Before treating of these better known names, several other tribal names or synonyms, for each of which there is but a single authority, may be mentioned. They were all probably of the same Manahoac or Monacan connection, but it is impossible to identify them positively with any of the tribes mentioned by Smith or with any of those prominent in the later colonial records. This is not necessary, however, as Smith himself, in speaking of the two Virginia confederacies just referred to, distinctly states that each had other tribes besides those which he names, while as for the interior of Carolina, it was entirely unknown excepting along the line of the great trading path until after the Tuskarora war of 1711 and the Yamasi war of 1715 had brought about an upheaval and readjustment of tribal relations by which many of the old names disappeared and new ones took their place. In the meantime the Indian wars of Bacon’s rebellion and the constant inroads of the Iroquois had served further to complicate the problem.
The Mahoc Indians
Lederer is the sole authority for this tribe. From his narrative it appears that in 1670 they were living on the upper James, with their village at the junction of a stream coming in from the north which he judged to be about 100 miles above the Monacan town. This estimate is too great, but it is probable that they were located about the foothills east of the Blue Ridge. The name suggests the Manahoac, but, as he mentions both Mahoc and Managog in a list of tribes, they may have been distinct. From his reference it seems that they were hostile to the English, and he states that Totopotomoi, the Pamunki chief, had been killed while fighting for the whites against the Mahoc and Nahyssan. As this chief was killed while fighting at the head of his men, side by side with the English, to drive back the Rickohockan invasion in 1656, it would seem that the Rickochokan (Cherokee) were joined by Siouan tribes in their descent upon the lowlands. The Mahock are mentioned as speaking the same language, with dialectic difference, common to the Monacan, Nahyssan, Saponi, and other tribes of that section. Lederer passed through their territory on his way to the Saponi, but apparently did not meet any of them. The name is intended to be pronounced with the Latin vowel sounds.
The Nuntaneuck or Nuntaly Indians
This tribe is mentioned as speaking the common language of the Monacan, Nahyssan, Saponi, and others, and as having occupied the piedmont country jointly with those tribes after the extinction of the Tacci. Their name also is to be pronounced as in Latin.
The Mohetan Indians
These Indians are mentioned in the narrative of Batts’ exploring expedition into western Virginia in September, 1671. After crossing the Blue Ridge to the headwaters of New river the party came upon recently cleared cornfields along the stream, from which it appeared the Mohetan had but lately removed. On their return to the Tutelo village on a head stream of Roanoke or Dan river, they found a Mohetan Indian who had been sent by his people to learn if the English had come with hostile purpose. Being assured to the contrary, and gratified with a small present of powder, he told the explorers that when they had reached their farthest point on New River, apparently a few miles east of the present West Virginia line, they had been very near the Mohetan settlement, and that the next people beyond lived in a plain country from which came abundance of salt. This was probably about the present Mercer Salt works on New River, in Summers County, West Virginia, or Salt pond, in the adjacent Giles County, Virginia, so that the Mohetan must have lived within the mountains at the head of New river on the western border of Virginia. They knew nothing of what was beyond the salt plains. From the narrative it is evident that they were an agricultural tribe, probably using salt -which was not commonly used by the eastern tribes, – were already acquainted with firearms, and were at this time on good terms with the Tutelo. Although this is the first recorded so far into the mountains, the party found traces of previous white visitors considerably west of the Blue Ridge. In this name, the initial mo may be the – Siouan root ma*, “earth” or “country,” and the final ton may be the Siouan to” or to”wa”, “village” or ” settlement,” which appears in the tribal names Teton, Yankton, Sisseton, etc.
The Meipontsky or Meipoutsky Indians
These seem to be mentioned only in the report of the Albany conference of 1722, convened at the instance of Governor Spotswood to put an end to the inroads of the Iroquois against the Virginian tribes. They are named as one of the five tribes then living near Fort Christanna and known collectively to the English as Christanna Indians and to the Iroquois as Todirichroone; the four others being the Saponi, Occaneechi, Steukenock (Stegaraki), and Tutelo. They were probably one of the Monacan or Manahoac tribes, although they cannot be identified with any of those named by Smith and as they do not appear in the later records we may assume that their existence became merged in that of the Saponi and Tutelo .
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- Lederer, John. 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 Latin from his discourse and writings, by Sir William Talbot, baronet, etc. London, etc. 1672, pp. 2, 7, 9, 11. (Copy in Library of Congress.)↵
- Lederer, op. cit., p. 2.↵
- New York. Documents relative to the colonial history of the state of New York. Procured in Holland, England, and France, by John Romeyn Brodhead, etc. Edited by E. B. O’Callaghan, vol. iii, p. 196-7. Albany, 1856-’77. 12 vols.↵
- Ibid., Albany Conference of 1722, vol v, p. 673.↵
- Byrd, William. History of the dividing line between Virginia and North Carolina, as run in 1728-’29, vol. ii, pp. 257. Richmond, 1866. 2 volumes.↵