The Discovery of New Brittaine

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The Discovery of New Brittaine
by Edward Bland

THE

DISCOVERY

OF

Nevv Brittaine

Began Auguſt 27. Anno Dom. 1650.

By { Edward Bland, Merchant.
Abraham Woode, Captaine.
Sackford Brewſter, } Gentlemen.
Elias Pennant,

From Fort Henry, at the head of Appamattuck River in Virginia, to the Fals of Blandina, firſt River in New Brittaine, which runneth Weſt, being 120. Mile South-weſt, between 35. & 37 degrees, (a pleaſant Country,) of temperate Ayre, and fertile Soyle.

To the Reader[edit]

WHO ever thou art that desirest the Advancement of Gods glory by conversion to of the Indiãs, the Augmentation of the English Common-wealth, in extending its liberties; I would advise thee to consider the present benefit and future profits that will arise in the wel setling Virginia's Confines, especially that happy Country of New Brittaine, in the Latitude of 35. and 37. degrees, of more temperate Clymate then that the English now inhabite, abounding with great Rivers of long extent, and encompassing a great part, or most of Virginia's Continent; a place so easie to be settled in, in regard that Horse and Cattle in foure or five dayes may be conveyed for the benefit of Undertakers, and all inconveniencies avoyded which commonly attend New Plantations, being supplied with necessaries from the Neighbourhood of Virginia.

That the Assembly of Virginia (as may be seene by their Order since my returne heereto procured) have conceived a hundred to be a sufficient force and competence for the establishment of that Country in which Tobacco will grow larger and more in quantity. Sugar Canes are supposed naturally to be there, or at least if implanted will undoubtedly flourish: For we brought with us thence extraordinary Canes of twenty five foot long and six inches round; there is also great store of fish, and the Inhabitants relate that there is plenty of Salt made to the Sunne without art; Tobacco Pipes have beene seene among these Indians tipt with Silver, and they weare Copper Plates about their necks: They have two Crops of Indian Corne yearely, whereas Virginia hath but one. What I write, is what I have proved; I cordially wish some more then private Spirits would take it into their consideration, so may it prove most advantagious to particular and publick ends; for which so prayeth,

Your faithfull servant,
Edward Bland.

October 20. 1650. By the Aſſembly.[edit]

IT is Ordered by the Grand Assembly, that according to the Petition of Mr. Edward Bland, Merchant, that he the sayd Bland, or any other be permitted to discover and seate to the Southward in any convenient place where they discover; and that according to his Petition for furthering his Designes hee bee permitted to have correspondence with the Indians, and also receive the benevolence of the well-affected, and use all lawfull meanes for effecting thereof, provided that they secure themselves in effecting the sayd Designe with a hundred able men sufficiently furnished with Armes and Munition.

John Corkes, Cler. Dom. Com.

The Diſcovery of New Britaine.[edit]

AUGUST 27. 1650. The Right Honorable Sir W. Berkly, Kt. being Governour and Captaine Generall of Virginia, Edw. Bland Merch. Abraham Wood Capt. Elias Ponnant and Sackford Brewster Gent. foure Men, and one Indian named Pyancha, an Appamattuck for our Guide, with two servants, foure Horses and Provision, advanced from Fort Henry, lying on Appamattuck River at the fals, being a branch of James River, intending a South westerne Discovery.

This day wee passed over a branch belonging to Blackwater lake, running South east into Chawan River; at that place wee were forced to unlade our Carriages by reason of the great raines lately fallen, which otherwise is very passable for foot, being firm gravelly ground in the bottome, and lieth from Fort Henry 20. miles, and some 12. miles from this place we travelled unto a deepe River called the Nottaway Creeke some 100. paces over sandy bottomes (& with a little labour may be made passeable) unto a Nottaway Town liyng some two miles from the River. Hither we came within night, and by reason of our suddaine approach and hallowing of Robert Farmer servant to Mr. Bland, the Inhabitants ran all away into the Woods, with their Women and Children; therefore by us it was named Farmers Chase. After our arrivall there within a small space of time one Indian man appeared, and finding of us peaceable, and the white flag bore before us by our Guide whom they knew, he made a hallow and the rest came in from their sculking holes like so many timerous Hares, and shewed us what curtesie they could. About two houres after came to us Oyeocker elder brother to Chounterounte one of the Nottaway Kings, who told us that his brother Chounterounte, and other of the Nottaway Kings would come to us next day by Noone, and that the day before Chounterounte and all his men had been a hunting, and it hapned that Chounterounte had shot one of his brothers in the leg, and that thereupon he was gone Downewards. We stayed untill next day at Noone but he came not, and then we journyed unto the Towne belonging unto Oyeocker, who kindly invited us thither, and told us he thought that Chounterounte would meet us there, and also of his owne accord proffered us to be our guide whithersoever we went. The Land generally to this Towne is Champion, very rich, and the Towne scituate in a rich levell, well timbered, watered, and very convenient for Hogs and Cattle.

August 28. We journied with our new entertained Guide Oyeocker, lying betweene South, and South and by West, from the first Towne upon a very rich levell of Land: sixteen miles from this place we came unto the River Penna Mount, being another branch of Chawan River, eight miles on the South side it hath very rich Land and Corn-fields on both sides the River, and is about 200. paces wide, and runs out with elbowes: at the place of our passage over this River to this second Towne is shallow upon a Sandy Point, and with a very little labour may be made passeable both for foot and horse, or any Carriage by Land, or pentator with small Boats, and some two miles higher there is a sound passage no deeper than a mans anckle: Within night came Chounterounte unto our Quarters frowning, and with a countenance noting much discontent, downe he sets, and lookes about him, salutes the English with a scornefull posture, and then our Appamattack Guide, and tels him, I am sorry for thee friend, thou wilt be knockt on the head; after this some pause was made before any discourse, expecting the English would begin, but finding us slow, he thus spake: There was a Wainoake Indian told him that there was an Englishman a Cockarous hard by Captaine Floods, gave this Indian Bells, and other petty truck to lay downe to the Tuskarood King, and would have hired him to have gone with him, but the Wainoakes being doubtfull what to doe, went to Captaine Flood for advice, who advised them not to go, for that the Governour would give no licence to go thither; heereupon Chounterounte was by us questioned, when and who it was that had told him so, & if he did know that Wainoake Indian, to which he answered doubtfully, and demanded of us whither we did intend to go; we told him the Tuskarood King had envited us to trade, and our Governour had ordered us to go, and speake with an Englishman amongst them, and to enquire for an English woman cast away long since, and was amongst those Nations. Chounterounte perswaded us to go no further, alleadging there was no English there, that the way was long, for passage very bad by reason of much raine that had lately fallen, and many rotten Marrishes and Swampps there was to passe over, in fine we found him, and all his men very unwilling we should go any further; but we told them, that let the waies and passages be never so bad, we were resolved to go through, and that we were not afraid of him nor his Nation, nor any other, for we intended no injury, and that we must go, for we were commanded by our King; these words caused Chounterounte to assimulate a feare in his countenance, and after delivery of himselfe, at our going away next day, when we had mounted our Horses, Chounterounte came privately unto us, and in a most serious manner intimating unto us, that he loved us, and our Nation, and that he lively apprehended our danger, and that our safety concerned him, for if any accident hapned otherwise then good to us, he should be suspected to have a hand in it, and withall wished us to go no further, for that he certainly knew that the Nations we were to go through would make us away by treachery; we answered him, that we were not afraid to be killed, for that any one of us were able to deale with forty through the protection of our great God, for we were commanded by our King.

August 29. We travelled from this second Town to Maharineck, eight miles upon barren Champion Lands, and six miles further is a branch that runnes South west, with rich Lands upon it; and from thence some sixe miles further, is a Brooke some hundred paces over, and runnes South and a little to the West, on both sides of the Creek: for fowre miles or thereabouts, is very rich Lands, well Timbered and Watered, and large dry Meadowes, South and by West: From this Creeke is another, some eight miles off, that opens it selfe into divers small Guts, made by the inundation of Freshes of Waters; and the passage lies some two hundred paces from the Path, and this Creek is some ten miles from Maharinecke Towne, and was by us named Newcombs Forrest. It was night when we enterd into Maharineck, where we found a House ready made for us of Matts; and Corne stalkes layd in severall places for our Horses, the Inhabitants standing, according to their custome, to greet us: and after some discourse with their Werrowance, a Youth, to whom wee presented severall gifts, we certified them the cause of our comming was to Trade in way of friendship, and desired the great men that what Wares or Skins the Town did afford, might be brought to our Quarters next morning; and also a measure for Roanoak, which they promised should be done, and so left us to our selves a while, untill wee had refreshed our selves with such provisions as they had set before us, in most plentifull maner; and afterwards the great men and Inhabitants came, and performed divers Ceremonies, and Dancings before us, as they use to doe to their great Emperour Apachancano, when they entertain him in most solemne maner and friendship.

August 30. Being wearied with our last dayes travell, we continued at Maharineck, and this day spake with a Tuskarood Indian, who told us that the Englishman was a great way off at the further Tuskarood Towne, and wee hired this Turkarood Indian to run before, and tell his Werrowance wee intended to lay him downe a present at Hocomowananck, and desired to have him meete us there, and also wrote to that effect to the Englishman in English, Latine, Spanish, French and Dutch, the Tuskarood promised in three dayes to meete us at Hocomawananck. In the afternoone came two Indians to our Quarters, one of whom the Maharinecks told us was the Werrowance of Hocomananck River, seemed very joyfull that wee could goe thither, and told us the Tuskarood would have come to us to trade, but that the Wainoakes had spoken much to dishearten them from having any trade with the English, and that they intended divers times to have come in, but were afraid, for the Wainoakes had told them that the English would kill them, or detaine them, and would not let them goe without a great heape of Roanoake middle high, to which we answered that the Wainoakes durst not affirme any such thing to our faces, and that they had likewise spoken much against the Tuskarood to the English, it being a common thing amongst them to villefie one another, and tell nothing but lies to the English.

This day in the morning the Maharineck great men spake to heare some of our guns go off: Whereupon we shot two guns at a small marke, both hitting it, and at so great a distance of a hundred paces, or more, that the Indians admired at it: And a little before night the old King of Maharineck came to us, and told us, that the people in the Towne were afraid when the guns went off, and ran all away into the Woods. This night also we had much Dancing.

August 32. Wee went away from Maharineck South East two miles to goe over Maharineck River, which hath a bottome betweene two high land sides through which you must passe to get over, which River is about two hundred paces broad, and hath a high water marke after a fresh of at least twenty foot perpendicular by the trees in the breaches betweene the River, and the high land of the old fields. This River is the Southerly last and maine branch of Chawan River, and was by us named Woodford River, and runs to the Eastward of the South. On both sides of Woodford River is very much exceeding rich Land, but especially on the further side towards Hocomawananck. Immediately after the passage over this River, are old Indian fields of exceeding rich Land, that beare two Crops of Indian Corne a yeare, and hath timber trees above five foot over, whose truncks are a hundred foot in cleare timber, which will make twenty Cuts of Board timber a piece, and of these there is abundance.

As also exceeding rich Land, full of great Reeds thrice as big as the largest Arrow Reeds we have about our Plantations; this good Land continues for some six miles together unto a great Swampp, and then begins a pyny barren Champion Land with divers Branches and Pecosans, yet very passeable, running South and by West, unto a deepe River some a hundred paces over, running South, and a little to the East, which River incloses a small Island which wee named Brewsters Island, some eighteene miles from Woodford River due South, and by West, with very exceeding rich Land on both side of it for some sixe miles together, and this River we also named Brewsters River, it being the first branch of Hocamawananck River: and a little lower downe as the River runs, is such another river as Chickahamine River (which is a mile broad.)

After we had passed over this River we travelled some twenty miles further upon a pyny barren Champion Land to Hocomawananck River, South, and by West: some twelve miles from Brewsters River we came unto a path running crosse some twenty yards on each side unto two remarkeable Trees; at this path our Appamattuck Guide made a stop, and cleared the Westerly end of the path with his foote, being demanded the meaning of it, he shewed an unwillingnesse to relate it, sighing very much: Whereupon we made a stop untill Oyeocker our other Guide came up, and then our Appamattuck Guide journied on; but Oyeocker at his comming up cleared the other end of the path, and prepared himselfe in a most serious manner to require our attentions, and told us that many yeares since their late great Emperour Appachancano came thither to make a War upon the Tuskarood, in revenge of three of his men killed, and one wounded, who escaped, and brought him word of the other three murthered by the Hocomawananck Indians for lucre of the Roanoake they brought with them to trade for Otter skins. There accompanyed Appachancano severall petty Kings that were under him, amongst which there was one King of a Towne called Pawhatan, which had long time harboured a grudge against the King of Chawan, about a yong woman that the King of Chawan had detayned of the King of Pawhatan: Now it hapned that the King of Chawan was invited by the King of Pawhatan to this place under pretence to present him with a Guift of some great vallew, and there they met accordingly, and the King of Pawhatan went to salute and embrace the King of Chawan, and stroaking of him after their usuall manner, he whipt a bow string about the King of Chawans neck, and strangled him; and how that in memoriall of this, the path is continued unto this day, and the friends of the Pawhatans when they passe that way, cleanse the Westerly end of the path, and the friends of the Chawans the other. And some two miles from this path we came unto an Indian Grave upon the East side of the path: Upon which Grave there lay a great heape of sticks covered with greene boughs, we demanded the reason of it, Oyeocker told us, that there lay a great man of the Chawans that dyed in the same quarrell, and in honour of his memory they continue greene boughs over his Grave to this day; and ever when they goe forth to Warre they relate his, and other valorous, loyall Acts, to their yong men, to animate them to doe the like when occasion requires. Some foure miles from Hocomawananck is very rich Champian Land: It was night when we came to Hocomawananck River, and the Indian that came with us from Woodford River, and belonged to Hocomawananck, would have had us quartered upon the side of a great Swampp that had the advantage of severall bottomes of the Swampp on both sides of us, but we removed to take our advantage for safety, and retreate, in case any accident should happen, which at that time promised nothing but danger, for our Guides began to be doubtfull, and told us, that the Hocomawananck Indians were very treacherous, and that they did not like their countenances, and shape well; this place we named Pyanchas Parke: about three houres after we had taken up our Quarters, some of the Inhabitants came, and brought us roasting eares, and Sturgeon, and the Hocomawananck Indian that came with us from Woodford River, came not unto us untill next day, but his Warrowance told us before wee came from Woodford, hee could not come untill that day at night. The next day morning after our comming to Hocomawananck the Inhabitants seemed to prepare us a house: But we about eight of the clock set forward to goe view the place where they killed Sturgeon; which was some six miles from the place where we quartered by Pyanchas Parke, where there is a River Running very deep South, exceeding deepe, and foure hundred paces broad. The high water marke of this River between both sides of the River perpendicular, from the top of the Banck to the River, is forty five foot upon a fresh; this River was by us named Blandina River: from Pyanchas Parke to the place where they kill Sturgeon is six miles up the River running Northerly, and all exceeding rich Land: Both upwards and downewards upon the River, at this place where they kill Sturgeon also are the Falls, and at the foot of these Falls also lies two Islands in a great Bay, the uppermost whereof Mr. Blande named Charles Island, and the lowermost Captaine Wood named Berkeley Island: on the further side of these Islands the Bay runs navigable by the two Islands sides: Charles Island is three miles broad, and foure miles long, and Berkeley Island almost as big, both in a manner impregnable, by nature being fortified with high Clefts of Rocky Stone, and hardly passeable, without a way cut through them, and consists all of exceeding rich Land, and cleare fields, wherein growes Canes of a foot about, and of one yeares growth Canes that a reasonable hand can hardly span; and the Indians told us they were very sweet, and that at some time of the yeare they did suck them, and eate them, and of those we brought some away with us. The Land over against Charles Island we named Blands Discovery, and the Land over against Berkeley Island we named Woods journy, and at the lower end of Charles Island lies a Bay due South from the said Island, so spatious that we could not see the other side of it: this bay we named Pennants Bay and in the River between Charles Island, and the maine Land lies a Rocky Point in the River, which Point comes out of Charles Island, and runs into the middle of the River: this Point we named Brewsters Point, and at this Point only, and no other is there any place passeable into Charles Island, and this Brewsters Point runs not quite from Charles Island to the maine Land, but when you come off the maine Land to the Rivers side, you must wade about fifty paces to come upon the Point, and if you misse the Point on either side, up or downe the River, you must swim, and the River runs very swift. Some three miles from the River side over against Charles Island is a place of severall great heapes of bones, and heere the Indian belonging to Blandina River that went along with us to the Fals, sat downe, and seemed to be much discontented, insomuch that he shed teares; we demanded why these bones were piled up so curiously? Oyeocker told us, that at this place Appachancano one morning with 400. men treacherously slew 240. of the Blandina River Indians in revenge of three great men slaine by them, and the place we named Golgotha; as we were going to Blandina river we spake to Oyeocker our Guide to lead us the way, and he would not; but asked our Appamattuck Guide why we did not get us gone, for the Inhabitants were jealous of us, and angry with us, and that the Runner we sent to the Tuskarood would not come at the day appointed, nor his King, but ran another way, and told the Indians that we came to cut them off; whereupon our Appamattuck Guide stepped forth, and frowning said, come along, we will go to see the Falls, and so led the way, and also told us that the Woodford Indians lied, and that Indian that came to us, which the Woodford Indian said was the King of Blandina River, was not the Werrowance of Blandina River; whereupon we resolved to return (having named the whole Continent New Brittaine) another way into our old path that led to Brewsters River, and shot off no guns because of making a commotion, adding to the Natives feares. At Blandina River we had some discourse with our Appamattuck Guide concerning that River, who told us that that branch of Blandina River ran a great way up into the Country; and that about three dayes journy further to the South-West, there was a far greater Branch so broad that a man could hardly see over it, and bended it selfe to the Northward above the head of James River, unto the foot of the great Mountaines, on which River there lived many people upwards, being the Occonacheans and the Nessoneicks, and that where some of the Occanacheans lived, there is an Island within the River three dayes journy about, which is of a very rich and fertile soile, and that the upper end of the Island is fordable, not above knee deepe, of a stony bottome, running very swift, and the other side very deepe and navigable: Also we found many of the people of Blandina River to have beards, and both there, and at Woodford River we saw many very old men, and that the Climate according to our opinions was far more temperate then ours of Virginia, and the Inhabitants full of Children; they also told us that at the bottome of the River was great heapes of Salt; and we saw among them Copper, and were informed that they tip their pipes with silver, of which some have been brought into this Country, and 'tis very probable that there may be Gold, and other Mettals amongst the hils.

September I. About noone from Woods Journey wee travelled some sixe miles North East, unto the old Path that leads to Brewsters River: within night we quartered on the other side of it, and kept good watch: this Path runnes from Woods Journey north and by East, and due North.

September 2. In the morning about eight of the clocke, as every one was mounted, came to our quarters Occonnosquay, sonne to the Tuskarood King, and another Indian whom he told was a Werrowance, and his Kinseman, with the Runner which wee had sent to the Tuskarood King, who was to meet us at Blandina River that night; the Kings sonne told us that the English man would be at his house that night, a great way off; and would have had us gone backe with him, but we would not, and appointed him to meete us at Woodford River where hee came not, wee having some suspition that hee came from Woodford River that night, and that our Runner had not beene where we had sent him, through some information of our Nottaway guide, which afterwards proved true, by the Relation of the Werrowance of Blandina River, whom about fowre howres after wee had parted with the Kings son, wee met on the way comming from Woodford River with a company of men, thinking he should have found us at Blandina River that night, according to his order and promise; with whom falling into discourse, he told us that the King of the Tuskaroods son, and our Runner were the night before at Woodford River; but the Kings son told us he came from Blandina River, and beyond, and hearing we were gone before he came, he had travelled all night from Blandina River to overtake us. This day about Noone we came to Woodford River Towne, and tarried there that night, we found the old Werrowance, and all his great men gone, yet had courteous quarter; but not without great grounds of suspition, and signes that they were angry at us: at our coming back to Woodford River we had information that some Spies of Wainoake had been there a little before we came, and that the King of Wainoake and Chounterounte had sent Runners to all the Nations thereabouts, informing them that the English were come to cut them off, which we supposed to be some greater Polititians then Indian Consultations, who had some private ends to themselves, and minded nothing lesse then a publick good; for we found that the Runner whom we imployed to carry our message to the Tuskarood King, ran to the Waynoakes, and he whom the Woodford Indians told us was the Werrowance of Blandina River, was a Woodford Indian, and no Werrowance, but done of purpose to get something out of us, and we had information that at that time there were other English amongst the Indians.

September 3. By breake of day we journied from Woodford River to a path some eight miles above Pennants Mount running North, and by East and North, North, East, which was done by the advice of our Appamattuck Guide, who told us that he was informed that some plots might be acted against us, if we returned the way that we came, for we told Chounterounte we would returne the same way againe: And this information our Guide told us he had from a woman that was his Sweet-heart belonging to Woodford River. This day we passed over very much rich, red, fat, marle Land, betweene Woodford River Towne, and the head of Pennants Mount, with divers Indian fields; the head of which River abounds much with great Rocks of Stone, and is two hundred paces over, and hath a small Island in it named Sackfords Island. Betweene Pennants Mount River head, and the head of Farmers Chase River is very much exceeding rich, red, fat, marle land, and Nottaway and Shockoores old fields, for a matter of sixe miles together all the trees are blowne up or dead: Heere it began to raine, and some six miles further we tooke up our quarters, and it proved a very wet night. At the first other Nottaway old fields, we found the Inhabitants much perplexed about a gun that went off to the Westward of them, the night before wee came thither, which our Appamattuck Guide conceived were the Wainoake Spies, set out there to prevent our Journyings, and we found severall Agers about the place where the Indians told us the gun went off.

Septemb. 4. About 8 of the Clock we travelled North, North-East some six miles, unto the head of Farmers Chase River, where we were forced to swimm our horses over, by reason of the great rain that fell that night, which otherwise with a little labour may be made very passable. At this place is very great Rocky stones, fit to make Mill-stones, with very rich tracts of Land, and in some places between the head of Farmers Chase River and Black water Lake, is ground that gives very probable proofe of an Iron, or some other rich Mine. Some sixteen miles from Farmers Chase, North, and by East, and North, North East, lies Black water Lake, which hath very much rich land about it, and with little labour will be made very passable. From Black water Lake we did travell to the old fields of Manks Nessoneicks, and from thence some 12 miles N. N. East we came unto Fort Henry about the close of the Evening, all well and in good health, notwithstanding from the time we had spoken with Chounterounte at Pennants Mount, we every night kept a strickt watch, having our Swords girt, and our Guns and Pistols by us, for the Indians every night where we lay, kept a strict guard upon us.

The Discoverers, viz.
Mr. Edward Blande, Merchant.
  Abraham Wood, Captaine.
Mr. Elias Pennant.
Mr. Sackford Brewſter.
  Robert Farmer, Servant to Mr. Blande.
  Henry Newcombe, Servant to Captaine Wood.
Guides. { Oyeocker, a Nottaway Werrowance.
Pyancha, an Appamattuck War Captaine.
FINIS.