Croatan Tribe

Croatan Tribe – The legal designation in North Carolina for a people evidently of mixed Indian and white blood, found in various eastern sections of the state, but chiefly in Robeson County, and numbering approximately 5,000. For many years they were classed with the free Negroes, but steadily refused to accept such classification or to attend the Negro schools or churches, claiming to be the descendants of the early native tribes and of white settlers who had intermarried with them.

In the 1880’s their claim was officially recognized and they were given separate legal existence under the title of “Croatan Indians,” on the theory of descent from Raleigh’s lost colony of Croatan. The theory of descent from the lost colony may be regarded as baseless, but the name itself serves as a convenient label for a people who combine in themselves the blood of the wasted native tribes, the early colonists or forest rovers, the runaway slaves or other negroes, and probably also of stray seamen of the Latin races from coasting vessels in the West Indian or Brazilian trade.

Across the line in South Carolina are found a people, evidently of similar origin, designated “Redbones.” In portions of west North Carolina and east Tennessee are found the so-called “Melungeons” (probably from French melangé, ‘mixed’) or “Portuguese,” apparently an offshoot from the Croatan proper, and in Delaware are found the “Moors.” All of these are local designations for peoples of mixed race with an Indian nucleus differing in no way from the present mixed-blood remnants known as Pamunkey, Chickahominy, and Nansemond Indians in Virginia, excepting in the more complete loss of their identity. In general, the physical features and complexion of the persons of this mixed stock incline more to the Indian than to the white or blacks.

For Further Study on the Croatan Tribe

The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Croatan Tribe as both an ethnological study, and as a people.


Robeson County NC,

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

25 thoughts on “Croatan Tribe”

  1. I am looking for information on “Croatan Indian Woman” 1772-1860. She was married to Solomon Hardin Jr., and was mother of Frederick Hardin.

    1. Is it Hardin or Harding? My ancestor Enoch Manuel married Sarah Harding. Sarah and Solomon could be related if he is a Harding.
      Good luck in your search

  2. Seeking possible family related via Croatan Blood Line via the families of Manuel, Jacobs,

    Feel free to reach out to me if those names search back within your family history please or if we may have had family within the same areas of North Carolina via past history.

    1. Hello, All.
      I’m a Manuel, having traced my ancestors down through to the lower counties of South Carolina back to the late 1700s. Through Ancestry’s DNA test, I’ve learned that 2% of my DNA is attributable to Native American origin and another 2% to Nigeria and Benin/Togo origins (the majority is Northwestern European. I’ve known of the Manuels from Sampson County, NC for some time but have not been able to establish a definitive connection, if any.

    2. Hello,

      I am also a descendant of the Manuel/Emanuel line. Are you on any of the DNA sites? I am on ancestry and have traced my maternal line back to Nicholas Emanuel and Mahalia Bungey. Nicholas (1680) is my 6th great grandfather.


    Can someone help me with my ancestry line . I live in Sampson county along the dismal swamp area.

  4. Hello I am a descendant of Croatan Indian lady in N.C. & am looking for more information ~ My Grandparents are from Eutawville, South Carolina

    1. Hello and that is awesome I am also a descendant of a Croatan Family the Manuel family to be specific and the Harding family as well. Do you happen to know the family name that dates back to your heritage to the Croatan Indians?

  5. Mitzi Hammond Perkins

    Ol’ Andrew Jackson sure made a mess of things, didn’t he? I would like to connect the surname HAMMOND or AMMONS with the Croatan Tribe. Many associated names are readily found – Oxendine, Lowery, Locklear, Chavis, Dial, Bullard, Revels, Braveboy and so on. I have connections to Cherokee, Lumbee, Eastern Sioux, Shawnee and others. Does anyone have a Hammond Hamman Hamons, Ammans etc in their line?

  6. I’m trying to learn more about Croatan Indians of North Carolina. My grandmother was Native American, but we thought of Cherokee descent until I took a DNA test showing Croatan Indian. My grandmother as a child had sandy blonde hair.

  7. My mom told me we were Croatan Indians originated from The Lost Colonies in The Roanoke VA area and her family resided in Oak Grove, SC. I met one of my aunts on my grandfather side of the family once. She had long black curly hair. My Mom’s maiden name is Velma Herring. Family in Marion, SC and the Charleston, SC areas. I have auburn curly hair (redbone). If I have family would love to connect.

    1. hi connie my name is chantal haynes, can you please email me at ..i think we might be related. My grandmas name is Elizabeth Herring, and her moms name is Lula Etta Jacob Herring.. shes from Sampson county north carolina ill give you more information

      1. Patricia Sibley

        My grandmother mother name was Herring from Sampson and they were croatan indians…

    2. Do you have a facebook or something? i have a whole bunch of pictures we just found, maybe you can identify anyone you might know?..

  8. I’m researching a family of African descent with Croatan blood. The Native American ancestors appeared in an 1880 Indian Census in Robeson County. Two decades later, the main branch of the family was listed as “mulatto” once (1900 Federal Census in FL) and lastly as “white” in Bay County, FL. At least one member married & had children with a woman of African descent when the Croatian family moved to Washington County, Florida: previous land of the Euchee or Yuchee Tribe. All migration locations are coastal & census records indicate that their occupations were associated with “naval stores” as “laborers”. There is also various spelling of their surname: Lockley, Locklier, Locklear, et al. My next step is to request photos and other info from present day relatives.

    1. Interesting, I sure hope that none of my people weren’t involved in a slave trade, never even knew that anyone came to this continent before the begin of 19 century!

    2. My family research has bond us with the Croatan tribe. It also our genecology goes back to the 1690’s. We are of African descent and our forefather fought in the American Revolution War. Would like to communicate with you.

    3. Hello how are you I’m doing research my great-great-great-grandfather is Enoch Emanuel manual we could be long-distance cousins or at least part of the same Croatoan Croatan coharie tribe would love to get in touch with you for further studies

      1. Hello Thomas how are you.

        As I am just finding this website and thread I see that we are distant cousins as Enoch was my 4th Great Uncle and the family then broke off into or married with the families of Jacobs and Gardner so we may be related via two different sides of the family. If you do get this message feel free to reach back out to me .


    4. Hi I have a descendant that is similar Lottie Locklear or Lockey, mullato or white , negro it changes with the census takers. She was from Charleston South Carolina and moved to the Washington county / bay county area with her 4 children that she bore from the crotian/ Cherokee Indian possibly going by the name Barney or something similar.

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