1347. Major-General Abraham Wood to his honoured friend John Richards, in London. Has been at the charge of 200l. in discoveries to the South or West sea in two years, which he was made sensible of by the hands of Thos. Batt and Robert Fallam. Sent out two Englishmen and eight Indians about 10 April 1673 to make discoveries across the mountains. Describes their proceedings, how they met with the Tomahitans as they were journeying from the mountains to the Occhonechees, eleven of whom came to Wood's plantation, and forty promised to stay with his men at Occhonechee until the eleven returned. That they then journeyed nine days to Sitteree, west by south, and passed nine rivers and creeks which all end this side the mountains and empty into the sea. Sitteree is the last town of inhabitants until within two days' journey of the Tomahitans. How after four days travelling they reached the top of the mountains, lost all their horses but one, not as much through the badness of the way as by hard travel. Great store of turkeys, deer, elks, bears, woolves, and other vermin, very tame. Arrived, after fifteen days from Sitteree, at Tomahitan River, which is described, as also the town, where they were very kindly entertained, even to adoration. A scaffold set up in the middle of the town for Major Wood's two men and Apomattock Indian that their people might gaze at them and not offend them by their throng. Many nations of Indians inhabit down the river which they are all at war with, and keep 150 canoes under command of their fort; each canoe will carry at least 20 men. Eight days' journey down this river live a white people with long beards and whiskers, who wear clothing, and on some of the other rivers live a hairy people. Not many years since the Tomahittans sent 20 men laden with beaver to the white people, but they killed ten of them and put the others in irons, two of whom escaped, and one came to Major Wood's plantation, and is one of those eight, the other remains to learn the language. On 12th September they all arrived at Wood's house. The Tomahittans have about 60 guns. The (escaped) prisoners relate the white peole have a six-foot bell which they ring morning and evening, when a great number of people congregate together and "talk they know not what." Many blacks among them; oysters and other shell fish, swine and cattle. Since they were so barbarously handled they put to death all the white and black people they take. On 20th Sept. Major Wood's men and the 12 Tomahittans began their journey again. Has presented all this to the Grand Assembly of Virginia, but not one word in answer or any encouragement or assistance given. Never heard anything since he employed James Needham, who passed from Aeno, an Indian town two days' journey beyond Occhoneeche, in safety. Report that his men had been killed by the Tomahittans. Arrival of Henry Hatcher on 25th February, who had been trading at Occhoneechee, with the news that Needham was certainly killed, supposed to be by an Indian named John, a fat, thick, bluff-faced fellow, who had Needham's pistols and gun. His Indian name is Hasecoll, who was one that went with James Needham, and Major Wood's man Gabriel Arthur went at first to the Tomahittans and was captured where never Englishman had before set foot. Relation of Gabriel Arthur's discoveries to 18th June 1674, the day he safely returned with a Spanish Indian boy, and how Needham came to his end by the hands of the barbarous rogue Indian John, who had undertaken his protection and safety. He shot him, notwithstanding the Tomahittans tried to save him. "So died this heroic Englishman, whose fame shall never die if my pen were able to eternize it, which had ventured where never any Englishman trod," and with him died 144l. sterling of Wood's adventure. The Tomahittans fell a weeping and cried what shall we do, we shall be cut off by the English.
Indian John drew out his knife, ripped open Needham's body, and drew out his heart, held it up, and, looking towards the English plantations, said he valued not all the English, that he was paid for what he had done, and commanded the Tomahittans to kill the Englishman Needham had left with them. Gabriel Arthur was tied to a stake with great heaps of combustible canes, and was about to be burnt when the King or chief man shot the Weesock dead that had the firebrand, released Arthur, and bad him go to his own house, daring any to touch him. Arthur was then compelled to go armed with gun, tomahawk, and target, with a party of 50 to rob the Spaniard, on the promise of being taken to his master the next spring. They travelled for eight days, and then came to a town of wooden buildings inhabited by negroes, and about six miles further came in sight of the Spanish, walled round with brick and all brick buildings. There he saw the steeple wherein hung the bell, Needham spoke of, and heard it ring, but they drew off next and laid in ambush, where they lay seven days, stealing for their sustenance. On the 7th day one of the Tomahittans shot a Spaniard, in whose pocket were two gold pieces and a gold chain, which Gabriel unfortunately lost. Then they hastened to the Negro town and shot a lone negro with a dart made with piece of the blade of Needham's sword, which, thrown at the negro, struck him through between the shoulders and he fell dead; they took some toys from his ears and bracelets from his neck, and returned as expeditiously as they could to their own homes. Another party was shortly commanded out again, with Gabriel Arthur, to Port Royal, who refused to go until the King promised he would do no violence against the English, their business being to cut off a town of Indians who lived near the English; so they marched over the mountains, and in six days came upon the head of Port Royal River. At a house they crept up to Gabriel heard one say pox take such masters that will not allow a servant a bit of meat to eat upon Christmas Day, by which he knew what time of year it was. About six miles thence they came upon the Indian town, which they fell upon at break of day, and from which an Englishman ran for his life, and the Tomahittans opened and let him pass clear, but they took his "snapsack," with beads, knives, and other petty truck in it, made a very great slaughter upon the Indians,
and about sunrise, hearing many great guns fired by the English, they hastened away, and in less than 14 days arrived at the Tomahittans with their plunder. Account of the King's visit to his friends, the Monetons, accompanied by sixty men, and Gabriel "must go along with them," where they arrived after travelling ten days due north, a great town and a great number of Indians in it. Mr. Batt and Fallam were upon the head of the river, as he wrote in his first journal. After taking leave of the Monetors they marched three days out of their way "to give a clap to some of that great nation" (the Tomahittans), and here Gabriel was shot with two arrows, one in his thigh, which stopped his running, and so was taken prisoner, for Indian valour consists most in their heels, and he that can run best is accounted the best man. These Indians thought Gabriel to be no Tomahittan by the length of his hair, and when they had scoured his skin with water and ashes, and perceived it to be white they made very much of him and gave him back his knife, guns, and hatchett they had taken from him. He gave the knife and hatchett to the King, but they knew not the use of the gun, and he saw no manner of iron instrument amongst them. He promised to bring knives and hatchetts to truck with beaver skins, at which they seemed to rejoice and carried him to a path that led to the Tomahittans and gave him rokahamony for his journey. The King of the Tomahittans had one short journey more before he would bring in Gabriel, when they went down the river and came to the mouth of the salts, where land could not be seen, but the water was not above three foot deep, so know this is not the river the Spaniards live upon, as Mr. Needham did think. There they killed many swine, sturgeon, and beaver. About 10th May 1674 the King, with 18 of his people laden with goods, began their journey to Fort Henry, at the falls of Appomattock River, in Charles City, county Virginia; were not disturbed until they came to Sarah, where four Occhonechees were waiting Gabriel's coming, but they durst not attempt any violent action by day; how they worked their plot and made an alarm by crying out the town was beset by an innumerable company of strange Indians, upon which the Tomahittans ran away, leaving all behind them and Gabriels two pieces of gold and chain in an Indian bag, Gabriel and the Spanish Indian boy he brought with him hiding themselves in the bushes, whom the Occhonechees made diligent search for but could not find. Gabriel then, with four Tomahittans, hired four Sarah Indians to take them to Aeno, where they met with Major-Gen. Wood's man, sent out to inquire after them, desperately sick of the flux. How Gabriel and the Spanish Indian boy escaped undiscovered through the Occhonechees where they are strongly fortified by nature, which makes them so insolent, for they are but a handful of people besides the vagabonds who repair to them, being a receptacle for rogues. Their food was huckleberries, which the woods were full of, and on the 15th June they both arrived at Wood's house.
Also arrived on 20 July at night the King of the Tomahittans with his two sons and one more, who brought their packs and came along by Totero, under the fort of the mountains, until they met with James River, and there made a canoe of bark and came down the river to the Manikins, from thence to Powetan by land, and across the neck. He gave certain relation how Mr. Needham came by his death. Received this King with much joy and kind entertainment, and there was much joy between Gabriel and the King that they were met once more. Gave the King a good reward for preserving Gabriel's life; he stayed a few days and promised to come again at the fall of the leaf with a party who would not "be frited" by the way, and doubt not but he will come if not intercepted by self-ended traders who have striven all they can to block up the design from the beginning. Wishes he could have thecountenance of some person of honour in England to curb and bridle the obstructors here, for here is no encouragement at all. Endorsed by John Locke, "Carolina. Discoverys crosse the Mountains by Majr-Generall Wood, 1674," who has also made marginal notes and corrections. 14 pp. [Shaftesbury Papers, Section IX., Bundle 48, No. 94.]