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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Affidavit of Thomas Miller concerning rebellion in Albemarle County
Miller, Thomas, ca. 1649-ca. 1685
January 31, 1680
Volume 01, Pages 278-283

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[B. P. R. O. Colonial Papers.]

The affidavit of Tho. Miller aged 31 years or thereabouts saith—That in or about the middle of July 1677 hee arrived in Albemarle County in Carolina with Sundry Commissions Instructions & other Instruments of writing from the Right Honble the Lords Proprs of the sd Province under their Lorps handes & seales for this deponent to be Register (wch then was in ye stead of Secretary) of that County aforesaid and also to personate one of their Lorps in Councill there and other Com̄issions and Instruments of writing from the then Govr vid. Thom. Eastchurch Esqr for this deponent to preside in Councill & to bee Com̄andr of ye military forces of sd County aforesd during his ye sd Govrs absence and also a Com̄ission from the honble ye Com̄issrs of his Majestyes Customes for this deponent to bee Collector there with sundry Instructions to act by. In pursuance whereof, after having (by ye advice of the then Councill there) setled the Lords Proprs affaires relating to their governmt reduced the Indians, who the year before (as was manifested to ye deponent) vid. in 76 had com̄itted sundry murders and depredations upon some of the inhabitants) and had brought ye people, who in ye sd year of 76 (as did appear to ye deponent) and then also were in a miserable confusion by reason of Sundry factions amongst them to a reasonable good conformity to his Majestyes and the Lords Proprs Laws and authority and (as yn seemed) to the generall satisfaction of ye inhabitants. The deponent then setled his Majestyes affaires in reference to ye Customes and for the better managing and collecting the same had appointed deputyes and other sub officers in each precynct, And had together with his sd Deputyes gotten into their hands (for his Majtyes use) from ye former Collector appointed by the Country and part received themselfes as much of the Kings Concerns in bonds for tobbacco and tobbacco received as amounted in ye whole to 327068 pounds wch in hogsheads allowing 400 pounds to one hogshead comes to about 817 hogsheads as by account will appear and in sundry other bonds for money, as also in severall seizures of European goods judged illegally imported and of a vessell called the Patience for importing some of ye sd goods made by him and his deputy and in goods received in lieu of tobbacco for the Kings Customes as amounted to the value of 1242£ 18s 01d sterling as by account will also appear the product

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and effect whereof (his salary excepted) hee had taken care for transportation that very year according to the honble the Com̄issrs of the Customs Orders as will partly appear by Mr Henry Hudson and Mr Tymothy Biggs, but was hindred therefrom by reason of an Insurrection and (as ye deponent humbly conceives) a rebellion which violently broke out in yt Country 10ber 77 and hath to this day continued without any effectuall restraint and suppression, notwithstanding all the endeavrs of ye Lords Proprs in com̄issionating & appointing Seth Sothel Esqr to be Govr and to reduce the same wch was contrived and carried on then and since by Richard Foster John Jenkins George Durant John Willoughby Wm. Craford Patricke White James Blunt Capt. Zach. Gillam John Culpeper with other their Confederates and New England traders wch Culpeper (by ye encouragement and aid of ye sd Gillam and the rest of their adherents) assuming the like and office of his Majtyes Collector violently seized the premises out of his and his deputyes hands, most cruelling imprisoning them and disposed of the King concerns according to their own will and pleasure overthrowing the governmt imprisoning all or most in authority & office besides and com̄itting sundry other outrages upon all other the inhabitants that would not joyne with ym in these exorbitancyes committed in this Insurrection wch was begun and carried on after this manner following Upon the 4th day of 10ber 1677 and 3 dayes after Capt. Zach. Gillam's arrivall there a parcell of men to ye number of 30 or 40 of the precinct of Pasquotank in ye aforesd County being set on by the foresd Culpeper Craford and encouraged by ye example (wch 2 of ye Lords Proprs Deputyes complayned of to this Deponent) as well as assistance with armes of ye sd Gillam and headed by one Valentine Bird and Edward Wells did without making any addresse complaint or information to the deponent or any else in authority and without any lawfull warrant or order with force and arms vid. swords guns and pistolls violently rush into the house where the deponent and 2 more of the Lords Proprs Deputyes were present and seized us as their prisoners and then went to searching over the publique records and other of the deponents writings wch the sd party had brought with them having ye day before violently entred one Mr Tymothy Biggs his house and there breaking open sundry the deponents locks seized the said Records and whatever other of ye deponents writings were yn to bee found, having also in this action sent abroad up and down ye Country their seditious libells drawn by ye sd Culpeper to put all in a flame and on ye sd 4th of 10ber a little after ye deponent and ye other 2 Deputyes aforesd were seized their prisonrs some of ye ringleaders vid. Bird Craford Wells & others went on
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board ye sd Gillam's shipp (wch in all these confusions rid with Jack Ensign Flag and Penon flying while wee were prisonrs at Pasquotanck) where on board there was ye sd Gillam the aforesd Culpeper and Durant and after about one houres or thereaboutes staying on board they came ashoar again with fresh new Curtleaxes for ymselves and many of the rest of their gang and then altering their first pretences they searched the deponents and his deputy Mr Biggs pockets and took away all our publique and private writings and pocket books wch they found about us and then ye sd Culpeper writt another seditious letter wch the deponent saw and wch was signed by ye aforesd Bird and Craford directed to ye aforesd Mr Foster in ye Lower Precinct of yt County called Corrituck giving him account of what they had done and how they succeeded and with all requiring or directing him there to seize Henry Hudson my deputy Collectr for yt precinct and all papers about him relating to ye Kings affaires and to bring him prisonr with him and his Company at ye Generall Meeting which they proposed to bee at ye foresd George Durant's house and about 2 days after the said Culpeper went up into ye Upper parts of the County called Chowan (as was given out by himselfe and the rabble) where the like disturbance was begun and more violently agitated by the sd Culpeper and where they had seized the Marshall of the County with all his papers relating to his Majtys and Lords Proprs affaires and then after that the sd Culpeper returned and in his return seized ye deponents Clerk a prisoner and a little after the sd Culpepers return there followed a party of men in arms from that precinct of Chowan bringing ye sd Marshall with ym a prisoner their main guard then at ye foresd Craford's house wch was forced in at Pascotank then (after some 14 or 15 dayes keeping the deponent & ye other Lords deputys (which they had taken close prisoners) the said Craford vowing and swearing that if any came to oppose them or relieve us yt they would stand by each other to ye last dropp of blood and that if any dyed to bee sure wee that were their prisonrs to dy first. They carried this deponent and their other prisonrs round by water in hostile manner to ye foresd Durant's house and there in the middle of a guard of 60 or 70 men in arms kept us close from all humane converse or accesse of friends neither would they admitt us the speech of one another The next day after our being brought to Durant's as aforesd they sent a party of soldiers headed by the aforesd Mr Bird to search for the deponent's box wherein was all his Com̄issions Instructions his Majtys printed Proclamations and lettr and all other bills bonds accounts and other papers relating to the King's the Lords Proprs the former Govrs and this deponent together
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with the Lordss great seal of ye County and many other books and things of value wch box the sd party soon found (though hid in a tobbacco hogs-head) and carried it to ye sd Durants house where in presence of ye said Culpeper Craford Durant and ye rest of ye Ringleaders then met, it was broken open and all things therein contained Hauocked at yr pleasure as ye deponent saw openly and then afterwards on the very same day, by the instigation of the said Culpeper (who was the cheife scribe that writt ye paper or accusation) Craford, Bird, Durant, & others, they did cause ye depont by beat of Drum and a shout of one and all of ye rabble to bee accused of blasphemy, treason and other crimes, and so upon a shout of one and all of ye sd rabble, was the deponent ordered to bee clapt in Irons wch was accordingly done then were the stocks and pillory overturned and throwne into the river by this rabble part of ye deponents magazine and estate in whatever specie wherever to bee found, Havocked at yr pleasure and the rabble being still influenced by ye sd Culpeper, Craford, Durant, Jenkins &c (the foresd Gillam being alsoe there countenancing this rout with his drink & presence) they upbraided his Majtys proclamations and Lds Proprs authority, and there Lordshipps much threatened also by the sd Culpeper, Durant, Craford especially the said Craford said (which this deponent heard with his owne ears) that if ye Govr came among them there or the Lords either, they would serve them ye same sauce or words to that purpose and at this stand the rabble stood (onely still sending out scouts and partyes, either to threaten, seize, disarm imprison or chase out of ye Country all in authority or office or any else that would not Joyn with ym) till about 4 or 5 days after up came ye aforesd Foster with his party from ye Lower precinct called Carituck bringing with them as yr prisoner the aforesd Mr Henry Hudson Depty Collector for his Majtye there, upon whose coming they suddenly elected a parliament out of this medley as a confused rabble (making their drum̄er one of ye burgesses) consisting of about 18 persons, this parliamt seperated 5 of ye members vid: the forsd Jenkins, Blunt, Craford, White and Bird (since deceased) to Joyne with ye aforsd Foster to make up one Juncto or Court and this Court so called took upon ym Judiciall authority and sate as ye supream Court upon 2 of ye Lds Proprs deputyes vid: Capt Tymothy Biggs deputy for ye right honrble the Earle of Craven, whom they accused of murder and Mr John Nixon Deputy to Sr Peter Colleton whom they also accused of treason and then brought ye deponent before ym in Irons pulling of his hat and then upon him impanelled a Jury (as they called it) out of this rabble, the foreman whereof was one Mordslay Bouden a New England trader and one much indebted to his Majesty the rest scarce 4 of
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them could read or write and this Jury without any law or statute with ym were sent out with such articles and Inditements as John Culpeper their Chief Councillour and scribe and George Durant their Atturney generall had contrived agst ye deponent wch Jury quickly returned again with what ye sd Culpeper had ordered him to do as ye foreman openly blurted out in their Court and upon this they ordered their sheriffe to impannell a petty Jury, who being stark drunk as ye deponent himself saw went about sum̄oning of ym hee intended should have been ye Jurors on ye deponents life who were both scandalous infamous and illiterate persons and were resolved yn (as ye deponent conceives) to have taken away his life for little else could ye deponent hear from ym but the threats vows and bloody oathes of stabbing hanging, pistolling or poysoning but notwithstanding all this was then prevented by ye coming in of ye Governrs proclamation, which hee from Virginia (being there arrived some 8 or 9 dayes before) at ye very nick of tyme sent in, although it was by ye sd Culpeper corruptly abbreviated and transcribed and so by him published to the rabble the originall (wch was under ye sd Govrs hand and seale) not suffered to bee seen or published to the Inhabitants and then they took order and sent a guard of ye soldiers to oppose the Govr coming in and to dispose of ye Kings Concernes making ye sd Culpeper Collectr and to com̄itt the deponent close prisoner in Irons as hee was and ye rest per ye authority also prisonrs to severall places apart the forsd Court and Parliamt broke of for yt tyme and went to their homes and thereupon immediately as some were going in their way they were highly entertained by ye sd Gillam on board his shipp ye sd Gillam very joyfully fireing of severall great guns to accommodate the frolick amongst ye rest ye deponent saw ye sd Foster, Craford, Culpeper with ye sd Gillam in a boat together going on board ye sd Gillam's shipp and suddaenly after this ye sd Gillam (when hee saw what was done about ye governr) opened store and traded with ye Insurrectors chiefly and further ye deponent saith that ye Govr aforesd was kept out till hee dyed in Virginia wch was about 4 or 5 weeks after, upon whose death ye sd Insurrectrs called ye parliament again but now to bee held at one Jenkins his house where was present also Capt. Zach. Gillam among ym together with ye sd Culpeper George Durant, John Willoughby, Richard Foster, James Blunt, Wm. Craford and the rest where (as it after appeared by ye manifestation of their actions) it was by ym decreed, to build a Loghouse 10 or 11 foot square to inclose ye deponent and to keep him from pen, ink and paper and all accesse of friendes and then to supervise ye Records and the deponents papers wch they had in custody embezeling wt they
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pleased of ym and then to send 2 Agents as they called ym to England and one forthwth by reason Capt. Tym. Biggs, Deputy for the Earle of Craven had made an escape for England wch agent (as ye sd Craford and others informed ye deponent) was credited by ye sd Capt. Gillam with money by bills of exchange to carry on ye businesse till hee came home wth George Durant the other Agent whom hee then carryed with him and in ye mean tyme to put yr Country in a military posture to oppose all till ye return of ye agents aforesd and thus affaires have been carryed on to ye great damage of his Majty ye Lords Proprs and sundry of his Majestyes Leige subjects both there and in ye neighbouring Plantations by reason sundry fugitives have been entertained among the Albemarle Insurrectors &c. And further saith not.


Jur: 31. die Januar 1679
W Mountagu.