Skip to main content

Full text of "William Byrd's histories of the dividing line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina"

See other formats





Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 
State Library of North Carolina 

William Byrd's 






William K. Boyd, Ph.D. 

Professor of History, Duke University 

^P North Carolina State Library 

0^^ Raleigh 






Thomas M. Pittman, Chairman 

M. C. S. Noble Ben Dixon MacNeill 

Heriot Clarkson Mrs. Thomas O'Berry 

A. R. Newsome, Secretary, Raleigh 


Eowxnss & BnouGHTON Company 


M. E. B. 



Introduction xi 

Boundaries of the Carolina Charters xvii 

The Histories 1 

First Pages of the Dividing Line Manuscripts 1 

Byrd's Lands of the Carouna Frontier ("Land of Eden") 268 

Surveyor's Map of the Dividing Line 321 

Appendix to The History of the Dividing Line 332 


William Byrd's History of the Dividing Line betwixt Virginia 
and North Carolina has long been regarded as a classic of the 
colonial period of American literature, an invaluable source for 
the social history of that time, and a comprehensive and depend- 
able account of the first successful effort to establish the boundary 
between North Carolina and Virginia. This estimate, however, 
must be revised. Only the literary merits of the work can with- 
stand criticism. Undoubtedly Byrd was a cosmopolitan "writer 
of quality," worthy of a place among the wits of the eighteenth 
century coffee houses. In all other respects, the History of the 
Dividing Line must be accepted with reservations. As a descrip- 
tion of the frontier region along the Virginia-Carolina border its 
general tone is true to nature; but certain details leave on the mind 
of the reader misconceptions regarding conditions and policies in 
North Carolina. Moreover, as an account of the survey of the 
boundary line, it omits certain factors that were vital in shaping 
the results. 

An important reason for such a revision of judgment is the fact 
that Byrd wrote another account of the survey which he called 
The*Secret History of the Line, hitherto unpublished, which gives 
a different impression concerning the work of the boundary com- 
mission than the History of the Dividing Line. A comparison of 
the two works reveals the following divergencies. 

First of all, the principal characters appear in the Secret History 
under the guise of fictitious names. Thus Byrd himself is 
"Steddy," his fellow-commissioners of Virginia, William Dand- 
ridge and Richard Fitz- William, are "Meanwell" and "Firebrand," 
and the Virginia surveyors, Alexander Irvine and William Mayo, 
are "Orion" and "Astrolabe"; likewise the North Carolina com- 
missioners, Chief Justice Gale, Edward Moseley, John Lovick and 
William Little, are respectively "Judge Jumble," "Plausible," 
"Shoebrush" and "Puzzlecause," while Samuel Swann, the North 
Carolina surveyor, is denominated "Bo-otes." The chaplain. Rev. 
Peter Fountain (Fontaine) is "Dr. Humdrum." The use of these 

xii . William Byrd's Histories 

fictitious names gives to the Secret History a certain air of mystery 
and makes easy the expression of opinions regarding its leading 
personalities. It is not surprising, therefore, that the Secret His- 
tory contains considerable information regarding the expedition 
which is not contained in the History of the Dividing Line. 

This new information centers mainly around two personalities, 
Richard Fitz-William and Alexander Irvine. The former was a 
royal official, being Surveyor-General of Customs for the Southern 
Colonies, and between him and Byrd there was a strong antipathy. 
Fitz-William was tardy in joining the expedition, for which he 
made no apology, and he soon found cause to encourage dissension 
which had its origin in the personality and labors of Irvine, the 
Virginia surveyor, who was also professor of Mathematics at Wil- 
liam and Mary. Irvine seems to have been a man with a certain 
literalness of mind, without a sense of humor or that spirit of 
comradeship so valuable when men confront the wilds of nature. 
Byrd certainly had little respect for his ability. In the very begin- 
ning of the survey, he aroused Byrd's distrust by relying more on 
the North Carolina surveyors than his Virginia colleague, William 
Mayo, in correcting the readings of his instruments. This placed 
the Virginia surveyors at odds, and Fitz-William supported 
Irvine; in the language of Byrd, "Firebrand took all occasion to 
set Orion above Astrolabe." A definite breach was not long in 
developing. On March 22, the surveyors emerged from the Dismal 
Swamp and Byrd sent forward the horse of William Mayo in 
order that Mayo might ride into camp. At the same time Fitz- 
William ordered a Virginian member of the party to send a horse 
for Irvine. To this there was a point-blank refusal, whereupon 
Fitz-William easily persuaded one of the North Carolinians to 
lend a horse for the purpose. The climax came some days later 
when Irvine resented what he believed to be insubordination by 
one of the Virginia party; and when Fitz-William urged Byrd to 
discipline the man, he refused. "After this misfortune," says 
Byrd, "to be formally civil was as much as we could afford to be 
to one another." A week later, on April 1, there was a stormy 
interview because Fitz-William objected to the presence among the 
surveyors of Joseph Mayo, a brother of William Mayo, and again 
complained of the rudeness shown to Irvine; but Byrd was ob- 
durate. Fitz-William then went visiting with John Lovick, one of 

Introduction xiii 

the North Carolina commissioners; "and," adds Byrd, "his going 
off was not less pleasing to us than the going off of a fever." 

In all this a likely contributing factor was that Fitz-William, as 
a royal official of the customs, had been admitted to the Executive 
Council of North Carolina and was probably in sympathy with the 
North Carolina contention regarding the boundary. Certainly he 
was not in sympathy with Virginia's policy of excluding North 
Carolina tobacco from her ports. Alexander Irvine, also, because 
he was a professor in William and Mary, was a protege of Com- 
missary James Blair, for whom Byrd had little fondness. Fitz- 
William, on the other hand, seems to have been on good terms with 
both Irvine and Blair; according to Byrd it was through Irvine's 
efforts that Fitz-William was appointed one of the boundary com- 

When Byrd called on Governor Gooch during the suspension 
of the survey in the summer of 1728, he found that Fitz-William 
and Irvine had complained to the Governor concerning his attitude 
toward Irvine, and had criticised the ability of William Mayo 
as a surveyor. In this they were supported by the North Carolina 
commissioners, who had sent to Gooch letters commending Fitz- 
William and Irvine. Fitz-William also refused to sign Byrd's re- 
port of the survey until he learned that it was to be sent to England. 
He secretly supported a demand of the Carolina commissioners 
that the date for the resumption of the survey be September 10, 
instead of September 20. 

Thus in the summer of 1728 there was a well-defined cleavage 
among the Virginia commissioners; Byrd, William Dandridge, 
and Surveyor Mayo composing one faction, Fitz-William and 
Irvine the other. According to the Secret History, Governor Gooch 
was easily persuaded to support the former. Certainly, when 
preparations were made to resume the survey, a decision favor- 
able to Byrd was reached. Fitz-William objected to the employ- 
ment of as many men for the expedition as Byrd desired; where- 
upon Byrd definitely asked to be relived of further participa- 
tion in the survey and consented to continue in the work only when 
he was made official head of the Virginia commission with the 
full quota of men he had recommended. With Byrd thus exercising 
definite authority, there was less friction in the last than the earlier 
stage of the survey. Fitz-William, however, consorted with the 

xiv William Byrd's Histories 

North Carolina members of the expedition, and when on October 
5, they proposed to Byrd a suspension of the survey, Fitz- William 
became their advocate. Indeed, a discussion of the proposal on 
the part of Byrd, Fitz- William, and Dandridge almost resulted in 
a broil. Finally, when the North Carolina members left the ex- 
pedition, Fitz-William returned to Williamsburg. The North 
Carolina commissioners, in recognition of his sympathy with 
their contentions, named on their map of the survey that tributary 
of the Dan now known as the Banister, Fitz-William River, while 
the Virginia commissioners, strange to say, left no tracing of the 
stream on their map, which was prepared by Surveyor Mayo. 

The Secret History also relates a number of incidents not men- 
tioned in the History of the Dividing Line. Notable are those 
which illustrate the attitude of the men of the expedition toward 
the women of the frontier. Byrd himself had an eye for feminine 
charms, but he also had the restraint proper in one of his station. 
This was not true of certain others, including some of the com- 
missioners. Six times insult or violence to women occurred. Such 
conduct Byrd always took pains to prevent and always he con- 
demned it. These incidents of violence illustrate a lack of dis- 
cipline and control due, no doubt, to the cleavage between Byrd 
and Fitz-William. All accounts of them are omitted in the His- 
tory of the Dividing Line. 

Finally, in the Secret History are included a number of letters, 
addresses, and other documents which are missing in the text of 
the History of the Dividing Line. These consist of three letters 
exchanged by the North Carolina and Virginia commissioners (two 
drafted by the former and one by tlie latter), five speeches of 
Byrd (four delivered to the men of the expedition and one to the 
Virginia Council), the protest of the North Carolina commis- 
sioners against a continuance of the survey and the reply of Byrd 
(which are in the appendix of the History of the Dividing Line), 
and a detailed schedule indicating the distances from place to place 
in the territory traversed by the commissioners. 

So much for the Secret History; in contrast is the History of 
the Dividing Line, of twice the length. It contains much informa- 
tion not included in the Secret History. This consists mainly of 
a sketch of English colonization in America, descriptions of the 
region traversed by the surveying expedition, including its fauna 

Introduction xv 

and flora, the customs of the Indians and the life of the pioneers, 
and characterizations of North Carolina and its people. Of these 
contrasts between the two works, none is more impressive than their 
respective attitudes toward North Carolina. The Secret History 
contains but one unfavorable criticism of the people of the colony, 
while such reflections are so numerous and so piquant in the History 
of the Dividing Line as to be one of its principal characteristics. The 
indolence of the North Carolinians, their lack of religion, their dis- 
respect for government, and their poverty — ^these traits so freely 
described in the History of the Dividing Line are not mentioned 
in the Secret History. Likewise Edenton, a place which comes in 
for satirical remarks in the History of the Dividing Line, is barely 
mentioned in the Secret History, and apparently Byrd never 
visited the town. In fact, the single unfavorable reflection on 
North Carolina common to both documents is that the people eat 
so much swine's flesh as to injure their dispositions. 

These contrasts of the two works raise questions of origins and 
literary history. Concerning the former the evidence is mainly 
internal. A comparison of manuscripts reveals a common pen- 
manship, but not that of William Byrd himself; and on the first 
page of the Secret History is written the name Nancy Byrd, who 
was probably Byrd's daughter, Anne (1725-1757).^ As the 
History of the Dividing Line is twice the length of The Secret His- 
tory, it is logical to believe that the latter was the first to be com- 
posed and that as the title indicates, it was intended only for a 
select few, and that the History of the Dividing Line was written at 
a later date for a wider audience. Supporting such a conclusion 
are letters of Byrd written in 1736 and 1737. Peter Collison, 
then in England, heard of Byrd's journal of the survey and wrote 
him asking for a copy.^ Byrd in his reply stated that he was at 
work on a complete history of the expedition. Mark Catesby saw 
a copy of the journal and wrote Byrd a complimentary note; Byrd 
replied in 1737 that he had not finished the history, but according 
to another letter to Collison in July 1737, he expected to com- 
plete it the following winter; and as he intended to describe some 
of the wild animals of the frontier, he requested Collison to make 

^ Nancy is a vulgarized form of Anne. 

" Byrd's journal and survey notes (transcribed from the records of the Board of 
Trade) are published in the Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. II, pp. 750, 799. 

xvi William Byrd's Histories 

arrangements for some plates.^ From these facts it is probable 
that Byrd finished the work mentioned early in 1738 and evidently 
he intended publication. As the History of the Dividing Line con- 
tains much information regarding the state of civilization on the 
frontier and none regarding the dissension between Byrd and Fitz- 
William, it is very probable that it is the work referred to in the 
correspondence with Collison and Catesby. 

The preservation of the two manuscripts harmonizes with their 
literary divergences. The History of the Dividing Line passed 
into the hands of Mrs. Mary Willing Byrd, William Byrd's daugh- 
ter-in-law, who gave it to her grandson, George Harrison, of Bran- 
don. At Brandon it remained until recently and at this writing it 
is in the custody of a New York trust company. It was first pub- 
lished in 1841;"* a second edition appeared in 1866;" and a third 
in 1901.^ Meanwhile, at some time and by some process unknown, 
the Secret History of the Line was transferred to Philadelphia and 
was there deposited with the American Philosophical Society. 
Although Lyman C. Draper called attention to the existence of the 
Secret History in 1851,^^ it has not hitherto been published; 
through the courtesy of the Philosophical Society it is now given 
publicity. In this connection it is pertinent to recall that Byrd's 
library was sold in Philadelphia in 1778 and that Mrs. Mary 
Willing Byrd, his daughter-in-law, was a native of Philadelphia; 
either by sale or by act of Mary Willing Byrd, the manuscript 
probably reached that city. 


The boundary controversy which it was the duty of Byrd and 
his associates to settle, had long been a source of irritation to the 

^ Regarding this correspondence, see the Introduction to Bassett's Writings of 
Colonel William Byrd, Ixxix. 

*The Westover Manuscripts; containing the History of the Dividing Line betudxt 
Virginia and North Carolina, etc. Petersburg, 1841. Edmund Ruffin disclosed the 
manuscripts and was the publisher. 

^History of the Dividing Line and other notes, from the papers of Wm. Byrd, of 
Westover, in Virginia, Esquire, 2 vols. Richmond, 1866. Thomas H. Wynne was the 

' The Writings of "Colonel William Byrd in Virginia, Esq." Edited by John 
Spencer Bassett. New York, 1901. 

' See "The Westover Library," by Charles Campbell ( Virginia Historical Register, 
vol. IV, p. 87) in which a communication from Draper regarding the Westover Manu- 
scripts is quoted. 

Introduction xvii 

governments of North Carolina and Virginia. Its origin is found 
in the terms of the Carolina charters. That of 1663 declared 
the northern boundary of the colony to be 36°, but by the second 
charter the boundary was declared to run "from the north end 
of Currituck river or inlet upon a strait westerly line to Weya- 
noke Creek which lies within or about the degrees of 36 and 
thirty minutes northern latitude ; and as far west, in the direct line, 
as far as the south seas." Thus a strip of land approximately 
thirty miles wide was added to Carolina. Living therein were 
people holding land grants from Virginia; in fact the region in- 
cluded all of the Albemarle section of Carolina. Until the bound- 
ary was officially established in accordance with the provisions of 
the second charter, a conflict of jurisdiction between North Caro- 
lina and Virginia was inevitable. That conflict began in 1680 
when certain people on the border lands refused any longer to 
pay the Virginia quit rents, although their titles were from the Vir- 
ginia land office; thereupon the Sheriff" of Lower Norfolk County 
was ordered by the Virginia Council to collect the rents. The 
matter came to the attention of the Lords Proprietors and in 1681 
they petitioned the Committee for Trade and Plantations that 
Virginia be instructed to appoint a commission to act with repre- 
sentatives of North Carolina in establishing the boundary as 
described in the charter of 1665. To this petition no reply is ex- 
tant. Doubtless none was made, for at that time the question of 
vacating all the proprietary charters was under serious consider- 
ation by the British authorities. 

In 1688 there is again evidence of conflicting jurisdiction. The 
people around Currituck Inlet complained to the Virginia au- 
thorities that North Carolina officials were distraining on their 
property for taxes. Thereupon the Virginia Council informed His 
Majesty's Government that North Carolina was extending its juris- 
diction beyond the line 36°, the boundary named in the first 
charter, so manifesting ignorance regarding the boundary des- 
cribed in the second charter. Again there is no record of any 
action by the British authorities, and conflicts over jurisdiction 
continued. In 1697 the Lords Proprietors sent to Deputy Gov- 
ernor Harvey a copy of the charter of 1665, which they hoped 
would enable him to convince the Virginia authorities of the 
legality of North Carolina's jurisdiction over the area in dispute. 

xviii William Byrd's Histories 

Two years later Harvey received from His Majesty's Govern- 
ment an order in council that a commission be appointed to survey 
and establish the Virginia boundary. Thereupon Harvey ap- 
pointed Daniel Akehurst and Henderson Walker as commissioners 
on the part of North Carolina. They, in due time, journeyed to 
Williamsburg and laid before the Virginia Council their instruc- 
tions. But that body proved to be recalcitrant; it refused to co- 
operate on the ground that Harvey was not legally Governor, be- 
cause his appoinment to office had not been approved by the Crown, 
which approval was required under act of Parliament of 1696, 
and therefore any findings or decisions reached by a commission 
appointed by him would not be conclusive; and this view of the 
Virginia Council was approved by the Lords of Trade. The real 
motive behind the Virginia policy was perhaps a hope that the 
Crown might purchase Carolina and so restore the territory that 
had been lost. Such a policy was recommended to the Lords of 
Trade by Governor Nicholson in 1701. 

Thus far Virginia had ignored the claims of North Carolina and 
sought means to avoid any survey or settlement of the dispute. 
But in 1705 this policy was reversed. In that year the House of 
Burgesses adopted resolutions that some provision should be made 
to establish the line between the two colonies and that a commis- 
sion be appointed to cooperate with North Carolina to that end. 
This was agreed to by the Virginia Council, but that body also 
decided that a secret survey should be made before negotiations 
were opened with North Carolina in order to estimate how much 
territory might be lost and to secure the affidavits of old residents 
regarding the location of Weyanoke Creek, the final point named 
in the Carolina charter of 1665 from which the boundary was 
to extend westward. The North Carolina authorities doubtless 
heard of this action, for soon it was reported in Virginia that North 
Carolina surveyors were running a boundary line and taking dep- 
ositions. The Virginia Council also made representations to the 
Lords of Trade regarding the encroachments of North Carolina land 
grants on grants issued by the Virginia land office. In 1709 the Lords 
recommended that a joint commission representing Virginia and 
North Carolina be appointed to survey and establish the boundary. 
This recommendation was favorably received; Edward Moseley 
and John Lawson were duly appointed by the North Carolina 

Introduction xix 

authorities and Nathaniel Harrison and Philip Ludwell by the 
Virginia Council. This commission undertook the task assigned 
in 1710, but the results were unsatisfactory. This was due to 
the obstructionary tactics of the North Carolina commissioners. 
It was hard for the Virginia commissioners to arrange a meet- 
ing with them; they quibbled over the official instructions, sought 
to confuse old residents of the territory in question who were 
called upon to make depositions, found fault with the readings 
of the instruments of the Virginia commissioners; and so prevented 
any definite conclusion of the survey. Such tactics were attributed 
by the Virginia Commissioners to the fact that Moseley was 
secretly taking out land grants in the disputed region; but a better 
explanation is found in the central contention of the surveyors, 
the location of Weyanoke Creek, from which the boundary was 
to extend westward. This stream had lost its original name, and 
consequently there was difficulty in locating it. The Virginia com- 
missioners claimed that it was identical with Wicocon Creek, a 
tributary of the Chowan River, in the lower part of Hertford 
County; the North Carolinians, that it was the Nottoway River. The 
instruments of the Virginia surveyors — the only instruments used 
by the Commissioners — gave a reading of 36° 40' on Wicocon 
Creek and one of 37° at Nottoway River. These readings gave 
support to the Virginia contention, but it is interesting to find that 
Byrd in 1728 confessed that the instruments used in 1710 were 
defective. However, it was not merely the additional land that 
would be secured by starting the line at Nottoway River which in- 
terested the North Carolina Commissioners; there was also the 
question of tobacco and commerce. As early as 1679 Virginia 
had prohibited the importation of North Carolina tobacco, a con- 
dition which greatly retarded the economic development of the 
northeastern part of the province, where the soil was well adapted 
to tobacco culture. If the boundary ran through Nottoway River, 
the North Carolina tobacco could be shipped down that and other 
streams to Albemarle Sound and thence to points without the 
colony. Indeed, the possibility of North Carolina tobacco being 
exported without the payment of export duties was pointed out 
to the Crown by the Virginia authorities in 1688 as an argument 
for holding the boundary at the line 36°, and when in 1728 the 
line was finally established as running by way of Nottoway River, 

XX William Byrd's Histories 

the North Carolina commissioners expressed one regret — a regret 
that it did not rmi a little further northward, across Nansemond 
River, which would have given the colony water transportation to 
Chesapeake Bay, and thereby Virginia would not have been able 
to enforce her laws against the importation of North Carolina 

The year 1714 marked the beginning of the last phase of the 
controversy. Governor Spotswood of Virginia, claiming that 
North Carolina continued to grant lands in the disputed region, 
and that "loose and disorderly people daily flock there," proposed 
that Virginia survey a line through Nottoway River and North 
Carolina one through Wicocon Creek, and that all settlers between 
these lines be removed. Indeed, he went so far as to lay off a 
line through Nottoway River and, when North Carolina did not 
establish one through Wicocon he threatened to do so and to 
remove the intervening settlers. At this juncture a new governor 
appeared in North Carolina, Charles Eden. In 1715 he reached 
an agreement with Spotswood, a compromise by which the bound- 
ary was to be established as follows: Beginning on the North 
shore of the mouth of Currituck River or Inlet, it should run due 
west; if it happened to cross Chowan River between the mouth of 
tlie Nottoway and Wicocon Creek, that course should be continued 
westward to the mountains; or if it cut the Chowan south of Wico- 
con it should be diverted up the Chowan to Wicocon and thence 
westward; on the other hand, if it reached Blackwater River, a 
stream north of the Nottoway, it should be diverted down that 
stream to the middle entrance of the Nottoway and thence on to the 
mountains. This proposal was referred to the Lords Proprietors 
and to the Crown for their consideration. News of its approval by 
the Lords Proprietors reached North Carolina in 1724 and a com- 
mission of four was promptly appointed to make the survey. But 
there was delay in approval by the crown officials, for reasons un- 
known; not until March, 1727, did the Privy Council sanction the 
compromise. Consequently, in 1728 a new commission was ap- 
pointed by Governor Everard of North Carolina, consisting of 
Christopher Gale, Edward Moseley, William Little, and John 
Lovick. The Virginia authorities appointed William Byrd, Wil- 
liam Dandridge, and Richard Fitz- William. To act with these 
commissioners were the surveyors, Alexander Irvine and William 

Introduction xxi 

Mayo for the Virginians, and Samuel Swann and Edward Moseley 
(also a Commissioner) for those of North Carolina.^ 

The preparations of the commissioners for the survey were in 
keeping with the temper of the people and the governments they 
represented. The Virginians undertook their task in a true gala 
spirit, full of pride, and assuming to set standards for the expedi- 
tion. "It is very proper to acquaint you in what manner we 
intend to come provided," they wrote to the North Carolina Com- 
missioners, "that so you. Gentlemen, who are appointed in this 
same station, may if you please do the same honor to Your gov- 
ernment. We shall have a Tent with us and a Marquis for the 
convenience of ourselves and our Servants. We shall be provided 
with as much Wine and Rum as will enable us and our men to 
drink every Night to the Success of the following Day, and be- 
cause we understand there are many Gentiles on your frontier 
who never had an opportunity of being Baptised we shall have a 
Chaplain to make them Christians. For this Purpose we intend 
to rest in our Camp every Sunday that there may be leisure for so 
good a work. And whoever of your Province shall be desirous 
of novelty may report on Sundays to our Tent and hear a Sermon. 
Of this you may please give Public notice that the Charitable In- 
tentions of this Government may meet with the happier Success."^ 
To this patronizing information the North Carolina Commis- 
sioners aptly replied: "we are at a Loss Gentlemen whether to 
thank you for the particulars you give us of your Tent Stores and 
the manner you design to meet us. Had you been Silent about it 
we had not wanted an Excuse for not meeting you in the same 
manner but now you force us to expose the nakedness of our 
Country and to tell you we can't possibly meet you in the manner 
our great respect to you would make us glad to do whom we are 
not Emulous of outdoing unless in Care and Diligence in the affair 
we come to meet you about. So all we can answer to that article 
is that we will endeavor to provide as well as Circumstances of 
things will permit" ; and then they added, with irony barely veiled, 
"What we may want in necessaries we hope will be made up in 

® The documents and ofl5cial records relating to this boundary controversy may be 
found in the Colonial Records of North Carolina (vols. I-III) and the Executive 
Journal of the Council of Colonial Virginia (vols. I, II) . 

" Secret History, p. 21 ; Colonial Records of North Carolina II, p. 735. 

xxii William Byrd's Histories 

Spiritual Comfort we expect from Your Chaplain of whom we 
shall give notice as you desire to all lovers of novelty and doubt 
not of a great many Boundary Christians."^" 

After the preliminary correspondence the Commissioners met at 
Currituck Inlet on March 5, 1728, which they found to be in 
Latitude 36 degrees, 31 minutes. Quite naturally the work began 
with a dispute. The official instructions of the Virginia Com- 
missioners empowered them to carry the survey to a conclusion 
in case the North Carolina Commissioners should delay or refuse 
their cooperation. To the North Carolina Commissioners this 
seemed "too lordly and Positive"; there was no intimation of such 
power in their instructions and it seemed to give the Virginians the 
whip hand. The bluff reply to their criticism was that the Virginia 
Boundary Commission of 1710 had been required to do its work 
in conjunction with the North Carolina Commission, which had, 
by obstructive tactics, prevented any definite results, and that this 
should not happen again. 

Then arose the question of the points from which the line should 
start. The Virginians claimed that it should be the Spit of Sand 
on the North Shore of Currituck Inlet, the North Carolinians a 
point of high ground 200 yards beyond; in the end the Virginians 
yielded, after they learned that the Spit of Sand had advanced in 
recent years toward the Inlet. A cedar post was then erected and 
from it a course due westward was taken. Across rivers and is- 
lands, over creeks and marshes, through wild lands and some 
settled areas, the party proceeded until on March 14 the Dismal 
Swamp was reached. Here was the supreme challenge of the 
survey. No one knew of the extent of the Dismal, none had pene- 
trated its vast recesses. The surveyors and twelve assistants under- 
took its exploration, the commissioners and the remaining mem- 
bers of the expedition finding their way around it. By the four- 
teenth day thereafter, on March 28, the Dismal had been crossed 
and the two sections of the party were again united. Eight days 
later, due to fatigue from six weeks in the wilderness and because 
spring was well advanced, the survey was suspended until autumn. 
The Line had been carried as far west as the Meherrin River, a 

^° The phrase "to all Lovers of Novelty" is in the letter as printed in the Colonial 
Records of North Carolina II, 737, but is omitted in the version given in the Secret 

Introduction xxiii 

distance of 73 miles, and the claims of North Carolina had been 
vindicated, for on April 2 the surveyors reached the Blackwater 
River, half a mile above the mouth of the Nottoway, and following 
the compromise agreement of Governors Eden and Spotswood, 
the Line was then run from the mouth of the Nottoway. 

On September 20 the Commissioners resumed their work and 
soon reached the Roanoke, whose rich bottom lands so impressed 
Byrd that he eventually made large purchases and named the 
region "the Land of Eden." On October 4 the North Carolina 
Commissioners proposed a termination of the survey. They 
claimed that the important question in the boundary controversy, 
whether Nottoway River or Wicocon Creek corresponded to the 
mythical Weyanoke, had been settled, and the most difficult labor 
of the survey performed in the penetration of Dismal Swamp; 
that the region of unsettled lands had been reached, and that 
the line could be completed through this, when necessity de- 
manded, by two or three surveyors instead of the large and expen- 
sive party then employed. To this the Virginia Commissioners 
answered that their instructions were to complete the Line; that 
settlers would soon push forward into the fertile lands of the 
Roanoke; and that expense should not be considered when the 
public interest was at stake. But the North Carolina Commis- 
sioners were obdurate and so turned back. The Line was then 
continued by the Virginia Commissioners as far as Peter's Creek, 
on the present borders of Stokes County, when they, too, because 
of the advanced season and the challenge of the Appalachians, 
relinquished the work. In 1749 the Line was extended by a joint 
commission for a distance of ninety miles to Steep Rock Creek, 
which is near the northwestern comer of North Carolina; and in 
1779 further survey was made to a point near Bristol, Tennessee. 
Thus the controversy over the boundary was settled and its 
location was established. But in later years there was dissatis- 
faction over the results. The line was marked only on trees and 
in time disappeared or became vague; moreover surveys of the 
United States Coast and Geodetic Survey showed that the eastern 
beginning of the line at Currituck is not 36° 30' (or as determined 
by the Commission of 1728, 36° 31') but 36° 33' 15", and that the 
western end near Bristol, Tennessee, is 36° 34' 25.5". Relocation 
was therefore necessary, but progress in the work was slow. In 

xxiv William Byrd's Histories 

1858 commissioners were appointed to resurvey the line from the 
end of the Byrd survey westward, but for reasons unknown nothing 
was done, and efforts to the same end in 1870 and 1871 brought 
no results. In 1887, however, the line was re-located from Curri- 
tuck to the Nottoway River, and in 1896 from the Nottoway west- 
ward for a distance of sixty-two miles, to the eastern comer of 
Mecklenburg County, Virginia. 


Concerning William Byrd, his personality and activities, ex- 
tensive comment is unnecessary, but it is well to recall certain 
characteristics of the man and certain phases of his life.^^ 

He belonged to the aristocracy of Virginia, an aristocracy not 
of inherited blood, but of achievement. His grandfather was a 
London goldsmith, John Bird, whose son William came to Virginia 
about 1670, signed his name Byrd, and inherited from an uncle, 
Thomas Stegg, 1,800 acres of land at the falls of the James and 
a business of merchandising and trade. This property increased 
until at the time of his death in 1704 he was a very wealthy man. 
He also acquired political distinction, rising from the office 
of militia captain to membership in the House of Burgesses and 
the Executive Council. He was also Auditor of Virginia and Re- 
ceiver General of Quit Rents, offices which enabled him to increase 
his worldly estate. Marriage also brought him valuable contacts, 
for his wife, Mary Horsemanden, was a daughter of a kinsman or 
close friend of that Dame Frances who married three colonial 
governors: first, Samuel Stephens of Albemarle; second, William 
Berkeley of Virginia; and third, Philip LudweU of Virginia. 
Ambitious for his children, he sent those who survived infancy to 
England for their education. Of these one daughter, Susan, mar- 
ried in England and remained there; the other, Ursula, returned 
to Virginia and married Robert Beverly, the historian. The son, 
William Byrd H, bom in 1674 and author of the Dividing Line 
histories, proved himself well worthy of his opportunities. His 
guide and mentor in England was Sir Robert Southwell. He did 
not attend Oxford or Cambridge, but was under the instruction of 

" For an exhaustive account of Byrd and his family, see the admirable Introduction 
to Professor Bassett's Workings of Colonel William Byrd. 

Introduction xxv 

tutors, spending some time on the Continent; he then studied law at 
the Middle Temple, and returned to Virginia in 1696 after twelve 
years' absence. 

At once he assumed the position in Colonial life prepared for 
him by the prestige of his father. In the year of his return he 
became Auditor of Virginia, a position exchanged for the Re- 
ceiver-Generalship of Quit Rents a little later when those offices 
were divorced, and in 1708 he became a member of the Executive 
Council, in which he continued to have a seat until his death in 
1744. His record in public office indicates virility and an in- 
dependent spirit. He was involved in numerous controversies 
with Governor Spotswood and carried his opposition to the highest 
authorities in England, where he resided from 1697 to 1705 and 
from 1715 to 1726, part of the time being agent of the colony. 
In Byrd Spotswood met an able opponent; in some controversies 
the Governor won, in others he lost ; the climax was reached when 
he tried to have Byrd removed from the Council but failed. Yet 
their controversies created no personal hostility; each respected 
the other and when they met in 1732 they extended greetings 
worthy of friendship. 

Byrd's aggressiveness in politics was well matched by his ac- 
quisition of property. As the years passed a veritable hunger for 
land possessed him. By the time of his departure for England in 
1715 he had added to his patrimony 5,523 acres. The survey of 
the boundary quickened his speculative spirit; the sight of thou- 
sands of acres of unoccupied lands was a temptation not to be 
resisted. So he purchased from the North Carolina Commis- 
sioners 20,000 acres at the junction of the Dan and Irvine Rivers. 
To this were added 6,000 acres adjacent, patented from North 
Carolina in 1743. But the Land of Eden, as he called this region, 
was far removed from Westover, the seat of his inherited posses- 
sions, and so he dreamed of intervening plantations. Therefore 
between 1730 and 1738 he patented 5,211 acres in the region 
where the Dan and Staunton unite to form the Roanoke; then in 
1742 all previous records were surpassed by patenting 105,000 
acres between the junction of the Hico with the Dan and the North 
Carolina line. Soon thereafter he bought a small plantation of 
2,429 acres on the Meherrin River, as a stopping place between 
Westover and his large possessions on the frontier. To these pur- 

xxvi William Byrd's Histories 

chases must be added 9^710 acres acquired in the settlement of an 
estate and 1,336 from a legacy. All told he increased the Byrd 
possessions from 26,231 acres to 179,440. And, more than this, 
he had a desire for the Dismal Swamp. He believed that vast 
wilderness could be drained and redeemed for agriculture, espe- 
cially the production of hemp. To that end he proposed the organi- 
zation of a oampany which should secure a grant of the Dismal 
from the Crown, with exemption from quit rents for fifty years 
and from taxes for ten.^^ 

In his acquisition of land and his long service in public office 
Byrd was typical of the ruling class of Virginia. Another trait 
was also characteristic of that class — his devotion to Virginia. He 
spent many years in England, but that did not impair his love 
for his native heath. After his arrival in London in 1715 he 
wrote that he had found the charms of the place tasteless, and soon 
after his second marriage, which occurred in England about 1725, 
he hastened to return to Virginia. To him there was in the vast 
open spaces, the rugged and unconquered wilderness and the na- 
tural beauty of the New World, something vastly more appealing 
than European civilization. And the inner shrine of Virginia was 
Westover, the lordly estate on the James which he inherited and 
improved. There he watched the turn of the seasons and marveled 
at the revelations of nature. He experimented in fruit-growing, 
studied wild herbs, and prescribed remedies for his sick friends. 
"A library, a garden, a grove and a purling stream are the In- 
nocent scenes that divert our Leisure," he wrote. To this might 
have been added the companionship of friends, for the hospitality 
of Westover was known far and wide, and Byrd was the idol of a 
large family connection. This love of home interlocked with his 
political views; for as a member of the Council he was always 
the defender of Virginia's rights versus the prerogative of the 
British Government or the interests of the Empire. 

Besides his acquisition of property, his devotion to the public 
service, and his love of Virginia, Byrd had another quality — one 
that links him with men of all climes and all ages — a taste for 

"Byrd left in manuscript a description of the Dismal with a plan for its exploration 
which was published by Edmund RufiSn in the Farmer's Register (vol. II, pp. 521-524) 
and was reprinted in 1922 in Heartman's Historical Series, No. 38, by Earl G. Swem 
(Description of the Dismal Swamp and a Proposal to Drain the Swamp by William 
Byrd of Westover) . 

Introduction xxvii 

letters and things of the mind. He was a constant inquirer, and 
was never satisfied with knowledge at hand. He therefore made 
a collection of books which was the largest library in all the 
colonies, numbering 4,000 volumes. He loved art, and was known 
as the Black Swan by his many kinsmen. The walls of Westover 
mansion were adorned with paintings, among them portraits of 
Lord Orrery, Sir Wilfred Lawson, the Marquis of Halifax, Sir 
Robert Southwell, Lord Egmont, William Blathwayt, and the Duke 
of Argyle. With such worthies and others he had correspondence ; 
he was also a member of the Royal Society.^^ He wielded a gifted 
pen, his letters being sprightly, humorous, and considerate. His 
activity in public affairs and his business^terests were such that 
he attempted no formal literary work until? late in life; then be- 
tween 1732 and 1740 he wrote the Progress to the Mines, 
Journey to the Land of Eden, and the histories of the Dividing 
Line. Each was inspired by his love of the frontier, and all were 
based on diaries or journals of his expeditions. These works re- 
veal his view of life. All things, men and women too, are a revela- 
tion of nature and its wonders, and an understanding of nature 
brings a philosophical cheer which enables the individual to carry 
on and act well his part. He was critical of his fellow-men, quick 
to see frailties, full of irony and sarcasm, but he also knew how 
to be generous. Of social institutions he was also critical; slavery 
he regarded as a liability^^ and for the Indian he had respect. 
Cosmopolitan, intellectual, and devoted to the public service, he 
is the best type of Virginia gentleman of the Eighteenth Century; 
few, if any, were his equal in personality and wealth of ideas 
until the days of the Revolution. 

^He contributed to the Transactions of the Society one paper, "An account of a 
Negro Boy that is dappled in several places of his Body with White Spots," which was 
published in the issue of December, 1697. 

" Byrd to Lord Egmont, in "Colonel William Byrd on Slavery and Indentured 
Servants," {American Historical Review, vol. I, p. 88) . 



^ A' ^ 




\ ^\ 






I ''^'' ^v'/. y --><>*<» ^ H- ( €-^*rt r4 <'\// y^ r</.^.- /'^ ^^-r y^ ^''*** 



■ ' A / ■ ' '7 


First Page of the Secret Hi>n 



Before I enter upon the Journal of the Line between Virginia and 
North Carolina, it will be necessary to clear the way to it, by shewing 
how the other British Colonies on the Main have, one after the other, 
been carved out of Virginia, by Grants from his Majesty's Royal Predeces- 
sors. All that part of the Northern American Continent now under the 
Dominion of the King of Great Britain, and Stretching quite as far as 
the Cape of Florida, went at first under the General Name of Virginia. 

The only Distinction, in those early Days, was, that all the Coast to 
the Southward of Chesapeake Bay was called South Virginia, and all to 
the Northward of it. North Virginia. 

The first Settlement of this fine Country was owing to that great Orna- 
ment of the British Nation, Sir Walter Raleigh, who obtained a Grant 
thereof from Queen Elizabeth of ever-glorious Memory, by Letters Patent, 
dated March the 25th, 1584. 

But whether that Gentleman ever made a Voyage thither himself is 
uncertain; because those who have favour'd the Public with an Account 
of His Life mention nothing of it. However, thus much may be depended 
on, that Sir Walter invited sundry persons of Distinction to Share in his 
Charter, and join their Purses with his in the laudable project of fitting 
out a Colony to Virginia. 

Accordingly, 2 Ships were Sent away that very Year, under the Com- 
mand of his good Friends Amidas and Barlow, to take possession of the 
Country in the Name of his Roial Mistress, the Queen of England. 

These worthy Commanders, for the advantage of the Trade Winds, 
shaped their Course first to the Charibbe Islands, thence stretching away 
by the Gulph of Florida, drop Anchor not far from Roanoak Inlet. 
They ventured ashoar near that place upon an Island now called Colleton 
island, where they set up the Arms of England, and Claimed the Adjacent 
Country in Right of their Sovereign Lady, the Queen; and this Ceremony 
being duly performed, they kindly invited the neighbouring Indians to traf- 
fick with them. 

These poor people at first approacht the English with great Caution, 
having heard much of the Treachery of the Spaniards, and not knowing 
but these Strangers might be as treacherous as they. But, at length, dis- 
covering a kind of good nature in their looks, they ventured to draw near, 
and barter their Skins and Furs, for the Bawbles and Trinkets of the 

* This is Byrd's long known version of the boundary question. The hitherto un- 
known and unpublished Secret History begins on page 13 and continues on the 
odd-numbered pages to the conclusion. 

2 History of the Dividing Line 

These first Adventurers made a very profitable Voyage, raising at least 
a Thousand per cent, upon their Cargo. Amongst other Indian Commodi- 
ties, they brought over Some of the bewitching Vegetable, Tobacco. And 
this being the first that ever came to England, Sir Walter thought he 
could do no less than make a present of Some of the brightest of it to 
His Roial Mistress, for her own Smoaking. 

The Queen graciously accepted of it, but finding her Stomach sicken 
after two or three Whiffs, it was presently whispered by the earl of 
Leicester's Faction, that Sir Walter had certainly Poison'd Her. But Her 
Majesty soon recovering her Disorder, obliged the Countess of Notting- 
ham and all her Maids to Smoak a whole Pipe out amongst them. 

As it happen'd some Ages before to be the fashion to Santer to the 
Holy Land, and go upon other Quixot Adventures, so it was now grown 
the Humour to take a Trip to America. The Spaniards had lately dis- 
covered Rich Mines in their Part of the West Indies, which made their 
Maritime Neighbours eager to do so too. This Modish Frenzy being 
still more Inflam'd by the Charming Account given of Virginia, by the 
first Adventurers, made many fond of removeing to such a Paradise. 

Happy was he, and still happier She, that cou'd get themselves trans- 
ported, fondly expecting their Coarsest Utensils, in that happy place, would 
be of Massy Silver. 

This made it easy for the Company to procure as many Volunteers as 
they wanted for their new Colony; but, like most other Undertakers who 
have no Assistance from the Public, they Starved the Design by too much 
Frugality; for, unwilling to Launch out at first into too much Expense, 
they Ship't off but few People at a Time, and Those but Scantily pro- 
vided. The Adventurers were, besides, Idle and extravagant, and ex- 
pected they might live without work in so plentiful a Country. 

These Wretches were set Ashoar not far from Roanoak Inlet, but by 
some fatal disagreement, or Laziness, were either Starved or cut to Pieces 
by the Indians. 

Several repeated Misadventures of this kind did, for some time, allay 
the Itch of Sailing to this New World; but the Distemper broke out again 
about the Year 1606. Then it happened that the Earl of Southampton 
and several other Persons, eminent for their Quality and Estates, were in- 
vited into the Company, who apply'd themselves once more to People the 
then almost abandon'd Colony. For this purpose they embarkt about an 
Hundred men, most of them Riprobates of good Familys, and related 
to some of the company, who were men of Quality and Fortune. 

The Ships that carried them made a Shift to find a more direct way to 
Virginia, and ventured thro the Capes into the Bay of Chesapeak. The 
same Night they came to an Anchor at the Mouth of Powatan, the same as 
James River, where they built a Small Fort at a Place call'd Point 

This Settlement stood its ground from that time forward in spite of all 

History of the Dividing Line 3 

the Blunders and Disagreement of the first Adventurers, and the many 
Calamitys that befel the Colony afterwards. 

The six gentlemen who were first named of the company by the crown, 
and who were empowered to choose an annual President from among 
themselves, were always engaged in Factions and Quarrels, while the 
rest detested Work more than Famine. At this rate the Colony must have 
come to nothing, had it not been for the vigilance and Bravery of Capt. 
Smith, who struck a Terrour into all the Indians round about. This 
Gentleman took some pains to perswade the men to plant Indian com, 
but they look upon all Labor as a Curse. They chose rather to depend 
upon the Musty Provisions that were sent from England: and when 
they fail'd they were forct to take more pains to Seek for Wild Fruits 
in the Woods, than they would have taken in tilling the Ground. Besides, 
this Exposd them to be knockt on the head by the Indians, and gave them 
Fluxes into the Bargain, which thind the Plantation very much. To Sup- 
ply this mortality, they were reinforct the year following with a greater 
nimiber of People, amongst which were fewer Gentlemen and more Labour- 
ers, who, however, took care not to kill themselves with Work.^ 

These found the First Adventurers in a very starving condition, but re- 
lieved their wants with the fresh Supply they brought with them. From 
Kiquotan they extended themselves as far as James-Town, where like true 
Englishmen, they built a Church that cost no more than Fifty Pounds, and 
a Tavern that cost Five hundred.- 

They had now made peace with the Indians, but there was one thing 
wanting to make that peace lasting. The Natives coud, by no means, 
perswade themselves that the English were heartily their Friends, so long 
as they disdained to intermarry with them. And, in earnest, had the 
English consulted their own Security and the good of the Colony — Had they 
intended either to Civilize or Convert these Gentiles, they would have 
brought their Stomachs to embrace this prudent Alliance. 

The Indians are generally tall and well-proportion'd, which may make 
full Amends for the Darkness of their Complexions. Add to this, that 
they are healthy & Strong, with Constitutions untainted by Lewdness, and 
not enfeebled by Luxury. Besides, Morals and all considered, I cant think 
the Indians were much greater Heathens than the first Adventurers, who, 
had they been good Christians, would have had the Charity to take this 
only method of converting the Natives to Christianity. For, after all that 

^ This paragraph appears as a note in the manuscript and the edition of the 
Dividing Line by Ruffin; Wynne and Bassett, however, incorporated it in the text, 
and I have followed their precedent. 

According to John Smith, worship at Jamestown was first conducted under an 
awning made by stretching an old sail between some trees. (Advertisements for the 
Inexperienced, Chapter XIV.) Soon a building was erected which was destroyed 
in 1608 but was restored immediately and greatly improved in 1610. On the other 
hand, there is no contemporary account of a tavern in early Jamestown. Indeed 
the absence of a tavern was one of the charges against the London Company in 
1623. See Nathaniel Butler's Unmasking. 

4 History of the Dividing Line 

can be said, a sprightly Lover is the most prevailing Missionary that 
can be sent amongst these, or any other Infidels. 

Besides, the poor Indians would have had less reason to Complain that 
the English took away their Land, if they had received it by way of 
Portion with their Daughters. Had such Affinities been contracted in the 
Beginning, how much Bloodshed had been prevented, and how populous 
would the Country have been, and, consequently, how considerable? Nor 
wou'd the Shade of the Skin have been any reproach at this day; for if a 
Moor may be washt white in 3 Generations, Surely an Indian might have 
been blancht in two. 

The French, for their Parts, have not been so Squeamish in Canada, 
who upon Trial find abundance of Attraction in the Indians. Their late 
Grand Monarch thought it not below even the Dignity of a Frenchman to 
become one flesh with this People, and therefore Ordered 100 Livres for 
any of his Subjects, Man or Woman, that would intermarry with a Native. 

By this piece of Policy we find the French Interest very much 
Strengthen'd amongst the Savages, and their Religion, such as it is, 
propagated just as far as their Love. And I heartily wish this well- 
concerted Scheme don't hereafter give the French an Advantage over 
his Majesty's good Subjects on the Northern Continent of America. 

About the same time New England was pared off from Virginia by 
Letters Patent, bearing date April the 10th, 1608.^ Several Gentlemen 
of the Town and Neighbourhood of Plymouth obtain'd this Grant, with 
the Ld Chief Justice Popham at their Head. 

Their Bounds were Specified to Extend from 38 to 45 Degrees of North- 
ern Latitude, with a Breadth of one Hundred Miles from the Sea Shore. 
The first 14 Years, this Company encounter'd many Difficulties, and lost 
many men, tho' far from being discouraged, they sent over Nimierous 
Recruits of Presbyterians, every year, who for all that, had much ado to 
stand their Ground, with all their Fighting and Praying. 

But about the year 1620, a Large Swarm of Dissenters fled thither from 
the Severities of their Stepmother, the Church. These Saints conceiving 
the same Aversion to the Copper Complexion of the Natives, with that 
of the first Adventurers to Virginia, would, on no Terms, contract Al- 
liances with them, afraid perhaps, like the Jews of Old, lest they might 
be drawn into Idolatry by those Strange Women. 

Wliatever disgusted them I cant say, but this false delicacy creating in 
the Indians a Jealousy that the English were ill affected towards them, 
was the Cause that many of them were cut off, and the rest Exposed to 
various Distresses. 

This Reinforcement was landed not far from Cape Codd, where, for 
their greater Security they built a Fort, and near it a Small Town, which 
in Honour of the Proprietors, was call'd New Plymouth. But they Still 

'The Plymouth and London Companies were incorporated in the same charter, 
the so-called Virginia Charter of April 10, 1606. 

History of the Dividing Line 5 

had many discouragements to Struggle with, tho' by being well Supported 
from Home, they by Degrees Triumph't over them. all. 

Their Bretheren, after this, flockt over so fast, that in a few Years they 
extended the Settlement one hundred Miles along the Coast, including 
nhode Island and Martha's Vineyard. 

Thus the Colony throve apace, and was throng'd with large Detach- 
ments of Independents and Presbyterians, who thought themselves persecut- 
ed at home. 

Tho' these People may be ridiculd for some Pharisaical Particularitys 
in their Worship and Behaviour, yet they were very useful Subjects, as 
being Frugal and Industrious, giving no Scandal or bad Example, at least 
by any Open and Public Vices. By which excellent Qualities they had 
much the Advantage of the Southern Colony, who thought their being 
Members of the Establish't Church sufficient to Sanctifie very loose and 
Profligate Morals. For this Reason New England improved much faster 
than Virginia, and in Seven or Eight Years New Plimouth, like Switzer- 
land, seemed too Narrow a Territory for its Inhabitants. 

For this Reason, several Gentlemen of Fortune purchas'd of the Com- 
pany that Canton of New England now called Massachuset colony. And 
King James confirm'd the Purchase by his Royal Charter, dated March 
the 4th, 1628. In less than 2 years after, above 1000 of the Puritanical 
Sect removed thither with considerable Eff"ects, and these were followed 
by such Crowds, that a Proclamation was issued in England, forbidding 
any more of his Majesty's Subjects to be Shipt off. But this had the 
usual Eff"ect of things forbidden, and serv'd only to make the Wilful 
Independents flock over the faster. And about this time it was that 
Messrs. Hampden and Pym, and (some say) Oliver Cromwell, to show how 
little they valued the King's Authority, took a Trip to New England. 

In the Year 1630, the famous City of Boston was built, in a Com- 
modious Situation for Trade and Navigation, the same being on a 
Peninsula at the Bottom of Massachuset Bay. 

This Town is now the most considerable of any on the British Continent, 
containing at least 8,000 houses and 40,000 Inhabitants.^ The Trade it 
drives, is very great to Europe, and to every Part of the West Indies, 
having near 1,000 Ships and lesser Vessels belonging to it. 

Altho the Extent of the Massachuset Colony reach't near one Hundred 
and Ten Miles in Length, and half as much in Breadth, yet many of its 
Inhabitants, thinking they wanted Elbow-room, quitted their Old Seats 
in the Year 1636, and formed 2 New Colonies: that of Connecticut and 
New Haven. These King Charles the 2d erected into one Government in 
1664,^ and gave them many Valuable Privileges, and among the rest, 

* Byrd overestimates the population of Boston. In 1722 it was around 17,000 and 
somewhat less in 1741. See Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, II, 496, 570. 
° Tlie date of the Connecticut charter is April 23, 1652. 

6 History of the Dividing Line 

that of chusing their own Governors. The Extent of these united Colonies 
may be about Seventy Miles long and fifty broad. 

Besides these several Settlements, there Sprang up still another, a 
little more Northerly, called New Hampshire. But that consisting of no 
more than two Counties, and not being in condition to Support the Charge 
of a Distinct Government, was glad to be incorporated with that of Mas- 
sachuset, but upon Condition, however, of being Named in all Public Acts, 
for fear of being quite lost and forgot in the Coalition. 

In like manner New Plymouth joyn'd itself to Massachuset, except only 
Rhode Island, which, tho' of small Extent, got itself erected into a 
Separate government by a Charter from King Charles the 2d, soon 
after the Restoration, and continues so to this day. 

These Governments all continued in Possession of their Respective 
Rights and Privileges till the Year 1683,'^ when that of Massachuset was 
made Void in England by a Quo Warranto. 

In Consequence of which the King was pleased to name Sir Edmund 
Andros His first Governor of that Colony. This Gentleman, it seems, 
ruled them with a Rod of Iron till the Revolution, when they laid un- 
hallowed Hands upon Him, and sent him Prisoner to England. 

This undutiful proceeding met with an easy forgiveness at that happy 
Juncture. King William and his Royal Consort were not only pleasd 
to overlook this Indignity offered to their Governor, but being made 
sensible how unfairly their Charter had been taken away, most graciously 
granted them a new one. 

By this some new Franchises were given them, as an Equivalent for 
those of Coining Money and Electing a governour, which were taken away. 
However, the other Colonies of Connecticut and Rhode Island had the 
luck to remain in Possession of their Original Charters, which to this 
Day have never been calld in Question. 

The next Country dismembered from Virginia was New Scotland,'^ 
claimed by the Crown of England in Virtue of the first Discovery by 
Sebastian Cabot. By Colour of this Title, King James the first granted it lo 
Sir William Alexander by Patent, dated September the 10th, 1621. 

But this Patentee never sending any Colony thither, and the French 
believeing it very Convenient for them, obtained a Surrender of it from 
their good Friend and Ally, king Charles the 2d, by the Treaty of Breda. 
And, to show their gratitude, they stirred up the Indians soon after lo 
annoy their Neighbours of New England. Murders happend continually 
to his Majesty's Subjects by their Means, till S"" William Phipps took their 
Town of Port Royal, in the year 1690. But as the English are better at 
taking than keeping Strong Places, the French retook it soon, and re- 

° Procedure against the Massachusetts charter was begun in June 1683, but 
judgment was not rendered until October 23, 1684. (4 Mass. Hist. Coll. II, pp. 
262, 267). 

^ Nova Scotia. 

History of the Dividing Line 7 

maind Masters of it till 1710, when General Nicholson wrested it, once 
more, out of their Hands. 

Afterwards the Queen of Great Britain's Right to it was recognized and 
confirmed by the treaty of Utrecht. 

Another Limb lopt off from Virginia was New York, which the Dutch 
seized very unfairly, on pretence of having Purchasd it from Captain 
Hudson, the first Discoverer. Nor was their way of taking Possession of 
it a whit more justifiable than their pretended Title. 

Their West India Company tamperd with some worthy English Skippers 
(who had contracted with a Swarm of English Dissenters to transport 
them to Hudson river) by no means to land them there, but to carry 'era 
some leagues more notherly. 

This Dutch Finesse took Exactly, and gave the Company time soon 
after to seize the Hudson River for themselves. But S" Samuel Argall, 
then governor of Virginia, understanding how the King's Subjects had 
been abused by these Republicans, marcht thither with a good Force, 
and obliged them to renounce all pretensions to that Country.^ The worst 
of it was, the Knight depended on their Parole to Ship themselves 
to Brasile, but took no measures to make this Slippery People as good as 
their Word. 

No sooner was the good Governor retired, but the honest Dutch began 
to build Forts and strengthen themselves in their ill-gotten Possessions; 
nor did any of the King's Liege People take the trouble to drive these 
Intruders thence. The Civil War in England, And the Confusions it 
brought forth, allowed no Leisure to such distant Considerations. Tho 
tis strange that the Protector, who neglected no Occasion to mortify the 
Dutch, did not afterwards call them to Account for this breach of Faith. 
However, after the Restoration, the King sent a Squadron of his Ships 
of War, under the Command of Sir Robert Carr,^ and reduced that 
Province to his Obedience. 

Some time after. His Majesty was Pleasd to grant that Country to his 
Royal Highness, the Duke of York, by Letters Patent, dated March the 
12th, 1664. But to shew the Modesty of the Dutch to the Life, tho they 
had no Shaddow of Right to New York, yet they demanded Surinam, a 
more valuable Country, as an Equivalent for it, and our able Ministers at 
that time had the Generosity to give it them. 

But what wounded Virginia deepest was the cutting off MARYLAND 
from it, by Charter from King Charles the 1st, to sir George Calvert, after- 
wards Ld Baltimore, bearing the date the 20th of June, 1632. The Truth 
of it is, it begat much Speculation in those days, how it came about that a 

^Reference is to the reputed seizure in 1613, which, however, is discredited by 
many authorities. See Paltsits, "The Founding of New Amsterdam," Proceedings 
of the American Antiquarian Society, 1924. 

"The leader of the expedition was Colonel Richard Nicolls; Carr was one of the 
other four members. 

8 History of the Dividing Line 

good Protestant King should bestow so bountiful a Grant upon a Zealous 
Roman catholic. But 'tis probable it was one fatal Instance amongst 
many other of his Majesty's complaisance to the Queen. 

However that happened, 'tis certain this Province afterwards provd a 
Commodious Retreat for Persons of that Communion. The Memory of 
the Gun-Powder-Treason-Plot was Still fresh in every body's mind, and 
made England too hot for Papists to live in, without danger of being burnt 
with the Pope, every 5th of November; for which reason Legions of 
them transplanted themselves to Maryland in Order to be Safe, as well from 
the Insolence of the Populace as the Rigour of the Government. 

Not only the Gim-Powder-Treason, but every other Plot, both pretended 
and real, that has been trump't up in England ever Since, has helpt to 
People his Lordship's Propriety. 

But what has provd most Serviceable to it was the Grand Rebellion 
against King Charles the 1st, when every thing that bore the least tokens 
of Popery was sure to be demolisht, and every man that Profest it was 
in Jeopardy of Suffering the same kind of Martyrdom the Roman Priests 
do in Sweden.^^ 

Soon after the Reduction of New York, the Duke was pleasd to grant 
out of it all that Tract of Land included between Hudson and Delaware 
Rivers, to the Lord Berkley and Sir George Carteret, by deed dated 
June the 24th, 1664. And when these Grantees came to make Partition 
of this Territory, His Lordp's Moiety was calld West Jersey, and that to Sir 
George, East Jersey. 

But before the Date of this Grant, the Swedes began to gain Footing 
in part of that Country; tho, after they saw the Fate of New York, they 
were glad to Submit to the King of England, on the easy Terms of re- 
maining in their Possessions, and rendering a Moderate Quit-rent. Their 
Posterity continue there to this Day, and think their Lot cast in a much 
fairer Land than Dalicarlia.^^ 

The Proprietors of New Jersey, finding more Trouble than Profit in 
their new Dominions, made over their Right to several other Persons, 
who obtained a fresh Grant from his Royal Highness, dated March 
14th, 1682. 

Several of the Grantees, being Quakers and Anababtists, faild not to 
encourage many of their own Perswasion to remove to this Peaceful 
Region. Amongst them were a Swarm of Scots Quakers, who were not 
tolerated to exercise the Gifts of the Spirit in their own Country. 

^^ In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Sweden was the most intolerant of 
the Protestant States. In 1593 Lutheranism definitely became the state religion, 
no other form of worship being allowed. In 1604 Catholics were subjected to banish- 
ment and confiscation of property. This policy was moderated in favor of those who 
migrated to Sweden for purposes of commerce and trade, but down to 1854 natives 
were forbidden to enter Catholic Churches. 

" An ancient province of Sweden corresponding to the laen of Kopparberg or 

History of the Dividing Line 9 

Besides the hopes of being Safe from Persecution in this Retreat, the 
New Proprietors inveigled many over by this tempting Account of the 
Country: that is was a Place free from those 3 great Scourges of Mankind, 
Priests, Lawyers, and Physicians. Nor did they tell a Word of a Lye, 
for the People were yet too poor to maintain these Learned Gentlemen, 
who, every where, love to be paid well for what they do; and, like the 
Jews, cant breathe in a Climate where nothing is to be got. 

The Jerseys continued under the Government of these Proprietors till 
the Year 1702, when they made a formal Surrender of the Dominion to 
the Queen, reserving however the Property of the Soil to themselves. 
So soon as the Bounds of New Jersey came to be distinctly laid off, it 
appeared that there was still a Narrow Slipe of Land, lying betwixt that 
Colony and Maryland. Of this, William Penn, a Man of much Worldly 
Wisdom, and some Eminence among the Quakers, got early Notice, and, 
by the Credit he had with the Duke of York, obtained a Patent for it. 
Dated March the 4th, I68O.12 

It was a little Surprising to some People how a Quaker should be so 
much in the good Graces of a Popish Prince; tho, after all, it may be 
pretty well Accounted for. This Ingenious Person had not been bred a 
Quaker; but, in his Earlier days, had been a Man of Pleasure about the 
Town. He had a beautiful form and very taking Address, which made 
him Successful with the Ladies, and Particularly with a Mistress of the 
Duke of Monmouth. By this Gentlewoman he had a Daughter, who had 
Beauty enough to raise her to be a Dutchess, and continued to be a Toast 
full 30 Years.13 

But this Amour had like to have brought our Fine Gentleman in 
Danger of a Duell, had he not discreetly sheltered himself under this 
peaceable Perswasion. Besides, his Father having been a Flag-Officer in 
the Navy, while the Duke of York was Lord High Admiral, might 
recommend the Son to his Favour, This piece of secret History I thought 
proper to mention, to wipe off the Suspicion of his having been Popishly 

This Gentleman's first Grant confind Him within pretty Narrow Bounds, 
giving him only that Portion of Land which contains Buckingham, Phila- 
delphia and Chester Counties. But to get these Bounds a little extended, 
He pusht His Interest still further with His Royal Highness, and obtaind 
a fresh Grant of the three Lower Counties, called New-Castle, Kent and 
Sussex, which still remaind within the New York Patent, and had been 
luckily left out of the Grant of New Jersey. 

The Six Counties being thus incorporated, the Proprietor dignifyd the 
whole with the Name of Pensilvania. 


" This is a piece of gossip not found elsewhere ; it calls to mind other calumnies 
against Penn perpetuated by Macaulay, which are refuted in Dixon's William Penn, 
pp. 338-357. 

10 History of the Dividing Line 

The Quakers flockt over to this Country in Shoals, being averse to go 
to Heaven the same way with the Bishops. Amongst them were not a 
few of good Substance, who went Vigorously upon every kind of Im- 
provement; and thus much I may truly say in their Praise, that by 
Diligence and Frugality, For which this Harmless Sect is remarkable, and 
by haveing no Vices but such as are Private, they have in a few Years 
made Pensilvania a very fine Country. 

The truth is, they have observed exact Justice with all the Natives that 
border upon them; they have purchasd all their Lands from the Indians; 
and tho they paid but a Trifle for them, it has procured them the Credit 
of being more righteous than their Neighbours. They have likewise had 
the Prudence to treat them kindly upon all Occasions, which has savd 
them from many Wars and Massacres wherein the other Colonies have 
been indiscreetly involved. The Truth of it is, a People whose Principles 
forbid them to draw the Carnal Sword, were in the Right to give no 

Both the French and the Spaniards had, in the Name of their Respective 
Monarchs^ long ago taken Possession of that Part of the Northern 
Continent that now goes by the Name of Carolina; but finding it Produced 
neither Gold nor Silver, as they greedily expected, and meeting such re- 
turns from the Indians as their own Cruelty and Treachery deserved, 
they totally abandond it. In this deserted Condition that country lay for 
the Space of 90 Years, till King Charles the 2d, finding it a DERELICT, 
granted it away to the Earl of Clarendon and others, by His Royal 
Charter, dated March the 24th, 1663. The Boundary of that Grant 
towards Virginia was a due West Line from Luck-Island, (the same as 
Colleton Island), lying in 36 degrees N. Latitude, quite to the South 

But afterwards Sir William Berkeley, who was one of the Grantees and 
at that time Governour of Virginia, finding a Territory of 31 Miles in 
Breadth between the Inhabited Part of Virginia and the above-mentioned 
Boundary of Carolina, advisd the Lord Clarendon of it. And His Lordp 
had Intej;est enough with the King to obtain a Second Patent to include 
it, dated June the 30th, 1665. 

This last Grant describes the Bounds between Virginia and Carolina 
in these words: "To run from the North End of Corotuck-Inlet, due 
West to Weyanoke Creek, lying^ within or about the Degree of Thirty-Six 
and Thirty Minutes of Northern Latitude, and from thence West, in a 
direct Line, as far as the South-Sea."^^ Without question, this Boundary 
was well known at the time the Charter was Granted, but in a long Course 
of years Weynoke Creek lost its name, so that it became a Controversy 
where it lay. Some Ancient Persons in Virginia affirmd it was the same 

"This quotation is not literal but is true to the boundary as set forth in the 

History of the Dividing Line 11 

with Wicocon, and others again in Carolina were as Positive it was 
Nottoway River. 

In the mean time, the People on the Frontiers Entered for Land, & took 
out Patents by Guess, either from the King or the Lords Proprietors. 
But the Crown was like to be the loser by this Incertainty, because the 
Terms both of taking up and seating Land were easier much in Carolina. 
The Yearly Taxes to the Public were likewise there less burdensom, which 
laid Virginia under a Plain disadvantage. 

This Consideration put that Government upon entering into Measures 
with North Carolina, to terminate the Dispute, and settle a Certain Boun- 
dary between the two colonies. All the Difficulty was, to find out which 
was truly Weyanoke Creek. The Difference was too Considerable to be 
given up by either side, there being a Territory of 15 Miles betwixt the two 
Streams in controversy. 

However, till that Matter could be adjusted, i^ was agreed on both 
sides, that no Lands at all Should be granted within the disputed 
Bounds.^^ Virginia observed this Agreement punctually, but I am sorry 
I cant sav the Same of North-Carolina. The great Officers of that Province 
were loath to lose the Fees accrueing from the Grants of Land, and so 
private Interest got the better of Public Spirit; and I wish that were the 
only Place in the World where such politicks are fashionable. 

All the Steps that were taken afterwards in that Affair, will best appear 
by the Report of the Virginia-Commissioners, recited in the Order of 
Council given at St. James's, March the 1st, 1710, set down in the 

It must be owned, the Report of those Gentlemen was Severe upon the 
then commissioners of North-Carolina, and particularly upon Mr. 
Moseley.^^ I wont take upon me to say with how much Justice they said so 
many hard things, tho it had been fairer Play to have given the Parties 
accused a Copy of such Representations, that they might have answered 
what they could for themselves. 

But since that was not done, I must beg leave to say thus much in 
behalf of Mr. Moseley, that he was not much in the Wrong to find fault 
with the Quadrant produced by the Surveyors of Virginia because that 
Instrument plact the Mouth of Notoway River in the Latitude of 37 
Degrees; whereas, by an Accurate Observation made Since, it Appears to 
line in 36° 30' ^', so that there was an Error of near 30 minutes, either 
in the Instrument or in those who made use of it. 

Besides, it is evident the Mouth of Notoway River agrees much better 
with the Latitude, wherein the Carolina Charter supposed Wyanoak Creek, 
(namely, in or about 36 Degrees and 30 minutes,) than it does with 
Wicocon Creek, which is about 15 Miles more Southerly. 

^° See Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. I, p. 853. 

^l See p. 324. 

"Edward Moseley. See note 13 to the Secret History. 

12 History of the Dividing Line 

This being manifest, the Intention of the King's Grant will be pretty 
exactly answered, by a due West Line drawn from Corotuck Inlet to the 
Mouth of Notaway River, for which reason tis probable that was formerly 
calld Wyanoak-Creek, and might change its Name when the Nottoway 
Indians came to live upon it, which was since the Date of the last 
Carolina Charter. 

The Lievt Governor of Virginia, at that time Colo Spotswood, searching 
into the Bottom of this Affair, made very Equitable Proposals to Mr. 
Eden, at that time Governour of North Carolina, in Order to put an End 
to this Controversy. These, being formed into Preliminaries, were Signd 
by both Governours, and transmitted to England, where they had the 
Honour to be ratifyed by his late Majesty and assented to by the Lords 
Proprietors of Carolina. ^^ 

Accordingly an Order was sent by the late King to Mr. Gooch, after- 
wards Lievt Governor of Virginia, to pursue those Preliminaries exactly. 
In Obedience thereunto, he was pleased to appoint Three of the Council 
of that colony to be Commissioners on the Part of Virginia, who, in 
Conjunction with others to be named by the Governor of North Carolina, 
were to settle the Boundary between the 2 Governments, upon the Plan 
of the above-mentioned Articles. 

'"For the agreement of Spotswood and Eden, see Appendix, p. 328, or Colonial 
Records of North Carolina, Vol. II p. 222. It was forwarded to the Lords of Trade 
in February, 1715, but did not receive the approval of the Crown until March, 1727. 
In the meantime the Lords Proprietors took favorable action in 1723. 

The Secret History 13 


The Governor & Council of Virginia in the Year 1727 receiv'd 
an Express Order from his Majesty, to appoint Commissioners, 
who in conjunction with others to be nam'd by the Government of 
North Carolina, should run the Line betwixt the two Colonies. The 
Rule these Gentlemen were directed to go by, was a paper of 
Proposals formerly agreed on between the 2 Governor's, at that 
time Spotswood, & Eden/ It wou'd be a hard thing to say of so 
wise a man as Mr. Spotswood thought himself, that he was over 
reach't, but it has appear'd upon Tryal, that Mr. Eden was much 
better inform'd how the Land lay than he. However since the 
King was pleased to agree to these unequal Proposals, the Govern- 
ment of Virginia was too Dutifull to dispute them. They there- 
fore appointed Steddy" & Merryman,^ Commissioners, on the part 

^ Reference is to the compromise agreement of 1715. See page 12, note 18. 

' William Byrd himself. 

'Nathaniel Harrison, (1677-1727) of Wakefield, Surry County, member of the 
House of Burgesses, (1699-1706), and of the Council (1713-1727), County Lieutenant 
of Surry and Prince George in 1715 and after, and Auditor of Virginia in 1724. 

14 History of the Dividing Line 

Two Experienct Surveyors were at the same time directed to wait upon 
the Commissioners, Mr. Mayo, who made the Accurate Mapp of Barbadoes, 
and Mr. Irvin, the Mathematick Professor of William and Mary 
Colledge.-^^ And because a good Number of Men were to go upon this 
Expedition, a Chaplain was appointed to attend them,-*' and the rather 
because the People on the Frontiers of North-Carolina, who have no 
Minister near them, might have an Opportunity to get themselves and 
their Children baptizd. 

^ Mayo and Irvin are respectively "Astrolabe" and "Orion" in the Secret History. 
See Notes 4 and 23 to that version. No mention is made in this version of "Capri- 
corn" (John Allen) whom Irvin replaced, 

^ Rev. Peter Fontaine, "Dr. Humdrum" of the Secret History. See note 9 to that 

The Secret History 15 

of Virginia to Execute that Order, and Astrolabe^ & Capricorn^ to 
be the Surveyors. But Merryman dying, Firebrand*' & MeanwelF 
made Interest to fill his Place. Most of the Council enclin'd to 
favour the last, because he had offered his Services before he 
knew that any pay wou'd belong to the Place. But Burly^ one of 
the Hon"^'" Board, perceiving his Friend Firebrand wou'd lose 
it, if it came to the vote, propos'd the Expedient of sending 3 
Commissioners, upon so difficult and hazardous an Expedition. 
To this a majority agreed, being unwilling to be thought too frugal 

^ William Mayo, a native of Wiltshire, England, who arrived in Virginia about 1723 
from the Barbadoes, whither he had migrated prior to 1712. During 1717-1721 he 
made a survey of the Bcirbadoes and also a map, preserved in the library of King's 
College. He was one of the justices of Goochland County and was very active as a 
surveyor in that county and the colony at large, laying off for Byrd the City of Rich- 
mond and aiding in establishing the boundaries of the Northern Neck. He died in 
1744. Mayo's River is named for him. See Brown's The Cabells and Their Kin. 

^John Allen, "Gent." See "Virginia Council Journals," Sept. 12, 1727. (Virginia 
Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. XXXII, p. 242.) He was probably that 
John Allen of Surry County who married Elizabeth Bassett, daughter of William 
Bassett of the Virginia Council, and sometime a student of William and Mary. His 
will was proved in 1741. See "Allen Family of Surry County" in William and Mary 
College Quarterly, Vol. VIII, p. 110. 

* Richard Fitz-WUliam, a royal official of whom little is known. In 1719 he 
was Collector of Customs for the Lower District of James River. (Calendar of 
Treasury Bodks and Papers, 1714-1719, p. 481.) On November 21, 1727, he was ap- 
pointed "Surveyor General of all the Duties and Importations" for the Carolinas, 
Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, the Bahama Islands and Jamaica. (Ibid., 1729-30, 
p. 470.) In 1733 he was replaced by George Phenny, whom he succeeded as Governor- 
in-Chief of the Bahama Islands. (Ibid., 1731-34, p. 93.) This position he resigned 
in 1738 but was not relieved by his successor, John Tinker, until 1740. Fitz-William 
was more in sympathy with North Carolina than his fellow-Commissioners of Virginia, 
having criticised to the British Government Virginia's exclusion of North Carolina 
tobacco from its ports and, during the survey of the boundary line, he fraternized 
with the North Carolina Commissioners and supported them in vital matters. 

"' William Dandridge, of King William County. He belonged to the Dandridge 
family of Worcestershire, England, though the name of his Viriginia home, Elsing 
Green, is suggestive of Norfolk, where a village and parish of that name were to be 
found. He migrated to Virginia early in the eighteenth century. In 1717 he was a 
partner of Governor Spotswood in commercial enterprises and in 1740 he took part in 
the naval operations against the Spanish at St. Augustine. In 1728 he was a member 
of the Viriginia Council. His death occurred in 1743. 

* Rev. James Blair, Commissary of the Bishop of London in Virginia from 1685 
until his death in 1743. A veritable "King Maker," for he was responsible for the 
recall of three governors, Andros, Nicholson and Spotswood. In 1697 Byrd repre- 
sented Governor Andros before the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of 
London in the controversy between Andros and Blair, and lost his case. 

16 History of the Dividing Line 

Of these proceedings on our Part, immediate Notice was sent to Sir 
Richard Everard, Governor of North Carolina, who was desired to Name 
Commissioners for that Province, to meet those of Virginia at Corotuck- 
Inlet the Spring following. Accordingly he appointed Four Members 
of the Comicil of that Province to take Care of the Interests of the Lds 
Proprietors. Of these, Mr. Moseley-^ was to serve in a Double Capacity, 
both as Commissioner and Surveyor. For that reason there was but 
one other Surveyor from thence, Mr, Swan.^^ All the Persons being 

^'' "'Plausible" in the Secret History. See note 13 to that version. 
^ "Bo-otes" of the Secret History. See note 34 to that version. 

Raleigh, N. C 

The Secret History 17 

of the Publick Money. Accordingly they were both joined with 
Steddy in this commission. When this was over Steddy proposed 
that a Chaplain might be allowed to attend the Commissioners by 
reason they shou'd have a Number of Men with them sufficient for 
a small Congregation, and were to pass thro' an ungodly Country 
where they shou'd find neither Church nor Minister. That besides 
it wou'd be an act of great Charity to give the Gentiles of that 
part of the world an opportunity to christen both them & their 
children. This being unanimously consented to, Dr. Humdrum^ 
was named upon Steddy 's recommendation. 

Of all these proceedings Notice was dispatch'd to Sir Richard 
Everard Govemour of North Carolina desiring him to name Com- 
missioners on the part of that Province, to meet those of Virginia 
the Spring following. In consequence whereof that Government 
named Jumble," Shoebmsh,^^ Plausible,^^ and Puzzle Cause,^^ 

"Rev. Peter Fontaine (1691-1757), one of the six children of James Fontaine, a 
Huguenot refugee, all of whom as well as their parents migrated to Virginia in the 
second decade of the eighteenth century. Peter was educated at Dublin, Ireland, 
and after officiating at Wallingford, Weyanoke, Martin's Brandon, and Jame&to^vn, 
became rector of Westover Parish, Charles City County, of which Byrd was a 
parishioner. A brother, John, was rector of St. Margaret's. Parish, King William 
County. See Meade's Old Churches and Families of Virginia and Maury's Memoirs 
of a Huguenot Family. 

^^ The last governor under the Proprietors (1725-31). See Haywood's "Sir Richard 
Everard" {Publications of the Southern History Association, Vol. II, No. 4, or 
North Carolina Booklet X, No. 1.) 

"■Christopher Gale, Chief Justice, a native of Yorkshire, England, and eldest son of 
Rev. Miles Gale, rector of Wighby. He came to North Carolina about 1700, settling 
at Edenton. By 1703 he was a Justice of the General Court and in 1712 was ap- 
pointed Chief Justice, an office which he held until 1731, except for an intermission 
from 1717 to 1722 when he was in England, and a briefer one in 1724-25. In 1722 
he was appointed Deputy for two Proprietors, Elizabeth Blake, widow of Joseph Blake, 
and James Bertie. He was Collector of the Customs at Edenton, an office he held 
at the time of his death in 1734, and was a vestryman of the West Parish of Pasquo- 
tank County. In the violent political controversies of his day he took an active part, 
antagonizing Governors Burrington and Everard. See Colonial Records of North 
Carolina, Vol. II, passim. 

^ John Lovick, prominent in the turbulent politics of North Carolina from 1718 to 
1735, when his death is reported. He was a Deputy of the Proprietors and as such 
was a member of the Council from 1718 to 1731, being its secretary and also Secretary 
of the Province from 1722 to 1730; he was also a member of the Council under the 
royal administration from 1731 to 1734. In 1731 he also appears as a member of the 
Assembly for Chowan County. In 1729 he was a member of the Court of Chancery, 
and in 1732 was appointed Surveyor General. See Colonial Records of North Caro- 
lina, Vols. II, III, passim. 

^^ Edward Moseley, also a member of the boundary commission of 1710, the pre- 
eminent political leader of North Carolina from his appearance in public affairs in 
1705 until his death in 1749. Few men have equaled his record as a holder of 
public office. He was a member of the Council under four administrations, being 
President of that body and Acting Governor in 1725. He was also a distinguished 

18 History of the Dividing Line 

thus agreed upon they settled the time of Meeting to be at Corotuck, 
March the 5th, 1728. 

The Secret History 19 

being the Flower & Cream of the Council of that Province. The 
next Step necessary to be taken, was for the Commissioners on 
both Sides to agree upon a day of Meeting at Coratuck Inlet, in 
order to proceed on this Business, & the 5th of March was thought 
a proper time, because then Mercury & the Moon were to be in 

It was desired by Sir Richard, that the Commissioners might 
meet on the Frontiers sometime in January to settle Preliminarys, 
and particularly that it might be previously agreed, that the pres- 
ent Possessors of Land in either Government, shou'd be con- 
firm'd in their Possession, tho' it shou'd not happen to fall within 
the Government that granted it. This the Governor of Virginia 
disagreed to, not thinking it just, that either the King or the Lords 
Proprietors, shou'd grant away Land that did not belong to them. 
Nor was this proposal made on the part of Carolina purely out of 
good Nature, but some of the Council of that Province found 
dieir own Interest concem'd, and particularly the Surveyor or Gen- 
eral must in Justice have retum'd some of his Fees, in case the 
People shou'd lose the Land he survey'd for them as belonging 
to the Proprietors, when in truth it belong'd to the King. 

member of the Assembly, holding the speakership in 1708, and continuously from 
1715 to 1723, and again in 1731, 1733, and 1734. From 1715 to 1740 he was Treasurer 
of the entire colony and from 1740 to 1749 Treasurer of the Southern District; in 
1743 he was also appointed Chief Baron of the Exchequer. In 1724 he was made 
Judge of the Admiralty Court, which office he resigned, but was reappointed in 1725. 
He was one of the commissioners chosen in 1709 to establish the boundary, and in 
1723 he was made Surveyor General. Later he was one of the commissioners to es- 
tablish the South Carolina boundary and also the boundary of the Granville District. 
In 1733 he prepared "a New and Correct Map of the Province of North Carolina," 
a copy of which is in the possession of the United States War Department. He was a 
defender of the rights of the Assembly against prerogative, either proprietary or royal, 
a friend of religious liberty, a patron of learning, a lawyer of no mean ability. His 
antecedents are unknown, but he was probably a kinsman of the Moseley family of 
Princess Anne County, Virginia. He acquired an extensive estate, bequeathing 25,000 
acres of land, nearly 100 slaves, and much personal property. Originally a resident of 
Chowan County, he removed to New Hanover about 1730. See Shinn, "Edward 
Moseley" (Pablications of the Southern History Association, Vol. I, No. 1.) 

^* William Little (1692-1733), a native of Massachusetts and a graduate of Harvard, 
class of 1710. While visiting in England he met Chief Justice Gale and was persuaded 
by him to move to North Carolina. He settled at Edenton and in 1726 married 
Justice Gale's daughter, Penelope. In 1725 he was appointed Attorney General and 
in 1726 Receiver General of Quit Rents. He was also Clerk of the General Court and 
in 1732 became Chief Justice, an office he held for one year. See Haywood's 
"Christopher Gale." (Biographical History of North Carolina, Vol. II, p. 28.) 

20 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 28] 

The Secret History 21 

Soon after the Commissioners for Virginia, wrote the following 
Letter to the worthy Commissioners of N. Carolina/^ 


We are Sorry we can't have the Pleasure of meeting you in 
January next as is desired by Your Govemour. The Season of the 
Year in which that is proposed to be done, & the distance of our 
Habitation from your Frontier, we hope will make our Excuse 
reasonable. Besides his Majesty's Order marks out our Business 
so plainly, that we are perswaded that there can be no difficulty 
in the Construction of it. After this, what imaginable Dispute 
can arise amongst Gentlemen who meet together with minds 
averse to Chicane, and Inclinations to do equal Justice both to his 
Majesty and the Lords Proprietors, in which disposition we make 
no doubt the Commissioners on both Sides will find each other. 

We shall have full powers to agree at our first meeting on what 
Preliminarys shall be thought necessary, which we hope you will 
likewise be, that an affair of so great Consequence may have no 
Delay or Disappointment. 

It is very proper to acquaint You in what manner we intend to 
come provided, that so you. Gentlemen who are appointed in the 
same Station, may if you please do the same Honour to Your 
Government. We shall bring with us about 20 men fumish't with 
Provisions for 40 days. We shall have a Tent with us & a Mar- 
quis^^ for the convenience of ourselves & Servants. We shall be 
provided with much Wine & Rum as just enable us, and our men 
to drink every Night to the Success of the following Day, and be- 
cause we understand there are many Gentiles on your Frontier, 
who never had an opportunity of being Baptized, we shall have 
a chaplain with us to make them Christians. For this Purpose we 
intend to rest in our Camp every Sunday that there may be leizure 
for so good a work. And whoever of your Province shall be 
desirous of novelty may repair on Sundays to our Camp, & hear 
a Sermon. Of this you may please to give publick notice that the 
Charitable Intentions of this Government may meet with the hap- 
pier Success. 

^^ This document is also in the Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. II, p. 735. 
^'' Corruption of marquee, a tent or awning for special purposes, as banquets and 

22 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 28] 

The Secret History 23 

Thus much Gentlemen we thought it necessary to acquaint you 
with and to make use of this first Opportunity of Signifying with 
how much Satisfaction we receiv'd the News that such able Com- 
missioners are appointed for the Government, with whom we 
promise our selves we shall converse with prodigious Pleasure, & 
Execute our Commissions to the full content of those by whom 
we have the Honour to be employ'd, We are 

Gentlemen Your most humble 

Firebrand. Steddy 


the 16th of Decem' 

To this Letter the Commissioners of Virginia the latter End of 
January receiv'd the following answer.^'^ 


We have the Honour of your Favour from Williamsburgh 
dated the 16*^ of December, in which you Signify, that the pro- 
posals already agreed on are so plain, that you are perswaded 
there can no difficulty arise about the Construction of them. We 
think so too, but if no dispute should arise in construing them, 
yet the Manner of our proceeding in the Execution, we thought 
had better be previously concerted, and the End of the Meeting 
we prospos'd was to remove every thing that might ly in the way 
to retard the Work, which we all seem equally desirous to have 
amicably concluded. We assure you Gentlemen we shall meet you 
with a hearty disposition of doing equall Justice to either Govern- 
ment, and as you acquaint us you shall come fully empowered 
to agree at our first Meeting, to settle all necessary Preliminarys, 

" This letter is also in the Colonial Records, Vol. II, p. 737. 

24 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 28] 

The Secret History 25 

we shall endeavour to have our Instructions as large. Your Gov- 
ernor in his last Letter to ours, was pleas'd to mention our con- 
fering with You by Letters, about any matters previously to be 
adjusted. We therefore take leave to desire by this Messenger, 
You will let us know, after what Manner you purpose to run the 
Line, whether you think to go thro' the Great Swamp, which is 
near 30 miles thro', & thought not passable, or by taking the 
Latitude at the first Station to run a due West Line to the Swamp, 
& then to find the said Latitude on the West Side the Swamp, & 
continue thence a due West Line to Chowan River. Or to make 
the 2d Observation upon Chowan River and run an East Line to 
the Great Swamp. We shall also be glad to know what Instruments 
you intend to use to observe the Latitude, & find the Variation with, 
in Order to fijc a due West Line. For we are told the last time 
the Commissioners met, their Instruments vary'd Several Minutes, 
which we hope will not happen again, nor any other Difficulty 
that may occasion any delay or disappointment, after we have 
been at the trouble of meeting in so remote a place, and with such 
a Hendrance & Equipage as you intend on your part. We are at 
a loss, Gentlemen, whether to thank you for the Particulars you 
give us of your Tent, Stores, & the Manner you design to meet us. 
Had you been Silent, we had not wanted an Excuse for not meet- 
ing you in the same Manner, but now you force us to expose the 
nakedness of our country, & tell You, we can't possibly meet you 
in the Manner our great respect to you, wou'd make us glad to do, 
whom we are not emulous of out doing, unless in Care & Diligence 
in the Affair we came about. So all we can answer to that Article, 
is, that we will endeavour to provide as well as the Circumstances 
of things will admit; And what we want in Necessarys, we hope 
will be made up in Spritual Comfort we expect from Your Chap- 
lain, of whom we shall give notice as you desire; & doubt not of 
making a great many Boundary Christians. To conclude, we 
promise, to make ourselves as agreeable to you as possibly we can; 
& we beg Leave to assure you that it is a Singular Pleasure to Us, 
that You Gentlemen are nam'd on that Part, to see this business of 
so great concern & consequence to both Governments determin'd 
which makes it to be undertaken on our parts more cheerfully. 

26 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 28] 

The Secret History 27 

being assured your Characters are above any artifice or design. 
We are 

Your most obedient humble Servants 
Plausible Jumble 


This Letter was without date they having no Ahnanacks in North 
Carolina, but it came about the beginning of January. However 
the Virginia Commissioners did not return an Answer to it, til 
they had consulted their Surveyor honest Astrolabe, as to the 
Mathematical Part. When that was done they reply'd in the fol- 
lowing Terms. 


We shou'd have retum'd an Answer sooner, had not the Cold 
Weather, & our remote Situation from one another prevented our 
Meeting. However we hope 'tis now time enough to thank you for 
that favour, & to assure You, that tho' we are appointed Commis- 
sioners for this Government, we encline to be very just to Yours. 
And as the fixing fair Boundarys between Us, will be of equal 
advantage to both. You shall have no reason to reproach us with 
making any step either to delay or disappoint so usefull a Work. 
If the Great Swamp you mention shou'd be absolutely impassable, 
we then propose to run a due West Line from Our first Station 
thither & then Survey around the same til we shall come on our 
due West course on the other Side, & so proceed til we shall be 
again interrupted. But if you shall think of a more proper Ex- 
pedient, we shall not be fond of our own Opinion. And tho' we 
can't conceive that taking the Latitude will be of any use in run- 
ning this Line, yet we shall be provided to do it with the greatest 
exactness. In performing which we shall on our part use no gra- 
duated Instrument: but our Accurate Surveyor Astrolabe tells us 
he will use a Method that will come nearer the Truth.^^ He likewise 
proposes to discover as near as possible the just variation of the 
Compass, by means of a true Meridian to be found by the North 
Star. We shall bring with us 2 or 3 very good compasses, which 
we hope will not differ much from Yours, tho' if there shou'd be 

"The "graduated instrument" was doubtless the surveyor's pole, 16% feet long. 
By sighting the north star with this, latitude could be crudely calculated. The 
"better method" referred to was perhaps the astrolabe. 

28 History of the Dividing Line 

In the Mean time, the requisite Preparations were made for so long 
and tiresome a Journey; and because there was much work to be done 
and some Danger from the Indians, in the uninhabited Part of the 
Country, it was necessary to provide a Competent Number of Men. Ac- 
cordingly, Seventeen able Hands were listed on the Part of Virginia, who 
were most of them Indian Traders and expert Woodsmen. 

27. These good Men were ordered to come armed with a Musquet 
and a Tomahack, or large Hatchet, and provided with a Sufficient Quantity 
of Ammunition. 

They likewise brought Provisions of their own for ten days, after which 
time they were to be furnisht by the Government. Their March was ap- 
pointed to be on the 27th of February, on which day one of the Commis- 
sioners met them at their Rendezvous, and proceeded with them as far 

The Secret History 29 

some little variance, 'twill be easily reconciled by two such Skil- 
ful Mathematicians as Astrolabe and Plausible. 

In short Gentlemen we are so conscious of our own disposition 
to do right to both Colonys, & at the same time so verily perswaded 
of Yours, that we promise to our selves an intire harmony & good 
Agreement. This can hardly fail, when Justice and Reason are 
laid down on both Sides, as the Rule & Foundation of our Proceed- 
ing. We hope the Season will prove favourable to us, but be that 
as it will we intend to preserve fair Weather in our Honour, be- 
lieving that even the Dismal may be very tolerable in good Com- 
pany, We are without the least Artifice or design. 

Gentlemen, Your most humble Servants 

S. F. M. 

It was afterwards agreed by the Commissioners on both Sides, 
to meet on the North Shoar of Coratuck Inlet, on the S'"" day of 
the following March in Order to run the Dividing Line. In the 
mean time those on the Part of Virginia divided the trouble of 
making the necessary preparations. It fell to Steddy's Share to 
provide the Men that were to attend the Surveyors. For this pur- 
pose Mr. Mumford recommended to him 15 able Woodsmen, most 
of which had been Indian Traders. These were order'd to meet 
him at Warren's Mill, arm'd with a Gun & Tomahawk, on the 27th 
of February, & furnisht with Provisions for ten days. Astrolabe 
came on the 26*^ in Order to attend Steddy to the Place of 
Rendezvous. The next day they crost the River, having first rec- 
ommended all they left behind to the Divine Protection. Steddy 
carry'd with him 2 Servants, & a Sumpter Horse'^ for his Baggage. 
About 12 a Clock he met the Men at the New Church near War- 
ren's Mill. He drew them out to the number of 15, & finding their 
Arms in good Order, He caus'd them to be muster'd by their 
Names as follows. 

Peter Jones Tho. Jones John Ellis 

James Petillo Charles Kimball John Evans 

Tho: Short Geo: Hamilton Robert Hix 

Tho: Wilson Steven Evans Tho: Jones Jun' 

George Tilman Robert Allen John Ellis Jun' 

^ Pack horse. 


History of the Diyiding Line 

as Colo Allen's.23 This Gentleman is a great oeconomist, and Skilld 
m all the Arts of living well at any easy expense. 

" John Allen of Surry County. See Secret History, Notes 5 and 20. 

The Secret History 31 

Here after drawing out this small Troop, Steddy made them 
the following Speech. 

Friends & Fellow Travellers. 

It is a pleasure to me to see that we are like to be so well at- 
tended in this long & painfull Journey. And what may we not 
hope from Men who list themselves not so much for pay, as from 
an Ambition to serve their Country. We have a great distance to 
go, & much Work to perform, but I observe too much Spirit in your 
Countenances to flinch at either. As no care shall be wanting on 
my part to do every One of You Justice so I promise myself that 
on Yours, You will set the Carolina Men, whom we are to meet 
at Coratuck, a constant Pattern of Order, Industry & Obedience. 

Then he march'd his Men in good Order to Capricorn's Elegant 
Seat,'" according to the Route before projected, but found him 
in dolefull Dumps for the illness of his Wife. She was really 
indispos'd, but not so dangerously as to hinder a Vigorous Man 
from going upon the Service of his Country. However he seem'd 
in the midst of his Concern, to discover a Secret Satisfaction, that 
it fumish't him with an Excuse of not going upon an Expedition, 
that he fancy'd wou'd be both dangerous & difficult. Upon his re- 
fusing to go for the reason abovemention'd, Steddy wrote to the 
Governor how much he was disappointed at the Loss of one of 
the Surveyors, & recommended Astrolabe's Brother"^ to Supply 
his Place. At the same time he dispatch't away an Express to 
Young Astrolabe, to let him know he had nam'd to the Governor 
for his Service. But not knowing how it wou'd be determin'd he 
cou'd promise him nothing, tho' if he wou'd come to Norfolk at 
his own Risque, he shou'd there be able to resolve him. This was 
the best Expedient he cou'd think of for the Service at that Plunge 
because Capricorn had in his bitterness of his Concern, taken no 
care to acquaint the Governor that he was prevented from going. 
However D' Arsmart who had been to Visit M" Capricorn, let the 

"The home of John Allen, Surry County, Virginia, probably "Bacon's Castle," 
built by his grandfather, Arthur Allen. 
"Joseph Mayo, of "Powhatan Seat," on the James River, below Richmond. 

32 History of the Dividing Line [February 

28. They proceeded in good Order through Surry County, as far as 
the Widdow Allen's-^ who had copied Solomon's complete housewife 
exactly. At this Gentlewoman's House, the other two Commissioners 
had appointed to join them, but were detained by some Accident at 
Williamsburg, longer than their appointment. 

29. They pursued their March thro the Isle of Wight and observed a 
most dreadful Havock made by a late Hurricane, which happend in 

See Secret History, Note 24. 

February] The Secret History 33 

Governor know that he was too tender a Husband to leave his 
Spouse to the Merch"" of a Physician. Upon this Notice, which 
came to the Governor before Steddy's Letter, it was so managed 
that the learned Orion"^ was appointed to go in his room. This 
Gentleman is Professor of the Mathematicks in the College of 
William & Mary, but has so very few Scholars, that he might be 
well enough spared from his Post for a short time. It was urg'd 
by his Friends, that a Person of his Fame for profound Learning, 
wou'd give a grace to the Undertaking, and be able to Silence all 
the Mathematicks of Carolina. These were unanswerable reasons, 
and so he was appointed. The Rev'^ D"" Humdrum came time 
enough to bless a very plentiful Supper at Capricorns. He treated 
his Company handsomely, and by the help of a Bowl of Rack 
Punch his Grief disappear'd so entirely, that if he had not sent 
for Arsmart, it might have been suspected his Lady's Sickness was 
all a Farce. However to do him Justice, the Man wou'd never 
be concern'd in a Plot that was like to cost him 5 Pistoles. 

28. The Table was well spread again for Breakfast, but un- 
fortunately for the poor Horses, the Key of the Corn-loft was mis- 
laid, at least the Servant was instructed to say as much. We 
march't from hence in good Order to the Widdow Allen's, which 
was 22 Miles.^^ She entertain'd us elegantly, & seem'd to pattern 
Solomon's Housewife if one may Judge by the neatness of her 
House, & the good Order of her Family. Here Firebrand & Mean- 
well, had appointed to meet Steddy but fail'd; however the Tent 
was sent hither under the care of John Rice, of the Kingdom of 
Ireland, who did not arrive till 12 a Clock at Night. This disorder 
at first setting out, gave us but an indifferent Opinion of Fire- 
brand's Management. 

29. From hence Steddy sent a Letter to the Governor, with 
an account of his March to that Place, & of the Steps he had taken 

^^ Old English for marrow, indicating "goodness" as well as substance within the 
bones. I have not been able to identify "Dr. Arsmart." 

^Alexander Irvine, who held the professorship of Mathematics at William and 
Mary from 1729 to his death in 1732. 

^* The maiden name of this hospitable lady was Bray. She was thrice married; first 

to Arthur Allen, second to Arthur Smith, finally to Stith. In 1753 she donated 

£125 for a free school in the upper part of Isle of Wight County and her will revealed 
a bequest of £120, the interest from which was to be used for the education of "any 
six poor children." See William and Mary College Quarterly, Vol. VI, pp. 77-78. 

34 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

August, J. 726. The Violence of it had not reachd above a Quarter of a 
Mile in Breadth, but within that Compass had levelld all before it. Both 
Trees and Houses were laid flat on the Ground, and several things hurld 
to an incredible distance. Tis happy such violent Gusts are confined to 
so narrow a Channel, because they carry desolation wherever they go. 
In the Evening they reacht Mr. Godwin's, on the South Branch of Nanse- 
mond River, where they were treated with abundance of Primitive Hospi- 

March 1. This Gentleman was so kind as to shorten their Journey, 
by setting them over the river. They coasted the N E Side of the Dismal 
for several miles together, and found all the Grounds bordering upon it 
very full of Sloughs. The Trees that grew near it lookt very Reverend, 
with the long Moss that hung dangling from their Branches. Both cattle 
and Horses eat this Moss greedily in Winter when other Provender is 
Scarce, tho it is apt to scowr them at first. In that moist Soil too 
grew abundance of that kind of Myrtle which bears the Candle-Berries. 
There was likewise, here and there, a Gall-bush, which is a beautiful Ever 
green, and may be cut into any Shape. It derives its Name from its Ber- 
ries turning Water black, like the Galls of an oak. 

When this Shrub is transplanted into Gardens, it will not thrive 
without frequent watering. 

The two other commissioners came up with them just at their Journey's 
end, and that evening they arrived all together at Mr. Craford's,-^ who 
lives on the South Branch of Elizabeth-River, over against Norfolk. 

See Secret History, Note 26. 

March] The Secret History 35 

about Astrolabe's Brother. At Ten in the Morning he thank't the 
clean Widdow for all her Civilitys, & march't under the Pilotage 
of M'" Baker, to Col" Thomas Goddings."^ By the way Steddy 
was oblig'd to be at the Expence of a few Curses upon John Rice, 
who was so very thirsty that he call'd at every house he past by. 
The Cavalcade arrived at CoP. Goddings about 4 a Clock after a 
pleasant Journey of 30 Miles. But Steddy found himself exceed- 
ingly fatigued with the March. In passing thro' the upper part 
of the Isle of Wight, M"" Baker remarkt the Dismal Footsteps made 
by the Hurricane which happen'd in August 1626. The violence 
of it did not extend in Breadth above a Quarter of a Mile, but in 
that Compass levell'd all before it. M"^ Baker's House was so 
unlucky as to stand in its way, which it laid flat to the Ground and 
blew some of his Goods above 2 Miles. CoP Godding was very 
hospitable both to Man & Beast, But the poor Man had the Mis- 
fortune to be deaf, which hinder'd him from hearing any parts 
of the acknowledgments that were made to him; He prest every 
Body very kindly to eat, entreating 'em not to be bashful, which 
might be a great Inconvenience to Travellors. The Son & Heir of 
the Family off^er'd himself as a Volunteer the over Night, but 
dreamt so much of Danger & Difficulties, that he declar'd off in the 


1. About About 9 in the Morning the Col" was so kind as to set 
all his Guests over the South Branch of Nansimond River, which 
shorten'd their Journey 7 or 8 Miles, •& from thence his Son con- 
ducted them into the great Road. Then they past for several 
Miles together by the North Side of the Great Dismal, and after a 
Journey of 25 Miles, arriv'd in good Order at Maj"" Crawford's^^ 
over against Norfolk Town. Just before they got hither, the Lag 
Commissioners over took them, and all the Men were drawn up 

^ The Baker family was prominent in Isle of Wight County, Lawrence Baker, 
being a vestryman of New Port Parish from 1724 to 1737 and James Baker, Clerk 
of the County Court, 1732-1734. Colonel Thomas Godding was Colonel Thomas 
Godwin of Nansemond County. 

^ Major William Crawford, a member of the County Court of Norfolk in 1728. See 
Lower Norfolk County, Virginia, Antiquary, Vol. I, p. 80. 

36 History of the Line [March 

Here the Commissioners left the Men with all the Horses and heavy Bag- 
gage, and crosst the River with their Servants only, for fear of making 
a Famine in the Town. 

Norfolk has most the ayr of a Town of any in Virginia. There were 
then near 20 Brigantines and Sloops riding at the Wharves, and often- 
times they have more. It has all the advantages of Situation requisite for 
Trade and Navigation. There is a Secure Harbour for a good Number 
of Ships of any Burthen. Their River divides itself into 3 Several 
Branches, which are all Navigable. The Town is so near the sea, that its 
Vessels may Sail in and out in a few Hours. Their Trade is Chiefly to 
the West-Indies, whither they export abundance of Beef, Pork, Flour and 
Lumber.^ The worst of it is, they contribute much towards debauching 
the Country by importing abundance of Rum, which, like Ginn in Great 
Britain, breaks the Constitution, Vitiates the Morals, and ruins the In- 
dustry of most of the Poor people of this Country. 

This Place is the Mart for most of the Commodities produced in the 
Adjacent Parts of North Carolina. They have a pretty deal of Lumber 
from the Borderers on the Dismal, who make bold with the King's Land 
there abouts, without the least Ceremony. They not only maintain their 
Stocks u£on it, but get Boards, Shingles and other Lumber out of it in 
great Abundance. 

The Town is built on a level Spot of Ground upon Elizabeth River, 
the Banks whereof are neither so high as to make the landing of Goods 
troublesome, or so low as to be in Danger of over-flowing. The Streets 
are Straight, and adorned with several Good Houses, which Encrease every 
Day. It is not a Town of Ordinarys and Publick Houses, like most others 
in this Country, but the Inhabitants consist of Merchants, Ship-Carpenters 
and other useful Artisans, with Sailors enough to manage their Navigation. 
With all these Conveniences, it lies under the two great disadvantages that 
most of the Towns in Holland do, by having neither good Air nor good 
Water. The two Cardinal Vertues that make a Place thrive. Industry 
and Frugality, are seen here in Perfection; and so long as they can banish 
Luxury and Idleness, the Town will remain in a happy and flourishing 

The Method of building Wharff"s here is after the following Manner. 
They lay down long Pine Logs, that reach from the Shore to the Edge of 
the Channel. These are bound fast together by Cross-Pieces notcht 
into them, according to the Architecture of the Log-Houses in North 
Carolina. A wharff" built thus will stand Several Years, in spight of the 
Worm, which bites here very much, but may be soon repaired in a Place 
where so many Pines grow in the Neighbourhood. 

March] The Secret History 37 

to receive them. Meanwell was so Civil as to Excuse his not meet- 
ing Steddy at M"" Aliens as had been agreed; but Firebrand was 
too big for Apology. It was agreed to leave the Men & the heavy 
Baggage at Maj'. Crawfords (having made the necessary Provision 
for it) & pass over to Norfolk only with the Servants & Port- 
mantles, that the Town's Men might not be frighten'd from en- 
tertaining them. Here they divided their Quarters that as little 
trouble might be given, as possible, and it was Steddy's fortune, 
after some apprehensions of going to the Ordinary to be invited 
by CoP Newton."^ To shew his regard to the Church he took the 
Chaplain along with him. M"^* Newton provided a clean Supper 
without any Luxury about 8 a Clock, and appear'd to be one of 
the fine Ladys of the Town, and like a true fine Lady to have a 
great deal of Contempt for her Husband. 

2. This Morning Old CoF Boush,"^ made Steddy a visit with the 
tender of his Service. There was no Soul in the Town knew how 
the Land lay betwixt this Place & Coratuck Inlet, til at last M"" 
William Williams that lives upon the Borders drew a rough Sketch 
that gave a general Notion of it. The light given by this Draught 
determin'd the Commissioners to march to the Landing of North- 
west River, and there embark in a Periauga in Order to meet the 
Commissioners of Carolina at Coratuck. It was really a pleasure 
to see 12 or 14 Sea Vessels, riding in the Harbour of this City, 
& several Wharfs built out into the River to land goods upon. The 
Wharfs were built with Pine Logs let into each other at the End, 
by which those underneath are made firm by those which lye 
over them. Here the Commissioners were supply'd with 2 Caggs 
of Wine, & 2 of Rum, 173''' of Bread, & several other Con- 
veniencys. Our good Landlord entertain'd Steddy, and the Chap- 
lain at Dinner, but Firebrand refused, because he was not sent to 
in due form. In the Evening the Commissioners were invited to 
an Oyster and a Bowl by M' Sam Smith a plain Man worth 20000 
Pounds. He produc'd his 2 Nieces, whose charms were all in- 

^ George Newton, Lieutenant-Colonel of Militia in Norfolk County, one of the 
trustees of the Town of Norfolk in the transfer of land owned by the town to Norfolk 
Academy. In 1744 he was a member of the County Court of Norfolk. {Lower Norfolk 
County, Virginia, Antiquary, Vol. I, pp. 78-81, 117.) 

^ Samuel Boush, member of the County Court of Norfolk in 1728. Today there 
is a Boush Avenue in Norfolk. 

38 History of the Dividi-ng Line [March 

The Commissioners endeavourd, in this Town, to list Three more men 
to serve as Guides in that dirty Part of the Country, but found that these 
People knew just enough of that frightful Place to avoid it. 

They had been told that those Netherlands were full of Bogs, of Marshes 
and Swamps, not fit for Human Creatures to engage in, and this was 
Reason enough for them not to hazard their Persons. So they told us, flat 
and plain, that we might een daggle thro the mire by Our-Selves for 

The worst of it was, we coud not learn from any body in this Town, 
what Rout to take to Coratuck Inlet; till at least we had the fortune to 
meet with a Borderer upon North Carolina, who made a rough Sketch 
of that Part of the Country. Thus, upon seeing how the Land lay, we 
determind to march directly to Prescot Landing upon N W River, and 
proceed from thence by Water to the Place where our Line was to begin. 

4. In Pursuance of this Resolution we crosst the River this Morning 
to Powder-Point,-'' where we all took Horse; and the Grandees of the 
Town, with great Courtesy, conducted us Ten Miles on our way, as far 
as the long Bridge built over the S Branch of the River, The Parson 
of the Parish, Mr. Marston,-^ a painful Apostle from the Society, made 
one in this Ceremonious Cavalcade. 

At the Bridge, these Gentlemen wishing us a good Deliverance, returnd, 
and then a Troop of Light Horse escorted us as far as Prescot-Landing, 
upon N W River. Care had been taken beforehand to provide 2 Periaugas 

' Today a suburb of Norfolk, known as Berkeley. 
Rev. Richard Marsden, Lynnhaven Parish, Princess Anne County. 

March] The Secret History 39 

visible. These Damsals seem'd discontented that their Uncle 
Shew'd more distinction to his Housekeeper than to them. We 
endeavour'd to hire 2 or 3 Men, here to go a long with Us: but 
might for the same price have hired them to make a Trip to the 
Other World. They look't upon us, as Men devoted, like Codrus 
& the 2 Decii, to certain destruction for the Service of our Country. 
The Parson & I retum'd to our Quarters in good time & good 
Order, but my Man Tom broke the Rules of Hospitality by getting 
extreamly drunk in a Civil house. 

3d. This being Sunday we were edify 'd at Church by M' Mars- 
ton" with a good Sermon. People cou'd not attend their Devotion 
for Staring at us, just as if we had come from China or Japan. 
In the Mean time Firebrand and Astrolabe not having quite so 
much regard for the Sabbath, went to the N. W. Landing to prepare 
Vessels for our Transportation to Coratuck. I wrote to the Gov- 
ernor an account of our Progress thus far, with a Billet-doux to 
my Wife. The Wind blew very hard at S.W. all day: However 
in the Evening Steddy order'd the Men & Horses to be set over 
the South Branch to save time in the Morning. My Landlady 
gave us Tea, & sweeten'd it with the best of her Smiles. At Night 
we spent an hour with Col" Boush who stir'd his Old Bones very 
cheerfully in our Service. Poor Orion's Horse & Furniture were 
much disorder'd with the Journey hither. His Instrument wou'd 
not traverse, nor his Ball rest in the Socket. In short all his Tackle 
had the air of Distress. Over against the Town is Powder Point^" 
where a Ship of any Burden may lye close to, and the Men of 
War are us'd to Careen. 

4. About 8 a Clock in the Morning we crost the River to Powder 
Point, where we found our Men ready to take Horse. Several of 
the Grandees of the Town, and the Parson among the rest, did 
us the Honour to attend Us as far as the great Bridge over South 
River, Here we were met by a Troop under the command of 
Captain Wilson^^ who escorted us as far as his Father's Castle 
near the Dismal. We halted about a quarter of an Hour, and 

™ Rev. Richard Marsden, of Lynnhaven Parish, Princess Anne County. 

^ Today a suburb of Norfolk, known as Berkeley. 

"' Probably that Captain Willis Wilson, Jr., who was in 1744 a member of the 
County Court of Norfolk. See Lower Norfolk County, Virginia, Antiquary, Vol. I, 
p. 117. 

40 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

to lie ready at that Place to transport us to Coratauck Inlet. Our Zeal was 
so great to get thither at the time appointed, that we hardly allowd our- 
selves leisure to eat, which in truth we had the less Stomach to, by reason 
the dinner was served up by the Landlord, whose Nose stood on such 
ticklish Terms that it was in Danger of falling into the Dish. We therefore 
made our Repast very short, and then embarkt with only the Surveyors 
and Nine chosen Men, leaving the rest at Mr. W-n's^^ to take Care of the 
Horses and Baggage. There we also left our Chaplain, with the Charitable 
Intent, that the Gentiles round about might have time and Opportunity, 
if they pleasd, of getting themselves and their children baptizd. 

We rowd down N W River about 18 miles, as far as the Mouth of it, 
where it empties itself into Albemarle Sound. It was a really Delightful 
Sight, all the way, to see the Banks of the River adornd with Myrtle, 
Laurel and Bay-Trees, which preserve their Verdue the Year round, tho 
it must be ownd that these beautiful Plants, sacred to Venus and Appollo, 
grow commonly in very dirty Soil. The River is, in most Places, fifty 
or Sixty Yards wide, without spreading much wider at the Mouth. Tis 
remarkable it was never known to Ebb and flow till the year 1713, 
when a Violent Storm opend a new Inlet, about 5 Miles South of the old 
one; since which Convulsion, the Old Inlet is almost choakd up by the 
Shifting of the Sand, and grows both Narrower and Shoal ler every 

It was dark before we could reach the Mouth of the River, where our 
wayward Stars directed us to a Miserable Cottage. The Landlord was 
lately removed. Bag and Baggage, from Maryland, thro a Strong Antipathy 
he had to work and paying his Debts.-^ For want of our Tent, we were 
obligd to Shelter our Selves in this wretched Hovel, where we were 
almost devourd by Vermin of Various kinds. However, we were above 
complaining, being all Philosophers enough to improve such Slender 
Distresses into Mirth and good Humour. 

5. The Day being now come, on which we had agreed to meet the 
Commissioners of North Carolina, we embarkd very early, which we 
coud the easier do, having no Temptation to stay where we were. We shapt 
our Course along the South End of Knot's Island, there being no Passage 
open on the North. 

Farther Still to the Southward of us, we discoverd two Smaller Islands, 
that go by the names of Bell's and Churche's Isles. We also saw a small 
New England Sloop riding in the Sound, a little to the South of our 
Course. She had come in at the New-Inlet, as all other vessels have 

^Probably Willis Wilson. See Secret History, Note 30. 
^''Andrew Dukes. See Secret History, p. 41. 

March] The Secret History 41 

then proceeded to N.W. Landing. Here Firebrand had provided 
a Dinner for us, serv'd up by the Master of the House, whose Nose 
seem'd to stand upon very ticklish Terms. After Dinner we chose 
Ten able Men & embarkt on board 2 Periaugas under the command 
of Cap* Wilkins,^^ which carry'd us to the Mouth of N.W. River. 
By the way we found the Banks of the River Lined with Myrtles & 
Bay-Trees, which afforded a Beautiful Prospect. These beautifull 
Plants dedicated to Venus & Appollo grow in wet Ground, & so 
dos the Wild Lawrell, which in some Places is intermixt with the 
rest. This River is in most places about 100 Yards over, & had no 
Tide til the Year 1713 when a violent Tempest open'd a Ncav Inlet 
about 5 miles to the Southward of the old One, which is now about 
clos'd up, and too Shallow for any Vessel to pass over. But the 
New Inlet is deep enough for Sloops. We were 4 Hours in row- 
ing to the Mouth of the River, being about 13 Miles from the 
Landing. Here we took up our Lodging at one Andrew Dukes, 
who had lately removed, or rather run away hither from Maryland* 
We were forc't to ly in Bulk upon a very dirty Floor, that was 
quite alive with Fleas & Chinches, and made us repent that we had 
not brought the Tent along with Us. We had left that with the 
rest of the heavy Baggage at Cap* Wilson's, under the Guard of 
7 Men. There we had also left the Rev"^ D"" Humdrum with the 
hopes that all the Gentiles in the Neighbourhood wou'd bring their 
Children to be Christen'd, notwithstanding some of them had never 
been Christen'd themselves. Firebrand had taken Care to Board 
his Man Tipperary with Cap* Wilson, because by being the Squire 
of his Body he thought him too much a Gentleman to diet with the 
rest of the Men we left behind. This Indignity sat not easy upon 
their Stomachs, who were all honest house-keepers in good Cir- 

5. At break of Day we tum'd out properly speaking, and blest 
our Landlord's Eyes with half a Pistole. About 7 we embark't, 
& past by the South End of Knot's Island, there being no Passage 
on the North. To the Southward, at some Distance we saw Bells 
& Churches Islands. About Noon we arrived at the South Shoar 
of Old Coratuck Inlet, and about 2 we were join'd by Judge Jumble 
& Plausible, 2 of the Carolina Commissioners; the other two Shoe- 

' Probably William Wilkins, Justice of Norfolk County in 1728. 

42 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

done since the opening of it. This Navigation is a little difficult, and fit 
only for Vessels that draw no more than ten feet Water. 

The Trade hither is engrosst by the Saints of New England, who carry 
off a great deal of Tobacco, without troubling themselves with paying 
that Impertinent Duty of a Penny a Pound. 

It was just Noon before we arrived at Coratuck Inlet, which is now so 
shallow that the Breakers fly over it with a horrible Sound, and at the 
same time afford a very wild Prospect. On the North side of the Inlet, 
the High Land terminated in a Bluff Point, from which a Spit of Sand 
extended itself towards the South-East, full half a Mile. The Inlet lies 
between that Spit and another on the South of it, leaving an Opening 
of not quite a Mile, which at this day is not practicable for any Vessel 
whatsoever. And as shallow as it now is, it continues to fill up more and 
more, both the Wind and Waves rolling in the Sands from the Eastern 

About two a Clock in the Afternoon we were joind by two of the 
Carolina Commissioners, attended by Mr. S — n, their Surveyor. The 
other two were not quite so punctual, which was the more unlucky for us, 
because there could be no sport till they came. These Gentlemen, it 
seems, had the Carolina-Commission in their keeping, notwithstanding 
which they coud not forbear paying too much regard to a Proverb — 
fashionable in ther Country, — not to make more hast than good Speed. 

However, that we who were punctual might not spend our precious 
time unprofitably, we took the Several bearings of the Coast. We also 
surveyd part of the Adjacent High Land, which had scarcely any Trees 
growing upon it, but Cedars. Among the Shrubs, we were shewed here 
and there a Bush of Carolina-Tea calld Japon, which is one Species of the 
Phylarrea. This is an Evergreen, the Leaves whereof have some resem- 
balance to Tea, but differ very widely both in Tast and Flavour.^" 

We also found some few Plants of the Spired Leaf Silk grass, which 
is likewise an Evergreen, bearing on a lofty Stemm a large Cluster of 
Flowers of a Pale Yellow. Of the Leaves of this Plant the People 
thereabouts twist very strong Cordage. 

A vertuoso might divert himself here very well, in picking up Shells 
of various Hue and Figure, and amongst the rest, that Species of Conque 
Shell which the Indian Peak is made of. The Extremities of these Shells 
are Blue and the rest white, so that Peak of both these Colours are drilld 
out of one and the same Shell, Serving the Natives both for Ornament 
and Money, and are esteemd by them far beyond Gold and Silver. 

The Cedars were of Singular use to us in the Absence of our Tent, which 

^° The Yapon or Yaupon is similar to the holly tree. From its leaves the Southern 
Indians made an emetic black drink which was used ceremoniously as well as a 

March] The Secret History 43 

brush & Puzzlecause lagg'd behind, which was the more unlucky 
because we cou'd enter on no Business, for want of the Carolina 
Commission, which these Gentlemen had in their keeping. Jumble 
was Brother to the late Dean of York,^^ and if his Honour had not 
formerly been a Pyrate himself, he seem'd intimately acquainted 
with many of them. Plausible had been bred in Christ's Hospital 
and had a Tongue as Smooth as the Commissary, and was al- 
together as well qualify'd to be of the Society of Jesus. These 
worthy Gentlemen were attended by Bo-otes, as their Surveyor, 
a Young Man of much Industry, but no Experience.^^ We had 
now nothing to do but to reconnoitre the Place. The High Land 
ended in a blouf Point, from which a Spit of Sand extended itself 
to the South East about half a Mile. The Inlet lys between this 
Spit & another on the South Side, leaving a shoal Passage for the 
Sea not above a Mile over. On the East are Shoals that ran out 2 

^ Here is apparently a mistake. Thomas Gale, Dean of York, died in 1702 and his 
father was a Christopher Gale. The father of Chief Justice Gale was Rev. Miles 
Gale. {Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. II, p. 133.) 

^This was Samuel Swann (1704-1772), son of that Major Smauel Swann who re- 
moved from Virginia to North Carolina in 1694, and grandson of William Swann of 
Swann's Point, opposite Jamestown, Virginia, and nephew of Edward Moseley. He 
was a member of the North Carolina Assembly from Perquimans County from 1725 
to 1734, and also for Onslow from 1734 to 1762, and was Speaker from 1742 to 1762. 
See Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. IX, preface. 

44 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

we had left with the rest of the Baggage for fear of overloading the 
Periaugas. We made a Circular Hedge of the Branches of this Tree, 
Wrought so close together as to fence us againt the Cold Winds. We 
then kindled a rouseing fire in the Center of it, and lay round it, like so 
many Knights Templars. But, as comfortable as this Lodging was, the 
Surveyors turnd out about 2 in the Morning to try the Variation by a 
Meridian taken from the North Star, and found it to be somewhat less than 
three degrees West. 

The Commissioners of the Neighbouring Colony came better provided 
for the Belly than the Business. They brought not above two men along 
with them that would put their Hands to any thing but the Kettle and 
the Frying-Pan. These spent so much of their Industry that way, that 
they had as little Spirit as Inclination for Work. 

6. At Noon, having a Perfect Observation, we found the Latitude of 
Coratuck Inlet to be 36 Degrees and 31 Minutes. 

Whilst we were busied about these Necessary Matters, our Skipper 
row'd to an Oyster Bank just by, and loaded his Periauga with Oysters as 
Savoury and well-tasted as those from Colchester of Walfleet, and had 
the advantage of them, too, by being much larger and fatter. 

About 3 in the Afternoon the two lagg Commissioners arriv'd, and 
after a few decent excuses for making us wait, told us they were ready 
to enter upon Business as soon as we pleas'd. The first Step was to produce 
our respective Powers, and the Commission from each Governor was 
distinctly read, and Copies of them interchangeably deliver'd. 

It was observ'd by our Carolina Friends, that the Latter Part of the 
Virginia Commission had something in it a little too lordly and Positive. 
In answer to which we told them twas necessary to make it thus peremp- 
tory, lest the present Commissioners might go upon as fruitless an Errand 
as their Predecessors. The former Commissioners were ty'd down to Act 
in Exact Conjunction with those of Carolina, and so could not advance one 
Step farther, or one Jot faster, than they were pleas'd to permit them. 

The Memory of that disappointment, therefore, induc'd the Government 
of Virginia to give fuller Powers to the present Commissioners, by 
Authorizing them to go on with the Work by Themselves, in Case those of 
Corolina should prove unreasonable, and refuse to join with them in 
carrying the business to Execution. And all this was done lest His 
Majesty's gracious Intention should be frustrated a Second time. 

After both Commissions were considered, the first Question was, where 
the Dividing Line was to begin. This begat a Warm debate; the Virginia 
Commissioners contending, with a great deal of Reason, to begin at the 
End of the Spitt of Sand, which was undoubtedly the North Shore of 
Corautck Inlet. But those of Carolina insisted Strenuously, that the Point 

March] The Secret History 45 

or 3 Miles, over which the Breakers rise Mountains high with a 
Terrible Noise. I often cast a longing Eye towards England, & 
Sigh'd. This Night we lay for the first time in the Woods, and 
being without the Tent, we made a Bower of the Branches of 
Cedar, with a large Fire in Front, to guard us from the North- 
Wester, which blew very smartly. At Night Young Astrolabe 
came to Us, & gave great Jealousy to Orion. His Wigg was in 
such Stiff Buckle, that if he had seen the Devil the Hair wou'd 
not have stood on end. This Night we found the variation to be 
3° West, by a due Meridian taken from the North Star. 

6. We were treated at Breakfast by the Commissioners of Caro- 
lina, who coming from home by Water, were much better provided 
for the Belly than the Business. At Noon we found the Latitude 
to be 36° 31 according to Astrolabe, but Orion to prove his Skill 
in the Mathematicks, by flat Contradiction wou'd needs have it but 
36° 30'. Cap* Wilkins fumish't us with excellent Oysters, as 
savory & well tasted as those in England. About 3 a Cloak Mess''^ 
Shoebrush & Puzzlecause made a Shift to come to Us, after call- 
ing at every House, where they expected any Refreshment; after 
the necessary Complements, & a Thousand Excuses for making 
us wait for them so long, we began to enter upon business. We 
had a tough dispute where we shou'd begin: whether at the Point 
of high Land, or at the End of the Spit of Sand, which we with 
good reason maintain'd to be the North Shoar of Coratuck Inlet, 
according to the Express Words of his Majesty's Order. They 
had no argument to Support our beginning at the High-Land, but 
because the former Commissioners for Virginia submitted to it. 
But if what they did was to be a Rule for Us, then we ought to 
allow no Variation of the Compass, because those Gentlemen 
allow'd of None. This Controversy lasted til Night neither Side 
receding from its Opinion. However by the lucky advice of Fire- 
brand, I took Plausible aside & let him know the Government of 
Virginia had look't upon him as the Sole Obstacle to tlie settling 
the Bounds formerly, and if we shou'd break off now upon this 
frivolous Pretence, he wou'd surely bear the Blame again. At the 

46 History of the Dividing Line [March 

of High Land ought rather to be the Place of Beginning, because that was 
fixt and certain, whereas the Spitt of Sand was ever Shifting, and did 
actually run out farther now than formerly. The Contest lasted some 
Hours, with great Vehemence, neither Party receding from their Opinion 

that Night. But next Morning, Mr. M , to convince us he was 

not that Obstinate Person he had been represented, yielded to our Reasons, 
and found Means to bring over his Collegues. 

Here we began already to reap the Benefit of those Peremptory Words 
in our Commission, which in truth added some Weight to our Reasons. 
Nevertheless, because positive proof was made by the Oaths of two 
Credible Witnesses, that the Spitt of Sand had advanced 200 Yards 
towards the Inlet since the Controversy first began, we were willing for 
Peace-sake to make them that allowance. Accordingly we fixed our 
Beginning about that Distance North of the Inlet, and there Ordered a 
Cedar-Post to be driven deep into the Sand for our beginning. While we 
continued here, we were told that on the South Shore, not far from the 
Inlet, dwelt a Marooner, that Modestly call'd himself a Hermit, tho' he 
forfeited that Name by Suffering a wanton Female to cohabit with 

His Habitation was a Bower, cover'd with Bark after the Indian Fashion, 
which in that mild Situation protected him pretty well from the Weather. 
Like the Ravens, he neither plow'd nor sow'd, but Subsisted chiefly upon 
Oysters, which his Handmaid made a Shift to gather from the Adjacent 
Rocks. Sometimes, too, for Change of Dyet, he sent her to drive up the 
Neighbour's Cows, to moisten their Mouths with a little Milk. But as for 
raiment, he depended mostly upon his Length of Beard, and She upon 
her Length of Hair, part of which she brought decently forward, and the 
rest dangled behind quite down to her Rump, like one of Herodotus's 
East Indian Pigmies. 

Thus did these Wretches live in a dirty State of Nature, and were mere 
Adamites, Innocence only excepted. 

7. This Morning the Surveyors began to run the Dividing line from the 
Cedar-Post we had driven into the Sand, allowing near 3 Degrees for the 
Variation. Without making this Just allowance, we should not have obeyd 
his Majesty's order in running a Due West Line. It seems the former Com- 
missioners had not been so exact, which gave our Friends of Carolina 
but too just an Exception to their Proceedings. 

The Line cut Dosier's Island, consisting only of a Flat Sand, with here 
and there an humble Shrub growing upon it. From thence it crost over a 
narrow Arm of the Sound into Knot's Island, and there Split a Plantation 
belonging to William Harding. 

March] The Secret History 47 

same time I show'd him a Representation made to the late Queen 
by Col" Spotswood, greatly to his disadvantage. This work't so 
powerfully upon his Politick that he without loss of time soften'd 
his Brethren in such a Manner, that they came over to our Opinion. 
They were the rather perswaded to this by the Peremptory Words 
of our Commission, by which we were directed to go on with 
the Business tho' the Carolina Commissioners shou'd refuse to 
join with us therein. However by reason of some Proof that was 
made to us by the Oaths Credible Persons, that the Spit of Sand 
was advanced about 200 Yards to the Southward since the Year 
1712 when the Proposals between the Govemours Eden & Spots- 
wood were agreed upon, we thought it reasonable to allow for so 
much. And accordingly made our Beginning from thence. Upon 
the high-Land we found One kind of Silk Grass, and plenty of 
Japon, which passes for Tea in North Carolina, tho' nothing like 
it. On the Sands we saw Conque-Shells in great Number of which 
the Indians make both their Blue & white Peak, both colours being 
in different Parts of the same Shell. 

7. We drove down a Post at our Place of beginning, & then crost 
over to Dosior's Island, which is nothing but a flat Sand with 
Shrubs growing upon it. From thence we past over to the North 
End of Knob's Island, our Line running thro' the Plantation of W™ 
Harding. This Man had a wife bom & bred near Temple Bar, 
and stil talk't of the Walks in the Temple with Pleasure. These 
poor People bestow'd their Wood & their Water upon us very 
freely. We found Shoebrush a merry good humor'd Man, and 
had learnt a very decent behaviour from Govemour Hyde, to 
whom he had been Valet de Chambre, of which he still carry'd 
the marks by having his coat, wast-coat & Breeches of diff^erent 
Parishes. Puzzlecause had degenerated from a New-England 
Preacher for which his Godly Parents design'd him, to a very 
wicked, but awkward. Rake. I had almost forgot to mention a 
Marooner who had the Confidence to call himself an Hermit, liv- 
ing on the South Shoar of Coratuck near the Inlet. He has no 
other Habitation but a green Bower or Harbour with a Female 
Domestick as wild & as dirty as himself. His Diet is chiefly 

48 History of the Dividing Line [March 

The Day being far spent, we encampt in this Man's Pasture, tho' it lay 
very low, and the Season now inclin'd People to Aguish Distempers. He 
sufFerd us to cut Cedar-Branches for our Enclosure, and other Wood for 
Firing, to correct the moist Air and drive away the Damps. Our Landlady, 
in the Days of her Youth, it seems, had been a Laundress in the Temple, 
and talkt over her Adventurers in that Station, with as much pleasure 
as an Old Soldier talks over his Battles and Distempers, and I believe with 
as many Additions to the Truth. 

The Soil is good in many Places of this Island, and the Extent of it 
pretty large. It lyes in the form of a Wedge: the South End of it is 
Several Miles over, but towards the North it Sharpens into a Point. It is 
a Plentiful Place for Stock, by reason of the wide Marshes adjacent to it, 
and because of its warm Situation. But the Inhabitants pay a little dear 
for this Convenience, by losing as much Blood in the Summer Season by 
the infinite Number of Mosquetas, as all their Beef and Pork can recruit 
in the Winter. 

The Sheep are as large as in Lincolnshire, because they are never 
pincht by cold or Hunger. The whole Island was hitherto reckon'd to 
lye in Virginia, but now our Line has given the greater Part of it to Caro- 
lina. The Principal Freeholder here is Mr. White, who keeps open House 
for all Travellers, that either Debt or Shipwreck happens to cast in his 

8. By break of Day we sent away our Largest Periauga, with the 
Baggage, round the South end of Knot's Island, with Orders to the Men 
to wait for us in the Mouth of North River. Soon after, we embarkt our- 
selves on board the smaller Vessel, with Intent, if possible, to find a 
Passage round the North End of the Island. 

We found this Navigation very difficult, by reason of the Continued 
Shoals, and often stuck fast aground; for tho' the Sound spreads many 
miles, yet it is in most places extremely Shallow, and requires a Skilful 
Pilot to Steer even a Canoe safe over it. It was almost as hard to keep 
our Temper as to keep the Channel, in this provoking Situation. But 
the most impatient amongst us strokt down their Choler and swallow'd 
their curses, lest, if they suffer'd them to break out, they might sound like 
Complaining, which was expressly forbid, as the first Step to Sedition. 

At a distance we descry'd Several Islands to the Northward of us, 
the largest of which goes by the Name of Cedar Island. Our periauga 
stuck so often that we had a fair chance to be benighted in this wide 
Water, which must certainly have been our Fate, had we not luckily 
spied a Canoe that was giving a Fortune-teller a cast from Princess Anne 
County over to North Carolina. But, as conjurers are Sometimes mistaken, 
the Man mistrusted we were Officers of Justice in pursuit of a Young 

March] The Secret History 49 

Oysters, which he has just Industry enough to gather from the 
Neighbouring Oyster Banks, while his Concubine makes a Prac- 
tice of driving up the Neighbour's Cows for the advantage of their 
Milk. Orion seem'd to be grievously puzzled about Plotting off 
his Surveyor's Work, and chose rather to be oblig'd to the Carolina 
Commissioners, than to M'^ Mayo, for their Instruction, which it 
was evident to every Body that he wanted. The Truth of it is, he 
had been much more discreet to loiter on at the College, & receive 
his Sallary quietly (which he ows to his Relation to the pious 
Commissary) than to undertake a Business which disco ver'd he 
knew very little of the matter. 

8. We quitted our Camp about 7 & early dispatch't away the 
large Periauga with the Heavy Baggage & most of the Men round 
the South End of Knots Island. About 9 we embark't ourselves 
on board the Resser Periauga under the Pilotage of Cap* Wilkins, 
& steer'd our Course towards the North End of the Island. This 
Navigation was so difficult by reason of the perpetual Shoals, that 
we were often fast aground: but Firebrand swore us off again 
very soon. Our Pilot wou'd have been a miserable Man if One 
half of that Gentleman's Curses had taken effect. It was remark- 
able to see how mild & unmov'd the poor man was under so much 
heavy displeasure insomuch that the most passionate Expression 
that escap't him was, for ever & after! which was his form of 
Swearing. We had been benighted in that wide Water, had we 
not met a Canoe that was carrying a Conjurer from Princess Ann 
to Carolina. But as all Conjurors are sometimes mistaken, he 
took us at first for Pyrates, what was worse for him, he suspected 
afterwards that we were Officers, that were in pursuit of him & 
a Woman that past for his Wife. However at last being undeceiv'd 

50 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

Wench he had carry'd off along with him. We gave the Canoe Chase 
for more than an Hour and when we came up with her, threatend to make 
them all prisoners unless they would direct us into the right Channel. 

By the Pilotage of these People we row'd up an Arm of the Sound, 
call'd the Back-Bay, till we came to the Head of it. There we were 
stoppt by a Miry Pocoson full half a Mile in Breadth, thro' which we were 
oblig'd to daggle on foot, plungeing now and then, tho' we pickt our 
Way, up to the Knees in Mud. At the End of this Charming walk we 
gain'd the Terra Firma of Princess Anne County. In that Dirty Condi- 
tion we were afterwards oblig'd to foot it two Miles, as far as John Heath's 
Plantation, where we expected to meet the Surveyors & the men who 
waited upon them. 

While we were performing this tedious Voyage, they had carried the 
Line thro' the firm Land of Knot's Island, where it was no more than 
half a Mile wide. After that they travers'd a large Marsh, that was ex- 
ceeding Miry, and extended to an Arm of the Back-Bay. They crosst 
that water in a Canoe, which we had order'd round for that Purpose, and 
then waded over another Marsh, that reacht quite to the High Land of 
Princess Anne. Both these Marshes together make a breadth of five Miles, 
in which the Men frequently sunk up to the Middle without muttering 
the least complaint. On the contrary, they turn'd all these Disasters into 

It was discover'd, by this day's Work, that Knot's Island was improperly 
so call'd, being in Truth no more than a Peninsula. The N W Side of it 
is only divided from the Main by the great Marsh above-mentioned, which 
is seldom totally overflow'd. Instead of that, it might, by the Labour of 
a few Trenches, be drain'd into firm Meadow, capable of grazing as many 
cattle as Job, in his best Estate, was master of. In the Miry Condition 
it now lies, it feeds great Numbers in the Winter, tho', when the Weather 
grows warm, they are driven from thence by the Mighty Armies of 
Mosquetas, which are the Plague of the lower Part of Carolina, as much 
as the Flies were formerly of Egypt, and some Rabbis think those Flies 
were no other than Mosquetas. 

All the People in the Neighbourhood flockt to John Heath's, to behold 
such Rarities as they fancied us to be. The Men left their belov'd Chimney 
Corners, the good women their Spinning Wheels, and some, of more 
Curiosity than Ordinary, rose out of their sick Beds, to come and stare at 
us. They lookt upon us as a Troop of Knight Errants, who were running 
this great Risque of our Lives, as they imagin'd, for the Public Weal; 
and some of the gravest of them question'd much whether we were not all 
Criminals, condemned to this dirty work for Offences against the State. 

What puzzled them most was, what cou'd make our men so very Light- 

March] The Secret History 51 

in both these points, they sufFer'd us to Speak with them, & directed 
us in the Course we were to Steer. By their Advice we row'd up 
a Water call'd the Back-Bay, as far as a Skirt of Pocoson a quarter 
of a Mile in Breadth. Thro' this we waded up to the Knees in 
Mud & got Safe on the firm Land of Princess-Ann County. Dur- 
ing this Voyage Shoebrush in Champing a Biscuit, forc't out one 
of his Teeth, which an unlucky Flux had left loose in his Head. 
And tho' one of his Feet was inflam'd with the Gout, yet he was 
forc't to walk 2 Miles as well as the rest of us to John Heath's 
where we took up our Quarters. Amongst other Spectators came 
2 Girls to see us, one of which was very handsome, & the other 
very willing. However we only saluted them, & if we committed 
any Sin at all, it was only in our Hearts. Cap* White a Grandee 
of Nott's Island, & M"" Moss a Grandee of Princess-Ann made us 
a visit & helpt to empty our Liquor.^^ The Surveyors & their at- 
tendants came to us at Night, after wading thro' a Marsh near 5 
Miles in Breadth, which stretches from the West Side of Knot's 
Island, to the high-Land of Princess-Ann. In this Marsh several 
of the Men had plung'd up to the Middle, however they kept up 
their good Humour, & only made Sport of what others wou'd have 
made a Calamity. 

^ Reference is doubtless to Capt. Solomon White of Princess Anne County. There 
is no record of a Moss family in that County. 

52 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

hearted under such intolerable Drudgery. "Ye have little reason to be 
merry, My Masters," said one of them, with a very solemn Face, "I 
fancy the Pocoson you must Struggle with to-morrow will make you 
change your Note, and try what Metal you are made of. Ye are, to be 
sure, the first of Human Race that ever had the Boldness to attempt it, 
and I dare say will be the last. If, therefore, you have any Worldly 
Goods to dispose of. My Advice is that you make your Wills this very 
Night, for fear you die Intestate to-Morrow." But, alas! these frightfull 
Tales were so far from disheartening the men that they serv'd only to 
whet their Resolution. 

9. The Surveyors enter'd Early upon their Business this Morning, 
and ran the Line thro' Mr. Eyland's Plantation, as far as the Banks of 
North River. They passt over it in the Periauga, and landed in Gibbs' 
Marsh, which was a mile in Breadth, and tolerably firm. They trudg'd 
thro' this Marsh without much difficulty as far as the High Land, which 
promis'd more Fertility than any they had seen in these Parts. But this 
firm Land lasted not long before they came upon the dreadful Pocoson 
they had been threaten'd with. Nor did they find it one Jot better than it 
had been painted to them. The Beavers and Otters had render'd it quite 
impassable for any Creature but themselves. 

Our poor Fellows had much ado to drag their Legs after them in this 
Quagmire, but disdaining to be baulkt, they cou'd hardly be persuaded 
from pressing forward by the Surveyors, who found it absolutely Neces- 
sary to make a Traverse in the Deepest Place, to prevent their Sticking 
fast in the Mire, and becoming a Certain Prey to the Turkey-Buzzards. 

This Horrible Day's Work Ended two Miles to the Northward of Mr. 
Merchant's Plantation, divided from N W River by a Narrow Swamp, 
which is causway'd over. We took up our Quarters in the open Field, 
not far from the House, correcting, by a Fire as large as a Roman- 
Funeral-Pile, the Aguish Exhalations arising from the Sunken Grounds 
that Surrounded us. 

The Neck of Land included betwixt N River and N-West River, with the 
adjacent Marsh, belong'd formerly to Governor Gibbs,^^ but since his 
Decease to Colonel Bladen,^- in right of his first Lady, who was Mr. Gibbs' 
Daughter. It would be a Valuable Tract of Land in any Country but 
North Carolina, where, for want of Navigation and Commerce, the best 
Estate affords little more than a coarse Subsistence. 

^^ John Gibbs, of the Currituck region, who, in 1690, claimed to be Governor of 
North Carolina and resisted the authority of Philip Ludwell, the appointee of the 
Proprietors. His claim was probably due to an election by the Council after the 
expulsion of Seth Sothel by the Assembly. Ludwell appealed to Governor Nicholson 
of Virginia for intervention and Nicholson reported to the Crown that he had quieted 
the controversy. Ludwell and Gibbs both went to England to lay their case before 
the proper authorities, Ludwell winning. 

*^ Martin Bladen (1680-1746), Whig politician, and member of the Board of Trade 
from 1717 to his death. His wife was Mary Gibbs. 

March] The Secret History 53 

9. In the Morning we walk't with the Surveyors to the Line, which 
cut thro' Eyland's Plantation, & came to the Banks of North River. 
Hither the Girls above mention'd attended us, but an Old Woman 
came along with them for the Security of their Vertue. Others rose 
out of their Sick Beds to see such Raritys as we were. One of 
our Periaugas sat the Surveyors & 5 Men over North River. They 
landed in a miry Marsh, which led to a very deep Pocoson. Here 
they met with Bever Dams & Otter holes, which it was not prac- 
ticable to pass in a direct Line, tho' the Men offer'd to do it with 
great Alacrity: But the Surveyors were contented to make a Tra- 
verse. While they were struggling with these difficultys, we Com- 
missioners went in State in the other Periauga to N. W. River, and 
row'd up as high as M'^ Merchants.^*^ He lives near half a mile 
from the River having a Causway leading thro' a filthy Swamp 
to his Plantation. I encampt in his Pasture with the Men, tho' 
the other Commissioners endulg'd themselves so far as to ly in 
the House. But it seems they broke the Rules of Hospitality, by 
several gross Freedoms they offer'd to take with our Landlord's 
Sister. She was indeed a pretty Girl, and therefore it was prudent 
to send her out of harm's Way. I was the more concem'd at this 
unhandsome Behaviour, because the People were extremely Civil 
to us, & deserv'd a better Treatment. The Surveyors came to us 
at Night, very much Jaded with their dirty work, and Orion Slept 
so Sound that he had been buni't in his Blanket, if the Gentry had 
not been kinder to him than he deserv'd. 

^ There was a Willoughby Merchant, justice of Princess Anne, at this time; at 
the close of eighteenth century his descendants lived in Norfolk County. 

54 History of the Dividing Line [March 

10. The Sabbath happen'd very opportunely to give some ease to our 
jaded People, who rested religiously from every work, but that of cooking 
the Kettle. We observed very few corn-fields in our Walks, and those 
very small, which sem'd the Stranger, to us, because we could see no 
other Tokens of Husbandry or Improvement. But, upon further Inquiry, 
we were given to understand People only made Corn for themselves and 
not for their Stocks, which know very well how to get their own Living. 

Both Cattle and Hogs ramble in the Neighbouring Marshes and Swamps, 
where they maintain themselves the whole Winter long, and are not 
fetch'd home till the Spring. Thus these Indolent Wretches, during one 
half of the Year, lose the Advantage of the Milk of their cattle, as well as 
their Dung, and many of the poor Creatures perish in the Mire, into the 
Bargain, by this ill Management. 

Some, who pique themselves more upon Industry than their Neighbours, 
will, now and then, in compliment to their Cattle, cut down a Tree whose 
Limbs are loaden with the Moss aforemention'd. The trouble wou'd be 
too great to Climb the Tree in order to gather this Provender, but the 
Shortest way (which in this Country is always counted the best) is to 
fell it, just like the Lazy Indians, who do the same by such Trees as bear 
fruit, and so make one Harvest for all. By this bad Husbandry Milk is 
so Scarce, in the Winter Season, that were a Big-belly'd Woman to long 
for it. She would lose her Longing. And, in truth, I believe this is often 
the Case, and at the same time a very good reason why so many People 
in this Province are markt with a Custard Complexion. 

The only Business here is raising of Hogs, which is manag'd with the 
least Trouble, and affords the Diet they are most fond of. The Truth 
of it is the Inhabitants of N Carolina devour so much Swine's flesh, that 
it fills them full of gross Humours. For want too of a constant Supply 
of Salt, they are commonly obliged to eat it Fresh, and that begets 
the highest taint of Scurvy. Thus, whenever a Severe Cold happens to 
Constitutions thus Vitiated, tis apt to improve into the Yaws, called there 
very justly the country-Distemper. This has all the Symptoms of 
the Pox, with this Aggravation, that no Preparation of Mercury will touch 
it. First it seizes the Throat, next the Palate, and lastly shews its spite 
to the poor Nose, of which tis apt in a small time treacherously to under- 
mine the Foundation. 

This Calamity is so common and familiar here, that it ceases to be a 
Scandal, and in the disputes that happen about Beauty, the Noses have 
in some Companies much ado to carry it. Nay, tis said that once, after 
three good Pork years, a Motion had like to have been made in the House 
of Burgesses, that a Man with a Nose shou'd be incapable of holding 
any Place of Profit in the Province; which Extraordinary Motion could 
never have been intended without Some Hopes of a Majority. 

March] The Secret History 55 

10. This being Sunday we rested the Men & Surveyors, tho' we 
cou'd not celebrate the Sabbath as we ought for want of our 
Chaplain. I had a Letter from him informing me that all was 
well, both Soul & Body, under his Care. Cap* Wilkins went home 
to make his wife a Visit, and brought me a Bottle of Milk, which 
was better than a Bottle of Tokay. Firebrand took all Occasions 
to set Orion above Astrolabe, which there was no reason for, but 
because he had the Honour to be recommended by him. I hahed 
as bad as old Jacob, without having wrestled with any thing like 
an Angel. 

The Men were concern'd at it, and had observ'd so much of 
Firebrand's sweet Temper, that they swore they wou'd make the 
best of their way home if it pleas'd God to disable me from pro- 
ceeding on the Business. But I walk't about as much as I cou'd, 
& thereby made my Hips very pliable. We found Cap* Willis 
Wilson here, whose Errand was to buy Pork, which is the Staple 
Commodity of North Carolina, & which with Pitch & Tar makes up 
the whole of their Traffick. The Truth of it is, these People live 
so much upon Swine's flesh, that it don't only encline them to the 
Yaws, & consequently to the do^vnfall of their Noses, but makes 
them likewise extremely hoggish in their Temper, & many of them 
seem to Grunt rather than Speak in their ordinary conversation. 

56 History of the Dividing Line [March 

Thus, considering the foul and pernicious Effects of Eating Swine's 
Flesh in a hot Country, it was wisely forbidden and made an Abomination 
to the Jews, who liv'd much in the same Latitude with Carolina. 

11. We ordered the Surveyors early to their Business, who were blesst 
with pretty dry Grounds for three Miles together. But they paid dear for 
it in the next two, consisting of one continued frightful! Pocoson,^^ which 
no Creatures but those of the amphibious kind ever had ventur'd into 

This filthy Quagmire did in earnest put the Men's Courage to a 
Tryal, and tho' I can't say it made them lose their Patience, yet they lost 
their Humour for Joking. They kept their Gravity like so many Spaniards, 
so that a Man might then have taken his Opportunity to plunge up to the 
Chin, without Danger of being laught at. However, this unusual com- 
posure of countenance could not fairly be call'd complaining. 

Their Day's-Work ended at the Mouth of Northern's Creek, which 
empties itself into N W River; tho' we chose to Quarter a little higher 
up the River, near Mossy Point. This we did for the Convenience of an 
Old house to Shelter our Persons and Baggage from the rain, which 
threaten'd us hard. We judg'd the thing right, for there fell an heavy 
shower in the Night, that drove the most hardy of us into the House. 
Tho' indeed, our case was not much mended by retreating thither, because 
that Tenement having not long before been us'd as a Pork-Store, the Mois- 
ture of the Air dissolv'd the Salt that lay Scatter'd on the Floor, and made 
it as wet within Doors as without. However, the Swamps and Marshes 
we were lately accustom'd to had made such Beavers and Otters of us 
that Nobody caught the least cold. 

We had encampt so early, that we found time in the Evening to walk 
near half a Mile into the Woods. There we came upon a Family ot 
Mulattoes, that call'd themselvs free, tho' by the Shyness of the Master 
of the House, who took care to keep least in Sight, their Freedom seem'd 
a little Doubtful. It is certain many Slaves Shelter themselves in this 
Obscure Part of the World, nor will any of their righteous Neighbours 
discover them. On the Contrary, they find their Account in Settling such 
Fugitives on some out-of-the-way-corner of their Land, to raise Stocks 
for a mean and inconsiderable Share, well knowing their Condition makes 
it necessary for them to Submit to any Terms. 

^ A corruption of poquosin, Indian word of Algonquian origin, denoting low, wooded 
ground, often covered with water. 

March] The Secret History 57 

11. We order'd the Surveyors early to their Business with 5 of 
the Men to attend them. They had a tiresome day's work of it, 
wading thro' a deep Pocoson near 2 Miles over, in which they fre- 
quently plung'd up to the Middle. In the mean time we Com- 
missioners row'd up the River in our Periauga much more at our 
ease, & drop't Anchor at Mossy-Point near a deserted Pork-Store 
belonging to Cap* Willis Wilson. After the Men had swept out a 
Cart load of Dirt, we put our Baggage into it for fear of Rain. 
Then we sent our Periauga in quest of the Surveyors, & Firebrand 
believing nothing cou'd be well done without him, went in it him- 
self attended by Puzzlecause, tho' he did no other good but favour 
us with his Room instead of his Company. In the mean while 
Shoebrush & I took a walk into the Woods, and call'd at a Cottage 
where a Dark Angel surpriz'd us with her Charms. Her Com- 
plexion was a deep Copper, so that her fine Shape & regular Fea- 
tures made her appear like a Statue en Bronze done by a masterly 
hand. Shoebrush was smitten at the first Glance, and examined 
all her neat Proportions with a critical Exactness. She struggled 
just enough to make her Admirer more eager, so that if I had 
not been there, he wou'd have been in Danger of carrying his 
Joke a little too far. 

The Surveyors found us out in the Evening very much fatigued, 
& the men were more off their mettle than ever they had been in 
the whole Journey, tho' without the least Complaint, I took up 
my Lodging in the Camp, but was driven into the House about 
Midnight without my Breeches, like Mons'" Broylio by a smart 
Shower of Rain. Here we all lay in Bulk the rest of the Night 
upon a dirty & wet Floor without taking cold. 

58 History of the Dividing Line [March 

Nor were these worthy Borderers content to Shelter Runaway Slaves, 
but Debtors and Criminals have often met with the like Indulgence. But if 
the Government of North Carolina has encourag'd this unneighbourly 
Policy in order to increase their People, it is no more than what Ancient 
Rome did before them, which was made a City of Refuge for all Debtors 
and Fugitives, and from that wretched Beginning grew up in time to be 
Mistress of a great Part of the World.^^ And, considering how Fortune 
delights in bringing great things out of Small, who knows but Carolina 
may, one time or other, come to be the Seat of some other great Empire? 

12, Every thing had been to soakt with the Rain, that we were oblig'd 
to lie by a good Part of the Morning and dry them. However, that time 
was not lost, because it gave the Surveyors an Opportunity of Platting 
off their Work, and taking the Course of the River. It likewise helpt to 
recruit the Spirits of the Men, who had been a little harass'd with Yester- 
day's March. Notwithstanding all this, we crosst the River before Noon, 
and advanc'd our Line 3 Miles. It was not possible to make more of it, 
by reason good Part of the way was either Marsh or Pocoson. The 
Line cut two or three Plantations, leaving Part of them in Virginia, and 
part of them in Carolina. This was a Case that happen'd frequently, to 
the great Inconvenience of the Owners, who were therefore oblig'd to 
take out two Patents and Pay for a new Survey in each Government. 

In the Evening we took up our Quarters in Mr. Ballance's Pasture, a 
little above the Bridge built over N W River. There we discharg'd the 
two Periaugas, which in truth had been very Servicable in transporting 
us over the Many Waters in that Dirty and Difficult Part of our Business. 

Our Landlord had a tolerable good House and Clean Furniture, and 
yet we cou'd not be tempted to lodge in it. We chose rather to lye in the 
open Field, for fear of growing too tender. A clear Sky, spangled with 
Stars, was our Canopy, which being the last thing we saw before we fell 
asleep gave us Magnificent Dreams. The Truth of it is, we took so much 
pleasure in that natural kind of Lodging, that I think at the foot of the 
Account Mankind are great Losers by the Luxury of Feather-Beds and 
warm apartments. 

The curiosity of beholding so new and withal so Sweet a Method of 

^* Reference is to the Carolina law of 1669 which prohibited suits for the recovery 
of debts already contracted against those who came into the colony until five years after 
their arrival. (Colonial Records of North Carolina. Vol. I, p. 183). Virginia had 
adopted a similar law in 1643, which was re-affirmed in 1663 and again in 1683. In 
1717 it was the subject of complaint by British merchants and in 1718 it was disal- 
lowed. The North Carolina statute was also a subject of complaint as early as 1707, 
when the Board of trade brought it to the attention of the Privy Council, and it was 
disallowed (Colonial Records, Vol. I, p. 717). Another North Carolina statute giving 
priority to local over foreign creditors in suits for the collection of debts, enacted in 
1715, was disallowed in 1747; and in 1767 a third statute exempting the property of 
debtors from execution unless action was brought within five years from the passage 
of the law, was declared void. See Russell's Review of American Colonial Legislation 
by the King in Council, passim. 

March] The Secret History 59 

12. Complaint was made to Me this Morning, that the Men be- 
longing to the Periauga, had stole our People's Meat while they 
Slept. This provoked me to treat them a la Dragon, that is to 
swear at them furiously; & by the good Grace of my Oaths, I 
might have past for an Officer in his Majesty's Guards. I was the 
more out of Humour, because it disappointed us in our early 
March, it being a standing Order to boil the Pot over Night, that 
we might not be hinder'd in the Morning. This Accident, & 
Necessity of drying our Bed-Cloaths kept us from decamping til 
near 12 a Clock. By this delay the Surveyors found time to plot 
off their Work, and to observe the Course of the River. Then 
they past it over against Northern's Creek, the Mouth of which 
was very near our Line. But the Commissioners made the best 
of their way to the Bridge, and going ashoar walkt to M"^ Ballance's 
Plantation. I retir'd early to our Camp at some distance from 
the House, while my CoUegues tarry'd within Doors, & refresh't 
themselves with a Cheerful Bowl. In the Gaiety of their Hearts, 
they invited a Tallow-faced Wench that had sprain'd her Wrist to 
drink with them, and when they had rais'd her in good Humour, 
they examined all her hidden Charms, and play'd a great many 
gay Pranks. While Firebrand who had the most Curiosity, was 
ranging over her sweet Person, he pick't off several Scabs as big 
as Nipples, the Consequence of eating too much Pork. The poor 
Damsel was disabled from making any resistance by the Lameness 
of her Hand ; all she cou'd do, was, to sit stil, & make the Fashion- 
able Exclamation of the Country, Flesh a live & tear it, & by what 
I can understand she never spake so properly in her Life. One 
of the Representatives of N. Carolina made a Midnight Visit to 

60 History of the Dividing Line [March 

encamping, brought one of the Senators of N Carolina to make us a Mid- 
night Visit. But he was so very Clamorous in his Commendations of it, 
that the Centinel, not seeing his Quality, either thro' his habit or Be- 
haviour, had like to have treated him roughly. 

After excusing the Unseasonableness of his Visit, and letting us know 
he was a Parliament Man, he swore he was so taken with our Lodging, 
that he would set Fire to his House as soon as he got Home, and teach 
his Wife and Children to lie, like us, in the open field. 

13. Early this Morning our Chaplain repair'd to us with the Men we 
had left at Mr. Wilson's. We had sent for them the Evening before to 
relieve those who had the Labour-Oar from Corotuck-Inlet. But to our 
great surprise, they petition 'd not to be reliev'd, hoping to gain immortal 
Reputation by being the first of Mankind that Ventur'd thro' the great 
Dismal. But the rest being equally Ambitious of the same Honour, it was 
but fair to decide their Pretensions by Lot. After Fortune had declar'd 
herself, those which she had excluded offer'd Money to the Happy Persons 
to go in their Stead. But Hercules would have as soon sold the Glory 
of Cleansing the Augean Stables, which was pretty near the same Sort of 

No sooner was the Controversy at an end, but we sent them unfortunate 
Fellows back to their Quarters, whom Chance had Condemn'd to remain 
upon Firm Land and Sleep in a whole Skin. In the mean while the 
Surveyors carry'd the Line 3 Miles, which was no Contemptible day's 
work, considering how cruelly they were entangled with Bryars and Gall 
Bushes. The Leaf of this last Shrub bespeaks it to be of the Alaternus 

Our Work ended within a Quarter of a Mile of the Dismal above- 
mention'd, where the Ground began to be already full of Sunken Holes and 
Slashes, which had, here and there, some few Reeds growing in them. 

Tis hardly credible how little the Bordering inhabitants were acquainted 
with this mighty Swamp, nothwithstanding they had liv'd their whole lives 
within Smell of it. Yet, as great Strangers as they were to it, they 
pretended to be very exact in their Account of its Dimensions, and were 
positive it could not be above 7 or 8 Miles wide, but knew no more of 
the Matter than Star-gazers know of the Distance of the Fixt Stars. At 
the Same time, they were Simple enough to amuse our Men with Idle 
Stories of the Lyons, Panthers and Alligators, they were like to encounter 
in that dreadful Place. 

In short, we saw plainly there was no Intelligence of this Terra Incognita 
to be got, but from our own Experience. For that Reason it was resolv'd 
to make the requisite Dispositions to enter it next Morning. We allotted 
every one of the Surveyors for this painful Enterprise, with 12 Men to 
attend them. Fewer than that cou'd not be employ'd in clearing the way, 
carrying the Chain, marking the Trees, and bearing the necessary Bedding 
and Provisions. Nor wou'd the Commissioners themselves have Spared 

March] The Secret History 61 

our Camp, & his Curiosity was so very clamorous that it waked 
Me, for which I wish't his Nose as flat as any of his Porcivorous 

13. In the Morning our Chaplain came to us, & with him some 
Men we had sent for, to relieve those who had waded thro' the 
Mire from Coratuck. But they beg'd they might not be reliev'd, 
believing they shou'd gain immortal Honour by going thro' the 
Dismal. Only Patillo desired to be excus'd, on the Account of his 
Eyes. Old Ellis Petition'd to go in the Room of his Son, and 
Kimball was depriv'd from that favour by Lot. That griev'd him 
so, that he offer'd a Crown to Hambleton to let him go in his 
room, which the other wou'd not Listen to for ten times the Money. 
When this great affair was settled, we dismist all the Men to their 
Quarters at Cap* Wilson's, except the Nine Dismalites. Of these 
we sent 5 with the Surveyors who ran the Line to the Skirts of 
the Dismal, which began first with Dwarf Reeds, & moist uneven 
Grounds. We discharged our Periaugas and about Noon our good 
Friend Capt Wilkins conducted us to his own House, & entertain'd 
us hospitably. We made the necessary Disposition for entering 
the Dismal next Morning with 9 of our Men, & 3 of Carolina, so 
many being necessary to attend the Surveyors, & for carrying the 
Bedding & Provisions. The Men were in good Spirits but poor 
Orion began to repent, & wish he had Slept in a whole Skin at the 
College, rather than become a prey to Turkey-buzzard. These 
reflections sunk his Courage so low, that neither Liquor nor Toast 
cou'd raise it. I hardly knew how to behave myself in a Bed, 
after having lain a week in the Open Field, & seeing the Stars 
twinkle over my head. 

62 History of the Dividing Line [March 

their Persons on this Occasion, but for fear of adding to the poor men's 
Burthen, while they were certain they cou'd add nothing to their Resolution. 
We quarter'd with our Friend and Fellow Traveller, William Wilkins, 
who had been our faithful Pilot to Coratuck, and liv'd about a mile from 
the Place where the Line ended. Everything lookt so very clean, and the 
Furniture so neat, that we were tempted to Lodge within Doors. But 
the Novelty of being shut up so close quite spoil'd our rest, nor did we 
breathe so free by abundance, as when we lay in the open Air. 

14. Before nine of the Clock this Morning, the Provisions, Bedding 
and other Necessaries, were made up into Packs for the Men to carry 
on their Shoulders into the Dismal. They were victuall'd for 8 days at 
full Allowance, Nobody doubting but that wou'd be abundantly Sufficient 
to carry them thro' that Inhospitable Place; nor Indeed was it possible 
for the Poor Fellows to Stagger under more. As it was, their Loads 
weigh'd from 60 to 70 Pounds, in just Proportion to the Strength of those 
who were to bear them. 

Twou'd have been unconscionable to have Saddled them with Burthens 
heavier than that, when they were to lugg them thro' a filthy Bogg, which 
was hardly practicable with no Burthen at all. 

Besides this Luggage at their Backs, they were oblig'd to measure the 
distance, mark the Trees, and clear the way for the Surveyors every Step 
they went. It was really a Pleasure to see with how much Cheerfulness 
they undertook, and with how much Spirit they went thro' all this 
Drudgery. For their Greater Safety, the Commissioners took care to 
furnish them with Peruvian-Bark, Rhubarb and Hipocoacanah,^^ in case 
they might happen, in that wet Journey, to be taken with fevers or 

Altho' there was no need for Example to inflame Persons already so 
cheerful, yet to enter the People with better grace, the Author and two 
more of the Commissioners accompanied them half a Mile into the Dismal. 
The Skirts of it were thinly Planted with Dwarf Reeds and Gall-Bushes, 
but when we got into the Dismal itself, we found the Reeds grew there 
much taller and closer, and, to mend the matter was so interlac'd with 
bamo-briars, that there was no scuffling thro' them without the help of 
Pioneers. At the same time, we found the Ground moist and trembling 
under our feet like a Quagmire, insomuch that it was an easy Matter 
to run a Ten-Foot-Pole up to the Head in it, without exerting any un- 
common Strength to do it. 

Two of the Men, whose Burthens were the least cumbersome, had 
orders to march before, with their Tomahawks, and clear the way, in order 
to make an Opening for the Surveyors. By their Assistance we made a 
Shift to push the Line half a Mile in 3 Hours, and then reacht a small piece 
of firm Land, about 100 Yards wide. Standing up above the rest like an 

^ Probably Epecacuanha, an American plant used as an emetic. 

March] The Secret History 63 

14. This Morning early the Men began to make up the Packs they 
were to carry on their Shoulders into the Dismal. They were 
victual'd for 8 Days, which was judg'd sufficient for the Service. 
Those Provisions with the Blankets & other Necessaries loaded the 
Men with a Burthen of 50 or 60'*' for Each. Orion helpt most of 
all to make these Loads so heavy, by taking his Bed, and several 
changes of Raiment, not forgeting a Suit for Sundays along with 
him. This was a little unmercifull, which with his peevish Temper 
made him no Favorite. We fixt them out about ten in the Morn- 
ing, & then Meanwell, Puzzlecause, & I went along with them, 
resolving to enter them fairly into this dreadful Swamp, which 
no body before ever had either the Courage or Curiosity to pass. 
But Firebrand & Shoebrush chose rather to toast their Noses over 
a good Fire, & Spare their dear Persons. After a March of 2 
Miles thro' very bad way, the Men sweating under their Burthens, 
we arriv'd at the Edge of the Dismal, where the Surveyors had 
left off the Night before. Here Steddy thought proper to en- 
courage the Men by a short harangue to this effect. "Gentlemen, 
'we are at last arriv'd at this dreadfuU place, which til now has 
'been thought unpassable. Tho' I make no doubt but you wiU 
'convince every Body, that there is no difficulty which may not 
'be conquer'd by Spirit & constancy. You have hitherto behaved 
'with so much Vigour, that the most I can desire of you, is to 
'persevere unto the End ; I protest to You the only reason we don't 
'Share in Your Fatigue, is, the fear of adding to Your Burthens, 
'(which are but too heavy already,) while we are Sure we can 
'add nothing to your Resolution. I shall say no more, but only 
'pray the Almighty to prosper your Undertaking, & grant we may 
'meet on the other Side in perfect Health & Safety." The Men 
took this Speech very kindly, and answer'd it in the most 
cheerful manner, with 3 Huzzas. Immediately we enter'd the 

64 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

Island. Here the people were glad to lay down their Loads and take a 
little refreshment, while the happy man, whose lot it was to carry the Jugg 
of Rum, began already, like Aesop's Bread-Carriers to find it grow a good 
deal lighter. 

After reposing about an Hour, the Commissioners recommended Vigour 
and Constancy to liieir Fellow-Travellers, by whom thev were answer'd 
with 3 Cheerful Huzzas, in Token of Obedience. This Ceremony was no 
sooner over but they took up their Burthens and attended the Motion of 
the Surveyors, who, tho' they workt with all their might, could reach but 
one Mile farther, the same obstacles still attending them which they 
had met with in the Morning. 

However small this distance may seem so such as are us'd to travel at 
their Ease, yet our Poor Men, who were oblig'd to work with an un- 
wieldy Load at their Backs, had reason to think it a long way; Especially 
in a Bogg where they had no firm Footing, but every Step made a deep 
Impression, which was instantly fill'd with Water. At the same time they 
were labouring with their Hands to cut down the Reeds, which were Ten- 
feet high, their Legs were hampered with the Bryars. Besides, the Weather 
happen'd to be very warm, and the tallness of the Reeds kept off every 
Friendly Breeze from coming to refresh them. And, indeed, it was a 
little provoking to hear the Wind whistling among the Branches of the 
White Cedars, which grew here and there amongst the Reeds, and at the 
same time not have the Comfort to feel the least Breath of it. 

In the mean time the 3 Commissioners return'd out of the Dismal the 
same way they went in, and having join'd their Brethren, proceeded that 
Night as far as Mr. Wilson's. 

This worthy Person lives within sight of the Dismal, in the Skirts 
whereof his Stocks range and Maintain themselves all the Winter, and yet 
he knew as little of it is he did of Terra Australis Incognita. He told us a 
Canterbury Tale of a North Briton, whose Curiosity Spurr'd him a long 
way into this great Desart, as he call'd it, near 20 Years ago, but he having 
no Compass, nor seeing the Sun for several Days Together, wander'd 
about till he was almost famisht; but at last he bethought himself of a 
Secret his Countrymen make use of to Pilot themselves in a Dark day. 

He took a fat Louse out of his Collar, and expos'd it to the open 
day on a Piece of White Paper, which he brought along with him for his 
Journal. The poor Insect having no Eye-lids, turn'd himself about till he 
found the Darkest Part of the Heavens, and so made the best of his way 
towards the North. By this Direction he Sterr'd himself Safe out, and 
gave such a frightful account of the Monsters he saw, and the Distresses he 
underwen_t, that no mortall Since has been hardy enough to go upon the 
like dangerous Discovery. 

March] The Secret History 65 

Dismal, 2 Men clearing the way before the Surveyors, to enable 

them to take their Sight. The Reeds which grew about 12 feet 

high, were so thick, & so interlaced with Bamboe-Briars, that our 

Pioneers were forc't to open a Passage. The Ground, if I may 

properly call it so, was so Spungy, that the Prints of our Feet 

were instantly fill'd with Water. Amongst the Reeds here & there 

stood a white Cedar, commonly mistaken for Juniper. Of this 

Sort was the Soil for about half a Mile together, after which we 

came to a piece of high land about 100 Yards in Breadth. We 

were above 2 Hours scuffling thro' the Reeds to this Place, where 

we refresh't the poor Men. Then we took leave, recommending 

both them & the Surveyors to Providence. We furnish'd Astrolabe 

with Bark & other Medicines, for any of the People, that might 

happen to be Sick, not forgetting 3 Kinds of Rattle-Snake Root 

made into Doses in case of Need. It was 4 a Clock before we 

return'd to our Quarters, where we found our Collegues under 

some Apprehension that we were gone with the People quite thro' 

the Dismal. During my Absence Firebrand was so very carefull 

in sending away the Baggage, that he forgot the Candles. When 

we had settled Accounts with our Landlord, we rode away to Cap* 

Wilson's, who treated us with Pork upon Pork. He was a great 

Lover of Conversation, & rather than it shou'd drop, he wou'd 

repeat the same Story over & over. Firebrand chose rather to 

litter the Floor, than lye with the Parson, & since he cou'd not have 

the best Bed, he sullenly wou'd have none at all. However it 

broil'd upon his Stomach so much, that he swore anough in the 

Night, to bring the Devil into the Room had not the Chaplain 

been there. 

66 History of the Dividing Line [March 

15. The Surveyors pursued their work with all Diligence, but Still 
found the Soil of the Dismal so Spongy that the Water ouzed up into 
every foot-step they took. To their Sorrow, too, they found the Reeds and 
Bryars more firmly interwoven than they did the day before. But the 
greatest Grievance was from large Cypresses, which the Wind had blown 
down and heap'd upon one another. On the Limbs of most of them grew 
Sharp Snags, Pointing every way like so many Pikes, that requir'd much 
Pains and Caution to avoid. 

These Trees being Evergreens, and Shooting their Large Tops Very 
high, are easily overset by every Gust of Wind, because there is no firm 
Earth to Steddy their Roots. Thus many of them were laid prostrate to 
the great Encumbrance of the way. Such Variety of Difficulties made the 
Business go on heavily, insomuch that, from Morning till Night, the 
Line could advance no further than 1 Mile and 31 Poles. Never was 
Rum, that cordial of Life, found more necessary than it was in this Dirty 
Place. It did not only recruit the People's Spirits, now almost Jaded with 
Fatigue, but serv'd to correct the Badness of the Water, and at the same 
time to resist the Malignity of the Air. Whenever the Men wanted to 
drink, which was very often, they had nothing m^re to do but to make a 
Hole, and the Water bubbled up in a Moment. But it was far from being 
either clear or well tasted, and had besides a Physical Effect, from the 
Tincture it receiv'd from the Roots of the Shrubbs and Trees that grew 
in the Neighbourhood. 

While the Surveyors were thus painfully employed, the Commissioners 
discharged the long Score they had with Mr. Wilson, for the Men and 
Horses which had been quarter'd upon him during our Expedition to 
Coratuck. From thence we march'd in good Order along the East Side 
of the Dismal, and passt the long Bridge that lies over the South Branch 
of Elizabeth River. At the End of 18 Miles we reacht Timothy Ivy's 
Plantation, where we picht our Tent for the first Time, and were ftirnisht 
with every thing the Place afforded. 

We perceiv'd the happy Effects of Industry in this Family, in which 
every one lookt tidy and clean, and carri'd in their countenances the 
chearful Marks of Plenty. We saw no Drones there, which are but too 
Common, alas, in that Part of the World. Tho', in truth, the Distemper of 
Laziness seizes the Men oftener much than the Women. These last Spin, 
weave and knit, all with their own Hands, while their Husbands, depending 
on the Bounty of the Climate, are SloathfuU in every thing but getting 
of Children, and in that only Instance make themselves useful Members of 
an Infant-Colony. 

There is but little Wool in that Province, tho' Cotton grows very kindly, 
and, so far South, is Seldom nippt by the Frost. The Good Women mix 
this with their Wool for their outer Garments; tho', for want of Fulling, 

March] The Secret History 67 

15. We sent away the Baggage about 8 a Clock under the Guard 
of 4 Men. We paid off a long reckoning to Cap*. Wilson, for 
our Men & Horses, but Firebrand forgot to pay for the washing 
of his Linen, which saved him 2 Shillings at least. He & his 
Flatterer Shoebrush left us to ourselves, intending to reach Cap*". 
Meads, but losing their way, they took up at M'^ Peugh's, after 
riding above 50 miles, & part of the way in the dark. How many 
Curses this Misadventure cost them I cant say, tho' at least as 
many as they rode Miles. I was content to tarry to see the Men 
fixt out & jog on fair & softly along with them, & so were Mean- 
well & Puzzlecause. One of our Men had a Kick on the Belly by 
a Horse, for which I order'd him to be instantly Blooded, & no 
ill consequence ensued. We left Astrolabe's Negro Sick behind 
us. About 11 we set off, & call'd at an Ordinary 8 Miles off, 
not far from the great Bridge. Then we proceeded 8 Miles farther 
to honest Timothy Jones who supply'd us with every thing that 
was necessary. He had a tal straight Daughter of a Yielding 
Sandy Complexion, who having the curiosity to see the Tent, 
Puzzlecause gallanted her thither, & might have made her free 
of it, had not we come reasonably to save the Damsel's Chastity. 
Here both our Cookery & Bedding were more cleanly than Ordi- 
nary. The Parson lay with Puzzlecause in the Tent, to keep him 
honest, or peradventure, to partake of his diversion if he shou'd 
be otherwise. 

68 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

that kind of Manufacture is Open and Sleazy. Flax likewise thrives there 
extreamly, being perhaps as fine as any in the World, and I question not 
might, with a little care, and pains, be brought to rival that of Egypt; 
and yet the Men are here so intolerable Lazy, they seldom take the 
trouble to propagate it. 

16. The Line was this day carry 'd one Mile and half and 16 Poles. 
The Soil continued soft and Miry, but fuller of Trees, especially White 
cedars. Many of these too were thrown down and piled in Heaps, high 
enough for a good Muscovite Fortification. The worst of it was, the Poor 
Fellows began now to be troubled with Fluxes, occasion'd by bad Water 
and moist Lodgings: but chewing of Rhubarb kept that Malady within 

In the mean time the Commissioners decampt early in the Morning, and 
made a March of 25 Miles, as far as Mr, Andrew Mead's,^*^ who lives upon 
Nansimand River. They were no sooner got under the Shelter of that 
Hospitable Roof, but it began to rain hard, and continued so to do great 
part of the Night. This gave them much Pain for their Friends in the 
Dismal, whose sufferings spoilt their Taste for the good Chear, wherewith 
they were entertain'd themselves. 

However, late that Evening, these poor Men had the Fortune to come 
upon another Terra-firma, which was the Luckyer for them, because the 
Lower ground, by the rain that fell, was made a fitter Lodging for Tadpoles 
than men. 

In our Journey we remarkt that the North Side of this great Swamp 
lies higher than either the East on the West, nor were the approaches to 
it so full of Sunken Grounds. We passt by no less than two Quaker 
Meeting Houses, one of which had an Awkward Ornament on the West 
End of it, that seem'd to Ape a Steeple. I must own I expected no such 
Piece of Foppery from a Sect of so much outside Simplicity. 

That persuasion prevails much in the lower end of Nansimond county, 
for want of Ministers to Pilot the People a decenter way to Heaven. 

The ill Reputation of Tobacco planted in those lower Parishes makes 
the Clergy unwilling to accept of them, unless it be such whose abilities 
are as mean as their Pay. Thus, whether the Churches be quite void or 
but indifferently filled, the Quakers will have an Opportunity of gaining 
Proselytes. Tis a wonder no Popish Missionaries are sent from Maryland 
to labour in this Neglected Vineyard, who we know have Zeal enough 
to traverse Sea and Land on the Meritorious Errand of making converts. 

Nor is it less Strange that some Wolf in Sheep's cloathing arrives not 
from New England to lead astray a Flock that has no shepherd. People 
uninstructed in any Religion are ready to embrace the first that offers. 
Tis natural for helpless man to adore his Maker in Some Form or other, 

See note 37, Secret History. 

March] The Secret History 69 

16. We march 't from hence about 9 always giving our Baggage 
the Start of Us. We call'd at John Ive's for a Tast of good Water, 
which is as rare in these parts as good Doctrine. We saw several 
pretty Girls here as wild as Colts, tho' not so ragged, but drest 
all in their own Industry. Even those cou'd not tempt us to alight, 
but we pursued our Journey with Diligence. We past by M'" 
Osheild's, & M' Pugh's, the last of which has a very good Brick 
House, & arriv'd about 4 at Cap* Meads.^'^ Here amongst other 
Strong Liquors we had plenty of Strong Beer, with which we made 
as free as our Libertines did with the Parson. The Carolina Com- 
missioners did not only persecute him with their Wit, but with 
their Kisses too, which he suffer'd with the Patience of a Martyr. 
We were no sooner under the Shelter of that hospitable House, 
but it began to rain & so continu'd to do great Part of the Night, 
which put in some Pain for our Friends in the Dismal. The 
Journey this Day was 25 Miles, yet the Baggage Horses perform'd 
it without faltering. 

■Andrew Meade, of Irish parentage, who came to Virginia about 1690 and settled 
S'^^^f'^^^^ond River near Suffolk. He was a member of the House of Burgesses, 
li , , % ° ^^^ County Court, and was Senior Captain of Militia. See Basker- 
ville s Andrew Meade of Ireland and Virginia. 

70 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

and were there any exception to this Rule, I should expect it to be among 
the Hottentots of the Cape of Good Hope and of North Carolina, 

There fell a great deal of Rain in the Night, accompany'd with a Strong 
Wind. The fellow-feeling we had for the poor Dismalites, on Account of 
this unkind Weather, render 'd the Down we laid upon uneasy. We 
fancy'd them half-drown'd in their Wet Lodging, with the Trees blowing 
down about their Ears. These Were the Gloomy Images our Fears 
Suggested; tho' twas so much imeasiness clear again. They happen'd 
to come of much better, by being luckily encampt on the dry piece of 
Ground afore-mention'd. 

17. They were, however, forct to keep the Sabbath in Spite of their 
Teeth, contrary to the Dispensation our good Chaplain had given them. 
Indeed, their Short allowance of Provision would have justity'd their mak- 
ing the best of their way, without Distinction of days. Twas certainly 
a Work both of Necessity and Self-preservation, to save themselves from 
Starving. Nevertheless, the hard Rain had made everything so thoroughly 
wet, that it was quite impossible to do any Business. They therefore 
made a vertue of what they could not help, and contentedly rested in their 
dry situation. 

Since the Surveyors had enter'd the Dismal they had laid Eyes on no liv- 
ing Creature: neither Bird nor Beast, Insect nor Reptile came in View. 
Doubtless, the Eternal Shade that broods over this mighty Bog, and 
hinders the sun-beams from blessing the Ground, makes it an uncomfortable 
Habitation for any thing that has life. Not so much as a Zealand Frog 
cou'd endure so Aguish a Situation. 

It had one Beauty, however, that delighted the Eye, tho' at the Expense 
of all the other Senses: the Moisture of the Soil preserves a continual 
Verdure, and makes every Plant an Evergreen, but at the same time the 
foul Damps ascend without ceasing, corrupt the Air, and render it unfit 
for Respiration. Not even a Turkey-Buzzard will venture to fly over it, 
no more than the Italian Vultures will over the filthy Lake Avernus, or 
the Birds in the Holy-Land over the Salt Sea, where Sodom and Gomorrah 
formerly stood. ^^ 

*' "Byrd's description of this swamp is too unfavorable. The place is not unin- 
habited at this day. Persons who live in the adjacent country go thither to hunt bears 
and deer as well as wild cats. In the swamp is Lake Drummond. a favorite angling 
ground for local sportsmen. The water, which from its dark color might well seem 
unwholesome to the observers, is discolored by the roots of juniper-trees which abound 
there. It is popularly called "juniper water" and is held in such high esteem as drink- 
ing water that the inhabitants of the whole region send for it for many miles. I am 
assured also that there are many snakes in the swamp and the only reason Byrd's 
surveyors did not encounter them was the early season at which the expedition was 
made." (Bassett's Note, p. 60 of his edition.) 

March] The Secret History 71 

17. It rain'd this Morning til 10 a Clock, which fill'd us all 
with the VaptDurs. I gave my self a thorough wash and Scrub'd off 
a full weeks dirt, which made me fitter to attend the Sei'vice which 
our Chaplain perform'd. I wrote to the Governor a particular 
Account of our Proceedings, & had the Complaisance to show the 
Letter to my CoUegues. These worthy Gentlemen had hammer'd 
out an Epistle to the Governor containing a kind of Remonstrance 
against paying the Burgesses in Money, & prevail'd with our Land- 
lord to deliver it. At Night we had a religious Bowl to the pious 
Memory of St. Patrick, & to shew due Regard to this Saint several 
of the Company made some Hybemian Bulls: But the Parson un- 
happily out-blunder'd all, which made his Persecutors merry at 
his Cost. 

72 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

In these sad Circumstances, the Kindest thing we cou'd do for our 
Suffering Friends was to give them a place in the Litany. Our Chaplain, 
for his Part, did his Office, and ruhb'd us up with a Seasonable Sermon. 
This was quite a new thing to our Brethren of North Carolina, who live 
in a climate where no clergyman can Breathe, any more than Spiders in 
Ireland. ^^ 

For want of men in Holy Orders, both the Members of the Council and 
Justices of the Peace are empower'd by the Laws of that Country to marry 
all those who will not take One another's Word; but for the ceremony 
of Christening their children, they trust that to chance.^*^ If a Parson 
come in their way, they will crave a Cast of his office, as they call it, 
else they are content their Offspring should remain as Arrant Pagans as 
themselves. They account it among their greatest advantages that they 
are not Priest-ridden, not remembering that the Clergy is rarely guilty 
of Bestriding such as have the misfortune to be poor. 

One thing may be said for the Inhabitants of that Province, that they 
are not troubled with any Religious Fumes, and have the least Superstition 
of any People living. They do not know Sunday from any other day, 
any more than Robison Crusoe did, which would give them a great Ad- 
vantage were they given to be industrious.^'* But they keep so many 
Sabbaths every week, that their disregard of the Seventh Day has no 
manner of cruelty in it, either to Servants or Cattle. 

It was with some difficulty we cou'd make our People quit the good 
chear they met with at this House, so it was late before we took our De- 
parture; but to make us amends, our Landlord was so good as to conduct 
us Ten Miles on our Way, as far as the Cypress Swamp, which drains 
itself into the Dismal. Eight Miles beyond that we forded the Waters of 
Coropeak, which tend the same way as do many others on that side. 
In Six Miles more we reacht the Plantation of Mr. Thomas Spight, a 
Grandee of N Carolina. ^^ We found the good Man upon his Crutches, 

^ In this and the two following paragraphs, Byrd writes with the prejudice of a 
member of the Established Church. So also wrote Governor Burrington. (Colonial 
Records of North Carolina. Vol. Ill, pp. 152-158.) The Church was established 
by law in 1701, but opposition by dissenters and liberal churchmen resulted in great 
confusion, which culminated in the Cary Rebellion. (See Weeks, S. B., Religious 
Development in the Province of North Carolina, Baltimore, 1892.) In 1715 a new 
church law was adopted. Prior to 1728 the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 
had sent to North Carolina thirteen ministers and one schoolmaster. Three of the 
four North Carolina boundary commissioners were churclmien, Moseley, Gale and 
Little, and also Swann, the surveyor. 

^ Ii} 1669, because of the absence of clergymen in the colony, marriage was made a 
civil contract. By the vestry law of 1715, magistrates were permitted to perfoiin the 
marriage ceremony, "in such parishes where no minister shall be resident." and in 
1741 the right was confined to the clergy of the Church of England and magistrates. 

^" Yet in 1715 the North Carolina Assembly required the observance of the Lord's 
Day "with the proper acts of piety," prohibiting any trade or work thereon, and 
declared January 30 and September 22 days of fasting and prayer, and designated 
May 29 as a holy day. See Colonial Records, Vol. XXIII, p. 3. 

■"See Secret History, Note 38. 

March] The Secret History 73 

[Continued on page 75] 

74 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

being crippled with the Gout in both his Knees. Here we flatter'd our- 
selves we should by this time meet with good Tydings of the Surveyors, 
but had reckon'd, alas! without our Host: on the Contrary, we were told 
the Dismal was at least Thirty Miles wide at that Place. However, as 
nobody could say this on his own Knowledge, we Order'd Guns to be fired 
and a Drum to be beaten, but receiv'd no Answer, unless it was from that 
prating Nymph Echo, who, like a loquacious Wife, will always have the 
last Word, and Sometimes return three for one. 

18. It was indeed no Wonder our Signal was not heard at that time, 
by the People in the Dismal, because, in Truth they had not then pene- 
trated one Third of their way. They had that Morning fallen to work 
with great Vigour; and, finding the Ground better than Ordinary, drove 
on the Line 2 Miles and 38 poles. This was reckon'd an Herculean day's 
Work, and yet they would not have Stopp'd there, had not an impenetrable 
cedar Thicket chekt their Industry. Our Landlord had seated Himself 
on the Borders of this Dismal, for the Advantage of the Green Food His 
Cattle find there all Winter, and for the Rooting that Supports His Hogs. 
This, I own, is some convenience to his Purse, for which his whole Family 
pay dear in their Persons, for they are devoured by musketas all the 
Summer, and have Agues every Spring and Fall, which Corrupt all the 
Juices of their Bodies, give them a cadaverous complexion, and besides 
a lazy, creeping Habit, which they never get rid of. 

19. We Ordered Several Men to Patrole on the Edge of the Dismal, 
both towards the North and towards the South, and to fire Guns at proper 
Distances. This they perform'd very punctually, but cou'd hear nothing in 
return, nor gain any Sort of Intelligence. In the mean time whole Flocks 
of Women and Children flew hither to Stare at us, with as much curiosity 
as if we had lately Landed from Bantam or Morocco. 

Some Borderers, too, had a great Mind to know where the Line wou'd 
come out, being for the most part Apprehensive lest their Lands 
Should be taken into Virginia. In that case they must have submitted 
to some Sort of Order and Government; whereas, in N Carolina, every 
One does what seems best in his own Eyes. There were some good 
Women that brought their children to be Baptiz'd, but brought no Capons 
along with them to make the solemnity cheerful. In the mean time it was 
Strange that none came to be marry'd in such a Multitude, if it had only 
been for the Novelty of having their Hands Joyn'd by one in Holy Orders. 
Yet so it was, that tho' our chaplain Christen'd above an Hundred, he did 
not marry so much as one Couple dureing the whole Expedition. But mar- 
riage is reckon'd a Lay contract in Carolina, as I said before, and a Country 
Justice can tie the fatal Knot there, as fast as an Arch-Bishop. 

None of our Visiters could, however, tell us any News of the Surveyors, 

March] The Secret History 75 

18. It was not possible to get from so good a House before 11 
a Clock, nor then neither for our Servants. When Firebrand ask't 
his Man why he lagg'd behind, he exprest himself with great Free- 
dom of his Master, swearing he cared for no Mortal but his dear 
self, & wishing that the Devil might take him, if he ever attended 
him again in any of his Travels. We made the best of our way 
to M' Tho. Speight's, who appear'd to be a Grandee of North- 
Carolina.^^ There we arriv'd about 4, tho' the Distance cou'd 
not be less than 25 Miles. Upon our Arrival our poor Landlord 
made a Shift to crawl out upon his Crutches, having the Gout in 
both his Knees. He bid us welcome, & a great Bustle was made 
in the Family, about our Entertainment. We saw 2 truss^^ Damsels 
stump about very Industriously, that were handsome enough upon 
a March. Our Landlord gave us much Concern, by affirming with 
some Assurance, that the Dismal cou'd not be less than 30 Miles 
in Breadth. All our Comfort was, that his Computation depended 
wholly on his own wild Conjecture. We ordered Guns to be 
fired & a Drum to be beaten to try if we cou'd be answer'd out of 
the Desert, but we had no answer, but from that making Slut Echo. 
The Servants ty'd the Horses so carelessly diat some of them did 
our Landlord much Damage in his Fodder. I was the more con- 
cem'd at this, because the poor Man did all he cou'd to supply our 
Wants. Firebrand & the Parson lay single while some were oblig'd 
to stow 3 in a Bed. Nor cou'd lying soft & alone cure the first of 
these of swearing outrageously in his Sleep. 

19. We dispatch't Men to the North & South to fire Guns on the 
Edge of the Dismal by way of Signal, but cou'd gain no Intelli- 
gence of our People. Men, Women, and Children flockt from the 
Neighbourhood, to stare at us with as much Curiosity as if we had 
been Morrocco Embassadors. Many Children were brought to 

. 'tljl^'"^^ Speight, of Perquimans County, member of the North Carolina Assembly 
m 1725 and Associate Justice of the General Court, 1726-28. 
"'* Stout, well-formed. 

76 History of the Dividing Line [March 

nor Indeed was it possible any of them shou'd at that time, They being 
still laboring in the Midst of the Dismal. 

It seems they were able to carry the Line this Day no further than 
one mile and 61 Poles, and that whole distance was thro' a Miry cedar 
Bogg, where the ground trembled under their Feet most frightfully. In 
many places too their Passage was retarded by a great number of fallen 
Trees, that lay Horsing upon one Another. 

Tho' many circumstances concurr'd to make this an unwholesome Situa- 
tion, yet the Poor men had no time to be sick, nor can one conceive a 
more Calamitous Case than it would have been to be laid up in that un- 
comfortable Quagmire. Never were Patients more tractable, or willing 
to take Physick, than these honest Fellows; but it was from a Dread 
of laying their Bones in a Bogg that wou'd soon spew them up again. 
That Consideration also put them upon more caution about their Lodging. 

They first cover'd the Ground with Square Pieces of Cypress bark, 
which now, in the Spring, they cou'd easily Slip off the Tree for that 
purpose. On this they Spread their Bedding; but unhappily the Weight 
and Warmth of their Bodies made the Water rise up betwixt the Joints 
of the Bark, to their great Inconvenience. Thus they lay not only moist, 
but also exceedingly cold, because their Fires were continually going out. 
For no sooner was the Trash upon the Surface burnt away, but immediate- 
ly the Fire was extinguisht by the Moisture of the Soil, Insomuch 
that it was great part of the Centinel's Business to rekindle it again in a 
Fresh Place, every Quarter of an Hour. Nor cou'd they indeed do their 
duty better, because Cold was the only Enemy they had to Guard against 
in a miserable Morass, where nothing can inhabit. 

20. We could get no Tidings yet of our Brave Adventurers, not- 
withstanding we despatcht men to the likeliest Stations to enquire after 
them. They were still Scuffling in the Mire, and could not Possibly 
forward the Line this whole day more than one Mile and 64 Chains. 
Every Step of this Day's Work was thro' a cedar Bog, where the Trees were 
somewhat Smaller and grew more into a Thicket. It was now a great 
Misfortune to the Men to find their Provisions grow less as their Labour 
grew greater; They were all forct to come to short Allowance, and 
consequently to work hard without filling their Bellies. Tho' this was 
very severe upon English Stomachs, yet the People were so far from 
being discomfited at it, that they still kept up their good Humor, and 
merrily told a young Fellow in the Company, who lookt very Plump and 
Wholesome, that he must expect to go first to Pot, if matters shou'd come 
to Extremity. 

March] The Secret History 77 

our Chaplain to be christen'd, but no Capons, so that all the good 
he did that way was gratis. Maj"^ Alston & Capt. Baker made us 
a visit & din'd with us.^° My Landlord's Daughter Rachel offer'd 
her Service to wash my Linnen, & regal'd me with a Mess of 
Hominy toss't up with Rank Butter & Clyster Sugar. This I was 
forc't to eat, to shew that nothing from so fair a hand oou'd be 
disagreeable. She was a smart Lass, & when I desired the Parson 
to make a Memorandum of his Christenings, that we might keep 
an Account of the good we did, she ask't me very pertly, who was 
to keep an Account of the Evil? I told her she shou'd be my 
Secretary for that, if she wou'd go along with me. M"^ Pugh & M'' 
Oshield help't to fill up our House, so that my Landlady told us 
in her cups, that now we must lie 3 in a Bed. 

20. No News yet of our Dismalities tho' we dispatch't Men to 
every point of the Compass to enquire after them. Our Visitors 
took their Leave, but others came in the Evening to supply their 
Places. Judge Jumble who left us at Coratuck, return'd now froni 
Edenton, and brought 3 Cormorants along with him. One was his 
own Brother,^^ the 2*^ was Brother to Shoebrush,^" & the 3*^ Cap*. 
Genneau, who had sold his Commission & spent the money. These 
honest Gentlemen had no business, but to help drink out our 
Liquor, having very little at Home. Shoebrush's Brother is a Col- 
lector, & owes his Place to a Bargain he made with Firebrand. 
Never were understrappers so humble, as the N. Carolina Col- 
lectors are to this huge Man. They pay him the same Colirt they 

' The Alstons and Bakers were families of Chowan County, North Carolina. 
Edmund Gale. 
' Thomas Lovick of Chowan County, Collector of the Customs. 

78 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

This was only said by way of Jest, yet it made Him thoughtful in 
earnest. However, for the Present he return'd them a very civil answer, 
letting them know that, dead or alive, he shou'd be glad to be useful 
to such worthy good Friends. But, after all, this Humorous Saying had 
one very good Effect, for that yonker, who before was a little enclin'd 
by his Constitution to be lazy, grew on a Sudden Extreamly Industrious, 
that so there might be less Occasion to carbonade him for the good of his 

While our Friends were thus embarrast in the Dismal, the Commis- 
sioners began to ly under great uneasiness for them. They knew very well 
their Provisions must by this time begin to fall Short, nor cou'd they 
conceive any likely means of a Supply. At this time of the Year both 
the Cattle and Hoggs had forsaken the Skirts of the Dismal, invited by 
the Springing Grass on the firm Land. All our hopes were that Provi- 
dence wou'd cause some Wild Game to fall in their way, or else direct 
them to a wholesome Vegetable for Subsistence. In Short they were 
haunted with so many Frights on this Occasion, that they were in truth 
more uneasy than the Persons whose Case they lamented. 

We had several Visiters from Edenton, in the Afternoon, that came 
with Mr. Gale, who had prudently left us at Coratuck, to Scuffle thro' 
that dirty Country by our Selves. These Gentlemen, having good Noses, 
had smelt out, at 30 Miles Distance, the Precious Liquor, with which the 
Liberality of our good Friend Mr. Mead had just before Supply'd us. 
That generous Person had judg'd very right, that we were now got out of 
the Latitude of Drink proper for men in Affliction, and therefore was so 
good as to send his Cart loaden with all sorts of refreshments, for which 
the Commissioners return'd Him their Thanks, and the Chaplain His 

21. The Surveyors and their Attendants began now in good Earnest 
to be alarm'd with Apprehensions of Famine, nor could they forbear look- 
ing with Some Sort of Appetite upon a dog that had been the faithful 
Companion of their Travels. 

Their Provisions were now near exhausted. They had this Morning 
made the last Distribution, that so each might Husband his small Pittance 
as he pleas'd. Now it was that the fresh Colour'd Young Man began to 
tremble every Joint of Him, having dreamed, the Night before, that the 
Indians were about to Barbacue him over live coals. 

The Prospect of Famine determin'd the People, at last, with one consent, 
to abandon the Line for the Present, which advanced but slowly, and 
make the best of their way to firm Land. Accordingly they sat off very 
early, and, by the help of the Compass which they carried along with them, 
Steer'd a direct Westwardly Course. They marcht from Morning till 

March] The Secret History 79 

wou'd do, if they held dieir Commissions immediately from his 
Will & Pleasure. Tho' the Case is much otherwise, because their 
Commissions are as good as his, being granted by the same Com- 
missioners of his Majesty's Customers. However he expects a 
World of Homage from them, calling them his Officers. Nor is 
he content with homage only, but he taxes them, as indeed he 
does all the other Collectors of his Province with a hundred little 

At Night the Noble Captain retir'd before the rest of the company, 
& was stepping without Ceremony into our Bed, but I arriv'd just 
time enough to prevent it. We cou'd not possibly be so civil to 
this free Gentleman, as to make him so great a Compliment: 
Much less let him take possession according to the Carolina Breed- 
ing without Invitation. Had Ruth or Rachel my Landlord's 
Daughters taken this Liberty; We shou'd perhaps have made no 
Words: but in truth the Captain had no Charms that merited so 
particular an Indulgence. 

21. Several Persons from several parts came to see Us amongst 
which was M"^ Baker & his Brother the Surveyor of Nansimond, 
but cou'd tell us no Tydings from the Dismal. We began to be 
in pain for the Men who had been trotting in that Bogg so long, 
& the more because we apprehended a Famine amongst them. 
I had indeed given a Warrant to kill any thing that came in their 
way in case of Necessity, not knowing that no living Creature cou'd 
inhabit that inhospitable Place. My Landlord thought our Stay 
here as tedious as we did, because we eat up his corn and Summer 
Provisions. However the Hopes of being well paid render'd that 
Evil more Supportable. But Complaint being made that the Corn 
grew low. We retrench't the poor Man's Horses to one Meal a day. 
In the Evening Plausible & Puzzlecause retum'd to Us from Eden- 
ton, where they had been to recover the great Fatigue of doing 
nothing, & to pick up new Scandal against their Governour. 

80 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

Night, and Computed their Journey to amount to about 4 Miles, which was 
a great way, considering the difficulties of the Ground. It was all along 
a Cedar-Swamp, so dirty and perplext, that if they had not travell'd for 
their Lives, they cou'd not have reacht so far. 

On their way they espied a Turkey-Buzzard, that flew prodigiously 
high to get above the Noisome Exhalations that ascend from that filthy 
place. This they were willing to understand as a good Omen, according 
to the Superstitions of the Ancients, who had great Faith in the Flight of 
Vultures. However, after all this tedious Journey, they could yet discover 
no End of their Toil, which made them very pensive, especially after 
they had eat the last Morsel of their Provisions. But to their unspeakable 
comfort, Avhen all was husht in the Evening, they heard the Cattle low, 
and the Dogs bark, very distinctly, which, to Men in that distress, was 
more delightful Music than Faustina or Farinelli cou'd have made. 
In the mean time the Commissioners could get no News of them from 
any of their Visiters, who assembled from every Point of the Compass. 

But the good Landlord had Visitors of another kind while we were there, 
that is to say, some industrious Masters of Ships, that lay in Nansimond 
River. These worthy Commanders came to bespeak Tobacco from these 
Parts to make up their Loadings, in Contempt of the Virginia Law, which 
Positively forbad their taking in any made in North Carolina."'- Nor 
was this Restraint at all unreasonable; because they have no Law in 
Carolina, either to mend the Quality or lessen the quantity of Tobacco, 
or so much as to prevent the turning out of Seconds, all which cases have 
been provided against by the Laws of Virginia. Wherefore, there can be 
no reason why the Inhabitants of that Province Shou'd have the same 
Advantage of Shipping their Tobacco in our Parts, when they will by no 
means submit to the same Restrictions that we do. 

22. Our Patrole happen'd not to go far enough to the Northward this 
Morning, if they had, the People in the Dismal might have heard the 
Report of their Guns. For this Reason they return'd without any Tydings, 
which threw us into a great tho' unnecessary Perplexity. This was now 
the Ninth day since they enter'd into that inhospitable Swamp, and con- 
sequently we had reason to believe their Provisions were quite Spent. 

We knew they workt hard, and therefore would eat heartily, so long 
as they had wherewithal to recruit their Spirits, not imagining the Swamp 
so wide as they found it. Had we been able to guess where the Line 
wou'd come out, we wou'd have sent men to meet them with a fresh 
Supply; but as we cou'd know nothing of that, and as we had neither 
Compass nor Surveyor to guide a Messenger on such an Errand, we were 

^ In 1679 Virginia prohibited the importation of North Carolina tobacco, but this 
was repeated in 1705 and 1726. (Hening, II 445, III 253, IV 175.) It is interesting 
to note that this policy was a subject of protest to the British government by Richard 
Fitz-William. {Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. II, pp. 684, 816.) 

March] The Secret History 81 

22. Our disagreeable Carolina Visitors were so kind as to take 
their Leave, so did M"" Osheilds & Cap* Toot, by which our Com- 
pany & my Landlord's Trouble were considerably lessen'd. We 
went out several Ways in the Morning, <& cou'd get no intelligence. 
But in the Afternoon Bootes brought us the welcome News that 
the Surveyors & all the People were come safe out of the Dismal. 
They landed if one may so call it, near 6 Miles North of this 
Place about ten this Morning not far from the House of Peter 
Brinkley. Here they appeas'd their Hungry Stomachs, and waited 
to receive our Orders. It seems the Distance thro' the Desart 
where they past it was 15 Miles. Of this they had mark't & 

82 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

unwilling to expose him to no Purpose; Therefore, all we were able 
to do for them, in so great an Extremity, was to recommend them to a 
Merciful Providence. 

However long we might think the time, yet we were cautious of 
Shewing our uneasiness, for fear of Mortifying our Landlord. He had 
Done his best for us, and therefore we were unwilling he should think 
us dissatisfy 'd with our Entertainment, In the midst of our concern, we 
were most argeeably surpriz'd, just after Dinner, with the News that 
the Dismalites were all Safe. These blessed Tidings were brought to us 
by Mr. Swan, the Carolina-Surveyor, who came to us in a very tatter'd 

After very Short Salutations, we got about Him as if He had been a 
Hottentot, and began to Inquire into his Adventures. He gave us a 
Detail of their uncomfortable Voyage thro' the Dismal, and told us, 
particularly, they had pursued their Journey early that Morning, en- 
couraged by the good Omen of seeing the Crows fly over their Heads; that, 
after an Hour's march over very Rotten Ground, they, on a Sudden, began 
to find themselves among tall Pines, that grew in the Water, which in 
Many Places was Knee-deep. This Pine Swamp, into which that of 
Coropeak drain'd itself, extended near a Mile in Breadth; and tho' it 
was exceedingly wet, yet it was much harder at Bottom than the rest of 
the Swamp; that about Ten in the Morning, they recovered firm Land, 
which they embraced with as much Pleasure as Shipwreckt Wretches do 
the shoar. 

After these honest adventurers had congratulated each other's Deliver- 
ance, their first Inquiry was for a good House, where they might Satisfy 
the Importunity of their Stomachs. Their good Genius directed them to 
Mr. Brinkley's, who dwells a little to the Southward of the Line. This Man 
began immediately to be very inquisitive, but they declar'd they had no 
Spirits to answer Questions till after Dinner. 

"But pray, Gentlemen," said he, "answer me One Question at least: 
what shall we get for your Dinner?" To which they replied, "No Matter 
what, provided it be but Enough." He kindly supply'd their Wants as 
soon as possible, and by the Strength of that Refreshment they made a 
Shift to come to us in the Evening, to tell their own Story. They all 
lookt very thin, and as ragged as the Gibeonite Ambassadors did in the 
days of Yore. Our Surveyors told us they had measur'd Ten Miles in the 
Dismal, and Computed the Distance they had Marcht since to amount to 
about five more, So they made the whole Breadth to be 15 Miles in all. 

March] The Secret History 83 

measur'd no more than ten, but had travers'd the remainder as fast 
as they cou'd for their Lives. They were reduced to such Straights 
that they began to look upon John Ellis's Dog with a longing 
Appetite, & John Evans who was fat & well liking, had reasons 
to fear that he wou'd be the next Morsel. We sent Astrolabe's 
Horses for him & his Brother, & Firebrand ordered Peter Jones 
with an air of Authority to send his Horse for Orion: but he let 
him understand very frankly that nobody shou'd ride his Horse 
but himself, so not finding his Commands obeyed by the Virgin- 
ians, he try'd his Power amongst the Carolina Men, who were 
more at his Devotion, & sent one of their Horses for his Friend, to 
save his own; he also sent him a Pottle-Bottle of Strong Beer 
particularly, without any regard to Astrolabe, tho' the Beer Be- 
long'd to the other Commissioners, as much as to him. We also 
sent Horses for the Men, that they might come to us & refresh 
themselves after so dreadfull a Fatigue. They had however gone 
thro' it all with so much Fortitude, that they discover'd as much 
Strength of Mind as of Body. They were now all in perfect 
Health, tho' their moist Lodging for so many Nights, & drinking of 
Standing Water tinged with the Roots of Juniper, had given them 
little Fevers & Slight Fluxes in their Passage, which as slight 
Remedys recover'd. Since I mention'd the Strong Beer, It will 
be but just to remember Cap* Meads Generosity to Us. His Cart 
arriv'd here Yesterday with a very handsome present to the Com- 
missioners of Virginia. It brought them 2 Doz. Quart Bottles of 
Excellent Madera Wine, 1 Doz. Pottle Bottles of Strong Beer, & 
half a Dozen Quarts of Jamaica Rum. To this general Present 
was added a particular One to Meanwell, of Naples-Biscuit from 
M''^ Mead. At the same time we receiv'd a very Polite Letter, 
which gave a good Grace to his Generosity, & doubled our Obliga- 
tion. And surely never was Bounty better timed, when it enabled 
us to regale the poor Dismalites whose Spirits needed some Recruit. 
And indeed we needed comfort as well as they, for tho' we had 
not shared with them in the Labours of the Body yet we made 
it up with the Labour of the Mind, and our Fears had brought us 
as low, as our Fatigue had done them. I wrote a Letter of thanks 

84 History of the Line [March 

23. It was very reasonable that the Surveyors, and the men who 
had been Sharers in their Fatigue, should now have a little Rest. They 
were all, except one, in good Health and good heart, blessed be God! 
notwithstanding the dreadful Hardships they had gone through. It was 
really a Pleasure to see the Chearfulness wherewith they receiv'd the 
Order to prepare to re-enter the Dismal on the Monday following, in order 
to continue the Line from the Place where they had left off measuring, 
that so we might have the Exact Breadth of that Dirty Place. There 
were no more than two of them that cou'd be perswaded to be reliev'd on 
this Occasion, or Suffer the other men to Share the Credit of that bold 
Undertaking, Neither wou'd these have Suffer'd it had not one of them 
been very lame, and the Other much Indispos'd. 

By the Description the Surveyors gave of the Dismal, we were convinc'd 
that nothing but the Exceeding dry Season we had been bless'd with 
cou'd have made the passing of it practicable. It is the Source of no less 
than five Several Rivers which discharge themselves Southward into 
Albemarle Sound, and of two that run northerly into Virginia. From 
thence tis easy to imagine that the Soil must be thoroughly Soakt with 
Water, or else there must be plentiful Stores of it under Ground; to 
supply so many Rivers; especially since there is no Lake, or any con- 
siderable Body of that Element to be seen on the Surface. The Rivers 
that Head in it from Virginia are the South Branch of Nansimond, and 
the West Branch of Elizabeth; and those from Carolina are North-west 
River, North River, Pasquetank, Little River, and Pequimons. 

There is one remarkable part of the Dismal, lying to the south of 
the Line, that has few or no Trees growing on it, but contains a large 
Tract of tall Reeds. These being green all the Year round, and waveing 
with every Wind, have procur'd it the Name of the Green Sea. 

We are not yet acquainted with the precise Extent of the Dismal, the 
whole haveing never been Survey'd; but it may be Computed at a Medium 
to be about 30 Miles long and 10 Miles broad, tho' where the Line crost 
it, twas compleatly 15 Miles wide. But it seems to grow Narrower to- 
wards the North, or at least does so in many Places. The Exhalations 
that continually rise from this vast Body of mire and Nastiness infect the 
Air for many Miles around, and render it very unwholesome for the 
Bordering Inhabitants. It makes them liable to Agues, Pleurisies, and 
many other Distempers, that kill abundance of People, and make the rest 
look no better than Ghosts. It wou'd require a great Sum of Money to 
drain it, but the Publick Treasure cou'd not be better bestow'd than to 
preserve the Lives of his Majesty's Liege People, and at the same time 
render so great a Tract of Swamp very Profitable, besides the advantage 

March] The Secret History 85 

to our generous Benefactor, concluding with a Tender of the Com- 
missioners Service & the Blessing of their Chaplain. 

23. The Surveyors described the Dismal to us in the following 
Manner. That it was in many places overgrown with tall Reeds 
interwoven with large Briars in which the Men were frequently 
intangled. And that not only in the Skirts of it, but likewise to- 
wards the Middle. In other places it was full of Juniper Trees, 
commonly so call'd, tho' they seem rather to be white Cedars. 
Some of these are of a great Bigness: but the Soil being soft & 
boggy, there is little hold for the Roots, & consequently any high 
Wind blows many of them down. By this means they lye in heaps, 
horsing upon one another, and brittling out with Sharp Snaggs, 
so that Passage in many plpaces is difficult and Dangerous. The 
Ground was generally very quaggy, & the Impressions of the Men's 
feet were immediately fill'd with Water. So if there was any 
hole made it was soon full of that Element, & by that Method it 
was that our People supply 'd themselves with drink. Nay if they 
made a Fire, in less than half an Hour, when the crust of Leaves 
& Trash were burnt thro', it wou'd sink down into a Hole, & be 
extinguish't. So replete is this Soil with Water, that it cou'd 
never have been passable, but in a very dry Season. And indeed 
considering it is the Source of 6 or 7 Rivers, without any Visible 
Body of Water to supply them, there must be great Stores of it 
under Ground. Some part of this Swamp has few or no Trees 
growing in it, but contains a large Tract of Reeds, which being 
perpetually green, & waving in the Wind, it is call'd the Green Sea. 
Gall-Bushes grow very thick in many parts of it, which are ever 
green Shrubs, bearing a Berry which dies a Black Colour like 
the Galls of the Oak, & from thence they receive their Name. 

Abundance of Cypress Trees grow likewise in this Swamp, and 
some Pines upon the Borders towards the firm Land, but the 
Soil is so moist & miry, that like the Junipers a high wind mows 
many of them down. It is remarkable that towards the middle of 
the Dismal no Beast or Bird or even Reptile can live, not only 
because of the softness of the Ground, but likewise because it is so 
overgrown with Thickets, that the Genial Beams of the Sun can 

86 History of the Dividing Line [March 

of making a Channel to transport hy water-carriage goods from Albe- 
marle Sound into Nansimond and Elizabeth Rivers, in Virginia.^^ 

Such a project was planned by Byrd himself. See Introduction, p. xxiv. 

March] The Secret History 


never penetrate them. Indeed on the Skirts of it Cattle & Hogs 
will venture for the Sake of the Reeds, & Roots, with which they 
will keep themselves fat all the winter. This is a great Advantage 
to the Bordering Inhabitants in that particular, tho' they pay dear 
for it by the Agues & other distemper occasion'd by the Noxious 
Vapours the rise perpetually from that vast Extent of Mire & 
Nastiness. And a vast Extent it is, being computed at a Medium 
10 Miles Broad, & 30 Miles long, tho' where the Line past it, 'twas 
compleatly 15 Miles broad. However this dirty Dismal is in 
many parts of it very pleasant to the Eye, tho' disagreeable to 
the other Sences, because there is an everlasting Verdure, which 
makes every Season look like the Spring. The way the Men took 
to Secure their Bedding here from moisture, was, by laying Cy- 
press Bark under their Blankets, etc which made their Lodging 
hard, but much more wholesome. 

It is easy to imagine the hardships the poor Men underwent in 
this intolerable place, who besides the Burdens on their Backs, 
were oblig'd to clear the way before the Surveyors, & to measure 
& mark after them. However they went thro' it all not only with 
Patience, but cheerfulness. Tho' Orion was as peevish as an old 
Maid all the way, & more so, because he cou'd perswade Nobody 
to be out of Humour but himself. The merriment of the Men, 
& their Innocent Jokes with one another, gave him great offence, 
whereas if he had had a grain of good Nature, he shou'd have re- 
joiced to find, that the greatest difficuhys cou'd not break their 
Spirits, or lessen their good Humor. Robin Hix took the Liberty to 
make him some short replys, that discompos'd him very much, 
particularly one hot day when the poor Fellow had a Load fit 
for a Horse upon his Back, Orion had the Conscience to desire him 
to carry his great Coat. But he roundly refus'd it, telling him 
frankly he has already as great a Burden as he cou'd Stagger 
under. This Orion stomach't so much, that he complain'd privately 
of it to Firebrand as soon as he saw him, but said not one Syllable 
of it to me. However I was inform'd of it by Astrolabe, but 
resolved to take no Notice, unless the cause was brought before 
us in Form, that the Person accus'd might have the English Liberty 

88 History of the Dividing Line [March 

24. This being Sunday, we had a Numerous congregation, which 
flockt to our Quarters from all the adjacent Country. The News that our 
Surveyors were come out of the Dismal, increas'd the Number very much, 
because it wou'd give them an Opportunity of guessing, at least, where- 
abouts the Line wou'd cut, whereby they might form Some Judgment 
whether they belong'd to Virginia or Carolina. Those who had taken up 
Land within the Disputed Bounds were in great pain lest it should be found 
to ly in Virginia; because this being done contrary to an Express Order 
of that government, the Patentees had great reason to fear they should in 
that case have lost their land. But their Apprehensions were now at 
an end, when they understood that all the Territory which had been con- 
troverted was like to be left in Carolina. 

March] The Secret History 89 

of being heard in his turn. But Firebrand Said a Gentleman 
shou'd be believ'd on his bare word without Evidence, and a poor 
Man condemned without Tryal, which agreed not at all with my 
Notions of Justice. I understand all this at 2" hand, but Meanwell 
was let into the Secret by the Partys themselves, with the hopes of 
perverting him into their Sentiments, but he was Stanch, & they 
were not able to make the least Impression upon him. This was 
a grievous Baulk, because if they cou'd have gain'd him over, 
they flatter'd themselves they might have been as unrighteous as 
they pleased by a majority. As it happens to Persons disappointed 
it broil'd upon our Gentlemen's Stomacks so much, that they were 
but indifferent Company; and I observ'd very plain, that Fire- 
brand joked less a days & swore more a Nights ever after. After 
these Mistfortunes, to be formally civil was as much as we cou'd 
afford to be to one another. Neither of us cou'd dissemble 
enough to put on a gay outside when it was cloudy within. How- 
ever this inward uneasiness helpt to make the rest of our Suffer- 
ings the more intollerable. When People are join'd together in a 
troublesome Commission, they shou'd endeavor to sweeten by 
Complacency & good Humour all the Hazards & Hardships they 
are bound to encounter, & not like marry'd People make their 
condition worse by everlasting discord. Tho' in this indeed we 
had the Advantage of marry'd People, that a few Weeks wou'd 
part us. 

24. This being Sunday the People flock't from all parts partly 
out of Curiosity, & partly out of Devotion. Among the Female 
part of our Congregation, there was not much Beauty, the most fell 
to Maj"". Alston's Daughter, who is said to be no niggard of it. 
Our Chaplain made some Christians, but cou'd perswade nobody 
to be marry'd because every Country Justice can do that Jobb for 
them. Major Alston & Captain Baker dined with us. In the after- 
noon I equipt the Men with Provissions, & dispatch't them away 
with Astrolabe & Bootes, to the Place where they were to return 
into the Dismal, in order to mark & measure what they had left 
unfiiiish't. Plausible & Shoebrush took a turn to Edenton, & in- 
vited us to go with them, but I was unwilling to go from my 

90 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

In the afternoon, those who were to re-enter the Dismal were furnisht 
with the Necessary Provisions, and Order'd to repair the Over-Night to 
their Landlord, Peter Brinkley's, that they might be ready to begin their 
Business early on Monday Morning, Mr. Irvin was excus'd from the 
Fatigue, in complement to his Lungs; but Mr. Mayo and Mr. Swan were 
Robust enough to return upon that painful Service, and, to do them 
Justice, they went with great Alacrity. The Truth was, they now knew 
the worst of it; and cou'd guess pretty near at the time when they might 
hope to return to Land again. 

25.* The air was chill'd this Morning with a Smart North-west Wind, 
which favour'd the Dismalites in their Dirty March. They return'd by the 
Path they had made in coming out, and with great Industry arriv'd in the 
Evening at the Spot where the Line had been discontinued. 

After so long and laborious a Journey, they were glad to repose them- 
selves on their couches of Cypress-bark, where their sleep was as 
sweet as it wou'd have been on a Bed of Finland Down. 

In the mean time, we who stay'd behind had nothing to do, but to make 
the best observations we cou'd upon that Part of the Country. The Soil 
of our Landlord's Plantation, tho' none of the best, seem'd more fertile 
than any thereabouts, where the Ground is near as Sandy as the Desarts 
of Affrica, and consequently barren. The Road leading from thence to 
Edenton, being in distance about 21 Miles, lies upon a Ridge call'd Sandy- 
Ridge, which is so wretchedly Poor that it will not bring Potatoes. 

The Pines in this Part of the country are of a different Species from 
those that grow in Virginia: their bearded Leaves are much longer and 
their Cones much larger. Each Cell contains a Seed of the Size and 
Figure of a black-ey'd Pea, which. Shedding in November, is very good 
Mast for Hogs, and fattens them in a Short time. 

The Smallest of these Pines are full of Cones, which are 8 or 9 Inches 
long, and each affords commonly 60 or 70 Seeds. This Kind of Mast 
has the Advantage of all other, by being more constant, and less liable 
to be nippt by the Frost, or Eaten by the Caterpillars. The Trees also 
abound more with Turpentine, and consequently yield more Tarr, than 
either the Yellow or the White Pine; And for the same reason make more 
durable Timber for building. The Inhabitants hereabouts pick up Knots 
of Lightwood in Abundance, which they burn into tar, and then carry 
it to Norfolk or Nansimond for a Market. The Tar made in this method 
is the less Valuable, because it is said to burn the Cordage, tho' it is 
full as good for all other uses, as that made in Sweden and Muscovy. 

Surely there is no place in the World where the Inhabitants live with 

*Byrd"s manuscript here notes a new year, 1729. This is due to the fact that in 
the Old Style the new year began on March 25. Following the precedent of Pro- 
fessor Bassett, a deviation from the text is made, the date 1728 being preserved as 
that, according to our calender, was the year of the survey. 

March] The Secret History 91 

Post, & expose the Men to be ill treated that I left behind. Fire- 
brand had a Flirt at Robin Hix, which discover'd much Nique 
and no Justice, because it happen'd to be for a thing of which 
he was wholly Innocent. 

25. The Air was chill'd with a N. Wester which favour'd our 
Dismalites who enter'd the Desert very early. It was not so kind 
to Meanwell who unreasonably kick't off the Bed Clothes, & catch't 
An Ague. We killed the Time, by that great help to disagreeable 
Society, a Pack of Cards. Our Landlord had not the good Fortune 
to please Firebrand with our Dinner, but surely when People do 
their best, a reasonable Man wou'd be satisfy'd. But he en- 
deavour'd to mend his Entertainment by making hot Love to honest 
Ruth, who wou'd by no means be charm'd either with his Perswa- 
sion, or his Person. While the Master was employ'd in making 
Love to one Sister, the man made his Passion known to the other, 
Only he was more boisterous, & employ'd force, when he cou'd 
not succeed by fair means. Tho' one of the men rescu'd the poor 
Girl from this violent Lover; but was so much his Friend as to 
keep the shamefuU Secret from those, whose Duty it wou'd have 
been to punish such Violations of Hospitality. Nor was this the 
only one this disorderly fellow was guilty of, for he broke open 
a House where our Landlord kept the Fodder for his own use, 
upon the belief that it was better than what he allow'd us. This 
was in compliment to his Master's Horses I hope, & not in blind 
obedience to any order he receiv'd from him. 

92 History of the Dividing Line [March 

less Labour than in N Carolina. It approaches nearer to the Description 
of Lubberland than any other, by the great felicity of the Climate, the 
easiness of raising Provisions, and the Slothfulness of the People. 

Indian Corn is of so great increase, that a little Pains will Subsist a 
very large Family with Bread, and then they may have meat without any 
pains at all, by the Help of the Low Grounds, and the great Variety of 
Mast that grows on the High-land. The Men, for their Parts, just like the 
Indians, impose all the Work upon the poor Women. They make their 
Wives rise out of their Beds early in the Morning, at the same time 
that they lye and Snore, till the Sun has run one third of his course, and 
disperst all the unwholesome Damps. Then, after Stretching and Yawning 
for half an Hour, they light their Pipes, and, under the Protection of a 
cloud of Smoak, venture out into the open Air; tho', if it happens to be 
never so little cold, they quickly return Shivering into the Chimney 
corner. When the weather is mild, they stand leaning with both their 
arms upon the corn-field fence, and gravely consider whether they had best 
go and take a Small Heat at the Hough: but generally find reasons to put 
it off till another time. 

Thus they loiter away their Lives, like Solomon's Sluggard, with their 
Arms across, and at the Winding up of the Year Scarcely have Bread to 

To speak the Truth, tis a thorough Aversion to Labor that makes People 
file off to N Carolina, where Plenty and a Warm Sun confirm them in their 
Disposition to Laziness for their whole Lives. 

26. Since we were like to be confin'd to this place, till the People 
returned out of the Dismal, twas agreed that our Chaplain might Safely 
take a turn to Edenton, to preach the Gospel to the Infidels there, and 
Christen their Children. He was accompany'd thither by Mr. Little, 
One of the Carolina Commissioners, who, to shew his regard for the 
Church, offer'd to treat Him on the Road w^ith a Fricassee of Rum. 
They fry'd half a Dozen Rashers of very fat Bacon in a Pint of Rum, 
both which being disht up together, serv'd the Company at once for meat 
and Drink. 

Most of the Rum they get in this Country comes from Ne^v England, 
and is so bad and unwholesome, that it is not improperly call'd '"Kill- 
Devil." It is distill'd there from forreign molosses, which, if Skilfully 
manag'd yields near Gallon for Gallon. Their molasses comes from the 
same country, and has the name of 'Long Sugar" in Carolina, I suppose 
from the Ropiness of it, and Serves all the purposes of Sugar, both in their 
Eating and Drinking. 

\^^ien they entertain their Friends bountifully, they fail not to set be- 
fore them a Capacious Bowl of Bombo, so call'd from the Admiral of that 
name. This is a Compound of Rum and W^ater in Equal Parts, made 
palatable with the said long Sugar, As good Humour begins to flow, and 

March] The Secret History 93 

26. I perswaded Meanwell to take a Vomit of Ipocoacana which 
workt very kindly; I took all the care of him I cou'd, tho' Fire- 
brand was so unfriendly as not to step once up Stairs to visit 
him. I also gave a Vomit to a poor Shoemaker that belong'd 
to my Landlord, by which he reap't great benefit. Puzzlecause 
made a Journey to Edenton, & took our Chaplain with him to 
preach the Gospel to the Infidels of that Town, & to baptize some 
of their Children. I began to entertain with my Chocolate, which 
every body commended, but only he that commends nothing that 
don't belong to himself. In the Evening I took a Solitary walk, 
that I might have Leizure to think on my absent Friends, which 
I now grew impatient to see. Orion stuck as close to his Patron 
Firebrand, as to the Itch does to the Fingers of many of his 
Country Folks. 

94 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

the Bowl to Ebb, they take care to replinish it with Shear Rum, of which 
there always is a Reserve under the Table. But such Generous doings hap- 
pen only when that Balsam of life is plenty; for they have often such 
Melancholy times, that neither Land-graves nor Cassicks can procure 
one drop for their Wives, when they ly in, or are troubled with the Colick 
or Vapours. Very few in this Country have the Industry to plant Orchards, 
which, in a Dearth of Rum, might supply them with much better Liquor. 
The Truth is, there is one Inconvenience that easily discourages lazy 
People from making This improvement: very often, in Autumn, when the 
Apples begin to ripen, they are visited with Numerous Flights of para- 
queets, that bite all the Fruit to Pieces in a moment, for the sake of the 
Kernels. The Havock they make is Sometimes so great, that whole 
Orchards are laid waste in Spite of all the Noises that can be made, or 
Mawkins that can be dresst up, to fright 'em away. These Ravenous 
Birds visit North Carolina only during the warm Season, and so soon as 
the Cold begins to come on, retire back towards the Sun. They rarely 
Venture so far North as Virginia, except in a very hot Summer, when they 
visit the most Southern Parts of it. They are very Beautiful ; but like some 
other pretty Creatures, are apt to be loud and mischievous. 

27. Betwixt this and Edenton there are many thuckleberry Slashes, 
which afford a convenient Harbour for Wolves and Foxes. The first of 
these wild Beasts is not so large and fierce as they are in other countries 
more Northerly. He will not attack a Man in the keenest of his Hunger, 
but run away from him, as from an Animal more mischievous than 

The Foxes are much bolder, and will Sometimes not only make a Stand, 
but likewise assault any one that would balk them of their Prey. The 
Inhabitants hereabouts take the trouble to dig abundance of Wolf-Pits, 
so deep and perpendicular, that when a Wolf is once tempted into them, 
he can no more Scramble out again, than a Husband who had taken the 
Leap can Scramble out of Matrimony. 

Most of the Houses in this Part of the Country are Log-houses, covered 
with Pine or Cypress Shingles, 3 feet long, and one broad. They are 
hung upon Laths with Peggs, and their doors too turn upon Wooden 
Hinges, and have wooden Locks to Secure them, so that the Building is 
finisht without Nails or other Iron-Work. They also set up their Pales 
without any Nails at all, and indeed more Securely than those that are 
nail'd. There are 3 Rails mortised into the Posts, the lowest of which 
serves as a Sill with a Groove in the Middle, big enough to receive the 
End of the Pales: the middle Part of the Pale rests against the Inside of 
the Next Rail, and the Top of it is brought forward to the outside of 
the uppermost. Such Wreathing of the Pales in and out makes them 
stand firm, and much harder to unfix than when nail'd in the Ordinary 

March] The Secret History 95 

27. Tho' it threaten'd Rain both Yesterday & today, yet Heaven 
was so kind to our Friends in the Dismal as to keep it from falling. 
I perswaded Meanwell to take the Bark, which He did with good 
Effect, tho' he continued very faint & low-Spirited. He took Fire- 
brand's Neglect in great Dudgeon, and amidst all his good Nature 
cou'd not forbear a great deal of Resentment; but I won his Heart 
entirely by the tender Care I took of him in his illness. I also 
gain'd the Men's Affection by dressing their wounds, & giving them 
little Remedys for their complaints. Nor was I less in my Land- 
lords Books, for acting the Doctor in his Family. Tho' I observ'd 
some Distempers in it, that were past my Skill to cure. For his 
Wife & Heir Apparent were so enclin'd to a cheerfull Cup, that 
our Liquor was very unsafe in their keeping. I had a long time 
observed that they made themselves happy every day, before the 
Sun had run one third of his course, which no doubt gave some 
uneasiness to the Old Gentleman: but Custome that reconciles most 
Evils, made him bear it with Christian Patience. 

As to the Young Gentleman, he seem'd to be as worthless as any 
homebred Squire I had ever met with, & much the worse for hav- 
ing a good Opinion of himself. His good Father intended him 
for the Mathematicks, but he never cou'd rise higher in that Study 

96 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

Within 3 or 4 Miles of Edenton, the Soil appears to be a little more 
fertile, tho' it is much cut with Slashes, which seem all to have a tendency 
towards the Dismal. 

This Town is Situate on the North side of Albemarle Sound, which is 
there about 5 miles over. A Dirty Slash runs all along the Back of it, 
which in the Summer is a foul annoyance, and furnishes abundance 
of that Carolina plague, musquetas. They may be 40 or 50 Houses, most 
of them Small, and built without Expense. A Citizen here is counted 
Extravagant, if he has Ambition enough to aspire to a Brick-chimney. 
Justice herself is but indifferently Lodged, the Court-House having much 
ttie Air of a Common Tobacco-House. I believe this is the only Metropolis 
in the Christian or Mahometan World, where there is neither Church, 
Chappel, Mosque, Synagogue, or any other Place of Publick Worship of 
any Sect or Religion whatsoever.^^ 

What little Devotion there may happen to be is much more private than 
their vices. The People seem easy without a Minister, as long as they are 
exempted from paying Him. Sometimes the Society for propagating the 
Gospel has had the Charity to send over Missionaries to this Country; 
but unfortunately the Priest has been too Lewd for the people, or, which 
oftener happens, they too lewd for the Priest. For these Reasons these 
Reverend Gentlemen have always left their Flocks as arrant Heathen as 
they found them. Thus much however may be said for the Inhabitants 
of Edenton, that not a Soul has the least taint of Hypocrisy, or Supersti- 
tion, acting very Frankly and above-board in all their Excesses. 

Provisions here are extremely cheap, and extremely good, so that 
People may live plentifully at triffleing expense. Nothing is dear but 
Law, Physick, and Strong Drink, which are all bad in their Kind, and 
the last they get with so much Difficulty, that they are never guilty of the 
Sin of Suffering it to Sour upon their Hands. Their Vanity generally lies 
not so much in having a handsome Dining-Room, as a Handsome House 
of Office: in this Kind of Structure they are really extravagant. 

They are rarely guilty of Flattering or making any Court to their 
governors, but treat them with all the Excesses of Freedom and Familiarity. 
They are of Opinion their rulers wou'd be apt to grow insolent, if they 
grew Rich, and for that reason take care to keep them poorer, and more 
dependent, if possible, than the Saints in New England used to do their 

" Within a mile of the courthouse at Edenton was a chapel of the Church of 
England, huilt by the vestrymen of St. Pauls about 1703. See "The First Church 
Built in North Carolina" (North Carolina Hist, and Geneal. Register, Vol. I, 

No. 2.) 

March] The Secret History 97 

than to gage a Rum Cask. His Sisters are very sensible Indus- 
trious Damsels, who tho' they see Gentlemen but Seldom, have the 
Grace to resist their Importunitys, & tho' they are innocently free, 
will indulge them in no dangerous Libertys. However their cau- 
tious Father having some Notion of Female Frailty, from what he 
observed in their Mother, never suffers them to lie out of his own 

98 History of the Dividing Line [March 

Governors. They have very little coin, so they are forced to carry 
on their Home-Traffick with Paper-Money. This is the only Cash that will 
tarry in the Country, and for that reason the Discount goes on increasing 
between that and real Money, and will do so to the End of the Chapter.^^ 

28. Our Time passt heavily in our Quarters, where we were quite 
cloy'd with the Carolina Felicity of having nothing to do. It was really 
more insupportable than the greatest Fatigue, and made us even envy the 
Drudgery of our Friends in the Dismal. Besides, tho' the Men we had 
with us were kept in Exact Discipline, and behav'd without Reproach, 
yet our Landlord began to be tired of them, fearing they would breed a 
Famine in his Family. 

Indeed, so many keen Stomachs made great Havock amongst the Beef 
and Bacon, which he had laid in for his Summer Provision, nor cou'd he 
easily purchase More at that time of the Year, with the Money we paid 
him, because the People having no certain Market seldom provide any 
more of these Commodities than will barely supply their own Occasions. 
Besides the Weather was now grown too warm to lay in a fresh Stock 
so late in the Spring. These Considerations abated somewhat of that 
chearfulness with which he bidd us Welcome in the Beginning, and 
made him think the time quite as long as we did till the Surveyors 

While we were thus all hands uneasy, we were comforted with the 
News that this Afternoon the Line was finisht through the Dismal. The 
Messenger told us it had been the hard work of three days to measure the 
Length of only 5 Miles, and mark the Trees as they past along, and by 
the most exact Survey they found the Breadth of the Dismal in this Place 
to be completely 15 Miles. 

How wide it may be in other Parts, we can give no Account, but believe 
it grows narrower towards the North; possibly towards Albemarle Sound 
it may be something broader, where so many Rivers issue out of it. All 
we know for certain is, that from the Place where the Line enter'd the 
Dismal, to where it came out, we found the Road round that Portion of it 
which belongs to Virginia to be about 65 Miles. How great the Distance 
may be from Each of those Points, round that Part falls within the Bounds 
of Carolina, we had no certain Information: tho' tis conjectur'd it cannot 
be so little as 30 Miles. At which rate the whole Circuit must be about 
an Hundred. What a Mass of Mud and Dirt is treasur'd up within this 
filthy circumference, and what a Quantity of Water must perpetually drain 
into it from the riseing ground that Surrounds it on every Side? 

Without taking the Exact level of the Dismal, we may be sure that it 
declines towards the Places where the Several Rivers take their Rise, 
in order to carrying off the constant Supplies of Water. Were it not 

^ For the colonial money of North Carolina, see Bullock's Essays on the Monetary 
History of the United States, Part II (New York, 1900). 

March] The Secret History 99 

28. I had a little stifness in my Throat, I fancy by lying alone 
for Meanwell being grown restless, in his Indisposition chose to 
be by Himself. The Time past heavily, which we endeavour'd 
to make lighter by Cards & Books. The having nothing to do here 
was mose insupportable than the greatest Fatigue, which made me 
envy the Drudging of those in the Dismal. In the Evening we 
walk't several ways just as we drew in the day, but made a Shift 
to keep within the Bounds of Decency in our behaviour. However 
I observ'd Firebrand had something that broil'd upon his Stomach, 
which tho' he seem'd to stiffle in the Day, yet in the Night it burst 
out in his Sleep in a Volley of Oaths & Imprecations. This be- 
ing my Birth day, I adored the Gkiodness of Heaven, for having 
indulged me with so much Health & very uncommon happiness, in 
the Course of 54 Years in which my Sins have been many, & my 
Sufferings few, my Opportunitys great, but my Improvements 
small. Firebrand & Meanwell had very high Words, after I went 
to Bed, concerning Astrolabe, in which Conversation Meanwell 
show'd most Spirit, & Firebrand most Arrogance & 111 Nature. 

100 History of the Dividlng Line [March 

for such Discharges, the whole Swamp would long Since have been con- 
verted into a Lake. On the other Side this Declension must be very gentle, 
else it would be laid perfectly dry by so many continual drains; Whereas, 
on the contrary, the Ground seems every where to be thoroughly drencht 
even in the dryest Season of the Year. 

The Surveyors concluded this day's Work with running 25 chains 
up into the Firm Land, where they waited further Orders from the 

29. This day the Surveyors proceeded with the Line no more than 1 
Mile and 15 Chains, being Interrupted by a Mill Swamp, thro' which 
they made no difficulty of wading, in order to make their work more 

Thus, like Norway-Mice, these worthy Gentlemen went right forward, 
without Suffering themselves to be turned out of the way by any Obstacle 

We are told by some Travellers, that those Mice march in mighty 
Armies, destroying all the fruits of the Earth as they go along. But 
Something Peculiar to those obstinate little Animals is, that nothing 
stops them in their career, and if a House happened to stand in their way, 
disdaining to go an Inch about, they crawl up one side of it, and down the 
other : or if they meet with any River, or other Body of Water, they are so 
determin'd, that they swim directly over it, without varying one Point 
from their course for the Sake of any Safety or Convenience. 

The Surveyors were also hinder'd some Time by Setting up Posts in the 
great Road, to shew the Bounds between the two Colonies. 

Our Chaplain return'd to us in the Evening from Edenton, in Company 
with the Carolina Commissioners. He had preacht there in the Court- 
House, for want of a consecrated Place, and made no less than 19 of 
Father Hennepin's Christians. 

By the permission of the Carolina Commissioners, Mr. Swan was allow'd 
to go home, as soon as the Survey of the Dismal was finisht; He met 
with this Indulgence for a Reason that might very well have excust his 
coming at all; Namely, that he was lately marry'd.'*^ 

What remain'd of the Drudgery for this Season was left to Mr. Moseley, 
who had hitherto acted only in the capacity of a Commissioner. They 
offer'd to employ Mr. Joseph Mayo as their Surveyor in Mr. Swan's stead, 
but He thought it not proper to accept of it, because he had hitherto 
Acted as a Volunteer in behalf of Virginia, and did not care to change 
Sides, tho' it might have been to his Advantage. 

30. The line was advanc'd this day 6 Miles and 35 chains, the Woods, 
being pretty clear, and interrupted with no Swamp, or other wet Groimd. 

*• His bride was Mildred Lyon, daughter of John Lyon of the Cape Fear region of 
North Carolina. 

March] The Secret History 101 

29. I wrote a Letter tx) the Governor which I had the Complais- 
ance to show to my Collegues to prevent Jealousies & Fears. We 
receiv'd Intelligence that our Surveyors & people finisht their 
business in the Dismal last Night, & found it no more than 5 Miles 
from the Place where they left off. Above a Mile before they 
came out, they waded up to the Knees in a Pine Swamp. We let 
them rest this day at Peter Brinkleys, & sent orders to them to pro- 
ceed the next Morning. Bootes left them & came to us with intent 
to desert us quite, & leave the rest of the Drudgery to Plausible, 
who had indulged his Old Bones hitherto. Our Parson retum'd 
to us with the Carolina Commissioners from Edenton, where he 
had preach't in their Court house, there being no Place of Divine 
Worship in that Metropolis. He had also Christen'd 19 of their 
Children, & pillag'd them of some of their Cash, if Paper Money 
may be allow'd that appellation. 

30. This Morning all the ill-humour that Firebrand had so long 
kept broiling upon his Stomach broke out. First he insisted that 

102 History of the Dividing Line [March 

The Land hereabout had all the Marks of Poverty, being for the most 
Part Sandy and full of Pines. This kind of Ground, tho' unfit for Ordinary 
Tillage, will however bring Cotton and Potatoes in Plenty, and Conse- 
quently Food and Raiment to such as are easily contented, and, like the 
Wild Irish, find more Pleasure in Laziness than Luxury. 

It also makes a Shift to produce Indian-corn, rather by the Felicity 
of the climate than by the Fertility of the Soil. They who are more In- 
dustrious than their Neighbours may make what Quantity of tar they 
please, tho' indeed they are not always sure of a Market for it. 

The Method of burning Tar in Sweden and Muscovy Succeeds not well 
in this Warmer Part of the World. It seems they kill the Pine-Trees, by 
barking them quite round at a certain Height, which in those cold 
countreys brings down the Turpentine into the Stump in a Year's time. 
But experience has taught us that in warm Climates the Turpentine will 
no so easily descend, but is either fixt in the upper parts of the Tree, or 
fryed out by the intense Heat of the Sun. 

Care was taken to Erect a Post in Every Road that our Line ran thro', 
with Virginia carv'd on the North-Side of it, and Carolina on the South, 
that the Bounds might every where appear. In the Evening the Surveyors 
took up their Quarters at the House of one Mr. Parker, who, by the Ad- 
vantage of a better Spot of Land than Ordinary, and a more industrious 
Wife, lives comfortably, and has a very neat plantation. 

31. It rain'd a little this Morning, but this, happening again upon a 
Sunday, did not interrupt our Business. However the Surveyors made no 
Scruple of protracting and platting off their work upon that good day, 
because it was rather an Amusement than a Drudgery. 

Here the Men feasted on the fat of the Land, and believing the dirtiest 
part of their work was over, had a more than Ordinary Gaiety of Heart. 
We christen'd two of our Landlord's children, which might have remained 
Infidels all their lives, had not we carry'd Christianity home to his own 

The Truth of it is, our Neighbours of North Carolina are not so zealous 
as to go much out of their way to procure this benefit for their children: 
Otherwise, being so near Virginia, they might, without exceeding much 
Trouble, make a Journey to the next Clergyman, upon so good an Errand. 

And indeed should the Neighbouring Ministers, once in two or three 
years, vouchsafe to take a turn among these Gentiles, to baptize them and 
their children, twould look a little Apostolical, and they might hope to be 
requited for it hereafter, if that be not thought too long to tarry for their 

March] The Secret History 103 

Young Astrolabe might go no longer with the Surveyors to be a 
Spy upon Orion. I told him that Voluntiers were always employ'd 
upon the Side, that he was very useful in assisting Orion, and had 
reason to be satisfyd with having his defects so well Supply'd. 
Then he complain'd of the Rudeness of Robin Hix to Orion, & 
proposed he might be punisht for it. To this I answer'd that if 
Orion had any Accusation to make against Robin Hix, it had been 
fair to make it Openly before all the Commissioners, that the 
Person accused might have an Opportunity to make his Defence, 
& ought not to whisper his complaints in private to one Gentleman, 
because it look't like suspecting the Justice of the rest. That Word 
whispering touch't him home, & make him raise his voice, & roll 
his Eyes with great Fury, & I was weak enough to be as loud & 
Cholerick as he. However it was necessary to shew that I was 
not to be dismay'd either with his big looks or his big Words, and 
in Truth when he found this, he cool'd as suddenly as he fired. 
Meanwell chimed in with my Sentiments in both these Points, 
so that we carry'd them by a fair Majority. However to shew my 
good Humor, & love of Peace I desired Young Astrolabe to concern 
himself no more with the Surveying part, because it gave uneasi- 
ness, but only to assist his Brother in protracting, & plotting of 
the work. After this Storm was over Firebrand went with Shoe- 
brush to M'' Oshields for some Days, and his going off was not 
less pleasing to us than the going off of a Fever. 

31. This was Sunday, but the People's Zeal was not warm enough 
to bring them thro' the Rain to Church, especially now their 
Curiosity was satisfy'd. However we had a Sermon & some of 
the nearest Neighbours came to hear it. Astrolabe sent word that 
he had carry'd the Line 7 miles yesterday but was forced to wade 
up to the Middle thro' a Mill Swamp. Robins sent his mate hither 
to treat with my Landlord about shipping his Tobacco; they role 
it in the Night to Nansimond River, in Defiance of the Law against 
bringing of Tobacco out of Carolina into Virginia: but t'were un- 
reasonable to expect that they shou'd obey the Laws of their 
Neighbours, who pay no regard to their own. Only the Masters 
of Ships that load in Virginia shou'd be under some Oath, or 

104 History of the Dividing Line [April 

April 1. The Surveyors getting now upon better Ground, quite dis- 
engag'd from Underwoods, pusht on the Line almost 12 Miles. They 
left Sommerton Chappel near two Miles to the Northward, so that there 
was now no Place of Publick Worship left in the whole Province of 
North Carolina. 

The high Land of North Carolina was barren, and cover'd with a deep 
Sand; and the Low Grounds were wet and boggy, insomuch that several 
of our Horses were mir'd, and gave us frequent Opportunitys to shew our 

The Line cut William Spight's Plantation in two, leaving little more 
than his dwelling House and Orchard in Virgina. Sundry other Planta- 
tions were Split in the same unlucky Manner, which made the Owners 
accountable to both Governments. Wherever we passed we constantly 
found the Borderers laid it to Heart if their Land was taken into Virginia: 
They chose much rather to belong to Carolina, where they pay no Tribute, 
either to God or to Caesar. 

Another reason was, that the Government there is so Loose, and the 
Laws so feebly executed, that, like those in the Neighbourhood of Sydon 
formerly, every one does just what seems good in his own Eyes. H the 
Governor's hands have been weak in that Province, under the Authority 
of the Lord Proprietors, much weaker then were the hands of the Magis- 
trate, who, tho' he might have had Virtue enough to endeavour to punish 
Offendors, which very rarely happen'd, yet that vertue had been quite 
Impotent, for want of Ability to put it in execution. 

Besides, their might have been some Danger, perhaps, in venturing 
to be so rigorous, for fear of undergoing the Fate of an honest Justice 
in Corotuck Precinct. This bold Magistrate, it seems, taking upon him to 
order a fellow to the Stocks, for being disorderly in his Drink, was, for 
his intemperate Zeal, carry'd thither himself, and narrowly escap'd being 
whippt by the Rabble into the Bargain. 

This easy day's work carried the Line to the Banks of Somerton-Creek, 
that runs out of Chowan River, a little below the Mouth of Nottoway. 

2. In less than a Mile from Somerton creek the Line was carry'd to 
Black-water, which is the Name of the upper Part of Chowan, running some 
Miles above the Mouth of Nottoway. It must be observ'd that Chowan, 
after taking a compass round the most beautiful part of North Carolina, 
empties itself into Albemarle Sound, a few Miles above Edenton. The 
Tide flows 7 or 8 miles higher than where the River changes its Name, and 
is Navigable thus high for any small vessel. Our Line intersected it 

April] The Secret History 105 

regulation about it. Sunday seem'd a day of rest indeed, in the 
absence of our Turbulent Companion who makes every day uneasy 
to those who have the pain of his conversation. 


1. We prepar'd for a March very early, & then I discharg'd a 
long Score with my Landlord, & a Short one with his Daughter 
Rachel for some Smiles that were to be paid for in Kisses. We 
took leave in form of the whole Family, & in 8 Miles reach't 
Richard Parkers,^^ where we found Young Astrolabe & some of 
our Men. Here we refresh't ourselves with what a Neat Landlady 
cou'd provide, & Christen'd 2 of her Children, but did not dis- 
charge our reckoning that way. Then we proceeded by Somerton 
Chappel (which was left 2 Miles in Virginia) as far as the Planta- 
tion of William Speight, that was cut in Two by the Line, taking 
his Tobacco House into Carolina. Here we took up our Quarters 
& fared the better for a Side of fat Mutton sent us by Captain 
Baker. Our Lodging was exceedingly Airy, the Wind having a 
free circulation quite thro' our Bed-Chamber, yet we were so hardy 
as to take no Cold, tho' the Frost was Sharp enough to endanger 
the Fruit. Meanwell entertain'd the Carolina Commissioners with 
several Romantick Passages of his Life, with Relation to his 
Amours, which is a Subject he is as fond of, as a Hero to talk 
of Battles he never fought. 

2. This Morning early Cap* Baker came to make us a Visit, 
& explain'd to us the Reason of the present of Mutton 
which he sent us Yesterday. It seems the Plantation where he 
lives is taken into Virginia which without good Friends might 

^ Son of that Richard Parker who came to Virginia about 1650 and patented lands 
in the Nansemond River. {Virginia Mag. of Hist, and Biog., XIX, p. 191.) 

106 History of the Dividing Line [April 

exactly half a Mile to the northward of the mouth of Nottoway. How- 
ever, in Obedience to his Majesty's Command, we directed the Surveyors 
to come do^\Ti the River as far as the Mouth of Nottoway, in order to 
continue our true West Line from thence. 

Thus we found the Mouth of Nottoway to lye no more than half a 
Minute farther to the Northward than Mr. Lawson^^ had formerly done. 
That Gentleman's Observation, it seems, placed it in 36° 30', and our 
Working made it out to be 36° 301'2 — ^ very inconsiderable Variance. 

The Surveyors crost the River over against the Middle of the Mouth of 
Nottoway, where it was about 80 yards wide. From thence they ran 
the Line about half a Mile through a dirty Pocoson, as far as an Indian 
Field. Here we took up our Lodging in a moist Situation, having the 
Pocoson above mention'd on one Side of us, and a Swamp on the other. 

In this Camp 3 of the Meherin Indians made us a Visit. They told 
us that the Small Remains of their Nation had deserted their Ancient 
Town, situated near the Mouth of Meherin River, for fear of the Cataubas, 
who had kill'd 14 of their People the Year before; and the few that 
Survived that Calamity, had taken refuge amongst the English, on the 
East side of Chowan. Tho', if the complaint of these Indians were true, 
they are hardly used by our Carolina Friends. But they are the less to be 
pitied, because they have ever been reputed the most false and treacherous 
to the English of all the Indians in the Neighbourhood. 

Not far from the Place where we lay, I observ'd a large Oak which 
had been blown up by the Roots, the Body of which was Shiver'd into 
perfect Strings, and was, in truth, the most Violent Effects of Lightning 
I evt'.T saw. 

But the most curious Instance of that dreadful meteor happen'd at York, 
where a man was kill'd near a Pine Tree in which the Lightening made a 
Hole before it Struck the Man, and left an exact Figure of the Tree upon 
his Breast, with all its Branches, to the wonder of all that beheld it, in 
which I shall be more particular hereafter. 

We made another tryal of the Variation in this place, and found it 
some Minutes less than we had done at Coratuck-Inlet, but so small a 
Difference might easily happen thro' some defect in one or other of the 
Observations, and, therefore, we alter'd not our compass for the Matter. 

3. By the advantage of clear woods, the Line was extended 12 miles 
and three Quarters, as far as the Banks of Meherin. Tho' the Mouth 
of this River lye 15 miles below the Mouth of Nottaway, yet it winds so 
much to the Northward, that we came upon it, after running this Small 

^'John Lawson, first historian of North Carolina, and Surveyor General of the 
Province, a member of the boundary commission of 1710. 

April] The Secret History 107 

prejudice him in his Surveyor's Place of Nansimond County. But 
we promised to employ our Interest in his Favour. We made the 
best of our way to Chowan River, crossing the Line several times. 
About a Mile before we came to that River, we crost Somerton 
Creek. We found our Surveyors at^ little Cottage on the Banks 
of Chowan over against the Mouth of Nottoway River. They told 
us that our Line cut Black- Water River, about half a Mile to the 
Northward of that Place but in Obedience to his Majesty's Order 
in that Case, we directed them to continue the Line from the 
Middle of the Mouth of Nottoway River. According the Surveyors 
post Cowan there, & carry 'd the Line over a miry Swamp more 
than half a mile thro', as far as an Indian Old-Field. 

In the meantime our Horses & Baggage were ferry'd over the 
River, a little lower, to the same Field, where we pitch't our Tent, 
promising ourselves a comfortable Repose: but our Evil Genius 
came at Night & interrupted all our Joys. Firebrand arriv'd 
with his most humble Servant Shoebrush, tho' to make them less 
unwelcome, they brought a present from M'^ Oshields, of 12 Bottles 
of Wine, & as many of Strong Beer. But to say the Truth we had 
rather have drunk Water the whole Journey to have been fairly 
quit of such disagreeable Company. 

Our Surveyor found by an Observation made this Night, that the 
Variation was no more than 2°. 30" Westerly, according to which 
we determined to proceed in the rest of our Work towards the 
Mountains. Three of the Meherin Indians came hither to see us 
from the Place where they now live about 7 Miles down the River, 
they being lately removed from the Mouth of Meherin. They were 
frighten'd away from thence by the late Massacre committed upon 
14 of their Nation by the Catawbas. They are now reduced to 
a small Number and are the less to be pity'd because they have 
always been suspected to be very dishonest & treacherous to the 

3. We sent away the Surveyors about 9 a Clock & foUow'd them 
at ten. By the way Firebrand & Shoebrush having spy'd a House 
that promised good Chear filed off to it, & took it in Dudgeon that 
we wou'd not follow their Vagarys. We thought it our Duty to 
attend the Business in hand, & follow the Surveyors. These we 
overtook about Noon, after passing several Miry Branches, where 

108 History of the Dividing Line [April 

Distance. During the first 7 Miles, we observed the Soil to be poor and 
Sandy; but as we approacht Meherin it grew better, tho' there it was cut 
to pieces by Sundry Miry Branches, which discharge themselves into that 
River, Several of our Horses plunged up to the Saddle-Skirts, and were 
not disengaged without Difficulty. 

The latter Part of our Day's work was pretty laborious, because of the 
unevenness of the way, and becauss the low Ground of the River was full 
of Cypress-Snags, as Sharp and Dangerous to our Horses as so many 
chevaux-de-frize. We found the whole distance from the Mouth of 
Nottaway to Meherin River, where our Line intersected it, thirteen Miles 
and a Quarter. 

It was hardly possible to find a level large enough on the Banks of the 
River whereupon to pitch our Tent. But tho' the Situation was, on that 
Account, not very convenient for us, yet it was for our poor Horses, by 
reason of the Plenty of Small Reeds on which they fed voraciously. 

These Reeds are green here all the Year round, and will keep cattle 
in tolerable good Plight during the Winter. But whenever the Hogs come 
where they are, they destroy them in a Short time, by ploughing up their 
Roots, of which, unluckily, they are very fond. 

The River was in this place about as wide as the River Jordan, that is, 
40 Yards, and wou'd be Navigable very high for flat Bottom-Boats and 
Canoes, if it were not so choakt up with large Trees, brought down by 
every Fresh. Tho' the Banks were full 20 feet high from the Surface of 
the Water, yet we saw certain Marks of their having been Overflow'd. 

These Narrow Rivers that run high up into the Country are Subject to 
frequent Inundations, when the Waters are roU'd down with such Violence 
as to carry all before them. The Logs that are then floated are very fatal 
to the bridges built over these rivers. Which can hardly be contriv'd 
Strong enough to stand against so much Weight and Violence join'd 

The Isle of Wight County begins about 3 Miles to the East of Meherin 
River, being divided from that of Nansimond only by a Line of Markt 

4. The River was here hardly fordable, tho' the Season had been very 
dry. The Banks too were so Steep that our Horses were forced to climb 
like Mules to get up them. Nevertheless we had the Luck to recover the 
Opposite Shore without Damage. 

We halted for half an hour at Charles Anderson's, who lives on the 
Western Banks of the River, in order to christen one of his children. In 
the mean time, the Surveyors extended the Line 2 Miles and 39 chains, in 
which small Distance Meherin River was so serpentine, that they crost 
it 3 times. 

April] The Secret History 109 

I had like to have Stuck fast. However this only gave me an Op- 
portunity to shew my Horsemanship, as the fair spoken Plausible 
told me. After passing several Dirty Places & uneven Grounds, 
we arriv'd about Sun Set on the Banks of Meherin, which we found 
13^ Miles from the mouth of Notoway River. The County of 
Isle of Wight begins about 3 miles to the East of this River, parted 
from Nansimond by a dividing Line only. We pitch't our Tent, 
& flatter'd ourselves we shou'd be secure from the disturber of 
our Peace one Night more, but we were mistaken for the Strag- 
glers came to us after it was dark with some Danger to their 
Necks, because the Low Grounds near the River were full of 
Cypress Snaggs as dangerous as so many Cheveaua de Frise. But 
this deliverance from Danger was not enough to make Firebrand 
good Humour'd, because we had not been so kind as to rejoice at it. 

4. Here we call'd a Council of War, whether we shou'd proceed 
any farther this season, and we carry'd it by a Majority of votes 
to run the Line only about 2 Miles beyond this place. Firebrand 
voted for going on a little longer, tho' he was glad it was carry'd 
against him. However he thought it gave him an Air of Industry 
to vote against leaving off so soon, but the Snakes began to be 
in great Vigour which was an unanswerable Argument for it. 

The River was hardly fordable & the Banks very Steep, which 
made it difficult for our Baggage Horses to pass over it. But 

110 History of the Dividing Line [April 

Then we went on to Mr. Kinchin's/^ a Man of Figure and Authority 
in N Carolina, who lives about a Mile to the Southward of the Place where 
the Surveyors left off. By the Benefit of a little pains, and good Manage- 
ment, this worthy Magistrate lives in much Affluence. 

Amongst other Instances of his Industry, he had planted a good Orchard, 
which is not common in that Indolent climate; nor is it at all Strange, 
that such improvident People, who take no thought for the Morrow, shou'd 
save themselves the Trouble to make Improvements that will not pay them 
for several Years to come. Tho' if they cou'd trust futurity for any thing, 
they certainly wou'd for Cyder, which they are so fond of, that they 
generally drink it before it is done working, lest the Fermentation might 
unluckily turn it Sowr. 

It is an Observation, which rarely fails of being true, both in Virginia 
and Carolina, that those who take care to plant good Orchards are, in 
their General characters. Industrious People. This held good in our 
LANDLORD, who had many Houses built on this Plantation, and every 
One kept in decent Repair. His Wife, too, was tidy, his Furniture clean, 
his Pewter bright, and nothing seem'd to be wanting to make his Home 

Mr. Kinchin made us the Compliment of his House, but because we 
were willing to be as little troublesome as possible, we order'd the Tent 
to be pitch'd in his Orchard, where the Blossoms of the Apple Trees 
contributed not a little to the sweetness of our Lodging. 

Because the Spring was not pretty forward, and the Rattle-Snakes began 
to crawl out of their Winter-Quarters, and might grow dangerous, both to 
the Men and their Horses, it was determin'd to proceed no farther with the 
Line till the Fall. Besides, the Uncommon Fatigue the People had under- 
gone for near 6 Weeks together, and the Inclination they all had to visit 
their Respective Familys, made a Recess highly reasonable. 

The Surveyors were employ'd great part of the Day, in forming a 
Correct and Elegant Map of the Line, from Corotuck-Inlet to the Place 
where they left off. On casting up the account in the most accurate 
manner, they found the whole distance we had run to amount to 73 
Miles and 13 chains. Of the Map they made two fair copies, which 
agreeing exactly, were subscrib'd by the Commissioners of both colonies, 
and one of them was delivered to those on the Part of Virginia, and the 
other to those on the Part of North Carolina. 

^See Secret History, Note 44. 

April] The Secret History 111 

thank God we got all well on the other Side without any Damage. 
We went to a House just by the River-Side, belonging to a Man, 
who learnedly call'd himself Carolus Anderson, where we chris- 
ten'd his child. Then ^e proceeded to M"" Kinchin's a Man of 
Figure in these parts, & his Wife a much better Figure than he.^* 
They both did their utmost to entertain us & our People in the best 
Manner. We pitch't our Tent in the Orchard, where the Blos- 
soms of the Apple Trees mended the Air very much. There Mean- 
well & I lay; but Firebrand & his Flatterers stuck close to the 
House. The Surveyors crost this River 3 times with the Line in 
the Distance of 2V-z Miles, & left off about half a Mile to the 
Northward of this Place. 

5. Our Surveyors made an Elegant Plat of our Line, from Cora- 
tuck Inlet to the Place where they left off, containing the Distance 
of 73 Miles & 13 Polls. Of this exact Copys were made, & being 
carefully examin'd were both Sign'd by the Commissioners of 
each Colony. This Plat was chiefly made by Astrolabe, but one 
of the Copys was taken by Plausible; but Orion was content with 
a Copy which the Parson took for him. However he deliver'd me 
the minutes which he had kept of our Proceedings by Order of 
the Commissioners. The poor Chaplain was the common Butt at 
which all our Company aim'd their profane Wit, & gave him the 
Title of Dear Pipp, because instead of a Prick't Line, he had been 
so maidenly as to call it a Pipp't Line. I left the Company in 

*^ Doubtless William Kinchen of Bertie County, North Carolina. 

112 History of the Dividing Line [April 

6. Thus we finish'd our Spring Campaign, and having taken leave of 
our Carolina-Friends, and agreed to meet them again the Tenth of Septem- 
ber following, at the same Mr. Kinchin's, in order to continue the Line, 
we crost Meherin River near a Quarter of a Mile from the House. About 
ten Miles ftora that we halted at Mr. Kindred's Plantation, where we 
Christen'd two Children. 

It happen'd that some of Isle of Wight militia Were exercising in the 
Adjoining Pasture, and there were Females enough attending that Martial 
Appearance to form a more invincible corps. 

Ten miles farther we passed Nottoway River at Bolton's Ferry, and took 
up our Lodgings about three Miles from thence, at the House of Richard 
Parker, an honest Planter, whose Labours were rewarded with Plenty, 
which, in this country is the Constant Portion of the Industrious. 

7. The Next day being Sunday, we order'd Notice to be sent to all 
the Neighbourhood that there wou'd be a Sermon at this Place, and an 
Opportunity of Christening their Children. But the Likelihood of Rain 
got the better of their Devotion, and what perhaps. Might Still be a 
Stronger motive of their Curiosity. In the Morning we despacht a run- 
ner to the Nottoway Town,^^ to let the Indians know we intend them a 
Visit that Evening, and our honest Landlord was so kind as to be our 
Pilot thither, being about 4 Miles from his House. 

Accordingly in the Afternoon we marcht in good Order to the Town, 
where the Female Scouts, station'd on an Eminence for that purpose, 
had no sooner spy'd us, but they gave Notitce of our Approach to their 
Fellow-Citizens by continual Whoops and Cries, which cou'd not 
possibly have been more dismal at the Sight of their most implacable 

This Signal Assembled all their Great Men, who receiv'd us in a 

**The Nottoway Indians belonged to the Iroquois family and were closely kin to 
the Tuscaroras. As late as 1825 a group of forty-seven were living in a village in 
Southampton County, Virginia. 

April] The Secret History 113 

good time, taking as little pleasure in their low Wit, as in their 
low liquor which was Rum Punch. Here we discharg'd 6 of the 
Men, that were near their own Habitations. 

6. We paid our Scores, settled our Accounts, & took leave of our 
Carolina Friends. Firebrand went about 6 Miles with us as far 
as one Corkers, where we had the grief to part with that sweet 
temper'd Gentleman, & the Burr that stuck with him Orion. In 
about ten Miles we reach't a Musterfield near M'' Kindred's House, 
where Cap* Gerald was exercising his Company. There were 
Girls enough come to see this Martial Appearance to form another 
Company, & Beauty's enough among them to make Officers of. 
Here we call'd & Christen'd 2 Children, and offered to marry as 
many of the Wenches as had got Sweethearts, but they were not 
ripe for Execution. Then we proceeded ten Miles farther to Bol- 
ton's Ferry, where we past Nottoway River at M"^ Symonds's 
Quarter. From hence we intended to proceed to Nottaway Town 
to satisfy the Curiosity of some of our Company, but loseing our 
Way we wander'd to Richard Parkers Plantation, where we had 
formerly met with very kind Entertainment. Our Eyes were en- 
tertain'd as well as our Stomachs by the Charms of pretty Sally 
the Eldest Daughter of the Family. 

7. This being Sunday we had a Sermon to which very few of 
the Neighbours resorted, because they wanted timely Notice. How- 
ever some good Christians came & amongst them Molly Izzard 
the smartest Damsel in these Parts. Meanwell made this Girle 
very Vain by saying sweet things to her, but Sally was more 
engaging, whose wholesome Flesh & Blood, neither had nor needed 
any Ornament. Nevertheless in the Afternoon we cou'd find in 
our Hearts to change these fair Beauty's for the Copper Colour'd 
Ones of Nottaway Towne. Thither we went having given Notice 
by a Runner that we were coming, that the Indians might be at 
home to entertain us. Our Landlord shew'd us the way, and the 
Scouts had no sooner spy'd us, but they gave Notice of our Ap- 
proach, to the whole Town, by perpetual Whoops & Crys, which 
to a Stranger sound very dismal. This call'd their great Men to 
the Fort, where we alighted, & were conducted to the best Cabins. 

114 History OF the Dividing Line [April 

Body, and conducted us into the Fort. This Fort was a Square Piece of 
Ground, inclos'd with Substantial Puncheons, or Strong Palisades, about 
ten feet high, and leaning a little outwards, to make a Scalade more 

Each side of the Square might be about 100 Yards long, with Loop- 
holes at proper Distances, through which they may fire upon the Enemy. 

Within this Inclosure we foimd Bark Cabanes Sufficient to lodge all their 
people, in Case they should be obliged to retire thither. These Cabanes 
are no other but Close Arbours made of Saplings, arched at the top, 
and cover'd so well with Bark as to be proof against all Weather. The 
fire is made in the Middle, according to the Hibernian Fashion, the Smoak 
whereof finds no other Vent but at the Door, and so keeps the whole 
family Warm, at the Expense both of their Eyes and Complexion. 

The Indians have no standing Furniture in their Cabanes but Hurdles 
to repose their Persons upon, which they cover with Mats or Deer-skins. 
We were conducted to the best Appartments in the Fort, which just before 
had been made ready for our Reception, and adorn'd with new Mats, that 
were sweet and clean. 

The Young Men had Painted themselves in a Hideous Manner, not so 
much for Ornament as Terror. In that frightful Equipage they entertain'd 
us with Sundry War-Dances, wherein they endeavour'd to look as for- 
midable as possible. The Instrument they danct to was an Indian-drum, 
that is, a large Gourd with a Skin bract tort over the Mouth of it. The 
Dancers all Sang to this Musick, keeping exact Time with their feet, while 
their Heads and Arms were screw'd into a thousand Menacing Postures. 

Upon this occasion the Ladies had array'd themselves in all their finery. 
They were Wrapt in their Red and Blue Match-Coats, thrown so Negli- 
gently about them, that their Mehogony Skins appear'd in Several Parts, 
like the Lacedaemonian Damsels of Old. Their Hair was breeded with 
white and Blue Peak, and hung gracefully in a large Roll upon their 

This peak Consists of Small Cylinders cut out of a Conque-Shell, drill'd 
through and Strung like Beads. It serves them both for Money and 
Jewels, the Blue being of much greater Value than the White, for the 
same reason that Ethiopian Mistresses in France are dearer than French, 
because they are more Scarce. The Women wear Necklaces and Bracelets 
of these precious Materials, when they have a mind to appear lovely. 
Tho' their complexions be a little Sad-Colour'd, yet their Shapes are 
very Strait and well porportion'd. Their Faces are Seldom handsome, 
yet they have an Air of Innocence and Bashfulness, that with a little less 
dirt wou'd not fail to make them desirable. Such Charms might have had 
their full Effect upon Men who had been so long deprived of female 
conversation, but that the whole Winter's Soil was so crusted on the Skins 
of those dark Angels, that it requir'd a very strong Appetite to approach 
them. The Bear's oyl, with which they anoint their Persons all over. 

April] The Secret History 115 

All the Furniture of those Appartments was Hurdles oover'd with 
clean Mats. The Young Men had painted themselves in a Hideous 
Manner, not for Beauty, but Terrour, & in that Equipage enter- 
tain'd us with some of their War Dances. The Ladies had put 
on all their Ornaments to charm us, but the whole Winter's Dirt 
was so crusted on their Skins, that it requir'd a strong appetite to 
accost them. Whatever we were, Our Men were not quite so 
nice, but were hunting after them all Night. But tho' Meanwell 
might perhaps want Inclinations to these sad-colour'd Ladys, yet 
curiousity made him try the difference between them & other Wo- 
men, to the disobligation of his Ruffles, which betray'd what he 
had been doing. Instead of being entertain'd by these Indians, 
we entertain'd them with Bacon & Rum, which they accepted of 
very kindly, the Ladys as well as the Men. They offer'd us no 
Bedfellows, according to the good Indian fashion, which we had 
reason to take unkindly. Only the Queen of Weynoke told Steddy 
that her Daughter had been at his Service if She had not been too 
Young. Some Indian Men were lurking all Night about our 
Cabin, with the felonious intent to pilfer what they cou'd lay their 
hands upon, & their Dogs slunk into us in the Night, & eat up what 
remain'd of our Provisions. 

116 History of the Dividing Line [April 

makes their skins Soft, and at the Same time protects them from every 
Species of Vermin that use to be troublesome to other uncleanly People. 

We were unluckily so many, that they cou'd not well make us the 
Complement of Bed-fellows, according to the Indian Rules of Hospitality, 
tho' a grave Matron whisper'd one of the Commissioners very civily in 
the Ear, that if her Daughter had been but one year Older, she should 
have been at his Devotion. 

It is by no means a loss of Reputation among the Indians, for Damsels 
that are Single to have Intrigues with the Men; on the contrary, they count 
it an Argument of Superior Merit to be liked by a great Number of Gal- 
lants. However, like the Ladys that Game they are a little Mercenary 
in their Amours, and seldom bestow their Favours out of Stark Love and 
Kindness. But after these Women have once appropriated their Charms 
by Marriage, they are from thencefourth faithful to their Vows, and will 
hardly ever be tempted by an Agreeable Gallant, or be provokt by a Brutal 
or even by a fumbling Husband to go astray. 

The little Work that is done among the Indians is done by the poor 
Women, while the men are quite idle, or at most employ'd only in the 
Gentlemanly Diversions of Hunting and Fishing. 

In this, as well as in their Wars, they now use nothing but Fire-Arms, 
which they purchase of the English for Skins. Bows and Arrows are 
grown into disuse, except only amongst their Boys. Nor is it ill Policy, 
but on the contrary very prudent, thus to furnish the Indians with Fire- 
Arms, because it makes them depend entirely upon the English, not only 
for their Trade, but even for their subsistence. Besides, they were really 
able to do more mischief, while they made use of Arrows, of which they 
wou'd let Silently fly Several in a Minute with Wonderful Dexterity, 
whereas now they hardly ever discharge their Firelocks more than once, 
which they insidiously do from behind a Tree, and then retire as nimbly 
as the Dutch Horse us'd to do now and then formerly in Flanders. 

We put the Indians to no expense, but only of a little Corn for our 
Horses, for which in Gratitude we cheer'd their hearts with what Rum 
we had left, which they love better than they do their Wives and Children. 

Tho' these Indians dwell among the English, and see in what Plenty a 
little Industry enables them to live, yet they chuse to continue in their 
Stupid Idleness, and to Suffer all the Inconveniences of Dirt, Cold, md 
Want, rather than to disturb their hands With care, or defile their Hands 
with labour. 

The whole Number of People belonging to the Nottoway Town, if you 
include Women and Children, amount to about 200. These are the only 
Indians of any consequence now remaining within the Limits of Virginia. 
The rest are either removed, or dwindled to a very inconsiderable Number, 
either by destroying one another, or else by the Small-Pox and other 
Diseases. Tho' nothing has been so fatal to them as their ungovernable 

April] The Secret History 117 

[Continued on page 123] 

118 History of the Dividing Line [April 

Passion for Rum, with which, I am sorry to say it, they have been but 
too liberally supply'd by the English that live near them. 

And here I must lament the bad Success Mr. Boyle's Charity'^'^ has 
hitherto had towards converting any of these poor Heathens to Christian- 
ity. Many children of our Neighbouring Indians have been brought up 
in the College of William and Mary. They have been taught to read and 
write, and have been carefully Instructed in the Principles of the Christian 
Religion, till they came to be men. Yet after they return'd home, instead 
of civilizeing and converting the rest, they have immediately Relapt into 
Infidelity and Barbarism themselves. 

And some of them too have made the worst use of the Knowledge they 
acquir'd among the English, by employing it against their Benefactors. 
Besides, as they unhappily forget all the good they learn, and remember 
the 111, they are apt to be more vicious and disorderly than the rest of their 

I ought not to quit this Subject without doing Justice to the great 
Prudence of Colo Spotswood in this Affair. That Gentleman was lieut 
Governor of Virginia when Carolina was engaged in a Bloody War with 
the Indians. At that critical Time it was thought expedient to keep a 
Watchful Eye upon our Tributary Savages, who we knew had nothing to 
keep them to their Duty but their Fears. 

Then it was that he demanded of each Nation a Competent Number 
of their great Men's Children to be sent to the College, where they serv'd 
as so many Hostages for the good Behaviour of the Rest, and at the same 
time were themselves principled in the Christian Religion. He also Plac'd 
a School-Master among the Saponi Indians, at the salary of Fifty Pounds 
P Annum, to instruct their Children. The Person that undertook that 
Charitable work was Mr. Charles Griffin,"^ a Man of good Family, who 
by the Innocence of his Life, and the Sweetest of his Temper, was perfectly 
well qualify 'd for that pious undertaking. Besides, he had so much the 

^ Robert Boyle, English chemist, who in his will provided that £4,000 from his estate 
should be employed for "pious and charitable uses." Through the efforts of Dr. 
James Blair, Boyle's nephew and executor was persuaded to make an invest- 
ment in the Manor of Brafferton, the income from which, excepting £45 per 
annum to Harvard and a similar amount to the Society for the Propagation of the 
Gospel in Foreign Parts, should go to William and Mary for the education of Indians; 
hence Brafferton Hall at that institution. During the Revolution the income was 
diverted to the education of Negroes in the West Indies. (See Tyler's Colonial 
Williamsburg, passim.) 

^^ Charles Griffin appears in North Carolina as an immigrant from the West Indies 
in the early eighteenth century. About 1705 he opened a school in Pasquotank 
Precinct and was acknowledged as lay leader of the Church of Englcmd. In 1808 he 
moved to Chowan Precinct where he is reported to have fallen into immorality and 
Quakerism. In 1716 he appears in Virginia as head of the Indian school subsidized 
by Spotswood and in 1720 he became teacher in the Indian school of William and 
Mary. In 1712 another Indian school was reported at Sarum, on the border of North 
Carolina and Virginia, to which Indians were admitted. It was conducted by a Mr. 

April] The Secret History 119 

[Continued on page 123] 

120 History of the Dividing Line [April 

Secret of mixing Pleasure with instruction, that he had not a Scholar, who 
did not love him affectionately. 

Such Talents must needs have been blest with a Proportionable Success, 
had he not been unluckily remov'd to the College, by which he left the 
good work he had begun unfinisht. In short, all the Pains he had under- 
taken among the Infidels had no other Effect but to make them something 
cleanlier than other Indians are. 

The Care Colo Spotswood took to tincture the Indian Children with 
Christianity produc'd the following Epigram, which was not publisht 
during his Administration, for fear it might then have lookt like flattery. 

Long has the Furious Priest assay'd in Vain, 
With Sword and Faggot, Infidels to gain, 
But now the Milder Soldier wisely tryes 
By Gentler Methods to unveil their Eyes. 
Wonders apart, he knew 'twere vain t' engage 
The fix'd Preventions of Misguided Age. 
With fairer Hopes he forms the Indian Youth 
To early Manners, Probity and Truth. 
The Lyon's whelp thus on the Lybian Shore \ 
Is tam'd and Gentled by the Artful Moor, > 
Not the Grim Sire, inured to Blood before, j 

I am sorry I can't give a Better Account of the State of the Poor 
Indians with respect to Christianity, altho' a great deal of Pains has been 
and still continues to be taken with them. For my Part, I must be of 
Opinion, as I hinted before, that there is but one way of Converting these 
poor Infidels, and reclaiming them from Barbarity, and that is. Charitably 
to intermarry with them, according to the Modern Policy of the most 
Christian King in Canada and Louisiana. 

Had the English done this at the first Settlement of the Colony, the 
Infidelity of the Indians had been worn out at this Day, with their Dark 
Complexions, and the Country had swarm'd with People more than it 
does with Insects. 

It was certainly an unreasonable Nicety, that prevented their entering 
into so good-Natur'd an Alliance. All Nations of men have the same 
Natural Dignity, and we all know that very bright Talents may be 
lodg'd under a very dark Skin. The principal Difference between one 
People and another proceeds only from the Different Opportunities of 

The Indians by no means want understanding, and are in their Figure 
tall and well-proportion'd. Even their Copper-colour'd Complexion wou'd 
admit of Blanching, if not in the first, at the farthest in the Second 

I may safely venture to say, the Indian Women would have made 
altogether as Honest Wives for the first Planters, as the Damsels they us'd 

April] The Secret History 121 

[Continued on page 123] 

122 History of the Dividing Line [April 

to purchase from aboard the Ships. It is Strange, therefore, that any good 
Christian Shou'd have refused a wholesome. Straight Bed-fellow, when he 
might have had so fair a Portion with her, as the Merit of saving her 

8. We rested on our clean Mats very comfortably, tho' alone, and 
the next Morning went to the Toilet of some of the Indian Ladys, where, 
what with the Charms of their Persons and the Smoak of their Apartments, 
we were almost blinded. They offer'd to give us Silk-Grass Baskets of 
their own making, which we Modestly refused, knowing that an Indian 
present, like that of a Nun, is a Liberality put out to Interest, and a 
Bribe plac'd to the greatest Advantage. 

Our Chaplain observ'd with concern, that the Ruffles of Some of our 
Fellow Travellers were a little discolour'd with pochoon,^^ wherewith the 
good Man had been told those Ladies us'd to improve their invisible 

About 10 a Clock we marched out of Town in good order, & the War 
Captains saluted us with a Volley of Small-Arms. From thence we pro- 
ceeded over Black-water Bridge to colo' Henry Harrisons, where we con- 
gratulated each other upon our Return into Christendom. 

Thus ended our Progress for this Season, which we may justly say was 
attended with all the Success that could be expected. Besides the Punctual 
Performance of what was Committed to us, we had the Pleasure to bring 
back every one of our Company in perfect Health. And this we must 
acknowledge to be a Singular Blessing, considering the Difficulties and 
Dangers to which they had been expos'd. 

We had reason to fear the many Waters and Sunken Grounds, thro' 
which We were oblig'd to wade, might have thrown the men into Sundry 
Acute distempers; especially the Dismal, where the Soil was so full of 
Water, and the Air so full of Damps, that nothing but a Dutchman cou'd 
live in them. 

Indeed the Foundation of all our Success was the Exceeding dry Season. 
It rain'd during the whole Journey but rarely, and then, as when Herod 
built his Temple, only in the Night or upon the Sabbath, when it was no 
hindrance at all to our progress. 

^^ The puccoon, or bloodroot, which yields dark red or yellow juices, called Indian 

April] The Secret History 123 

8. When we were drest, Meanwell & I visited most of the 
Princesses at their own Appartments, but the Smoke was so great 
there, the Fire being made in the middle of the Cabbins, that we 
were not able to see their Charms. Prince James' Princess sent 
my Wife a fine Basket of her own making, with the Expectation 
of receiving from her some present of ten times its Value. An 
Indian Present like those made to Princes, is only a Liberality put 
out to Interest, & a bribe placed to the greatest Advantage. I cou'd 
discern by some of our Gentlemen's Linnen, discolour'd by the 
Soil of the Indian Ladys, that they had been convincing themselves 
in the point of their having no furr. About Ten we march't out 
of the Town, some of the Indians giving us a Volley of small 
Arms at our departure. We drank our Oiocolate at one Jones's 
about 4 Miles from the Town, & then proceeded over Black- Water 
Bridge to CoP Henry Harrisons,^^ where we were very handsomely 
entertain'd, & congratulated one another upon our Return into 

9. We scrubb'd off our Indian dirt, & refresht our selves with 
clean Linnen. After a plentiful] Breakfast, we took our Leave, 
& set our Faces towards Westover. By the way we met Boiler 
Cocke & his Lady, who told me my Family was well, Heaven be 
prais'd; When we came to the New Church near Warren's Mill, 
Steddy drew up his Men, & harangued them in the following Man- 
ner. "Friends & Fellow Travellers, It is a great Satisfaction to 
me, that after so many difficultys & Fatigues, you are retum'd 
in safety to the place where I first Join'd you. I am much 
oblidg'd to you for the great readiness & Vigour you have shew'd 
in the business we went about, & I must do you all, the Justice to 
declare, that you have not only done your Duty but also done it 
with Cheerfullness & Affection. Such a Behaviour, you may be 
sure will engage us, to procure for you the best Satisfaction we 

"iT^i^^T, Pa^'so" (1691-1732), of Surry County, son of Benjamin Harrison of 
KerkJey James River, member of the House of Burgesses in 1715 and later years, 
and of the Council in 1730. 

124 History of the Dividing Line [April 

[Continued on page 138] 

April] The Secret History 125 

"can from the Government. And besides that you may depend 
"upon our being ready at all times to do you any manner of Kind- 
"ness, You are now blessed be God, near your own dwellings, 
"I doubt not, willing to be discharg'd. I heartily wish you may 
"every one find your Friends & Your Familys in perfect Health, 
"& that your Affairs may have suffer'd as little as possible by your 
"Absence." The Men took this Speech very kindly, & were thank- 
ful on their part for the affectionate care we had taken of them 
during the whole Journey. Upon the whole matter it was as much 
as we cou'd do to part with dry Eyes. However they filed off to 
Prince George Court, where they entertain'd their Acquaintance 
with the History of their Travels, and Meanwell with the 2 Astrol- 
abes past over the River with me to Westover, where I had the 
Pleasure of meeting all my Family in perfect Health, nor had 
they been otherwise since I left them. This great Blessing ought 
to inspire us all with the deepest Sentiments of Gratitude, as well 
as convince us of the Powerf ull Effect of Sincere & hearty Prayers 
to the Almighty in all our undertakings. 

Thus ended our Progress for this Season, & it shou'd be re- 
member'd that before we parted with the Commissioners of N. 
Carolina we agreed to meet again at Kinchins on the 10* of Sep- 
tember, to continue the Line from thence towards the Mountains, 
upon this Condition nevertheless, that if the Commissioners on 
either Side shou'd find it convenient to alter the Day, they shou'd 
give timely Notice to the other. I had been so long absent from 
home, that I was glad to rest my self for a few Days, & therefore 
went not down to Williamsburgh 'till the 17*^ of April. And then 
I waited upon the Governor to give an Account of my Commission, 
but found my Reception a little cooler than I thought my Be- 
haviour in the Service had deserv'd. I must own I was surpriz'd 
at it, 'til I came to understand, that several Storys had been 
whisper'd by Firebrand & Orion to my Disadvantage. 

Those Gentlemen had been so indiscreet as to set about several 
ridiculous Falshoods, which cou'd be prov'd so, by every Man 
that was with us. Particularly that I had treated Orion not only 
without Ceremony, but without Justice, denying him any Assist- 
ance from the Men, & supporting them in their rudeness to him. 
And because they thought it necessary to give some Instance of 
my unkindness to that worthy Gentleman, they boldly affirm'd. 

126 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 138] 

The Secret History 127 

that I wou'd not send one of the Men from Capt James Wilson's to 
Norfolk Town for his Horse, which he had left there to be cured 
of a Sore back. The Father of Lies cou'd not have told one more 
point Blank against the Truth than this was, because the Author 
of it knew in his own Conscience, that I had order'd one of the Men 
to go upon this Errand for him, tho' it was more than 50 Miles 
backward & forward, & tho' his own Servant might as well have 
gone, because he had at that time nothing to hinder him, being 
left behind at Wilsons, where the Men were, & not attending upon 
his Master. And this I cou'd prove by Meanwell who wrote the 
Order I sign'd for this purpose. & by D"" Humdrum who receiv'd it, 
& thereupon had sent one of the Men to Norfolk for him. Nor 
were these Gentlemen content with doing this wrong to Me, but 
they were still more & more unjust to Astrolabe, by telling the 
Governor, that he was ignorant in the Business of Surveying, that 
he had done nothing in running of the Line, but Orion had done 
all; which was as Opposite to Truth, as Light is to darkness, or 
Modesty to Impudence. For in Fact Astrolabe had done all, 
& Orion had done nothing, but what expos'd not only his awkward- 
ness in the Practice, but his Ignorance in the Theory: nor was this 
a bare untruth only with regard to Astrolabe, but there was Malice 
in it, for they had so totally preposest the Commissary with his 
being Ignorant in the Art of Surveying, that, contrary to his pro- 
mise formerally given, he determined not to make him Surveyor 
of GoochLand, nor had he yielded to it at last, without the inter- 
position of the Governor. So liable is Humane Nature to prepos- 
session, that even the Clergy is not exempt from it. 

They likewise circulated a great many other ridiculous Stories 
in the Gaiety of their Hearts, which carry'd a keener Edge against 
themselves than Steddy, & therefore merited rather my Contempt, 
than Resentment. However it was very easy when Meanwell & I 
came to Town, not only to disprove all their Slander, but also to 
set every thing in a true light with Regard to themselves. We 
made it as clear as the Noon Day, that all the Evidence they had 
given was as much upon the Irish, as their Wit & their Modesty. 
The Governour was soon convinced, & exprest himself very freely 
to those Gentlemen & particularly to Orion, who had with great 
confidence impos'd upon him. He was also so fully perswaded of 
Astrolabes Abilities, that he perfectly constrain'd the Commissary 

128 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 138] 

The Secret History 129 

to appoint him Surveyor of Goochland, to the Mortification of his 

As soon as I cou'd compleat my Journal, I sent it to Firebrand 
for his Hand if he found it right; but after many Days he retum'd 
it me unsign'd, tho' he cou'd make no Objection. I gave myself 
no further Trouble about him, but desir'd M"" Banister^*^ to give 
it to the Governour subscrib'd by Meanwell & Me. Upon his ask- 
ing Firebrand why he would not grace the Journal with his Hand, 
his Invention cou'd find no other Reason, but, because it was too 
Poetical. However he thought proper to Sign this Poetical Journal 
at last, when he found it was to be sent to England without it. 

Sometime in June Plausible made me a Visit, & let me know 
in the Name of his Brother Commissioners of N. Carolina, that it 
was their common Request, that our Meeting to continue the Line, 
might be put off to the 20*'' of September, & desir'd me to com- 
municate their Sentiments to the other Commissioners for Vir- 
ginia. I beg'd he wou'd make this request in Writing by way of 
Letter, lest it might be call'd in question by some unbelievers. 
Such a Letter he wrote, & a few days after I show'd it to Fire- 
brand & let him know Meanwell & I had agreed to their Desire, 
& intended to write them an Answer accordingly. But he believing 
this Alteration of the Day to have been made in Compliment to 
me (because he knew I had always been of this Opinion) im- 
mediately sent away a Letter, or rather an Order to the Com- 
missioners for Carolina, directing them to stick to their first 
day of meeting, being the Tenth of September, & to disown their 
Order to Plausible to get it put off. A precept from so great a 
Man, three of these worthy Commissioners had not the Spirit to 
disobey, but meanly swallow'd their own Words, & under their 
Hands deny'd they had ever desired Plausible to make any such 
Motion. The Renegade Letter of these Sycophants was after- 
wards produced by Firebrand to the Governour & Council of Vir- 
ginia. In the meantime I sent them an Epistle sign'd by Meanwell 
& myself, that we, in compliance with their Desire deliver'd by 
Plausible had agreed to put off our meeting to the 20*^ of Sep- 

^ John Banister, collector of the Customs for the Upper James District, son of Rev. 
John Banister, naturalist and entomologist, who arrived in Virginia about 1678. The 
Banister plantation was near Petersburg. 

130 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 138] 

The Secret History 131 

tember. This servile Temper in these 3 Carolina Commissioners, 
show'd of what base Metal they were made, & had discover'd it- 
self in another pitifuU Instance not long before. 

Firebrand despairing of a good Word from his Virginia Col- 
legues, with great Industry procured a Testimonial from his 
Carolina Flatterers, as well for himself as his Favorite Orion. 
And because the Complement might appear too gross if addrest 
to himself it was contriv'd that the Gentlemen abovemention'd 
shou'd join in a Letter to the Commissary^^ (with whom by the 
way they had never before corresponded ) wherein without Rhyme 
or Reason, they took care to celebrate Firebrand's Civility, and 
Orion's Mathematicks. 

This Certificate was soon produced by the good Commissary to 
our Govemour, who cou'd not but see thro' the Shallow Contri- 
vance. It appear'd ridiculous to him, but most abject & monstrous 
to us, who knew them to be as ill Judges of the Mathematicks, as 
a deaf Man cou'd be of Musick. Sc that to be sure it was a great 
Addition to the character of our Professor, to have the honour of 
their Testimonials, And tho' we shou'd allow Men of their Educa- 
tion to be Criticks in Civility, yet at first these very men complain'd 
of Firebrand's haughty Carriage, tho' now they have the meanness 
to write to the Commissary in Commendation of his civility. These 
are such Instances of a poor Spirit as none cou'd equal but them- 
selves in other Passages of their behaviour. And tho' the Subject 
be very low, yet I must beg leave to mention another Case, in 
which not only these, but all the Council of N. Carolina discover'd 
a Submission below all Example. They suffer'd this Firebrand 
to come in at the head of their Council, when at his first Admission 
he ought to have been at the Tail. I can't tell whether it was 
more pretending in him to ask this precedence or more pitifull 
in them to submit to it. He will say perhaps that it befitted not a 
Gentleman of his Noble Family & high Station, to set below a 
Company of Pyrates, Vagabonds, & Footmen: but surely if that 
be their Character, he ought as little to sit among them at all. But 
what have they to say in their Excuses for Prostituting the Rank 
in which the Lords Proprietors had placed them, since the Person 
to whom they made this Complement has no other Title to the Arms 

James Blair, Commissary of the Church of England in Virginia. 

132 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 138] 

The Secret History 133 

he bears, and the name he goes by, but the Courtesy of Ireland. 
And then for his Office, he is at most but a Publican & holds not 
his Commission from his Majority, but from the Commissioners 
of the Customs. So they had no other Reason to give this Man 
place, but because their own worthlessness flow in their Faces. 
Sometime in July I receiv'd a Letter from Firebrand in which he 
accus'd me of having taken too much upon me in in our last Ex- 
pedition, by pretending to a Sole Command of the Men. That 
then the Number of our Men was too great, & brought an unneces- 
sary charge upon the Publick, that 9 or 10 wou'd be sufficient to 
take out with us next time, of which he wou'd name 3. This was 
the Sum & Substance of his Letter, tho' there were Turns in it & 
some Raillery which he intended to be very ingenious, & for 
which he belabour'd his poor Brains very much. I did not think 
this Epistle worth an Answer, but fancy'd it wou'd be time enough 
to dispute the Points mention'd therein, at our next Council. It 
happen'd in August upon the News of some disturbance among the 
Indians, that the Governor call'd a small Council compos'd only 
of the Councellors in the Neighbourhood, judging it unnecessary 
to give us the Trouble of a Journey, who liv'd at a greater Distance. 
At this Council assisted only Firebrand, the Commissary & 3 other 
Gentlemen. Neither Meanwell nor I were there, nor had any 
Summons or the least Notice of it. This Firebrand thought a 
proper Occasion to propose his Questions concerning the Reduc- 
tion of the Number of our Men, & the day when we were to meet 
the Carolina Commissioners. He was seconded by his Friend the 
Commissar}^ who surpriz'd the rest of the council into their 
Opinion, there being nobody to oppose them, nor any so just as 
to put off" the Question, til the 2 Commissioners that were absent 
might be heard in a matter that concem'd them. However these 
unfair & short sighted Politicks were so far from prospering, that 
they turn'd to the Confusion of him that contriv'd them. For hav- 
ing quickly gain'd Intelligence of this proceeding, I complain'd 
of the Injustice of it in a Letter I wrote to the Governor, and he 
was so much convinc'd by my Reasons, that he wrote one word, 
he wou'd call a general Council the Week following, to overhawle 
that Matter again. Indeed he had been so prudent at the little 
Council as to direct the Clerk not to enter what had been there 
determin'd, upon the Council Books, that it might not stand as art 

134 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 138] 

The Secret History 135 

Order but only as Matter of Advice to us Commissioners. Upon 
Receipt of this Letter I dispatcht an Express to Meanwell, ac- 
quainting him with this whole Matter, & intreating him to call 
upon me in his way to the next Council. When he came we con- 
sulted what was fittest for us to do after such Treatment, & upon 
weighing every Circumstance we resolv'd at last that since it was 
not possible for us to agree with Firebrand, We wou'd absolutely 
refuse to go with him upon the next Expedition, lest his Majesty's 
Service might suffer by our perpetual Discord. Full of this Reso- 
lution we went down to Williamsburgh, & begg'd the Governor, 
that he wou'd be pleas'd to dispence with our serving any more 
with Firebrand in running the Line; because he was a Person of 
such uneasy Temper, that there were no hopes of preserving any 
Harmony amongst us. The Governor desired we wou'd not aban- 
don a Service in which we had acquitted ourselves so well, but 
finish what we had began, tho' he own'd we were join'd by a Gentle- 
man too selfish & too arrogant to be happy with him. I reply'd 
that since he did me the Honour to desire me to make another 
Journey with him, I wou'd do it, but hoped I might have 20 Men 
& have the Sole command of them to prevent all Disputes upon 
that Chapter. He thought what I ask't was so reasonable, that 
if I wou'd propose it to the Council, I might easily carry it. 

According to the Governor's Advice, Meanwell & I, yielded to 
put it to the Council, & when it was met, & our Business enter'd 
upon, I deliver'd my self in the following Terms. "I humbly 
'conceive that the Business of running the Line towards the Moun- 
'tains will require at least 20 Men, if we intend to follow it with 
'Vigour. The Chain-carriers, the Markers, & the Men who carrys 
'the Instrument after the Surveyor must be constantly reliev'd. 
'These must be 5 in Number always upon Duty, & where the 
'Woods are thick, which will frequently be the Case, there shou'd 
'be 2 more Men to clear the way & upon the Prospect to the Sur- 
'veyors. While this Number is thus employ'd, their Arms must 
'be carry'd, & their Horses led after them by as great a Number. 
'This will employ at least 10 Men constantly. And if we must 
'have no more, who must then take care of the Baggage & Provi- 
'sions which will need several Horses, & in such Pathless Woods, 
'each Horse must be led by a carefull Man, or the Packs will soon 
'be torn off their Backs. Then besides all these, some Men shou'd 

136 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 138] 

The Secret History 137 

"be at Leizure to hunt & keep us in Meat, for which our whole 

"dependance must be upon the Woods. Nor ought we in an Affair 

"of so much Consequence, be ty'd down to so small a Number of 

"Men, as will be exactly requisite for the dayly business, some 

"may be sick, or Lame, or otherwise disabled. In such an Exi- 

"gence must we return Home, for want of Spare Hands to supply 

"such Misfortune? Ought we not to go provided against such 

"common Disasters as these? At this rate we shou'd lose more 

"in the length of time, than we shou'd save by the shortness of 

"our Number, which wou'd make our Frugality, as it often hap- 

"pens, an extravagant Expence to Us. Nor wou'd it be prudent 

"or safe to go so far above the Inhabitants, without a competent 

"Number of Men for our Defence. We shall cross the Path, which 

"the Northern Indians Pass to make War upon the Catawba's, 

"& shall go thro' the very Woods that are frequented by those 

"Straggling Savages, who commit so many Murders upon our 

"Frontiers. We ought therefore to go provided with a Force suf- 

"ficient to secure us from falling into their hands. It may possibly 

"be objected, that the Carolina Men will encrease our Number, 

"which is certain, but they will very little encrease our Force. 

"They will bring more Eaters than Fighters, at least they did so 

"the last time, and if they shou'd be better provided with Arms 

"now, their Commissioners have so little Command over the Men, 

"that I expect no good from them if we shou'd be so unfortunate 

"as to be attack't. From all which I must conclude, that our 

"safety, our Business, & the Accidents that attend it, will require 

"at least 20 Men. And in order to make this Number more use- 

"full, there ought to be no confusion in the Command. We are 

"taught both by reason & Experience, that when any Men in Arms 

"are sent on an Expedition, they ought to be under the Command 

"of one Person only. For shou'd they be commanded by several 

"claiming equal Power, the Orders given by so many might happen 

"to be contradictory, as probably they wou'd happen to be in our 

"Case. The consequence of which must follow, that the Men 

"wou'd not know whom to obey. This must introduce an endless 

"distraction, & end in defeating the Business, you are sending us 

"about. It were ridiculous to say the Command ought to rest in 

"the Majority, because then we must call a Council every time any 

"Orders are to be issued. It wou'd be still more absurd to pro- 

138 History of the Dividing Line 

The tenth of September being thought a little too soon for the Com- 
missioners to meet, in order to proceed on the Line, on accomit of 
Snakes, 'twas agreed to put it off to the twentieth of the same Month, of 
which due Notice was sent to the Carolina-Commissioners. 

The Secret History 139 

"pose, that such Persons claiming equal Power, shou'd command 
"by Turns, because then one Commander may undo this day, what 
"his CoUegue had directed the day before, & so the men will be 
"perplext with a Succession of Jaring Orders. Besides the pre- 
"ference, & distinction which these poor Fellows might have Rea- 
"son to shew to One of these Kings of Branford, may be punish't 
"by the other, when it comes to his turn to be in power. This be- 
"ing the Case, what Men of Spirit or Common Sence wou'd list 
"themselves under such uncertain Command, where they cou'd not 
"know whom to please, or whom to obey? For all which Reason 
"S"" I must conclude, that the Command of the Men ought to rest 
"in One Person, & if in One, then without Controversy in him 
"who has the Honour to be first in Commission. 

The Council as well as the Governor was convinc't by these 
Arguments, & unanimously voted 20 Men were few enough to go 
out with us, & thought it reasonable that the Command of them 
shou'd be given to me, as being the first in Commission, Fire- 
brand oppos'd each of these Points with all his Eloquence, but to 
little purpose no Body standing by him, not so much as his new 
Ally the Commissary. He seem'd at first to befriend him with 
a Distinction, which he made between the day of Battle, & a Day 
of Business: but having no Second, he ran with the Stream. How- 
ever in pure Compassion to poor Firebrand, for fear he shou'd 
want somebody to run of his Errands for him, it was agreed he 
shou'd have 3 Men to fetch & carry for him. 

I had the same success in getting the day of Meeting which the 
Carolina Commissioners desired might be put off till the 20 
of September, notwithstanding Firebrand produced Letters from 
Mess'"' Jumble & Shoebrush that they had not desired their Col- 
legue Plausible to procure our Rendezvous to be deferr'd. I con- 
fronted these Letters with that Epistle I had from Plausible which 
flatly contradicted them. Thus it was evident there was a Shame- 
full untruth on one Side or the other, but if we consider the Charac- 
ters of the Men, & the Influence of Firebrand over those two, 
whose Brothers were Collectors, One may guess where it lies, 
especially since this was not the first time their Pens had been 
drawn in his Service. However these Letters did no Service. But 
the Governor declared he wou'd write to S' Richard Everard, that 

140 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 144] 

September] The Secret History 141 

we shou'd meet the Commissioners of his Government on the 20*^ 
of September with 20 Men. How much the Pride of Firebrand 
was mortify'd by so intire a Defeat in every one of his points, 
may be easily guest by the loud Complaint he made afterwards, 
how unhumanely the Council had treated him, and by the Pains 
he took with the Governor to get the Order of Council soften'd 
with relation to the Command. But remembering how unjustly he 
had reproach't me with having taken too much upon me in our 
former Trip I insisted upon the Order of Council in the fullest 
Extent. Upon seeing me so Sturdy he declar'd to the Governor, 
he cou'd not go on such dishonourable Terms, & swore to others 
he wou'd not, but Interest got the better of his Oath & Honour 
too, and he did vouchsafe to go at last, notwithstanding all the 
Disgraces which he thought had been put upon him. From hence 
we may fairly conclude, that Pride is not the Strongest of his 
Passions, tho' strong enough to make him both ridiculous & de- 

After these necessary Matters were settled, I ordered 1000 lb 
of Brown Biscuit, & 200 lb of white to be provided, & 6 Baggage 
Horses to carry it, at the rate of 3 Baggs containing 200 lb. 
each Horse. As for meat I intended to carry none, but to depend 
intirely upon Providence for it. But because the Game was not 
like to be plentifull till we got above the Inhabitants, I directed 
all the men to find themselves with 10 day's Provision. I augu- 
mented my Number of Men to 17, which together with 3 which 
Firebrand undertook to get made up the Complement of 20. For 
these I provided Ammunition after the Rate of 2'** of Powder a 
Man, with Shot in proportion. On the 16*'' of September Mean- 
well & Astrolabe came to my House in Order to set out with me 
the day following towards the Place of Rendezvous. 


17. About 10 in the Morning I having recommended my Wife 
& Family to the Protection of the Almighty past the River with 
Mess" Meanwell & Astrolabe at M"" Ravenscroft's Landing.^^ He 

^ Reference is to the Maycox plantation, across the James from Westover, which 
was purchased in 1723 by Thomas Ravenscroft. In the late eighteenth century it 
passed into the ownership of David Meade who made it one of the famous show 
places of Virginia. See Tyler, Cradle of the Republic, p. 212. 

142 History of the Dividing Line 

[Continued on page 144] 

September] The Secret History 143 

was so complaisant as to accompany us as far as the New 
Church/^ where 8 of our Men were attending for us, Namely, 
Peter Jones, George Hamilton, James Patillo, Thomas Short, John 
Ellis Jun"", Richard Smith, George Tilman & Abraham Jones. The 
rest were to meet us at Kinchin's, which lay more convenient to 
their Habitations. Only I had order'd 3 of them who were absent 
to convoy the Bread Horses thither, the nearest Road they cou'd 
go, namely Thomas Jones, Thomas Jones Jun"", & Edward Powel, 
to the last of which the Bread Horses belong'd. 

We proceeded with the 8 Men abovemention'd to CoP Harvy 
Harrisons,^*^ where our Chaplain D'' Humdrum was arriv'd before 
us. We were handsomely entertain'd & after Dinner fumish't 
ourselves with several small Conveniences out of the Store, There 
we took a turn to the Cold Bath, where the Col" refreshes him- 
self every Morning. This is about 5 Feet Square, & as many 
deep, thro which a pure Stream continually passes, & is cover'd 
with a little House just big enough for the Bath & a Fireing Room. 
Our Landlord who us'd formerly to be troubled both with the 
Gripes & the Gout, fancys he receives benefit by plunging every 
day in cold Water. This good House was enough to spoil us 
for Woodsmen, where we drank Rack-Punch^^ while we sat up, 
& trod on Carpets when we went to Bed. 

18. Having thankt the CoP for our good Cheer, we took leave 
about ten, not at all dismay'd at the liklihood of Rain. We 
travelled after the Rate of 4 Miles an Hour passing over Black- 
water Bridge, & ten Miles beyond that over another call'd Assa- 
mousack Bridge. Then we filed off to Richard Parker's Planta- 
tion, where we had been kindly us'd in our return home. We 
found the distance 24 Miles going a little astray for want of a 
Guide, & there fell a Sort of Scots Mist all the way. We arriv'd 
about 5 a Clock & found things in much disorder, the good Wo- 
man being lately dead, & those that surviv'd sick. Pretty Sally 

*° Reference is probably to a chapel built in 1723, the contractor being a Mr. 
Thomas Jefferson. See Meade, Old Churches, Ministers and Families, Vol. I, p. 440. 
°" Henry Harrison. See above, note 44. 
"'^ A beverage containing rum distilled from molasses. 

144 History of the Dividing Line [September 

19. We, on the part of Virginia, that we might be sure to be pmictual, 
arriv'd at Mr. Kinchin's, the place appointed, on the 19th, after a Journey 
of three days, in which nothing Remarkable happen'd. 

We found three of the Carolina-Commissioners had taken Possession 
of the House, having come thither by water from Edenton, By the Great 
Quantity of Provisions these Gentlemen brought, and the few men they 
had to eat them, we were afraid they intended to carry the Line to the 
South sea. 

They had 500 lbs of bcaon and dry'd Beef, and 500 lbs of Bisket, and 
not above three or four men. The misfortime was, they forgot to provide 
Horses to carry their good things, or else trusted to the Incertainty of 
hireing them here, which, considering the Place, was leaving too much to 
that Jilt, Hazard. 

On our part we had taken better Care, being completely furnisht with 
everything necessary for transporting our Baggage and Provisions. In- 
deed we brought no other Provisions out with us but 1000 lbs of Bread 
and had Faith enough to depend on Providence for our Meat, being desir- 
ous to husband the publick Money as much as possible. 

We had no less than 20 men, besides the Chaplain, the Surveyors and 
all the Servants, to be Subsisted upon this Bread. However, that it 
might hold out the better, our men had been Order'd to provide themselves 
at Home with Provision for Ten days, in which time we judg'd we should 
get beyond the Inhabitants, where Forest-Game of all sorts was like to be 
plenty at that time of the Year. 

September] The Secret History 145 

had lost some of her Bloom by an Ague, but none of her good 
humour. They entertain'd us, as well as they cou'd, & what was 
wanting in good cheer was made up in good humour. 

19. About 10 this Morning we wish't Health to Sally & her 
Family, & forded over Notoway River at Bolton's Ferry, the water 
being very low. We call'd upon Samuel Kindred again who re- 
galed us with a Beef Steak, & our Men with Syder. Here we had 
like to have listed a Mulatoo Wench for Cook to the Expedition, 
who formerly lived with Col° Ludwell. After halting here about 
an Hour, we pursued our Journey, & in the way Richard Smith 
Shew'd me the Star-Root,^^ which infallibly cures the Bite of the 
Rattlesnake. Nine Miles from thence we forded over Meherin 
River near M'' Kinchin's, believing we shou'd be at the place of 
meeting before the rest of the Commissioners. But we were mis- 
taken, for the first Sight my Eyes were blest with, was that of 
Orion, & finding the Shadow there I knew the Substance cou'd 
not be far off. 

Three Commissioners on the Part of N. Carolina came that 
Night, tho' Jumble & Fuzzlecause were orderd by their Governor 
to stay behind, lest their Gen\ Court might be delay'd. But they 
came notwithstanding, in the Strength of their Interest with the 
Council, but seem'd afraid of being pursued, & arrested. They 
put on very gracious Countenances at our first greeting: but yet 
look't a little conscious of having acted a very low part in the 
Epistles they had written. For my part I was not Courtier enough 
to disguise the Sentiments I had of them & their Slavish proceed- 
ing, & therefore cou'd not smile upon those I despis'd. Nor cou'd 
I behave much better to Firebrand & his Eccho Orion, nevertheless 
I constrain'd myself to keep up a stiff Civility. The last of these 
Gentlemen remembering the just Provocation he had given me, 
thought it necessary to bring a Letter from the Governor, recom- 
mending him to my favour & Protection. This therefore had the 
air of confessing his former Errors, which made me after some 
gentle Reproofs, assure him, he shou'd have no Reason to com- 
plain of my Treatment. Tho' I carry'd fair weather to Firebrand, 

^ The stargrass or colicroot, a shrub bearing white or yellow flowers. Its roots were 
used medicinally. 

146 History of the Dividing Line [September 

20. This being the day appointed for our Rendezvous, great part of it 
was Spent in the careful fixing our Baggage and Assembling our Men, who 
were order'd to meet us here. We took care to examine their Arms, and 
made proof of the Powder provided for the Expedition. 

Our Provision-Horses had been hinder'd by the rain from coming up 
exactly at the Day; but this Delay was the less Disappointment, by reason 
of the ten days' Subsistence the men had been directed to provide for 

Mr. Moseley did not join us till the afternoon, nor Mr. Swan till Several 
Days after. 

Mr. Kinchin had unadvisedly sold the Men a little Brandy of his own 
making, which produced much disorder, causing some to be too cholerick, 
and others too loving; Insomuch that a Damsel, who assisted in the 
Kitchen, had certainly Suffer'd what the Nuns call Martyrdom, had she 
not capitulated a little too soon. 

This outrage would have call'd for some severe Discipline, had she 
not bashfully withdrawn herself early in the Morning, & so carry'd off 
the Evidence. 

September] The Secret History 147 

yet Meanwell cou'd not, but all Ceremony, Notice, & Conversa- 
tion seem'd to be cancell'd betwixt them. I caus'd the Tent to be 
pitch'd in the Orchard, Where I & my Company took up Our 
Quarters, leaving the House to Firebrand & his Faction. 

20. This Morning Meanwell was taken a Purging & vomiting for 
which I dosed him with Veal Broth, & afterwards advis'd him to a 
Gallon of warm Water, which finish't his Cure. We herded very 
little with our Brother Commissioners & Meanwell frankly gave 
Jumble to understand, that we resented the impertinent Letters he 
& some of his CoUegues had writ to Virginia. He made a very 
lame Apology for it, because the Case wou'd not bear a good 
One. He & his Brethren were lamentably puzzled how to carry 
their Baggage & Provisions. They had brought them up by Water 
near this Place & had depended on fortune to get Horses there to 
carry them forward. I believe too they rely'd a little upon us 
to assist them, but I was positive not to carry One Pound Weight. 
We had Luggage enough for our own Horses, & as our Provisions 
lighten'd, the shortness of their Provenders wou'd require them 
to be lighten'd too. I was not so complaisant to these worthy 
Gentlemen as Firebrand for he brought a Tent for them out of the 
Magazine at Williamsburgh, to requite the dirty work they had 
been always ready to do for him. At last they hired something 
like a Cart to carry their Lumber as far as it cou'd go towards 
Roanoke River. 

In the Evening 6 more of our Men join'd us, namely, Robert 
Hix, John Evans, Stephen Evans, Charles Kimball, Thomas Wil- 
son, & William Pool, but the 3 Men that conducted the Bread- 
Horses, came not up as yet, which gave me some Uneasiness tho' 
I concluded they had been stop't by the Rain. Just after Sunset 
Cap* Hix & Cap* Drury Stith^^ arriv'd & made us the complement 
to attend us as far as Roanoke. The last of these Gentlemen bear- 
ing some Resemblance to S"" Richard Everard put Mess" Jumble 
& Puzzlecause into a Panick lest the Knight was come to put a 
Stop to their Journey. My Landlord had unluckily sold our Men 
some Brandy, which produced much disorder, making some too 
Cholerick, and others too loving. (So that a Damsel who came 

"Colonel Drury Stith, SheriflF of Charles City County in 1719-20 and 1724-25, 
He removed to Brunswick County and was its first County Clerk. 

148 History of the Dividing Line [September 

21. We despatcht away the Surveyors without Loss of Time, who, 
with all their diligence, could carry the Line no farther than 3 Miles and 
176 Poles, by reason the Low-Ground was one entire Thicket. In that dis- 
tance they crost Meherin River the 4th time. In the mean while the 
Virginia-Commissioners thought proper to conduct their Baggage a farther 
way about, for the Convenience of a clearer Road. 

The Carolina-Gentlemen did at length, more by Fortune than forecast, 
hire a clumsy Vehicle, something like a cart, to transport their Effects as 
far as Roanoak. This wretched Machine, at first Setting out, met with a 
very rude choque, that broke a Case-Bottle of Cherry Brandy in so un- 
lucky a Manner that not one precious Drop was saved. This Melancholy 
Beginning forboded an unprosperous Journey, and too quick a Return, 
to the Persons most immediately concem'd. 

In our way we crosst Fountain's Creek, which runs into Meherin River, 
so call'd from the disaster of an unfortunate Indian Trader who had 
formerly been drowned in it, and, like Icarus, left his Name to that fatal 
stream. We took up our Quarters on the Plantation of John Hill, where 
we pitcht our Tent, with design to tarry till such time as the Surveyors 
cou'd work their way to us. 

22. This being Sunday, we had an Opportunity of resting from our 
Labours. The expectation of such a Novelty as a Sermon in these Parts 
brought together a Numerous Congregation. When the Sermon was over 
our Chaplain did his part towards making Eleven of them Christians. 

Several of our men had Intermitting feavers, but were soon restor'd 
to their Health again by proper Remedies. Our chief Medicine was Dog- 
wood Bark,^^ which we used, instead of that of Peru, with good Success. 
Indeed, it was given in larger Quanty, but then, to make the Patients 
amends, they swallowed much fewer Doses. 

'^ The Cornus florida, used widely in the antebellum South in treatment of fevers 
and as a tonic. See Porcher, F. A., Resources of Southern Fields and Forests. 
(1863), pp. 59-61. 

September] The Secret History 149 

to assist in the Kitchen wou'd certainly have been ravish't, if her 
timely consent had not prevented the Violence. Nor did my Land- 
lady think herself safe in the hands of such furious Lovers, and 
therefore fortify'd her Bed chamber & defended it with a 
Chamber-Pot charg'd to the Brim with Female Ammunition. I 
never cou'd learn who the Ravisher was; because the Girl had 
walk't off in the Morning early, but Firebrand & his Servant were 
the most suspected, having been engag'd in those kind of Assaults 
once before. In the Morning Meanwell join'd us. 

21. We sent away the Surveyors about 9 who could carry the 
Line no more than 3^/2 Miles because the Low* Grounds were 
cover'd with Thickets. As soon as we had paid a very exorbitant 
Bill, and the Carolina Men had loaded their Vehickle & dispos'd 
of their Lumber, we mounted, & conducted our Baggage about 
10 Miles. We took up our Quarters at the Plantation of John HiU, 
where we pitch't our Tent with design to rest there 'til Monday. 
This Man's House was so poorly fumish't, that Firebrand & his 
Carolina Train cou'd not find in their Hearts to lodge in it, so 
we had the Pleasure of their Company in the Camp. They per- 
fumed the Tent with their Rum Punch, & hunted the poor Parson 
with their unseemly Jokes, which tum'd my Stomach as much 
as their Fragrant Liquor. I was grave & speechless the whole 
Evening, & retired early, by all which, I gave them to understand, 
I was not fond of the Conversation of those whose Wit, like the 
Commons at the University & Inns of Court is eternally the same. 

22. This being Sunday we had a large Congregation, & tho' there 
were many Females, we saw but one Beauty bright enough to disturb 
our devotions. Our Parson made 11 Christians. M"" Hill made 
heavy complaint that our Horses did much Damage to his Corn- 
Field. Upon which I order'd those that were most Vicious that 
way to be ty'd up to their good Behaviour. Among these Hum- 
drum's & Astrolabes were the greatest Trespassers. After Church 
I gave John Ellis a Vomit for his Ague with good Success, & was 
forc'd myself to soften my Bowels with Veal Broth for a Loose- 
ness. I also recommended Warm-Water to Cap* Stith for the 
Cholick, which gave him immediate Ease. 

150 History of the Dividing Line [September 

In the afternoon our Provision-Horses arrived Safe in the Camp. They 
had met with very heavy Rains, but, thank God, not a Single Bisket le- 
ceiv'd the least Damage thereby. 

We were furnisht by the Neighbours with very lean Cheese and very 
fat Mutton, upon which occasion twill not be improper to draw one con- 
clusion, from the Evidence of North Carolina, that Sheep would thrive 
much better in the Woods than in Pasture Land, provided a careful 
Shepherd were employed to keep them from Straying, and, by the help 
of Dogs, to protect them also from the wolves. 

23. The Surveyors came to us at Night, tho' they had not brought the 
Line so far as our Camp, for which reason we thought it needless to go 
forward till they came up with us. They cou'd run no more than 4 Miles 
and 5 Poles, because the Ground was every where grown up with thick 

The Soil here appear'd to be very good, tho' much broken betwixt 
Fountain creek and Roanoak River. The Line crost Meherin the 5th and 
last time, nor were our People sorry to part with a Stream the Meanders 
of which had given them so much Trouble. 

Our Hunters brought us four wild Turkeys, which at that Season began 
to be fat and very delicious, especially the Hens. 

These Birds seem to be of the Bustard kind, and fly heavily. Some 
of them are exceedingly large, and weigh upwards of 40 Pounds; Nay, 
some bold Historians venture to say, upwards of 50. They run very fast, 
stretching forth their Wings all the time, like the Ostrich, by way of Sails 
to quicken their Speed. 

They roost commonly upon very high Trees, Standing near some 
River or Creek, and are so stupify'd at the Sight of Fire, that if you make 
a Blaze in the Night near the Place where they roost, you may fire upon 
them Several times successively, before they will dare to fly away. 

Their Spurs are so Sharp and Strong that the Indians used formerly to 
point their Arrows with them, tho' now they point them with a Sharp white 
Stone. In the Spring the Turkey-Cocks begin to gobble, which is the 
Language wherein they make Love. 

It rain'd very hard in the Night, with a violent Storm of Thunder and 
Lightening, which oblig'd us to trench in our Tent all round, to carry ofif 
the Water that fell upon it. 

24. So soon as the men could dry their Blankets, we sent out the 
Surveyors, who now meeting with more favourable Grounds, advanc'd the 
line 7 Miles and 82 Poles. However, the Commissioners did not think 
proper to decamp that day, believing they might easily overtake the Sur- 
veyors the next. In the mean time they sent out some of their most 
expert Gunners, who brought in four more wild Turkeys. 

September] The Secret History 151 

In the Afternoon our 3 Men arriv'd with the Bread-Horses, hav- 
ing been kept so long behind by the Rain, but thank God it had 
receiv'd no Damage. I took a walk with Plausible, & told him of 
the Letter his Collegues had writ, to falsify what he had told me 
concerning their Request, to put off the time of our Meeting, He 
justify'd his own Veracity, but shew'd too much Cold Blood in 
not been (sic) piqued at so flagrant an Injury. Firebrand & his 
Followers had smelt out a House about half a Mile off, to which 
they sent for the Silver Bowl, & spent the Evening by themselves 
both to their own Statisfaction & ours. We hoped to be rid of 
them for all night, but they found the way to the Camp just after 
we were gone to Bed, & Firebrand hindered us from going to sleep 
so soon, by his Snoring & swearing. 

23. We continu'd in our Camp, & sent the Surveyors back to 
the Place where they left off. They cou'd run the Line no more 
than 4 Miles by reason that it was overgrown with Bushes. I sent 
several of the Men out a Hunting & they brought us 4 Wild Tur- 
keys. Old Cap* Hix kill'd 2 of them, who tum'd his Hand to every- 
thing notwithstanding his great Age, disdaining to be thought the 
worse for Threescore & ten. Beauty never appear'd better in Old 
Age, with a Ruddy complexion, & Hair as white as Snow. It rain'd 
a little in the Evening, but did not hinder our Rum-Commissioners 
from Stepping over to John Hill's to swill their Punch, leaving 
the Tent clear to Us. After Midnight, it rain'd very hard with 
a Storm of Thunder & Lightening, which oblidged us to trench iii 
our Tent to cast off the Water. The Line crost Meherin 5 times in 
all. . 

24. So Soon as the Men cou'd dry their Blankets, we sent away 
the Surveyor who made a Shift to carry the Line 7 Miles. But 
we thought it proper not to decamp believing we might easily over- 
take the Surveyors before to Morrow Night. Our Shooters kill'd 
4 more Wild Turkeys. Meanwell & Cap* Stith pretended to go 
a hunting, but their Game was 2 fresh colour'd Wenches, which 
were not hard to hunt down. The Neighbours supply'd us with 
pretty good Cheese & very fat Mutton. I order'd a View of John 
Hill's Damage in his Com field, & paid him for 6 Barrels on 

152 History of the Dividing Line [September 

This part of the Country being very proper for raising Cattle and Hogs, 
we observ'd the Inhabitants lived in great plenty without killing them- 
selves with Labour. 

I found near our Camp some Plants of that kind of Rattle-Snake Root, 
called Star-grass. ^^ The Leaves shoot out circularly, and grow Horizon- 
tally and near the Groimd. The Root is in Shape not unlike the Rattle of 
that Serpent, and is a Strong Antidote against the bite of it. It is very 
bitter, and where it meets with any Poison, works by Violent Sweats, but 
where it meets with none, has no Sensible Operation but that of putting the 
Spirits into a great Hurry, and so of promoting Perspiration. 

The Rattle-snake has an utter Antipathy to this Plant, insomuch that 
if you Smear your hands with the Juice of it, you may handle the Viper 
Safely. Thus much I can say of my own Experience, that once in July, 
when these Snakes are in their greatest Vigour, I besmear'd a Dog's Nose 
with the Powder of this Root, and made him trample on a large Snake 
Several times, which, however, was so far from biting him, that it per- 
fectly Sicken'd at the Dog's Approach, and turn'd its Head from him with 
the Utmost Aversion, 

Our Chaplain, to shew his Zeal, made an excursion of 6 Miles to christen 
2 children, but without the least regard to the good Chear at these 

25. The Surveyors taking the Advantage of clear Woods, pusht on the 
Line 7 Miles and 40 Poles. In the mean time the Commissioners marcht 
with the Baggage about 12 miles, and took up their Quarters near the 
Banks of the Beaver Pond, (which is one Branch of Fountain's creek,) 
just by the place where the Surveyors were to finish their day's work. 

In our march one of the men kill'd a Small Rattle-Snake, which had no 
more than two Rattles. Those Vipers remain in Vigour generally till 
towards the End of September, or Sometimes later, if the Weather continue 
a little warm. On this consideration we had provided three Several Sorts 
of Rattle-Snake-Root, made up into proper Doses, and ready for im- 
mediate use, in case any one of the Men or their Horses had been bitten. 

We crosst Fountain's Creek once more in our Journey this day, and 
found the Grounds very Rich, notwithstanding they were broken and 

Near the place where we encampt the county of Brunswick is divided 
ftom the Isle of Wight. These Counties run quite on the back of Surry 
and Prince George, and are laid out in very irregular Figures. 

As a Proof the Land mended hereabouts, we found the Plantations 
began to grow thicker by much than we had found them lower down. 

26. We hurry'd away the Surveyors without Loss of time, who ex- 

" Byrd here confuses two herbs. Rattlesnake Root is the Prenanthes Serpentaria, 
tribe of Chichoriaeceae; Stargrass belongs to the tribe Hypoxidae. 

September] The Secret History 153 

that Account. Firebrand instructed one of the 3 Men which he 
listed on the Publick Service to call him Master, thereby en- 
deavouring to pass him on the Carolina Commissioners for his 
Servant, that he might seem to have as many Servants as Steddy, 
but care was taken to undeceive them in this matter & expose his 
Vanity. The Carolina Men liv'd at Rack & Manager^^ without any 
Sort of Occonomy, thereby shewing they intended not to go very 
far with us, tho' we took time to set them a better example. Our 
Chaplain had leave to go home with Robert Hix, who lived no more 
than 6 Miles from this place to christen his Child & the Old Captain 
went along with them. We had the comfort to have the Tent to 
ourselves, the Knights of the Rum-Cask retiring in the Evening 
to the House, & wasting the Liquor & double refined Sugar as fast 
as they cou'd. 

25. Our Surveyors proceeded to run little more than 7 Miles. 
Firebrand & his Gang got out this Morning before us, on pretence 
of providing our Dinner; but they outrid the Man that carry'd 
the Mutton, & he not knowing the way was lost, so that instead of 
having our Dinner sooner, we run a hazard of having none at all. 
We came up to them about 4 a Clock & thank't them for the pru- 
dent care they had taken. This was a Sample of these Gentlemen's 
Management, whenever they undertook anything. We encampt 
near Beaver Pond Creek, & on our Way thither Peter Jones kill'd 
a small Rattlesnake. The Surveyors made an End very near 
where we lay. Orion was exceedingly awkward at his Business, 
that Astrolabe was obliged to do double Duty. There being no 
house at hand to befriend us, we were forced to do pennance at the 
Tent with the Topers. 

26. This Morning we dispatch't the Surveyors early, & they ran 
about 10% Miles. By the way the Men that were with him kill'd 
2 large Rattlesnakes. Will Pool trod upon one of them without 
receiving any hurt, & 2 of the Chain Carriers had march't over 
the other, but he was so civil as to bite neither of them, however 
one of these Vipers struck at Wilson's horse, and misst him. So 
many Escapes were very providential, tho' the Danger proves, 
that my Argument for putting off our Business was not without 

'Without economy or restraint. 

154 History of the Dividing Line [September 

tended the Line 10 Miles and 160 Poles, the Grounds proving dry and 
free from Under-woods. By the way the chain-carriers kill'd two more 
Rattle-Snakes, which I own was a little ungrateful, because two or three 
of the Men had Strided over them without receiving any Hurt; tho' one of 
these Vipers had made bold to Strike at one of the Baggage Horses, as he 
went along, but by good Luck his Teeth only grazed on the hoof, without 
doing him any Damage. However, these Accidents were, I think, so many 
Arguments that we had very good Reason to defer our coming out till the 
20th of September. 

We observ'd Abundance of St. Andrew's Cross^^ in all the Woods we 
passed thro', which is the common Remedy used by the Indian traders to 
cure their horses when they are bitten by Rattle-Snakes. 

It grows on a Strait Stem, about 18 Inches high, and bears a Yellow 
Flower on the Top, that has an Eye of Black in the Middle, with Several 
Pairs of Narrow Leaves Shooting out at right Angles from the Stalk over 
against one another. 

This Antidote grows Providentially all over the Woods, and upon all 
Sorts of Soil, that it may be every where at hand in Case a Disaster 
should Happen, and may be had all the hot Months while the Snakes are 

About four a'clock in the Afternoon we took up our Quarters upon 
Caban Branch, Avhich also discharges itself into Fountain Creek. On our 
way we observed Several Meadows cloth'd with very rank-Grass, and 
Branches full of tall Reeds, in which Cattle keep themselves fat good part 
of the Winter. But Hogs are as injurious to both as Goats ere said 
to be to Vines, and for that Reason it was not lawful to Sacrifice them to 
Bacchus. We halted by the way to Christen two Child rjn at a Spring, 
where their Mothers waylaid us for that good Purpose. 

27. It was ten of the clock before the Surveyors got to work, because 
some of the Horses had straggled to a great Distance from the Camp. 
Nevertheless, meting with Practicable Woods, they advanct the Line 9 
Miles and 104 Poles. We crosst over Pea-Creek about four Miles from 
our Quarters, and three Miles farther, Lizzard-Creek, both which empty 
their Waters into Roanoak River. 

Between these two Creeks a poor Man waited for us with five Children 
to be baptiz'd, and we halted till the Ceremony was ended. The Land 
seem'd to be very good, by the largeness of the Trees, tho' very Stony. 
We proceeded as far as Pidgeon-Roost-Creek, which also runs into 
Roanoak, and there Quarter'd. 

We had not the pleasure of the Company of any of the Carolina- 
Commissioners in this day's March, except Mr. Moseley's, the rest tarrying 
behind to wait the coming up of their Baggage-Cart, which they had now 

' See note 56, Secret History. 

September] The Secret History 155 

Foundation. We march't upon the Line after the Surveyors, & 
about 4 a Clock encampt upon Cabin Branch, which is one of 
the Branches of Fountain's Creek. Before we sat off this Morn- 
ing, we christen'd 2 Children. One of them was brought by a 
Modest Lass, who being asked how she liked Captain Stiff reply'd 
not at all, nor Cap* Limber neither, meaning Orion. We saw 
Abundance of Ipocoaceanna in the Woods, & the Fern Rattlesnake 
Root,^^ which is said to be the strongest Antidote against the Bite 
of that Viper. And we saw S* Andrew's-Cross*^*^ almost every 
Step we went, which serves for the same Purpose. This Plant 
grows on all kinds of Soil, every where at hand during the Sum- 
mer months, when the Snakes have Vigour enough to do Mischief. 
Old Capt. Hix entertain'd us with One of his Trading Songs, 
which he quaver'd out most Melodiously & put us all into a good 

27. We sent away the Surveyors before 10 a Clock & follow'd 
with the Baggage at 11. But Firebrand thought proper to re- 
main with 3 of the Carolina Commissioners til their Cart came up, 
& took it ill that we tarry'd not with them likewise. But I cou'd 
not complement away our Time at that Rate. Here they made 
broad Hints to carry some of their Luggage for them, I wou'd 
put not such hardships upon our Men, who had all enough to 
carry of their Own, so we left them there, to make the best shift 
they cou'd, & follow'd the Line with all Diligence. We past Pea- 
hill-Creek, & sometime after Lizzard Creek, which empties itself 

^An herb of the chicory family. Its milky juice was taken internally and its 
leaves when steeped, were applied externally in the treatment of snake wounds. 

^A small plant of the St. Johns-wort family, so called because its petals open 
into shape like the St. Andrews cross. 

156 History of the Dividing Line [September 

not seen nor heard (though the Wheels made a Dismal Noise) for several 
days past. 

Indeed it was a very diEScult Undertaking to conduct a Cart thro' such 
pathless and perplext Woods, and no wonder if its Motion was a little 
Planetary. We would have payd them the Complement of waiting for 
them, cou'd we have done it at any other Expense but that of the Publick. 

In the Stony Grounds we rode over we found great Quantity of the true 
Ipocoacanna,^^ which in this part of the World is call'd Indian-Physick. 
This has Several Stalks growing up from the Same Root about a Foot 
high, bearing a Leaf resembling that of a Straw-Berry. It is not so strong 
as that from Brazil, but has the same happy Effects, If taken in Somewhat 
a larger Dose. It is an Excellent Vomit, and generally cures intermitting 
Fevers and Bloody Fluxes at once or twice taking. There is abundance 
of it in the upper part of the Country, where it delights most in a Stony 
Soil intermixt with black Mold. 

28. Our Surveyors got early to work, yet cou'd forward the Line but 6 
miles and 121 Poles, because of the uneven Grounds in the Neighbourhood 
of Roanoak, which they crosst in this Day's work. 

In that Place the River is 49 Poles wide, and rolls down a crystal Stream 
of very Sweet water. Insomuch that when there comes to be a great 
Monarch in this Part of the World, he will cause all the Water for his own 
Table to be brought from Roanoak, as the great Kings of Persia did theirs 
from the Nile and Choaspis, because the Waters of those Rivers were light, 
and not apt to corrupt. ^^ 

The great Falls of Roanoak lie about 20 Miles lower, to which a Sloop 
of Moderate Burthen may come up. There are, besides these, many 
Smaller Falls above, tho' none that entirely intercept the Passage of the 
River, as the great Ones do, by a Chain of Rocks for 8 Miles together. 

The River forks about 36 Miles higher, and both Branches are pretty 
equal in Breadth where they divide, tho' the Southern, now call'd the 
Dan, runs up the farthest. That to the North runs away near North- 
west, and is call'd the Staunton, and heads not far from the Source of 
Appamatuck River, while the Dan stretches away pretty near West & runs 
clear thro' the great Mountains. 

We did not follow the Surveyors till towards Noon, being detain'd in 
our camp to Christen Several more Children. We were conducted a 
nearer way, by a famous Woodsman, call'd Epaphroditus Bainton. This 
Forester Spends all his time in ranging the Woods, and is said to make 

™ The herb Gillenia, which corresponds to the Epecacuanha of Brazil, from which 
the drug epecac is derived. It was also used as a tonic and as a remedy for milk 

" "The same humor prevails at this day in the Kings of Denmark who order all the 
East India Ships of that nation to call at the Cape of Good Hope and take in a But of 
Water from a Spring on the Table Hill, and bring it to Coppenhagen for their 
Majesty's own Drinking." (Byrd's Note). 

September] The Secret History 157 

into Roanoke River. Here we halted 'til our Chaplain baptized 
5 Children. Then we proceeded to Pigeon-Roost Creek, where we 
took up our Quarters, having carry'd the Line above 9 Miles. 

28. We hurry'd away the Surveyors, who cou'd run no more 
than 6 Miles because of the Uneven Grounds near Roanoke-River. 
We did not follow with the Baggage til 10, being staid to christen 
6 Children, & to discourse a very civil Old Fellow, who brought us 
2 fat Shoats for a present. The Name of our Benefactor was 
Epaphroditus Bainton, who is Young enough at 60 Years of Age, 
to keep a Concubine, & to Walk 25 miles in a day. He has for- 
sworn ever getting on a Horse back, being once in Danger of 
breaking his Neck by a fall. He spends most of his time in hunt- 
ing & ranging the Woods, killing generally more than 100 Deer 
in a Year. He pretends to Skill in the Virtues of many Plants, 
but I cou'd learn nothing of that kind from him. This Man was 
our Guide to Maj"^ Mumford's Plantation,^^ under the Care of 
Miles Riley, where we were regaled with Milk, Butter, & many 
other Refreshments. The Maj^ had order'd some Wine to be 
lodged here for us, & a fat Steer to be at our Service; but the last 
we refus'd with a great many thanks. From hence we continu'd 
our Journey to the Canoe-Landing upon Roanoke River, where 
Young Mumford & M"" Walker met us. Here we ferry'd over 
our Baggage & our Persons, ordering the men with the Horses to 
the Ford near a mile higher, which leads to the Trading Path. 
Here my Old Friend Cap* Hix took his Leave committing us to 

^''Robert Mumford (Munford), Justice and Colonel of Militia in Prince George 
County, vestryman of Bruton Parish, and member of the House of Burgesses in 

158 History of the Dividing Line [September 

great Havock among the Deer, and other Inhabitants of the Forest, not 
much wilder than Himself. 

We proceeded to the Canoe-Landing on Roanoak, where we passt the 
River with the Baggage. But the Horses were directed to a Ford about a 
Mile higher, call'd by the Indians Moni-seep,^^ which signifies, in their 
Jargon, Shallow Water. This is the Ford where the Indian-Traders used 
to cross with their Horses, in their way to the Catauba Nation. 

There are many Rocks in the River thereabouts, on which grows a kind 
of Water Grass, which the wild Geese are fond of, and resort to it in great 

We landed on the South Side of Roanoak at a Plantation of Colo. 
Mumford's,^^ where, by that Gentlemen's Special Directions, we met with 
Sundry Refreshments. Here we picht our Tent, for the benefit of the 
Prospect, upon an Eminence that overlookt a broad Piece of Low Ground, 
very rich, tho' liable to be overflow'd. 

By the way, one of our Men kill'd another Rattle-Snake, with 11 Rattles, 
having a large Gray Squirrel in his Maw, the head of which was already 
digested, while the Body remain'd Stil entire. 

The way these Snakes catch their Prey is thus: They Ogle the poor 
little animal, till by force of the Charm he falls down Stupify'd and 
Senseless on the Ground. In that condition the Snake approaches, and 
moistens first one Ear and then the Other with his Spawl, and after that the 
other Parts of the Head, to make all Slippery. When that is done, he 
draws this Member into his Mouth, and after it, by Slow Degrees, all the 
rest of the Body. 

29. This being Sunday, we had Divine Service and a Sermon, at which 
Several ^f the Borderers assisted, and we concluded the Duties of the Day 
in the Christening five Children, Our Devotion being perform'd in the 
Open Field, like that of Mr. Whitfield's Flocks, and unfortunate Shower 
of Rain had almost disperst our Congregation. About four in the After- 
noon the Carolina-Commissioners made a Shift to come up with us, 
whom we had left at Pidgeon-Roost Creek the Fryday before, waiting 
for their Provisions. When their Cart came up they prudently dis- 
charg'd it, and rather chose to hire two Men to carry some part of their 
Baggage. The Rest they had been Obliged to leave behind, in the Crotch 
of an Old Tree, for want of proper Conveniences to transport it any 

We found in the low Ground Several Plants of the Fern Root,*^*^ which 
is said to be much the Strongest Antidote yet discover'd against the Poison 

^ This ford is one mile west of the point at which the Roanoke River crosses the 
North Carolina-Virginia boundary. It was the crossing of the Indian Trading Path, 
which ran from Bermuda Hundred, Virginia, to the lands of the Catawba Indians in 
upper South Carolina. 

°* See Note 57, Secret History. 

™ The Prenanthes Serpentaria, or Snake Root. 

September] The Secret History 159 

our kind Star. We were set ashoar at another Plantation belong- 
ing to Major Mumford, under the Management of a Man they 
call'd Natt. Here was another fat Steer ordered for Us, which 
we thankfully accepted of for the Sake of the Men. We pitch't 
the Tent near the House, which supply'd all out Wants. Poor 
Miles Riley received a kick from one of the Horses, for which I 
order'd him to be instantly blooded, & hindered all bad conse- 
quences. I interceeded with Plausible in behalf of the Virginians 
whose Land was left by the Line in Carolina, & he promis'd to be- 
friend them. George Hamilton kill'd a Snake with 11 Rattles 
having a Squirrell in his Belly, which he had charm'd & only the 
head of it was digested. Also the Chain-carriers kill'd another 
small one the same day. 

29. Being Sunday we had a Sermon, but 'twas interrupted with 
a Shower of Rain which dispers't our Congregation. A littl be- 
fore Noon the Carolina Baggage came up, & the Servants blest 
us with the News that their Masters wou'd come in the Evening. 
They also inform'd us they lay last Night at John Youngs, & had 
hired him & his Brother to assist them upon the Line. That for 
want of Horses to carry their Luggage, they had left some of 
it behind. Our Chaplain Baptised 5 Children, & I gave Thomas 
Wilson a Vomit that work't powerfully, & carry'd off his Feaver. 
I wrote to the Governor a full & true account of all our proceed- 
ings, & sent the Letter by M''. Mumford, who took his Leave this 
Evening. About 4 in the Afternoon Firebrand & his Carolina 
Guards came to us, as likewise did some of the Sapponi Indians.^^ 
I had sent Charles Kimball to Christanna to perswade 2 of their 
most able Huntsmen to go the Journey, to help supply us with 
meat. I had observ'd that our Men were unfortunate Gunners, 
which made me more desirous to have some that had better luck. 
Out of 5 which came I chose Bearskin & another, who accepted 
the Terms I proposed to them. From this time forward the Caro- 
lina Men & their Leader, honour'd us with their Company only 
at Dinner, but Mornings & Evenings they had a distinct Fire to 
our great Comfort, at which they toasted their Noses. Indeed 
the whole time of our being together, our dear Collegue acted more 

' See Note 62, History of the Dividing Line. 

160 History of the Dividing Line [September 

of the Rattle-Snake. The Leaves of it resemble those of Fern, from 
whence it obtain'd its Name. Several Stalks shoot from the same Root, 
about 6 Inches long, that ly mostly on the Gromid. It grows in a 
very Rich Soil, under the Protection of Some tall Tree, that Shades it 
from the Meridian Beams of the Sun. The Root has a faint Spicy tast, 
and is preferr'd by the Southern Indians to all other Counter-poisons in 
this Country. 

But there is another sort preferr'd by the Northern Indians, that they 
call Seneca Rattle-Snake-Root, to which wonderful Vertues are ascrib'd 
in the Cure of Pleurisys, Feavers, Rhumatisms, and Dropsys; besides it 
being a powerful Antidote against the Venom of the Rattle-Snake.^^ 

In the Evening the Messenger we had sent to Christanna return'd with 
five Saponi Indians.^^ We cou'd not entirely rely on the Dexterity of our 
own Men, which induced us to send for some of the Indians. We agreed 
with two of the most expert of them, upon reasonable Terms, to hunt for 
us the remaining Part of our Expedition. But one of them falling Sick 
soon after, we were content to take only the other, whose Hunting Name 
was Bear-skin. 

This Indian, either by his Skill or good Luck, Supply'd us plentifully 
all the way with Meat, Seldom discharging his piece in vain. 

By his Assistance, therefore, we were able to keep our men to their 
Business, without Suffering them to Straggle about the Woods, on pretence 
of furnishing us with Necessary Food. 

30. It had rain'd all night, and made every thing so wet, that our 
Surveyors cou'd not get to their Work before Noon. They cou'd there- 
fore measure no more than four Miles and 220 Poles, which, according 
to the best information we cou'd get, was near as high as the uppermost 
Inhabitant at that time. 

We crost the Indian Trading path above-mention'd about a Mile from 
our Camp, and a Mile beyond that forded Haw-Tree-Creek. The Woods 
we passed thro' had all the Tokens of Sterility, except a small Poison'd 
Field, on which grew no Tree bigger than a Slender Sapling. The larger 
Trees had been destroyed, either by Fire or Caterpillars, which is often 
the Case in the upland Woods, and the places where such Desolation 
happens are call'd Poison'd Fields. 

^See Tennent, John, An Epistle to Dr. Richard Mead concerning the Epidemical 
Diseases of Virginia, particularly plurisy and Perepneumony; wherein is shown the 
surprising efficacy of the Seneca Rattle-Snake Root. (Edinburgh, 1838.) 

*^ The Dividing Line is one of the principal sources for the history of the Saponi. In 
1701 Lawson found them on the Yadkin. Soon after they moved to the region of the 
Roanoke River, establishing Saponi Town about 15 miles west of Windsor, Bertie 
County, North Carolina; later they were located by Governor Spotswood at Fort 
Christanna. About 1740 they and the Tutelo, a kindred tribe, moved northward, stop- 
ping first at Shamokin, Pennsylvania, and then joined the Cayugas of New York. 
About 1779 the Tutelo went to Canada. See Mooney, "The Siouan Tribes of the Eeast" 
(Bulletin of the American Bureau of Ethnology, 1894.) For description of these 
Indians by Byrd, see page 308. 

September] The Secret History 161 

like a Commissioner for Carolina, than Virginia, & not only 
herded with them perpetually, but in every Instance join'd his 
Politicks with theirs in their consultations. No wonder then they 
acted so wisely in their Conduct, & managed their Affairs with 
such admirable Prudence. It rain'd the whole Night long & held 
not up til break of day. 

30. The Tent & Baggage was so wet, that we cou'd not get them 
dry til 12 a Clock, at which Hour we sent the Surveyors out & 
they carry'd the Line about 4^4 Miles, which we computed, was 
as high as any Inhabitants. But we mov'd not til 2 with the 
Baggage. We past over Haw-Tree Creek, 2 Miles from our Camp, 
marching over poison'd Fields. By the way a very lean Boar 
crost us, & several claim'd the Credit of killing it, but all agreed 
twas Stone dead before Firebrand fired, yet he took the Glory of 
this Exploit to himself, so much Vanity he had, that it broke out 
upon such paltry Occasions. Before we sat off this Morning, 
Orion came to me with a Countenance very pale & disordered, de- 
siring that Astrolabe might have Orders never to concern himself, 
when it was his turn to survey, because when he needed to be re- 
liev'd, he chose rather to be beholden to Bootes, than to him. I 
cou'd by no means agree to this Request, telling him that none was 
so proper to assist one Virginia Surveyor, as the other. I let him 
know too, that such a Motion savour'd more of Pique & Peevish- 

162 History of the Dividing Lhme [October 

We took up our Quarters upon a Branch of Great Creek, where there 
was tolerable good Grass for the poor Horses. These poor Animals 
having now got beyond the Latitude of Corn, were obliged to Shift as 
well as they cou'd for themselves. 

On our way the men rous'd a Bear, which being the first we had seen 
since we came out, the poor Beast had many pursuers. Several Persons 
contended for the Credit of killing him: tho' he was so poor he was not 
worth the Powder. This was some Disappointment to our Woodsmen, 
who commonly prefer the Flesh of Bears to every kind of Venison. There 
is Something indeed peculiar to this Animal, namely, that its fat is very 
firm, and may be eaten plentifully without rising in the Stomach. The 
Paw (which, when stript of the hair, looks like a Human Foot,) is 
accounted a dilicious Morsel by all who are not Shockt at the ungracious 
Resemblance it bears to a Human Foot. 

Oct. 1. There was a white Frost this morning on the Ground, oc- 
casion'd by a North-West Wind, which stood our Friend in dispersing 
all Aguish Damps, and making the Air wholesome at the Same time 
that it made it cold. Encourag'd therefore by the Weather, Our Survey- 
ors got to work early, and by the Benefit of Clear Woods, and Level 
Ground, drove the Line 12 Miles and 12 Poles. 

At a Small Distance from our Camp we crost Great Creek, and about 
7 Miles farther Nut-bush Creek, so call'd from the many Hazle-Trees 
growing upon it. By good Luck Many Branches of these Creeks were 
full of Reeds, to the great comfort of our Horses. Near five Miles from 
thence we encampt on a Branch that runs into Nut-Bush Creek, where 
those Reeds flourisht more than Ordinary. The Land we marcht over 
was for the most part broken and Stony, and in some places cover'd over 
with Thickets almost impenetrable. 

At Night the Surveyors, taking Advantage of a very clear Sky, made a 
third Tryal of the Variation, and found it Still something less than 3 
Degrees, so that it did not diminish by advancing towards the West, or 
by approaching the Mountains, nor yet by encreasing our distance from 
the Sea; but remain'd much the Same we had found it at Corotuck- Inlet. 

One of our Indians kill'd a large Fawn, which was very welcome, tho', 
like Hudibras's Horse, it had hardly Flesh enough to cover its Bones. 

In the low Grounds the Carolina Gentlemen shew'd us another Plant, 
which they said was used in their country to cure the Bite of the Rattle- 
Snake. It put forth Several Leaves in figure like a Heart, and was clouded 
so like the common Assarabacca,^^ that I convinced it to be of that 

2. So soon as the Horses cou'd be found, we hurry'd away the Survey- 
ors, who advanct the Line 9 Miles and 254 Poles. About 3 Miles from 

'An aromatic herb popularly known as Wild Ginger. 

October] The Secret History 163 

ness than Reason. However I desir'd him to ask the Opinion of 
the other Commissioners, if he was not satisfy'd with mine: but he 
found it proper to ask no more Questions. Puzzlecause had a sore 
Throat, which incommoded him very much indeed, for he cou'd 
not swallow so much as Rum-Punch without Pain. But I advis'd 
him to part with 12 Ounces of Blood, which Open'd the Passage 
to his Stomach. I recommended the Bark to Bootes for an Ague, 
& gave one of the Carolina Men a dose of Ipocoaccanna, for the 
same Distemper as I did to Powell one of our own Men. 


1. We sent out the Surveyors early & by the benefit of clear 
Woods &, even Ground they carry'd the Line 12 Miles & 12 Poles. 
One of our Baggage Horses being missing we decampt not til 
Noon, which gave Firebrand & his Crew an Opportunity to get 
the Start of Us about an hour. However we came up with the 
Surveyors before them. We forded over Great Greek not far 
from the Place where we encampt, & past Nutbush Creek about 
7 Miles from thence. And 5 Miles further we quarter'd near a 
Branch, which we call'd Nutbush Branch, believing it ran into 
the Creek of that Name. One of the Indians kill'd a Fawn, which 
with the Addition of a little Beef made very Savory Soupe. The 
Surveyors by the help of a clear Night took the Variation & found 
it something more than 2°: 30', so that it did not diminish by 
approaching the Mountains, or by advanceing towards the West, 
or encreasing our Distance from the Sea, but continued much the 
same we found it at Coratuck. 

2. The Surveyors got out about 9 a clock, & advanc't the Line 
about 9 Miles. We follow'd with the Baggage at 11, & past at 
3 Miles distance from our Camp, Mossamory Creek, an Indian 
Name signifying Paint Creek, from red Earth found upon the 
Banks of it, which in a fresh tinges the Water of that Colour. 

164 History of the Dividing Li'Ne [October 

the Camp they crosst a large Creek, which the Indians call'd Massamoni, 
Signifying, in their Language, Paint-Creek, because of the great Quantity 
of Red ochre^^ found in its banks. This in every Fresh tinges the Water 
just as the same Mineral did formerly, and to this day continues to tinge, 
the famous River Adonis, in Phoenicia, by which there hangs a celebrated 

Three Miles beyond that we past another Water with difficulty, call'd 
Yaypatsco, or Bever Creek. Those industrious Animals had damm'd up 
the water so high, that we had much ado to get over. Tis hardly credible 
how much work of this kind they will do in the Space of one Night. 
They bite yoimg Saplings into proper Lengths with their Fore-teeth, 
which are exceeding Strong and Sharp, and afterwards drag them to 
the Place where they intend to Stop the Water. 

Then they know how to join Timber and Earth together with so much 
Skill, that their Work is able to resist the most violent Flood that can 
happen. In this they are qualify'd to instruct their Betters, it being 
certain their damms will stand firm when the Strongest that are made by 
men will be carry'd down the Stream. 

We observed very broad low Grounds upon this Creek, with a growth of 
large Trees, and all the other Signs of Fertility, but seem'd subject to be 
every where overflow'd in a fresh. 

The certain way to catch these Sagacious Animals is thus: Squeeze all 
the Juice out of the large Pride of the Beaver, and 6 drops out of the 
small Pride. Powder the inward Bark of Sassafras, and mix it with this 
Juice, then bait therewith a Steel Trap, and they will eagerly come to 
it, and be taken. 

About three Miles and a half farther we came to the Banks of another 
creek, call'd, in the Saponi Language, Ohimpa-moni, Signifying Jimiping 
Creek, from the frequent Jumping of Fish during the Spring Season. 

Here we encampt, and by the time the Horses were hobbled, our Hunters 
brought us no less than a Brace and a half of Deer, which made great 
Plenty, and consequently great content in our Quarters. 

Some of our People had Shot a great Wild Cat, which was that fatal 
moment making a comfortable Meal upon a Fox-Squirrel, and an Ambi- 
tious Sportsman of our Company claim'd the merit of killing this monster 
after it was dead. 

The Wild-cat is as big again as any Household-Cat, and much the fiercest 
Inhabitant of the Woods. Whenever 'tis disabled, it will tear its own 
Flesh for madness. Altho' a Panther will run away from a Man, a Wild- 
cat will only make a Surly Retreat, now and then facing about, if he be too 

*^ A red colored mineral containing oxid of iron. 

^ The legend that Adonis, son of Cunyrus, founder and king of Cyprus, was slain 
by a boar and his blood colored the water of a river which was therefore named for 

October] The Secret History 165 

Three Miles farther we got over Yapatoco, or Bever Creek with 
some difiicuhy, the Bevers having rais'd the Water a great way up. 
We proceeded 3^ Miles beyond this, & encampt on the West Side 
of Ohimpamony Creek, an Indian Name which signifys Fishing 
Creek. By the way Firebrand had another Occasion to show his 
Prowess, in killing a poor little Wild Cat, which had been crippled 
by 2 or 3 before. Poor Puss was unhappily making a Meal on 
a Fox Squirrel when all these misfortunes befell her. Meanwell 
had like to have quarrell'd with Firebrand & his Carolina Squad- 
ron, for not halting for me on the West Side of Yapatsco, hav- 
ing been almost mired in crossing that Creek while they had the 
fortune to get over it at a better place. The Indians kill'd 2 Deer 
& John Evans a third, which made great plenty & consequently 
great content in Israel. 

166 History of the Dividing Line [October 

closely pursued; and will even pursue in his turn, if he observe the least 
Sign of Fear or even of caution in those that pretend to follow Him. 

The Flesh of this Beast, as well as of the Panther, is as white as veal, and 
altogether as sweet and delicious. 

3. We got to work early this Morning, and carry'd the line 8 Miles 
and 160 Poles. We forded Several Runs of Excellent Water, and after- 
wards traverst a large levil of high land full of lofty Walnut, Poplar, and 
White Oak Trees, which are certain Proofs of a fruitful Soil. This levil 
was near two Miles in length, and of an unknown breadth, quite out of 
Danger of being overflow'd, which is a misfortune most of the Low 
Grounds are liable to in those Parts. As we marcht along we saw many 
Buffalo-Tracks, and abundance of their Dung very Fresh, but could not 
have the pleasure of seeing them. They either Smelt us out, having that 
sense very Quick, or else were alarm'd at the Noise that so many People 
must necessarily make in marching along. At the Sight of a Man they 
will Snort and Grunt, cock up their ridiculous Short Tails, and tear up 
the Ground with a Sort of Timorous Fury. 

These wild Cattle hardly ever range alone, but herd together like those 
that are tame. They are Seldom seen so far North as 40° of latitude, de- 
lighting much in canes and Reeds, which grow generally more Southerly. 

We quartered on the Banks of a Creek that the Inhabitants call Tewa- 
hominy, or Tuskarooda creek, because one of that Nation had been kill'd 
thereabouts, and his Body thrown into the Creek. 

Our People had the Fortune to kill a Brace of does, one of which we 
presented to the Carolina-Gentlemen, who were glad to partake of the 
Bounty of Providence, at the same time that they sneer'd at us for de- 
pending upon it. 

4. We hurry'd away the Surveyors about 9 this Morning, who ex- 
tended the Line 7 Miles and 160 Poles, notwithstanding the Ground was 
exceedingly uneaven. At the Distance of five Miles we forded a stream 
to which we gave the Name of Blewing creek, because of the great Num- 
ber of those Fowls that then frequented it.^^ 

About 2^2 Miles beyond that, we came upon Sugar-Tree-Creek, so call'd 
from the many Trees of that kind that grow upon it. By tapping this 
Tree, in the first Warm weather in February, one may get from 20 to 40 
Gallons of Liquor, very sweet to the tast and agreeable to the Stomach. 
This may be boil'd into molosses first, and afterwards into very good 
Sugar, allowing about 10 Gallons of the Liquor to make a Pound. There's 
no doubt, too, that a very fine Spirit may be distill'd from the molasses, 
at least as good as Rum. The Sugar Tree delights only in Rich Ground, 

"^ Reference is to the Bluewing, a small creek-water duck, much esteemed as a 

October 1 The Secret History 167 

3. We hurry'd away the Surveyors by 9, who ran something more 
than 81/2 Miles. We follow'd them at 11, & crost several Branches 
of Excellent Water. We went thro' a large level of very rich 
high-Land, near 2 Miles in Length & of an unknown Breadth. Our 
Indian kill'd one Deer, & William Pool another, & this last we 
graciously gave to the Carolina Men, who deserv'd it not, because 
they had declared they did not care to rely on Providence. We 
encampt upon Tewahominy or Tuscoruda Creek. We saw many 
Buffalo Tracks, & abundance of their Dung, but the Noise we made 
drove them all from our Sight. The Carolina Commissioners 
with their Leader, lagg'd behind to stop the Craveings of their 
Appetites, nor were we ever happy with their Conversation, but 
only at Dinner, when they play'd their Parts more for spite than 

4. The Surveyors got to work a little after 9, & extended the Line 
near 8 Miles, notwithstanding the Ground was very uneven. We 
decampt after them about 11, & at 5 Miles Distance crost Blew- 
ing Creek,^^ & 3 Miles beyond that, we forded Sugar-Tree Creek, 
& pitch't our Tent on the West Side of it. This Creek receiv'd its 
Name from many Sugar Trees, which grow in the Low-Grounds 
of it. By tapping the Sugar Tree in the Spring, a great Quantity 
of Sugar flows out of it, which may be boil'd up into good Sugar. 
It grows very tall, & the Wood of it is very soft & Spungy. Here 
we also found abundance of Spice Trees, whose Leaves are fra- 
grant, & the Berry they bear is black when dry, & hot like Pepper. 
Both these Trees grow only in a very rich Soil. The Low Ground 
upon this Creek is very wide, sometimes on One Side, sometimes 

See Note 66, History of the Dividing Line. 

168 History of the Dividing [October 

where it grows very tall, and by the Softness and Spunginess of the Wood 
shou'd be a quick Grower. 

Near this Creek we discovered likewise Several Spice-Trees, the Leaves 
of which are fragrant, and the Berries they bear are black when dry, 
and of a hot tast, not much unlike Pepper. 

The low Grounds upon the creek are very wide, sometimes on one 
Side, Sometimes on the Other; tho' most commonly upon the Opposite 
Shore the high-land advances close to the Bank, only on the North-Side 
of the Line it spreads itself into a great Breadth of rich low Ground 
on both sides the Creek for four Miles together, as far as this Stream 
runs into Hico-River, whereof I shall presently make mention. 

One of our Men Spy'd three Buffaloes, but his Piece being loaded 
only with Goose-shot, he was able to make no effectual Impression on 
their thick hides; however, this Disappointment was made up by a Brace 
of Bucks, and as many Wild Turkeys, kill'd by the rest of the company. 

Thus Providence was very Bountiful to our Endeavours, never dis- 
appointing those that Faithfully rely upon it, and pray heartily for their 
Daily Bread. 

5. This day we met with such uneven Grounds, and thick Underwoods, 
that with all our Industry we were able to advance the Line but 4 Miles 
and 312 Poles. In this small Distance it intersected a large stream four 
times, which our Indian at first mistook for the South Branch of Roanoke 
River; but, discovering his Error soon after, he assur'd us 'twas a River 
called Hicootomony,^^ or Turkey-Buzzard River, from the great Number 
of those unsavoury Birds that roost on the tall Trees growing near its 

Early in the Afternoon, to our very great surprize, the Commissioners 
of Carolina acquainted us with their Resolution to return Home. This 
Declaration of theirs seem'd the more abrupt, because they had not been 
so kind as to prepare us, by the least Hint, of their Intention to desert us. 

We therefore let them imderstand they Appear'd to us to abandon the 
Business they came about with too much Precipitation, this being but 
the 15th day since we came out the last time. But, altho' we were to be 
so unhappy as to lose the Assistance of their great Abilities, yet we, who 
were concern'd for Virginia, determin'd by the Grace of God, not to do 
our Work by Halves, but, all deserted as we were like to be, shou'd 
think it our duty to push the Line quite to the Mountains; and if their 
Government should refuse to be bound by so much of the Line as was 
run without their Commissioners, yet at least it would bind Virginia, 
and Stand as a Direction how far his Majesty's Lands extend to the 

In short, these Gentlemen were positive, and the most we could agree 
upon was to Subscribe plats of our work as far as we had Acted together; 

"^ The Hico. 

October] The Secret History 169 

on the other, but on the Opposite Side the high land advances 
close to the Creek. It ought to be remember'd, that the Commis- 
sioners of Carolina, made a complement of about 2000 Acres of 
Land lying on this Creek to Astrolabe, without paying any Fees. 
Robert Hix saw 3 Buffalos, but his gun being loaden only with 
Shot cou'd do no Execution. Bootes shot one Deer, & the Indians 
kill'd 3 more, & one of the Carolina men 4 Wild Turkeys. Thus 
Providence was very plentifull to us, & did not disappoint us who 
rely'd upon it. 

5. This day our Surveyors met with such uneven Ground & so 
many Thickets, that with all their Diligenece they cou'd not run 
the Line so far as 5 Miles. In this small Distance it crost over 
Hico-ott-mony Creek no less than 5 times. Our Indian Ned Bear- 
skin informed us at first, that this Creek was the South Branch 
of Roanoke River, but I thought it impossible, both by reason of 
its Narrowness & the small Quantity of Water that came down it. 
However it past so with us at present til future Experience cou'd 
inform us better. 

About 4 a Clock this afternoon Jumble advanc't from the rest 
of his Company to tell me, that his Collegues for Carolina wanted 
to speak with me. I desired if they had any thing to communicate, 
that they wou'd please to come forward. It was some time be- 
fore I heard any more of these worthy Gentlemen, but at last 
Shoebrush as the Mouth of the rest, came to acquaint me that 
their Government had ordered them to run the Line but 30 or 40 
Miles above Roanoke, that they had now carry'd it near 50, & 
intended to go no further. I let them know, it was a little unkind 
they had not been so gracious as to acquaint us with their Inten- 
tions before. That it had been Neighbourly to have inform'd 
us with their Intentions before we sat out, how far they intended 
to go that we might also have receiv'd the Commands of our Gov- 
ernment in that Matter. But since they had fail'd in that Civility 
we wou'd go on without them, since we were provided with Bread 
for 6 Weeks longer. That it was a great Misfortune to lose their 
Company; but that it wou'd be a much greater to lose the 
Effect of our Expedition, by doing the Business by halves. That 
tho' we went by our selves, our Surveyors wou'd continue under 
the same Oath to do impartial Right both to his Majesty, & the 
Lords Proprietors; & tho' their Government might chuse per- 
haps, whether it wou'd be bound by our Line, yet it wou'd at 

170 History of the Dividing Line [October 

tho' at the same time we insisted these Plats should be got ready by 
Monday Noon at farthest, when we on the Part of Virginia intended, if we 
were alive, to move forward without farther loss of Time, the Season being 
then too far advanct to admit of any unnecessary or complaisant delays. 

October] The Secret History 171 

least be a direction to Virginia how far his Majesty's Land ex- 
tended to the Southward. 

Then they desired that the Surveyors might make a fair Plot 
of the distance we had run together, And that of this there 
might be two Copys sign'd by the Commissioners of both Govern- 
ments. I let them know I agreed to that, provided it 
might be done before Monday Noon, when, by the Grace of 
God, we wou'd proceed without Loss of time, because the Season 
was far advanc't, & wou'd not permit us to waste one Moment 
in Ceremony to Gentlemen who had shew'd none to us. Here 
the Conversation ended 'til after Supper, when the Subject 
was handled with more Spirit by Firebrand. On my repeating 
what I had said before upon this Subject, he desir'd a Sight of 
Our Commission. I gave him to understand, that since the Com- 
missioners were the same that acted before, all which had heard 
the Commission read, & since those for Carolina had a Copy of 
it, I had not thought it necessary to cram my Portmanteau with 
it a Second time. And was therefore sorry I cou'd not oblige 
him with a Sight of it. He immediately said he wou'd take a 
Minute of this, and after being some time in scrabbling of it, he 
read to this Effect. That being ask't by him (by him) for a sight 
of my Commission, I had deny'd it upon pretence that I had it 
not with me. That I had also refus'd the Commissioners of Caro- 
lina, to tarry on Monday, til the necessary Plats cou'd be prepar'd 
& exchanged, but resolv'd to move forward as soon as the Tent 
shou'd be dry, by which Means the Surveyors wou'd be oblig'd to 
work on the Sunday. To this, I answer'd that this was a very smart 
Minute, but that I objected to the word pretence, because it was 
neither decent, nor true, that I deny'd him a Sight of our Com- 
mission upon any pretence, but for the honest Reason that I had 
it not there to shew; most of the Company thinking my objection 
just, he did vouchasafe to soften that Expression, by saying I 
refus'd to shew him the Commission, alledging I had not brought it. 

Soon after when I said that our Governor expected that we 
shou'd carry the Line to the Mountains, he made answer, that the 
Governor had exprest himself otherwise to him, & told him that 30 
or 40 Miles wou'd be sufficient to go beyond Roanoke River. 
Honest Meanwell hearing this, & I suppose not giving entire Credit 
to it, immediately lugg'd out his Pencil, saying in a Comical Tone, 

172 History of the Dividing Line [October 

6. We lay still this day, being Sunday, on the Bank of Hico River, 
and had only Prayers, our Chaplain not having Spirits enough to preach. 

October] The Secret History 173 

that since he was for Minutes, I-Gad he wou'd take a Minute of 
that. The other took Fire at this, & without any preface or Cere- 
mony seized a Limb of our Table, big enough to knock down an 
Ox, and lifted it up at Meanwell, while he was scratching out his 
Minutes. I happening to see him brandish this dangerous Wea- 
pon, darted towards him in a moment, to stop his hand, by which 
the Blow was prevented, but while I hinder'd one mischief, I 
had like to have done another, for the Swiftness of my Motion 
overset the Table, & Shoebrush fell under it, to the great hazard 
of his gouty Limbs. So soon as Meanwell came to know the 
favour that Firebrand intended him, he saluted him with the Title 
he had a good right to, namely, of Son of a W — e, telling him 
if they had been alone, he durst as well be damn'd as lift that 
Club at him. To this the other reply'd with much Vigour, that 
he might remember, if he pleas's, that he had now lifted a Club at 

I must not forget that when Firebrand first began this Violence, 
I desir'd him to forbear, or I shou'd be obliged to take him in 
Arrest. But he telling me in a great Fury that I had no Authority, 
I call'd to the Men, & let him know, if he wou'd not be easy, I 
wou'd soon convince him of my Authority. The Men instantly 
gather'd about the Tent ready to execute my Orders, but we made 
a Shift to keep the Peace without coming to Extremitys. One of 
the People, hearing Firebrand very loud, desired his Servant to 
go to his Assistance. By no means, said he, that's none of my 
Business, but if the Gentleman will inn himself into a Broil, he 
may get out of it as well as he can. 

This Quarrel ended at last as all Publick Quarrels do, without 
Bloodshed as Firebrand has Experienced several times, believing 
that on such Occasions a Man may shew a great deal of Courage 
with very little Danger. However knowing Meanwell was made 
of truer Metal, I was resolv'd to watch him narrowly, to prevent 
further Mischief. As soon as this Fray was compos'd the Caro- 
lina Commissioners retir'd very soon with their Champion, to 
flatter him, I suppose, upon the great Spirit he had shew'd in their 
Cause against those who were join'd with him in Commission. 

6. This being Sunday we had Prayers, but no Sermon, because 
our Chaplain was indispos'd. The Gentlemen of Carolina were 

174 History of the Dividing Llne [October 

The Gentlemen of Carolina assisted not at our Publick Devotions, because 
they were taken up all the Morning in making a formidable Protest against 
our Proceeding on the Line without them. 

When the Divine Service was over, the Surveyors sat about making the 
Plats of so much of the Line as we had run this last Campaign. Our 
pious Friends of Carolina assisted in this work with some Seeming Scruple, 
pretending it was a Violation of the Sabbath, which we were the more 
Surpriz'd at, because it happen'd to be the first Qualm of Conscience 
they had ever been troubled with dureing the whole journey. They had 
made no Bones of Staying from prayers to hammer out an unnecessary 
Protest, tho' Divine Service was no Sooner over, but an unusual Fit of 
Godliness made them fancy that finishing the Plats, which was now matter 
of necessity, was a prophanation of the Day. However, the Expediency 
of losing no time, for us who thought it our duty to finish what we had 
undertaken, made such a Labour pardonnable. 

In the Afternoon, Mr. Fitz William, one of the Commissioners for 
Virginia, acquainted his Collegues it was his Opinion, that by his Majesty's 
Order they could not proceed farther on the Line, but in Conjunction 
with the Commissioners of Carolina; for which reason he intended to 
retire, the Next Morning, with those Gentlemen. 

This lookt a little odd in our Brother Commissioner; tho' in Justice 
to Him, as well as to our Carolina Friends, they stuck by us as long as our 
good Liquor lasted, and were so kind to us as to drink our good Journey 
to the Mountains in the last Bottle we had left. 

October] The Secret History 175 

all the Morning breaking their Brains to form a Protest against 
our Proceeding on the Line any further without them. Firebrand 
stuck close to them, & assisted in this elegant Speech, tho' he took 
some pains to perswade us he did not. They were so intent upon 
it, that we had not their good Company at Prayers. The Surveyors 
however found time for their Devotions, which help't to excuse 
their working upon their Plats, when the Service was over. Be- 
sides this being a work of necessity was the more pardonable. We 
dined together for the last time, not discovering much concern that 
we were soon to part. As soon as dinner was over the Protesters 
retum'd to their Drudgery to lick their Cubb into shape. While 
I was reading in the Tent in the Afternoon, Firebrand approach'! 
with a gracious smile upon his Face, & desir'd to know if I had 
any Commands to Williamsburgh, for that he intended to return 
with the Carolina Commissioners. That it was his Opinion we had 
no Power to proceed without them, but he hoped this difference 
of Sentiment might not widen the Breach that was between us, that 
he was very sorry anything had happen'd to set us at Variance, & 
wish't we might part Friends. I was a little surpriz'd at this 
Condescention but humour'd his Inclinations to peace, believing it 
the only way to prevent future Mischief. And as a proof that I 
was in earnest, I not only accepted of these peaceable Overtures 
myself, but was so much his Friend as to persuade Meanwell to 
be reconcil'd to him. And at last I join'd their Hands, & made 
them kiss One another. 

Had not this Pacification happen'd thus luckily, it would have 
been impossible for Meanwell to put up the Indignity of holding 
up a Clubb at him, because in a Court of honour, the Shaking of 
a Cudgel at a Gentleman, is adjudged the same affront as striking 
him with it. Firebrand was very sensible of this, & had great 
Reason to believe that in due time he must have been call'd 
to an Account for it by a Man of Meanwells Spirit. I am sorry 
if I do him wrong, but I believe this Prudent Consideration was 
the true Cause of the pacifick advances he made to us, as also 
of his returning back with his dear Friends of Carolina. Tho' 
there might have still been another Reason for his going home 
before the Gen^ Court. He was it seems left out of the Instructions 
in the List of Councellors, & as that matter was likely to come up- 
on the Carpet at that time, he thought he might have a better 

176 History of the Dividing Line [October 

7. The Duplicates of the plats cou'd not be drawn fair this day before 
Noon, when they were countersign'd by the Commissioners of Each 
Government. Then those of Carolina deliver'd their Protest, which was 
by this time lickt into form, and sign'd by them all. And we have been 
so just to them as to set it down at full length in the Appendix, that their 
Reasons for leaving us may appear in their full Strength.^^ 

After having thus adjusted all our Affairs with the Carolina Com- 
missioners, and kindly supply'd them with Bread to carry them back, which 
they hardly deserv'd at our hands, we took leave both of them and our 
colleague, Mr. Fitzwilliam. 

This Gentleman had stil a Stronger Reason for hurrying him back to 
Williamsburg, which was, that neither the General Court might lose an 
able Judge, nor himself a double Salary, not despairing in the least but 
he shou'd have the whole pay of Commissioner into the Bargain, tho' 
he did not half the Work. This, to be sure, was relying more on the 
Interest of his Friends than on the Justice of his cause; in which, how- 
ever, he had the misfortune to miscarry, when it came to be fairly 

It was two a clock in the Afternoon before these arduous Affairs could 
be despatcht, and then, all forsaken as we were, we held on our course 
towards the West. But it was our misfortune to meet with so many 
Thickets in this Afternoon's Work, that we cou'd advance no further than 
2 Miles and 260 Poles. 

In this small Distance we crosst the Hico the fifth time, and Quarter'd 
near Buffalo-Creek, so nam'd from the frequent Tokens we discover'd of 
that American Behemoth. 

See p. 332. 

October] The Secret History 177 

chance to get the matter determin'd in his favour when 2 of his 
Adversarys were absent. Add to this the Lucre of his Attendance 
during the Gen' Court, which wou'd be so much clear Gain if he 
cou'd get so much Interest as to be paid as bountifully for being 
out 4 Weeks, as we for being 10, out upon the Publick Service. 
This I know he was so unconscionable as to expect, but without 
the least Shadow of Reason or Justice. Our Reconciliation with 
Firebrand, naturally made us Friends with his Allys of Carolina, 
who invited us to their Camp to help finish their Wine. This we 
did as they say, tho' I suspect they reserv'd enough to keep up 
their Spirits in their Return: while we that were to go forward did 
from hence forth depend altogether upon pure Element. 

7. This Morning I wrote some dispatches home, which Firebrand 
was gracious as to offer to forward by an Express, so soon as he 
got to Williamsburgh. I also wrote another to the Governor 
signifying how friendly we parted with our Brother-Commissioner. 
This last I shew'd to my CoUegues to prevent all Suspicion, which 
was kindly taken. The Plats were Countersign'd about Noon, and 
that which belong'd to Virginia, we desired Firebrand to carry 
with him to the Governor. Then the Commissioners for Carolina 
deliver'd their Protest sign'd by them all, tho' I did not think 
Plausible wou'd have join'd in so ill concerted a Piece. I put it 
up without reading, to shew the Opinion I had of it, & let the 
Gentlemen know, we wou'd Endeavour to return an Answer to it 
in due time. But that so fine a piece may be preserved I will 
give both that & the Answer to it a place in my Journal. The 
Protest is in the following Words.'' WE THE UNDERWRIT- 
TEN COMMISSIONERS for the Government of North Carolina 
in Conjunction with the Commissioners on the part of Virginia, 
having run the Line for the Division of the 2 Colonys from Cora- 
tuck Inlet to the Southern Branch of Roanoke River, being in the 
whole about 170 Miles, & near 50 Miles without the Inhabitants, 
being of Opinion we had run the Line as far as wou'd be requisite 
for a long time, judg'd the carrying of it farther wou'd be a need- 
less charge & trouble; & the Grand Debate which had so long sub- 

See Appendix to the History of the Dividing Line, p. 332. 

178 History of the Dividing Line [October 

Here the Bushes were so intolerably thick, that we were oblig'd to cover 
the Bred Baggs with our Deer Skins, otherwise the Joke of one of the 
Indians must have happen'd to us in good Earnest, that in a few days 
We must cut up our House to make Bags for the Bread, and so be forct 
to expose our Backs in compliment to our Bellys. 

We computed we had then Bisquet enough left to last us, with good 
Management, Seven Weeks longer; And this being our chief Dependence, 
it imported us to be very careful both in the Carriage and the Distribu- 
tion of it. 

We had no other Drink but what Adam drank in Paradise, tho' to our 
comfortwe found the Water excellent, by the Help of which we perceiv'd 
our Appetites to mend, our Slumbers to Sweeten, the Stream of Life 
to run cool and peaceably in our Veins, and if ever we dreamt of Women, 
they were kind. 

Our men kill'd a very fat Buck and Several Turkeys. These two kinds 
of Meat boil'd together, with the addition of a little Rice or French Barley, 
made excellent Soupe, and, what happens rarely in Other good things, it 
never cloy'd, no more than an Engaging Wife wou'd do, by being a 
Constant Dish. 

Our Indian was very Superstitious in this Matter, and told us, with a 
face full of concern, that if we continued to boil Venison and Turkey 
together, we Shou'd for the future kill nothing, because the Spirit that 
presided over the Woods would drive all the Game out of our Sight. But 
we had the Happiness to find this an Idle Superstition, and tho' his Argu- 
ment could not convince us, yet our repeated Experience at last, with much 
ado, convinc'd Him. 

We observ'd abundance of Colt's foot*^^ and Maiden-hair'^*^ in many 
Places, and nowhere a larger Quantity than here. They are both Ex- 
cellent Pectoral Plants, and seem to have greater Vertues much in this 
part of the World than in more Northern climates; and I believe it may 
pass for a Rule in Botanicks, that where any Vegetable is planted by the 
hand of Nature, it has more Vertue than in Places whereto it is trans- 
planted by the Curiosity of Man. 

** The Tusilago Farfara, whose leaves were formerly used as a medicine, especially 
for coughs and colds. 
™ A fern of the genus Adiantum. 

October] The Secret History 179 

sisited between the Two Governments about Weyanoak River or 
Creek being Settled at our former meeting in the Spring, when 
we were ready on our Parts to have gone with the Line to the 
Outmost Inhabitants, which if it had been done the Line at any 
time after might have been continu'd at an easy Expence by a Sur- 
veyor on each Side, & if at any time hereafter there shou'd be 
occasion to carry the Line on farther, than we have now run it, 
which we think will not be in an Age or Two, it may be done in 
the same easy manner, without that great Expence that now at- 
tends it; and on a Conference of all the Commissioners, we hav- 
ing communicated our Sentiments thereon, declared our Opinion 
that we had gone as far as the Service requir'd, & thought proper 
to proceed no farther, to which it was answer'd by the Commis- 
sioners for Virginia, that they shou'd not regard what we did, but 
if we desisted, they wou'd proceed without us. But we conceiving 
by his Majesty's Order in Council, they were directed to Act in 
Conjunction with the Commissioners appointed for Carolina, & 
having accordingly run the Line jointly so far, & exchanged 
Planus, thought they cou'd not, carry on the Bounds Singly, but 
that their proceedings without us wou'd be irregular & invalid & 
that it wou'd be no Boundary, & thought it proper to enter our 
Dissent thereto; Wherefore for the Reasons aforesaid, in the Name 
of his Excellency the Palatine, & the rest of the true & absolute 
Lords Proprietors of Carolina, we dissent & disallow of any far- 
ther Proceedings with the Bounds without our Concurrence, & 
pursuant to our Instructions do give this our dissent in writing. 

Plausible. Jumble. 


7th 1728 

To this Protest the Commissioners for Virginia made the fol- 
lowing Answer.*'*' 

WHERAS on the 7*'' day of October a Paper was deliver'd to 
us by the Commissioners of N. Carolina in the Style of a PRO- 

^'This document is also in the Colonial Records of North Carolina, (Vol. II, p. 787) 
being included in Byrd's journal of the expedition which was sent to London. It is 
also in the Appendix to the History of the Dividing Line, p. 333. 

180 History of the Dividing Line [October 

[Continued on page 188] 

October] The Secret History 181 

TEST, against our carrying any farther without them the Dividing 
Line between the 2 Governments, we the Underwritten Commis- 
sioners on the part of Virginia having maturely oonsider'd the 
Reasons offer'd in the said Protest, why those Gentlemen retired so 
soon from that Service, beg Leave to return the following Answer. 
They are pleas'd to alledge in the first place by way of Reason, 
that having run the Line near 50 Miles without the Inhabitants 
it was sufficient for a long time, & in their Opinion for an Age 
or two. To this we answer, that they by breaking off so soon did 
very imperfectly obey his Majesty's Order, assented to by the 
Lords Proprietors. The plain meaning of that Order was, to as- 
certain the Bounds betwixt the 2 Governments, as far towards the 
Mountains as we cou'd, that neither the King's Grants may here- 
after encroach upon the Lords Proprietors, nor theirs on the Right 
of his Majesty. And tho' the distance towards the Mountain be 
not precisely determin'd by the said Order, yet surely the West 
Line shou'd be carry'd as near to them as may be, that both the 
Land of the King, & of the Lords may be taken up the faster, & 
that his Majesty's Subjects may as soon as possible extend them- 
selves to that Natural Barrier. This they will do in a very few 
Years, when they know distinctly in which Government they may 
enter for the Land, as they have already done in the more Northern 
Parts of Virginia, So that 'tis Strange the Carolina Commissioners 
shou'd affirm, that the distance of 50 Miles beyond the Inhabitants, 
shou'd be sufficient to carry the Line for an Age or two, especially 
considering that a few days before the Signing of this Protest, 
Astrolabe had taken up near 2000 Acres of Land, granted by them- 
selves within 5 Miles of the Place where they left us. Besides if 
we reflect on the goodness of the Soil in those Parts, & the fond- 
ness of all Degrees of People to take up Land, we may venture to 
foretell, without the Spirit of Dwinahun that there will be many 
settlements much higher than these Gentlemen went in less than 
ten Years, & perhaps in half that time. The Commissioners of N. 
Carolina protested against proceeding on the Line for another 
Reason, because it wou'd be a needless charge & trouble alledg- 
ing that the rest may be done by One Surveyor on a Side, in an 
easy Manner when it shall be thought necessary. To this we 
answer, that Frugality of the Publick Money is a great Vertue, but 
when the Publick Service must suffer by it, it degenerates into a 


History of the Dividing Line [October 

[Continued on page 188] 

October] The Secret History 183 

Vice, & this will ever be the Case, when Gentlemen execute the 
Orders of their Superiors by halves. But had the Carolina Com- 
missioners been sincerely frugal for their Government, why did 
they carry out Provisions sufficient to support themselves & their 
Men for 8 Weeks, when they intended to tarry out no longer than 
half that time. This they must confess to be true, since they 
had provided 500^'^ of Bread, & the same Weight of Beef & Bacon, 
which was sufficient allowance for their Complement of Men for 
2 Months, if it had been carefully managed. Now after so great 
an Expence in their Preparations, it had been but a small addi- 
tion to their charge, if they had endur'd the Fatigue a Month 
longer. It wou'd have been at most no more than what they must 
be at, whenever they finish their work, even tho' they think proper 
to entrust it to the Management of a Surveyor, who must have a 
necessary Strength to attend him both for his Attendance & De- 
fence. These are all the Reasons these Gentlemen think fit to 
mention in their PROTEST, tho' in Truth they had a much 
Stronger Argument for their retiring so abruptly, which because 
they forgot, it will be but neighbourly to help them out, and re- 
mind them of it. The Provision they brought along with them, 
for want of Providing Horses to carry it, was partly left behind 
upon a high Tree, to be taken down as they retum'd, and what 
they did carry, was so carlessly handled, that after 18 days, which 
was the whole time we had the honour of their Company, they 
had by their own confession no more left than 2"' of Bread for each 
Man to carry them home. However tho' in Truth this was an 
invincible Reason why they left the Business unfinish't, it was 
none at all to us, who had at that time Biscuit Sufficient for 6 
Weeks longer. Therefore lest their want of Management shou'd 
put a Stop to his Majesty's Service, we conceiv'd it our Duty to 
proceed without them, & have extended the Dividing Line so far 
West, as to leave the Mountains on each Hand to the Eastward of 
us. This we have done with the same Fidelity & Exactness, as if 
those Gentlemen had continu'd with us. Our Surveyors acted 
under the same Oath which they had taken in the Beginning, & 
were Persons whose Integrity will not be call'd in Question. How- 
ever tho' the Government of N. Carolina shou'd not hold itself 
bound by the Line, we made in the absence of its Commissioners, 
yet it will continue to be a direction to the Government of Virginia, 

184 History of the Dividing Lhve [October 

[Continued on page 188] 

October] The Secret History 185 

how far the King's Lands reach towards Carolina, & how far his 
Majesty may grant them away without Injustice to the Lords Pro- 
prietors. To this we may also add that having the Authority of our 
Commission to Act without the Commissioners of N. Carolina in 
case of their Disagreement or Refusal, we thought it necessary on 
their deserting, to finish the Dividing Line without them, lest his 
Majesty's Service might Suffer by any neglect or Mismanagement 
on their Part. Given under our Hands the 7**" of December 1728. 

Meanwell. Steddy. 

Tho' the foregoing Answer was not immediately retum'd to the 
Protest, as appears by the Date, yet it can't be placed better in 
this Journal, than next to it, that the Arguments on each Side 
may be the better compared & understood. Thus after we had com- 
pleated our Business with our dear Friends of Carolina, & supply'd 
'em with some small matters that cou'd be spared, they took their 
Leave, & Firebrand with them, full of Professions of Friendship 
& good Will. Just like some Men & their Wives, who after living 
together all their time in perpetual Discord & uneasiness, will yet 
be very good Friends at the Point of Death, when they are sure 
they shall part forever. 

A General Joy discover'd itself thro' all our Camp, when these 
Gentlemen turn'd their Backs upon us, only Orion had a cloud 
of MelanchoUy upon his Face, for the loss of those with whom h.6 
had spent all his leizure Hours. Before these Gentlemen went 
he had perswaded Puzzlecause to give him a Certificate concern- 
ing the Quarrel betwixt Firebrand & Meanwell, not because he was 
ignorant how it was, because he was sitting by the fire within hear- 
ing all the time of the Fray, but because he shou'd not be able 
to tell the Truth of the Story, for fear of disobliging his Patron, 
& to disguise & falsify the Truth, besides making himself a Lyar, 
wou'd give just Offence to Meanwell. In this Dilemma he thought 
it safest to perswade Puzzlecause to be the Lyar, by giving him a 
Certificate, which soften'd some things & left out others, & so by 
his (New England) way of cooking the Story, made it tell less 
shocking on the Side of Firebrand. This was esteem'd wonderfull 

186 History of the Dividing Lme [October 

[Continued on page 188] 

October] The Secret History 187 

Politick in Orion, but he was as blameable, to circulate an untruth, 
in another's Name, & under another hand, as if it had been al- 
together his own Act & Deed, & was in Truth as much resented by 
Meanwell, when he came to hear it. 

Because Firebrand desired that one of the Men, might return 
back with him, I listed one of the Carolina Men to go on with us 
in his room, who was indeed the best Man they had. One of our 
Horses being missing, we quitted not our Camp 'til 2 a Clock. 
This & the thick Woods were the reason we carry'd the Line not 
quite 3 Miles. We crost Hico-atto-moni-Creek once more in this 
day's work, & encampt near another Creek that runs into it call'd 
Buffalo Creek, so call'd from the great Signs we saw of that Shy 
Animal. Now we drank nothing but the Liquor Adam drank in 
Paradise, & found it m,ended our Appetite not only to our Victuals,^ 
of which we had Plenty, but also (to Women of which we had 
none. It also) promoted digestion, else it had been impossible 
to eat so voraciously, as most of us did, without Inconvenience. 

Tom Short kill'd a Deer, & several of the Company kill'd Tur- 
keys. These 2 kinds of Flesh together, with the help of a little 
Rice, or French Barley made the best Soupe in the World. And 
what happens very rarely in other good things, it never cloys by 
being a constant Dish. The Bushes being very thick began to 
tear our Bread Bags so intoUerably, that we were obliged to halt 
several times a day to have them mended. And the Carolina Men 
pleas'd themselves with the Joke of one of the Indians, who said 
we shou'd soon be forced to cut up our House (meaning the Tent) 
to keep our Baggs in Repair. And what he said in Jest wou'd 
have happen'd true in Earnest, If I had not order'd the Skins of 
the Deer which we kill'd, to be made use of in covering the Bags. 
This prov'd a good expedient by which they were guarded, & con- 
sequently our Bread preserv'd. I cou'd not forbear making an Ob- 
servation upon our Men, which I believe holds true in others, that 
those of them who were the foremost to Stuff their Guts, were ever 
the most backward to work, & were more impatient to eat their 
Supper than to earn it. This was the Character of all the Carolina 
Men, without Exception. 

188 History of the Dividing Line [October 

8. Notwithstanding we hurry'd away the Surveyors very early, yet 
the Underwoods embarrass'd them so much that they cou'd with Difficulty 
advance the Line 4 Miles and 20 Poles. 

Our Cloaths Suffer'd extreamely by the Bushes, and it was really as 
much as both our hands could do to preserve our Eyes in our Heads. 
Our poor Horses, too, could hardly drag their Loads thro' the Saplings, 
which stood so close together that it was necessary for them to draw and 
carry at the same time. 

We quarter'd near a Spring of very fine Water, Soft as oyl and as cold as 
Ice, to make us amends for the want of Wine. And our Indian knockt 
down a very fat Doe, just time enough to hinder us from going Supperless 
to Bed. 

The heavy Baggage cou'd not come up with us, because of the Exces- 
sive badness of the Ways. This gave us no Small uneasiness, but it went 
worse with the poor men that guarded it. They had nothing in the World 
with them but dry Bread, nor durst they eat any of that, for fear of 
inflaming their Thirst, in a Place where they could find no Water to 
quench it. 

This was, however, the better to be endured, because it was the first 
Fast any one had kept dureing the whole Journey, and then, Thanks to 
the gracious Guardian of the Woods! there was no more than a Single 
Meal lost to a few of the Company. 

We were entertain'd this Night with the Yell of a whole Family of 
Wolves, in which we cou'd distinguish the Treble, Tenor and Bass, very 
clearly. These Beasts of Prey kept pretty much upon our Track, being 
tempted by the Garbage of the Creatures we kill'd every day; for which we 
were Serenaded with their Shrill Pipes almost every Night. This Beast is not 
so untamable as the Panther, but the Indians know how to gentle their 
Whelps, and use them about their cabans instead of Dogs. 

9. The Thickets were hereabouts so impenetrable, that we were obliged, 
at first setting off this Morning, to order four Pioneers to clear the way 
before the Surveyors. But after about 2 Miles of these rough-woods, we 
had the Pleasure to meet with Open Grounds and not very uneven, by the 
help of which we were enabled to push the Line about 6 Miles. 

The Baggage that lay Short of our camp last Night came up about 
Noon, and the Men made heavy Complaints, that they had been half 
Starv'd, like Tantalus, in the midst of plenty, for the Reason above 

The Soil we past over this Day was generally very good, being 
cloath'd with large Trees, of Poplar, Hiccory, and Oak. But another 
certain Token of its Fertility was, that wild Angelica'^^ grew plentifully 
upon it. 

"The Archangelica Atropurpurea, an herb with a strong aromatic flavor. 

October] The Secret History 189 

8. We hurry'd the Surveyors out about 9, & follow'd ourselves 
with the Baggage about 11, Yet the Woods were so thick we cou'd 
advance little better than 4 Miles. I spirited up our Men, by 
telling them that the Carolina Men were so arrogant as to fancy 
we cou'd make no Earnings of it without them. Having yet not 
Skins enough to cover all our Bread Bags, those which had none 
sufFer'd much by the Bushes, as in Truth did our Cloaths & our 
Baggage, nor indeed were our Eyes safe in our Heads. Those 
difficulty's hinder'd Tom Jones from coming up with some of the 
loaded Horses to the Camp where we lay. He was forced to 
stop short about a Mile of us, where there was not a drop of 
Water, But he had the Rum with him which was some Comfort. 
I was very uneasy at their absence, resolving for the future to put 
all the Baggage before us. We were so lucky as to encamp near 
a fine Spring, & our Indian kill'd a fat Doe, with which Providence 
supply'd us just time enough to hinder us from going supperless 
to Bed. We call'd our Camp by the Name of Tear-Coat-Camp, 
by reason of the rough thickets that Surrounded it. I observ'd 
some of the Men were so free as to take what share of the Deer 
they pleas'd and to secure it for themselves, while others were at 
work, but I gave such Orders as put a Stop to those Irregularitys 
I divided the People into Messes, among which the Meat was fairly 
to be distributed. 

9. The Surveyors went to work about 9, but because the Bushes 
were so intoUerably thick, I order'd some hands to clear the way 
before them. This made their Business go on the Slower, however 
they carry'd the Line about 6 Miles, by reason the Thicket reach 't 
no farther than a Mile, & the rest of the Way was over clear Woods 
& even Grounds. We tarry'd with the Rear-Guard till 12 for our 
absent Men, who came to the Camp as hungry as Hawks, for hav- 
ing no Water to drink, they durst not eat for fear of Thirst, which 
was more uneasy than Hunger. When we had supply'd our Wants 
we followed the Tracks of the Surveyors, passing over 2 Runs of 
Excellent Water, one at 3, & the other at 4 Miles Distance from 
our last Camp. The Land was for the most part very good, with 

190 History of the Dividing Line [October 

The Root of this Plant being very warm and Aromatick, is covered by 
Woodsmen extremely as a dry Dram, that is, when Rum, that cordial for 
all Distresses, is wanting. 

Several Deer came into our View as we marcht along, but none into the 
Pot, which made it necessary for us to sup on the Fragments we had 
been so provident as to carry along with us. This being but a tem- 
perate Repast, made some of our hungry Fellows call the Place we lodg'd 
at that Night, Bread and Water Camp. 

A great Flock of Cranes flew over our Quarters, that were exceeding 
Clamorous in their Flight. They seem to steer their Course towards the 
South (being Birds of Passage) in Quest of Warmer Weather. They only 
took this Country in their way, being as rarely met with, in this part of the 
World, as a Highwayman or a Begger. 

These Birds travel generally in Flocks, and when they roost they place 
Sentinels upon some of the highest Trees, which constantly stand upon 
one leg to keep themselves waking. '^- 

Our Indian kill'd nothing all day but a Mountain Patridge, which a 
little resembled the common Partridge in the Plumage, but was near as 
large as a Dunghill Hen. These are very frequent towards the Mountains, 
tho' we had the fortune to meet with very few. They are apt to be Shy, 
and consequently the Noise of so great a Number of People might easily 
Scare them away from our Sight. 

We found what we conceiv'd to be Good Limestone in several Places, 
and a great Quantity of Blue Slate. 

10. The day began very fortunately by killing a Fat Doe, and Two 
Brace of wild Turkeys; so the Plenty of the Morning made amends for 
the Short Commons over Night. One of the new men we brought out with 
us the last time was unfortunately heard to wish himself at Home, and for 
that Shew of Impatience was publickly reprimanded at the Head of the 
men, who were all drawn up to witness his Disgrace. 

He was askt how he came so soon to be tired of the Company of so 
many brave Fellows, and whether it was the Danger of Fatigue of the 
Journey that dishearten'd Him? This publick Reproof from thenceforward 
put an effectual Stop to all complaints, and not a man amongst us after 
that pretended so much as to wish himself in Paradise. 

'" "Nor are these Birds the only Animals that point scouts to keep the main Body 
from being surprised for the Baboons, whenever they go on any mischievous Expedi- 
tion, such as robbing Orchards they place Sentinels to look out towards every Point 
of the Compass and give notice of any danger. Then ranking themselves in one 
File that reaches where they harbour to the Orchard they intend to rob, some of 
them toss the Fruits from the Trees to those that stand nearest, these throw them to 
the next, and so from one to another, til the fruit is all secured in a few minutes out 
of Harm's way. In the meantime, if any of the Scouts should be careless at their 
Posts & suffer any Surprise they are torn to pieces without Mercy. In case of danger 
these centinels set up a fearful cry upon which the rest take the alarm and Scour 
away to the mountains as fast as they can." (Byrd's Note.) 

October] The Secret History 191 

Plenty of Wild Angelica growing upon it. Several Deer came into 
our Sight but none into our Quarters, which made short Commons 
& consequently some discontent. For this reason some of the Men 
call'd this Bread & Water Camp, but we call'd it Crane-Camp, be- 
cause many of those Fowls flew over our Heads being very clam- 
orous in their Flight. Our Indian kill'd a Mountain Partridge re- 
sembling the smaller Partridge in the Plumage, but as large as a 
Hen. These are common towards the Mountains tho' we saw very 
few of them, our Noise scareing them away. 

10. We began this day very luckily by killing a Brace of Turkeys 
& One Deer, so that the Plenty of our Breakfast this Morning, 
made amends for the Shortness of our Supper last Night. This 
restor'd good Humour to the Men, who had a mortal Aversion to 
fasting. As I lay in my Tent, I overheard one of them, call'd 
James Whitlock, wish that he were at home. From this I reprov'd 
him publickly, asking him whether it was the Danger, or the 
Fatigue of the Journey that dishearten'd him, wondring how he 
cou'd be tired so soon of the Company of so many Brave Fellows. 
So reasonable a Reprimand put an effectual Stop to all Com- 
plaints, and no Body after that day was ever heard so much as 
to wish himself in Heaven. A small distance from our Camp we 
crost a Creek which we call'd Cocquade Creek, because we there 
began to wear the Beards of Wild Turkey-Cocks in our Hats by 
way of Cocquade. A little more than a Mile from thence we came 
to the true Southern Branch of Roanoke River, which was about 
150 Yards over with a swift Stream of Water as clear as Chrystal. 
It was fordable near our Line, but we were oblig'd to ride above 
100 Yards up the River to the End of a Small Island, & then near 
as far back again on the other Side of the Island before we cou'd 
mount the Bank. The West Side of this fine River was fringed with 
tall Canes, a full furlong in Depth, thro' which our Men clear'd 
a Path Broad enough for our Baggage to pass, which took up a 
long time. The Bottom of the River was pav'd with Gravel, which 
was every where Spangled with small Fleaks of Mother of Pearl, 
that almost dazzled our Eyes. The Sand on the Shoar sparkled 
with the same. So that this seem'd the most beautiful River that 
I ever saw. The Difficuhy of passing it & cutting thro' the Canes 
hinder'd us so much, that we cou'd carry the Line little more than 

192 History of the Dividing Line [October 

A Small Distance from our Camp we crosst a pleasant Stream of 
Water call'd Cocquade Creek, and something more than a Mile from thence 
our Line intersected the South Branch of Roanoak River the first time, 
which we call'd the Dan. It was about 200 Yards wide we forded it, and 
when we came over to the West Side, we found the Banks lin'd with a 
Forest of Tall canes, that grew more than a furlong in depth. So that it 
cost us abundance of time and Labour to cut a Passage thro' them wide 
enough for our Baggage. 

In the mean time we had leizure to take a full view of this charming 
River. The Stream, which was perfectly clear, ran down about two Knots, 
or two Miles, an Hour, when the water was at the lowest. The Bottom was 
cover'd with a coarse Gravel, Spangled very thick with a Shining Sub- 
stance, that almost dazzled the eye, and the Sand upon either Shore 
Sparkled with the same Splendid Particles. 

At first Sight, the Sun-Beams giving a Yellow cast to these Spangles 
made us fancy them to be Gold-Dust, and consequenty that all our 
Fortunes were made. Such Hopes as these were the less extravagant, 
because several Rivers lying much about the Same Latitude with this 
have formerly abounded with Fragments of that tempting Metal. Witness 
the Tagus in Portugal, the Heber in Thrace, and the Pactolus in Lesser 
Asia; Not to mention the Rivers on the Gold Coast in Africa, which ly in 
a more Southern Climate. 

But we soon found our Selves mistaken, and our Gold Dust dwindled 
into small Flakes of ising-glass. However, tho' this did not make the 
River so rich as we cou'd wish, yet it made it exceedingly Beautiful. 

We marcht about two Miles and a half beyond this River, as far as 
Cane Creek, so call'd from a Prodigious Quantity of tall canes that 
fring'd the Banks of it. 

On the West side of this Creek we markt out our Quarters, and were glad 
to find our Horses fond of the canes, tho' they Scowred them smartly at 
first, and discolor'd their Dung. This beautiful Vegetable grows com- 
monly from 12 to 16 feet High, and some of them as thick as a Man's 

Tho' these appear'd large to us, yet they are no more than Spires of 
Grass, if compar'd to those which some curious Travellers tell us grow in 
the East Indies, one Joint of which will make a Brace of Canoes, if 
saw'd in two in the Middle. Ours continue green thro' all the Seasons 
during the Space of Six Years, and the Seventh shed their Seed, wither 
away and Die. The Spring following they begin to Shoot again, and 
reach their former Stature the Second or third Year after. 

They grow so thick, and their Roots lace together so firmly, that they are 
the best Guard that can be of the River-Bank, which wou'd otherwise be 
washt away by the frequent Inundations that happen in this part of the 

October] The Secret History 193 

3 Miles. We crost a Creek 2^/4 Miles beyond the River, call'd 
Cane Creek, from very tall Canes, which lin'd its Banks. On the 
West Side of it we took up our Quarters. The Horses were very 
fond of those Canes but at first they purg'd them exceedingly, & 
seem'd to be no very heartening Food. Our Indian kill'd a Deer, 
& the other Men some Turkeys, but the Indian begg'd very hard 
that our Cook might not boil Venison & Turkey together, because 
it wou'd certainly spoil his luck in Hunting, & we shou'd repent it 
with fasting & Prayer. We call'd this South Branch of Roanoke 
the Dan, as I had call'd the North Branch the Stanton before. 

194 History of the Dividing Line [October 

They would also serve excellently well to plant on the Borders of Fish- 
Ponds and Canals, to secure their sides from falling in; tho' I fear they 
would not grow kindly in a cold Country, being seldom seen here so 
Northerly as 38 Degrees of Latitude. 

11. At the Distance of 4 Miles and 60 Poles from the Place where we 
encampt, we came upon the River Dan a Second time; tho' It was not so 
wide in this Place as where we crosst it first, being not above a 150 yards 

The West Shore continued to be cover'd with the Canes above mention'd, 
but not to so great a Breadth as before, and 'tis Remarkable that these 
canes are much more frequent on the West Side of the River than on the 
East, where they grow generally very scattering. 

It was Still a beautiful Stream, rolling down its limpid and mur- 
muring waters among the Rocks, which lay scatter'd here and there, to 
make up the variety of the Prospect. 

It was about two Miles from this River to the End of our Day's Work, 
which led us mostly over Broken Grounds and troublesome Underwoods. 
Hereabout, from one of the Highest hills, we made the first Discovery 
of the Mountains, on the Northwest of our course. They seem'd to lye 
off at a vast Distance, and lookt like Ranges of Blue clouds rising one 
above another. 

We encampt about two Miles beyond the River, where we made good 
chear upon a very fat Buck, that luckily fell in our way. The Indian like- 
wise Shot a Wild Turkey, but confest he wou'd not bring it us, 
lest we shou'd continue to provoke the Guardian of the Forrest, by cooking 
the Beasts of the Field and the Birds of the Air together in one vessel. 

This Instance of Indian Superstition, I confess, is countenanced in some 
measure by the Levitical Law, which forbad the mixing of things of a 
Different Nature together in the Same field, or in the Same Garment, and 
why not then in the same Kettle? 

But, after all, if the Jumbleing of two Sorts of Flesh together be a 
Sin, how intolerable an Offence must it be to make a Spanish Ole, that is, 
a Hotchpotch of every kind of thing that is eatable? And the good People 
of England wou'd have a great deal to answer for, for beating up so 
many different Ingredients into a Pudding. 

12. We were so cruelly intangled with Bushes and Grape- Vines all 
day, that we could advance the Line no farther than 5 Miles and 28 Poles. 

The Vines grow very thick in these Woods, twineing lovingly round the 
Trees almost every where, especially to the Saplings. This makes it 
evident how Natural both the Soil and Climate of this Country are to 
Vines, tho' I believe most to our own Vines. 

October] The Secret History 195 

11. We hurry 'd away the Surveyors at 9, & follow'd with the 
Baggage about 11. In about 4^/2 Miles we crost the Dan the 2"* 
time, & found it something Narrower than before, being about 110 
Yards over. The West Banks of it, were also thick set with Canes, 
but not for so great a Breadth as where we past it first. But it was 
here a most charming River, having the Bottom spangled as before, 
with a limpid Stream gently flowing, & murmuring among the 
Rocks, which were thinly scatter'd here & there to make up the 
variety of the Prospect. The Line was carry'd something more 
than 2 Miles beyond the River, in which Distance the Thickets 
were very troublesome. However we made a Shift to run 6V2 
Miles in the whole, but encampt after Sun-set. I had foretold on 
the Credit of a Dream which I had last Sunday-Night, that we 
shou'd see the Mountains, this day, & it proved true, for Astrolabe 
discover'd them very plain to the N W of our Course, tho' at a great 
Distance. The Rich Land held about a Mile broad on the West 
Side the River. Tom Jones kill'd a Buck, & the Indian a Turkey, 
but he wou'd not bring it us, for fear we shou'd boil it with our 
Venison against his ridiculous Superstition. I had a moderate 
cold which only spoil'd my Voice, but not my Stomach. Our 
Chaplain having got rid of his little lurking Feavers, began to eat 
like a Cormorant. 

12. The Surveyors were dispatch't by 9, but the thick Woods 
made the Horses so hard to be found, that we did not follow with 
the Baggage til after Twelve. The Line was extended something 
more than 5 Miles, all the way thro' a Thicket. We judg'd by the 
great Number of Chestnut Trees that we approach't the Mountains, 

196 History of the Dividing Line [October 

The Grapes we commonly met with were black, tho' there be two or 
three kinds of White Grapes that grow wild. The Black are very Sweet, 
but Small, because the Strength of the Vine spends itself in Wood; tho' 
without Question a proper Culture would make the same Grapes both 
larger and Sweeter. But, with all these Disadvantages, I have Drunk 
tolerably good Wine prest from them, tho' made without Skill. There is 
then good Reason to believe it might Admit of great Improvement, if 
rightly managed. 

Our Indian kill'd a Bear, of two years old, that was feasting on these 
Grapes. He was very fat, as they generally are in that season of the 
year. In the fall, the Flesh of this Animal has a high Relish, different 
from that of other Creatures, tho' inclining nearest to that of Pork, or 
rather of Wild Boar. 

A true Woodsman prefers this Sort of meat to that of the fattest Venison, 
not only for the Hautgout but also because the Fat of it is well tasted, 
and never rises in the stomach. Another proof of the goodness of this 
meat is, that it is less apt to corrupt than any other we are acquainted 
with. As agreeable as such rich Diet was to the men, yet we who were not 
accustom'd to it, tasted it at first with some sort of Squeamishness, that 
Animal being of the Dog-kind; tho' a little Use soon reconcil'd us to 
this American Venison. And that its being of the Dog kind might give 
us the less disgust, we had the Example of that Ancient and polite People, 
the Chinese, who reckon Dog's Flesh too good for any under the Quality 
of a mandarin. 

This Beast is in truth a very clean Feeder, living, while the Season lasts, 
upon Acorns, Chestnuts and Chinkapins, Wild-Hony and Wild-Grapes. 
They are naturally not carniverous, unless Hunger constrains them to it, 
after the Mast is all gone, and the Products of the Woods quite exhausted. 

They are not provident enough to lay up any Hoard, like the Squirrels, 
nor can they, after all, live very long upon licking their Paws, as Sr 
John Mandevil and some Travellers tell us, but are forct in the Winter 
Months to quit the Mountains, and visit the Inhabitants. 

Their Errand is then to Surprise a poor Hog at a Pinch to keep them 
from Starving, And to shew that they are not Flesh-Eaters by Trade, 
they devour their Prey very awkwardly. 

They don't kill it right out, and feast upon its Blood and Entrails, like 
other ravenous Beasts, but having, after a fair pursuit, seiz'd it with their 
Paws, they begin first upon the Rump, and so devour one collop after 
another, till they come to the Vitals, the poor Animal crying all the 
while, for several Minutes together. However, in so doing. Bruin acts a 
little imprudently, because the dismal outcry of the Hog alarms the Neigh- 
bourhood, and 'tis odds but he pays the forfeit with his Life, before he can 
Secure his Retreat. 

But Bears soon grow weary of this unnatural Diet, and about January, 
when there is nothing to be got in the Woods, they retire into some cave or 

October] The Secret History 197 

which several of our Men discover'd very plainly. The Bears are 
great Lovers of Chesnuts, and are so discreet as not to Venture 
their unwieldy Bodyg upon the smaller Branches of the Trees, 
which will not bear their Weight. But after walking upon the 
Limbs as far as is safe, they bite off the Limbs which falling down, 
they finish their Meal upon the Ground. In the same cautious 
Manner they secure the Acorns that grow on the outer Branches 
of the Oak. They eat Grapes very greedily which grow plenti- 
fully in these Woods, very large Vines wedding almost every Tree 
in the Rich Soil. This shews how Natural the Situation of this 
Country is to Vines. Our Men kill'd a Bear of 2 Years Old which 
was very fat. The Flesh of it hath a good relish, very savory, 
& inclining nearest to that of Pork. The Fat of this Creature is 
the least apt to rise in the Stomach of any other. The Men for 
the most part chose it rather than Venison, the greatest inconveni- 
ence was that they eat more Bread with it. We who were not ac- 
custom'd to eat this rich Dyet tasted it at first with some squeam- 
ishness, but soon came to like it. Particularly our Chaplain lov'd 
it so passionately, that he wou'd growl like a Wild-Cat over a 
Squirrel. Towards the Evening the Clouds gather'd thick & 
threaten'd rain, & made us draw a Trench round the Tent, & 
take the necessary Precaution to secure the Bread, but no Rain 
fell. We remember'd our Wives & Mistresses in a Bumper of ex- 
cellent Cherry Brandy. This we cou'd aff'ord to drink no oftener 
than to put on a clean Shirt, which was once a Week. 

198 History of the Dividing Line [October 

hollow Tree, where they Sleep away two or three Months very comfortably. 
But then they quit their Holes in March, when the Fish begin to run 
up the Rivers, on which they are forct to keep Lent, till some Fruit or 
Berry comes in Season. 

But Bears are fondest of chestnuts, which grow plentifully towards 
the Mountains, upon very large Trees, where the Soil happens to be rich. 
We were curious to know how it happen'd that many of the outward 
Branches of those Trees came to be brok off in that Solitary Place, and 
were inform'd that the Bears are so discreet as not to trust their unwieldy 
Bodies on the Smaller Limbs of the Tree, that would not bear their weight ; 
but after venturing as far as is safe, which they can judge to an Inch, 
they bite off the End of the Branch, which falling down, they are content 
to finish their Repast upon the Ground. In the same Cautious Manner 
they secure the Acorns that grow on the weaker Limbs of the Oak. And it 
must be allow'd that, in these Instances, a Bear carries Instinct a great way, 
and Acts more reasonably than many of his Betters, who indiscreetly 
Venture upon frail Projects that wont bear them. 

13. This being Sunday, we rested from our Fatigue, and had leisure to 
reflect on the signal Mercies of Providence. 

The great Plenty of Meat herewith Bearskin furnisht us in these lonely 
Woods made us once more Shorten the men's allowance of Bread, from 5 
to 4 Pounds of bisket a week. This was the more necessary, because we 
knew not yet how long our Business might require us to be out. 

In the Afternoon our Hunters went forth, and return'd triumphantly with 
three brace of wild Turkeys. They told us they cou'd see the Mountains 
distinctly from every Eminence, tho' the Atmosphere was so thick with 
Smoak that they appear'd at a greater Distance than they really were. 

In the Evening we examin'd our Friend Bearskin, concerning the Re- 
ligion of his Country and he explain'd it to us, without any of that Reserve 
to which his Nation is Subject. 

He told us he believ'd there was one Supreme God, who had Several 
Subaltern Deities under Him. And that this Master-God made the World 
a long time ago. That he told the Sun, the Moon, and Stars, their Business 
in the Beginning, which they, with good looking after, have faithfully 
perform'd ever Since. 

That the same Power that made all things at first has taken care to 
keep them in the same Method and Motion ever since. 

He believ'd God had form'd many Worlds before he form'd this, that 
those Worlds either grew old and ruinous, or were destroyed for the 
Dishonesty of the Inhabitants. 

That God is very just and very good — ever well pleas'd with those 
men who possess those God-like Qualities. That he takes good People 
into his safe Protection, makes them very rich, fills their Bellies plentifully, 

October] The Secret History 199 

13. This being Sunday we rested from our Fatigue, & had a 
Sermon. Our Weather was very louring with the Wind hard at 
N W with great liklihood of Rain. Every Sunday I constantly 
order'd Peter Jones to weigh out the weekly allowance of Bread 
to each Man, which hitherto was 5 Pounds. This with Plenty of 
Meat was sufficient for any reasonable Man, & those who were un- 
reasonable, I wou'd by no means indulge with Superfluitys. The 
rising ground when we encampt was so surrounded with Thickets, 
that we cou'd not walk out with any Comfort; however after Din- 
ner, several of the Men ventur'd to try their Fortune; & brought 
in no less than 6 Wild Turkeys. They told us they saw the Moun- 
tains very distinctly from the Neighbouring Hills. 

In the Evening I examin'd our Indian Ned Bearskin concern- 
ing his Religion, & he very frankly gave me the following Ac- 
count of it. That he believ'd there was a Supream Being, that 
made the World & every thing in it. That the same Power that 
made it still preserves & governs it. That it protects and prospers 
good People in this World, & punishes the bad with Sickness & Pov- 
erty. That after Death all Mankind are conducted into one great 
Road, in which both the good & bad travel in Company to a certain 
Distance when this great Road branches into 2 Paths the One ex- 
tremely Levil, & the other Mountainous. Here the good are parted 
from the bad, by a flash of Lightening, the first fileing to the Right, 

200 History of the Dividing Llne [October 

preserves them from sickness, and from being surpriz'd or Overcome by 
their Enemies. 

But all such as tell Lies, and Cheat those they have Dealings with, he 
never fails to punish with Sickness, Poverty and Hunger, and, after all 
that. Suffers them to be knockt on the Head and scalpt by those that 
fight against them. 

He believ'd that after Death both good and bad People are conducted 
by a strong Guard into a great Road, in which departed Souls travel 
together for some time, till at a certain Distance this Road forks into two 
Paths, the one extremely Levil, and the other Stony and Mountainous. 

Here the good are parted from the Bad by a flash of Lightening, the 
first being hurry 'd away to the Right, the other to the Left. The Right 
hand Road leads to a charming warm Country, where the Spring is ever- 
lasting, and every Month is May; and as the year is always in its Youth, 
so are the People, and particularly the Women are bright as Stars, and 
never Scold. 

That in this happy Climate there are Deer, Turkeys, Elks,and Buffaloes 
innumerable, perpetually fat and gentle, while the Trees are loaded with 
delicious Fruit quite throughout the four Seasons. 

That the Soil brings forth Corn Spontaneously, without the Curse of 
Labour, and so very wholesome, that None who have the happiness to eat 
of it are ever Sick, grow old, or dy. 

Near the Entrance into this Blessed Land Sits a Venerable Old Man 
on a Mat richly woven, who examins Strictly all that are brought before 
Him, and if they have behav'd well, the Guards are order'd to open the 
Crystal Gate, and let them enter into the Land of Delights. 

The left Hand Path is very rugged and uneaven, leading to a dark 
and barren Country, where it is always Winter. The Ground is the whole 
year round cover'd with Snow, and nothing is to be seen upon the Trees 
but Icicles. 

All the People are hungry, yet have not a Morsel of any thing to eat, 
except a bitter kind of Potato, that gives them the Dry-Gripes, and fills 
their whole Body with loathsome Ulcers, that Stink, and are unsupport- 
ably painfull. 

Here all the Women are old and ugly, having Claws like a Panther, 
with which they fly upon the Men that Slight their Passion. For it seems 
these haggard old Furies are intolerably fond, and expect a vast deal of 
Cherishing. They talk much and exceedingly Shrill, giving exquisite 
Pain to the Drum of the Ear, which in that Place of the Torment is so 
tender, that every Sharp Note wounds it to the Quick, 

At the End of this Path sits a dreadful old Woman on a monstrous 
Toad-Stool, whose head is cover'd with Rattle-Snakes instead of Tresses, 
with glaring white Eyes, that strike a Terror unspeakable into all that 
behold her. 

October] The Secret History 201 

the other to the Left. The Right hand Road leads to a fine warm 
country, where the Spring is perpetual, & every Month is May, 
And as the Year is always in its Youth, so are the People, and the 
Women beautifull as Stars, & never scold. That in this happy 
Climate there are Deer innumerable perpetually fat, & the Trees 
all bear delicious Fruit in every Season. That the Earth brings 
forth Com spontaneously without Labour, which is so very whole- 
some, that none that eat of it are ever Sick, grow Old or Die. At 
the Entrance into this blessed Land sits a venerable Old Man who 
examines every One before he is admitted, & if he has behav'd 
well the Guards are order'd to open the Chrystal Gates & let him 
into this Terrestrial Paradise. The left hand Path is very rough 
& uneven, leading to a barren Country, where 'tis always Winter, 
the Ground was cover'd with Snow, & nothing on the Trees but 
Iciles. All the People are old, have no teeth, & yet are very 
hungry. Only those who labour very hard make the Ground Pro- 
duce a Sort of Potato pleasant to the Tast, but gives them the dry 
Gripes, & fills them full of Sores, which stinks and are very pain- 
full. The Women are old & ugly arm'd with sharp Claws like a 
Panther, & with those they gore the Men that slight their passion. 
For it seems these haggard old Furies are intollerably fond. They 
talk very much, & very shrill, giving most exquisite pain to the 
Drum of the Ear, which in that horrid Climate grows so tender, 
that any sharp Note hurts it. On the Borders sits a hideous Old 
Woman whose Head is cover'd with Rattle-Snakes instead of 
Tresses, with glaring white Eyes, sunk very deep in her Head. Her 
Tongue is 20 Cubits long arm'd with sharp Thorns as strong as 
Iron. This Tongue besides the dreadfuU Sound it makes in 
pronouncing Sentence, serves the purpose of an Elephant's Trunk, 
with which the Old Gentlewoman takes up those she has convicted 
of Wickedness & throws them over a vast high wall hewn out of one 
Solid Rock, that Surrounds this Region of Misery, to prevent 
Escapes. They are receiv'd on the inside by another Hideous Old 
Woman who consigns them over to Punishments proper for their 
Crimes. When they have been Chastiz'd here a certain Number of 
Years according to their degrees of Guilt, they are thrown over 
the Wall again, & drawn once more back into this World of Trial, 
where if they mend their Manners they are conducted into the 
abovemention'd fine Country after their Death. This was the Sub- 

202 History of the Dividing Line [October 

This Hag pronounces Sentence of Woe upon all the miserable Wretches 
that hold up their hands at her Tribunal. After this they are deliver'd 
over to huge Turkey-Buzzards, like harpys, that fly away with them to the 
Place above mentioned. 

Here, after they have been tormented a certain Number of years, ac- 
cording to their several Degrees of Guilt, they are again driven back into 
this World, to try if they will mend their Manners, and merit a place 
the next time in the Regions of Bliss. 

This was the Substances of Bearskin's Religion, and was as much to the 
purpose as cou'd be expected from a meer State of Nature, without one 
Glimpse of Revelation or Philosophy. 

It contain'd, however, the three Great Articles of Natural Religion: 
The Belief of a God; The Moral Distinction betwixt Good and Evil; and 
the Expectation of Rewards and Punishments in Another World. 

Indeed, the Indian Notion of a Future Happiness is a little Gross and 
Sensual, like Mahomet's Paradise. But how can it be otherwise, in a 
People that are contented with Nature as they find Her, and have no other 
Lights but what they receive from purblind Tradition? 

14. There having been great Signs of Rain yesterday Evening, we 
had taken our Precautions in Securing the Bread, and trenching in our 

The men had also Stretcht their Blankets upon Poles, Penthouse fashion, 
against the Weather, so that nobody was taken unprepar'd. 

It began to fall heavily about three a'clock in the Morning, and held 
not up till near Noon. Everything was so thoroughly Soakt, that we laid 
aside all thoughts of decamping that Day. 

This gave leizure to the most expert of our Gunners to go and try their 
Fortunes, and they succeeded so well, that they return'd about Noon 
with three fat Deer, and 4 wild Turkeys. Thus Providence took care of 
us, and however short the Men might be in their Bread, 'tis certain they 
had Meat at full Allowance. 

The Cookery went on Merrily all Night long, to keep the Damps from 
entering our Pores; and in truth the Impressions of the Air are much more 
powerful upon empty Stomachs. 

In such a Glut of Provisions, a true Woodsman, when he has nothing 
else to do, like our honest countrymen the Indians, keeps eating on, to 
avoid the imputation of Idleness; Though, in a Scarcity, the Indian will 
fast with a much better Grace than they. They can Subsist Several days 
upon a little Rockahominy, which is parcht Indian Corn reduc'd to powder. 
This they moisten in the hollow of their Hands with a little water, and 'tis 
hardly credible how small a Quantity of it will Support them. Tis true 
they grow a little lank upon it, but to make themselves feel full, they 
gird up their Loins very tight with a Belt, taking up a Hole every day. 
With this Slender Subsistence they are able to travel very long Journeys; 

October] The Secret History 203 

stance of Bearskin's Religion, which he lold us with a Freedom un- 
common to the Indians. 

14. It began to rain about 3 a Clock this Morning but so gently 
that we had leisure to secure the Bread from damage. It con- 
tinued raining all Night & til near Noon, when it held up, the 
Clouds look't very heavy, & frighten'd us from all thoughts of de- 
camping. Meanwell & I lay abed all the Morning, believing 
that the most agreeable situation in Wet Weather. The Wind 
blowing hard at NE made the air very raw & uncomfortable. 
However several of the Men went hunting in the afternoon, & kill'd 
a Deer & 4 Turkeys, so that the Frying Pan was not cool til next 
Morning. The Chaplain disdaining to be usefuU in one Capaci- 
ty only, condescended to dam my Stockins, he acquired that with 
his other University Learning at the College of Dublin. At 6 it 
began to rain again, & held not up til 9, when the Clouds seem'd to 
break away & give us a Sight of the Stars. (I dreamt the 3 Graces 
appear'd to me in all their naked Charms, I singled out Charity 
from the rest, with whom I had an Intrigue.) 

204 History of the Dividing Line [October 

but then, to make themselves Amends, when they do meet with better 
Chear, they eat without ceasing, till they have raven'd themselves into 
another Famine. 

This was the first time we had ever been detain'd a whole day in our 
camp by the Rain, and therefore had Reason to bear it with the more 

As I sat in the Tent I overheard a learn'd conversation between one of 
our men and the Indian. He ask't the Englishman what it was that made 
that rumbling noise when it thunder'd? 

The man told him merrily, that the God of the English was firing his 
great Guns upon the God of the Indians, which made all the roaring 
in the clouds, and that the Lightening was only the Flash of those 

The Indian carrying on the Humour reply'd very gravely, He believed 
that might be the case indeed, and that the Rain which follow'd upon the 
Thunder must be occasion'd by the Indian God's being so scar'd he could 
not hold his Water. 

The few good Husbands amongst us took some thought of their Backs 
as well as their Bellies, and made use of this Opportunity to put their 
Habiliments in repair, which had Suffer'd wofully by the Bushes. 

The Horses got some rest by reason of the bad weather, but very little 
Food, the chief of their Forage being a little wild Rosemary, which re- 
sembles the Garden Rosemary pretty much in Figure, but not at all in taste 
or smell. This Plant grows in small Tufts here and there on the Barren 
Land in these upper Parts, and the Horses liked it well, but this mis- 
fortune was, they cou'd not get enough of it to fill their Bellies. 

15. After the Clouds brake away in the Morning, the People dryed their 
Blankets with all diligence. Nevertheless, it was Noon before we were in 
condition to move forward, and then were so puzzled with passing the river 
twice in a Small Distance, that we could advance the Line in all no 
farther than One Single Mile and 300 Poles. 

The first time we past the Dan this day was 240 Poles from the Place 
where we lay, and the Second time was one Mile and Seven Poles beyond 
that. This was now the fourth time we forded that fine River, which still 
tended westerly, with many Short and returning Reaches. 

The Surveyors had much Difficulty in getting over the River, finding it 
deeper than formerly. The Breadth of it here did not exceed fifty Yards. 
The Banks were about 20 feet high from the Water, and beautifully beset 
with canes. 

Our Baggage Horses crost not the River here at all, but, fetching a 
compass, went round the Bent of it. On our Way we forded Sable-Creek, 
so call'd from the Dark Colour of the Water, which happen'd, I suppose, 
by its being Shaded on both Sides with canes. 

October] The Secret History 205 

15. The Weather promiseing to be fair, we hurry'd away the 
Surveyors as early as we cou'd, but did not follow with the Bag- 
gage til One a Clock, because the thick Woods made it difficult to 
find the Horses. Interpos'd very seasonably to decide a Wager 
betwixt two of the Warmest of our Men which might otherwise 
have inflamed them into a Quarrel. In about a Mile's march we 
past over a large Creek whose Banks were fring'd with Canes. We 
call'd it Sable Creek from the Colour of its Water. Our Surveyors 
crost the Dan twice this Day. The first time was 240 Poles from 
our Camp, & Second in one Mile & 7 Poles farther, & from thence 
proceeded with the Line only 59 Poles, in all no more than one 
Mile & 300 Poles. The difficulty they had in passing the River 
twice, made their days work so small. The Baggage did not cross 
the River at all but went round the Bent of it, & in the Evening 
we encamp on a charming piece of Ground that commanded the 

206 History of the Dividing Line [October 

In the Evening we quarter'd in a Charming Situation near the angle 
of the River, from whence our Eyes were carried down both Reaches, 
which kept a Straight Course for a great way together. 

This Prospect was so beautiful, that we were perpetually climbing 
up to a Neighbouring eminence, that we might enjoy it in more Perfection. 

Now the Weather grew cool, the Wild Geese began to direct their Flight 
this way from Hudson's Bay, and the Lakes that lay North-west of us. 

They are very lean at their first coming, but fatten soon upon a Sort of 
Grass that grows on the Shores and Rocks of this River. 

The Indians call this Fowl Cohunks, from the hoarse Note it has, 
and begin the year from the Coming of the Cohunks, which happens 
in the Beginning of October. 

These Wild Geese are guarded from cold by a Down, that is exquisitely 
soft and fine, which makes them much more valuable for their Feathers 
than for their Flesh, which is dark and coarse. 

The Men chast a Bear into the River that got safe over, notwithstanding 
the continual fire from the Shore upon Him. He Seem'd to Swim but 
heavily, considering it was for his Life. 

Where the Water is Shallow, 'tis no Uncommon thing to see a Bear 
sitting, in the Summer time, on a heap of Gravel in the Middle of the 
River, not only to cool himself, but likewise for the Advantage of Fishing, 
particularly for a small Shellfish, that is brought down with the Stream. 

In the upper part of James River I have observed this Several times, 
and wonder'd very much, at first, how so many heaps of small Stones came 
to be piled up in the Water, till at last we spy'd a Bear Sitting upon one of 
them looking with great attention on the Stream, and rakeing up Some- 
thing with his Paw, which I take to be the Shell-fish above mention'd. 

16. It was Ten a'clock this Morning before the Horses cou'd be found, 
having hidden themselves among the canes, whereof there was great 
plenty just at hand. Not far from our camp we went over a Brook, 
whose Banks were edg'd on both Sides with these canes. But three Miles 
further we forded a larger Stream, which we call'd Low Land Creek, by 
reason of the great Breadth of Low Grounds inclos'd between that and the 

The high Land we travell'd over was very good, and the low Grounds 
promis'd the greatest Fertility of any I had ever seen. 

At the End of 4 Miles and 311 Poles from where we lay, the Line inter- 
sected the Dan the fifth time. We had day enough to carry it farther, 
but the Surveyors cou'd find no Safe ford over the River. 

This obliged us to ride two Miles up the River in quest of a Ford, and 
by the way we traverst Several Small Indian Fields, where we conjectur'd 

October] The Secret History 207 

Prospect of the Reaches of the River, which were about 50 Yards 
over & the Banks adom'd with Canes. We pitch't the Tent at the 
Bottom of a Mount, which we call'd Mount Pleasant, for the Beauty 
of the Prospect from thence. This Night Astrolabe's Servant had 
his Purse cut off, in which he lost his own Money, & some that my 
Man had put into his keeping. We cou'd suspect no Body but 
Holmes of the Kingdom of Ireland, who had watched it seems 
that Night for several of the Men, without which he cou'd not have 
had an Opportunity. He had also the Insolence to strike Mean- 
wells Servant, for which he had like to have been toss't in a Blan- 
ket. Astrolabe's Horse fell with him in the River which had no 
other Consequence but to refresh him, & make the rest of the Com- 
pany merry. Here the Low-Ground was very narrow, but very dry, 
& very delightfull. 

16. The Surveyors got to work about 9, & we foUow'd with the 
Baggage at 11. They carry'd the Line about 4^^ Miles, & were 
stop't by the River over which they cou'd not find a Ford. We 
past a small Creek near our Camp, which had Canes on each side 
on which our Horses had feasted. The Constant Current in the 
River may be computed to run about 2 Knots, & we discover'd no 
Fall, over which a Canoe might not pass. Our Journey this day 
was thro' very Open Woods. At 3 Miles distance we crost another 
Creek, which we call'd Lowland Creek from a great Breadth of 
Low Land made by this Creek & the River, which ran about ^4 of 
a Mile to the Northward of us. We were obliged to go 2 Miles 
higher than where our Line intersected the River, because we 

208 History of the Dividing Line [October 

the SAWRO'S^^ had been used to plant Corn, the Town where they had 
liv'd lying Seven or Eight Miles more Southerly, upon the Eastern Side 
of the River. 

These Indian Fields produc'd a Sweet kind of Grass, Almost knee-high, 
which was excellent Forage for the Horses. 

It must b observ'd, by the way, that Indian Towns, like Religious 
Houses, are remarkable for a fruitful Situation; for being by Nature not 
very Industrious, they choose such a Situation as will Subsist them with 
the least Labour. 

The Trees grew Surprisingly large in this low-Ground, and amongst the 
rest we observ'd a tall kind of hiccory, peculiar to the Upper Parts of 
the Country. It is cover'd with a very rough Bark, and produces a Nut 
with a thick Shell that is easily broken. The Kernel is not so rank as 
that of the Common Hiccory, but altogether as oily. 

And now I am upon the Subject of these Nuts, it may not be improper 
to remark, that a very great benefit might be made of Nut-Oyl in this 
Colony. The Walnuts, the Hickory-Nuts, and Nig-nuts,'^^ contains a vast 
deal of Oyl, that might be press'd out in great abundance with proper 

The Trees grow very kindly, and may be easily propagated. They bear 
plenty of Nuts every year, that are now of no other use in the World but 
to feed Hogs. 'Tis certain there is a large Consumption of this Oyl in 
Several of our Manufactures, and in some parts of France, as well as in 
other Countries, it is eaten instead of Oyl-Olive, being tolerably Sweet and 

The Indian kill'd a fat Buck, and the men brought in four Bears and a 
Brace of wild Turkeys, so that this was truly a Land of Plenty, both for 
man and Beast. 

17. We detacht a Party this morning early in Search of a Ford, who 
after all cou'd find None that was safe; tho' dangerous as it was, we 
determin'd to make use of it, to avoid all further delay. Accordingly we 
rode over a Narrow Ledge of Rocks, Some of which lay below the Surface 
of the Water, and some above it. 

Those that lay under the Water were as Slippery as Ice; and the 
Current glided over them so swiftly, that tho' it was only Water, it made 
us perfectly drunk. Yet we were all so fortunate as to get safe over to the 
West Shore, with no other Damage than the Sopping some of our Bread by 
the flounceing of the Horses. 

"The Cheraws, who originally lived in the mountain region of Western North 
Carolina where they were known as the Suale. Some time prior to 1700 they moved 
to the valley of the Dan and established two villages. About 1710 they migrated 
to South Carolina, where they ultimately united with the Catawbas. 

'^The fruit of the brown hickory. 

October] The Secret History 209 

cou'd not find a Ford. In our way we went thro' several large 
Indian Fields where we fancy'd the Sauro Indians*'^ had formerly 
planted Com. We encampt near one of these Indian Corn Fields, 
where was excellent Food for our Horses. Our Indian kill'd a 
Deer & the Men knock't down no less than 4 Bears & 2 Turkeys, so 
that this was truly a Land of Plenty both for Man & Beast. D' 
Humdrum of this Camp first discover'd his Passion for the deli- 
cious Flesh of Bear. 

17. The Surveyors mov'd early, & went back at least 2 Miles on 
the South Side of the River before they cou'd get over. Nor was 
it without difficulty, & some Danger, that they & we crost this Ford, 
being full of Rocks & Holes, & the currant so swift that it made 
them giddy. However Heaven be prais'd we all got safe on the 
other Side, Only One Baggage Horse stumbled, & sopt a little of 
the Bread. The puzzle in crossing the River, & the thick Woods 
hinder'd our Surveyors from carrying the Line farther than 2 
Miles & 250 Poles, to the Banks of Caskade Creek, so call'd from 
several Water Falls that are in it. We encampt the sooner because 

See Note 73, History of the Dividing Line. 

210 History of the Dividing Lme [October 

The tedious time Spent in finding out this Ford, and in getting all the 
Horses over it, prevented our carrying the Line more than 2 Miles and 
250 Poles. 

This was the last time we crost the Dan with out Line, which now 
began to run away more Southerly, with a very flush and plentfiul Stream, 
the Description whereof must be left to future Discoveries, tho' we are 
well assured by the Indians that it runs thro' the Mountains. 

We conducted the Baggage a round about way for the Benefit of 
evener Grounds, and this carry 'd us over a broad Levil of exceeding rich 
Land, full of large Trees, with Vines marry'd to them, if I may be allow'd 
to speak so Poetically. 

We untreed a young Cub in our March, that made a brave Stand against 
one of the best of our Dogs. This and a Fawn were all the Game that 
came in our way. 

In this day's Journey, as in many others before, we saw beautiful 
Marble of Several Colours, and particularly that of the Purple kind with 
white Streaks, and in some places we came across large pieces of pure 

We markt out our Quarters on the Banks of a purling Stream, which we 
call'd Casquade Creek, by reason of the Multitude of Water-Falls that are 
in it. But, different from all other Falls that ever I met with, the Rocks 
over which the water roll'd were Soft and would Split easily into broad 
Flakes, very proper for Pavement; and some Fragments of it seem'd 
soft enough for Hones, and the Grain fine enough. 

Near our Camp we found a prickly Shrub, riseing about a foot from the 
Ground, something like that which bears the Barberry, tho' much Smaller. 
The Leaves had a fresh, agreeable Smell, and I am perswaded the Ladies 
would be apt to fancy a Tea made of them, provided they were told how 
far it came, and at the Same time were obliged to buy it very dear. 

About a Mile to the South-West of our Camp rose a regular Mount, that 
commanded a full Prospect of the Mountains, and an Extensive View of 
the Flat Country. But being, with respect to the high Mountains, no more 
than a Pimple, we call'd it by that Name. 

Presently after Sunset we discovered a great Light towards the West, 
too bright for a fire, and more resembling the Aurora Borealis. This, all 
our Woodsmen told us, was a Common Appearance in the High Lands, 
and generally foreboded bad Weather. Their Explanation happen'd 
to be exactly true, for in the Night we had a Violent Gale of Wind, ac- 
company'd with Smart Hail, that rattled frightfully amongst the Trees, 
tho' it was not large enough to do us any Harm. 

(18). We crost Casquade Creek over a Ledge of Smooth Rocks, and 
then Scuffled thro' a mighty Thicket, at least three Miles long. The whole 

October] The Secret History 211 

it threaten'd Rain the Wind strong at N E. In our way to this 
Place we went over abundance of good Land, made so by the 
River, & this Creek. Our Dogs catch't a Young Cubb, & the In- 
dian kill'd a young Buck. Near the Creek we found a very good 
kind of Stone that flaked into thin Pieces fit for Pavement. About 
a Mile S W from our Camp was a high Mount that commanded 
a full Prospect of the Mountains, & a very extensive view of all 
the flat country. But being with Respect to the Mountains no 
more than a Pimple, we call'd it by that Name. 

18. The Weather clearing up with a brisk N Wester, we dis- 
patch't the Surveyors about 9, who carry'd the Line about 6 Miles 

212 History of the Dividing [October 

was one continued Tract of rich high Land, the woods whereof had been 
burnt not long before. It was then overgrown with Saplings of Oak, 
Hiccory and Locust, interlac'd with Grape Vines, In this fine Land, 
however, we met with no Water, till at the End of three Miles we luckily 
came upon a Chrystal Stream, which, like some Lovers of Conversation, 
discover'd every thing committed to its faithless Bosom. 

Then we came upon a piece of Rich Low Ground, covered with large 
Trees, of the extent of half a Mile, which made us fancy ourselves not far 
from the River; tho' after that we ascended gently to higher Land, with 
no other Trees growing upon it except Butter-wood, which is one Species of 
White Maple. 

This being a dead Levil, without the least Declivity to carry off the 
Water, was moist in many Places, and produc'd abundance of Grass. All 
our Woodsmen call these flat Grounds High-Land-Ponds, and in their 
Trading Journeys are glad to halt at such Places for Several days together, 
to recruit their Jaded Horses, especially in the Winter Months, when there 
is little or no Grass to be found in other Places. 

This High-Land-Pond extended above two Miles, our Palfrey's Snatch- 
ing greedily at the Tufts of Grass, as they went along. After we got over 
this Level, we descended some Stony Hills for about half a Mile, and 
then came upon a large Branch of the River, which we christen'd the 
Irvin, in honour of our learned Professor. This River we forded with 
much DifiSculty and some Danger, by reason of the Hollow-Spaces betwixt 
the Rocks, into which our Horses plunged almost every Step. 

The Irvin runs into the Dan about four Miles to the Southward of the 
Line, and seem'd to roll down its Waters from the N. N. W. in a very full 
and Limpid stream, and the Murmur it made, in tumbling over the Rocks, 
caus'd the Situation to appear very Romantick, and had almost made some 
of the Company Poetical, tho' they drank nothing but Water. 

We encampt on a pleasant Hill, overlooking the River, which seem'd 
to be deep every where except just where we forded. In the mean time, 
neither the Chain of Rocks, nor any other that we could observe in this 
Stream, was so uninterrupted, but that there were Several Breaks where a 
Canoe, or even a Moderate Flat-bottom'd Boat, might Shear clear. Nor 
have we reason to believe there are any other Falls (except the great ones, 
thirty Miles below Moniseep-Ford) that reach quite across, so as to inter- 
rupt the Navigation for Small Craft. And I have been inform'd that, 
even at those Great Falls, the Blowing up a few Rocks wou'd open a 
Passage at least for canoes, which certainly wou'd be an unspeakable 
Convenience to the Inhabitants of all that beautiful Part of the Country. 

The Indian kill'd a very fat Doe, and came across a Bear, which had 
been put to Death and was half devour'd by a Panther. The last of these 
Brutes reigns absolute Monarch of the Woods, and in the keenness of his 
hunger will venture to attack a Bear; tho' then 'tis ever by surprize, as 
all Beasts of the cat kind use to come upon their Prey. 

October] The Secret History 213 

& 30 Poles to a Branch of the Dan, which we call'd the Irvine. We 
did not follow with the Baggage til 12. We crost Cascade Creek 
over a Ledge of Rocks, & march't thro' a large Plane of good Land 
but very thick Woods, for at least 4 Miles together. We met with 
no Water in all that Distance. A little before Sunset we crost the 
Irvine at a deep Ford, where the Rocks were so slippery the 
Horses cou'd hardly keep their Feet. But by the great Care of Tom 
Jones we all got safe over, without any Damage to our Bread. We 
encamp't on a Pleasant Hill in Sight of the River, the Sand of 
which is full of Shining particles. Bearskin kill'd a fat Doe, & 
came across a Bear, which had been kill'd, & half devour'd by a 
Panther. The last of these Brutes reigns King of the Woods, & 
often kills the poor Bears, I believe more by surprize than fair 
Fight. They often take them Napping. Bears being very Sleepy 
Animals, & tho' they be very Strong, yet is their Strength heavy, 
& the Panthers are much Nimbler. The Doctor grutch't the 
Panther this Dainty Morsel, being so fond of Bear, that he wou'd 
rise before day to eat a Griskin of it. 

214 History of the Dividing [October 

Their Play is to take the poor Bears napping, they being very drowsy 
Animals, and tho' they be exceedingly Strong, yet their Strength is heavy, 
while the Panthers are too Nimble and cunning to trust themselves within 
their Hugg. 

As formidable as this Beast is to his Fellow Brutes, he never has the 
confidence to venture upon a Man, but retires from him with great respect, 
if there be a way open for his Escape. However, it must be confesst, 
his Voice is a little contemptible for a Monarch of the Forrest, being not 
a great deal lowder nor more awful than the Mewing of a Household 

In South Carolina they call this Beast a Tyger, tho' improperly, and so 
they do in some parts of the Spanish West Indies. Some of their Authors, 
a little more properly, complement it with the Name of Leopard. But 
none of these are the Growth of America, that we know of. 

The Whole Distance the Surveyors advanc'd the Line this day amounted 
to 6 Miles and 30 Poles, which was no small Journey, considering the 
Grounds we had traverst were exceedingly rough and vmeven, and in many 
Places intolerably entangled with Bushes. All the Hills we ascended were 
encumber'd with Stones, many of which seem'd to contain a Metallick 
Substance, and the Vallies we crost were interrupted with Miry Branches. 
From the Top of every Hill we cou'd discern distinctly, at a great Distance 
to the Northward, three or four Ledges of Mountains, rising one above 
another; and on the highest of all rose a Single Mountain, very much 
resembling a Woman's Breast. 

19. About four Miles beyond the River Irvin, we forded Matrimony 
Creek, call'd so by an unfortunate marry'd man, because it was exceedingly 
noisy and impetuous. However, tho' the Stream was Clamorous, yet, 
like those Women who make themselves plainest heard, it was likewise 
perfectly clear and unsully'd. 

Still half a Mile further we saw a Small Mountain, about five Miles to 
the North-west of us, which we call'd the Wart, because it appeared no 
bigger than a Wart, in Comparison of the great Mountains which hid 
their haughty Heads in the Clouds. 

We were not able to extend the Line farther than 5 Miles and 135 Poles, 
notwithstanding we began our March Early in the Morning, and did not 
encamp till it was almost dark. 

We made it the later by endeavouring to Quarter in some convenient 
Situation, either for Grass or Canes. But Night Surprising us, we were 

'*"Some authors who have given an Account of the Southern Continent of America 
wou'd make the World believe there are lyons when in all likelihood they were mis- 
taken, imagining these Panthers to be Lyons. What makes this probable is, that 
the Northern and Southern parts of America join'd by the Isthmus of Darian if 
there were Lyons in either they would find their way into the other, the Latitudes of 
each being equally proper for that generous animal." (Byrd's Note.) 

October] The Secret History 215 

19. About 9 the Surveyors took their Departure, and advanct 
with the Line 5 Miles & 135 Poles, Nor was this a small Days work 
considering the way was more uneven & full of Thickets than ever. 
We did not follow them til 12, because some of the Bread-Horses 
were missing. Astrolabe wou'd have feign sent out 2 of the Men 
to find out where the Dan & the Irvine f ork't, but I wou'd not con- 
sent to it, for fear they shou'd fall into some disaster, We being 
now near the Path which the Northern Indians take when they 
march against those of the South. Something more than 4 Miles 
from our Camp we crost Matrimony Creek, which receiv'd its 
Name from being very Noisy, the water murmuring Everlastingly 
amongst the Rocks. Half a Mile beyond this Creek we discover'd 
5 Miles to the N W of the Line, a small Mountain which we call'd 
the Wart. We would willingly have marcht to a good place for 
our Horses which began to grow very weak, but Night coming on, 
we were oblig'd to encamp on very uneven Ground, so overgrown 
with Bushes & Saplins, that we cou'd with difficulty see 10 Yards 

216 History of the Dividing Llne [October 

oblig'd to Lodge at last upon High and uneven Ground, which was so 
overgrown with Shrubs and Saplings, that we cou'd hardly see ten yards 
around us. 

The most melancholy part of the Story was, that our Horses had Short 
Commons. The poor Creatures were now grown so weak that they 
Stagger'd when we mounted them. Nor wou'd our own Fare have been at 
all more plentiful, had we not been so provident as to carry a Load of 
Meat along with us. Indeed, the Woods were too thick to shew us any sort 
of Game but one Wild Turkey, which help'd to enrich our Soup. 

To make us amends, we found abundance of very Sweet Grapes, which, 
with the help of Bread, might have furnish'd out a good Italian Repast, 
in the Absence of more Savoury Food. 

The men's Mouths water'd at the Sight of a Prodigious Flight of Wild 
Pigeons, which flew high over our Heads to the Southward. 

The Flocks of these Birds of Passage are so amazingly great, Some- 
times, that they darken the Sky; nor is it uncommon for them to light 
in such Numbers on the Larger Limbs of Mulberry-Trees and Oaks as to 
break them down. 

In their Travels they make vast Havock among the Acorns and Berries 
of all Sorts, that they waste whole Forrests in a short time, and leave a 
Famine behind them for most other Creatures; and under Some Trees 
where they light, it is no Strange thing to find the ground cover'd three 
Inches thick with their Dung. These Wild Pigeons commonly breed in 
the uninhabitated parts of Canada, and as the Cold approaches assemble 
their Armies and bend their Course Southerly, Shifting their Quarters, 
like many of the Winged kind, according to the Season. But the most re- 
markable thing in their Flight, as we are told, is that they never have 
been observ'd to return to the Northern Countries the same way they came 
from thence, but take quite another Rout, I suppose for their better 

In these long Flights they are very lean, and their Flesh is far from 
being white or tender, tho' good enough upon a March, when Hunger is 
the sauce, and makes it go down better than Truffles and Morels wou'd do. 

20. It was now Sunday, which we had like to have spent in Fasting as 
well as Prayer; for our Men, taking no Care for the Morrow, like good 
Christians, but bad Travellers, had improvidently Devour'd all their 
Meat for Supper. 

They were order 'd in the Morning to drive up their Horses, lest they 
shou'd stray too far from the Camp and be lost, in case they were let 
alone all day. At their Return they had the very great Comfort to behold 
a monstrous fat Bear, which the Indian had kill'd very Seasonably for their 

October] The Secret History 217 

before us. Here our Horses met with short Commons, & so shou'd 
we too, if we had not brought a Horse Load of Meat along with 
Us. All that our Hunters cou'd kill was only one Turkey, which 
helpt however to Season the Broth. 

20. This being Sunday, I wash't off all my weeks Dirt, & refresht 
myself with clean Linnen. We had Prayers & a Sermon. We 
began here to fall from 5 to 4 Pounds of Bread a Man for the fol- 
lowing Week, computeing we had enough at that rate to last a 
Month longer. Our Indian had the Luck to kill a monstrous fat 
Bear, which came very seasonably, for our Men having Nothing 
else to do, had eat up all their Meat, & began to look very pensive. 

218 History of the Dividing Line [October 

We thought it still necessary to make another Reduction of our Bread, 
from four to three Pounds a Week to every man, computing that we 
had still enough in that Proportion to last us Three weeks longer. 

The Atmosphere was so smoaky all round us, that the Mountains were 
again growing invisible. This happen'd not from the Hazyness of the 
Sky, but from the fireing of the Woods by the Indians, for we were now 
near the Route the Northern Savages take when they go out to War against 
the Cataubas and other Southern Nations. 

On their way the Fires they make in their camps are left burning, which, 
catching the dry Leaves they ly near, soon put the adjacent Woods into 
a flame. 

Some of our men in Search of their Horses discovered one of those 
Indian camps, where not long before they had been Furring and dressing 
their Skins. 

And now I mention the Northern Indians, it may not be improper to take 
Notice of their implacable Hatred to those of the South. Their Wars are 
everlasting, without any Peace, Enmity being the only Inheritance among 
them that descends from Father to Son, and either Party will march a 
thousand Miles to take their Revenge upon such Hereditary Enemies. 

These long Expeditions are Commonly carry'd on in the following 
Manner; Some Indian, remarkable for his Prowess, that has rais'd himself 
to the Reputation of a War-Captain, declares his Intention of paying a Visit 
to some southern Nation; Hereupon as many of the Young Fellows as 
have either a Strong Thirst of Blood or Glory, list themselves under his 

With these Volunteers he goes from One Confederate Town to another, 
listing all the Rabble he can, til he has gather'd together a competent 
Number for Mischief. 

Their Arms are a Gun and Tomahawk, and all the Provisions they 
carry from Home is a Pouch of Rockahominy. Thus provided and ac- 
coutr'd, they march towards their Enemy's Country, not in a Body, or 
by a certain Path, but Straggling in Small Numbers, for the greater con- 
venience of Hunting and passing along undiscover'd. 

So soon as they approach the Grounds on which the Enemy is used to 
hunt, they never kindle any Fire themselves, for fear of being found out 
by the smoak, nor will they Shoot at any kind of Game, tho' they shou'd 
be half Famisht, lest they might alarm their Foes, and put them upon 
their Guard. 

Sometimes indeed, while they are still at some distance, they roast either 
Venison or Bear, till it is very dry, and then having Strung it on their 
Belts, wear it round their Middle, eating very Sparingly of it, because 
they know not when they shall meet with a fresh Supply. But coming 
nearer, they begin to look all round the Hemisphere, to watch if any 
smoke ascends, and listen continually for the Report of Guns, in order 
to make some happy Discovery for their own advantage. 

October] The Secret History 219 

But our starv'd Horses had no such good Fortune, meeting with no 
other Food, but a little Wild Rosamary that grows on the high 
Ground. This they love very well if they had had enough of it, 
but it grew only in thin Tufts here & there. Tom Short brought 
me a Hat full of very good wild-Grapes which were plentifull all 
over these Woods. Our Men, when the Service was over, thought 
it no Breach of the Sabbath to wash their Linnen, & put themselves 
in Repair, being a Matter of indispensible necessity. Meanwell 
was very handy at his needle, having learn't the Use of that little 
Implement at Sea, & flourish his Thread with as good a Grace as 
any Merchant Taylor. 

220 History of the Dividing Liwe [October 

It is amazing to see their Sagacity in discerning the Track of a Human 
Foot, even amongst dry leaves, which to our Shorter Sight is quite 

If by one or more of those Signs they be able to find out the Camp of 
any Southern Indians, they Squat down in some Thicket, and keep them- 
selves hush and Snug till it is dark; Then creeping up Softly, they ap- 
proach near enough to observe all the Motions of the Enemy. And about 
two a Clock in the Morning, when they conceive them to be in a Profound 
Sleep, for they never keep Watch and Ward, pour in a Volley upon them, 
each Singling out his Man. The Moment they have discharg'd their Pieces, 
they rush in with their Tomahawks, and make sure work of all that are 

Sometimes, when they find the Enemy Asleep around their little Fire, 
they first Pelt them with little Stones to wake them, and when they get 
up, fire in upon them, being in that posture a better Mark than when 
prostrate on the Ground. 

Those that are kill'd of the Enemy, or disabled, they Scalp, that is, 
they cut the Skin all around the Head just below the hair, and then 
clapping their Feet to the poor Mortal's Shoulders, pull the Scalp off 
clean, and carry it home in Triumph, being as proud of those Trophies, as 
the Jews used to be of the Foreskins of the Philistines. 

This way of Scalping was practised by the Ancient Scythians, who us'd 
these hairy Scalps as Towels at Home, and Trappings for their Horses 
when they went abroad. 

They also made Cups of their Enemies' Skulls, in which they drank 
Prosperity to their country, and Confusion to all their Foes. 

The Prisoners they happen to take alive in these expeditions generally 
pass their time very Scurvily. They put them to all the Tortures that in- 
genious Malice and cruelty can invent. And (what shews the baseness of 
the Indian Temper in Perfection) they never fail to treat those with the 
greatest Inhumanity that have distinguish'd themselves most by their 
Bravery ; and, if he be a War-Captain, they do him to Honour to roast him 
alive, and distribute a Collop to all that had a Share in stealing the 

They are very cunning in finding out new ways to torment their un- 
happy Captives, tho', like those of Hell, their usual Method is by Fire. 
Sometimes they Barbecue them over live-Coals, taking them off every now 
and then, to prolong their Misery; at other times they will Stick Sharp 
Pieces of Lightwood all over their Body's, and setting them afire, let them 

'" Tho' who can reproach the poor Indians for this when Homer makes his 
celebrated hero, Achilles, drag the Body of Hector at the Tail of his chariot for 
having fought gallantly for the defense of his Country. Nor was Alexander the 
Great with all his Fam'd Generosity, less inhuman to the brave Tyrians 2,000 of 
whom he ordered to be crucified in cold Blood, for no other fault but for having 
defended their City most courageously against Him, dureing a Seige of Seven Months. 
And what was still more brutal, he drag'd alive at the Tail of his Chariot thro' all 
the Streets for defending the Town with so much Vigour." (Byrd's Note.) 

October] The Secret History 221 

[Continued on page 223] 

222 History of the Dividing Llne [October 

burn down into the Flesh to the very Bone. And when they take a Stout 
Fellow, that they believe able to endure a great deal, they will tear all the 
Flesh off his Bones with red hot Pincers. 

While these and such like Barbarities are practising, the Victors are 
so far from being touch'd with Tenderness and Compassion, that they 
dance and Sing round these wretched Mortals, shewing all the Marks of 
Pleasure and Jollity. And if such cruelties happen to be executed in their 
Towns, they employ their Children in tormenting the Prisoners, in order 
to extinguish in them betimes all Sentiments of Humanity. 

In the mean time, while these poor Wretches are under the Anguish 
of all this inhuman Treatment, they disdain so much as to groan. Sigh, 
or shew the least Sign of Dismay or concern, so much as in their Looks; 
on the Contrary, they make it a Point of Honour all the time to Soften 
their Features, and look as pleas'd as if they were in the Actual Enjoyment 
of Some Delight; and if they never sang before in their Lives, they will be 
sure to be Melodious on this sad and Dismal Occasion. 

So prodigious a Degree of Passive Valour in the Indians is the more to 
be wonder'd at, because in all Articles of Danger they are apt to behave 
like Cowards. And what is still more Surprizeing, the very Women 
discover, on such Occasions, as great Fortitude and Contempt, both of 
Pain and Death, as the Gallantest of their Men can do. 

21. The Apprehension we had of losing the Horses in these Copse 
Woods were too well founded, nor were the Precautions we us'd Yesterday 
of driveing them up Sufficient to prevent their Straying away afterwards, 
notwithstanding they were securely hobbled. 

We therefore Order'd the men out early this Morning to look diligently 
for them, but it was late before any cou'd be found. It seems they had 
straggled in quest of Forrage, and, besides all that, the Bushes grew thick 
enough to conceal them from being Seen at the Smallest Distance. One 
of the People was so bewilder'd in search of his Horse, that he lost 
Himself, being no great Forester. 

However, because we were willing to save time, we left two of our most 
expert Woodsmen behind to beat all the Adjacent Woods in Quest of Him. 

In the mean, while the Surveyors proceeded vigorously on their Business, 
but were so perplext with Thickets at their first setting off, that their 
Progress was much retarded. 

They were no sooner over that Difficulty, but they were oblig'd to en- 
counter another. The rest of the day's- Work lay over very Sharp Hills, 
where the dry leaves were so Slippery that there was hardly any hold for 
their Feet. Such Rubbs as these prevented them from Measuring more 
than 4 Miles and 270 Poles. 

Upon the Sides of these Hills the Soil was rich, tho' full of Stones, and 
the Trees reasonably large. 

October] The Secret History 223 

21. Our Surveyors got to work about 9, & carry'd the Line 4 
Miles & 270 Poles, great Part of that Distance being very hilly, & 
grown up with Thickets, But we cou'd not follow them til after 2. 
Both Hamilton & his Horse were missing, & tho' I sent out several 
Men in quest of them, they were able to find neither. At last 
fearing we shou'd not overtake the Surveyors, I left Tom Jones & 
another Man to beat all the adjacent Woods for them. We past 
tho' intollerable Thickets to the great Danger of our Eyes, & dam- 
age of our Cloaths, Insomuch that I had enough to do to keep my 
Patience & sweet Temper. With all our Diligence, we cou'd fight 
our way thro' the Bushes no farther than 2% Miles before Sunset, 
so that we cou'd not reach the Surveyors. This was a sensible 
Grief to us, because they had no Bedding with them, & probably 
no Victuals. And even in the last Article we were not mistaken, 
for tho' our Indians kill'd a Bear, he had left it on the Line for us 
to pick up. Thus our Dear Friends run a risque of being doubly 
starv'd, both with Cold & Hunger. I knew this wou'd ill agree with 
Orion's delicate Constitution, but Astrolabe I was in less pain for, 
because he had more Patience & cou'd subsist longer upon licking 

224 History of the Dividing Line [October 

The Smoak continued still to Veil the Mountains from our Sight, which 
made us long for Rain, or a brisk Gale of Wind, to disperse it. Nor 
was the loss of this wild Prospect all our concern, but we were apprehen- 
sive lest the Woods shou'd be burnt in the Course of our Line before us, 
or happen to take fire behind us, either of which wou'd effectually have 
Starv'd the Horses, and made us all Foot Soldiers. But we were so happy, 
thank God! as to escape this Misfortune in every Part of our Progress. 

We were exceedingly uneasy about our lost man, knowing he had taken 
no Provision of any kind, nor was it much Advantage towards his Support, 
that he had taken his Gun along with him, because he had rarely been 
guilty of putting any thing to Death. 

He had unluckily wander'd from the Camp Several Miles, and after 
Steering Sundry unsuccessful Courses, in order to return, either to us or 
to the Line, was at length so tired he could go no Farther. In this Distress 
he sat himself down under a Tree, to recruit his jaded Spirits, and at the 
same time indulge a few Melancholy Reflections. 

Famine was the first Phantom that appear'd to him, and was the 
more frightfull, because he fancy'd himself not quite Bear enough to 
Subsist long upon licking his Paws. 

In the mean time the two Persons we had sent after him hunted diligently 
great part of the day witliout coming upon his Track. They fir'd their 
Pieces towards every Point of the Compass, but cou'd perceive no fireing 
in return. However, advancing a little farther, at last they made a lucky 
Shot, that our Straggler had the good Fortune to hear, and he returning 
the Salute, they soon found each other with no Small Satisfaction. But 
tho' they lighted of the man, they cou'd by no means light of his Horse, 
and therefore he was oblig'd to be a Foot Soldier all the rest of the 

Our Indian shot a Bear so prodigiously fat, that there was no way to kill 
Him but by fireing in at his Ear. 

The fore part of the Skull of that Animal being guarded by a double 
Bone, is hardly penetrable, and when it is very fat, a Bullet aim'd at his 
Body is apt to lose its force, before it reaches the Vitals. This Animal 
is of the Dog kind, and our Indians, as well as Woodsmen, are as fond 
of its Flesh as the Chinese can be of that of the Common Hound. 

22. Early in the Morning we sent back two men to make further 
Search for the horse that was Stray'd away. We were unwilling the Poor 
man shou'd Sustain such a Damage as wou'd eat out a large Part of his 
Pay, or that the Publick shou'd be at the Expense of reembursing Him 
for it. 

These foresters hunted all over the Neighbouring Woods, and took as 
much pains as if the Horse had been their own Property, but all their 
Diligence was to no purpose. 

October] The Secret History 225 

his Paws. We had the Comfort to encamp where our Horses 
fared well, And we drank Health to our Absent Friends in pure 
Element. Just as it was dark Tom Jones brought poor Hamilton 
to us without his Horse. He had contriv'd to loose himself being 
no great Woodsman, but pretended that he was only bogued. He 
looked very melanchoUy for the Loss of his Horse, til I promis't 
to employ my Interest to procure him satisfaction. For want of 
Venison Broth for Supper, we contented our selves with some 
Greasy Soup (de Jam bon,) which tho' it slip't down well enough 
sat not very easy on our Stomachs. So soon as we encampt I dis- 
patch't John Evans to look for the Surveyors, but he retum'd with- 
out Success, being a little too sparing of his Trouble. We saw 
a small Mountain to the N. W. which we call'd Wart. 

22. This Morning early I sent John Evans with Hamilton back 
to our last Camp to make a farther Search for the Stray Horse, 
with orders to spend a whole day about it. At the same time I 
dispatch't Rich^ Smith to the Surveyors with some Provisions to 
stop their Mouths as well as their Stomachs. It was 11 a Clock 
before we cou'd get up all the Horses, when we follow'd our Sur- 


226 History of the Dividing Liwe [October 

The Surveyors, in the mean time, being fearful of leaving these men 
too far behind, advanc'd the Line no farther than One Mile and 230 Poles. 

As we rode along we found no less than three Bears and a fat Doe, 
that our Indian, who went out before us, had thrown in our Course and 
we were very glad to pick them up. 

About a Mile from the Camp we crost Miry Creek, So call'd because 
Several of the Horses were mired in its Branches. About 230 Poles 
beyond that, the Line intersected another River, that seem'd to be a Branch 
of the Irvin, to which we gave the Name of the Mayo, in complement to 
the other of our Surveyors, It was about 50 Yards wide where we forded 
it, being just below a Ledge of Rocks, which reacht across the River, and 
made a natural casquade. 

Our Horses cou'd hardly keep their feet over these Slippery Rocks, 
which gave Some of their Riders no small Palpitation. 

This River forks about a Quarter of a Mile below the Ford, and has 
Some Scattering Canes growing near the Mouth of it. 

We picht our Tent on the Western Banks of the Mayo, for the Pleasure 
of being lull'd to Sleep by the Casquade, Here our Hunters had leisure 
to go out and try their Fortunes, and return'd loaden with Spoil. They 
brought in no less than Six Bears, exceedingly fat, so that the frying 
pan had no rest all Night. We had now the Opportunity of trying the 
speed of these lumpish Animals by a fair Course it had with the Nimblest 
of our Surveyors. 

A Cubb of a year Old will run very fast, because, being upon his 
growth, he is never encumber'd with too much fat; but the Old ones 
are more Sluggish and unwieldy, especially when Mast is Plenty. Then 
their Nimblest Gait is only a heavy Gallop, and their Motion is still 
Slower down hill, where they are oblig'd to Sidle very awkwardly, to 
keep their Lights from riseing up into their Throat, 

These Beasts always endeavour to avoid a man, except when they are 
wounded, or happen to be engaged in the Protection of their Cubbs. 

By the force of these Instincts and that of Self-Preservation, they will 
now and then throw ofif all Reverence for their Maker's Image. For that 
Reason, excess of hunger will provoke them to the same Desperate Attack, 
for the support of their Being. 

A Memorable Instance of that last Case is said to have happen'd not 
long ago in New England, where a Bear assaulted a Man just by his own 
Door, and rearing himself upon his Haunches, offer'd to take him lovingly 
into his Hug. But the Man's Wife observing the Danger her Husband 
was in, had the courage to run behind the Bear, and thrust her two 
Thumbs into his Eyes, This made Bruin quit the Man, and turn short 
upon the Woman to take his Revenge, but She had the Presence of mind 
to spring back with more than Female Agility, and so both their Lives 
were preserv'd. 

October] The Secret History 227 

veyors, & in a Mile & a half reach't the Camp where they had 
lain. The Woods were extremely thick in the beginning of this 
day's March, but afterwards grew pretty Open. As we road along, 
we found no less than 3 Bears & a half a Deer left upon the Line, 
with which we loaded our light Horses. 

We came up with the Surveyors on the Banks of the Western 
Branch of the Irvin, which we call'd the Mayo. Here they had 
halted for us, not knowing the Reason why we staid behind so 
long. And this was the cause they proceeded no farther with the 
Line than One Mile & 230 Poles. About a Mile before we reach't 
this River, we crost a small Creek, which we call'd Miry Creek 
because several of the Branches of it were Miry. We past the 
Mayo just below a Ledge of Rocks, where Meanwell's Horse slipt, 
& fell upon one of his Legs, & wou'd have broke it, if his Half- 
Jacks had not guarded it. As it was his Ancle was bruis'd very 
much, & he halted several Days upon it. 

After the Tent was pitch't, Astrolabe, Humdrum, & I clamber'd 
up a high Hill to see what we cou'd discover from thence. On 
the Brow of the Hill we spy'd a Young Cubb on the top of a high 
Tree at Supper upon some Acorns. We were so indiscreet as to 
take no Gun with us, & therefore were oblig'd to hallow to the 
Men to bring One. When it came Astrolabe undertook to fetch 
the Bear down, but mist him. However the poor Beast hearing 
the Shot Rattle about his Ears, came down the Tree of his own 
Accord, & trusted to his Heals. It was a pleasant Race between 
Bruin & our grave Surveyor, who I must confess runs much better 
than he shoots; Yet the Cubb out ran him even down Hill where 
Bears are said to Sidle, lest their Guts shou'd come out of their 
mouths. But our Men had better luck, & kill'd no less than 6 
of these unwieldly Animals. We sent our Horses back to Miry 
Creek, for the benefit of the Canes & Winter Grass which they 
eat very greedily. There was a Waterfall in the River just by our 
Camp, the Noise of which gave us Poetical Dreams, & made us 
say our Prayers in Metre when we awaked. 

228 History of the Dividing Line [October 

23. At the Distance of 62 Poles from where we lay, we crost the South 
Branch of what we took for the Irvin, nor was it without Difficulty we got 
over, tho' it happen'd to be without Damage. 

Great part of the way after that was Mountainous, so that we were no 
sooner got down one Hill, but we were oblig'd to climb up another. 
Only for the last Mile of our Stage, we encounter'd a Locust Thicket that 
was level but interlac'd terribly with Bryars and Grape Vines. 

We forded a large creek, no less than five times, the Banks of which 
were so steep that we were forc'd to cut them down with a Hough. 

We gave it the Name of Crooked creek, because of its frequent Mean- 
ders. The Sides of it were planted with Shrub-Canes, extremely inviting 
to the Horses, which were now quite jaded with clambering up so many 
Precipices, and tugging thro' so many dismal Thickets, notwithstanding 
which we pusht the Line this day Four Miles and 69 Poles. The men were 
so unthrifty this Morning as to bring but a Small Portion of their 
Abundance along with them. This was the more unlucky, because we 
cou'd discover no Sort of Game the whole livelong Day. Woodsmen are 
certainly good Christians in one respect, at least, that they always leave 
the Morrow to care for itself; tho' for that very reason they ought to 
pray more fervently for their Dayly Bread than most of them remember 
to do. 

The Mountains were still conceal'd from our Eyes by a cloud of Smoak. 
As we went along we were alarmed at the Sight of a great Fire, which 
shewed itself to the Northward. This made our small Corps march in 
closer Order than we us'd to do, lest perchance we might be waylaid by 
Indians. It made us look out Sharp to see if we cou'd discover any Track 
or other Token of these insidious Forresters, but found none. In the 
mean time we came often upon the Track of Bears, which can't without 
some Skill be distinguisht from that of Human Creatures, made with 
Naked Feet. And Indeed a Young Woodsman wou'd be puzzled to find out 
the Difference, which consists principally in a Bear's Paws being some- 
thing Smaller than a Man's foot and in its leaving sometimes the Mark 
of its Claws in the Impression made upon the Ground. 

The Soil where the Locust Thicket grew, was exceedingly rich, as it 
constantly is, where that kind of Tree is Naturally and largely produc'd. 

But the Desolation made there lately, either by Fire or Caterpillars, 
had been so general, that we could not see a Tree of any Bigness standing 
within our Prospect. And the Reason why a Fire makes such a Havock 
in these lonely Parts is this. 

The Woods are not there burnt every year, as they generally are amongst 
the Inhabitants. But the dead Leaves and Trash of many years are heapt 
up together, which being at length kindled by the Indians that happen 
to pass that way, furnish fewel for a conflagration that carries all be- 
fore it. 

October] The Secret History 229 

23. Our Surveyors mov'd forward & proceeded with the Line 4 
Miles & 69 Poles. At the distance of 62 Poles from our Camp, 
we past over another Branch of the Irvin with difficulty about half 
a Mile from where it fork't. It was extremely Mountainous great 
Part of the Way, & the last Mile we encounter'd a dreadful! 
Thicket enterlaced with Briars & Grape- Vines. We crost a large 
Creek no less than 5 Times with our Line, which for that Reason 
we call'd Crooked Creek, The Banks of it were steep in many 
Places & border'd with Canes. With great luck for our Horses 
we encampt where these Canes were plentifull. This Refreshment 
was very seasonable after so tiresome a Journey, in which these 
poor Beasts had clamber'd up so many Precepices. About Sunset 
Evans & Hamilton came up with us, but had been so unlucky as 
not to find the Horse. Our Men eat up a Horseload of Bear, 
which was very unthrifty Management, considering we cou'd meet 
with no Game all this Day. But woodsmen are good Christians 
in one Respect, by never taking Care for the Morrow, but letting 
the Morrow care for itself, for which Reason no Sort of People 
ought to pray so fervently for their daily Bread as they. 

230 History of the Dividing Liwe [October 

There is a beautiful Range of Hills, as levil as a Terrass-Walk, that 
overlooks the Valley through which Crooked Creek conveys its Spiral 

This Terrass runs pretty near East and West, about two Miles South of 
the Line, and is almost Parallel with it. 

The Horses had been too much harass'd to permit us to ride at all out of 
our way, for the pleasure of any Prospect, or the gratification of any 
Curiosity. This confin'd us to the Narrow Sphere of our Business, and 
is at the same time a just Excuse for not animating our Story with greater 

24. The Surveyors went out the sooner this Morning, by reason the 
men lost very little time in cooking their Breakfast. They had made but a 
Spare Meal over Night, leaving nothing but the Hide of a Bear for the 
Morrow. Some of the keenest of them got up at Midnight to Cook that 
nice Morsel after the Indian Manner. 

They first Singed the Hair clean off, that none of it might Stick in their 
Throats; then they boil'd the Pelt into Soup, which had a Stratum of 
Grease Swimming on it full half an Inch Thick. However, they com- 
menced this Dish extremely; tho' I believe the Praises they gave it were 
more owing to their good Stomach than to their good Tast. 

The Line was extended 6 Miles and 300 Poles, and in that Distance 
crosst Crooked Creek at least eight times more. 

We were forct to scufflle through a Thicket about two Miles in breadth, 
planted with Locusts and hiccory Sapplings, as close as they cou'd stand 
together. Amongst these there was hardly a Tree of Tolerable Growth 
within View. It was a dead Plane of Several Miles Extent, and very fertile 
Soil. Beyond that the Woods were open for about three Miles, but 
Mountainous. All the rest of our Day's Journey was pester'd with Bushes 
and Grape Vines, in the thickest of which we were obliged to take up our 
Quarters, near one of the Branches of Crooked creek. 

This Night it was the Men's good fortune to fare very sumptuously. 
The Indian had kill'd two large Bears, the fatest of which he had taken 
napping. One of the People too Shot a Raccoon, which is also of the Dog- 
kind, and as big as a small Fox, tho' its Legs are Shorter, and when 
fat has much a higher relish than either Mutton or Kid. 'Tis naturally 
not Carniverous, but very fond of Indian com and Parsimons. 

The fat of this Animal is reckon'd very good to asswage Swellings 
and Inflammations. Some old Maids are at the Trouble of breeding them 
up tame, for the pleasure of seeing them play over as many Humorous 
Tricks as a Munkey. It climbs up small Trees, like a Bear, by embracing 
the Bodies of them. 

Till this Night we had accustom'd ourselves to go to Bed in our Night- 
Gowns, believing we should thereby be better secur'd from the cold: but 

October] The Secret History 231 

24. The Men feasted so plentifully last Night, that some of them 
paid for it by fasting this Morning. One who had been less provi- 
dent than the rest broke his fast very odly. He sing'd all the 
Hair off of a Bearskin, & boil'd the Pelt into Broth. To this he 
invited his particular Friends, who eat very heartily & commended 
the Cookery, by supping it clean up. Our Surveyors hurry'd away 
a little after 8, & extended the Line 6 Miles & 300 Poles. We did 
not follow them till about 11, & crost a Thicket 2 full Miles in 
Breadth, without any great Trees near it. The Soil seem'd very 
rich & Levil, having many Locust & Hicory Saplins. The Reason 
why there are no high Trees, is probably, because the Woods in 
these remote parts are burnt but seldom. During those long in- 
tervals the Leaves & other Trash, are heapt so thick upon the 
Ground, that when they come to be set on Fire, they consume all 
before them, leaving nothing either standing or lying upon the 
Ground. Afterwards our way was Mountainous & the Woods 
open for about 2^^ Miles. Then Level & Overgrown with Bushes 
all the remaining distance. The Line crost Crooked Creek 10 
times in this day's Work, & we encampt upon a Branch of it 
where our Horses fared but indifferently. The Men came off 
better for the Indian kill'd 2 Bears on which they feasted till the 
Grease ran out of their Mouths. Till this Night I had always lain 
in my Night Gown, but upon Tryal, I found it much warmer to 
strip to my shirt, & lie in naked Bed with my gown over me. The 
Woodsmen put all off, if they have no more than one Blanket, to 
lye in, & agree that 'tis much more comfortable than to lye with 
their Cloaths on, the' the Weather be never so cold. 

232 History of the Dividing Line [October 

upon tryal found we lay much warmer by Stripping to our Shirts, and 
Spreading our Gowns over us. 

A True Woodsman, if he have no more than a Single Blanket, constantly 
pulls all off, and, lying on one part of it, draws the other over him, 
believing it much more refreshing to ly so, than in his cloaths; and 
if he find himself not warm enough. Shifts his Lodging to Leeward of the 
Fire, in which Situation the smoak will drive over him, and efifectually 
correct the cold Dews that wou'd otherwise descend upon his Person, 
perhaps to his great damage. 

25. The Air clearing up this Morning, we were again agreeably sur- 
prized with a full Prospect of the Mountains. They discover'd themselves 
both to the North and South of us, on either side, not distant above ten 
Miles, according to our best Computation. 

We cou'd now see those to the North rise in four distinct Ledges, one 
above another, but those to the South form'd only a Single Ledge, and that 
broken and interrupted in many Places; or rather they were only single 
Mountains detacht from each other. 

One of the Southern Mountains was so vastly high, it seem'd to hide its 
head in the Clouds, and the West End of it terminated in a horrible 
Precipice, that we call'd the Despairing Lover's Leap. The Next to it, 
towards the East, was lower, except at one End, where it heav'd itself up 
in the form of a vast Stack of Chimnys.''^^ 

The Course of the Northern Mountains seem'd to tend West-South- West, 
and those to the Southward very near West. We cou'd descry other 
Mountains ahead of us, exactly in the Course of the Line, tho' at a much 
greater distance. In this Point of View, the Ledges on the right and Left 
both seem'd to close, and form a Natural Amphi-Theater. 

Thus, 'twas our Fortime to be wedg'd in betwixt these two Ranges of 
Mountains, insomuch that if our Line had run ten Miles on either Side, 
it had butted before this day either upon one or the other, both of them 
now Stretching away plainly to the Eastward of us. 

It had rain'd a little in the Night, which disperst the smoak and open'd 
this Romantick Scene to us all at once, tho' it was again hid from our 
Eyes as we mov'd forwards by the rough Woods we had the Misfortune to 
be engag'd with. The Bushes were so thick for near four Miles together, 
that they tore the Deer-Skins to Pieces that guarded the Bread-Bags. 
Tho', as rough as the Woods were, the Soil was extremely good in all the 
way, being washt down from the Neighbouring Hills into the Plane 
Country. Notwithstanding all these Difficulties, the Surveyors drove on 
the line 4 Miles and 205 Poles. 

In the mean time we were so unlucky as to meet with no Sort of 

'This was probably Pilot Mountain in Surry County, North Carolina. 

October] The Secret History 


25. The Surveyors got to work soon after 8, & run the Line 4 
Miles & 205 Poles. We did not follow them til near 2, by reason 
Holm's Horse cou'd not be found. And at last we were forced to 
leave Robin Hix & William Pool behind, to search narrowly for 
him. The Woods were so intollerably thick for near 4 Miles, that 
they tore the very Skins that cover'd the Bread-Bags. This 
hinder'd us from overtaking the Surveyors, tho' we us'd our utmost 
diligence to do it. We cou'd reach but 4 Miles, & were oblig'd to 
encamp near a small run, where our Horses came off but indif- 
ferently. However they fared very near as well as their Masters, 
for our Indian met with no Game, so we had nothing to entertain 
ourselves with, but the Scanty Remnant of Yesterday's Plenty. 
Nor was there much luxury at the Surveyor's Camp, either in their 
Lodging or Diet. However they had the Pleasure as well as we, 
to see the Mountains very Plain both to the North & South of the 
Line. Their distance seem'd to be no more than 5 or 6 Miles. 
Those to the North appear'd in 3 or 4 Ledges rising one above 
another, but those to the South made no more than one Single 
Ledge, and that not entire, but were rather detach't Mountains lying 
near one another in a Line. One was prodigiously high, & the 
west end of it a perpendicular Precipice. The next to it was lower 
but had another rising out of the East End of it, in the form of 
a Stack of Chimneys. We cou'd likewise discern other Moun- 
tains in the Course of the Line, but at a much greater Distance. 
Til this day we never had a clear View of any of these Moun- 
tains, by reason the Air was very full of Smoak. But diis Morn- 
ing it clear'd up & surpriz'd us with this wild Prospect all at once. 
At Night the Men brought Holm's Horse. 

234 History of the Dividing Llne [October 

Game the whole day, so that the men were oblig'd to make a frugal 
distribution of what little they left in the Morning. 

We encampt upon a small Rill, where the Horses came off as temper- 
ately as their Masters. They were by this time grown so thin, by hard 
Travel and Spare Feeding, that henceforth, in pure Compassion we chose 
to perform the greater Part of the Journey on foot. And as our Baggage 
was by this time grown much lighter, we divided it, after the best Manner, 
that every Horse's Load might be proportion'd to the Strength he had 
left. Tho', after all the prudent Measures we cou'd take, we perceiv'd the 
Hills began to rise upon us so fast in our Front, that it wou'd be impos- 
sible for us to proceed much farther. 

We saw very few Squirrels in the upper parts, because the Wild Cats 
devour them unmercifully. Of these there are four kinds: The Fox 
Squirrel, the Gray, the Flying, and the Ground-Squirrel. 

These last resemble a Rat in every thing but the Tail, and the black 
and Russet Streaks that run down the Length of their little Bodies. 

26. We found our way grow still more Mountainous, after ex- 
tending the Line 300 Poles farther. We came then to a Rivulet that ran 
with a Swift Current towards the South. This we fancy'd to be another 
Branch of the Irvin, tho' some of these men, who had been Indian Traders, 
judg'd it rather to be the head of Deep River, that discharges its Stream 
into that of Pee Dee; but this seem'd a wild Conjecture. 

The Hills beyond that River were exceedingly lofty, and not to be at- 
tempted by our Jaded Palfreys, which could now hardly drag their Legs 
after them upon level Ground. Besides, the Bread began to grow Scanty, 
and the Winter Season to advance apace upon us. 

We had likewise reason to apprehend the Consequences of being inter- 
cepted by deep Snows, and the Swelling of the many Waters between us 
and Home. The first of these Misfortunes would starve all our Horses, 
and the Other ourselves, by cutting off" our Retreat, and obliging us to 
Winter in those Desolate Woods. These considerations determin'd us 
to Stop short here, and push our Adventures no farther. The last Tree 
we markt was a Red Oak, growing on the Bank of the River ;'^^ and to 
make the Place more remarkable, we blaz'd all the Trees around it. 

We found the whole Distance from Corotuck Inlet to the Rivulet Where 
we left off, to be, in a Strait Line, Two Hundred and Forty-one Miles and 
Two Hundred and Thirty Poles. And from the Place where the Carolina 
Commissioners deserted us, 72 Miles and 302 Poles. This last part of the 
Journey was generally very hilly, or else grown up with troublesome 
Thickets and underwoods, all which our Carolina Friends had the Discre- 
tion to avoid. 

'^ The survey ended at Peter's Creek, on the border of Stokes County, North 

October] The Secret History 235 

26, We had Ambassadors from our hungry Surveyors setting 
forth their wants, which we supply'd in the best manner we cou'd. 
We mov'd towards them about 11, & found them at the Camp 
where they lay, near a Rivulet, which we judg'd to be the Head of 
Deep River, otherwise call'd the North Branch of Cape Fear. We 
resolv'd to encamp here, because there was great Plenty of Canes 
for the poor Horses, which began to grow wond'rous thin. How- 
ever the Surveyors measured 300 Poles this day, which carry'd 
the Line to the Banks of the Rivulet. The last Line Tree they 
mark't, is a red Oak with the Trees around it blazed. We deter- 
min'd to proceed no farther with the dividing Line, because the 
way to the West grew so Mountainous that our jaded Horses were 
not in Condition to climb over it. Besides we had no more Bread 
than would last us a Fortnight at short allowance. And the Sea- 
son of the Year being far advanc'd, we had reason to fear we 
might be intercepted by Snow, or the swelling of the Rivers, which 
lay betwist us & home. These Considerations check't our Inclina- 
tions to fix the Line in the Ledge of Mountains, & determin'd usl 
to make the best of our way back the same Track we came. We 
knew the worst of that, & had a strait Path to carry us the nearest 
Distance, while we were ignorant what difficultys might be en- 
counter'd if we steer'd any other course. 

We had intended to cross at the Foot of the Mountains over to 

236 History of the Dividing Lijve [October 

We encampt in a dirty Valley near the Rivulet above-mention'd, for 
the advantage of the Canes, and so sacrificed our own Convenience for 
that of our Horses. 

There was a Small Mountain half a Mile to the Northward of us, which 
we had the Curiosity to Climb up in the Afternoon, in Order to enlarge 
our Prospect. From thence we were able to discover where the two Ledges 
of Mountains clos'd, as near as we cou'd guess, about 30 Miles to the West 
of us, and lamented that our present circumstances wou'd not permit us to 
advance the Line to that Place, which the Hand of Nature had made so 
very remarkable. 

Not far from our Quarters one of the men pickt up a pair of Elk's 
Horns, not very large, and discover'd the Track of the Elk that had Shed 
them. It was rare to find any Tokens of those Animals so far to the 
South, because they keep commonly to the Northward of 37 degrees, as 
the Buffaloes, for the most part, confine themselves to the Southward of 
that Latitude. 

The Elk is full as big as a Horse, and of the Deer kind. The Stags only 
have Horns, and those exceedingly large and Spreading. Their Colour is 
Something lighter than that of the Red Deer, and their Flesh tougher. 
Their swiftest Speed is a large trot, and in that Motion they turn their 
Horns back upon their Necks, and Cock their Noses aloft in the Air. 
Nature has taught them this Attitude to save their Antlers from being 
entangled in the Thickets, which they always retire to. They are very shy, 
and have the Sense of Smelling so exquisite that they wind a man at a 
great distance. For this reason they are Seldom Seen but when the Air 
is moist, in which Case their smell is not so Nice. 

They commonly herd together, and the Indians say, if one of the 
Drove happen by some Wound to be disabled from making his Escape, 
the rest will forsake their fears to defend their Friend, which they will do 
with great obstinacy, till they are kill'd upon the Spot. Tho' otherwise, 
they are so alarm'd at the Sight of a man, that to avoid him they 
will Sometimes throw themselves down very high Precipices into the 

A misadventure happen'd here, which gave us no Small perplexity. 
One of the Commissioners was so unlucky as to bruise his Foot against a 
Stump, which brought on a formal Fit of the Gout. 

It must be own'd there cou'd not be a more unseasonable time, nor a 
more improper Situation, for any one to be attackt by that cruel Distemper. 
The Joint was so inflam'd that he cou'd neither draw Shoe nor Boot upon 
it; and to ride without either wou'd have expos'd him to so many rude 
knocks and Bruises, in those rough Woods, as to be intolerable even to a 

It was happy, indeed, that we were to rest here the next day, being 
Sunday, that there might be leisure for trying some Speedy Remedy. Ac- 
cordingly he was persuaded to bathe his Foot in Cold Water, in Order 

October] The Secret History 237 

the head of James River, that we might be able to describe that 
Natural Boundary. But prudence got the better of Curiosity, 
which is always the more necessary when we have other Men's 
welfare to consult as well as our own. Just by our Camp we 
found a pair of Elks Horns, not very large, & saw the Track of 
the Owner of them. They commonly keep more to the Northward, 
as Buffalos do more to the Southward. 

In the Afternoon we walk't up a high Hill North of our Camp, 
from whence we discover'd an Ampitheatre of Mountains extend- 
ing from the N E round by the West to the S E. 'Twas very un- 
lucky that the Mountains were more distant just at the head of our 
Line towards the West, by 30 or 40 Miles. Our Chaplain at- 
tempted to climb a Tree, but before he got 6 Feet from the Ground, 
Fear made him cling closer to the Tree, than Love wou'd make him 
cling to a Mistress. Meanwell was more venturesome, but more 
unfortunate, for he bruis'd his Foot in a tender place, by which he 
got a gentle Fit of the Gout. This was an improper Situation to 
have the cruel Distemper in & put my Invention upon contriving 
some way or other to carry him back. In the mean while he bath*d 
his Foot frequently in cold Water, to repell the Humour if Pos- 
sible for as the Case was, he cou'd neither put on Shoe nor Boot. 
Our Man kill'd 2 Bears, a Buck, & a Turkey, a very seasonable 
supply, & made us reflect with gratitude on the goodness of Provi- 
dence. The whole Distance from Coratuck Inlet where we began 
the Line to this Rivulet where we ended it, was 241% Miles & 70 
Poles. In the Night the Wind blew fresh at S W with moderate 

238 History of the Dividing Line [October 

to repel the Humour and asswage the Inflamation. This made it less pain- 
ful, and gave us hopes, too, of reducing the Swelling in a Short time. 

Our men had the fortune to kill a Brace of Bears, a fat Buck, and a 
Wild Turkey, all which paid them with Interest for Yesterday's Abstinence. 
This constant and Seasonable Supply of all our daily Wants made us 
reflect thankfully on the Bounty of Providence. 

And that we might not be unmindful of being all along fed by Heaven 
in this great and Solitary Wilderness, we agreed to Wear in our Hats the 
Maosti, which is, in Indian, the Beard of the Wild Turkey-Cock, and on our 
Breasts the Figure of that Fowl with its Wings extended, and 
holding in its Claws a scrowl with this Motto, "VICE COTURNICUM," 
meaning that we had been Supported by them in the Wilderness in the 
room of Quails. 

27. This being Sunday we were not wanting in our Thanks to Heaven 
for the Constant Support and Protection we had been favour'd with. Nor 
did our Chaplain fail to put us in mind of Our Duty by a Sermon proper 
for the Occasion. 

We order'd a Strict Inquiry to be made into the Quantity of Bread we 
had left, and found no more than wou'd Subsist us a Fortnight at Short 
Allowance. We made a fair Distribution of our whole Stock, and at the 
Same time recommended to the Men to manage this, their last Stake, to 
the best advantage, not knowing how long they would be oblig'd to live 
upon it. 

We likewise directed them to keep a Watchfull eye upon their Horses, 
that none of them might be missing the next Morning, to hinder our 

There fell some Rain before Noon, which made our Camp more a Bogg 
than it was before. This moist Situation began to infect some of the men 
with Fevers, and some with Fluxes, which however we soon remov'd with 
Peruvian Bark and Ipocoacanah. 

In the Afternoon we marcht up again to the top of the Hill to entertain 
our Eyes a Second time with the View of the Mountains, but a perverse 
Fog arose that hid them from our Sight, 

In the Evening we deliberated which way it might be most proper 
to return. We had at first intended to cross over at the foot of the 
Mountains to the head of James River, that we might be able to describe 
that Natural Boundary so far. But, on Second Thoughts, we found 
many good Reasons against that laudable Design, Such as the Weakness 
of our Horses, the Scantiness of our Bread, and the near approach ol 
Winter. We had Cause to believe the way might be full of Hills, and 
the farther we went towards the North, the more danger there wou'd 
be of Snow. Such considerations as these determin'd us at last to 
make the best of our way back upon the Line, which was the Straitest, 

October] The Secret History 


27. This being Sunday, we gave God thanks for protecting & 
sustaining us thus far by his Divine Bounty. We had also a Ser- 
mon proper for the Occasion. It rain'd small Rain in the Morn- 
ing, & look't louring all day. Meanwell had the Gout in Form, 
his Foot being very much swell'd; which was not more Pain to 
him, than it was disturbance to the rest. I order'd all the Men to 
Visit their Horses, & to drive them up, that they might be found 
more easily the next Morning. When the distribution of Bread 
was made among the Men, I recommended good Husbandry to 
them, not knowing how long we shou'd be oblig'd to subsist upon 
it. I sat by the Riverside near a small Cascade, fed by a Stream 
as clear as liquid Chrystal, & the Mumur it made compos'd my 
Sences into an agreeable Tranquility. We had a Fog after Sunset 
that gave an Unpleasant dampness to the Air, which we endeav- 
our'd to correct by a rousing Fire. This with the Wetness of the 
Ground where we encampt made our Situation a little unwhole- 
some; yet thank God all our Company continu'd in a perfect 

240 History of the Dividing Li-ne [October 

and Consequently the shortest way to the Inhabitants. We knew the 
worst of that Course, and were sure of a beaten Path all the way, while 
we were totally ignorant what Difficulties and Dangers the other Course 
might be attended with. So Prudence got the better for once of Curiosity, 
and the Itch for new Discoveries gave Place to Self-preservation. 

Our Inclination was the Stronger to cross over according to the Course 
of the Mountains, that we might find out whether James River and Ap- 
pamattock River head there, or run quite thro' them. 'Tis Certain that 
Potomec passes in a large Stream thro' the Main Ledge, and then divides 
itself into two considerable Rivers. That which Stretches away to the 
Northward is call'd the Cohungaroota,'^^ and that which flows to the 
South-west, hath the Name of Sharantow.^^ 

The Course of this last Stream is near parallel to the Blue Ridge of 
Mountains, at the distance only of about three or four Miles. Tho' how 
far it may continue that Course has not yet been sufficiently discover'd, 
but some Woodsmen pretend to say it runs as far as the source of Roanoak; 
Nay, they are so very particular as to tell us that Roanoak, Sharantow, 
and another Wide Branch of the Missassippi, all head in one of the Same 

What dependence there may be upon this Conjectural Geography, I 
wont pretend to say, tho' 'tis certain that Sharantow keeps close to the 
Mountains, as far as we are acquainted with its Tendency. We are likewise 
assur'd that the South Branch of James River, within less than 20 Miles 
East of the Main Ledge, makes an Elbow, and runs due South-west, 
which is parallel with the Mountains on this side. But how far it Stretches 
that way, before it returns, is not yet certianly known, no more than where 
it takes its Rise. 

In the mean time it is Strange that our Woodsmen have not had 
Curiosity enough to inform themselves more exactly of these particulars, 
and it is Stranger Still that the Government has never thought it worth 
the Expense of making an accurate Survey of the Mountains, that we 
might be Masters of that Natural Fortification before the French, who 
in some Places have Settlements not very distant from it. 

It therefore concerns his Majesty's Service very nearly, and the Safety 
of His Subjects in this part of the World, to take Possession of so im- 
portant a Barrier in time, lest our good Friends, the French, and the 
Indians, thro' their Means, prove a perpetual Annoyance to these Colonies. 

Another Reason to invite us to Secure this great Ledge of Mountains is, 
the Probability that very Valuable Mines may be discover'd there. Nor 
wou'd it be at all extravagant to hope for Silver Mines, among the rest, 
because Part of these Moimtains ly exactly in the same Parallel, as well 

" "Which by a late Survey has been found to extend about Two Hundred mUes 
before it reaches its Source in a Mountain from Whence Allegani one of the Branches 
of Mississippi, takes its Rise and runs South West as this River dos South East. 
(Byrd's Note.) 

"The Shenandoah. 

October] The Secret History 

[Continued on page 243] 


242 History of the Dividing Line [October 

as upon the Same Continent with New Mexico, and the Mines of St. 

28. We had given Orders for the Horses to be brought up early, but 
the likelyhood of more Rain prevented our being over-hasty in decamping. 
Nor were we out in our conjectures, for about ten a'clock it began to fall 
very plentifully. 

Our Commissioner's Pain began now to abate, as the Swelling encreas'd. 
He made an excellent Figure for a Mountaineer, with one boot of Leather 
and the other of Flannel. Thus accowtur'd, he intended to mount, if the 
Rain had not happen'd opportunely to prevent him. 

Tho', in Truth, it was hardly possible for Him to ride with so Slender a 
Defense, without exposing his Foot to be bruis'd and tormented by the 
Saplings, that stood thick on either side of the Path. It was therefore a 
most Seasonable Rain for Him, as it gave more time for his Distemper 
to abate. 

Tho' it may be very difficult to find a certain Cure for the Gout, yet it 
is not improbable but some things may ease the Pain, and Shorten the 
Fits of it. And those Medicines are most likely to do this, that Supple 
the Parts, and clear the Passage Through the Narrow Vessels, that are 
the Seat of this cruel Disease. Nothing will do this more Suddenly 
than Rattle-snake's Oyl, which will even penetrate the Pores of Glass 
when warm'd in the sun. 

It was unfortunate, therefore, that we had not taken out the Fat of those 
Snakes we had kill'd some time before, for the Benefit of so useful an 
Experiment, as well as for the Relief of our Fellow-Traveller. 

But lately the Seneca Rattle-Snake-Root has been discover'd in this 
Country, which being infus'd in Wine, and drank Morning and Evening, 
has in Several Instances had a very happy Effect upon the Gout, and 
enabled Cripples to throw away their Crutches and walk several Miles, and, 
what is Stranger Still, it takes away the Pain in half an hour. 

Nor was the Gout the only Disease among us that was hard to cure. 
We had a man in our Company who had too Voracious a Stomach for a 
Woodsman. He ate as much as any other two, but all he Swallow'd stuck 
by him till it was carry'd off by a Strong Purge. Without this Assistance, 
often repeated, his Belly and Bowels wou'd swell to so enormous a Bulk 
that he cou'd hardly breathe, especially when he lay down, just as if he 
had had an Asthma; tho', notwithstanding this oddness of constitution, he 
was a very Strong, lively Fellow, and us'd abundance of Violent 
Exercise, by which 'twas wonderfull the Peristaltick Motion was not more 
Vigorously promoted. 

*^ Santa Barbara, Northern Mexico, colonized by the Spanish in 1567; long famous 
for its silver mines. 

October] The Secret History 243 

28. We ordered the Horses up very early, but the likelihood of 
more Rain prevented our decamping. And we judg'd right, for 
about 10 a Clock it began to Rain in good earnest. Meanwell 
made an excellent Figure with one Boot of Leather & the other 
of Flannel. So accoutred, he intended to mount, but the Rain came 
seasonably to hinder him from exposeing his foot to be bruis'd 
& tormented by the Bushes. We kept snug in the Tent all Day 
spending most of our time in reading, & D'" Humdrum being dis- 
turb'd at Astrolabe's reading Hudibras aloud, gabbled an Old Al- 
manack 3 times over, to drown one Noise with another. This 
Trial of Lungs lasted a full Hour, & tired the Hearers as much as 
the Readers. Powell's Ague return'd for which I gave him the 
Bark & Pool took some Anderson's Pills to force a Passage thro' 
his Body. This man had an odd Constitution, he eat like a Horse, 
but all he eat stay'd with him 'till it was forc'd downwards by 
some purging Physick. Without this Assistance his Belly & 
Bowells were so swell'd he cou'd hardly Breath. Yet he was a 
Strong Fellow & used a world of Exercise. It was therefore won- 
derful the Peristaltick Motion was not more vigorously promoted. 
Page was mujffled up for the Tooth-Ach, for which Distemper I 
cou'd recommend no medicine but Patience, which he seem'd to 
possess a great Share of. It rain'd most part of the Night. 

244 History of the Dividing Line [October 

We gave this poor Man Several Purges, which only eas'd Him for the 
present, and the next day he wou'd grow as burly as ever. At last we 
gave Him a Moderate Dose of ippocoacanah,^^ in Broth made very Salt, 
which turn'd all its Operations downwards. This had so happy an Effect 
that, from that day forward to the End of our Journey, all his Complaint 
ceas'd, and the passages continued unobstructed. 

The Rain continued most of the Day and Some part of the Night, 
which incommoded us much in our Dirty Camp, and made the men 
think of Nothing but Eating, even at the time when nobody cou'd Stir 
out to make provision for it. 

29. Tho' we were flattered in the morning with the usual Tokens of a 
fair Day, yet they all blew over, and it rain'd hard before we cou'd make 
ready for our Departure. 

This was still in favour of our Podagrous Friend, whose Lameness was 
now grown better, and the Inflamation fallen. Nor did it seem to need 
above one day more to reduce it to its Natural Proportion, and make it 
fit for the Boot; And effectually The Rain procur'd this Benefit for him, 
and gave him particular Reason to believe his Stars propitious. 

Notwithstanding the falling Weather, our Hunters sally'd out in the 
afternoon, and drove the Woods in a Ring, which was thus performed. 
From the circumference of a large Circle they all march't inwards, and 
drove the Game towards the center. By this means they shot a Brace of 
fat Bears, which came very seasonably, because we had made clean Work 
in the Morning and were in Danger of dining with St. Anthony, or his 
Grace Duke Humphry. 

But in this Expedition the unhappy man who had lost himself once 
before. Straggled again so far in Pursuit of a Deer, that he was hurry'd 
a second time quite out of his knowledge. And Night coming on before 
he cou'd recover the Camp, he was obliged to lie down, without any of the 
Comforts of Fire, Food or covering; Nor would his Fears suffer him to 
Sleep very Sound, because, to his great disturbance, the Wolves howl'd 
all that Night, and the Panthers scream'd most frightfully. 

In the Evening a brisk North-Wester swept all the Clouds from the Sky, 
and expos'd the mountains as well as the Stars to our Prospect. 

That which was the most lofty to the Southward, and which we call'd 
the Lover's Leap, some of our Indian Traders fondly fancy'd was the 
Kiawan mountain,^^ which they had formerly seen from the coimtry of 
the Cherokees. 

They were the more positive by reason of the prodigious Precipice 
that remarkably distinguished the West End of it. 

^ See Note 35, p. 62. 

*^Kiawani, also the name of an Indian of the Northwest, but most likely the 
association here is with the Keyauwee, a tribe living on the Yadkin in 1701. 

October] The Secret History 245 

29. In the Morning we were flatter'd with all the Signs of a fair 
Day, the Wind being come about to the N W. This made us 
Order the Horses to be got up very early, but the Tent Horse cou'd 
not be found. And 'tis well he stop't us, for about 10, all our 
hopes of fair Weather blew over, and it rain'd very smartly for 
some time. This was all in Favour of Meanwell's gouty Foot, 
which was now grown better, & the Inflammation asswaged. Nor did 
it need above one Day more to bring it down to its natural Propor- 
tion, and make it fit for the Boot. Being confin'd to the Tent til 
Dinner, I had no Amuzement but reading. But in the Afternoon 
I walk't up to a Neighbouring Hill, from whence I cou'd view the 
Mountains to the Southward, the highest of which our Traders 
fancy'd to be the Katawa Mountain, but it seems to be too North- 
erly for that. Our Men went out a driveing, & had the Luck to 
kill 2 Bears, one of which was found by our Indian asleep, & never 
waked. Unfortunate Hamilton straggling from the rest of the 
Company, was lost a Second time. We fired at least a Dozen Guns, 
to direct him by their Report to our Camp, but all in Vain, we 
cou'd get no tidings of him. I was much concern'd lest a disaster 
might befall him being alone all Night in that dolefuU Wilderness. 

246 History of the Diytoing Liwe [October 

We seem'd however not to be far enough South for that, tho' 'tis not 
improbable but a few miles farther the Course of our Line might carry 
us to the most Northerly Towns of the Cherokees. 

What makes this the more credible, is the North West Course, that our 
Traders take from the Catawbas for some hundred miles together, when 
they carry Goods that round-about way to the Cherokees. 

It was a great Pity that the want of Bread, and the Weakness of our 
Horses, hinder'd us from making the Discovery. Tho' the great Service 
of such an Excursion might have been to the Country wou'd certainly 
have made the attempt not only pardonable, but much to be commended. 

Our Traders are now at the vast Charge and Fatigue of travelling above 
five hundred miles for the Benefit of that traffique which hardly quits 
cost. Wou'd it not then be worth the Assembly's while to be at some 
charge to find a Shorter cut to carry on so profitable a Trade, with more 
advantage, and less hazard and Trouble, than they do at present? For I 
am persuaded it will not then be half the Distance that our Traders make 
it now, nor half so far as Georgia lies from the Northern Clans of that 

Such a Discovery would certainly prove an unspeakable Advantage to 
this Colony, by facilitating a Trade with so considerable a nation of 
Indians, which have 62 Towns, and more than 4000 Fighting Men. Our 
Traders at that rate would be able to undersell those sent from the other 
Colonies so much, that the Indians must have reason to deal with them 
preferable to all others. 

Of late the new Colony of Georgia has made an act obliging us to go 
400 miles to take out a License to traffick with these Cherokees, tho' many 
of their Towns ly out of their Bounds, and we had carry'd on this Trade 
80 years before that Colony was thought of. 

30. In the Morning early the man who had gone astray the day before 
found his way to the Camp, by the Sound of the Bells that were upon 
the Horses' Necks. 

At nine a'clock we began our March back toward the rising Sun; for 
tho' we had finisht the Line, yet we had not yet near finisht our Fatigue. 
We had after all 200 good miles at least to our several Habitations, and 
the Horses were brought so low, that we were oblig'd to travel on foot 
great part of the way, and that in our Boots, too, to save our Legs from 
being torn to pieces by the Bushes and Briars. Had we not done this, 
we must have left all our Horses behind, which cou'd now hardly drag 
their Legs after them, and with all the favour we cou'd show the poor 
Animals, we were forc'd to set Seven of them free, not far from the foot 
of the Mountains. 

Four men were despatch! early to clear the Road, that our Lame Com- 
missioner's leg might be in less danger of being bruis'd, and that the 
Baggage Horses might travel with less difficulty and more expedition. 

October] The Secret History 247 

30. The Clouds were all swept away by a kind N Wester, which 
made it pretty cold. We were all impatient to set our Faces to- 
wards the East, which made the men more alert than Ordinary in 
catching their Horses. About 7 our Stray Man found the way 
to the Camp, being directed by the Horse's Bells. Tho' he had 
lain on the bare Ground without either Fire or Bed Cloaths, he 
catch't no Cold. I gave orders that 4 Men shou'd set off early, & 
clear the way that the Baggage Horses might travel with less 
difficulty & more Expedition. We follow'd them about 11, And 
the Air being clear we had a fair Prospect of the Mountains both 
to the N & S. That very high one to the South, with the Precipice 
at the West End, we call'd the Lovers cure, because one Leap from 
thence wou'd put a sudden Period both to his Passion & his Pain. 

248 History of the Dividing Llne [October 

As we past along, by favour of a Serene Sky, we had still, from every 
Eminence, a perfect view of the Mountains, as well to the North as to the 
South, We could not forbear now and then facing about to survey them, 
as if unwilling to part with a Prospect, which at the same time, like some 
Rake's, was very wild and very Agreeable. 

We encourag'd the Horses to exert the little Strength they had, and being 
light, they made a shift to jog on about Eleven Miles. We Encampt on 
Crooked Creek, near a Thicket of Canes. In front of our Camp rose a 
very beautiful Hill, that bounded our View at about a Mile's Distance, 
and all the Intermediate space was cover'd with green canes. Tho', to our 
Sorrow, Fire-wood was Scarce, which was now the harder upon us, be- 
cause a north-wester blew very cold from the Mountains. 

The Indian kill'd a stately, fat Buck, & we pickt his Bones as clean 
as a score of Turkey-Buzzards cou'd have done. 

By the advantage of a clear night, we made tryal once more of the 
Variation, and found it much the same as formerly. 

This being his Majesty's Birth-Day, we drank all the Loyal Healths in 
excellent Water, not for the sake of the drink, (like many of our fellow 
subjects,) but purely for the Sake of the Toast. And because all Public 
Mirth shou'd be a little noisy, we fir'd several volleys of Canes, instead of 
Guns, which gave a loud report. 

We threw them into the Fire, where the Air enclosed betwixt the Joints 
of the Canes, being expanded by the violent Heat, burst its narrow Bounds 
with a considrable explosion! 

In the Evening one of the men knockt down an Oppossum, which is a 
harmless little Beast, that will seldom go out of your way, and if you take 
hold of it, it will only grin, and hardly ever bite. The Flesh was well 
tasted and Tender, approaching nearest to Pig, which it also resembles 
in Bigness. The colour of its Fur was a Goose Gray, with a Swine's 
Snout, and a Tail like a Rat, but at least a foot long. By twisting this 
Tail about the arm of a Tree, it will hand with all its weight, and swing to 
any thing it wants to take hold of. 

It has five Claws on the fore Feet of equal length, but the hinder feet 
have only Four claws, and a sort of Thumb standing off at a proper 

Their Feet being thus form'd, qualify them for climbing up Trees to 
catch little Birds, which they are very fond of. 

But the greatest Particularity of this creature, and which distinguishes 
it from most others that we are acquainted with, is the FALSE BELLY 
of the FEMALE, into which her Young retreat in time of Danger. She 
can draw the Slit, which is the Inlet into this Pouch, so close, that you 
must look narrowly to find it, especially if she happen to be a Virgin. 

Within the False Belly may be seen seven or eight Teats, on which the 
young Ones grow from their first Formation till they are big enough to 
fall off, like ripe Fruit from a Tree. This is so odd a method of Genera- 

October] The Secret History 249 

On the highest Ledge that stretch't away to the N. E. rose a Mount 
in the Shape of a Maiden's Breast, which for that reason we call'd 
Innocent Name. And the main Ledge itself we call'd Mount 
Eagle. We march't 11 Miles from the End of the Line & encampt 
upon Crooked-Creek near a Thicket of Cane. In the Front of our 
Camp was a very beautifull Hill which bounded over Prospect at 
a Mile's Distance, & all the intermediate Space was cover'd with 
Green Canes. Firewood was scanty with Us, which was the harder, 
because 'twas very cold. Our Indian kill'd a Deer that was ex- 
tremely fat, & we pick't his Bones as clean as a Score of Turkey 
Buzzards cou'd have done. 

By the favour of a very clear Night we made another Essary*'^ of 
the Variation, & found it much the same as formerly 2° 30' This 
being his Majesty's Birth Day we drank his Health in a Dram of 
excellent Cherry Brandy, but cou'd not afford one Drop for the 
Queen & the Roial Issue. We therefore rememl^er'd them in 
Water as clear as our Wishes. And because all loyal rejoicings 
shou'd be a little Noisy, we fired Canes instead of Guns, which 
made a Report as loud as a Pistol, the heat expanding the Air 
shut up with the joints of this Vegetable, & making an Explosion. 

The Woods being clear'd before us by the Pioneers, & the way 
pretty Levil we travell'd with Pleasure, encreast by the hopes of 
making haste home. 

31. We dispatch't away our Pioneers early to clear away the 
Bushes, but did not follow them till 11a Clock. We crost Crooked 
Creek several times, the Banks of which being very steep, jaded 
our poor Horses very much. Meanwell's Baggage Horse gave out 
the first, & next to him one of the Bread Horses, so that we were 
oblig'd to drop them both by the way. The second time we crost 
Crooked Creek, by endeavoring to step off my Horse's Back upon 
the Shoar, I fell all along in the Water. I wet myself all over 
& bruis'd the back part of my Head; yet made no Complaint, but 
was the merriest of the Company at my own disaster. Our 
Dreamer Orion had a Revelation about it the Night before, & fore- 
told it fairly to some of the Company. 

'A corruption of essart, the art of grubbing land to make it arable. 

250 History of the Dividing Line [October 

tion, that I should not have believed it without the Testimony of mine own 
Eyes. Besides a knowing and credible Person has assur'd me he has more 
than once observ'd the Embryo Possums growing to the Teat before they 
were compleatly Shaped, and afterwards wacht their daily growth til they 
were big enough for Birth. And all this he could the more easily pry 
into, because the Damm was so perfectly gentle and harmless, that he 
could handle her just as he pleas'd. 

I cou'd hardly persuade myself to publish a thing so contrary to the 
Course that Nature takes in the Production of other Animals, unless it 
were a Matter Commonly believ'd in all Countries where that Creature is 
produc'd, and has been often observed by Persons of vmdoubted credit 
and understanding. 

They say that the Leather-winged Bats produce their Young in the 
same uncommon Manner. And that young Sharks at Sea, and the Young 
Vipers ashoar, run down the Throats of their Damms when they are closely 

The frequent crossing of Crooked Creek, and mounting the Steep 
Banks of it, gave the finishing stroke to the foundering of our Horses: 
and no less than two of them made a full stop here, and would not ad- 
vance a foot farther, either by fair means or foul. 

We had a Dreamer of Dreams amongst us, who warned me in the 
Morning to take care of myself, or I shou'd infallibly fall into the Creek; 
I thank'd him kindly, and used what Caution I cou'd, but was not able it 
seems to avoid my Destiny, for my Horse made a false step and laid me 
down at my full Length in the water. 

This was enough to bring dreaming into credit, and I think it much for 
the Honour of our expedition, that it was grac'd not only with PRIEST 
but also with a PROPHET. 

We were so perplext with this Serpentine Creek, as well as in Passing 
the Branches of the Irvin, (which were swell'd since we saw them before,) 
that we could reach but 5 miles this whole day. In the Evening We pitched 
our Tent near Miry creek, (tho' an imcomfortable place to lodge in) 
purely for the advantage of the Canes. 

Our Hunters killed a large Doe and two Bears, which made all other 
misfortunes easy. Certainly no Tartar over lov'd Horse-flesh, or Hottentot 
Guts and Garbage, better than Woodsmen do Bear. The truth of it is, 
it may be proper food perhaps for such as Work or Ride it off, but, 
with our Chaplain's Leave, who lov'd it much, I think it not a very proper 
dyet for saints, because 'tis apt to make them a little too rampant. 

And now, for the good of mankind, and for the better Peopling an 
Infant colony, which has no want but that of Inhabitants, I will venture to 
publish a Secret of Importance, which our Indian disclos'd to me. I 
askt him the reason why few or none of his Countrywomen were barren? 
To which curious Question he answered, with a Broad grin upon his Face, 
they had an infallible SECRET for that. Upon my being importunate to 

October] The Secret History 251 

The Ground was so Mountainous, & our Horses so weak, that 
with all our diligence we cou'd not exceed 4 Miles. Indeed we 
spent some time in crossing the Dan & the Mayo, the Fords being 
something deeper than when we came up. We took up our Camp 
at Miry Creek, & regal'd ourselves with one Buck & 2 Bears, which 
our Men kill'd in their March. Here we promoted our Chaplain 
from the Deanry of Pip, to the Bishoprick of Beardom. For as 
these Countrys where Christians inhabit are call'd Christendome, 
so those where Bears take up their Residence may not improperly 
go by the Name of Beardom. And I wish other Bishops loved their 
Flock as intirely as our Doctor loves his. 

252 History of the Dividing Line [November 

know what the secret might be, he informed me that, if any Indian woman 
did not prove with child at a decent time after Marriage, the Husband, to 
save his Reputation with the women, forthwith entered into a Bear-dyet 
for Six Weeks, which in that time makes him so vigorous that he grows 
exceedingly impertinent to his poor wife and 'tis great odds but he makes 
her a Mother in Nine Months. 

And thus I am able to say, besides, for the Reputation of the Bear 
Dyet, that all the Marryed men of our Company were joyful Fathers 
within forty weeks after they got Home, and most of the Single men had 
children sworn to them within the same time, our chaplain always ex- 
cepted, who, with much ado, made a shift to cast out that importunate 
kind of Devil, by Dint of Fasting and Prayer. 

Nov. 1. By the negligence of one of the Men in not hobbling his 
Horse, he straggled so far that he could not be found. This stopt us all 
the Morning long; Yet, because our Time should not be entirely lost, we 
endeavoured to observe the Latitude at twelve a clock. Though our ob- 
servation was not perfect, by reason the Wind blew a little too fresh, 
however, by Such a One as we cou'd make, we found ourselves in 36° 20' 

Notwithstanding our being thus delay'd, and the unevenness of the 
Ground, over which we were oblig'd to walk, (for most of us serv'd now 
in the Infantry,) we travell'd no less than 6 miles, Tho' as merciful 
as we were to our poor Beasts, another of 'em tired by the way, & was left 
behind for the Wolves & Panthers to feast upon. 

As we marcht along, we had the fortune to kill a Brace of Bucks, as 
many Bears, and one wild Turkey. But this was carrying Sport to 
wantonness, because we butchered more than we were able to transport. 
We ordered the Deer to be quarter'd and divided amongst the Horses for 
the lighter Carriage, and recommended the BeaiTS to our dayly attendants, 
the Tiurkey-Buzzards. 

We always chose to carry Venison along with us rather than Bear, 
not only because it was less cumbersome, but likewise because the People 
cou'd eat it without Bread, which was now almost spent. Whereas the 
other, being richer food, lay too heavy upon the stomach, unless it were 
lightened by something farinaceous. This is what I thought proper to 
remarque, for the service of all those whose Business or Diversion shall 
oblige them to live any time in the Woods. 

And because I am persuaded that very usefull Matters may be found 
out by Searching this great Wilderness, especially the upper parts of it 
about the Mountains, I conceive it will help to engage able men in that 
good work, if I recommend a wholesome kind of Food, of very small 
Weight and very great Nourishment, that will secure them from Starving, 
in case they shou'd be so unlucky as to meet with no Game. The Chief 

November] The Secret History 253 


1. The Pioneers were sent away about 9 a Clock, but we were 
detain'd til near 2, by reason John Evan's his Horse cou'd not be 
found, & at last we were oblig'd to leave 4 Men behind to look 
for him. However we made a Shift to go 6 Miles, & by the way 
had the Fortune to kill a Brace of Does, 2 Bears, & one Turkey. 
Meanwell's Riding Horse tir'd too by the way, so we were oblig'd 
to drop him about a Mile short of the Camp. Many more of 
our Horses were so weak they staggar'd under their Riders, so 
that in Compassion to the poor Animals we walk't great part of the 
way notwithstanding the Path was very rough, & in many places 
uneven. For the same good natur'd Reason we left our Bears* 
behind, choosing rather to carry the Venison, for which our Bishop 
had like to have mutiny'd. We endeavour'd about Noon to ob- 
serve the Latitude, but our Observation was something imperfect, 
the wind blowing too fresh. By such a one as we cou'd make we 
found the Latitude no more than 36° 20'. In this Camp our 
Horses had short Commons, and had they been able to speak like 
Balaam's Ass wou'd have bemoan'd themselves very much. 

254 History of the Dividing Line [November 

discouragement at present ftom penetrating far into the Woods in the 
trouble of carrying a Load of Provisions. I must own Famine is a 
frightful Monster, and for that reason to be guarded against as well as 
we can. But the common precautions against it, are so burthensome, 
that People can't tarry long out, and go far enough from home, to make 
any effectual Discovery. 

The Portable Provisions I would furnish our Foresters withal are 
Glue-Broth and rockahomini : one contains the Essence of Bread, the other 
of Meat. 

The best way of making Glue-Broth is after the following method: 
Take a Leg of Beef, Veal, Venison, or any other Young Meat, because 
Old Meat will not so easily Jelly. Pare off all the fat, in which there is 
no Nutriment, and of the Lean make a very strong Broth, after the usual 
Manner, by boiling the meat to Rags till all the Goodness be out. After 
Skimming off what fat remains, pour the Broth into a wide Stew-Pan, well 
tinn'd, & let it simmer over a gentle, even Fire, till it come to a thick 
Jelly. Then take it off and set it over Boiling Water, which is an Evener 
Heat, and not so apt to bum the Broth to the Vessel. Over that let it 
evaporate, stirring it very often till it be reduc'd, when cold, into a Solid 
Substance like Glue. Then cut it into small Pieces, laying them Single 
in the Cold, that they may dry the Sooner. When the Pieces are perfectly 
dry, put them into a Cannister, and they will be good, if kept Dry, a whole 
East India Voyage. 

This Glue is so Strong, that two or three Drams, dissolv'd in boiling 
Water with a little Salt, will make half a pint of good Broth, & if you 
shou'd be faint with fasting or Fatigue, let a small piece of this Glue melt 
in your Mouth, and you will find yourself surprisingly refreshed. 

One Pound of this cookery wou'd keep a man in good heart above a 
Month, and is not only Nourishing, but likewise very wholesome. Par- 
ticularly it is good against Fluxes, which Woodsmen are very liable to, 
by lying too near the moist ground, and guzzling too much cold Water. 
But as it will be only us'd now and then, in times of Scarcity, when 
Game is wanting, two Pounds of it will be enough for a Journey of Six 

But this Broth will be still more heartening if you thicken every mess 
with half a Spoonful of Rockahominy, which is nothing but Indian Corn 
parched without burning, and reduced to Powder. The Fire drives out 
all the Watery Parts of the Corn, leaving the Strength of it behind, and 
this being very dry, becomes much lighter for carriage and less liable to be 
Spoilt by the Moist Air. 

Thus half a Dozen Pounds of this Sprightful Bread will sustain a 
Man for as many Months, provided he husband it well, and always Spare 
it when he meets with Venison, which, as I said before, may be very Safely 
eaten without any Bread at all. 

November] The Secret History 

[Continued on page 257] 


256 History of the Dividing Line [November 

By what I have said, a Man needs not encumber himself with more than 
8 or 10 Pounds of Provisions, tho' he continue half a year in the Woods. 

These and his Gun will support him very well during that time, without 
the least danger of keeping one Single Fast. And tho' some of his days 
may be what the French call Jours maigres, yet there will happen no more 
of those than will be necessaryfor his health, and to carry off the Excesses 
of the Days of Plenty, when our Travellers will be apt to indulge their 
Lawless Appetites too much. 

2, The Heavens frowned this Morning, and threaten'd abundance of 
Rain, but our Zeal for returning made us defy the weather, and decamp 
a little before Noon. Yet we had not advanct two Miles, before a Soaking 
Shower made us glad to pitch our Tent as fast as we could. We chose 
for that purpose a rising Ground, half a mile to the East of MATRIMONY 
CREEK. This was the first and only time we were caught in the Rain, 
during the whole Expedition. It us'd before to be so civil as to fall in 
the night, after we were safe in our Quarters, and had trencht ourselves 
in; or else it came upon us on Sundays, when it was no Interruption to our 
Progress, nor any Inconvenience to our Persons. 

We had, however, been so lucky in this Particular before, that we had 
abundant Reason to take our present soaking patiently, and the Mis- 
fortune was the less, because we had taken the Precaution to keep all our 
Baggage and Bedding perfectly dry. 

This Rain was enliven'd with very loud Thunder, which was echo'd 
back by the Hills in the Neighbourhood in a frightful Manner. There is 
something in the Woods that makes the Soimd of this Meteor more awful, 
and the Violence of the Lightening more Visible. The Trees are fre- 
quently Shiver'd quite down to the Root, and sometimes perfectly twisted. 
But of all the Effects of Lightening that ever I heard of, the most amazing 
happen'd in this country, in the Year 1736. 

In the Summer of that year a Surgeon of a Ship, whose Name was 
Davis, came ashoar at York to visit a Patient. He was no sooner got into 
the House, but it began to rain with many terrible Claps of Thunder. 
When it was almost dark there came a dreadful Flash of Lightning, which 
Struck the Surgeon dead as he was walking about the Room, but hurt 
no other Person, tho' several were near him. At the same time it made 
a large Hole in the Trimk of a Pine Tree, which grew about Ten Feet 
from the Window. But what was most surprising in this Disaster was, 
that on the Breast of the unfortunate man that was kill'd was the Figure 
of a Pine Tree, as exactly delineated as any Limner in the World could 
draw it, nay, the Resemblance went so far as to represent the colour of 
the Pine, as well as the Figure. The Lightning must probably have 
passed thro' the Tree first before it struck the Man, and by that means 
have printed the Icon of it on his breast. 

November] The Secret History 257 

2. We lost all the Morning in hunting for Powell's Mare, so that 
it was 2 a Clock before we decampt. Our Zeal to make the best 
of our way made us set out when it was very like to rain, & it 
rained in good earnest before we had march't a Mile. We bore 
it patiently while it was moderate, & repast Matrimony Creek 
about 1% Miles from our Camp. But soon after the Rain fell 
more violently, & oblig'd us to take up our Quarters upon an Im- 
inence, that we might not be drown'd. This was the only time we 
were catch't in the Rain upon the Road during the whole Journey. 
It us'd to be so civil as to fall in the Night, as it did while Herod 
was building the Temple or on a Sunday, or else to give us warn- 
ing enough to encamp before it fell. But now it took us upon the 
way, & made our Lodgeing uncomfortable because we were oblig'd 
to pitch the Tent upon wet Ground. The worst Circumstance of 
all was, that there was hardly any picking for the Horses, which 
were now grown so lean & so weak, that the Turkey-Buzzards be- 
gan to follow them. It continu'd raining 'til 3 a Clock in the 
Morning, when to our great Joy it clear'd up with a N. Wester. 


258 History of the Dividing Line [November 

But whatever may have been the cause, the Effect was certain, and can 
be attested by a Cloud of Witnesses who had the curiosity to go and see 
this Wonderful Phenomenon. 

The worst of it was, we were forced to Encamp in a barren place, where 
there was hardly a blade of Grass to be seen. Even the wild Rosemary 
failed us here, which gave us but too just apprehensions that we should 
not only be oblig'd to trudge all the way home on foot, but also to lug our 
Baggage at our Backs into the Bargain. 

Thus we learnt by our own Experience, that Horses are very improper 
animals to use in a long Ramble into the Woods, and the better they 
have been used to be fed, they are still the worse. Such will fall away a 
great deal faster, and fail much sooner, than those which are wont to be at 
their own keeping. Besides, Horses that have been accustom'd to a Plane 
and Champaign Country will fovmder presently, when they come to clam- 
ber up Hills, and batter their Hoofs against continal Rocks. 

We need Welsh Runts, and Highland Galloways to climb our Mountains 
withal; they are us'd to Precipices, and will bite as close as Banstead Down 
Sheep. But I should much rather recommend Mules, if we had them, 
for these long and painful Expeditions; tho' till they can be bred, cer- 
tainly Asses are the fittest Beasts of Burthen for the Mountains. They 
are sure-footed, patient under the heaviest Fatigue, and will subsist upon 
Moss, or Browsing on Shrubs all the Winter. One of them will carry the 
Necessary Luggage of four Men, without any Difficulty, and upon a Pinch 
will take a Quarter of Bear or Venison upon their Backs into the Bargain. 

Thus, when the Men are light and disengaged from everything but 
their Guns, they may go the whole Journey on foot with pleasure. And 
tho' my Dear Countrymen have so great a Passion for riding, that they 
will often walk two miles to catch a Horse, in Order to ride One, yet, if 
they'll please to take my Word for 't, when they go into the Woods upon 
Discovery, I would advise them by all Means to march a-foot, for they will 
then be deliver'd from the great Care and Concern for their Horses, which 
takes up too large a portion of their time. 

Over Night we are now at the trouble of hobbling them out, and often 
of leading them a mile or two to a convenient place for Forrage, and 
then in the morning we are some Hours in finding them again, because 
they are apt to stray a great way from the place where they were turn'd 
out. Now and then, too, they are lost for a whole day together, and are 
frequently so weak and jaded, that the Company must ly still Several 
days, near some Meadow, or High-land Pond, to recruit them. All these 
delays retard their Progress intolerably; whereas, if they had only a few 
Asses, they wou'd abide close to the Camp, and find Sufficient food every- 
where, and in all Seasons of the Year. Men wou'd then be able to travel 
Safely over Hills and Dales, nor wou'd the Steepest Mountains obstruct 
their Progress. 

They might also search more narrowly for Mines and other Production 

November] The Secret History 

[Continued on page 261] 


260 History of the Dividing Line [November 

of Nature, without being confin'd to level grounds, in Compliment to the 
jades they ride on. And one may foretell, without the Spirit of Divination, 
that so long as Woodsmen continue to range on Horse-back, we shall be 
Strangers to our own Country, and a few or no valuable Discoveries will 
ever be made. 

The FRENCH COURIERS de Bois, who have run from one End of the 
Continent to the other, have performed it all on foot, or else in all 
probability must have continued as ignorant as we are. 

Our Country has now been inhabited more than 130 years by the English, 
and still we hardly know any thing of the Appallachian Mountains, that 
are no where above 250 miles from the sea. Wliereas the French, who are 
later comers, have rang'd from Quebec Southward as far as the Mouth 
of Mississippi, in the bay of Mexico, and to the West almost as far as 
California, which is either way above 2000 miles. 

3. A North-west Wind having clear'd the Sky, we were now tempted to 
travel on a Sunday, for the first time, for want of more plentiful Forage, 
though some of the more Scrupulous amongst us we (re) unwilling to do 
Evil, that good might come of it, and make our Cattle work a Good part 
of the Day in order to fill their Bellies at Night. However, the Chaplain 
put on his casuistical Face, and offer'd to take the sin upon Himself. 
We therefore consented to move a Sabbath Day's Journey of 3 or 4 Miles, 
it appearing to be a Matter of some necessity. 

On the way our unmerciful Indian kill'd no less than two Brace of Deer 
and a large Bear. We only prim'd the Deer, being unwilling to be en- 
cumbered with their whole Carcasses. The rest we consign'd to the Wolves, 
which in Return seranaded us great part of the Night. They are very 

olnmcroue in tKeir Banquets, wllich WC lOlUVV is the way snmft other RrilteS 

have, in the extravagance of their Jollity and Sprightliness, of expressing 
their thanks to Providence. 

We came to our Old camp, in Sight of the River Irvin, whose Stream 
was Swell'd now near four feet with the Rain that fell the Day before. 
This made it impracticable for us to ford it, nor could we guess when 
the water wou'd fall enough to let us go over. 

This put our Mathematical Professor, who shou'd have set a better 
Example, into the Vapours, fearing he shou'd be oblig'd to take up his 
Winter Quarters in that doleful Wilderness. But the rest were not affected 
with his want of Faith, but preserv'd a Firmness of Mind Superior to 
such little Adverse Accidents. They trusted that the same good Providence 
which had most remarkably prosper'd them hitherto, would continue his 
goodness and conduct them safe to the End of their Journey. 

However, we found plainly that travelling on the Sunday, contrary to 
our constant Rule, had not thriven with us in the least. We were not gain- 
ers of any distance by it, because the River made us pay two days for 
Violating one. 

November] The Secret History 261 

3. It was my Opinion to rest in our Camp, bad as it was, because 
it was Sunday: but every body was against me. They urg'd the 
Danger of Starving the Horses, & the Short March we made Yes- 
terday, which might Justify making a Sabbath Day's Journey to 
day. I held out against all these Arguments on Account of rest- 
ing the Horses, which they greatly needed, as well as because of 
the Duty of the Day; 'til at last the Chaplain came with a Casuisti- 
cal Face, & told me it was a Case of necessity that oblig'd us to 
remove from a place that wou'd famish all our Horses. That 
Charity to those poor Animals wou'd excuse a small Violation of 
of the 4*'* Commandment. I answer'd that the Horse wou'd lose 
as much by the Fatigue of travelling, as they wou'd gain by the 
bettering their Food; that the Water was rais'd in the River Irvin, 
& we shou'd be forc't to stay 'til it was fallen again, & so shou'd 
gain no distance by travelling on the Sunday. However on condi- 
tion the D' wou'd take the Sin upon himself, I agreed to move 
3 or 4 Miles, which carry'd us to the Banks of the Irvine. By the 
way our Indian kill'd 4 Deer & a Bear. When we came to the 
River, we found the Water 3 or 4 Foot higher than when we came 
up, so that there was no liklihood of getting over under 2 Days. 
This made good my Argument, & put our hasty Gentlemen into 
the Vapour, especially Orion, who was more impatient than any 
Body. I cou'd find no other Reason for it, but because he had 
dream't that Col° Beverley was dead, and imagined his Absence 
might hinder him from making Interest for his Place of Surveyor 

262 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Nevertheless, by making this Reflection, I would not be thought so 
rigid an observer of the Sabbath as to allow of no Work at all to be 
done, or Journeys to be taken upon it. I should not care to ly still and 
be knockt on the head, as the Jews were heretofore by Antiochus, because 
I believ'd it unlawful to stand upon my Defense on this good day. Nor 
would I care, like a certain New England Magistrate, to order a Man to 
the Whipping Post, for daring to ride for a Midwife on the Lord's Day. 

On the contrary, I am for doing all acts of Necessity, Charity, and Self- 
Preservation, upon a Sunday as well as other days of the Week. But, as I 
think our present March cou'd not Strictly be justify'd by any of these 
Rules, it was but just we should suffer a little for it. 

I never could learn that the Indians set apart any day of the Week 
or the Year for the Service of God. They pray, as Philosophers eat, only 
when they have a stomach, without having any set time for it. Indeed 
these Idle People have very little occasion for a sabbath to refresh them- 
selves after hard Labour, because very few of them ever Labour at all. 
Like the wild Irish, they would rather want than Work, and are all men 
of Pleasure to whom every day is a day of rest. 

Indeed, in their Himting, they will take a little Pains, but this being 
only a Diversion, their spirits are rather rais'd than depress'd by it, and 
therefore need at most but a Night's Sleep to recruit them. 

4. By some Stakes we had driven into the River yesterday, we perceiv'd 
the Water began to fall, but fell so Slowly that we found we must have 
patience a day or two longer. And because we were unwilling to ly 
altogether Idle, we sent back some of the men to bring up the two 
Horsps thnt tlrM the Saturday before. They Were found near the place 
where we had left them, but seemed too sensible of their Liberty to come 
to us. They were found Standing indeed, but as Motionless as the Eques- 
trian statue at CHARING-CROSS. 

We had great reason to apprehend more Rain by the clouds that drove 
over our Heads. The boldest amongst us were not without some Pangs 
of uneasiness at so very Sullen a Prospect. However, God be prais'd! 
it all blew over in a few Hours. 

If much Rain had fallen, we resolv'd to make a Raft and bind it to- 
gether with Grape Vines, to Ferry ourselves and Baggage over the River. 
Tho', in that Case, we expected the Swiftness of the Stream wou'd have 
carry 'd down our Raft a long way before we cou'd have tugg'd it to the 
opposite shear. 

One of the Young Fellows we had sent to bring up the tired Horses 
entertained us in the Evening with a remarkable adventure he had 
met with that day. 

He had straggled, it seems, from his Company in a mist, and made 
a cub of a year old betake itself to a Tree. While he was new-priming 

November] The Secret History 263 

Gen". In the Evening we perceiv'd the Water began to fall in 
the River, which gave some of the Company the Vain hopes of 
getting over the next day. 

4. In the Morning we measured the Marks we had set up at the 
River, & found the Water had not fallen above a foot, by this 
we were convinced, that we shou'd be obliged to halt there a day 
longer. We sent some Men to endeavour to bring up 2 Horses, 
which tired on Saturday, but the Horses were too well pleas'd with 
their Liberty, to come along with them. One of these Manumitted 
Horses belong'd to Abraham Jones, and being prick't in the Mouth 
he bled himself quite off his Leggs. 

There being great Plenty in our Camp the Men kept eating all 
day to keep them out of Idleness. In the Evening it look't very 
dark, & menaced us with more Rain to our great Mortification, but 
after a few Drops, I thank God it blew over. Orion sigh'd heavily 
while it lasted, apprehending we shou'd take up our Winter 
Quarters in the Woods. John Ellis who was one of the Men we 
had sent to bring up the tired Horses told us a Romantick Ad- 
venture which he had with a Bear on Saturday last. He had strag- 
gled from his Company, & tree'd a Young Cubb. While he was 
new priming his Gun to shoot at it, the Old Gentlewoman appear'd, 
who seeing her Heir Apparent in Distress, came up to his Relief. 

264 History of the Dividing Line [November 

his piece, with intent to fetch it down, the Old Gentlewoman appeared, 
and perceiving her Heir apparent in Distress, advanc'd open-mouth'd to 
his relief. 

The man was so intent upon his Game, that she had approacht very near 
him before he perceived her. But finding his Danger, he faced about 
upon the Enemy, which immediately rear'd upon her posteriors, & put 
herself in Battle Array. 

The Man, admiring at the Bear's assurance, endeavour'd to fire upon 
Her, but by the Dampness of the Priming, his Gun did not go off. He 
cockt it a second time, and had the same misfortune. After missing Fire 
twice, he had the folly to punch the Beast with the muzzle of his Piece; 
but mother Bruin, being upon her Guard, seized the Weapon with her 
Paws, and by main strength wrenched it out of the Fellow's Hands. 

The Man being thus fairly disarm'd, thought himself no longer a 
Match for the Enemy, and therefore retreated as fast as his Legs could 
carry him. 

The brute naturally grew bolder upon the flight of her Adversary, and 
pursued him with all her heavy speed. For some time it was doubtful 
whether fear made one run faster, or Fury the other. But after an even 
course of about 50 yards, the Man had the Mishap to Stumble over a 
Stump, and fell down his full Length. He now wou'd have sold his Life 
a Penny-worth; but the Bear apprehending there might be some Trick 
in the Fall, instantly halted, and lookt with much attention on her Prostrate 

In the mean while, the Man had with great presence of Mind resolved 
to make the Bear believe he was dead, by lying Breathless on the Groimd, 
in Hopes that the Beast would be too generous to kill him over again. To 
carry on the Farce, he acted the Corpse for some time without dareing to 
raise his head, to see how near the Monster was to him. But in about two 
Minutes, to his unspeakable Comfort, he was rais'd from the Dead by the 
Barking of a Dog, belonging to one of his companions, who came Season- 
ably to his Rescue, and drove the Bear from pursuing the Man to take 
care of her Cub, which she fear'd might now fall into a second Distress. 

5. We Judg'd the Waters were assuag'd this morning to make the River 
fordable. Therefore about Ten we try'd the Experiment, and every Body 
got over Safe, except one man, whose Horse Slipt from a Rock as he 
forded over, and threw him into the River. But being able to swim, he 
was not Carry'd down the Stream very far before he recover'd the North 

At the Distance of about 6 miles we passt CASCADE CREEK, and 3 
Miles farther we came upon the Banks of the Dan, which we crost with 
much Difficulty, by reason the Water was risen much higher than when we 
forded it before. 

November] The Secret History 265 

The Bear advanced very near to her Enemy, rear'd up on her 
Posteriours, & put herself in Guard. The Man presented his 
Piece at her, but unfortunately it only snapp't, the Powder being 
moist. Missing his Fire in this Manner he offer'd to punch her 
with the Muzzle of his Gun, which Mother Bruin being aware of, 
seized the Weapon with her Paws, & by main strength wrench't 
it out of his Hand. Being thus fairly disarm'd, & not knowing in 
the fright, but the Bear might turn his own Cannon upon him, he 
thought it prudent to retire as fast as his Legs cou'd carry him. 
The Brute being grown more bold by the Flight of her Adversary, 
immediately pursued, and for some time it was doubtfull, 
whether Fear made one Run faster, or Fury the other. But after 
a fair Course of 40 Yards, the poor man had the Mishap to stumble 
over a Stump, and fell down at his full length. He now wou'd 
have sold his Life a Penny-worth: But the Bear apprehending 
there might be some Trick in this Fall, instantly halted, and look't 
very earnestly to observe what the Man cou'd mean. In the 
Meantime he had with much Presence of Mind, resolved to make 
the Bear believe he was dead, by lying breathless on the Ground, 
Upon the hopes that the Bear wou'd be too generous to kill him 
over again. He acted a Corps in this Manner for some time, till he 
was rais'd from the Dead by the Barking of a Dog, belonging to one 
of his Companions. Cur came up seasonably to his Rescue and 
drove the Bear from her Pursuit of the Man, to go and take care of 
her innocent Cubb, which she now apprehended might fall into a 
Second Distress. 

5. We found this Morning that the River had fallen no more 
than 4 Inches the whole Night, but a North Wester had swept 
away all the Clouds. About 10 we resolv'd to pass the River, 
which we did very safely, thank God, only Tom Short's Horse 
fell with him, & sopp't him all over. In the Distance of 6 Miles 
we crost Cascade Creek, & from thence proceeded in near 3 Miles 
to the Dan, which we forded with some difficulty, because the 
Water was deeper than when we came over it before. Unfortu- 

266 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Here the same unlucky Person happen'd to be duckt a Second time, 
and was a Second time Sav'd by Swimming. My own Horse too plunged 
in such a Manner that his Head was more than once under Water, but 
with much more ado recover'd his Feet, tho' he made so low an obeisance, 
that the water ran fairly over my Saddle. 

We continued our march as far as LOWLAND CREEK, where we took 
up our Lodging, for the benefit of the Canes and Winter Grass that grew 
upon the rich Grounds thereabouts. On our way thither we had the Mis- 
fortune to drop another Horse, though he carry'd nothing the whole day 
but his Saddle. We showed the same favour to most of our Horses, for 
fear, if we did not do it, we should in a little time be turned into Beasts of 
Burthen ourselves. 

Custom had now made travelling on foot so familiar, that we were able 
to walk ten Miles with Pleasure. This we cou'd do in our Boots, not- 
withstanding our way lay over rough Woods and uneven Grounds. 

Our learning to walk in heavy Boots was the same advantage to us that 
learning to Dance High Dances in Wooden Shoes is to the French, it 
made us most exceedingly Nimble without them. 

The Indians, who have no way of travelling but on the Hoof, make 
nothing of going 25 miles a day, and carrying their little Necessaries 
at their backs, and Sometimes a Stout Pack of Skins into the Bargain. 
And very often they laugh at the English, who can't Stir to Next Neigh- 
bour without a Horse, and say that 2 Legs are too much for such lazy 
people, who cannot visit their next neighbour without six. 

For their Parts, they were utter Strangers to all our Beasts of Burthen 
or Carriage, before the Slothful Europeans came amongst them. They 
had on no part of the American Continent, or in any of the Islands, either 
Horses or Asses, Camels, Dromedaries or Elephants, to ease the Legs of the 
Original Inhabitants, or to lighten their Labour. 

Indeed, in South America, and particularly in Chili, they have a useful 
animal call'd "paco." This creature resembles a Sheep pretty much; 
only in the Length of the Neck, and figure of the Head, it is more like a 
Camel. It is very near as high as the ass, and the Indians there make use 
of it for carrying moderate Burthens, 

The Fleece that grows upon it is very Valuable for the fineness, 
length and Glossiness of the Wool. It has one remarkable Singularity, 
that the Hoofs of its fore-feet have three Clefts, and those behind no more 
than one. The Flesh of this Animal is something drier than our Mutton, 
but altogether as well tasted. 

When it is Angry, it has no way of resenting its wrongs, but by spitting 
in the Face of those that provoke it: and if the Spawl happen to light 
on the bare Skin of any Person, it first creates an Itching, and after- 
wards a Scab, if no Remedy be applied. The way to manage these pacos, 
and make them tractable, is, to bore a hole in their ears, through which 
they put a Rope, and then guide them just as they please. 

November] The Secret History 


nate M' Short was duck't in a Second Time by the Fall of his horse 

but receiv'd no hurt. My Horse made a false Step, so that his 

Head was all underwater, but recover'd himself with much adoe. 

Having day enough left we proceeded as far as Low-land Creek, 

where we took up our Quarters, and had great Plenty both of Canes' 

& Winter Grass for the Horses, but Whitlock's Horse tired 2 Miles 

off, and so did one of Astrolabe's. The Truth of it is, we made 

a long Journey, not less than 14 Miles in the round about Distance 

we came, tho' it did not exceed 10 upon the Line. I favour'd my 

Steed by walking great part of the way on foot; it being Level & 

well clear'd made the Fatigue more tolerable. The Indian 

kill'd a Young Buck, the Bones of which we pick't very clean, 

but want of Bear made D' Humdrum less gay, than he used to be 

where that delicious Food was Plenty. 

268 History of the Dividing Line [November 

In Chili, they wear a beautiful kind of Stuff, with thread made of thia 
Creature's Wool, which has a Gloss Superior to any Camlet, and is sold 
very dear in that country. 

6. The Difficulty of finding the Horses among the tall Canes made it 
late before we decampt. We traversed very hilly Grounds, but to make 
amends it was pretty clear of Underwood. 

We avoided crossing the Dan twice by taking a Compass round the bent 
of it. There was no passing by the angle of the River without halting a 
moment to entertain our Eyes again with that Charming Prospect. When 
that pleasure was over we proceeded to Sable Creek, and encampted a 
little to the East of it. 

The River thereabouts had a charming effect, its Banks being adorn'd 
with green canes, sixteen feet high, which make a Spring all the year, as 
well as plenty of Forage all the Winter. 

One of the Men wounded an Old Buck, that was gray with years, and 
seem'd by the Reverend Marks he bore upon him, to confirm the current 
Opinion of that animal's Longevity. The Smart of his Wounds made 
him not only turn upon the Dogs, but likewise pursue them to some Dis- 
tance with great Fury. 

However he got away at last, though by the blood that issued from his 
Woimd he could not run far before he fell, and without doubt made a 
comfortable repast for the wolves. However the Indian had better For- 
tune, and supply'd us with a fat Doe, and a young Bear two years old. 
At that Age they are in their Prime, and, if they be fat withal, they are a 
Morsel for a Cardinal. 

All the Land we Travell'd over this day, and the day before, that is to 
say from the river Irvin to Sable Creek, is exceedingly rich, both on the 
Virginia Side of the Line, and that of Carolina.^^ Besides whole Forests of 
Canes, that adorn the Banks of the River and Creeks thereabouts, the 
fertility of the Soil throws out such a Quantity of Winter Grass, that 
Horses and Cattle might keep themselves in Heart all the cold Season 
without the help of any Fodder. Nor have the low Grounds only this ad- 
vantage, but likewise the Higher Land, and particularly that which we 
call the Highland Pond, which is two miles broad, and of a length 

1 question not but there are 30,000 Acres of least, lying Altogether, as 
fertile as the Lands were said to be about Babylon, which yielded, if 

^ Byrd is here describing the lands which he purchased from the North Carolina 
commissioners, who had secured them in payment for their services. Byrd called 
the region the Land of Eden. He inserted in the manuscript of The Journey to the 
Land of Eden a map of his purchases, which was published in Wynne's version, and 
is here reproduced. 




November] The Secret History 269 

6. We sat not out til near 12, & past over very uneven Ground, 
tho' our Comfort was that it was open and clear of Bushes. We 
avoided crossing the Dan twice, by going round the Bent of it. 
About 3 we past by Mount Pleasant, and proceeded along the 
River Side to Sable Creek, which we crost, and encampt a little 
beyond it near the Banks of the Dan. The Horses fared Sumptu- 
ously here upon Canes & Grass. Hamilton wounded a Buck, 
which made him turn upon the Dogs, & even pursue them 40 
Yards with great Fury. But he got away from us, chusing rather 
to give the Wolves a Supper, than to more cruel Man. However 
our other Gunners had better Fortune, in killing a Doe & 2 year- 
old Cubb. Thus Providence supply'd us every day with Food 
sufficient for us, making the Barren Wilderness a Theater of 
Plenty. The Wind blew very cold, and produced a hard Frost. 
Our Journey this day did not exceed 5 Miles, great part of which 
in Complement to my Horse, I perform'd on Foot, notwithstanding 
the way was Mountainous, and the Leaves that cover'd the Hills 
as slippery as Ice. 

270 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Herodotus tells us right, an Increase of no less that 2 or 300 for one. 
But this hath the Advantage of being a higher and consequently a much 
healthier, Situation than that. So that a Colony of 1000 families might, 
with the help of Moderate Industry, pass their time very happily there. 

Besides grazing and Tillage, which would abundantly compensate their 
Labour, they might plant Vineyards upon the Hills, in which Situation the 
richest Wines are always produc'd. 

They might also propagate white Mulberry Trees, which thrive ex- 
ceedingly in this climate, in order to the feeding of silk-worms, and making 
of Raw Silk. 

They might too produce Hemp, Flax and Cotton, in what quantity they 
pleas'd, not only for their own use, but likewise for Sale. Then they 
might raise very plentiful Orchards, of both Peaches and Apples, which 
contribute as much as any Fruit to the Luxury of Life. There is no Soil 
or Climate will yield better Rice than this, which is a Grain of prodigious 
Increase, and of very wholesome Nourishment. In short every thing 
will grow plentifully here to supply either the Wants of Wantonness of 

Nor can I so much as wish that the more tender Vegetables might grow 
here, such as Orange, Lemon, and Olive Trees, because then we shou'd 
lose the much greater benefit of the brisk North-West Winds, which 
purge the Air, and sweep away all the Malignant Fevers, which hover over 
countries that are always warm. 

The Soil wou'd also want the advantages of Frost, and Snow, which by 
their Nitrous Particles contribute not a little to its Fertility. Besides the 
Inhabitants wou'd be depriv'd of the Variety and Sweet Vicissitude of the 
Season, which is much more delightful than one dull and Constant Suc- 
cession of Warm Weather, diversify'd only by Rain and Sun Shine. 

There is also another convenience, that happens to this country by cold 
weather — it destroys a great Number of Snakes, and other Venomous 
Reptiles, and troublesome Insects, or at least lays them to Sleep for Several 
Months, which otherwise would annoy us the whole year round, & multiply 
beyond all Enduring. 

Though Oranges and Lemons are desirable Fruits, and Useful enough 
in many Cases, yet, when the Want of them is Supply'd by others more 
useful, we have no cause to complain. 

There is no climate that produces every thing, since the Deluge Wrencht 
the Poles of the World out of their Place, nor is it fit it shou'd be so, 
because it is the Mutual Supply one country receives from another, which 
creates a mutual Traffic and Intercourse amongst men. And in Truth, 
were it not for the correspondence, in order to make up for each other's 
Wants, the Wars betwixt Bordering Nations, like those of the Indians and 
other barbarous People, wou'd be perpetual and irreconcileable. 

As to Olive Trees, I know by Experience they will never stand the 
Sharpness of our Winters, but their Place may be Supply'd by the Plant 

November] The Secret History 

[Continued on page 273] 


272 History of the Dividing Line [November 

call'd Sessamun,^^ which yields an infinite quantity of large Seed, from 
whence a Sweet Oyl is prest, that is very wholesome and in use amongst 
the People of Lesser Asia. Likewise it is us'd in Egypt, preferably to 
oyl olive, being not so apt to make those that eat it Constantly break 
out into Scabs, as they do in many parts of Italy. This would grow very 
kindly here, and has already been planted with good Success in North 
Carolina, by way of Experiment. 

7. After crossing the Dan, we made a march of 8 miles, over Hills 
and Dales as far as the next Ford of that River. And now we were by 
Practice become such very able Footmen, that we easily outwalkt our 
Horses, and cou'd have marcht much farther, had it not been in pity to 
their Weakness. Besides here was plenty of Canes, which was reason 
enough to make us Shorten our Journey. Our Gunners did great Execu- 
tion as they went along, killing no less than two Brace of Deer, and as 
many Wild Turkeys. 

Though Practice will soon make a man of tolerable Vigour an able 
Footman, yet, as a Help to bear Fatigue I us'd to chew a Root of Ginseng 
as I Walk't along. This kept up my Spirits, and made me trip away as 
nimbly in my half Jack-Boots as younger men cou'd in their Shoes. 
This Plant is in high Esteem in China, where it sells for its Weight in 
Silver. Indeed it does not grow there, but in the Mountains of Tartary, 
to which Place the emperor of China Sends 10,000 Men every Year on 
purpose to gather it. But it grows so scattering there, that even so many 
hands can bring home no great Quantity. Indeed it is a Vegetable of 
so many vertues, that Providence has planted it very thin in every Country 
that has the happiness to produce it. Nor indeed is Mankind worthy of 
so great a Blessing, since Health and long Life are commonly Abus'd to 
ill Purposes. This noble Plant grows likewise at the Cape of Good 
Hope, where it is Call'd kanna, and is in wonderful Esteem among the 
Hottentots. It grows also on the northern continent of America, near the 
Mountains, but as Sparingly as Truth & Public Spirit. It answers exactly 
both to the Figure and vertues of that which grows in Tartary, so that 
there can be no doubt of its being the Same. 

Its vertues are, that it gives an imcommon Warmth and Vigour to the 
Blood, and frisks the Spirits, beyond any other Cordial. It chears the 
Heart even of a Man that has a bad Wife, and makes him look down 
with great Composure on the crosses of the World. It promotes insensible 
Perspiration, dissolves all Phlegmatick and Viscous Humours, that are 
apt to obstruct the Narrow channels of the Nerves. It helps the Memory, 

*" The Sesamum Indicum, or Benne Plant, the seed of which were used as food 
by the Negroes. The oil was used medicinally and also the leaves, from which 
a gummy muscilage was derived. See Porcher, F. A. Resources of Southern Fields 
and Forests, p. 450. 

November] The Secret History 273 

7. After dispatching away our Pioneers at 8 a Clock, we follow'd 
them at 10. The Ground was very hilly, and full of Underwood, 
hut our Pioneers had help't that Inconvenience. Our Journey 
was 8 Miles by the Lines, but near 10 by our Path, which was not 
quite so strait. The Hunters were more fortunate than Ordinary, 
killing no less than 4 Deer, and as many Turkeys. This made 
them impatient to encamp early, that they might enjoy the Fruits 
of their good Luck. We arriv'd at 2 a Clock on the Banks of the 
Dan, where we mark't out our Quarters, where the Horses had as 
great Plenty as ourselves. However they were now grown so 
weak, that they stagger'd when we dismounted, and those which 
had been used to the Stable & dry Food throve least upon Grass 
& Canes, & were much sooner jaded than the rest. 

274 History of the Dividing Line [November 

and would quicken even Helvetian dullness. 'Tis friendly to the Lungs, 
much more than Scolding itself. It comforts the Stomach, and Strengthens 
the Bowels, preventing all Colicks and Fluxes. In one Word, it will make 
a Man live a great while, and very well while he does live. And what 
is more, it will even make Old Age amiable, by rendering it lively, 
chearful, and good-humour'd. However 'tis of little use in the Feats of 
Love, as a great prince once found, who hearing of its invigorating 
Quality, sent as far as China for some of it, though his ladys could not 
boast of any Advantage thereby.^^ 

We gave the Indian the Skins of all the Deer that he Shot himself, 
and the Men the Skins of what they Kill'd, And every Evening after the 
Fires were made, they stretcht them very tight upon Sticks, and dry'd them. 
This, by a Nocturnal Fire, appear'd at first a very odd Spectacle, every 
thing being dark and gloomy round about. After they are Dry'd in this 
manner they may be folded up without Damage, till they come to be 
dress'd according to Art. 

The Indians dress them with Deer's Brains, and so do the English here 
by their example. For Expedition's Sake they often Stretch their Skins 
over Smoak in order to dry them, which makes them smell so disagreeably 
that a Rat must have a good Stomach to gnaw them in that condition; 
nay, 'tis said, while that Perfume continues in a Pair of Leather Breeches, 
the Person who wears them will be in no Danger of that Vallainous little 
insect the French call Morpion. And now I am upon the subject of In- 
sects, it may not be improper to mention some few Remedies against those 
that are most Vexatious in this Climate. There are two Sorts without 
Doors, that are great Nuisances, the Tikes, and the Horse Flies. The 
Tikes are either Deer-tikes, or those that annoy the Cattle. The first kind 
are long, and take a very Strong Gripe, being most in remote Woods, above 
the Inhabitants. 

The other are round, and more generally insinuate themselves into the 
Flesh, being in all places where Cattle are frequent. Both these Sorts 
are apt to be troublesome during the Warm Season, but have such an 
aversion to Penny Royal, that they will attack no Part that is rubb'd with 
the Juice of that fragrant Vegetable. And a Strong Decoction of this is 
likewise the most effectual Remedy against Seed-tikes, which bury them- 
selves in your Legs, when they are so small you can hardly discern them 
without a MICROSCOPE. 

The Horse Flies are not only a great Grievance to Horses, but likewise 
to those that ride them. These little Vixons confine themselves chiefly 
to the Woods, and are most in moist Places. Tho' this Insect be no bigger 
than an Ordinary Fly, it bites very Smartly, darting its little Proboscis into 
the Skin the instant it lights upon it. These are offensive only in the hot 

" Ginseng has in reality no medicinal properties and Byrd's information represents 
popular opinion only. 

November] The Secret History 

[Continued on page 277] 


276 History of the Dividing Line [November 

months, and in the Day time, when they are a great Nuisance to Travel- 
lers; insomuch that it is no Wonder they were formerly employed 
foi one of the Plagues of Egypt. But Dittany,^^ which is to be had in the 
Woods all the while those Insects remain in Vigor, is a Sure Defense 
against them. For this purpose, if you stick a Bunch of it on the Head- 
Stall of your Bridle, they will be sure to keep a respectful Distance. 

Thus, in what part of the Woods soever any thing mischievous or 
troublesome is found, kind Providence is sure to provide a Remedy. And 
'tis probably one great Reason why God was pleas'd to create these, and 
many other Vexatious Animals, that Men sho'd exercise their Wits and 
Industry, to guard themselves against them. 

Bears' Oyl is used by the Indians as a General Defence, against every 
Species of Vermin. Among the rest, they say it keeps both Bugs and 
Musquetas from assaulting their Persons, which wou'd otherwise devour 
Such uncleanly People. Yet Bears' Grease has no strong Smell, as that 
Plant had which the Egyptians formerly us'd against musquetas, resem- 
bling our palma Christi, the Juice of which smelled so disagreeably, that 
the Remedy was worse than the Disease. 

Against musquetas, in Egypt, the Richer Sort us'd to build lofty Towers, 
with Bed-chambers in the Tops of them, that they might rest undisturbed. 
'Tis certain that these Insects are no High Fliers, because their Wings are 
weak and their Bodies so light, that if they mount never so little, the wind 
blows them quite away from their Course, and they become an easy prey 
to the Martins, East India Bats, and other Birds that fly about in continual 
Quest of them. 

8. As we had twice more to cross the Dan over two fords, that lay 
no more than 7 miles from each other, we judg'd the Distance wou'd not 
be much greater to go round the Bent of it. Accordingly we sent the 
Indian and two white Men that way, who came up with us in the Evening, 
after fetching a compass of about 12 Miles. 

They told us that, about a mile from our last Camp, they passed a creek 
fortify 'd with Steep Cliffs, which therefore gain'd the name of Cliff Creek. 
Near 3 miles beyond that they forded a Second Creek, on the Margin of 
which grew abundance of Tall canes and this was call'd Hix's creek, 
from one of the Discoverers. Between these two creeks lies a level of 
exceeding rich Land, full of large Trees, and cover'd with black Mould, 
as fruitful, if we believe them, as that which is yearly overflow'd by the 

We who marched the nearest way upon the Line found the Ground 
rising and falling between the two Fords of the Dan, which almost broke 

''Common name for labiate plants, as the Dectanus Albus of England and the 
Cunila Mariana of America. 

November] The Secret History 277 

8. The Pioneers took their Departure about 9, and we sat out 
upon their Track at 10, & found the Ground rising & falling aU the 
way between the 2 Fords of the River. The first of these we past 
at first setting out. But Robin Hix & the Indian undertook to go 
round the Bent of the River, without crossing it all. This they 
perform'd, making the Distance no more than 12 Miles. About a 
Mile from our Camp, they met with a Creek whose Banks were 
fortify'd with high Cliffs, which gain'd it the Name of CliflF- 
Creek. Near 3 Miles beyond that they forded over another Creek, 
on whose margin grew plenty of Canes. And this was call'd Hixe's 
Creek from the Name of the Discoverer. Between these 2 Creeks 
lies a Levil of exceeding good Land, full of large Trees, and a 
black Mold. We that march't upon the Line past over Cane- 
Creek something more than 4 Miles from the Camp, & 3 Miles 
beyond that we forded the Dan for the last time, passing thro* 

278 History of the Dividing Line [November 

our own Wind, and the Hearts of our Jaded Palfreys. When we had passed 
the last Ford, it was a Sensible Joy to find ourselves Safe over all the 
Waters that might cut off our Retreat. And we had the greater Reason 
to be Thankful!, because so late in the Year it was very unusual to find 
the rivers so f ordable. 

We catcht a large Tarapin in the River, which is one kind of Turtle. 
The flesh of it is wholesome, and good for Consumptive People. It lays a 
great Number of Eggs, not larger but rounder than those of Pigeons. 
These are Soft, but withal so tough that 'tis difficult to break them, yet 
are very Sweet and invigorating, so that some Wives recommend them 
earnestly to their Husbands. 

One of the Men, by an Overstrain, had unhappily got a Running of the 
Reins, for which I gave him every Morning a little Sweet Gumm dissolv'd 
in Water, with good success. This gumm distils from a large Tree, call'd 
the Sweet-Gum Tree, very Common in Virginia, and is as healing in its 
Virtue as Balm of Gilead, or the Balsams of Tolu and of Peru. It is 
likewise a most Agreeable parfume, very little inferior to Ambergris. 

And now I have mention'd Ambergris, I hope it will not be thought an 
unprofitable digression, to give a faithful Account how it is produced, in 
Order to reconcile the various Opinions concerning it. It is now certainly 
found to be the Dung of the Sper Maceti Whale, which is at first very 
black and unsavoury. But after having been washt for some Months in the 
Sea, and blanch'd in the Sun, it comes at length to be of a Gray colour, 
and from a most offensive Smell, contracts the finest fragrancy in the 

Besides the Fragrancy of this Animal Substance, 'tis a very rich and in- 
nocent Cordial, which raises the spirits without Stupifying them afterwards, 
like Opium, or intoxicating them like Wine. The Animal Spirits are 
amazingly refreshed by this Cordial, without the Danger of any ill conse- 
quence, and if Husbands were now and then to dissolve a little of it in their 
Broth, their Consorts might be the better for it, as well as themselves. 
In the Bahama Islands (where a great Quantity is found, by reason the 
Sperma Ceti Whales resort thither continually,) it is us'd as an Antidote 
against the Venomous Fish which abound thereabouts, wherewith the 
People are apt to Poison themselves. 

We are not only oblig'd to that Whale for this rich parfume, but also 
for the Sper Maceti itself, which is the Fat of that Fish's Head boil'd 
and purg'd from all its impuritys. What remains is of a balsamick and 
detersive Quality, very friendly to the Lungs, and usefuU in many other 

The Indian had kill'd a fat Doe in the compass he took round the Elbow 
of the River, but was content to Prime it only, by reason it was too far 
off to lug the whole Carcass upon his Back. This, and a Brace of Wild 
Turkeys which our Men had Shot, made up all our Bill of Fare this 

November] The Secret History 279 

a Forrest of Canes before we got at it. It was no small Joy to 
us to find ourselves safe over all the Waters that might retard our 
Journey home. Our Distance upon the Line was 7 Miles, & where 
we encampt afforded good Forrage for the Horses, which we had 
favour'd by walking the greater part of the way. The Indian 
brought us the primeings of a Fat Doe, which he had kill'd too far 
off for him to carry the whole. This & 2 Turkeys that our Men 
shot, made up our Bill of Fare this Evening. 

280 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Evening, but could only afford a Philosophical Meal to so many craving 

The Horses were now so lean that any thing would gall those that 
carry 'd the least Burthen; no Wonder then if Several of them had sore 
Backs, especially now the Pads of the Saddles and Packs were press'd 
flat with long and constant Use. This would have been another Misfortune, 
had we not been provided with an easy Remedy for it. 

One of the Commissioners, believing that Such Accidents might happen 
in a far Journey, had furnisht himself with Plasters of Strong Glue spread 
pretty thick. We laid on these, after making them running hot, which, 
Sticking fast, never fell off till the Sore was perfectly heal'd. In the mean 
time it defended the part so well, that the Saddle might bear upon it 
without Danger of further Injury. 

9. We reckon'd ourselves now pretty well out of the Latitude of Bears, 
to the great Grief of most of the company. There was Still Mast enough 
left in the Woods to keep the Bears from drawing so near to the Inhabi- 
tants. They like not the neighbourhood of Merciless Man, till Famine 
compels them to it. They are all Black in this part of the World, and so 
is their Dung, but it will make Linnen white, being tolerably good Soap, 
without any Preparation but only drying. 

These Bears are of a Moderate Size, whereas within the Polar Circles 
they are white, and much larger. Those of the Southern Parts of Muscovy 
are of a Russet Colour, but among the SAMOEIDS, as well as in 
GREENLAND and NOVA ZEMBLA, they are as white as the snow they 
converse with, and by some Accounts are as large as a Moderate Ox. 

The Excessive Cold of that Climate sets their Appetites so Sharp, that 
they will Attack a Man without Ceremony, and even climb up a Ship's 
Side to come at him. They range about and are very Mischievous all the 
time the Sun is above the Horizon, which is something more than Five 
Months; but after the Sun is Set for the rest of the Year, they retire into 
Holes, or bury themselves under the Snow, and Sleep away the Dark 
Season without any Sustenance at all. 'Tis pitty our Beggars and Pick- 
pockets Cou'd not do the Same. 

Our Journey this day was above 12 Miles, and more than half the way 
terribly hamper 'd with Bushes. We tir'd another Horse, which we were 
oblig'd to leave two miles short of where we Encampt, and indeed Several 
others were upon the Careen almost every Step. Now we wanted one of 
those celebrated Musicians of Antiquity, who, they tell us, among many 
other Wonders of their Art, cou'd play an air which, by its Animateing 
Briskness wou'd make a Jaded Horse caper and curvet much better than 
any Whip, Spur, or even than Swearing. Tho' I fear our poor Beasts were 
so harast that it wou'd have been beyond the Skill of Orpheus himself 
so much as to make them prick up their ears. 

November] The Secret History 281 

9. D*" Humdrum got up so early, that it made him quite peevish, 
especially now we were out of the Latitude of Fat Bear, with 
which he us'd to keep up his good Humour. It was necessary to 
hurry out the Pioneers by 8 a Clock because great part of the 
Journey was overgrown with Bushes. However about 5 Miles 
of this Day's work were very open and toUerably Level. The Dis- 
tance in all was 12 Miles by the Line, tho' we made 15 of it by 
picking our way. Of this I footed it at least 8 Miles, notwithstand- 
ing my Servant had scorch't my Boots by holding them too near 
the Fire. The Length of our march harrass'd the Horses much, so 
that Page was oblig'd to leave his, 2 Miles short of our Journey's 
End, and several others had much adoe to drag one Leg after 
another. In less than half a Mile from the Dan we crost Cocquade 
Creek, so call'd from our beginning there to wear the Turkey 
Beard in our Hats by way of Cocquade. This we made one of 
the Badges of a new Order, call'd the Order of Ma-ooty, signify- 
ing in the Sapponi-Language, a Turkey's Beard. The other Badge 
is a Wild Turkey in Gold, with the Wings expanded, & a Collar 
round its Neck, with this Motto engraven upon it. Vice Cotumi- 
cum. As most Orders have been religious in their Original, so 
this was devis'd in grateful remembrance of our having been sup- 
ported in the Barren- Wilderness so many weeks, with wild Tur- 
keys instead of Quails. From thence we continu'd our march to 
Buffalo-Creek, on which we encampt. Here our Horses made bet- 
ter Chear than we, for the Indian kill'd nothing but one Turkey. 

282 History of the Dividing Line [November 

For Proof of the Marvellous Power of Music among the Ancients, some 
Historians say, that one of those Skilful Masters took upon him to make 
the great Alexander start up from his Seat, and handle his Javelin, whether 
he would or not, by the force of a sprightly Tune, which he knew how 
to play to Him. The King ordered the man to bring his Instrument, and 
then fixing himself firmly in his chair, and determining not to Stir, he 
bade him to Strike up as soon as he pleas'd. The Musician obey'd, and 
presently rous'd the Hero's Spirits with such Warlike Notes, that he was 
constrain'd, in Spite of all his Resolutions, to spring up and fly to his 
Javelin with great martial Fury. 

We can the easier credit these Prophane Stories by what we find 
recorded in the Oracles of Truth, where we are told the Wonders David 
performed by Sweetly touching his Harp. He made nothing of driving 
the Evil Spirit out of Saul, tho' a certain rabbi assures us he could not do 
so much by his Wife, MICHAL, when she happen'd to be in her Ayrs. 

The greatest Instance we have of the Power of Modern Music is that 
which cures those who in Italy are bitten by the little Spider called the 
Tarantula. The whole method of which is perform'd in the following 

In Apulia it is a common Misfortune for People to be bitten by the 
Tarantula, and most about Taranto and Gallipoli. This is a gray spider, 
not very large, with a narrow Streak of white along the Back. It is no 
wonder there are many of these Villanous Insects, because, by a Ridiculous 
Superstition 'tis accounted great Inhumanity to kill them. They believe, 
it seems, that if the Spider come to a Violent Death, all those who had 
been bitten by it will certainly have a Return of their Frenzy every Year 
as long as they live. But if it dye a Natural Death, the Patient will have 
a chance to recover in two or three Years. 

The Bite of the tarantula gives no more pain than the Bite of a musqueta, 
and makes little or no inflamation on the Part, especially when the Dis- 
aster happens in April or May; but, its Venom encreasing with the Heat 
of the Season, has more fatal Consequences in July and August. The 
Persons who are so imhappy as to be bitten in those Warm Months, fall 
down on the Place in a few Minutes, and lye senseless for a considerable 
time, and when they come to themselves feel horrible Pains, are very 
Sick at their Stomachs, and in a Short time break out into foul Sores; 
but those who are bitten in the Milder Months have much gentler Symp- 
toms. They are longer before the Distemper Shows itself, and then they 
have a small Disorder in their Senses, are a little sick, and perhaps have 
some Moderate Breaking-out. 

However, in both cases, the Patient keeps upon the Bed, not caring 
to stir, till he is rous'd by a Tune, proper for his particular case. There- 
fore, as soon as the Symptoms discover themselves, a Tarantula Doctor is 
sent for, who, after viewing carefully the condition of the Person, first 
tries one Tune and then another, imtil he is so fortunate as to hit the 

November] The Secret History 283 

However with what remain'd of our former good Fortune, this 
was sufficient to keep Famine out of the Camp. 

284 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Phrenetic turn of the Patient. No sooner does this happen but he begins 
to Wag a finger, then a Hand, and afterwards a Foot, till at last he springs 
up and dances Rotmd the Room, with a Surprising Agility, rolling his 
Eyes and looking wild the whole time. This dancing-Fit lasts commonly 
about 25 minutes, by which time he will be all in a Lather. Then he sits 
down, falls a laughing, and returns to his Senses. So Plentiful a 
Perspiration discharges to much of the Venon as will keep off the Return 
of the Distemper for a whole Year. Then it will Visit Him again, and 
must be remov'd in the Same Merry Manner. But three dancing Bouts 
will do the Business, unless, peradventure, the Spider, according to the 
Vulgar Notion, has been put to a Violent Death. ^® 

The Tunes Play'd to expel this Whimsical Disorder, are of the Jigg-kind, 
and exceeded not 15 in number. The Apulians are frequently dancing 
off the Effects of this Poison, and no Remedy is more commonly apply'd 
to any other Distemper elsewhere, than those Sprightly Tunes are to the 
Bite of the Tarantula in that part of Italy. 

It is remarkable that these Spiders have a greater Spight to the Natives 
of the Place than they have to Strangers, and Women are oftener bitten 
than Men. Tho' there may be a Reason for the last, because Women are 
more confin'd to the House, where these Spyders keep, and their coats make 
them liable to Attacks unseen, whereas the Men can more easily discover, 
and brush them off their Legs. Nevertheless, both Sexes are cur'd the 
Same way, and thereby Show the Wonderful Effects of Music. 

Considering how far we had walkt, and consequently how hungry we 
were, we found but Short commons when we came to our Quarters. One 
Brace of Turkeys was all the Game we cou'd meet with, which almost 
needed a Miracle to enable them to Suffice so many Voracious Appetites. 
However, they just made a Shift to keep Famine, and consequently Mutiny, 
out of the Camp. At Night we lodg'd upon the Banks of Buffalo Creek, 
where none of us cou'd complain of loss of Rest, for having eaten too 
heavy and Luxurious a Supper. 

10. In a Dearth of Provisions our Chaplain pronounc'd it lawful to 
make bold with the Sabbath, and send a Party out a-Hunting. They fired 
the Dry Leaves in a Ring of five Miles' circumference, which, burning 
inwards, drove all the Game to the Centre, where they were easily killed. 

It is really a pitiful Sight to see the extreme Distress the poor deer are 
in, when they find themselves Surrounded with this Circle of Fire; they 
weep and Groan like a Human Creature, yet can't move and compassion of 
those hard-hearted People, who are about to murder them. This im- 

*^ Byrd is here describing Tarantism, a mania supposedly caused by the bite of 
the tarantula, which originated in Italy during the Middle Ages and spread to other 
countries of Southern Europe. A survival in modem times is the tarantilla, either 
a popular dance or the music for the dance. 

November] The Secret History 285 

10. This being Sunday we observ'd the 4*^ Commandment only 
our Hunters went out to provide a Dinner for the rest which was 
matter of necessity. They fired the woods in a Ring, which burn- 
ing Inwards drove the Deer to the Center, where they were easily 
kill'd. This Sport is call'd Fir-hunting, & is much practiced by 
the Indians, & some English as barbarous as Indians. Three Deer 
were Slaughter'd after tliis manner, of which they brought one 
to the Camp, and we content only to prime the other Two. Be- 
sides these Tho Short brought in a Doe which made us live in 
Luxury. William Pool complain'd that tho' his Stomach was good, 

286 History of the Dividing Line [November 

merciful Sport is called Fire Hunting, and is much practic'd by the 
Indians and Frontier Inhabitants, who sometimes, in the Eagerness of their 
Diversion, are Punish't for their cruelty, and are hurt by one another when 
they Shoot across at the Deer which are in the Middle. 

What the Indians do now by a Circle of Fire, the ancient Persians 
performed formerly by a circle of Men: and the same is practis'd at 
this day in Germany upon extraordinary Occasions, when any of the 
Princes of the Empire have a Mind to make a General Hunt, as they call 
it. At such times they order a vast Number of People to Surround a 
whole Territory. Then Marching inwards in close Order, they at last 
force all the Wild Beasts into a Narrow Compass, that the Prince and his 
Company may have the Diversion of Slaughtering as many as they please 
with their own hands. 

Our Hunters massacred two Brace of Deer after this unfair way, of 
which they brought us one Brace whole, and only the Primings of the rest. 
So many were absent on this Occasion, that we who remained excus'd the 
Chaplain from the Trouble of spending his Spirits by Preaching to so 
thin a Congregation. One of the men, who had been an old Indian Trader, 
brought me a Stem of Silk Grass, which was about as big as my little 
Finger. But, being so late in the Year that the Leaf was fallen off, I 
am not able to describe the Plant. 

The Indians use it in all their little Manufactures, twisting a Thread of 
it that is prodigiously Strong. Of this they make their Baskets and the 
Aprons which their Women wear about their Middles, for Decency's 
Sake. These are long enough to wrap quite round them and reach down 
to their Knees, with a Fringe on the under part by way of Ornament. 

They put on this modest covering with so much art, that the most im- 
pertinent curiosity can't in the Negligentest of their Motions or Postures 
make the least discovery. As this species of Silk Grass is much Stronger 
than Hemp, I make no doubt but Sail Cloth and Cordage might be made 
of it with considerable Improvement. 

11. We had all been so refresht by our day of rest, that we decamp'd 
earlier than Ordinary, and passed the Several Fords of Hico River. The 
Woods were thick great Part of this Day's Journey, so that we were forced 
to scuffle hard to advance 7 miles, being equal in fatigue to double that 
distance of Clear and Open Grounds, 

We took up our Quarters upon Sugar-tree Creek, in the same camp we 
had lain in when we came up, and happen'd to be entertained at Supper 
with a Rarity we had never had the fortune to meet with before, during 
the whole Expedition. 

A little wide of this creek, one of the men had the Luck to meet with 
a Young Buffalo of two Years Old. It was a Bull, which, notwithstanding 
he was no older, was as big as an ordinary Ox. His Legs are very thick 

November] The Secret History 287 

and he eat a great deal, yet he hardly ever went to Stool without 
the help of Physick. This made him very full and uneasy, giv- 
ing him pains both in his Stomach and Bowels. First I gave 
him a Dose of Anderson's Pills, which afforded him very little 
ease. Then I prescribed a small Dose of Ipocoaccanna to be taken 
in hot Broth well season'd with Salt, which took off the Emetick 
Quality & turn'd it downwards. This not only employ'd him, and 
gave him ease, but brought him to be very regular in his Evacua- 
tions, by being now and then repeated. Page went out in quest 
of his Horse and brought him to the Camp pretty well recruited. 
The absence of most of the Men diminish't our Congregation so 
much, that we who remain'd behind were contented with Prayers. 
I read a great deal, and then wrote a letter with design to send 
an Express with it so soon as we got amongst the Inhabitants. 

11. By the favour of good Weather, and the impatience of being 
at home, we decampt early. But there was none of the Company 
so very hasty as Orion. He cou'd not have been more uneasy even 
tho' he had a Mistress at Williamsburgh. He found much Fault 
with my scrupulous observing the Sabbath. I reprov'd him for 
his uneasiness, letting him understand, that I had both as much 
Business, and as much Inclination to be at home as he had, but 
for all that was determin'd to make no more hast than good Speed. 
We crost Hico-ottomoni Creek twice in this March, and travers't 
very thick and very uneven woods as far as Sugar-Tree Creek. 

288 History of the Dividing Line [November 

and very Short, and his Hoofs exceeding broad. His Back rose into 
a kind of Bunch a little above the Shoulders, which I believe contributes 
not a little to that creature's enormous Strength. His Body is vastly deep 
from the shoulders to the Brisket, sometimes 6 feet in those that are full 
grown. The portly figure of this Animal is disgrac'd by a Shabby little 
Tail, not above 12 Inches long. This he cocks up on end whenever he's 
in a Passion, and, instead of lowing or bellowing, grunts with no better 
grace than a Hog. 

The Hair growing on his Head and Neck is long and Shagged, and so 
Soft that it will Spin into Thread not unlike Mohair, which might be 
wove into a Sort of Camlet. Some People have Stockings knit of it, 
that would have serv'd an Israelite during his forty Years' march thro' 
the Wilderness. 

Its horns are short and Strong, of which the Indians make large Spoons, 
which they say will Split and fall to Pieces whenever Poison is put into 
them. Its Colour is a dirty Brown, and its hide so thick that it is Scarce 
penetrable. However, it makes very Spongy Sole Leather by the ordinary 
method of Tanning, tho' this fault might by good Contrivance be mended. 

As thick as this poor Beast's Hide was, a Bullet made Shift to enter it 
and fetch him down. It was found all alone, tho' Buffaloes Seldom are. 
They usually range about in Herds, like other cattle, and tho' they differ 
something in figure, are certainly of the Same Species. There are two 
Reasons for this Opinion: the Flesh of both has exactly the same taste, 
and the mixed Breed betwixt both, they say, will generate. All the Dif- 
ference I could perceive between the Flesh of Buffalo and Common Beef 
was, that the Flesh of the first was much Yellower than that of the other, 
and the Lean something tougher. 

The Men were so delighted with this new dyet, that the Gridiron and 
Frying-Pan had no more rest all night, than a poor Husband Subject to 
Curtain Lectures. Buffaloes may be easily tamed when they are taken 
Young. The best way to catch them is to carry a Milch Mare into the 
Woods, and when you find a Cow and a Calf, to kill the Cow, and then 
having catch'd the Calf to Suckle it upon the Mare. After once or twice 
Sucking Her, it will follow her Home, and become as gentle as another 

If we cou'd get into a breed of them, they might be made very usefull, 
not only for the Dairy, by giving an Ocean of Milk, but also for drawing 
vast and cumbersome Weights by their prodigious Strength. These, with 
the other Advantages I mention'd before, wou'd make this sort of Cattle 
more profitable to the owner, than any other we are acquainted with, 
though they would need a world of Provender. 

12. Before we marcht this Morning, every man took care to pack up 
some Buffalo Steaks in his Wallet, beside what he crammed into his Belly. 

November] The Secret History 289 

This was no more than 7 Miles, but equal in fatigue to double that 
distance on good Ground. Near this Creek our Men kill'd a Young 
Buffalo of 2 Years Old, that was as big as a large Ox. He had 
short Legs, and a deep Body with Shagged Hair on his Head and 
Shoulders. His Horns were short, and very Strong. The Hair 
on the Shoulders is soft resembling wool, and may be spun into 
Thread. The Flesh is arrant Beef, all the difference is that the 
Fat of it enclines more to be Yellow. The Species seems to be 
the same, because a Calf produced betwixt Tame Cattle and these 
will propagate. Our People were so well pleas'd with Buffalo- 
Beef, that the Grid-Iron was upon the Fire all Night. In this Day's 
March I lost one of the Gold Buttons out of my Sleeve, which I 
bore more patiently because that, and the burning of my Boots 
were all the Damage I had suffered. 

12. We cou'd not decamp before 11, the People being so much 
engaged with their Beef; I found it always a Rule that the greater 

290 History of the Dividing Line [November 

When Provisions were Plenty, we always found it Difficult to get out 
early, being too much Embarrast with a long-winded Breakfast. 

However, by the Strength of our Beef, we made a shift to walk about 12 
Miles, crossing Blewing and Tewaw-hommini Creeks. And because this 
last Stream receiv'd its Appelation from the Disaster of a Tuscarora 
Indian, it will not be Straggling much out of the way to say something of 
that Particular Nation. ^^ 

These Indians were heretofore very numerous and powerful, making, 
within time of Memory, at least a Thousand Fighting Men. Their Habita- 
tion, before the War with Carolina, was on the North Branch of Neuse 
River, commonly call'd Connecta Creek, in a pleasant and fruitful Country. 
But now the few that are left of that Nation live on the North Side of 
MORATUCK, which is all that Part of Roanok below the great Falls, 
towards ALBEMARLE Sound. 

Formerly there were Seven Towns of these Savages, lying not far from 
each other, but now their Number is greatly reduc'd. 

The Trade they have had the Misfortune to drive with the English has 
furnisht them constantly with Rxma, which they have used so inmioderately, 
that, what with the Distempers, and what with the Quarrels it begat amongst 
them, it has proved a double Destruction. 

But the greatest Consumption of these savages happen'd by the war 
about Twenty-Five years ago, on Account of some Injustice the Inhabitants 
of that Province had done them about their Lands. 

It was on that Provocation they resented their wrongs a little too severely 
upon Mr. Lawson, who, under Colour of being Surveyor gen'l, had en- 
croacht too much upon their Territories, at which they were so enrag'd, 
that they waylaid him, and cut his Throat from Ear to Ear, but at the 
same time releas'd the Baron de GrafFenried, whom they had Seized for 
Company, because it appear'd plainly he had done them no Wrong. 

This Blow was followed by some other Bloody Actions on the Part 
of the Indians, which brought on the War, wherein many of them were 
but (sic) off, and many were oblig'd to flee for Refuge to the Senecas, 
so that now there remain so few, that they are in danger of being (sic) 
quite exterminated by the Catawbas, their mortal Enemies. 

These Indians have a very odd Tradition amongst them, that many years 
ago, their Nation was grown so dishonest, that no man cou'd keep any 
Goods, or so much as his loving Wife to himself. That, however, their 
God, being unwilling to root them out for their crimes, did them the 
honour to send a Messenger from Heaven to instruct them, and set Them 
a perfect Example of Integrity and kind Behavior towards one another. 

But this holy Person, with all his Eloquence and Sanctity of Life, was 

® These Indians belonged to the Iroquoian family, not to the Siouan. After the 
Tuscarora War of 1711 most of them removed North and joined the Five Nations. 
In the early part of the Nineteenth Century the remainder of the tribe also removed 
to New York. 

November] The Secret History 291 

our Plenty, the later we were in fixing out. We avoided two Miles 
of very uneven Ground, by leaving the Line on our Left, and 
keeping upon the Ridge. Something less than 3 Miles Distance 
from the Camp we past our Blewing Creek, and 5 Miles beyond 
this, over that of Tewakominy. Thence we traversed a very large 
Level of rich high Land near 2 Miles in breadth, and encampt on 
a Branch 3^/4 Miles beyond the last named Creek, so that our 
whole distance this day was more than 11 Miles. Here was very 
Scanty Fare for the Horses, who cou'd pick only here and there 
a sprig of wild Rosemary, which they are fond of, the Mis- 
fortune was, there was not enough of it. John Ellis kill'd a Bear 
in Revenge for the Fight one of that Species had lately put him 
into. Nor was this Revenge sweeter to him than a Griskin of it 
was to the Doctor, who of all worldly Food conceives this to be 
the best. Tho' in Truth 'tis too rich for a Single Man, and en- 
clines the Eater of it strongly to the Flesh. Inasmuch that who- 
ever makes a Supper of it, will certainly Dream of a Woman, 
or the Devil, or both. 

292 History of the Dividing Line [November 

able to make very little Reformation amongst them. Some few Old Men 
did listen a little to his Wholesome Advice, but all the Young fellows were 
quite incorrigible. They not only Neglected his Precepts, but derided 
and Evil Entreated his Person. At last, taking upon Him to reprove some 
Young Rakes of the Conechta Clan very sharply for their impiety, they 
were so provok'd at the Freedom of his Rebukes, that they tied him to a 
Tree, and shot him with Arrows through the Heart. But their God took 
instant Vengeance on all who had a hand in that Monstrous Act, by 
Lightning from Heaven, & has ever since visited their Nation with a con- 
tinued Train of Calamities, nor will he ever leave off punishing, and 
wasting their People, till he shall have blotted every living Soul of them 
out of the World. 

Our Hunters shot nothing this whole day but a straggling Bear, which 
happen 'd to fall by the Hand of the very Person who had been lately 
disarm'd and put to flight, for which he declar'd War against the whole 

13. We pursued our Journey with all Diligence, and forded Ohimpa- 
mony Creek about Noon, and from thence proceeded to Yatapsco, which 
we cou'd not cross without difficulty. The Beavers had dammed up the 
Water much higher than we found it at our going up, so that we were 
oblig'd to lay a Bridge over a part that was shallower than the rest, to 
facilitate our passage. 

Beavers have more of Instinct, that Half-Brother of Reason, than any 
other Animal, especially in matters of Self-Preservation. In their Houses 
they always contrive a Sally-Port, both towards the Land and towards the 
Water, that so they may escape by One, if their Retreat shou'd happen 
to be cut off at the other. 

They perform all their Works in the Dead of Night, to avoid Discovery, 
and are kept diligently to it by the Master Beaver, which by his age or 
strength has gain'd to himself an Authority over the rest. If any of the 
Gang happen to be lazy, or will not exert himself to the utmost in felling 
of Trees, or dragging them (to) the place where they are made use of, 
this Superintendent will not fail to chastise him with the Flat of the 
Tail, wherewith he is able to give unmerciful strokes. 

They lie Snug in their Houses all day, unless some unneighbourly Miller 
chance to disturb their repose, by demolishing their Dams for supplying 
his Mill with Water. 

It is rare to see one of them, and the Indians for that Reason have hardly 
any way to take them, but by laying Snares near the place where they dam 
up the Water. But the English Hunters have found out a more effectual 
Method, by using the following receipt. Take the large Pride of the 
Beaver, Squeeze all the Juice out of it, then take the small Pride, and 

November] The Secret History 293 

13. This Morning I wrote a Letter to the Governor intending 
to dispatch it away by an Express from the outermost Inhabitants. 
We mounted about 10, and after proceeding 3 Miles crost a large 
Branch, and 2 Miles farther reach't Uhimpamory Creek. Beyond 
that 3^ Miles, we came to Yapatsco, or Bever Creek. Here 
those Industrious Animals had damm'd up the Water in such a 
Manner, that we cou'd with difficulty Ford over it. However we 
all got happily over, and continued our March 3 Miles farther to 
Massamony Creek, so that the Day's Journey was in aU 11-^ 
Miles. But to make the Horses Some amends, we encampt in the 
midst of good Forage. Both Meanwell's Horses cou'd hardly 
carry their Saddles, nor more being required of them, nor was it 
much better with many others in the Company. On our way we 
had the Fortune to kill a Deer, and a Turkey, sufficient for our 
Day's Subsistance, nor need any one Despair of his Daily Bread, 
whose Faith is but half so big as his Stomach. 

294 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Squeeze out about 5 or 6 Drops. Take the inside of Sassafras Bark, 
Powder it, and mix it with the Liquor, and place this Bait conveniently 
for your Steel Trap. 

The Story of their biting off their Testicles to compound for their Lives, 
when they are pursued, is a story taken upon trust by Pliny, like many 
others.-'^ Nor is it the Beaver's Testicles that carry the Perfume, but they 
have a Pair of Glands just within the Fundament, as Sweet as Musk, that 
perfume their Dung, and communicate a strong scent to their Testicles, 
by being plac'd near them. 

It is true Several creatures have Strange instincts for their Preservation, 
as the Egyptian Frog, we are told by Elian, will carry a whole Joint of a 
Reed across its Mouth, that it may not be swallow'd by the ibis.^^ 

And this Long-neckt fowl will give itself a clyster with its Beak, when- 
ever it finds itself too costive or feverish. The Dogs of that Country lap 
the Water of the Nile in a full Trot, that they may not be Snapped by the 
Crocodiles. Both Beavers and Wolves, we know, when one of their Legs 
is caught in a Steel Trap, will bite it off, and they may escape with the 
rest. The Flesh of the Beavers is tough and dry, all but the Tail, which 
like the Parrot's Tongue, was one of the farfetched Rarities with which 
Heliogabalus used to furnish his Luxurious Table. 

The Fur of these creatures is very valuable, especially in the more 
Northern Countries, where it is longer and finer. This the Dutch have 
lately contriv'd to mix with their Wool, and Weave into a Sort of 
Drugget, that is not only warm, but wonderfully light and Soft. They 
also make Gloves and Stockings of it, that keep out the Cold almost 
as well as the Fur itself, and do not look quite so Savage. 

There is a deal of Rich low Ground on Yapatsco Creek, but I believe 
liable to be overflow'd in a fresh. However, it might be proper enough 
for Rice, which receives but little Injury from Water. 

We encampt on the Banks of Massamony Creek, after a Journey of 
more than 11 Miles. By the way we shot a fat Doe and a wild Turkey, 
which fed us all plentifully. And we have reason to say, by our own happy 
Experience, that no man need to despair of his daily Bread in the Woods, 
whose faith is but half so large as his Stomach. 

14. Being at length happily arriv'd within 20 Miles of the uppermost 
Inhabitants, we despacht two Men who had the ablest Horses, to go before, 
and get a Beef kill'd and some Bread bak'd to refresh their Fellow 
Travellers, upon their arrival. They had likewise Orders to hire an 

"o The Natural History, Book XXII, Ch. 13. 

"^Apparently a reference to Claudius Albanus, Varia Historia, I, 3, in which the 
story is told of the water snake of the Nile, not the Ibis. This work was translated 
from Greek into Latin in the sixteenth century, and into English in 1576 and 1665. 

November] The Secret History 295 

14. About 8 in the Morning I dispatch't 2 Men to Miles Riley s, 
and by the way to hire John Davis to carry my Letters to Maj"". 
Mumfords with all Expedition. I also gave them Orders to get 
a Beef kill'd, and likewise some Meal Ground, to refresh the Men 
on their Arrival amongst the Inhabitants. We decampt after them 
at 11 a Clock, and at the End of 7% Miles crost Nutbush Creek. 
From thence we proceeded about 4 Miles farther to a beautiful 

296 History of the Dividing Line [November 

express to carry a Letter to the Governor, giving an Account that we 
were all returned in Safety. This was the more necessary, because we 
had been so long absent that many now began to fear we were, by this 
time, Scalpt and barbecu'd by the Indians. 

We decampt with the rest of the People about ten a clock, and marched 
near 12 Miles. In our way we Crost Nutbush Creek, and 4 Miles farther 
we came upon a beautiful Branch of Great Creek, where we took up our 
Quarters. The Tent was pitched upon an Eminence, which overlookt a 
wide Piece of low Grounds, cover'd with Reeds and watered by a Crystal 
Stream, gliding thro' the Middle of it. On the Other Side of this delightful 
Valley, which was about half a Mile wide, rose a Hill that terminated 
the View, and in the figure of a Semicircle closed in upon the opposite 
Side of the Valley. This had a most agreeable Effect upon the Eye, and 
wanted nothing but Cattle grazing in the Meadow, and Sheep and Goats 
feeding on the Hill, to make it a Compleat Rural LANDSCAPE. 

The Indian kill'd a Fawn, which, being upon its growth, was not fat, 
but made some amends by being tender. He also Shot an Otter, but our 
People were now better fed than to eat such Coarse Food. The truth of 
it is, the Flesh of this Creature has a rank Fishy taste, and for that reason 
might be a proper Regale for the Samoeids, who drink the CZAR of 
MUSCOVY'S health and toast their Mistresses in a Bumper of Train Oil.*^- 

The Carthusians, to save their Vow of eating no Flesh, pronounce this 
Amphibious Animal to be a Fish, and feed upon it as such without 
Wounding their Consciences. 

The Skin of the Otter is very Soft, and the Swedes make Caps and 
Socks of it, not only for Warmth, but also because they fancy it Strengthens 
the Nerves, and is good against all Distempers of the Brain. 

The otter is a great Devourer of Fish, which are its Natural Food, and 
whenever it betakes itself to a Vegetable Dyet, it is as some high-Spirited 
Wives obey their Husbands, by pure Necessity. They dive after their 
Prey, tho' they can't continue long under Water, but thrust their Noses 
up to the Surface now and then for Breath. They are great Enemies to 
Weirs Set up in the Rivers to catch Fish, devouring or biting to pieces 
all they find there. Nor is it either easy to fright them from this kind of 
Robbery, or to destroy them. The best way I cou'd ever find was to float 
an Old Wheel just by the Weir, and so soon as the Otter has taken a 
large Fish, he will get upon the Wheel to eat it more at his ease, which 
may give you an Opportunity of firing upon him from the Shoar. 

One of our People Shot a large Gray Squirrel with a very Bushy Tail, 
a singular use of which our merry Indian discover'd to us. He said when- 
ever this little Animal has occasion to cross a run of Water, he launches 
a Chip or Piece of Bark into the Water, on which he embarks, and, hold- 
ing up his Tail to the wind, he Sails over very Safely. If This be true, 

^^Jhe Samogedes, obscure people of the Northern Coast of Asia and Eastern 

November] The Secret History 297 

Branch of great Creek, where we arriv'd in good order about 4 a 
Clock in the Afternoon. We encampt on a rising Ground that 
overlookt a large extent of Green Reeds, with a Crystal Stream 
serpenting thro' the middle of them. The Indian kill'd a Fawn, & 
one of the other Men a Raccoon, the Flesh of which is like Pork, 
but truly we were better Fed than to eat it. The Clouds gather'd, 
and threaten'd Rain, but a brisk N. Wester swept them all away 
before Morning. 

298 History of the Dividing Line [November 

it is probable men learnt at first the use of Sails from these ingenious 
little Animals, as the Hottentots learnt the Physical use of most of their 
Plants from the Baboons. 

15. About three Miles from our Camp we passed GREAT CREEK, and 
then, after traversing very barren grounds for 5 Miles together, we crost 
the Tradeing Path, and soon after had the pleasure of reaching the up- 
permost Inhabitant. This was a Plantation belonging to colonel Mumford, 
where our Men almost burst themselves with Potatoes and Milk. Yet as 
great a Curiosity as a House was to us Foresters, still we chose to lie in the 
Tent, as being much the cleaner and sweeter Lodging. 

The Tradeing Path above-mention'd receives its Name from being 
the Route the Traders take with their Caravans, when they go to traffick 
with the Catawbas and other Southern Indians. The Catawbas live about 
250 Miles beyond Roanoke River, and yet our Traders find their Account 
in transporting Goods from Virginia to trade with them at their own 

The Common Method of carrying on this Indian Commerce is as follows : 
Gentlemen send for Goods proper for such a Trade from England, and 
then either Venture them out at their own Risk to the Indian Towns, or 
else credit some Traders with them of Substance and Reputation, to be 
paid in Skins at a certain Price agreed betwixt them. 

The Goods for the Indian Trade consist chiefly in Guns, Powder, Shot, 
Hatchets, (which the Indians call Tomahawks,) Kettles, red & blue Planes, 
Dufiields, Stroudwater blankets, and some Cutlary Wares, Brass Rings and 
other Trinkets. 

These Wares are made up into Packs and Carry'd upon Horses, each 
Load being from 150 to 200 Pounds, with which they are able to travel 
about 20 Miles a day, if Forage happen to be plentiful. 

Formerly a Hundred Horses have been employ'd in one of these Indian 
Caravans, under the Conduct of 15 or 16 Persons only, but now the 
Trade is much impair'd, insomuch that they seldom go with half that 

The Course from Roanoke to the Catawbas is laid down nearest South- 
west, and lies thro' a fine Country, that is Water'd by Several beautiful 

Those of the greatest Note are, first. Tar river, which is the upper Part 
of Pamptico, Flat river, Little river and Eno river, all three Branches of 

Between Eno and Saxapahaw rivers are the Haw old fields, which have 
the Reputation of containing the most fertile high land in this part of the 
World, lying in a Body of about 50,000 acres. 

November] The Secret History 299 

15. We were ready to march about 10 a Clock, and at the Dis- 
tance 6 miles past Great Creek. Then after traversing very barren 
Gromids for near 5 Miles, we crost the Trading Path used by 
our Traders, when they carry Goods to the S. W. Indians. In 
less than a mile from thence we had the Pleasure to discover a 
House, tho' a very poor One, the Habitation of our Friend Nat 
on Maj"". Mumford's Plantation. As agreeable a sight as a House 
was, we chose our Tent to lie in, as much the cleanlier Lodging. 
However we vouchsafed to eat in the House, where nothing went 
down so sweetly as Potatoes & Milk. In order for that a whole 
Oven full of Potatoes were provided which the Men devour'd un- 
mercifully. Here all the Company but myself were told that my 
little Son was dead. This MelanchoUy News they carefully con- 
ceal'd from me for fear of giving me imeasiness. Nothing cou'd 
be more good natur'd, and is a Proof that more than 30 People 
may keep a Secret. And what makes the wonder the greater is 
that 3 Women were privy to this my supposed Misfortune. 

I drew out the Men after Dinner, and harrangued them on the 
Subject of our safe return in the Following Terms. 

"Friends and Fellow-Travellors, It is with abundance of Pleas- 
ure, that I now have it in my Power to congratulate your happy 
arrival among the Inhabitants. You will give me leave to put you 
in mind, how manifestly Heaven has engaged in our Preserva- 
tion. No distress, no Disaster, no Sickness of any consequence, 
has befallen any One of us in so long and so dangerous a Jour- 
ney. We have subsisted plentifully on the bounty of Providence, 
and been day by day supply'd in the barren Wilderness with 
Food convenient for us. This surely is an Instance of Divine 
Goodness never to be forgotten, and that it may stil be more com- 
pleat, I heartily wish, that the same Protection may have been 
extended to our Families, during our Absence. But lest amidst 
so many Blessings, there may be some here who may esteem them- 
selves a little unfortunate in the loss of their Horses, I promise 

300 History of the Dividing Line [November 

This Saxapahaw is the upper Part of Cape Fair River, the falls of which 
lye many Miles below the Trading Path. 

Some Mountains overlook this Rich Spot of Land, from whence all the 
soil washes down into the Plane, and is the cause of its exceeding Fertility. 
Not far from thence the Path crosses ARAMANCHY River, a branch of 
Saxapahaw, and about 40 Miles beyond that, Deep River, which is the 
N Branch of Pedee. Then 40 miles beyond that, the Path intersects the 
Yadkin, which is there half a Mile over, and is supposed to be the South 
Branch of the same Pedee. 

The Soil is exceedingly rich on both sides the Yadkin, abounding in 
rank Grass nad prodigiously large Trees; and for plenty of Fish, Fowel 
and Venison, is inferior to No Part of the Northern Continent. There the 
Traders commonly lie Still for some days, to recruit their Horses' Flesh 
as well as to recover their own Spirits. Six Miles furlher is Crane 
Creek, so nam'd from its being the Rendezvous of great Armies of Cranes, 
which wage a more cruel War at this day, with the Frogs and the Fish, 
than they us'd to do with the Pigmies in the Days of Homer. 

About three-score Miles more bring you to the first Town of the 
Catawbas, call'd Nauvasa, situated on the banks of Santee river. Besides 
this Town there are five Others belonging to the same Nation, lying all 
on the same Stream, within the Distance of 20 Miles. 

These Indians were all call'd formerly by the general Name of the 
Usherees,^^ and were a very Numerous and Powerful People. But the 
frequent Slaughters made upon them by the Northern Indians, and, what 
has been still more destructive by far, the Intemperance and Foul Dis- 
tempers introduc'd amongst them by the Carolina Traders, have now 
reduc'd their Numbers to little More than 400 Fighting Men, besides 
Women & Children. It is a charming Place where they live, the Air very 
Wholesome, the Soil fertile, and the Winters ever mild and Serene. 

In Santee river, as in Several others of Carolina, a Small kind of 
allegator is frequently seen, which perfumes the water with a Musky Smell. 
They Seldom exceed Eight Feet in Length in these parts, whereas, near 
the Equinoctial, they come up to twelve or Fourteen. And the heat of the 
Climate don't only make them bigger, but more Fierce and Voracious. 
They watch the Cattle there when they come to drink and Cool themselves 
in the River; and because they are not able to drag them into the Deep 
Water, they make up by Strategem what they want in Force. They 
Swallow great Stones, the Weight of which being added to their Strength, 
enables them to tug a Moderate Cow under Water, and as soon as they 
have drown'd her, they discharge the Stones out of their Maw and then 
feast upon the Carcass. However, as Fierce and Strong as these Monsters 
are, the Indians will surprise them Napping as they float upon the Surface, 
get astride upon their Necks, then whip a short piece of wood like a Trunch- 

'^John Lederer, in 1670, calls them Ushery. {Discoveries, Second Expedition.) 
Europe. Train oil is whale oil. 

November] The Secret History 301 

"faithfully, I will do my Endeavour to procure satisfaction for 
"them. And as a Proof that I am perfectly satisfy'd with your 
"Service, I will receive your pay, and cause a full distribution 
"to be made of it, as soon as possible. Lastly as well to gratify 
"your Impatience to see your several Families as to cease the 
"Expence of the Government, I will agree to your discharge, so 
"fast as we shall approach the nearest distance to your respective 

302 History of the Dividing Line [November 

eon into their Jaws, & holding the Ends with their two hands, hinder them 
from diving by keeping their mouths open, and when they are almost 
Spent, they will make to the shoar, where their Riders knock them on the 
Head and Eat them. This Amphibious Animal is a Smaller kind of 
Crocodile, having the Same Shape exactly, only the Crocodile of the Nile 
is twice as long, being when full grown from 20 to Thirty Feet. This 
Enormous Length is the more to be wonder'd at, because the Crocodile is 
hatcht from an Egg very little larger than that of a Goose. It has a 
long Head, which it can open very wide, with very Sharp & Strong teeth. 
Their Eyes are Small, their Legs Short, with Claws upon their Feet. Their 
Tail makes half the Length of their Body, and the whole is guarded with 
hard impenetrable Scales, except the Belly, which is much Softer and 
Smoother. They keep much upon the Land in the day time, but towards 
the Evening retire into the Water to avoid the Cold Dews of the Night. 
They run pretty fast right forward, but are very awkward and Slow in 
turning by reason of their unwieldy Length. It is an Error that they have 
no Tongue, without which they cou'd hardly Swallow their Food; but in 
eating they move the upper Jaw only. Contrary to all other Animals. 
The way of catching them in Egypt is, with a Strong Hook fixt to the 
End of a chain, and baited with a joynt of Pork, which they are very fond 
of. But a live Hog is generally tyed near, the Cry of which allures them to 
the Hook. This Account of the Crocodile will agree in most particulars 
with the Alligator, only the Bigness of the last cannot entitle it to the 
Name of "Leviathan," which Job gave formerly to the crocodile, and not 
to the Whale, as some Interpreters wou'd make us believe. 

So Soon as the Catawba Indians are inforra'd of the Approach of the 
Virginia Caravans, they send a Detachment of their Warriors to bid them 
Welcome, and escort them Safe to their Town, where they are receiv'd 
with great Marks of Distinction. And their Courtesys to the VIRGINIA 
Traders, I dare say, are very Sincere, because they sell them better Goods 
and better Pennyworths than the Traders of Carolina. They commonly 
reside among the Indians till they have barter'd their Goods away for 
Skins, with which they load their Horses and come back by the Same Path 
they went. 

There are generally some Carolina Traders that constantly live among 

the Catawbas, and pretend to Exercise a dictatorial Authority over them. 

These petty Rulers don't only teach the honester Savages all sorts of 

Debauchery, but are unfair in their dealings, and use them with all kinds 

of Oppression. Nor has their Behaviour been at all better to the rest of the 

Indian Nations, among whom they reside, by abusing their Women and 

Evil-entreating their Men; and, by the way, this was the true Reason of 

the fatal War which the Nations roundabout made upon Carolina in the 

year 1713.^^ 

** Reference is to the Tuscarora War of 1711-13 in North Carolina, and the 
Yamassee of 1715, in South Carolina. In the former the Catawbas allied themselves 
with, and in the latter against, the English. 

November] The Secret History 

[Continued on page 305] 


,304 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Then it was all that the Neighbouring Indians, grown weary of the 
Tyranny and Injustice with which they had been abus'd for many Years, 
resolv'd to endure their bondage no longer, but enter'd into General 
Confederacy against their Oppressors of Carolina. 

The Indians open'd the War by knocking most of those little Tyrants on 
the Head that dwelt amongst them, under pretence of regulating their 
Commerce, and from thence Carry'd their Resentment so far as to endanger 

16. We gave Orders that the Horses shou'd pass Roanoak River at 
Monisep Ford, while most of the Baggage was transported in a Canoe. 

We landed at the Plantation of Cornelius Keith, where I beheld the 
wretchedest Scene of Poverty I had ever met with in this happy Part of the 
World. The Man, his Wife and Six Small Children, liv'd in a Penn, like so 
many Cattle, without any Roof over their Heads but that of Heaven. 
And this was their airy Residence in the Day time, but then there was a 
Fodder Stack not far from this Inclosure, in which the whole Family 
shelter'd themselves a night's and in bad weather. 

However, 'twas almost worth while to be as poor as this Man was, to be 
as perfectly contented. All his Wants proceeded from Indolence, and not 
from Misfortune. He had good Land, as well as good Health and good 
Limbs to work it, and, besides, had a Trade very useful to all the In- 
habitants round about. He cou'd make and set up Quern Stones^^ very 
well, and had proper Materials for that purpose just at Hand, if he 
cou'd have taken the pains to fetch them. 

There is no other kind of Mills in those remote parts, and, therefore, 
if the Man wou'd have Workt at his Trade, he might have liv'd very 
comfortably. The poor woman had a little more Industry, and Spun 
Cotton enough to make a thin covering for her own and her children's 

I am sorry to say it, but Idleness is the general character of the men 
in the Southern Parts of this Colony as well as in North Carolina. The 
Air is so mild, and the Soil so fruitful, that very little Labour is requir'd 
to fill their Bellies, especially where the Woods afford such Plenty of 
Game. These Advantages discharge the Men from the Necessity of killing 
themselves with Work, and then for the other Article of Raiment, a very 
little of that will suffice in so temperate a Climate. But so much as is 
absolutely Necessary falls to the good women's Share to provide. They 
all Spin, weave and knit, whereby they make a good Shift to cloath the 
whole Family; and to their credit be it recorded, many of them do it very 
completely, and thereby reproach their Husbands' Laziness m the most 

Stones for querns, or hand mills. 

November] The Secret History 305 

16. It was noon before we cou'd disengage ourselves from the 
Charms of Madam Nat, and her Entertainments. I tipp't her 
a Pistole for her Civilitys; and order'd the Horses to the Ford, 
while we and the Baggage were paddled over in the Canoe. While 
the Horses were marching round. Meanwell and I made a Visit 
to Cornelius Keath, who liv'd rather in a Penn than a House, with 
his Wife and 6 Children. I never beheld such a Scene of Pov- 
erty in this happy part of the World. The Hovel they lay in had 
no Roof to cover those wretches from the Injurys of the Weather: 
but when it rain'd, or was colder than Ordinary, the whole Family 
took refuge in a Fodder Stack. The poor man had rais'd a kind 
of a House but for want of Nails it remain'd uncover'd. I gave 
him a Note on Maj"". Mumford for Nails for that purpose and so 
made a whole Family happy at a very small Expence. The man 
can read & write very well, and by way of a Trade can make & 
set up Quemstones & yet is poorer than any Highland-Scot, or 
Bog-trotting Irishman. When the Horses came up we moved for- 
ward to Miles Rileys another of Maj'. Mumford's Quarters. Here 
was a Young Steer kill'd for us, and meal ground, and every thing 
also provided that the Place afforded. There was a huge consump- 
tion of Potatoes, milk, & Butter, which we found in great Plenty. 

This day I discharg'd Robin Hix, Tho' Wilson, and Charles 
Kimball, allowing them 2 Days to reach their Homes. I also dis- 
mist our honest Indian Bearskin, after presenting him with a note 


306 History of the Dividing Line [November 

inoffensive way, that is to say, by discovering a better Spirit of Industry 
in themselves. 

From thence we mov'd forward to Colo Mumford's other Plantation, 
under the Care of Miles Riley, where, by that Gentleman's Directions, we 
were again Supply'd with many good things. Here it was we discharg'd 
our Worthy Friend and Fellow Travellaur, Mr. Bearskin, who had so 
plentifully Supplyed us with Provisions during our long Expedition. We 
rewarded Him to his Heart's content, so that he return'd to his Town 
loaden, both with Riches and the Reputation of haveing been a great 

17. This being Sunday, we were Seasonably put in mind how much we 
were oblig'd to be thankful for our happy return to the Inhabitants. Indeed 
we had great reason to reflect with Gratitude on the Signal Mercies we 
had receiv'd. First, that we had, day by day, been fed by the Bountifull 
hand of Providence in the desolate Wilderness, Insomuch that if any of 
our People wanted one Single Meal during the whole Expedition, it was 
intirely owing to their own imprudent Management. , 

Secondly, that not one Man of our whole Company, had any Violent 
Distemper or bad Accident Befall him, from One End of the Line to the 
other. The very worst that happen'd was, that One of them gave himself a 
Smart cut on the Pan of his knee with a Tomahawk, which we had the 
good Fortune to cure in a Short time, without the help of a Surgeon. 

As for the Misadventures of Sticking in the Mire and falling into Rivers 
and Creeks, they were rather Subjects of Mirth than complaint, and serv'd 
only to diversify our Travels with a little farcicall Variety. And, lastly, 
that many uncommon Incidents have concurr'd to prosper our Under- 
taking. We had not only a dry Spring before we went out, but preceding 
Winter, and even a Year or two before, had been much dryer than Ordi- 
nary. This made not only the Dismal, but likewise most of the Sunken 
Grounds near the Sea-Side, just hard enough to bear us, which otherwise 
had been quite unpassible. 

And the whole time we were upon the Business, which was in all about 
Sixteen Weeks, we were never catch 't in the Rain except once. Nor was 
our Progress Interrupted by bad Weather above 3 or 4 days at most. 
Besides all this, we were Surpriz'd by no Indian Enemy, but all of us 
brought our Scalps back Safe upon our Heads. 

November] The Secret History 307 

of £3 on Maj'. Mumford, a Pound of Powder with Shot in pro- 
portion. He had besides the Skins of all the Deer he had kill'd 
in the whole Journey, and had them carry'd for him into the Bar- 
gain. Nothing cou'd be happier than this honest Fellow was with 
all these Riches, besides the great Knowledge he had gain'd of 
the Country. He kill'd a Fat Buck, great part of which he left us by 
way of Legacy, the rest he cut into pieces, toasted them before the 
Fire, & then strung them upon his Girdle to serve him for his 
Provisions on his way to Christanna-Fort, where his Nation liv'd. 
We lay in the Tent, notwithstanding there was a clean Landlady, 
and good Beds, which gave the Men an Opportunity of getting a 
House over their Heads, after having for 2 Months had no cover- 
ing but the Firmaments. 

17. Being Sunday besides performing the Dutys of the day, we 
christen'd Tho. Page one of our Men, who had been bred a Quaker, 
and Meanwell & I were his Gossips. Several of the Neighbours 
came, partly out of curiosity, and partly out of Devotion. 
Amongst the rest came a young Woman which lives in comfortable 
Fornication with Cornelius Cargil, and has several Children by 
him. Meanwell bought a Horse of this man, in which he was 
Jockyed. Our Eyes as well as our Taste were blest with a Surloin 
of Roast Beef, and we drank pleasure to our Wives in a Glass of 
Shrub. Not content with this Moderate Refreshment, my Friends 
carry'd on the Joke with Bambo made of execrable Brandy, the 
manufacture of the place. I preach't against it, tho' they minded 
me as little at Night, as they had Humdrum in the Morning, but 
most of them paid for it by being extremely Sick. This day I dis- 
charg'd John Holms and Tho. Page, with a reasonable allowance 
of Days for their return home. 

308 History of the Dividing Line [November 

This cruel Method of Scalping of Enemies is practis'd by all the 
Savages in America, and perhaps is not the least proof of their Original 
from the Northern Inhabitants of Asia. Among the Ancient Scythians 
it was constantly us'd, who carry 'd about these hairy Scalps as Trophies 
of Victory. They serv'd them too as Towels at home, and Trappings for 
their Horses abroad. But these were not content with the Skin of their 
Enemies' Heads, but also made use of their Sculls for cups to drink out 
of upon high Festival days, & made greater Ostentation of them than if 
they had been made of Gold or the purest crystal. 

Besides the Duties of the Day, we christen'd one of our Men who had 
been bred a Quaker. The Man desir'd this of his own mere Motion, 
without being tamper'd with by the Parson, who was willing every one 
shou'd go to Heaven his own way. But whether he did it by the Con- 
viction of his Own Reason, or to get rid of some Troublesome Forms and 
Restraints, to which the Saints of that Perswasion are Subject, I can't 
Positively say. 

18. We proceeded over a Levil Road 12 Miles, as far as George Hixe's 
Plantation, on the South Side Meherrin River, Our Course being for 
the most part North-East. By the way we hired a Cart to transport our 
Baggage, that we might the better befriend our Jaded Horses. 

Within 2 Miles of our Journey's End this day, we met the Express We 
had sent the Saturday before to give Notice of our Arrival. He had 
been almost as Expeditious as a carrier Pigeon, rideing in 2 Days no less 
than 200 Miles. 

All the Grandees of the Sappony Nation did us the Honour to repair 
hither to meet us, and our worthy Friend and Fellow Traveller, Bearskin, 
appear'd among the gravest of them in his Robes of ceremony. Four 
Young Ladies of the first Quality came with them, who had more the Air 
of cleanliness than any copper-Colour'd Beauties I had ever seen; Yet 
we resisted all their Charms, notwithstanding the long Fast we had kept 
from the Sex, and the Bear Dyet was had been so long engag'd in. Nor 
can I say the Price they sat upon their Charms was at all Exorbitant. A 
Princess for a Pair of Red Stockings can't, surely, be thought buying 
Repentance much too dear. 

The Men had something great and Venerable in their countenances, 
beyond the common Mien of Savages; and indeed they ever had the 
Reputation of being the Honestest, as well as the bravest Indians we have 
ever been acquainted with. 

This People is now made up of the Remnant of Several other Nations, 
of which the most considerable are the Sapponys, the Occaneches, and 

November] The Secret History 309 

18. This day we endeavour'd to set out early but were hinder'd 
by Powel's not finding some of his Horses, This Man had almost 
been negligent in that particular, but amongst the Inhabitants was 
more careless than ordinary. It was therefore thought high time 
to discharge him, and carry our Baggage as well as we cou'd to 
Cornelius Cargill's, who liv'd about 7 Miles off, and there hire 
his Cart to transport it as far as Maj"". Mumfords. We made the 
best Shift we cou'd, and having crost M*" Riley's hand with a 
Pistole, we mov'd toward Cargils, where we arriv'd about 2 a 
Clock. Here we put the heavy Baggage into the Cart, tho' I order'd 
mine to continue on my own Horse, lest some disaster might hap- 
pen to this frail Vehicle. Then appointing a Guard to attend the 
Baggage, we proceeded 5 Miles farther to George Hixes Planta- 
tion, where preparation was made to entertain us. 

By the way we met John Davis that brought me Letters from 
home, & from Maj"". Mumford, in answer to those I had sent to 
them by this Express. He had indeed been almost as Epeditious 
as a Carrier-Pigeon, for he went from Miles Richleys on Satur- 
day, and he met us this day, being Monday, early in the After- 
noon 3 miles before we got to George Hixes. By the Letters he 
brought I had the pleasure to hear that all my Family was well. 

310 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Steukenhocks,^^ who not finding themselves Separately Numerous, enough 
for their Defence, have agreed to unite into one Body, and all of them 
now go under the Name of the Sapponys. 

Each of these was formerly a distinct Nation, or rather a Several clan 
or Canton of the Same Nation, Speaking the Same Language, and using 
the same Customs. But their perpetual Wars against all other Indians, 
in time, reduc'd them so lo as to make it Necessary to join their Forces 

They dwelt formerly not far below the Mountains, upon Yadkin 
River, about 200 Miles West and by South from the Falls of Roanoak. 
But about 25 Years ago they took Refuge in Virginia, being no longer 
in condition to make Head not only against the Northern Indians, who 
are their Implacable enemies, but also against most of those to the South. 
All the Nations round about, bearing in mind the Havock these Indians 
us'd formerly to make among their Ancestors in the Insolence of their 
Power, did at length avenge it Home upon them, and made them glad to 
apply to this Government for protection. 

Colo Spotswood, our then lieut. governor, having a good Opinion of 
their Fidelity & Courage, Settled them at Christanna, ten Miles north 
of Roanoak, upon the belief that they wou'd be a good Barrier on that 
Side of the Country, against the Incursion of all Foreign Indians, And 
in Earnest they wou'd have Serv'd well enough for that Purpose, if the 
White People in the Neighbourhood had not debauch 't their Morals, and 
ruin'd their Health with Rum, which was the Cause of many disorders, and 
ended at last in a barbarous Murder committeed by one of these Indians 
when he was drunk, for which the poor Wretch was executed when he was 

It was a matter of great Concern to them, however, that one of their 
Grandees should be put to so ignominious a Death. All Indians have as 
great an Aversion to hanging as the Muscovites, tho' perhaps not for the 
same cleanly reason: These last believing that the Soul of one that dies 
in this manner, being forc'd to Sally out of the Body at the Postern, must 
needs be defiled. The Sapponys took this Execution so much to Heart, that 
they soon after quitted their Settlement and remov'd in a Body to the 

The Daughter of the TETERO KING went away with the Sapponys, 
but being the last of her Nation, and fearing she Shou'd not be treated 
according to her Rank, poison'd herself, like an Old Roman, with the Root 

"" Probably the Conestoga, who for a short time in the early eighteeenth century 
lived on the Roanoke River. Earlier, in 1608, they live on the Rappahannock River 
and were called Mannahoac. Spotswood speaks of the Stenkennocks as one of the 
tribes whose interests he represented at the Albany Conference in 1722. (A^. Y. Doc. 
Col. Hist. V, 673). The Occoneechi in 1670 lived on an island in the Roanoke River 
near Clarksville, Virginia, but by 1701 they had moved westward to the region of 
Hillsboro. North Carolina, and in 1722 were at Christanna. Later they moved 
North with the Saponi and Tutelo. (See Note 62.) 

November] The Secret History 311 

That my Heir Apparent had been extremely ill, but was recover'd, 
nevertheless the Danger he had been in gave Birth to the Report 
that he was dead. All my Company expected that now the bad 
News wou'd be confirmed. This made Meanwell take a conveni- 
ent Station to observe with how much Temper I shou'd receive such 
MelanchoUy Tydings. But not finding any change in my counten- 
ance, he ventur'd to ask me how it fared with my Family. And I 
must greatf ully own, that both he and the whole Company discover'd 
a great deal of Satisfaction that the Report prov'd false. They 
then told me with how much care they had conceal'd from me the 
Fame of his being dead, being unwilling fro make me uneasy upon 
so much incertainty. 

We got to Geo. Hixes before 4 a Clock, and both he and his 
lively little Wife receiv'd us courteously. His House Stands on an 
Emminence, from whence is a good Prospect. Every thing lookt 
clean and wholesome, which made us resolve to quit the Tent, and 
betake ourselves to the House. 

All the Grandees of the Sapponi Nation waited here to see us, 
and our Fellow-Traveller Bearskin was amongst the gravest of 
them. Four Ladys of Quality graced their visit, who were less 
besmear'd with Grease and Dirt, than any Copper-colour'd Beau- 
ty's I had ever seen. The Men too had an air of decency very un- 
common and what was a greater curiosity. Most of the Company 
came on Horseback. The Men rode more awkwardly than Sailors, 
and the Women who sat astride, were so basfuU they wou'd not 
mount their Ponys til they were quite out of Sight. 

Christanna Fort where these Indians live, lies 3 Miles from 
George Hixes Plantation. He has considerable dealings with 
them, and supplys them too plentifully with Rum, which kills more 
of them than the Northern Indians do, and causes much disorder 
amongst them. Maj. Mumford was so good as to send me a 
Horse, believing that mine was sufficiently jaded, and CoF Boil- 
ing sent me another.''^ With the last I complemented Orion, who 
had march 't on Foot good part of the way from the Mountains. 

*^ Colonel John Boiling (1700-1757), son of Major John Boiling (1676-1729) and 
grandson of Robert Boiling (1646-1709) who came to Virginia in 1660 and married 
Jane Rolfe, grand-daughter of John Rolfe and Pocahontas. The residence referred 
to was "Cobbe" in Chesterfield, now Henrico County. See "The Ancestors and 
Descendants of John Rolfe," {Virginia Mag. Hist, and Biog., Vol. XXII, p. 103.) 

312 History of the Dividing Line [November 

of the Trumpet-Plant. Her Father dy'd 2 Years before, who was the most 
intrepid Indian we have been acquainted with. He had made himself 
terrible to all other Indians by His Exploits, and had escaped so many 
Dangers that he was esteem'd invulnerable. But at last he dy'd of a 
Pleurisy, the last Man of his Race and Nation, leaving only that un- 
happy Daughter behind him, who would not long survive Him. 

The most uncommon Circumstance in this Indian visit Was, that they all 
came on Horse-back, which was certainly intended for a Piece of State, 
because the Distance was but 3 Miles, and 'tis likely they had walk't a 
foot twice as far to catch their Horses. The Men rode more awkwardly 
than any Dutch Sailor, and the Ladies bestrode their Palfreys a la mode 
de France, but were so bashful about it, that there was no persuading 
them to Mount till they were quite out of our Sight. 

The French Women use to ride a-straddle, not so much to make them 
sit firmer in the Saddle, as from the hopes the same thing might perad- 
venture befall them that once happen'd to the Nun of ORLEANS, who 
escaping of a Nunnery, took Post en CAVALIER, and in ten Miles' hard 
riding had the good Fortune to have all the Tokens of a Man break out 
upon her. 

This Piece of History ought to be the more credible, because it leans 
upon much the same Degree of Proof as the Tale of Bishop Burnet's Two 
Italian NUNS, who, according to his Lordship's Account, underwent the 
Same happy Metamorphosis, probably by some other Violent Exercise. ^^ 

19. From hence we despatch't the Cart with our Baggage under a 
Guard, and crosst MEHERRIN River, which was not 30 Yards wide in that 
Place. By the help of Fresh Horses that had been sent us we now began 
to mend our Pace, which was also quicken'd by the Strong Inclinations 
we had to get home. 

In the Distance of 5 Miles we forded MEHERRIN creek, which was very 
near as broad as the River. About 8 Miles farther we came to STURGEON- 
Creek, so call'd from the Dexterity an OCCAANECHY Indian shewed there 
in Catching one of those Royal Fish, which was perform'd after the follow- 
ing Manner. 

In the Summer time 'tis no unusual thing for Sturgeons to Sleep on 
the Surface of the Water and one of them having wander'd up into this 
Creek in the Spring, was floating in that drowsy condition. 

The Indian, above mention'd, ran up to the Neck into the Creek a little 
below the Place where he discover'd the Fish, expecting the Stream wou'd 

^ Burnett, Some letters containing An Account of what seemed most remarkable in 
Switzerland, Italy, etc., written by G. Burnet, D.D. to T. H. B. B. (Rotterdam, 
1686) pp. 246-247. 

November] The Secret History 313 

When we saluted M'^^ Hix, she bobb'd up her mouth with more than 
Ordinary Elasticity, and gave Us a good Opinion of her other 
Motions. Captain Embry who lives on Notoway River met us 
here, and gave us an invitation to make our next Stage at his 
House. Here I discharged John Evans, Stephen Evans, William 
Pool, George Tilman, George Hamilton, and James Patillo, al- 
lowing them for their Distance Home. Our course from Miles 
Rileys inwards held generally about N E. and the Road Levil. 

19. We dispach't away the Cart under a Guard by 9 a Clock, 
and after Complementing our Landlord with a Pistole for Feeding 
us and our Horses, we follow'd about 11. About a Mile from 
the House, we crost Meherrin River, which being very low was 
not more than 20 Yards wide. About 5 miles farther we past 
Meherrin Creek almost as wide as the River. From thence 8 
Miles we went over Sturgeon Run, and 6 Miles beyond that we 
came upon Wick-quoy Creek where the Stream is swift, and 
tumbles over the Rocks very solemnly, this makes broad low 
Grounds in many places, and abundance of rich Land. About 
2 Miles more brought us to our worthy Friends Cap*. Embry's 
Habitation, where we found the House keeping much better than 
the House. In that the Noble Capt. is not very curious. His Castle 
consisting of one Dirty Room, with a dragging Door to it that 
will neither Open nor Shut. However my Landlady made us 

314 History of the Dividing Line [November 

soon bring his Game down to Him. He judg'd the Matter right, and as 
Soon as it came within his Reach, he whip't a running Noose over his 
Jole. This waked the Sturgeon, which being Strong in its own Element 
darted immediately under Water and dragg'd the Indian after Him. 
The Man made it a Point of Honour to keep his Hold, which he did to 
the Apparent Danger of being drown'd. Sometimes both the Indian and 
the Fish disappear'd for a Quarter of a Minute, & then rose at some Dis- 
tance from where they dived. At this rate they continued flouncing about, 
Sometimes above, and sometimes under Water, for a considerable time, 
till at last the Hero Suffocated his Adversary, and haled his Body ashoar 
in Triumph. 

About Six Miles beyond that, we passed over Wicco-quoi creek. Named 
so from the Multitude of Rocks over which the water tumbles in a Fresh, 
with a bellowing Noise. Not far from where we went over, is a Rock 
much higher than the rest, that Strikes the Eye with agreeable Horror, and 
near it a very Talkative Eccho, that, like a fluent Helpmeet, will return her 
good Man Seven Words for one, & after all, be Sure to have the Last. It 
speaks not only the Language of Men, but also of Birds & Beasts, and 
often a Single Wild Goose is cheated into the Belief that Some of his 
Company are not far off, by hearing his own cry multiply'd; & 'tis 
pleasant to see in what a flutter the Poor Bird is, when he finds himself 

On the Banks of this creek are very broad low-Grounds in many Places, 
and abundance of good high-Land, tho' a little Subject to Floods. 

We had but two Miles more to Capt. EMBRY'S, where we found the 
Housekeeping much better than the House. Our Bountifull Landlady had 
set her Oven and all her Spits, Pots, Gridirons and Saucepans to work, 
to diversify our Entertainment, tho' after all it prov'd but a Mahommetan 
Feast, there being Nothing to drink but Water. The worst of it was, 
we had imluckily outrid the Baggage, and for that Reason were oblig'd 
to Lodge very Sociably in the Same Apartment with tlie Family, where, 
reckoning Women and Children, we muster'd in all no less than Nine 
Persons, who all pigg'd loveingly together. 

20. In the Morning colo Bolling,^^ who had been Surveying in the 
Neighbourhood, and Mr. Walker, who dwelt not far off, came to visit 
us; And the last of these Worthy Gentlemen, fearing that our drinking 
so much Water might incline us to Pleurisys, brought us a kind Supply 
both of Wine and cyder. 

It was Noon before we cou'd disengage Ourselves from the Courtesies of 
this Place, and then the two Gentlemen above-mention'd were so good as 

See Notes 63, Secret History; and Virginia Mag. Hist, and Biog. XXII, p. 103. 

November] The Secret History 


was a 

amends by providing a Supper Sufficient for a Battalion. I 

little Shocked at our first alighting with a Sight I did not expect. 
Most of the Men I discharg'd yesterday were got here before us, 
and within a few good downs of being drunk. I shew'd so much 
concern at this, that they had the Modesty to retire. M' Walker 
met us here, and kindly invited us to his House, being about 5 
Miles wide of this place. I shou'd have been glad to accept of 
his Civility but cou'd not with decency put a Slur upon our good 
Friend the Captain, who had made abundant Provision for us. 
For this Reason we chose to drink Water, and stow thick in a 
dirty Room, rather than give our black-Ey'd Landlady the Trouble 
of making a Toast to no purpose. She had set all her Spits, Pots, 
Frying pans. Grid Irons and Ovens to work to pamper us up after 
fasting so long, in the Wilderness. The worst point of her Civility 
was that she made us eat part of everything, which oblig'd 2 
of the 9 that lay in the Room to rise at a very unseasonable time 
of Night. 

20. M' Walker came to us again in the Morning, & was so kind 
as to bring us some Wine & Cyder. He also lent Meanwell a 
Horse for himself, and Me another for one of my Men. We had 
likewise a Visit from Col° Boiling, who had been a Surveying in 
the Neighborhood. Our Landlord, who fortify'd ourselves with 
meat Breakfast, we took Leave about 12. My Wife and I rid in 
the Chair, and my Daughter on an easy Pad she had borrow'd. 
M". Mumford was so kind as to undertake to Spin my Buffalo's 

316 History of the Dividing Line [November 

to accompany us that day's Journey, tho' they cou'd by no means approve 
of our LITHUANIAN Fashion of Dismounting now and then, in order to 
walk part of the way on foot. 

We cros't Nottoway River not far from our Landlord's House, where it 
seem'd to be about 25 Yards over. This River divides the County of 
Prince George from that of BRUNSWICK. We had not gone 8 Miles 
father before our Eyes were bless'd with the Sight of Sapponi chappel, 
which was the first House of Prayer we had seen for more than two 
calendar Months. 

About 3 Miles beyond that, we passed over Stony Creek, where One 
of those that Guarded the Baggage kill'd a Polcat, upon which he made 
a comfortable Repast. Those of his company were so SQUEAMISH 
they cou'd not be persuaded at first to tast, as they said, of so unsavoury 
an Animal; but seeing the Man Smack his Lips with more pleasure than 
usual, they ventur'd at last to be of his Mess, and instead of finding the 
Flesh rank and high-tasted, they owned it to be the Sweetest Morsel they 
had ever eat in their Lives. 

The ill Savour of this little Beast lys altogether in its Urin, Which 
Nature has made so detestably ill-scented on purpose to furnish a helpless 
Creature with Something to defend itself. For as some Brutes have Horns 
and Hoofs, and others are arm'd with Claws, Teeth and Tushes for their 
Defence; and as Some Spit a Sort of Poison at their Adversaries, like the 
Paco; and others dart Quills at their Pursuers, like the Porcupine; and as 
some have no Weapons to help themselves but their Tongue, and others 
none but their Tails; so the poor Polcat's safety lies altogether in the 
irresistible Stench of its Water; insomuch that when it finds itself in 
Danger from an Enemy, it Moistens its bushy Tail plentifully with this 
Liquid Amunition, and, then with great fury. Sprinkles it like a Shower 
of Rain full into the Eyes of its Assailant, by which it gains time to make 
its Escape. 

Nor is the Polcat the only Animal that defends itself by a Stink. At 
the CAPE OF GOOD HOPE is a little Beast, call'd a Stinker, as big as a 
Fox, and Shap't like a Ferret, which being pursued has no way to save 
himself but by farting and Squittering. And then such a Stench ensues 
that None of its Pursuers can Possibly stand it. 

At the End of 30 good Miles, we arriv'd in the Evening at colo Boiling's, 
where first, from a Primitive Course of Life, we began to relapse into 
Luxury. This Gentleman lives within Hearing of the Falls of Appamatuck 
River, which are very Noisy whenever a Flood happens to roll a greater 
stream than ordinary over the Rocks. 

The River is Navigable for Small Craft as high as the Falls, and at 
Some distance from thence fetches a compass, and runs nearly parallel 
with James River almost as high as the Mountains. 

While the Commissioners fared Sumptuously here, the poor Chaplain 
and two Surveyors, stoppt Ten Miles Short at a poor Planter's House, in 

November] The Secret History 317 

Hair, in order to knit me a pair of Stockins. Orion took the 
nearest way to Williamsburgh, Astrolabe to Goochland, and Hum- 
drum to Mount Misery. We call'd on M^ Fitzgerald to advise him 
what method to take with his Sick Child, but Nature had done the 
Business before we came. We arriv'd at Coggins Point about 4, 
where my Servants attended with both Boats, in order to trans- 
port us to Westover. I had the happiness to find all the Family 
well. This crown'd all my other Blessings, and made the Journey 
truly prosperous, of which I hope I shall ever retain a gratef ull re- 
membrance. Nor was it all that my People were in good health, 
but my Business was likewise in good Order, by the Joy they 
exprest at my Return. My Neighbours had been kind to my Wife, 
when she was threaten'd with the Loss of her Son & Heir. Their 
assistance was kind as well as seasonable when her Child was 
threatened with Fatal Symptoms, and her Husband upon a long 
Journey expos'd to great Variety of Perils. Thus surrounded 
with the most fearfull apprehensions. Heaven was pleased to Sup- 
port her Spirits, and bring back her Child from the Grave, and 
her Husband from the Mountains, for which Blessings may we 
be all sincerely thankfuU. 

THE NAMES of the Commissioners to direct the running of 
the Line between Virginia and North Carolina. 

Commissioners for Virginia 

Steaddy Meanwell 


Commissioners for North Carolina 

Judge Jumble Plausible 

Shoebrush Puzzlecause 

Surveyors for Virginia 

Orion Astrolabe 

Surveyors for N. Carolina 

Bo-otes Plausible 

The Rev^ D*" Humdrum. Chaplain 

318 History of the Dividing Line [November 

Pity to their Horses, made a Saint ANTHONY'S Meal, that is, they Supp't 
upon the Pickings of what Stuck in their Teeth ever since Breakfast. 
But to make them amends, the good Man laid them in his own Bed, where 
they all three nestled together in one cotton Sheet and one of Brown 
Oznabrugs, made Still Something Browner by two Months' Copious 

21. But those worthy Gentlemen were so alert in the Morning after 
their light Supper, that they came up with us before Breakfast, & honestly 
paid their Stomachs all they ow'd them. 

We made no more than a Sabbath day's Journey from this to the next 
Hospitable House, namely, that of our great Benefactor, Colo Mumford. 
We had already been much befiended by this Gentlemen, who, besides 
sending Orders to his Overseers at ROANOAK to let us want for nothing, 
had, in the Beginning of our Business, been so kind as to recommend 
most of the Men to us who were the faithful Partners of our Fatigue. 

Altho, in most other ATCHIEVEMENTS those who command are apt 
to take all the HONOUR to themselves of what perhaps was more owing 
to the Vigour of those who were under them, Yet I must be more just, 
and allow these brave Fellows their full Share of credit for the Service 
we perform'd, & must declare, that it was in a great Measure owing to their 
Spirit and indefatigable Industry that we overcame many Obstacles in the 
Course of our Line, which till then had been esteem'd unsurmountable. 

Nor must I at the Same time omit to do Justice to the Surveyors, and 
particularly to Mr. Mayo, who besides an eminent degree of Skill, en- 
counter'd the same Hardships and underwent the Same Fatigue that the 
forwardest of the Men did, and that with as much Chearfulness as if Pain 
had been his Pleasure, and Difficulty his real Diversion. 

Here we discharg'd the few Men we had left, who were all as Ragged 
as the GIBEONITE AMBASSADORS, tho', at the Same time, their Rags 
were very honourable, by the Service they had so Vigorously performed 
in making them so. 

22. A little before Noon we all took leave and dispers't to our Several 
Habitations, where we were so happy to find all our Familys well. This 
crown'd all our other Blessings, and made our Journey as prosperous as it 
had been painfull. 

Thus ended our Second Expedition, in which we extented the Line 
within the Shadow of the Chariky Mountains, where we were oblig'd to 
Set up our Pillars, like Hercules, and return Home. 


The Secret History 


NAMES of the Men employ'd on the part of Virginia to run 
the Line between that Colony and N. Carolina 

On the first Expedition 

1. Peter Jones 

2. Thomas Short. 

3. Thomas Jones. 

4. Robert Hix. 

5. John Evans. 

6. Stephen Evans. 

7. John Ellis. 

8. Thomas Wilson. 

9. George Tilman. 
10. Charles Kimball. 

11. George Hamilton. 

12. Robert Allen. 

13. Thomas Jones Jun'. 

14. John Ellis Jun'. 

15. James Pettillo. 

16. Richard Smith. 

17. John Rice. 

18. William Calvert 

19. James Whitlock 

20. Thomas Page 

On the 2** Expedition 

Peter Jones. 
Thomas Short. 
Thomas Jones. 
Robert Hix. 
John Evans. 
Stephen Evans. 
John Ellis. 
Thomas Wilson. 
George Tilman. 

Charles Kimball. 
George Hamilton. 
Edward Powell. 
Thomas Jones Jun' 
William Pool. 
James Pettillo. 
Richard Smith. 
Abraham Jones. 

ACCOUNT of the Expence of running the Line between Virginia 

and N. Carolina. 

To the Men's wages in Current Money 

To Sundry Disbursements for Provisions, &c 

To paid the Men for 7 Horses lost 

The Sum of £495"ll"6 Current Money 





reduc't at 15 Per Cent to Sterling amounts to 


320 History of the Dividing Line [November 

We had now, upon the whole, been out Sixteen Weeks, including going 
and returning and had travell'd at least Six Hundred Miles, and no Small 
part of that Distance on foot. Below, towards the Sea Side, our Course 
lay through MARSHES, SWAMPS, and great Waters; and above, over 
Steep HILLS, Craggy ROCKS, and Thickets, hardly penetrable. Notwith- 
standing this variety of Hardships, we may say, without Vanity, that we 
faithfully obey'd the King's Orders, and perform'd the Business effec- 
tually, in which we had the Honour to be employ'd. 

Nor can we by any Means reproach Ourselves of having put the Crown 
to any exorbitant Expense in this di^cult affair, the whole Charge, from 
Beginning to End, amounting to no more than One Thousand Pounds. 
But let no one concern'd in this painful Expedition complain of the 
Scantiness of his Pay, so long as His Majesty has been Graciously pleas'd 
to add ao our Reward the HONOUR of his ROYAL approbation, and to 
declare, notwithstanding the Desertion of the CAROLINA COMMIS- 
SIONERS, that the Line by us run shall hereafter Stand as the true 

NovemberJ The Secret History 321 

to paid Steddy 142"05"7 

To Paid Meanwell 142"05"07 

To paid Firebrand 94:00:00 

To paid the Chaplain, Humdrum 20:00:00 

To paid Orion 75:00:00 

To paid Astrolabe 75:00:00 

To paid for a Tent and Marquis 20:00:00 


This Sum was discharg'd by a Warrant of his Majesty'd Quit- 
rents from the Lands in 



mention'd in the foregoing History 

of the Dividing Line between Virginia 

and North Carolina. 


From Coratuck Inlet to the Dismal 21:2:16 

The Course thro' the Dismal 15:0:00 

To the East Side of Blackwater River 20:1:43 
We came down Blackwater to the Mouth of 

Nottoway 176 Poles, from whence to Meherrin 13 :2 :46 

To Meherrin River again 0:1:67 

To Meherrin River again 2:0:40 

To the Ferry Road ' 1:2:60 

To Meherrin again 0:0:22 

To Meherrin the 5th and last Time 2:3:66 

To the Middle of Jack's Swamp 11:0:25 

To a Road 1:2:52 

To Beaver pond Creek the first time 3:3:08 



To the Foregoing Journal, containing the second Charter to the Pro- 
proprietors of CAROLINA, confirming and enlarging the first, and also sev- 
eral other acts to which it refers. These are plac'd by themselves at the 
End of the Book, that they may not interrupt the Thread of the Story, and 
the Reader will be more at liberty whether he will please to read them or 
not, being something dry and unpleasant. 

The Second Charter granted by KING CHARLES 2D 
to the Proprietors of, CAROLINA^ 

CHARLES, by the GRACE OF GOD, &c.: WHEREAS, by our LET- 
TERS PATENT, bearing date the four and twentieth day of march, in the 
fifteenth year of our Reign, we were graciously pleas'd to grant unto our 
right trusty and right well beloved cousin and councellor, Edward, Earl 
of Clarendon, our high Chancellor of England, Our right trusty and right 
entirely beloved Cousin and Counsellor, George, Duke of Albemarle, 
Master of our Horse, our right trusty and well beloved William, now Earl 
of Craven, our Right trusty and well beloved Coimsellor, Anthony, Lord 
Ashley, Chancellor of our Exchequer, our right trusty and well beloved 
Counsellor, Sir George Carterett, Knight and Baronet, vice Chamberlain 
of our household, our right trusty and well beloved, Sir John Colleton, 
Knight and Baronet, and Sir William Berkley,^ Knight, all that Province 
Territory, or Tract of Ground, called Carolina, situate, lying and being 
within our Dominions of America, extending from the North End of the 
Island called Duke Island, which lys in the Southern Virginia Seas, and 
within Six and thirty Degrees of the Northern Latitude; and to the West 
as far as the South Seas; & so respectively as far as the River of Nathias, 
which bordereth upon the Coast of Florida, & within one and thirty De- 
grees of the Northern Latitude, and so west in a direct line as far as the 
South Seas aforesaid. Now know ye, that, at the humblest request of the 
said Grantees in the aforesaid Letters Patent named, and as a further mark 
of our especial favour towards them, we are graciously pleas'd to enlarge 
our said Grant unto them according to the Bounds & Limits hereafter 
Specify'd & in favour to the pious and noble purpose of the said Edward, 
Earl of Clarendon, George, Duke of Albemarle, William, Earl of Craven, 
John, Lord Berkley, Anthony, Lord Ashley, Sir George Carterett, Sir 
John Colleton, and Sir William Berkley, we do give and grant to them, 
their Heirs and Assigns, all that Province, Territory, or tract of Ground, 

^ Here follows the text of the Charter. Only the beginning, the part which con- 
cerns boundaries, is here given. The complete document is easily acces-sible to the 
general reader. It may be found in the Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. I, 
p. 102. 

^The name of Lord John Berkeley is omitted. 

'^ i 

Vl e lAe linJcfzjrxlii^ CimtyraUtorn,!^ o^f^t'Ue^JOT- 6t^^^ ouJ-aritiJ^Uing iJu SSot^^ui-^ 
CDcne. ei lkcCamperLih£j<>it£h^TtxAcAi^^o(uiMk^i^*~iAL 



^^^^;?^i??^rr— ^^^" *5/ :|.X.H-E--Dl 

A>5caleof Mile^ 

\~Jt ^U^<-ii n l' liJ' M' 't -^' ""^ '^' -iuina 

TTLo^OiedUAi and TTlf^ Ji^ti^TtJ^ Jerveui/r 


The Secret History 


To a Road from Bedding-field Southward 

To Poa-hill Creek 

To a Road 

To Lizzard Creek 

To Pigeon-roost Creek 

To Cockes Creek 

To Roanoke River 

To the West Side of D" 

To the Indian Trading Path 

To Great Creek 

To Nut-bush Creek 

To Massamony Creek 

To Yapatsco Creek 

To Ohimpamony Creek 

To Tewa-ho-mony Creek 

To Blowing Creek 

To Sugar Tree Creek 

To Hico-ottomony Creek 

To the same 

To the same 

To the same 

To the same again 

To Buffalo Creek 

To Cocquade Creek 

To the South Branch of Roanoke call'd the Dan 

To the West Side including the Island 

To Cane Creek 

To Dan River the 2*^ time 

To the West Side of D" 

To Dan River the 3*^ time 

To the N W Side a Slant 

To the Dan River the 4*'' time 

To the West Side 

To Low Land Creek 

To Dan River the S*'^ Time 

To the N W Side aslant 

To Cascade Creek 






































324 History of the Dividing Line 

Situate, lying and being within our Dominions of America aforesaid, ex- 
tending North and Eastward as far as the North end of Carahtuke River 
or Inlet, upon a Streight westerly line to Wyonoake Creek, which lys 
within or about the Degrees of thirty-six and thirty Minutes Northern 
Latitude, and so West in a Direct line as far as the South Seas; & south 
and westward as far as the Degrees of twenty-nine inclusive Northern 
Latitude, & so west in a direct line as far as the South seas; together with 
all and Singular ports, harbours. Bays, rivers, & inlets belonging unto the 
Province or Territory aforesaid, etc. 

At the Court of St. James's the 1st day of. March, 1710. — 
Present, The Queen's most Excellent Majesty in Council. 

Upon reading this day at the Board a Representation from the Rt Hon- 
ble the Lords Commissioners for trade & Plantations, in the Words follow- 
ing: In pursuance of your Majesty's Pleasure, Commissioners have been 
appointed on the Part of your Majesty's Colony of Virginia, as likewise 
on the Part of the Province of Carolina, for the settling the Bounds be- 
tween those Governments; And they have met several times for that pur- 
pose, but have not agreed upon any one Point thereof, by reason of the 
trifleing delays of the Carolina Commissioners, & of the many difi&culties 
by them rais'd in relation to the proper Observations & survey they were 
to make. However, the Commissioners for Virginia have deliver'd to 
your Majesty's Lieut Governor of that Colony an Account of their pro- 
ceedings, which Account has been under the Consideration of your Maj- 
esty's Council of Virginia, &c they have made a Report thereon to the 
said Lieut Governor, who haveing lately transmitted unto us a Copy of 
that Report, we take leave humbly to lay the Substance thereof before 
your Majesty, which is as follows: 

That the Commissioners of Carolina are both of them Persons engag'd 
in Interest to obstruct the Settling the Boundarys between that Province 
and the Colony of Virginia; for one of them has for several Years been 
Suveyor General of Carolina, has acquired to himself great Profit by sur- 
veying Lands within the controverted Bounds, & has taken up several 
Tracts of Land in his own Name, & sold the same to others, for which he 
stands still oblig'd obtain Patents from the Government of Carolina. The 
other of them is at this lime Surveyor General, & hath the same Prospect 
of advantage by making future surveys within the said Bounds. That the 
Behavior of the Carolina Commissioners has tended visibly to no other 
End than to protect and defeat the Settling this Affair; and particularly 
Mr. Moseley has us'd so many Shifts & Excuses to disappoint all Con- 
ferences with the Commissioners of Virginia, as plainly shew his Aver- 
sion to proceed in a Business that tends so manifestly to his disadvantage. 
His prevaricating on this occasion has been so undiscreet and so unguard- 
ed, as to be discover'd in the presence of the Lieut Governor of Virginia. 
He started so many objections to the Powers granted to the Commission- 

November] The Secret History 


To Irvin River a Branch of the Dan 6:0:30 

To Matrimony Creek 4-0 -31 

To Miry Creek 7-1 -68 

To Mayo-River another Branch of the Dan : 1 :36 

To Dan River the e'"" and last time 0:1-2 

To Crooked Creek the first time 2-1 -77 

To Ne plus ultra Camp 13-0 -35 

To a Red Oak mark'd on 3 Sides with 4 Notches, & the * 
Trees blaz'd about it, on the East Bank of a Rivulet, 
suppos'd to be either a Branch of Roanoke, or Deep River 3:60 

The whole Distance 241:2:70 

(Here ends the Secret History. — Editor.) 

326 History of the Dividing Line 

ers of that Colony, with design to render their conferences ineffectual, 
that his Joint Commissioner cou'd hardly find an excuse for him. And 
when the Lieut Governor has with much adoe prevail'd with the said Mr. 
Moseley to appoint a time for meeting the Commissioners of Virginia, & 
for bringing the necessary Instruments to take the Latitude of the Boimds 
in dispute, which Instruments he owned were ready in Carolina, he not 
only fail'd to comply with his own appointment, but after the Commis- 
sioners of Virginia had made a Journey to his House, and had attended 
him to the Places proper for observing the Latitude, he wou'd not take 
the trouble of carrying his own Instrument, but contented himself to find 
fault with the Quadrant produc'd by the Virginia Commissioners, tho 
that Instrument had been approv'd by the best Mathematicians, and is of 
imiversal Use. From all which it is evident how little hopes there are of 
Settling the Boundaries abovementioned, in concert with the present Com- 
missioners for Carolina. That tho the Bounds of the Carolina Charter 
are in express words limited to Weyanock Creek, lying in or about 36° 
30' of Northern Latitude, yet the Commissioners for Carolina have not by 
any of their Evidences pretended to prove any such Place as Wayanoak 
Creek, the amount of their Evidence reaching no further than to prove 
which is Weyanoak River, & even that is contradicted by affidavit taken on 
the part of Virginia; by which affidavits it appears that, before the Date 
of the Carolina Charter to this day, the place they pretend to be Weyan- 
oak River was, & is still, called Nottaway River. But supposing the same 
had been called Weyanoak River, it can be nothing to their purpose, there 
being a great difference between a River & a Creek. Besides, in that 
Country there are divers Rivers & Creeks of the same Name, as Potoraeck 
River & Potomeck Creek, Rappahannock River, & Rappahannock Creek, 
& Several others, tho there are many Miles' distance between the mouths 
of these Rivers and the mouths of these Creeks. It is also observable, 
that the Witnesses on the Part of Carolina are all very Ignorant persons, 
& most of them of ill fame & Reputation, on which Account they had been 
forced to remove from Virginia to Carolina. Further, there appeared to 
be many contradictions in their Testimonys, whereas, on the other hand, 
the witnesses to prove that the Right to those Lands is in the Government 
of Virginia are Persons of food Credit, their knowledge of the Lands in 
question is more ancient than any of the witnesses for Carolina, & their 
Evidence fully corroborated by the concurrent Testimony of the Tribu- 
tary Indians. And that right is farther confirm'd by the Observations 
lately taken of the Latitude in those parts, by which tis plain, that the 
Creek proved to be Weyanock Creek by the Virginia Evidences, & some- 
times call'd Wicocon, answers best to the Latitude described in the Caro- 
lina charter, for it lys in 36° 40', which is ten Minutes to the Northward 
of the Limits described in the Carolina grant, Whereas Nottoway River, 
lys exactly in the Latitude of 37°,^ and can by no construction be sup- 

^The commissioners in 1728 found that it was really in 36° 30%'. 

Appendix 327 

pos'd to be the Boundary described in their Charter; So that upon the 
whole Matter, if the Commissioners of Carolina had no other view than 
to clear the just right of the Proprietors, such undeniable Demonstrations 
wou'd be Sufficient to convince them; but the said Commissioners gave 
too much Cause to suspect that they mix their own private Interest with 
the Claim of the Proprietors, & for that reason endeavor to gain time in 
order to obtain Grants for the Land already taken up, and also to secure 
the rest on this occasion, we take notice, that they proceed to survey 
the Land in dispute, notwithstanding the assurance given by the Govern- 
ment of Carolina to the Contrary by their letter of the 17th of June, 
1707, to the Government of Virginia, by which letter they promised that no 
lands shou'd be taken up within the controverted bounds till the same were 

Whereupon we humbly propose, that the Lords Proprietors be acquaint- 
ed with the foregoing Complaint of the trifleing delays of their Commis- 
sioners, which delays tis reasonable to believe have proceeded from the 
self-interest of those Commissioners, and that therefore your Majesty's 
pleasure be signify 'd to the said Lords Proprietors, that by the first Op- 
portunity they send Orders to their Governour or Commander in Chief of 
Carolina for the time being, to issue forth a new Commission, to the pur- 
port of that lately issued, thereby constituting two other Persons, not hav- 
ing any personal Interest in, oi claim to, any of the Land lying within the 
Boundary's in the room of Edward Moseley & John Lawson. The Caro- 
lina Commissioners to be appointed being strictly required to finish their 
Survey, & to make a return thereof in conjunction with the Virginia Com- 
missioners, within six months, to be computed from the time, that due no- 
tice shall be given by your Majesty's Lieut Governor of Virginia to the 
Governor or Commander in Chief of Carolina, of the time & place, which 
your Majesty's said Lieut Governor shall appoint for the first meeting of 
the Commissioners on one part & the other. In order whereunto we 
humbly offer, that directions be sent to the said Lieut Governor, to give 
such Notice accordingly; & if after Notice so given, the Carolina Commis- 
sioners shall refuse or neglect to Join with those on the part of Virginia, 
in making such survey, as likewise a Return thereof within the time be- 
fore mention'd; that then and in such Case, the Commissioners on the 
part of Virginia be directed to draw up an Account of the proper observa- 
tions and Survey which they shall have made for ascertaining the Bounds 
between Virginia & Carolina, and to deliver the same in Writing under 
their Hands and Seals to the Lieut Governor and Council of Virginia, to 
the end the same may be laid before your Majesty, for your Majesty's 
final Determination therein, within, with regard to the Settling of those 
Boundarys; the Lords Proprietors haveing, by an Instrument under their 
Hands, submitted the same to Your Majesty's royal determination, which 
instrument, dated in March, 1708, is lying in this office. 

328 History of the Dividing Line 

And lastly, we humbly propose, that your Majesty's further pleasure be 
signifyd to the said Lords Proprietors, and in like manner to the Lieut 
Governor of Virginia, that no Grants be pass'd by either of those Govern- 
ments of any of the Lands lying within the controverted Bounds, until 
such Bounds shall be ascertain'd and settled as aforesaid, whereby it may 
appear whether those Lands do of Right belong to your Majesty, or to 
the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. 

Her Majesty in Council, approving of the said Representation, is 
pleas'd to order, as it is hereby ordered, that the Rt Honble the Lords 
Commissioners for Trade & Plantations Do signifye her Majesty's pleas- 
ure herein to her Majesty's Lieut Governor or Commander in Chief of 
Virginia for the time being, and to all Persons to whom it may belong, 
as is propos'd by their Lordships in the said Representation, and the Rt 
Honble the Lords Proprietors of Carolina are to do what on their part 
does appertain. 


PROPOSALS for determining the Controversy relating to the Bounds 
between the Governments of Virginia and North Carolina, most hum- 
bly offered for his Majesty's Royal Approbation, and fpr the Con- 
sent of the Rt Honble the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. 

Forasmuch as the dispute between the said two Governments about their 
true Limits continues still, notwithstanding the several meetings of the 
Commissioners, and all the proceedings of many Years past, in order to 
adjust that affair, & seeing no speedy Determination is likely to ensue, 
unless some Medium be found out, in which both Partys may incline to 
acquiesce, wherefore, both the underwritten Governors having met, and 
consider'd the prejudice both to the King & the Lords Proprietors' Inter- 
ests, by the continuance of this contest, and truly endeavoring a Decision, 
which they Judge comes nearest the Intention of Royal Charter granted 
to the Lords Proprietors, do, with the advice & consent of their respective 
Councils, propose as follows: 

That from the mouth of Corotuck River or Inlet, & setting the Compass 
on the North Shoar, thereof a due West Line be run & fairly mark'd, & 
if it happen to cut Chowan River, between the mouths of Nottoway River 
and Wicocon Creek, then shall the same direct Course be continued to- 
wards the Mountains, and be ever deem'd the Sole dividing line between 
Virginia & Carolina. 

That if the said West Line cuts Chowan River to the Southward of Wi- 
cocon Creek, then from point of Intersection the Bounds shall be allow'd 
to continue up the middle of the said Chowan River to the middle of the 
Entrance into the said Wicocon Creek, and from thence a due West Line 
shall divide the said two Governments. 

That if a due West Line shall be found to pass through Islands or to 
cut out small Slips of Land, which might much more conveniently be in- 

Appendix 329 

eluded in one Province or the other by Natural Water Bounds, In such 
Cases the Persons appointed for runing the Line shall have power to set- 
tle Natural Bounds, provided the Commissioners of both Sides agree 
thereto, and that all such Variations from the West Line, be particularly 
Noted in the Maps or Plats, which they shall return, to be put upon the 
Records of both Governments, all which is Humbly submitted by 


Order of the King and Council upon the foregoing Proposals, At the 
Court of St. James's the 28th day of March, 1729.^ Present, the 
King's most Excellent Majesty in Council. 

WHEREAS it has been represented to his Majesty at the Board, that 
for adjusting the disputes, which have Subsisted for many Years past, 
between the Colonys of Virginia and North Carolina, concerning their 
true Boundarys, the late Governors of the said colonys did some time 
since agree upon certain Proposals for regulating the said Boundarys for 
tlie future, to which Proposals the Lords Proprietors of Carolina have 
given their assent; And whereas the said Proposals were this day pre- 
sented to his Majesty as proper for his Royal Approbation. 

His Majesty is thereupon pleas'd, with the Advice of his Privy Council, 
to approve of the said Proposals, a copy whereof is hereunto annex't, and 
to order, as it is hereby order'd, that the Governor or Commander in Chief 
of the Colony of Virginia, do settle the said Bondarys, in conjunction 
with the Governor of North Carolina, agreeable to the said Proposals. 


The Lieut Governor of Virginia's Commission in obedience to 
His Majesty's Order. 

George the second, by the Grace of God, of great Britain, France and 
Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, to our trusty and well beloved Wil- 
liam Byrd, Richard Fitz- William, and William Dandridge, Esqrs., mem- 
bers of our council of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, Greeting: 
Where as our late Royal Father of Blessed memory was graciously pleas'd, 
by Order of his Privy Council, bearing date the 28 day of March 1727, 
to approve of certain Proposals agreed upon by Alexander Spotswood, 
Esqr. late Lieut Governor of Virginia, on the one part, and Charles Eden, 
Espr. late Governor of the Province of North Carolina, for determining 
the Controversy relating to the Bounds between the said two Govern- 
ments, and was farther pleased to direct and Order, that the said Boun- 
darys shoud be laid out & settled agreeable to the said Proposals. Know 

^It should be 1727. 

330 History of the Dividing Line 

ye, therefore, that reposing special trust and confidence in your Ability & 
Provident circumspection, have assign'd, constituted & appointed, & by 
these presents do assign, constitute & appoint you & every of you jointly & 
severally, our Commissioners for & on behalf of our Colony & Dominion 
of Virginia, to meet the Commissioners appointed or to be appointed on 
the part of the Province of North Carolina, and in conjunction with them 
to cause a Line or Lines of Division to be run and markt, to divide the 
said two Governments according to the proposals above-mention'd, & the 
order of our late Royal Father, Copies of both which you will herewith 
receive, and we do further give and grant unto you, and in case of the 
Death or absence of any of you, such of you as shall be present, full 
power and authority to treat & agree with the said Commissioners of the 
Province of North Carolina on such rules and Methods as you shall Judge 
most expedient for the adjusting and finally determining all disputes or 
controversies which may arise, touching any Islands or other small Slips 
of Land which may happen to be intersected or cut off by the dividing 
Line aforesaid, and which may with come conveniency be included in the 
One Province or the other by natural water bounds, agreeable to the pro- 
posals aforemention'd, and generally to do and perform all matters and 
things requisite for the final determination and Settlement of the said 
Boundarys, according to the said Proposals. And to the end our Service 
herein may not be disappointed through the refusal or delay of the Com- 
missioners for the Province of North Carolina, to act in Conjunction with 
you in settling the Boundarys aforesaid, we do hereby give & grant unto 
you, or such of you as shall be present at the time and place appointed 
for running the dividing Line aforesaid, full power and Authority to 
cause the said Line to be run and mark'd out, conformable to the said 
proposals, having due regard to the doing equal Justice to Us, and to the 
Lords Proprietors of Carolina, any refusal, disagreement, or opposition 
of the said Commissioners of North Carolina notwithstanding. And in 
that case we hereby require you to make a true report of your proceedirlgs 
to our Lieut Governor, or Commander in Chief of Virginia, in order to 
be laid before us for our approbation, and final determination herein. 
And in case any Person or Persons whatsoever shall presume to disturb, 
Molest or resist you, or any of the Officers or Persons by your direction, 
in running the said Line, and executing the Powers herein given you, wo 
do by these presents Give and Grant unto you, or such of you as shall be 
attending the service aforesaid, full power & authority by Warrant under 
your or any of your hands Seals, to order and command all and every the 
Militia Officers in our counties of Princess Anne, Norfolk, Nansemond, & 
Isle of Wight, or other the adjacent Counties, together with the Sheriff 
of each of the said Counties, or either of them, to raise the Militia & 
posse of the said Several Counties, for the removing all force and opposi- 
tion, which shall or may be made to you in the due Execution of this our 
Commission, & we do hereby will and require, as well the Officers of the 

Appendix 331 

said militia, as all other our OflBcers & loving Subjects within the said 
Counties, & all others whom it may concern, to be obedient, aiding & 
assisting unto you in all & Singular the Premises. And we do in like 
manner command & require you, to cause fair Maps & descriptions of the 
said Dividing Line, and the remarkable places through which it shall 
pass, to be made and return'd to our Lieut Governor or Commander in 
Chief of our said Colony for the time being, in order to be entered on 
Record in the proper Offices within our said Colony. Provided that you do 
not, by colour of this our Commission, take upon you or determine any 
Private man's property, in or to the Lands which shall by the said divid- 
ing Line be included within the Limits of Virginia, nor of any other mat- 
ter or thing that doth not relate immediately to the adjusting, settling & 
final Determination of the Boundary aforesaid, conformable to the Pro- 
posals hereinbefore mention'd, and not otherwise. In Witness whereof 
we have caused these presents to be made. Witness our trusty and well 
beloved William Gooch, Esqr. our Lieut Governor & Commander in 
Chief of our Colony & Dominion of Virginia, under the seal of our said 
Colony, at Williamsburg the 14th day of December, 1727, in the first Year 
of our Reign. 


The Governor of N. Carolina s Commission in 
Obedience to His Majesty's Order. 

Sir Richard Everard, Baronet, Governor, Captain General, Admiral, 
and Commander in Chief of the said Province: To Christopher Gale, 
Esq. Chief Justice, John Lovick, Esqr,, Secretary, Edward Moseley, Esqr., 
Surveyor General & William Little, Esqr., Attorney General, Greeting: 
Whereas many disputes & differences have formerly been between the In- 
habitants of this province and those of his Majesty's Colony of Virginia, 
concerning the Boundarys and Limits between the said two Governments, 
which having been duly considered by Charles Eden, Esqr., late Governor 
of this Province, and Alexander Spotswood, Esqr., late Governor of Vir- 
ginia, they agreed to certain proposals for determing the said controversy, 
& humbly offer'd the same for his Majesty's Royal Approbation, and the 
consent of the true & absolute Lords Proprietors of Carolina, and his 
Majesty having been pleas'd to signify his Royal approbation of those 
proposals (consent'd unto by the true and absolute Lords Proprietors of 
Carolina) and given directions for adjusting & settling the Boundarys as 
near as may be to the said Proposals: 

I, therefore, reposing especial trust and confidence in you the said 
Christopher Gale, John Lovick, Edward Moseley and William Little, to 
be Commissioners, on the part of the true and absolute Lords Proprietors, 
and that you in conjunction with such Commissioners as shall be nomi- 
nated for Virginia, use your utmost Endeavors, and take all necessary care 
in adjusting and settling the said boundarys, by drawing such a distinct 

332 History of the Dividing Line 

Line or Lines of Division between the said two Provinces, as near as reason- 
able you can to the Proposals made by the two former Governors, and 
the Instructions herewith given you. Given at the Council Chamber in 
Edenton, under my hand, and the Seal of the Colony, the 21st day of 
February, anno Dom 1727,^ and in the first year of the Reign of our 
sovereign Lord, King George the Second. 


The Protest of the Carolina Commissioners, against our 
Proceeding on the Line ivithout them. 

We the imderwritten Commissioners for the Government of N. Caro- 
lina, in conjunction with the Commissioners on the part of Virginia, hav- 
ing run the Line for the division of the two Colonys from Corotuck In- 
let, to the South Branch of Roanoak River; being in the whole about 170 
Miles, and near 50 Miles without the Inhabitants, being of Opinion we 
had run Line as far as would be requisite for a long time. Judged the 
carrying it farther would be a needless charge and trouble. And the 
Grand Debate which had so long Subsisted between the two Governments, 
about Wyanoke River or Creek, being settled at our former meeting in the 
Spring, when we were ready on our parts to have gone with the Line to 
the utmost Inhabitants, which if it had been done, the Line at any time 
after might have been continued at an easy expense by a Surveyor on each 
side; and if at any time hereafter there shou'd be occasion to carry the 
Line on further than we have now run it, which we think will not be in an 
Age or two, it may be done in the same easy manner, without the great 
Expense that now attends it. And on the Conference of all the Commis- 
sioners, we have communicated our sentiments thereon, and declar'd our 
Opinion, that we had gone as far as the Service required, and thought 
proper to proceed no further; to which it was answered by the Commis- 
sioners for Virginia, that they Should not regard what we did, but if we 
desisted, they wou'd proceed without us. But we, conceiving by his Maj- 
esty's Order in Council they were directed to Act in conjunction with the 
Commissioners appointed for Carolina, & having accordingly run the 
Line jointly so far, and Exchanged Plans, thought they cou'd not carry on 
the Bounds singly; but that their proceedings without us wou'd be irreg- 
ular & invalid, and that it wou'd be no Boundary, and thought proper 
to enter our Dissent thereto. Wherefore, for the reasons aforesaid, in 
the name of his Excellency the Lord Palatine, and the rest of the true 
and absolute Lords proprietors of Carolina, we do hereby dissent and 
Disallow of any further proceedings with the Bounds without our Con- 
currence, and pursuant to our Instructions do give this our DISSENT in 



October 7th, 1728. 

'February 21, 1728, by New Style. 

Appendix 333 

The Answer of the Virginia Commissioners to the foregoing protest. 

WHEREAS, on the 7th of October last, a paper was deliver'd to us by 
the Commissioners of N. Carolina, in the Stile of a Protest, against our 
carrying any farther, without them, the dividing Line between the 2 Gov- 
ernments, we, the underwritten Commissioners on the part of Virginia, 
having maturely considered the reasons offer'd in the said PROTEST, 
why those Gentlemen retir'd so soon from that Service, beg leave to re- 
turn the following answer: 

They are pleas'd in the first place to allege, by way of Reason, that hav- 
ing run the Line near 50 Miles beyond the Inhabitants, it was Sufficient 
for a long time, in their Opinion for an Age or two. To this we answer 
that, by breaking off so soon, they did but imperfectly obey his Majesty's 
Order, assented to by the Lords Proprietors. The plain meaning of that 
Order was, to ascertain the Bounds betwixt the two Governments as far 
towards the Mountains as we cou'd, that neither the King's Grants may 
hereafter encroach on the Lords Proprietors', nor theirs on the Right of 
his Majesty. And tho the distance towards the great Mountains be not 
precisely determined, yet surely the West line shou'd be carry'd as near 
them as may be, that both the King's Lands and those of their Lordships, 
may be taken up the faster, and that his Majesty's Subjects may as soon as 
possible extend themselves to that Natural Barrier. This they will cer- 
tainly do in a few Years, when they know distinctly in which Government 
they may enter for the Land, as they have already done in the more north- 
ern parts of Virginia. So that 'tis Strange the Carolina Commissioners 
should affirm, that the distance only of 50 Miles above the Inhabitants 
wou'd be sufficient to carry the Line for an Age or two, especially con- 
sidering that, two or three days before the date of their Protest, Mr. Mayo 
had enter'd with them for 2000 Acres of Land, within 5 Miles of the Place 
where they left off. Besides, if we reflect on the richness of the soil in 
those parts, & the convenience for Stock, we may foretell, without the Spirit 
of Divination, that there will be many Settlements higher than those Gen- 
tlemen went, in less than ten Years, and Perhaps in half that time. 

Another reason mention'd in the Protest for their retiring so soon from 
the Service is, that their going farther wou'd be a needless charge and 
Trouble. And they alledge that the rest may be done by one Surveyor 
on a side, in an easy manner, whenever it shall be thought necessary. 

To this we answer, that Frugality for the Public is a rare virtue, but 
when the public Service must suffer by it, it degenerates into a Vice. And 
this will ever be the Case when Gentlemen Execute the orders of their 
Superiors by halves, but had the Carolina Commissioners been sincerely 
frugal for their Government, why did they carry our Provisions Sufficient 
to support them and their Men for ten Weeks, when they intended not to 
tarry half that time? This they must own to be true, since they brought 
1000 lbs. of Provisions along with them. Now, after so great an Ex- 

334 History of the Dividing Line 

pence in their preparations, it had been no mighty addition to their 
Charge, had they endured the Fatigue 5 or 6 Weeks longer. It wou'd 
at most have been no more than they must be at, whenever they finish 
their Work, even tho they shou'd fancy it proper to trust a matter of that 
consequence to the Management of one Surveyor. Such a one must have 
a Number of Men along with him, both for his assistance and Defense, 
and those Men must have Provisions to Support them. 

These are all the reasons these Gentlemen think fit to mention in their 
protest, tho they had in truth a more Powerful argument for retiring so 
abruptly, which, because they forgot, it will be neighbourly to help them 
out. The provisions they intended to bring along with them, for want 
of Horses to carry them, were partly droppt by the way, & what they 
cou'd bring was husbanded so ill, that after 18 days, (which was the 
whole time we had then in our Company,) they had no more left, by 
their own confession, than two Pounds of Biscuit for each Man, to carry 
them home. However, tho this was an unanswerable Reason for Gentle- 
men for leaving the Business unfinisht, it was none at all for us, who had 
at that time Bread Sufficient for 7 Weeks longer. Therefore, lest their 
want of Management might put a stop to his Majesty's Service, & frus- 
trate his Royal intentions, we judg'd it our Duty to proceed without them, 
and have extended the Dividing Line so far West as to leave the great 
Mountains on each hand to the Eastward of us. And this we have done 
with the same fidelity & exactness as if the Gentlemen had continued with 
us. Our surveyors (whose Integrity I am perswaded they will not call 
in Question) continued to Act under the same Oath, which they had done 
from the beginning. Yet, notwithstanding all this, if the Government of 
N. Carolina shou'd not hold itself bound by that part of the Line which 
we made without the assistance of the Commissioners, yet we shall have 
this benefit in it at least, that his Majesty will know how far his Lands 
reach towards the South, & consequently where his Subjects may take it 
up, & how far they may be granted without Injustice to the Lords Pro- 
prietors. To this we may also add, that having the Authority of our 
Commission to act without the Commissioners of Carolina, in Case of 
their disagreement or refusal, we thought ourselves bound upon their Re- 
treat to finish the Line without them, lest his Majesty's Service might Suf- 
fer by any honour or neglect on their part. 


The Names of the Commissioners to direct the running of the Line 
between Virginia and North Carolina. 



Commissioners for Virginia. 






Commissioners for Carolina. 

Surveyors for Virginia. 

Surveyors for N. Carolina. 


Names of the Men employ d on the part of Virginia to run the Line 
between that Colony and N. Carolina. 


the first expedition. 

On the 2nd expedition 


Peter Jones, 

Peter Jones, 


Thomas Jones, 

Thomas Jones, 


Thomas Short, 

Thomas Short, 


Robert Hix, 

Robert Hix, 


John Evans, 

John Evans, 


Stevens Evans, 

Stephen Evans, 


John Ellis, 

John Ellis, 


John Ellis, Jr. 

John Ellis, Jr., 


Thomas Wilson. 

Thomas Wilson, 


George Tilman, 

George Tilman, 


Charles Kimbal, 

Charles Kimbal, 


George Hamilton, 

George Hamilton, 


Robert Allen, 

Thomas Jones, Junr. 


Thomas Jones, Junr. 

James Petillo, 


James Petillo, 

Rich'd Smith, 


Richard Smith, 

Abraham Jones, 


John Rice, 

Edward Powell, 
William Pool, 
William Calvert, 
James Whitlock, 
Thomas Page. 

Account of the Expence of running the Line between 
Virginia, and N. Carolina. 

To the Men's Wages in Current Money 227 10 0^ 

To Sundry Disbursements for Provisions, &c 174 01 6 

To Paid the Men for 7 Horses lost 44 

^ There is an error in the sum of these figures. 

336 Appendix 

The Sum of £495 11 6 Current Money £495 11 

reduc't at 15 Per Cent to Sterling amounts to £430 08 10 

To Paid to colo Byrd 142 5 7 

To paid to colo Dandridge 142 5 7 

T paid to Mr. Fitz-William 94 

To paid to the Chapdain, Mr. Fountain 20 

To paid to Mr. William Mayo 75 

To paid to Mr. Alex Irvin 75 

To paid for a Tent and Marquis 20 


This Summ was discharg'd by a Warrant out of His Majesty's Quitrents 
from the Lands in Virginia. 


Akehurst, Daniel, xvi. 

Allen, John, Gent., ("Capricorn") , 15, 

30, 31. 
Allen, Widow, 32, 33. 
Alligator, 300, 302. 
Alston, Major, 77, 89. 
Ambergris, 278. 

American Philosophical Society, 16. 
Anderson, Charles, 108. 
Andros, Edmund, 6. 
Angelica, 188. 
Aramanchy River, 300. 
Argall, Sir Samuel, 7. 
"Arsmart, Dr.," 31. 
"Astrolabe," see Mayo, William. 
Asarabaca, 162. 


Bainford, Epaphroditus, 156, 157. 

Baker, Mr., 35, 79. 

Baker, Captain, 77, 89, 105, 107. 

Ballance, Mr., 58, 59. 

Banister, John, 129. 

Banister River, xii. 

Bear, 196, 197. 

Bearskin (Indian) 198-203, 306. 

Beaver, 292. 

Bladen, Martin, 52. 

Blair, James ("Burly"), xi, 15, 131. 

Blewing Creek, 112, 113. 

Bolton's Ferry, 112, 113. 

Bombo, 92. 

"Bo-otes," see Swann, Samuel 

Boston, 5. 

Boundary Line, see Dividing Line. 

Boush, Samuel, 37. 

Boyle, Robert, 118. 

Brandon, xiv. 

Brinkley, Mr., 82. 

Brinkley, Peter, 90, 101. 

Buffalo, 286, 288. 

Buffalo Creek, 176, 284. 

"Burly," see Blair, Rev. James. 

Burnet, Bishop, 312. 

Byrd, Mary Willing, xiv. 

Byrd, Susan, xxii. 

Byrd, WiUiam ("Steddy") dissension 
with members of the boundary com- 
mission, xxi; sketch of, xxii ffffi 
Lands of, xxiii; literary works, xxv, 
and slavery, ibid; speeches of, 31, 
63, 123, 299; account of expedition, 
125; address to Governor Gooch, 

Byrd, Ursula, xxii. 

Cabin Branch, 154, 155. 

Cane Creek, 192, 193. 

"Capricorn," s«e Allen John. 

Chestnuts, 197. 

Qiff Creek, 276, 277. 

Carolina, charter of, 10, 322. 

Casquade Creek, 209, 210, 213, 264, 265. 

Catawba Indians, 300. 

Catesby, Mark, xiii. 

Cherokee Indians, 244, 246. 

Christanna, Fort, 160, 310, 311. 

Cargill, Cornelius, 309. 

Chowan River, xviii, 104, 106. 

Church, at Jamestown, 3. 

Church of England, in North Carolina, 

Cohungaroota, 240. 
Cohunks, 206. 
CoUeson, Peter, xiii. 
Colonization, English, sketch of, 1-10. 
Colts-foot, 178. 
Connecticut, charter of, 5. 
Contentnea Creek, 290. 
Coratuck Inlet, xviii, 41, 42. 
Corn, Indian, 92. 
Cotton, 66. 
Crane Creek, 300. 
Cranes, 190. 
Crawford, William, 34, 35. 



Crooked Creek, 228, 229, 230, 231, 248, 
249, 250. 


Dalicaria, 8. 

Dandridge, William, ("Meanwell"), ix, 
xi, xii, xviii, sketch of 15n, 67; 
ill, 93, 95; quarrels with Fitz-Wil- 
liam, 99, 173, 175, 177. 

Dan River, 193, 194, 195. 

Debtor laws, 58n. 

Dismal Swamp, xx, xxiv; commission ap- 
proaches, 60; preparations to enter, 
62-64; description of, 70, 84-87; line 
completed through, 98. 

Dittany, 276. 

Dividing Line (between North Carolina 
and Virginia) ; origin and history of 
controversy, xiv ff; commission of 
1728, 12-17; begins survey, 44-47; 
map, 110-111; resumes work, 139; 
North Carolina members leave, 176; 
their protest, 177, 332; reply of Vir- 
ginia commissioners, 179; names of 
employees, 319, 334; expenses of, 
319, 335 ; table of distances, 321 ; sur- 
vey of 1710, 324; agreement of 1715, 
328; order of the Crown and the 
Virginia instructions, 329; the North 
Carolina instructions, 331; see also 
History of the Dividing Line and 
Secret History of the Line. 

Dogwood, 143. 

Dosier Island, 46, 47, 48. 

Draper, Lyman C. xiv. 

Dukes, Andrew, 40, 41. 

Eden, Sir Charles, xviii, 12, 13, 329. 

Edenton, 92, 93, 94, 96. 

Elk, 236. 

Embry, Captain, 313, 314. 

Everard, Sir Richard, 16, 17, 19, 332. 

Eyland, Mr., 52. 

Fences, in North Carolina, 94. 
Fern-root, 158. 

"Firebrand," see Fitz- William, Richard. 

Fitz-William, Richard, ix, xi, xii, xviii, 
sketch of, 15n; orders meal, 41; a 
source of friction, 55, 57; familiar 
with woman, 59; forwards baggage, 
65; angers employee, 75; dissension 
with Byrd, 89; "flirt at Robin Hix," 
91; associates with Irvine, 93, and 
Lovick, 107; words with Dandridge, 
99; with Byrd, 101, 103; for carry- 
ing on line, 109; criticizes Byrd, 
125, 131, 133; jealousy of Byrd, 153; 
opposes continuance of survey, 171; 
quarrels with Dandridge, 173, 175, 
177; leaves the survey, 174, 176, 177. 

Fontaine, Rev. Peter ("'Dr. Humdrum") 
ix, xiv, sketch of 17n; joviality of, 
33; hopes of christening, 41; merry, 
71; goes to Edenton, 92; returns, 
100, 101; subject of mirth. 111; 
peevish, 281. 

Fountain Creek, 148, 152, 154, 155. 

Foxes, 94. 

Gale, Christopher, (-'Jumble") ix, xviii, 

sketch of, 17n; 43, 78, 145, 169. 
Gale, Edmund, 77. 
Gallbush, 34, 60. 
Genneau, Captain, 77. 
Georgia, Indian trade of, 246. 
Gibbs, John, 52. 
Ginseng, 272, 274. 
Glue-broth, 254. 
Godwin, Mr., 34 . 
Godding, Thomas, 35. 
Gooch, Governor, xi, 12, 135, 139. 
Gout, treatment of, 242. 
Grapes, 194, 196, 197, 216. 
Great Creek, 298, 299. 
Griffin, Charles, 118. 


Harding, William, 46, 47. 

Harrison, Henry, 123, 143. 

Harrison, Nathaniel, ("Merryman") , 13. 

Haw-oldfields, 298. 

Hawtree Creek, 160, 161. 

Heath, John, 50. 



Hico River, 168, 169, 172, 176, 286. 

Hill, John, 148, 149. 

Hipocoanah, 62. 

History of the Dividing Line, contrast 

with the Secret History, xii, xiii; 

literary origins, xiii. 
Hix, Robin, 103, 155, 157. 
Hix's Creek, 176, 177. 
Hixe, George, 308. 
Horses, unfit for frontier, 258, 260. 
Horsmanden, Mary, xxii. 
Houses, in North Carolina, 94, 95. 
"Humdrum, Dr.," see Fontaine, Rev. 

Hunting with fire, 284, 285, 286. 

Indians, Byrd on intermarriage with, 3; 
school for, 118; superstition of, 178; 
religion of, 198-203; endurance of, 
202, 204; hostility of Northern and 
Southern, 218; cruelty of, 220, 221; 
fortitude of, 222; trade with, 246; 
manner of traveling, 266; of dress- 
ing deerskins, 274; dress of, 286; 
see also Bearskin, Catawbas, Occo- 
neechi, Sapponi, Sauro, Steuenhock, 
Tuscarora, Tutero, Usheree. 

Irvine, Alexander, ("Orion") ix, x, xi, 
xviii, 14; sketch of, 33n; relies on 
North Carolina surveyors, 49; Byrd's 
opinion of, ibid; disheartened, 61; 
peeved, 87; associates with Fitz- 
William, 93; assisted by Joseph 
Mayo, 103; complaint regarding 
Byrd, 125, 127; reconciled, 145; pre- 
fers Swann to Mayo, 161; delicate 
constitution, 223. 

Ivy, John, 69. 

Ivey, Timothy, 66. 

Jamestown, church and tavern at, 3. 
"Jimible," Judge, see Gale, Christopher. 


Keith, Cornelius, 304, 305. 
Kiawan Mountain, 244. 

Knott's Island, 41, 47, 48, 49, 50. 
Kinchen, William, 110, 111, 144. 
Kindred, Mr., 112, 113. 

Land of Eden, 268. 

Laurel, wild, 46. 

Lawson, John, 106, 108. 

Little, William ("Puzzle-Cause"), ix, 
xviii; sketch of, 17n; late arrival, 43; 
searches for surveyors, 57; a gallant, 
67; visits Edenton, 79, 92, 93; tardy, 
145; certifies to quarrel of Fitz-Wil- 
liam and Dandridge, 185; in panic, 

Little River, 84. 

Lizzard Creek, 154. 

Long Sugar, 92. 

Louse, 64. 

Lovers Leap, 232, 244. 

Lovick, John ("Shoebrush") , ix, x, xviii; 
sketch of, 17n; late arrival, 45; char- 
acter, 47; visits Edenton, 89; with 
Fitz- William, 107; spokesman of 
North Carolina commissioners, 169; 
in danger, 17( 

Lovick, Thomas, 

Lowland Creek, 266. 


Maiden hair, 178. 

Marston, (Marsden), Rev. Richard, 38, 

Maryland, colonization of, 7. 

Massamory Creek, 266. 

Matrimony Creek, 214, 215, 256, 257. 

Mayo, William ("Astrolabe"), ix, x, xi, 
xix, 14, 15n; consulted, 27; slighted 
by Irvine, 49; and by Fitz- William, 
55; informs Byrd concerning Irvine, 
87; in Dismal Swamp, 89-90; dis- 
sension over, 99; accused of inef- 
ficiency, 127; joins Byrd, 141; Irvine 
complains of, 161; horse falls, 207; 
resourceful, 223; chases a bear, 227; 
reads aloud, 243; Byrd's estimate 
of, 318. 

Mayo, Joseph, 31, 45, 100, 103. 

Mayo River, 226, 227. 



Maycox Plantation, 141n. 

Mead, Andrew, 68, 69, 78, 83. 

"Meanwell," see Dandridge, William. 

Meherrin Indians, 106, 107. 

Meherrin River, 106, 107, 108, 109, 112, 
148, 150. 

Merchant, Willoughby, 52, 53. 

"Merryman," see Harrison, Nathaniel 

Miry Creek, 226, 227. 

Moniseep Ford, 158, 304. 

Moratuck, 290. 

Moseley, Edward ("'Plausible"), ix, 
xviii, ii, 16; sketch of, 17n; con- 
sulted by Byrd, 45, 46, 47; visits 
Edenton, 89; as surveyor, 100, 101; 
spokesman, 129; signs protest, 177. 

Mosquitoes, 50, 74. 

Moss, Mr., 51. 

Mountains, view of, 194, 224, 228, 232, 
236, 237, 244, 245, 247, 248, 249. 

Munford, Robert, 157, 158, 298, 299, 305, 
306, 318. 

Music, power of 282, 284. 


Nansemond River, 68, 80, 86. 

Nauvassa, 300. 

New Church, 29, 123, 143. 

New England, colonization of, 4-6; 
Byrd's opinion of, 5; traders from, 

New Jersey, colonization of, 8. 

Newton, Colonel George, 37. 

New York, colonization of, 7. 

Norfolk, description of, 36. 

North Carolina, settlement of, 10; boun- 
dary controversy, 11, 12; commis- 
sion to settle, 13, 14, 15, 16; let- 
ter of, 25; contention of, 45; pro- 
visions for, 144, 148, 158; refuses 
to proceed, 168, 169, 176; protest 
of, 177, 332; society in, 40, 41, 50, 
52, 54, 55, 56, 58, 66, 68, 90, 92, 96, 
98, 110, 304; cattle in, 54; lawless- 
ness in, 58, 104; marriage in, 72, 
74, 102; religion in, 68, 72, 74, 96. 

North River, 84. 

Northern Creek, 55, 59. 

Northwest River, 40, 41. 

Nottoway Indians, Byrd meets, 112, 113; 

their fort, 114; entertainment by, 

115; customs, 116; school, 118; 

description of, 120; Eissociation with, 

Nottoway River, x, xi, xvii, xviii; 106, 

112, 113, 326. 
Nova Scotia (New Scotland), 6. 
Nutbush Creek, 162, 163. 

Occoneechi Indians, 308, 312. 

Ohimpanny Creek, 164, 165, 292, 293. 

Opossum, 248, 250. 

Orchards, 94, 110. 

O'Shields, Mr. 77, 81, 103. 

Otter, 296. 

Oysters, 44, 45. 

Paco, 266. 

Panther, 212, 214. 

Parker, Mr., 102, 105, 113, 143. 

Partridge Mountain, 190. 

Pasquotank River, 84. 

Peak, Indian, 42, 114. 

Penn, William, scandalous story of, 9. 

Pennsylvania, colonization of, 9. 

Perquimons River, 84. 

Peters Creek, xxi. 

Pigeons, 212, 214. 

Pigeon Roost Creek, 154. 

"Plausible," see Moseley, Edward. 

Pocosin, 56, 57. 

Polecat, 316. 

Pork Diet in North Carolina, 54, 55. 

Powder Point, 38, .39. 

Prescott's Landing, 38. 

Pugh, Mr. 67, 69, 77. 

"Puzzlecause," see Little, William. 

Quakers, 9, 68. 
Quern-stones, 304. 


Raccoons, 230. 

Kl<ui«k /~«^^;m« I likr^rvj ^AnfMni<ciAn 



Rackpunch, 143. 

Rattlesnake, 110, 152, 153, 158. 

Rattlesnake root, 152, 155, 160, 242. 

Ravenscroft Landing, 141. 

Red-ochre, 164. 

Religion in North Carolina, 72. 

Rice, John, 33. 

Riley, Miles, 306. 

Roanoke River, 154, 156, 157, 191, 192, 

Rockhominy, 202, 254. 
Rum, 92. 

Sable Creek, 204, 205, 268, 269. 

Saint Andrew's Cross, 154. 

Santa Barbara, 242. 

Sappony Chapel, 316. 

Sappony Indians, 159, 160, 308, 310, 311. 

Sauro (Cheraw) Indians, 208, 209. 

Scalping, 220, 308. 

Secret History of the Line, comparison 
with the History of the Dividing 
Line, ix-xiii. 

Sessamun, 272. 

Sheep, 48, 150. 

"Shoebrush," see Lovick, John. 

Shenandoah River, 240. 

Smith, Sam, 37. 

Sommerton Chapel, 104. 

Southall, Sir Robert, xxii. 

Speight (Spight), WiUiam, 75, 104, 105. 

Spotswood, Alexander, xxiii, 12, 13, 18, 

Stargrass, 152. 

Staunton River, 193. 

"Steddy," see Byrd, William. 

Stegg, Thomas, xxii. 

Steuenhock Indians, 310. 

Stith, Drury, 147, 149. 

Sugar Tree Creek, 166, 167, 286, 287 

Sunday, observance of, 200, 260, 261, 262 

Swann, Samuel ("Bo-otes"), ix, xix, 16 
arrival of, 42, 43; sketch of, 43n 
brings news, 81, 82; returns to Dis 
mal Swamp, 90; marriage, 100 
leaves the survey, ibid; returns, 146 
ill, 163; kills deer, 169. 

Sweden, intolerance in, 8. 

Sweetgum tree, 216, 278. 

Tar, 90. 

Tarantism, 282, 284. 

Terrapine, 278. 

Tewhominy Creek, 166, 167, 287, 290. 

Tobacco, in North Carolina, xvii; quality 

of, 68; Virginia law concerning 80, 

Totero Indians, 310, 312. 
Trade, Indian, 298. 
Trading Path, 160, 298, 299. 
Turkey, wild, 150, 151, 198, 199, 238. 
Turpentine, 102. 
Tuscarora Indians, 290, 292. 


Usheree Indians, 300. 

Virginia, colonization of, 2-4; horseback 
riding in, 258; commission to es- 
tablish boundary, 12, 13; letters of 
commission, 21, 27; provisions, 28; 
arrival at Currituck, 41, 42; decide 
to continue line, 168; return, 234, 
235, 238; accident, 236, 237; au- 
thorization of, 239; reply to North 
Carolina protest, 233; names of em. 
ployees, 29, 335; expenses, 335. 


Walker, Henderson, xvi. 
Warren's Mill, 29, 123. 
Weyanoke, xvii, xviii, xxi; 10, 11, 12, 

260, 262, 263. 
White, Soloman, 51. 
Wicocon Creek xvii, 10, 11. 
Wilson, Willis, 39, 40, 41, 49, 55, 61, 

62, 64, 67. 
Williams, William, 37. 
Women, mistreatment of xii, 53, 57, 67, 

91, 149. 

Yadkin River, 300. 

Yapatsco Creek, 164, 165, 292, 293, 294. 

Yapon Tree, 42. 

Yaws, 14. 


3 3091 00747 2111 




8sd23 5s; 

SEP 1 2 '55,2 3 1S8ft 

JUL 1 C 191 


nm \^m 


AUG 1^ 


OFO 3 1 


AUG 1 5 1 


nCT 2« ^^^ 


MAY 2 7 1«i 

OCT 2 4 


f^Tf ■ 

■Q T' 

Library Bureau Gat. no. 1137