Does "FPC" stand for Free Person Colored ?
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2003 12:45 PM
Subject: Re: Portuguese Settlement
Hello Maynard and list,I know that this is the one place that I would
never get cursed out for all the worms I'm digging up. However, there are
some living members of the family that see otherwise. <G
Regarding the "Portuguese Settlement". Here's the opinion that I have
formed from research, paper trails, speaking with those that will talk,
migration and marital patterns and some good home gut feelings and common
Portugese Settlement was never even considered "Portguese"
until 1923 when
the state of NC passed legislation to allow this tri-racial
call themselves that. The immigrants that flowed through Roanoke Rapids to
work on the damn date about 100 yrs post the first "Poythress, Turner,
Peters, Scotts, Bass and Jarrell" notations in the courthouse records. So,
we already have the basis of the clan established prior to any immigrants
infiltration the community.
Secondly, As early as 1790 census, these families are being listed as
Not individuals, all the families. Every Poythress (various spellings) in
Northampton County are FPC. They fluctuate between Northampton and Halifax
but some of the same individuals listed between the two counties are still
It has already been established that there was an old trading fort in
Brunswick County, VA for the local tribes in the early 1700's by the name of
Fort Christanna. For those of you who have never visited Northampton County,
this settlement is approximately 10 miles from Fort Christanna.
My theory is this, from the earliest records, being listed as FPC,
Colored, Mulatto, Black but knowing that they were not any of the "Plecker
Races" of being Black or White, they saw the immigrants of Portugal, saw the
same coloring, saw that this could be their ticket to "freedom of racism".
These people of this community couldn't vote, couldn't educate themselves,
couldn't even be buried in the local cemetaries because of their skin color.
This went on for generations. I have pictures of the "Couch Scott" that is
listed on the Hogbuster pages of Forrest Hazel. You want to know what he
looks like? Indian. I have a picture of Charles Poythress (aka Charlie). He
is listed as Colored and later Portuguese. He, too, Indian. I have never
believed that this "Settlement of Portuguese" were ever Portuguese to begin
with. It was nothing more than a means of survival.
Now, the real question is, how did the Poythress name come into this
settlement. That's one to ponder til the end of time because we'll never
know. Another possibility is that there was a tribe that floated along the
border counties of NC/VA, by the name of Porteskill, that were eventually
absorbed by the Catawba in the early 1600's. Could it be that this is
something that carried on? Who knows?
I do have one question for you guys, In 1715 in Catawba County NC
it being Catawba County but the legislation was held in town that is
in present day Catawba, there was passed a name change for a Benjamin
Poythress and a Robert Poythress to the last name of Speight. Anyone have
any clue as to who these two gentlemen are?? As far as I have found, this is
the earliest documentation of Poythress name being in NC. I also find it
rather ironic that that Saponi of Fort Christanna are close cousins to the
Catawba that absorbed the Porteskill as well as had control of the local
area of what is now Catawba County which is where we have the name change.
Has anyone checked out the name Speight? Seems that it's a predominant FPC
name as well.
I hope that this hasn't confused anyone which I am sure it has
have to take the blinders off when it comes to this community. It can't
dealt with as a regular genealogist would handle research. These people
covered 5 races in a matter of 50 years. My own grandmother is listed in
1920 as mulatto, 1930 as white and 1934 as Portuguese. That terminology
never played into the settlement until the 1923 law. The names are much more
reliable than the race issue. That's what I am basing my research on and
considering it is the Poythress name, I can only hope that you all will do
the same and not take "Portuguese Settlement" literal. I can tell horror
stories of what my family went through to try to keep some sort of identity.
If you will, check out http://www.saponitown.com
. This is the group of
people that I have been working with. I have worked with Forrest Hazel as
well as Lawrence Dunmore from the Occaneechi. I am also working with Chief
Walt Brown of the Cheranauka No!
ttoway and Barry Carter with SouthEastern VA Native American
Association. I think that there's alot more at work here than just
Rather than starting a hot debate on the race issue, please send opinions
directly and not bog down the mailing list. Thank you :)
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