A New Voyage to Carolina; Containing the Exact Description and Natural History of That Country: Together with the Present State Thereof. And A Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel’d Thro’ Several Nations of Indians. Giving a Particular Account of Their Customs, Manners, &c., 1709 by John Lawson

This is a journal from John Lawson, recording his encounters and experiences from his 1700 voyage to the Carolina. On December the 28th, 1700, Lawson began his exploration to North Carolina from Charles-Town. At this time, North Carolina was still fairly unexplored. Lawson was accompanied by six English-men, three indigenous people, and the wife to his Indian-Guide, Enoe Will. The name Enoe is associated with the Eno tribe, so it is scrutinized that Enoe Will was fromthe Eno tribe nearthe Orange County area of North Carolina. The Eno Tribe lived in the Piedmont area of North Carolina at the time of the European exploration[1].

Lawson recorded some of their foodways like hunting, and the type of food these indigenous people especially the Eno Tribe and the Adshusheer Tribe eat. Some of the other food Lawson listed in the Eno Tribe diet were venison, fawns, fish, panther, bear, fruits, corn, and other edible food either from hunting or harvesting. The natives were said to have tobacco amongst them even before the Europeans made any discovery of that continent. The natives do not use the same way to cure the tobacco as the Europeans did, so Lawson concluded that there must be a difference in taste. The natives also don’t snuff or chew the tobacco. They only smoke it. These natives were seen as spiritual and believed that spiritual beings bring them good harvesting to their land. This can be seen in Lawson’s account when he stated “They have a third sort of Feasts and Dances, which are always when the Harvest of Corn is ended, and in the Spring. The one, to return Thanks to the good Spirit, for the Fruits of the Earth; the other, to beg the same Blessings for the succeeding Year”[2].

Lawson’sjournal is particularly interesting because he was one of the first-person eyewitnesses to experience and observed some the indigenous tribes in the area like the Eno tribe. From his journals, he seemed to care about the daily lives of these tribes which are impactful in finding the food stories behind Chapel Hill during the foundational and colonial period because it gives great details about the indigenous people during this time. This time periodis also before the settlement of Europeans, so Lawson’s journal is essential to explain the food history of the indigenous culture during the 1700s. The colonial period of North Carolina is essential to learn about the present Chapel Hill food history because some of these indigenous tribes are still present such as Occoneechee.


[1]“Eno Indians.” n.d. Weapons in the War of 1812 | NCpedia. Accessed October 9, 2018. https://www.ncpedia.org/eno-indians.


[2]Lawson, John. 1709. A New Voyage to Carolina : Containing the Exact Description and Natural History of That Country ; Together with the Present State Thereof ; and a Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel’d Thro’ Several Nations of Indians ; Giving a Particular Account of Their Customs, Manners, Etc. London: [s.n.]. https://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/lawson/lawson.html.


– Karen Huang