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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Early North Carolina Surveys - Hatteras Island

The Tuscarora War in North Carolina from 1711-1715 was a hellish affair for many European colonists.  Indians attacked without warning, some termed it a “hellish tragedy” and “grossest piece of villainy,” 130 people killed at the head of the Neuse River alone.  According to Christopher Gale’s memorial, colonists faced death at the hands of friends, “esteemed as members of the several families where the mischiefs were done, and that with smiles in their countenances, when their intent was to destroy." 

Needless to say, Hancock's hostile warriors' attacks made an impression and the haste with which these men took to permanently settling Hatteras may have caused more trouble than it was worth!

In 1716, right after the war was over, colonists who had visited the island before for mercantile purposes, began to stake claims on Hatteras Island.  One of these men was John O'Neal:

1716 John O'Neal grant on "Hatteras Banks"

John O'Neal's grant of 1716 consisted partly of the land later granted to "William Elks and the Rest of the Hatteras Indians" in 1759.   Presumably, the famous "Indian Towne" of John Lawson fame rests within this patent, for John O'Neal served as their agent in 1720.  

Drawing this patent or any other survey is usually not a problem.  Unfortunately, early surveys in North Carolina could be VERY inaccurate!  John O'Neal's is no exception.

The bounds are as follows:

"Beginning at ye mouth of Tom King Creek then up the said creek by various courses 320 poles [1 mile] and from the Beginning on the Sound N.45 E. 220 po. to a stake S. 45 E. 320 po. into ye woods to a pine, S. 45 W. 220 po. to ye first station...." 

The first problem that becomes apparent involves "and from the Beginning on the Sound..."... where exactly does this start?  At the end of the travel 320 poles down the creek?  Or is it a continuation of the description for the first line?  If we assume that you go d
own the creek 320 poles FIRST, then you have a rectangular plot of land that starts one mile down the creek with an open side... which doesn't make any sense.  

Logic suggests that this phrase refers to the next boundary of "N. 45 E. 220 poles."  When you do this, you get a rectangular plot that begins from the Sound's edge straight into the island's interior, where you might, inded, find "woods."  So, drawing it this way, we have:

1716 O'Neal plot on a map of Hatteras Island showing the actual run of Tom King's Creek

Once we see the plot on the map above, we begin to realize that Tom King's Creek does not run the way that the surveyor originally thought.  Now, if the surveyor was on site, taking this survey, he most likely would have noticed.  The conclusion becomes that he wasn't there, or he took a serious shortcut.  

As it turns out, the North Carolina Colonial Records mentions an aberration in early surveys that may well explain this result.

George Burrington, first royal governor of North Carolina, sent a letter to the duke of Newcastle in 1733, complaining of the colony's surveyor, Edward Moseley, committing a "multitude of frauds and concealments" in his surveys.  One of those involved measuring two points from the shore (shortest distance to walk from their boat, obviously) and assuming the rest of the perfectly rectangular survey... which this one on Hatteras just happens to resemble.  

Not all early surveys were performed so badly... read: illegally.  Still, in a colony full of empty land, who would question the survey in the lifetime of the surveyor.   Of course, if this was done as a matter of course, as Edward Moseley often did in 1733 with his family and their illegal land theft, it soon became apparent to his neighbors... and victims... namely, King George II.   

From the 1883 map of Hatteras, it is easy to see that. from a boat in the Sound, Tom King's Creek appears to run directly SE from the shore.  But, probably beyond the surveyor's sight, the creek turns almost 90 degrees abruptly to the NE.  If you try to connect the open side of the survey with the path of the creek, it becomes an impossible survey.

Therefore, the original meaning of the survey is as shown... as far as we can tell.  The best part is that a rectangle of 320 poles on one side and 220 poles on the others exactly equals 440 acres!  But, since one side was a creek... with meanders and inexact bounds, the land was probably not exactly 440 acres.  Still, it's close enough considering the tremendous errors already incurred. 

There's more, however... yeah, even more!  And this is just where it gets interesting...

Other colonists received grants in the same general area... as a matter of fact, two others received grants that fell on the same lands... they intersected each other.  This error or malfeasance on the surveyor's part actually may have gotten a man killed.

Patrick Callahan obtained another patent in 1716 for the south side of this misinterpreted Tom King’s Creek, adjacent to, or across from, O'Neal.  The misinterpreted creek would have given O'Neal less than his 440 acres and Callahan the portion that O'Neal had lost.  

1716 Patrick Callahan Grant
Three weeks later, Callahan and John O’Neale discovered that Henry Davis’ grant boundaries, according to the wording of the grant, overlapped both of theirs.  Davis’ patent had been surveyed at the wrong angle, causing his land to appear to extend across the lands of the other two men at nearly a right angle to the sound shore, rather than running along the shore as originally intended, just north of O'Neal.  There also was not enough land still available northward of O'Neal for Davis to have his full grant once rotated to the proper angle.  The situation was seriously messed up!

1716 Henry Davis Grant

This misunderstanding became a serious problem, especially for Henry Davis.  Early Currituck County tax records show that Callahan and Davis both had difficulty paying their taxes on this property and this added financial strain probably heightened their anxiety over the land dispute.  John O'Neal, by contrast, did not appear on the delinquent tax records.  

Callahan must have demanded that he had a right to the land, as opposed to Davis’ claim.  Both were valid claims as originally written and, in fact, Callahan stood to gain more land than he was supposed to have by the grant as originally written.  By 1719, the year following the pirate Blackbeard’s death only miles away, Callihan’s avarice and great financial need fueled a deadly conflict with Henry Davis over both of their badly-surveyed patents.  Callihan “beat cutt & bruise[d Davis] by giving and striking him two Mortall blows and cutts on the head with a certain weapon called a Cymeter or Cuttlash [sic].”    Davis died a few hours later and Patrick Callahan, found guilty of manslaughter, forfeited “all his goods & Chattells for ever and the profits of his Lands for a year and a day [sic].”   This probably resulted in Callihan’s land south of John O’Neale to lapse for lack of payment on his already delinquent taxes for he is never heard from again on Hatteras.  Perhaps the lesser of his punishments involved branding an “M” on his thumb – for “murderer.”  

The disposition of these lands after the fatal dispute must be guessed at, for no one changed the official records to reflect the corrections.  If records had been made of this account, they have not been found.  This is my best guess:

1720 Readjustment of Hatteras Properties Mistaken by Erroneous Surveys

Henry Davis’ patent, now belonging to his young daughter Mary, later wife of Thomas Robb, was probably rotated counterclockwise to allow for John O’Neal’s patent to its south.  The O’Neal patent was subsequently extended across Tom King’s Creek to adjust for the earlier misinterpretation.  This placed Davis’ land on the north shore of Hatteras Island as originally intended, including both King’s and Brooks’ Points.  There was still, however, a problem with the patent that would not reveal itself for decades as Mary Davis grew, married, and gave birth to her son.  

When she came of age, Mary Davis Robb thought that she would possess the marshes and hills north of the Indian Town at Trent Woods, including both King’s and Brooks’ Point.  After all, this was the meaning of her father’s patent.  It is likely that the intent was to leave the town to the care of John O’Neale, who, a few years later, appeared as the Indian’s official agent.  Unbeknownst to all involved, however, Mary Davis’ readjusted patent yet included the Indian town itself... another mistake that would pop up later.

John O’Neale still owned the bulk of the land south of Mary Davis that would later be deeded to the Elks band of Hatteras Indians.  Acting as their agent, on March 1, 1720, O’Neale received “20 lbs pow[d]er and 40 pounds shot with 100 flints” to deliver to them.   The colonial government desired “that they may not be unprovided to serve the publick [sic] if occasions requires,” alluding to their friendly inclinations during the recent war. 

John O’Neale later sold his patent to Samuel Stowe, but no extant deed tells of this.  Still, Stowe's 6 April 1737 sale to John Nelson Junr. of Pasquotank was recorded/copied and records full deed information that, unfortunately, was copied directly from the 1716 record in the patent books readily available to the registrar over 50 miles away.  Hatteras was only accessible by water, making the trip even that much more of a burden and that much less likely to have occurred.  The result?  We still know just as little about this grant as we did before!

6 April 1737 deed of Samuel Stowe to John Nelson Junr. of Pasquotank (portion)
That deed information was also slightly miscopied from the original data in the patent book, making the translation of this information that much more difficult without the original.  Sloppy work, huh?  Not me!  Them!  :)

Working with the Lost Colony Research Group over the last two years provided the data and "think tank" help to make this correlation AND the sudden "Eureka!" moment (I can feel the blood pressure rising again!) of recognizing that the old Elks grant was still partially visible on the Dare County GIS during the mapping procedure allowed us to pinpoint the town precisely!  At least, the effects of what these Hatteras folks did lasted through the years in the official county records (even if they were cryptic about it when they did it)...

When I am approached by historians or amateurs and criticized for my lack of detail on these surveys, the explanation/defense is far too long and complex.  Now, I can just link to this blog entry in an email and be off about lunch!  I like eastern North Carolina barbeque... lol.

Have a great day!


Dethroning the Kings of Cape Fear: Consequences of Edward Moseley's Surveys

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Aristocratic Pyrates of the Albemarle

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Brunswick Town and Wilmington

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Sunday, October 07, 2012

Bridges of Seal Cove, Tremont, Maine

This past summer, I took a train to Maine... mainly through the plain.  Sorry... couldn't resist.   Anyway, I did go to Maine.  I was part of a four-person team working on a shipwreck study.  Actually, the ship wasn't technically a wreck, but the result was the same... its remains have slowly decayed in the mud of Seal Cove, Tremont, Maine.  As you can see from the picture, there remains very little.  
Franklin H. Price, a graduate of East Carolina University’s Maritime Studies program (2006) and former resident of Tremont, Maine headed the team.  Price is currently employed as a senior archaeologist with the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research.  He began the Seal Cove Shipwreck Project last year in coordination with Arcadia National Park and the Institute of Maritime History.  Another member of the crew is Steve Dilk of NewYork and also a graduate of ECU’s maritime program (2012).  A third member is me, Baylus C. Brooks, currently a member of the same program (graduating in 2013) and the Seal Cove project’s historian.  Last, but not least, is Crista Shere, a student at College of the Atlantic, based in Bar Harbor, Maine located at the north end of Mount Desert Island (MDI).

My trip was a most pleasant one, even aside from getting out of North Carolina in the midst of a hot summer.  The temperatures were cool and we never had to run the air.  As a matter of fact, the apartment that we stayed in at Arcadia National Park on MDI did not even have that option!  

As the site historian for the Seal Cove Project, I was tasked with the study of Seal Cove's history.  Part of that history that we guessed pertained to the shipwreck was a lumber mill that sat just behind a bridge on Seal Cove Stream just at the outlet into Seal Cove.  The mill ceased operation, fell out of use by 1909, and was torn down by 1928.

Clipping from Bar Harbor Times and photo from William O. Sawtelle Center at Arcadia National Park
This picture of the old bridge just in front of the mill intrigued me.  The reason that it did so was the bridge that was there now... a sturdy, yet uncomplimentary affair designed with pragmatism in mind and not so much style.  Still, it seemed to sit further back than the one in the Sawtelle photo.  I began to wonder about the bridges that once existed at Seal Cove.

I became fascinated with the bridge’s history and discovered that there have been at least three bridges at Seal Cove outlet.  Aerial photos in 1966 showed the path of the road (Hwy 102) as it crosses the stream and the 1928 bridge just prior to demolition.  

1966 Aerial Photo and a modern-day Google Earth shot of the same location.
The bridges date 1808-1928 (probably more than one), 1928, and 1969.  Kevin McLaggin at the Maine DOT office was very helpful in finding old photos of the three last known bridges, which, by far, show that the 1928 bridge held the most awe-inspiring architectural beauty.  

Pre-1928 DOT photo of the old bridge with the Heath General Store on left and the W.W.A. Heath homestead right background.  The picture is taken from the former lands of Hiram Flye, farmer and shipbuilder and a contemporary of William W. A. Heath. 

1928 Bridge - Photo from Tremont Historical Society Collections
Dating the bridges aided also in understanding the disposition of the mill since it was so closely-related to the oldest known bridge.  In the days before a bridge, access south was obtained by a ford across the cove itself, indicated on Salem Towne Jr’s 1808 map.  So, the first bridge to be built across Seal Cove Stream would had to have been after that.  In fact, there may have been several, since they were composed of wood and decayed faster than modern bridges.  We have no data on those bridges. 

The DOT information was vital in determining the dates of the last two. Plans for the construction of these two bridges show that the last wooden bridge was closest to the cove itself, the 1928 bridge was built just north of the old wooden bridge, and the 1969 bridge was built in a much different location far to the north of the 1928 bridge, to allow for the lessening of the curvature of Highway 102.  

Composite of bridge photos, 1928 plans, and Google Earth image showing the same region.
 In 1969, the present bridge was constructed in a much different location.  As the picture above indicates, Highway 102 was straightened quite a bit to remove the hairpin curve at the entrance to the bridge built in 1928.  The advent of better and faster cars had a great influence on this change no doubt.  Sharp curves had become deadly... they weren't so bad when your horse-drawn carriage was making its way with fresh-cut lumber or produce.  

The plan for the 1969 bridge is below:

1969 Bridge Plan from Maine DOT

Here is the best shot available for this bridge, not nearly as beautiful as the artistic 1928 version:

The best part of researching on Mount Desert Island, mostly a tourist site, was the food.  We had beer, lobster, beer, seafood pizza, beer, and more beer.  And, still, we got some work done.  :)

Well, the trip back home was great!  I got to eat in a pub in Boston that reminded me of Cheers... right outside the train station.  I also got to stroll through Union Station in Washington, DC... a virtual Amtrak-World complete with a Barnes and Noble!  All in all it was a great trip!


Hopefully, at the end of 2017, I will be finished with my newest book: Dictionary of Pyrate Biography, 1713-1720 which will attempt for the first time ever to re-discover pirate history without using A General History. I guarantee a lot of surprises!

Please keep up with updates on my website at

Meanwhile, visit my Lulu page for already published material, including Quest for Blackbeard! 

Quest for Blackbeard is 15% OFF ALL PRINT FORMATS now at:

#blackbeard #pirates #history #maritime

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Does Your Lost Colony Theory Rely upon a Map Mistake made in 1671?

Just a quick thought about all of those theories about the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

You can't necessarily use old maps showing "Croatan" on the mainland west of Roanoke Island to support your theory that the colonists lived in the swamps of this mainland peninsula... when naming this peninsula "Croatan" was a mistake based on an earlier mistake made by the Roanoke voyagers in the first place!

Two maps (and copies of these) showed "Croatan" where the old Indian town of Dasemunkepeuc used to be.  John Ogilby's map of 1671 was produced for Carolina's new owners, the Lords Proprietors, to facilitate their holdings and settlement in Carolina.  Ogilby never set foot in America and actually was a dance-instructor-turned cartographer who quickly made this map not long before his death.  

John Lawson, on the other hand, HAD visited America, but his engraver, John Senex (who had not), modified Lawson's original manuscript map, removing certain features and possibly filling in details from other maps available in London at the time.  Since Lawson was a deputy of the Lords Proprietors, it is reasonable to assume that he and Senex would have had access to their maps.  Senex may have copied this detail from John Ogibly or, assuming that Lawson was familiar with Ogilby's map already, he may have copied his assumption.  

A comparison of the 1671 John Ogilby map and the 1709 John Lawson/John Senex map - both maps were produced for the Lords Proprietors of Carolina.
The map that probably influenced Lawson's was the earlier map drawn, redrawn and enhanced by four men in London and elsewhere (but NOT America).  Very important to remember is that this map had a different source (Gascoyne's map of 1682) and was, perhaps, not influenced by a misreading of Hakluyt.  It is shown below, compared with Lawson's map of 1709:

Several revisions had already taken place as can be seen in North Carolina Maps' historical note (MC.150.1685w;MARS Id: This is the third state of a map originally created by John Thornton at the Platt in the Minories, and Robert Morden at the Atlas in Corn-hill, London. Philip Lea purchased the plate, erased Morden and Thornton from the cartouche, added his own address, and published the second state of the map about 1690. He also erased "Ashley & Cooper River" as a title to the inset. George Willdey purchased the map between 1725-1735, revised the imprint, and published the map otherwise unaltered as the third state. The listing of settlements, details of the rivers, and other interior information are similar to Gascoyne's map of 1682. The soundings and coastline are more similar with the Lancaster 1679 manuscript map. The date 1685 is based on the time that Thornton, Morden, and Lea appear together in publications regarding the map. The map to right is Lawson's version of 1709.
Here's a blowup of the Dasemunkepeuc area on the 1685 map:

Where's "Croatan"??  It's not here!  These four guys did not misread Hakluyt.
The only reference made to Croatoans ever having visited this area was when some were accidentally killed there while gathering the left-over corn left by the Indians of Dasemunkepeuc in their hasty retreat from the likes of murderous Ralph Lane.  Governor John White of the last Roanoke Colony (the "Lost Colony") mentioned that they had accidentally killed a couple of their friends, the Croatoans, because of this mistake.  Then, he visited Hatteras Island (then known as "Croatoan") to apologize.  Luckily, the apology was accepted and all was well.  The Croatoan apparently understood that it might be hard for a European to tell a Croatoan from a Dasemunkepeucan.  They were, after all, better nourished and somewhat brighter than the average European.  :)

John Ogilby probably read Richard Hakluyt's details in a Discourse on Western Planting, perhaps between dance lessons, and marked this area, now the location of modern "Beechland," "Mann's Harbor" and "East Lake" as "Croatan" by mistake.  Other map makers, however, read Hakluyt as well and may have not skimmed it too much.  I'm referring to Willdey, Morden, Thornton, and Lea who all four had worked on the 1685 map seen above that Lawson used as a base for his map.  Cartographers were seldom original back then.  

Herman Moll was the only cartographer who used Lawson's map as a base for his own.  You can tell because of the term "Gingite" (modern "Jean's Gite") on the Outer Banks and the unique triangular shape of Hatteras Island which only Lawson's map showed before Moll:

1732 Herman Moll map:  Where's Croatan!!??  Moll's been reading his Hakluyt again!  :)

Obviously, Moll read Hakluyt at little closer than Ogilby and left a large blank area in the area of Dasemunkepeuc, even though he copied his map from Lawson!  Why not use "Croatan" there?  Lawson did!  He knew that Lawson had copied his map from Ogilby's who was just flat wrong! That's why. 
Aside from Ogilby, Lawson, and the maps that were copied from theirs, there has been no other known written early references to this area called "Croatan" having any association whatsoever with the Croatoan Indians.  

Edward Moseley, not the most careful surveyor (although he was well-educated!), apparently interpreted "Croatan" to be an island in the same general vicinity of Dasemnkepeuc:

Edward Moseley maps of 1733 and 1737

Moseley was only interested in flattering the Lords Proprietors, the King, and the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG)... or the few people he felt were more important than himself.  lol  He hated Lawson, but it looks as though he may have had a copy of his book!  Another "lol" for that one!

The point is... everyone in the eighteenth century misread or misinterpreted each other!
Modern maps do not always continue to refer to the area of Mann's Harbor and East Lake as "Croatan," but the body of water between it and Roanoke Island still carries the name of "Croatan Sound."  Obviously, more than one historian and cartographer have fallen for this cartographic faux pas as well.  I know... messed up!

It was simply a mistake made by a London dance instructor in 1671.  If your theory relies on this flimsy evidence, you may want to re-think it... don't rely solely upon Lawson/Senex's map!  The best theory to date was the one that the last eyewitness of the Lost Colony colonists testified upon his return... Hatteras Island, "where the savages of the island [are] our friends," where the Croatoan Indians actually lived and may still live.  Then, there's the Chesapeake in Virginia [which is not my favorite].  At least, come up with some better theory than only a mere map reference to support it.  So much of "Lost Colony" lore is already strewn with fiction.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Apalachee: Lost and Found

Henry Popple, A map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish settlements adjacent thereto, 1733.  Showing the original Apalachee territory, "Between the Rivers."

The following is a tale of Colonel James Moore of South Carolina, Goose Creek Indian Slaver, Anti-Proprietary man, former governor (by default), attacker of St, Augustine in 1702 and murderer/raider of the Apalachee Indians on the Florida coast near present Tallahassee.   

This work derives from my research on his children: Maurice, Roger, Nathaniel, John, Anne Davis,  Rebecca Dr, and Joseph, all of whom settled in the Lower Cape Fear Valley of North Carolina between 1725-1733.  They were plantationists who dreamed of starting a separate colony between the two Carolinas, but got "slapped down" by the duke of Newcastle, the Secretary of the Southern Department and one of the famous Whigs in Robert Walpole's British ministry.  After the Lords Proprietors sold out their remaining shares (except Lord Granville) to the crown, Newcastle felt it necessary to straighten out these trouble-makers in the Cape Fear region.  Their descendants remained in the Lower Cape Fear and served as soldiers in the Revolutionary War.  Some were active in the 1898 Wilmington Race Riot, the only coup ever recorded in United States history.  They are still there today.

I wanted to know more about James Moore, the progenitor of the family, since he, along with Maurice Mathews had come from the West Indies sugar plantations in 1671 with Sir John Yeamans of Barbados and were heavily involved in so much of Carolina's beginnings... and in trouble with the Proprietors!  Early on, they were involved in illegal land transactions, Indian slavery (against the Proprietors' orders), administrative piracy (in league with the pirates of the Bahamas), and were primarily responsible for the Proprietors earlier disgusted sell-out of South Carolina in 1719, ten years earlier than North Carolina.

The sell-out in 1719 came rather late, as all of their most illegal (piracy) activities occurred prior to 1700.

The outbreak of Queen Anne’s War in 1701 prompted open English hostility towards the Spaniards and this gave Colonel James Moore, temporary governor (elected by the colonial council) of Carolina at that time, an idea to capture Indian slaves to return to Charles Towne for subsequent resale/trade for black slaves from the West Indies.  His sons and associates would repeat the idea on the Tuscarora of North Carolina between 1711-15. 

Moore's 1702 attack on St. Augustine largely destroyed the town, but they were never able to capture the Castillo de San Marcos where most of the town’s residents took refuge.  Instead, they took several hundred Spanish-Indian prisoners as a consolation prize back to Charles Towne.

Following the raid on St. Augustine, Moore set his sights on the missions as a way of regaining his failed reputation from the St. Augustine mishap where he lost numerous ships (had to burn seven in Matanzas Bay) belonging to Charles Towne merchants.  The missions, of course, were surrounded by thousands of Spanish-governed Indians and only lightly defended. 

His intentions were to capture as many Indians there as he could and return those that surrendered as tributaries and sources of trade and slaves for sale to the Goose Creek men, an elite group of Indian slavers near Charles Towne of which James Moore became leader after the flight and death of Maurice Mathews in the late 1680s.  

© 2008 Friends of Mission San Luis, Inc. (
 The records are clear on Moore's barbarism during the raid, which he blamed on his Indian allies.  Mark F. Boyd wrote in his book, Here They Once Stood: The Tragic End of the Apalachee Missions, that enemy Indians were raised on stakes and burned in sight of the other prisoners... as well as several Spanish prisoners.  "Father Miranda, who was unbound, upbraided Moore for these barbarities, to which Moore replied that his force of whites was greatly outnumbered by his Indian allies, whom he could not restrain." Well, that was Moore's story. 

Between 1702 and 1704 the missions of Spanish Florida were destroyed and most of the mission Indians annihilated or sold into slavery... as many as 4,000 enslaved, according to Moore's report, quite a windfall for the Goose Creek guys. Since it was heavily fortified, Mission San Luis was one of the last missions left standing. The Spaniards and their Apalachee allies evacuated the women and children, and then burned Mission San Luis on July 31, 1704, two days before the English strike force reached it.  

© 2008 Friends of Mission San Luis, Inc.

John H. Hann's Apalachee: Land Between the Rivers has this to tell about what happened to the Apalachee after the raid:

Although the commission seems to have made an effort to rectify some of the abuses, its members do not seem to have done enough.  Inasmuch as the Apalachee were one of the many Indian groups who joined the Yamasee in the 1715 uprising (Crane 1956:170), there is no record that any effort was made to convert the free Apalachee during their stay in Carolina although Captain Thomas Nairne did apply to the English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel for missionaries for them and other natives (Crane 1956:145—146).

The sources provide only sketchy information of the Apalachee’s role in the Yamasee War, particularly in its early weeks. Crane implies that they were involved almost from the beginning. In June 1715, they were a major contingent of a Creek-led force that swept to within a dozen miles of Charles Towne, destroying many plantations, one ship, and the Pon Pon bridge over the Edisto River (Crane 156:170, 173, 180—181). This last great push of the natives into Carolina was led by Chigelly, the head warrior of Caveta and Brims’s brother (Corkran 1967:59).

The Apalachee who survived the Yamasee War joined the Cavetta, Palachicola, Savima, Yuchi. and Oconee in moving not only from the Savannah River region but in withdrawing from the Ocmulgee River area to return to the banks of the Chattahoochee that the Apalachicola among them had occupied before 1690.  As noted, the Apalachee involved in this exodus spread rather widely, some settling among the Creek, others near Pensacola; still others moved on to Mobile to join the Apalachee who had been established there since 1704 (Crane 1956:254—255). Some undoubtedly accompanied the Yamasee who flocked to the vicinity of St Augustine, and some of them may have returned to their native Apalachee with the Yamasee. It is not clear how many were involved in this exodus. At the time of the uprising, the 1,300 free Apalachee who had relocated to Carolina in 1704 had been reduced to 638: 275 men, 243 women, 65 boys, and 55 girls. Some of these were probably killed or captured during the uprising. Those who were captured were shipped outside the colony as slaves (Covington 1972:378). There is no indication whether any of the Apalaehee enslaved in 1704 were able to take advantage of the uprising to secure their freedom, that they did or that considerable numbers of these slaves had been escaping earlier maybe reflected in a 1722 act designed to discourage the importation of Indian or Negro slaves from Spanish territory. It imposed a duty of £150 current ntonev on such slaves (SneIl 1972:102).

                     The Apalachee were presumed extinct... until:

Originally published as:

"Apalachee Tribe, Missing for Centuries, Comes Out of Hiding
The Indians' Tragic History Is Documented by Chief; A Push for Recognition"

March 9, 2005; Page A1

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A veteran archaeologist, Bonnie McEwan sifts dirt in search of vanished cultures. It's not every day she hears from one in person.

Dr. McEwan directs Mission San Luis, a 17th-century site where Spanish friars baptized thousands of Apalachee, an Indian nation so imposing that early mapmakers bestowed the tribe's name on distant mountains, known ever since as the Appalachians. In 1704, English forces attacked, driving the Apalachee into slavery and exile. Scholars long ago pronounced the tribe extinct.

Then Dr. McEwan received a call from the dead. "This is Gilmer Bennett," a drawling voice said on her answering machine, "chief of the Apalachee." Dr. McEwan thought the message was a prank by a colleague. "If you'd told any archaeologist that a mission-era Florida tribe still existed, they'd have laughed in your face," she says.

Eight years later, Dr. McEwan and Mr. Bennett talk on the phone every week. The mission's museum now displays baskets, beadwork and photographs of today's Apalachee, who number about 300. Mr. Bennett's band also appears in a new edition of the Smithsonian Institution's "Handbook of North American Indians," the bible of scholarship on native people. And the Apalachee have shipped 13 bound volumes of documents to Washington in hopes of gaining federal recognition as a tribe: an effort that has stalled because the government requires proof that the Apalachee endured as a tribe after they were last heard from several centuries ago. "We didn't die out," Mr. Bennett says. "We hid out, to survive."

Claims of Indian heritage aren't rare these days, particularly in the South, where laws and attitudes stigmatizing nonwhites have waned. In polls, more than 40% of Southerners now say they have an Indian ancestor. In fact, says John Shelton Reed, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, white Southerners are likelier to claim an Indian than a Confederate forebear. But the Apalachee stand out because of their hidden epic of survival -- and because of the modest couple who have brought them to light.

Mr. Bennett is a retired carpenter with high, wide cheekbones, deep-set eyes, flowing gray locks and tawny coloring he calls "Coppertone skin." He believes he's 73 years old, but no one recorded his birth properly. Mr. Bennett lives in the woods of Libuse, La., with his 66-year-old wife, Jeanette, whose braided hair falls to the middle of her back. Adjoining their small house is a converted garage of unfinished plywood and Sheetrock: the tribal office.

"I'm dyslexic, diabetic and only finished the ninth grade, and here I'm the tribe's genealogist," says Mrs. Bennett, plucking folders from file cabinets crammed with birth, baptismal and other records she has compiled. Mr. Bennett says he spoke only pidgin "French and Indian" until he was 10, spent years "sitting silent in the back of the classroom like a dummy," and left school at 15 to start work. The Bennetts don't know how to use a computer. They live on Social Security and veteran's benefits from Mr. Bennett's combat service in Korea.

"We get by, just like our people always done," says Mr. Bennett, who has a "centla drawl," short for central Louisiana. "It ain't no rosy thing, being Apalachee all these centuries."

This is a considerable understatement. The Bennetts' trove of documents tell a tale of unrelenting woe since 1704, when the Florida mission burned. About 800 Apalachee fled west to French-held Mobile, straight into a yellow-fever epidemic. Eighty survivors later settled 22,000 acres along Louisiana's Red River, under French and Spanish rule. But when the U.S. took control in 1803, American settlers started burning Apalachee cabins and crops and seizing their land. The U.S. War Department ordered its agent in the area to "take immediate steps to secure the Indians in their rights." Instead, after years of inaction, the government sold the land to the tribe's main tormentor, a cotton planter who used his slaves as shock troops against Indians.

So in 1835 the Apalachee fled again, to bayou and hill country so marginal and remote that "nobody could be bothered stealing it from us," Mr. Bennett says. They hunted, farmed and clung to their Spanish-bred Catholicism. Apalachee pale enough to pass as white served as interlocutors with the world beyond the tribe's swampy hide-out.

But in the early 1900s, attacks resumed, this time by Klansmen who used dogs to chase Indians and club them to death, including Mr. Bennett's grandfather. Many Apalachee sought refuge in towns -- only to encounter Jim Crow laws that often treated Indians as black. In 1940, when Mr. Bennett's parents divorced, his father moved in with a white woman and was arrested for the felony of racial mixing. Mr. Bennett, then 8, was paraded in court with his siblings, half-naked, as evidence that his father wasn't black. The case ended in acquittal.

Such experiences deepened the band's determination to hide its heritage. Mr. Bennett's grandmother wore hats and long dresses, lest her skin darken in the sun, and learned English by watching television. Parents told children to mimic whites, or didn't tell them they were Indian at all. Adults discreetly discussed tribal business at annual gatherings; customs such as basket-making survived; and the role of chief quietly passed to Mr. Bennett in his twenties. But otherwise the Apalachee tried to blend in as best they could.

It wasn't until the 1980s that Mr. Bennett finally decided "it was safe to come out of the woods and say who we were," as he puts it. He and his wife were motivated, in part, by the hope of educational assistance for their six children. So the couple began the slow process of documenting their heritage in order to win tribal recognition, which brings access to scholarships and other benefits.

It was as a result of their research that they contacted Dr. McEwan at the Florida mission, to learn more about their ancestors. "We went slap busted doing this," Mr. Bennett says, "spent everything we had, which wasn't much." They later secured small grants to hire a researcher and buy office equipment. But their task was made harder by the reluctance of some Apalachee to cooperate. "We've had so much trouble in the past that people don't trust the government to help rather than hurt us," says Alex Tall Torres, a member of the tribal council.

To win federal recognition, Indians must document, in essence, that they've been part of a distinct and intact tribe through the centuries. Donald Hunter, a Baton Rouge archaeologist and ethno-historian who has studied the Apalachee, says, "They're still very much Indian, they're the real folks." He believes the band has a better claim to tribal status than some groups who have already been recognized.

However, the recognition process is slow, highly politicized, and complicated by new legislation enacted in 1988 that allows tribes on certain lands to open casinos. Gaming is a divisive issue that pits states and church groups against Indians -- and aspiring tribes against ones already recognized who fear competition. The Bureau of Indian Affairs also has a huge backlog. Only 57 of 302 petitions for tribal status have been resolved since 1978. The Apalachee claim, filed in 1997, remains in limbo.

Mr. Bennett is still hopeful, though he resents the Catch-22 legalese of the recognition process. A typically worded provision, Criterion 83.7 (a), requires "External Identification of the Group as an American Indian Entity on a Substantially Continuous Basis since 1900." This is hard for the Apalachee to document since they went underground to survive. "All those many years, we suffered for being Indian, so we hid who we were," Mr. Bennett says. "Now that it might do us some good to be Indian, the government wants to know where we've been all this time."

In another sense, though, the Bennetts have succeeded. After centuries of being persecuted for their heritage, the Apalachee are now celebrated for it. Other tribes include them in pan-Indian ceremonies. The city of Tallahassee and the county it occupies have officially recognized the Louisiana band as descendants of Florida's Apalachee. The Bennetts often drive to Mission San Luis to consult on the reconstruction of Apalachee buildings and to donate memorabilia. 

"They've given a human face to what we do," says the mission director, Dr. McEwan. "And the Bennetts have taught me a lot about how to handle life's struggles -- and history's -- with poise and dignity."

Those qualities were on display last year, when Mr. Bennett spoke at a somber event marking the 300th anniversary of the mission's end. "I could stand here and tell you about all the hardships we have endured over the past 300 years. This would do no good," Mr. Bennett told assembled dignitaries. "One day, all of us will face our maker. He said he would know us by our work. We, the Apalachee, have always tried to be people of good character, and walk with the Great Spirit to preserve our land, water, air and nature that God trusted to us."

Mr. Bennett recently had quintuple-bypass surgery and nearly died. He knows he may not live to see the Apalachee win full recognition. But recalling his speech last year in Tallahassee, he takes off his glasses and wipes his eyes. "I'm not the wooden Indian, the dummy in the back of the class," he says. "Not anymore."

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Edward Moseley: "Where's my money!?"

Historian Noeleen McIlveena began her book, A Very Mutinous People, with a line (dated 1680) taken from the North Carolina Colonial Records: "We will have noe Lords noe Landgraves noe Cassiques we renounce them all!"

North Carolinians have long had a reputation for a "free society."  We have also been known as stubborn.  :)

It came about like this:

 In 1649, Englishmen had tired of Charles I's Catholicism and decided to chop off his head.  This had never been attempted before... because there was that deal about going to hell for killing a "divine" monarch.  When you chop of a king's head and nothing happens, you tend to no longer regard kingly rule as "divine."  No lightening bolts actually came from the sky when his head rolled across the courtyard.  No frogs, pestilences, hail, or plagues fell from the heavens...

What a liberating experience that must have been! 

During the Interregnum (between monarchs), Oliver Cromwell allowed great freedom (relatively speaking) in the colonies... Quakers who shunned authority, for instance, got to worship as they please.  I brought up Quakers because their anti-slavery and anti-authority stance are important to this state's history... well, at least part of it.

North Carolina, on the south side of the Dismal Swamp (a boundary that must be traversed and where few people survived) and behind the wall of the deadly Outer Banks, offered a wonderful chance to evolve gradually without much interference.  Quakers loved it here!  They flourished in a place where opposing opinions did not matter.

Still, eleven years later, Charles II came back to the throne and (can you believe it?) expected things to return to normal!  lol  Right, dude!  We had a taste of freedom... for half a century... you've got to be kidding!  Anglican (state religion) re-entrenchment came slowly, but decidedly by 1700.  Still, in Northern Carolina, it took quite a bit longer... lol.  There were... uh... rebellions... a few anyway.  He he... we caused trouble.

So, North Carolinians began as the ultimate liberals and pretty much remained that way for decades.  Still, a conservative notion began in the southern parts of North Carolina about 1725.  Much of this had to do with outside influence... or outsiders inside what would be North Carolina itself.  What resulted is... well, a schizophrenic, yet conservative state that Rob Christensen called a Paradox of Tar Heel Politics... the state that we know, love, and sometimes despise today.

You can easily tell that North Carolina is the product of two worlds... one non-conforming Virginians and less aristocratic.  The other is South Carolinian and highly aristocratic.  These were split down the middle by Indians hostile to English invaders behind a maritime "brick wall" called the Outer Banks. The Tuscarora War of 1711-15 took care of the Indians quite early.  From the English point-of-view, northern Carolina, the area "north and east of Cape Fear," was really a waste dump.  The dregs moved there, became pirates, and skimmed their subsistence from whales and porpoises near the shore... and any ship unlucky enough to crash on the hazardous barrier islands.  Early on, we kept a low profile.

South Carolinians, by contrast, were flamboyant, haughty, and did not much keep to themselves.  Charleston was the cream of colonial Anglican influence. 

You might have guessed that the "outside" influence along the Cape Fear River, the one that came later than the Virginian-ish Albemarle region in the north (at least 50 yrs old by 1725) was Charlestonian... led by "Goose Creek" Indian slavers (sons of former governor Col. James Moore)

South Carolina was highly aristocratic by comparison, but it was only a remote part of the English kingdom... a part yet considered "beyond the line" (America in general) to where the wild and land-thirsty capitalistic sons of formerly rich men (and their minions/slaves) went to make their fortunes... after first stopping off at Barbados to murder slaves in sugar plantations, of course.  They were worse than the Koch brothers, if you can believe it!  :)

"Carolina" (to English nobility, really just the area around Charles Towne) was often reminded of its lower status - denied the nobility long reserved for England itself... they were allowed titles like "Casiques" and "Landgraves" when they really wanted "Duke" and "Earl" (maybe even "king!").  English dominance declared itself in Locke's "Fundamental" Constitutions of 1669... where these lower, provincial titles appeared.  Virginian escapees in the Albemarle (northern part of NC) wanted to "renounce" all such titles and develop a more egalitarian society.  So, we have the difference here, in early NC, like we have now... a liberal, egalitarian system based on equality of each individual versus the presumed right to rule of the landed aristocrat.  Thus, the colony's schizo problems after 1725.

Still, this downward glance from the motherland would not sit well with liberal ex-Virginians nor aristocratic Carolinians alike, a temporary alliance was reached, and a revolution developed, but that's another story... 

The point to this story is that the motherland decided to chastise their lackluster non-conforming provincial subjects at the turn of the eighteenth century.  A class/religious struggle developed that was simply one of many historic examples... they still continue today. 

In Charles Town's view, South Carolina already had a well-manicured foot in the aristocratic door that England wanted open in the colonies... and they got full of themselves, too... thought they were immune to England's ire.  That thought perished after the Lords Proprietors disgustedly sold out to the crown (late 1729).

This early class struggle in Carolina (at the beginning of Anglican reassertion around 1700) gave fuel particularly to one man's greed... and if you've read my posts before, you know who he is.    

I've picked on Edward Moseley quite a bit.  This is simply another installment of the abuse of the pseudo-aristocracy that Moseley well represented... my version of #OCCUPY MOSELEY.  Furthermore, no historic figure has enjoyed more favor from modern conservative North Carolinians than this guy.  

Yes, Edward Moseley's father, John (a merchant-taylor of St Giles, Cripplegate parish in London) died when Moseley was only seven.  Well...  the probably-pampered little rich-wannabe kid [temper, temper...] still got into the best school... Christ Hospital's (not medical) Royal Mathematical School, reserved for orphaned children of "substantial" men, with lessons prepared by none other than Isaac Newton (the gravity guy) himself.  According to the celebrated sarcasm in William Byrd's Histories of the Dividing Line Betwixt Virginia: and North Carolina of 1728 (a funny book, actually), Edward Moseley “was bred in Christ’s Hospital [Newgate, London] and had a Tongue as Smooth as the Commisary, and was altogether as well qualify’d to be of the Society of Jesus.”  Well, Byrd had a definite opinion as well... lol.  He called Moseley "Plausible" in the "secret" version of that history. He never tells why... exactly.  We can guess.  :)

Christ's Hospital and the Royal Mathematical School was the brainchild of Samuel Pepys, who had the frequent ear of the King.  The English government needed navigators for their merchantmen.  Children who graduated were usually apprenticed to a merchant mariner as navigator and Moseley was no exception.  In December 1697, he was apprenticed to Jacob Foreland, master of the ship Joseph, bound for the Spanish port of Bilboa, probably to pick up loads of iron ore.  

Moseley's not-so-modest school of Christ's Hospital (see below)
This was the best we could do as far as public buildings until 1734.  Being the most powerful nation now kind of prevents us from remembering our very humble beginnings.  At least it was brick...

But, the apprenticeship never happened... remember that Edward had rich "friends," as the entry in Christ Hospital's register states.  They "otherwise provided for him" by purchasing his three-year term from Foreland.  This took some clout and money indeed!

One fact that may have contributed to Moseley's sideline education was Daniel DeFoe.  He also lived in Cripplegate parish and even bid on some brick work at the school that Moseley attended.  DeFoe was not the best businessman, having frequent disputes with school officials.  He also tended to speak his mind quite a bit... and his mind was rebellious.  Young Edward undoubtedly got wind of him.  He probably learned also that fortunes could be made across the seas...  
Daniel DeFoe

Funny that DeFoe had a strong interest in America as well... and our Caribbean pirates!  To tell the truth, a lot of noble wannabes got interested in America... lots and lots of land... and more LAND!  The English loved their land and the power that came with it... remember... they live on an island... land was limited.  Land gave you power!

Back to the abuse...
It was about two years later (1700... the year before the English government felt they needed to eradicate the annoying democratic tendencies in their colonies so they could "re-establish" the established Anglican church in the backwater sites) that Moseley stepped onto American shores in Charles Towne, Carolina... probably brought over at the same time as John Lawson by the governor of Carolina, James Moore, the inveterate Indian fighter, slaver, and all-around "bad news" for the proprietors.  They might have spoken at the Carolina Coffee-house on Birchen Lane.  Moore might also have seen something that he liked in Moseley (warning: this can't be good).  

Incidentally, I've never found where Moseley even stepped onto another ship again...maybe the gold weighed him down too much. :)
Moseley began immediately to work as an ordinary court clerk for the controversial Gov. Moore.  He met and became fast friends with Moore's son of about his age (b. c1682)... or just eighteen years old... still quite impressionable and hanging with the wrong crowd, you might say.  This boy was Maurice Moore who came to Northern Carolina in 1713 to... you guessed it... capture Indians (and take them back to Charles Towne to be sold as slaves in the Caribbean (pirates did not always live on water!).  It's a Goose Creek/Barbadian habit of the Moore boys.

NOTE:  Yes, these Carolina slaving "entrepreneurs" came from Barbadoes where it was more profitable to work slaves to death on sugar plantations and replace them rather than keep them alive to work another day (Ref: Richard Dunn's Sugar and Slaves)... Carolina followed suit with African as well as Indian slaves (ref: "Goose Creek Men" of St. James parish in Alan Gallay's book, The Indian Slave Trade).  It was a huge and profitable business!  By 1710, Africans alone outnumbered Englishmen in Carolina.  The Indians of course, were being shipped out to generate practically free capital.  This was Capitalism at its finest!

The Barbadians' (excuse me... South Carolinians') friend, Edward Moseley was most certainly an Anglican, a "conservative" man of the established church.  In 1703, he cataloged a library of Dr. Thomas Bray's given to the colony of Carolina (meaning "Charles Towne" of course) by the newly established Society of the Propogation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.  Yes, that was the official, long-winded title.  :)

Rev. Dr. Thomas Bray

Note that seemingly devout adherence to the state religion did not prevent Moseley joining forces (Moseley made money from conflicts... he carefully remained as neutral as possible) with John Porter (a reputed Quaker) and the Quaker proprietor John Archdale against the Anglicans (now Moseley's competition) in Northern Carolina in 1706-1708... Porter's son, Maurice Moore, and Moseley would all marry sisters and head to the Lower Cape Fear to "capitalize" or take advantage of that open region later...

SPG Seal - the "gift" was slavery and smallpox.

Don't let the innocuous title fool you, the SPG was the official religious arm of English government, who, after retaking English rule from the Cromwells, attempted to eradicate "democracy" (bad for business) in "foreign parts" like America... foreign parts especially like Northern Carolina, a wild no-man's land in which runaway slaves and ner-do-wells escaped taxes and sometimes the law in Virginia... and from other places (I reference a man named Edward Teach/Thatch who was quite welcome in Bath even if Charles Towne was ready to chop off his head).  The government across the pond wanted to establish some control among these wild, lower-class heathens (my ancestors, actually)!  They had it out for the provincial nobility (the 1% of America), of course... not the average everyday North Carolinian peasant (the 99%, or you and me, so to speak).  You could say that the 1% in England behaved as if the 1% in America was lower class and the 99% in the colony never existed!  An excellent extrapolation, if I say so myself... 

Anyway, I digress... while working for Dr. Bray, Moseley met the acting-governor of Northern Carolina, Henderson Walker and his young second wife, Ann Lillington Walker, herself the daughter of another possible transplant from Barbados, "Major" Alexander Lillington.  These folks were aristocratic exceptions in the Albemarle rather than the rule who came to northern Carolina for an easy position of power in such a backwoods wilderness.  As Milton said, "it is easier to rule in hell."  They were Edward Moseley's "equals" of a sort... the provincial versions, at any rate.  Remember that Moseley was born in London... ahem!

Moseley was no more than 21 years old and still quite impressionable and full of himself no doubt.  When Moseley found out that, in 1704, the very next year, that Henderson Walker, only about 44, had died, Moseley jumped right up for the job as Ann's next husband... and of course, the gainer of Walker's extensive land holdings in the remote wilderness province of Albemarle.  He left Charleston sometime after April 1705 to snatch up that free rich gal!  

The reason I know this is because in April of 1705 he handed a note (IOU) for £22 (just under $2000) to Col. George Logan, a friend of ex-governor Robert Daniell (even married Daniell's widow) and said (in the note) that Col. James Moore would cover it for him... to which Moore later said "What the...?" and Logan sued Moseley for the cash.  

By then, of course, Moseley had moved to the Albemarle and gotten hitched!  No record was ever found showing that Moseley actually paid that note.  He bandied it back and forth in court (across the water between the Albemarle and Charles Towne), but probably never paid it.  Logan later asked his friend and executor Daniell (in October 1706) to collect all debts owed to him, but "more especially from Edward Moseley of No. Carolina!" Moseley probably figured that old man Logan would die soon. 

Ann's family had doubts (about Moseley, you ask?  lol).  For any man to have generated doubts at so young an age as 22 probably meant something ominous.  For historian Noeleen McIlveena (one of my favorite authors), Moseley (sarcastically) "must have been a charmer," for he appeared too hungry for land... at least he did to Ann's brother, John Lillington and brother-in-law, Samuel Swann (also called "Major").  They made Moseley sign an agreement that he would not attempt to use Ann's lands for his own purposes, lest he be subject to a £1000 bond (In 1750, £1000 was equal to about $75,000 today, so... it was much more than that)!  Yikes!

The Lillingtons were seriously put off by this guy! They had good reason to be... 

In his time, Moseley possessed roughly about 40,000-55,000 (still adding it up) acres of land, including the land that belonged to his wife's ex-husband.  And, he wasn't up front about how he got that Walker land, either.  Ann Lillington Walker Moseley remained alive until 1732.  So, it wasn't her death that caused Moseley to achieve this feat.  In 1728, Moseley grabbed at a known tract of land that once belonged to Walker (while his wife lived) and he did this because of three factors:  1) Samuel Swann passed away, 2) The Tuscarora War left John Lillington with his deeds burned and needing resurvey, 3) A "Benjamin Walker" had signed his father's land away!  That's right, one of the holders in Moseley's £1000 bond had died, the other desperately needed his services as a surveyor, and Ann's step-son (son of Deborah Chaston?) had betrayed Ann's interests.  Two other tracts were passed by deed from Ann and her husband Edward Moseley to Ann's nephew and brother John Lillington who subsequently turned around and deeded it back to Moseley.  Oh, what a tangled web we weave! 

The first tract (File # 237, 1 Apr 1728), on Kendrick's Creek, had a special paragraph that followed it in the records.  Interestingly, Benjamin Walker states that his father left him the land in his will.  Well, Henderson Walker's will states " all ye rest of my Estate, bothe reall & personall, whatsoever, I give my wife, Ann Walker , and to her heirs...."  Not exactly the same wording, and Benjamin was probably not her son (i.e. heir).  Whether Ann gave him permission for this is not known, but the fact that Moseley got the release statement from Benjamin and not from Ann herself is clear enough, I think.  [It's also possible that Benjamin was John Walker's son and that John was left that land by Henderson Walker.  Still... ]

Moseley was careful that no one could say he didn't act legally when he got this land, the release for the 200 acres on Kendrick's Creek shown below, attached to a deed in 1728 (release previously recorded in 1727):

Release statement for his father's land by Benjamin Walker, 1727.  Note that Elizabeth Lillington, probably John's daughter witnessed it.  Note also that Benjamin Walker signed with a "B" because he was illiterate. 

McIlveena called Moseley "land hungry." What do you think?  :)

I'd also say that he was intelligent and cunning, but that might be a compliment to him... lol.


My interest in Edward Moseley began when I started to investigate the Lower Cape Fear developments between the rival towns of Brunswick Town and Wilmington.  You can guess that Wilmington won the struggle (I've talked to Wilmington residents who didn't even know where Brunswick Town was...!?)... but, it was not an easy one for the time (1732-40).  The protracted difficulties came because the fight was against the Family (the Moores, Moseleys, Porters, Swanns, Allens, Drys, etc, etc... all families of related individuals, through genes or marriage ("Major" Samuel Swann's widow, Elizabeth married 4 times in her life, the last time to Maurice Moore, founder of Brunswick Town in 1725... yeah, Anglicans were all about the traditional view of marriage like Dan Cathy... so they did it multiple times... down Gingrich!).   At the time, Family members sat on the assembly and in the governor's council and were a force to be reckoned with. 

In many ways, Moseley won over (tricked?  bribed?) everyone... despite Wilmington's favor in British political circles... especially by Gov. Gabriel Johnston and his patron... Lord Wilmington (imagine that!).  The silver-tongued devil Moseley even got the Virginian Swanns interested in his schemes.  He even got the Moores, who should have been pissed at him for that note, too...

In 1718, Moseley (with Maurice Moore) opposed NC governor Charles Eden (well, they locked his secretary, John Lovick, out of his house and then rifled the papers) because Eden cavorted with Blackbeard the pirate (the Teach/Thatch fellow) and threatened Moseley's income from survey fees... from potential immigrants who feared piracy. He attempted to stall Thomas Pollock's attempts to get help in the Tuscarora War from Virginia... because his friends in SC (especially the Moores) could use the money from the sale of the Indians to the West Indies.  Also, he collected fees for surveys that he never performed (I've proven this one).  Yes, he was a businessman... a perfect model of corporate loveliness! 

Moseley, in no uncertain terms, was a real SHIT!  

See why I like to pick on him?  But, the strongest incentive that I have for this is not because of what he did... it is because every conservative politician in NC since the Revolution has used his example as a positive one.  One of them, George Davis of Wilmington, said in June 1905 (few years after the race riot) at a NC Daughters of the American Revolution function:

“Of all the men who watched and guided the tottering footsteps of our infant State, there was not one who in intellectual ability, in solid and polite learning, in scholarly cultivation and refinement, in courage and endurance, in high Christian morality, in generous consideration for the welfare of others, in all true merit in fine, which makes a man among men, who could equal Edward Moseley.”

Gag!  As Shakespeare said, "... the gorge rises at it!"

Historian D. H. Hill, in 1906, declared him to "always [be] on the side of the people."

William L. Saunders, editor of the North Carolina Colonial Records, declared Moseley’s “undying love of free government, and his indomitable maintenance of the rights of the people.”  Saunders, was, of course, the Grand Dragon of the NC KKK (a little tighter on that noose, Bill!) in the late 19th century... probably more conservative than the Tea Party!  lol

Well, absolutely none of this hyperbole about the real Edward Moseley is true.  It was just political propaganda.  You see, when the American Revolution came along in 1775, Moores and Moseleys and many of the Family stood up against Britain... right along with the rest of us.  They were, after all, aristocratic, pompous, rebellious types (it was also a good place to pick up those titles that they loved so much... "Colonel," "Major," etc).  It stood in America's favor as far as becoming an independent nation.  In this context, Moseley would compare more to Samuel Adams, of the Sons of Liberty, burning effigies and tar-and-feathering British officials... if you can imagine Moseley getting his hands dirty.  It's easy to look back on these times with reverence, but I'll guarantee that you would NOT want to live in them.  Still, the fledgling new STATE of North Carolina, in dire need of heroes, had few to choose guess who we chose?

Moseley... make no mistake... he was a bad man... an aristocratic, pompous and arrogant greedy man who cared little for the poor and the middle-class and thought nothing of stomping them into the mud with his gold-buckled fancy shoes... or having his driver do it.  He came to America because he had nothing and, as the son of John Moseley, he "deserved" everything.  

An interesting reference that I found:  Edward's mentor (before he ran out), Gov. James Moore, in reference to the contested actions of a merchant in court (1701), said that "Mr. Painter having comitted Piracy; not having his majesties Pardon for ye Same.  Its resolved he is not fit for that trust."  Moore obviously believed that piracy was one of his duties... his "trust!"  lol  The king accused him of it, also. 

Edward Moseley showed that he learned that lesson well, too. 

In early America, especially North Carolina, a financially-depressed British rich kid could appear wealthy and even feel powerful as a King among the pines!  The Family, indeed, contemplated a kingdom of their own in the Brunswick settlement along the Cape Fear River.  Moseley even felt that he had royal backing for his crimes against the North Carolinians that he sneered at each day.  

One thing that I've noticed after years of researching this guy is... that when he would get caught doing something that the King frowned on, he submitted quickly and acted like he was only trying to best serve his king.  Moseley did not have guts enough to fight for the people, Dr. Hill... sneakily against them, maybe... the powerless lower class... US!  No, he was a sniveling coward who absolutely adored land, power, and money.  

This is ever so relevant to today... Edward favored the Anglican version of the domineering established church (when it suited), not unlike the religious right today that sees Chick-Fil-A as a golden financial example of God's power... 

I believe that Edward Moseley and Mitt Romney could have played admirably together in their mansions with their gilt toy soldiers... "off with his head" they might say with a sick little grin on their faces!  Still, our society today is becoming more and more democratic thanks to the invention and massive democratizing potential of the internet... the haughty aristocratic days are numbered... the days of Edward Moseleys, Paul Ryans, David Kochs, and Eric Cantors is about over.  We the people (the Quakers) are coming back out and speaking our minds. 

Take a look at the image below of a NC colonial-era 4-pence currency to see the name of two-time treasurer of the colony printed on it... this 1748 note also had the names, Eleazer Allen and Samuel Swann (younger one... now Moseley's "buddy") on it.  These were two gentlemen that also belonged to the Family (virtually, an early Sicilian-type mafia).  

The Family's Brunswick Town may have faltered before 1740, but the Family remained in power for quite some time... even taking virtual control of the rival town across the river... Wilmington.  Again, there was a riot there in 1898... the only coup to ever occur in United States history... over race... hundreds murdered... you might have heard... "negro carcasses" clogging the Cape Fear River... led by one of Maurice Moore's great-grandsons, Alfred Moore Waddell and his cousin, "Col." Roger Moore (named for Maurice's brother, "King" Roger Moore).  Yeah... "Gone With the Wind" might easily have been set in the Lower Cape Fear with the immense rice plantations that once sat on the river...

By the way, seeing his signature on the money must have given wannabe rich kid, Eddie, a sexual experience!

The soapbox is free... :)


Dethroning the Kings of Cape Fear: Consequences of Edward Moseley's Surveys

Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks

Aristocratic Pyrates of the Albemarle

Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks







Brunswick Town and Wilmington

 Purchase an e-copy for $5 or get a print version among more titles by B. C. Brooks