Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies

Article excerpt

The Tuscarora War: Indians, Settlers, and the Fight for the Carolina Colonies. By David La Vere. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013. Pp. [x], 262. $30.00, ISBN 978-1-4696-1090-0.)

The early Carolinas, once an underdeveloped field in colonial American history, have recently received more attention, particularly in the area of European and Indian relations. With the recent tercentenary of North Carolina's Tuscarora War (1711-1713), David La Vere's book comes as a timely study of some of the central issues, conflicts, and personalities that helped reshape southeastern North America in the early eighteenth century.

La Vere stands out in his use of biography as an organizational device for his narrative and analysis of the Tuscarora War. After establishing early North Carolina as a hardscrabble place that "brought out the meanness in men, European and Indian alike," La Vere builds his subsequent chapters around the lives of eight men who factored prominently in the war's various stages (p. 1). Baron Christopher de Graffenried, "The Dreamer," was the Swiss-German colonial entrepreneur whose capture by the Tuscaroras during a surveying expedition helped set the war in motion (p. 18). King Hancock and Core Tom, "The Defenders," were Indian leaders at the center of the multitribal deliberations that launched vicious assaults on the downriver colonial settlements (p. 39). William Brice, "The Fighter," was the Indian slave trader who led the ineffective counterattack of North Carolina's ragged militia (p. 69). Colonel John Barnwell, "The Opportunist," was the commander of a large, multiethnic relief expedition from South Carolina that laid inconclusive siege to the Tuscaroras' well-designed forts and ignited a great intercolonial political scandal (p. 96). Thomas Pollock, "The Destroyer," was the North Carolina governor whose harsh terms with the belligerent Tuscaroras undermined any hopes of a lasting peace (p. …

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