The Appomattox Indians who lived in and near this area were not an isolated tribe, but an important member of the confederacy of the Algonkian Indians in eastern Virginia best known as the Powhatan Confederacy. A contemporary writer described the Powhatan Confederacy as......
There is a king in this land called Great Pawatah under whose domains are at least twenty severall kingdoms yet each king potent as a prince in his owne territory. These subjects at so quick command, as a beck brings obedience, even to the restituson of stolne goods; which, by their natural inclinacon, they are loth to leave. They goe naked, save their privityes; yet, in coole weather, they weare dear-skinns, with the hayre on, loose. Some have leather stockings up to their twists and sandalls on their feet. Their hayre is black generally which they wear long on the left side, tied up on a knott; about which knott the kings and best amoung them have a kind of coronett of deare's hayre colored redd. Some have chains of long, linckt copper about their necks and some chains of pearle. The common sort stick long feathers in this knott. The skynn is tawny not so borne, but with dying and paynting themselves in which they delight greatly.
The women are like the men only this difference - their hayre groweth long all over their heads save clipt somewhat short afore. These do all the labour and the men hunt and go at their pleasure. They live commonly by the waterside in little cottages made of canes and reeds covered with the barke of trees. They dwell as I guess by families of kindred and allyance some fortie or fiftie in a small village which townes are not past a myle or half a myle asunder in most places. They live upon sodden wheat, beans and peaze for the most part. They also kill deare, take fish in their weares and kill fowle aboundance. They eat often and that liberally. They are proper, lusty, streught men very strong, runn exceeding swiftly. The celerity they use in skirmish is amirable. The king directs the batle and is always in front. I found they account after death to go to another world. To conclude they are very witty and ingenious people apt both to understand and speake our language.
Author unknown, "A Brief Description of the People", Archaeologia Americana
(Boston: John Wilson and Son, 1860), IV, 63-65; The original was found in a folio with other colonial records. It followed Newports's "Discoveries" and Wingfield's "Discourse".
Just beyond the tree line in this photo lies the Appomattox River in Petersburg Virginia. A fish dam was built here centuries ago by the very Indians that are mentioned in the paragraphs below. The fish would swim into this trap during high tide and as the water receded they would become entrapped within. The natives would then harvest the fish in abundance. The dam still exists today.
The above article courtesy The Ettrick Historical Society Ettrick, Virginia
( Revolutionary War - 1781 )
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