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Wateree Indians

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Wateree Tribe: Gatschet suggests a connection with Catawba, wateran, “to float on the water.” Also called:

  • Chickanee, name for a division of Wateree and meaning “little.”
  • Guatari, Spanish spelling of their name.

Wateree Connections. The Wateree are placed in the Siouan linguistic stock on circumstantial evidence.

Wateree Location. The location associated most closely with the Wateree historically was on Wateree River, below the present Camden. (See North Carolina.)

Wateree History. The Wateree are first mentioned in the report of an expedition from Santa Elena (Beaufort) by Juan Pardo in 1566-67. They lived well inland toward the Cherokee frontier. Pardo made a small fort and left a corporal there and 17 soldiers, but the Indians soon wiped it out. In 1670 Lederer (1912) places them very much farther north, perhaps on the upper Yadkin, but soon afterward they are found on Wateree River where Lawson met them. In 1711-12 they furnished a contingent to Barnwell in his expedition against the Tuscarora during the Tuscarora War. In a map dated 1715 their village is placed on the west bank of Wateree River, possibly in Fairfield County, but on the Moll map of 1730 it is laid down on the east bank. The Yamasee War reduced their power considerably, and toward the middle of the eighteenth century they went to live with the Catawba, with whom the survivors lust ultimately have fused. They appear as a separate tribe, however, as late as 1744, when they sold the neck of land between Congaree and Wateree Rivers to a white trader.

Wateree Population. The number of Wateree is estimated by Mooney (1928) at 1,000 in 1600. There is no later enumeration.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Wateree were one of the most powerful tribes of central South Carolina as far back as the time of the Spanish settlements at St. Helena. Their name is preserved in Wateree River, S. C., and in a post village in Richland County in the same State.

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