Lost Colony found near here?

The Roanoke Beacon, Plymouth, NC

    Has the Lost Colony been found? Not quite yet, but researchers are getting warmer for sure.

    Washington County Historic Society will host a lecture by Fred Willard, an independent scholar and archaeologist, on the subject of the late-breaking discoveries about The Lost Colony at 7 pm, Nov. 21 at the Washington County Extension Office on Water Street. Admission is free.

    Willard, director of the Lost Colony Center for Science and Research, says he believes he knows where the so-called lost colonists settled with the Croatans and that residents of at least two communities in northeastern North Carolina may be descendants of the Croatan Indians, a tribe that history had all but buried forever. The trail of land deeds signed by the Croatan Indians recently discovered led right to the Plymouth area's Free Union and Ange (Pinetown) communities and to Chocowinity.

    There are dozens of oral histories told of Indians in the ancestry of many local residents, particularly those in what is known as the Piney Woods community just over the Washington and Martin County lines, near Angetown. Could these be descendants of the orginial "Lost Colony?" Willard believes its quite likely.

    Willard hasn't found the Lost Colony, but with the paper trail he's followed, he has been able to basically rewrite the history of the lost Croatan Indians, which are not lost at all.

    In 1990, Willard discovered artifacts and land deeds signed by the kings and queens of the last of the Croatan Indians. These, he says, give every indication that the English commingled at Croatan with the natives. In 1993, Willard discovered the lost Croatan Indian site in Buxton. Following the migration trail by means of land deeds from Buxton west until the trail runs out, researchers have tracked the last decendants to two local communities near Plymouth - Free Union (Uniontown or Piney Woods) and Ange (Angeltown) - and in Chocowinity. In fact, while tracing Croatan lineage, the same Anglicanized names keep cropping up - Carawan, Gibbs, Jennette, Payne, Barber, Buck, Pierce, Sawyer, Cahoon, and Elk.

    A Chocowinity teenager, Emily Elk, traces her ancestry directly to the signers of the deed to Croatan on Hatteras Island, William and Mary Elk.

    Willard is a retired business executive from Annapolis, MD who retired to the Outer Banks to enjoy fishing.

    In 1996, he discovered the Port Ferdinando Inlet, presently at Bodie Island Lighthouse. This inlet was used by all of the Roanoke voyages, including the famous 1587 Lost Colony.

    "If you follow the Croatan Indian trail, " Willard said, "you'll find the Lost Colony."

    Willard's lecture promises to be both revealing and fascinating. He will cover the findings of 100 researchers who have traced land deeds showing a merging of the Indians and the Europeans to uncover what Willard calls "overwhelming evidence."

    Accompanying Willard will be a team of five researchers who will be available for a question-and-answer session following the lecture.

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