Robeson County, NC in Historical & Cultural Context

Jessica Lambert Ward
May 13, 2011
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


  • Before 1492 –  Many American Indian people lived in the area now called North Carolina. These
    tribes include the Chowanoke, Croatan, Hatteras, Moratoc, Secotan, Weapemoc,
    Machapunga, Pamlico, Coree, Neusiok, Tuscarora, Meherrin, Cherokee, Cape Fear,
    Catawba, Shakori Sissipahaw, Sugeree, Waccamaw (Woccon), Waxhaw, Cheraw, Eno,
    Keyauwee, Occaneechi, Saponi, and Tutelo.
  • 1524– A Spanish expedition meets American Indians in a place the Indians called
    Chicora, between the Cape Fear River in NC and the Santee River in SC—an area
    that includes present-day Robeson Co. Rio Jordan, a Spanish colony, is
    established but abandoned within a few years.

The Lost Colony (1584-1590)

•By 1585, the first English settlement is established at Roanoke Island. The Roanoke natives
begin to fear that the colonists are a drain on their resources.
•In 1586, Sir Francis Drake arrives at Roanoke Island to take the colonists back to
England. He leaves an exploring party but does not find the colonists.
•In 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh founds a new colony led by John White. They find the
remains of the colonists who were left behind in 1585. White returns to England for supplies.
•After a 3 year absence, White returns to Roanoke Island in 1590 to find the colony deserted. He attempts to reach Croatan Island to search for the colonists, but he was lost in a storm. The Roanoke settlement is known as the Lost Colony.
•February 12, 1885, the Fayetteville Observer published an article regarding the origins of American Indian people in Robeson Co. According to the article, the Croatan Indians found the English in despair and persuaded them to leave the island, eventually leading them to settle in Robeson Co.
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