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Topic: Rickohocken

Who Really are the Cherokees?

In 1976, while writing his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Anthropology, Archaeologist Bennie Keel was under heavy pressure to state that the Cherokees had lived in western North Carolina for at least 1000 years. 1Keel, Benny, Cherokee Archaeology: A Study of the Appalachian Summit, Knoxville: UT Press, 2001. That was a new policy adopted by the State of North Carolina. What Keel did say was that only three probable Cherokee structures in North Carolina had produced radiocarbon dates before the 1720. Keel noted that there was a century long gap between the archaeological record of large towns with multi-roomed...

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Sir William Berkeley and Native American Slavery

Sir William Berkeley was a highly educated courtier in the regime of Charles I, then twice governor of Virginia. 1Billings, Warren M, Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 2004. 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 classified as indentured servants like their European counterparts, who would be supposedly set free after seven years of work for a master.  After passage of this...

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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.

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Chronology of Early Virginia History 1607-1715

1607 – Jamestown colony founded. 1609 – Based on the voyage of Henry Hudson, the Netherlands claimed the region in what are now the Middle Atlantic States. Their claim extended from the Eastern Shore of Maryland to Massachusetts Bay. 1Martin, John B. & Mauldin, Margaret M., Dictionary of Muskogee/Creek, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. First Powhatan War (1610 to 1614) coincides with secret Dutch explorations. (See further: The Indian Wars of the Colonists of Virginia) 1611-1614 – The Admiralty of Amsterdam sent four covert voyages to North America.  The ships were captained by Jan Cornelisz Mey and Symon Willemsz Cat. 2New Netherland, Wikipedia Encyclopedia. The area between present-day Maryland and Massachusetts was explored, surveyed, and charted. 1613 – “Regular Joes” were seldom recorded by history, especially in an era where nations were ruled by kings and nobility.  There is an exception in the history of New York City. 3Simon, Ellis, “CUNY Publishes Monograph on New York’s First Resident,” May 14, 2013. Dominican trader Juan Rodriguez hitched a ride on a sailing ship and then was dropped off at Manhattan Island. He was born in Santo Domingo of Portuguese and African descent. During the winter of 1613-1614, he trapped animals for pelts and traded with the local Natives.  He became the first non-Native American to live in New York. There is a high probability that if a Dominican would...

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Mysterious Cherokee Raiders

The Early History of Jackson County, GA describes a Cherokee tribe in the region northeast of present day Metropolitan Atlanta, known as the Bohurons. 1White, W. E. (Editor) Wilson, Gustavus J. N. (Author) The Early History of Jackson County, GA, Atlanta: Foote & Davis Printers, 1914; pp. 17-19. The book, created from the writings of a self-educated civic leader in the mid-1800s, contains many Bohuron personal names. None of them are Native American words. 2Thornton, Richard. Mysterious Bohuron Tribe in North Georgia. People of One Fire. Native American Brain Food No. 25, February 25, 2013. They are Spanish, Portuguese,...

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The Rickohockens’ Role in Native American Slavery

During the Third Powhatan War (1644-1646) warriors of the Rickohocken tribe, living near the headwaters of the James River, formed an alliance with Powhatan. They massacred all whites that they encountered as they marched down the James Valley. Over 500 white settlers were killed by the Native alliance. The Rickohockens probably would have destroyed the capital in Jamestown had not they run out of arrows. The colonists counter-attacked with firearms and steel weapons. The Rickohockens sued for peace. In order to keep the Rickohockens from attacking the English colonists again, Royal Governor William Berkeley, began making trade contracts with them that included the purchase of Native American slaves and the sales of firearms. The Rickohockens initially raided Shawnee villages in what is now West Virginia to obtain slaves. Their territory steadily spread southwestward into northeastern Tennessee. French maps of the late 1600s and early 1700s document the movement of Muskogean and Yuchi villages southwestward along the Tennessee River in response to repeated Rickohocken attacks. The Rickohockens’ location near the southern end of the Shenandoah Valley meant that tribes living in the Valley were highly vulnerable to these raids. Unfortunately, there are no corresponding British maps that document ethnic changes in western Virginia. What is documented, though, is that the Native population outside the Rickohocken domain began to drop starkly. Around 1658, when Charles Stuart, the son of the decapitated...

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