Act 5: The Tuscarora War

Capture of Lawson and De GraffenriedJohn Lawson and Baron De Graffenried, on a canoe journey up the Neuse River, stumble upon the natives preparing for war. They are taken captive and tried before Chief Hancock. De Graffenried is eventually released, but Lawson is killed by the Tuscarora. [Video Commentary by Arwin Smallwood]

Slaughter of Jamestown colonistsOn September 22, 1711, hundreds of Tuscarora warriors descend on white settlements along the Neuse and Pamlico. Many men, women and children are brutally murdered. Those lucky enough to escape flee to homes near Bath and New Bern. There are few with military training and the colonial governor appeals to Virginia and South Carolina for help. Virginia will only respond if they can be reimbursed, something the poorer Carolina colony is unable to do. South Carolina sends an army, but it is mostly Indians led by a few officers, tribesmen who are enemies of the Tuscarora and in search of slaves and weapons. [Video Comentary by Malinda Lowery]

Colonel John Barnwell leads a force of nearly 500 Indians across the Cape Fear and attacks Tuscarora towns along the Neuse. The Indians are outgunned and are easily overrun. Barnwell loses more men to desertion than battle as they get revenge and return home. [Video Commentary by Clara Sue Kidwell]

Indian Attack on cabinBarnwell succeeds in routing the Tuscarora at Fort Hancock, but his treachery after agreeing to a settlement initiates a second round of attacks across the region. Chief Blount of the northern band of Tuscarora, anxious to resume trading with the English, delivers the leader of the attacking tribes, Chief Hancock, and turns him over for execution. Blount's towns are spared from destruction by the colonial forces.

In Spring of 1713, an even larger band of Indian forces, under the command of Colonel James Moore, lays siege to the largest stronghold of the southern Tuscarora, Fort Neoheroka, and for almost three weeks, nine hundred native men, women and children inside refuse to lay down their weapons.

Burning fort with native warriorsMoore succeeds in blowing a hole in the fortress stockade wall and the fort is set alight, with many Tuscarora burned alive. Most of the men are killed and the women and children who survive are sold into slavery. The once mighty Tuscarora nation is crushed. Even the friendly Chief Blount loses his lands eventually and most of the surviving Tuscarora join the Iroquois Confederacy in New York.

The Europeans came to make their fortunes, and they sought it by signing and breaking treaties with the Native Americans who were first on the land. North Carolina's interior is now open to settlement, both from the eastern settlers moving west and now, with the Indians gone, opening a floodgate of new immigrants moving into the Piedmont from the north and south. Not until the settlers reach the mountains will native resistance slow their progress. [Video Commentary by Native Storyteller]

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