History 1, Catawba
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Some Catawba History (Part 2.)
Native American Catawba Nation
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"The Indian Tribes of North America" By John R. Swanton, Pub. 1920
This list the Native Americans, History; Place Names; Sub-divisions;

Catawba tribe. - Significance unknown though the name was probably 
native to the tribe. Also called:
Ani'ta'gua, Cherokee name. 
Iswa or Issa, signifying "river," and specifically the Catawba River; 
originally probably an independent band which united early with the 
Catawba proper. Iroquois name.
Oyadagahroenes, Iroquois name.
Tadirighrones, Iroquois name. 
Usherys, from Iswahere, "river down here"; see Issa.

Catawba Connections.- The Catawba belonged to the Siouan linguistic 
family, but Catawba was the most aberrant of all known Siouan languages, 
though closer to Woccon than any other of which a vocabulary has been 

Catawba Loction.- In York and Lancaster Counties mainly but extending 
into the neighboring parts of the State and also into North Carolina 
and Tennessee.

Catawba Subdivisions. - Two distinct tribes are given by Lawson 
(1860) and placed on early maps, the Catawba and Iswa, the latter 
deriving their name from the native word meaning "river," which was 
specifically applied to Catawba River.

Catawba Villages. - In early days this tribe had many villages but 
few names have come down to us. In 1728 there were six villages, all 
on Catawba River, the most northerly of which was known as Nauvasa. 
In 1781 they had two called in English Newton and Turkey Head, on 
opposite sides of Catawba River.

Catawba History.- The Catawba appear first in history under the 
name Ysa, Issa (Iswa) in Vandera's narratives of Pardo's expedition 
into the interior, made in 1566-67. Lederer (1912) visited them in 
1670 and calls them Ushery. In 1711-13 they assisted the Whites in 
their wars with the Tuscarora, and though they participated in the 
Yamasce uprising in 1715 peace was quickly made and the Catawba remained 
faithful friends of the colonists ever after.
Meanwhile they declined steadily in numbers from diseases introduced 
by the Whites, the use of liquor, and constant warfare with the Iroquois, 
Shawnee, Delaware, and other tribes. In 1738 they were decimated by 
smallpox and in 1759 the same disease destroyed nearly half of them. 
Through the mediation of the Whites, peace was made at Albany in 1759 
between them and the Iroquois, but other tribes continued their attacks, 
and in 1763 a party of Shawnee killed the noted Catawba King Haigler. 

The year before they had left their town in North Carolina and moved 
into South Carolina, where a tract of land 15 miles square had been 
reserved for them. From that time on they sank into relative insignificance. 
They sided with the colonists during the revolution and on the approach 
of the British troops withdrew  temporarily into Virginia, returning 
after the battle of Guilford Court House. In 1826 nearly the whole 
of their reservation was leased to Whites, and in 1840 they sold all 
of it to the State of South Carolina, which agreed to obtain new territory 
for them in North Carolina. 

The State refused to part with any land for that purpose, however, 
and most of the Catawba who had gone north of the State line were 
forced to return. Ultimately a reservation of 800 acres was set aside 
for them in South Carolina and the main body has lived there ever 
since few continued in North Carolina and others went to the Cherokee, 
but most of these soon came back and the last of those who remained 
died in 1889. A few Catawba intermarried with the Cherokee in later 
times, however, and still live there, and a few others went to the 
Choctaw Nation, in what is now Oklahoma, and settled near Scullyville. 
These also are reported to be extinct. 

Some families established themselves in other parts of Oklahoma, in 
Arkansas, and near Sanford, Colo., where they have gradually been 
absorbed by the Indian and White population. About 1884 several Catawba 
were converted by Mormon missionaries and went to Salt Lake City, 
and in time most of those in South Carolina became members of the 
Mormon Church, although a few are Baptists. Besides the two divisions 
of Catawba proper, the present tribe is supposed to include remnants 
of about 20 smaller tribes, principally Siouan. 

Catawba Population.- 
Mooney (1900) estimates the number of Catawba in 1600, including the Iswa, at 5,000. 
About 1692 the tribe was supposed to contain 1,500 warriors or about 4,600 souls; 
In 1728, about 400 warriors or about 1,400 souls; 
In 1743, after incorporating several small tribes, as having less than that number of warriors. 
In 1752, we have an estimate of about 300 warriors, or about 1,000 people; 
In 1755, 240 warriors; 
In 1757, about 300 warriors and 700 souls; 
In 1759, about 250 warriors.

Although there is an estimate accrediting them with 300 warriors in 
1761, King Haigler declared that they had been reduced by that year, 
after the smallpox epidemic of 1760, to 60 fighting men. 
In 1763 fewer than 50 men were reported, and 
in 1766 "not more than 60." 
In 1773 there was estimated a total population of 400; 
In 1780, about 490; 
In 1784, about 250: 
In 1822, about 450; 
In 1826, about 110. 
In 1881, Gatschet found 85 on the reservation and 35 on adjoining farms, a total of 120. 

The census of 1910 returned 124, 
In 1912 there were about 100, of whom 60 were attached to the reservation. 
The census of 1930 gave 166, all but 7 in South Carolina Connection 
in which they have become noted. 

The Catawba, whether originally or by union with the Iswa, 
early became recognized as the most powerful of all the Siouan peoples 
of Carolina. They are also the tribe which preserved its identity 
longest and from which the greatest amount of linguistic information 
has been obtained. 

The name Catawba itself was given to a variety of grape, and has 
become applied, either adopted from the tribe directly or taken from 
that of the grape, to places in:
Catawba County, NC.; 
Roanoke County, Va.; 
Marion County, W.Va.; 
Bracken County, Ky.; 
Clark County, Ohio; 
Caldwell County, Mo.; 
Steuben County, NY.; 
Blaine County, Okla.; 
York County, S. C.; and 
Price County, Wis. 
It is also borne by an island in Ohio, and by the Catawba River 
of the Carolinas, a branch of the Wateree.

Cherokee tribe. -  In the extreme northwestern portion of the State 
was occupied by Cherokee Indians. (See Cherokee Indians, Tennessee.)

Chiaha tribe. - A part of this tribe lived in South Carolina at 
times. (See Chiaha tribe of Georgia.)

Chickasaw tribe. - The Chickasaw territory proper was in northern 
Mississippi, at a considerable distance from the State under discussion, 
but about 1753 a body of Chickasaw Indians settled on the South Carolina 
side of Savannah River, to be near the English trading posts and to 
keep in contact with the English, who were their allies. Before 1757 
most of them moved over to the immediate neighborhood of Augusta and 
remained there until the period of the American Revolution. In that 
war they sided against the colonists and their lands were confiscated 
in 1783. (See Chickasaw tribe of Mississippi.)

Congaree tribe. -  Meaning unknown.

Congaree Connection.- No words of this language have been preserved 
but the form of the name and general associations of the tribe leave 
little doubt that it was a Siouan dialect, related most closely to 

Congaree Location.- On Congaree River, centering in the neighborhood 
of the present State Capital, Columbia.

Congaree Village. - The only village mentioned bore the same name 
as the tribe and was sometimes placed on the Congaree opposite Columbia, 
sometimes on the north side of the river.

Congaree History.- The Congaree are mentioned in documents of the 
seventeenth century as one of thc small tribes of the Piedmont region. 
In 1701 Lawson (1860) found them settled on the northeast bank of 
Santee River below the mouth of the Wateree. They took part against 
the Whites in the Yamasec War of 1715, and in 1716 over half of them 
were captured and sent as slaves to the West Indies. The remnant appear 
to have retreated to the Catawba, for Adair (1930) mentions their 
dialect as one of those spoken in the  Catawba Nation.

Congaree Population.- The Congaree are estimated by Mooney (1900) 
at 800 in 1600. A census taken in 1715 gives 22 men and a total population 
of about 40.

Congaree Connection in which they have become noted.- Congaree River 
and a railroad station in Richland County, S. C., preserve the name; 
Columbia, the State capital, was originally known as the Congarees. 
Creeks. In the time of De Soto, Cofitachequi, which seems to have 
been either Kasihta or Coweta, and a few other Creek towns including 
perhaps Hilibi and part of the Chiaha Indians were in the territory 
of the present State of South Carolina near Savannah River. The Coosa 
of Coosawhatchie, Edisto, and Ashley Rivers may have been Creek in 
origin, and in Inter times Creeks constantly resorted to the provincial 
settlements in this area. (See Alabama.)

Cusabo tribe.- Meaning perhaps "Coosawhatchie River (people)."

Cusabo Connections.- There is little doubt that the Cusabo belonged 
to the Muskhogean linguistic family. Their closest connections appear 
to have been with the Indians of the Georgia coast, the Guale.

Cusabo Location.- In the southern-most part of South Carolina between 
Charleston Harbor and Savannah River and including most of the valleys 
of the Ashley, Edisto, Ashepoo, Combahee, Salkehatchie, and Coosawhatchie 

Cusabo Subdivisions
These people should be divided first into the Cusabo proper, who occupied 
all of the coast, and the Coosa, who were inland upon the rivers above 
mentioned. The Cusabo proper seem to have consisted of a northern 
group of tribes or subtribes, including the Etiwaw (on Wando River), 
Wando (on Cooper River), Kiawa (on the lower course of Ashley River), 
and perhaps the Stono (about Stono Entrance); and a southern group 
including the Edisto (on Edisto Island), Ashepoo (on lower Ashepoo 
River), Combahee (on lower Combahee River) Wimbee (between the latter 
and the lower Coosawhatchie River), Escamacu (between St. Helena Sound 
and Broad River), and perhaps a few others. Sometimes early writers 
erroneously include the Siouan Senee and Santee as Cusabo.

Cusabo Villages, SC:
Ahoys or EIoya, on or near Broad River.
Ahoyabi, near the preceding.
Aluste, near Beaufort, possibly a form of Edisto.
Awendaw, near Awendaw Creek; it may have been Sewee (q. v.).
Bohicket, near Rockville.
Cambe, near Beaufort.
Chatuache, 6-10 leagues north of Beaufort.
Mayon, probably on Broad River.
Talapo, probably near Beaufort.
Touppa, probably on Broad River.
Yanahume, probably on the south side of Broad River.

Cusabo History.- While their country was most likely skirted by 
earlier navigators, the first certain appearance of the Cusabo in 
history is in connection with a slave-hunting expedition sent out 
by Vasques de Ayllon. This reached the mainland in 1521, probably 
a little north of the Cusabo territory and introduced the blessings 
of White civilization to the unsuspecting natives by carrying away 
about 70 of them. One of these Indians was finally taken to Spain 
and furnished the historian Peter Martyr with considerable information 
regarding his country and the names of a number of tribes, some of 
whom were certainly Cusabo. In 1525 Ayllon sent a second expedition 
to the region and in 1526 led a colony thither.

Dissatisfied with his first landing place, probably near the landfall 
of the expedition of 1521, he moved the colony "40 or 45 leagues," 
perhaps to the neighborhood of Savannah River. But it did not prosper, 
Ayllon died, trouble broke out among the survivors, and finally they 
returned to Haiti in the middle of the following winter. In 1540 De 
Soto passed near this country, but apparently he did not enter it, 
and the next European contact was brought about by the settlement 
of Ribault's first colony at Port Royal in 1562. The small number 
of people left by Ribault managed to maintain themselves for some 
time with the assistance of friendly natives, but, receiving no relief 
from France, they became discouraged, and built a small vessel in 
which a few of them eventually reached home. In 1564 a Spanish vessel 
visited this coast for the purpose of rooting out the French settlement.

Later the same year a second Huguenot colony was established on St. 
Johns River, Florida, and communication was maintained with the Cusabo 
Indians. In 1565 this colony was destroyed by the Spaniards who visited 
Port Royal in quest of certain French refugees, and the year following 
Fort San Felipe was built at the same place. From this time until 
1587 a post was maintained here, although with some intermissions 
due to Indian risings. 

In 1568- 70 a vain attempt was made to missionize the Indians. In 
1576 a formidable Indian uprising compelled the abandonment of the 
fort, but it was soon reoccupied and an Indian town was destroyed 
in 1579 by way of reprisal. Next year, however, there was a second 
uprising, making still another abandonment necessary. The fort was 
reoccupied in 1582 but abandoned permanently 5 years later; and after 
that time there was no regular post in the country but communication 
was kept up between the Cusabo and St. Augustine and occasional visits 
seem to have been made by the Franciscan Friars. 

Between 1633 and 1665 we have notice of a new mission in Cusabo territory, 
called Chatuache, but when the English settled South Carolina in 1670 
there appears to have been no regular mission there and certainly 
no Spanish post. Charleston was founded on Cusabo soil, and from the 
date of its establishment onward relations were close between the 
English and Cusabo. In 1671 there was a short war between the colonists 
and the Coosa Indians and in 1674 there was further trouble with this 
people and with the Stono. 

In 1675 the Coosa Indians surrendered to the English a large tract 
of land which constituted Ashley Barony, and in 1682 what appears 
to have been a still more sweeping land cession was signed by several 
of the Cusabo chiefs. In 1693 there was another short war, this time 
between the Whites and the Stono. A body of Cusabo accompanied Colonel 
Barnwell in his expedition against the Tuscarora in 1711-12, and this 
fact may have quickened the consciences of the colonists somewhat, 
because in 1712 the Island of Palawana, "near the Island of St. Helena," 
was granted to them. 

It appears that most of their plantations were already upon it but 
it had inadvertently been granted to a white proprietor. The Cusabo 
here mentioned were those of the southern group; there is reason to 
think that the Kiawa and Coosa were not included. Early in 1720 "King 
Gilbert and ye Coosaboys" took part in Col. John Barnwell's punitive 
expedition against St. Augustine (Barnwell, 1908). In 1743 the Kiawa 
were given a grant of land south of the Combahee River, probably to 
be near the other coast Indians. Part of the Coosa may have retired 
to the Catawba, since Adair (1930) mentions "Coosah" as one of the 
dialects spoken in the "Catawba Nation," but others probably went 
to the Creeks. At least one band of Cusabo may have gone to Florida, 
because, in "A List of New Indian Missions in the Vicinity of St. 
Augustine," dated December 1, 1726, there is mention of a mission 
of San Antonio "of the Cosapuya nation and other Indians" containing 
43 recently converted Christians and 12  pagans. 

Two years later we are informed that "the towns of the Casapullas 
Indians were depopulated," though whether this has reference to the 
ones in Florida or to those in their old country is not clear.

Cusabo Population.- Mooney (1900) estimates the number of southern 
Cusabo, exclusive of the Edisto, at 1,200 in 1600, the Edisto at 1,000, 
the Etiwaw at 600, and the Coosa at 600. He classifies the Stono with 
the Westo, thereby falling into a common error. The colonial census 
of 1715 gives the number of southern Cusabo as 295, including 95 men, 
in 5 villages, while the Etiwaw (probably including the other northern 
Cusabo) had 1 village, 80 men, and a total population of 240. There 
were thus 535 Cusabo over all. The Coosa are nowhere mentioned by 
name and were probably included with one or the other of these. The 
55 Indians at the Florida mission above mentioned, consisting of individuals 
of "the Cosapuya nation and other Indians," included 24 men, 13 women, 
and 18 children.

Cusabotribe Connection in which they have become noted.- The first 
part of the name Coosa is identical in origin with the first part 
of the name of Coosawhatchie River, S. C., and a post village. The 
people themselves are noted in history as the first in eastern North 
America north of Florida among whom European settlements were begun. 
They had an earlier and longer contact with Europeans than any other 
Indians on the Atlantic seaboard except those of the Gulf of St. Lawrence 
Eno. This tribe moved into the northern part of the State after 1716 
and perhaps united ultimately with the Catawba. At some prehistoric 
period they may have lived on Enoree River. (See North Carolina.)

Keyauwee tribe.- They settled on the Pee Dee after 1716 and probably 
united with the Catawba. (See North Carolina.)

Natchez tribe.- A band of Indians of this tribe lived for several 
years at a place called Four Hole Springs in South Carolina but left 
in 1744 fearing the vengeance of the Catawba because of seven of that 
tribe whom they had killed. (See Mississippi.) 

Pedee tribe.- Meaning unknown, but Speck (1935) suggests from Catawba 
pi'ri, "something good," or pi'here, "smart," "expert," "capable."

Pedee Connections.- No words of the language have survived but there 
is every reason to suppose that it was a dialect of the Siouan linguistic 

Pedee Loction.- On Great Pee Dee River, particularly its middle 

Pedee Village. - No village names are known apart from the tribal 
name, which was sometimes applied to specific settlements.

Pedee History.- The Pedee are first mentioned by the colonists of 
South Carolina. In 1716 a place in or near their country called Saukey 
(perhaps Socatee) was suggested as the site for a trading post but 
the proposition to establish one there was given up owing to the weakness 
of the Pedce tribe, who were thought to be unable to protect it. In 
1744, the Pedee, along with Natchez Indians, killed some Catawba and 
were in consequence driven from their lands into the White settlements. 
Soon afterward most of them joined the Catawba, but some remained 
near the Whites, where they are mentioned as late as 1755. In 1808 
the Pedee and Cape Fear tribes were represented by one half-breed 

Pedee Population.- Mooney, 1900, estimates the number of Pedee as 
600 in 1600. The census of 1715 does not give them separate mention, 
and they were probably included among the 610 Waccamaw or the 106 

Pedee Connection in which they have become noted.- The Great and 
Little Pee Dee Rivers and a station in Marion County, S. C., also 
a post village in Anson County, N. C., perpetuate the name of the 

Saluda tribe. - Meaning unknown.

Saluda Connections. - These are uncertain but circumstantial evidence 
indicates strongly that the Saluda were a band of Shawnee, and therefore 
of the Algonquian stock.

Saluda Location. - On Saluda River.

Saluda History. - Almost all that we know regarding the Saluda is 
contained in a note on George Hunter's map of the Cherokee country 
drawn in 1730 indicating "Saluda town where a nation settled 35 years 
ago, removed 18 years to Conestogo, in Pensilvania." As bands of Shawnee 
were moving into just that region from time to time during the period 
indicated, there is reason to think that this was one of them, all 
the more that a "Savana" creek appears on the same map flowing into 
Congaree River just below the Saluda settlement.

Saluda Population. - Unknown.

Saluda Connection in which they have become noted.- The name Saluda 
is preserved by Saluda River and settlements in Saluda County, SC.; 
Polk County, NC.; and Middlesex County, Va.

Santee tribe. - Named according to Speck (1935), from iswan'ti, 
"the river," or "the river is there." Also called: Seretee, by Lawson 

Santee Connections. - No words of the Santee language have come 
down to us, but there is little doubt that they belonged to the Siouan 
linguistic family.

Santee Location. - On the middle course of Santee River.
Santee Villages. - The only name preserved is Hickerau, on a branch 
of Santee River.

Santee History. - The Santee were first encountered by the Spaniards 
during the seventeenth century, and in the narrative of his second 
expedition Captain Ecija places them on Santee River. In 1700 they 
were visited by John Lawson, who found their plantations extending 
for many miles along the river, and learned that they were at war 
with the coast people (Lawson, 1860). They furnished Barnwell (1908) 
with a contingent for his Tuscarora campaign in 1711-12, but are said 
to have taken part against the Whites in the Yamasee War of 1715. 
In 1716 they were attacked by the Etiwaw and Cusabo, acting in the 
interest of the colonists, and the greater part of them were carried 
away captive and sent to the West Indies. The remainder were probably 
incorporated with the Catawba.

Santee Population.- The number of Santee was estimated by Mooney 
(1900) at 1,000 in 1600. In 1715 an Indian census gave them 43 warriors 
and a total population of 80 to 85 in 2 villages.

Santee Connection in which they have become noted.- The name Santee 
has been given permanency chiefly by its application to the Santee 
River, S. C., but it has also been applied to a village in Orangeburg 
County, S. C.

Sewee tribe. - Significance: perhaps, as Gatschet suggested, from 
sawe', "island."

Santee Connections.- No words of their language have survived, but 
the Sewee are regarded as Siouan on strong circumstantial grounds, 
in spite of the fact that they are sometimes classed with the Cusabo.

Santee Location.- On the lower course of Santee River and the  coast 
westward to the divide of Ashley River about the present Monks Corner, 
Berkeley County.

Santee Villages. - In Lawson, writing about 1700, mentions a deserted 
village in Sewee Bay called Avendaughbough which may have belonged 
to them (Lawson, 1860). The name seems to be still preserved in the 
form Awensdaw.

Santee History.- Possibly Xoxi (pronounced Shoshi or Shohi), one  of 
the provinces mentioned by Francisco of Chicora, an Indian carried 
from this region by the Spaniards in 1521, is a synonym of Sewee. 
The name is mentioned by Captain Ecija in 1609. They may have been 
the Indians first met by the English expedition which founded the 
colony of South Carolina in 1670, when they were in Sewee Bay. They 
assisted the English against the Spaniards, and supplied them with 
corn. Lawson (1860) states that they were formerly a large tribe, 
but in his time, 1700, were wasted by smallpox and indulgence in alcoholic 
liquors. Moreover, a large proportion of the able-bodied men had been 
lost at sea in an attempt to open closer trade relations with England. 
Just before the Yamasee War, they were still living in their old country 
in a single village, but it is probable that the war put an end to 
them as a distinct tribe. The remnant may have united with the Catawba.

Santee Population.- Mooney (1900) gives an estimate of 800 Sewee 
for the year 1600. In 1715 there were but 57.

Santee Connection in which they have become noted.- At an earlier 
period this name was applied to the body of water now called Bulls 
Bay. There is a post hamlet with this designation in Meigs County, 
Tenn., but the name is probably of independent origin.

End of South Carolina Indian Tribes

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Paul R. Sarrett, Jr. Aug. 11, 1998                         ([email protected])

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