These families were classified at the time as "mulattos," a term with several different meanings at that time.
Today it is most commonly was used to describe mixed-race persons of African-European ancestry.
In the first federal census of 1790, the ancestors of the Lumbee were enumerated as Free Persons of Color, another term used for a wide variety of non-White people including, non-reservation American Indians, mixed race of American Indian/European, and mixed race African/European.
In 18, these families were classified as "all other free persons" in the census (after "white" and "black").
This included full-blooded Native Americans not living within a confined reservation, and mixed-race persons of Native American-European ancestry.The earliest European document referring to Indian communities in the area of the Lumber River is a map prepared in 1725 by John Herbert, the English commissioner of Indian trade for the Wineau Factory on the Black River.Herbert identifies the four Siouan-speaking communities as the Saraw, Pee Dee, Scavano, and Wacoma.Modern-day Lumbees claim connection to these settlements, but none of the four tribes located within the boundaries of present-day Robeson County.When this area was first surveyed by the English in the 1750s, they reported that "No Indians" lived in Bladen County; at the time it included parts of present-day Robeson County.Artifacts more commonly found in Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, and other parts of North Carolina, have been found alongside local artifacts more typical of prehistoric Indians resident in Robeson County.