Robert King Carter's Correspondence and Diary

   A Collection Transcribed
        and Digitized
   by Edmund Berkeley, Jr.

List of Letters | About This Collection

Electronic Text Center , University of Virginia Library


Letter from Robert Carter to Sir Richard Everard, [post February 1,]1727

     Robert Carter writes to Sir Richard Everard, [post February 1,] 1727, governor of North Carolina, concerning the handling of problems with a number of Indian tribes that were resolved peacefully particularly by firm positions taken by Nathaniel Harrison as commander of the Virginia militia.

Letter from Robert Carter to Sir Richard Everard, [post February 1,] 1727

-1 -

[Williamsburg, Virginia]
[post February 1,] 1727
Sir Richd Everard


     The letter you did me the favour to write of the 30th of
last month has given me an opportunity to remove the fears of
the Nottoway Indians, by letting them know the result of your --
Conference with the Maherines, And because I am willing to
satisfy those Indians as to the conduct of our other Tributaries,
of whom they seem to entertain some suspicition, I take this
occasion to acquaint you that Collo Harrison who has strictly
examined and observed on the actions of our Tributaries while
the Cattabaws were in their neighbourhood, assures me --
that the old Cuanichee King (by which we suppose is meant
the Tattero King) has lived on a plantation of his these
five years past, and has little or no correspondence with
the Saponies, and that he was so far from assisting the
Cattabaws , that he was in very great danger of being --
killed by one of their parties who beset his house from --
whence he very narrowly escaped, and lay concealed in a Swamp
untill Colo Harrison marched out with the a body of the --
Militia and obliged the Cattabaws to return back to their
own Country

     But the Saponies readily own'd to Collo Harrison that
three of their men contrary to their express orders went
with the Cattabaws under pretence of guiding them to the
Tusiaruros but it seems they afterwards altered their --
Route and only five of them with one of the Saponies,
went to the Tuscaruroes, the rest of the party marching
directly for the Maherines, and upon Collo Harrison's --
Orders the Chief men of the Saponies, very frankly --
agreed to send in these three fellows bound to his Collo --
Harrison's house, but they being apprehensive they should
be delivered up to the Maherines, as was indeed intended --
returned no more to the Saponies, town, but stayed with the --

-2 -

Cattabaws on Roanoke where one of them died, and the other two
are gone off with them. Thus you see how little reason there is
to make the Saponies, accountable for the action of these --
Renegades, who, as they join'd the Cattabaws ">Cattabawas against the
will of their nation, are now no longer in their power
either to be punished or delivered up by them: I must also
in justice to the Saponies, inform you that, tho' they think
they have had just cause to make war on the Tuscaruroes
for the loss of so many of their men killed by that nation
last winter, yet they absolutedly refused to join the Cattabaws
in attacking Blounts Town as was proposed to them, declaring
they would not rest contented with such satisfaction as this --
Government should think fit to obtain of the Tuscarures
rather than transgress the orders they had received from
hence, by taking a revenge of their own, and this may
serve to convince the Maherines of the peaceable dispositn
of the Saponies, , and how far that nation has been from --
assisting the Cattabaws [sic] in the mischief they have --

     As to the Maherines, boy taken prisoner Collo Harrison
in his Conference with some of the Chiefs of that party
who took him insisted on his being restored, and threatned
them with the resentment of this Governmt: in case it
were either refused or delayed, but the boy being some time
before sent away to the Cattabaw Town, all that could
be obtain'dwas a promise from the King of the Sagars
Indians that as soon as he got home the boy should be
sent to Colo Harrisons; so that if any credit is to be --
given to the promise of this Indian King, the Maherines
may soon expect the return of this prisoner, if not they
will see how ready this Government is to do them good offices
even without their application.

     This you will be pleased to represent to the Maherines, as a
proof of our inclination to do ther gratify them in any thing that
is reasonable, and I hope they will not insist upon what is
otherwise, as is that of their demand of treaties ? satisfaction --

-3 -

from a nation that has no ways injured them.


Source copy consulted: State Records, Colonial Government (RG-1), Colonial Papers, 1630-1778, Library of Virginia, Richmond. The retained draft is endorsed several times in different and not contemporary hands: "To Sir Richd. Everard | in relation to Indians on | Southern frontier -- | 17 00 | [illegible] | [illegible] | Between July 19th 1725 & | 1731. |1727. 1716 "

An abstract of the letter was published in Headlam. Calendar of State Papers Colonial Series. I:214.

The date of the letter is determined by the a record of the receipt of this letter by the North Carolina governor who had it read to the Council of that colony on April 3, 1727, and that Carter wrote in his diary February 1, 1727, "The Council mett late we prorougd the Assembly Went upon the Enquiry of the Murder of the Suppones." A. Christoper Meekins of the State Archives, Office of Archives and Records, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, wrote the editor April 26, 2004, that the recipent's copy of Carter's letter to Everard apparently has not survived as it cannot be located among the holdings in the Archives. (Robert J. Cain, ed. Records of the Executive Council 1664-1734 in The Colonial Records of North Carolina, Second Series. [Raleigh: Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1984.] p. 170.)

There were discussions of the problems with the Indians during the Virginia Council meetings going back into 1726. See McIlwaine. Executive Journals of the Council. . . . , 4[1721-1739]:125-45.

[1] Sir Richard Everard (1683-1733) was the governor of the colony of North Carolina 1725-1731 when that colony was owned by lords proprietors. ("North Carolina Governors" in "North Carolina Encyclopedia" placed online by the State Library of North Carolina. [, 8/4/03] )

[2] Nathaniel Harrison (1697-1727) of "Wakefield," Surry County, justice, burgess, naval officer, receiver of duties, and auditor general, was appointed to the Council in 1713. (Tyler, Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. I, 152; "Nathaniel Ingles Harrison, 1697-1727" ;and McIlwaine, Executive Journals of the Council , 3(1721-1739): 523-527).

[3] Blount's Town had been established on the Roanoke River in the colony of North Carolina in 1717 in a treaty with Tuscaroras. ( Fletcher Freeman. William Tayor, Tuscazrora Indian" at "Native Heritage Project." Viewed 11/12/2013. )

This text, originally posted in 2004, was revised November 12, 2013, to strengthen the footnotes and modern language version text.