Carolina - The Native Americans

The Meherrin Indians

The meaning of the name Meherrin is unknown.

The Meherrin belonged to the Iroquoian linguistic family, their closest connections probably being the Nottaway.

The Meherrin lived primarily along the river of the same name on the Virginia-North Carolina border, extending into Northampton and Hertford Counties, North Carolina.

The tribal name Meherrin first appears in the form "Maharineck" in the account of an expedition by Edward Blande and others to North Carolina in 1650, and next Indian census taken in 1669.

Later, they seem to have adopted a body of Conestoga or Susquehanna fleeing from Pennsylvania after account dispersal by the Iroquois about 1675. This is the only way to account for the fact that they are all said to have been refugee Conestoga.

They were living on the Roanoke River in 1761 with the southern bands of Tuscarora and Saponi, and the Machapunga, and probably went north in the last Tuscarora removal in 1802.

Mooney (1928) estimates the Meherrin population at 700 in 1600.

In 1669, they are said to have had 50 bowmen, or approximately 180 souls.

In 1755, they were said to be reduced to seven or eight fighting men, but in 1761 they are reported to have had twenty.

Meherrin River, an affluent of the Chowan River, running through southern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, and a Virginia town perpetuate the name of the Meherrin.


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