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The Rickohockens

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.

Tamahita Tribe

In 1673 the Virginia pioneer Abraham Wood sent two white men, James Needham and Gabriel Arthur, the latter probably an indentured servant, in company with eight Indians, to explore western Virginia up to and beyond the mountains. They were turned back at first “by misfortune and unwillingness of ye Indians before the mountaines that they should discover beyond them”; but May 17 they were sent out again, and on June 25 they met some “Tomahitans” on their way from the mountains to the Occaneechi, a Siouan tribe. Some of these came to see Wood, and meanwhile the rest returned to their own country, along with the two white men and one Appomatox Indian. From this point the narrative proceeds as follows: They jornied nine days from Occhonechee to Sitteree: west and by south, past nine rivers and creeks which all end in this side ye mountaines and emty themselves into ye east sea. Sitteree being the last towne of inhabitance and not any path further untill they came within two days jomey of ye Tomahitans; they travell from thence up the mountaines upon ye sun setting all ye way, and in foure dayes gett to ye toppe, some times leading thaire horses sometimes rideing. Ye ridge upon ye topp is not above two hundred paces over; ye decent better than on this side, in halfe a day they came to ye foot, and then levell ground all ye way, many slashes upon ye heads of small runns. The slashes are full of very great canes and ye water runes to ye north west. They pass five rivers and about...

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