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Sewee Indians. A small tribe, supposedly Siouan, formerly living in east South Carolina. According to Rivers1 they occupied the lower part of Santee river and the coast westward to the divide of Ashley river, about the present Monks Corner, Berkeley County, where they adjoined the Etiwaw. Nothing is known of the language, but judging by their alliances and their final incorporation with the Catawba they are assumed to have been Siouan. Lawson, who met them in 1701, when they were living at the mouth of Santee river, states that they had been a large tribe, but had been wasted by alcohol and smallpox, which disease was commonly fatal because the afflicted plunged into cold water to alleviate the fever. At Sewer Bay he found a deserted village, Avendaughbough, which may have been one of their towns. Lawson says that they undertook to send a fleet of canoes to England in charge of most of their able-bodied men, for the purpose of trade; a storm swamped most of the canoes, and the survivors were rescued by an English ship and sold as slaves in the West Indies. In 1715 there remained but one village of 57 souls. The Yamasee War of that year probably put an end to their separate existence as a tribe, forcing the survivors to join the Catawba. An anonymous old chronicle published by Rivers2 states that they belonged to the Cusabo tribes.
For Further Study
The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Sewee as both an ethnological study, and as a people. Consult:
- Mooney, Siouan Tribes of the East, Bull. B. A. E., 1894.