Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Census Southampton County, Va

July 18, 1808

(Transcribed By Chief Walt “Red Hawk” Brown, Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe, Southampton County, VA and Tribal Member Cynthia “Water Lily” Brown)

The following enumeration of the Cheroenhaka ((Nottoway) Indian tribe was abstracted from the Executive Papers (July 1-22, 1808) located at the Library of Virginia, Archives Division, Richmond, VA.  The Tribal Census is contained in a letter to the Governor from the Trustees of the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe dated July 18, 1808.  The trustees were seeking instructions concerning the leasing and / or division of the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian lands; an as such, predicated their “Enumeration” based on a Matrilineal Line.  All Patrilineal (males) descendents (children) were negated from the count.  This method of enumerating reduced the number of Indians the Trustees would have to deal with in any future land transfers.

It is noted that the division of the Nottoway Land did not come about until after the William Boseman Act of 1823, some 15 years later. From this author’s perspective the Census was a forerunner of attempting to get around the Federal Government’s 1790 Indian Non-Intercourse Act which prohibited any land sales between the Indians and non-Indians (members of the Commonwealth) only if the Federal Government intervened .

The following Census /material is presented close to the original format.  The census list includes males, their ages, their employments, and some general remarks about their character, followed by a list of the females with the same information.  The amount of acreage they tilled and some genealogical data is included in the general remarks of the Trustees. (It should be noted that the “Census Takers” did not count some children even though they carried a minimum of ½ the Indian Bloodline.  From an Ethno-Historic point, research has revealed that many of the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indians had Common-Law Wives and/or Common-Law Husbands,  with children).

1.    Littleton Scholar    51 years   Tillage a small part of his time, balance idle; 12 acres; he is the only Indian in his family, his wife being a white woman. (Children not counted…WDB)

2.    Tom Turner   36 years   Tillage when he works, his employment at present unknown, as he has left his farm in the possession of a mulatto woman who has been kept by him as a wife, the greater part of his time has been generally spent in drunkenness, and the destruction of what little crop he has made;  18 acres; he is the only Indian in his family. (Children not counted…WDB)

3.   Jemmy Wineoak    38 years    Tillage, idle more than three fourths of his time,  18 acres;     he is the only Indian in his family, has no wife, a mulatto woman lives with him. (Children not counted…WDB)

4.  Tom Step   18 years   Sometimes hires himself out as a day laborer, but mostly idle. (see Betsy Step)

5.    Henry Turner   16 years   Employed by his mother in making a crop. (see Nancy Turner)  (Henry Turner was registered in 1844 on Free Negro and Mulatto Census / List, St Luke Parish…WDB)

6.    Alexander Rogers    11 years    Lives with Mrs. Susanna Goodwyn, who receives his allowance in proportion to the time she maintains him.  He is brother by the mother’s side of  Fanny and Solomon Bartlett.  Until September 1806, he with Fanny and Solomon Bartlett lived with a relation of theirs named Celia Rogers, a Nansemond Indian, on the land of the Nottoways; at that time Celia Rogers died (their parents being long dead), they were without a near relation and none of the Nottoways came to take care of them.  The Trustees took them into their families.  Alexander was taken into the family of Robert Goodwyn, a trustee, and has continued with Goodwyn’s widow. (Alexander Rogers in 1820 was tried and found guilty of  2nd Degree Murder in the court of Southampton County, VA – received 15 years…WDB)

7.    John Woodson    12 years   Employment unknown. (Living in Artis Town in 1850…WDB)

8.    Solomon Bartlett    8 years    Lives with Samuel Blunt (Trustee), no employment; Blunt receives the allowance due his and his sister, (see Alexander Rogers). (Solomon Bartlett’s name reverted to Solomon Turner in 1820…WDB)

9.   Billy Woodson    12 years    Lives with Micajah Boseman, (White…WDB)  his father, too small for any particular employment, has been sent to school by his father, can read and write a little, his father has promised the Trustees to send him again.  His father in addition to his allowance also is allowed to work 17 acres.  He has lived with his father since his mother’s death.  (Nanny Woodson).  (In 1823 he listed himself as William Boseman. The name “William Boseman”  is listed first on the 1822 Free Negro and Mulatto Census-St Luke’s Parish…WDB)

10.    Edy Turner    54 years    Her employments are knitting, sewing, and what is usual in common housewifery;    34 acres;  she has had 2 Negroes hired for her last year by the Trustees and this year by her husband;  her family consists of herself, Polly Woodson and John Woodson, whose allowances are paid to her for their maintenance. ( A 1819 Marriage Lic between Edy (Edith) Turner and William Green (Southampton County Court, Clerk’s Office)  list them as “A Free Person of Color.” In 1820 she is  dubbed as Queen / Chief of the Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Tribe, Southampton County, VA…WDB)

11.    Nancy Turner    34 years   Knitting, sewing, weaving, etc.; 15 acres, also 3 acres worked at her desire and with our permission by a free Negro; the Indian part of her family is composed of herself and son Henry Turner, whose allowance she receives.

12.     Betsy Step    36 years    Spinning, generally;   2 acres;  she and her son Tom, when at home compose her family.

13     Winny Woodson     17 years    Spinning, generally;    45 acres;   She and her sister Anny Woodson have the care and receive the allowance of their young sister Jinny Woodson and compose a household.

14.     Anny Woodson     19 years    Spinning, generally.  (See Winny Woodson).

15.     Polly Woodson    14 years    Employment unknown.  (See Edy Turner).
(“Polly” Woodson – Kare’ Hout aka Mary Woodson Turner was born in 1794 and is recorded as  living with Pearson Truner in Artis Town in 1850…WDB)

16.     Fanny Bartlett     16 years    Sometimes learning to spin, lives with Samuel Blunt (Trustee).    (See Alexander Rogers)

17.     Jenny Woodson    6 years   Lives with her sisters Anny and Winny Woodson.    (See  Winny Woodson)

Signed by,

                                                                                         Henry Blow
William Blow
Samuel Blunt
Trustees to the Nottoway
Tribe of Indians 

It is noted, by the census count of the Trustees, that only 164 total acreage were being tilled and /or farmed. This is somewhat alarming and puzzling considering that a March 17,1820 news paper clipping, resulting from a note of Thomas Jefferson, and appearing in the Petersburg Newspaper reported  the following: “The Nottoway (Cheroenhaka…WDB) Indians  in number about 27 including men, women and children , occupy a track of 7, 000 Acres of excellent land upon the west side of the Nottoway River, two miles from Jerusalem (Courtland, VA…WDB), in the County of Southampton.  The principal character among them is a woman, who is styled their Queen. Her name is Edie (Edith…WDB) Turner (Wane’ Roonseraw…WDB).