Virginia – Nansemond County – 1700s to early 1800s

(Below are different Going, Goyen, Gowen related sources for those people were in the Virginia, North Carolina, or South Carolina areas in the early 1700’s to early 1800’s)


(Note:  The Gewen line does not appear to be a “Going” type surname – they consistantly spell their name either Gewen or Guin over the years up to the 1800s.  I list it here so others researching this name can see the information and make their own decision).

See the following Counties for additional information on the Gewen line:

Nansemond Co, Va
Bertie Co, NC
Edgecombe Co, NC
Halifax Co, NC

1688 Feb 17 – Christopher Gewen is a witness to the marriage of Leaven Bufkin to Dorrithy Newby. Minutes 1673 to 1756. pg 71. Nansemund Co, Va. Chuckatuck, Nansemond, Western Branch, Somerton Historical Meeting Data: Search for this monthly meeting in the ‘Quaker Monthly Meetings Index’

1704 Christopher Gawin Jr is listed on the Quit Rents of Virginia – on 20 acres, Nanesmond Co, Va

1704 Apr 26 – Christopher Gewin recd 900 acres on the Dragon Swamp. Adjoining the land of Bryant Oquins. Nansemond County, Va. (pg 198).

1704 Oct 20 – John Harrold recd 230 acr near a swamp called the Dragon Swamp. Beg.g at a pine a line tree of Christopher Gewins land. Nansemond County, Va.

1714 June 16 – Christopher Gowin – Adam Harrold 112 acres near the Dragon Swamp. Adjoining the land of Edmond Bemond and Christopher Gowins. Nansemond County, Va.

1728 November 16, – Col. William Byrd visited with the Cornelius Keith family
on his return trip after surveying the dividing line between Virginia and North Carolina. Byrd gave a most bleak description of their living conditions in his “Histories of the Dividing Line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina.” In Byrd’s words:
“The poor man had rais’d a kind of a house, but for want of nails it remain’d uncover’d. I gave him a note on Maj. Mumford for nails for that purpose and so made a whole family happy at a very small expense.”
At the time of Byrd’s visit, Keith had six small children. Keith’s fortunes improved, for he applied to operate a ferry over the Roanoke River.
Va dividing line with NC

15th. About three miles from our camp we passed Great creek, and then, after traversing very barren grounds for five miles together, we crossed the Trading Path, and soon after had the pleasure of reaching the uppermost inhabitant. This was a plantation belonging to colonel Mumford, where our men almost burst themselves with potatoes and milk. Yet as great a curiosity as a house was to us foresters, still we chose to lie in the tent, as being much the cleanlier and sweeter lodging.
The Trading Path above-mentioned receives its name from being the route the traders take with their caravans, when they go to traffic with the Catawbas and other southern Indians. The Catawbas live about two hundred and fifty miles beyond Roanoke river, and yet our traders find their account in transporting goods from Virginia to trade with them at their own town. The common method of carrying on this Indian commerce is as follows: Gentlemen send for goods proper for such a trade from England, and then either venture them out at their own risk to the Indian towns, or else credit some traders with them of substance and reputation, to be paid in skins at a certain price agreed betwixt them. The goods for the Indian trade consist chiefly in guns, powder, shot, hatchets, (which the Indians call tomahawks,) kettles, red and blue planes, Duffields, Stroudwater blankets, and some cutlery wares, brass rings and other trinkets. These wares are made up into packs and carried upon horses, each load being from one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds, with which they are able to travel about twenty miles a day, if forage happen to be plentiful. Formerly a hundred horses have been employed in one of these Indian caravans, under the conduct of fifteen or sixteen persons only, but now the trade is much impaired, insomuch that they seldom go with half that number. The course from Roanoke to the Catawbas is laid down nearest south-west, and lies through a fine country, that is watered by several beautiful rivers. Those of the greatest note are, first, Tar river, which is the upper part of Pamptico, Flat river, Little river and Eno river, all three branches of Neuse. Between Eno and Saxapahaw rivers are the Haw old fields, which have the reputation of containing the most fertile high land in this part of the world, lying in a body of about fifty thousand acres. This Saxapahaw is the upper part of Cape Fair river, the falls of which lie many miles below the Trading Path. Some mountains overlook this rich spot of land, from whence all the soil washes down into the plain, and is the cause of its exceeding fertility. Not far from thence the path crosses Aramanchy river, a branch of Saxapahaw, and about forty miles beyond that, Deep river, which is the north branch of Peedee. Then forty miles beyond that, the path intersects the Yadkin, which is there half a mile over, and is supposed to be the south branch of the same Peedee. The soil is exceedingly rich on both sides the Yadkin, abounding in rank grass and prodigiously large trees; and for plenty of fish, fowl and venison, is inferior to no part of the northern continent. There the traders commonly lie still for some days, to recruit their horses’ flesh as well as to recover their own spirits. Six miles further is Crane creek, so named from its being the rendezvous of great armies of cranes, which wage a more cruel war at this day, with the frogs and the fish, than they used to do with the pigmies in the days of Homer. About three-score miles more bring you to the first town of the Catawbas, called Nauvasa, situated on the banks of Santee river. Besides this town there are five others belonging to the same nation, lying
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all on the same stream, within the distance of twenty miles. These Indians were all called formerly by the general name of the Usherees, and were a very numerous and powerful people. But the frequent slaughters made upon them by the northern Indians, and, what has been still more destructive by far, the intemperance and foul distempers introduced amongst them by the Carolina traders, have now reduced their numbers to little more than four hundred fighting men, besides women and children. It is a charming place where they live, the air very wholesome, the soil fertile, and the winters ever mild and serene.
In Santee river, as in several others of Carolina, a small kind of alligator is frequently seen, which perfumes the water with a musky smell. They seldom exceed eight feet in length in these parts, whereas, near the equinoctial, they come up to twelve or fourteen. And the heat of the climate does not only make them bigger, but more fierce and voracious. They watch the cattle there when they come to drink and cool themselves in the river; and because they are not able to drag them into the deep water, they make up by stratagem what they want in force. They swallow great stones, the weight of which being added to their strength, enables them to tug a moderate cow under water, and as soon as they have drowned her, they discharge the stones out of their maw and then feast upon the carcass. However, as fierce and as strong as these monsters are, the Indians will surprise them napping as they float upon the surface, get astride upon their necks, then whip a short piece of wood like a truncheon into their jaws, and holding the ends with their two hands, hinder them from diving by keeping their mouths open, and when they are almost spent, they will make to the shore, where their riders knock them on the head and eat them. This amphibious animal is a smaller kind of crocodile, having the same shape exactly, only the crocodile of the Nile is twice as long, being when full grown from twenty to thirty feet. This enormous length is the more to be wondered at, because the crocodile is hatched from an egg very little larger than that of a goose. It has a long head, which it can open very wide, with very sharp and strong teeth. Their eyes are small, their legs short, with claws upon their feet. Their tail makes half the length of their body, and the whole is guarded with hard impenetrable scales, except the belly, which is much softer and smoother. They keep much upon the land in the day time, but towards the evening retire into the water to avoid the cold dews of the night. They run pretty fast right forward, but are very awkward and slow in turning, by reason of their unwieldy length. It is an error that they have no tongue, without which they could hardly swallow their food; but in eating they move the upper jaw only, contrary to all other animals. The way of catching them in Egypt is, with a strong hook fixed to the end of a chain and baited with a joint of pork, which they are very fond of. But a live hog is generally tied near, the cry of which allures them to the hook. This account of the crocodile will agree in most particulars with the alligator, only the bigness of the last cannot entitle it to the name of “leviathan,” which Job gave formerly to the crocodile, and not to the whale, as some interpreters would make us believe.
So soon as the Catawba Indians are informed of the approach of the Virginia caravans, they send a detachment of their warriors to bid them welcome, and escort them safe to their town, where they are received with great marks of distinction. And their courtesies to the Virginia traders, I dare say, are very sincere, because they sell them better goods and better pennyworths than the traders of Carolina. They commonly reside among the Indians till they have bartered their goods away for skins, with which they load their horses and come back by the same path they went. There are generally some Carolina traders that constantly live among the Catawbas,
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and pretend to exercise a dictatorial authority over them. These petty rulers do not only teach the honester savages all sorts of debauchery, but are unfair in their dealings, and use them with all kinds of oppression. Nor has their behaviour been at all better to the rest of the Indian nations, among whom they reside, by abusing their women and evil-entreating their men; and, by the way, this was the true reason of the fatal war which the nations round-about made upon Carolina in the year 1713. Then it was that all the neighbouring Indians, grown weary of the tyranny and injustice with which they had been abused for many years, resolved to endure their bondage no longer, but entered into a general confederacy against their oppressors of Carolina. The Indians opened the war by knocking most of those little tyrants on the head that dwelt amongst them, under pretence of regulating their commerce, and from thence carried their resentment so far as to endanger both North and South Carolina.
16th. We gave orders that the horses should pass Roanoke river at Monisep ford, while most of the baggage was transported in a canoe. We landed at the plantation of Cornelius Keith, where I beheld the wretchedest scene of poverty I had ever met with in this happy part of the world. The man, his wife and six small children, lived in a pen, like so many cattle, without any roof over their heads but that of heaven. And this was their airy residence in the day time, but then there was a fodder stack not far from this inclosure, in which the whole family sheltered themselves at night and in bad weather. However, it was almost worth while to be as poor as this man was, to be as perfectly contented. All his wants proceeded from indolence, and not from misfortune. He had good land, as well as good health and good limbs to work it, and, besides, had a trade very useful to all the inhabitants round about. He could make and set up quern stones very well, and had proper materials for that purpose just at hand, if he could have taken the pains to fetch them. There is no other kind of mills in those remote parts, and, therefore, if the man would have worked at his trade, he might have lived very comfortably. The poor woman had a little more industry, and spun cotton enough to make a thin covering for her own and her children’s nakedness. I am sorry to say it, but idleness is the general character of the men in the southern parts of this colony as well as in North Carolina. The air is so mild, and the soil so fruitful, that very little labour is required to fill their bellies, especially where the woods afford such plenty of game. These advantages discharge the men from the necessity of killing themselves with work, and then for the other article of raiment, a very little of that will suffice in so temperate a climate. But so much as is absolutely necessary falls to the good women’s share to provide. They all spin, weave and knit, whereby they make a good shift to clothe the whole family; and to their credit be it recorded, many of them do it very completely, and thereby reproach their husbands’ laziness in the most inoffensive way, that is to say, by discovering a better spirit of industry in themselves.
From hence we moved forward to colonel Mumford’s other plantation, under the care of Miles Riley, where, by that gentleman’s directions, we were again supplied with many good things. Here it was we discharged our worthy friend and fellow traveller, Mr. Bearskin, who had so plentifully supplied us with provisions during our long expedition. We rewarded him to his heart’s content, so that he returned to his town loaded with riches and the reputation of having been a great discoverer.
17th. This being Sunday, we were seasonably put in mind how much we were obliged to be thankful for our happy return to the inhabitants. Indeed, we had great reason to reflect with gratitude on the signal mercies we had received. First, that we had, day by day, been fed by the bountiful hand of
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Providence in the desolate wilderness, insomuch that if any of our people wanted one single meal during the whole expedition, it was entirely owing to their own imprudent management. Secondly, that not one man of our whole company had any violent distemper or bad accident befall him, from one end of the line to the other. The very worst that happened was, that one of them gave himself a smart cut on the pan of his knee with a tomahawk, which we had the good fortune to cure in a short time, without the help of a surgeon. As for the misadventures of sticking in the mire and falling into rivers and creeks, they were rather subjects of mirth than complaint, and served only to diversify our travels with a little farcical variety. And, lastly, that many uncommon incidents have concurred to prosper our undertaking. We had not only a dry spring before we went out, but the preceding winter, and even a year or two before, had been much drier than ordinary. This made not only the Dismal, but likewise most of the sunken grounds near the sea-side, just hard enough to bear us, which otherwise had been quite impassable. And the whole time we were upon the business, which was in all about sixteen weeks, we were never caught in the rain except once, nor was our progress interrupted by bad weather above three or four days at most. Besides all this, we were surprised by no Indian enemy, but all of us brought our scalps back safe upon our heads. This cruel method of scalping of enemies is practised by all the savages in America, and perhaps is not the least proof of their original from the northern inhabitants of Asia. Among the ancient Scythians it was constantly used, who carried about these hairy scalps as trophies of victory. They served them too as towels at home, and trappings for their horses abroad. But these were not content with the skin of their enemies’ heads, but also made use of their sculls for cups to drink out of upon high festival days, and made greater ostentation of them than if they had been made of gold or the purest crystal.
Besides the duties of the day, we christened one of our men who had been bred a quaker. The man desired this of his own mere motion, without being tampered with by the parson, who was willing every one should go to heaven his own way. But whether he did it by the conviction of his own reason, or to get rid of some troublesome forms and restraints, to which the saints of that persuasion are subject, I cannot positively say.


Virginia Counties
Accomack  •  Albemarle  •  Alleghany  •  Amelia  •  Amherst  •  Appomattox  •  Arlington  •  Augusta  • Bath  •  Bedford  •  Bland  •  Botetourt  •  Brunswick  •  Buchanan  •  Buckingham •  Campbell  •  Caroline  • Carroll  • Charles City •   Charlotte  •  Chesterfield  •  Clarke • Craig  •  Culpeper •  Cumberland  •  Dickenson  •  Dinwiddie  • Essex  •  Fairfax  •  Fauquier  •  Floyd  •  Fluvanna  •   Franklin  •  Frederick  • Giles  •  Gloucester  •   Goochland  •  Grayson  •  Greene  •  Greensville  •  Halifax  •  Hanover  •  Henrico  • Henry  •  Highland  •  Isle of Wight • James City •  King and Queen •  King George  •  King William  • Lancaster  •  Lee  •  Loudoun  •  Louisa  •  Lunenburg  •  Madison  •  Mathews  •  Mecklenburg  •  Middlesex  •  Montgomery  •  Nansemond  – Nelson  •  New Kent  •  Northampton  •  Northumberland  •  Nottoway  •  Orange  •  Page  • Patrick •  Pittsylvania  •  Powhatan  •  Prince Edward  •  Prince George  •  Prince William  •  Pulaski  •  Rappahannock   •  Richmond  •  Roanoke  •  Rockbridge  •  Rockingham  •  Russell  •  Scott  • Shenandoah  •  Smyth  •  Southampton  •  Spotsylvania  •  Stafford  •  Surry  •   Sussex  •  Tazewell  • Warren  •  Washington  •  Westmoreland  •  Wise  •  Wythe  •  York

MAPS:  Link to VA, NC, SC area Maps

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