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Early Western Travels, 1748-1846

Early Western Travels, 1748-1846 comprises thirty-one volumes which contain accurate reprints of rare manuscripts. They were carefully chosen from the mass of material descriptive of travels in the North American interior which this century of continental expansion (1748-1846) provided, and no manuscript has been included unless it possessed permanent historical value. The result is a series which the casual reader will find interesting, and the historian, teacher and scholar, will find invaluable, as it makes available sources of information without which the development of the West, its history and its people cannot be fully understood. The editor has provided numerous footnotes and an introduction to each volume which contains a biographical sketch of the author, an evaluation of the book reprinted and bibliographical data concerning it. The closing volumes are devoted to a complete and exhaustive analytical index to the entire series.

Use Of Tobacco Among North American Indians

Tobacco has been one of the most important gifts from the New World to the Old. In spite of the attempts of various authors to prove its Old World origin there can be no doubt that it was introduced into both Europe and Africa from America. Most species of Nicotiana are native to the New World, and there are only a few species which are undoubtedly extra- American. The custom of smoking is also characteristic of America. It was thoroughly established throughout eastern North and South America at the time of the discovery; and the early explorers, from Columbus on, speak of it as a strange and novel practice which they often find it hard to describe. It played an important part in many religious ceremonies, and the beliefs and observances connected with it are in themselves proof of its antiquity. Hundreds of pipes have been found in the pre-Columbian mounds and village sites of the eastern United States and, although these remains cannot be dated, some of them must be of considerable age. In the southwestern United States the Basket Makers, an ancient people whose remains are found below those of the prehistoric Cliff Dwellers, were smoking pipes at a time which could not have been much later than the beginning of our era.

Appalachian Colonists from the Mediterranean Basin

Throughout the Southeastern United States can be found “old families” in rural areas whose appearance is not quite the same as the European or African peoples who colonized the region, but also not what a person with substantial indigenous ancestry looks like either. In earlier times they might have called themselves Cajun, Black Irish, Redbone, Black Dutch, Portughee, Old Spanish, Melungeon or Part Injun. In more recent years they are likely to say that their great-grandmother was a full blooded Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Catawba, Shawnee or Blackfoot. She may have been, but that is not always the case. Many of these people have Mediterranean features, not Native American. One group of mestizos in the Southeast receives very little publicity. Their families have vague memories of either being Jewish or having some Jewish ancestors during the Colonial or Federal Periods. These families may even have Jewish surnames such as Abram, Alba, Amos, Bachman, Benjamin, Boone, Cowen, Hite, Luby, Cohen, David, Gabby, Hershey, Rich, Jacobs, Jordan, Kaufman, Lombard, Levy, Meyer, Shapiro, Spiker, Rosenberg, Sherman, Solomon, Oliver, etc. but they have been practicing Christians for so long that they don’t even realize that their names are of Jewish origin. There is usually no way of discerning these families’ Jewish heritage by physical appearance because Americans, by nature, are hybrids. In contrast, the mountain valleys of northeastern Tennessee, northwestern Virginia, southeastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and southern Virginia contain a mestizo population that has maintained a separate identity for 250 years. Some families called themselves Cherokees. Some families called themselves Portughee. More and more they now call themselves Melungeons.   All along, however, they...


The word, Melungeon, dates at least back to the late 1700s and has several interpretations. The most obvious is that it is frontier derivation of the French word, mélange, which means “blend.”

What Happened to the Sephardic Jewish Colonists?

There has never been a scientific study to determine the post-colonial history of the Sephardic communities in the Southern Piedmont and Appalachians. Anything that can be said must be in the realm of speculation, based on the known cultural history of the Southeast during the Colonial and Antebellum Eras. The only significant religious-based persecution in the Lower Southeast was between the Sephardic Jews and the Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe. A Protestant minister in Savannah wrote, “Some Jews in Savannah complain that the Spanish and Portuguese Jews should persecute the German Jews in a way no Christian would persecute another Christian.” One of the biggest obstacles to tracing early Sephardic Jewish colonists in the Appalachians is the general acceptance that Jewish citizens received in the Southeast. Unlike the situation in Spanish and French colonies, they were not forbidden entry. Unlike in the North, Jewish settlers were not pressured into the ghettos of large cities. However, for many decades the only Southern synagogues were in old colonial cities such as Savannah, Charleston, Wilmington and Richmond.1 Most of the Jewish immigrants were dispersed as individual families across the landscape of the Southeast’s towns and plantations. The earliest Jewish settlers were Sephardim. German and Eastern European Jews followed. There was apparently little social stigma in the Old South toward marriage between affluent Jews and Christians. Several prominent Christian and Jewish leaders of that era embarked on happy marriages with spouses of the other religion.2 Some of their children became Christian. Some became Jewish. All carried forward a general tolerance for both faiths. Many, if not most, early Jewish settlers, who were isolated...

Indian Captivity Narratives

This collection contains entire narratives of Indian captivity; that is to say, we have provided the reader the originals without the slightest abridgement. Some of these captivities provide little in way of customs and manners, except to display examples of the clandestine warfare Native Americans used to accomplish their means. In almost every case, there was a tug of war going on between principle government powers, French, American, British, and Spanish, and these powers used the natural prowess of the Indians to assist them in causing warfare upon American and Canadian settlers. There were definitely thousands of captivities, likely tens of thousands, as the active period of these Indian captivity narratives covers 150 years. Unfortunately, few have ever been put under a pen by the original captive, and as such, we have little first-hand details on their captivity. These you will find here, are only those with which were written by the captive or narrated to another who could write for them; you shall find in a later collection, a database of known captives, by name, location, and dates, and a narrative about their captivity along with factual sources. But that is for another time.

History of the Indian Wars

Our relations with the aboriginal inhabitants of this continent form a distinct and very important, and interesting portion of the history of this Republic. It is unfortunately, for the most part, a history of bloody wars, in which the border settlers have suffered all the horrors of savage aggression, and, in which portions of our colonial settlements have sometimes been completely cut off and destroyed. Other portions of this thrilling history, evince the courage, daring, and patience of the settlers, in a very favorable point of view, and exhibit them as triumphing over every difficulty, and finally obtaining a firm foothold on the soil. In all its parts, this history will always possess numerous points of peculiar interest for the American reader.

Map of part of North America from Cape Charles to the Mouth of the River Mississipi

Captain John Barnwell, otherwise known as Tuscarora Jack, was a well known frontier settler who was active in the 1711 Tuscarora War. His travels throughout the Southeast enabled him to draw a relatively accurate map of the area of his travels and exploration, some from second hand information, but most from first hand. For researchers of the Southeast this map is critical, and never before seen online in such a large form as to be able to read the hand writing and personal descriptions and historical details as outlined by Barnwell. In order to view this map in a form that made it legible you had to travel to one of the two locations the actual versions exist.

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