A good book should begin with justification for its writing and a preview of what it is going to tell the reader. This book was written as a series of notes to various people about the Native Americans. The notes are presented with editing to delete most of the personal and irrelevant content characteristic of letters.
It was always a given in my family that the members of Sir Walter Raleigh's "Lost Colony" survived among the Indians of Eastern North Carolina. This book is a search for the descendants of members of the English colony brought to America by John White in 1585. It is based on historical records, relevant documents of whatever sort, and Pate family traditions and a lot of interesting conversations. It is complicated by a lot of history that is not included in the stories of the "Lost Colony" offered for popular consumption.
According to family traditions, the Pates were Welsh, with land holdings and business and political interest" in England in the early 1600's. The family crest indicate. that they were privy councilors to the king. This crest also suggests that their position, as privy councilors, was not a comfortable one.
The Pates were active in the fabric industry, and owned estates that reguired a broad education for their successful operation. They were economic administrators under the Tudors, and they emptied London jails of their highest quality prisoners to populate colonies around the World.
Because of family ties, with families such as the Blounts, Skipwiths and Chevinses, they learned to take the sop that "He who rules Wales, will one day England rule," without gagging. They appreciated their Welsh heritage, but they knew how to capitalize on their Englishness.
For generations the Pates of Wayne County, North Carolina, have been in close working associations with Indian families of the Lumbee and Coharie tribes, such as the Jacobses, Hargroves, Wynns, Carrs and others. In the preparation of the history of the Wayne County Pates, Debtor's Legocy, I became conscious of another story, partially revealed in a subsequent manuscript, At Your Beginnings, prepared for the Jacobs family.
At Your Beginnings made me aware of a bigger story that needed telling. Neither Debtor's Legacy nor At Your Beginnings was the really heart-touching story that lay lost in the path from where my people came from to where we are today. The Search for Johnny Chevin is that heretofore untold story. It tied together a lot of historical loose ends. It ties together a lot of historically, culturally and ethnically isolated people, whose descendants still struggle with the problem of cultural identity.
It will be helpful to the reader to have, in the context of the narrative, some information about source" of topics alluded to in The Search for Johnny Chevin, which was the ground out of which this book grew. The background of the Lost Colony of Sir Walter Raleigh is the discovery and exploration of northeastern North America by the Vikings, under the leadership of Leif Erikson and Thorfinn Karlsefni, circa 1000-1010. This is authoritatively presented by Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson in The Vinland Sagas, The Norse Discovery of America, published by Penguin Books in 1965. This is the official translation of the Vikings own records, the Icelandic Sagas, recently returned to Iceland by the Danish government,
Many popular and timely books and television shows have made us all aware of the search for a Western Passage from Europe to China. Most of us are now aware that a navigational elite have known the Earth is round since the days of the Greek geographer Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus,, circa A.D. 127), one of the many Greek encyclopaedists who made Egyptian knowledge known to Europe (not always acknowledging their sources). The writings of Paul E. Hoffman, Professor of History, Louisiana State University, are among the best sources for review of ancient world exploration, particularly the earliest explorations of the southeastern part of North America. Especially relevant is Hoffman's A New Andalucia and a Way to the Orient, published by the LSU press in 1990, which develops from a wide variety of archival sources a fascinating discussion of the earliest activities of the Spanish and French in the Southeast.
Depopulation of Europe by various plagues, and incessant warfare between Christians and Moslems in Crusades of the Middle Ages, were the main causes of loss of interest in America during the Dark Ages, circa 1100 to 1500. The social chaos of the Dark ages was aggravated by meteorological conditions that created a small Ice Age around 1300, which made North Atlantic navigation extremely hazardous.
However, before the historical curtain closed on America for some three centuries, Madoc ab (son of) Owen Gwynned,, brought two groups of colonists from Wales to America in 1170 and 1190. He did this following the example of Brendan the Irish Abbot, who went to escape the Vikings, who referred to the monks they found in America as Unipods. This obviously alluding to the ground-length robes they wore.
Owen Gwynned was descended from Viking kings of Dublin. According to the exhaustive study of the Welsh Indian legends, Madoc and the Discovery of America, by Richard Deacon, Madoc was the son of Owen Gwynned by Brenda, daughter of Howell of Carno. The ancestry of his father and the name of his mother indicate the mythology that drove Madoc. Deacon clearly indicates that Owen Gwynned cohabited with many of the royalty he visited or conquered in war, in his constant struggle against the European Normans and their allies. Celts generally followed this pattern, when they came from Wales, Scotland or Ireland to America, thus having sons in line for kingship among many Indian tribes. This is too well known a pattern to belabor.
The Madoc myth has been even more exhaustively and authoritatively worked by Gwyn A. Williams. His Madoc, The Legend of the Welsh Discovery of America, published by Eyre Methuen, Ltd. and the Oxford University Press in 1979 is the definitive discussion of this legend. It seems to establish the Madoc colonies as fact to be dealt with in any Serious discussion of American Indian history.
Sails of Hope, the Secret Mission of Christopher Columbus, by the famous Israeli Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, clearly indicates that there were maps extant before Columbus's time showing America. Welsh piratical activities likely yielded to the Bristol ship masters a fair knowledge of whatever facts or rumors circulated regarding continental America before 1492. The schemes of Price Hughes and Thomas Nairne, revealed in Hughe's letters and South Carolina state records, indicate the likely origin of the "Welsh Clanes" who lived as Indians in the Cape Fear Valley, in the early 1600's.
The people of Wales, Cornwall, Devon, Ireland and Scotland always had an ambivalence in their attitude toward the government of England, which was dynastically based in continental Europe. This attitude and the resulting tendency to rebellion resulted in the deaths of untold numbers of unreconstructed "British" (as opposed to Anglo-Saxon English), who longed to see native royalty on the throne of England. Thus Celts in posts of influence with the Indians, and others like the Jeffersons, Henrys, Nairnes, Waynes, Penns, etc., in high government positions, made the American Revolution a foregone conclusion.
The Welsh tendency to rebellion cost an early John Pate his life in Maryland. It also caused Thoroughgood Pate to escape from debtor's prison in Virginia, live as an Indian on the frontiers of the Rappohannock Valley, and end up in North Carolina's Albemarle--a. the brother-in-law of the Deputy Lord Proprietor, Nathaniel Chevin. There his son John became a war chief of the Tuscarora's who were friendly to the English. Thoroughgood Pate died in the last year of the Tuscarora War, under circumstances that remain a mystery.
Historical records indicate that Thoroughgood's youngest son William was raised by Nathaniel Chevin, because Thoroughgood's other sons were not deemed able to raise him as his mother, Sarah Chevin, saw fit. This was probably a backhanded allusion to a frontier lifestyle enjoyed by Thoroughgood in previous marriages. My great uncle James Brantley Pate said the early Pates in Wayne County North Carolina were dark people.
Uncle Brantley said he had a picture of his "Indian" ancestors, Leitha and Clint Pate, somewhere, but he never could find it. My cousin Charles saw the picture, but he has not been able to find it since Uncle Brantley's death. Uncle Brantley was named for Sheriff James Brantley Harrison, who was murdered by the notorious Lumbee Indian outlaw Henry Berry Lowrie. This knowledge, and something my mother revealed to me shortly before she died, made the writing of this book inevitable.
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