Croatan Indian Memorial Cemetery, Bulloch County


In 1870 a group of Croatan/Croatoan Indians migrated from Robeson County North Carolina, following the turpentine industry to southeast Georgia. Many became tenant farmers for the Adabelle Trading Company, growing cotton and tobacco. They established the Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Adabelle, as well as a school and this nearby cemetery. After the collapse of the Adabelle Trading Company, the Croatans faced both economic hardship and social injustice. As a result, most members of the community returned to North Carolina by 1920. Some historians have connected the Croatans to the Lumbee, but I’m unclear as to this history.

Few headstones remain, though there are five or six in the cemetery, likely of local people somehow connected to the tribe.

Text of the Marker: In memory of Lucinda Locklear, Pink Locklear, Hezie Emanuel and Margaret Adline Locklear, and the other dauntless Indians from Robeson County, North Carolina, who settled, lived, and died here sometime between the close of the Civil War and the 1920s and whose graves are unmarked. Dedicated June 4, 1989.


Filed under --BULLOCH COUNTY GA--

9 responses to “Croatan Indian Memorial Cemetery, Bulloch County

  1. Melanie Gentry

    My maternal Grandfather John Marshall Emanuel was born in Sampson Co NC and sometime around turn of century moved to Georgia and lived there until he died in 1943. He is buried in Metter, GA close to Adabelle/Claxton. I have discovered all of these NC relatives only recently through DNA. Is there any listing of people who came from NC to work for the Adabelle Trading Company? I have yet to find documentation that this is what brought his family to Georgia. HIs Father was Shadrach Meshach Emanuel.

  2. Dale E. Reddick

    My grandmother’s older half-sister Lizzie Flythe married a Locklier / Locklear in Screven County, adjacent to Bulloch County. Lizzie was born in 1868, as I recall matters. So, she married her husband in the mid to late-1880s. They are buried at Buck Creek Methodist Church beside GA Route 24 in eastern Screven County.

  3. Linda Sampson-Locklear

    I am a Lumbee Indian living in Robeson county. Lucinda Locklear is my grandmother and Pink Locklear is my Aunt. My Father’s name – Lacy Locklear. He married Jessie Bell Virginia Sampson and they had five children. Lacy and Jessie are both deceased. All we siblings are still living. My name is Linda Locklear Sampson-Locklear. My siblings are Patsy Locklear-Locklear (Fayetteville, NC); Sandra Locklear Akers (Quincy Illinois); Lacy Locklear Jr., and Tony Locklear (Lumberton, NC)

  4. April

    The Lumbee Tribe of North Caroilina is in fact a federally recognized tribe. However, due to the 1957 act that recognized us as such, it also denied our tribal members the federal benefits that other federally recognized tribes receive.

    Our tribal members make special trips twice a year to honor our family members that are buried at this ancestry burial grounds. In addition we also maintain the grounds. The tribal families that migrated and established this community, are great examples of our strong desire to achieve a better quality of life, no matter what.

    This is a very important part of our history and I am glad that someone took the time to make this information available to everyone. These people deserve to have their story told.

    For more information on our tribe, please visit

    • Nancy Stafford

      Do you have any idea of another group that may have come to Georgia to work in Turpentine that went to Appling County GA? The reason for my question is I came upon an 1880 census that had 30 or so men all from NC that worked in the Turpentine Industry.

  5. Sonny Seals

    Brian, Nice piece of history here. Thanks for digging it out. Is the Mt. Zion church in Adabelle still there?


    From: Vanishing South Georgia Photographs by Brian Brown [] Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 9:43 AM To: Subject: [New post] Croatan Indian Cemetery, Bulloch County

    Brian Brown posted: ” In 1870 a group of Croatan Indians migrated from Robeson County North Carolina, following the turpentine industry to southeast Georgia. Many became tenant farmers for the Adabelle Trading Company, growing cotton and tobacco. They established the Mt. Zio”

  6. Bob and Jan Deen

    Brian..the Lumbee Indians do in fact live in the Roberson County, Scotland County area of North Carolina. It is an interesting tribe and today they still experience hardship. They are not officially recognized as an authentic American Indian tribe. Thus they are not afforded the status as say the Cherokee. As I understand it, the Lumbee tribe became a mixed race sometime after settlers first came to NC.

    • Wendy

      Brian I am Limbee and helped to establish our tribal Government. You couldn’t be further from the truth. We were given state recognition in 1885 and in 1956 during Indian termination the Lumbee Act gave Indian status with no benefits in the same sentence. Do not fool yourself to believe that there’s any tribe who hasn’t experienced impact from other races; Cherokee are no different; after all everyone says they have a Cherokee great grandmother except for a Lumbee.

      • I’m hoping to better understand. Thanks for your input, Wendy. And I do not fool myself at all; I am of the belief that ALL Native Americans have been discriminated against since the first Europeans landed here!

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