Santee and Congaree rivers probably formed the approximate southern limit of the Siouan tribes of the east. There is no reason for assigning to this stock any tribes farther southward along the Atlantic coast. As the history of all these Indians is closely interwoven, however, a few notes on the remaining tribes of South Carolina between Santee and Savannah rivers may properly be introduced.
The Cherokee tribe, of Iroquoian stock, occupied the territory of what are now the seven upper counties along the Savannah, extending down to the mouth of Broad river. Being a well-known tribe, with an extensive territory embracing large portions of several present states, nothing more need be said of these Indians here.
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Below the Cherokee territory on the Savannah there was an important band of the Shawano, locally known as Savannah Indians, of Algonquian stock, having their principal village nearly opposite Augusta. The river takes its name from the tribe. They moved northward into Pennsylvania about the year 1700.
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Lower down on both sides of the Savannah were located the Uchi tribe, which constituted a distinct linguistic stock (Uchean). The remnant of the tribe are now incorporated with the Creek. They were probably identical with the “Cofitachiqui” of De Soto’s chroniclers, a tribe whose village is supposed by the best authorities to have been located at the site of Silver Bluff, on the Savannah, in Barnwell county, South Carolina, about 25 miles by water below Augusta.
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The territory of the Saluda Indians is marked on Jefferys’ map of 1761, south of Saluda River, about the present Columbia, with a statement that they had removed to Conestoga in Pennsylvania. There seems to be no other original reference to this tribe. They may have been identical with the Assiwikale, who removed from South Carolina about 1700, and in 1731 were living with the Shawano partly on the Susquehanna and partly on the Alleghany.
The tribe called “Natchee,” “Notchees,” etc., in early documents, do not seem to have been native to South Carolina, but were probably identical with the Natchez of Mississippi. Although at first thought it might appear improbable that a tribe originally living on the Mississippi could afterward have been domiciled near the Savannah, it is no more impossible than that a Savannah tribe could have removed to the Susquehanna or to the Ohio, as was the case with the Shawano, or that a tribe on the Yadkin could have emigrated to Canada, as was the case with the Tutelo.
The Natchez, who lived originally on the eastern bank of the Mississippi, about the site of the present city of Natchez, became involved in a war with the French in 1729 which resulted in their complete destruction as a tribe in the following year. The remnant, disorganized, but still considerable in numbers, fled in different directions. A few crossed the Mississippi and were lost in the swamps of Louisiana; many took refuge with the Chickasaw, who thus drew down on themselves the anger of the French. A large body fled to the Creek tribe, among whom they have ever since retained a distinct existence, afterward removing with that tribe to Indian Territory. In 1799 their village on Coosa River in Alabama contained several hundred souls. Others, again, joined the Cherokee, and according to personal information of the author they had a distinct village and language on Valley River in western North Carolina about ninety years ago. As the Creek and Cherokee both bordered on Carolina, while the Chickasaw were in alliance with that government as against the French, it is easy to see how people of a dismembered tribe scattered among these others could have found their way into that province. A body of the Chickasaw themselves at one time removed from the Mississippi and settled on the Savannah in South Carolina, in the neighborhood of the present Augusta; and according to Adair the South Carolina traders themselves instigated the rising of the Natchez, their message being conveyed to that tribe through the medium of the Chickasaw1 . It was but natural, therefore, that the defeated and extirpated Natchez should turn to Carolina for support and shelter.
While all the other tribes of South Carolina hitherto noted or mentioned hereafter appear early in the history of that colony, the first notice of the Notchee did not appear until 1734, four or five years after the first Natchez war. In that year, it is related, a delegation of 26 “Natchee” Indians applied to the government of South Carolina for permission to settle their tribe on the Savannah2 . By this time the old Natchez were probably already scattered among the Chickasaw and Creek and the Cherokee, those with the last-named tribe being settled in western North Carolina. Permission was evidently given, for in 1744 the “Notchees ” are mentioned, in connection with the Pedee, as having killed some Catawba in a drunken quarrel, as a result of which the Notchee and Pedee had fled down to the white settlements to escape the vengeance of the Catawba, and the colonial government was compelled to interfere3 . In the preceding year the “Nachee” are mentioned as one of the tribes incorporated with the Catawba, but retaining their distinct dialect4 . It is probable that the result of this quarrel was to separate the Notchee permanently from the Catawba and cause them to make their residence thereafter lower down among the settlements, in the neighborhood of the Pedee, as in 1751 the ” Notchees, ” Pedee, and several others are named as tribes living in South Carolina among the settlements, and in whose behalf the colonial government effected a peace with the Iroquois5 . A few years later they seem to have moved up again and joined the Cherokee, for in 1755 they are twice mentioned as having been concerned with that tribe in killing some Pedee and Waccamaw among the white settlements6 . This appears to be the last reference to them in the South Carolina records.
- This is but a short snippet of information. To read more about the Notchee, or otherwise known as Natchez Indians we suggest you start with our Natchez Tribe page.
The tribe known as Etiwaw or Eutaw lived about Ashley and Cooper rivers, in what is now Berkeley county, extending eastward about to the site of the present Monks Corner, where their hunting grounds bordered the Sewee country. The Santee and Congaree were above them7 . Their memory is preserved in the name of Eutaw Springs or Eutawville. The tribal name is derived from the Catawba word itawa, “pine tree”8 . They were one of the small coast tribes collectively known as Cusabo, and were probably identical with the tribe sometimes mentioned as “Ashley River Indians.” They were neuer prominent, and from their proximity to the settlements soon dwindled into insignificance. In January, 1715, just before the Yamasi war, they had a single village with a population of 240 souls9 . They were probably much reduced by that war, and nothing more is heard of them until 1751, when they are mentioned as one of the small tribes for whom the South Carolina government made peace with the Iroquois.10
A tribe appears to have occupied the country along the lower part of Edisto river, and their name is preserved in that of the river; but as the coast region was occupied in later times by small bands having local rather than tribal names it is impossible to locate them definitely. Their country is called the province of Orista by the early Spanish writers, and Audusta by Laudonniére. Edisto is the later English form. The Huguenots of Ribault’s colony received a friendly welcome from them in 1562, and the Spaniards for some time had a mission among them. They are mentioned in connection with the Stono, Westo, and Savannah as still living in the same region when the English settlements were established in South Carolina in 1670. They disappear from history soon after, and may have been driven out of the country together with the Westo and Stono in the war waged against the last-named tribes by the Savannah in 1680.
Westo and Stono Indians
Lederer and other early observers refer to two tribes living between Ashley and Edisto rivers, known as the Westo and Stono, the latter probably occupying the coast along Stono river and inlet. From the nature of the references it is probable that both tribes extended some distance into the interior. They seem generally to have acted together, and were steadily hostile to the early South Carolina settlers. They were among the tribes collectively known as Cusabo. The Westo seem to be identical with the Hostaqua mentioned by Laudonniére about 1564, and with the Oustack of Lederer, described by him as being brave fighters, at war in 1670 with the Ushery (Catawba), who were separated from them by what he calls a lake, probably an overflow of the Santee.11)
The Westo and Stono made war on the settlements about Charleston in 1669-’71, and again in 1674, when a force of volunteers had to be raised against them.12 In 1680 they became involved in a war with the Savannah (Shawano), by whom they were totally defeated and driven out of the country.13) What became of them is unknown, but they may have gone southward into the Spanish territory of Florida, as did the Yamasi thirty-five years later.
Another tribe lived about the mouth of the Edisto or Combahee whose name, Cusso or Coosaw (Coosa), is preserved in Coosaw and Coosawhatehee, streams entering the sea on either side of Saint Helena island. According to Rivers they lived northeast of Combahee River, which separated them from the Combahee tribe.14 They appear to be identical with the Couexi of the Huguenot colonists in 1562 and with the Coçao of La Vandera’s Spanish narrative of 1569. They are noted as hostile to the English in 1671.15 In 1675 the chiefs of “great and lesser Casor” sold a tract lying on Kiawah, Stono, and Edisto rivers, and in 1684 there is a record of another sale of land by the chief of “Kissah”.16 They are mentioned as 46 Kussoes ” in the South Carolina trade regulations in 1707, and appear last under the name of “Coosah” as one of the tribes incorporated with the Catawba, but still preserving a distinct dialect in 1743.17 The name is identical with that of a leading division of the Creek, but this fact, or that of their final union with the Catawba, proves nothing as to their linguistic affinities. It is probable, however, that, like their neighbors, the Yamasi, they were of Muskhogean stock. If not, they may have been Uchean rather than cognate with the Catawba.
- See Coosa and their Descendants from the Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors by John R. Swanton.
The coast tribes between Ashley River and the Savannah were known collectively as Cusabo. The name was elastic in its application, and included the Etiwaw, Westo, Stono, Edisto, and Cusso, as well as smaller local bands immediately along the coast, among which were the Kiawaw, on Kiawah island; Combahee, on Combahee river; Wapoo, on Wapoo river; Wimbee (location not definitely ascertained), and Saint Helena Indians or Santa Elena of the old Spanish writers, on the island of that name. In its restricted sense the term was applied to these smaller bands which had less compact organization than those first named. Their territory is the Chicora of D’Ayllon and other early Spanish adventurers. This term Gatschet is disposed to derive from the Catawba Yuchi-keré, “Yuchi are there,” or “Yuchi over there,” which interpretation, if correct, would indicate that they were of Uchean stock. There is reason to believe that these early people of Chicora were practically exterminated by the raids of Spanish slavers or by later Muskhogean invaders, and that the coast tribes found in this region in the eighteenth century were of Muskhogean origin, allied to the Yamasi and Creek.
In January, 1715, the “Comaboys,” by which we are to understand the smaller local coast bands, were reported to have five villages with 295 souls. A few months later came the Yamasi war, the most terrible in the history of colonial South Carolina, resulting before the end of the year in the expulsion and “utter extirpation” of the Yamasi and several other tribes, including the Cusabo.18
- See the Cusabo Indian Tribe from the Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors by John R. Swanton.
Cherokee.-(Synonyms not given.)
Shawano.-(Synonyms not given.)
Uchi.-(Synonyms not given.)
Saluda.-(Synonyms not given the form occurs on Moll’s map of Carolina, 1720.)
Nachee.-Adair, History of American Indians, 1775, p. 225.
Natchee.-South Carolina Gazette of 1734 in Rivers, Hist. South Carolina, 1856, p. 38.
Notches.-Glen (1751) in Gregg, History of the Old Cheraws, 1867, p. 14.
Notchees.-Document of 1744 in ibid., p. 10.
Ashley River Indians.-(Same?).
Etewaus.-Albany Conference (1751) in New York Col. Does., vol. vi, p. 721.
Etiwans.-Rivers, History of South Carolina, 1856, p. 37.
Eutaw.-Present geographic form.
Ilwans.-Rivers, Early History of South Carolina, 1874, p. 94 (misprint).
Ittawans.-Rivers, History of South Carolina, 1856, p. 37.
Hostaqua.-Laudonniére (about 1564) in French, Hist. Coll. Louisiana, 1869, vol. vi, p. 288.
Hostaque.-Ibid., p. 266.
Houstaqua.-Ibid., p. 244.
Oustack.-Lederor, Discoveries, 1672, p. 17.
Westos.-Gallatin in Trans. and Coils. Am. Antiquarian Soc., 1836, vol. ii, p. 83.
Westoes.-Archdale (1707) in Ramsay, Hist. South Carolina, 1809, vol. i, p. 34, note.
Stonoes.-Ibid., p. 83.
Adusta.-De Bry, Brevis Narratio, 1591, vol. ii, map.
Audusta.-LaudouniÃ¨re (1587) in Hakluyt, Voyages, 1600, vol. iii, p. 379.
Eddisto.-Map of the Province of South Carolina, 1760.
Edisto.-Bowen, Map of the British American plantations, 1760.
Edistow.-Harris, Voyages and Travels, 1705, vol. i, map.
Orista.-Fontanedo (1559) in Ternaux-Compans, Voyages, 1841, vol. xx, p. 10.
Uristanum.-Brigstock in French, Hist. Coll. Louisiana, 1875, vol. ii, p. 186, note.
Casor.-Document of 1675 in Mills, History of South Carolina, 1826, app., p. 1.
Coçao.-La Vandera (1579) in French, Hist. Coll. Louisiana, 1875, vol. ii, p. 290.
Coosah.-Adair, History of American Indians, 1775, p. 225.
Coosaw.-Mills, Statistics of South Carolina, 1826, map.
Cosah.-Ibid., p. 107.
Cozao.-La Vandera (1569) in French, Hist. Coll. Louisiana, 1875, vol. ii, p. 290.
Kissah.-Mills, op. cit., p. 107.
Kusco.-Moll, Map of Carolina, 1720 (misprint).
Kussoe.-Document of 1671 in Rivers, History of South Carolina, 1856, p. 372.
Chicora.-Fontanedo (1559) in Ternaux-Compans,Voyages, 1841, vol. xx, p. 16 (same?).
Corsaboys.-Document of 1719 in Rivers, History of South Carolina, 1874, p. 93.
Cusabees.-Rivers, History of South Carolina, 1856, p. 38.
Cusoboe.-Mills, Statistics of South Carolina, 1826, p. 107.
Cussobos.-Simms, History of South Carolina, 1860, p. 56.
Adair, James. The history of the American Indians, particularly those nations adjoining to the Mississippi, east and west Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, and Virginia, etc., pp. 224, 353. London, 1775. ↩
Rivers, W. J. A sketch of the history of South Carolina to the revolution of 1719, with an appendix, p. 38. Charleston, 1856. ↩
Gregg, Alexander. History of the old Cheraws, containing an account of the aborigines of the Pedee, the first white settlements, etc., extending from about A. D. 1730 to 1810, with notices of families and sketches of individuals; document of 1744, p. 10. New York, 1867. ↩
Adair, James, op. cit., 225. ↩
New York. Documents relative to the colonial history of the state of New York. Procured in Holland, England, and France, by John Romeyn Brodhead, etc. Edited by E. B. O’Callaghan, Albany conference of 1751, vol. vi, pp. 708-726. Albany, 1856-’77. 12 vols. ↩
Gregg, Alexander, op. cit., Evans (1755), p. 15. ↩
Rivers, W. J., op cit., p. 37. ↩
Gatchet, A. S. A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians, with a linguistic, historic and ethnographic introduction. Volume i (published as no. 4 of Brinton’s Library of Aboriginal American Literature), Philadelphia, 1884; vol. ii (in Transactions of Saint Louis Academy of Science), Saint Louis, 1888. ↩
Rivers, W. J. A chapter in the early history of South Carolina, p. 94, Charleston, 1874. ↩
New York, op. cit., vol. vi, p. 721. ↩
Lederer, John. The discoveries of John Lederer, in three several marches from Virginia to the west of Carolina, and other parts of the continent. Begun in March, 1669, and ended in September, 1670. Together with a general map of the whole territory which he traversed. Collected and translated out of Latin from his discourse and writings, by Sir William Talbot, baronet, etc. London, etc. 1672, p. 17. Map and 33 pages. (Copy in Library of Congress. ↩
Gatschet, A. S., op cit., vol i, p. 48. ↩
Gallatin, Albert. A Synopsis of the Indian tribes within the United States east of the Rocky mountains, and in the British and Russian possessions in North America. In Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society, volume ii (Archæologia Americana), p. 84. Cambridge, 1836. (Gallatin’s synopsis occupies pages 1-422. ↩
Rivers, W. J. A sketch of the history of South Carolina to the revolution of 1719, with an appendix, p. 37. Charleston, 1856. ↩
Ibid., document of 1671, pp. 372-3. ↩
Mills, Robert. Statistics of South Carolina, Documents of 1675 and 1684, p. 107 and appendix p. 1. Charlestown, 1826. ↩
Adair, James, op. cit. ↩
Rivers, W. J. A chapter in the early history of South Carolina, document of 1719, pp. 93-4, Charleston, 1874. ↩