History Podcasts

Nottoway YT-18 - History

Nottoway YT-18 - History

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

(YT 18: dp. 187; 1. 81'5"; b. 18'10~"; dr. 8'5"; s. 10 k.; cpl.

Nottoway (YT 18) was built in 1891 as El Toro by Newport News Shipbulding .£ Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; purchased from owner, Southern Pacific Railroad Co., 25 March 1898; and placed in service 2 April 1898 as Aceomac.

Purchased because of the impending war with Spain this tug assisted the naval vessels using the facilities at Key West, Florida during the brief ensuing war. Before the end of 1898 Accornao accompanied the occupation forces to Havana, Cuba.

Returning to the mainland in 1900 she served the fleet primarily at Pensscola, Florida until 1911. Reassigned to the Boston Navy Yard, she continued to perform faithfully her role in war and peace until struck from the Navy List in September 1945. Meanwhile her designation had undergone change first in 1918 to Nottoway (YT 18) and in 1942 merely to YT 18.

Growing Up In The South.

On the western banks of the Mississippi River , southwest of Baton Rouge and northwest of New Orleans, stands a stunning and truly awe-inspiring Greek and Italianate style “White Castle”. This is Nottoway Plantation, the South’s largest antebellum mansion, and the mere fact that she actually is still standing is a tribute to the tenacity, courage and commitment of many people throughout her history. Nottoway has survived the Civil War, a variety of owners, and years of decline and disrepair to become a favorite destination for visitors the world over.

Completed in 1859, Nottoway’s 53,000 square foot palatial white mansion awes visitors with its 64 rooms and countless extravagant features like 22 massive exterior columns, 12 hand-carved Italian marble fireplaces, exquisitely detailed plaster frieze moldings, soaring 15½-foot ceilings, enormous 11-foot doors and a lavish pure white oval ballroom, as well as unheard of innovative features, like modern bathrooms with running water and a gas plant providing gas lighting throughout the home.

The construction of Nottoway was commissioned by John Hampden Randolph, a very prestigious sugar planter, to be the ultimate showplace of his wealth he wanted no expense spared and ordered that it include every extravagance and innovative feature possible. Stately, opulent Nottoway would be home to John, his wife, Emily Jane Randolph, and their 11 children, but also the perfect setting in which to elegantly and dramatically entertain their many visitors.

Born in Nottoway County, Virginia on March 24, 1813 to an affluent Virginia family John Hampden Randolph was the son of Judge Peter Randolph, Jr. and his wife Sarah Ann. When John was six years old, President James Monroe appointed his father was appointed a federal court judgeship in Woodville, Mississippi. In 1819, Judge Randolph moved the family from Virginia to Mississippi where he purchased Elmwood Plantation, a successful cotton farm.

At Elmwood, John was raised in the family tradition of planting, growing mostly cotton, and as a young man, the dashing, six-foot tall John met Emily Jane Liddell, a petite five-foot tall blonde from a neighboring plantation. In 1837, 24-year-old John married 18-year-old Emily who brought with her a substantial dowry of $20,000 and 20 slaves.

In 1841, four years and two children later , John had become a bit bored with what he saw as a rather ordinary cotton plantation and had begun toying with the idea of switching his crop to sugarcane, which he believed would be much more lucrative than cotton.

So, with grand visions of becoming a wealthy sugarcane planter , John Randolph moved his growing family to southern Louisiana and began searching for the perfect acreage on which to grow sugarcane. However, John soon realized that he had arrived in Louisiana too late — all of the Mississippi River-front land he so desired for both its agricultural riches and valuable shipping access had already been grabbed up by other eager planters, forcing him to buy a property several miles away from the river.

John was subsequently forced to find land several miles away from the river, and in 1842 he purchased a 1,650 acre cotton plantation. Forest Home, as John named it because of the heavily wooded area in which it was located, cost him $30,000, and included a four-room house, and a variety of livestock, farm supplies and 2 slave cabins. The Randolphs’ 17 years there would see eight more children added to their original two, resulting in John adding two wings to the house to accommodate his growing family’s needs. Their eleventh child would be born later at Nottoway, giving them a total of four sons and seven daughters.

Although John raised successful cotton crops in 1843 and 1844, he was still determined to become an affluent sugar planter, and he began making ambitious plans to build Iberville Parish’s first steam powered sugar mill. In 1844, he took the risky step of putting Forest Home and 46 slaves up as collateral for a loan to fund the construction of a steam engine sugar mill, levee, and drainage system.
Plans and Preparations for the Building of Nottoway

By the end of his first year as a sugar planter , Randolph had already tripled his profits over his crops of cotton. His steadily-increasing revenue now allowed him to buy land as it became available, especially Mississippi River-front land, and within 10 years of moving to Louisiana, he had increased his holdings to 7,116 acres. In 1855, he acquired the property on which his majestic home would one day stand. The purchase included 400 acres of highland and 620 acres of swamp, as well as 13 more slaves, 400 barrels of corn, 2 horses, 5 oxen, 5 cows and calves, and ploughs. It was a beautiful property that faced the Mississippi River, a major transportation thoroughfare on which a great variety of riverboats, steamboats, and shipping barges travelled regularly.

John Randolph made it clear from the very beginning that no expense was to be spared in the construction of the opulent structure he planned to build he wanted a house that would be completely different from anything ever built before, no matter what the cost. After consulting with several New Orleans architects, he chose the highly respected Henry Howard to design his new home, instructing him to build “the finest house on the river”. Randolph named his future home “Nottoway”, after the Virginia county in which he was born, and it is said that he so jealously guarded the design of Nottoway, that as soon as the house was completed, he destroyed the architectural plans to prevent the mansion from ever being duplicated.

The Nottoway mansion was to be constructed of very durable cypress wood, cut from trees which grew in great abundance in the swamps of Forest Home. However, before the cut cypress logs could be used, they had to be cured underwater for six years, after which they were hauled by the slaves over miles of plantation ground to the construction site. There the slaves finished preparing the timber by cutting the logs into planks and allowing them to dry.

Construction of Nottoway began in 1857 and was completed in 1859 at an estimated cost of $80,000. When finished, Nottoway had 64 rooms on 3 floors, 6 interior staircases, 3 modern bathrooms, 22 massive 3-story high columns, 165 doors and 200 windows. Befitting the Greek Revival and Italianate style designed by Henry Howard, the mansion featured soaring 15½-foot ceilings and massive 11-foot tall doors.

Nottoway’s incredible 53,000 square feet included a grand entrance hall, a formal dining room, a ballroom, a gentlemen’s study and library, music room, front parlor, master bedroom, girls’ bedrooms, Ancestral Hall, sitting rooms, breakfast room, wine room, dairy, laundry, servant rooms, a bowling alley, and the boys’ wing. Its most unique room was and still is the exquisite semi-circular all-white ballroom, with beautiful Corinthian columns and elegant archways adorned by elaborate hand-molded designs. The kitchen was located in a separate building, adjacent to the house, so that in the event of a fire, the home would not be destroyed. Since the bottom floor was susceptible to flooding from the Mississippi River, it was not as detailed as the rest of the home however, it did include a bowling alley for the Randolph children as well as a wine room.

Among the most beautiful aspects of the Randolphs’ castle was the extraordinary plaster frieze work throughout the house. The frieze plaster, of which enormous quantities were used, was made using a combination of mud, clay, horsehair and Spanish moss. 4,200 yards of it were used for plastering the walls, with more than 1,500 feet required for the elaborate cornice designs, and 140 feet more for the scroll ornaments in the parlors. The ornamental frieze work was done by Jeremiah Supple, a young, talented Irishman, who lined the seams of the ceilings with meticulously hand-carved moldings, creating a different design for each room. He also made all eight of Nottoway’s ornate ceiling medallions.

Besides the massive home , Nottoway Plantation included some 1,900 acres of prime farmland, 5,636 acres of swamp, a variety of other buildings including slave quarters, a schoolhouse, greenhouse, stable, steam-powered sugar house, copper-lined wooden water cisterns, and other necessary buildings essential to an agricultural operation.

A Few of the Mansion's Extravagant Features:

While many planters balked at progressive ideas or new agricultural machinery, John Randolph not only enthusiastically embraced the use of leading-edge technology in his business, he also brought his passion for it into his home.

Among the innovative features that Randolph incorporated at Nottoway were modern bathrooms, indoor hot and cold running water, gas lighting, and an advanced servant call-bell system. Nottoway was the first home in Louisiana to have a bathroom on more than the main floor in fact, there were three bathrooms, one on each floor, and all had flushing toilets and running water, a rarity at the time.

And while servant call bells weren't new when Nottoway was built, the system installed by John Randolph was innovative in its complexity and expansiveness.

The White Ballroom
It was seeing the proposed White Ballroom in Henry Howard’s mansion design that convinced Randolph that he had found the perfect architect for Nottoway. As the father of seven daughters, Randolph was reported to have instructed Howard that he wanted the room to be pure white in order to highlight the beauty of his ladies. Nottoway’s most stunning and famous room, this radiant all-white ballroom was the site of countless Randolph events, including their daughters’ debuts to society, five of their weddings, and countless parties and events. The room features exquisitely detailed frieze work, stately Corinthian columns, elaborately embellished archways, two fireplaces of imported Italian marble, and chandeliers of baccarat crystal. The oval part of the room was made of exactingly curved cypress wood that took six years and excruciating patience to soak and bend slowly into the precise shape. This rounded end of the ballroom is the second level of Nottoway’s dramatic rotunda.
Dining Room
The formal dining room was a reflection of the elegance and graciousness of Emily Randolph. Sparkling with stunning crystal chandeliers and brightened by the light of elegantly draped windows that reached almost to the 15½-foot ceiling, the warmth and laughter emanating from the room’s frequent dinners and parties often spread a lively energy throughout the house. Mrs. Randolph had added her own personal touch to the frieze molding, where hand-painted camellias, her favorite flower, oversaw every festivity. The ornate marble fireplace burned coal, rather than wood, which was very unusual for the time it even had a hole in the back where the spent ashes were swept, dispersing them down a chute and out of the house. Adjoining the dining room was a Butler’s Pantry, a small room used both as a food holding area for servers and for storage of the china.
Gentlemen's Study
As John Randolph’s private domain, this was the room to which he and his gentlemen guests retired after dinners and events. Here, free from the social proprieties required in the presence of ladies, the men would drink fine liquor, smoke Cuban cigars, and discourse on the issues of the day. The windows were dressed with heavy silk damask drapes which “puddled” their excessive length onto the floor in a show of great wealth. Large bookcases held leather-bound collections from Shakespeare to Audubon and traditional classics, as well as copies of the leading newspapers of the day. The fireplace’s black, imported Italian marble, which had been shipped from Europe to the Port of New Orleans and then sent by steamboat up the river to Nottoway, had been carefully hand-carved in exquisite detail.
Master Bedroom
When John and Emily Randolph retired to their private quarters, they entered a sanctuary richly appointed with intricately hand-carved rosewood furniture, sumptuous draperies and bedding made from the finest imported fabrics, and a black Italian marble fireplace. An ornate canopy hovered high above the poster bed holding mosquito netting to protect the sleeping couple, while at the bed’s end, two brightly burnished rosewood posts quietly concealed their hollow interiors, in which Emily would one day hide her valuables from Civil War intruders. Opening off of this main room were a private dressing room, used initially as a nursery for Julia Marceline, a hunting closet to hold John’s rifles, and a modern bathroom. The bathroom’s flushing toilet, as well as its hot and cold running water, were astonishingly innovative for the times, as was the mere existence of such a room on an upper floor.

Cornelia's Bedroom
As with all of the mansion’s numerous bedrooms, the domain of the Randolph’s seventh child was unique and luxurious. The soaring canopy bed, made in New Orleans around 1840, was draped in rich imported fabric which had been carefully coordinated with the expensive carpet, curtains and furniture. Mosquito netting, another sign of prosperity, hung nightly from the canopy, while the bed’s extra height from the floor allowed storage space for a small bed underneath. When a child was young, this would have been pulled out at night for use by a servant, but as she grew older, it would have provided accommodations for her friends to stay overnight.

In 1860, John Randolph owned 155 slaves and 42 slave houses which made Nottoway one of the largest plantations in the South, at a time when most owners possessed fewer than 20 slaves. Made up of both field hands and house servants, the Nottoway slave community played a very significant role in running the plantation and house.

The field hands , by far the largest group of slaves, were mainly responsible for growing and harvesting the plantation crops, primarily sugar. On average, field slaves worked 5½ days a week, with Saturday afternoon and Sunday free to tend to their own needs. A bell, still present in the Nottoway courtyard, was rung by the overseer to announce the time for rising, meals and retiring.

The life of a field hand , whether male or female, was very physically demanding, especially during harvest time. By the 1850s, plantation owners expected each slave’s labor to yield about 270 (dry) gallons of sugar in a season. When not tending a crop, the field slaves were busy clearing new land, digging ditches, cutting and hauling wood, slaughtering livestock and making repairs to buildings and tools. The women workers, on top of their daily field work, were also responsible for their own families — in addition to caring for their children and cooking the daily meals, there was also spinning, weaving, and sewing to be done. With the exception of young children and the elderly, everyone worked.

While Nottoway’s house slaves lived in the servant’s section of the house, the field slaves lived in The Quarters, a collection of cabins that stood in even rows among shade trees behind the main house. Although no original Nottoway cabins survive, it is thought that they probably each contained two rooms and a fireplace, with a vegetable plot in the back. The whitewashed houses stood a few feet off the ground supported by pillars of bricks or logs.

The slave quarters also included a bathhouse, a hospital, and a meeting house, a relatively large and important building used for a variety of functions. During the week, it was a nursery where the oldest women watched the youngest children while everyone else worked in the fields, and on Sundays, it was used for church, as well as for weddings and other special occasions.

Considering his slaves to be valuable tools in the operation of his business, Randolph provided the necessary care to keep them in good health. He understood the importance of hygiene in controlling the spread of illnesses and disease, so he provided a bathhouse where slaves could bathe daily if they wished. He also had a slave hospital he paid a local physician to make weekly visits and trained one of the slaves as a nurse to care for his slaves.

Ever the astute businessman , Randolph knew that in order to maintain a willing workforce, it was necessary to provide not only for his slaves’ basic needs for housing, food and medicine, but to also offer additional compensation and rewards when their work was especially productive. Every New Year’s Day, John Randolph would give the field slaves a hog to cook and the Randolph family would eat with them in The Quarters. There would be music and dancing, and the Randolphs would give the slaves gifts of clothing, small toys and fruit, as well as a sum of money for each family. In addition, the workers received an annual bonus based on their production.

It is difficult to accurately assess the treatment of Randolph’s slaves however, various records indicate that they were probably well treated for the time.

After the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation, most of Randolph’s slaves chose to stay and continue to work at Nottoway, but finally, as properly compensated free men and women. Many descendants of those freed slaves have worked at Nottoway throughout the years.

Just as the family became truly established at Nottoway, rumors began of war among the states. Randolph was opposed to secession from the Union, frankly because he did not think the agricultural South could win a war against the industrialized North. But once the war began, he donated money to the Southern cause and saw three of his sons go off to war with the Confederates.

Like some of the other Louisiana planters at the time, John decided to move both himself and his workforce to Texas, where the shipping would be much easier, for the duration of the war however the change in location would also necessitate him switching his crop to cotton. For the duration of the war, Randolph raised cotton in Texas to obtain the revenue that would allow him to hold on to his property in Louisiana.

Before John Randolph left Louisiana for Texas , he and Emily decided together that if Nottoway were to be left completely abandoned during the war, it was certain to be occupied or burned to the ground by Union troops. So they made the very difficult decision to have her remain behind at Nottoway with only her youngest children, including her baby Julia Marceline, and a few trusted house servants. The elder girls were sent away to safety at an uncle’s plantation in another part of Louisiana, and Emily endured the war with very little communication from her husband or other family.

Although Emily hoped that their presence would save Nottoway from destruction, it was still an extremely disquieting time for both family and servants alike, all of them keenly aware of the constant threat of attack by both enemy forces and thieves. And yet, the indomitable Emily Randolph never faltered in doing whatever she possibly could to ward off destruction and tragedy. One day, as a large Northern gunboat appeared on the river, she went out onto the second floor front balcony to make her presence known — one tiny, but courageous woman standing between the massive Union cannons and Nottoway. The Union officers must have been stunned by the sight of this brave, petite woman, who went on to surprise them even more by inviting them into the mansion and proceeding to entertain them in her typically gracious fashion. The Union soldiers were so taken with Emily and her elegant hospitality that a bond was forged between them that continued long after the war.

During the war, the grounds of Nottoway were occupied at various times by both Union and Confederate troops, and were also shelled periodically as Northern gunboats fired at Southern soldiers who were passing by. However, by the end of the war, although the grounds were badly damaged and the plantation had been stripped of most of its animals, the only damage to the castle itself was to a front column hit in 1863 with lead grapeshot. The grapeshot actually fell out on its own in 1971 and is on display today in the Nottoway museum.

Randolph’s daughter, Cornelia, wrote in her diary that just before the 13th Amendment freeing the slaves was enacted, her father received a lucrative offer to sell his slaves to a man from Cuba, where slavery was still legal. However, honoring his earlier promise to the slaves to abide by the outcome of the war, John set them free, and then hired 53 of them, with a legally binding contract, to stay with him in Texas to work the cotton crop. And when Randolph finally returned to Nottoway, most of the slaves chose to go with him and continue working as free men and women.

After the war , President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation against Confederacy supporters with taxable property of more than $20,000, requiring them to travel to Washington to personally apologize to the President and request a pardon. The penalty for those refusing to do so was the revocation of their U.S. citizenship and the confiscation of all their assets by the government. So Randolph sought the pardon, and it was granted to him on February 14, 1867. A copy of his pardon hangs in Nottoway’s museum today.

Although never again as wealthy as before the Civil War, the ever-ambitious Randolph started buying up more plantations from less solvent neighbors who were unable to pay their taxes. He had a brilliant mind for business, and several times he manipulated the system to his advantage by selling Forest Home and Blythewood to his sons, but with no money actually changing hands. The promissory notes they signed were used by Randolph as collateral against loans for the financing of his crops. After the harvest, the notes and loans were then paid off, and ownership of the plantations was returned to Randolph.

However, the sugar business was no longer as profitable for Randolph as it had been before the war, and his annual income was considerably less than what it was in the 1850s. He continued to grow sugarcane, but the abolition of slavery and a depressed economy took their toll. By 1875, Nottoway plantation was reduced to 800 acres, and Randolph’s finances continued to diminish until his death at Nottoway on September 8, 1883.

After John's death , Emily continued to live at Nottoway, frequently traveling to see her children and grandchildren. But in 1889, at 71 years old, she very reluctantly came to the conclusion that it was time for her to give up her beloved home. Nottoway was sold for the sum of $50,000, which she divided equally among her nine surviving children and herself.

It is said that on the last day in her cherished home, Emily Jane Randolph, dressed in black as if in mourning, walked slowly around her empty castle and carefully, lovingly closed the shutters on each of the mansion’s 200 windows.


The meaning of the name Cheroenhaka (in Tuscarora: Čiruʼęhá·ka·ʼ [5] ) is uncertain. (It has been spelled in various ways: Cherohakah, Cheroohoka or Tcherohaka.) The late Iroquoian scholar Blair A. Rudes analyzed the second element as -hakaʼ meaning "one or people who is/are characterized in a certain way". He conjectured that the first element of the name was related to the Tuscarora term čárhuʼ (meaning "tobacco", as both tribes used this product in ceremonies). [6] The term has also been interpreted as "People at the Fork of the Stream". [7]

The term Nottoway may derive from Nadawa or Nadowessioux (widely translated as "poisonous snake"), an Algonquian-language term. Algonquian tribes occupied the coastal areas and used this term to refer to the Iroquoian- or Siouan-speaking tribes of the interior, with whom they competed. Because the Algonquian occupied the coastal areas, they were the first tribes met by the English. The colonists often adopted use of such Algonquian ethnonyms, names for other tribes, not realizing at first that these differed from the tribes' autonyms, or names for themselves.

Frank Siebert suggests the term natowewa stems from Proto-Algonquian *na:tawe:wa and refers to the Massasauga, a pit viper of the Great Lakes region. The extension of the meaning as "Iroquoian speakers" is secondary. In Algonquian languages beyond the geographical range of the viper (i.e. Cree–Innu–Naskapi and Eastern Algonquian), the term's primary reference continues to focus on *na:t- 'close upon, mover towards, go after, seek out, fetch' and *-awe: 'condition of heat, state of warmth,' but no longer refers to the viper.

Instead, particularly in the South, the 'Iroquoian' designation is primary. The semantic meaning may not relate to snakes at all, but refer to the cultural trading position of the Virginia-Carolina Iroquois as middle men between Algonquian and Siouan speakers. Other historical developments in Algonquian languages extend the meaning of *-awe to 'fur or hair' (i.e. Cree, Innu, Ojibway, Shawnee), an obvious relationship to 'state of warmth.' A potential etymology in Virginia of *na:tawe:wa (Nottoway) refers to *na:t- 'seeker' + -awe: 'fur,' [8] or literally 'traders' [9] The earliest colonial Virginia reference to "Nottoway" also frames Algonquian/Iroquoian exchanges in terms of trade: roanoke (shell beads) for skins (deer and otter). [10]

The Algonquian speakers also referred to the Nottoway, Meherrin and Tuscarora people (also of the Iroquoian-language family) as Mangoak or Mangoags, a term which English colonists used in their records from 1584 to 1650. This term, Mengwe or Mingwe, was transliterated by the Dutch and applied to the Iroquoian Susquehannock ("White Minquas") and Erie people ("Black Minquas"). Another variation was the later term Mingo, which English-speaking colonists and settlers used to refer to descendants of remnant tribes who had been partly assimilated into the Six Nations of the Iroquois and later migrated into Ohio and the Midwest under pressure from European-American settlers.

The Nottoway language became extinct well before 1900. [11] At the time of European contact (1650), speakers numbered only in the hundreds. From then until 1735, a number of colonists learned the language and acted as official interpreters for the Colony of Virginia, including Thomas Blunt, Henry Briggs, and Thomas Wynn. These interpreters also served the adjacent Meherrin, as well as the Nansemond, who spoke Nottoway in addition to their own Algonquian dialect of Powhatan. [12] The last two interpreters were dismissed in 1735, since the Nottoway by then were using English.

By 1820, three elderly speakers of Nottoway were said to remain. [13] In that year John Wood collected over 250 word samples from one of these, Chief "Queen" Edith Turner. He sent them to Thomas Jefferson, who shared them with Peter Stephen Du Ponceau. In their correspondence, these two men quickly confirmed that the Nottoway language was of the Iroquoian family. Several additional words, for a total of about 275, were collected by James Trezvant after 1831, and published by Albert Gallatin in 1836.

In the early 20th century, John Napoleon Brinton Hewitt (1910) and Hoffman (1959) analyzed the Nottoway vocabulary in comparison with Tuscarora, also Iroquoian, and found them closely related. The Tuscarora had lived in North Carolina, likely migrating there from the Great Lakes area thousands of years before. Due to warfare and colonial pressure in the early eighteenth century, most of the surviving Tuscarora migrated north to New York to seek protection by alliance with the Iroquois Confederacy. They were accepted as its Sixth Nation. They declared their migration ended in 1722, and said that Tuscarora living elsewhere were no longer considered members of the tribe. A significant population in North Carolina claim descent from the Tuscarora and identify by that name.

Since the early 2000s, the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe has been working hard to revitalize their traditional language, using Tuscarora vocabulary and grammar. The two languages are mutually intelligible and vary only in terms of dialect.

The Nottoway, like their close Iroquoian neighbors, the Meherrin and Tuscarora, lived just west of the Fall Line in the Piedmont region. English explorer Edward Bland is believed to have been the first European to encounter them, when he made an expedition from Fort Henry. He noted meeting them in his journal for August 27, 1650. At the time, the people numbered no more than 400–500. Bland visited two of their three towns, on Stoney Creek and the Rowantee Branch of the Nottoway River, in what is now Sussex County. These towns were led by the brothers Oyeocker and Chounerounte.

The Nottoway and Meherrin became friendly with the English. They were the only tribes to send warriors to help the English against the Susquehannock in 1675 (this Iroquoian tribe was based in Pennsylvania) in 1675. Following Bacon's Rebellion, both tribes signed the Treaty of 1677, becoming Tributary Nations to the Colony of Virginia.

By 1681, hostile tribes caused the Nottoway to relocate southward to Assamoosick Swamp in modern Surry County. In 1694 they moved again, to the mouth of a swamp in what is now Southampton County. Around this time, they absorbed the remnants of the Eno — an Algonquian-speaking tribe that had formerly been part of the Powhatan confederacy. [14] In the early 1700s, the Nottoway also absorbed a group of Nansemond known as the "Traditional Nansemond." The Nansemond were the only Powhatan tribe that regularly traded with the Nottoway and spoke the Nottoway language. In a court case against tribal treasurer Jeremiah Cobb in 1849-1852, James and Jincy Taylor were identified as headmen who led the "Nottoway and Nansemond Tribe of Indians."

Although never numerous, the Nottoway maintained cultural continuity. They did not disappear from records identified as Indian, merge into other tribes, or get pushed too far from their original homeland. Scholars believe the early Nottoway were similar in culture to the Tuscarora and Meherrin. The Nottoway, much like the Tuscarora, consisted of seven clans: Wolf, Deer, Eel, Beaver, Bear, Snipe, and Turtle. The tribe depended on the cultivation of staples, such as the three sisters — varieties of maize, squash, and beans. The cultivation and processing of crops was typically done by women, who also selected and preserved varieties of seeds to produce different types of crops. The men hunted game and fished in the rivers. They built multi-family dwellings known as longhouses in communities which they protected by stockade fences known as palisades.

The Nottoway suffered high fatalities from epidemics of new Eurasian diseases, such as measles and smallpox, to which they had no natural immunity. They contracted the diseases from European contact, as these diseases were by then endemic among Europeans. Tribal warfare and encroaching colonists also reduced the population.

When the Tuscarora migrated northward ca. 1720 to become the Sixth Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy in New York, some Nottoway also migrated there, while others remained in Virginia. It is likely that some descendants of the Iroquois nations, especially among the Tuscarora and Oneida, with whom they lived in New York and Canada, also have Nottoway ancestry.

Some Nottoway returned to the South, with bands of Tuscarora and Meherrin joining and merging with them. These groups went to South Carolina.

In the 21st century, some common surnames among the Nottoway are Turner, Woodson, Rogers/Roger, Bozeman, Wineoak, Weaver, Bass, Step, Skipper, Kersey, Bennett, Blount, Scholar, Robins, Williams/Will, Edmunds, Bartlett, Bailey, Gabriel, Pearch, Kello, Walden, John, and Taylor. [ citation needed ]

Nottoway of Virginia

Prior to 1607, several distinct groups of Iroquoian speaking native people, including the Nottoway Indians, lived in the Virginia-North Carolina coastal plain. Located inland and away from the first coastal incursions of Europeans, the Nottoway Indians remained relatively undisturbed by the English Colony expansion from Jamestown during the first half of the seventeenth century.

The Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia descends from a significantly larger Nottoway community and culture. Nottoway Indians traditionally lived in dispersed units within communities or towns each with separate leaders. Though similar in name and language, each had a unique internal structure.

Early Nottoway territory surrounded the river of the same name covering parts of the present day counties of Southampton, Nottoway, Dinwiddie, Sussex, Surry and Isle of Wight. In Virginia, there are three Native American linguistic groups &ndash Algonquin, Siouan and Iroquoian. The Nottoway Indians are a Southern Iroquoian tribe. Southern Iroquois people trading and living in this area of Virginia and North Carolina also included the Meherrin, Tuscarora and, further west, the Cherokee.

The 1650 diary account of Edward Bland describes his journey along the lower reaches of the Nottoway and Meherrin river valleys. His journal is the earliest known written record of direct contact between the Nottoway and the Colonists seeking to expand into Nottoway territory. A major purpose of the Bland expedition was to explore land for colonial expansion and to further enhance the explorers’ profits from Indian-Colonial trade.

Through the Treaty of Middle Plantation in 1677 and the Spotswood Treaty with the Nottoway in 1713-1714, the structured relationship with Virginia during the Colonial Period was established with many Tribes, including the Nottoway. Through these treaties the Nottoway lost considerable autonomy and gained little in return.

The Nottoway Indians were forced onto a land reserve of approximately 40,000 acres in present day Southampton and Sussex counties referred to as the circle and the square. Near Sebrell Virginia, on the north side of the Nottoway River, the circle tract encompassed a Nottoway “Great Town” on Assamoosic Swamp. On the south side of the Nottoway River, the boundaries were set for the six mile square tract. From 1735 to 1878, the reservation land was gradually sold, or otherwise lost. The last portions were allocated to individual descendants of females of the Nottoway Tribe.

Modern day migrations for jobs have led Nottoway family lines from throughout the counties that surround the Nottoway River into nearby urban centers of the Tidewater region. Yet many of the ancestral families of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia still live on land that was once a part of the original Reservation.

To learn more about the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, visit the Tribe’s website. You may also visit their Community House and Interpretive Center in Capron, Virginia. Featured at the Center is a permanent exhibit, “Nottoway Indian History &ndash From Barter…to Buffer…to Be.” The exhibit addresses selected key issues and pivotal points in Nottoway Indian history. It explains the interaction of the Nottoway with other tribes and with the Colonial government. It also discusses the impact of the actions of the Nottoway Indians on transitions in the growth of Virginia and the evolution of the Nottoway as citizens of Virginia. The Center has free admission, is open to the public on most Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and at other times by appointment. Every third weekend of September, the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia’s pow wow is held on the grounds of the Surry County Parks and Recreation Center in Surry, Virginia.

Citizens of today’s Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia are not artifacts of a romanticized past. They are citizen Indians with a rich past and a proud future.

Nottoway Is a White House With a Dark Past

Nottoway is the largest of the antebellum mansions left in the American South. Its most spectacular space is the White Ballroom, with high ceilings, luscious plaster frieze work and tall windows.
JOANNE SASVARI/Meridian Writers’ Group

Meridian Writers’ Group

WHY, FIDDLE-dee-dee, could anything be more beautiful than Nottoway Plantation House? After a multi-million-dollar restoration and expansion, it is once again the epitome of gracious living in Louisiana.

It’s just too bad about its ugly history, which, sadly for some, including singer Ani DiFranco, refuses to stay buried.

In 2013, the “Righteous Babe” of folk music decided to host her annual artists’ retreat at Nottoway, south of the town of White Castle on the west bank of the Mississippi River, midway between Baton Rouge and her adopted home of New Orleans. It is, after all, an ideal venue—if you can ignore the fact that its original owner was one of the biggest slave owners in the South. Turns out, DiFranco’s followers couldn’t. She was stunned by the backlash, which she described as “high velocity bitterness,” and cancelled the retreat.

It’s easy to see Nottoway’s appeal. If you can forget its dark history, it is a stunningly beautiful place, spacious and gracious, with every feature a romantic soul could desire.

Nottoway is the largest of the antebellum mansions left in the American South, a Greco-Italian revival mansion designed for John Hampden Randolph, his wife and their 11 children as the centrepiece of their 400-hectare sugar plantation.

Completed in 1859, it took four years to build, with the estate’s 155 African-American slaves doing most of the labour. No expense was spared: its 4,900 square metres of living area comprise three floors, six staircases, 365 doors and windows (one for each day of the year), and 64 rooms, including three bathrooms, which were a luxury in the 19th century, if not so much these days.

Throughout, the rooms are decorated with ornate plaster detailing and columns topped with Corinthian capitals, and filled with art and antiques. The most memorable of them is the spectacular White Ballroom, a circular, light-filled space with high ceilings, luscious plaster frieze work and tall windows, everything in white, designed by Randolph to showcase the beauty of all women.

Or, at least, all white women.

Because, of course, it is the lingering issues of race that trouble so many about places like Nottoway. Randolph was considered a generally benevolent slave master, but still, he was “massa.”

After Randolph died in 1883, the house passed from hand to hand. In 1980, it was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and, later, the Historic Hotels of America. Its recent renovation not only restored the property to its original beauty, but added a number of luxury resort amenities that range from tennis courts and meeting spaces to posh cabin accommodation.

It has become a popular venue for weddings, reunions, socials and corporate retreats, as well as romantic getaways. Visitors can wander through the elegant gardens, take a guided tour of the mansion or enjoy a decadent southern-fried dinner in the pretty dining room.

It’s a lovely place to send an afternoon or a weekend. It’s just too bad the ghosts of the past have not been laid to rest, and may never be.

Historic Areas

Nottoway County has four historic buildings on the Virginia and National Registers of Historic Places. They are the Nottoway County Courthouse, Schwartz Tavern, Burke’s Tavern, and Oakridge. In addition, Blackstone offers a walking tour of many of its historic buildings. A recent county wide comprehensive historical survey has documented over 100 significant dwellings and structures.

There is a wealth of Civil War history nearby. The Tour of Lee’s Retreat, a nationally acclaimed regional project following General Lee’s last march, has several stops in Nottoway.


The steam tug El Toro was built at Newport News, Virginia by Newport News Shipbuilding for the Southern Pacific Railroad Company owned Morgan Line with delivery 20 May 1891. Α] [note 1] The tug was designed by naval architect Horace See with a quadruple expansion steam engine, then an unusual feature. Β] El Toro was built principally as a fire boat with towing capability to tow the Morgan Line ships arriving or departing New York between the passenger terminal at North River Pier 37 and the cargo terminal at Pier 25. Ώ] El Toro was the second ship, hull number 2, constructed by the then small shipyard, and its success led to building the line's cargo and passenger ships El Sud (hull #3), El Norte (#4), and El Rio (#5) and El Cid (#6) as its next four ships. Α] Γ]

The See designed quadruple expansion steam engine had cylinders of 9.75 in (24.8 cm), 13.5 in (34 cm), 18.75 in (47.6 cm) and 26 in (66 cm) with 22 in (56 cm) stroke connected to two opposed cranks each driven by two cylinders arranged in tandem and driving a 7 ft (2.1 m) propeller. Steam at 180 pounds (82 kg) pressure was provided by a two furnace steel return tube type boiler 9.5 ft (2.9 m) in diameter by 10.5 ft (3.2 m) in length. Two Worthington fire and bilge pumps provided water for fire fighting or bilge pumping. Ώ]

A summary of the previous year written in 1895 gives a picture of the tug's duties: Β]

  • Steamships towed from Company's piers to Erie Basin, [note 2] or distance equal thereto: 70
  • Steamships towed from piers Nos. 37 to 25: 132
  • Steamships docked at piers Nos. 37 and 25: 152
  • Lighters towed and moored: 520
  • Miles run without tow: 5342
  • On fire duty: Remaining time
  • Days in commission: 351
  • Coal consumed per day" 1 1/6 tons.

El Toro was the flagship of the New York Naval Reserve and in 1891 the new tug is noted as taking the commander to the exercise while flying the new flag of the Naval Reserve. Δ]

Sotoyomo-class tugboat

Sotoyomo-class tugboat were tugboats that were built for the US Navy for World War II with a displacement of 534 long tons (543 t) light, 835 long tons (848 t) full, a length of 143   ft (44 m), a beam of 33   ft (10 m) and a draft of 13   ft (4.0 m). They had a propulsion of diesel-electric engine with a single screw and a top speed of 13 knots. Harbor tugs (YT) were named after American Indian tribes: Example tug is the USS Ontario (AT-13) [36] [37]


As an ancient city, lying off the east coast, Mytilene was initially confined to a small island just offshore that later was joined to Lesbos, creating a north and south harbor. The early harbors of Mytilene were linked during ancient times by a channel 700 meters long and 30 meters wide. The Roman writer Longus speaks of white stone bridges linking the two sides. The Greek word εὔριπος eúripos is a commonly-used term when referring to a strait. The strait allowed ancient warships called triremes, with three tiers of rowers or more. The boats that passed were ca. six meters wide plus oars and had depth of two meters.

The areas of the city that were densely populated connected the two bodies of land with marble bridges. They usually followed a curved line. The strait begins at the old market called Apano Skala. It was also close to Metropolis Street and ended at the Southern Harbor. One could argue that the channel transversed what is now called Ermou Street. Over time the strait began to collect silt and earth. There was also human intervention for the protection of the Castle of Mytilene. The strait eventually filled with earth. [2]

Mytilene contested successfully with Mithymna in the north of the island for the leadership of the island in the seventh century BC and became the centre of the island's prosperous eastern hinterland. [ citation needed ] Her most famous citizens were the poets Sappho and Alcaeus and the statesman Pittacus (one of the Seven Sages of Greece). The city was famed for its great output of electrum coins struck from the late sixth through mid-fourth centuries BC. [3]

The Mytilenean revolt against Athens in 428 BC was overcome by an Athenian expeditionary force. The Athenian public assembly voted to massacre all the men of the city and to sell the women and children into slavery but the next day in the Mytilenian Debate changed its mind. A fast trireme sailed the 186 nautical miles (344 km) in less than a day and brought the decision to cancel the general massacre, but a thousand citizens were executed for taking part in the rebellion.

Aristotle lived on Mytilene for two years, 337–335 BC, with his friend and successor, Theophrastus (a native of the island), after being the tutor to Alexander, son of King Philip II of Macedon. [4] [5]

The Romans, among whom was a young Julius Caesar, successfully defeated Mytilene in 81 BC at the Siege of Mytilene. [6] Although Mytilene supported the losing side in most of the great wars of the first century BC, her statesmen succeeded in convincing Rome of her support of the new ruler of the Mediterranean and the city flourished in Roman times.

In AD 56, Luke the Evangelist, Paul the Apostle and their companions stopped there briefly on the return trip of Paul's third missionary journey (Acts 20:14), having sailed from Assos (about 50 km (31 mi) away). From Mytilene they continued towards Chios (Acts 20:15).

The novel Daphnis and Chloe by Longus, is set in the country around it and opens with a description of the city.

Scholar and historian Zacharias Rhetor, also known as Zacharias of Mytilene was from Mytilene and lived from 465 to around 536. He was made Bishop of Mytilene and may have been a Chalcedonian Christian. He either died and or was deposed around 536 and 553. [7]

The city of Mytilene was also home to ninth-century Byzantine saints who were brothers, Archbishop George, Symeon Stylites, and David the Monk. The Church of St. Symeon, Mytilene venerates one of the three brothers.

Catching the eye of the Empress Zoë Porphyrogenita, Constantine IX Monomachos was exiled to Mytilene on the island of Lesbos by her second husband, Michael IV the Paphlagonian. The death of Michael IV and the overthrow of Michael V in 1042 led to Constantine being recalled from his place of exile and appointed as a judge in Greece. [8]

Lesbos and Mytilene had an established Jewish population since ancient times. In 1170, Benjamin of Tudela found ten small Jewish communities on the island. [9]

In the Middle Ages, it was part of the Byzantine Empire and was occupied for some time by the Seljuqs under Tzachas in 1085. In 1198, the Republic of Venice obtained the right to commerce from the city's port.

In the 13th century, it was captured by the Emperor of Nicaea, Theodore I Laskaris. In 1335, the Byzantines, with the help of Ottoman forces, reconquered the island, then property of the Genoese nobleman Domenico Cattaneo. In 1355, emperor John V Palaiologos gave it to the Genoese adventurer Francesco Gattilusio, who married the emperor's sister, Maria. They renovated the fortress in 1373, and it remained in Genoese hands until 1462, when it was besieged and captured by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed the Conqueror.

Mytilene along with the rest of Lesbos remained under Ottoman control until the First Balkan War in 1912, when in November it became part of the Kingdom of Greece.

Mytilene is located in the southeastern part of the island, north and east of the Bay of Gera. It has a land area of 107.46 square kilometres (41.49 sq mi) [10] and a population of 36,196 inhabitants (2001). With a population density of 336.8/km 2 it is by far the most densely populated municipal unit in Lesbos. The next largest towns in the municipal unit are Vareiá (pop. 1,254), Pámfila (1,247), Mória (1,207), and Loutrá (1,118). The Greek National Road 36 connects Mytilene with Kalloni. Farmlands surround Mytilene, the mountains cover the west and to the north. The airport is located a few kilometres south of town. Since the 2011 local government reform, the cities and towns within the municipality changed. [11]

Province Edit

The province of Mytilene (Greek: Επαρχία Μυτιλήνης ) was one of the provinces of the Lesbos Prefecture. Its territory corresponded with that of the current municipal units Mytilene, Agiasos, Evergetoulas, Gera, Loutropoli Thermis, Mantamados and Polichnitos. [12] It was abolished in 2006.

Climate Edit

Climate data for Mytilene
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 20.2
Average high °C (°F) 12.1
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.5
Average low °C (°F) 6.7
Record low °C (°F) −4.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 129.9
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 9.0 8.1 6.5 4.8 2.7 0.8 0.4 0.4 1.3 3.3 6.8 10.0 54.1
Average relative humidity (%) 71.0 69.8 57.5 63.9 62.6 57.3 56.0 57.4 59.5 66.1 71.0 72.0 64.5
Source 1: Hellenic National Meteorological Service [13]
Source 2: NOAA [14]
Year Town population Municipality population
1981 24,991
1991 23,971 33,157
2001 27,247 36,196
2011 [1] 29,656 37,890
  • Agorá
  • Chalikas (upper and lower)
  • Chrisomallousa
  • Epano Skala
  • Kallithea
  • Kamares
  • Ladadika
  • Lagada
  • Pyrgélia
  • Lazaretto/Vounaraki

Main streets Edit

  • Ermou Street
  • Elyti Avenue
  • Kountourioti Street
  • Theofrastou Street
  • Ellis Street
  • Vernardaki
  • Vournazon
  • Eftalioti
  • Myrivili

Mytilene has a port with ferries to the nearby islands of Lemnos and Chios and Ayvalık and at times Dikili in Turkey. The port also serves the mainland cities of Piraeus, Athens and Thessaloniki. One ship, named during the 2001 IAAF games in Edmonton Aeolus Kenteris, after Kostas Kenteris, used to serve this city (his hometown) with 6-hour routes from Athens and Thessaloniki. The main port serving Mytilene on the Greek mainland is Piraeus.

The city produces ouzo. There are more than 15 commercial producers on the island.

The city exports also sardines harvested from the Bay of Kalloni, olive oil, ladotyri cheese and woodwork.

Media Edit

The town of Mytilene has a large number of neoclassical buildings, public and private houses. Some of them are the building of the Lesbos Prefecture, the old City Hall, the Experimental Lyceum and various mansions and hotels all over the town.

The Baroque church of Saint Therapon dominates at the port with its impressive style.

By 2015, the city of Mytilene had become a primary entry point for refugees and migrants who seek to pass through Greece to resettle elsewhere in Europe. In 2015, over half a million people arrived in Lesbos. [15] The number of individuals coming through Lesbos has dwindled since the signing of the EU-Turkey deal which restricted the number of refugees that could legally resettle in Europe. [16] As of July 2017 [update] , seventy to eighty refugees were still arriving in Greece daily despite the deal and "many of them on Lesbos", according to Daniel Esdras, the chief of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). [17]

    (in Greek : Κέντρο Υποδοχής και Ταυτοποίησης Μόριας), better known as Mória Refugee Camp, or just "Mória", was the biggest refugee camp in Europe. [18] It was located outside the village of Moria (Greek: Μόρια Mória). Enclosed by barbed wire and a chain-link fence, the military camp served as a European Union hotspot camp. It burned down and was permanently closed in September 2020. A new closed reception centre will be built in 2021 at Vastria near Nees Kydonies. [19]
    is a camp which has been transformed into a living space for around 700 refugees classified as vulnerable. [20] It will be replaced by a new closed reception centre at Vastria near Nees Kydonies in 2021. [21]
    or Lesbos Solidarity, once a children's holiday camp, aims to support the most vulnerable refugees who pass through Mytilene: families with children, the disabled, women who are pregnant, and the injured. The camp focuses on humanitarian aid and on providing for the various needs of refugees, including food, medical help, clothing, and psychological support. [22]

Archaeological investigations at Mytilene began in the late 19th century when Robert Koldewey (later excavator of Babylon) and a group of German colleagues spent many months on the island preparing plans of the visible remains at various ancient sites like Mytilene. Significant excavations, however, do not seem to have started until after the First World War when in the mid-1920s Evangelides uncovered much of the famous theatre (according to Plutarch it was the inspiration for Pompey's theatre in Rome in 55 BC, the first permanent stone theatre in Rome) on the hill on the western side of town. Subsequent work in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s by various members of the Archaeological Service revealed more of the theatre, including a Roman conversion to a gladiatorial arena. Salvage excavations carried out by the Archaeological Service in many areas of the city have revealed sites going back to the Early Bronze Age although most have been much later (Hellenistic and Roman). Particularly significant is a large stoa over a hundred metres long recently dug on the North Harbour of the city. It is clear from various remains in different parts of the city that Mytilene was indeed laid out on a grid plan as the Roman architect Vitruvius had written. [ citation needed ]

Archaeological excavations carried out between 1984 and 1994 in the Castle of Mytilene by the University of British Columbia and directed by Caroline and Hector Williams revealed a previously unknown sanctuary of Demeter and Kore of late classical/Hellenistic date and the burial chapel of the Gattelusi, the medieval Genoese family that ruled the northern Aegean from the mid-14th to mid-15th centuries of our era. The Demeter sanctuary included five altars for sacrifices to Demeter and Kore and later also to Cybele, the great mother goddess of Anatolia. Among the discoveries were thousands of oil lamps, terracotta figurines, loom weights and other dedications to the goddesses. Numerous animal bones, especially of piglets, also appeared. The Chapel of St. John served as the church of the castle and as a burial place for the Gattelusi family and its dependents. Although conversion to a mosque after the Ottoman capture of the city in 1462 resulted in the destruction of many graves, some remained. The great earthquake of February 1867 damaged the building beyond repair and it was demolished the Ottomans built a new mosque over the ruins to replace it later in the 19th century.

Other excavations done jointly with the 20th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities near the North Harbour of the city uncovered a multiperiod site with remains extending from a late Ottoman cemetery (including a "vampire" burial, a middle aged man with 20 cm (8 in) spikes through his neck, middle and ankles) to a substantial Roman building constructed around a colonnaded courtyard (probably a tavern/brothel in its final phase in the mid-4th century AD) to remains of Hellenistic structures and debris from different Hellenistic manufacturing processes (pottery, figurines, cloth making and dyeing, bronze and iron working) to archaic and classical levels with rich collections of Aeolic grey wares. A section of the late classical city wall runs across the site which was close to the channel that divided the mainland from the off shore island part of the city. Considerable remains of the two moles that protected the large North Harbour of the city are still visible just below or just breaking the surface of the sea it functioned as the commercial harbour of the ancient city although today it is a quiet place where a few small fishing boats are moored. [ citation needed ]

The city has two excellent archaeological museums, one by the south harbour in an old mansion and the other two hundred metres further north in a large new purpose built structure. The former contains the rich Bronze Age remains from Thermi, a site north of Mytilene dug by the British in the 1930s as well as extensive pottery and figurine displays the former coach house accommodates ancient inscriptions, architectural pieces, and coins. The latter museum is especially rich in mosaics and sculpture, including the famous late Roman mosaic floor from the "House of Menander" with scenes from plays by that Athenian 4th-century BC playwright. There are also mosaics and finds from other Roman mansions excavated by the Greek Archaeological Service under the direction of the archeologist Aglaia Archontidou-Argyri.

There are 15 primary schools in Mytilene, along with seven lyceums, and eight gymnasiums. [ citation needed ] There are six university schools with 3671 undergraduates, the largest in the University of the Aegean. Here also is the Headquarters, the Central Library and the Research Committee of Aegean University. The University of Aegean is housed in privately owned buildings, in rented buildings located in the city centre and in modern buildings on the University Hill.

Nottoway YT-18 - History

If anyone has a copy of the original 1668 deed I would be very grateful to be able to post it here.

The earliest Skippers in the historical record in the southern colonies are John Skipper, William Skipper, Francis Skipper, and the above mentioned George Skipper. Their names are variously spelled Skipper, Skiper, Skepper, Sciper, Scipper, Skipor, and even Supper. John bought land in South Carolina in 1685 and by 1688 he was dead. There is also a John Skipper mentioned in Middlesex County, Virginia in 1681/2 who may or may not be the same person. William was a bricklayer in Charleston, South Carolina who married the widow Anne (Barker) Furguson, had three sons and two daughters, owned what became the Oak Grove Plantation, and predeceased his wife on January 2, 1723/4. Francis is mentioned, according to Paul Heinegg, ". a white man, whose "Negro" wife, Ann, was tithable in Norfolk County, Virginia in 1671. she was still living there in 1691..". George, however, left some footprints.

Let's examine the 400 acres mentioned in the 1741 deed which were only part of a patent to George Skipper. Settlers were granted a fifty acre 'head right' when they arrived in Virginia in the seventeenth century, which is to say for every head, with body attached, for whom you paid the cost of transportation and maintenance, usually about six pounds, including, but not necessarily yourself, you were entitled to fifty acres. Furthermore, land grants were restricted to the coastal area in early and mid century, and settlers were forbidden by law to encroach upon the Indian lands or even to approach them. Well, Skippers are known to break better laws than that, but the question of how he had the resources to acquire something more than 400 acres is puzzling. It was probably 615 acres because in 1729 George Skipper, Jr. sold that number of acres at Potecasi Swamp to Jean Herrin who was either his aunt, sister or daughter for twenty pounds, a real sweetheart deal. The next troubling issue is the location. Potacasi ( Potacasa) is in North Carolina in what is now Northampton County and was then Bertie County. In 1668 there barely was a North Carolina, the border with Virginia being established in 1665. In 1664 Englishmen from Barbados arrived on the west bank of the Cape Fear River, but abandoned the settlement in 1667. It is thought that they fled into Virginia. There is no evidence of George Skipper among them and there is no evidence of any Skippers having been in Barbados, at least before my trip in 2007. So the second half of the puzzle is from whom did he buy the land. The entire colony was owned by the Lords Proprietors who were given the grant by Charles II in March of 1663, but in 1653 Roger Greene with a hundred men made a settlement in what became Chowan on the north shore of Albemarle Sound. In 1662 a colony was settled in the Perquimans precinct just east of Chowan. The names of the settlers is not known. If the date of the patent is correct, he was certainly a very early settler in the area.

Some suppose, although the tangible record is not produced, that 1668 George Skipper led Nansemond and/or Nottoway Indians from their lands in Virginia to relocate at Potacasi Swamp. The Nansemond were somewhat removed from Potacasi although not an impossible distance, but the Nottoway were closer. However, the Nottoway did not abandon their lands in Virginia in 1668. This must be true because as part of a compromise they were granted two unique parcels of land on their ancestral lands. The Nottoway Indian Official Website tells us that the Circular and Square tracts of land were granted to them in 1705 viz:

In 1705 the House of Burgess granted two tracks of land to the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe – the Circle and Square Tracks [sic] consisting of some 41,000 acres of Reservation Land. The tracks of land fell within the confines of what was then Isle of Wight County – now Southampton and Sussex Counties. Note: Southampton County was annexed [sic] from Isle of Wight County in 1749.

We must think about the logistics of George Skipper arriving in colonial Virginia sometime between 1607 (although he is not in the list of original colonists thus probably did not arrive before circa 1650), and must have arrived sufficiently before 1668 to establish himself and ingratiate himself with the Indians. To gauge how long it might take to ingratiate oneself with potentially hostile Indians might depend on how much rum one could produce, but that is immaterial. First the settlers had to be received by the colonial government that might order flogging for having contact with Indians, almost certainly would, depending on one's status, for selling rum or firearms to them. So how did this man cross the Fall Line, and establish himself with two groups of natives, and in fact found a dynasty.

Apparently, yes, a dynasty. The historical record is dubious from 1668 to 1735, but from 1735 there are records that we must study in depth to understand the Skipper connection to these Native Americans. Initially we cannot dismiss the motive of access to women who were decidedly scarce in Colonial Virginia, and the Nottoway by contemporary accounts were flirtatious and comely except for a dependency on bear grease as a cosmetic. If it is true that George Skipper, 1668, had enough clout to move some Indians from their ancestral lands into North Carolina, then it must be true that he became a significant figure in their society, and that his son was also a trusted member of the tribe which is evidenced by the fact that a George Skipper did become a Chief Man of the Nottoways.

There are three clusters of land records that name George Skipper in this geopolitical space. First we have the unfinished record of the 1748 viz. 1668 deed. If 1668 George is accurately portrayed, then he must have had a son between 1668 and 1700 who is identified in the historical record as George Skipper, Sr., and this must be true because there is a George Skipper, Jr. identified with him. George Skipper, Sr. and Jr. are spread all over the historical record, but his page will focus on the Indian connection.

On August 7, 1735, thirteen or fourteen Chief Men of the Nottoway Nation sold twenty-three parcels of land from the Circular Tract. George Skipper was not among them. Their names vary from deed to deed which seems to indicate that the clerk was uncertain what they were saying. They are:

King Edmonds
William Hines
Sam Cockerowse (sometimes Cherrino)
James Frank Tom Cockerowse
Harrison Wainoak Robbin, Jr.
Will Cherrino (sometimes Cockerowse, Will, also just Will
Peter Ned
Wainoak Robbin
Robbin Scholar (also Robin)

They sold 6693 acres and earned ₤ 396/6/6. A transcript of one of the 1735 deeds follows this page. It is transcribed in script to give a sense of the original document. It is as close an approximation as Word 2007 ® would allow with capitalization, boldface, superscripts, underlining, and misspellings. I no doubt have added my own misspellings for which I apologize. The Indians made unique marks for their signatures which I found interesting since the Anglos simply made an 'X'. Again within the limits the word processor, I tried to show something close to the shape of each mark.

The Family History Library's call number for the film is 32003. The following table gives the names of the buyers, the acreage, and the sale price.

Watch the video: How to get 400 Subscribers on YouTube EVERYDAY. Part 1 (August 2022).