Hammond family traces roots to Lost Colony, Lumbee Indians

Published 8:01 pm Wednesday, October 5, 2005

By Staff
I know that you will remember all the months when I tried to get you all to submit your stories to go in the "Heritage of Escambia County" book that I worked on for about three years. Well, I took my own advice and submitted stories to the Covington, Crenshaw, Butler, Dale, Coffee and Pike Counties, as well as to Escambia.
I put a story in the Covington County book about my husband's Jackson family and last week it paid off. I received a call from a man in Tuscaloosa who then sent me some material concerning the Jackson family and how it related to the Hammond family from North Carolina.
I tell you about this family because I know that there are descendants living right here in Escambia County and I want to share the information with them.
Thomas Jackson was married to Azenith Hammonds (1769), daughter of John Hammonds (1747 in Anson County, N.C.). John Hammonds was a Lumbee Indian from Robeson County, N.C.
In 1914, the Secretary of the Interior was sent by the U.S. Senate to investigate the tribal rights of the Indians of Robeson County. The findings included statements like: "There is a tradition among these people at the present time that their ancestors were Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony, amalgamated with some tribe of Indians. The tradition is supported by their looks, their complexion, color of skin, hair and eyes, by their manner, customs and habits, and by the fact that while they are, in part, of undoubted Indian origin, they have no Indian names and no Indian language." He also said that there were 95 different surnames, which came from the original 117 settlers of the Lost Colony. He was able to account for 41 of those names among the Lumbee, and still more that had been altered in some way. The Secretary's investigation validated that the Lumbee were, indeed, descendants of the Lost Colony.
For those of you not familiar with The Lost Colony of Roanoke, it is a legend that has come down all these many years. In 1587, Sir Walter Raleigh brought three ships to the North Carolina coast. The passengers were planters and some brought their wives and children. The settlers needed supplies and Raleigh returned to England to get what they needed. He never dreamed that he would get caught up in a war with Spain and be unable to return to America right away. When the ships returned to the shores of North Carolina, they found the original settlement deserted. One clue found was a tree with the bark peeled away with a word gouged into the wood. The word was Croatan, which was a part of the Lumbee tribe. The Croatan had been friendly with the white man and the belief has been for many years that the settlers assimilated themselves into the tribe in order to survive the rigors of living in the wild.
None of this has been completely proven. It may never be known about the connection with the Lost Colony, but the Hammonds' family members were Lumbee Indians.
Azenith Hammonds (1769) married Thomas J. Jackson (who was English) and they had at least two children, Cornelius Jackson and Thomas Jackson. Thomas served in the Revolutionary War as well as John Hammonds, Azenith's father. Cornelius Jackson (1796 in Robeson County) married Lucretia Scroggins (1810-1865 in Coffee County, Ala.).
Cornelius Jackson should have lived a comfortable life in North Carolina where his father was a large landowner, but he had other plans. He came to Alabama to fight against people of his own race and he never left. He did this in spite of the fact that he was left an inheritance, which required him to remain in North Carolina. He was sworn into the U.S. Army Nov. 17, 1817, at Fayetteville, N.C., when he was 22 years old. He served in Gen. Andrew Jackson's army in the Pensacola area and during this time he passed through what would become Covington County, Ala. He saw land that was similar to what he was used to in North Carolina and saw that the timber was such as to make a fine living.
Next week I will continue with the family of Cornelius Jackson.

Email newsletter signup