Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saura/Cheraw

The Saura/Cheraw

I am almost done now, with this blog enty. Hopefully I'' be finished with this entry about the end of Feburary.


De Soto spoke of the Xuala Indians. Pardo spoke of the same tribe, calling them the Joara.




Notice from this map shows the location of Xuala in Western North Carolina. Now when the think of the Cherokee of North Carolina, we consider their home, and call it “Qualla”. It is also in western North Carolina. Hmmm . . . do the two words have the same origin? I suspect they do.



Also notice the map above. It includes many of the state recognized, as well as federally recognized tribe, in Virginia, both of the Carolinas, and Florida.

Next, let us consider the Pardo expedition. There are people who who claim the Melungeons descend from a group of “Portuguese adventurers”. These same people use the Pardo expedition and say some troops were left behind, and forgotten. This is rediculous. Read “The Juan Pardo Expeditions” by Charles Hudson> If you look at a map from Hudson's book showing the city of Joara (p. 24), it is in the same location as Xuala per de Soto's accounts. Compare that to a map of the location Cherokee Reservation today, and it is what, maybe 40-50 miles to the west of Xuala, and Joara.


Notice the Xuala or de Soto, and Joara of Pardo, are one and the same. This location is just a little to the north east of the modern day lands of the North Carolina Cherokee, known as the "Qualla Boundary".

Juan Pardo departed December 1566 and returned March 7, 1567. He left a handful of soldiers under the command of Sargeant Moyano. The map shows the route of their expedition against the neighboring Indians in the spring of 1567.These men did help the people of Joara attack a few communities in the mountains.(map found on page 24). The following is taken from "The Juan Pardo Expeditions" by Charles Hudson. Hudson states, "The next place they came to was Joara, a very important town near resent day Marion, North Carolina. at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains . . . this was the same town De Soto chroniclers called Xuala." (18) Hudson goes on to say Pardo remained at Joara two weeks, and when he left, he left about 30 men at a Fort they called San Juan at Joara. under the command of Sargeant Hernando Moyano de Morales. It goes on to say he provisioned them with supplies for their matchlock guns. Plase note that according to Hudson, Pardo rturned to Santa Elena by a different route than he had taken, and that he had no problem at all getting back to their Spanish base at Santa Elena on March 7, 1567.

Sergent Moyano

Per Hudson, "Sergeant Moyano did not see Pardo again for about nine months, although the two of them exchanged letters carried by messengers.". Does this sound like they got lost and forgotten by the Spaniards? No, it doesn't. In early April, Pardo received a letter from Moyano saying they had fought a battle against the 'Chicsa' Indians.Could that be the 'Chicasaws'? Hudson guesses at the location of the Chicsa town and says Moyano attacked it with 15 men, but he says the exact location is unknown. The next part is very important, as to the conspiracy that these Spanish men were lost, and later became the forefathers of the Melungeons. The following is proof this did NOT happen. Hudson writes, "When Juan de Ribas, one of Pardo's soldiers, was questioned in 1602, he said that Moyano had helped an Indian chief defeat a rival. To have known this Ribas must have been one of Moyano's men, and he was living with the Spanish in 1602, and was NOT lost in the Southern Appalachians. 

Hudson provides one more such proof in the next paragraph. He states, "Moyano's involvement in aiding one interior chief against another is confirmed by Jaime Martinez, who served as an accountant in Florida from 1571 to about 1579. During this time, Moyano told Martinez about his exploits . . ." (19). So Moyano DID REAPPEAR in Spanish Florida! If the leader of the expedition reappeared in Florida, presumably so did his men. There is no reason to assume otherwise.These Spaniards that Pardo left behind returned to Spanish dominions.

 Moyano's men would have run out of ammunition and they would have had to have been resuplied. But there were roads, trails, often called traces, that went from the interior, going through the lands of the Eastern Siouan peoples, back to where the Spanish lands were, and the Spanish town of Santa Elena. They could have just traveled down the river, with the flow of the river taking them back to the Atlantic Ocean. We know they helped the Indians fight their enemy in the Mountains, so they should have been on friendly terms. Had that changed, the Indians would have killed them. And remember, Monayo and his men were Spanish, not Portuguese!





The above map is of the movements of many of the Southern bands of the Eastern Siouan bands rfom the times of the Spanish until much later times. It shows the Xuala/Joara in 1670 as being in the same location as the Guatari  wre in the 1560's. next we see or hear of the Saura they are on the Dan River, in two towns, Upper and Lower Saura Towns. As "Gua" in Spanish is  pronounced "Wa" in English, this is the same tribeal band as the "Wateree". We have a problem with this map however, as the Saura abandoned their two towns on the Dan River about 1700. It is possible they abandoned the region of the former Wateree about 1670, and at that time moved to the Dan River. They might have abandoned their town at Xuala/Joara long before. Since this is the only map I have at present showing this location (beside Guateri), this map is placed here. 

All American Indian males were trained as and considered warriors, and I suspect when Pardo's men attacked those towns to the west, it started a chain of events forcing their removal later. The people they attacked (possibly the Cherokee), of course, had to gain their revenge, and they may have harmed the Xoara/Saura so badly, they were forced to remove  further east. After the Spanish abandoned them, they were no longer there to protect them with their superior technology. 

About 1700 they fled to the Southeast towards Ylasi on the Pee Dee River, which the Yadkin becomes further downstream. They are still in South Carolina, but right on the NC/SC line, in what was to become the Cheraw District of the state of South Carolina. 



The above map is dated 1733. It shows the locations of various bands associated with the Catawba, including the “Saraw”. This map shows them in the North side of the Pee Dee River, not the south side. Near the Catawpa and the Sataree. Just north of the Saraw and the Keawee, just to the east of the Yadkin River. The Waxaus are just to the South of the Sataree, and on the opposite side of the river are the Wateree. Notice how far east the Saura have fled. But also notice the year – 1733. The Waxhaw who were supposed to have disappeared from history after the Yamassee War, are still on the map, as are the Yamassee. Notice the “ee” ending. As far as I know, no one has ever has ever said the Yamassee were Eastern Siouan. That “ee” ending makes one wonder . . . Also recall the map of state recognized tribal units in the carloinas and Virginia, shown earlier. The location of the Lumbee on that map is very close to the map here showing the Keowee and the Saraw.

I have one more map mwntioning the Cheraw -- 



"Charraw Town" is mentioned on this 1756 map, and they are shown as living with the Catawba.  Did they return to the NC/SC border region near the Pedee River, after this date? What became of them? This report is NOT complete -- will continue to work on it for a while, yet.

From “History of the Old Cheraws” by Alexander Gregg

From Gregg's account, he says there were no less than 28 Indian tribes in South Carolina (1). They did not realize many of these “tribes” were actually just 'bands' or a small part of a greater nation. I am interested in those who were of Eastern Siouan origin. Notice on the map below beside Camden, South Carolina, which is on the left edge of the map, half way from top to bottom is written “Indian Town”. We now know this was the location of what the Spanish called “Confitaquechi” (sp?)



Notice to the right of Camden and up a little is written “Cheraw's Precinct”. This was named for the Cheraw Indians.. As we have seen from previous maps, these are another name for the “Saura” Indians. Here is what Gregg says abut them. “Of the tribes which dwelt upon the Pedee and its tributaries. The Saras, or Saraws, as they were first called, afterwards the Charrows, Charraws, and Cheraws – occupied the region still identified by the name, Their territory extending thence to the coast, and along the coast from the cape Fear to the Pedee.
. . . upon the middle and lower parts of the river, the Winyaws. The Kadapaws were found on Lynche's Creek” You will find “Lynche's Cerek” east of Camden, and also east of the “Indian Town” beside it. The “Kadapaw” Indians are the “Catawba” Indians. Gregg seems to think the Cheraw or “Sara” Indians had lived in this region quite some time, but we know they were recent arrivals from the Spanish records of an earlier time. The Indian town near Camden was once a great city, and the capital town of the Eastern Siouans, oof which the Cheraw/Saura were but one band or region (2). Gregg continues to write as though the Catawba and the Cheraw were two distinct tribes, not realizing they were two bands of one greater nation. He speaks of the other tribes on the Pedee, and says they were absorbed by the greater tribes around them, in this instance meaning the Catawba. In reality however, they were ALWAYS one people, and if they moved together, it was for strength, as their numbers were dwindling. He says by 1743, twenty dialects were being spoken by the Catawba, saying “Cherah” was one of them. Per Gregg, the Cheraw were first mentioned by John Lederer, who travelled through the area between March 1669 and September 1770. Gregg suggests for a full story of Lederer's travels, we refer to Dr. Hawk's “History of North Carolina”, vol 11 pp. 43-63, with maps annexed. (3) He says Lederer calles them “Sara's or “Saraw's.” He quotes Lederer: “I departed from Watere the one and twentieth of June, and keeping a west course for nearly thirty miles, I came to Sara. . . . From Sara I kept a southwest course until the five and twentieth of June, and then I reached Wisacky. He speaks of nearby Indians called “Usheries”.There is no such tribe. I wonder it they mean “Uchee's? Gregg goes on to say these directions make no sense, and the tribes of his time never lived where Lederer's description puts them.However the map on page 20 shows this exact measure. The wateree later moved south to live nar the Catawba, while the Saura moved due north to live on the Dan River. I suspect however, that map has it worng, as other sources say they left the Dan River about 1700. Then might have hyst arrived in their location when Lederer met them. They could have then, just travelled down the river at leisure to get where they were later discovered in northeastern South Carolina, in the “Cheraw District”.Gregg, by assuming the description of the Saura of his time as living in the Cheraw District, get's hopelessly lost in geography. He concludes the Wateree and Waccamaw are the same people. Gregg confesses “Lederer's itenerary presents difficulties which we confess w can not satisfactorially solve. (4)”
There was one comment that caught my eye. Gregg said, “If, as is here conjectured, lederer passed through Robeson County, into South Carolina . . . it brings to light the fact never before suggested or imagined . . . that the Pedee, in the earlier days of aboriginal history, was known as “Sara”. And by 1732 there were Indians known as the Pedee Indians On December 15th, 1732, here is mention of the murder of a Pedee Indian, by the Upper House of the South Carolina Assembly (5). The man suspected of committing the murder was William Kemp.Gregg says; “concerning the fact of an Indian fellow being killed, named Corn-White-Johnny, His excellency issued the following order. On the 17th January, 1733, in council, upon hearing this day the information of William Kemp, relating to the death of of Corn White Johnny, and the affidavit of Thomas Burton, it is ordered that King Harry,, Captain Billy, George and dancing Johnny, and some of the relations of the deceased be and appear before me, the second Wednesday of February next ensuing, to give an account of what they know of the death of the said Indian, and that Wm. Kemp do attendat the same time. Likewise that Mr. John Thompson, Jun., is desired to acquaint the said Indians of the order. (6)”
The South carolina Gazette, dated June 30-July6, 1739sayd “On Saturday last . . . arrived at this town (Charleston, S. C.) eleven of the chief men among the Catawba and Cheraw Indians, who came to pay a tribute to his Honor, the Lieutenant Governor and inform him that some time since a party of their people went out to war . . .”(7).
In the Council Journal, no. 11, p. 133, dated March 2, 1743, we have; “his Excellency, the Governor, signed the following order . . . to provide for the Pedee Indians now in town . . .
“ . . . In Council, 25th of July, 1744, the governor admitted 4 Pedee Indians . . . who informet his excellency that 7 Catawbas had been killed by the Notchee Indians, who live among them. Governor Glen had the Notchee and Pedee Indians move closer to settlements, for safety, as the Catawbas were seeking revenge.
Several Catawba leaders are mentioned 2 years later. On the 27th of April, 1746, several Catawba leaders are mentioned as meeting the governor at the Congarees. The headmen mentioned are Yenabe Yalangway, the King. The old leader, Captain Taylor, Nafkehee, and some others, no names given, unfortunately. During this meeting, there is mentioned a Mr. Brown, who trades amongst the Catawba's. According to Gregg, Brown reported the following to the Governor. Gregg's accoount says, “Brown (who trades among the Catawba's) acquainted him that some of the Pedees and Cheraw's (two small tribes who have long been incorporated with the Catawbas) intended to leave them, which might prove of dangerous consequences at a time when they were so closely attacked by their enemies, the Northern Indians. Mr. Brown therefore entreated that if possible, such a separation might be prevented.” The governor then gave a speech to the Pedee and Cheraw Indians, advising them of he wisdom of remaining united as one. Gregg adds, “After this, they all promised to continue together” (8). Although Gregg says these Indians remained with the Catawba all their remaining history, King Haigler (the same Nafkehee mentioned last page. He seems to have been the next king) later wrote a letter to Governor Glen dated Nov. 21, 1752, asking the Pedee Indians to return. It is difficult to understand how and just who these Pedee Indians were, and what was their relationship to the Cheraw/Saura Indians (8).
The Pedee's are again mentioned August 30, 1748. Michael Welch, an overseer on Uchee Island on the Carolina coast line, sold an Negro slave to King Billy. It then goes on to say the Catawba Indians came and took the slave. He then escaped from the Catawba. So the Catawba still held sway over the Pedee Indians. The attitude of this Catawba King who took this slave might shed some light as to why these Indians wanted to leave the Catawba. I do not know if this is speaking about King Haigler or his predecessor. The earliest I have found, so far, mentions King Haigler in 1751.But I have only seen a few references (9).

An effort was made on the part of the Catawba to have the Pedee Indians move in with them. These Pedee Indians are not mentioned by that name earlier in their history. I suspect they were members of several groups that had dwindled to such a small number that they agreed to unite under a new name. Here is what the King of the Catawba said to Gov. Glen of South Carolina.. It is dated November 21st, 1752. There are a great many Pedee Indians living in the settlements that we want to come and settle amongst us. We desire for you to send for them, and advise for them to this, and give them this string of wampum in token that we want them to settle here, and will always live like brothers with them. The Northern Indians want them to settle with us; for as they are now at peace. They may be hunting in the woods or straggling about, killed by some of them, except they join us, and make but one nation, which will be a great addition of strength to us The (his [x] mark) King (10). Haigler was king of the Catawba at this time.

Immediately afte this, Gregg mentions a treaty between the Northwards Indians and the Southern Tribes. that is dated before Haigler's letter; on May 24th, 1751. He mentions tried living among the settlers, and says, "All the tribes . . . that live amongst our settlements, such as the Charrows, Uchees, Pedees, Notches, Cape Fears, and other Indians." (11).So there were numerous groups that had virtually been exterminated, but were still in existence, in pockets, in South Carolina.

Gregg continues his commentary. His next reference is dated 17th of October, 1755. He mentions a John Evans making a visit to the Catawbas by order of Governor Glen. From Evans journal, dated 17th of October, Evans mentions that during the summer, some Cherrakees amd Notchees had killed some Pedees and Waccamaws in the White peoples settlements (12). So we have mention now, of the Waccamaw as well, living in the White Peoples settlements. And we have the Catawba wanting them to move in with them, to strengthen their numbers. We have King Haigler trying to strengthen his people in numbers, by trying to get all these other bands, to move in with him and his Catawba.Our map previously listed dated 1756 shows some of the results of his efforts.

Continuing with this account, we have the following dated October 22, 1755. Evans says, "I set out from the Catawba Nation homeward, and at night came to a camp of Pedees. I aquainted them with my trip to the nation, and desired them to let me know who it was that killed and scalped the Pedee women and carried their boys away. Lewis Jones, their chief, answered, . . . he went down from the nation to the settlements . . . to inquite what harm was done . . . He met a Pedee Indian named Prince who lived in the settlements, and Prince told him that a day or two before the mischief was done, here was five Cherokees and one Notchee . . .and Lewis John said, he did believe they scalped the women and carried the boys away. (12)" There are a couple of points about this account. First Evans might be a figure to remember in the future. He sounds like an interesting fellow. Second, both Evans and Pedee Chief Lewis Jones/John 'left the Nation'. By nation, they mean the Catawba Nation. Third, these Pedee Indians are also found 'in the settlements', menaing the White settlements. They seem to be equally at home with the catawba, and in White settlements. And lastly fourth, the Pedee Chief is named Lewis Jones in one place, and next he is called 'Lewis John'. 'Johns' is a well known name of one modern band of the Catawba, the Monacans. This might be a coincidence,and maybe I am reaching at straws. But there it is, none the less.

Gregg mentions a later event. He says "In the South Carolina Gazette of June 2nd, 1759, this account was given; On Tuesday last, 45 Charraws, part of a Nation of Indians incorporated with the Catawbas, arrived in town, headed by King Johnny, brought him the scalp of a French Indian . . . taken . . . during the whole expedition against Fort DuQuesne . . ." (14).

There is another map dated 1750 shows another map of the Catawba homeland.


Notice the Catawba town is called Nasaue Town. Also we have Sugar Town (the Sugaree), Wateree Town living with the Chicisaw (Chickasaw). Waxaha Town is further down the river, and the location of the Congaree Fort is also shown even further south down the river, even though other records say it was abandoned decades earlier. Also some records suggested the Waxsaw were destroyed during the Yamasee River, there is still a Waxaha Town. If we see the 1756 map, perhaps Noostie town is Natchee Town, or where the Notchee (Natchez) took refuge. Nassaw and Nasaue town are probably one and the same, on the two maps.

So we have some Indians associated with the Catawba "living in the White Settlements", and we have the Catawba and rmnants of various tribes also living with the Catawba. But we also have a third band of these remnant's eastern Siouan Peoples, the Saponi and other wasted bands, that have taken refuge in Southeastern Virginia, that we haven't discussed. I will discuss them, later. Another, a fourth  band of these Eastern Siouans, the Tutelo who had been with the Saponi, will flee to the Six Nations of Canada and New York. Other groups of the Saponi that were once at Fort Christanna split into even smaller groups. These form some of the state recognized tribes of today. It is possible some never went to Fort Christanna, but were absorbed into the local population. And there are the people called Melungeons, who have since erroneously been called many things. By the 1750s, this is the state of the Eastern Siouans. They are mostly a group of refugees, with an uncertain future.

This writing is about the Saura/Cheraw. They are found in the 1750s, living with the Catawba, but they had also been living near the North Carolina/South Carolina border, on the Pedee River, and were living in what was once called "The Old Cheraw's" section of South Carolina.

Small Pox
The final destruction of these Indians is hinted at in the next paragraph. "In the Gazette of December 8th-15th, 1759, was this sad account of its [small pox] ravages; it is pretty certain that the small pox has lately raged with great violence among the Catawba Indians, and that it has carried off near one half of that nation . . . This distemper has since appeared among the inhabitants at the Charraws and Waterees." Immediately after this, Greggs says "The small pox went through the province in the year 1738." He continues "So distructive . . . had been this disease among the Indians . . .that its appearance brought on a spirit of . . . desperation." Later in the same paragraph we have; "About the time of the Revolution, some of the Catawba Warriors having visited Charleston, there contracted the disease again, and returning communicated it to their Nation." We have a last account mentioning the Charraws. Gregg says, "It was after this, having been sorely thinned by disease, that they we advised by their friends to invite the Charraws to move up and live with them as one tribe. here spoken of by the writers of the day, must have been a part of the tribe which had maintained its independence probablyin the region lower down the Pedee or on the coast, where they lead a proud but feeble existence." (15) Gregg goes on to say this small remnant of the Cherraws went to live with the Catawba, s ahad their brethren before, thus disappearing from history.

So we have three late outbreaks of small pox, one in 1738, one in 1759, and a last, a third, about the time of the Revolutionary War -- no date is given. Of the second outbreak, it was said that the small pox carried away half of the Catawba Nation. We have the entire Cherraw Tribe disappearing from history. But today, there is are a people called the "Lumbee" tribe of Indians living where the Cheraws had been observed living as late as the Revolutionary War. re the modern Lumbee that last remnant of the Cheraws? I don't know, but I don't think I have to go too far out on a feeble limb to say "maybe".

Gregg continues to write about tribes in the "Old Cheraws" region of South Carolina. He mentions the Pedee Indians, and says they were first called Pedee's about the year 1731-2, saying there is no mention of them before that date (16).  If one suggests they were members of wasted tribes, and took the name Pedee so they might be named after the Pedee River, one is then left pondering how the river got that name. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Gregg spends many pages discussing possible spiritual beliefs of these Indians. Since all he does is speculate, ad that speculation is based on events that occurred in the Indian cultural background as seen through the prism of Christian beliefs, it is possible none of his observations have any validity at all. Also I am not comfortable discussing these things. I am more comfortable discussing history than culture.Gregg even alludes to this, saying "They seemed to have been unwilling, for the most part, to give any account of their customs, particularly those of a religious character" (17).When they died out, so did all the intimate knowledge of their religious beliefs. He does mention in passing the "annual Sacred fire" on page 23, making me thing they might have had some similarities with other tribes in the Southeast which are NOT Soiuan, the Cherokee and Muscogeean peoples. Most of the rest of the book speaks of the White settlers of the region. Gregg mentions the Scots-Irish settlers, and mentions a Welsh settlement as well.

A Little More Research to Do
Gregg does mention Gideon Gibson and a group of Mulatto, Mustee and others who move into the area of the Pedee from the Virginia/North Carolina border. Later research mentions these families and associated them with the Lumbee. I had hoped I might be able to tie the Cheraw to the Lumbee, but all I find are the Cheraw leaving the area and the Lumbee moving in about the same time. I will add these bits when I have them better organized.


History of the Old Cheraws by Alexander Gregg

  1. page 1
  2. page 2
  3. page 5.
  4. pages 6-7
  5. page 8
  6. page 9
  7. page 10-11
  8. page 11-12
  9. page 13
  10. page 13-14
  11. page 14
  12. page 15
  13. page 16
  14. page 16
  15. page 16-17
  16. page 20
  17. page 27
  18. page 25, The Juan Pardo Expedition by Charles Hudson
  19. pages 26-27 ditto

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