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Report by Anthony Long, William Hilton, and Peter Fabian concerning their voyage from Barbados to the Cape Fear River from September 29, 1663 to February 6, 1664 [Extract]
Long, Anthony; Hilton, William; Fabian, Peter, fl. 17th cent.
1664
Volume 01, Pages 67-71

REPORT OF COMMISSIONERS SENT FROM BARBADOES TO EXPLORE THE RIVER CAPE FEAR, IN 1663.
[Reprinted from Lawson's History of North Carolina, P. 113.]

From Tuesday, the 29th of September, to Friday, the 2d of October, we ranged along the shore from lat. 32 deg. 20 min. to lat. 33 deg. 11 min., but could discern no entrance for our ship, after we had passed to the northward of 32 deg. 40 min. On Saturday, October 3, a violent storm overtook us, the wind between north and east; which easterly

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winds and foul weather continued till Monday the 12th; by reasons of which storms and foul weather we were forced to get off to sea, to secure ourselves and ship, and were driven by the rapidity of a strong current to Cape Hatteras, in lat. 35 deg. 30 min. On Monday the 12th, aforesaid, we came to an anchor in seven fathoms at Cape Fair Road, and took the meridian altitude of the sun, and were in lat. 33 deg. 43 min., the wind still continuing easterly, and foul weather till Thursday the 15th; and on Friday the 16th, the wind being at N. W., we weighed and sailed up Cape Fair River some four or five leagues, and came to an anchor in six or seven fathom, at which time several Indians came on board, and brought us great store of fresh fish, large mullets, young bass, shads, and several other sorts of very good, well-tasted fish. On Saturday the 17th, we went down to the Cape to see the English cattle, but could not find them, though we rounded the Cape. And having an Indian guide with us, here we rode till October 24th. The wind being against us, we could not go up the river with our ship; but went on shore and viewed the land of those quarters.

On Saturday we weighed, and sailed up the river some four leagues or thereabouts.

Sunday the 25th we weighed again, and rowed up the river, it being calm, and got up some fourteen leagues from the harbor's mouth, where we moored our ship.

On Monday, October 26th, we went down with the yawl to Necoes, an Indian plantation, and viewed the land there.

On Tuesday the 27th; we rowed up the main river with our long boat and twelve men, some ten leagues or thereabouts.

On Wednesday the 28th, we rowed up about eight or ten leagues more.

Thursday the 29th was foul weather, with much rain and wind, which forced us to make huts and lie still.

Friday the 30th we proceeded up the main river seven or eight leagues.

Saturday the 31st, we got up three or four leagues more, and came to a tree that lay across the river; but because our provisions we almost spent, we proceeded no further, but returned downward before night; and on Monday, the 2d of November, we came aboard our ship.

Tuesday the 3d we lay still to refresh ourselves.

On Wednesday the 4th, we went five or six leagues up the river to search a branch that run out of the main river toward the northwest. In which we went up five or six leagues; but not liking the land, returned on board that night about midnight, and called that place Swampy Branch.

Thursday, November 5th, we stayed aboard.

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On Friday the 6th, we went up Green's River, the mouth of it being against the place at which rode our ship.

On Saturday the 7th, we proceeded up the said river, some fourteen or fifteen leagues in all, and found it ended in several small branches. The land, for the most part, being marshy and swamps, we returned towards our ship, and got aboard it in the night.

Sunday, November the 8th, we lay still; and on Monday the 9th went again up the main river, being well stucked with provisions and all things necessary, and proceeded upward till Thursday noon, the 12th, at which time we came to a place where were two islands in the middle of the river; and by reason of the crookedness of the river at that place, several trees lay across both branches, which stopped the passage of each branch, so that we could proceed no further with our boat; but went up the river side by land some three or four miles, and found the river wider and wider. So we returned, leaving it as far as we could see up, a long reach running N. E., we judging ourselves near fifty leagues north from the river's mouth.

* * * * * * *

We saw mulberry-trees, multitudes of grape-vines, and some grapes, which we eat of. We found a very large and good tract of land on the N. W. side of the river, thin of timber, except here and there a very great oak, and full of grass, commonly as high as a mans middle, and in many places to his shoulders, where we saw many deer and turkeys; one deer having very large horns and great body, therefore called it Stag-Park.

It being a very pleasant and delightful place, we travelled in it several miles, but saw no end thereof. So we returned to our boat, and proceeded down the river, and came to another place, some twenty-five leagues from the river's mouth on the same side, where we found a place no less delightful than the former; and, as far as we could judge, both tracts came into one. This lower place we called Rocky Point, because we found many rocks and stones of several sizes upon the land, which is not common. We sent our boat down the river before us, ourselves travelling by land many miles. Indeed we were so much taken with the pleasantness of the country, that we travelled into the woods too far to recover our boat and company that night.

The next day, being Sunday, we got to our boat; and on Monday, the 16th of November, proceeded down to a place on the east side of the river, some twenty-three leagues from the harbor's mouth, which we called Turkey Quarters, because we killed several turkeys thereabouts. We viewed

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the land there and found some tracts of good ground, and high, facing upon the river about one mile inward; but backward, some two miles, all pine land, but good pasture-ground.

We returned to our boat and proceeded down some two or three leagues, where we had formerly viewed, and found it a tract of as good land as any we have seen, and had as good timber on it. The banks on the river being high, therefore we called it High Land Point.

Having viewed that we proceeded down the river going on shore in several places on both sides, it being generally large marshes, and many of them dry, that they may more fitly be called meadows. The woodland against them is, for the most part, pine, and in some places as barren as ever we saw land, but in other places good pasture ground.

On Tuesday, November the 17th we got aboard our ship, riding against the mouth of Green's River, where our men were providing wood, and fitting the ship for sea. In the interium we took a view of the country on both sides of the river there, finding some good land, but more bad, and the best not comparable to that above.

Friday the 20th was foul weather; yet in the afternoon we weighed went down the river about two leagues, and came to an anchor against the mouth of Hilton's River, and took a view of the land there on both sides which appeared to us much like that at Green's River.

Monday the 23d, we went with our long-boat, well victualled and manned, up Hilton's River; and when we came three leagues or there-abouts up the same, we found this and Green's River to come into one, and so continued for four or five leagues, which makes a great island betwixt them. We proceeded still up the river till they parted again; keeping up Hilton's River, on the larboard side, and followed the said river five or six leagues further, where we found another large branch of Green's River to come into Hilton's which makes another great island. On the starboard side going up, we proceeded still up the river, some four leagues, and returned, taking a view of the land on both sides, and then judged ourselves to be from our ship some eighteen leagues W. and by N.

* * * * * * *

Proceeding down the river two or three leagues further, we came to a place where there were nine or ten canoes all together. We went ashore there and found several Indians, but most of them were the same which had made peace with us before. We stayed very little at that place but went directly down the river, and came to our ship before day.

Thursday the 26th of November the wind being at south we could not go down to the river's mouth; but on Friday the 27th we weighed at the

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mouth of Hilton's River, and got down a league towards the harbor's mouth.

On Sunday the 29th we got down to Crane Island, which is four leagues or thereabouts above the entrance of the harbor's mouth. On Tuesday the 1st of December, we made a purchase of the river and land of Cape Fair, of Wat Coosa, and such other Indians as appeared to us to be the chief of those parts. They brought us store of fresh fish aboard, as mullets, shads, and other sorts, very good.

* * * * * * * *

Whereas there was a writing left in a post, at the point of Cape Fair River, by those New England men that left cattle with the Indians there, the contents whereof tended not only to the disparagement of the land about the said river, but also to the great discouragement of all such as should hereafter come into those parts to settle. In answer to that scandalous writing, we, whose names are underwritten, do affirm, that we have seen, facing both sides of the river and branches of Cape Fair aforesaid, as good land and as well timbered as any we have seen in any other part of the world, sufficient to accommodate thousands of our English nation, and lying commodiously by the said river's side. On Friday the 4th of December, the wind being fair, we put out to sea, bound for Barbadoes; and on the 6th of February, 1663-4, came to an anchor in Carlisle Bay—it having pleased God, after several apparent dangers both by sea and land, to bring us all in safety to our long wished for and much desired port, to render an account of our discovery, the verity of which we do assert.

ANTHONY LONG.
WILLIAM HILTON.
PETER FABIAN.