1673: Second Exploration

ENO Journal
Volume 4, No. 2
1976

This narrative about Needham and Arthur, transposed through the wooly mind Abraham Wood, indicates that the white traders had moved on to the Indian Trading Path and that Eno Town was a familiar stopping place along the route. It shows also the increasing hostility of the Occaneechi as they sensed -ne white man’s threat to their lands and trade.

The good suckses of ye last jorney by my men performed gave mee great hopes of a good suckses in ye latter for I never heard from nor any thing after I employed Mr. James Needham past from Aeno an Indian towne two dayes jorny beyond Occhoneeche in safty but now begins ye tragic; scene of bad hap. upon ye 27th of January following I received a flying . 3rt by some Indians that my men were kilid by ye Tomahitans pasing ove ieir river as they were returning, now dayly came variable reports of thene mis-carige. All Indians spake darkly to hide ye trueth from being discoverd for feare ye guilt of ye mourder would be layd upon them selves. I sent an other man out to inquire what might bee found out of truth in ye buisness, but before his return upon ye 25th of February came one Henry Hatcher an English man, to my house which had been att Occhonechee a tradeing with them Indians, and tells me that my man I last sent out was stopt there by ye Occhenechees from goeing any further untill Hattcher parswaded them to lett my man pas, which they did accordingly, this Hatcher further tould me that Mr. James Needham was certainly kilid att his goeing out, but by whome he knew not, but as ye Occhonechees said by the Tomahittans that went with him, but said Hatcher I saw ye Occhonechees Indian knowne by ve name of John, a fatt thick bluff faced fellow, have Mr. James Needhams pistolls and gunn in his hande, as the Indian him seife tould Hatcher.

This Indian John by his Indian name is calld Hasecoll, now you are to note that this Indian John was one that went with Mr. James Needham and my man Gabriell Arthur att ye first to ye Tomahitans and returned with Mr. James Needham to my house where he ye said John received a reward to his content and agreed with me to goe a game with him, and indeavour his pro-textion to ye Tomahittans and to return with Mr. James Needham and my man to my house ve next spring and to that end receved haife his pay in hand. Ye rest hee was to receve at his returne. My poore man Gabriell Artheur all this while ecaptivated all this time in a strange land, where never English man before had set foote, in all likelihood either slaine or att least never likely to returne to see ye face of an English man, but by ye great providence and protection of God allmighty still survives which just God will not suffer just and honest indevors to fall quite to ye ground. Mauger ye deivill and all his adherents, Well, shall now give a relation, what my man hath discovered in all ye time that Mr. James Needham left him att ve Toma­hitans to ye 18th of June 74. which was ye daye Gabriell arived att my house in safety with a Spanish Indian boy only, with difficulty and hasard and how Mr. James Needham came to his end by ye hands of the barbarious roge Indian John that had undertaken his protection and safety and ;is breife as I can give a touch upon ye heads of ye materaall matter my mans memory could retain, for he cannot writc ye greater pity, for should I insert all ye particulars it would swell to too great a vollume and perhaps seeme too tedeous to ye courteous and charitable Reader soe I begg pardon for ignorantt erors, and shall againe come to Mr. Needhams, where we left him. From Aeno hee journied to Sarrah, with his companions ye Tomahitons and John ye Occhoenechee accompanied with more of his country me which was to see ye tragady acted as I suppose, it happened as they past San-all river an Indian lett his pack slip into ye water whether on purpose or by chance I canot judge, upon this some words past betwine Needham and ye Indian. Ochenechee Indian John tooke up Mr. Needham very short in words and soe continued scoulding all day untill they had past ye Yattken towne and soe over Yattken river, not far from ye river Mr. Needham alighted it not being far from the foot of ye mountaines, and there tooke up theire quarters. Still Indian John continued his wailing and threating Mr. Needham tooke up a hatchet which lay by him, haveing his sword by him threw ye hatchet on ye ground by Indian John and said what John arc you minded to kill me. Indian John imediately catched up a gunn, which hee him seife had carried to kill meat for them to eate and shot Mr. Needham neare ye burr of ye eare and kilid him not withstanding all ye Tomahittans started up to rescue Needham but Indian John was to quick, for them, soe died this heroyick English man whose fame shall never die if my penn were able to eternize it which had adventured where never any English man had dared to atempt before and with him died one hundered forty-foure pounds starling of my adventure with him. I wish I could have saved his life with ten times ye vallue. . . .

To my Honoured Frend, Mr. John Richards in London, Youre humble servant Ab. Wood. From Forte Henry, August the 22th, 1674.

– C. W. Alvord and L. Bidgood, ed., The First Explorations of the Trans-Allegheny Region by the Virginians, 1650-1674, 1912.