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The Tuscarora War

Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies

David La Vere

Publication Year: 2013

At dawn on September 22, 1711, more than 500 Tuscarora, Core, Neuse, Pamlico, Weetock, Machapunga, and Bear River Indian warriors swept down on the unsuspecting European settlers living along the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers of North Carolina. Over the following days, they destroyed hundreds of farms, killed at least 140 men, women, and children, and took about 40 captives. So began the Tuscarora War, North Carolina's bloodiest colonial war and surely one of its most brutal. In his gripping account, David La Vere examines the war through the lens of key players in the conflict, reveals the events that led to it, and traces its far-reaching consequences.
La Vere details the innovative fortifications produced by the Tuscaroras, chronicles the colony's new practice of enslaving all captives and selling them out of country, and shows how both sides drew support from forces far outside the colony's borders. In these ways and others, La Vere concludes, this merciless war pointed a new direction in the development of the future state of North Carolina.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-x

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pp. 1-2

It was a hard place. Geography and climate worked against North Carolina, making it a hot, wet, humid country with more water than dry land. Indians had long adapted to it, but European settlers found it tough going. Down among the pine barrens, dreams that began with so much promise withered in the summer heat. ...

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Introduction—The Makings of a War

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pp. 3-17

Even God seemed to hate North Carolina. Evidence of this appeared definite by the late summer of 1711. When King Charles II granted the colony to the Lords Proprietors back in 1663, these eight English lords imagined a steady flow of American wealth into their pockets. ...

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1. Christopher de Graffenried—The Dreamer

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pp. 18-38

It was a pleasant late-summer day, around the eleventh or twelfth of September 1711. Baron Christopher de Graffenried, John Lawson, the surveyor general for the colony of North Carolina, and Christopher Gale, its chief justice, had decided to make a trip up the Neuse River.1 ...

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2. King Hancock and Core Tom—The Defenders

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pp. 39-68

Once De Graffenried, Lawson, and their two slaves appeared before him, King Hancock of Catechna town found himself caught in his own bad situation. He had sent his warriors only to turn them back, prevent them from venturing further into Tuscarora territory. He had no intention of taking the men captive. ...

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3. William Brice—The Fighter

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pp. 69-95

The watershed in men’s lives comes at different times. For Christopher de Graffenried and William Brice, two neighbors on the Neuse River, they overlapped. Brice had been living on Brice’s Creek, a tributary of the Trent River just south of the mouth of the Neuse, when De Graffenried and his colonists moved in. ...

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4. Col. John Barnwell—The Opportunist

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pp. 96-112

It took almost a month for news of the September 22 attacks to reach Charles Town, South Carolina. A black slave named Fenwick began spreading a rather sketchy account of an Indian attack in North Carolina, but no one knew how he learned of it or even exactly what he told. ...

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5. Thomas Pollock—The Destroyer

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pp. 113-134

The arrival of Barnwell’s army in Bath truly was a boost for the colonists of North Carolina. Here stood visible evidence that they were not alone in this. Many believed that the tide of war had already turned and it would only be a short time before Barnwell destroyed the Tuscaroras and their allies. ...

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6. King Tom Blount—The Negotiator

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pp. 135-152

Barnwell thought he had achieved a great victory. In reality, he had left the Tuscaroras as strong as ever, though their Indian allies had certainly been hit hard by the surprise attack on Core Town. As for the Tuscaroras, Thomas Pollock calculated that Barnwell had only killed about thirty of them. ...

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7. Col. James Moore—The Soldier

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pp. 153-177

It would have been easy for South Carolina to wash its hands of North Carolina. Officials had already appropriated £4,000 pounds to prosecute the war, sent an expedition commanded by the experienced Col. Barnwell, forced a peace treaty with the Tuscaroras, and still North Carolina wanted more. ...

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8. Aftermath

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pp. 178-210

For North Carolina, it had been a tough, costly victory. But a victory nonetheless. As Thomas Pollock saw it, the colony had survived in the face of extreme dangers. But now it was a new day and he saw a new North Carolina coming. “The fire of difference and division amongst the people being in a manner extinguished, ...

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A Note from the Author

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pp. 211-214

This was the first time biography played a major role in my historical writing. So as I got closer to these eight men—Christopher de Graffenried, King Hancock, Core Tom, William Brice, Col. John Barnwell, Thomas Pollock, King Tom Blount, and Col. James Moore—the more my preconceived notions about them changed. ...


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pp. 215-242


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pp. 243-250

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pp. 251-252

Though my name will be put down as the author, all historians know that a book is an endeavor done by so many more people. First and foremost, I would like to thank Dr. Alan Watson, my colleague at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, whom I consider the best and most knowledgeable historian of North Carolina’s colonial period. ...


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pp. 253-262

E-ISBN-13: 9781469612577
E-ISBN-10: 1469612577
Print-ISBN-13: 9781469610900
Print-ISBN-10: 1469610906

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2013