The entry of Europeans into the Indian’s world caused a series of dislocations through disease, trade, and warfare. Indian leaders, who encountered new diplomatic and trading partners, found themselves caught between a familiar old and an unsettling new world. John Lawson, employed by Carolina’s proprietor to explore the colony’s backcounry and aspiring to a career as a natural scientist, spent months traveling through the Carolina interior in the company of colonists and Indians. This excerpt from Lawson’s published account of the trip describes the final leg of the journey, when Lawson relied on Enoe Will, the chief of the Eno-Shakori. Will was a well known and trusted guide among colonial traders. He confided to Lawson that he feared he had alienated some of his own people, and now sought European protection. But Will remained close to his native religion and roundly rejected Lawson’s offer of conversion to Christianity.
As soon as it was day, we set out for the Achonechy-Town, it being, by Estimation, 20 Miles off, which, I believe, is pretty exact. We were got about half way, (meeting great Gangs of Turkies) when we saw, at a Distance, 30 loaded Horses, coming on the Road, with four or five Men, on other Jades, driving them. We charg’d our Piece, and went up to them: Enquiring, whence they came from? They told us, from Virginia. The leading Man’s name was Massey, who was born about Leeds in Yorkshire. He ask’d, from whence we came? We told him. Then he ask’d again, Whether we wanted anything that he had? telling us, we should be welcome to it. We accepted of Two Wheaten Biskets, and a little Ammunition. He advised us, by all means, to strike down the Country for Ronoack, and not think of Virginia, because of the Sinnagers, of whom they were afraid, tho' so well arm’d, and numerous. They persuaded us also, to call upon one Enoe Will, as we went to Adshusheer, for that he would conduct us safe among the English, giving him the Character of a very faithful Indian, which we afterwards found true by Experience. The Virginia-Men asking our opinion of the Country we were then in? we told them, it was a very pleasant one. They were all of the same Opinion, and affirm’d, That they had never seen 20 Miles of such extraordinary rich Land, lying all together, like that betwixt Hau-River and the Achonechy Town. Having taken our Leaves of each other, we set forward; and the Country, thro' which we pass’d, was so delightful, that it gave us a great deal of Satisfaction. About Three a Clock we reach’d the Town, and the Indians presently brought us good fat Bear, and Venison, which was very acceptable at that time. Their Cabins were hung with a good sort of Tapestry, as fat Bear, and barbakued or dried Venison; no Indians having greater Plenty of Provisions than these. The Savages do, indeed, still possess the Flower of Carolina, the English enjoying only the Fag-end of that that fine Country. We had not been in the Town 2 Hours, when Enoe Will came into the King’s Cabin; which was our Quarters. We ask’d him, if he would conduct us to the English, and what he would have for his Pains; he answer’d, he would go along with us, and for what he was to have, he left that to our Discretion.
The next Morning, we set out, with Enoe-Will, towards Adshusheer, leaving the Virginia Path, and striking more to the Eastward, for Ronoack. Several Indians were in our Company belonging to Will’s Nation, who are the Shoccories, mixt with the Enoe-Indians, and those of the Nation of Adshusheer. Enoe Will is their chief Man, and rules as far as the Banks of Reatkin. It was a sad stony Way to Adshusheer. We went over a small River by Achonechy, and in this 14 Miles, through several other Streams, which empty themselves into the Branches of Cape-Fair. The stony Way made me quite lame; so that I was an Hour or two behind the rest; but honest Will would not leave me, but bid me welcome when we came to his House, feasting us with hot Bread, and Bear’s-Oil; which is wholesome Food for Travellers. There runs a pretty Rivulet by this Town. Near the Plantation, I saw a prodigious overgrown Pine-Tree, having not seen any of that Sort of Timber for above 125 Miles: They brought us 2 Cocks, and pull’d their larger Feathers off, never plucking the lesser, but singeing them off. I took one of these Fowls in my Hand, to make it cleaner than the Indian had, pulling out his Guts and Liver, which I laid in a Bason; notwithstanding which, he kept such a Struggling for a considerable time, that I had much ado to hold him in my Hands. The Indians laugh’d at me, and told me, that Enoe- Will had taken a Cock of an Indian that was not at home, and the Fowl was design’d for another Use. I conjectur’d, that he was design’d for an Offering to their God, who, they say, hurts them, (which is the Devil.) In this Struggling, he bled afresh, and there issued out of his Body more Blood than commonly such Creatures afford. Notwithstanding all this, we cook’d him, and eat him; and if he was design’d for him, cheated the Devil. The Indians keep many Cocks, but seldom above one Hen, using very often such wicked Sacrifices, as I mistrusted this Fowl was design’d for.
Our Guide and Landlord Enoe-Will was of the best and most agreeable Temper that ever I met with in an Indian, being always ready to serve the English, not out of Gain, but real Affection; which makes him apprehensive of being poison’d by some wicked Indians, and was therefore very earnest with me, to promise him to revenge his Death, if it should so happen. He brought some of his chief Men into his Cabin, and 2 of them having a Drum, and a Rattle, sung by us, as we lay in Bed, and struck up their Musick to serenade and welcome us to their Town. And tho' at last, we fell asleep, yet they continu’d their Concert till Morning. These Indians are fortify’d in, as the former, and are much addicted to a Sport called Chenco, which is carry’d on with a Staff and a Bowl made of Stone, which they trundle upon a smooth Place, like a Bowling-Green, made for that Purpose, as I have mention’d before.
Next Morning, we set out, with our Guide and several other Indians, who intended to go to the English, and buy Rum. We design’d for a Nation about 40 Miles from Adshusheer, call’d the Lower-Quarter: The first Night, we lay in a rich Perkoson, or low Ground, that was hard-by a Creek, and good dry Land. The next day, we went over several Tracts of rich Land, but mix’d with Pines and other indifferent Soil. In our way, there stood a great Stone about the Size of a large Oven, and hollow; this the Indians took great Notice of, putting some Tobacco into the Concavity, and spitting after it. I ask’d them the Reason of their so doing, but they made me no Answer. In the Evening, we pass’d over a pleasant Rivulet, with a fine gravelly Bottom, having come over such another that Morning. On the other side of this River, we found the Indian Town, which was a Parcel of nasty smoaky Holes, much like the Waterrees; their Town having a great Swamp running directly through the Middle thereof. The Land here begins to abate of its Height, and has some few Swamps. Most of these Indians have but one Eye; but what Mischance or Quarrel has bereav’d them of the other I could not learn. They were not so free to us, as most of the other Indians had been; Victuals being somewhat scarce among them. However, we got enough to satisfy our Appetites. I saw, among these Men, very long Arrows, headed with Pieces of Glass, which they had broken from Bottles. They had shap’d them neatly, like the Head of a Dart; but which way they did it, I can’t tell. We had not been at this Town above an Hour, when two of our Company, that had bought a Mare of John Stewart, came up to us, having receiv’d a Letter by one of Will’s. Indians, who was very cautious, and asked a great many Questions, to certifie him of the Person, e’er he would deliver the Letter. They had left the Trader, and one that came from South-Carolina with us, to go to Virginia; these Two being resolved to go to Carolina with us.
This Day fell much Rain, so we staid at the Indian Town.
This Morning, we set out early, being four English-Men, besides several Indians. We went 10 Miles, and were then stopp’d by the Freshes of Enoe-River, which had rais’d it so high, that we could not pass over, till it was fallen. I enquir’d of my Guide, Where this River disgorg’d it self? He said, It was Enoe-River, and run into a Place call’d Enoe-Bay, near his Country, which he left when he was a Boy; by which I perceiv’d, he was one of the Cores by Birth: This being a Branch of Neus-River.
This Day, our Fellow-Traveller’s Mare ran away from him; wherefore, Will went back as far as the lower Quarter, and brought her back.
The next Day, early, came two Tuskeruro Indians to the other side of the River, but could not get over. They talk’d much to us, but we understood them not. In the Afternoon, Will came with the Mare, and had some Discourse with them; they told him, The English, to whom he was going, were very wicked People; and, That they threatened the Indians for Hunting near their Plantations. These Two Fellows were going among the Shoccores and Achonechy Indians, to sell their Wooden Bowls and Ladles for Raw-Skins, which they make great Advantage of, hating that any of these Westward Indians should have any Commerce with the English, which would prove a Hinderance to their Gains. Their Stories deterr’d an Old Indian and his Son, from going any farther; but Will told us, Nothing they had said should frighten him, he believing them to be a couple of Hog-stealers; and that the English only sought Restitution of their Losses, by them; and that this was the only ground for their Report. Will had a Slave, a Sissipahau-Indian by Nation, who killed us several Turkies, and other Game, on which we feasted.
This River is near as large as Reatkin; the South-side having curious Tracts of good Land, the Banks high, and Stone-Quarries. The Tuskeruros being come to us, we ventur’d over the River, which we found to be a strong Current, and the Water about Breast-high.
However, we all got safe to the North-Shore, which is but poor, white, sandy Land, and bears no Timber, but small shrubby Oaks. We went about 10 Miles, and sat down at the Falls of a large Creek, where lay mighty Rocks, the Water making a strange Noise, as if a great many Water-Mills were going at once. I take this to be the Falls of Neus-Creek, called by the Indians, Wee quo Whom. We lay here all Night. My Guide Will desiring to see the Book that I had about me, I lent it him; and as he soon found the Picture of King David, he asked me several Questions concerning the Book, and Picture, which I resolv’d him, and invited him to become a Christian. He made me a very sharp Reply, assuring me, That he lov’d the English extraordinary well, and did believe their Ways to be very good for those that had already practic’d them, and had been brought up therein; But as for himself, he was too much in Years to think of a Change, esteeming it not proper for Old People to admit of such an Alteration. However, he told me, If I would take his Son Jack, who was then about 14 Years of Age, and teach him to talk in that Book, and make Paper speak, which they call our Way of Writing, he would wholly resign him to my Tuition; telling me, he was of Opinion, I was very well affected to the Indians.
The next Morning, we set out early, and I perceiv’d that these Indians were in some fear of Enemies; for they had an Old Man with them, who was very cunning and circumspect, wheresoever he saw any Marks of Footing, or of any Fire that had been made; going out of his Way, very often, to look for these Marks. We went, this day, above 30 Miles, over a very level Country, and most Pine Land, yet intermix’d with some Quantities of Marble; a good Range for Cattel, though very indifferent for Swine. We had now lost our rapid Streams, and were come to slow, dead Waters, of a brown Colour, proceeding from the Swamps, much like the Sluices in Holland, where the Track-Scoots go along. In the Afternoon, we met two Tuskeruros, who told us, That there was a Company of Hunters not far of, and if we walk’d stoutly we might reach them that Night. But Will and He that own’d the Mare, being gone before, and the Old Indian tired, we rested, that Night, in the Woods, making a good light Fire, Wood being very plentiful in these Parts.
Next Day, about 10 a Clock, we struck out of the Way, by the Advice of our Old Indian. We had not gone past two Miles, e’er we met with about 500 Tuskeruros in one Hunting-Quarter. They had made themselves Streets of Houses, built with Pine-Bark, not with round Tops, as they commonly use, but Ridge-Fashion, after the manner of most other Indians. We got nothing amongst them but Corn, Flesh being not plentiful, by reason of the great Number of their their People. For tho' they are expert Hunters, yet they are too populous for one Range, which makes Venison very scarce to what it is amongst other Indians, that are fewer; no Savages living so well for Plenty, as those near the Sea. I saw, amongst these, a Humpback’d Indian, which was the only crooked one I ever met withal. About two a Clock, we reach’d one of their Towns, in which there was no body left, but an Old Woman or two; the rest being gone to Hunting-Quarters. We could find no Provision at that Place. We had a Tuskeruro that came in company with us, from the lower Quarter, who took us to his Cabin, and gave us what it afforded, which was Corn-meat.
This Day, we pass’d through several Swamps, and going not above a dozen Miles, came to a Cabin, the Master whereof us’d to trade amongst the English. He told us, If we would stay Two Nights, he would conduct us safe to them, himself designing, at that time, to go and fetch some Rum; so we resolved to tarry for his Company. During our Stay, there happen’d to be a Young Woman troubled with Fits. The Doctor who was sent for to assist her, laid her on her Belly, and made a small Incision with Rattle-Snake-Teeth; then laying his Mouth to the Place, he suck’d out near a Quart of black conglutinated Blood, and Serum. Our Landlord gave us the Tail of a Bever, which was a choice Food. There happen’d also to be a Burial of one of their Dead, which Ceremony is much the same with that of the Santees, who make a great Feast at the Interment of their Corps. The small Runs of Water hereabout, afford great Plenty of Craw-Fish, full as large as those in England, and nothing inferior in Goodness.
Saturday Morning, our Patron, with Enoe Will, and his Servant, set out with us, for the English. In the Afternoon, we ferried over a River, (in a Canoe) called by the Indians, Chattookau, which is the N. W. Branch of Tuews-River. We lay in the Swamp, where some Indians invited us to go to their Quarters, which some of our Company accepted, but got nothing extraordinary, except a dozen Miles March out of their Way: The Country here is very thick of Indian Towns and Plantations.
We were forced to march, this day, for Want of Provisions. About 10 a Clock, we met an Indian that had got a parcel of Shad-Fish ready barbaku’d. We bought 24 of them, for a dress’d Doe-Skin, and so went on, through many Swamps, finding, this day, the long ragged Moss on the Trees, which we had not seen for above 600 Miles. In the Afternoon, we came upon the Banks of Pampticough, about 20 Miles above the English Plantations by Water, though not so far by Land. The Indian found a Canoe, which he had hidden, in which we all got over, and went about six Miles farther. We lay, that Night, under two or three Pieces of Bark, at the Foot of a large Oak. There fell abundance of Snow and Rain in the Night, with much Thunder and Lightning.
Next Day, it clear’d up, and it being about 12 Miles to the English, about half-way we passed over a deep Creek, and came safe to Mr. Richard Smith's, of Pampticough River, in North Carolina; where being well receiv’d by the Inhabitants, and pleas’d with the Goodness of the Country, we all resolv’d to continue.
Source: John Lawson, A New Voyage to Carolina; Containing the Exact Description and Natural History of that Country (London, 1709), 55–60.