Monthly Archives: March 2011

Roberta Estes ~ LCRG Guest Speaker at the April 12th, HIGPS History/Potluck Dinner

Roberta “Bobbi” Estes, is one of my all time favorite people. Well, her and Anne Poole.
Together, they formed the Lost Colony Genealogy and DNA Research Group. They are
on the forefront of Lost Colony Research through their combined usage of archaeology,
dna testing, and genealogy. And they have invited myself and quite a few others,
to come along for the ride.

A conversation with Roberta Estes, regarding her speaking on April 12th,
at the Hatteras Island Genealogical and Preservation Society’s History/Potluck Dinner…

Q: I don’t understand about DNA? Will I find out how it works for genealogy?

A: Absolutely! The first part of the session will be “DNA in English”. It’s brief and easy, and the graphics help a lot. You know, that old “picture is worth a thousand words” adage.

Q: How are you using DNA to look for the colonists?

A: That’s a great question. We’re working with lots of people to try to identify the colonists families in England. In fact, Andy Powell is one of those folks, and he is speaking about his new book and other exciting discoveries this evening as well. You really won’t want to miss that….trust me on this. In addition Nancy Frey, our British Isles genealogist is with us this evening. We need to identify the families of the colonists in England so we know what their DNA looks like.

Q: How will finding their families help?

A: Once we find the colonist families in England, and we are tantalizingly close in some cases, we can then test folks of the same surname found in early NC and VA to see if they match.

Q: If the colonists were absorbed by the Indians, would the surname be the same?

A: Now that’s a great question and I’m so glad you asked? The answer is that it’s very unlikely that the Indians many generations later would have known to select the colonist surname – so they are unlikely to carry the same surnames today – although it’s certainly not impossible. Part of this has to do with what we don’t know. For example, did they maintain a separate “English style” village where there were surnames and they were passed paternally, or did they meld into the matriarchal culture of the Native tribes?

Q: If the surnames aren’t the same, how can you find them?

A: That’s where DNA comes into the picture. If an Indian male in the 1700s took the surname Gibbs, because there was a white Gibbs trader he admired, but his DNA doesn’t match that of any other Gibbs groups from the British Isles, then we need to look at who he does match. We’re hoping that he would match a Dare, for example. If he did, then we’d know that the Gibbs family of today in Eastern NC matches the colonist Dare family – and then we could declare that we have indeed solved the mystery of the Lost Colony. We’re not there yet – but this is the type of thing we’re searching for.

Q:How does the Hatteras Families project work in this process?

A: The Hatteras Families projects is really a combination of various activities and programs. First, there is a Hatteras Y-line (paternal), mitochondrial DNA (maternal) and Families (everyone) DNA projects. I’ll talk more about them on the 12th. However, to support these projects Dawn Taylor and I have been compiling the genealogies of the early Hatteras families. DNA without genealogy is like a 2 legged stool. We’re in the process of creating a data base and we’ll have it along with us on the 12th. We will also share with you the results we have so far….and two particular families that are very interesting. Come and see if your family is one of them!!!


Leroy S. Hulan ~ Outer Banks Life Saving Stations

Recently, I was contacted by Dr. Richard H. Hulan, a retired folklorist of Springfield, Virginia, who had found our new blog from a link on the “Lost Colony Research Group” blog. In 1944, his Father, LeRoy S. Hulan, traveled the sand roads and paths of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, serving as Chaplain for the Coast Guardsmen who manned the U.S. Life Saving Stations. Richard has graciously offered to share his father’s US Navy photograph collection with us. Enjoy…

Leroy S. Hulan

Information below, provided by Dr. Richard H. Hulan.

In 1944, my late dad was the USNR Chaplain assigned to the Coast Guard lifeboat stations of the 5th Naval District, which ran from Ocean City, MD to the Cape Hatteras vicinity. It included several stations in your area of interest, e.g. Big and Little Kinnakeet. He was given a jeep, a timetable for meeting ferries when necessary, and photos of the stations (so he’d know where to stop and hold a service). The job was sort of like being a circuit rider.

My dad was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee in 1910. He was educated at Vanderbilt, Transylvania, and the College of the Bible (now Lexington Theological Seminary) in Kentucky. During his WWII Navy service, he went by LeRoy S. Hulan, so his initials were L.S. His mother (who lived until 1970) later informed him that they had actually named him Lee Roy Snyder Hulan, not LeRoy. For the rest of his adult life he was only called Roy S. Hulan. He was a well known minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), with pastorates in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee. He was on the denomination’s Chaplaincy Endorsement Commission for many years, between the 1950s and 1970s, and was a trustee of Lexington Theological Seminary (in KY). He died in Murfreesboro, TN in 1991. My brother and I were born in 1936 and 1939, respectively; so we have childhood memories of the war period that include the way this Jeep would launch us off the seat, when he drove over a “camel’s back” on the coastal highway (i.e., the beach).

Leroy S. Hulan

Leroy S. Hulan, sitting in the front passenger seat of his trusty, military issued, Jeep. Photographer unknown. Taken somewhere on Hatteras Island, NC. Year ~ 1944.

Leroy S. Hulan

Leroy S. Hulan, standing beside Jeep w/ back turned. Photographer unknown. Taken somewhere on Hatteras Island, NC. Year ~ 1944.

Caffey’s Inlet Life Saving Station ~ Duck, NC.

Paul Gamiel Hills, NC ~ Located in what is now Seacrest Village. Burned down in 1960. Now just a sand hill.

Kitty Hawk Life Saving Station, NC.

Kill Devil Hills Life Saving Station, NC.

Nags Head Life Saving Station, NC.

Bodie Island Observation Tower, NC.

Oregon Inlet Life Saving Station, NC.

Pea Island Life Saving Station, NC.

Chicamacomico Life Saving Station ~ Rodanthe, NC.

Little Kinnakeet Life Saving Station, NC.

Big Kinnakeet Life Saving Station, NC.

RDF Station ~ Buxton, NC

Cape Hatteras Life Saving Station ~ Buxton, NC.

Hatteras Inlet Life Saving Station, NC.

Ocracoke Lighthouse Keepers Quarters, NC.

Cape Lookout Life Saving Station, NC.

Fort Macon Life Saving Station, NC.

Swansboro Lifeboat Station ~ Station Office ~ New, Swansboro, NC


An Interview with Andrew Thomas Powell ~ Grenville and the Lost Colony of Roanoke

“What led you to write the book?”

Well, there’s quite a bit about that in the Introduction to the Book, but, in truth it’s probably all Professor Mark Horton’s fault!

I mentioned to him during one of our earlier visits to Hatteras that I have been quietly re-transcribing all of the oldest sources of information that I could find relating to the Lost Colony. When he asked why, I pointed out that virtually every modern book on the subject had drawn its information from the works by David Beers Quinn and that the story had subsequently been told and retold so many times that I wasn’t convinced there was a completely reliable interpretation of what originally happened. I simply wanted to better understand what did happen as I thought it might better able us to find the Colonists today. (Hence why I spent so much time concentrating on the painstaking effort of reading and interpreting the works of the original authors.) Professor Horton commented that he felt that there might be a larger audience for such a work and suggested I turned my research into a book!

“Why did you include all the transcriptions, surely you could have merely interpreted them for the reader?”

When I started piecing the book together, I assumed that it would mainly interest Scholars, so it seemed appropriate to use the transcriptions verbatim and also to include many of the other references I had found. Then I realized that by including these (with accompanying notes to aid understanding), I was in effect, giving everyone and anyone the opportunity to make their own mind up as to what really happened to the Lost Colonists all those years ago. Something I don’t think anyone has ever done.

“Have you written any other books?”

Nope! It’s taken three and a half obsessive years of my life to write this one and although I have written several other unpublished pieces for my own personal reminiscences in later life, the time it took me to write this book is an indication that I am never going to be quite as productive as most other authors! So if people like the book, treasure it, it might be a unique work!

“Why is the title ‘GRENVILLE and the Lost Colony of Roanoke ’, and not just simply ‘The Lost Colony of Roanoke ’?

In my research, I discovered that Sir Richard Grenville had played a far larger part in the story than he has probably ever been given credit for. Apart from the 1584 and 1590 voyages he appears to have had a hand in every other event and sailing that we know of. The most fascinating of which, for me personally, was the first attempt in 1588 to resupply the colony. It has long been a puzzle in the town of Bideford ( England ) as to how we came to provide the third largest fleet to fight the Spanish Armada; to discover that in reality those ships were meant for Roanoke was astonishing. What a pivotal moment that attempt was. As part of my research though, I also found out much, much, more about Grenville than is commonly known, so it felt appropriate to include the short biography in Chapter One of a Gentleman who I believe really should be revered more than even perhaps Sir Francis Drake!

“Do you think we will ever find what became of the Lost Colonists?”

Considering all the research I did for the book, being Mayor of the very town Grenville sailed from, being involved in the Archaeology and of course being able to work with the wizards at the Lost Colony Research Group, has probably put me in quite a unique position to answer that one….. you’ll find my answer in the book!


Little Joshua Gray has done it again. He’s made the news papers. I imagine he would be amazed at the excitement of the return of his grave marker to Hatteras Island. I can honestly speak for everyone here, we’re glad he’s home.

Dawn F. Taylor

Link to Virginian Pilot story :


A legacy in stone…Little Kinnakeet, NC

Sometime I wonder why I do what I do. Why do any of us for that matter, when it comes to cemetery hunting ? But then it happens. Not sure if it’s by chance or by help from beyond, but it does happen. A cemetery appears. And it becomes perfectly clear as to the reasoning behind every self doubted motif. We do it for them. Those who are buried on this sandbar.

Today, was another one of those perfect days in Kinnakeet. HIGPS, definitely took advantage of it. We, meaning Jennifer Creech, Dorene Smeltz, and myself, parked in front of the Little Kinnakeet Life Saving Station and headed out on foot, towards the two cemeteries that we were already aware of. On this visit, we were looking for the third cemetery. One that only yesterday, we were given and estimated location of.

Jenn takes the blue ribbon today though. As Dorene and I walked the waters edge looking at old pieces of glass, pottery, and shells, Jenn walked on ahead. It wasn’t long until we heard her let out a yell. She had found the cemetery. We were all stoked. I did manage to forget to photograph one stone that was propped behind another. We’ll catch that image next go around. 
Hope you enjoy our photographic journey. Angel, you were with us in spirit.




A voice in Kinnakeet…

Today was one of those days where at the end of it, you sit back and reflect…almost in disbelief as to the perfection of it. I started off the day with plans to haul some more brush from the Price/Scarborough Cemetery, to the dump in Buxton. For the most part, Jennifer Creech and I, accomplished what we had set out to do. But the end of our day had an unexpected curve to it.

Jenn and I stopped by the house of a native Kinnakeeter. At this point, we’re keeping his name out of this blog for privacy reasons. Our visit with him became one of where I found my jaw, time after time, needing to be picked up off the floor. This man with such a vast knowledge of local historical knowledge, became someone whose life will always be to me, a fascinating event that consist of places, people, and sites, that I can only dream of ever having seen.

He remembered working on the road which is now NC 12, with my Father…back in the 50’s. He remembered the storm of 44 and where all the houses that were taken out by the tide, ended up. He even showed us a photograph of the village, way back then. And there were others. I left his home, feeling like I felt a little more connection to the past of Hatteras Island.

Jen and I hope to return to visit with him and to chat more about his life and to document the history that so many who hail from Cape Hatteras, NC., cherish. And I will end this blog with a request. If you have an older family member who is still able to tell the stories of the past, pay attention. Write them down. Record them. Do what you can to preserve our ancestry and heritage.



Andy Powell and his new book…

Received this email via Roberta Estes of the Lost Colony Genealogy and DNA Research Group. Definitely wanted to share this great interview with Andy Powell, retired Ex-Mayor or Bideford, England. He tells of his and the LCRG’s research concerning the Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony.

Andy Powell was interviewed today by Ireland’s Premier News Radio Show about his new book. If interested this is the link.  It’s really a very nice interview and tells a lot about the Lost Colony and our current research.  Andy cautions that bits were edited and also that it was intended for English/Irish digestion.

(Click on Tuesday, the 15th, and button “2” the interview starts at about 6 minutes 30 seconds in.)

You can purchase his book, Grenville and the Lost Colony of Roanoke, at

Awesome interview, Andy 🙂