Saturday’s Dilemma ~ Tuscarora Indian Connection?

tuscarora-mapBack in the first part of April, I wrote a blog about being Melungeon. I discovered this while researching my 5x Great Grandfather Walter Gibson. A Melungeon was considered by outsiders to have a mixture of European, Native American, and African ancestry. Researchers have referred to Melungeons and similar groups as “tri-racial isolates.”.

I have been searching to see if I could find any proof that Walter was indeed partTuscarora people photo 1 Native American. It isn’t easy as there really isn’t much information on the Tuscarora tribe. What I do know is they are loosely connected to the Iroquoian Tribe and they spoke a derivative of their language. The Tuscarora, one of the most prominent tribes of eastern North Carolina at the time of European settlement, was a well-developed tribe. The tribe established communities on the Roanoke, Tar, and Neuse Rivers, growing crops such as corn, picked berries and nuts, and the Tuscarora were “hemp gatherers”. They also hunted big game such as deer and bears. Despite the tribe’s size and numerous warriors, the Tuscarora War (1711-1713) led to the migration of the tribe to New York and the near vanishing of the tribe from North Carolina.

What is now Carteret, Pamlico, Craven, Lenoir, Jones, Beaufort, and Pitt Counties was a terrifying place to live. North Carolinians and the Yamasee waged war against the Tuscarora. Many colonists’ settlements were burned and the Tuscarora ax indiscriminately fell upon men, women, and children. In the end, English colonists prevailed. Captured Tuscarora was sold into slavery and those that escaped northward joined the Iroquois League. 

I also found the following that was extracted from the Bertie County Book of Deeds.

Walter Gibson Tuskarora Indian 1

Here Walter Gibson is mentioned as being a Chieftain of the Tuscarora Indians. I know this is not definitive proof, however, the time frame and location does line up with Walter. I have not looked into the Iroquoian Tribe, Sometime in the early 1800s the two tribes joined together and I am hoping they retained some of this history in their records or traditions.

My dilemma is I can’t for the life of me think of where else I can search. I am officially a full-time caregiver for my husband and some days my brain doesn’t function as well as it used to. Thanks in advance!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.