The First White Settler in North Carolina
Nathaniell Batts was a fur trader who was employed by George Yeardley of the Lynnhaven River in Virginia to explore the Albemarle Sound (now in North Carolina). During 1653, Batt engineered an arrangement between Yeardley and Chief Kiscatanewh of the Pasquotank Indians for Yeardley to purchase a large tract of land at the mouth of the Pasquotank River. Part of the arrangement was that Yeardley would construct an English-style house furnished with English goods for Kiscatanewh. Hence, in 1655 Yeardley employed the carpenter, Robert Bodnam and five workmen to build this house. Also, they built a home for Nathaniell Batts in order for him to trade with the Indians. Bodnam spent five months in the Albemarle Sound and Yeardley died while the work was still in progress. A twenty foot log home for Nathaniell Batts was erected on the south side of Salmon Creek and, having two rooms and a chimney. Batts used the house mostly during fur-trading seasons. After 1655, he settled on the Lynnhaven River. Eventually, however, he resettled on the Albemarle Sound in Edenton where he owned land. Batts informed George Fox in 1672 that he was formerly a (proprietary) Governor in Carolina over a handful of settlers who occupied the land until they were driven off by the Tuscarora Indians. John Lawson visited the Batts log house on Salmon Creek in 1708. Source: A New Voyage to Carolina by John Lawson (1967); Nathaniell Batts: Landholder on Pasquotank River, 1660 by Elizabeth GHregory McPherson.