Spotswood’s Treaty with Nottoway (February 27, 1714)


This treaty established the terms of the relationship between the Nottoway Tribe, represented by Ouracoorass Teerheer, and the colonial government, represented by Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood. For years, colonists had been flouting the Treaty of Middle Plantation (1677) by encroaching upon Nottoway territory and the territory of neighboring tribes. This colonial settlement was legalized when the House of Burgesses lifted the Blackwater boundary law, opening land beyond the Blackwater River to colonists. The new treaty affirmed the land rights of the Nottoway, reduced though they were.

The treaty is dated February 27, 1713. This date reflects the Old Style calendar that preceded the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in the colonies in 1752. According to the old calendar, the new year began on March 25, rather than January 1; thus, the signing of the treaty is listed as having occurred in 1713. Under the current calendar, however, the treaty was signed in 1714.


Treaty of Peace made and concluded on the part by The Honorable Alexander Spotswood and her Majestys Lieutenant Governour and commander in chief of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia for and in behalf of the said Colony And on the other part by the Ouracoorass Teerheer of the Nottoway Indians in behalf of the said Nation.

Done and Signed at Williamsburgh the 27th of February 1713

Wheareas the Lands laid out and appropriated for the Settlements of the Nottoway Indians in pursuance of the articles of peace made at Middle plantation the 29th day of May 1677 being now encompassed by the Latter Settlements of the English Inhabitants are thereby become inconvenient for the hunting by the said Indians Subsist, in regard, that being obliged to pass through the plantations of the English quarrels do often arise to the interruption of good correspondence between the Majesties Subjects and the said Nations of Indians, Whereupon the Teerheer of the Said Nottoways having intimated his desire to change his present settlement for one more remote from the English as well for avoiding all occasions of difference with the Inhabitants as for the conveniency of a larger Range for hunting. The Governour of Virginia being desirous to grant so reasonable a request and at the same time to employ the Service of the said Nation of Indians (of whose fidelity he hath had Several proofs) for the protection of her Majesty’s Subjects inhabiting the Frontiers of this Colony, and willing to lay hold of this opportunity to improve the favourable disposition of the said Nation towards imbracing the Christian Faith by which means the Glory of God may be promoted, and the fidelity of the said Indians secured by the Stricter Ties of Religion, Hath therefore by and with the advice of her Majesty’s Council concluded this present Treaty as follows.


The Said Nation of Indians from henceforth continue Tributarys to her Majesty of Great Britain and her Successors under the Subjection of the Government of Virginia.


The said Indians do consent and promise that as soon as a Tract of Land shall be allotted them for their habitation and a School Master and Minister established among them all their children and also the Children of any other Nation of Indians who shall Incorporate with them shall be taught the English language, and Instructed in the principles of the Christian religion and in the mean time shall send twelve boys to be educated at the Saponee Town, whenever a school master shall be established there.


The said Indians shall be faithful to her Majestys Government of Virginia and maintain a Strict Peace, friendship and amity with all her Majestys Subjects of the said Colony: and on the other hand if any Controversys shall arise be done to both partys according to the Laws of the said Colony neither shall it be Lawful for wither party to seek redress by any other means.


If the said Indians at any time discover any Conspiracy carried on by any of their own or other Nation of Tributary Indians against the inhabitants of Virginia, or any of the other Indian Tributarys thereto, to that of any strange Indians are on their march to attack the said Colony or it’s Tributarys, the said Indians shall give immediate notice thereof to the Governour for the time being, and shall be ready with all their Force to suppress such Conspiracy or foreign Invasion, either by themselves or in Conjunction with the Forces of the said Colony. And if any murders or thefts shall be committed by any Indians whatsoever upon the English, The said Nation of Indians do promise to use their best endeavours to apprehend the offenders and deliver them up to be punished according to the Laws of Virginia. And it is further stipulated that the said Indians shall hold no correspondence with any foreign Indians whatsoever without the Lycense of the Governour of this Colony for the time being.


There shall be set out and assigned for the Settlement of the said Nation and all other Indians who shall hereafter incorporate with them a tract of Land between the rivers of Appomattus and Roanoak above the inhabitants, equivalent to Six miles Square where they may build a Fort and make improvements for the conveniency and subsistance of their familys: And moreover there shall be set apart a sufficient tract of hunting Grounds for the said Indians between Roanoak and James rivers to be bounded in such manner as the Governour shall think fit, And if it should happen that the lands in those parts be at any time hereafter taken up and patented by her Majestys Subjects as high as the present intended settlement of the said Indians, so as it may thereby become necessary to remove the said Indians to a further distance, A tract of the like quantity of Land shall be of new laid out and assigned for their habitation and sufficient satisfaction and made for such Improvements as they shall leave behind them, but the said Virginia shall not Sell or alienate any part of the Lands so to be assigned for them; The Same being hereby intended to remain in Common to them and their Posterity. And all sales or leases thereof made by them to any English man upon what Consideration soever are hereby declared to be contrary to this Treaty. Nevertheless it is hereby Concluded and agreed that there may be set apart by the Governour of Virginia out of the lands assigned, from time to time for the habitation of the said Indians, a tract not exceeding two thousand acres, for the better Support of the Minister and School Master to be established there, and of the officer and men to be appointed for the Guard of the said Indian Fort, which tract shall in like manner remain for the use of the said Minister, School Master, officer and men according to the distribution thereof to be made for each respectively by the Governour of Virginia without being subject to the alienation mortgage or Lease of any of the persons in those employements Provided always, that if through mortality or Desertion the said Nation of Indians shall decrease to an inconsiderable number n greater tract of Land shall be required for them for their habitation than according to the proportion of one hundred acres for each person, with the liberty of hunting on all the unpatented lands between the said Rivers as aforesaid.


For the better defence of the said Indian Settlement there shall be maintained at the publick charge of the Government of Virginia as officer and twelve men, to reside in their Fort, so long as it shall be found necessary to assist them against any strange Indians by whom they may be attacked and to go out with them in their hunting as there shall be occasion.


During the continuance of the aforesaid Officer and men at the said Indian Fort none of the said Indians shall depart off the grounds allotted for their habitation nor repair to the Towns of the other Tributary Indians except in company with some of the English residing at their Fort, neither shall any of the said Indians depart off their hunting grounds or come among the Inhabitants without the License of the Governour or the Capt. of the Fort, or in Company with some English men belonging to the said Fort on pain of being punished at the Governour’s discretion, Nor shall it be permitted them to hunt on the land of any other Tributary Virginia without the leave of Such tributarys.


For the conveniency of the said Indians and for the more regular carrying on the trade, there shall be a publick Mart or Fair kept at their settlement, at least Six times in a year, where it shall be free for all her Majestys Subjects to resort with their wares and merchandizes, and to exchange the same with the Indians for their skins, Furrs, and other Commoditys; and Magistrates shall be appointed to attend at the said fairs to see the trade justly managed to enquire into any abuses or injurys offered to the Indians by any of the Engilsh residing among them and to administer justice in all Controversies that may arise between either party, concerning the same.


The articles of peace made and concluded with the said Nottoway Indians at Middle Plantation the 29th day of May 1677, so far as the same are altered by this present Treaty, are hereby ratifyed and Confirmed and shall be construed to extend to all the Indians who shall hereafter incorporate with the said Nottoways.


If any Infringements be made of this present Treaty by any of her Majesty’s Subjects within the Colony of Virginia; upon a representation thereof made by the said Indians; Due reparation and satisfaction shall be given them therein.


Whereas the Governour of Virginia did some years ago, in order to encourage the said Indians to send some of their Children to be educated at the College of William and Mary, remit the annual Tribute of Skins which were payable by the said Indians to the Governour for the time being; And it being Stipulated by the first article of this present Treaty, the said Indians shall continue Tributarys, without mentioning the quality or proportion there to be paid by them, that the said Governour being still desirous to encourage and promote the Conversion of the said Indians and by easing them in the said tribute to engage them the more to a faithful observance of this present Treaty Doth hereby Stipulate and agree with the said Indians that the said Nation shall only pay as a acknowledgement of their dependence on the Crown of Great Britain the yearly Tribute of three Indian arrows to be delivered by the Chief men of the said Nation to the Governour or Commander in Chief of Virginia for the time being yearly on St. George’s day at the Palace in Williamsburgh. 

Senate Joint Resolution No. 12 (2010) “Friday, October 4, 1734,” Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia (1734)

“Saturday, September 21, 1734,” Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia (1734)

“The discovery of New Brittaine. Began August 27. anno Dom. 1650.” (1651)

“Henry Blow, William Blow, Samuel Blunt, Trustees, to the Governor.” (February 17, 1809)

“Nottoway Indians: Petition.” (December 11, 1821)

“William G. Bozeman, Edith Turner v. TRST(S) OF Nottoway Tribe of Indians (March 1830)

APA Citation:
Tribe, Nottoway. Spotswood’s Treaty with Nottoway (February 27, 1714). (2022, November 11). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Tribe, Nottoway. "Spotswood’s Treaty with Nottoway (February 27, 1714)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (11 Nov. 2022). Web. 02 Apr. 2023
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