Carlson, Part II, The Saponi Diaspora
(P. 91) Speaking of March 1729, Carlson writes; “. . .most of the Saponi were still at Christanna in June, although some families had already left to join the Catawba and/or other Tutelo now living far from the Christanna reservation.” One of the main reasons that the Saponi left Christanna was the hanging of a Saponi elder. A drunken Saponi leader had earlier killed an Englishman. (P. 93). Carlson states “. . . the Sapony’s took this so much to heart, that soon after quitted their settlement and moved in a body to the Cataubas.
“By late in the summer of 1729, the Saponi and confederated bands and families that remained with them finally departed the Christanna Reservation. This abandonment of the Reservation would begin a diaspora of the people that once resided there. Comments later made by John Mitchell in 1755 stated that, in 1729, both the Saponi and the Tutelo “had removed further South upon the heads of the Pee Dee”at the Northern end of what was known as Catawba Territory. Byrd also noed that the Saponi removed to Catawba Territory that year. He explained that this people is now made up of the remnant of several other nations, of which the most considerable are the Saponey’s, Occoneechi’s, and the Steukenhocks,, who not finding themselves separately numerous enough for their defence, have agreed to unite into one body, and all of them now go under the name of the Sappony. . . A French map published late in 1729 reveals that one faction labeled labeled the “Sapon Nahisan”had removed far west from the extent of settlement far up on the headwaters of the Roanoke River. [233, 234]
Speaking of the Tutelo, (P. 94) Carlson says they wondered up and down the Appalachians until by 1740 they joined their old enemies, the Iroquois. In 1730 (P. 95) the Catawba and Saponi living with them, asked to make a treaty with Virginia. Nothing came of it. In 1732, Byrd, speaking of the Catawba, said “their population of more than 400 fighting men was spread through six towns on the Santee River in Carolina along a 20 mile stretch.” [240, 241]
Since the Saponi had abandoned their homes at Fort Christanna, the state of Virginia assumes they have abandoned it. By the winder of 1730, the Virginia Council decided to sell off the reservation. Carlson finds only one reference to the Saponi found in the Carolinas on Catawba lands. He speaks of the Tuscarora harassing a small band of Settlement Indians.
By 1732 (P. 96) the Saponi living with the Catawba decided to leave them. The Saponi Indians asked the state of Virginia if they could return, and also asked if the Sara (Saura/Cheraw)  could come with them. The Virginians agreed to this, and promised them an equal amount of land that they had lost at Christanna, so long as it was not settled, either on the Roanoke or Appamatox Rivers. They built a fort near their old haunts, near Fort Christanna. Carlson goes on to say there was immediately tension as before, between the Saponi and the Nottaway. The Tuscarora, the Nottaway, and the Five Nations (Iroquois) continually attacked the Saponi. Eventually the Virginians, sided with the Saponi, and eventually local militias in Virginia helped subside the tensions between rival groups. Even King Blunt of the Tuscarora, attempting to mediate an end to the war, asked the Saponi to join him. There is no record of a response from the Saponi. It appears the Saponi abandoned their fort in Brunswick County, and are not found again in historic documents (by Carlson) until 1735. Two bands of the Saponi and Tutelo are found in the Mountains of North Carolina. Carlson says (Pp. 99-100); “One era map also shows that a band of the Occoneechi had split off from the main body of the Saponi, and by 1733 were living off the trading path where it crossed the Eno or the Flatt River in North Carolina. Bricknells 1737 publication reported that in the year 1735 and/or 36, the band of Saponi closely associated with the Catawba was located on the Clarendon River(in the west branch of the Cape Fear River) in North Carolina. This Sapona Village was some five to six days ‘over the mountains’ far removed from colonial settlements. Bricknell also mentions that the ‘Totera’ then had a village somewhere nearby this Saponi town, although deeper into the mountains. Of the people of these two villages, Bricknell wrote that they usually do not ‘make visits amongst us except to be their traders who bring us their skins and furs.’
Carlson continues on the documentary trail of the Saponi. The next reference Carlson discovers is in 1737, where there is areference to ‘Saponi cabins” that appear to still be inhabited, in Amelia County, Virginia. This Saponi community was located on a branch of Winningham Creek, a tributary of the Appomattox River. This was near a former trading post run by Colonel John Bolling. Carlson states that although there is no longer a trading post in the area, the Bolling family was still in the area. He states that both Bolling and the Saponi were friends of Colonel Mumford. Recall that earlier the Saponi were offered lands near this area, but there is no record, according to Carlson, of them receiving the lands.
It is here (p. 101) that Carlson starts referring to the “Christian Band” of the Saponi. Carlson’s next reference– “By 1738, a Christian Band of the Saponi had established a new village a little further north on the personal lands of the now ex-Governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood, who had retired upon his plantation in neighboring Spotsylvania County. Apparently the band had gained permission from him to reside on Fox’s Neck of the Rapidan River in Orange County, not far from old Fort Germanna. This Christian Band of the Saponi would be able to maintain residence here for some time in the company of their old benefactor.
"From 1738 on, the Orange County Court records mention various petitions from Alexander Maurchtoon, John Sauna, John Collins, John Bowling, and others, all of whom are described there is specifically as “Christian Saponey Indians.”
Carlson notes one change. Whereas the Saponi had been considered “Tributary Indians” before they left Fort Christanna, this distinction no longer applied afterwards. He says pp. 101-102, with respect to these Christian Saponi;”  . . . these Saponi were no longer treated as members of a Tributary Nation but more fully as “Citizen Indians” by the Virginians. There were to be consequences to this. After the death of their old advocate, ex-Governor Alexander Spotswood in 1740, complaints against Christian Saponi began being forwarded to county authorities by local settlers.
“In 1740 a local farmer named William Bohannon complained that ’26 of the Indians who inhabit Fox’s Neck were firing the woods’. He also accused them of killing some of his free ranging pigs.” He said he had “lost more pigs than usual since the coming of the Indians.” He says the Indians were being called into court, and were being accused of “doing mischief”. The following year Bohannon came again to Orange County officials complaining that he thought the Indians had shot at him.
Then Carlson adds, “The bands troubles would climax in the winter of 1743 when a number of Saponi men had their guns seized and found themselves arrested. The Saponi men named John Collins, Alex Machartion, John Bowling, Craft Tom, Blind Tom, Foolish Jack, Charles Griffen, Little Jack, Isaac and Harvey were taken before the Orange County court for trial ‘by precept under the hands and seals of William Russell and Ed Spencer, gentleman’, under the charges of stealing hogs, burning the woods, and terrifying one Lawrence Strothers. Strothers had even claimed that he was shot at and chased by the Saponi in the backwoods. The Saponi men were ordered held in jail until bonded, after which they were ordered to leave the county. Interestingly, several White men sympathetic to the Saponi predicament, ‘went security on their bail bonds,’ after which they were released and openly declared their intentions to depart the county within a week, at which time their guns would be returned.”[268, 269, 270]
Carlson continues, “Late in the summer of 1743, Governor Gooch of Virginia reported that the Saponies and other petty nations associated with them had left Virginia and were again residing in the Carolinas with the Catawba.”  Carlson reports that while some Saponi would forever remain with the Catawba, this Christian Band of Saponi would separate from them. He speaks of three Saponi bands that he describes as the Tutelo-Saponi, the Catawba Saponi, and this Christian Band of the Saponi. He will eventually link this Christian band with those later termed “Melungeons”.
The “Christian Band” of the Saponi, according to Carlson, had its start at Fort Christanna. Most of the Saponi were not responsive to the efforts on the behalf of Governor Spotswood’s school for the Saponi. A part of that education was an attempt to turn the heathen into Christians. But it appears that the school master, Griffin, had an effect on a few of the Indians, and they must have converted to Christianity. Carlson asks us to recall an incident he described in 1728. He had, p. 102, mentioned a record where “certain Saponi’s” informed the Virginians that the Tutelo chief and other Saponi were considering taking the colonists to war with the aid of the Catawba. They wanted vengeance over the hangings of three Saponi by the colonists. Were these informants the Christian Saponi? We will never know.
Carlson speaks of the two other bands, one that went to live with the Catawba, and a third, later called the Tutelo, who went north to live with Six Nations. This third band went to live in the vicinity of ex-Governor Spotwood, at a place called Fox Neck. Carlson says “The Orange County records also confirm that no interpreter was ever required in dealing with the Christian band when they found themselves in court. It also shows that the old policy observed by Reverand Fontaine at Fort Christanna less than three decades earlier, was no longer in force amongst the Christian Saponi.” Fontaine had maintained that the Saponi required interpreters, and their elders always spoke in their own language even if they could speak English, in their dealings with colonial officials. Carlson continues, “the Christian Band of the Saponi had established an identity distinct and separate rom the Catawba Saponi or the Tutelo-Saponi refugees to the Iroquois country from at least 1738 onward.” Carlson states that from the late 1730s until the Revolutionary War, that only those families associated with the Orange County Saponi are referred to in the records as “Christian Saponi”.
Orange County records from 1738-1743 efer to several Saponi living in the area. They include Alex Machartion, John Collins, John Bowling, Charles Griffen, and other “Christian Indians.” The following names are also mentioned – Manincassa, Foolish Jack, Little Jack, Isaac, Harry, Captain Tom and Blind Tom. Charles Griffen appears to have taken his name from Rev. Griffin, a former school teacher at the Fort Christanna school. Captain Joseph Collins negotiated the release of Sauna from the “French Indians” in 1722. Carlson speculated the Machartion surname might have evolved into McCarty and McCarta surnames associated with the Collinses n the next century. Carlson speculates p 107, “evidence available from written records made subsequent to 1743, it is quite possible to surmise that John Collins is the son of “Captain Tom”, for an elder named Tom Collins is shown living with John and the rest of the Christian Saponi in the years immediately following their expulsion from Orange County. If this is so, one might further speculate that Blind Tom is Tom’s father.”
Carlson suspects the Bowling surname came amongst the Christian Band of the Saponi in the 1730s while living in Amelia County. The well known Powhattan mixed-blood family had for generations operated a trading house at the Falls of the Appomattox.
Per Carlton, “Exactly when and how the treaty obligations stemming form the 1677 and subsequent agreements with the Saponi were abolished, ignored or forgotten by Virginia authorities is not known. After 1733 no mention of the colony recognizing any treaty obligations to the Saponi appears in Virginia records. Regardless, by at least 1738, the Christian Saponi were being treated as Individual Citizen Indians a opposed to the political entity of ‘Tributary Indians’.
Carlton says . . . in 1743 the Christian Saponi went south to live near Catawba lands, however by in 174 5they were back in Virginia, in Louisa County, near to their former lands in Orange County (p 111), in the mountains south of Rapidan Station. The Christian Saponi would reside in the area for some time and would be noted as “Nassayn” (Saponi for ‘the People’) on 1749-1750 era maps. Names listed living in this area are Sam and William Collins, along men named George and Thomas Gibson, Sam Bunch, Ben Branham, and a few others were charged with by Louisa County court of ‘concealing tithables’. . . . 
On page 112, “The likely source for the charge . . . was Virginia law that stipulated that, in addition to all adult males,all Indian, Negro and Mulatto women over 16 years of age were also tithable, unlike white women of the same age. . .The Christian Saponi may have felt they should be free from taxation a rightful heirs of the Tributary Nation. But as far as the Virginia government was concerned, ‘tributary status no longer applied. This being the case, they would now have to be subject to the Virginia Act of May 1723. The act stipulated that ‘all free Negroes, mulattos, Indians, (except tributary Indians to this government) male and female, above 16 years, and all wives of such Negroes, mulattos, or Indians (except Indians tributary to this government) shall be accounted tithable. . . . Social and economic barriers based on race labels would become a greater concern for these Christian Indians now that they had lost their political status as tributary Indians. We have followed the documentation of the Saponi Indians from 1729-1743. The presense amongst them of a "Charley Griffen" ties them back to old Fort Christanna, and the teacher Reverend Griffin. Once they left Christanna, they lived for a time with the Catawba, and for a time with former Governor Spotswood. They wondered, like the Hebrew of old, in search of new homes, with tribal unity disappearing, as a few remote families are gradually being absorbed into the frontier lifestyles of their white neighbors. In 1743 families again started to return to the Catawba. They simply didn't know where to go or what to do. The next section covers the timeframe when these Christian Saponi Indians became known more commonly a "Melungeons."