Return to Beaufort County NCGenWeb Home Page

Native Americans

(Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum)

of Beaufort Co., NC


When English explorers and colonists first arrived on the coast of North America, they encountered Algonkian-speaking peoples. The term Algonkian* isn’t a tribal name; but one of the largest group of linguistically related tribes in North America. Algonkian-speaking tribes lived in the area from coastal North Carolina to Canada, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains. They were the peoples who met the English at Roanoke in 1584, at Jamestown in 1607, and at Plymouth in 1620, and they were among those who first met French explorers and colonizers in Canada. (*Also spelled Algonquin, Algonquian, Algonkin.)

The Algonkian, with whom we are concerned here, were relative newcomers to coastal North Carolina, having come in a series of migrations from the north. To some extent they retained cultural elements from their Northeastern Algonkian traditions, but there was also cultural borrowing from their neighbors as they adapted to the geographic and climatic conditions of the area. They were more water-oriented and placed more emphasis upon hunting, fishing, and gathering than did their neighbors. They lived in the coastal area of North Carolina from the Neuse River northward to the Chesapeake Bay. To the north they were bordered by the Virginia Algonkians; on the northwest and west by the Iroquoian-speaking tribes of the Tuscarora, Meherrin and Nottaway; and on the southwest by the Woccon and other Siouan-speaking tribes. The approximate 6000-square mile Carolina Algonqkian territory of northeastern North Carolina included the Chowanoke, Weapemeac, Poteskeet, Moratoc, Roanoke, Secotan, Pomuik, Neusiok, Croatan and possibly the Chesepiooc.

On this web site will be posted source materials by anthropologists, archaeologists and historians which deal with the Carolina Algonkian, and links to related sources already online. As the reader will note, the various authors offer different points of views on some issues. It will be up to the reader to discern these differences. I only wish to make these materials available to one and all.

Anyone aware of other source materials, new publications, or any field work being conducted concerning the Carolina Algonkian, please let me know. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Please contact me at: Kay Midgett Sheppard .

Algonkian Sources

The Algonquain of Coastal Carolina compiled by John McGowan

Remnants of the Machapunga Indians of North Carolina by Frank G. Speck, American Anthropologist 18 (1916): pp. 271-276

The Ethnic Position of the Southeastern Algonquian by Frank G. Speck. American Anthropologist 26; (1924): 184-200

Algonquian Ethnohistory of the Carolina Sound by Maurice A. Mook, Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 34: 6–7 (1944)

Decline of the Coastal Tribes Chapter IV, in The American Indian in North Carolina by Rev. Douglas L. Rights, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, (1947). Republished: Winston-Salem, NC: John F. Blair, 1957

The Archaeology of Coastal North Carolina by William G. Haag. Louisiana State University Studies, Coastal Studies Series No. 2. (1958), Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge

The Mattamuskeet Documents: A Study in Social History by Patrick H. Garrow, Archaeology Branch, Division of Archives and History, (1975), Raleigh, North Carolina

Additional deeds from: By a Line of Marked Trees Abstracts of Currituck County, NC, Deed Books [1], 1-2, and 3, pp. 1-122, by John A. Brayton, (2000), Memphis, TN

North Carolina Algonquians by Christian F. Feest, in Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 15, pp. 271-281, Bruce Trigger, Ed., (1978), Smithsonian Institute, Washington, DC.

Archaeology of the Native Americans: The Carolina Algonkians: Final Report by David S. Phelps, (1984), Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Economics, East Carolina University, Greenville.

The Carolina Algonkians: Archaeology and History from An America's Four Hundredth Anniversary Slide and Narrative Presentation, by David S. Phelps, (1984), East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

The Amity Site Reports (1985-1989)

The Archaeology of 31HY43, "Pomeiooc" 1985-1986 Field Seasons by Paul R. Green. (1987), America’s Four Hundredth Anniversary Publication, Archaeology Laboratory, East Carolina University, Greenville.

Excavations at the Amity Site: Final Report of the Pomeiooc Project: 1984–1989 by Paul S. Gardner, (1990), Archaeological Research Report No. 7, East Carolina University, Greenville.

Ancient Pots and Dugout Canoes: Indian Life as Revealed by Archaeology at Lake Phelps by David S. Phelps, (1989). Brochure distributed at Pettigrew State Park, Creswell, NC.

A Sub-Surface Radar Exploration of Lake Phelps, North Carolina, September, 1992 (1993), by Donald G. Shomette. Report prepared for The North Carolina Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC.

Unearthing Clues to Lost Worlds: An archaeological dig on the Outer Banks... reveals evidence of the Croatan Indians... by Nancy Gray, (1997). The ECU Report - Vol. 28, No. 2. ECU, Greenville, NC.

Between 'Savage Man' and 'Most Faithful Englishman': Manteo and the Early Anglo-Indian Exchange, 1584-1590 by Michael L. Oberg, Volume XXIV (2000) Number 2. Itinerario, European Journal of Overseas History, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Maps of Coastal Carolina

The Algonquin in North Carolina (Mook)

Eastern Virginia & North Carolina (Speck)

Carolina Algonquin Tribes and Villages (Feest)

Copyright 2006
Carolina Algonkian Project

Beaufort County NCGenWeb Home Page

This site was last updated November 7, 2009

© 2007-2008 McGowan/Sheppard

© 2009 Kay Midgett Sheppard