One of the most interesting and yet enigmatic figures of colonial North Carolina history is John Lawson. Though he was an explorer, surveyor, land speculator, fur trader, naturalist, ethnographer, and writer, all that is really known about Lawson occurred during an eleven-year period, from when he arrived in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1700 until his death at the hands of the Tuscarora Indians of North Carolina’s Neuse River region in 1711. And even in this period, the record of Lawson’s life leaves many gaps. John Lawson: Imagining a Life presents several of the documents through which Lawson’s contemporaries as well as later historians and writers have tried to decipher who John Lawson was.
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