Life on the Outer Banks of North Carolina

Posted by Wikipedia on 7th Jul 2019

After the failure of the English Roanoke Colony, Native peoples on the island endured for seventy more years. Archaeology from the Tilliet site indicates that the Roanoke population persisted until 1650. Written accounts indicate visible remnants of the final native presence survived long after the end of the island's native population. A large mound 200 feet tall and 600 feet wide was recorded to exist Wanchese in the early 1900s, now little evidence remains.[17]

The 1650 extinction date corresponds with the final war between the Powhatan Tribe and the Jamestown Colony that took place in 1646. Invaders from Virginia drove the Secotan Tribe out of Outer Banks region.

Survivors of the English Invasion fled southwards and became the Machapunga.[18] The Machapunga fought alongside the Tuscarora Indians against English encroachment in 1711. After their defeat most Machapunga settled and adapted to English lifestyle around Hyde County, North Carolina, other Machupunga fled northwards to join the Iroquois Confederation. The North Carolina descendants now live in the Inner Banks of North Carolina and continued to carry some native customs until 1900.

Some in the former Croatoan Tribe went to Hatteras Island prior to 1650 and maintained good relations with the English, being granted a reservation in 1759, decedents of the Croatoan-Hatteras tribes later merged with English Communities. The 2000 federal census found that 83 descendants from the Roanoke and Hatteras Tribe lived in Dare County, others lived in the states of New York, Maryland, and Virginia.[19]

Wood Engraving of early settlers arriving in costal North Carolina from 1713.

With Roanoke Island open for settlement, English Virginians moved from Tidewater Virginia to settle in Northeast North Carolina's Albremarle Region. In 1665 The Carolina Charter established the colony of Carolina under rule of landowners called the Lord Proprietors. Carolina under its original name Carolana included the territory of modern North and South Carolina.[20] Early organized English towns in North Carolina include Elizabeth City and Edenton. Pioneers crossed southwards across the Albremarle Sound to settle in Roanoke Island. They came primarily to establish fishing communities but also practiced forms of subsistence agriculture on the Northern parts of Roanoke Island. Most of the Pioneers had originally immigrated to the American Colonies from Southern English Paraishes such as Kent, Middlesex and the West Country. Upon the creation of the Royal British Province of North Carolina in 1729 Roanoke Island became part of Currituck County. During the rule of the Lord Proprietors Roanoke Island had been a part of the earlier Currituck Parish.[21] It was during this time that historical families arrived including the Basnights, Daniels, Ehteridge, Owens Tillets,and others.

Ownership at first belonged to the original Lord Propietors who never visited the area even as Englishmen began to build houses. The Island was owned both by Carolina Governor Sam'L Stevens and Virginian Governor Joshua Lamb. Joshua Lamb inherited the island by marrying Sam'L Steven's widow, the property was then sold and divided to a series of merchants from Boston (than part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony). Ownership by distant far away property holders continued at least until the 1750s a Bostonian by the name of Bletcher Noyes gave power of attorney of his property to local William Daniels. English Legal documents indicate actual presence of settlers in 1676, with the possibility that the first Englishmen had made permanent homes much earlier.[22]

There were no incorporated towns until Manteo was founded in 1899. From the 1650s to the Civil War period the Virginia settlers developed the distinct Hoi Toider dialect across the Outer Banks.[23] The island was ill-suited for commercial agriculture or for a deep water port and remained isolated with little interference from outsiders. The nearby community of Manns Harbor came into being as a small trading post where goods were transported across the Croatan Sound. Unlike inland North Carolina the British authorities made no roads within or nearby Roanoke, the Tidewater region of North Carolina was avoided entirely.[24] The development of Colonial Roanoke Island also depended on the natural opening and closing of inlets on Bodi and Hatteras Islands to its east. As in other times the Island was struck by deadly hurricanes.

During the Revolutionary War there were eight recorded encounters fought in nearby Hatteras, Ocracoke and the High Seas. These battles were between local privateers from Edenton against the British Royal Navy. Patrolling Royal Navy often had little to place to rest during their coastal patrol duty. On August 15, 1776 a British patrol sent foragers to the now extinct Roanoke Inlet in modern-day Nags Head to steal cattle. The Outer Banks Independent Company who was guarding Roanoke Island killed or captured the entire party. This battle while not on Roanoke Island itself was less than three miles away.[25] Skirmishes involving ships continued until 1780 but no large land battles occurred in the area, Roanoke Island itself was largely spared from war violence. Independence for the United States had little effect on local residents.[26]

Thirty years later during the War of 1812 the British Royal Navy planned for an Invasion of North Carolina's Outer Banks, the invasion was aborted on Hattaras Island because there was nothing worthwhile for the British to occupy or pillage. The Invasion force then moved northward to attack Chesapeake Bay communities in Virginia.[27] Roanoke Island continued its isolation until authorities of the Confederate States of America hastily prepared Roanoke Island to defend Coastal North Carolina from the invading Unionist Navy and Army. After passing by Cape Hatteras Union forces attacked Roanoke Island in 1862.