Monacan Indians (possibly from an Algonquian word signifying a digging stick or spade). A tribe and confederacy of Virginia in the 17th century. The confederacy occupied the upper waters of James river above the falls at Richmond. Their chief village was Rasawek. They were allies of the Manahoac and enemies of the Powhatan, and spoke a language different from that of either. They were finally incorporated with other remnants under the names of Saponi and Tutelo. The confederacy was composed of the Monacan proper, Massinacac, Mohemencho, Monahassano, Monasiccapano, and some other tribes.
The Monacan proper had a chief settlement, known to the whites as Monacantown, on James river about 20 miles above the falls at Richmond. In 1669 they still had 30 bowman, or perhaps about 100 souls. Thirty years later, the Indian population having died out or emigrated, a Huguenot colony took possession of the site.
For Further Study
The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Monacan as both an ethnological study, and as a people.
- Consult, Mooney, Siouan Tribes of the East, Bull. B. A. E., 1894.