Daniel Cugley and the Indians' Roanoke

A court holden at Acchawmack this 5th day of September 1636.

Present - Capt. Wmll Claibourne Esq.

Mr. Obedyence Robins

Mr. Wmll Stonne

Mr. Wmll Burdett

Mr. Wmll Andrewes

Mr. John Wilkins

At this court Mr. Obedyence Robins aged 35 years or there abouts sworn and examined saith that about a year since certain Indians came to the house of Daniell Cugley from the Laughing King with a message and brought a parcel of Roanoke, at which time, the said Cugley sent for me and William Brooks, to interpret this message, which message as then interpreted was that they had brought the aforesaid Roanoke, for some poor Englishman that had been killed, how and where I could not tell, neither could the Interpreter understand there, but that it was for some man or other that was killed, I well understood, and therefore said that for all the world I would not receive it, and so departed and went to my house. Notwithstanding this the said Daniel Cugley not only received the said Roanoke at that time, and a day or two after told me that the Indians stole away and left the Roanoke, but after I had charged to send it back to them again. hath falsely kept the same and further, since a rumor hath been that, that the Indians have aboarded our boats, that they were the men that killed the man and the child at the Isle of Kent, and that they had paid for it to me, and diverse have complained to me and of me for it. I charged the said Cugley that the said Roanoke should be forth comming at all demands he confessing he had the same in his custody, not with standing this being the fifth of this instant month, I charged the said Cugley to be present at the court and to bring the said Roanoke with him which he promised to do, he hath continued the command and falsefied his promise, this is all.

Obedyence Robins


Francis Pettitt aged 24 or there abouts sworn and examined saith that he was with Mr. Robins at Mr. Cugleys with whom were Wmll Brooks and Rowland Williams and Mr. Cugleys man to interpret when the Indians brought the Roanoke as in mentioned in Mr. Robins oath, and it did appear neither Brooks nor Williams nor Cugleys man could well understand the Indians but as far as they did interpret, it did appear it was the death of some Englishman, but my brother Robins did say God forbid I should take it, I would not do it for all the world and so departed. This is all.


James Cooke aged 37 years or there abouts sworn and examined saith that he was at that time the Indians brought the Roanoke, and as far as the interpreter did say was for the loss of some man and heard Mr. Robins say to this purpose, it was not Roanoke could satisfy me for a mans life, and the next day I saw the Roanoke, And then I demanded for the Indians, looking for them found that they were gone away and left it behind them. This is all.

James Cooke


It is ordered by this court that Daniel Cugley shall remain in the Sheriffs hand untill he bring in all the Roanoke which was left at his house and deliver it to Mr. Robins with all the other truck the Indians

left and after that to be left at the discussion of the said Robins whether to take good security for his personal appearance at James City, or else to remain prisoner till the said Sheriff carry him to the next Quarter Court there to answer before the Governor and Council his unlawfull keeping and receiving of the said truck.

As the depositions of the three men above relate, about a year had past since the time when some Indians had arrived from the Laughing King, bringing a trunk of Roanoke with them to compensate the murder of some white inhabitants on Kent Island. Each of the of the above men deposed, in their own ways that there would be no acceptance of any kind of compensation for the deaths. With that the Indians left and it was assumed that they took the Roanoke with them.

But Daniel Cugley kept the trunk with the Roanoke in it. it was ordered by the court on 5th day of September 1636, that Daniel Cugley deliver the trunk to Obedience Robins and to post bond or remain a prisoner until the sheriff could carry him to the next court session at James City where he was to answer to the Govenor and the Council on why he unlawfully kept the Roanoke.

The Laughing King As John Smith describes as "the most comely, proper, civil salvage" he had yet met. The name of this chief was Kictopeke. He was called "The Laughing King of Accomack," and Accomack means, in the Indian tongue, "The Land Beyond the Water." He bore in his hand a long spear or harpoon . . . (THE END OF AN ERA: Electronic Edition. JOHN SERGEANT WISE, 1846-1913 http://docsouth.unc.edu/wise/wise.html

Isle of Kent For more on Kent Island See: http://www.usgennet.org/usa/md/state/isleofkent.html

Roanoke a quantity of tobacco

James City As Jamestown became known after 1634


Walczyk, Frank V.  Accomacke/Northampton 1632-1640, Book 1.  Coram, NY: Peter's Row, 2003, p 43.

© Copyright 2006-2009 by Peter'r Row