A Narrative of the captivity of Nehemiah How, who was taken by the Indians at the Great Meadow Fort above Fort Dummer, where he was an inhabitant, October 11th, 1745. Giving an account of what he met with in his traveling to Canada, and while he was in prison there. Together with an account of Mr. How’s death at Canada. Exceedingly valuable for the many items of exact intelligence therein recorded, relative to so many of the present inhabitants of New England, through those friends who endured the hardships of captivity in the mountain deserts and the damps of loathsome prisons. Had the author lived to have returned, and published his narrative himself, he doubtless would have made it far more valuable, but he was cut off while a prisoner, by the prison fever, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, after a captivity of one year, seven months, and fifteen days. He died May 25th, 1747, in the hospital at Quebec, after a sickness of about ten days. He was a husband and father, and greatly beloved by all who knew him.
There is no accurate measure of the number of shipwrecks along the South Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico, but the number must be in the hundreds or even over a thousand. Also not known is how many shipwrecked sailors and passengers survived in North America during the 1500’s and 1600’s, or how many Sephardic Jews, Muslim Moors and European Protestants, escaping the Spanish Inquisition, landed on the shores of the present day Southeastern United States. Surviving archives, however, do furnish credible evidence of these peoples settling in the interior of the Southeast, while officially England was only colonizing the coastal regions.
The word, “Rickohocken,” appeared suddenly in the discussions of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1644, and was frequently mentioned thereafter until 1684. No word similar to Rickohocken appeared on Virginia maps before 1644, while such southwestern Virginia tribes as the Tomahitan, Saponi and Occaneechi did. The Rickohockens were shown on British maps to control southwestern Virginia, southeastern Kentucky, northeastern Tennessee and northwestern North Carolina until the early 1700s.
American history textbooks typically provide a cursory chapter on the period of the 16th century Spanish explorers of the Southeast and a few sentences to the attempts of French Huguenots to establish a colony in the region. They jump to the failed attempt to establish an English colony on Roanoke Island, North Carolina, then lavish attention on Jamestown, VA and Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts. The texts then proceed to describe the founding of the various colonies which became the original United States. Very little, if anything, is said about the French and English explorers who ventured into the interior of the Southeast between 1568 and 1700. University level Colonial History courses might go into more detail on these intrepid people, but the general public in the United States never learns about them. Author Richard Thornton shares some interesting facts your history teacher didn’t tell you about early colonial America.