Letter from Henry Woodward to Sir John Yeamans, September 1670

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This letter was written by Dr. Henry Woodward, who sailed from Barbados with the first group of settlers in Carolina.  The settlers left Barbados on June 14, 1666, under the instruction of the Lord’s Proprietors, eight prominent Englishmen who received the Carolina land grant from King Charles II for helping restore him to the throne.  Woodward left the group in Port Royal, where they first landed, to remain with the Indians until the settlers returned for him.  In 1670, before they returned, he was captured by the Spanish and taken to St. Augustine, in present-day Florida, where he was briefly held.  This letter was written shortly after his return to Carolina from St. Augustine to Sir John Yeamans, former Governor of Barbados.  Yeamans had previously been named Governor of Carolina from 1665-1667.  In the letter, Woodward describes Carolina as a “second Paradize [sic].”  Also of note is the attempted blockade of St. Helena by the Spanish, mentioned on the middle of the first page. One year after this letter was written, Yeamans would become landgrave and would settle in Carolina and serve in the Carolina parliament.  Woodward would go on to serve as Indian agent for the Earl of Shaftesbury, one of the Lord’s Proprietors.


Woodward, Henry.  Letter to Sir John Yeamans 10 September 1670.  Microfilm copy of original in the British Public Records Office.  Accessed in Transcripts of Records in the British Public Record Office Relating to South Carolina, Volumes 1-5, 1663-1710.  S 108185.  South Carolina Department of Archives and History, Columbia, South Carolina.

Transcription from South Carolina Historical Society. The Shaftsbury Papers.  1897.  Reprint, Charleston: Tempus, 2000.


H. Woodward to Sir John Yeamans.

            Albymarle Pointe in Chyawhaw Sept. 10. 1670.

Rt Honble Sr

      I could not soe well haue pleaded my exscuse, & tardinesse in not giuen ye Honr a particular relation by ye way of Virginia, & Barmudoes of our proceedings, & transactions; since yor Honrs departure for ya Barbadoes & our settinge forward for ye Maine: It being my fortune to bee gone upon ye discouery of Chufytachyq j2 yt fruitfull Porvence where ye Emperour resides; in yt same juncture of time, when ye said Vessells set sayle from our Port of Chyauhaw: whereupon at my returne from Chufytachyq j I understood yt Mr. Jones had satisfyd yor Honor in those particulars, as for my aforesaid journai I haue discouered a Country soe delitious, pleasant & fruitfull, yt were it cultivated doutless it would proue a secound Paradize.  It lys West & by Northe nearest from us 14 days trauell after ye Indian manner of marchinge.  I there contracted a leage wth ye Empr & all those Petty Cassekas betwixt them, soe yt some few weeks after my retourne, ye Carolina being longe in her dispatch from Virginia our Prouision failed us & had not myne wth Mr Jones diligence wth some few others releved ye Genll wants by what Provisions wee procured of the Natives it had gone very hard wth us, in which scarsecytie of Provision wee received an Allarun from ye Southward by ye Indians of St Helens yt Spanish vessels & 30 Peeryaugoes of Spaniards & Indians intendinge to worke us what mischeife they could. (And as I conceive they haueing intelligence of our Expectations of a supply in ye Carolina) awaited at Sea to trepane our Shipp: yt soe depriueing us of our Supplu & blocking us up: our necessitys increasing wee consequently must have surrendered: for wch intent the Perryaugoes lay 10 leagues distance from us at ye mouth of Stonowe Riuer, & there shipps of at Sea.  Yet it pleased God yt our ship arrived safe to us wth a most convenient Supply.  Ye Enimy not being remoued, & yet being sensible thereof, theire Indians being terrifyd at ye Scaleing of some of our Great Guns.  And ye Spaniard as wee suppose being frustrated of his expectation of starving us, cowardly retreated to St Augustines never attempting anythinge against us soe yt at prst wee have noe other news but yt he hath threatened to destroy ye Indians of St Helens, of Cumbohee & of Edistowe yt are our friends.

            Thus as to ye estate of our Genll affaires.  As to our family necessity.  I suppose Mr. Jones hath made yor honr ffully acquainted as to my particularre wants.  I am most beholden to yor honors Ageny here than any thinge from ye Publicke, All though I must confesse they have made honble recommendations of mee in there Genll letters.  I shall endeavour by ye next to send yr Honr some of our American raritys, our troubles at prest not permittinge mee ye vacancy as to travel ye Country, It being most of my businesse to awaite in towne & to give an account of what relations ye Natives bringe us either from ye Southward or ye Northward soe yt least I might seeme too prolixe I rest my respective seruices presented to yor Honr not forgetting my respects to Mrs Mavel Carter & ye rest of yr Honrs family & relations.

                        I rest yr Honrs most obliged Servant

                                                                        Henry Woodward

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the exploration and settlement of South Carolina and the United States.

Indicator 3-2.2: Summarize the activities and accomplishments of key explorers of South Carolina, including Hernando de Soto, Jean Ribault, Juan Pardo, Henry Woodward, and William Hilton. (H, G)

Standard 4.2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of North America by Native Americans, Europeans, African-Americans and the interactions among these peoples.

Indicator 4-2.7: Explain how conflicts and cooperation among the Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans influenced colonial events including the French and Indian Wars, slave revolts, Native American wars, and trade. (H, G, P, E)

Standard 8-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of South Carolina and the United States by Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans.

Indicator 8-1.2 Categorize events according to the ways they improved or worsened relations between Native Americans and European settlers, including alliances and land agreements between the English and the Catawba, Cherokee, and Yemassee; deerskin trading; the Yemassee War; and the Cherokee War. (H, P, E)

Standard USHC-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of exploration and settlement of North America.

Indicator USHC-1.1 Summarize the distinct characteristics of each colonial region in the settlement and development of America, including religious, social, political, and economic differences. (H, E, P, G)

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