Hyde County Indians, 1850


Hyde County, 1850. The “I” has been overwritten with “Mulattor”

MOST INDIANS in eastern North Carolina in the 19th century were designated as anything other than Native American. Typically “mulatto,” sometimes black, on occasion white, their Indian identity was, with few exceptions, obscured by census takers.

Somebody in the Currituck township of Hyde County in 1850 made a mistake however. The data collected there shows that families were identified first as “I” and then had this overwritten with either “Mulattor” or M.” This error, visible to the naked eye, is invaluable to researchers who try to piece together the story of eastern North Carolina’s Indian families in the 19th century.

As seen in these two pages below, members of the Barber, Barrow, Braddock, Chance, Clayton, Collins, Coval, Freeman, Garner, Hill, King, Longtom, Mackey, Powers, Reid, and Tyson are all first designated as Indian, then “corrected” to Mulatto.

Some of these names should be familiar to researchers. Barber, Longtom, and Mackey, are all named on deeds related to the Mattamuskeet Indian Reservation. A Collins is named as Indian in a 1765 Hyde County court record. But other families were obviously there too. Freeman and Reid are families found in Gates County among the Chowanoke population. All together, a very rich discovery, thanks to a census taker (“D. Murray”) who was a bit too honest in his work.





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4 Responses to Hyde County Indians, 1850

  1. Regina Davis says:

    I am a Chance, Clayton, Mackey and Coval (later spelling changed to Covil) by birth. As far as I know we are also descendents of the Collins, Barbers and Gibbs. Tthe Barrows are relatives as well. So I’m very interested in finding all the pieces of the puzzle. My double cousin Angela Chance (I have quite a few due to Hyde Co) has done extensive research on our Family roots. She obtained Census records many years ago and we noticed the M and the I indicated for Race.

  2. Jerry L. Barber Hyde County North Carolina Barber surname descendant (African American Side) says:

    Hello Beverly, My name is Jerry and I like you read this very interesting blog about the Collins surname. I have been doing research off and on; over several years now; about my grandfather’s side of my family being my grandfather is a Barber born and raised in Hyde County North Carolina. I have found census of Hyde County that list him and his siblings when they were little children ages 5 being the youngest during early 1900’s. I actually am named after my grandfather Jerry Barber and there are a few others in my family with the exact same name middle names only being different. Another thing is I should point out that is different; different from the author of the Collins Family blog is that I am African American. As I read from the Collins surname blog; African/Black/ Mulatto references to the Collins surname are all over the place. I say this based on my research to the Hyde County Barber’s as I found; like with the Collins; there were White, Black, Indian as well as Mulatto; as it were; with the same surnames those being Barber and Collins. This fact makes if almost impossible to find out just who is who. The way I see it is; if any one is s Barber, Collins of Hyde County Mattamuskeet area of North Carolina; we all are related….So Hey Hello Cousins so nice to meet yall regardless the fact we don’t look much alike we are Family just the same via surname if not bloodline 🙂

  3. Thank you both for getting in touch. My sense is that a great deal of “ethnogenesis” occurred in eastern North Carolina in the 1711-1790 period. Indian families that married into European families became European, those that married into African families became African. I noticed in my own family how an ancestor — James Arline of Gates County (1739-1791) — was named on two bastardy bonds in the 1780s, for a Collins and a Russell in Gates County. It was via these kinds of “events” that poor mestizo (European/Indian) families became kin of the established white landowning class, and their descendants intermarried. I was fortunate to have my grandmother’s DNA done while she was alive, and able to match her Native segments to others with the same segments living among the Choctaw. The oral record of Chowanoke and other eastern Algonquian peoples moving to live among the Choctaw is thus borne out. We also match a number of Hyde County families, even though, as far as I can show using documents, none of my direct ancestors ever lived there. So, yes, we are all kin 🙂

  4. It’s possible to link the Hyde and Gates county groups. Lamuel Collins (1790 Gates County census) may have returned to Hyde after 1798. He may be the father of Abijah, Charity, and Milly Collins. Charity’s son, Wellington, was the father of Lemuel Collins. The original Lamuel Collins may have been the son of the Cati Collins listed in the 1765 Hyde County court minutes.

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