The Brewington family is now the largest of any Indian family in Sampson County, most of which are the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even the great-great-grandchildren of the late Raford Brewington, father of Hardy A. Brewington. He had several other sons and daughters. Brewington is a pure English word, which means a brewer of drinks, and we would also add, one that likes such drinks after they have been made, which is one of the characteristics that followed this family for several generations, and even now the evil practice is overcome only by the very best of training. This name was first given to an Indian who was considered by the white settlers of what is now Sampson County, as an excellent maker of “fire water,” as the Indians called it. They called him Bill Brewington. His Indian name was dropped, and he was taught the language of the English.
Bill Brewington’s wife was a Cherokee Indian, by the name of Jane Brewington, who lived a good many years after her husband’s death. They had a daughter, Hannah Brewington, who if now living would be upwards of one hundred and forty years old. Hannah Brewington is well remembered by few of the oldest people of the county, namely John Emanuel, Jonathan Goodman, James Strickland, and others. They describe her as being a true specimen of the original Cherokee, she being of a copper-reddish hue, with prominent cheek-bones, straight black hair and black eyes. She bought land in the year of 1807, as the records in Clinton, N. C., now show, though before that time she and her people lived on the banks of Coharee, without any need of buying, as the land was held in common by the Indians of those days.
The above Hannah Brewington was the mother of Raford Brewington, who has already been mentioned in this section. She helped a poor illiterate bound white boy, who was, as we have been told, a son of a soldier who was killed during the Revolutionary War, while bearing arms for the independence of America. Soon after the death of his father his mother also died, leaving the child to provide for himself. His name was Simon, and as he was placed under the control of a man that owned a good many servants and slaves, he was given the title that has ever been known as his name, “White Simon.” Hannah Brewington proved to be a friend to this poor orphan boy, and in time, by early Indian custom, she and he were married. Soon after the marriage of this couple, Raford, a son, was born in their home. Simon having no real surname, adopted the name of his wife. Soon after the birth of the above Raford Brewington, his father left the State and went north. He has never returned, but was heard from a few times indirectly. Thus you see the beginning of the Brewington family of Sampson County.
One other son and daughter were born to Hannah Brewington, namely, Nathan Brewington and Nancy Brewington.
From George E. Butler, “The Croatan Indians of Sampson County, North Carolina. Their Origin and Racial Status. A Plea for Separate Schools,” (1916).
[Sidenote: Though I have offered excerpts from Butler’s appeal without comment, here I think it prudent to advise that it, like all of the early written history reproduced here, should be considered carefully in the context of the time and place — and purpose — for which it was written. — LYH]