Waxhaw Indians. A small tribe that lived in the 17th century in what is now Lancaster County, South Carolina, and Union and Mecklenburg Counties, North Carolina. They were connected with the neighboring Sugeree, and both were apparently related to the Catawba, and therefore were Siouan. The custom of flattening the head, practiced by the Waxhaw, was also mentioned as a custom of the Catawba. Lederer (1672) says they were subject to and might be considered a part of the Catawba. Lawson visited the Waxhaw in 1701 and was hospitably received. He mentions two of their villages situated about 10 miles apart.
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He describes the people as very tall, and notes particularly their custom of artificially flattening the head during infancy. The dance ceremonies and councils were held in a council house, much larger than the ordinary dwellings. Instead of being covered with bark, like the domiciles, it was neatly thatched with sedge and rushes; the entrance was low, and around the walls on the inside were benches made of cane.
Near the Waxhaw were the Catawba, or more likely a band of that tribe. They were probably so reduced by the Yamasee War of 1715 as to have been obliged to incorporate with the Catawba.
For Further Study
The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Waxhaw as both an ethnological study, and as a people.
- See Mooney, Siouan Tribes of the East, 1894.