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Genealogical Research Pages

This is the first of my new pages, and there will be more as I get more information..Bear with me as we go along.



16 H Watertown Circle, Birmingham, AL 35235

(Site owner's note:This is only part of the work but it is all I have of it..There are footnotes to this work which will be added as time and energy permit.)


In 1899 Colonel Cadwallader JONES wrote A Genealogical History of the JONES family in North Carolina.In his opening chapter he said: "As we like to trace the waters of rivers to their source among the hills and mountains, so I hope the descendants of those families may be interested in tracing their lineage to as remote an ancestry as is now permitted."(2)

The Indian traders who lived along the Roanoke River in North Carolina during the 1700s were from all walks of life.Most were descendants of Indian traders themselves.Others chose the life of a "woodsman" the moment they set foot on American soil. These Woodmen came from Scotland, ireland, England, and the European countries. Others migrated to America via Barbados and the West Indies. Still others came from Africa. Some of the most famous Indian trading "familes" were of African descent. During the early, mid, and late 1600s, African and West Indian slaves were sent to Virginia and bought by "white" Indian traders such as Charles HARMAR, Abraham WOOD, Benjamin HARRISON, and others. Over the years these slaves learned the "skin trade" to support themselves and their families as Indian traders. In the 1700s several of these families migrated to North Carolina.

In the March, 1993 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Dr.Virginia DeMARCE's article on the "Origins of Tri-racial Isolate Settlements" made two important points. The first was that:

"Genealogical research can make a major contribution toward identifying the origins of "mysterious" tri-racial isolate groups found in the Upper South.

Her second point was that:

"Many isolate groups still resist the idea of African-American ancestry. Yet, if the genealogy of these families is to be studied with any hope of success, descendants who identify themselves with Indians must be willing to consider frankly the possiblility of both white and African-American components.Similarly, families whose current social definition is white will have to consider the possibility of Indian and African-American components. To do otherwise is simply to wear blinders."(3)

While not all Indian traders came from "tri-racial" families, there were a significant number who did. "Mulattos" and "mixed-bloods" interacted with "whites" on the Roanoke River as well as in the Indian villages where they traded. Several of these families intermarried."

This manuscript traces several Chickasaw Indian traders who lived along the Roanoke River near Plumtree (Mush) Island, the Occoneechee Neck, and Quankey Creek. Evidence suggests that a number of these Indian traders were tri-racial.


Perhaps no other person in Chickasaw history has been more controversial than James Logan COLBERT (pronounced kahl/bert). All sources of information regarding his birthplace, childhood, and parentage have been based on hearsay evidence. Despite exhaustive efforts made by historians and genealogists to confirm the COLBERT "family tradition" (ie;that he was born in Scotland and arrived in America as a small boy) no public records have ever been found to support this. Likewise, there has never been any evidence to determine if he had any relatives--grandparents, parents, siblings, etc.--living in America. The COLBERT family tradition maintains that he came to America by himself and that he was adopted by a Chickasaw family.

In an effort to find additional information retgarding James Logan COLBERT's true identity, an intensive resear was undertaken to trace other Chickasaw Indian traders with whom he worked and lived. It was believed that if evidence could be found linking COLBERT with other Chickasaw Indian trading families, then it would be possible to determine his place of birth and ancestry.

While not all the questions have been answered regarding his background, enough information has been uncovered to state categorically that James Logan COLBERT was NOT born in Scotland but was, in fact, born in North Carolina.

Before presenting new evidence which has been found, it will be helpful to give a brief background into his life and examine family traditions that have been made about him and his family.

On 7 January 1784 Alexander McGILLVRAY, the "half-breed" son of Lachlan McGILLIVRY and Sehoy MARCHAND of the Creek INdian Wind Clan, wrote a letter to Capt.Arturo O'NEIL (a French officer paid by the Spanish government to fight the Chickasaw Indians) that James COLBERT was dead:

"I had forgot to inform your Excellency in My last letter of the death of Capt. James COLBERT of the Chickasaw Nation who had been at St. Augustine, concerning demands that was made on him by the Governor of New Orleans for damages he did on the Mississippi.He got full powers to Clear up that Complaint, & on his Way to the Chickasaw Nation three days after he left my house his horse threw him down and Killd him before his Servant could assist him.(4)"

Before traveling to St. Augustine to "Clear up that Complaint", Capt. James COLBERT had spent the summer at Long Island on the Holston River with Malcolm McGEE and the chiefs of the Chickasaw Nations to discuss peace terms with representatives of the State of Virginia. Representing Virginia were John DONNE and Joseph MARTIN. With COLBERT's help, DONNE and MARTIN were able to make a tentative agreement to end hostilities between the Chickasaw Nation and Virginia which had begun in 1780 when the Chickasaws attacked Fort Jefferson in Kentucky.(Virginia had built the fort under the false assumption that the land belonged to the Cherokees.Instead it belonged to the Chickasaws. Shortly after James COLBERT and the Chickasaws attacked the fort, the Virginians withdrew.) Although the initial terms of peace agreement were made by COLBERT, DONNE and MARTIN, the final terms of the Virginia-Chickasaw Treaty were later negotiated by Benjamin HAWKINS of Warren County, North Carolina.

In a secret letter written to General James WILKENSON, John DONNE described James Logan COLBERT in the following way:

"From his education and mode of life, being bred among the Indians from his infancy, it will naturally be supposed he is illiterate, which is the case, but possessed of strong natural parts. I should suppose some honorary appointment such as he had under the Crown being continued to him, would naturally lend him in our interest, and under (him) moreover an useful person to whoever might be appointed Superintendant in them Nations."(5)

During the negotiations with DONNE and MARTIN, COLBERT asked DONNE to write a letter for him. It was written on 25 July 1783 and addressed to Governor HARRISON of Virginia. In it COLBERT reiterated his hatred of the Spanish and French and pledged his support to the Americans. His concern, he went on, was for the welfare of the Chickasaws. As for himself, he had no motives other than helping the "distrubed Condition of those people, and to serve the Country IN WHICH HE LIVES AND WAS BORN.(6)"

The Family Tradition:

COLBERT's statement to Governor HARRISON that he was born in America contradicts former historians and genealogists who have stated he was born in Scotland and migrated to America as a boy.He was then adopted by by a Chickasaw family becasue he was an orphan. For over one hundred years the belief that COLBERT was born in Scotland has remained unchallenged, As will be shown, this family tradition has not only been expanded but exaggerated over the years. the following quotations are made in chronological order from 1899 to 1991:

"Why Logan COLBERT came to cast his lot at so early an age and so far from the land of his nativity, among the people so remote from all the English settlements, are problems that never will be resolved, though it may be conjectured that he came with some of the early English traders and adventurers who assisted the Chickasaw in their wars against the French. At an early age he was a renowned leader among them, and to that degree a celebrity, that one of the names given to the Mississippi River by the early French writers, during the days of their wars with that people with whom he identified himself, was Rivere de Colbert sustaining the conjecture that Logan COLBERT was the name of the most famous chief among the Chickasaw."(7)

"Among these[traders]was a young Scotsman named James COLBERT. Accounts related a century later say that after the collapse of the Jacobite uprising of 1715 in Scotland fomented by the adherents of James, the Pretendor, a great number of highlanders, fearing reprisal, migrated to America. One of the contingents arrived at Savannah, Georgia, in January, 1736, aboard the 'Prince of Wales' commanded by Captain George DUNBAR. The first party, of which COLBERT was supposedly a member, was under the leadership of John Mohr McINTOSH.What the others did the accounts make no mention, but COLBERT did not tarry in the Tidewater.Young COLBERT adopted the ways of an Indian, and the Chickasaws adopted him.(8)"

"The story of the Chickasaw COLBERTs begins in Scotland...."

"Apparently there was one more important Highlander aboard the arriving ship at Darien, a fifteen year old boy named James Logan COLBERT.His name is not found on the passenger list, nor on a list of Georgia settlers of 1733-1741, but descendants have been claiming since at least 1881 that he was on board THE PRINCE OF WALES.From whence he came is likewise a mystery, but vague hints in family archives indicate an origin at Inverness, Scotland. What he did there, who his ancestors were, or why he migrated to America are all unknowns about James Logan COLBERT."

"Without a trace of kinsmen in the New World, James COLBERT apparently formed a quick association with one or more of the numerous Indian traders in Georgia, unkempt but adventurous men who spoke freely of the independent life available among Indians of the southeastern United States, the pretty Indian maidens, the abundant land and game, and the quick profit to be made in the Indian trade. Again, however, the mystery stalks the trail of James COLBERT. We do not know with whom his association was formed, or under what circumstances, nor exactly when the association took place. Yet we know that sometime prior to 1741, James COLBERT, late of Scotland, chose a life among the Indians."(9)

Questions To Be Asked

If James Logan COLBERT were born in America as he stated in his letter to Governor HARRISON, then the question is where? Before this could be answered, several decisions had to be made regarding COLBERT's family tradition before further research proceeded. First, if part of COLBERT's family tradition were untrue, would it not be reasonable to assume that the entier tradition was false and unreliable? Second, other than John DONNE's secret letter to General WILKENSON that COLBERT had lived among the Chickasaw "since his infancy", was there any other corroborating evidence to verify this? Third, where did Colbert come from? In other words, where was he born? Who were his parents, grandparents, and possible siblings? Fourth, of COLBERT did live with the Chickasaws as a small boy, how did he get there and who brought him? Similarly, was he an orphan as the tradition suggests? Fifth, if others knew COLBERT's true identity, why has not the family tradition been corrected before now? Sixth, what families were allied with the COLBERTs? Seventh, where did James Logan COLBERT's ancestors come from?

Step One: Re-evaluating the Family Tradition

Although it claimed Scotland as James Logan COLBERT's birthplace, it was decided not to disregard the family tradition completely. Val D. GREENWOOD once described family traditions as something that "should be chewed and tasted but never swallowed. More often than not they contain threads (sometimes even cables)of truth that, when unraveled,[provide] useful clues and leads upon which to base research."(10) Despite it's inaccuracies, misstatements, and embellishments of truth, certain leads or clues were found in COLBERT's family tradition which eventually pointed in the right direction. One such clue involved a son and granddaughter of James Logan COLBERT.

In the mid 1820s, according to the family tradition, Chief George COLBERT of the Chickasaws offered Lunsford ASOBROOK "one of his four barrels of silver" if he would marry one of his daughters. According to Nina LEFTWICH's book on the history of Colbert County, Alabama:

"There is in the ALSOBROOK family today a silver medal which George COLBERT gave to Lunsford ALSOBROOK as a token of esteem and friendship which he felt for him when the spirited daughter of the old chief refused to accept the attentions and proposal of Mr. ALSOBROOK, prompted as she thought by the offer of her father. The medal was presented to COLBERT by President JEFFERSON in 1801 as a mark of appreciation for services rendered by the Chief.(11)"

A further investigation into Lunsford ALSOBROOK and his family revealed that a short time after his marriage proposal to George COLBERT's daughter was rejected, ALSOBROOK married Temperence B. EATON of Warren County, North Carolina.(12)

North Carolina records ahow that the EATONs and ALSOBROOKs lived in the counties of Warren, Halifax,and Northampton. Further investigation showed that Thomas COLBERT and several of his children also lived near the EATONs and ALSOBROOKs. What relationship, if any, existed between Thomas COLBERT of North Carolina and James Logan Colbert of the Chickasaws could not be determined at that time. However, this lead proved to be only one of many which eventually linked both COLBERT families together.

Step Two:Determining the age of James Logan Colbert

John DONNE told General WILKENSON that COLBERT had lived with the Chickasaws "since his infancy".However, historians have recently disputed this statement and have written that COLBERT was much older.Historian Gilbert C. DIN wrote;"James Logan COLBERT, a Scotsman and trader, began residence among the Chickasaw before 1740, whenhe was about the age of twenty."(13) In order to determine when COLBERT began living with the Chickasaws, it was necessary to seek corroborating evidence to verify DONNE's statement. This evidence was discovered through the writings of James ADAIR, a former Chickasaw trader. In 1775. ADAIR wrote a book about his experiences with the Five Civilized Tribes. He called it A HISTORY of the NORTH-AMERICAN INDIANS,THEIR CUSTOMS, ETC. In his chapter on the Chickasaw he wrote: "Capt.J. C-l-b-rt who has lived among the Chikkasah from his childhood, and speaks their language even with more propriety than the english, desreves to be recorded..."(14)

Since neither DONNE nor ADAIR explained what they meant by "infancy" and "childhood", it must be deduced from their remarks that James COLBERT lived with the Chickasaws before he reached puberty.(Under the legal definition, puberty for boys is defined as under the age of fourteen.)(15)

COLBERT's family tradition aslo said he began living with the Chickasaws between 1736 and 1741. By aubtracting fourteen from the two dates, we can estimate that COLBERT was born sometime after 1722 but before 1727. These dates also correspond with the births of COLBERT's children, assuming his first marriage happened when he was between the ages of eighteen and twent-three.COLBERT married three times and had eight known children:(16)

1)Sally (first by fullblood)

2)William (second by fullblood)

3)Joseph (second by fullblood)

4)Samuel (second by fullblood)

5)Levi (second by fullblood)

6)George (second by fullblood)

7)James (third by half-blood)

8)Susan (third by half-blood)

As will be shown later, the time when James Logan COLBERT was born was crucial in determining the place of birth, who his parents and siblings were, and who had the opportunity to take him to the Chickasaw Nations as a small boy.

Step Three:Where DId James Logan Colbert Come From?

From the beginning there were numerous obstacles which seemed on the surface insurmountable. Many of the conventional means of locating COLBERT's origins were not available to researchers becasue the subject lived where no tax lists, land deeds, marriage licenses, or census records existed. In many cases, a relationship can be established by tracing land ownership. Then, by comparing the extant deeds with other deeds and records such as wills and marriage licenses, a connection can usually be found between one family and another. however, in this case, there were no records to compare becasue the Chickasaws were a paperless society. That is to say, their culture revolved around an oral history rather than a written one.

Although James COLBERT's life was fairly well documented by the British, French, American, and Spanish governmnets between 1758 and 1784, there were non known documents that mentioned him before then.Since an exhaustive research in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi by previous researchers had already proved unsuccessful, it was decided to check with other sources not used before.

Checking Other Sources

Additional materials on James Logan COLBERT were found in the COLONIAL RECORDS of NORTH CAROLINA, the CALENDAR of VIRGINIA STATE PAPERS, and THE COLONIAL RECORDS of SOUTH CAROLINA. These materials concentrated on his activities during the Cherokee wars between 1758 and 1763 and during the american Revolution. Other than the statement recorded in CALENDAR of VIRGINIA STATE PAPERS that COLBERT was born in America, no other material proved useful in determining his place of birth or his parentage.

However, HE DRAPER COLLECTION of MANUSCRIPTS proved very useful. In 1841 Lyman DRAPER interviewed Malcolm McGEE, a former Chickasaw trader and interpreter for the Chickasaw Nations. McGEE was present with James COLBERT in the summer of 1783 at Long Island on the Holston River during the Virginia-Chickasaw negotiations with DONNE and MARTIN. Like COLBERT, McGEE had moved to the Chickasaw Nations as a small boy.That was in 1767 when he was ten years old.(17) In addition, McGee was once married to Eizabeth OXBERRY HARRIS, daughter of Christpher OXBERRY and Molly COLBERT. During the interview, McGEE was asked to describe the Indian traders who lived with the Chickasaws in 1767. McGEE described the traders by their place of birth: ADAIR, Irish; BUBBY, English; BUCKLES, English; HIGHTOWER, Dutchman; COLBERT, Carolinian. ALl the traders, according to McGEE, had a Chickasaw wife except COLBERT who had three. McGee deduced that the above traders had lived with the Chickasaw for over twenty years becasue by 1767 all of them had fullgrown "half-breed" children.

When DRAPER asked him to verify COLBERT's place of birth, McGee was not sure but guessed South Carolina. Since previous researchers had unsuccessfuly checked South Carolina records for clues regarding James GOLBERT's birthplace and parentage, it was decided to examine documents other than deeds, grants, and marriage records.

Careful research was given to South Carolina's Indian Affairs records to see if his name was mentioned during the early 1730s or 1740s. The results proved negative. However, while going through South Carolina's DOCUMENTS RELATING to INDIAN AFFAIRS, several lists of Indian traders appeared. These lists were generated by laws created by the colonies of Georgia and South Carolina to control Indian trade within their own borders. The first laws monitoring Indian traders in South Carolina were inacted in 1702. They were specifically directed against Virginia Indian traders. One of the first Virginia Indian traders whose property was "confiscated" becasue of this act was Robert HICKS[Sr.]of Virginia in 1707.(18)

Similar acts were also made in Georgia. On 9 January 1735, "An ACt for the Maintaining Peace with the Indians in the Province of Georgia" was passed by the Common Council of Trustees at Governor OGLETHORPE's insistence. It was sent to the Privy Council for review and a favorable report was rendered on 3 April 1735. It said:

.."that all such Persons that shall trade, traffik or Barter with any Indian (except the Chickasaw traders)shall come to the Town of Savannah at least once every Year; in order to take out a new License, in his own proper Person, that is to say, in the Month of March, April, May or June in which Months all Licenses shall expire [except] the Chickasaw traders shall take out their Licenses once in eighteen months..."(19)

Using the names of "Licensed Indian traders", a list of Virginai, North and South Carolina traders was created. A partial list includes Robert LONG, Charles HICKS, John BROWN, William GILCHRIST, Abraham COLSON, James ANDERSON, William KEMP, James MOORE, Richard HYDE, John SIMS, William WILLIAMS, and John PETTYGREW.

The HYDES of Northampton County

One of James COLBERT's 'hirelings' was Richard HYDE, listed above. His father, aslo known as Richard Hyde, had also been employed by COLBERT as a packhorseman. The elder HYDE was a former pirate and member of Blackbeard's gang. HYDE quit his life of piracy when Edward TEACH(Blackbeard) was killed in 1718.(20)

While escorting the Superintendent of Indian Affairs through Creek territory, both the Supreintendent and the elder HYDE were severely beaten and disfigured by some Creek warriors when they were caught in bed with the Indian's wives. According to ADAIR:

"Among the Indians, the trading people's ears are often in danger, by the sharpness of the law, and their suborning false witnesses, or admitting foolish children as legal evidence; but generally either the tenderhearted females or friends, give them timely notice of their danger...The Muskhoge lately clipped off the ears of two white men for supposed adultery.One had been a disciple of Black Beard, the pirate..."(21)

Records show that Richard HYDE and his family lived along the Roanoke River at Hyde Island. This island is a few miles upstream from Plumbtree (Mush) Island and the Occoneechee Neck.

The Chickasaw Traders of Sandy Bluff

Further research revealed a number of Chickasaw Indian traders lived along the Pee Dee River during the "off-season" at a settlement called Sandy Bluff (in present day Marion County, South Carolina). Acording to Harvey Toliver COOK, several North Carolina and Virginia "squatters" had lived at Sandy Bluff since the early 1730s and a substantial community had evolved by 1734.(22)

William BYRD made reference to the Pee Dee River in his book HISTORY of the DIVIDING LINE when describing the Indian Trading Path which crossed the northwest section of present day Warren County in North Carolina on its way "to the Catawbas and other southern Indians." According to BYRD, the Pee Dee was a place "where the traders commonly lie for some days, to recruit their horses' flesh as well as to recover their own spirits."

Sandy Bluff was farther down the Pee Dee that the "usual" rest stop for traders. At first, it was occupied by only a few of the Chickasaw woodsmen before they proceeded to Virginia and North Carolina. Most, if not all, of these woodsmen had Indian wives and half-breed children in the Chickasaw towns they traded in.Geographically, Sandy Bluff was remote from any of the major Indian paths or large towns in South Carolina. It was considered "out-of-the-way". In all respects, Sandy Bluff was a "self contained isolate community".

The Turbevilles of Northampton and Halifax Counties

One of the first families to live at Sandy Bluff was the TURBEVILLEs. North Carolina records show that between 1713 and 1726, the TURBEVILLEs had lived on the Occoneechee Neck of the Morattuck (Roanoke) River (in present day Northampton County). In May of 1726, William and Walter TURBEVILLE moved to Plumbtree Island(now called Mush Island in Halifax County). Their father, Richard TURBEVILLE, had died six months earlier, On 4 December 1725 the elder TURBEVILLE had written his last will and testament.AN abstract of his will reads;

"Wife Anne TURBEVELL-plantation where I now live for her lifetime. Eldest son John TURBEVELL-plantation and land where Jacob COLSON now lives on the west side of Reddy Run. Second son Francis TURBEVELL--100 acres on the south side of the Moratuck River in a survey of land bought of JOhn Lax{X}. Third son William TURBEVELL-land where he now lives, to be divided from the Piney Meadow across the survey. Fourth son Walter TURBEVELL-plantation where I now live after his mother's death. Daughter Elizabeth TURBEVELL-cows and calves, etc. less than one year after the death of her mother. Grandson Daniel COLSON and granddaughter Mary COLSON--cow and calf each, to be paid them when they are twenty-one."(23)

Richard TURBEVILLE's will was witnessed by John HOGG, Richard CURETON, and John HATCHER. All three lived on the Roanoke River near Occoneechee Neck and Plumbtree Island. John HATCHER was a descendant of a Virginian Indian trading family. The HOGGs and CURETONs had ties with the COLBERTs'

The most noteworthy of the TURBEVILLEs at Sandy Bluff, acording to the Reverend Alexander GREGG, was William TURBEVILLE. The Reverend Mr. GREGG said "Mr. TURBEVILLE had no children. Several brothers came with him, of whom some descendants are now in Marion." According to GREGG:

The Rev. Wm. TURBEVILLE came with this colony, and was their pastor. He was a well-educated man, and had a high reputation as a preacher...Mr.TURBEVILLE was a poor man through life. It is said that Wm. ALSTON, grandfather of Gov. ALSTON, who lived near the Warhees(a few miles below Mars Bluff) complained to Mr. T. on one occasion of his wearing such course garments. Mr. T. told him, he got but little for preaching, and could not afford to dress better. Whereupon, Mr. ALSTON gave him a black suit and silk gown, on condition that he was not to use them except for preaching, and on other public official accasions..."(24)

From GREGG's remarks, it was apparent that although the Reverend Mr. TURBEVILLE "had a high reputation for a preacher", his congregation did not support him as GREGG or ALSTON felt they should. It also indicated a callousness on the part of ALSTON to insist that TURBEVILLE wear his "black siut and silk gown" only while preaching or "on other public occasions". ALSTON evidently felt superior to TURBEVILLE and did not mind dictating terms to him. William ALSTON was a cousin of the ALSTONs who lived in present day Warren County, North Carolina. Many of the Chickasaw traders were finacially backed by the ALSTON family.

Abraham Colson and the Chickasaws

The Reverend Mr. GREGG aslo mentioned other families that lived at Sandy Bluff. He recorded that "about this period William COLT and Abraham COLSON settled on the east side of the river, below the Welsh Neck.The name of COLSON was long known, while that of COLT disappeared not many years afterward..."(25) It is not known who William COLT was. Perhaps he came from North Carolina or Virginia like the COLSONs and TURBEVILLEs. There are records connecting William COLT, Abraham COLSON, and George HICKS during the 1740s, but nothing after that. William COLT may have been an alias. During the 1730s many outlaws lived in the area.

Abraham COLSON, on the other hand, was related to the TURBEVILLEs. Like the TURBEVILLEs, the COLSONs had lived on the Occoneechee Neck and later moved to Plumbtree Island on the Morattuck (Roanoke) River in the early 1720s. Jacob COLSON, the man in Richard TURBEVILLE's will who lived "on the west side of Reddy Run", was Abraham COLSON's grandfather. Virginia records show that Jacob COLSON had been an Indian trader since the late 1600s. Abraham's father, Joseph COLSON, had been a Chickasaw trader since 1721.

In 1737, Joseph COLSON wrote his will. It was recorded in Brunswick County, Virginia, just north of the Virginia-North Carolina boundary line.

"Unto my loving son Daniel COLSON the lower half of my land lying and being in Edgecombe presink on the south side of Roanoke at the mouth of Pork Creek, after my loving wife Mary COLSON's death or at her remarriage. ALso, one Negro man Jeme when he comes of lawful age. Also my sorrel horse which he is to have when his uncle William COLESON goes to South Carolina to go with him upon, only Daniel COLESON must pay as much money to my executors for my other children as the horse ans the Negro is praised to.

"Unto my loving daughter Mary COLESON the upper half of my land afforementioned. Also one Negro woman named Sue only she must pay as much money to my executors, when she comes of age.

"Unto my loving wife Mary Coleson and three children Abraham, Jacob, and Winne all the rest of my estate equally."

The will was witnessed by James BARNES, John DODD, Peter SABATEE, and Daniel JAGGER. It was presented in court 7 April 1737 by Mary COLESON and John BOUCHER. They renounced execution and Robert MUNFORD was appointed administrator with the will annexed.(26)

Four years ealier Joseph COLSON was one of the woodsmen who accompanied Major MUMFORD[MUNFORD] and William BYRD II on the expedition to THE LAND OF EDEN.

Like his grandfather and father, Abraham COLSON lived and traded among the various Indian tribes. In February of 1740, Abraham submitted two bills to the HOuse of Commons of South Carolina for payment.

"An Account of the said Mr. Abraham COLLSON amounting to L25, it being for a Steer, and 2 Quarters of Beef & for the Use of the Indians in July 1738. Which Account having been also read to the HOuse it was ordered that the same be referred to the Consideration of the Committee on Petitions and Accounts.(27)

"another Account of the said Mr. Abraham COLLSON amunting to the Sum of L6 for 2 Quarters of Beef for the Chactaw Indians on their traveling to Charles Town.Which amount having been read also to the House it was ordered that the same be referred to the Consideration of Committee of Petitions and Accounts."

Apparently there was some dispute over the two bills.In March the House approved the first bill but disapproved the second bill for six pounds.:"We have examined an Account of Mr. Abraham COLSON's, for Beef killed for the Chickasaws on their coming to and returning from Charles town, amounting to the Sum of L25:00:00, which we recommend may be allowed."(28)

As Chickasaw traders, the COLSONs and TURBEVILLESs had the means and opporunity to take James Logan COLBERT to the Chickasaw Nations as a small boy. What is more compelling, however, is that both families lived next door to the COLBERTs in North Carolina during the 1720s and 1730s.

"Mulattoes" and "Mixedbloods" at Sandy Bluff

Several settlements were granted patents or grants by the South carolina government during the 1730s near Sandy Bluff. Queensboro was surveyed in 1733 and in 1736 a colony of Welsh Baptists from Pennsylvania was established. Unfortunately, the settlers at Sandy Bluff did not get along with their neighbors.

"In 1739 one of the petitions of the Welsh complained 'That several Out Laws and Fugitives from the Colonies of Virginia and North Carolina most of whom are Mullatoes or of a Mixed Blood' had thrust themselves among them, paying no taxes nor quit rents, 'and are a Pest and Nuisance to the adjacent Inhabitants.' They were a part of a band of robbers sought by the Virginia goevrnmnet, and had, so the Welsh suspected, the sympathy of some of their neighbors."(29)

The outlaw community of mulattoes and mixedbloods continued to plague the Welsh settlements with robberies to such an extent that the governor brought out the militia. In 1746, two settlers petitioned to have their grants moved to a different location. One complained that the "robbers reduced his stock of hogs from twenty-five to six."

In 1747, George HICKS, son of Robert HICKS, Jr., moved to the Pee Dee River near Sandy Bluff. According to the Reverend Mr. GREGG:

"In the latter part of the year previous came George HICKS, from Virginia. The family was of English descent.Being a man of means and influence, Mr.HICKS induced a number of his own relatives and others also to come with him. He became head of a large connexion on the Pee Dee. The first record of his name is in a grant of land, in the Welsh tract, January 22nd, 1747."(30)

In 1750 the governor of South Carolina appointed George HICKS and James CRAWFORD as justices of the peace becasue some of the Sandy Blff settlers were "Living very Riotous". The problem did not subside, however, and two years later, Justice of the Peace James CRAWFORD and sixty other settlers asked the governor for permission to move to another district. By then, the mulattoes and mixed bloods had taken control of the district.

In addition to the TURBEVILLEs and COLSONs, many other families that had previously lived on the Roanoke River moved to Sandy Bluff. Among them were the GIBSONs, CHAVIS[CHAVERS], Goins[GOINGS], and SWEETs[SWEAT]. According to GREGG, Gideon GIBSON was one of the wealthiest men at Sandy Bluff. He was also a "Free Man of Color".(31) So were the CHAVIS, GOINS and SWEAT families. All four families were related by marriage.(32)

The TUBEVILLEs were also related to the Sweat family by marriage. In 1763, William SWEAT, the son-n-law of John TURBEVILLE, was named executor of his estate. John TURBEVILLE was born in North Carolina at either Plumbtree Island or the Occoneechee Neck and was a grandson of Richard TURBEVILLE. In his will dated 3 August 1763 and probated in Charleston, South Carolina, John TURBEVILLE made provisions for his daughter Lucy SWEAT and grandson Nathan SWEAT as well as other members of his family.(33)

The GOINS family had originally come from Virginia before migrating to North and South Carolina.(Goins Island is located at Lake Gaston on the Roanoke River a few miles up river from Hyde Island and Plumbtree Island.) CHAVIS[Chavers], on the other hand, lived on the Quankey Creek, which is below Plumbtree Island.

Gideon GIBSON had lived near the Occoneechee Neck adjacent to land owned by Arthur KAVANAUGH, Ralph MASON, and Richard TURBEVILLE before buying land on Quankey Creek from Robert LONG[LANG], a Chickasaw and Cherokee Indian trader. LONG also owned land at Elk Marsh and Plumbtree Island. LONG had received his land patensts at Quankey Creek and Plumbtree Island on 1 March 1719/1720.(34)

According to GREGG, Gideon's brother, Jordan, went West with Daniel BOONE. Benjamin CUTBIRTH (also known as CALVERT/COLBERT) was also a member of Daniel BOONE's entourage.(35)

James Logan of North Carolina and Virginia

Robert LONG and Gideon GIBSON were not the only woodsmen who lived at Quankey Creek in North Carolina. Joseph SIMS and James MOORE also lived there. Like the COLSONs and TURBEVILLEs of Plumbtree Island, these woodsmen traded with the Chickasaws. During the off-season they often rested at Sandy Bluff before returning to North Carolina. In 1732 Joseph SIMS and James MOORE witnessed the selling of land between two men from Albermarle County, North Carolina, at Quankey Creek. A third witness was James LOGAN.

"...Thomas MATTHEWS of the north west parish of Edge.Prect. in the Co.of Albermarle, planter to Joseph BREWER of Edge.Prect....16 Mar.1732 10 pounds current money of VA. 200 acres in north west parish on the south side of the Moratock river and the south side of Great Quankey Creek whereon the sd.MATTHEWS now lives, joining Peter JONES, other lands of sd. MATTHEWS, the land formerly owned by Robert WOOD and the creek part of a tract granted to William WILLIAMS for 340 acres 17 May 1730 Wit:Joseph SIMS, James LOGAN, James MOORE..."(36)

William WILLIAMS, a former owner mentioned in the above sale, had traded with the Chickasaw Nations since the early 1720s. Peter JONES had accompanied Joesph COLSON, Robert HICKS, Major MUMFORD, and William BYRD II during the survey of "Eden".

According to COLBERT family tradition, a man named "James LOGAN" was the grandfather of James COLBERT. Given the similarity of names, plus the fact that Chickasaw traders lived at Quankey Creek, Occoneechee Neck and on Plumbtree Island, circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that this James LOGAN was indeed the grandfather of James Logan COLBERT.

Additional information on James LOGAN comes from F.B.KEGLEY in his book KEGLEY'S VIRGINIA FRONTIER. In it he describes some of the earliest settlers on "the southwest frontier below the mountains" in Virginia.

"On the south side of the James below the mountains the frontier at this time was represented by the Welsh settlement on the Mcherrin; Col.BYRD's improvements on the Roanoke above Sandy Creek, including the three charming islands, Sapponi, Occoneechee and Totero; Major MUNFORD's Quarter near-by; Col.BYRD's Land of Eden on the Dan and Major MAYO's Survey adjoining; Richard and William KENNON's grant on Cub Creek which supplied farmsteads for John CALDWELL's Presbyterian Colony...

"On the South eastern creeks were...Joseph COLSON at Major MUMFORD's...and Peter MITCHELL, the highest inhabitant on Roanoke River, about six miles above the fork.Among the first to become settled on Cub Creek were John and William CALDWELL, James LOGAN..."(37)

The CALDWELLs and LOGANs had originally come from Pennsylvania before migrating to Virginia and North Carolina. In addition to settling a Presbyterian colony, several of the CALDWELLs were also Chickasaw traders. When Bernard ROMANS visited the Chickasaw and Choctaw Indians in 1775, he wrote of his accounts of an Indian trader named CALDWELL:

"One CALDWELL has the greatest stock[of cattle]; and OPAYA MINGO LUXI went in 1771 to complain of it, but CALDWELL, knowing that no savage can withstand the words of a white man, took advantage thereof, and so intimidated the savage, by his mere presence at Pensacola, when in the Superintendent's hall, in order to lodge his information, and make his complaint that OPAYA MINGO LUXI himself said he had nothing against him..."(38)

CAVEAT:Although circumstantial evidence suggests that James LOGAN was the grandfather of James Logan COLBERT, additional research is needed.

The Calverts of Plumbtree Island

While investigating the TURBEVILLEs, COLSONs, and LONGs, it was discovered that the family of Joseph CALVERT (pronounced kahl/vert) also lived on Plumbtree Island and owned property on the Occoneechee Neck. Deed records strongly suggest that Joseph CALVERT and Joseph COLSON were either partners and/or related to one another. On 20 March 1721 both bought property on the Morattuck River from Thomas WHITMELL, an Indian trader.(39) COLSON's land was on the north side of the Morattuck (Roanoke) River near the TURBEVILLE's: "...Thomas Joseph COLESON...100 acres on the north side of Morattock River, joining the spring branch, the Double branch, TURBEWILL's branch and the river. Wit:William MAULE, William GRAY..." CALVERT, on the other hand, bought land on Plumbtree Island: "...Thomas Joseph CALVERT...385 acres..."(40)

Three years later, on 24 June 1724, Joseph CALVERT bought an additional 250 acres from John GRAY "on Morratuck River and Plumbtree Island Adj. William GREEN, 'Near Foltera Fort'."(41)

The lands bought by COLSON< CALVERT, and TURBEVILLE on the north side of the Morratuck(Roanoke) River were near an Indian path leading to the courthouse in Brunswick County, Virginia, and to the plantation of Major Robert MUMFORD[MUNFORD].

Major Robert Mumfors and the Families of Plumbtree Island

Further research revealed that the TURBEVILLEs, COLSONs, and CALVERTs worked for Major Robert MUMFORD of Brunswick County, Virginia, and with Thomas WHITMELL. Major MUMFORD was a large land speculator and the descendant of an Indian trading family. The MUMFORDs had traded alongside men like Abraham WOOD, Benjamin HARRISON, Robert BOLLING, William BYRD I, Peter POYTHRESS, and Robert HICKS since the late 1600s.(42)

The TURBEVILLEs learned of the Occoneechee Neck on the Roanoke through their association with Arthur KAVANAUGH and Major Robert MUMFORD. By 1712 both KAVANAUGH and MUMFORD were large landowners in Virginia and North Carolina. KAVANAUGH betgan seeling his North Carolina patents in 1713 and MUMFORD acted as his attorney. Thomas WHITMELL, the Indian trader, bought six hundred acres from KAVANAUGH on the north side of the Morattuck River in 1715.(43)

Before moving to North Carolina, the TURBEVILLEs sold land they owned in Prince George County, Virginia, to Peter MITCHELL, an Indian trader and land speculator.(MITCHELL lived high on the Roanoke River near the CALDWELLs and James LOGAN.) Major MUMFORD acted as Mary TURBEVILLE's power of attorney and it was witnessed by Arthur KAVANAUGH and John ANDERSON.(44)

ANDERSON was also an Indian trader and land speculator who worked with MUMFORD. Prior to 1722, ANDERSON lived with his family on the Occoneechee Neck of the Roanoke River. Before moving to the Roanoke River and the Occoneechee, ANDERSON had lived in Prince George County, Virginia.

Prince George County records reveal that in the 1740 "Rent Roll of all the Lands held in the County", the following names were listed: Jno.ANDERSON, Lewis GREEN, Peter JONES, Peter MITCHELL, Hubert GIBSON, Coll.BOLLING, Coll.HARRISON, Arthur KAVANAUGH, Francis POYTHRES Sr., Dan'll HICKDON[HIGDON],Coll.BYRD, Rob't.HIX, Robt.MUNFORD, Rich'd.TURBERFIELD, and Wm.EPPES.(45)

In 1722 Major MUMFORD and John ANDERSON were the first individuals to apply for a patent in present-day Mecklenburg County in Virginia. It wass for "2811 acres in the fork of Cock's (now Poplar) Creek" and the Roanoke River.(46)

When Richard TURBEVILLE and his family moved to North Carolina, they lived on the Occoneechee with other Chickasaw traders and next to ANDERSON, COLSON, PACE, MASON, GIBSON, LANG(LONG), and Thomas WHITMELL.(47)

On 1 March 1720 the Lords Proprietors of North Carolina issued patents to Plumbtree Island and on the south side of Plumbtree Swamp abutting the island. These patents went to Thomas WHITMELL, William GREEN, John COTTON, John GEDDES, William REEVES, Barnaby MILTON, and Robert LANG(LONG). Shortly after Thomas WHITMELL obtained his patent on Plumbtree Island, Joseph CALVERT and his family moved on the island.(48) The CALVERTs were later joined by the TURBEVILLEs and COLSONS.


(1)In many ways, this manuscript asks as many questions as it answers. It was not written as a biographical sketch of James Logan Colbert. Instead, it's purpose is to identify and trace his genealogical history. To accomplish this, the author researched the migration pattern of several Chickasaw Indian trader families. Surprisingly, it led to the Roanoke River in North Carolina and to the present day counties of Franklin, Warren, Halifax and Northampton. This manuscript will provide many surprises to its readers.It is hoped it will be informative. Historical accounts backed by genealogical findings are used throughout to re-evaluate Colbert's "family tradition" that has been accepted for over one hundred years. This article is the author's attempt to bridge the gap between family tradition, fact, and fiction. The author retains the copyright of this article, all rights reserved.

(2)Colonel Cadwallader Jones, A GENEALOGICAL HISTORY (Columbia: Ye Bryan Printing Co.,1900), p.1, hereinafter cited as Jones, A GENEALOGICAL HISTORY.

(3)Dr. Virginia Easley DeMarce, "Looking at Legends--Lumbee and Melungeon: Applied Genealogy and the Origins of Tri-racial Isolate Settlements." NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, LXXXI, 1 (March 1993);37, hereinafter cited as DeMarce, "Origins of Tri-racial Isolate Settlements."

(4)John Walton Caughey, McGillivray of the Creeks (Norman:University of Oklahoma Press, 1938), p.68.

(5)John Donne to General James Wilkenson, "Miscellaneous Letters Addressed to Congress 1775-1789,"Papers of the Continental Congress 9(Donne, John [Falls of the Ohio River to James Wilkenson: Jan.17, 1784, p.6]Microcopy M247, Roll 104.

(6)William P. Palmer, Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts, from January 1, 1782, to December 31, 1784, Vol.III (Richmond:Sherwin McRae, 1883),pp.513-515.

(7)H.B.Cushman, History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez INdians (Greenville:Hendlight Printing House, 1899),p.423.

(8)Guy B.Braden, "The Colberts and the Chickasaw Nation," Tennessee Historical Quarterly, XVII, 3(1958):222,223.


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