The Tuscarora lived in what is now eastern North Carolina when Europeans first began settling there. They farmed along the Neuse, Pamlico, and Roanoke Rivers. They hunted and fished for for food. They were a peace-loving people who kept the peace among their neighbors. Before Europeans came, then numbered about 25,000 people.
Once the Europeans came, they brought assorted diseases, which, while the Europeans were immune to, the Tuscarora were not. Many sickened and died. Once the coast of North Carolina started to be settled, the Tuscarora, as well as other tribes, were finding their ancestral lands taken from them. Their hunting parties found themselves hunted. Settler's horses and cattle trampled their fields. Their women were raped. Their women and children were sold into slavery.
In North Carolina, two bands of Tuscarora were formed. The Northern Band led by Chief Tom Blunt (later changed name to Blount) centered around present day Bertie County. The Southern Band led by Chief Hancock centered around present day New Bern south of the Pamlico River. While the Northern Band assimilated itself more with the settlers, the Southern Band attempted to keep peace but remain separate. In an attempt to preserve his people, Chief Hancock tried to move his people to Pennsylvania where the Oneidas had offered them refuge. However, Pennsylvania law required a letter from the current governor assuring them that these were peaceful prior to allowing them to move into Pennsylvania. During Cary's Rebellion, governorship of North Carolina was in dispute. Whether it was intentional or just an oversite is unknown, but the Tuscarora were unable to get the letter needed in order to move to Pennsylvania.
On 22 Sep 1711, many settlers were massacred by warriors from various tribes. The Southern Band of the Tuscarora has been blamed for nearly three centuries. But exactly what the involvement of Chief Hancock and his people is in dispute. Most sources say that he led his warriors, but those sources tend to be ones from European settlers. The Tuscarora left no written record and oral traditions are not considered good sources by some historians.
Regardless of who was to blame, the Southern Band of the Tuscarora Tribe was nearly destroyed 23 Mar 1713 when 400 were killed at Fort Neorooka. Another 400 were taken captive and 166 were killed outside the fort.
Those who remained alive and not captive made their way to Virginia and then Pennsylvania where they shared a land with the Oneidas. They became the Sixth Nation in the Iroquois Confederacy. The Senecas considered them their sons and they considered the Senecas their fathers.
The Northern Band in North Carolina made a treaty in Jun 1718 for 56,000 acres in Bertie County. Most of that land was sold for them over the years and most of the proceeds of the sale was swindled, if they saw it at all.
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