"The fate of the Chicora Nation is a strange blank place in our history. The Coree lacuna is an abscess that no one wants opened since we have forgotten its origin and have become accustomed to the pain."
This Website was conceived by Al Pate so as to Accept Information And Answer Enquiries about the Core Indians And Other Synonyms Of Tribes Of The CHICORA NATION
Family History Relating to
the Coree Indians
Recently, at the home of my friend Sheilah "Firehair" Stover, I tried to explain to some of her friends, including a chief of the Iroquois Nation, a few things about the Coree Nation. Maybe I was not very effective, but I was sincere in what I shared with them, including Lauber's documentation of Indian slavery in North Carolina through the Civil War.
During the past thirty years I've written much to many people about the Native Americans of the Southeast. Most of this writing ended up in the five different book-length manuscripts I wrote, copies of which are in the North Carolina Collection of Davis Library, UNC Chapel Hill. My material has enjoyed neither popularity nor wide readership. It tends to fly into the face of established doctrine.
I'm still battling for belief in some of my observations relating to Native American history in the Carolinas. Evidence of some success is in a clipping a friend sent me (of an article that appeared in a Pembroke, NC, Lumbee newspaper, on the Shakoris, by John Marshall of Rocky Mount) that shows I'm making some impact with a few people. Some folks in the Indian community are slowly coming my way on the significance and identity of the officially extinct Coree, on their own.
Having said that, I will go on to say this; whether the Native American can ever deal with it, or not, many of their best and brightest climbed on the "first thing smoking" that came along, and went to town--and never looked back. Some of that was long ago. The offspring of those folks are Native Americans' descendants I had hoped to find when I began my enquiries about Coree Indians in Patetown. My grandfather Daniel (Taud) Pate used to say, "It took a lot of social stamina to be an Indian in Patetown." He was talking about his great grandmother, Christian Ammons Pate (wife of Silas Daniel Pate, early Primitive Baptist preacher), about whom, he said, "She went about in fair style, and never looked back."
Considerable effort was made by the Thad Pate family to obscure the location of Torhunta. The old map on the back inside cover of the Wayne County Heritage Book shows Torhunta running along the Patetown Slough.
You will note that Barnwell shows it on the main trading path between the Curri(Coree)tuck and Charleston. The old Mosley (Lawson) map shows it on both sides of The Slough. There is now real estate development all around it, including one called Torhunta Estates, in the Patetown area of Wayne County. Lemuel Lancaster told me the heirs of Thad Pate have mixed emotions about how to handle the Torhunta town site on the big hill, at the junction of The Slough and Nahunta Creek. You owe it to yourself to see the artifacts collected by people in the area, to confirm I'm not just blowing smoke about the indians who were here.
It has taken a long time for Indians in this area to accept that some of their best and brightest "went for white", as soon as they could get a decent shirt and a pair of broadcloth pants. A Coree Indian ancestor of mine, Jesse Ammons, was a constable, and I suspect he was a Brice's Ranger, who made a career of clearing Indians and mix-breds off stream-front lands for white settlement. Many of the squatters on Lords Proprietors' lands were Celtic types (Welsh, Scots and Irish), who felt at ease with Indian wives and Indian ways. It was the old, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em", idea, in both cases.
My efforts to smoke Indians out of white and black folks' closets with my stories have not been very successful. How unsuccessful was made clear by my failure to convey much to Sheilah's friends, who knew very little of the historical background I tried to travel in with them. As a last effort to make a contribution to one of the great wrongs done by some of our white forefathers in officially destroying the Coree Nation, I've prepared a composite of James Adair's "Cacique" map, and John Barnwell's "Tuscarora War" map. This map is the key to the history and disposition of the Shakori, who are synonymous with the Coree and Chicora.
Come to the Goldsboro area, and we'll put a trip to see Jarvis Pelt's Torhunta artifact collection on your visit agenda. The Native American graveyard there was scandalously treated. It is things like this that make white people feel so guilty, that it is hard to come to grips with a resolution of old grievances, and find healing for the old hurts. The Indian graveyard was the top of Torhunta Hill. It was excavated for runway and road fill, and Gene and Cooper Lancaster told me the excavators stopped hauling the dirt only when they hit "modern" graves. The "black" part of the Torhunta graveyard is now abandoned. Part of the old Indian plum grove is still there.
My grandfather said that Torhunta was the administrative center of "ten towns." I have concluded that Torhunta was the administrative center of ten towns that had been part of the Coree (Chicoria, Shakori) Nation that were deleted from the text of James Adair's History,before its takeover in Lederer's time by Tuscaroras, some of whom defected from Chief Jim Blount of Oconerunt(now Greenville; the Pates are descended from Blounts in England) and joined the Corees against the Palatines.
It is my opinion that the Saponis were a sept of the Cheraws and Succa (Sugar, Sugarees, Shakoris, i.e. Chicora/Corees), (see map I will send, if you send me your postal address), who I believe were recruited and formed the bulk of Brice's Rangers, to become known the "worst of the bad Indians", as my greatx3 grandmother called the Coree Indians, who are now remembered in southern Wayne County as Siouan Saponis, who were allied and associated with the Tory efforts of the likes of Barna Jernigan in the War of 1812. This is a generally ignored era in our history, that is given some treatment in LAW TALES FOR LAYMEN, by Joseph Seawell.
Barna Jernigan, was the grandson of my great x 5 grandfather "Lame David" Jernigan, the grandfather of Christian Ammons Pate. Barner Jernigan, his brother Lovett, his and grandfather David, were all three hung for activities in Wayne, Duplin and Sampson Counties arising out of the War of 1812, in which they were allied with Indians. They were accused of stealing and transporting slaves to Georgia for sale. These slaves had been subsisting as families in the woods for over eight months, when the Jernigans became involved with them, and I believe these slave were Indians, in lifestyle and identity--with perhaps some African and European ancestry.
"Lame David" Jernigan ran to his friend "Round-Headed Billy" Powell, for asylum, after murdering Sheriff John Coor-Pender. However, when 18-year-old Paul Coor-Pender (son of Sheriff Coor-Pender) went to apprehend him, Powell turned the old man over to him. The Wayne County Jernigans were served badly by the War of 1812 and subsequent events, that resulted in the hanging of a beloved patriarch, and two of his most promising grandsons.
Most of the Jernigans ended up south of Neuse River, where there were many Jacobses, Wynns, Carrs, Simmonses, Hedgepeths, Ammones, Bakers and other families associated with North Carolina Siouan tribes. These folks were a varied lot. Some were holders of slaves. Some were free. Some were not. Some had "something". Others had a lot of debt. Conflicts ran high, and political strife was polarized between Grantham and Patetown. "Lame David" Jernigan, a disgruntled hero of the Revolutionary War, was a founder of Waynesboro.
Waynesboro was poorly sited. The site for the county seat should have been on high ground, at Everettsville, south of the Neuse, or north of the river on the present site of Cherry Hospital, where a Siouan town survived after Torhunta's destruction. In 1740 the Quaker Kennedy family came into Wayne County and settled in the present day area of Cherry Hospital and O'Berry Center, and began to buy up slaves to ameliorate their condition. This was a source of agitation and conflict during the Civil War, for which the Kennedys suffered greatly.
There's real drama in our East Carolina history. Inter-tribal Indian warfare provided much of it. Early and late in their history, the Carolina Siouans sided wrong in wars, however. The Coree were officially doomed to oblivion, the cultural and economic equivalent of annihilation, even though most of the common folk hid in the woods and watched the massacres at Torhunta and Neooheroka. I hope younger students of our history will go to the old records about what I've tried to explain, and tell the story more sympathetically to the people who were driven from their homes, to make way for European settlement. The politics, economics and sociology of the Coree history is complex.
What I have preached is that the "divide and conquer" historical doctrine, promulgated by the English government to combat efforts of men like Price Hughes and Charles Nairne to establish a Celtic nation in the New World, in cooperation with the native peoples, was worked on the Core Nation. McGillivray nearly created a "Creole" nation in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, in cooperation with the native peoples. But other Celts, like Adair, Gist, Boone, Jackson, Thompson, Polk, etc., had their bread buttered on the other side, as Aaron Burr found out. The Jernigans and Pates seem to have had no problem with the Creole national concept, but European colonization drove politics the other way.
Quana Parker nearly pulled off the establishment of some Indian sovereignty out west. "Round-headed Billy" Powell, of Warren County, (ancestor of Carolina Biological Supply Powells--and Osceola!) became chief of the Seminole Nation, but he found out he was in a higher stake game than he could imagine. I won't bore you with more historical allusions, but I'm trying to disseminate the map referred to below to any who will appreciate and understand it. Students of the Native American seem to be everywhere now, because Indians were the ancestors of so many of us.
There is a pernicious element in the modern Native American movement. It is not new, and it is not unique to the Native American. Big fast money is not necessarily going to make the Indians happy (even if it makes their misery more tolerable). It is frustrating to get very slow reaction to what seems to me to be basic to America's social and racial paranoia, that is prompting presidential apologies for genocides that continue with drugs and crime. Having said that, without calling any names, I'll go on... Guilt stunts your soul. The cure for guilt is confession.
We've all paid for our ancestor's sins. My greatx3 grandmother Christian Ammons Pate was the grand daughter of David Jernigan, and daughter of Jesse Ammons, Sr., a self-professed Coree Indian, of the tribe Christian had been raised to know as "the worst of the bad Indians" (but not half as bad as the white folks, she would add). It is likely that Jesse Ammons, Sr., was a law officer of the Brice's Ranger type, since his son, Jesse, Jr., became a constable, and carried on a tradition of removing squatters.
Some folks involuntarily achieved squatter status after the War of 1812. They had their land and homes confiscated by the courts for Tory activities--such as marauding with pro-English Indians. Nothing's as simple as we'd like it to be. Joseph Seawell explained it pretty well, however, in his book LAW TALES FOR LAYMEN. Old Jesse did all right for an "extinct" Indian, as the Corees were officially reported to be in North Carilina colonial records--but the Jernigans got pulled from their high horse, and there was "a crying time" from Grantham to Patetown.
In The Civil War Christian Ammons Pate became the matriarch of the Patetown clan in the area that became known as Belfast, because of Irish labor that came in with the railroad. She ran the place with free and slave labor. The Patetown crowd always felt free labor was cheaper than slaves. Patetowners had big families and shared labor at harvest time. All the men went to the Civil War. Christian hid her 16-year-old Grandson Silas in the shuckbin every time the conscriptors came. Neighbors "hollered" to warn her of the conscriptors' coming.
When I was a child, some of the Pates were reputed to be "well-off". Some were even thought to be wealthy, perhaps possessors of the Coree treasure. When Uncle Sile, grandson of Christian Ammons Pate died, his Crumpler heirs found a pot of old money under his bed. I heard talk of this as a small child. I Asked my grandfather, "Granpa, are we wealthy." His answer was profound. He said, "Son, the only real wealth is cheap labor". This wisdom drives all capitalist enterprise. I've given to you, as it was given to me. Be sure the children are prepared for the "fast track"--and that they have broad aspirational horizons. Don't let them sell themselves cheaply. Indians, or not, technology is where it's at. Don't let them get led off into dry places. Keep them centered in the Creator's Everflow.
Please share with me and others your family traditions of eastern North Carolina Indian descent, and little known facts about the Native Americans who were once in this area. For example, a Siouan Indian mound, like at Kohokia, was bulldozed to provide the site for Cherry Hospital at Goldsboro. Check with the Smithsonian Institution, if you doubt this (or see p. 158, CATALOGUE OF PREHISTORIC WORKS EAST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS by Cyrus Thomas, published by the Smithsonian Institution in 1891).
Copyright 1997 by Al Pate. All rights reserved. My material is not commercial, and I don't want it exploited. I hope it may be of interest and value to you and others researching the Native Americans of the Southeast.
Who are the Coree
Coree - Intro
Coree - Intro to the Intro
The Historical Problem
Coree - Chapter One
Coree - Chapter Twelve
Coree - Chapter Twenty
Coree - Chapter Twenty-eight
Coree - Chapter Thirty-one
Coree - Chapter Thirty-two
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