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Tribal heritage[edit]

NOTE: Proceed with caution! The following info contains personal opinion and conjecture. Rife with bad grammar and inaccuracies, the majority of data provided here should be treated as "entertainment" to promote further study. Insitemobile (talk) 13:19, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

I would like to offer a corrective here. The "Saponi" groups recognized today in North Carolina merely claim that tribal heritage. There is no proof that any are actually the descendants of the Saponi. Historical records from North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New York indicate the Saponi moved north from Virginia about 1744, merged with the Five Nations (or Six Nations, inclcuding the Tuscarora, from North Carolina) by 1753, and were essentially absorbed into several northern Iroquois groups. The last distinct Saponi village in New York was decimated during the American Revolution.

To date, none of the tribes in North Carolina, except for the Eastern Band of Cherokee, has any proven descent from Native American tribes.

This is not true. People who descend from the Chowanoke or Mattamuskeet Indians can very clearly prove their descent. The Chowan Indians were named in deeds as late as the 1820s, and the Mattamuskeet were enumerated as Indians in the 1850 census in Hyde County. It's very easy to demonstrate their descent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:7D0:87DE:7B80:A8F6:1DDB:226E:5E5F (talk) 12:34, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

Hmm, the page doesn't say that today's North Carolina groups have proven their ancestry, merely that the state recognizes three groups and that some people claim ancestry, but it is controversial. Sounds ok to me. I think there is pretty good evidence (but not proof as far as I know) that not all the Saponi and related peoples moved north to the Iroquois lands. There's a fairly in-depth study on the topic published on the web here or as a PDF here ..some of which is summarized over at Occaneechi. In any case, I don't see anything about proof on this page, so I'm not sure what you would like to correct. Pfly 20:11, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

Actually you need to do some more reading about the Saponi before you decide to make a statement like that. There is ample proof that the Tutelo that went to the 6 Nations were not the last of the Saponi or Tutelo, simply a small group that left. (See Richard Carlson)

'Who's your people?': Cumulative identity among the Salyersville Indian population of Kentucky's Appalachia and the midwest muckfields, 1677--2000

His dissertation is one of several that show proof of the history and ancestory of our people. There are court records, census records, and even field ethnology reports about our people. Just because a tribe or people isn't recognized by the Federal government or even a state doesn't mean they are not a people or Indian.

Also the following from a very prominent field ethnographer Robert K. Thomas:

Here is the letter written to a lady in Coeburn, VA in 1980, submitted by Keri Conley: August 12, 1980 Dear Mrs. Stallard: I am writing to you to thank you and your husband for your kindness to me when I was in Coeburn last month. I am now finished with my survey of the Indian groups in the southern Appalachian area and am back in Michigan. Since you seemed interested in the history of the Collins family in your area, I will pass along to you what I know of their history. As far as I can determine, all the Collins of Northeastern Tennessee, Southeastern Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky are descendants of one household of Collins who resided in Orange County, N.C. in 1760: a family of Saponi Indians. I know that it must be “mind-boggling” to imagine that the thousands of Collinses in your area are all descended from just one household, but such is the case. Further, this is not so amazing as it sounds. It is common among pre-Revolutionary American families. For instance, all the Carters in the South are descended from three brothers who came to Virginia in the late 1600’s. Let me start at the beginning , with the Saponi Indians. The Saponi were an advanced tribe who originally lived on the Roanoke River about where it crosses over into North Carolina from Virginia. In the late 1660’s, they moved further west to the area of modern Clarksville, VA. Here they allied with the neighboring Tutelo and Occanuki Indians. All of these tribes spoke similar languages, a variety of language akin to modern Sioux of the Dakotas. In the 1670’s, they got into a war with Virginia whites, the so-called Bacon Rebellion, and moved west to the Yadkin Valley around modern Winston Salem. In the early 1700’s, the Saponi started migrating east, returning to their original homeland. In 1714 Governor Spotswood of Virginia established Ft. Christanna near modern Lawrenceville,VA and convinced the Saponi, Occanuki, and Tutelo to settle there. In about 1722, the Tutelo left and joined the Iroquois in New York , and during the Revolution, fled to Canada where they now live on the Six Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario. The Occanuki were absorbed by the Saponi in this period. About 1728, the Saponi became involved in a war with the Tuscarora and Nottowa Indians who lived further east. They fled from Ft. Christanna, and went to live with the Catawba in South Carolina. In the early 1740’s, the Saponi left the Catawba country and started north. By 1740, Collins and Bowling (Scien, Bolling, etc.) were common family names among the Saponi. One band of Saponi headed north to the Iroquois area and were adopted by the Cayuga and Seneca. There are descendants of the Saponi now on the Caltaraugus’s reservation near Buffalo; some of them named Collins. Another band of Saponi stopped in North Carolina and settled on the plantation of Colonel William Eaton, near what is now Henderson, N.C. The Saponi had fought with Eaton in the wars with the Ohio Valley tribes. Eaton’s plantation was on the frontier and the Saponi were, no doubt, his protectors. Around 1750, several tribes further east --- the Nansemond, Yeopin, and Poroskite --- lost their lands and began to fragment into individual family groups. These Indian families began to migrate to the frontier and settle near the Saponi. In 1760, Eaton died and the frontier had moved on. The Saponi lost their land base then and also began to fragment into individual families, and move west. In 1760’s, I can pick up the Collins in Orange County, on the frontier, west of Hendersonville, N.C. By 1790, many of these Indian families, including the Collinses, had “bunched up” in the counties of extreme northeastern North Carolina. Then in the 1790’s, they spread all over Northeastern Tennessee, Southwestern Virginia, and over into what is now Letcher and Knott Counties, Kentucky. Many of them , like the Bollings of Wise County, became prominent families in their areas. Then, in the 1830’s, Virginia became one of the more consciously racist and deliberately elitist states in the Union. First , most poor whites were disenfranchised by a property value requirement; most Virginians west of the Blue Ridge, as well as the poor further east, could not legally vote in Virginia. Further, a new legal category included citizen Indians, free blacks, and all non-whites. These “free colored” could not vote, bear arms, travel freely, etc. In southwest Virginia and neighboring parts of Tennessee, the more established Indian families “weathered the storm”. The Bollings in Wise County, redefined their status as being descendants of Pocahontas and John Rolfe, thus escaping the free colored category. Other families who were less wealthy, darker, and concentrated in one area, got caught in the free colored category; and, thus the Melungeons of southern Wise County came into existence. By 1840, the situation became intolerable for some Indians in Southwest Virginia, and they began to head for Kentucky, a less repressive social and legal atmosphere. In the 1840’s, three Collins families moved into Kentuckey, into Letcher County. In the 1850’s, two Collins families moved to Johnson County, just south of Paintsville (Grandpap William Collins and brother). {Frankie’s note here: This is where my 2nd great grandparents Griffin and Rachael Collins went also, and were listed as Mulatto on Johnson County census records} These Collinses were very Indian looking and dark. They must have been almost full-blood Indians.} In Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina, Indians were just another variety of “n----r” in the 1850’s, but Kentucky was much more liberal, at least in regards to Indians. By World War I, the situation had changed. Being Indian had almost a romantic prestige about it, and many families like the Collinses in Kentucky, had become successful mainstream citizens. It was at this piont that the Melungeons began to be seen as possibly being part black, in order to explain their low rank and exclusion. Of coarse, the Collinses did not stop in Johnson County. The lower Big Sandy drainage and Southern Ohio is full of Collinses who migrated to those areas from further south in Kentucky and Virginia after the Civil War. Not all the Collinses headed west in 1760 after Colonel Eaton died. Some few went south to what is now Robeson County, North Carolina, and became part of the modern Lumbee Indians in that region. The history of the Collins family is both remarkable and fascinating. They are almost an “ethnic group” all by themselves. There are Seneca Cayuga Collinses in New York, White and Melungeon Collinses in east Tennessee and Southeast Virginia, part-Indian Collinses all down the Big Sandy and into Southern Ohio, Lumbee Indian Collinses in North Carolina --- all, at least distantly, related and all descended from two or three households of Saponi Indians in 1740. Someone should write a novel about your family; at least, you should rent a stadium and have a family reunion. What an “outfit”! I hope this brief sketch of the Collins family history repays you for your kindness to me, some small measure. Sincerely, Robert K. Thomas

Further reading on Robert K. Thomas can be found here to validate his work on the Native American Indian experience:

The Real Saponi[edit]

The photo on the Saponi wiki page is of the Guy family, they was Catawba, NOT Saponi.

Also the "Occaneechi Saponi" and "Sapony" tribes in NC have no proof of any Saponi decent. These two tribe's ancestors was not in The Granville area till around the late 1700's to early 1800's. They are using information about the Saponi and Collins family. The "Sapony" tribe descends from the Nottoway tribe while the occaneechi Saponi tribe descends from the Catawba tribe so they should NOT be added to this page which discuses the Saponi. If this page was about Catawba or Nottoway then the "Sapony" and "Occaneechi Saponi" would belong...however this is about the historical Saponi. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:55, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Below is the letters sent to Indian Affairs by the Ancestors of the "Occaneechi Saponi". It specifically mentions the Guy family which is listed in the photo on this Saponi wiki shows how that photo belongs to the Catawba not Saponi.

Feb. 1897, U.S. Senate Document #144, entitled "The Catawba Tribe of Indians", the report says that "Dr. Joseph McDowell, of Fairmont, GA, under date of October, 1872, stated that the Indians referred to, and asking relief of the Government, were "Catawba Indians, and 81 in number." Dr. McDowell (who had married one of the Guy women and wrote at least two letters to the Indian Office on behalf of her people) also provided a list of the names and ages of the individuals whom he said wished the government to assist them in moving west to Indian Territory. The report further states that "William Guy, of Granville County, Ga (sic NC), and Simon Jeffries, of Bellville, Virginia, Catawba Indians, served five years in the Army and were honorably discharged, and these people are their descendants." He further states in his letter of October 1869, addressed to Eli Parker, U.S. Commissioner of Indian Affairs, that "I take the Liberty of addressing to you a few lines on behalf of a remnant of the tribe of Catawba Indians…Some 60 or 70 years since they left their tribe and went to Greenville County, Virginia, and then removed to Orange County, North Carolina…they sold out in Orange and moved to Macon County, N.C. where they purchased land and remained every since." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:58, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

you might want to read this , William Guy claims Saponi/ Catawba. You see a persons " tribe": as everyone wants to call it had only to do with location not always was that your historical heritage/ that is not always about lineage nor were they really a tribe.. but just a city . But just locations of people of the same tribe-language , at the moment . we have to think of towns like they were clans of each other and they were all and had interbred for ages with each other . You are trying to make one people out of many people , and many kinds of people into one idea as if you can separate each city from it's nation into it's own thing , that would be a wrong way to think about it . LIKE Washington Dc isn't more or less " American" than New York or Hoboken it is still the same nation.. with yes tiny bits of differences. not that big.. Cofitachiqui (talk) 15:49, 29 October 2014 (UTC)signed Cofitachiqui 15:49, 29 October 2014 (UTC) (this is my first edit , and someone please help me edit my addition info )

The Real Saponi part 2[edit]

27 Sept 1728 "Sir: The 27th of September John Carter brought Negro Cofey to my house, as he says, by your orders, for me to examine concerning what the Saponys have told him about the white people, which I have done, and he tells me: that Great George told him that John Sauano and a fellow called Ben Harrison was gone to the Cotobers to fetch one hundred of them to come and see why their Indians was put in prison, and if Capt. Tom was hanged they would carry their wives and children over the Roanoke River and then they would drive the white people and negros as far as James River, and he says that Tony Mack told him that if Pyah was hanged he and the Cotobers would come and take revenge of the English, and he says that Sapony Tom told him if his son Harry Erwin was hanged they would kill you and three or four more Gentlemen and then go off," The original document is held by the Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA and will give you a copy of the original.

In 1730, "William Bohannon came into court and made oath that about twenty-six of the Sapony Indians that inhabit Colonel Spotswood's land in Fox's neck go about and do a great deal of mischief by firing the woods; more especially on the 17th day of April last whereby several farrows of pigs were burnt in their beds, and that he verily believes that one of the Indians shot at him the same day, the bullet entering a tree within four feet of him; that he saw the Indian about one hundred yards from him, and no game of any sort between them; that the Indian after firing his gun stood in a stooping manner very studdy [steady] so that he could hardly discern him from a stump, that he has lost more of his pigs than usual since the coming of the said Indians; which is ordered to be certified to the General Assembly. " Orange county VA

1740: About this time a number of Saponi and the Majority if not all the Tutelo move to shamokin, Pennsylvania under Iroqious protestion.

1742 ""Alexander Machartoon, John Bowling, Manicassa, Capt. Tom, Isaac, Harry, Blind Tom, Foolish Jack, Charles Griffin, John Collins, Little Jack. Saponi Indians being brought before the court by precept under the hands and seals of Wm Russell & Edward Spencer, Gent. for terrifying one Lawrence Strother and on suspicion of stealing hoggs........" Orange county, VA (Orange Co..VA Order Book 3 1741-1743. 309) Orange Co Va Microfilm Reel 31, Va

"25 Jan 1745 Louisa County, Virginia Court: William Hall, Samuel Collins, William Collins, Samuel Bunch, George Gibson, Benjamin Brannum, Thomas Gibson, & William Donothan appear to answer an indictment for concealing tithables. Plead not guilty, Case continued."

1749: 3598 pg 384 WILLIAM MACKINTOSH 13 October 1749 200 acres in Johnston County on the S. side of the Neuse River on a place called Powells run near Sapony Camps, joining near the sd. run.

1751 near Orange county Va: A party of indians visit a Indian burial mound, Thomas Jefferson observed this in which he later dug into. "A party of Indians passing about 1751 where this barrow is, near Charlottesville, went through the woods directly to it, without any instructions or inquiry, and having staid about it some time, with expressions construed to be those of sorrow, returned to the high road, which they had left about six miles to pay this visit, and pursued their journey."" This was the county bordering Orange county Va.

1753: The Tutelo and some Saponi are adopted into the League of Iroqious.

1754: Granville—Willm Eaton Esqr Coll: of Granville county His Regimt consists of 8 companys 734 besides officers 2 Captns Simms & Jones are moved away the others Resigned He thinks the fines on delinquents should be fixed by a Court Martial. No arms or ammunition in the Stores There are about 12 or 14 Sapona men and as many women & children in the county Major Payne by Col: Eaton for Granville county recommends John Martin to be Captn over part of Sugar Jones Company & Willm Hawkins Captn over the other part above Shaws Road and John Hawkins Captn over part of Richd Coleman's Company & Willm Johnston over part of Willm Harris Company & Willm Paton Captn instead of Benjamin Sims moved away Capt Hursts Troop with officers 32. Report concerning the militia in each county of North Carolina Creator: No Author 1754 Volume 5, Pages 161 - 163. Found on Page 162.

April 19 1755: Abstracts of the Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions Rowan County, North Carolina 1753-1762 II:72 19 April 1755 Esquires present: Jas Carter, Jno Handby, Alexr Osburn & Thos Potts. … Whereas John Auston a Saponia Indian and Mary a Susquhanah Indian and Thos a Cattaaba applied for a pass to the Cataba Nation being now on their Journey to conclude a Genl Peace with ye Catabas in behalf of the Sd Nation and also presented 3 Belts of Wampum to Sd Court by which the sd Treaty is to be concluded. Copyright Jo White Linn 1977 Mrs. Stahle Linn, Jr. Box 1948 Salisbury, N.C. 28144 Stamped (Carnegie Public Library, Washington C. H., Ohio 43160)"

1761: A 1761 report counted 20 Saponi warriors in the area of Granville County, NC Quere 13 What is the number of the Indians inhabiting those parts of America lyeing within or bounding upon your Province? What Contracts or Treaties of Peace have been made with them and are now in force? What Trade is carried on with them and under what Regulations and how have these Regulations been established? Answer The only Tribes or remains of Tribes of Indians residing in this Province are the Tuskerora Sapona Meherin and Maramuskito Indians. The Tuskerora have about 100 fighting men the Saponas and Meherrin Indians about 20 each and the Maramuskitos about 7 or 8. the first 3 are situated in the Middle of the Colony upon and near Roanoak and have by Law 10,000 acres of Land allotted to them in Lord Granvilles District they live chiefly by hunting and are in perfect friendship with the Inhabitants

The Catauba Indians who are also in close friendship with the Inhabitants resided upon the Cataubas river near our Western Frontier near the Boundary Line in 35° No Latitude proposed to be laid out betwixt this and the South Province they consisted within these few years of about 300 fighting men but last year the small pox ravaged in their Towns which made them desert them and leave their sick behind them to perish; by an account from their King Haglar to me they are reduced to 60 fighting and about as many old men and boys and a suitable number of Women, upon which and the Cherokee war they removed farther West upon or near the Boundary Line where they have had a Town laid out for them in South Carolina but allege that they are still within this Government Mr. Glenn wantonly promised them a District of 30 Miles radius round their Towns, which wod have contained about 1,800,000 acres, but now as they are reduced I suppose less than 10,000 acres will content them. page 616 Report by Arthur Dobbs concerning general conditions in North Carolina Creator: Arthur Dobbs (1689-1765) 1761 Volume 6 [B. P. R. O. North Carolina B. T. Vol. 14. E. 53.] THE COLONY, ITS CLIMATE, SOIL, POPULATION, GOVERNMENT, RESOURCES, &c. An Answer to the several Queries sent by the Lords Commissioners for Trade and Plantations. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:07, 31 May 2008 (UTC)

Language Research[edit]

Has there been any independent research conducted to link the Person County group to the Sapponi? (talk) 17:52, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

History vs culture wars[edit]

This article needs a lot of work, most of which I cannot perform, especially not in Illinois. I really don't want to get stuck in culture wars, though. While I appreciated the long letter included earlier on this talk page, I think the article needs lots of trimming, combined with citeable references and wikilinks. Quite simply, while in the colonial era, people of european descent and high social status probably thought more highly of Native Americans (possibly to justify unfair treaties), by the 19th century, anyone with any bit of African ancestry was lumped as Negro and discriminated against. Still, in this article, I think the focus should be on the Saponi, not discuss racism at length.Jweaver28 (talk) 03:26, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

Change of name of the tribe[edit]

We are at an editathon at Chapel Hill, and tribal members have requested that we update this article to their preferred spelling, Sappony. This spelling is also used in the LEARN NC guide to teaching about North Carolina American Indians, which has been written and approved by tribal members. --Djembayz (talk) 00:12, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Sappony/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

stub, needs expansion and separate language artifle if possible --Skookum1 (12 May 06)
  • Also needs ethnobox --Miskwito 14:57, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Substituted at 01:13, 12 June 2016 (UTC)