the Legend: Croatoan
Roanoke, Lost Colony… ring a bell?”
July of 1587, colonist George Howe is found dead. Howe
was attacked by members of the neighboring Roanoke nation,
whom Governor Lane had harassed in 1585. When describing
the bloody scene, Governor John White commented that the
Indians had “beat his head to pieces,” shot
him with sixteen arrows, and assaulted him with clubs.
This attack came as no real surprise to the governor,
who was aware that the tactics of his predecessor might
have generated a sense of injustice among neighboring
Indian nations. Knowing of the peaceful nature of Coatoan
people, the governor quickly dispatched representatives.
The Croatoan (also referred to as Pamlico) were an Algonquian
people who populated the islands on the outer banks of
North Carolina—just south of Roanoke. “Roanoke
was one of the first English colonies in America. Late
1500s.” The embassy succeeds in renewing “the
old love that was between” the tribe and the colonists.
White accompianied the Roanoke delegation and promised
the Indians that the colonists had no intention of taking
over Croatoan territory and did not represent a threat
to their existence. Simply put, the governor wanted to
let the people of Croatoan know that the colonists wished
“to live with them as brethren and friends.”
White left Roanoke in August of 1587, for England, in
search of supplies and a possible relief effort should
evacuation become a necessity. Before leaving his post,
the governor instructed the colonists to leave him a sign
should they feel the need to remove themselves from the
region under any circumstance. He instructed them to place
a cross on a tree as an indicator that they were in distress
and their evacuation was necessary for their survival.
This would give the governor some intimation as to the
colony’s status and assist him in locating them.
It would be the last message he would give, and the last
time he would see the colonists.
1590, Governor White returned to Roanoke Island. There
he found that all of the buildings were in disrepair or
had been carefully dismantled. There was no sign of fighting.
No sign that the colonists were abruptly carried away
by natural or unnatural forces. There was no cross. Only
8 simple letters, C-R-O-A-T-O-A-N, that shall forever
be a mystery to all who hear it. These letters were found
carved into the post of a fort, and C-R-O carved into
a nearby tree.
took the letters to mean that the settlers had moved to
Croatoan Island some 50 miles away. But, he was unable
to search Croatoan Island because a hurricane hit the
outer banks of North Carolina and blew his fleet to sea.
After the storm abated, the fleet was low on provisions
and decided to return to England. He made a second attempt
months later, but that vessel was also turned back due
to bad weather. No trace of the settlers was ever found.
1597, the English government officially declared the colony
of Roanoke… lost.
THE LOST COLONY
were theories. Indian raid, disease, but nobody knows
what really happened. They were all just gone. Wiped out
principal theory is that they dispersed and were absorbed
by either the local Croatan or Hatteras Indians, or still
another Algonquian people. What is well known is that
the descendants of the Croatoan tribe, the modern day
Lumbee, began to appear some 50 years after the disappearance
of the colony. Observers described these people as having
European features and speaking English. The Lumbee have
remained in North Carolina, even populating the same region
as their Croatoan ancestors. It would not be that much
of leap to conclude that the people of Croatoan were true
to their word and accepted the embattled colonists into
their nation. But, it has yet to be established if they
did assimilate with one or other of the native populations.
Captain John Smith and the Jamestown colonists settled
in Virginia in 1607, one of their assigned tasks was to
locate the Roanoke colonists. Native peoples told Captain
Smith of people within fifty miles of Jamestown who dressed
and lived as the English. Captain Smith was also told
by Powhatan, weroance of the Powhatan Tribe, that he had
wiped out the Roanoke colonists just prior to the arrival
of the Jamestown settlers because they were living with
the Chesapeake, a tribe that refused to join Powhatan's
confederacy. Powhatan reportedly produced several English-made
iron implements to back his claim.
speculate that the colonists simply gave up waiting, tried
to return to England on their own, and perished in the
attempt. Another claim suggests that, with the region
in drought, the colony must have suffered a massive food
shortage. And there are those who theorize that the Spanish
destroyed the colony; this theory however is unlikely
since the Spanish were still looking for the location
of England's failed colony as late as 1600, ten years
after White discovered that the colony was missing.
THEORIES BEHIND THE MYSTERY
1998, "The Croatoan Project," an archaeological
dig sponsored by East Carolina University, discovered
the first material connection between Roanoke and the
Lost Colony: Can New Dig Solve Mystery?
for America's Lost Colony
been pouring through Dad’s journal, found something
about the Roanoke Colony. Dad always had a theory about
Croatoan. He thought it was a demon’s name. Sometimes
know as daeva or reshef, the demon of plague and pestilence.”
is a demon that was first mentioned in the bible (Habukkuk
3:5) “Plague went before him; reshef followed his
steps.” In most translations though reshef has come
to be translated as ‘pestilence’ due to the
parallelism to the line that comes before it.
the Legend by Dean5339