THIS FROM A NOTE in Forest Hazel’s paper “Looking for Indian Town: The Dispersal of the Chowan Indian Tribe in Eastern North Carolina 1780-1915.”
There may have been other Chowan, or perhaps Meherrin, living in Gates County. F. Roy Johnson notes the tradition regarding Fort Island that “People of full Indian blood lived upon this island until a few decades before the Civil War”, in his 1965 book Tales From Old Carolina (p. 23), but he provides no details on surnames or tribal affiliation.
It seems from the earliest records that the Russells were living in the same area, and one even puts Charles Russell’s property directly on the Chowan River. If there were Indian people living there, then perhaps they were Meherrin, as the Meherrin are shown in that area in the 1733 Moseley Map.
UPDATE … Those two deeds
14 Feb 1777 – John HARRELL of Hertford Co. To Jesse HARRELL … 20 pds … 100 acres, plantation of which is father, John HARRELL, was possessed in Fort Island in Hertford Co. … main river pocosin to Charles RUSSELL’s line … his line to James BRADY’s … part of a patent granted to John Ross 1 May 1668.
19 Dec 1788 – Charles RUSSELL of Johnston Co., to Samuel BROWN of Southampton County, Va 75 pounds, 175 acres formerly belonging to his father Charles Russell and given to him in a deed of gift 17 Feb 1769 on North side of Chowan River in Fort Island
This last deed shows that the Charles Russell who bought the original land in Fort Island gifted much of to his son Charles, who moved to Johnston County and sold it later to Samuel Brown.