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WAKE FOREST — The Wake Forest Historical Association will host Thomas Beaman, archeologist, anthropologist and professor at Wake Technical Community College, who will discuss different aspects of the Tuscarora tribe.
The program is Sunday, Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. in the Wake Forest Historical Museum on North Main Street.
The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Beaman has excavated several Tuscarora villages near the coast and also early colonial settlements.
The Tuscarora were a dominant force in North Carolina as white settlers began filtering into the state, but they were particularly opposed to the New Bern settlement which was taking their lands. After many skirmishes alternated with periods of trading, in 1711 Tuscarora and some allies attacked colonists near Bath, killing 140.
That fall. New Bern founder Christoph von Graffenreid and surveyor John Lawson, believing they were friends with the Tuscarora, paddled up the Neuse River. They were greeted angrily and captured; Graffenreid was later released but Lawson was killed.
That incident marked the beginning of the Tuscarora War which ended after North Carolina settlers asked for help from a South Carolina militia.
In 1713, after the militia and colonists attacked Tuscarora villages near the coast, they made their way to the Tuscarora fort called Neoheroka near what is now Snow Hill in Greene County.
The stronghold, filled with men, women and children, held out for three weeks but were no match for a massive fire which destroyed the fort and killed nearly 600 of its inhabitants. Another 400 were captured and sold as slaves.
For a time, there was a sheltered reservation called Indian Wood, but many Tuscarora moved west and north and eventually a large portion of them became the sixth nation in New York State’s Iroquois Nation.
Enough of the tribe remained in their ancestral home that there are still organized Tuscarora in North Carolina and many people trace their ancestry back to at least one great-great-great-grandfather or grandmother.