was the result of discontent among backcountry farmers who had taken the law into their own hands against government corruption and oppression. Many Virginians were debtors. Borrowing on the strength of paper money was stopped by the British Government, leading to more discontent against the merchant classes.
Historians have pointed out that one of the most important reforms made during Bacon's government was the recognition of the right to keep and bear arms, so that the common man could defend himself from hostile Indians but also to oppose a despotic regime. After Berkeley's resumption of power, this right was one of the first he repealed. Miller suggests it was Bacon's Rebellion that may have served as one of the motives for later colonists' insistence for the right to bear arms. Historian Stephen Saunders Webb suggests that Bacon's Rebellion was a revolution, with roots in the English Civil War and with consequences including the American Revolutionary War.
It was largely the indentured servants and poor farmers (most of whom were former indentured servants or their descendants) who rebelled. Before the rebellion, African slaves were rare in Virginia, chiefly due to their expense and the lack of slave traders bringing Africans to Virginia. Africans were often brought as indentured servants, becoming free after serving their term of labor. Indentured servants from Europe continued to play a role in Virginia after the rebellion. Due to the demand for labor and a decrease in immigrants from England, African slave imports grew rapidly. New Virginia laws made slavery lifelong and a status inherited by one's children, creating a racially based class system with Africans at the bottom. Even the poorest European indentured servants were above them. This broke the common interest between the poor English and Africans of Virginia which had existed during Bacon's Rebellion.
The rebellion strengthened the ties between Virginia south of the James River and the Albemarle Settlements in present-day North Carolina, while creating a long-lasting animosity between the two colonies' governments. The Albemarle region offered refuge for rebels in the aftermath. In the long term, North Carolina offered an alternative to colonists disenchanted with Virginia.
Bacon's Rebellion demonstrated that poor whites and poor blacks could be united in a cause. This was a great fear of the ruling class -- what would prevent the poor from uniting to fight them? This fear hastened the transition to racial slavery.
But it also led to the formation of an incubator for revolutionists. In North Carolina, these rebels joined forces and causes and their descendants would turn the tide of the American Revolution at Kings Mountain. Ragtag and undisciplined they may have been; nevertheless their highly irregular warfare tactics won the day and contributed greatly to winning the war.Janet Crain
Where did the rebels go after Bacon's Rebellion? That is, those who managed to escape their servitude and virtual enslavement. According to these articles at Wikipedia,
"A significant number of rebels fled to the Albemarle Settlements of North Carolina to an area known as Rogues Harbor."
Bacon's Rebellion Aftermath
The Declaration of the People was established, echoing the Commonwealth of England, which had ended 16 years earlier. Bacon died on October 26, 1676, of the "bloody flux" or dysentery. The rebellion continued until several well-armed London-based merchant ships, loyal to Berkeley, arrived in Virginia. These were trading ships whose captains were not aware of the rebellion until they arrived. A fleet of the Royal Navy set sail for Virginia upon hearing of the rebellion but would not arrive until several months after the merchant ships. With these merchant ships, cannon and crews, Berkeley was able to put down the rebellion. In the aftermath, before the arrival of the Royal Navy, Berkeley tried and executed many rebels in what began to resemble a reign of terror. When the Royal Navy and Royal Commissioners arrived, Berkeley's revenge campaign was halted and mass pardons were issued.
The Declaration of the People was established, echoing the Commonwealth of England, which had ended 16 years earlier. Bacon died on October 26, 1676, of the "bloody flux" or dysentery. The rebellion continued until several well-armed London-based merchant ships, loyal to Berkeley, arrived in Virginia. These were trading ships whose captains were not aware of the rebellion until they arrived. A fleet of the Royal Navy set sail for Virginia upon hearing of the rebellion but would not arrive until several months after the merchant ships. With these merchant ships, cannon and crews, Berkeley was able to put down the rebellion. In the aftermath, before the arrival of the Royal Navy, Berkeley tried and executed many rebels in what began to resemble a reign of terror. When the Royal Navy and Royal Commissioners arrived, Berkeley's revenge campaign was halted and mass pardons were issued. A significant number of rebels fled to the Albemarle Settlements of North Carolina.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Albemarle Settlements were the first permanent English settlements in what is now North Carolina, made in the Albemarle Sound and Roanoke River regions, beginning about the middle of the 17th century. The settlers were mainly Virginians migrating south.
Albemarle Settlement Region
In 1653, the Virginia Assembly granted one Roger Green a tract of land on Roanoke River south of Chowan, to be located "next to those persons who have had a former grant." In 1662, George Durant purchased lands from the Indians in this region and there is evidence to indicate that others had done the same.
When it was learned that the Albemarle settlements were not included in the Carolina proprietary grant of 1663, a new charter was granted in 1665 which included them. A Government was instituted in Albemarle in 1664 and within a decade settlements extended from the Chowan River to Currituck Sound.
During Bacon's Rebellion in 1676, the Albemarle Settlements offered assistance and refuge to the rebels. The rebellion's strongholds were mostly south of the James River, a region linked to the Albemarle Settlements by roads and rivers. A road linked "southside Virginia" to Edenton, North Carolina, skirting the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp. The Blackwater River of southside Virginia flowed south to the Chowan River, providing another link.
The Albemarle Settlements came to be known in Virginia as "Rogues' Harbor".
The conclusion of the series Persons of Mean and Vile Condition
Saturday, July 5, 2008
This is the second part o a series about the conditions which lead up to Bacon's Rebellion, felt by some to have precipitate the American Revolution by one hundred years.
It was a complex chain of oppression in Virginia. The Indians were plundered by white frontiersmen, who were taxed and controlled by the Jamestown elite. And the whole colony was being exploited by England, which bought the colonists' tobacco at prices it dictated and made 100,000 pounds a year for the King. Berkeley himself, returning to England years earlier to protest the English Navigation Acts, which gave English merchants a monopoly of the colonial trade, had said:
... we cannot but resent, that forty thousand people should be impoverish'd to enrich little more than forty Merchants, who being the only buyers of our Tobacco, give us what they please for it, and after it is here, sell it how they please; and indeed have forty thousand servants in us at cheaper rates, than any other men have slaves....From the testimony of the governor himself, the rebellion against him had the overwhelming support of the Virginia population. A member of his Council reported that the defection was "almost general" and laid it to "the Lewd dispositions of some Persons of desperate Fortunes" who had "the Vaine hopes of takeing the Countrey wholley out of his Majesty's handes into their owne." Another member of the Governor's Council, Richard Lee, noted that Bacon's Rebellion had started over Indian policy. But the "zealous inclination of the multitude" to support Bacon was due, he said, to "hopes of levelling."
"Levelling" meant equalizing the wealth. Levelling was to be behind countless actions of poor whites against the rich in all the English colonies, in the century and a half before the Revolution.
The servants who joined Bacon's Rebellion were part of a large underclass of miserably poor whites who came to the North American colonies from European cities whose governments were anxious to be rid of them. In England, the development of commerce and capitalism in the 1500s and 1600s, the enclosing of land for the production of wool, filled the cities with vagrant poor, and from the reign of Elizabeth on, laws were passed to punish them, imprison them in workhouses, or exile them. The Elizabethan definition of "rogues and vagabonds" included:
... All persons calling themselves Schollers going about begging, all Seafaring men pretending losses of their Shippes or goods on the sea going about the Country begging, all idle persons going about in any Country either begging or using any subtile crafte or unlawful Games ... comon Players of Interludes and Minstrells wandring abroade ... all wandering persons and comon Labourers being persons able in bodye using loytering and refusing to worke for such reasonable wages as is taxed or commonly given....Such persons found begging could be stripped to the waist and whipped bloody, could be sent out of the city, sent to workhouses, or transported out of the country.
In the 1600s and 1700s, by forced exile, by lures, promises, and lies, by kidnapping, by their urgent need to escape the living conditions of the home country, poor people wanting to go to America became commodities of profit for merchants, traders, ship captains, and eventually their masters in America. Abbot Smith, in his study of indentured servitude, Colonists in Bondage, writes: "From the complex pattern of forces producing emigration to the American colonies one stands out clearly as most powerful in causing the movement of servants. This was the pecuniary profit to be made by shipping them."
After signing the indenture, in which the immigrants agreed to pay their cost of passage by working for a master for five or seven years, they were often imprisoned until the ship sailed, to make sure they did not run away. In the year 1619, the Virginia House of Burgesses, born that year as the first representative assembly in America (it was also the year of the first importation of black slaves), provided for the recording and enforcing of contracts between servants and masters. As in any contract between unequal powers, the parties appeared on paper as equals, but enforcement was far easier for master than for servant.
The voyage to America lasted eight, ten, or twelve weeks, and the servants were packed into ships with the same fanatic concern for profits that marked the slave ships. If the weather was bad, and the trip took too long, they ran out of food. The sloop Sea-Flower, leaving Belfast in 1741, was at sea sixteen weeks, and when it arrived in Boston, forty-six of its 106 passengers were dead of starvation, six of them eaten by the survivors. On another trip, thirty-two children died of hunger and disease and were thrown into the ocean. Gottlieb Mittelberger, a musician, traveling from Germany to America around 1750, wrote about his voyage:
During the journey the ship is full of pitiful signs of distress-smells, fumes, horrors, vomiting, various kinds of sea sickness, fever, dysentery, headaches, heat, constipation, boils, scurvy, cancer, mouth-rot, and similar afflictions, all of them caused by the age and the high salted state of the food, especially of the meat, as well as by the very bad and filthy water.. .. Add to all that shortage of food, hunger, thirst, frost, heat, dampness, fear, misery, vexation, and lamentation as well as other troubles.... On board our ship, on a day on which we had a great storm, a woman ahout to give birth and unable to deliver under the circumstances, was pushed through one of the portholes into the sea....Indentured servants were bought and sold like slaves. An announcement in the Virginia Gazette, March 28, 1771, read:
Just arrived at Leedstown, the Ship Justitia, with about one Hundred Healthy Servants, Men Women & Boys... . The Sale will commence on Tuesday the 2nd of April.Against the rosy accounts of better living standards in the Americas one must place many others, like one immigrant's letter from America: "Whoever is well off in Europe better remain there. Here is misery and distress, same as everywhere, and for certain persons and conditions incomparably more than in Europe."
Beatings and whippings were common. Servant women were raped. One observer testified: "I have seen an Overseer beat a Servant with a cane about the head till the blood has followed, for a fault that is not worth the speaking of...." The Maryland court records showed many servant suicides. In 1671, Governor Berkeley of Virginia reported that in previous years four of five servants died of disease after their arrival. Many were poor children, gathered up by the hundreds on the streets of English cities and sent to Virginia to work.
The master tried to control completely the sexual lives of the servants. It was in his economic interest to keep women servants from marrying or from having sexual relations, because childbearing would interfere with work. Benjamin Franklin, writing as "Poor Richard" in 1736, gave advice to his readers: "Let thy maidservant be faithful, strong and homely."
Servants could not marry without permission, could be separated from their families, could be whipped for various offenses. Pennsylvania law in the seventeenth century said that marriage of servants "without the consent of the Masters .. . shall be proceeded against as for Adultery, or fornication, and Children to be reputed as Bastards."
Although colonial laws existed to stop excesses against servants, they were not very well enforced, we learn from Richard Morris's comprehensive study of early court records in Government and Labor in Early America. Servants did not participate in juries. Masters did. (And being propertyless, servants did not vote.) In 1666, a New England court accused a couple of the death of a servant after the mistress had cut off the servant's toes. The jury voted acquittal. In Virginia in the 1660s, a master was convicted of raping two women servants. He also was known to beat his own wife and children; he had whipped and chained another servant until he died. The master was berated by the court, but specifically cleared on the rape charge, despite overwhelming evidence.
Sometimes servants organized rebellions, but one did not find on the mainland the kind of large- scale conspiracies of servants that existed, for instance, on Barbados in the West Indies. (Abbot Smith suggests this was because there was more chance of success on a small island.)
However, in York County, Virginia, in 1661, a servant named Isaac Friend proposed to another, after much dissatisfaction with the food, that they "get a matter of Forty of them together, and get Gunnes & hee would be the first & lead them and cry as they went along, 'who would be for Liberty, and free from bondage', & that there would enough come to them and they would goe through the Countrey and kill those that made any opposition and that they would either be free or dye for it." The scheme was never carried out, but two years later, in Gloucester County, servants again planned a general uprising. One of them gave the plot away, and four were executed. The informer was given his freedom and 5,000 pounds of tobacco. Despite the rarity of servants' rebellions, the threat was always there, and masters were fearful.
Finding their situation intolerable, and rebellion impractical in an increasingly organized society, servants reacted in individual ways. The files of the county courts in New England show that one servant struck at his master with a pitchfork. An apprentice servant was accused of "laying violent hands upon his ... master, and throwing him downe twice and feching bloud of him, threatening to breake his necke, running at his face with a chayre...." One maidservant was brought into court for being "bad, unruly, sulen, careles, destructive, and disobedient."
After the participation of servants in Bacon's Rebellion, the Virginia legislature passed laws to punish servants who rebelled. The preamble to the act said:
Whereas many evil disposed servants in these late tymes of horrid rebellion taking advantage of the loosnes and liberty of the tyme, did depart from their service, and followed the rebells in rebellion, wholy neglecting their masters imploymcnt whereby the said masters have suffered great damage and injury....Two companies of English soldiers remained in Virginia to guard against future trouble, and their presence was defended in a report to the Lords of Trade and Plantation saying: "Virginia is at present poor and more populous than ever. There is great apprehension of a rising among the servants, owing to their great necessities and want of clothes; they may plunder the storehouses and ships."
Escape was easier than rebellion. "Numerous instances of mass desertions by white servants took place in the Southern colonies," reports Richard Morris, on the basis of an inspection of colonial newspapers in the 1700s. "The atmosphere of seventeenth-century Virginia," he says, "was charged with plots and rumors of combinations of servants to run away." The Maryland court records show, in the 1650s, a conspiracy of a dozen servants to seize a boat and to resist with arms if intercepted. They were captured and whipped.
The mechanism of control was formidable. Strangers had to show passports or certificates to prove they were free men. Agreements among the colonies provided for the extradition of fugitive servants- these became the basis of the clause in the U.S. Constitution that persons "held to Service or Labor in one State ... escaping into another ... shall be delivered up...."
Sometimes, servants went on strike. One Maryland master complained to the Provincial Court in 1663 that his servants did "peremptorily and positively refuse to goe and doe their ordinary labor." The servants responded that they were fed only "Beanes and Bread" and they were "soe weake, wee are not able to perform the imploym'ts hee puts us uppon." They were given thirty lashes by the court.
More than half the colonists who came to the North American shores in the colonial period came as servants. They were mostly English in the seventeenth century, Irish and German in the eighteenth century. More and more, slaves replaced them, as they ran away to freedom or finished their time, but as late as 1755, white servants made up 10 percent of the population of Maryland.
What happened to these servants after they became free? There are cheerful accounts in which they rise to prosperity, becoming landowners and important figures. But Abbot Smith, after a careful study, concludes that colonial society "was not democratic and certainly not equalitarian; it was dominated by men who had money enough to make others work for them." And: "Few of these men were descended from indentured servants, and practically none had themselves been of that class."
After we make our way through Abbot Smith's disdain for the servants, as "men and women who were dirty and lazy, rough, ignorant, lewd, and often criminal," who "thieved and wandered, had bastard children, and corrupted society with loathsome diseases," we find that "about one in ten was a sound and solid individual, who would if fortunate survive his 'seasoning,' work out his time, take up land, and wax decently prosperous." Perhaps another one in ten would become an artisan or an overseer. The rest, 80 percent, who were "certainly ... shiftless, hopeless, ruined individuals," either "died during their servitude, returned to England after it was over, or became 'poor whites.'"
Friday, July 4, 2008
Many people do not know what it really meant to be an indentured servant when this country was a British colony. They imagine an agreement was made between two adults that in return for the cost of transportation here, the indentured servant would work a period of time, usually 7 years, in return for his or her debt. At first a small acreage was even awarded along with a sum of money and suit of clothes. That was soon phased out. There were many opportunities for the exploitation of this system and most were employed. It became common for people including children to be kidnapped (kid nabbed). The courts sent many persons convicted of crimes large and small to the colonies. Poor children were sent so that they not be a burden on the government. Young women and men were tricked aboard or knocked in the head and carried on board. It made no difference once the ship set sail. They were cut off forever from their friends and families.
Conditions on board were terrible. The ship's captains transported as many as possible, as cheaply as possible, and sold their indentureships once in the colonies. No attempt was made to keep families together. Conditions in the new country were so horrible that as many as 4 out of 5 soon died.
Eventually conditions became so bad that some of these people banded together and rebelled. It was called "Bacon's Rebellion".
Some call this the first stirrings of the eventual American Revolution.
Persons of Mean and Vile Condition
In 1676, seventy years after Virginia was founded, a hundred years before it supplied leadership for the American Revolution, that colony faced a rebellion of white frontiersmen, joined by slaves and servants, a rebellion so threatening that the governor had to flee the burning capital of Jamestown, and England decided to send a thousand soldiers across the Atlantic, hoping to maintain order among forty thousand colonists. This was Bacon's Rebellion. After the uprising was suppressed, its leader, Nathaniel Bacon, dead, and his associates hanged, Bacon was described in a Royal Commission report:
He was said to be about four or five and thirty years of age, indifferent tall but slender, black-hair'd and of an ominous, pensive, melancholly Aspect, of a pestilent and prevalent Logical discourse tending to atheisme... . He seduced the Vulgar and most ignorant people to believe (two thirds of each county being of that Sort) Soc that their whole hearts and hopes were set now upon Bacon. Next he charges the Governour as negligent and wicked, treacherous and incapable, the Lawes and Taxes as unjust and oppressive and cryes up absolute necessity of redress. Thus Bacon encouraged the Tumult and as the unquiet crowd follow and adhere to him, he listeth them as they come in upon a large paper, writing their name circular wise, that their Ringleaders might not be found out. Having connur'd them into this circle, given them Brandy to wind up the charme, and enjoyned them by an oath to stick fast together and to him and the oath being administered, he went and infected New Kent County ripe for Rebellion.Bacon's Rebellion began with conflict over how to deal with the Indians, who were close by, on the western frontier, constantly threatening. Whites who had been ignored when huge land grants around Jamestown were given away had gone west to find land, and there they encountered Indians. Were those frontier Virginians resentful that the politicos and landed aristocrats who controlled the colony's government in Jamestown first pushed them westward into Indian territory, and then seemed indecisive in fighting the Indians? That might explain the character of their rebellion, not easily classifiable as either antiaristocrat or anti-Indian, because it was both.
And the governor, William Berkeley, and his Jamestown crowd-were they more conciliatory to the Indians (they wooed certain of them as spies and allies) now that they had monopolized the land in the East, could use frontier whites as a buffer, and needed peace? The desperation of the government in suppressing the rebellion seemed to have a double motive: developing an Indian policy which would divide Indians in order to control them (in New England at this very time, Massasoit's son Metacom was threatening to unite Indian tribes, and had done frightening damage to Puritan settlements in "King Philip's War"); and teaching the poor whites of Virginia that rebellion did not pay-by a show of superior force, by calling for troops from England itself, by mass hanging.
Violence had escalated on the frontier before the rebellion. Some Doeg Indians took a few hogs to redress a debt, and whites, retrieving the hogs, murdered two Indians. The Doegs then sent out a war party to kill a white herdsman, after which a white militia company killed twenty-four Indians. This led to a series of Indian raids, with the Indians, outnumbered, turning to guerrilla warfare. The House of Burgesses in Jamestown declared war on the Indians, but proposed to exempt those Indians who cooperated. This seemed to anger the frontiers people, who wanted total war but also resented the high taxes assessed to pay for the war.
Times were hard in 1676. "There was genuine distress, genuine poverty.... All contemporary sources speak of the great mass of people as living in severe economic straits," writes Wilcomb Washburn, who, using British colonial records, has done an exhaustive study of Bacon's Rebellion. It was a dry summer, ruining the corn crop, which was needed for food, and the tobacco crop, needed for export. Governor Berkeley, in his seventies, tired of holding office, wrote wearily about his situation: "How miserable that man is that Governes a People where six parts of seaven at least are Poore Endebted Discontented and Armed."
His phrase "six parts of seaven" suggests the existence of an upper class not so impoverished. In fact, there was such a class already developed in Virginia. Bacon himself came from this class, had a good bit of land, and was probably more enthusiastic about killing Indians than about redressing the grievances of the poor. But he became a symbol of mass resentment against the Virginia establishment, and was elected in the spring of 1676 to the House of Burgesses. When he insisted on organizing armed detachments to fight the Indians, outside official control, Berkeley proclaimed him a rebel and had him captured, whereupon two thousand Virginians marched into Jamestown to support him. Berkeley let Bacon go, in return for an apology, but Bacon went off, gathered his militia, and began raiding the Indians.
Bacon's "Declaration of the People" of July 1676 shows a mixture of populist resentment against the rich and frontier hatred of the Indians. It indicted the Berkeley administration for unjust taxes, for putting favorites in high positions, for monopolizing the beaver trade, and for not protecting the western formers from the Indians. Then Bacon went out to attack the friendly Pamunkey Indians, killing eight, taking others prisoner, plundering their possessions.
There is evidence that the rank and file of both Bacon's rebel army and Berkeley's official army were not as enthusiastic as their leaders. There were mass desertions on both sides, according to Washburn. In the fall, Bacon, aged twenty-nine, fell sick and died, because of, as a contemporary put it, "swarmes of Vermyn that bred in his body." A minister, apparently not a sympathizer, wrote this epitaph:
Bacon is Dead I am sorry at my heart,The rebellion didn't last long after that. A ship armed with thirty guns, cruising the York River, became the base for securing order, and its captain, Thomas Grantham, used force and deception to disarm the last rebel forces. Coming upon the chief garrison of the rebellion, he found four hundred armed Englishmen and Negroes, a mixture of free men, servants, and slaves. He promised to pardon everyone, to give freedom to slaves and servants, whereupon they surrendered their arms and dispersed, except for eighty Negroes and twenty English who insisted on keeping their arms. Grantham promised to take them to a garrison down the river, but when they got into the boat, he trained his big guns on them, disarmed them, and eventually delivered the slaves and servants to their masters. The remaining garrisons were overcome one by one. Twenty-three rebel leaders were hanged.
That lice and flux should take the hangmans part.
To be Cont.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
The Poor Unhappy Transported Felon's Sorrowful Account of His Fourteen Years Transportation, at Virginia, in America. In Six Parts. Being a Remarkable and Succinct History of the Life of James Revel, the Unhappy Sufferer Who Was Put Apprentice by His Father to a Tinman, Near Moorfields, Where He Got into Bad Company and Before Long Ran Away, and Went Robbing with a Gang of Thieves, But His Master Soon Got Him Back Again; Yet Would Not Be Be [sic] Kept from His Old Companions, But Went Thieving with Them Again, for Which He Was Transported Fourteen Years. With an Account of the Way the Transports Work, and the Punishment They Receive for Committing Any Fault. Concluding with a Word of Advice for All Young Men.
[York: C. Croshaw, ca. 1800].
Click on image to enlarge: