American Arrival


Progeny and American Arrival

Dennis Macklendon, the immigrant, married Elizabeth Dunn in 1676 and had four sons: Frances b: 1679, Dennis b: 1680, Bryan (Brient) b: 1685, and Thomas b: 1690. Francis, Dennis, and maybe Bryan were most likely born in Barbados, where their family lived. This is contrary to the family oral history which usually places the birth of all four sons in Midlothian, Scotland, near Edinburgh. I have seen no documentation to support this area of origin. It is thought that the fourth son, Thomas, was born in either the Virginia or North Carolina Provences as it is supposed that his family landed there prior to the publishing of Bryan MacLandins’ will in Barbados in 1688.

Carolina Province in the 1600s

To get a glimpse of the political and social environment into which the Macklendons arrived, in 1660 the estimated European population of the Carolina Province was 1,000. In the earlier decades of the 1600s, the English, determined to lay claim to the North American continent, were in stiff competition with the Spanish and French. Claiming the territory was also problematic due to the fact that the newly discovered territory had a significant indigenous population.

An earlier attempt to settle the vast Carolina Province, under King Charles I, failed amidst the turmoil of the English Civil War (1642-1651) between King Charles’ Royalists (Cavaliers) and Parliamentarian “Roundheads”.  The Parliamentarians won, executed Charles I for treason, and exiled Charles II, the heir apparent to the throne.

Oliver Cromwell then ruled as Lord Protectorate until his death in 1659 where the title passed to Cromwell’s son Richard. Richard’s treatment of the military was such that the military overthrew him, returned Charles II from exile in France, and established his monarchy under parliamentary consent.

It was in this new political environment that efforts to extend English influence in America were rekindled. In return for their assistance in reestablishing him to the throne of England, King Charles II granted eight noblemen , called the Lords Proprietors, the vast land of the Carolina Province in 1663 with expansions in 1665.

The eastern and western borders of the Carolina Province, as defined by the English, were the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The northern border was latitude 39° 30′ North (the north line of the modern North Carolina border), and the southern border was latitude 29°N, starting on the Atlantic coast just south of current-day Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Lords Proprietors were charged by King Charles II to settle the province as a bulwark against the competing colonial powers of Spain and France.  These borders weren’t realistic as the French had dominant influence along the Mississippi River which eventually extended west (Louisiana Territory) along the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers, north through the Great Lakes and Quebec, and east to the Appalachian mountains, until the French and Indian War and, later, the Louisiana Purchase. Spain controlled the western part of North America, Central America and all of western South America and Portugal controlled eastern South America. The English rulers needed their own people settled on the land to achieve their ambitions.

People, like the Macklendons fit the settler’s role well. They were politically joined to England and had nothing to lose in Ireland, having likely spent years in Barbados struggling to free themselves from indentured servitude. They were sturdy, accustomed to carving out a living from the land, and eager to take risks in exchange for land in the hope of gaining some degree of prosperity and autonomy.

A reasonable person would rightly assume, and students of European colonial history would know, that this influx of alien population stirred quite a bit of interest and alarm among the indigenous population. In the area of North Carolina, the interest was first rooted in the economic goals of the European hunters and trappers.

Among those settlers were three characters who arrived in the area in the 1660s: Nathaniel Batts, John Harvey, and George Durant. Durant and others made a land deals with the indigenous Yeopim Chief Kalcacenin for various parcels. Durant made two such agreements in 1661 and 1662, giving him the land between the Little River and the Albemarle Sound. This parcel of land would have covered the eastern peninsula of  what is now Perquimans County between the Little River to the north and east, and the mouth of the Perquimans River to the south and west.  The McClendons would arrive about 20 years later to work parts of the land as settlers.

The point where the mouth of of the Perquimans River opens into the Albemarle Sound then came to be known as Durant’s Neck. The settlement at Durant’s Neck was called Hertford. It was established soon after Durant’s arrival and grew over time. Hertford was incorporated in 1758 and remains there to this day as the county seat of Perquimans County. When the Macklendons went “to town” the town would have been Hertford.

Unfortunately for Durant, in 1663, Lord Proprietor William Berkeley made land grants including part of Durant’s land to George Catchmade, a member of the House of Burgesses. Catchmade encouraged settlers to inhabit the land. These settlers’ arrival, along with requisite competition for resources, set the stage for tension between the settlers, their hunting and trapping predecessors, and the indigenous population. This tense political environment led to the Culpeper Rebellion, as described in the North Carolina History Project:

In the stages of the county’s early history a political dispute led to Culpeper’s Rebellion in 1677.  The trappers and their families were the first settlers to the region, but as soon as immigrants operating under Catchmade’s charter arrived, tensions arose.  George Durant and Zachary Gillam were arrested, but John Culpeper organized a group of citizens and freed both of the men. The traitors imprisoned the governor, Thomas Miller, which led to the start of the rebellion.  In early 1678, a new council was elected, and Durant and Gillam became advocates to the English proprietors along with Seth Sothel, who became acting governor of the Albemarle County.  However, Turk pirates captured Sothel during his trip from England to the new Carolina colony.  Although he was eventually released from the pirates, Sothel became an oppressive ruler, and in 1689 Sothel was arrested and sent away from Perquimans.  The rebellion died away after Sothel’s departure, and Durant, along with the new council, remained in charge.

The English population of the Carolina Colony was growing rapidly in the 1690s, from roughly 7,500 to 10,500 in the north over that decade. Also, at this time the settlement of Charles Town was growing rapidly and had reached a population of almost 6,000 by 1700. Charles Town, established in 1670 on an excellent coastal harbor about 400 miles to the southwest, was considered the capital of Carolina Province, and is of course, the modern city of Charleston, South Carolina.

Strife and Pestilence

With this great influx of Europeans came some strife with the indigenous people over resources and land use. However, in 1696, this European influx transformed into one of the most terrible things the indigenous people could have imagined… the plague of smallpox. Europeans were vulnerable, but the native people of the Carolina Piedmont had never been exposed to smallpox and therefore had no immune-system defense against it. Over 80% of the Pamlico, Algonquian, Tuscarora, Weapemeoc, Chawanokes (Chowan), Yeopim, Sewee, Yamesee, and Congaree populations within close proximity to the Europeans were decimated. John Lawson, a lowcountry explorer gave his eyewitness account in 1701:

“The Small-Pox and Rum have made such a Destruction amongst them, that, on good grounds, I do believe, there is not the sixth Savage living within two hundred Miles of all our Settlements, as there were fifty Years ago. The Small-Pox has been fatal to them; they do not often escape. Most certain, it had never visited America, before the Discovery thereof by the Christians. Their running into the Water, in the Extremity of this Disease, strikes it in, and kills all that use it. Now they are become a little wiser; but formerly it destroy’d whole Towns, without leaving one Indian alive in the Village.”

The Lay of the Land

In the late 1600s the European settlers were coming to two areas of Carolina: Charles Town, to the south, and the north shores of the Albemarle Sound. An attempt to settle strategic Roanoke Island and establish Roanoke Colony, in the late 1500s, failed mysteriously, leading to much investigation of the “lost colony” in the years since. Roanoke Island was not developed then until its strategic importance became desirable in the American Civil War.

In the early 1600s, prior to the establishment of Charles Town, these new Carolina settlers arrived almost exclusively around the Albemarle Sound just south of the Virginia border. Near the west end of the sound they established a settlement called Edenton which became the capital of North Carolina in 1722. The Macklendon family settled near Hertford and Edenton on the north side of the Albemarle Sound in a place called Perquimans by the indigenous Yeopin people who occupied the region north of the Sound. Perquimans means “the land of beautiful women”. The British adopted the name and designated Perquimans as a precinct of Albemarle County. According to the North Carolina History Project, “the Yeopim were driven away by the English and Welsh settlers. By 1701, there were only six warriors within Perquimans because most had moved to a reservation in present-day Camden County.”

Next: Early Migration

Related Links:

Immigrant Ancestors

Maternal Haplotype Heatmap

Paternal Haplotype Heatmap

Royalty/Nobility Quick-Reference

McClendon Descendency

McClendon: Myth & Reality

Dennis McClendon: Procession to my “XIV” Designation

The Hunt Family

Hunt/McClendon Chart