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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Giles Rainsford to John Chamberlain
Rainsford, Giles, b. 1679
July 25, 1712
Volume 01, Pages 857-860

[From N. C. Letter Book. S. P. G.]

Chowan in North Carolina July 25th 1712

Worthy Sir

To give you a description of a 12 weeks passage We had from the Lizard to Virginia with the inconveniences I laboured under in it would but renew in me the melancholy Ideas of what is past as well as trouble you in reading a relation of them I shall therefore proceed to what [relates] immediately to my mission by giving a faithful account of the condition the countrys in at present & what good (with God's fatherly assistance) I may do the Society and people by my continuance among

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them June the 5th I arrived at the Governors where I was most kindly received by him as afterwards by Coll Pollock & Squire Duckenfield being the only persons of any note that I could see or hear of on the Shore and as an instance of my duty thought I could not do better than remind 'em at that time of preparing themselves for the receiving of the Sacrament on the then approaching Festival Whit sunday The trifling excuses they made sufficiently satisfied me of the little regard they had to the indispensible obligations that lay on them to so solemn a duty however several of the people came that day to divine Service but perfect strangers to the Method of the Worship of our Church Mr Urmston and I by a mutual agreement with the approbation of the Governor are to manage after this manner He proposes to supply the North Shore at the Lower End of Chowan together with all Paspetanck provided I take care of the West Shore (where there is no Church but a vast track of land to ride over and in every instance very fatiguing) which I promised to do till I hear further from the Society But since the whole Country intitled to my labours I visited his Shore (which I am sorry to say) has been a long time neglected Mr Urmston is lame and says he cannot do now what he formerly has done but this lazy distemper has seized him by what I hear ever since his coming to the Country I shall give you a faithful account of his proceedings and management as I desire he may do of mine the either of us according to the merit or demerit of our performance may be valued or disesteemed by the Society there's a small Chapel near an Old Indian Town where I preached at June 15th had vast Crowds come to hear me but I observed they exprest very little or rather no devotion in time of divine Service. That day and the day following I baptized 17 children 4 of them 11 years old nine of them 6 and the other 4—three and when I told Mr Urmston of the neglect he excused himself by saying he never had notice of their having children there unbaptized June 22nd I preached at on Mr Garrats the upper end of Chowan but had such numbers that I was obliged to go under a large mulberry tree where most of the people to my great satisfaction seemed very devout the whole time of service and very ready in their responses as in their method of singing praises to God Here I baptized two Girls of the age of 16 and one boy of ten Children of one Mr Adams and by much importunity prevailed on Mr Martin to let me baptize three of his Negro's two women and a boy all the Arguments I could make use of would scarce effect it till Bishop Fleetwoods sermon preached before the Society turned the scale and when ever I baptized there I distributed a share of the small parcel of books Old Mr Saunders of Curahuk who has Mr Adams' books refuses to deliver 'em unless I promise
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to settle and entirely fix there which I told him I could no way do to neglect the greatest part of the country to serve there but I promised him as much of my time as I could possibly spare to that district many of the books he tells me too are lost and he pretends a claim to keep 'em and a Watch by virtue of a debt contracted by Mr Adams in his life time I had several conferences with one Thomas Hoyle King of the Chowan Indians who seem very inclinable to embrace Christianity and proposes to send his son to school to Sarum to have him taught to read and write by way of foundation in order to a further proficiency for the reception of Christianity I readily offered my service to instruct him myself and having the opportunity of sending him to Mr Garratts where I lodge being but three miles distance from his Town. But he modestly declined it for the present till a general peace was concluded between the Indians and Christians I found he had some notions of Noahs flood which he came to the knowledge of and exprest himselfe after this manner—My father told me I tell my Son But I hope in a little time to give the Society a better account of him as well as of those peaceable Indians under his Command Theres one Mr Mashburn who keeps a school at Sarum on the frontiers of Virginia between the two Governments and neighbouring upon 2 Indian Towns who I find by him highly deserve encouragement and could heartily wish the Society would take it into consideration and be pleased to allow him a Salary for the good services he has done and may do for the future. What children he has under his care can both write and read very distinctly and gave before me such an account of the grounds and principles of the Christian religion that strangely surprised me to hear it. The man upon a small income would teach the Indian Children gratis (whose parents are willing to send them could they but pay for their schooling) as he would those of our English families had he but a fixed dependency for so doing and what advantage would this be to private families in particular and whole Colony in general is easy to determine, Since my coming in the country (I thank God) I have had my health perfectly well and during the continuance of it shall be indefatigable in the discharge of that great trust that is reposed in me observing at the same time the Societys method of writing over every six months with an Account of the services I have done and what larger advance I have made to the furtherance of Religion & enlargement of Christs Kingdom—As for the eating part I have fared but very indifferently since my arrival in the Country and find for the future must with Virgils Shepherd be satisfied with my Mitra poma castaneas nuces—and as ordinary as I am like to live must give twenty pounds yearly for my board I was
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in hopes the Assembly would take care to provide me my table free but the Country's so poor that I can expect nothing of that nature from 'em I desire Sir You'll think of me the next general meeting that I may have an order for my £10 worth of books which I'll take care to send one to wait on you for them Dr. Brays public library is all dispersed and lost by those wretches that don't consider the benefit of so valuable a gift I cannot forget the uncommon civility that was shown me on my first landing at Hampton in Virginia by one Mr. Kearney a Merchant of that place He was a perfect stranger to me yet showed his great readiness to supply me with money to buy me a horse and to transport my goods for Carolina and had any thing else been wanting he would have furnished me and only as he told me for this great consideration of setting forwards a good work and serving the Society It has one way or the other cost me £20 in the Country and been expensive beyond imagination I presume you are no stranger to the Indian War which has some time since begun and continues in the barbarous Massacres of so Many English Inhabitants Most families of Pamlico hourly feeling the effects of their Cruelty nor truly can the Govr promise himself one hours safety being continually alarmed by the Tuskarora Spies in his own Quarters Col1 Boyde was the other day sent out with a party against the Indians but was unfortunately shot through the head and few of his men came home but what shared in his fate and fell sacrifices to the same common misfortune—They sculck so in parties in the Woods that common prudence obliges the inhabitants (as the surest method of preservation) to keep to their plantations and several of them told me that when they lie down in their beds (they are so often invaded) that they cant say they shall rise morning Assistance is sent for to Ashley River and Col1 Hyde flatters us with the hopes of either cutting 'em off or obliging 'em to a peace But alas I fear all this without reason The people are so impoverished by the War that I wonder how they pay their quit rents to the proprietors I am sure it would be highly Charitable in the Lords to forgive them for these ten years to come I like the Country far better than any I have hitherto seen and certainly by nature tis one of the best in the world and were but the Inhabitants freed from the dangers of the War they might enjoy the blessings of plenty as well as all other comforts of life This is a genuine Account of what I have done and observed in North Carolina and shall take all opportunities of serving the Society (as I'm in duty bound) to the utmost of my power as well as expressing my gratitude to you for the many undeserved favors confer'd on

Sir Your most obliged faithful humble Servt