The writing below needs a great deal of editing. It is the 1669-1670 account of John Lederer's travels through the lands of the Saponi and other Eastern Siouans. Since we have shown the Melugeons wee Saponi, a study of this record is fitting and necessary. It shows the Saponi and their neighboring cities were powerful nations in 1670. Then recollect that only 30 or 40 years later, it is said of these Indians, there are but a few hundred left, and they must move to Fort Christanna for protection. Also note from 1670-1720 are the years when Indians were collected by other Indians, at the instigation of the traders, as slaves to be sold on the slave market. They ran out of Indians to enslave about that time, the same time there are virtually no Saponi left. Now we should argue over what a constitutes a coincidence, but I'm not going to do that. I will edit this when I get the time, but I have no time, at present. The map below should expand when the cursor is on it, and the mouse is clicked
THE DISCOVERIES OF JOHN LEDERER, In three several Marches from VIRGINIA, To the West of Carolina, And other parts of the Continent: Begun in March 1669, and ended in September 1670. Together with A General MAP of the whole Territory which he traversed. Collected and Translated out of Latine from his Discourse and Writings, By Sir William Talbot Baronet. Sed nos immensum spatiis confecimus aequor, Et iam tempus equum fumantia solvere colla. Virg.Georg. London, Printed by J.C. for Samuel Heyrick, at Grays Innegate in Holborn. 1672.
To the Right Honourable ANTHONY Lord ASHLEY, Baron Ashley of Wimborn St. Giles, Chancellor of his Majesties Exchequer, Under-Treasurer of England, One of the Lords Commissioners of his Ma- jesties Treasury, one of the Lords of his most Honourable Privie Council, and one of the Lords Proprie- tors of CAROLINA.
From this discourse it is clear that the long looked-for discovery of the Indian Sea does nearly approach; and Carolina,out of her happy experience of your Lordships success in great undertakings, presumes that the accomplishment of this glorious Designe is reserved for her. In order to which, the Apalataean Mountains (though like the prodigious Wall that divides China and Tartary, they deny Virginia passage into the West Continent) stoop to your Lordships Dominions, and lay open a Prospect into unlimited Empires; Empires that will hereafter be ambitious of subjection to that noble Government which by your Lordships deep wisdom and providence first projected, is now established in Carolina;for it will appear that she flourishes more by the influence of that, than the advantages she derives from her Climate and Soyl, which yet do render her the Beauty and Envy of North-America. That all her glories should be seen in this Draught, is not reasonably to be expected, since she sate to my Author but once, and then too with a side-face; and therefore I must own it was never by him designed for the Press, but published by me, out of no other ambition than that of manifesting to the world, that I am,
Your Lordships most humble and obedient Servant,
TO THE READER.
That a Stranger should presume (though with Sir William Berkly’s Commission) to go into those Parts of the American Continent where Englishmen never had been, and whither some refused to accompany him, was, in Virginia look'd on as so great an insolence, that our Traveller at his Return, instead of Welcom and Applause, met nothing but Affronts and Reproaches; for indeed it was their part, that forsook him in the Expedition, to procure him discredit that was a witness to theirs: Therefore no industry was wanting to prepare Men with a prejudice against him, and this their malice improved to such a general Animosity, that he was not safe in Virginia from the outrage of the People, drawn into a perswasion, that the Publick Levy of that year, went all to the expence of his Vagaries. Forced by this storm into Maryland, he became known to me, though then ill-affected to the Man, by the stories that went about of him: Nevertheless finding him, contrary to my expectation, a modest ingenious person, &a pretty Scholar, I thought it common Justice to give him an occasion of vindicating himself from what I had heard of him; which truly he did with so convincing Reason and circumstance, as quite abolished those former impressions in me, and made me desire this Account of his Travels, which here you have faithfully rendred out of Latine from his own Writings and Discourse, with an entire Map of the Territory he traversed, copied from his own hand. All these I have compared with Indian Relations of those parts (though I never met with any Indian that had followed a Southwest-Course so far as this German) and finding them agree, I thought the Printing of these Papers was no injury to the Author, and might prove a Service to the Publick.
THE Discoveries of JOHN LEDERER from Virginia to the West of Carolina, and other parts of the Continent.
A General and brief Account of the North- American Continent
North, as well as South-America, may be divided into three Regions: the Flats, the Highlands, and the Mountains. The Flats (in Indian, Ahkynt)is the Territory lying between the Eastern Coast, and the falls of the great Rivers, that there run into the Atlantick Ocean, in extent generally taken Ninety miles. The Highlands (in Indian, Ahkontshuck) begin at those falls, and determine at the foot of the great ridge of Mountains that runs thorow the midst of this Continent, Northeast and Southwest, called by the Spaniards Apalataei,from the Nation Apalakin;and by the Indians, Paemotinck. According to the best of my observation and conjecture, they lie parallel to the Atlantick Sea-coast, that bearing from Canada to Cape Florida, Northeast and Southwest, and then falling off due West as the Mountains do at Sara: but here they take the name of Suala; Sara in the Warrennuncock dialect being Sasa or Sualy.
The Flats, or Ahkynt, are by former Writers made so well known to Christendom, that I will not stop the Reader here, with an unnecessary description of them; but shall onely say, that by the rankness of the Soyl, and salt moistness of the Air, daily discoveries of Fish-shells three fathom deep in the earth, and Indian tradition; these parts are supposed some Ages past to have lain under the Sea.
The Highlands (or Ahkontshuch) though under the same Parallels, are happie notwithstanding in a more temperate and healthful Air. The ground is over-grown with underwood in many places, and that so perplext and interwoven with Vines, that who travels here, must sometimes cut through his way. These Thickets harbour all sorts of beasts of prey, as Wolves, Panthers, Leopards, Lions, &c. (which are neither so large nor so fierce as those of Asia and Africa) and small Vermine, as wilde Cats, Foxes, Racoons. These parts were formerly possessed by the Tacci,aliàs Dogi;but they are extinct; and the Indians now seated here, are distinguished into the several Nations of Mahoe, Nuntaneuck,aliàs Nuntaly, Nahyssan, Sapon, Managog, Mangoack, Akenatzy,and Monakin,&c. One Language is common to them all, though they differ in Dialects. The parts inhabited here are pleasant and fruitful, because cleared of Wood, and laid open to the Sun. The Valleys feed numerous herds of Deer and Elks larger then Oxen: these Valleys they call Savanae,being Marish grounds at the foot of the Apalataei,and yearly laid under water in the beginning of Summer by flouds of melted Snow falling down from the Mountains.
The Apalataean Mountains, called in Indian Paemotinck,(or the origine of the Indians) are barren Rocks, and therefore deserted by all living creatures but Bears, who cave in the hollow Cliffs. Yet do these Mountains shoot out to the Eastward great Promontories of rich Land, known by the high and spreading trees which they bear: these Promontories, because lower then the main Ridge, are called by the Indians Tanx-Paemotinck (aliàs Aquatt). To the Northeast the Mountains rise higher; and at Sara they sink so low, that they are easily passed over: but here (as was said before) they change their course and name, running due West, and being called Sualy: now the Sualian Mountains rise higher and higher Westward.
Of the Manners and Customs of the Indi- ans inhabiting the Western parts of Carolina and Virginia.
THe Indians now seated in these parts, are none of those which the English removed from Virginia, but a people driven by an Enemy from the Northwest, and invited to sit down here by an Oracle above four hundred years since, as they pretend: for the ancient inhabitants of Virginia were far more rude and barbarous, feeding onely upon raw flesh and fish, until these taught them to plant Corn, and shewed them the use of it.
But before I treat of their ancient Manners and Customs, it is necessary I should shew by what means the knowledge of them hath been conveyed from former ages to posterity. Three ways they supply their want of Letters: first by Counters, secondly by Emblemes or Hieroglyphicks, thirdly by Tradition delivered in long Tales from father to son, which being children they are made to learn by rote.
For Counters, they use either Pebbles, or short scantlings of straw or reeds. Where a Battel has been fought, or a Colony seated, they raise a small Pyramid of these stones, consisting of the number slain or transplanted. Their reeds and straws serve them in Religious Ceremonies: for they lay them orderly in a Circle when they prepare for Devotion or Sacrifice; and that performed, the Circle remains still; for it is Sacriledge to disturb or to touch it: the disposition and sorting of the straws and reeds, shew what kinde of Rites have there been celebrated, as Invocation, Sacrifice, Burial, &c.
The faculties of the minde and body they commonly express by Emblems. By the figure of a Stag, they imply swiftness; by that of a Serpent, wrath; of a Lion, courage; of a Dog, fidelity; by a Swan, they signifie the English,alluding to their complexion, and flight over the Sea.
An account of Time, and other things, they keep on a string or leather thong tied in knots of several colours. I took particular notice of small Wheels serving for this purpose among the Oenocks, because I have heard that the Mexicans use the same. Every Nation gives his particular Ensigne or Arms: The Sasquesahanaugh a Tarapine, or small Tortoise; the Akenatzy's a Serpent; the Nahyssanes three Arrows, &c. In this they likewise agree with the Mexican Indians. Vid. ]os. à Costa.
They worship one God, Creater of all things, whom some call Okaeè,others Mannith: to him alone the High priest, or Periku,offers Sacrifice; and yet they believe he has no regard to sublunary affairs, but commits the Government of Mankinde to lesser Deities, as Quiacosough and Tagkanysough,that is, good and evil Spirits: to these the inferiour Priests pay their devotion and Sacrifice, at which they make recitals, to a lamentable Tune, of the great things done by their Ancestors.
From four women, viz. Pash, Sepoy, Askarin,and Maraskarin,they derive the Race of Mankinde; which they therefore divide into four Tribes, distinguished under several names. They very religiously observe the degrees of Marriage, which they limit not to distance of Kindred, but difference of Tribes, which are continued in the issue of the Females: now for two of the same Tribe to match, is abhorred as Incest, and punished with great severity.
Their places of Burial they divide into four quarters, assigning to every Tribe one: for, to mingle their bodies, even when dead, they hold wicked and ominous. They commonly wrap up the corpse in beasts skins, and bury with it Provision and Housholdstuff for its use in the other world. When their great men die, they likewise slay prisoners of War to attend them. They believe the transmigration of souls: for the Angry they say is possest with the spirit of a Serpent; the Bloudy, with that of a Wolf; the Timorous, of a Deer; the Faithful, of a Dog, &c. and therefore they are figured by these Emblemes.Elizium, or the abode of their lesser Deities, they place beyond the Mountains and Indian Ocean.
Though they want those means of improving Humane Reason, which the use of Letters affords us; let us not therefore conclude them wholly destitute of Learning and Sciences: for by these little helps which they have found, many of them advance their natural understandings to great knowledge in Physick, Rhetorick, and Policie of Government: for I have been present at several of their Consultations and Debates, and to my admiration have heard some of their Seniors deliver themselves with as much Judgement and Eloquence as I should have expected from men of Civil education and Literature.
The First EXPEDITION, From the head of Pemaeoncock, aliàs York- River (due West) to the top of the Apalataean Mountains.
UPon the ninth of March 1669, (with three Indians whose names were Magtakunh, Hopottoguoh, and Naunnugh)I went out at the falls of Pemaeoncock, alias York-River in Virginia,from an Indian Village called Shickehamany,and lay that night in the Woods, encountring nothing remarkable, but a Rattle-snake of an extraordinary length and thickness, for I judged it two yards and a half or better from head to tail, and as big about as a mans arm: by the distention of her belly, we believed her full with young; but having killed and opened her, found there a small Squirrel whole; which caused in me a double wonder: first, how a Reptile should catch so nimble a creature as a Squirrel; and having caught it, how she could swallow it entire. The Indians in resolving my doubts, plunged me into a greater astonishment, when they told me that it was usual in these Serpents, when they lie basking in the Sun, to fetch down these Squirrels from the tops of trees, by fixing their eye steadfastly upon them; the horrour of which strikes such an affrightment into the little beast, that he has no power to hinder himself from tumbling down into the jaws of his enemy, who takes in all his sustenance without chewing, his teeth serving him onely to offend withal. But I rather believe what I have heard from others, that these Serpents climb the trees, and surprise their prey in the nest.
The next day falling into Marish grounds between Pemaeoncock and the head of the River Matapeneugh, the heaviness of the way obliged me to cross Pemaeoncock, where its North and South-branch (called Ackmick) joyn in one. In the Peninsula made by these two branches, a great Indian King called Tottopottoma was heretofore slain in Battel, fighting for the Christians against the Mahocks and Nahyssans,from whence it retains his name to this day. Travelling thorow the Woods, a Doe seized by a wild Cat crossed our way; the miserable creature being even spent and breathless with the burden and cruelty of her rider, who having fastned on her shoulder, left not sucking out her bloud until she sunk under him: which one of the Indians perceiving, let flie a luckie Arrow, which piercing him thorow the belly, made him quit his prey already slain, and turn with a terrible grimas at us; but his strength and spirits failing him, we escaped his revenge, which had certainly ensued, were not his wound mortal. This creature is something bigger then our English Fox, of a reddish grey colour, and in figure every way agreeing with an ordinary Cat; fierce, ravenous and cunning: for finding the Deer (upon which they delight most to prey) too swift for them, they watch upon branches of trees, and as they walk or feed under, jump down upon them. The Fur of the wilde Cat, though not very fine, is yet esteemed for its vertue in taking away cold Aches and Pains, being worn next to the body: their flesh, though rank as a Dogs, is eaten by the Indians.
The eleventh and twelfth, I found the ways very uneven, and cumbred with bushes.
The thirteenth, I reached the first Spring of Pemaeoncock, having crossed the River four times that day, by reason of its many windings; but the water was so shallow, that it hardly wet my horses patterns. Here a little under the surface of the earth, I found flat pieces of petrified matter, of one side solid Stone, but on the other side Isinglas, which I easily peeled off in flakes about four inches square: several of these pieces, with a transparent Stone like Crystal that cut Glass, and a white Marchasite that I purchased of the Indians, I presented to Sir William Berkley Governour of Virginia.
The fourteenth of March, from the top of an eminent hill, I first descried the Apalataean Mountains, bearing due West to the place I stood upon: their distance from me was so great, that I could hardly discern whether they were Mountains or Clouds, until my Indian fellow travellers prostrating themselves in Adoration, howled out after a barbarous manner, Okéepoeze,i.e. God is nigh.
The fifteenth of March, not far from this hill, passing over the South-branch of Rappahanock-river, I was almost swallowed in a Quicksand. Great herds of Red and Fallow Deer I daily saw feeding; and on the hill-sides, Bears crashing Mast like Swine. Small Leopards I have seen in the Woods, but never any Lions, though their skins are much worn by Indians. The Wolves in these parts are so ravenous, that I often in the night feared my horse would be devoured by them, they would gather up and howl so close round about him, though Tether'd to the same tree at whose foot I my self and the Indians lay: but the Fires which we made, I suppose, scared them from worrying us all. Beaver and Otter I met with at every River that I passed; and the Woods are full of Grey Foxes.
Thus I travelled all the sixteenth; and on the seventeenth of March I reached the Apalataei. The Air here is very thick and chill; and the waters issuing from the Mountainsides, of a Blue colour, and Allumish taste.
The eighteenth of March, after I had in vain assayed to ride up, I alighted, and left my horse with one of the Indians, whilst with the other two I climbed up the Rocks, which were so incumbred with bushes and brambles, that the ascent proved very difficult: besides, the first precipice was so steep, that if I lookt down, I was immediately taken with a swimming in my head; though afterwards the way was more easie. The height of this Mountain was very extraordinary: for notwithstanding I set out with the first appearance of light, it was late in the evening before I gained the top, from whence the next morning I had a beautiful
prospect of the Atlantick-Ocean washing the Virginian-shore; but to the North and West, my sight was suddenly bounded by Mountains higher than that I stood upon. Here did I wander in Snow, for the most part, till the Four and twentieth day of March, hoping to finde some passage through the Mountains; but the coldness of the Air and Earth together, seizing my Hands and Feet with numbness, put me to a ne plus ultra; and therefore having found my Indian at the foot of the Mountain with my Horse, I returned back by the same way that I went.
The Second Expedition, From the Falls of Powhatan, alias James- River, in Virginia, to Mahock in the Apalataean Mountains.
The twentieth of May 1670, one Major Harris and my self, with twenty Christian Horse, and five Indians, marched from the Falls of James-River, in Virginia, towards the Monakins; and on the Two and twentieth were welcomed by them with Volleys of Shot. Near this Village we observed a Pyramid of stones piled up together, which their Priests told us, was the Number of an Indian Colony drawn out by Lot from a Neighbour-Countrey over-peopled, and led hither by one Monack, from whom they take the Name of Monakin. Here enquiring the way to the Mountains, an ancient Man described with a staffe two paths on the ground; one pointing to the Mahocks, and other to the Nahyssans; but my English Companions slighting the Indians direction, shaped their course by the Compass due West, and therefore it fell out with us, as it does with those Land-Crabs, that crawling backwards in a direct line, avoid not the Trees that stand in their way, but climbing over their very tops, come down again on the other side, and so after a days labour gain not above two foot of ground. Thus we obstinately pursuing a due West course, rode over steep and craggy Cliffs, which beat our Horses quite off the hoof. In these Mountains we wandred from the Twenty fifth of May till the Third of June, finding very little sustenance for Man or Horse; for these places are destitute both of Grain and Herbage.
The third of June we came to the South-branch of James-River, which Major Harris observing to run Northward, vainly imagined to be an Arm of the Lake of Canada; and was so transported with this Fancy, that he would have raised a Pillar to the Discovery, if the fear of the Mahock Indian, and want of food, had permitted him to stay. Here I moved to cross the River and march on; but the rest of the Company were so weary of the enterprize, that crying out, One and All, they had offered violence to me, had I not been provided with a private Commission from the Governour of Virginia to proceed, though the rest of the company should abandon me; the sight of which laid their fury.
The lesser Hills, or Akontshuck, are here unpassable, being both steep and craggy: the Rocks seemed to me at a distance to resemble Eggs set up on end.
James-River is here as broad as it is about an hundred mile lower at Monakin; the passage over is very dangerous, by reason of the rapid Torrents made by Rocks and Shelves forcing the water into narrow Chanels. From an observation which we made of straws and rotten chuncks hanging in the boughs of Trees on the Bank, and two and twenty foot above water, we argued that the melted Snow falling from the Mountains swelled the River to that height, the Flood carrying down that rubbish which, upon the abatement of the Inundation, remained in the Trees.
The Air in these parts was so moist, that all our Biscuit became mouldy and unfit to be eaten, so that some nicer stomachs, who at our setting out laughed at my provision of Indian-meal parched, would gladly now have shared with me: but I being determined to go upon further Discoveries, refused to part with any of that which was to be my most necessary sustenance.
The Continuation of the Second Expedition from Mahock, Southward, into the Province of Carolina.
The fifth of June, my Company and I parted good friends, they back again, and I with one Sasquesahanough-Indian, named Jackzetavon, only, in pursuit of my first Enterprize, changing my course from West to Southwest & by South, to avoid the Mountains. Major Harris at parting gave me a Gun, believing me a lost man, and given up as a prey to Indians or savage Beasts; which made him the bolder in Virginia to report strange things in his own praise and my disparagement, presuming I would never appear to disprove him. This, I suppose, and no other, was the cause that he did with so much industry procure me discredit and odium; but I have lost nothing by it, but what I never studied to gain, which is Popular applause.
From the fifth, which was Sunday, until the ninth of June, I travelled through difficult Ways, without seeing any Town or Indian; and then I arrived at Sapon, a Village of the Nahyssans, about an hundred miles distant from Mahock, scituate upon a branch of Shawan, alias Rorenock-River; and though I had just cause to fear these Indians, because they had been in continual Hostility with the Christians for ten years before; yet presuming that the Truck which I carried with me would procure my welcome, I adventured to put my self into their power, having heard that they never offer any injury to a few persons from whom they apprehend no danger: nevertheless, they examined me strictly whence I came, whither I went, and what my business was. But after I had bestowed some trifles of Glass and Metal amongst them, they were satisfied with reasonable answers, and I received with all imaginable demonstrations of kindness, as offering of Sacrifice, a complement shewed only to such as they design particularly to honour: but they went further, and consulted their Godds whether they should not admit me into their Nation and Councils, and oblige me to stay amongst them by a Marriage with the Kings or some of their great Mens Daughters. But I, though with much a-do, waved their courtesie, and got my Passport, having given my word to return to them within six months.
Sapon is within the limits of the Province of Carolina, and as you may perceive by the Figure, has all the attributes requisite to a pleasant and advantagious Seat; for though it stands high, and upon a dry land, it enjoyes the benefit of a stately River, and a rich Soyl, capable of producing many Commodities, which may hereafter render the Trade of it considerable.
Not far distant from hence, as I understood from the Nahyssan Indians, is their Kings Residence, called Pintahae, upon the same River, and happy in the same advantages both for pleasure and profit: which my curiosity would have led me to see, were I not bound, both by Oath and Commission, to a direct pursuance of my intended purpose of discovering a passage to the further side of the Mountains.
This Nation is governed by an absolute Monarch; the People of a high stature, warlike and rich. I saw great store of Pearl unbored in their little Temples, or Oratories, which they had won amongst other spoyls from the Indians of Florida, and hold in as great esteem as we do.
From hence, by the Indians instructions, I directed my course to Akenatzy, an Island bearing South & by West, and about fifty miles distant, upon a branch of the same River, from Sapon. The Countrey here, though high, is level, and for the most part a rich soyl, as I judged by the growth of the Trees; yet where it is inhabited by Indians, it lies open in spacious Plains, and is blessed with a very healthful Air, as appears by the age and vigour of the people; and though I travelled in the Month of June, the heat of the weather hindred me not from Riding at all hours without any great annoyance from the Sun. By easie journeys I landed at Akenatzy upon the twelfth of June. The current of the River is here so strong, that my Horse had much difficulty to resist it; and I expected every step to be carried away with the stream.
This Island, though small, maintains many inhabitants, who are fix'd here in great security, being naturally fortified with Fastnesses of Mountains, and Water of every side. Upon the North-shore they yearly reap great crops of Corn, of which they always have a twelve-months Provision aforehand, against an Invasion from their powerful Neighbours. Their Government is under two Kings, one presiding in Arms, the other in Hunting and Husbandry. They hold all things, except their Wives, in common; and their custome in eating is, that every man in his turn feasts all the rest; and he that makes the entertainment, is seated betwixt the two Kings; where having highly commended his own chear, they carve and distribute it amongst the guests.
At my arrival here, I met four stranger-Indians, whose Bodies were painted in various colours with figures of Animals whose likeness I had never seen: and by some discourse and signes which passed between us, I gathered that they were the only survivours of fifty, who set out together in company from some great Island, as I conjecture, to the Northwest; for I understood that they crossed a great Water, in which most of their party perished by tempest, the rest dying in the Marishes and Mountains by famine and hard weather, after a two-months travel by Land and Water in quest of this Island of Akenatzy. The most reasonable conjecture that I can frame out of this Relation, is, that these Indians might come from the Island of new Albion or California, from whence we may imagine some great arm of the Indian Ocean or Bay stretches into the Continent towards the Apalataean Mountains into the nature of a mid-land Sea, in which many of these Indians might have perished. To confirm my opinion in this point, I have heard several Indians testifie, that the Nation of Rickohockans, who dwell not far to the Westward of the Apalataean Mountains, are seated upon a Land, as they term it, of great Waves; by which I suppose they mean the Sea-shore.
The next day after my arrival at Akenatzy, a Rickohockan Ambassadour, attended by five Indians, whose faces were coloured with Auripigmentum (in which Mineral these parts do much abound) was received, and that night invited to a Ball of their fashion; but in the height of their mirth and dancing, by a smoke contrived for that purpose, the Room was suddenly darkned, and for what cause I know not, the Rickohockan and his Retinue barbarously murthered. This struck me with such an affrightment, that the very next day, without taking my leave of them, I slunk away with my Indian Companion. Though the desire of informing my self further concerning some Minerals, as Auripigmentum, &c. which I there took special notice of, would have perswaded me to stay longer amongst them, had not the bloody example of their treachery to the Rickohockans frighted me away.
The fourteenth of June, pursuing a South-southwest course, sometimes by a beaten path, and sometimes over hills and rocks, I was forc’d to take up my quarters in the Woods: for though the Oenock-Indians, whom I then sought, were not in a direct line above thirty odde miles distant from Akenatzy, yet the Ways were such, and obliged me to go far about, that I reached not Oenock until the sixteenth. The Country here, by the industry of these Indians, is very open, and clear of wood. Their Town is built round a field, where in their Sports they exercise with so much labour and violence, and in so great numbers, that I have seen the ground wet with the sweat that dropped from their bodies: their chief Recreation is Slinging of stones. They are of mean stature and courage, covetous and thievish, industrious to earn a peny; and therefore hire themselves out to their neighbours, who employ them as Carryers or Porters. They plant abundance of Grain, reap three Crops in a Summer, and out of their Granary supply all the adjacent parts. These and the Mountain-Indians build not their houses of Bark, but of Watling and Plaister. In Summer, the heat of the weather makes them chuse to lie abroad in the night under thin arbours of wilde Palm. Some houses they have of Reed and Bark; they build them generally round: to each house belongs a little hovel made like an oven, where they lay up their Corn and Mast, and keep it dry. They parch their Nuts and Acorns over the fire, to take away their rank Oyliness; which afterwards pressed, yeeld a milky liquor, and the Acorns an Amber-colour’d Oyl. In these, mingled together, they dip their Cakes at great Entertainments, and so serve them up to their guests as an extraordinary dainty. Their Government is Democratick; and the Sentences of their old men are received as Laws, or rather Oracles, by them. Fourteen miles West-Southwest of the Oenocks, dwell the Shackory-Indians, upon a rich Soyl, and yet abounding in Antimony, of which they shewed me considerable quantities. Finding them agree with the Oenocks in Customs and Manners, I made no stay here, but passing thorow their Town, I travelled till the nineteenth of June; and then after a two days troublesome Journey thorow Thickets and Marish grounds, I arrived at Watary above fourty miles distant, and bearing West-Southwest to Shakor. This Nation differs in Government from all the other Indians of these parts: for they are Slaves, rather then Subjects to their King. Their present Monarch is a grave man, and courteous to strangers: yet I could not without horrour behold his barbarous Superstition, in hiring three youths, and sending them forth to kill as many young women of their Enemies as they could light on, to serve his son, then newly dead, in the other world, as he vainly fancyed. These youths during my stay returned with skins torn off the heads and faces of three young girls, which they presented to his Majestie, and were by him gratefully received.
I departed from Watary the one and twentieth of June; and keeping a West-course for near thirty miles, I came to Sara: here I found the ways more level and easie. Sara is not far distant from the Mountains, which here lose their height, and change their course and name: for they run due West, and receive from the Spaniards the name of Suala. From these Mountains or Hills the Indians draw great quantities of Cinabar, with which beaten to powder they colour their faces: this Mineral is of a deeper Purple then Vermilion, and is the same which is in so much esteem amongst Physitians, being the first element of Quicksilver.
I did likewise, to my no small admiration, find hard cakes of white Salt amongst them: but whether they were made of Sea-water, or taken out of Salt-pits, I know not: but am apt to believe the later, because the Sea is so remote from them. Many other rich Commodities and Minerals there are undoubtedly in these parts, which if possessed by an ingenious and industrious people, would be improved to vast advantages by Trade. But having tied my self up to things onely that I have seen in my Travels, I will deliver no Conjectures.
Lingua sile non est ultra narrabile quidquam.
These Indians are so indiscreetly fond of their children, that they will not chastise them for any mischief or insolence. A little Boy had shot an Arrow thorow my body, had I not reconciled him to me with gifts: and all this anger was, because I spurred my horse out of another Arrows way which he directed at him. This caused such a mutiny amongst the Youth of the Town, that the Seniors taking my horse and self into protection, had much ado (and that by intreaties and prayers, not commands) to appease them.
From Sara I kept a South-Southwest course until the five and twentieth of June, and then I reached Wisacky. This three-days march was more troublesome to me than all my travels besides: for the direct way which I took from Sara to Wisacky, is over a continued Marish over-grown with Reeds, from whose roots sprung knotty stumps as hard and sharp as Flint. I was forc'd to lead my horse most part of the way, and wonder that he was not either plunged in the Bogs, or lamed by those rugged knots.
This Nation is subject to a neighbour-King residing upon the bank of a great Lake called Ushery, invironed of all sides with Mountains, and Wisacky Marish; and therefore I will detain the Reader no longer with the discourse of them, because I comprehend them in that of Ushery.
The six and twentieth of June, having crossed a fresh River which runs into the Lake of Ushery, I came to the Town, which was more populous then any I had seen before in my March. The King dwells some three miles from it, and therefore I had no opportunity of seeing him the two nights which I stayed there. This Prince, though his Dominions are large and populous, is in continual fear of the Oustack-Indians seated on the opposite side of the Lake; a people so addicted to Arms, that even their women come into the field, and shoot Arrows over their husbands shoulders, who shield them with Leathern Targets. The men it seems should fight with Silver-Hatchets: for one of the Usheryes told me they were of the same metal with the Pomel of my Sword. They are a cruel generation, and prey upon people, whom they either steal, or force away from the Usheryes in Periago's, to sacrifice to their Idols. The Ushery-women delight much in feather-ornaments, of which they have great variety; but Peacocks in most esteem, because rare in those parts. They are reasonably handsome, and have more of civility in their carriage then I observed in the other Nations with whom I conversed; which is the reason that the men are more effeminate and lazie.
These miserable wretches are strangely infatuated with illusions of the devil: it caused no small horrour in me, to see one of them wrythe his neck all on one side, foam at the mouth, stand bare-foot upon burning coals for near an hour, and then recovering his senses, leap out of the fire without hurt, or signe of any. This I was an eye-witness of.
The water of Ushery-lake seemed to my taste a little brackish; which I rather impute to some Mineral-waters which flow into it, then to any saltness it can take from the Sea, which we may reasonably suppose is a great way from it. Many pleasant Rivulets fall into it, and it is stored with great plenty of excellent fish. I judged it to be about ten leagues broad: for were not the other shore very high, it could not be discerned from Ushery. How far this Lake tends Westerly, or where it ends, I could neither learn or guess.
Here I made a days stay, to inform my self further in these Countries; and understood both from the Usheries, and some Sara-Indians that came to trade with them, that two-days journey and a half from hence to the Southwest, a powerful Nation of Bearded men were seated, which I suppose to be the Spaniards, because the Indians never have any; it being an universal custom amongst them, to prevent their growth, by plucking the young hair out by the roots. Westward lies a Government inhospitable to strangers; and to the North, over the Suala-mountains, lay the Rickohockans. I though it not safe to venture my self amongst the Spaniards, lest taking me for a Spy, they would either make me away, or condemn me to a perpetual Slavery in their Mines. Therefore not thinking fit to proceed further, the eight and twentieth of June I faced about, and looked homewards.
To avoid Wisacky-Marish, I shaped my course Northeast; and after three days travel over hilly ways, where I met with no path or road, I fell into a barren Sandy desert, where I suffered miserably for want of water; the heat of the Summer having drunk all the Springs dry, and left no signe of any, but the Gravelly chanels in which they run: so that if now and then I had not found a standing Pool, which provident Nature set round with shady Oaks, to defend it from the ardour of the Sun, my Indian companion, horse and self had certainly perished with thirst. In this distress we travelled till the twelfth of July, and then found the head of a River, which afterwards proved Eruco; in which we received not onely the comfort of a necessary and seasonable refreshment, but likewise the hopes of coming into a Country again where we might finde Game for food at least, if not discover some new Nation or People. Nor did our hopes fail us: for after we had crossed the River twice, we were led by it upon the fourteenth of July to the Town of Katearas, a place of great Indian Trade and Commerce, and chief Seat of the haughty Emperour of the Toskiroro's, called Kaskusara, vulgarly Kaskous. His grim Majestie, upon my first appearance, demanded my Gun and Shot; which I willingly parted with, to ransom my self out of his clutches: for he was the most proud imperious Barbarian that I met with in all my Marches. The people here at this time seemed prepared for some extraordinary Solemnity: for the men and women of better sort had decked themselves very fine with pieces of bright Copper in their hair and ears, and about their arms and neck, which upon Festival occasions they use as an extraordinary bravery: by which it should seem this Country is not without rich Mines of Copper. But I durst not stay to inform my self further in it, being jealous of some sudden mischief towards me from Kaskous, his nature being bloudy, and provoked upon any slight occasion.
Therefore leaving Katearas, I travelled through the Woods until the sixteenth, upon which I came to Kawitziokan, an Indian town upon a branch of Rorenoke-river, which here I passed over, continuing my journey to Menchoerinck; and on the seventeenth departing from thence, I lay all night in the Woods, and the next morning betimes going by Natoway, I reached that evening Apamatuck in Virginia, where I was not a little overjoyed to see Christian faces again.
The third and last EXPEDITION, From the Falls of Rappahanock-River in Virginia, (due West) to the top of the Apalataean Mountains.
ON the twentieth of August 1670, Col. Catlet of Virginia and my self, with nine English Horse, and five Indians on foot, departed from the house of one Robert Talifer, and that night reached the falls of Rappahanock-river, in Indian Mantepeuck.
The next day we passed it over where it divides into two branches North and South, keeping the main branch North of us.
The three and twentieth we found it so shallow, that it onely wet our horses hoofs. The four and twentieth we travelled thorow the Savanae amongst vast herds of Red and Fallow Deer which stood gazing at us; and a little after, we came to the Promontories or Spurs of the Apalataean-mountains.
These Savanae are low grounds at the foot of the Apalataeans, which all the Winter, Spring, and part of the Summer, lie under snow or water, when the snow is dissolved, which falls down from the Mountains commonly about the beginning of June; and then their verdure is wonderful pleasant to the eye, especially of such as having travelled through the shade of the vast Forest, come out of a melancholy darkness of a sudden, into a clear and open skie. To heighten the beauty of these parts, the first Springs of most of those great Rivers which run into the Atlantick Ocean, or Cheseapeack Bay, do here break out, and in various branches interlace the flowry Meads, whose luxurious herbage invites numerous herds of Red Deer (for their unusual largeness improperly termed Elks by ignorant people) to feed. The right Elk, though very common in New Scotland, Canada,and those Northern parts, is never seen on this side of the Continent: for that which the Virginians call Elks, does not at all differ from the Red Deer of Europe, but in his dimensions, which are far greater: but yet the Elk in bigness does as far exceed them: their heads, or horns, are not very different; but the neck of the Elk is so short, that it hardly separates the head from the shoulders; which is the reason that they cannot feed upon level ground but by falling on their knees, though their heads be a yard-long: therefore they commonly either brouse upon trees, or standing up to the belly in ponds or rivers feed upon the banks: their Cingles or tails are hardly three inches long. I have been told by a New-England-Gentleman, that the lips and nostrils of this creature is the most delicious meat he ever tasted. As for the Red Deer we here treat of, I cannot difference the taste of their flesh from those in Europe.
The six and twentieth of August we came to the Mountains, where finding no horse-way up, we alighted, and left our horses with two or three Indians below, whilst we went up afoot. The ascent was so steep, the cold so intense, and we so tired, that having with much ado gained the top of one of the highest, we drank the Kings Health in Brandy, gave the Mountain His name, and agreed to return back again, having no encouragement from that prospect to proceed to a further discovery; since from hence we saw another Mountain, bearing North and by West to us, of a prodigious height: for according to an observation of the distance taken by Col. Catlet,it could not be less then fifty leagues from the place we stood upon.
Here was I stung in my sleep by a Mountain-spider; and had not an Indian suckt out the poyson, I had died: for receiving the hurt at the tip of one of my fingers, the venome shot up immediately into my shoulder, and so inflamed my side, that it is not possible to express my torment. The means used by my Physician, was first a small dose of Snakeroot-powder, which I took in a little water; and then making a kinde of Plaister of the same, applied it neer to the part affected: when he had done so, he swallowed some by way of Antidote himself, and suckt my fingers end so violently, that I felt the venome retire back from my side into my shoulder, and from thence down my arm: having thus sucked half a score times, and spit as often, I was eased of all my pain, and perfectly recovered. I thought I had been bit by a Rattle-snake, for I saw not what hurt me: but the Indian found by the wound, and the effects of it, that it was given by a Spider, one of which he shewed me the next day: it is not unlike our great blue Spider, onely it is somewhat longer. I suppose the nature of his poyson to be much like that of the Tarantula.
I being thus beyond my hopes and expectation restored to my self, we unanimously agreed to return back, seeing no possibility of passing through the Mountains: and finding our Indians with our horses in the place where we left them, we rode homewards without making any further Discovery.
CONJECTURES of the Land beyond the Apalataean Mountains.
THey are certainly in a great errour, who imagine that the Continent of North-America is but eight or ten days journey over from the Atlantick to the Indian Ocean: which all reasonable men must acknowledge, if they consider that Sir Francis Drake kept a West-Northwest course from Cape Mendocino to California. Nevertheless, by what I gathered from the stranger Indians at Akenatzy of their Voyage by Sea to the very Mountains from a far distant Northwest Country, I am brought over to their opinion who think that the Indian Ocean does stretch an Arm or Bay from California into the Continent as far as the Apalataean Mountains, answerable to the Gulfs of Florida and Mexico on this side. Yet I am far from believing with some, that such great and Navigable Rivers are to be found on the other side the Apalataeans falling into the Indian Ocean, as those which run from them to the Eastward. My first reason is derived from the knowledge and experience we already have of South-America,whose Andes send the greatest Rivers in the world (as the Amazones and Rio de la Plata,&c.)into the Atlantick,but none at all into the Pacifique Sea. Another Argument is, that all our Waterfowl which delight in Lakes and Rivers, as Swans, Geese, Ducks, &c. come over the Mountains from the Lake of Canada,when it is frozen over every Winter, to our fresh Rivers; which they would never do, could they finde any on the other side of the Apalataeans.
INSTRUCTIONS to such as shall march upon Discoveries into the North American Continent.
TWo breaches there are in the Apalataean Mountains, opening a passage into the Western parts of the Continent. One, as I am informed by Indians, at a place called Zynodoa, to the Norward; the other at Sara, where I have been my self: but the way thither being thorow a vast Forest, where you seldom fall into any Road or Path, you must shape your course by a Compass; though some, for want or one, have taken their direction from the North-side of the trees, which is distinguished from the rest by quantities of thick Moss growing there. You will not meet with many hinderances on horseback in your passage to the Mountains, but where your course is interrupted by branches of the great Rivers, which in many places are not Fordable; and therefore if you be unprovided of means or strength to make a Bridge by felling trees across, you may be forced to go a great way about: in this respect company is necessary, but in others so inconvenient, that I would not advise above half a dozen, or ten at the most, to travel together; and of these, the major part Indians: for the Nations in your way are prone to jealousie and mischief towards Christians in a considerable Body, and as courteous and hearty to a few, from whom they apprehend no danger.
When you pass thorow an even level Country, where you can take no particular remarks from hill or waters to guide your self by when you come back, you must not forget to notch the trees as you go along your small Hatchet, that in your return you may know when you fall into the same way which you went. By this means you will be certain of the place you are in, and may govern your course homeward accordingly.
In stead of Bread, I used the meal of parched Mayz, i.e. Indian Wheat; which when I eat, I seasoned with a little Salt. This is both more portable and strengthning then Biscuit, and will suffer no mouldiness by any weather. For other provisions, you may securely trust to your Gun, the Woods being full of Fallow, and Savanae of Red-Deer, besides great variety of excellent Fowl, as wilde Turkeys, Pigeons, Partridges, Phesants, &c. But you must not forget to dry or barbecue some of these before you come to the Mountains: for upon them you will meet with no Game, except a few Bears.
Such as cannot lie on the ground, must be provided with light Hamacks, which hung in the trees, are more cool and pleasant then any bed whatsoever.
The Order and Discipline to be observed in this Expedition is, that an Indian Scout or two march as far before the rest of the company as they can in sight, both for the finding out provision, and discovery of Ambushes, if any should be laid by Enemies. Let your other Indians keep on the right and left hand, armed not onely with Guns, but Bills and Hatchets, to build small Arbours or Cottages of boughs and bark of trees, to shelter and defend you from the injuries of the weather. At nights it is necessary to make great Fires round about the place where you take up your lodging, as well to scare Wild-beasts away, as to purifie the air. Neither must you fail to go the Round at the close of the evening: for then, and betimes in the morning, the Indians put all their designes in execution: in the night they never attempt any thing.
When in the remote parts you draw near to an Indian Town, you must by your Scouts inform your self whether they hold any correspondence with the Sasquesahanaughs: for to such you must give notice of your approach by a Gun; which amongst other Indians is to be avoided, because being ignorant of their use, it would affright and dispose them to some treacherous practice against you.
Being arrived at a Town, enter no house until you are invited; and then seem not afraid to be led in pinion'd like a prisoner: for that is a Ceremony they use to friends and enemies without distinction.
You must accept of an invitation from the Seniors, before that of young men; and refuse nothing that is offered or set afore you: for they are very jealous, and sensible of the least slighting or neglect from strangers, and mindful of Revenge.
Touching TRADE with Indians.
IF you barely designe a Home-trade with neighbour-Indians, for skins of Deer, Beaver, Otter, Wild-Cat, Fox, Racoon, &c. your best Truck is a sort of course Trading Cloth, of which a yard and a half makes a Matchcoat or Mantle fit for their wear; as also Axes, Hoes, Knives, Sizars, and all sorts of edg'd tools. Guns, Powder and Shot, &c. are Commodities they will greedily barter for: but to supply the Indians with Arms and Ammunition, is prohibited in all English Governments.
In dealing with the Indians, you must be positive and at a word: for if they perswade you to fall any thing in your price, they will spend time in higgling for further abatements, and seldom conclude any Bargain. Sometimes you may with Brandy or Strong liquor dispose them to an humour of giving you ten times the value of your commodity; and at other times they are so hide-bound, that they will not offer half the Market-price, especially if they be aware that you have a designe to circumvent them with drink, or that they think you have a desire to their goods, which you must seem to slight and disparage.
To the remoter Indians you must carry other kinds of Truck, as small Looking-glasses, Pictures, Beads and Bracelets of glass, Knives, Sizars, and all manner of gaudy toys and knacks for children, which are light and portable. For they are apt to admire such trinkets, and will purchase them at any rate, either with their currant Coyn of small shells, which they call Roanoack or Peack, or perhaps with Pearl, Vermilion, pieces of Christal; and towards Ushery, with some odde pieces of Plate or Bullion, which they sometimes receive in Truck from the Oestacks.
Could I have foreseen when I set out, the advantages to be made by a Trade with those remote Indians, I had gone better provided; though perhaps I might have run a great hazard of my life, had I purchased considerably amongst them, by carrying wealth unguarded through so many different Nations of barbarous people: therefore it is vain for any man to propose to himself, or undertake a Trade at that distance, unless he goes with strength to defend, as well as an Adventure to purchase such Commodities: for in such a designe many ought to joyn and go in company.
Some pieces of Silver unwrought I purchased my self of the Usheries,for no other end then to justifie this account I give of my Second Expedition, which had not determined at Ushery, were I accompanied with half a score resolute youths that would have stuck to me in a further discovery towards the Spanish Mines.