Scratch Hall Folk

Between the establishment of European settlements in the Virginia Tidewater and the emergence of chattel slavery as a primary social and economic structure in the region, the edges of the swamp became home to mixed communities of largely Native American and poor European people that likely included some former African slaves (Martin 2004).

One such edge group may be the ‘Scratch Hall folk’ of what is now Gates County, North Carolina (Martin 2004). According to Martin (2004), the ‘Scratch Hall folk’ typify these communities with their loose organization of subsistence farmers, distrust of outsiders, swampedge homes, and swamp-based economy in which they hunted and foraged for subsistence and produced tar, turpentine and lumber for economic exchange with communities more distant from the Swamp. Martin (2004) argues that the ‘Scratch Hall folk’ and other similar communities along the edges of the Swamp likely helped to facilitate the movement of would-be maroons through the region and may have shared their knowledge of the Swamp with them.

From Glass in the Landscape of the Great Dismal Swamp.

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