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The Waxhaw and Sugeree Indians

The two small tribes bearing the above designations are hardly known except in connection with the Catawba Indians, with whom they were afterward incorporated. They may be treated together. The tribes lived, respectively, about Waxhaw and Sugar (i. e., Sugeree) creeks, two small streams flowing into Catawba River from the northeast, within, what is now Lancaster County, South Carolina, and Union and Mecklenburg counties, North Carolina. As previously mentioned (The Eno, Shoccoree, and Adshusheer indians) the Waxhaw practiced the custom of flattening the head, a custom probably followed also by the Catawba and other neighboring tribes, whence they were called Flatheads. The first notice of either tribe seems to be that of Lederer, who visited, the Wisacky (Warsaw) in 1672, and found them living next south of the Sara, i. e., about where they were afterward known. He dismisses them with the brief statement that they were subject to the Ushery (Catawba) and might be considered a part of that tribe1 . In 1701 Lawson visited the Waxhaw and was received in the most hospitable fashion. He mentions two of their villages as being situated 10 miles apart, showing that they might be considered a tribe of some importance at that time. From incidental references in Lawson’s work it is evident that at the time of his visit they were on good terms with their neighbors as well as with the Saponi farther toward the north. He says that the Waxhaw were very tall, and describes in detail their method of flattening the head. This was accomplished by laying the infant in a sort of cradle, consisting chiefly of...

The Woccon, Sissipahaw, Cape Fear, and Warren-Nuncock Indians

Of the North Carolina tribes bearing the foregoing names almost nothing is known, and of the last two even the proper names have not been recorded. The Woccon were Siouan; the Saxapahaw and Cape Fear Indians presumably were Siouan, as indicated from their associations and alliances with known Siouan tribes, while the Warren-nuncock were probably some people better known under another name, though they cannot be identified. The region between the Yadkin and the Neuse, extending down to the coast, was probably occupied by still other tribes whose very names are forgotten. They were virtually exterminated by smallpox and other diseases long before the colonization of this region in the middle of the eighteenth century, and probably even before the Yamasi war of 1715 disrupted the smaller tribes. About all that is known of the Woccon was recorded by Lawson, who states that about 1710 they lived not more than two leagues from the Tuskarora (who occupied the lower Neuse and its tributaries), and had two villages, Yupwauremau and Tooptatmeer (p. 383), with 120 warriors, which would indicate a population of 500 or 600 souls. This was by far a larger population at that period than any other of the eastern Carolina tribes excepting the Tuskarora. He gives a vocabulary of about 150 words, which shows that their dialect was closely related to that of the Catawba, although the two tribes were separated by nearly 200 miles1 . His map of 1709, reproduced by Hawks, places the Woccon between the main Neuse and one of its tributaries, perhaps about the present Goldsboro in Wayne county or Snow Hill in...

The Sara Indians

While we know nothing positively as to the linguistic affinity of the Sara, all the evidence goes to show that, like most of the tribes of the central region of Virginia and Carolina, they were of Siouan stock. Their name is probably from the Catawba word sara, signifying a place of “tall grass or weeds” (Gatschet). While the Siouan tribes treated in the foregoing consolidated, after their decline, and joined the Iroquois in the north, most of the remaining people of that stock, including the Sara, migrated southward and merged with the Catawba tribe in South Carolina. The history of the Sara goes back to the earliest Spanish period. In 1540 De Soto, after leaving Cofachiqui (identified as Silver bluff on the Savannah, in Barnwell county, South Carolina), advanced along the border of the Chalaque (Cherokee) country, meeting several small villages of that tribe, and after traveling through a pleasant country for about 50 leagues, equal to about 150 miles, reached the province of “Xuala.” (In writing Indian names the early Spanish authors used x as the equivalent of sh; Xuala of the Spaniards is Suala of Lederer, Suali of the Cherokee, and Saura and Cheraw of later writers.) From the narrative of Garcilaso the Sara must then have lived in the Piedmont Region about the present line between South Carolina and North Carolina, southeast of Asheville, North Carolina. On the De l’Isle map “Chouala” is marked west of the upper Santee. From personal investigation among the Cherokee I learn that the correct name of the Swannanoa gap through the Blue Ridge, east of Asheville, is Suwali-Nunnahi, or “Stiwali...

The Sewee, Santee, Wateree, and Congaree Indians

The Santee and its branches, the Wateree and the Congaree, were held by the Sewee, Santee, Wateree, and Congaree tribes, whose territory extended to the neighborhood of the Waxhaw and Catawba. Nothing is known of their linguistic affinities, but their alliances and final incorporation were with the Catawba. Sewee Indians The Sewee occupied the coast and the lower part of the river below the Santee, extending westward to the divide of Ashley river about the present Monks Corner, in Berkeley county, South Carolina, where they adjoined the Etiwaw1 . Their name is preserved in Sewee Bay. Lawson, who met them in 1701, states that they had formerly been a large tribe, but, like the other tribes of Carolina, had been much wasted by smallpox and other diseases, and through the effect of liquor introduced by the whites. The great mortality always produced among them by smallpox was owing chiefly to their universal habit of plunging into the water at the critical stage of the disease in order to ease themselves of the feverish burnings. The destruction of the Sewee was the immediate result of the failure of a great trading scheme which they had elaborated, but which proved disastrous to the originators. Being dissatisfied with the bargains that the traders drove with them, and having noticed that the English vessels always came in at one particular harbor, they concluded that by starting from the same point with their canoes they could easily reach England, which they would not believe was so far off as the whites said, and there do their own trading to better advantage. Accordingly, after having...

Siouan Migrations and Iroquois Conquests

Horatio Hale, to whom belongs the credit of first discovering a Siouan language on the Atlantic coast, noted the evidences that the Tutelo language was older in its forms than the cognate dialects of the west, and predicted that if this should prove true it would argue against the supposition, which at first seemed natural, that the eastern Siouan tribes were merely offshoots front a western parent stock. Investigation might result in showing that the western Siouan, like the western Algonquian tribes, had their original home in the east. The inference that the region west of the Mississippi was the original home of Siouan tribes, and that those of that stock who dwelt on the Ohio or east of the Alleghanies were emigrants from the western prairies did not, by any means, follow from the fact that the majority of these tribes were now dwellers on the plains, as by the same course of reasoning we might conclude that the Aryan had their original seat in western Europe, that the Portuguese were emigrants from Brazil, or that the English derived their origin from America1 . As early as 1701 Gravier stated that the Ohio was known to the Miami and Illinois as the “river of the Akansea” – because that people had formerly lived along it. The Akansea (Arkansa or Kwapa) are a Siouan tribe, living at that time on the lower Arkansas River, but now in Indian Territory. More than sixty years ago Major Sibley, one of the best authorities of that period in regard to the western tribes, obtained from an aged chief of the Osage –...

The Southern Atlantic Stocks

When the French and English established their first permanent settlement in America they found the whole country in possession of numerous aboriginal tribes, some large and powerful, others restricted to a single village and its environs. The variety of languages and dialects at first appeared to be well-nigh infinite; but on further acquaintance it was discovered that these were easily reducible to a few primary stocks. Excluding the Eskimo along the northern coast, the first great group comprised the tribes of the Algonquian stock, whose territory on a linguistic map appears like a large triangle, extending on the north from the Atlantic to the Rocky mountains, but gradually narrowing southward until it dwindles to a mere coast strip in Virginia and North Carolina, and finally ends about the mouth of Neuse river. The territory of the next great group, comprising the tribes of the Iroquoian stock, either lay within or bordered on the Algonquian area. Around Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and stretching to a considerable distance inland on either side, were the Iroquois proper, the Huron or Wyandot, and several other closely connected_ tribes; on the lower Susquehanna were the Conestoga or Susquehanna, and their allies; on Nottoway and Meherrin rivers, in Virginia, were tribes bearing the names of those streams, and on the lower Neuse, in North Carolina, were the Tuskarora; while on the southwest, in the fastnesses of the southern Alleghanies, were the Cherokee, whose territory extended far into the gulf states. Although the territories held by the several Iroquoian tribes were not all contiguous, the languages, with the exception of that of the Cherokee, which...

The Pedee, Waccamaw, And Winyaw; The Hooks and Backhooks Indians

These small tribes lived on the lower Pedee and its tributaries in South Carolina and the contiguous border of North Carolina. Nothing is known of their language and very little can now be learned of their former daily life or their religious system of belief, as they were never prominent in history. For the “Hooks” and “Backhooks” there is only the authority of Lawson, who mentions them as enemies of the Santee, living in the earliest part of the eighteenth century about the mouth of Winyaw River, i. e., Winyah bay, South Carolina1 . The names have a suspicious appearance, as though badly corrupted from their proper forms. Rivers, perhaps from original information, makes them Hooks and Back Hooks, which, if correct, may indicate that the former lived nearer the coast and the others back of them. The Waccamaw lived on the river of that name, which enters the Pedee from the north almost at its mouth. The Winyaw lived on the western side of the Pedee near its mouth. Black river, a lower tributary of the Pedee from the west, was formerly called Wenee River, probably another form of the same word, and Winyah bay still preserves their memory. The two tribes are mentioned in 1715 as living near together and as receiving supplies of ammunition from the Sara, who were endeavoring to persuade them to join the Yamasi and other hostiles against the English2 . In 1755 the Cherokee and Notchee were reported to have killed some Pedee and Waccamaw in the white settlements3 . This appears to be the last mention of the Waccamaw, though from other...

The Saponi and Tutelo Indians

The Tutelo and Saponi tribes must be considered together. Their history under either name begins in 1670. As already stated, Monahassanugh and Nahyssan are other forms of Yesan, the name given to themselves by the last surviving Tutelo, and which seems to have been the generic term used by all the tribes of this connection to designate them as a people. The name Saponi (Monasickapanough?) was generally limited to a particular tribe or aggregation of tribal remnants, while the Iroquois name Tutelo, Totero, or Todirich-roone, in its various forms, although commonly used by the English to designate a particular tribe, was really the generic Iroquois term for all the Siouan tribes of Virginia and Carolina, including even the Catawba. In 1722 the remnants of all the tribes of Virginia and the adjacent parts of Carolina, included under this general designation by the Iroquois, had been gathered at Fort Christanna and were commonly known collectively as Christanna Indians or Saponi. After their removal to the Iroquois country in the north the Iroquois collective term, Tutelo, became more prominent. In deference to Hale, who first established their Siouan affinity, we have chosen to use the form Tutelo, although Totero is more in agreement with the old authorities. With the Iroquois it takes the tribal suffix rone, as Todirich roone. Hale states that, so far as known, the name has no meaning either to the Tutelo, who call themselves Yesang, or to the Iroquois1 . As the name is used by Batts and Lawson it probably belongs to some southern language and was adopted by the Iroquois. It frequently happens that Indian...

The Monacan Confederacy

The history of the Monacan tribes of Virginia belongs to two distinct periods, the colonization period and the colonial period. By the former we may understand the time of exploration and settlement from the first landing of the English in Virginia to the expeditions of Lederer and Batts, in 1670 and 1671, which supplied the first definite information in regard to the country along the base of the mountains. Under the colonial period we may include everything else, as after the Revolution the small remnant incorporated with the Iroquois in Canada virtually disappeared from history. Up to 1670 the Monacan tribes had been but little disturbed by the whites, although there is evidence that the wars waged against them by the Iroquois were keeping them constantly shifting about. Their country had not been penetrated, excepting by a few traders who kept no journals, and only the names of those living immediately on the frontiers of Virginia were known to the whites. Chief among these were the Monacan proper, having their village a short distance above Richmond. In 1670 Lederer crossed the country in a diagonal line from the present Richmond to Catawba river, on the frontiers of South Carolina, and a year later a party under Batts explored the country westward across the Blue ridge to the headwaters of New river. Thenceforward accounts were heard of Nahyssan, Sapona, Totero, Occaneechi, and others, consolidated afterward in a single body at the frontier, Fort Christanna, and thereafter known collectively as Saponi or Tutelo. The Monacan proper form the connecting link between the earlier and the later period. The other tribes of...

The Occaneechi Indians

The history of the Occaneechi is so closely interwoven with that of the Saponi and Tutelo that little remains to be said of them as a distinct tribe. Their history begins with Lederer’s journey in 1670. After leaving the Saponi, who lived then, as has been stated, on a tributary of the Staunton, he went, as he says, about 50 miles south by west of the Saponi village and thus arrived next at the “Akenatzy” village (Latin pronunciation), situated on an island in another branch of Roanoke river. His estimate of the distance is too great, as usual, and the direction was rather east than west of south of the Saponi. There can be no question of the location of the Occaneechi village, as the island retained the name long after the tribe had abandoned it. It was on the middle and largest island, just below the confluence of the Staunton and the Dan, and just above the present Clarksville, Mecklenburg County, Virginia. He described the island as small, though having a large population, well protected by natural defenses of a swift river current on all sides, with mountains or high hills round about. The fields of the Indians were on the northern bank of the river, and they raised immense crops of corn, having always on hand a year’s supply of provisions as a reserve in case of attack by hostile tribes. They were governed by two chiefs, one presiding in war, the other having charge of their hunting and agriculture. They held all property in common. Ceremonial feasting was an important feature of their daily life, each...
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