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The Sothel and Perkins grants followed several key earlier land grants made to establish the new province of Carolina, the
new colony being considered English 1629-1709 and then British from 1709 onward. The first key grant was King
Charles I’s land grant of 1629 to Sir Robert Heath, in the northern part of the Carolina province between latitude degrees
31 and 36. Heath wanted Carolina land for French Huguenots, but when King Charles I decreed that only Church of
England members were eligible to settle in Carolina, Heath assigned his grant to George, Lord Berkeley. The second key
grant was King Charles II’s 1663 land grant, revised 1665, given to eight Lords Proprietors. It was awarded to generals
and supporters as thanks for assistance in restoring him to the throne in 1660, but perhaps it was partly awarded to
protect the crown’s interests. In other words looking at any late 17th century map it is easy to see that the new Carolina
colony created a settlement and trade buffer zone south of already thriving Virginia, Maryland, and New England
colonies, a Carolina province buffer which might block or pre-empt Spanish encroachment from Florida.
Image Credit: Homann Map 1714, courtesy of NC Division of Cultural Resources, Tryon Palace, New Bern
Between 1629 and the early1690’s Bath County residents settled in the region living peaceably with local Indians along
the north shore of the Pamlico River. The early community called Pamtico or Pamticough was named after the local
Algonquian Indian tribe the Pamlicos, who gave their name to North Carolina’s largest sound. The Pamlico’s or Pomouik
had two local Indian settlements known as Secotan town and Cotan town, as shown in early maps but their numbers
dwindled due to small pox outbreaks in 1686 . Ethnologist James Mooney estimated 1000 Pamlico’s out of 13,000
Indians in eastern NC in 1600. (Mooney includes the Bear River Indians with the Pamlico’s in 1928). One hundred years
later John Lawson estimated the Pamtecough population down to 75 living on what was probably Indian Island near
South Creek in 1701 (Lawson 1709) .
The Roanoke colonists called the Pamlico Indians Pomoui , and John White’s 1586 watercolors survive today of a16th c
era Pamlico Indian village near today’s Engelhard with detailed images of men, women, children today housed in the
British Museum. Bath’s first settlement shared the peninsula with the Pomouik tribe: an early map shows a small
palisaded encircled Indian village overlooking Bath’s small bay on the south east point, surrounded on three sides by
Town Creek and Adams Creek. At the time there were other tribes in the region as well: the Core and Matchapunga
tribes east of Bath, Weapemeoc north in the Albemarle, the Tuscarora upstream to the west of Forks of the Tar (later
renamed Washington), and the Neusioc tribe whose villages were located south of the Neuse River in Neusioc Town and
Chatooka Town. After the Tuscarora war ended, the English treaty ordered the Tuscaroras to destroy the Pamlicos; the
few remaining Pamlico Indians were taken as Tuscarora slaves.
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