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Cusabo Indian Tribe
Posted By Dennis Partridge On In Native American,South Carolina | No Comments
Little as we know about these people, it is a curious fact that their territory was one of the first in North America on which European settlements were attempted, and these were of historical importance and even celebrity. They were made, moreover, by three different nations, the Spaniards, French, and English.
The first visitors were the Spaniards, who made a landing here in 1521, only eight years after Ponce de Leon’s assumed discovery of Florida. Accounts of this voyage, more or less complete, have been given by Peter Marytr,Gomara, Oviedo, and Herrera, and in more recent times by Navarrete, Henry Harrisse, John Gilmary Shea, and Woodbury Lowery. That of Shea is based largely on original manuscripts, and, as it contains all of the essential facts, I will quote it in full.
In 1520 Lucas Vasquez de Ayllon, one of the auditors of the Island of St. Domingo, though possessed of wealth, honors, and domestic felicity, aspired to the glory of discovering some new land, and making it the seat of a prosperous colony. Having secured the necessary license, he despatched a caravel under the command of Francisco Gordillo, with directions to sail northward through the Bahamas, and thence strike the shore of the continent. Gordillo set out on his exploration, and near the Island of Lucayoneque, one of the Lucayueloe, descried another caravel. His pilot, Alonzo Fernandez Sotil, proceeded toward it in a boat, and soon recognized it as a caravel commanded by a kinsman of his, Pedro de Quexos, fitted out in part, though not avowedly, by Juan Ortiz de Matienzo, an auditor associated with Ayllon in the judiciary. This caravel was returning from an unsuccessful cruise among the Bahamas for Caribs — the object of the expedition being to capture Indians in order to sell them as slaves. On ascertaining the object of Gordillo’s voyage, Quexoe proposed that they should continue the exploration together. After a sail of eight or nine days, in which they ran little more than a hundred leagues, they reached the coast of the continent at the mouth of a considerable river, to which they gave the name of St. John the Baptist, from the fact that they touched the coast on the day set apart to honor the Precursor of Christ. The year was 1521, and the point reached was, according to the estimate of the explorers, in latitude 33° 30′.
Boats put off from the caravels and landed some twenty men on the shore; and while the ships endeavored to enter the river, these men were surrounded by Indians, whose good-will they gained by presents.
Some days later, Gordillo formally took possession of the country in the name of Ayllon, and of his associate Diego Caballero, and of the King, as Quexos did also in the name of his employers on Sunday, June 30, 1521. Crosses were cut on the trunks of trees to mark the Spanish occupancy.
Although Ayllon had charged Gordillo to cultivate friendly relations with the Indians of any new land he might discover, Gordillo joined with Quexoe in seizing some seventy of the natives, with whom they sailed away, without any attempt to make an exploration of the coast.
On the return of the vessel to Santo Domingo, Ayllon condemned his captain’s act; and the matter was brought before a commission, presided over by Diego Columbus, for the consideration of some important affairs. The Indians were declared free, and it was ordered that they should be restored to their native land at the earliest possible moment. Meanwhile they were to remain in the hands of Ayllon and Matienzo.
Another account of this expedition is given by Peter Martyr from whom Gomara and nearly all subsequent writers copied it.
While it is not fortified with official documents like that of Shea it comes from a contemporary and one intimately acquainted with all of the principals and therefore deserves to be placed beside the other as an original source of information.
Some Spaniards, anxious as hunters pursuing wild beasts through the mountains and swamps to capture the Indians of that archipelago [the Bahamas], embarked on two ships built at the cost of seven of them. They sailed from Puerto de Plata situated on the north coast of Hispaniola, and laid their course towards the Lucayas. Three years have passed since then, and it is only now, in obedience to Camillo Gallino, who wishes me to acquaint Your Excellency with some still unknown particulars concerning these discoveries, that I speak of this expedition. These Spaniards visited all the Lucayas but without finding the plunder, for their neighbors had already explored the archipelago and systematically depopulated it. Not wishing to expose themselves to ridicule by returning to Hispaniola empty-handed, they continued their course towards the north. Many people said they lied when they declared they had purposely chosen that direction.
They were driven by a sudden tempest which lasted two days, to within sight of a lofty promontory which we will later describe. When they landed on this coast, the natives, amazed at the unexpected sight, regarded it as a miracle, for they had never seen ships. At first they rushed in crowds to the beach, eager to see; but when the Spaniards took to their shallops, the natives fled with the swiftness of the wind, leaving the coast deserted. Our compatriots pursued them and some of the more agile and swift-footed young men got ahead and captured a man and a woman, whose flight had been less rapid. They took them on board their ships and after giving them clothing, released them. Touched by this generosity, serried masses of natives again appeared on the beach.
When their sovereign heard of this generosity, and beheld for the first time these unknown and precious garments — for they only wear the skins of lions and other wild beasts — he sent fifty of his servants to the Spaniards, carrying such provisions as they eat. When the Spaniards landed, he received them respectfully and cordially, and when they exhibited a wish to visit the neighborhood, he provided them with guide and an escort. Wherever they showed themselves the natives, full of admiration, advanced to meet them with presents, as though they were divinities to be worshipped. What impressed them most was the sight of the beards and the woolen and silk clothing.
But what then! The Spaniards ended by violating this hospitality. For when they had finished their explorations, they enticed numerous natives by lies and tricks to visit their ships, and when the vessels were quickly crowded with men and women they raised anchor, set sail, and carried these despairing unfortunates into slavery. By such means they sowed hatred and warfare throughout that peaceful and friendly region, separating children from their parents and wives from their husbands. Nor is this all. Only one of the two ships returned, and of the other there has been no news. As the vessel was old, it is probable that she went down with all on board, innocent and guilty. This spoliation occasioned the Royal council at Hispaniola much vexation, but it remained unpunished. It was first thought to send the prisoners back, but nothing was done, because the plan would have been difficult to realise, and besides one of the ships was lost.
These details were furnished me by a virtuous priest, learned in law, called the bachelor Alvares de Castro. His learning and his virtues caused him to be named Dean of the Cathedral of Concepcion, in Hispaniola, and simultaneously vicar and inquisitor.
Thus his testimony may be confidently accepted. … It is from Castro’s report and after several enquiries into this seizure that we have learned that the women brought from that region wear lions’ skins and the men wear skins of all other wild beasts. He says these people are white and larger than the generality of men. When they were landed some of them searched among the rubbish heaps along the town ditches for decaying bodies of dogs and asses with which to satisfy their hunger. Most of them died of misery, while those who survived were divided among the colonists of Hispaniola, who disposed of them as they pleased, either in their houses, the gold-mines, or their fields.
Farther on Peter Martyr gives Ayllon, “one of those at whose expense the two ships had been equipped,” and his Indian servant, Francisco of Chicora, as additional informants, and states that he had sometimes invited them to his table.
In 1623 Ayllon obtained a royal cédula securing to him exclusive right of settlement within the limits of a strip of coast on either side of the place where his subordinate had come to land. In 1626, being unable to visit the new land himself, in order to secure his rights he sent two caravels to explore his territory under Pedro de Quexos. “They regained the good will of the natives,” says Shea, ”and explored the coast for 260 leagues, setting up stone crosses with the name of Charles V and the date of the act of taking possession. They returned to Santo Domingo in July, 1626, bringing one or two Indians from each province, who might be trained to act as interpreters.” After considerable delay Ayllon himself sailed for his new government early in June, 1526, with three large vessels, 600 persons of both sexes, including priests and physicians, and 100 horses. They reached the North American coast at the mouth of a river calculated by them to be in north latitude 33° 40′, and they called it the Jordan — from the name of one of Ayllon’s captains, it is said. Here, however, Ayllon lost one of his vessels, and his interpreters, including Francisco of Chicora, deserted him. Dissatisfied with the region in which he had landed and obtaining news of one better from a party he had sent along the shore, Ayllon determined to remove, and he seems to have followed the coast. The explorers are said to have continued for 40 or 46 leagues until they came to a river called Gualdape, where they began a settlement, which was called San Miguel de Gualdape. The land hereabout was flat and full of marshes. The river was large and well stocked with fish, but the entrance was shallow and passable only at high tide. The colony did not prosper, the weather became severe, many sickened and died, and on October 18, 1526, Ayllon died also. Trouble soon broke out among the surviving colonists and finally, in the middle of a severe winter, those that were left sailed back to Hispaniola.
Such are the principal facts concerning the first Spanish explorations and attempts at colonization upon the coast of the Carolinas. Before giving the information obtained through them regarding the aborigines of the country and their customs it will be necessary to determine as nearly as possible the location of the three rivers mentioned in the relations, the River of St. John the Baptist, the River Jordan, and the River Gualdape, an undertaking which has been attempted already in the most painstaking manner, by the historians Harrisse, Shea, and Lowery.
So far as the River Jordan is concerned, there is scarcely the shadow of a doubt that it was the Santee. The identification is indicated by evidence drawn from a great many early writers, and practically demonstrated by the statements of two or three of the more careful navigators. Ecija, for instance, places its mouth in N. lat. 33° 11′, which is almost exactly correct. A very careful pilot’s description appended to the account of his second voyage puts it only a little higher. Furthermore, tribes that can be identified readily as the Sewee and Santee are mentioned by him and they are on this river in the positions they later occupied. He states also, on the authority of the Indians, that a trail led from the mouth of it to a town near the mountains called Xoada, which is readily recognizable as the Siouan Cheraw tribe. Now, as Mr. Mooney has shown, and as all evidence indicates, the Cheraw were at this time at the head of Broad River. The Pedee or the Cape Fear would have carried travelers to the Cheraw miles out of their way. Finally it must be remembered that the name Jordan was applied to a certain river during the entire Spanish period in the Southeast. It had a definite meaning, and when the English settled the country Spanish cartographers were at no loss to identify their Jordan under its new English name, so that Navarrete says that “on some ancient maps there is a river at thirty-three degrees North, which they name Jordan or Santée.” One of the reasons for uncertainty regarding it is the fact that the ancient Cape San Roman, from which the Jordan is frequently located, is not the present Cape Romain, but apparently Cape Fear, and is thus universally represented as north of the Jordan instead of south of it. The argument could be elaborated at length, but it is unnecessary. The burden of proof is rather on him who would deny the identification.
With regard to the other two rivers we have no such certain evidence, and their exact positions will probably always remain in doubt. The cédula issued to Ayllon places the newly discovered land in which was the River of St. John the Baptist in N. lat. 35°-37°, but for anything like an exact statement we must depend entirely on the testimony of the pilot Quexos, who estimated that it lay considerably farther south, in N. lat. 33° 30′. It would therefore be somewhere in the immediate neighborhood of the Jordan, possibly that very stream. However, immediately after the statement of Navarrete quoted above, he adds, “to the northeast of that which they name Santee, at a distance of 48 miles, there is another river, which they call Chico.” This would at once suggest an identification of that stream with the Pedee, or with Winyah Bay, though of course where they enter the ocean the Santee and Pedee are much nearer together than 48 miles. I am, however, inclined to suspect that “the river Chico” represented simply some cartographer’s guess as to the location of Chicora, and was not, as Navarrete seems to assume farther on, itself the original of the term Chicora.
The general position is, however, indicated by another line of evidence. It will be remembered that among the Indians carried off by Gordillo and Quexos from the River of St. John the Baptist in 1621 was one who received the name Francisco of Chicora, who related such wonderful tales of the new country that many Spaniards, including the historian Oviedo, believed that no confidence could be reposed in him. His remarkable story of tailed men, however, Mr. Mooney and the writer have been able to establish as an element in the mythology of the southern Indians, and enough of the ”provinces” which he mentioned are identifiable to show that the names are not the pure fabrication which Oviedo supposed.
So far as I am aware there are but three original sources for the complete list of provinces — two in the Documentos Ineditos and the third in Oviedo. An equally ancient authority for part of them, however, is Peter Martyr. I give these in the following comparative table, and in addition the lists from Navarrete, and Barcia, who had access to the original documents.
The variants of these names enable us, by comparing them with one another, to determine the originals with considerable certainty in most cases, though some still remain in question. As reconstructed, the list would be something like this: Duhare or Duache, Chicora, Xapira or Xapida, Yta or Hitha, Tancal or Tancac, Anica, Tiye or Tihe, Cocayo, Quohathe, Guacaya, Xoxi, Sona, Pasqui, Mambo, Xamunambe, Huaque, Tanzaca, Yenyohol, Pahoc or Paor, Yamiscaron, Orixa, Insiguanin or Inziguanin, Anon. Yamiscaron without doubt refers to the Yamasee Indians, the ending probably being a Siouan suffix, and the whole possibly the original of the name Yamacraw applied at a much later date to a body of Indians at the mouth of the Savannah. There can be little question also that Orixa is the later Spanish Orista, and English Edisto, Coçayo the Coosa Indians of the upper courses of the rivers of lower South Carolina, or perhaps the town of “Coçapoy” and Xapira, or rather Xapida, Sampit. Pasqui is evidently the Pasque of Ecija, which seems to have been inland near the Waxaw Indians. The remaining names can not be identified with such probability, but plausible suggestions may be made regarding some of them. Thus Yta is perhaps the later Etiwaw or Itwan, Sona may be Stono, which sometimes appears in the form “Stonah,” and Guacaya is perhaps Waccamaw, gua in Spanish being frequently employed for the English syllable wa. If Pahoc is the correct form of the name of province 19 it may contain an explanation of the “Backbooks” mentioned by Lawson, supposing the form of the latter which Rivers gives, “Back Hooks,” is the correct one.
Two facts regarding this list have particular importance for us in this investigation, first, the appearance of the phonetic r (in Duhare, Chicora, Xapira, Arambe, Yamiscaron, Orixa), and, second, that all of the provinces identified, all in fact for which an identification is even suggested, are in the Cusabo country or the regions in close contact with it. The first of these points indicates that Francisco came from one of the eastern Siouan family of tribes, while the second would show that he had considerable knowledge of the tribes south of them, and thus points to some Siouan area not far removed. Since this was also on the coast, the mouths of the Santee and Pedee are the nearest points satisfying the requirements. It is true that there is no l in Catawba, while two words ending in l—Tancal and Yenyohol-occur in the list; but these may have been taken over intact from Cusabo, or they may have been incorrectly copied, since Oviedo has Tancac for the first of them. Winyah Bay or the Pedee River would be indicated more definitely if Daxe, a town which the Indians told Ecija was four days journey north, or rather northeast, of the Santee, were identical with the Duache of the Ayllon colonists. But, however interesting it might be to establish the location of the river of John the Baptist with precision, it makes no practical difference in the present investigation whether it was the Santee or one of those streams flowing into Winyah Bay. That it was one of them can hardly be doubted.
The third river to be identified, Gualdape, is the most difficult of all. This is due in the first place to an uncertainty as to which way the settlers moved when they left the River Jordan. Oviedo, who is our only authority on this point, says: “Despues que estovieron allí algunos dias, descontentos de la tierra é ydas las lenguas ó guias que llevaron, acordaron de yrse á poblar la costa adelante háçia la costa ocçidental, é fueron á un grand rio (quarenta ó quarenta é çinco leguas de allí, pocas más ó menos) que se diçe Gualdape; é allí assentaro su campo ó real en la costa dél.” (“After they had been there for some days, being dissatisfied with the country and the interpreters or guides having left them, they decided to go and settle on the coast beyond, in the direction of the west coast; and they went to a large river, 40 or 45 leagues from that place, more or less, called Gualdape; and there they established their camp or settlement on the coast.”) Navarrete interprets this to mean that they traveled north, and he has been followed by both Harrisse and Shea. The last is confirmed in his opinion by the narrative of Ecija, which states that “Guandape” was near where the English had established their settlement; consequently he carries Ayllon from the River Jordan all the way to Jamestown, in Virginia. It seems to the writer, however, that the “English settlement” to which Ecija refers and which he places on an island must have been the Roanoke colony, although in Ecija’s time it had been abandoned 20 years. But in either case the distance from the mouth of the Pedee or Santee was too great to be described as “40 or 45 leagues.”
On the other hand, there are good reasons for believing that Ayllon did not move north after abandoning the River Jordan, but southwest. It is unfortunate that Oviedo’s words are not clearer, but it seems to the writer that the most natural interpretation of them is that the settlers followed the coast westward, which would actually be in this case toward the southwest. Lowery also comes to this conclusion, but since he starts them from a different point—the mouth of the Cape Fear River—he brings them no farther than the Pedee, our starting point. To what Oviedo tells us of this movement Navarrete adds the information, that the women and the sick were transported thither in boats while the remainder of the company made their way by land. Lowery accepts this statement without question, but Navarrete is not an absolutely reliable authority. His information on this point can only have been drawn from unpublished manuscripts, and unless we have some means of substantiating it, it seems unsafe to assume a march of so many leagues when no reason is presented why the Spaniards should not have taken to their vessels. My belief is that they did so. But how much of the coast is embraced in these 40 or 45 leagues it is impossible to say, for often the “leagues” of these old relations are equivalent only to the same number of miles. Thus Gualdape might be anywhere from 40 to 135 miles away, somewhere between Charleston Harbor and the mouth of Savannah River.
Charleston Harbor itself seems to be excluded by the description of the bar at the mouth of the river of Gualdape which the vessels could cross only at high tide- “la tierra toda muy liana é de muchas çiénegas, pero el rio muy poderoso é de muchos é buenos pescados; é á la entrada dél era baxo, si con la cresçiente no entraban los navios.” (“The land very flat and with many swamps, but the river very powerful and with many good fish, and at its entrance was a bar, so that the vessels could enter only at flood tide.”) If Navarrete is right in stating that the able-bodied men reached Gualdape by land I think we must make a very conservative interpretation of the 40 or 45 leagues and assume miles rather than leagues. This would not bring us farther than the neighborhood of Charleston Harbor. If, however, we take the distance given by Oviedo at its face value it carries us to the mouth of the Savannah. As a matter of fact we can not know absolutely where this river lay. It might have been the Stono, the North or South Edisto, the Coosawhatchie, the Broad, or some less conspicuous stream. All of these have offshore bars, and the channels into most are so narrow that they might not have been discovered by the explorers, who therefore supposed that the Gualdape River could be entered only at high tide. But taking Oviedo ‘s two statements, regarding the distance covered and the size of the river, which was apparently of fresh water, I am inclined to believe the Savannah to have been the river in question, because there are two independent facts which tend to bear out this theory. In the first place the companions of De Soto when at Cofitachequi discovered glass beads, rosaries, and Biscayan axes, “from which they recognized that they were in the government or territory where the lawyer Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon came to his ruin.” So Ranjel. Biedma says in substance the same, but what the Fidalgo of Elvas tells us is more to the point: “In the town were found a dirk and beads that had belonged to Christians, who, the Indians said, had many years before been in the port, distant two day’s journey.”
Now Cofitachequi has usually been placed upon the Savannah River, and “the port” might naturally refer to that at its mouth. At all events two days’ journey would not take the traveler very far to the north or south of that river, nor is it likely that these European articles had gotten many miles from the place where they had been obtained. They might indeed have been secured from the navigators who conducted the first or the second expedition or from Ayllon when he was at “the River Jordan,” but on the first voyage the dealings with the natives were very brief, and no relations with them seem to have been entered into while Ayllon and his companions were at the Jordan on their last voyage. It is also rather unlikely that so many Spanish articles should have reached the Savannah from the mouth of the Pedee. In fact this is precluded if the statement of the Indians quoted by Elvas is to be relied upon. The second expedition was a mere reconnaissance and the explorers do not seem to have stopped long in any one place. The most natural conclusion is that Cofitachequi was not far from the point where Ayllon had made his final and disastrous attempt at colonization, and, as I have said, Cofitachequi is not usually placed by modern students eastward of the Savannah. Secondly, the name Gualdape, containing as it does the phonetic l, would seem not to have been in Siouan territory, but instead suggests a name or set of names very common in Spanish accounts of the Georgia coast. Thus Jekyl Island was known as Gualdaquini, and St. Catherines Island was called Guale, a name adopted by the Spaniards to designate the entire province. True, Oviedo seems to place Gualdape in N. lat. 33° or even higher, but this was evidently an inference from the latitude given for the first landfall at the River Jordan and his supposition that the coast ran east and west. All things considered, it would seem most likely that the at-tempted settlement of San Miguel de Gualdape was at or near the mouth of Savannah River.
To sum up, then, if my identification of these places is absolutely, or only approximately, correct the River of St. John the Baptist and the River Jordan would be near the mouths of the Pedee and Santee, and any ethnological information reported by the Spaniards from this neighborhood would concern principally the eastern Siouan tribes, while Gualdape would be near the mouth of the Savannah, and any ethnological information from that neighborhood would apply either to the Guale Indians or to the Cusabo.
Regarding the Indians of Chicora and Duhare a very interesting and important account is preserved by Peter Martyr, who obtained a large part of it directly from Francisco of Chicora himself and the rest from Ayllon and his companions. This account has received less credence than it deserves because the original has seldom been consulted, but instead Gomara’s narrative, an abridged and to some extent distorted copy of that of Peter Martyr, and still worse reproductions by later writers. Thus in the French translation of Gomara we read that the priests of Chicora abstained from eating human flesh (“Ils ne mangent point de la chair humaine commc les autres”) , while the original simply says ”they do not eat flesh (no comen carne).” The translation also informs us that the Chicoranos made cheese from the milk of their women (”Ils font du fromage du laict de leurs femines”), while the original states that they made it from the milk of does. But even in his original narrative Gomara has “improved upon” Peter Martyr, since he tells us that deer were kept in enclosures and sent out with shepherds, while Peter Martyr merely states that the young were kept in the houses and their mothers allowed to go out to pasture, coming back at night to their fawns. Out of a not altogether impossible fact we thus have a quite improbable story and utterly impossible accessories developed. Although, as I have endeavored to show, these people were probably Siouan, they were so near the Cusabo that influences could readily pass from one to the other, and for that reason and because the material has hitherto escaped ethnological investigators I will append it.
Leaving the coast of Chicorana on one hand, the Spaniards landed in another country called “Duharhe.” Ayllon says the natives are white men,Z and his testimony is confirmed by Francisco Chicorana. Their hair is brown and hangs to their heels. They are governed by a king of gigantic size, called Datha, whose wife is as large as himself. They have five children. In place of horses the king is carried on the shoulders of strong young men, who run with him to the different places he wishes to visit. At this point I must confess that the different accounts cause me to hesitate. The Dean and Ayllon do not agree; for what one asserts concerning these young men acting as horses, the other denies. The Dean said: “I have never spoken to anybody who has seen these horses,” to which Ayllon answered. ”I have heard it told by many people,” while Francisco Chicorana, although he was present, was unable to settle this dispute. Could I act as arbitrator I would say that, according to the investigations I have made, these people were too barbarous and uncivilized to have horses. Another country near Duhare is called Xapida. Pearls are found there, and also a kind of stone resembling pearls which is much prized by the Indians.
In all these regions they visited the Spaniards noticed herds of deer similar to our herds of cattle. These deer bring forth and nourish their young in the houses of the natives. During the daytime they wander freely through the woods in search of their food, and in the evening they come back to their little ones, who have been cared for, allowing themselves to be shut up in the courtyards and even to be milked, when they have suckled their fawns. The only milk the natives know is that of the does, from which they make cheese. They also keep a great variety of chickens, ducks, geese, and other similar fowls. They eat maize bread, similar to that of the islanders, but they do not know the yucca root, from which cassabi, the food of the nobles, is made. The maize grains are very like our Genoese millet, and in size are as large as our peas. The natives cultivate another cereal called xathi. This is believed to be millet but it is not certain, for very few Castilians know millet, as it is nowhere grown in Castile. This country produces various kinds of potatoes, but of small varieties….
The Spaniards speak of still other regions— Hitha, Xamunambe, and Tihe — all of which are believed to be governed by the same king. In the last named the inhabitants wear a distinctive priestly costume, and they are regarded as priests and venerated as such by their neighbors. They cut their hair, leaving only two locks growing on their temples, which are bound under the chin. When the natives make war against their neighbors, according to the regrettable custom of mankind, these priests are invited by both sides to be present, not as actors, but as witnesses of the conflict. When the battle is about to open. they circulate among the warriors who are seated or lying on the ground, and sprinkle them with the juice of certain herbs they have chewed with their teeth; just as our priests at the beginning of the Mass sprinkle the worshippers with a branch dipped in holy water. When this ceremony is finished, the opposing sides fall upon one another. While the battle rages, the priests are left in charge of the camp, and when it is finished they look after the wounded, making no distinction between friends and enemies, and busy themselves in burying the dead. The inhabitants of this country do not eat human flesh; the prisoners of war are enslaved by the victors.
The Spaniards have visited several regions of that vast country; they are called Arambe Guacaia, Quohathe, Tanzacca, and Pahor. The color of the inhabitants is dark brown. None of them have any system of writing, but they preserve traditions of great antiquity in rhymes and chants. Dancing and physical exercises are held in honor, and they are passionately fond of ball games, in which they exhibit the greatest skill. The women know how to spin and sew. Although they are partially clothed with skins of wild beasts, they use cotton such as the Milanese call bombasio, and they make nets of the fiber of certain tough grasses, just as hemp and flax are used for the same purposes in Europe.
There is another country called Inzignanin, whose inhabitants declare that, according to the tradition of their ancestors, there once arrived amongst them men with tails a meter long and as thick as a man’s arm. This tail was not movable like those of the quadrupeds, but formed one mass as we see is the case with fish and crocodiles, and was as hard as a bone. When these men wished to sit down, they had consequently to have a seat with an open bottom; and if there was none, they had to dig a hole more than a cubit deep to hold their tails and allow them to rest. Their fingers were as long as they were broad, and their skin was rough. almost scaly They ate nothing but raw fish, and when the fish gave out they all perished, leaving no descendants. These fables and other similar nonsense have been handed down to the natives by their parents. Let us now notice their rites and ceremonies.
The natives have no temples, but use the dwellings of their sovereigns as such. As a proof of this we have said that a gigantic sovereign called Datha ruled in the province of Duhare, whose palace was built of atone, while all the other houses were built of lumber covered with thatch or grasses. In the courtyard of this palace, the Spaniards found two idols as large as a three-year-old child, one male and one female. These idols are both called Inamahari, and had their residence in the palace. Twice each year they are exhibited, the first time at the sowing season, when they are invoked to obtain successful result for their labors. We will later speak of the harvest. Thanksgivings are offered to them if the crops are good, in the contrary case they are implored to show themselves more favorable the following year.
The idols are carried in procession amidst pomp, accompanied by the entire people. It will not be useless to describe this ceremony. On the eve of the festival the king has his bed made in the room where the idols stand, and sleeps in their presence. At daybreak the people assemble, and the king himself carries these idols, hugging them to his breast, to the top of his palace, where he exhibits them to the people. He and they are saluted with respect and fear by the people, who fall upon their knees or throw themselves on the ground with loud shouts. The king then descends and hangs the idols, draped in artistically worked cotton stuffs. upon the breasts of two venerable men of authority. They are, moreover, adorned with feather mantles of various colors, and are thus carried escorted with hymns and songs into the country. while the girls and young men dance and leap. Anyone who stopped in his house or absented himself during the procession would be suspected of heresy; and not only the absent, but likewise any who took part in the ceremony carelessly and without observing the ritual. The men escort the idols during the day, while during the night the women watch over them, lavishing upon them demonstrations of joy and respect. The next day they were carried back to the palace with the same ceremonies with which they, were taken out. If the sacrifice is accomplished with devotion and in conformity with the ritual, the Indians believe they will obtain rich crops, bodily health, peace, or if they are about to fight, victory, from these idols. Thick cakes, similar to those the ancients made from flour, are offered to them The natives are convinced that their prayers for harvests will be heard, especially if the cakes are mixed with tears.
Another feast is celebrated every year when a roughly carved wooden statue is carried into the country and fixed upon a high pole planted in the ground. This first pole is surrounded by similar ones, upon which people hang gifts for the gods, each one according to his means. At nightfall the principal citizens divide these offerings among themselves, just as the priests do with the cakes and other offerings given them by the women. Whoever offers the divinity the most valuable presents is the most honored. Witnesses are present when the gifts are offered, who announce after the ceremony what every one has given, just as notaries might do in Europe. Each one is thus stimulated by a spirit of rivalry to outdo his neighbor. From sunrise till evening the people dance round this statue, clapping their hands. and when nightfall has barely set in, the image and the pole on which it was fixed are carried away and thrown into the sea, if the country is on the coast, or into the river, if it is along a river’s bank. Nothing more is seen of it, and each year a new statue is made.
The natives celebrate a third festival, during which, after exhuming a long-buried skeleton, they erect a black tent out in the country, leaving one end open so that the sky is visible; upon a blanket placed in the center of the tent they then spread out the bones. Only women surround the tent, all of them weeping, and each of them offers such gifts as she can afford. The following day the bones are carried to the tomb and are henceforth considered sacred. As soon as they are buried, or everything is ready for their burial, the chief priest addresses the surrounding people from the summit of a mound, upon which he fulfills the functions of orator. Ordinarily he pronounces a eulogy on the deceased, or on the immortality of the soul, or the future life. He says that souls originally came from the icy regions of the north, where perpetual snow prevails. They therefore expiate their sins under the master of that region who is called Mateczungua, but they return to the southern regions, where another great sovereign, Quexuga, governs. Quexuga is lame and is of a sweet and generous disposition. He surrounds the newly arrived souls with numberless attentions, and with him they enjoy a thousand delights; young girls sing and dance, parents are reunited to children, and everything one formerly loved is enjoyed. The old grow young and everybody is of the same age, occupied only in giving himself up to joy and pleasure.
Such are the verbal traditions handed down to them from their ancestors. They are regarded as sacred and considered authentic. Whoever dared to believe differently would be ostracized. These natives also believe that we live under the vault of heaven; they do not suspect the existence of the antipodes. They think the sea has its gods, and believe quite as many foolish things about them as Greece, the friend of lies, talked about Nereids and other marine gods–Glaucus, Phorcus, and the rest of them.
When the priest has finished his speech he inhales the smoke of certain herbs, puffing it in and out, pretending to thus purge and absolve the people from their sins. After this ceremony the natives return home, convinced that the inventions of this impostor not only soothe the spirits, but contribute to the health of their bodies.
Another fraud of the priests is as follows: When the chief is at death’s door and about to give up his soul they send away all witnesses, and then surrounding his bed they perform some secret jugglery which makes him appear to vomit sparks and ashes. It looks like sparks jumping from a bright fire, or those sulphured papers, which people throw into the air to amuse themselves These sparks, rushing through the air and quickly disappearing, look like those shooting stars which people call leaping wild goats. The moment the dying man expires a cloud of those sparks shoots up 3 cubits high with a noise and quickly vanishes. They hail this flame as the dead man’s soul, bidding it a last farewell and accompanying its flight with their failings, tears, and funereal cries, absolutely convinced that it has taken its flight to heaven. Lamenting and weeping they escort the body to the tomb.
Widows are forbidden to marry again if the husband has died a natural death; but if he has been executed they may remarry. The natives like their women to be chaste. They detest immodesty and are careful to put aside suspicious women. The lords have the right to have two women, but the common people have only one. The men engage in mechanical occupations, especially carpenter work and tanning skins of wild beasts while the women busy themselves with distaff, spindle, and needle.
Their year is divided into 12 moons. Justice is administered by magistrates, criminals and the guilty being severely punished, especially thieves. Their kings are of gigantic size, as we have already mentioned. All the provinces we have named pay them tributes and these tributes are paid in kind: for they are free from the pest of money, and trade is carried on by exchanging goods. They love games, especially tennis; they also like metal circles turned with movable rings, which they spin on a table, and they shoot arrows at a mark. They use torches and oil made from different fruits for illumination at night. They likewise have olive-trees. They invite one another to dinner. Their longevity is great and their old age is robust.
They easily cure fevers with the juice of plants, as they also do their wounds, unless the latter are mortal. They employ simples, of which they are acquainted with a great many. When any of them suffers from a bilious stomach he drinks a draught composed of a common plant called Guahi, or eats the herb itself; after which he immediately vomits his bile and feels better. This is the only medicament they use, and they never consult doctors except experienced old women, or priests acquainted with the secret virtues of herbs. They have none of our delicacies, and as they have neither the perfumes of Araby nor fumigations nor foreign spices at their disposition, they content themselves with what their country produces and live happily in better health to a more robust old age. Various dishes and different foods are not required to satisfy their appetites, for they are contented with little.
It is quite laughable to hear how the people salute the lords and how the king responds, especially to his noble.. As a sign of respect the one who salutes puts his hands to his nostrils and gives a bellow like a bull, after which he extends his hands toward the forehead and in front of the face. The king does not bother to return the salutes of his people, and responds to the nobles by half bending his head toward the left shoulder without saying anything.
I now come to a fact which will appear incredible to your excellency. You already know that the ruler of this region is a tyrant of gigantic size. How does it happen that only he and his wife have attained this extraordinary size? No one of their subjects has explained this to me, but I have questioned the above-mentioned licenciate Ayllon, a serious and responsible man, who had his information from those who had shared with him the cost of the expedition. I likewise questioned the servant Francisco, to whom the neighbors had spoken. Neither nature nor birth has given these princes the advantage of size as an hereditary gift; they have acquired it by artifice. While they are still in their cradles and in charge of their nurses, experts in the matter are called, who by the application of certain herbs, soften their young bones. During a period of several days they rub the limbs of the child with these herbs, until the bones become as soft as wax. They then rapidly bend them in such ways that the infant is almost killed. Afterwards they feed the nurse on foods of a special virtue. The child is wrapped in warm covers, the nurse gives it her breast and revives it with her milk, thus gifted with strengthening properties. After some days of rest the lamentable task of stretching the bones is begun anew. Such is the explanation given by the servant, Francisco Chicorana.
The Dean of La Concepcion, whom I have mentioned, received from the Indians stolen on the vessel that was saved explanations differing from those furnished to Ayllon and his associates. These explanations dealt with medicaments and other means used for increasing the size. There was no torturing of the bones, but a very stimulating diet composed of crushed herbs was used. This diet was given principally at the age of puberty, when it is nature’s tendency to develop, and sustenance is converted into flesh and bones. Certainly it is an extraordinary fact, but we must remember what is told about these herbs, and if their hidden virtues could be learned I would willingly believe in their efficacy. We understand that only the kings are allowed to use them, for if anyone else dared to taste them, or to obtain the recipe of this diet, he would be guilty of treason, for he would appear to equal the king. It is considered, after a fashion, that the king should not be the size of everybody else, for he should look down upon and dominate those who approach him. Such is the story told to me, and I repeat it for what it is worth. Your excellency may believe it or not.
I have already sufficiently described the ceremonies and customs of these natives. Let us now turn our attention to the study of nature. Bread and meat have been considered; let us devote our attention to trees.
There are in this country virgin forests of oak, pine, cypress, nut and almond trees, amongst the branches of which riot wild vines, whose white and black grapes are not used for wine-making, for the people manufacture their drinks from other fruits. There are likewise fig-trees and other kinds of spice-plants. The trees are improved by grafting, just as with us; though without cultivation they would continue in a wild state. The natives cultivate gardens in which grows an abundance of vegetables, and they take an interest in growing their orchards. They even have trees in their gardens. One of these trees is called the corito, of which the fruit resembles a small melon in size and flavor. Another called guacomine bears fruit a little larger than a quince of a delicate and remarkable odor, and which is very wholesome. They plant and cultivate many other trees and plants, of which I shall not speak further, lest by telling everything at one breath I become monotonous.
In this narrative there appears to be very little not based on fact. The sharp-tailed people are, as noted, still believed in by the southern Indians, from which we may infer that the story regarding them was known throughout the South. As to the receipts for making giants they are such as any Indian might believe efficacious and where great stature happened to follow assume that his treatment had been the efficient cause, and when it did not that the fault did not lie with the medicines. The notion that deer were herded and milked might very well have originated in the fact that the Spaniards encountered pet animals in certain of the villages they visited. The ceremonials described are the reverse of improbable. The reverence for a male and a female deity connected with sowing and harvesting would seem to be the result of a natural association of sexual processes with germination in the vegetable world; and the ceremonies over the bones of the dead recall what Lawson tells us of the separation of the flesh from the bones among the Santee and interment in mounds. It is a curious and interesting fact that, although the name Chicora appears most prominently in subsequent histories and charts, so as to give its name to a large part of the Carolinas, Peter Martyr, the original authority for most that has been said about that country, assigns it a very subordinate position. As already noted, the greater part of what he has to tell applies to Duhare, the second province visited by the Spaniards, and he seems to say that all of the provinces which he mentions were subject to the king of Duhare and paid him tribute. At least he says as much for Hitha, Xamunambe, and Tihe. Of course no reliance can be placed upon tales of subjection and the exaction of tribute, but at least Duhare was plainly a very important country at that time, distinctly overshadowing Chicora. What is said about the people of Tihe being, as it were, a race of priests is interesting, and may mean that they were of a different stock. It is probable that Inzignanin (or rather Inziguanin), the inhabitants of which told about the race of sharp-tails, was a province farther south than the others, perhaps in the Cusabo or Guale country, but so far it has been impossible to identify it. Chicora and Duhare were evidently upon the coast, but how far apart we do not know. Unfortunately Peter Martyr does not tell us whether the Spaniards turned north or south from Chicora in going to the latter province. We may feel pretty certain that both were in Siouan territory, but more than that we can not say with any degree of assurance.
For information regarding the people of Gualdape we must consult Oviedo. While, as we have said, the quotations made from Peter Martyr evidently apply to some of the eastern Siouan tribes, we now come to Indians almost certainly of Muskhogean stock. The following is Oviedo’s description:
The country of Gualdape, as well as from the river of Santa Elena toward the west, is all level. The Spaniards who came with the licentiate Ayllon did not see the villages; they only met with a few isolated houses or cabins forming little hamlets, at great distances one from the other. On some of the small islands on the coast there are certain mosques or temples of those idolatrous people and many remains [bones] of their dead, those of the elders apart from those of the young people or children. They look like the ossuaries or burying places of the common people; the bodies of their principal people are in temples by themselves or in little chapels in another community and also on little islands. And those houses or temples have walls of stone and mortar (which mortar they make of oyster shells) and they are about one estado and a half in height, the rest of the building above this wall being made of wood (pine). There are many pines there. There are several principal houses all along the coast and each one of them must be considered by those people to be a village, for they are very big and they are constructed of very tall and beautiful pines, leaving the crown of leaves at the top. After having set up one row of trees to form one wall, they set up the opposite side, leaving a space between the two sides of from 15 to 30 feet, the length of the walls being 300 or more feet. As they intertwine the branches at the top and so in this manner there is no need for a tiled roof or other covering, they cover it all with matting interwoven between the logs where there may be hollows or open places. Furthermore they can cross those beams with other [pines] placed lengthwise on the inside, thus increasing the thickness of their walls. In this way the wall is thick and strong, because the beams are very close together. In each one of those houses there is easily room enough for 200 men and in Indian fashion they can live in them, placing the opening for the door where it is most convenient.
Lower down Oviedo mentions “blackberries, which, being dried, the Indians keep to eat in the winter.” This is practically all the ethnological information which the historians of the Ayllon expeditions furnish. It is interesting to find the mat communal house, which does not appear to have been used by the Creeks, in existence so far south, but Oviedo is probably in error in representing the walls as constructed of living trees. The ossuaries described show that the custom of erecting them, so common along the lower Mississippi, extended eastward as far as the Atlantic.
Our next information regarding the Cusabo and their neighbors comes from the chroniclers of the French Huguenot expeditions to Carolina and Florida. The first of these left France February 18, 1562, under Jean Ribault, and after a voyage of two months made land at about 30° N. lat., in what is now the State of Florida. The explorers then turned north and after having some intercourse with the Indians at the mouth of the present St. Johns River, which they named the River May from the month in which it had been discovered, resumed their voyage northward along the coast. They observed the mouths of eight rivers, which they named in succession the Seine, Somme, Loire, Charento, Garonne, Gironde, Belle, and Grande, and finally they entered the mouth of a broad river which “by reason of its beauty and grandeur” they called Port Royal. This was the inlet in South Carolina which still bears the name of Port Royal Sound, and here, before he returned to France, Ribault left a colony of 28 men, constructing for them a small fort near the modem Port Royal, South Carolina. Ribault himself then continued northeast along the coast for a short distance, but becoming alarmed at the numerous bars and shallows which he encountered and behaving he had accomplished sufficient for one voyage, he returned to France. Meanwhile the settlers whom he had left finished their fort and then set out to explore the country. Very fortunately they placed themselves on the best of terms with their Indian neighbors, from whom they obtained provisions sufficient for their sustenance, giving the Indians in exchange articles of iron and other sorts of merchandise. The building in which most of their provisions were kept was, however, destroyed by fire, troubles broke out among them, and finally the survivors built a small vessel and left the country. On the voyage they ran short of provisions and some of them starved to death, but the survivors were at length rescued by an English vessel, and part of them ultimately reached France.
From the story of these survivors recorded by Laudonnière and the data on Le Moyne’s map we are enabled to get an interesting glimpse of the number, names, and disposition of the tribes of this section in the year 1562, as also some important information regarding their ceremonies. From these sources it appears that on the west side of Broad River, opposite Port Royal Island, were four small tribes. The first encountered in going up is called by the French Audusta or Adusta, the second Touppa or Toupa. Beyond this Le Moyne places Mayon, omitting Hoya, the fourth, from his map entirely. From the order in which Laudonnière enumerates the tribes, however, it would seem probable that Hoya lay between Touppa and Mayon; at any rate it was in the immediate neighborhood. Farther toward the north, apparently on the channel between Port Royal Island and the mainland, was Stalame. These five, according to the chief, Audusta, were in alliance, or rather on terms of friendship, with each other. Farther along in the narrative we learn of a chief called Maccou living on the channels southwest of Port Royal Sound. It should be noted that, following the feudal custom then prevalent in Europe, the chiefs in this narrative are given the names of their tribes. Yet more toward the south, beyond Maccou, lived two chiefs, said to be brothers. The nearer was named Ouadé, the more distant Couexis (Covexis). According to the narrative of Laudonnière they found Ouadé on the river they had named “Belle,” and, since messengers sent by Ouadé to Couexis for a quantity of provisions, returned with it very early the next day, it is evident that Couexis was only a short distance beyond. From what has already been said and from other parts of Laudonnière’s narrative it is evident that all these tribes except the two last mentioned were close friends, and we may suspect that they were related. Ouadé and Couexis, though not hostile to the others, seem to have stood apart from them, but there is no internal evidence that the languages of any of them differed in the slightest degree. Of the first group there seems little doubt that Audusta or Adusta was the tribe afterwards known as Edisto, although they were some distance from the river which now bears their name, the shores of which were apparently occupied by them at a later period. The name Hoya does not occur in Carolina documents, but it is given by Ibarra, Vandera, and the missionary Juan Rogel in the forms Oya, Hoya, or Ahoya. Vandera mentions another place near Ahoya called Ahoyabe, ”a little town subject to Ahoya.” Maccou is the tribe which appears in these Spanish accounts as Escamacu or Uscamacu, “an island surrounded by rivers.” Touppa and Mayon can not be found in Spanish narratives, nor are we able to identify them with any names in the documents of South Carolina. Even in Laudonnière’s history they seem to occupy a sub-ordinate position, and it is probable that in Pardons time they had become united with the Crista, Escamacu, or Hoya. Very likely one of them is the Ahoyabe above noted. The failure of the Spaniards to mention Stalame may have a different meaning. This tribe lay somewhat apart from the others; away from the trail followed by Pardo in his various expeditions into the interior. Since we find in later times that the Audusta or Crista had affixed their name to Edisto River farther east it is possible that the Stalame had then moved still farther east, and I venture a guess, following a conjecture of Mooney, that they are the Stono of later colonial history. Of the two tribes lying southward a complete continuity of information shows that Ouadé was the Guale of the Spaniards and the Wallie of the English, and therefore that their home was near and gave its name to St. Catherines Island on the Georgia coast. Couexis would then apply to one of the Guale tribes or towiis unless we are to (lisccni in it an ancient form of the name Coosa.
This identification of Ouadé is important because it enables us to fix with something approaching certainty the location of the rivers and islands named by Ribault. Researches among documents from Spanish sources have enabled the writer to determine with even greater accuracy the equivalent names applied by the Spaniards, and as this information will be of some value both to future ethnologists and future historians, as well as of immediate utility in the present bulletin, it is incorporated in the subjoined table. The names in this table run from south to north, beginning with the coast north of St. Augustine, Fla. The French ”rivers” are practically identical with the bays, sounds, and entrances of Spanish, English, and American writers, although, indeed, one or more rivers falls into each of these.
The French names of the coast islands are for the most part inferred from a statement by Ribault to the effect that the island (or the land assumed by him to be an island) was given the same name as the river immediately south of it.76 Not having access to his chart, I have been unable to check up the identification of these islands. In his narrative, or the translations of it available, the Garonne is omitted from the list of rivers, but I am inclined to believe this is accidental. Le Moyne makes another innovation by substituting the name Aine [Aisne] for Somme. The writer would have attributed this to a mere blunder were it not that in the narrative of the Gourgues expedition the name Somme is applied to a stream between the “Seine” (St. Marys) and the “May” (St. Johns), probably the Sarauahi of other French writers, the present Nassau. Therefore it is possible that some change in nomenclature was made by certain of the French explorers.
Just north of the River Grande Ribault and his companions encountered bad weather which made it necessary for them to put out to sea. When they came shoreward again the vessel in which Laudonnière sailed discovered another river, which they named Belle à Veoir, or Belle Voir. Le Moyne gives this as a river encountered south of Port Royal, but his text is based on Laudonnière and on a misunderstanding of that, so that it may be discarded as authority. For instance, where Laudonnière says that from the River Grande they explored northward toward the River Jordan, Le Moyne has it that they reached that river, and he places it between the Grande and “Belle Voir.” On his map, however, the Belle Voir does not appear, the Grande being next to Port Royal, and the Jordan is correctly located north of the latter place. The fact of the matter appears to be this. After leaving Ossabaw Sound and having been forced to sea by stormy weather, Ribault’s vessel passed northward of Broad River, discovered one of the rivers flowing into St. Helena Sound and named it Belle Voir. But in the meantime one of his other ships had gotten into Broad River, and when it rejoined the rest informed Ribault of the great advantages of that inlet, with the result that they turned back and made their settlement there. Therefore in Ribault’s narrative the River Belle Voir is placed north of Port Royal. Later, when the colonists sent men to Ouadé asking for food, they came upon a river of fresh water 10 leagues from their fort. This is the River Duke of Le Moyne—on his map erroneously inserted between the Rivers Grande and Belle—and in all probability is identical with Savannah River.
The only remaining tribal name mentioned by Laudonnière is Chiquola, but the circumstances under which it was obtained render its ethnographical value very slight. Being familiar with some of the narratives of the Ayllon expedition in which Chicora is given considerable prominence, Laudonnière inquired of the Indians whom he met regarding it. He was entirely unacquainted with their language but understood that they were trying to tell him that Chiquola was the greatest lord of all that country, that he surpassed themselves in height by a foot and a half, and that he lived to the north in a large palisaded town. Later he tells us that the fact of the existence of such a chief and his great power were confirmed by those who were left to form a settlement. If there is any truth in this story and the Indians were not simply telling what they thought the explorers would like to hear, the great town was probably that of the Kasihta.
In 1564 a Spanish vessel was sent from Habana to find the French and root them out, and the narrative of this expedition states that there were said to be 17 towns around the Bay of Santa Elena. A town called Usta is mentioned, evidently identical with Audusta, and another town, not elsewhere recorded, called Yanahume. In the former was a Frenchman who had remained in the country rather than take chances in the small vessel in which his companions had ventured forth.
The same year Laudonnière again sailed for America, but this time the Frenchmen decided to settle upon St. Johns River, Florida, and they did not return to Port Royal. The year following their new settlement was destroyed by the Spaniards under Menéndez, and French attempts to colonize the Carolinas and Florida came to an end.
In a letter written shortly after his conquest, Menéndez states that he had heard that the elder brother of Ribault with the survivors from the French garrison “had gone 25 leagues away, toward the north, to a very good port called Guale, because the Indians of that place were his friends, and that there were within 3 or 4 leagues 40 villages of Indians belonging to two brothers, one of whom was named Cansin and the other Guale.” In Cansin and Guale we of course recognize, in spite of changes and corruptions in orthography, Couexis and Ouadé. In the spring of 1566 Menéndez sailed northward himself and reached Guale, where he was informed by a French refugee that Guale and Orista were at war with each other and that the people of Guale had captured two men belonging to those of Orista. Menéndez prevailed upon the Guale chief to make peace with his northern neighbor, who is said to have been the more powerful of the two — the advantage which had been gained over him having been due to the French refugees at Guale. Then, taking the two Orista captives with him, and leaving two Spaniards as hostages, Menéndez kept on toward the north and finally entered Broad River. There he found that the town of Orista, which is of course identical with the French Audusta, had been burned and the inhabitants were starting to rebuild it. The Indians met him at first in no friendly spirit, but through the mediation of his two captives he soon placed himself upon good terms with them, and they sent to all the surrounding villages to summon the chiefs and people to come to see him. “They lighted great fires, brought many shellfish, and a great multitude of Indians came that night, and three chiefs who were subject to Orista; they counselled him that he should go to another village a league from Orista, where many other chiefs would come to see him.” The next day Orista himself and two more chiefs came, along with other Indians. “Many Indians came laden with corn, cooked and roasted fish, oysters, and many acorns,” and the Spanish leader on his side brought out biscuits, wine, and honey. After the feast “they placed the Adelantado in the seat of the chief, and Orista approached him with various ceremonies, and took his hands; afterwards the other chiefs and Indians did the same thing — the mother and relatives of the two slaves whom they had brought from Guale wept for joy. Afterwards they began to sing and dance, the chiefs and some of the principal Indians remaining with the Adelantado; and the celebration and rejoicing lasted until midnight, when they retired.” Later the Spaniards returned to the village of Orista itself, where they were again hospitably entertained. “In the morning the chief took the Adelantado to a very large house, and placed him in his seat, going over with him the same ceremony that had been performed in the first village.” The Spaniards were presented with well-tanned deerskins and some pearls, although these were of little value, because they had been burned. At Menéndez’s request the chief showed him a site suitable for a fort, which was begin forth-with and received the name of San Felipe. On his way back Menéndez was able to make such an impression on the Indians of Guale, who believed that the cross he had set up in their town had been instrumental in breaking a long drought, that they desired to have Christians left with them and inside of the islands along the Georgia coast many Indians came down to the shore to beg for crosses. Barcia states that a bolt of lightning having fallen on a tree near the cross which had been set up at Guale “the Indians, men and women, all ran to the place and picked up the splinters in order to keep them in their houses as relics.” The island of Guale, as already stated, was St. Catherines Island. It is described in the narrative which we have just quoted as “about 4 or 5 leagues in diameter.” In August Menéndez again visited Fort San Felipe and Guale, but his stay was short. Finding the garrison at the former place in serious straits for food, he directed Juan Pardo to take 150 soldiers inland and quarter them at intervals upon the natives. While there are several accounts of this and subsequent expeditions undertaken by Pardo into the interior, the only one that concerns us here is a Relation by Juan de la Vandera, in command of the post at San Felipe, which sets forth “the places and what sort of land is to be found at each place among the provinces of Florida, through which Captain Juan Pardo, at the command of Pero Menéndez de Avilés, entered to discover a road to New Spain, from the point of Santa Elena of the said provinces, during the years 1566 and 1567.” The first part of this is of considerable importance for our study of the Cusabo tribe. It runs as follows:
He started from Santa Elena with his company in obedience to orders received and on that day they went to sleep at a place called Uscamacu, which is an island surrounded by rivers. Its soil is sandy and makes very good clay for pottery, tiles, and other necessary things of the kind; there is good ground here for planting maize and grapevines, of which there is an abundance.
From Uscamacu he went straight to another place called Ahoya, where they stopped and spent the night. This Ahoya is an island; some parts of it are surrounded by rivers, others look like mainland. It is good or at least reasonably good soil where maize grows and also big vine stocks with runners.
From Ahoya he went to Ahoyabe, a small village, subject to Ahoya and in about the same kind of country.
From Ahoyabe he went to another place, which is called Cozao, which belongs to a rather great cacique and has a lot of good land like the others, and many strips of stony ground, and where maize, wheat, oats, grapevines, all kinds of fruit and vegetables, can be grown, because it has rivers and brooks of sweet water and reasonably good soil for all.
From Cozao he went to another small place which belongs to a chieftain (cacique) of the same Cozao; the land of this place is good, but there is little of it.
From here he went to Enfrenado, which is a miserable place, although it has many corners of rich soil like the others.
From Enfrenado he went to Guiomaez from where to the cape of Santa Elena there are forty leagues. The road by which he went is somewhat difficult, but the land or soil is good and everything that is grown in Cozao can be cultivated here and even more and better; there are great swamps, which are deep, caused by the great flatness of the country.
Uscamacu, where Pardo spent the first night, is certainly identical with the Maccou of the French, and would thus be somewhere to the southwest of Broad River. Pardo and his company were probably set across to the neighborhood of this place in boats from Fort San Felipe, unless the site ordinarily assigned to the fort is erroneous. From Uscamacu they marched northwest along Broad River and then up the Coosawhatchie. The first stopping place after leaving Uscamacu was Ahoya, the Hoya of the French, one of those tribes or villages allied with Audusta. Ahoyabe would probably be an out settlement from Ahoya and hence belong to the same group. In the name of the next place, Cozao, we have the second historical mention of the Coosa tribe of South Carolina, which occupied the upper reaches of the Coosawhatchie, Combahee, Ashepoo, Edisto, and Ashley Rivers, the first notice having been in the list of provinces given by Francisco of Chicora. The greater power ascribed to this chief agrees with our later information regarding the prominence of his people. From the narrative it is evident that the next place where the Spaniards stopped was also a Coosa village. The last two places may have been Coosa towns also, but there is no means of knowing. It has been suggested that Guiomaez was perhaps the later Wimbee, but, if so, the tribe must have moved nearer the coast before the period of English colonization, when they were between Combahee and Broad Rivers. The next place, Canos, 10 leagues from Guiomaez, was identical with the Cofitachequi of De Soto and probably with the later Kasihta town among the Creeks.
Barcia mentions as one. result of the Florida settlements the discovery of an herb of wonderful medicinal qualities, which was in all probability the nut grass (Cyperus rotundus). He says:
The Spaniards discovered in this land some long roots, marked like strings of beads, so that each portion cut off remains rounded; outside they are black and within white and dry, hard like bones; the bark is so hard that one can scarcely remove it. The taste is aromatic, so that it appears to be a specific; the galanga is like it. The plant which produces it throws out short shoots, and spreads its branches along the ground; its leaves are very broad, and very green; it is warm (or heated) at the limit of the second degree, dries at the beginning of the first; it grows in moist situations: The Indians use the plant, crushed between two stones, to rub over their entire bodies, when they bathe themselves, because they say that it tightens and strengthens the flesh, with the good odor, which it has, and that they feel much improved on account of it. They also use it in the form of a powder, for pains in the stomach.
The Spaniards learned of this from the Indians, and they used it for the same purposes, and afterwards they discovered that it was an admirable specific for colic (or pain in the side), and urinary trouble, since it causes the stones to be driven out, even though they are very large. Other virtues were discovered, its estimation-growing so much among the soldiers, that they all carried rosaries of these beads, which they called “of Santa Elena” on account of the great abundance of these which there are in the marshy places at the Cape of Santa Elena and province of Orista and the neighboring parts.
In 1569 the Jesuit missionary Juan Rogel arrived at Santa Elena, and at the same time Antonio Sedeño and Father Baez proceeded to Guale. In a letter written by Rogel to Menéndez, December 9, 1570, he relates the fortunes, or rather misfortunes, of his work among the people of the province of Orista.
In the beginning of my relations with those Indians [he says], they grew very much in my eyes, for seeing them in their customs and order of life far superior to those of Carlos, I lauded God, seeing each Indian married to only one woman, take care of and cultivate his land, maintain his house and educate his children with great care, seeing that they were not contaminated by the most abominable of sins, not incestuous, not cruel, nor thieves, seeing them speak the truth with each other, and enjoy much peace and righteousness. Thus it seemed to me we were quite sure of them and that probably I would take a longer time in learning their language in order to explain to them the mysteries of our Holy Faith than they would need to accept them and become Christians. Therefore I myself and three more of the fathers of our company studied with great diligence and haste to learn it and within six months I spoke to them and preached in their tongue.
But after two and a half months the time for gathering acorns arrived, and all left him and “scattered through those forests, each one to his own place, and came together only at certain feasts, which they held every two months, and this was not always in one place, but at one time here and at another in another place, etc.” In fact they lived scattered in this manner for nine months out of the year.
And there are two reasons for this [he says]: First because they have been accustomed to live in this manner for many thousands of years, and to try to get them away from it looks to them equal to death; the second, that even if they wished to live thus the land itself does not allow it—for being so very poor and miserable and its strength very soon sapped out—and therefore they themselves state that this is the reason why they are living so disseminated and changing their abode so often.
Rogel endeavored to continue his work, attending the infrequent gatherings mentioned above whenever he was able. At one time he spoke to the greater part of “the vassals of Orista” who had come together at the Rio Dulce, presumably the Savannah, and in the spring he proposed that they plant enough ground so that they could remain in one place, where he could approach them more easily. This was done, but all except two families soon left, and later Vandera, commander of the fort of San Felipe, was compelled to exact several canoe loads of corn from the Indians and to quarter some of his troops among them. This, as Rogel anticipated and as the event proved, incensed the Indians so much that further missionary efforts on his part were out of the question, and on July 13, 1570, he left them to return to San Felipe, which he soon afterwards abandoned for Habana. One main cause of Rogel’s failure to impress these people was evidently a misapprehension on his part, for he says that when he began to preach against the devil they were highly offended, declaring that he was good, and afterwards they all left him. Presumably they understood that an attack had been made on one of their own deities, and very likely Rogel was perfectly willing on his side to identify the prince of evil with any or all of them. Among the chiefs upon whom Vandera levied the above-mentioned tribute of corn Rogel mentions Escamacu, Orista, and Hoya, the first of whom is of course the Uscamacu of Vandera and Pardo.
In 1576 the Indian policy which had caused Rogers withdrawal brought on a rebellion. Most narratives attribute this to an attempt to levy a contribution of provisions on Indians near Fort San Felipe, but from one very trustworthy document it appears that it was at least brought to a head by the arbitrary conduct of a Capt. Solis, left temporarily in charge of the above-mentioned post by Hernando de Miranda. This man killed two Indians, seemingly without sufficient cause, one a chief named Hemalo, who had been in Madrid. In July of that year, the garrison of Fort San Felipe being short of provisions, and the Indians having refused to give them any, the Alférez Moyano was sent at the head of 22 men to take some by force. The Indians, however, persuaded Moyano to have his men extinguish the matches with which their guns were fired, on the ground that their women and children were afraid they were going to be killed, and as soon as they had done so the Indians fell upon them and killed all except a soldier named Andrés Calderõn. This took place July 22. Testimony taken in St. Augustine in 1600 gives the name of the tribe concerned as Camacu (i. e., Escamacu) but contemporary letters, which are probably correct, call it “Oristau” or “Oristan.” Calderón reached the fort in three days and gave the alarm. Meanwhile “the Provinces of Guale, Uscamacu, and Oristau” had risen in revolt. News reached Hernando de Miranda and he returned at once to Santa Elena. Capt. Solis was then dispatched against the Indians, but he was ambushed and killed along with eight soldiers. The Indians to the number, according to one Spanish narrative, of 2,000 then besieged the fort, and they killed several Spaniards besides, including an interpreter named Aguilar. One account says that 32 men were slain, but it does not appear whether this included Moyano’s force or not. Among those lost were the factor, auditor (contador), and treasurer. Finally the Spaniards were withdrawn to St. Augustine and the Indians entered the fort and burned it. It was restored shortly under the name of Fort San Marcos, and in 1579 Governor Pedro Menendez Marques visited the place to pay the troops and incidentally to take revenge on the neighboring hostiles. He attacked a fortified town named Coçapoy, 20 leagues from Fort San Marcos, strongly placed in a swamp and occupied by Indians said never to have been willing to make peace with the Spaniards. The town was severely handled, a number of Indians, including a sister of the chief, his mother, a son, and the son’s wife, were captured, and 40 Indians were burned in their houses. Menéndez liberated most of his male captives and exchanged the women for some Frenchmen, who were largely blamed for the uprising, and most of whom were subsequently executed.
In 1580 a new uprising occurred, again attributed to the French. In fact, shortly before, a French vessel was captured near the mouth of the St. Johns and two others belonging to the same fleet were known to have entered the bay of Gualequini and to have opened communication with the natives. Indian witnesses also testified that they had been promised assistance from a new French armada shortly to appear. Fort San Marcos was evidently abandoned, or captured by the Indians, at this time and was not reestablished until late in 1582 or early in 1583. A letter dated July 19, 1582, says that the Indians of the Province of Santa Elena had rebelled and “there was no remedy for it.” In 1583, however, Governor Menéndez writes that all of the Indians—both inland and on the coast—had come to see him and to yield obedience and that the chief of Santa Elena “has done a great deal, as he was the first to embrace the faith.” Fort San Marcos may have received still another name, for a document of the period refers to it as “Fort Catuco.” In 1586 Gutiérrez de Miranda, who was prominent in a war against the Potano Indians of Florida, was in command of the Santa Elena fort. Late in 1587, however, or very early in 1588, it was finally abandoned and the garrison with drawn.
In a letter written to the king, February 23, 1598, Gonçalo Mendez de Canço, Governor of Florida, states that the chief of Kiawa had accompanied the chief of Escamacu to war against the Indians of Guale and they had taken seven scalps. In another, written the day following, he mentions, among the chiefs who had come to St. Augustine “to give their submission” to him, “the chief of Aluste” and “the chief of Aobi.” I have not found a later mention of Aobi, but the name Aluste occurs several times in Spanish documents, spelled Alieste, Alueste, and Aluete. That it was to the north is shown by a statement to the effect that in the massacre of monks, which had taken place the preceding year, all of those between Aluste and Asao had been killed. More specific information is contained in the relation of a visit which Governor Pedro de Ibarra made to the Indians along the Georgia coast in November and December, 1604. The northernmost point reached by him was Guale (St. Catherines Island), where, besides calling together the Guale chiefs, “he commanded that within two days should assemble all the micos of Oya and Alueste and other chiefs from the country around.” In Oya we recognize the Ousabo town already mentioned, and we learn just below that Alueste was in the same province; for, when Ibarra inquired of the assembled chiefs if any of them had any complaints to make, “the chief of Aluete said that the chief of Talapo and the chief of Ufalague and the chief of Orista, his nephew and heirs, were his vassals and had risen and gone to live with the mico of Asao.”
When Ibarra returned to Asao he interviewed these chiefs, and he states that they admitted the truth of what Alueste had said, adding that they had done so “because he was a bad Indian and had a bad heart, and he gave them many bad words, and for that reason they had withdrawn and were obeying the chief of Orista, who was the heir of the said Alueste, and was a good Indian and treated them well, and gave them good words.” The governor, however, exacted a promise from them that they would “return to their obedience,” to which they agreed. It is sufficiently evident from this that all of the tribes mentioned were Cusabo, whether Alueste and Orista are or are not variants of the later Edisto. Responsibility for the murder of the missionaries in 1597 was laid by one of the captured Indians on the Indians of Cosahue (Cosapue), the Salchiches (an unidentified tribe living inland), the Indians of Tulufina (a Guale town), and those of Santa Elena. The chiefs of Ufalague and Sufalete are said to have killed Fray Pedro de Corpa, and the Ufalague and Alueste assisted in disposing of Fray Blas, but, on the other hand, the chief of Talapo saved the life of Fray Davila, the only missionary to escape. At a later date, by a comfortable volte-face not unusual with Indians, those of Cosapue and Ufalague, together with those of Talapo, helped punish the murderers.
From about the time of this massacre we begin to find the name Escamacu used for the Indians of Santa Elena in preference to Orista. In the report of his expedition of 1605, Ecija, speaks of the chief of Escamacu as “the principal of that land” (i. e., the land of Santa Elena), and he places “the bar of Orista” 6 leagues north of that of Santa Elena, where is the River Edisto. Nevertheless the name had become fixed upon it at a much earlier period for in a letter of Bartélome de Arguelles, of date 1586, the bay of Orista is said to be beyond that of Santa Elena to the north, 5 leagues.101 It is evident, therefore, that whatever temporary changes had taken place in the residence of portions of the Edisto tribe, changes such as are indicated in Ibarra’s letter, a part of them, probably the main body, had become settled upon the stream which still bears their name by the date last given.
The first clear notice of the Stono seems to be in the narrative of Ecija’s second voyage, 1609. When he was in the port of Cayagua (Charleston Harbor) on his return he encountered a canoe, in which were the chiefs of Cayagua, Escamacu, and “Ostano.” In the pilot’s description at the end of this narrative we read, “From the bar of Orista to that of Ostano are 4 leagues.” The opening was narrow and the distance to the bar of Cayagua 8 leagues. From the figures it seems clear that this was not the present Stono Inlet, but North Edisto River. The possibility that this tribe was the Stalame of Laudonnière and that it moved eastward in later times has already been indicated.
A letter written June 17, 1617, by the Florida friars, complaining of conditions, mentions Santa Elena among those provinces where there were then no missions. In another from the governor of Florida, dated November 15, 1633, we learn that the chief of Satuache, “more than 70 leagues” from St. Augustine, had brought to the capital three Englishmen who had been shipwrecked on his coast. This place lay from 6 to 10 leagues north of Santa Elena and seems from the context to have been newly missionized. The position given would place it near the mouth of Edisto River. From a letter written in 1647 it appears that the Indians of “Satoache ” had entirely abandoned their town, yet they are mentioned, under the name Chatuache, in a list of missions dated 1655, in which San Felipe also appears. However, the fort seems never to have been rebuilt, and the missions were nothing more than outstations served at long intervals.
In 1670, when the English colony of South Carolina was established, there was no Spanish post east of the Savannah and no mission station nearer than St. Catherines Island, although traces of former Spanish occupancy were evident at Port Royal (Santa Elena). The Edisto were still on Edisto River and the Stono near the place occupied by them at the beginning of the century. The term “Indians of St. Helens” probably includes the Escamacu and related tribes. The Coosa were on the upper courses of the Cusabo rivers, where they seem to have lived throughout the Spanish period. The Kiawa of Ashley River are of course the “Cayagua” of the Spaniards, and are in precisely the same location; the neighboring Wando on Cooper River and Etiwaw or Itwan on Wando River—particularly about Daniels Island — are perhaps referred to in one or two Spanish documents, but this is doubtful. As already suggested, the Wimbee, between Broad and Combahee Rivers, may be the Guiomaez or Guiomae of Pardo. The Combahee and Ashepoo on the rivers bearing those names, and the Witcheau or Wichcauh, mentioned in a sale of land, are entirely new to us.
Again we are dependent for specific information regarding these peoples on the narratives of voyages. The first which yields anything of value is ”A True Relation of a Voyage upon discovery of part of the Coast of Florida, from Lat. of 31 Deg. to 33 Deg. 45 m. North Lat. in the ship Adventure, William Hilton Commander,” etc. The Adventure sailed from Spikes Bay, Barbados, August 10, 1663, and on September 3 entered St. Helena Sound.
On Saturday the fifth of September [runs the narrative], two Indians came on Board us, and said they were of St. Ellens; being very bold and familiar; speaking many Spanish words, as Cappitan, Commarado, and Adeus. They know the use of Guns and are as little startled at the fireing of a Piece of Ordnance, as he that hath been used to them many years: They told us the nearest Spaniards were at St. Augustins and several of them had been there, which as they said was but ten days’ journey and that the Spaniards used to come to them at Saint Ellens sometimes in Conoas within Land, at other times in Small Vessels by Sea, which the Indians describe to have but two Masts.
At the invitation of the Indians the longboat with 12 hands was sent to St. Helena but the actions of the Indians appeared to its occupants so threatening that they returned without remaining overnight.
That which we noted there [the narrative says] was a fair house builded in the shape of a dovehouse, round, two hundred foot at least, compleatly covered with Palmeta-leaves, the wal-plate being twelve foot high, or thereabouts, within lodging rooms and forms; two pillars at the entrance of a high Seat above all the rest; Also another house like a Sentinel-house, floored ten foot high with planks, fastened with Spikes and Nayls, standing upon Substantial Posts, with several other small houses round about. Also we saw many planks, to the quantity of three thousand foot or thereabouts, with other Timber squared, and a Cross before the great house. Likewise we saw the Ruines of an old Fort, compassing more than half an acre of land within the Trenches, which we supposed to be Charls’s Fort, built, and so called by the French in 1562, &c.
In the meantime the vessel was visited by the chief of Edisto from the other side of the sound, who invited Hilton to come to his town and told him of some English castaways upon that coast, some of whom were in his custody and some at St. Helena. He informed them that three had been killed by the Stono. Those English who were with the Edisto were released, and the explorers then started to make their way to St. Helena through the inside channels in order to recover the rest. On the way “came many canoes about us with corn, pompions, and venison, deerskins, and a sort of sweet wood.” Ultimately after exchanging letters with a Spanish captain who had been sent to St. Helena from St. Augustine to recover the English castaways, Hilton gave up his attempt, and having explored the entrance to Port Royal and ranged the coast to the northward almost to Cape Hatteras he got back to Barbados on January 6, 1664. In their general description of the land between Port Royal and Edisto River the explorers say:
The Indians plant in the worst Land because they cannot cut down the Timber in the best, and yet have plenty of Corn, Pompions, Water-Mellons, Musk-mellons: although the Land be over grown with weeds through their lasinesse, yet they have two or three crops of Corn a year, as the Indians themselves inform us. The Country abounds with Grapes, large Figs, and Peaches; the Woods with Deer, Conies, Turkeys, Quails, Curlues, Plovers, Teile, Herons; and as the Indians say, in Winter with Swans, Geese, Cranes, Duck and Mallard, and innumerable of other water-Fowls, whose names we know not, which lie in the Rivers, Marshes, and on the Sands: Oysters in abundance, with great store of Muscles: a sort of fair Crabs, and a round Shelfish called Horse-feet; The Rivers stored plentifully with Fish that we saw play and leap. There are great Marshes, but most as far as we saw little worth, except for a Root that grows in them the Indians make good Bread of . . . The Natives are very healthful; we saw many very Aged amongst them.
The next voyage that concerns us is entitled: “The Port Royall Discovery. Being the Relation of a voyage on the Coast of the Province of Carolina formerly called Florida in the Continent of the Northerne America from Charles River neere Cape Feare in the County of Clarendon and the Lat: of 34: deg: to Port Royall in the North Lat: of 32 d. begun 14th June 1666. Performed by Robert Sandford Esqr Secretary and Cheife Register for the Right Honble the Lords Proprietors of their County of Clarendon in the Province aforesaid.”
On the date mentioned Sandford sailed with a vessel of “scarce 17 tons” and a shallop “of some 3 tons.” On the night of the 19th the larger vessel became separated from the shallop, and on the 22d the former sighted and entered what is now called North Edisto River. Sandford explored this for some distance and found many Indian cornfields and houses scattered among them, besides numerous heaps of oyster shells. From the Indians he learned that the chief town of the Edisto tribe was some distance inland, on what is now Edisto Island, at a place which Langdon Cheves, the editor of “The Shaftsbury Papers” suggests was “probably near cross roads, by Eding’s ‘Spanish mount’ place.” Having gone beyond the nearest landing place for this village he stopped there on his return to accommodate the Indians who were desirous to trade with him.
When we were here [he says] a Capt of the Nation named Shadoo (one of them wch Hilton had carryed to Barbados) was very earnest with some of our Company to goe with him and lye a night att their Towne Wch hee told us was but a smale distance thence I being equally desirous to knowe the forme manner and populousnesse of the place as alsoe what state the Casique held (fame in all theire things preferring this place to all the rest of the Coast, and foure of my Company (vizt.) Lt.: Harvey, Lt: Woory, Mr Thomas Giles and mr Henry Woodward forwardly offring themselves to the service haveing alsoe some Indians aboard mee who constantly resided there night & day I permitted them to goe with Shadoo they retomed to mee the next morning wth great Comendacons of their entertainment but especially of the goodness of the land they marcht through and the delightfull situation of the Towne. Telling mee withall that the Cassique himselfe appeared not (pretending some indisposition, but that his state was supplyed by a Female who received them with gladness and Courtesy placeing my Lt: Harvey on the seat by her their relation gave myselfe a Curiosity (they alsoe assureing mee that it was not above foure Miles off) to goe and see that Townie and takeing with mee Capt. George Cary and a file of men I marched thitherward followed by a long traine of Indians of whome some or other always presented yimselfe to carry mee on his shoulders over any the branches of Creekes or plashy comers of Marshes in our Way. This walke though it tend to the Southward of the West and consequently leads neere alongst the Sea Coast Yett it opened to our Viewe soe excellent a Country both for Wood land and Meadowes as gave singular satisfaction to all my Company. We crossed one Meadowe of not lesse than a thousand Acres all firme good land and as rich a Soyle as any clothed wth a fhne grasse not passing knee deepe, but very thick sett & fully adorned with yeallow flowers. A pasture not inferiour to any I have seene in England the wood land were all of the same sort both for timber and mould with the best of those wee had ranged otherwhere and wthout alteration or abatement from their goodnes all the way of our March. Being entered the Towne wee were conducted into a large house of a Circular forme (their generall house of State) right against the entrance way a high seate of sufficient breadth for half a dozen persons on which sate the Cassique himselfe (vouchsafeing mee that favour) wth his wife on his right hand (shee who had received those whome I had sent the evening before) hee was an old man of a large stature and bone. Round the house from each side the throne quite to the Entrance were lower benches filled with the whole rabble of men Women and children in the center of this house is kept a constant fire mounted on a great heape of Ashes and surrounded with little lowe foormes Capt: Cary and my selfe were placed on the higher seate on each side of the Cassique and presented with skinns accompanied with their Ceremonyes of Welcome and freindshipp (by streaking our shoulders with their palmes and sucking in theire breath the whilst) The Towne is scituate on the side or rather in the skirts of a faire forrest in wch at severall distances are diverse feilds of Maiz with many little houses straglingly amongst them for the habitations of the particular families. On the East side and part of the South It hath a large prospect over meadows very spatious and delightfull, before the Doore of their Statehouse is a spatious walke rowed wth trees on both sides tall & full branched, not much unlike to Elms wch serves for the Exercise and recreation of the men who by Couples runn after a marble bowle troled out alternately by themselves with six foote staves in their hands wch they tosse after the bowle in their race and according to the laying of their staves wine or loose the beeds they contend for an Exercise approveable enough in the winter but some what too violent (mee thought) for that season and noone time of the day from this walke is another lesse aside from the round house for the children to sport in. After a fewe houres stay I retornod to my Veasell wth a greate troope of Indians att my heeles. The old Cassique himselfe in the number, who lay aboard mee that night without the society of any of his people, some scores of wch lay in boothes of their own immediate ereccon on the beach.
After this Sandford passed around through Dawho River and out by the South Edisto. Soon after he fell in with the shallop from which he had been separated and then made south to the entrance of Port Royal, where he anchored in front of the principal Indian town.
I had not ridd long [he says] ere the Cassique himself e came aboard mee wth a Canoa full of Indians presenting mee with skinns and bidding mee welcome after their manner, I went a shoare with him to see their Towne wch stood in sight of our Vessell, Found as to the forme of building in every respect like that of Eddistowe with a plaine place before the great round house for their bowling recreation att th’ end of wch stood a faire wooden Croese of the Spaniards ereccon. But I could not observe that the Indians performed any adoracon before itt . All round the Towne for a great space are severall feilds of Maiz of a very large growth The soyle nothing inferior to the best wee had seene att Eddistowe apparently more loose and light and the trees in the woods much larger and rangd att a greater distance all the ground under them burthened exceedingly and amongst it a great variety of choice pasturage I sawe here besides the great number of peaches wch the more Northerly places doe alsoe abound in some store of figge trees very large and faire both fruite and plants and diverse grape vines wch though growing without Culture in the very throng of weedes and bushes were yett filled with bunches of grapes to admiracon. . . . The Towne is scited on an Island made by a branch wch cometh out of Brayne Sound and falleth into Port Royall about a mile above where wee landed a cituacon not extraordinary here.
Here the shallop rejoined him after sailing through from St. Helena Sound by the inside channel. Wommony, son of the chief of Port Royal, and one of those whom Hilton had carried to Barbados, acted as its guide. Before his departure from this place Sandford left a surgeon named Henry Woodward to learn the language and in exchange took an Indian of the town with him. He says:
I called the Cassique & another old man (His second in Authority) and their wives And in sight and heareing of the whole Towne, delivered Woodward into their charge telling them that when I retorned I would require him att their hands, They received him with such high Testimonys of Joy. and thankfullnes as hughely confirmed to mee their great desire of our friendshipp & society, The Cassique placed Woodward by him uppon the Throne and after lead him forth and shewed him a large feild of Maiz wch hee told him should bee his, then hee brought him the Sister of the Indian that I had with mee telling him that shee should tend him & dresse his victualls and be careful of him that soe her Brother might be the better used amongst us.
An Indian of Edistoalso desired to accompany him, and thinking that soe hee should he the more acceptable hee caused himselfe to be shoaren on the Crowne after ye manner of the Port Royall Indians, a fashion wch I guesse they have taken from the Spanish Fryers. Thereby to ingratiate themselves wth that Nation and indeed all along I observed a kinde of Emulacon amongst the three principall Indians of this Country (vizt) Those of Keywaha Edistowe and Port Royall concerning us and our Freindshipp, Each contending to assure it to themselves and jealous of the other though all be allyed and this Notwthstanding that they knewe wee were in actuall warre with the Natives att Clarendon and had killled and sent away many of them, ffor they frequently discoursed with us concerning the warre, told us that the Natives were noughts they land Sandy and barren, their Country sickly, but if wee would come amongst them Wee should finde the Contrary to all their Evills, and never any occasion of dischargeing our Gunns but in merryment and for pastime.
Sandford now returned toward the north and, having failed to make Kiawa (Charleston Harbor), landed at Charles Town on the Cape Fear River, July 12, 1666.
The expedition that was to result in the permanent settlement of the colony of South Carolina made a landfall at Sewee (now Bull’s) Bay on the 15th or 16th of March, 1670, and anchored at the south end of Oni-see-cau (now Bull’s) Island. The longboat was sent ashore.
Vpon its approach to ye Land few were ye natiues who vpon ye Strand made firee & came towards vs whooping in theire own tone & manner making signes also where we should best Land & when we came a shoare they stroked vs on ye shoulders with their hands saying Bony Conraro Angles. knowing us to be English by our Collours (as wee supposed) we then gave them Brass rings & tobacco at which they seemed well pleased, & into ye boats after halfe an howre spent with ye Indians we betooke our selues, they liked our Company soe well that they would haue come a board with us. we found a pretty handsome channell about 3 fathoms & a halfe from ye place we Landed to ye Shippe, through which the next day we brought ye shipp to Anchor feareing a contrary winde & to gett in for some fresh watter. A day or two after ye Gouernor whom we tooke in at Bermuda with seuerall others went a shoare to view ye Land here. Some 3 Leagues distant from the shipp, carrying along with us one of ye Eldest Indians who accosted us ye other day, & as we drew to ye shore A good number of Indians appeared clad with deare skins hauing with them their bows & Arrows, but our Indian calling out Appada they withdrew & lodged theire bows & returning ran up to ye middle in mire & watter to carry us a shoare where when we came they gaue us ye stroaking Complimt of ye country and brought deare skins some raw some drest to trade with us for which we gaue them kniues beads & tobacco and glad they were of ye Market, by & by came theire women clad in their Mosse roabs bringing their potts to boyle a kinde of thickening which they pound & make food of, & as they order it being dryed makes a pretty sort of bread, they brought also plenty of Hickery nutts, a wall nut in shape, & taste onely differing in ye thicknees of the shell & smallness of ye kernell. the Gouernor & seu’all others walking a little distance from ye water side came to ye Hutt Pallace of his Maty of ye place, who meeteing vs tooke ye Gouernor on his shoulders & carryed him into ye house in token of his chearfull Entertainement. here we had nutts & root cakes such as their women useily make as before & watter to drink for they use no other lickquor as I can Leame in this Countrey, while we were here his Matyes three daughters entred the Pallace all in new roabs of new mosse which they are neuer beholding to ye Taylor to trim up, with plenty of beads of diuers Collours about their necks: I could not imagine that ye sauages would so well deport themselues who coming in according to their age & all to sallute the strangers, stroaking of them, these Indians understanding our business to St Hellena told us that ye Westoes a rangeing sort of people reputed to be the Man eaters had ruinated yt place killed seu’all of those Indians destroyed & burnt their Habitations & that they had come as far as Kayawah doeing the like there, ye Casseeka of which place was within one sleep of us (which is 24 howrs for they reckon after that rate) with most of his people whome in two days after came aboard of us.
These people were probably of Siouan stock, but they bordered directly upon the Cusabo tribes and this account of them will give us a slight opportunity to compare the two peoples. This and the short notice that appeal’s in Lawson embrace practically all of the information we have regarding the Sewee Indians, if such indeed they were.
Taking the chief of Kayawah, ”a uery Ingenious Indian & a great Linguist in this Maine,” with thom the prospective settlers now sailed to Port Royal, where they anchored, but it was two days before they could speak with an Indian, when what had been told them at Sewee regarding the irruption of the Westo was confirmed. Weighing anchor from Port Royal River they then ran in between St Hellena & Combohe where we lay at Anchor all ye time we staide neare ye Place where ye distressed Indian soioumed, who were glad & crying Hiddy doddy Comorado Angles Westoe Skorrye (which is as much as to say) English uery good friends Westoes are nought, they hoped by our Arriuall to be protected from ye Westoes, often making signes they would ingage them with their bowes & arrows, & wee should with our guns they often brought vs veneson & some deare skins wch wee bought of them for beads, many of us went ashore at St Hellena & brought back word that ye Land was good Land supplyed with many Peach trees, & a Competence of timber a few figg trees & some Cedar here & theire & that there was a mile & a half of Cleare Land fitt & ready to Plante. Oysters in great plenty all ye Islands being rounded wth bankes of ye kinde, in shape longer & scarcely see any one round, yet good fish though not altogether of soe pleasant taste as yor wall fleet oysters, here is also wilde turke which ye Indian brought but is not soe pleasant to eate of as ye tame but uery fleshy & farr bigger.
A sloop which had been sent to Kiawa to examine that place now returned with a favorable report and the colonists sailed thither and made the first permanent settlement in South Carolina. At this time we learn that that section of the province watered by the Stono River was full of Indian settlements.
In May of the same year a sloop called The Three Brothers anchored off Edisto Island — ”Odistash” as they call it — and two chiefs, named Sheedou and Alush, who had been taken to Barbados by Hilton, came out to them and directed them to Kiawa.
In a letter written to Lord Ashley from this colony by William Owen on September 15, 1670, he says, referring to the coast Indians:
We haue them in a pound, for to ye Southward they will not goe fearing the Yamases Spanish Comeraro as ye Indians termes it. ye Westoes are behind them a mortall enemie of theires whom they say are ye man eaters of them they are more afraid then ye little children are of ye Bull beggers in England, to ye Northward they will not goe for their they cry yt is Hiddeskeh, yt is to say sickly, soe yt they reckon themselves safe when they haue vs amongst them, from them there cann be noe danger ap’hended, they haue exprest vs vnexpected kindness for when ye ship went to and dureing her stay att Virginia provision was att the scarcest with us yet they daylie supplied vs yt we were better stored att her return than when she went haueing 25 days provision in stoe beside 3 tunn of corne more wch they promised to procuer when we pleased to com for it att Seweh.
In a letter written to Lord Ashley on August 30, 1671, Maurice Mathews says:
The Indians all About vs are our friends; all yt we haue knowledge of by theyre Appearance and traid with vs are as followeth:
St Helena ye Southermost; Ishpow, Wimbee, Edista, Stono, Keyawah, where we now liue, Kussoo to ye westward of vs, Sampa, wando Ituan, Gt Pa; Sewee, Santee, Wannish, Elasie, Isaw, Cotachicach, some of these have 4 or 5 Cassikaes more, or Less Truly to define the power of these Cassukaes I must say thus; it is noe more (scarce as much) as we owns to ye Topakin in England, or A grauer person then our selues; I finds noe tributaries among them, butt intermariages & pouerty causeth them to visitt one Another; neuer quarrelling who is ye better man; they are generally poore & Spanish; Affraid of ye very foot step of a Westoe; A sort of people yt liue vp to the westward [which these say eat people and are great warriors].
Elsewhere in the same letter Mathews mentions an expedition inland in which “About 30 miles or more vpwards wee came Among the Cussoo Indians our friends; with whome I had been twice before.” This was on Ashley River.
In September, 1671, a war broke out with the Coosa Indians. The occasion of this is given in the Council Journal under date of September 27 as follows:
At a meeting of the Governour and Councill September 27th sitting and present (the same [as given above]). The Governour and Councill taking into their serious consideration the languishing condition that this Collony is brought into by reason of the great quantity of corne from time to time taken out of the plantations by the Mime and other Southward Indians and for as much as the said Indians will not comply with any faire entreaties to live peaceably and quietly but instead thereof upon every light occasion have and doe threaten the lives of all or any of our people whom they will sufore (?) to them and doe dayly persist and increase in their insolencyes soe as to disturb and invade some of our plantation in the night time but that the evill of their intentions have hitherto been prevented by diligent watchings. And for as much as the said Indians have given out that they intend for and with the Spaniards to cutt off the English people in this place &c Ordered ordeyned by the said Governuor &c Councill (nemine contra dicente) that an open Warr shall be forthwith prosecuted against the said Kussoe Indians and their co-adjutors & for the better effecting thereof that Commissions be granted to Capt. John Godfrey and Capt. Thomas Gray to prosecute the same effectually. And that Mr. Stephen Bull doe take into his custody two Kussoe Indians now in Towne and them to keeps with the best security he may till he receive firther orders from this Board.
As, in a letter written to Lord Ashley by Joseph West on September 3 preceding, the murder of an Indian by an Irish colonist is referred to, probably the provocation was not all on one side. This war seems to have been pushed with exceeding vigor, since in the Council Journal for October 2 we read:
Upon consideration had of the disposing of the Indian prisoners now brought in for their better security and maintenance. It is resolved and ordered by the Grand Councill that every Company which went out upon that expedition shall secure and maintaine the Indians they have taken till they can transport the said Indians, but if the remaining Kussoe Indians doe in the meanetitne come in and make peace and desire the Indians now prisoners then the said Indians shall be sett at Liberty having first paid such a ransom as shall be thought reasonable by the Grand Council to be shared equally among the Company of men that tooke the Indians aforesaid,
The transporting of the Indians meant transport to the West Indies as slaves, that being one of the “amiable” ways of civilizing redskins to which our ancestors were addicted. The fate of these unfortunate Coosa is uncertain, but evidently the war came to an end after the aforesaid expedition. From a note based on information obtained from Governor West we learn that the —
Coesoes [were] to pay a dear skin monthly as an acknowledgmt or else to loose our amitie.
This must have been one of the agreements when peace was made. In 1674, in some instructions to Henry Woodward, the Earl of Shaftesbury says: ”You are to treate with the Indians of Edisto for the Island and buy it of them and make a Friendship with them.”
Whether the order was carried out at that time does not appear. Meantime the Coosa Indians were again restless. The Council Journals for August 3, 1674, contain the following:
And forasmuch as it is credibly informed that the Kussoe Indians have secretly murdered 3 Englishmen and as these Indians have noe certaine abode Resolved that Capt. Mau: Mathews, Mr Wm Owen, capt Richd Conant & Mr Ra: Marshall doe inquire where the sd Indians may be taken then to raise a party of men as they shall think convent under command of the sd capt Conant or any other parties under other commanders to use all meanes to come up with the sd Indians wheresoever to take or destroy all or any of them, the whole matter being left to their advisemt.
Still earlier the colonists had begun to experience difficulties with the Stono, as this entry under date of July 25 attests:
For as &c it is credibly informed that the Indian Stonoe Casseca hath endeavored to confederate certaine other Indians to murder some of the English nation & to rise in Rebellion agt this Settemt Resolved that capt. Mau: Mathews doe require & command nine men of the Inhabits of this Settlemt to attend him in this expedn to take the sd Indian and him cause to be brought to Charlestowne to answer to these things but if any opposition happen the sd capt. Mathews is to use his discrete in the managmt thereof for the security of himself & the sd party of men whether by killing & destroying the sd Indian & his confederates or otherwise.
Accordmg to the Council Journals of January 15, 1675, “some neighbor Indians” had expressed a desire to be settled into a town near Charleston.
To carry out the terms of the constitution drawn up for Carolina by John Locke a number of “baronies” were created in South Carolina, many of them by purchase of land from the Indian proprietors. Thus the land constituting Ashley barony on Ashley River was obtained from the Coosa Indians who surrendered it in the following terms:
To all manner of People, &c, know ye that wee, the Cassiques naturell Born Hears & Sole owners & proprietors of great & lesser Cussoe, lying on the river of Kyewah, the River of Stonoe, & the freshes of the River of Edistah, doe for us ourselves, our subjects & vassals, grant, &c., whole part & parcell called great & lesser Cussoe unto the Right Honble Anthony Earl of Shaftsbury, Lord Baron Ashly of Wimborne St. Gyles, Lord Cooper of Pawlet, &c., 10 March, 1675. Marks of The Great Cassiq, &c., an Indian Captain, a hill Captain, &c.
To this are appended the signatures of several witnesses. What appears to have been a still more sweeping cession was made to Maurice Mathews in 1682 by the “chief of Stonah, chieftainess of Edisloh, chief of Asshepoo, chieftainess of St. Hellena, chief of Combahe, chief of Cussah, chief of Wichcauh, chief of Wimbee.” In 1693 there was a short war with the Stono, a tribe which had already showed itself hostile on more than one occasion. The same year we read that the Chihaw King complained of the cruel treatment he had received from John Palmer, who had barbarously beaten and cut him with his broadsword. These “Chihaw” were perhaps in South Carolina and not representatives of that much better known band among the Creeks. A body of Cusabo were in Col. John Bamwell’s army raised to attack the Tuscarora in 1711-12. In 1712 was passed an act for “settling the Island called Palawana, upon the Cusaboe Indians now living in Granville County and upon their Posterity forever.” From the terms of this act it appears that “most of the Plantations of the said Cusaboes” were already situated upon that island which is described as ”near the Island of St. Helena,” but that it had fallen into private hands.
The act reads as follows :
Whereas the Cusaboe Indians of Granville County, are the native and ancient inhabitants of the Sea Coasts of this Province, and kindly entertained the first English who arrived in the same, and are useful to the Government for Watching and Discovering Enemies, and finding Shipwreck’d People; And whereas the Island called Palawana near the Island of St. Helena, upon which most of the Plantations of the said Cusaboes now are, was formerly by Inadvertancy granted by the Right Honorable the Lords Proprietors of this Province, to Matthew Smallwood, and by him sold and transferred to James Cockram, whose Property and Possession it is at present; Be it Enacted by the most noble Prince Henry Duke of Beauford, Palatine, and the Rest of the Right Honorable the true and absolute Lords and Proprietors of Carolina, together with the Advice and Consent of the Members of the General Assembly now met at Charles-Town for the South West Part of this Province, That from and after the Ratification of this Act, the Island of Palawana, lying nigh the Island of St. Helena, in Granville County, containing between Four and Five Hundred Acres of Land, be it more or less, now in the Possession of James Cockram as aforesaid, shall be and is hereby declared to be invested in the aforesaid Cusaboe Indians, and in their Heirs forever.
In 1715 the Yamasee war broke out and it is commonly supposed to have nearly exterminated the ancient tribes of South Carolina, one early authority stating that “some of the Corsaboys” along with the Congarees, Santees, Seawees, Pedees, and Waxaws were “utterly extirpated,” but I quote this statement merely to refute it. As a matter of fact, remnants of nearly all the ancient tribes persisted for a considerable period afterwards. In 1716 there was a short war between the colonists and the Santee and Congaree Indians. The Etiwaw took part in this contest on the side of the whites. Over half of the offending tribes were taken prisoners and sent as slaves to the West Indies. In the same year we find a note to the effect that the colony had been presented with six dressed deerskins by the “Coosoe” Indians and twelve dressed and eight raw deerskins by the “Itawans.’ In 1717 there is a note of a present made by the ”Kiawah” Indians. In a letter written by Barnwell, April, 1720, there is mention of the ”Coosaboys.” In 1727 we learn that “the King of the Kywaws” desired recompense for some service, and, apparently the same year, he was given a grant of land south of the “Combee” River. About 1743 Adair mentions “Coosah” as a dialect spoken in the Catawba nation, but it is not probable that all of the Coosa removed there. Some time after the founding of Georgia an old man among the Creek Indians stated that the first whites were met with at the mouth of the Coosawhatchie, and it appears that this report was current among the Creeks, although sometimes the name of Savannah River is substituted. The tradition is, of course, correct, and it would seem probable that it was due not merely to hearsay information but to the actual presence among the Creeks of families or bands of Indians of Cusabo origin. Apart from those who joined the Catawba, Creeks, and other tribes, the last glimpse we have of the coast Indians shows the remnant of the Kiawa and Cusabo in the neighborhood of Beaufort. We do not know whether the Etiwaw and Wando were included among the Kiawa, but it is probable that a part at least of all of these tribes remained near their ancestral seats and were gradually merged in the surrounding population.
The following remarks of Adair may well be inserted as the valedictory of these people, although it applies also to the small Siouan tribes northward of them and to some others:
In most of our American colonies, there yet remain a few of the natives, who formerly inhabited those extensive countries; and as they were friendly to us, and serviceable to our interests, the wisdom and virtue of our legislature secured them from being injured by the neighboring nations. The French strictly pursued the same method, deeming such to be more useful than any others on alarming occasions. We called them “Parched-corn-Indians,” because they chiefly use it for bread, are civilized, and live mostly by planting. As they had no connection with the Indian nations [i. e., the Catawba, Cherokee, Muskogee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw], and were desirous of living peaceable under the British protection, none could have any just plea to kill or inslave them.”
[]Pub. Rec. of S. C, MS. VIII, p. 4.Journal of the Council, S. C. docs., x, p. 24.[]
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