Territories and Villages of the Pocomoke Indians

Territories and Villages of the Pocomoke People

Annemessex

 The Annemessex (Annamessee) Indians were a sub tribe or band of the Pocomoke Paramountcy 1 and were seated in an area known as Annemessex Neck during the colonial contact period. At a council held at St. Marys in May of 1686, Ned an Annamessex Indian complained that John Kirk and John Carter would not let the Indians hunt on their lands.  Col. Colebourne challenged any beaver skins they caught.1 According to Maryland patent records John Carter lived in an area known today as Hopewell. Carter patented a tract called Long Hedge 25 Feb. 16792 and another 300 acre tract was assigned to him in August of the same year called Brickle Hoe.3 Both of the tracts are located in Lawson’s District, just south of the community of Hopewell and few miles north of the present town of Crisfield.  This area is also at the head of Johnson’s Creek which makes out of the Pocomoke Sound.  John Kirk received a patent for a tract of land called Kirk’s Purchase on the 29th day of May, 1669 for 200 acres in Lawson’s Dist.2 This land is located near a Creek called Gunby’s Creek and also makes out of the Pocomoke Sound. All of the above mentioned tracts of land are shown on the Harry Benson Map # 18.4 

Gingoteague (Chincoteague)

The Gingoteagues (Yingoteagues) Indians were a sub tribe or band of the Pocomoke Paramountcy and appear in Maryland records at St. Marys.1 The main village of this group was located near the present place called Horntown in Virginia, just south of the Maryland line.5 The Tribe was later called the Chincoteagues. In 1650  Col. Henry Norwood a British Loyalist and cousin of Sir William Berkeley Governor of Virginia, found himself on the Island of Assateague, their ship driven by a storm in January of that year. The Capt. of the Ship set sail for the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay leaving him and his companions stranded. A Maryland group of Natives took them in and gave them food and shelter. Their home was comfortable and constructed of saplings and reeds. The lodge measured about 20 ft. wide and 60 ft. long.6 The King or werowance sent for an Indian guide to escort them to the James River to reunite them with their ship. On this march, some 50 miles on foot Norwood records the happenings in a journal. He reports after a day’s walk to the south we came to a camp of Indians called Gingo Teague and stayed in their camp to rest and be nourished.6 Whitlelaw indicates this area is on land patent A180 granted to Col. Edmund Scarburgh for 3000 acres 5

Acquintica

 The Acquintica Indians were a sub tribe or band of the Pocomoke Paramountcy 1  and were located on the north or west side of the Pocomoke River. Acquintica is also the name of a place or territory of native people. Maryland patent records indicate that two land grants were issued to George Wale in 1665, one for 300 acres and the other for 200, in lower Dublin Dist. of Somerset County, Dividing Creek Hundred.7 It seems possible that these patents were named Acquintica because the Native Americans of this area also called it by that name. On the north or west side of the Pocomoke River is a creek that issues out of the River to the northwest called then and now Dividing Creek. In a 1671 Somerset Co. deed John Laramour and wife are selling land on Dividing Creek that was originally patented by Thomas Miller; this would indicate that the creek was always known as a divisional boundary between two places.8              

A tract of land assigned to William Stevens and patented in 1679, described as being on the north side of the Pocomoke River and on the south side of a creek between Acquintica and Nasswatux, also determines the north boundary of Acquintica and the line that separates it from Nasswatux. In a Somerset County deed dated 20 Mar. 1677 William Stevens and wife Elizabeth are selling this tract to Thomas Jarvis of Elizabeth City Co. Virginia. The deed describes the parcel being on a Creek making out of the north side of the Pocomoke River between Acquintca and Nasswatux. This appears to be the divisional line between two places and two bands of the Pocomoke Nation. 9   In the year 1666 Jenkins Price (the fur trader that was a guide for Henry Norwood)6  and his wife Matthew appear in the Somerset County records. Price was granted a patent called New Towne adjoining the lands of George Whale near a swamp called Aquintica swamp on the north side of the Pocomoke River.10 Today this area would be known as Puncheon Landing Branch that crosses US Rt. 13 near the intersection of Maryland Rt. 667. Some early maps indicate this branch was called Aquintica Branch.11

Nusswattux

The Nusswattux Indians were a sub-tribe or band of the Pocomoke Paramountcy 1  and were located in an area on the north or west side of the Pocomoke River. Nusswattux (Nuswattex) is also the name of a place or territory of native people, located on the north or west side of the Pocomoke River. The boundary of this place is between dividing Creek on the south, the Pocomoke River on the east and Nassawango (alias Askiminokonson) Creek on the north. The western boundary extends inland from the river about 6miles. A land patent was issued to Joseph Richards, called Bevens Overcome for 200 Acres in 1772, in Nassawattux Neck.12 The Benson tract maps indicate this tract of land to be about 6 miles north of the intersection of Dividing Creek and the Pocomoke River.13   This territory is bordered on the south by the above mentioned Acquintica territory and is mentioned in several land and patent records of old Somerset County, Maryland.9  Addition to Chuckertuck  a one thousand and ninety plus tract was granted to Mr. James Bacon in the year 1792 in Nassawattux Neck.14 It is very clear that this area was referred to as Nassawattux from the middle 1600s to around 1800 based on the land records. Many other deeds and patents such as, West Swamp, Col. John Dennis 1761, Coventry (Coventree) John Cottingham, Discovery, William Allen, Second Addition, John Fleming 1756, and Coventry Enlarged 1761, all indicate they are located in the Neck known as Nassawattux (Nassuwattux). 15  Before Worcester County was formed out of Somerset in 1742, the records for this area appear in the Somerset Co. Records. In 1733 the inhabitants of Nassawattux Neck complain about the condition of the county Road that passes through their lands. They claim the road was erected some 40 years earlier, about 1693.  They claim they have maintained it with their own funds at times and ask the county to a better job in the future. In 1733 Jonathan Cottingham also complained to the court about the condition of the road that passed through his land in the Neck. 16 A Somerset County Judicial Record, in the deposition of Westcoate Gray in reference to the boundary of a tract of land called Africa. Gray indicates he was shown by his father an Indian bridge over a branch apparently on the north side of Dividing Creek, near the plantation and a marked cypress tree. Africa is near another patent in Nassawattux called American. (see Benson Maps of Worcester)16a

Pocomoke

Pocomoke was the name of the controlling group of natives in what is today all of Somerset County, part of Worcester County and the northern part of Accomack County Virginia. Capt. John Smith indicated on his map of Virginia the location of Wighco Flu (alias Pocomoke River). On the east or south side of the River he shows the King’s house near the present day Pitts Creek, aka Kings Creek in early colonial times. The word Wighcocomoco  appears with the native long house on the map. 17    Pocomoke like other names mentioned above was the name of a place or territory. William Stevens an early settler on the River indicated in several documents that he is from Pocomoke. Stevens lived near the present community called Rehobeth, which receives its name from the patent issued to him in 1665 for 1000 acres on the north side of the Pocomoke River. 18   Stevens always indicates that he is from, or lives in Pocomoke. Jenkins Price the Indian Trader that reportedly saved Henry Norwood and others, 6 left his home in Virginia and moved to Pocomoke apparently to continue his trading with the Native People of the Pocomoke River watershed. Price patented several pieces of land early in the history of Old Somerset County Maryland. His first patent was Pungatesex near the home of William Stevens at Rehobeth and Glyneath  later in the same year at the entrance of the Pocomoke River on the north side were he made his home. The patent description of Glyneath is interesting in the fact it describes an Indian Bridge near the west bank of the Pocomoke River. (about one half mile south of the present day Shelltown,(  aka Oystershell Town in colonial times)21  In a chancery court held  March 3, 1698 in the Deposition for  Ralph Melburn,  a Mr. Philip Conway of Maryland and Virginia,  states that he lived two year with Jenkins Price at his Plantation at the entrance of the Pocomoke River on the northwest side.19  In a suit found in  Provincial Court records on Feb 1670  Jenkins is paying the balance of a debt in sweet scented tobacco. A witness testified that Jenkins Price had brought over from Pocomoke on the Eastern Shore to the Patuxent River three hogsheads of Tobacco, which he had paid to the defendant Atkins. The deponent further stated Atkins told him that this was “the best hogshead of Sweet Scented tobacco he had seen this year”.20 Many colonial settlers on both sides of the Pocomoke River indicated they were from Pocomoke.  Mark Manlove and others too numerous to include in this text also indicate they hailed form a region called Pocomoke. In the year 1666 at the forming of Somerset County this area was set up as Pocomoke Hundred the name apparently derived from the indigenous people’s name of this territory called Pocomoke.

                On the south or east side of the Pocomoke River, which is today Accomack County Virginia,  land owners also indicate they live in Pocomoke.  This area extends from the Maryland and Virginia border on the Pocomoke River near Beverly east to Chicoteague  Bay near the present town of Greenbackville. Then south to the community of Horn Town, site of the Gingoteague band of the Pocomokes,5  and from there just south of New Church on a west line to Pocomoke Bay near Holdens Creek.  Robert Pitts was granted 3000 Acres of land on the East side of the Pocomoke River in Accomack Virginia in 1662.22     

The plantation was probably the location of and early Indian village on the high ridge of land just north of Bullbeggers Creek (AKA Euwamus Creek) where the native people built a bridge across the Creek.23  To the southeast  of Pitt’s Plantation is an area known as Jolly’s Neck, described in the Patent to Gen. John Custis of Pocomoke as being between Croocked Creek (aka Holden’s Creek) on the south and Euwamus (Bullbeggers Creek) on the North.  Several Patents were issued on this 4,600 acre tract described as being in Pocomoke. The modern Town of Oak Hall is on the east side of this tract near US RT. 13.24  John Wallop patented 400 acres at Pocomoke to the northest of lands of Robert Pitts. This tract was located between Kings Creek (aka Pitts Creek) on the north and Euwamus Creek (aka Bullbeggers Creek) on the south.25  A 150 acre tract was issued to William Brittingham in Pocomoke  on the north side of Kings Creek (same as above) in an area known as Forked Neck. Brittingham deserted the land and later patents were issued to Nathaniel Littleton.26  The Littleton tract extended north to Beverly Plantation home of the Dennis Family of Somerset County. In 1664 the progenitor Donnoch Dennis purchased land on both sides of the Pocomoke River. 27   It is apparent that both sides of the Pocomoke River entrance were known as Pocomoke the place, even before Somerset Co. Maryland was established.  Accomack Co.  was  formed in 1663 and the northern part was also  known as Pocomoke. One must conclude that this 45,000 acre area was named because the Pocomoke People lived in this territory. The writer believes this was the location of the King of the Pocomoke nation of indigenous people. 

Morumsco

The Morumsco Indians were a sub-tribe or band of the Pocomoke Paramountcy28  and were located in an area on both sides of  Morumsco Creek, which flows southerly through lower Somerset County and empties into the Pocomoke Sound. Morumsco is also the name of a place or territory of native people.

Early settlers mention the Morumsco Indians living along the above mentioned area.29  By 1663 early colonial settlers were patenting land in the Morumsco area. Many of the residents refer to the place as Morumsco in legal documents, court records and Proceedings of the Maryland Council.  Hope Tayler, John Ellis, John King, Robert Hignett, Samuel Long and Thomas Maddox indicate that they live in Morumsco.30  It is obvious that this place received its name from the aboriginal people living there at the time of colonial settlement of Maryland and is still referred to as Morumsco today.

Quindocqua

The Quandanquan Indians were a sub-tribe or band of the Pocomoke Paramountcy31  and were located in an area known as Quindocqua now and in colonial times. The exact location of this band is not clear, but appears to be the territory on both sides of a southern flowing tributary issuing out of the Pocomoke Sound called East Creek, or Planners Creek in earlier times. The Quandanquan band possibly occupied the lands as far west as Gunby’s Creek (AKA Duffs Creek), a small south flowing creek issuing  out of Pocomoke Sound. It was possibly the boundary between the Quindocqua and the Annemessex territories. This area is still referred to as Quindocqua. There are several oral histories of this place, but little appears in the actual record. 

Manokin or Manonoakin

The Manokin Indians  were a sub-tribe or band of the Pocomoke Paramountcy and were located in a Neck known as Arrococo by the native people and later called Revel’s Neck. This area is best described as the lands on the south side of the Manokin River and the north side of a Creek known then and now as Back Creek. An Indian town was located in a fork, between the Manokin River on the north and a branch on the south side of the river called Trading Branch (AKA Mumford’s Branch and today King’s Creek). This area of Old Somerset Co. Maryland was a well-documented trading post for early Europeans and the Indigenous people of the Eastern Shore. It appears that English settlers from the Colony of Virginia were visiting this area long before the county of Somerset was formed, or the Colony of Maryland settled. The best evidence of this fact is recorded in Somerset County Judicial Records. 32   The deposition of several residents and visitors to this area paint a picture of the trading on the Manokin River water shed. John Westlock states that he was trading with the natives in Manokin as early as 1620. In 1666 Westlock received a patent from the Calvert’s called Brownstone, located on the north side of the Manokin River just to the north of Trading Branch Fork.

 In a case of trespassing Randall Revell vs. Richard Ackworth, the provincial court at St Maries ordered the Commissioners of Somerset Co. to summons a Jury of the twelve local residents, to pick twelve local men to give deposition on the boundaries of land granted to Randall Revell called Double Purchase. German Gillett testified that in the year 1656 he was trading in the Manoakin from the Rappahannock with one William Cooke his interpreter. Gillett  states that  about two miles in the river he left me in the Sloope and proceeded on foot to the Indian town to obtain permission to come up to the Trading Branch. Two days later an Indian came to me and we went up to the Trading Branch, which was the second branch on the south side of the River.

Richard Burdick testified that the second branch on the south side of the Manoakin River from the now Court House upward where a great stump is in the middle of the branch and a row of stakes where there had been an Indian bridge is the Trading  Branch and the place where Mr. Cooke and several others traded with the Indians.

Henry Hooper testified that in the year 1656 he had the fortune to meet with an Indian in the sound, coming to trade for corn with a vessel from the Rappahannock in Virginia. We went in to the Manoakin River up to the Indian Town and to the fork that is called the Trading Branch.

Nicholas Fountaine testified that he went with Mr. Elzey and Col. Scarburgh to Rackcoone pointe, and with compass surveyed up the river to the Trading Branch and this was the northern boundary of Double Purchase.

Christopher Nutter stated he had heard the Indians say that the point where Mr. Randall  Revell lives on was formerly traded on. 33

The Manokin Indians probably remained on the river for some time after the County of Somerset was formed. In 1706 Mr. George Phoebus gave deposition in Somerset Court in reference to the boundaries of land on Goose Creek belonging to Elzey and McClemmy. In his statement he claims that he remembers the Indian sweat houses and Indian Cabins on north side of Goose Creek near the first gut in from the river. 34 

Monie Indian Town

aka Manny or mony Indian Town

The records of Maryland and Somerset Co. fail to identify the native people living on the Great Manny River or Creek. The village is mentioned in the patent granted to Nehemiah  Covington in  1665 for 300 Acres called Covingtons Vineyard. The tract is described as a parcel of land with a Creek as its eastern boundary known as The Kings Branch running out of the Great Manny River. This Creek divides the land from the Manny Indian Town. 35 Today this Creek is shown on modern maps as Harper Creek.

In a Somerset County deed dated Jan. 1679 Nehemiah Covington Sr. and his wife Anne are selling Covingtons Vineyard to John and Nehemiah Covington Jr. This deed also mentions that the lands are on the west side of a Creek dividing it from the Great Manny Indian Town. 36   It is possible that the Native people living on the Great Monie were a part of the Manokin sub-tribe or band of the Pocomoke Paramountcy. The area is only 5 miles northwest of the town located on the Trading Branch and the Manokin River. It is interesting to note that a small community about 3 miles south of the location of Manny Indian Town on Md. Rt. 363 is today called Monie.      

Sources and footnotes:

1.  Proceedings of the Council of Maryland 1684 -89 Vol. 5 pages 479-480, 1692 -1694 Vol. 8 pages 383-384,  Proceedings of the Council of Maryland 1678 – 1679 page page 214. Handbook of North American Indians by William C. Sturtevant,  Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 1978 page 251.

2. Land record of Somerset Co. Md. By Ruth Dryden 1989 page 60, 266 and 245.

3. Brickle Hoe Certificates of Survey Maryland Hall of Records Liber 21 page 262, Patent CB# 3/8.

4. Patent tract Map 18 Lawson’s Dist. Eastern part. Harry L. Benson, Baltimore Maryland 1940’s.

5. Whitelaw’s Virginia’s Eastern Shore tract A180  Vol. 2 page 1350 - 51

6. A Voyage to Virginia, by Henry Norwood August 1649.

7. Land record of Somerset Co. Md. By Ruth Dryden 1989 page 1 and 2.

8. Deed Somerset County Land Records 1671 – 1674 Liber SC #3 Pages 1 – 4.

9. Deed Somerset County Land Records  Liber WW #5 pages 298 – 300

10. Somerset County Court Proceedings 1665 – 1668 page 694, liber B1 page 96 – 97

11. Harry Benson Map # 13, Dublin District

12. Bevens Overcome Pat. Cert. # 309 Maryland Archives. Location 01/26/02/50

13. Harry Benson tract map Atkinsons Dist. Worcester Co. Md.

14. Addition to Chuckertuck Cert. J.R. # 9 folio 325, in 1792 in Nassawattux

15. West Swamp Pat Cert. 2626 Location 01/26/02/81- Coventry Wor. Co. Deed Liber B. 118 – Discovery Pat. Cert. 775 Location Md. Archives 0126/02/56 –Second Addition, Pat. Liber BC & GS # 11 folio 19 – Coventry Enlarged pat Cert 640 Md. Archives Location 01/26/02/54

16. Judicial Record Md. Archives Vol. 846 folio 138 1733 – Judicial Record Md. Archives Vol. 846 folio 149

16a Somerset County Judicial Record Vo. 841 page 152b

17. Capt John Smith’s Map of the Chesapeake Bay 1607

18. Patent of Rehoboth William Stevens, Maryland Archives Vol. 54 folio 718 (Som. Co. Liber B# 1-123)

19. Chancery Court Record Md State Archives Vol. 748 page 416 Deposition for Ralph Melburn.

20. Proceedings of the Provencal Court Vol. 57 page 61 Md. Archives

21. Provincial Court Record Vol. 717 page 251 Md. Archives

22. Virginia Land grants book #5 page 81. 1662

23. Whitelaw A163 page 1299

24. Whitelaw A162, Virginia Patent Book 6 page 405, Book 7 page160 and 185.

25. Whitelaw A166 , Virginia Patent Book 5 page 81

26. Whitelaw A165,  Virginia Patent Book 6 page 313 and Book 9 page 400

27. The Dennises of Beverly and Their Kin by John Value Dennis. Page 1

28. Proceedings of the council of Maryland 1678-79  Vol. 15 page 213-15

29.  Maryland Historical Magazine Vol. 24 page 160 June 1929

30. Somerset County Judicial Records, Maryland Archives, Annapolis, Md.

31. Proceedings of the Council of Maryland, 1667-1687/8  Vol. 5 page 520

32. Somerset Co. Judicial Records 1670-71 Pages 6-17 /  (Md. Archive online Vol. 86 page 6-17)

33. Ibid

34. Somerset County Judicial Records 1706 page 240 Deposition of Witnesses Colebrooke and other lands on Goose Creek near the home of Col. Elzey.

35. Maryland Hall of Records Patent Liber EE folio 13 Covingtons Vineyard.

36. Somerset County deed MA folio 425 sn#  06, Covington to Covington.

Special Notes: Acreage in this narrative was estimated by the Maryland Merlin Mapping system.

Philip Lee Goldsborough, Jonathan’s Addition Genealogy & History, 199 Dennis Lane, Crisfield Maryland

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