Virginia


Life and travels of Colonel James Smith – Indian Captivities

An Artists rendition of James Smith

James Smith, pioneer, was born in Franklin county, Pennsylvania, in 1737. When he was eighteen years of age he was captured by the Indians, was adopted into one of their tribes, and lived with them as one of themselves until his escape in 1759. He became a lieutenant under General Bouquet during the expedition against the Ohio Indians in 1764, and was captain of a company of rangers in Lord Dunmore’s War. In 1775 he was promoted to major of militia. He served in the Pennsylvania convention in 1776, and in the assembly in 1776-77. In the latter year he was commissioned colonel in command on the frontiers, and performed distinguished services. Smith moved to Kentucky in 1788. He was a member of the Danville convention, and represented Bourbon county for many years in the legislature. He died in Washington county, Kentucky, in 1812. The following narrative of his experience as member of an Indian tribe is from his own book entitled “Remarkable Adventures in the Life and Travels of Colonel James Smith,” printed at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1799. It affords a striking contrast to the terrible experiences of the other captives whose stories are republished in this book; for he was well treated, and stayed so long with his red captors that he acquired expert knowledge of their arts and customs, and deep insight into their character.



Legal Status of the Pamunkey Tribe

The Pamunkey, with a resident population of little more than a hundred, still preserve their national independence under the privileges accorded them by the State of Virginia almost two and a half centuries ago. They enjoy the unique distinction of being in all likelihood the smallest independent nation in the world. Pollard’s synopsis of the



The Tribal Laws of the Pamunkey Indian Town

Christmas Indian dance in the woods on the Pamunkey reservation in 1921

The tribal laws of the Pamunkey Indian Town written on September 25, 1887.



The Question of the Maternal Clan

Speck argues against the question of a possible maternal clan in the Powhatan Confederacy, based upon some form of social grouping determined on the mother’s side.



History of the Powhatan Government

Old Pamunkey spring and ancient dance place.

An overlook of the Powhatan government system in historical times including a list of tribal chiefs in the 19th and 20th Century.



Chronology of European Occupancy in the Southern Highlands

The following is a chronological outline of archival and physical evidence that Europeans were living in the Southern Appalachians long before the region was officially settled by Anglo-Americans: 1564 – Captain René de Laundonnière named the mountains in Georgia and western North Carolina, Les Apalachiens in honor of the Apalache Indians after an exploration team



The Powhatan Confederacy

The Coronation of Powhatan

A history of the Powhatan Confederacy showing the geographical boundaries, town names, and history of the confederation of tribes.



Sir William Berkeley and Native American Slavery

Flagmen of Lowestoft - Vice-Admiral Sir William Berkeley, 1639-66

Sir William Berkeley was a highly educated courtier in the regime of Charles I, then twice governor of Virginia.1 As governor, he stacked the Council and House of Burgesses with Royalist planters then institutionalized race-based slavery in 1661 and 1662.  Prior to that time in Virginia, Native American and Africans were theoretically forced laborers; legally



Castaways, Deserters, Refugees and Pirates

White's 1585 Roanoke Map

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 Rickohockens

A New Description of Carolina

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.



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