"James Turner, Esq., Governor.

"At the general assembly begun and held at Raleigh, on the fifteenth day of November, in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and two, and in the thirty-seventh year of the independence of said State.

"An Act for the relief of the Tuscarora Nation of Indians.

"Whereas, the Indians composing the Tuscarora nation, have, by their chief Sacarrissa, and others, regularly deputed and authorized, requested the concurrence of the general assembly of this State, to enable them to lease or demise, for a number of years, the residue of their lands situated in the county of Birtie, in such a manner that the whole of the said leases shall terminate at the same period.

"_Chiefs authorized to lease their lands_.--1. Be it enacted, &c., That the said chiefs Sacarrissa, Longboard and Samuel Smith, or a majority of them, be and they are hereby authorized to lease and to farm let the undemised residue of the lands allotted to the Tuscarora Nation in Birtie County, for a term of years that shall expire and end when the lease made by the Tuscarora Nation to Robert Jones and others, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and sixty-six, shall end and expire; and also extend the term or terms of the leases already made or granted for a shorter term, to a term or terms which shall expire at the same time with the said lease made in the year one thousand seven hundred and sixty-six, in such parcels and on such rents and conditions as may be approved by the commissioners appointed in pursuance of this act and which may best promote the interest and convenience of the said Indian nation.

"And, whereas, some difficulties have arisen respecting the receipt and payment on the rents of some of the present leases.

"_To make alterations with respect to rents_.--2. Be it further enacted, That the said chiefs, or a majority of them, be, and they arc hereby authorised to make such alterations, by covenant and agreement, respecting the payment and receipt of any rents due, or that may become due on any of the existing leases, as the commissioners appointed in pursuance of this act, or a majority of them shall approve.

"Whereas, the said Indian chiefs are ignorant of the usual forms of business, and may want advice and assistance in transacting the business respecting their lands, for remedy whereof and to prevent their being injured.

"_Governor to appoint three commissioners to carry this act into effect_.--3. Be it further enacted, That the Governor shall appoint three commissioners for the purpose of carrying the provisions of this act into effect; and no lease, grant, demise, covenant or agreement made by the said Indian chiefs as aforesaid, respecting said lands, or the rents thereof, shall be good or valid in law, unless the same shall be approved by the said commissioners, or a majority of them, and such approbation shall be expressed in writing and annexed or endorsed on such lease, covenant or agreement, and registered in the Register's Office in the county of Birtie, together with said lease or agreement; and the said commissioners shall receive the sum of twenty shillings per day for their compensation and expenses, to be paid out of the monies received by the said chiefs on leasing said lands.

"_Possessions of the tenants to be deemed the possessions of the Tuscarora Indians_.--4. And be it further enacted. That the occupancy and possession of the tenants under the said lease, heretofore confirmed by act or acts of the general assembly, and such leases as may be made under this act, shall be held and deemed in all cases whatsoever, the occupancy and possession of the said Tuscarora Nation, to all intents and purposes, as if said nation, or the Indians thereof, or any of them, actually resided on said lands.

"Whereas, The said chiefs, Sacarrissa, Longboard, and Samuel Smith, being duly and freely authorized and empowered by the said Tuscarora Nation, have consented that the Indians' claim to the use, possession, and occupancy of said lands shall cease and be extinguished, when the said lease made in the year one thousand seven hundred seventy-six, to Robert Jones and others, shall expire.

"_The land to revert to the state_.--5. Be it enacted, That from and after the twelfth day of July, which shall be in the year One Thousand nine and sixteen, the whole of the lands alloted to the said Tuscarora Indians, by act of General Assembly passed at Newbern, on the fifteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord One Thousand seven hundred and forty eight, shall revert to, and become the property of the state, and the claim thereto, from that time, be held, and deemed forever extinguished.

"_If any of the lands be vacant it is not to be entered but by an express act_.--6. And be further enacted, After the said lands shall revert to the State, if the same or any part thereto, shall be vacant, the same shall not be liable to the entry or entries of any person or persons, without an express act of the legislation to that effect; Provided always, That it shall not be lawful for any person or persons to make any entry or entries on the said lands, after the passing of this act. Provided always, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed so as to effect the title of any individual; Provided nevertheless, That no lot or parcel of lands laid off under the direction of said commissioners, shall exceed two hundred acres; And Provided further, That no lease shall be made but by public auction, of which due notice shall be given in the Halifax and Edenton newspapers."


"An act concerning the lands held under leases from the Tuscarora tribe of Indians.

"Whereas it is represented to this General Assembly, in behalf of persons holding lands under leases, for a long term of years from the Tuscarora tribe of Indians, that they are subject to great inconveniences from their estates being mere cattle interest: For remedy whereof,

"Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same.

"That the estates in lands now held by certain individuals, under leases for a term of years from the Tuscarora tribe of Indians, made in pursuance of certain acts of the General Assembly of this State, shall be hereafter considered real estate; shall decend to, and be devided among the heirs of any intestate, subject to dower and tenancy by courtesy, and other incidents to real estate, and its liabilitiy to execution, and its conveyance and devise, shall be governed by the same rules as are now prescribed in the case of real estate held in fee simple; Provided that nothing herein contained, shall be so construed as to give to the individuals holding the said term of years, a right to enjoy the same for a longer period than is designated in the leases executed by the Tuscarora Indians, in pursurance of acts of the General Assembly of this state, nor as to give to said individuals any right which by the constitution of this state, is exclusively confirmed to the freeholders."


"An act concerning the lands formerly occupied by the Tuscarora tribe of Indians lying in Bertie County, on the north side of Roanoke river.

"Whereas the Tuscarora Indians have for more than a century been the firm and undividing friends of the white people of this country, insomuch that the people of North Carolina not only render to them full and complete Justice, but also to exercise towards them that spirit of generosity which their conduct has merrited: Therefore,

"I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that William R. Smith of Halifax, Simon J. Barker, of Martin and William Brittin of Bertie, be, and they are hereby appointed commissioners for the purpose of advertising and selling in manner hereinafter directed, the above named tract of land bounded as follows, to wit: beginning at the mouth of Quitsnoy swamp; running up the swamp 430 poles to a scrubby oak, near the head of said swamp by a great spring; thence north 10 degrees east 850 poles, to a persimmon tree, on Raquis Swamp; thence along the swamp and Pocasin main course north 57 degrees west 2,640 poles, to a hickory on the east side of Falling Run on Deep Creek, and down the various courses of said Run to Roanoke River; then down the river to the first station.

"II. And be it further enacted, That the title so to be sold by said commissioners shall be understood to extend only to the reversion of the State in said lands after the expiration of the lease from the Indians, under which they are now held, and after the ratification of this act, and notice thereof to the commissioners, it shall be their duty to proceed forthwith to advertise in the newspapers most convenient to the premises, and also in five of the most public places in the counties of Bertie, Halifax and Martin, including the court houses in said counties, that a sale of said lands, according to the provisions of this act, will take place on Tuesday of the ensuing March term of the Superior Court of Birtie county, that is, on the 17th day of March next; and it shall be the duty of the said commissioners to attend to the aforesaid time and place, and offer in the court house yard, at public sale to the highest bidder, the said lands, according to advertisement, subject however to the lease aforesaid, and the commissioners shall have power to continue or postpone the sale from day to day until the end of the week, and should they, by unavoidable accident or otherwise be prevented from selling all or any part of the lands during the same week, it shall be their duty to advertise in like manner, for two months next preceding the following September term of the Bertie court, and to sell at said term, as is heretofore directed, at the March term, and said commissioners shall be empowered to put up said lands in such parcels as they may deem most advantageous for selling, and that they shall give the purchasers a credit of twelve months on one-half the purchase money, and a credit of twelve months on the other half; Provided always, that the purchaser shall deliver to the commissioners bonds with good and sufficient security for the same, payable to the Governor of the State.

"III. And be it further enacted, That should the commissioners upon offering said lands as aforesaid perceive that they were likely to be sacrificed, or to sell for an amount greatly below their value, it shall be their duty forthwith to discontinue the sale, and it shall be the duty of the commissioners after making sale, or if no sale be made, immediately after September next to make report to the public Treasurer of the State of all such proceedings that they may have had under this act and also to hand over to him all such bonds as they may have taken from purchasers; and it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State, upon a certificate from the Treasurer of payment of the purchase money and a certificate from the commissioners of the boundaries of the land so purchased, to grant a title of release from the State of North Carolina to such persons as may be reported purchasers by said commissioners under the act of Assembly.

"IV. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the public Treasurer to collect the money on said lands when they shall become due and hold the same subject to the order of the Tuscarora tribe of Indians; and whenever such order shall be presented, properly and duly authenticated, by said tribe or nation of Indians, it shall be his duty to pay the same over accordingly; Provided always that upon paying such monies, the Public Treasurer shall take from said Indians or agents, a full and complete release of all such claim, pretence of title, as they now make or ever may have to the aforesaid tract of lands.

"V. And be it further enacted, That the commissioners shall be allowed each the sum of three dollars for every day that they shall necessarily be employed in examining said lands, or in attending the sale of same, to be paid out of the funds arising from the sale.

"VI. Be it further enacted, That if it should appear at any time thereafter that the said Indians have parted with their claims, or contracted for the same, so that in fact the benefit of the sale shall, agreeable to the provisions of this act, revert to the State."

Governor John Owen, Esq., appointed as commissioners, William R. Smith, of Halifax; Simon J. Baker, of Martin; and William Brittain, of Birtie; to sell the Tuscarora lands in pursuance to the lease effected by the help of the General Assembly, Nov. 17, 1823, of which they reported to William Roberts, Public Treasurer--in bonds the sum of $2977.87, payable in installments of one and two years from the 17th day of March, 1829, which are on file in the Public Treasurer's Office. And on Nov. 21, 1831, William S. Mahon, the Public Treasarer, re-reported cash in bonds for sale of Tuscarora lands--

Principle............................... $1400.27.
Interest................................ 30.74.
Total................................... $1431.01.

Another report of the same man January, 1832, that all has been collected, and remains in the treasury, subject to the order of the Indians. $3,220.71-1/4.

Paid on May 3ist, 1831, and found on file.

"For this amount paid Bates Cooke, being their agent to receive the same under the Act of Assembly of 1828, $3,220.71-1/4."

In about the year 1818, the New York Indians, (which includes the Tuscaroras), were engaged in a stipulation, to buy a tract of land from the Menomonees and Winnebagoes, which was questioned in Congress about the validity of a contract on purchases of lands between Indian nations. But Congress did concur in the stipulation made between the New York Indians of the first part, and the Menomonees and Winnebagoes of the second part, for lands lying in Green Bay, Wisconsin, bought and paid for by the former according to the stipulation concluded in the year 1822.

For the payment of the said land above, I can only speak for the Tuscaroras. The precise amount paid I am unable to state. But a tax was made on the nation; children paid twenty-five cents each, adults paid more according to their ability; the amount obtained in this way I am unable to state. They also gave their annuities of two years, which they drew from the government, and also two hundred dollars in money which they loaned from the Oneida Indians (which they afterwards refunded).

All those goods and moneys were paid to the Menomonees and Winnebagoes, as their part of the Green Bay lands. These facts I obtained of the widow of Jonathan Printup, an honorable chief of the Tuscarara nation, by whom was entrusted with the goods and money for the payment of said lands, which he faithfully performed, and was accompanied as delegates by Dr. John Patterson and James Cusick, who were appointed to the honorable office of purchasing a tract of land for a future home of their people. I am indebted to the widow of Dr. John Patterson, and also his brother Harry, for information which corroborates with that of the widow above mentioned, and also of other old people.

In a short time afterwards, the Menomonees denied the contract in various ways, they denied the efficiency of the Chiefs who signed the treaty, and also denied of having received any payment, and also denied the boundary of the land ceded. This naturally created difficulty and discord between them, and kept growing worse from year to year. But the Winebagoes never denied any of the denials of the Menomonees.

Tuscarora New Year Festival

  By BARBARA GRAYMONT Reprint from NEW YORK HISTORY, April 1969 ...
Go To Article