North Carolina was the site of the Tuscarora War, which took place from 1711 to February 11, 1715. It was a battle between the Tuscarora tribe and the settlers in the area, who were Dutch, German, and British.
In 1653, the Europeans began to establish permanent settlements in North Carolina. For more than 50 years, despite other tribes having conflicts with settlers, peace was maintained between the Tuscarora’s in North Carolina and the settlers. Unfortunately, the settlers eventually caused major problems for the Tuscarora Indians.
The Tuscarora lived in two primary groups. One was led by Chief Hancock and lived in the south. The other was further north. They were led by Chief Tom Blunt. The tribe led by Chief Tom Blunt was located on the Roanoke River, near what is now Bertie County. Chief Hancock’s tribe was living along the Pamplico River, near New Bern. Later, the river was renamed the Pamlico. The Blount family and Chief Blunt became quite close. However, the settlers near Chief Hancock’s settlement were not as friendly. His people were often captured and sold as slaves and his villages were sometimes damaged and property destroyed in the process. European diseases and encroaching settlers caused many of the Tuscarora Indians in both groups to become ill or die. Chief Hancock finally felt that he had no choice. He began to attack the settlers. However, Chief Tom Blunt did not join him.
Chief Hancock’s group of southern Tuscarora Indians joined forces with the Mattamuskeets, the Cores, the Matchepungoes, the Pamplicos, and the Cothechneys. Together, they raided several areas and attacked many settlers. The settlers planting crops along the Trent, Neuse, and Roanoake rivers were primary targets. Residents of Bath were also targeted. The first attack took place on September 22, 1711. Over the next several months, hundreds of people were either killed or forced to flee, including prominent political people.
The North Carolina militia were called into service by Governor Edward Hyde. He also asked for assistance from South Carolina’s legislature. They sent Colonel Barnwell, who was in command of 360 Indians and 600 militia members to help. Together, they all attacked the Craven County tribes, including Chief Hancock’s Tuscarora. In 1712, they attacked at Fort Narhantes on the Neuse River. They Tuscarora lost the battle, with approximately 100 being taken prisoner and 300 dying in the attack. Most of the prisoners were children and women, who were enslaved.
The settlers offered to give Chief Blunt complete control of the Tuscaroras, if he would help them to kill Chief Hancock. He agreed, and Chief Hancock was captured and then executed in 1712. The following year, Fort Neoheroka fell to the settlers. Approximately 900 Tuscaroras were captured or killed in that attack. Many of the remaining southern Tuscaroras soon began traveling north to New York in order to escape.
In June of 1718 a treaty was signed between the settlers and the Tuscaroras who were left in the region. The Indians were given some land in present-day Bertie County, near the Roanoke River. The area consisted of 56,000 acres, which Tom Blunt, who was now calling himself Blount, was already occupying. He was recognized as King Tom Blount by the North Carolina legislature. Some last Tuscarora hold outs were forced to move from the Pamlico River to Bertie. Bertie County was chartered in 1722. From that point onward, over the course of several decades, their lands were slowly acquired and sold off.