Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Comments about "Catawba Nation, Treasures in History" by Thomas J Blumer

From Catawba Nation, Treasures in History by Thomas J Blumer

The Spanish Years
The Catawba are barely known in Native American history due to the fact that they alone stayed behind in the Carolinas following the notorious “Trail of Tears”. The Catawba were almost forgotten to history. (1) In 1884, Anthropologist Dr. E Palmer visit4ed their nation and wrote notes on the. His notes are however now forgotten. In 1908 Dr. M. R. Harrington made a visit from Washington D. C. to the catawba Nation. He published a small book “The Catawba Indians” in 1909. Dr. Blumer's recent studies on these people has helped rediscover a people nearly forgotten.

Catawba-Spanish Contact
The Yuchi wre neighbors of the Catawba. They were living on the coast, near modern day Savannah, Georgia. They lived on the Muskogeean/Siouan border region. There language has said to look a little like the Muskogeean and a little like the Catawba. The English language looks like it also has dual origins, part Germanic and part Latin. Their language might tell us more about those who once conquered them than about they themselves. These Yuchi have a legend telling of viewing ships on the horizon, that landed on the coast. They returned a second time and took samples of the soil. They returned a third time, this time wanting land on which to grow crops. This is the Yuchi story.
Returning to recorded history, we have another tale to tell. The Catawba first saw Spanish ships in 1521. These ships were owned by Vasquez de Ayllon, and they were on a slave gathering mission. At a place called Chicora, the Spanish tricked some of the Catawba on board, then took off with them They went back to the Caribbean where they were sold as slaves. One of the slave ships sank, and many on the other ship later died.
The Spaniards traained one of the Indian slaves to speak Spanish, and renamed him Francisco de Chicora. Ayllon in 1621, returned to Chicora with Francisco, hoping to colonize the land. This time when Ayllon arrives, the Indians who saw his ships arrive fled into the woods. Francisco did the same, when he got the chance. The Spaniards never saw him again. This attempt to plant a colony on the Carolina coast failed. (2)
Sometime between Ayllon's expedition and De Soto's, they started calling this land “Cofitachique”. Cofitachique is a name of Muscogeean origin. Now the Muscogeean and Catawba peples were mortal enemies. The Creek/Muscogeean people started telling the Spaniards of a fabled land called Cofitachique which was a wealthy land full of wealth. He heard of a place called Yup-aha. Perhaps this was what became Yas-eh/Esaw/Waxhaw? We will never know. On De Soto's route to discover Cofitachqui, he came across the Creek/Muscogeean village of Cofaque. When they knew what De Soto wanted to do, they were eager to join the expedition. The Cofaque brought a great supply of food with them. They were eager to obtain vengeance on Cofitachique, but the Spaniards were ignorant of their ambitions. (3)
Interestingly, Blumer mentions a great buffer between the Creek and Siouan speakers. There was a rgeat region where no people lived. This is something many researchers ignore, but has to be understood and explained in any research of American Indian Peoples. ALL tribes had a great parcel of land they called “the hunting grounds” that remained uninhabited. That is where the tribal animal herds were kept. It is a lie that the Indians didn't own animals, they just owned them communally, not individually. They considered the deer, turkey, and smaller game as theirs, and if a neighboring tribe was caught in their hunting grounds, a war often was the result. Since more than one tribe used the same hunting grounds, inter-tribal warfare as common.
Finally De Soto and his Cofaque allies reached a village loyal to Cofitachique. Immediately the Cofitaque started massacreing the villagers, and the took many scapls. When De Soto realized their deception, he gave Cofaque war captain Patofa many gifts, and sent them back home. He conontinued on to Cofitachique.
On May 1, 1540, De Soto's men came to a large river. De Soto remained there until 13 may, 1540. Cofitachique was ruled by a woman. Despite being treated with great respect, the Spanish too her as a hostage. Blumer continues to say “Today we know the site of Cofitachique as modern Camden, [South Carolina]. The Catawba did not abandon its ceremonial center until after the treaty of Augusta in 1763.” (4)
The map below is the route of the eastern half of De Soto's Expedition.

The Spanish began an effort to colonize the vast holdings of the Cofitachique , also called Canos or Canosi until after the founding of St. Augustine in 1565. Pedro Memendez de Aviles was the man behind this adventure, and he had the backing of the Spanish crown. Prt on of this adventue was the defeat of the french in the area. Part two was the founding of Santa Elena on the Sout Carolina coastline. The third part of his plan was to gather about 120 men under the command of Captain Juan Pardo, and have them march inland. Menendez hoped they'd find an inland road to what is now Mexico. Pardo was also asked to pacify the Indians, and evangelize them so that they would become Christians, and bring them under the authority of the Spanish Crown. Pardo's progress was recorded by Juan de la Bandera, Pardo's archivist. Father Sebastian Montero went along, with the job of converting the Indians. They travelled through the heart of the Catawba regions. According to Blumer, the names of many of the locations Pardo visited still had similar names as the names recorded by De Soto's men earlier, an those names were of Catawban origin. Father Montero spent several years amongst the Wateree (called by the Spaniards Guateri) and he had some success in converting them to Catholocism. A report exists where some Indians learned Spanish, and even several catholic prayers. (5)
Please note they were never LOST. Also note they were NOT Portuguese, but rather Spanish. Would a 19th century Cauasian of Scottish ancestor report that his ancestry in the 17th century were English? .NO! He'd report they were Scots! And the Spanish were no different. They were as proud of their heritage as any of us would be. And as we will see later, there were trade routes, paths and roads that went to and from all the Catawban and Eastern Siouan towns. There is no was a group of Pardo's men could have gotten lost. They knew the roads back to Spanish settlements very well. Here (below) is a map of Pardo's route. Some of Pardo's men remained in the interior and these are the men some say were the unfortunate ones, those left behind, under the command of Moyano. But notice the movements of Moyano's men in the interior IS KNOWN! How could hi sovements have been known if he disappeared? It makes no sense.

I bring this up because some claim the Melungeons descend from a group of “Portuguese Adventurers.” Others claim some of Pardo's men got lost. Some claim they were descended from runaway slaves, or even shipwrecked Turkish sailors, some other band of lost souls. Odd though, that they have English surnames, then, isn't it? More on this later.
By March 1568 Pardo's work was finished. In 1572 father Montero left the Wateree/Guateri. His mission was abandoned. (5). The Spanish failed in their attempt to make the Catawba and the bands of Indians associated with them into Spanish Colony. They were still a strong Indian Nation in the 1570's. By the 1720s they were a rag-tag remnant of a great nation. What changed in the 150 years between 1570-1720? Blumer's book just cuts to the Tuscarora wars of 1711-1713. That and the Yamasee wars of the following year saw a great decline in fortunes of these Eastern Siouans. Before we delve into those wars, we need to know what happened to the Indians between the Spanish years, the 1570s, and the Tuscarora and Yamassee Wars. What happened between 1572 and 1711?

There is very little to go on about the eastern Siouan peoples from 1572 to 1670, and there is nothing from 1572 to 1711 (or very little) in Dr. Blumer's book. Other writers have a little and I hope it will fill in a few of the gaps.

The Tuscarora and Yamassee Wars and Repercussions, 1711-1717
Per Blumer, the Tuscarora Wars has several causes. He says I.] “The Indians objected the settlement of New Bern, North Carolina in 1710. ii.] The Indian traders also cheated the Tuscarora Indians regularly. The last straw was iii.] The ill treatment of intoxicated Tuscarora by a settler. towards a major confrontation with North Carolina. I.] Seneca agitation also pushed the Tuscarora towards a major agitation with North Carolina.
The Tuscarora attack wa carefully planned. At dawn, September 22nd, 1711, over 130 settlers were killed by noon. Survivors fled to Bath and New Bern. For the next four months, the Tuscarora pillaged at will. Captives were tortured, and executed.
South Carolinian Captain John Barnwell left Charles Town with only 30 men, but travelled inland to recruit an Indian and then pouncing on the Tuscarora from the west. Blumer says that it is thought the Tuscarora had only recently moved south into North Carolina, onto Catawban lands. I do not know the evidence for this. But we do know the Tuscarora and the Catawba were traditional enemies, and had been for some time. They needed no convincing to go to war with the Tuscarora. The Yamassee were also recruited. The Tuscarora were no match for their combined forces. Blumer says Barnwell recruited 500 Indians, 350 of which were Catawba and their allies. Blumer mentioned Congaree, Waxhaw, Wateree, Cheraw and others allied to these Catawban peoples.
Blumer gives an impressive view of what a catawba warrior looked like in the old days. I feel I need to report what he says of their appearance. He says:
The Catawba and their allies went to war in the traditional way. The women combed their men's hair with bear grease and red root. The men's ears were decked out with feathers, copper, wampum, and even entire birds wings. The men painted their faces with vermillion. Often one eye was circled in black paint, and the other in white.
War dances were performed, and the men set out looking as fierce as possible. Blucher goes on to say some had guns and others had bows and arrows. He says; In full traditional battle attire, the Catawba must have been an impressive site. The name of the Catawba War Captain who led the nation on this expedition has been lost to history. None of the Indians would enter a war party without the urging of a powerful war captain who had won the right to carry snake images on his person in paint or tattoo.
Now Indian warfare was not as Barnwell had expected. The first battle was at the Tuscarora village of Narhantes. The Catawba took as many captives as they could get their hands on, and headed for the slave markets of Charleston, and sold them. By the end of February 1712, Barnwell's army consisted of about 90 Whites, and 148 Indians, mostly Yamassees. On March 1st, Barnwell's army entered Tuscarora King Hancock's town, which was deserted. On March 5th, King Hancock's fort was surrounded. He threatened to torture his captives in frout of Barnwell's men. Both sides agreed to hold a conference on March 19th at Bachelor's Creek. The Tuscarora did not show up.
Barnwells reputation began to slide. He was forced to return to the Catawba towns, and get them to return to the battle. On April 7th, Barnwell's reinforced army returned to Hancock's Fort. These attacks lasted 10 days. Again, his Catawba allies gathered as many captives as possible, and headed to the slave markets of Charleston.
Blumer adds; Disappointed but determined to turn a profit, Barnwell lured Indians into Forn Barnwell on the pretext of a meeting. Once inside the fort, these unfortunate souls were held captive and shipped off to Charleston. Barnwell would have his profit in Indian flesh.
As a result of Barnwell's short but bloody Tuscarora incursions, all the Indians lost their confidence in the Christian Whites. The Tuscarora began their exodus to Canada, to be with their Iroquoian relatives. The Five Nations were going to become the Six Nations. They ever after wards held a great grudge against the Catawba and their allies. And because of Barnswell's actions in obtaining his own slaves, the Catawba quit trusting the Whites. (6) This would lead us to the next war with the Tuscarora.

The Second Tuscarora War
As Blumer states, The Tuscarora continued to ravage the countryside, just before their exodus to the north, in the same way the Israelites spoiled the Egyptians before fleeing Egypt. Settlers remained behind palisades and fortresses, afraid to venture out, but doing little to hep themselves, depending mostly of South Carolinians. Some fled the colony. In June 1712, a delegation of North Carolinians again asked South Carolina to come to their rescue.
Colonel James Moore set off form Charleston in October, 1712, to gather an Indian army. Barnwell then says somehting odd. He says; After Barnwell's deception, Moore's recruiting was rather slow. Rather than halt at Waxhaw Town (as did Barnwell), he marched further to the catawba towns, presumably to coax the Catawba directly. His fist task was to convince the Catawba War captians that a war against the Tuscarora was to their advantage . . .once the war captains agreed, they began the war ritual. He took up a pot drum and danced counterclockwise around his house, performing a call to war song. When a crowd of men gathered, the war captian recited the crimes of the Tuscarora against the Catawba. Then the war captain and their men fasted for three days. They purged their bodies of impurities with the powerful emetic button snakeroot.
Colonel Moore crossed the Cape Fear River with 500 Catawba and their Catawban allies, 300 Cherokee and 50 Yamassee; 33 Whites led the force. They joined 140 members of the North carolina militia. (7)
Menawhile, not all the Tuscarora were part of the rebellion. King Blound delivered King Hancock, leader of the rebellion, to the North Carolinians, who was then executed. Moore, rather than attack the Tuscarora, stayed in the North Carolina communities of New Bern, and Bath, and Albemerle. Without provisions, the Indian army gathered provisions amongst the settlers, eating their cattle and other rations. While Moore waited, the Tuscarora strengthened their fortress at Neoheroka. Their fortress consisted of 1.5 acres of man made caves, palisaded walls, and strong buildings with a source of water inside. After a bloody battle, Fort Neoheroka fell on March 20ieth, 1713. 475 Tuscarora were killed and another 415 were sold into slavery. This was the end of the Tuscarora resistance. A band of the Tuscarora remained in North Carolina with King Blount, and others not sold into slavery fled north to join their Tuscaroran relatives who had already fled to live with the Six Nations. (8)
From this time forth the Six Nations and the Catawba would be at war until the Catawba and their allies were completely and utterly ruined.
Also notice the mention of how Moore went beyond the Waxhaw. Later a claim is made that the Catawba destroyed the Waxhaw, but that claim was by South Carolinians. We know it was said there were only 50 Yamassee with Moore, whereas there were hundreds earlier. We also know Barnwell took friendly Indians as slaves to the slave market in Charleston. It might be argued that the Waxhaw village and some of the Yamassee were those so enslaved.
We shall also see the small pox killed off many of the Indians, including the Catawba. They proved unable to battle all these foes at one time. Their numbers dwindled to a pitiful few that forgot much of their heritage. I hope to write these things to resemble a coal of a fire or a lamp in the darkness of the history of the people. There was only one more great war where the Catawba fought for themselves.

The Yamassee War 1715-1716
Although the next conflict of the era is called “The Yamassee War” of 1715-1716, the Catawba were the largest Indian component, with 570 warriors. The Yamassee by comparrison, supplied only 400 warriors. According to Blumer, “All the Catawban speaking groups in both of the Carolinas joined this effort to expel the Europeans from the Southeast.”
Per Blumer; The Indians had many grievances against the settlers. They included abuses of a cruel and obscene nature committed by the white traders who worked among the Indians. i.] Abuses such as murder and rape were common. ii.] If needed, they would help themselves to the Indians crops and not pay for the food.. iii.] In addition, the traders fomented Indian wars to foster the Indian slave trade. iv.] Other grievances included white settlements that encroached on Indian lands.
Blumer says the war was instigated by the Creek Indians, but the settlers thought it must have been instigated by the French at Mobile Bay, or the Spaniards at Saint Augustine. Blumer also speaks of the sale of free Indians into slavery by unscrupulous traders in the Indian towns. These are many of the causes and sentiments for the origins of the Yamassee War of 1715-1716. Virtually every Indian community took part in the rebellion.
On April 15th, 1715, ninety percent of the traders working in the Indian towns were killed. In the process, 40 colonists were killed. South carolina mustered an army under General George Chicken. Per Blumer, The Indians suffered a defeated at Goose Creek, and the Catawba and their allies had second thoughts about the war. On July 19th, 1715, the Catawba sued for peace. . . on October 18th, 1715, a delegation [of Catawba] went to Williamsburg, Virginia. A second conference was called on Feburary 4th, 1716. Virginia Governor Spotswood wanted the Catawba headmen to deliver their sons of their headmen to Fort Christanna. This exchange occurred by April of 1717. The end of the war occurred when the last of the Yamassee fled to Fort Augustine, Florida. Those not lucky enough to flee were sold into slavery. It is thought some of the Yamassee took shelter with the Catawba, and some with the Creek. But their tribe is now considered extinct as a nation. (9)

King Haigler
KingHaigler (also known as Nopkehee) was born about 1700. King Whitmannetaugehehee was king during the time of the Yamassee War. As a result of the Catawban participation in the Yamassee War, the Catawba were to deliver young men to Fort Christanna as ransom, also to be educated. Dr. Blumer suspects Nopkehee might have been one of these eleven based upon his age. King Haigler is the most famous of the Catawba rulers.
First, Haigler is noted for helping to negotiate a treaty of peace with the Six Nations. These are the Iroquois of New York and neighboring Canada. For mnay years, a war had been going on between the Iroquois in New York and the Catawba and related bands in the Carolinas and Virginia (10). These wars were intensified after the defeat of the Tuscarora and their emigration to New York. In June 1751 King Haigler and 5 other Catawba elders and a translated. They left Charleston, South Carolina, aboard the HMS Scorpion, arriving in New York harbor on June 7th, 1751, at Fort George. They arrived at Albany, New York, the site of the conference, on June 30th. According to Blumer, the Mohawk forced the Catawba to dance with their feathers pointing down in humiliation. King Haigler and King Hendrick of the Mohawk smoked a peace pipe. When the Six Nations presented King Haigler with a wampum belt, the peace was final.
Per Blumer a delegation of Iroquois visited the Catawba the next year, 1752. Blumer then adds that “During this period, the Cherokee invited the Catawba to incorporate with them and King Haigler refused.”
He spoke against the evils of alcohol, and against dual justice, that is, one set of laws for the White man and one for the Indians. He defended women as vital for every nation. In 1756, he signed a treaty with the Colony of Virginia. Blumer says “He still maintained his residence at Pine tree Hill, the ancient location of Cofitachique.” But the world of the Catawba was in decline, their numbers shrinking. He tried to get some of the former tributary tribes to move in with them, and some did. Others were, however, slowly becoming assimilated into White culture. Speaking of White Culture, settlers ee encroaching onto his lands and he was powerless to stop them. A great tragedy occurred in 1759, when half of the Catawba Nation died of Small Pox (11).
Per Blumer, “A second high point in King Haigler's career came when he negotiated the Treaty of Pine Tree Hill 70 miles to the north of the Waxhaw Old Fields on the banks of the Catawba River. About 16 miles west of what was soon to become the village of Lancaster.” In 1760, per the Treaty of Pine Tree Hill, he ceded most of the 55,000 square-mile land base of the Catawba. Settlers had already moved onto most of it, anyway. He was able to keep two million aces near the Waxhaw Old Fields.
On August 30, 1763, King Hagler was traveling from his town to visit the Waxhaws. The story goes that he was attacked by seven Shawnee, shot six times, and scalped. This crime occurred only months before King Hagler was to attend a Treaty signing at Augusta, Georgia. His death was convenient for both Carolinas. Also the terms of the Pine Tree Hill Treaty were conveniently lost. Colonel Ayers, inexperienced, represented the Catawba in Augusta. Instead of keeping two milling acres, the Catawba lands dwindled down to 15 square miles (12).

Treaty of Pine Tree Hill 1760
At the time of first contact between the Catawba and Associated Bands and the Europeans in 1521, the Catawba and Associated bands claimed a land base of 55,000 square miles. After the 1570s, the Spanish interest in their nation waned. They made a few attempts at establishing a colony on the Carolina coast, and a few slave raiding expeditions came north from the Spanish Caribbean. After Father Montero left in the 1570's, little effort was made to convert the Indians to the Christian faith.
There was a hundred luff in contact with Europeans, until about 1670, and the arrival of the English. Every emigrant who landed at Charleston, South Carolina, took a parcel of Catawba land. There were many thousands of settlers, some of whom took hundreds of acres of land. After only 90 years, by 1760, most Catawba lands were cone, and few Catawba remained, scattered in pockets, with the ancient capital Cofitachique at a place now called Camden, still their capital, although by 1760 it was called “Pine Tree Hill”. With the nation but a fragment of its former glory, King Haigler realized a need for a new treaty in the hopes that it would prevent more settlers from claiming his nation's lands
The Catawba agreed to abandon Pine Tree Hill and move north to the Waxhaw Old Fields, near prsent day Lancaster, South Carolina. The text of the treaty has been lost (some say conveniently). By the terms of the treaty, the Catawba lost their lands in Virginia and much of both Carolinas. King Haigler did keep two million acres of land however, for the Catawba. Much ancestral lands, were gone for ever, from central North Carolina to Danville, Virginia(13).
Blumer's only description of the lands the Catawba kept say “They kept control of two million acres centered in a circle around the Waxhaw Old Fields.” Blumer goes on to say “Thinking the Indian way, he kept Catawba hunting rights to all of South Carolina” (14).
Although the treaty no longer exists. Somewhere there must be a record of what it included, as Dr. Blumer continues to describe what was in the treaty. He says that South Carolina Governor Bull agreed to prevent White settlers from moving to within thirty miles of any Catawba settlement, and to remove those who trespassed within those limits.
The Catawba immediately moved to the region provided for them, around the Waxhaw Old Fields. Blumer says it s thought both North Carolina and Virginia went unmentioned in the treaty, however much of the land ceded by the Catawba was in their realms. Both states immediately siezed the lands permitting settlers access to it.
In reality, North Carolina settlers had already moved onto some of the lands reserved to the Catawba, and since the treaty wasn't signed by North Carolina's Governor Dobbs, he didn't feel compelled to obey it. South Carolina had promised to build a fort to protect the Indians, but didn't do so for many years. When Catawba hunters fanned out about South Carolina for fur trading, mobs of Whites bat them and stole their furs. So much for hunting rights. With King Haigler's murder in 1763, the whole treaty came under question. Apparently the Catawba lost even most of the two million acres they were supposed to receive. In 1979 an an unsuccessful attempt was made to find a copy of the treaty, unsuccessfully.
Blumer states, “As it stands, what little we know of the treaty is learned from secondary sources” (15). It is believed the circular dotted line from the map below was the Catawba Naton per the Pine Tree Hill Treaty of 1760, nad it is known the 1763 treaty reduced their lands to the diamond shaped lands on the map below, where the letters CN are centered.

The circular dashed line on the NC/SC border is a approximation of the the two million acre region  that King Haiglar negotiated in the 1760 Pine Tree Hill treaty that has been lost. The diamont shaped region insie the circle labeled "CN" is the fifteen square mile region renegotiated in 1763.

Augusta Treaty, 1763
Please know in 1759 a Small Pox epidemic killed off about half of the Catawba Nation. It was the year after this great loss that King Haigler signed the Pine Tree Hill Treaty. During those years they had also aligned themselves with the English during the French and Indian War. Per Blumer, they were nervously watching settlers move closer and closer. Just 3 years after the Pine Tree Hill Treaty, the Catawba were back at the negotiating table, ready to sign another treaty. All the Southern Indians were to participate in the treaty negotiating.
In July of 1763 the King of England issued a proclamation to the colonies that only the British Crown could purchase Indian lands.
The Catawba arrived in Savannah on October13, 1763 with a delegation of 60 men, women and children. By the end of October, the Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, and lastly Cherokee arrived around Savannah. King Haigler had just died 2 months earlier, and their contingent was headed by Colonel Ayers. In three years the Catawba had signed 2 treaties, one in which their land base went from 55,000 square miles down to 2,000,000 acres, and the second in which they could claim only 15 square miles, or 144,000 acres. It is easy to blame Col. Ayers, but he was not as experienced as King Haigler. I suspect he did his best, and the English probably used his lack of experience against him. Had Haigler lived, perhaps they might have retained more land. We may never know (16).
Blumer quotes part of the treaty transcripts: “The Catawba's are all of one mind . . . His land was all spoiled. He had lost a great deal both by scarcity of Buffalo and Deer. They have spoiled him 100 miles every way and never paid him. His hunting lands formerly extended to the Pedee River, but is driven right to the Catawba Nation.
If he could kill any deer he would carry the meat to his family and the skiins to the White People . . .”
Little of the treaty actually concerns the Catawba:
i.] We, the Catawba headmen and warriors . . . declare that we will remain satisfied with the tract of land fifteen miles square. ii.] The Catawbas shall not in any respect be molested by any of the King's subjects. iii.] Their lands are to be surveyed and iv.] they are allowed to hunt off tribal lands (17)

The American Revolution
The Revolutionary war puzzled the Catawba. They did not understand the settlers fighting one another. The Catawba by this time were ruled by King Frow. Preparations for war by neighboring South Carolinians worried King Frow. He sent two runners to Charleston to find out what was going on. South Carolina let them know that they expected the Catawba to side with the state, and they were also expected to send a delegation to secure the allegiance of the Cherokee.
King Frow soon abdicated, and was replaced by General New River. He was said to have been a “war hero of great merit.”
About this time the Catawba sent a delegation to Charlotte, North Carolina, and were present at the Declaration of Charlotte. At this moment, there was no turning back. Another warrior is mentioned – Pine Tree Ceorge, a war captain. As in days and years gone by, the men danced and fasted, and the women combed the mens hair in bear grease. The men decorated their heads with deer tails, which identified them as loyal to the Revoutionaries.In October 1775, 25 Catawba enlisted under Samuel Boykin.I February 1776 Boykin commanded 34 Catawbas and was used in the Low-country to round up run away slaves.In August 1776, 20 Catawba fought beside Colonel AndrewWilliamson's men against the Cherokee. Per Blumer, many Revolutionary War records are sketchy and are probably incomplete (18).
One major event during the American Revolution that involved the Catawba was during the summer of 1780. At this time, the English took the city of Charleston from the Colonists. They were aware of the sentiment of the rebel's in the area of Charlotte, North Carolina. On May 29th, the English massacred a group of American soldiers at the Waxhaws, where the Catawba lived. Later, camden fell to the British on August 16, 1780. As by now the English were aware of the Catawba participation in the war. With the fall of Camden noting stood between the Catawba towns nad the British Army. Having seen them massacre American troops who had surrendered, the Catawba decided to evacuate their homes. (19).
The entire Catawba Nation fled to the north in August, 1780. Dr. Blumer provides a map of their route. They fled north, through Charlottte and Salisbury, North Carolina. Dr. Blumer thinks they then head for Danville, Virginia. He says “The land around Danville was still occupied by Catawban speakres, and was once claimed by Cofitachique when the Catawban realm consisted of 55,000 square miles through the Carolinas and the mountains of Southern Virginia. Today we know the Indians who inhabit this area as the Monacans.” We also know that there were others in the area, people known as “Melungeons”. From Danville their route is unknown. It is thought their final destination was somewhere between Danville and Roanoke, Virginia. Some think they went to live near the Pamunkey as a Pamunkey family is later found living with the Catawba. Blumer also says “In any case the Catawba women and children were far from harm, perhaps in some unsettled hamlet such as the modern Catawba, Virginia, which is only five miles west of Roanoke.” Dr. Blumer goes on to tell us at that time, 1780, Roanoke had not been settled yet. Blumer says they returned home in 1781 with the Army of General Greene. He quotes David Hutchinson: “When General Greene turned south, the Indians brought their women and children from Virginia and dispatched some of their numbers to bring word as to the situation of the property they had left. They received word from Charlotte about thirty miles from their towns, that all was gone; cattle, hogs, fowl, ect, all gone . . . (20).

All references from --
The Catawba Nation: Treasures in History, Thomas Blumer,
(1) p.13
(2) p. 18
(3) p. 20-21.
(4) p.21-22
(5) p. 23-24
(6) p. 25-27
(7) p. 28
(8) p. 29-30
(9) p. 31-32
(10) p. 33
(11) p. 34
(12) p. 34-35
(13) p. 36
(14) p. 37
(15) p. 38
(16) p. 39-40
(17) p. 41
(18) p. 42-43
(19) p.44

(20) p. 47


  1. Col. Ayers urged the Catawba to live in the White manner and to take up farming. He also feared that the diminished tribe would not be able to resist encroachment if the reservation was not reduced. During the American Revolution some of the Catawba took refuge in the area of the Great Dismal Swamp. Col. Ayers had a large plantation near there outside of Plymouth, N.C.,.

    1. Thank you, Mr Uraw. One of the main Catawba surnames is Ayers. Please feel free to email me at That would tie the Indians found on the North Carolina/Virginia border directly to the Catawba.

    2. Do you think this is the area they went to when they fled their homes during the Revolutionary War? Do you have citations for this material? Thanks :)

  2. Col. Ayers was Hixa-Uraw. Hixa-Uraw was at the treaty negotiations between Virginia and the Catawba in 1756. As "Capt. Ayers" Hixa-Uraw fought in the campaigns of '57, '58 and '59. He is the "Capt. Aires" mentioned in George Washington's letter in 1757. He signed on to the small pox report in '59 to the Gov. of S.C.,. He is the same Ayers who visited the Gov. of S.C. in 1760 for arms and supplies for the Catawba and sought a commission to raise scouts for the war. And he is the same "Col. Ayers" who led the indian scouts with the 77th Highlanders in the Cherokee war 1761-1763. Col. Ayers was hardly inexperienced in 1763 when he led at the Treaty of Augusta.

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  3. Thanks for the comment. Others have told me the man you mention never existed, or that he was just an interpretor, and the REAL "Col Ayers" lived decades later . . . leaving me confused -- I was told the real "Chief" was General New River/ aka William Scott, during that time -- I'd love help figuring it out. I can be reached at I have no bias at all -- just want the truth. I'll report both versions unless I can find documented proof one is correct as well as proof the other isn't. Thanks. :)