July 17, 1890
--Red Springs, North Carolina
'The Croatan tribe lives principaly in Robeson county, North Carolina,
though there is quite a number of them settle in counties adjoining in
North and South Carolina. In Sumter county, South Carolina, there is a
branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. In Macon county, North
Carolina, there is another
branch, settled there long ago. those living in east tennessee are
called "Melungeons", a name also retained by them here, which is
corruption of 'Melange', a name given them by early settlers (French),
which means mixed.''
The Genesis of the United States
In 1888 Mr. Hamilton Mcmillan, A. M., of Robeson County, North
Carolina, published an historical sketch of "Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost
Colony, with the traditions of An Indian Tribe in North Carolina
indicating the fate of the Colony," etc. From this I will give
"In the latter part of
1864 three young men of the Croatan tribe, who had been drafted to work
on the fortifications at Fort Fisher, were killed, it is supposed, by a
white man who had them in custody. An inquest was held, and at
its conclusion an old Indian, *named
George Lowrie, addressed the people assembled, in substance as follows:
'We have always been
the friends of the white men. We were a free people long before
the white men came to our land. Our tribe was always free.
They lived in Roanoke in Virginia. When the English came to
Roanoke our tribe treated them kindly. One of our tribe went to
England in an English ship and saw that great country. We took the
English to live with us. There is a white man's blood in these
veins as well as that of the Indian. In order to be great like
the English, we took the white man's language and religion, for our
people were told they would prosper if they would take white men's
laws. In the wars between white men and Indians we always fought on the
side of the white men. We moved on this land and fought for
liberty for white men, yet white men have treated us as negroes.
Here are our young men shot down by a white man and we get no justice,
and that in a land where our people were always free.'"
This speech caused Mr.
McMillan to investigate the history and traditions of this tribe.
*James Lowry born in Virginia
and found in the area later called Robeson in the mid-1750’s owned
over a thousand acres of land. James’ wife was Sarah Kersey,
described as a “half-breed Tuscarora Indian.” William Lowry (son
of James) married Betty Locklear, also described as a “Half-breed
Tuscarora Indian”, their son George Lowry born 1798 and brother of
Allen Lowery killed in 1865 is believed to be the George Lowrie who
gave this speech.