Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Possibly Found Lost Colony May Have Haywood County Connections

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Characters from a production of Paul Green's "The Lost Colony"
and Arnold Palmer

Researchers at the British Museum of London announced this week they have uncovered clues that indicate a colony of English settlers who disappeared from North Carolina’s Roanoke Island in 1587 may have actually settled in the area of Bertie County, NC on a spot that is now an Arnold Palmer Golf Course.

The Haywood County Connection? In the 1830s hundreds of families left Bertie County, NC via wagon trains and settled in Haywood and Crockett County.

If the current research is proven to be correct, it’s possible some of the settlers were ancestors of that lost colony.

According to John Cowand, a genealogy researcher, my fourth great grandfather, John Dawson Castellaw, was instrumental in leading many of those settlers to Tennessee.
"Many of the families in Bertie County, NC lived between Ross Baptist Church and Capeharts Baptist Church and all were usually kin in one way or another. They mostly went either to Humphreys County, TN or to Haywood County, TN,” says Cowand. “John Dawson Castellaw was said to be the wagon master and he led numerous wagon trains to Tennessee in the 1830s. It is said he would lead a group out there, then come back and lead another group.”
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John Dawson Castellaw's descendant, Elizabeth Castellaw Williams,
about to depart on a trek of her own in my 1974 Volkswagon Thing.

Finally, Castellaw led one last wagon train West and stayed in Haywood County, TN where he lived until his death on February 15, 1859. He was the father of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Sr. who was the father of Thomas Jefferson "T. J" Castellaw Jr. who was the father of Bob Castellaw who was the father of my paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Castellaw Williams, pictured above in the late 1980s.

The original members of the lost colony were led by John White and arrived in the area of Roanoke Island with the goal of establishing the first permanent English colony in the New World.

After dropping the colonists off, White returned to England in 1587 for supplies but, because of the war with Spain, was unable to return for three years. When he finally did, there was no one left, though the word “Croatoan” had been carved into a post at the abandoned fort.

The mystery of the vanishing colonists has inspired books, movies, poems, plays and even “the longest running outdoor drama in American history,” “The Lost Colony” which was first performed in 1937 on North Carolina’s Outer Banks and is still performed throughout the summer today.

Another thing to add to my bucket list.

A symbol hidden for centuries under an old map, along with pottery fragments and other clues indicate the lost colony may have settled in Bertie County in an area that is today a golf course.

In addition to John Dawson Castellaw, other ancestors of mine who made the journey from Bertie to Haywood include John Hardy Cobb, John Bembery “Bem” and Penelope White, Bem’s brother Charlton White, William and Millie Thompson Watridge, Dempsey and Elizabeth Rawls Nowell, George Solomon Williams, Edward Brantley, Thomas “T.A” and Unity Shirley Lovelace, George Forrest, and William and Ann Capehart Steel.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or the Haywood County Line Genealogy Page.

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