Some Catawba History (Part 1.)
Native American Catawba Nation
Extracted from: "A History of the Upper Country of South Carolina, Vol. II" By John H. Logan. orig. Pub. 1910, and p14-17: Joseph Habersham. Historical Collections. CRAVEN COUNTY.--The District of country known as Fairfield, in South Carolina, was in early times an undivided part of Craven County, and parish of St. Mark's. The County and the Parish, which were identical in limits, were three times as large as the present Alabama, extending from tide water in Carolina to the Mississippi River. [Pg14] THE CATAWBAS.--The Catawbas, says tradition, were originally from the neighborhood of Montreal. The French and Carmewaugas owed them most deadly hatred. Determining to escape their powerful adversaries, they crossed the St. Lawrence, probably at Detroit, and moved on Southwest with their best speed. The Carmewaugas gave them chase, and on the upper streams of the Kentucky (called in some old maps Katawba) came up with the fugitives. Making a virtue, and a noble one, of necessity, the gallant Catawbas turned upon their pursuers, and gave them a terrible over-throw. It was an Indian Hohenlinden. At this point the little nation divided. One division took their way for the Mississippi, and was most probably absorbed in the greater tribes of Chickasaws or Choctaws. About 1825, the steam-boat (Pg15) "Catawba" arrived from the West at Mobile, and it was said she was called after some stream in the far Southwest. The other division turned from their battle-ground to the East, and settled for some years on "Catawba Creek", Bottetourt County, Virginia. This division afterwards moved on South to "Catawba River", in South Carolina, where they encountered the jealous but magnanimous Cherokees, - arriving in Carolina about 1850. Ramsey in his "History of South Carolina", makes a solemn appeal to the people to foster the remnant of that most deserving and magnanimous tribe. How far this suggestion has been attended to, Carolinians may answer. The Catawbas never did shed one drop of white men's blood. It is true, they were crusty when the whites made their first encroachments upon the Catawba lands, but they were soon easily pacified. South Carolina never fell into any difficulty in which she did not find the Catawbas by her side. A company was with Barnwell in his expedition against the Tuscaroras; another was with Rhett, the year after; another with Col. Thomson (the old Ranger) when the British on Long Island threatened the rear of Fort Moultrie; another with Williamson, and afterwards with Pickens, in the Cherokee War, and always brave and faithful. 'General New River', 'Old Scott' and Catawba George' were renowned Catawaba warriors. The Catawbas were as remarkable for their honesty as for their bravery. A party of them were accused of taking corn from a settler's crib on Toole's Fork of Fishing Creek. They repelled the charge indignantly, saying: "All is lost but our honor." During the Revolutionary War the smallpox took off hundreds of Catawbas; and in after times fire-water precipitated their destiny. In 1835, the noble little Catawaba nation numbered about one hundred of poor dispirited people, suffering for the commonest necessaries of life. The Indian can not work. He has with all the colored races throughout the world a lack of foresight and perseverance, and when brought into contact with the Anglo-Saxon race perish he must. (P16) A reconciliation was apparently effected between the Catawbas and their Northern enemies about 1760, at Albany. The Catawba King and six of his warriors accompanied Lieut. Gov. Bull to that city, where Royal Governors and Indian Chiefs were appointed to meet for a general pacification. Mr. Bull had the precaution to keep his Catawba friends closely concealed in the hotel until it could be ascertained whether the Connewaugas would bury the hatchet with them or not. They said for some time that they never would be friends with the Catawtawbas, whilst the grass grew or the water ran. With much persuasion they at length relented, and then Mr. Bull brought out his Catawbas. The King and his warriors advanced toward the place of meeting with the rim of their caps down, and chanting a national song. On approaching the house, they threw up the rim of their caps, ceased their solemn melody, entered the house with a firm step and took the place assigned. They were admired by the white men as well as by the red, for their extraordinary grace and dignity. A universal peace was the result of the meeting. This narrative of the Albany meeting is taken from Mr. Bull's beautiful and graphic letter to the Colonial Government, recorded in the Indian Book preserved in the Secretary of State's Office at Columbia. The assassination of King Hagler was a dreadful shock to the Catawbas, from which they never recovered. About 1766, seven Shawnees secretly invaded the Catawba territory. The old King was residing some distance from the chief town, to allow his young men a better chance to hunt, and his women to manufacture pottery. His country residence was a sort of San Souci. The lurking Shawnees picked the opportunity and murdered the venerable and most beloved chieftain. Six of them were tracked out by an unbarking dog, an captured. The seventh made his escape by swimming the river. Arriving in safety on the wester (shore), he flourished the scalp of old Hagler in barbarous triumph. (Pg17)A tragedy deeper than ever described followed. In the Catawba council the six captives were sentenced to death by whipping. As all work but hunting and war was assigned to the women, so he women on this dreadful occasion were appointed the executioners. One after another the captives were pinioned by one hand to a stake. The victim was furnished with a small (-----?) containing pebbles. So soon as the lash was applied, he commenced rattling his gourd, and chanting his death song. Life lasted under this flagellation from sun-rise to sun-set. When the sixth Shawnee was tied to the stake, and the female furies were about to commence their infernal operation, a beautiful Catawba girl named Bettie rushed in to his rescue. She said she loved him, and claimed him for her husband. The occurrence struck all present forcibly. A council was immediately called to determine on what was proper to be done on an occasion so novel - and interesting. The council said that in an ordinary case the claim of Betty would have all its effect, but the crime charged on the prisoner, the killing of the King, was altogether unpardonable. They decided the sentence of death should be forthwith executed. The executioners were about addressing themselves to the work of death. Betty rushed in a second time, and with a hatchet clove his skull, and he fell dead instantly. She declared aloud that if she could not have him for her husband, the nation should not have the satisfaction of seeing his bleeding body torn by the scourge. Betty afterwards married an Indian of the name of Jackson; but in her extreme old age, when her beloved Shawnee was alluded to, she said with great feeling that she "loved him too much." Such is the inexhaustible wealth of the genuine female heart. End of File! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- This file was contributed for use in USGenWeb Archives by: Paul R. Sarrett, Jr. Aug. 11, 1998 (email@example.com) USGENWEB NOTICE: In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data may be freely used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages cannot be reproduced in any format for profit or other presentation. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- This information was sent to me by: Subj: Catawba, Native Americans Date: Aug. 11, 1998 06:10:29 EDT From: Jean W. STRINGHAM (Zojea@aol.com) To: Paul R. Sarrett, Jr. (PRSJR@aol.com) Jean, Rcd 7/97 from Bonnie George White Copied by zjs 8/3/97
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