Volume 4, No. 2
It is generally believed that four main nations of Indians once lived in North Carolina. The Cherokee lived in the mountains; the Sioux in the piedmont; the Algonquin on the coast; and the Tuscarora, of Iroquois stock from the north, came and went as hunters and marauders. For some 200 years a fifth nation of Indians dominated the Pee Dee region. They were mound builders unlike any other Indians in North Carolina. On the Eno or on the lands near it, five historic tribes or subgroups appear to have lived. The Tuscarora hunted and camped there in their transient way. The Eno, Shocco and Adshusheer, all Sioux Indians with some mixture of ol-Algonquin, settled in villages and farmed. They were joined in the late seventeenth century by the Occaneechi, kindred Sioux Indians, who built their town upon the Eno near Hillsborough.
In the early accounts these Indian names were variously spelled by different writers in their effort to approximate Indian speech. You will notice some of these variant spellings as you read:
Eno: Haynoke, Oenock, Aeno, Enoe
Shocco: Cacores, Shacco, Shaccories, Shakory
Occaneechi: Akenatzy, Occhonechee, Ochenechee, Achonechy, Occoneechee
Occasionally place names help to record the migrations of these historic tribes. In some early accounts and maps, the town of Akenatzy is located on the Roanoke River; later it moved to the Eno River. A river called the Enoree in South Carolina identifies the Eno Indians as having once been there. The suffix “ree” is our article “the.” Enoree literally means “the Eno.”
History is haphazard and only a few accounts and notations on maps remain of the Indians who lived on the Eno. Fragmentary and scattered as these accounts are, they are lively glimpses into the past, displaying its daily dimensions and the human fears, prejudices, sympathies and separations that occurred at this extraordinary meeting of the Old World with the New. These six accounts give us some fixities:
1654: First recorded mention of the Eno Indians, Francis Yardley
1670: First recorded encounter with the Eno, John Lederer
1673: Second exploration, Gabriel Arthur and John Needham
1676: Bacon’s Massacre, Elizabeth Duke’s account
1701: Third exploration, John Lawson
1733: Meeting with Shacco Will, Wm. Byrd
Back of most of these accounts the reader will perceive another territorial fixity, the Great Indian Trading Path. It was this great highroad of the Indians, often approximating our present Interstate Highway 85, which brought the men who first explored the piedmont directly to the Eno.