15 January 2019

The Westo were NOT Erie


Also, the Chisca were indeed Yuchi and the Rickahockan were proto-Cherokee.

For well over a century, the identity and ethnicity of the people called the Westo by the English colonists of Carolina have been debated by anthropologists and historians.  These Westo lived on the Savannah River from 1662 or 1663 until 1681, the end of the war against them by Carolina and the Hathawekela band of Shawnee living on the river since 1674.  The name Westo derives from the name given them by the Cusabo tribes living on the Carolina coast.

Following the opinions of Frank G. Speck (in his time the best authority on the Yuchi; still so today to a large extent), supported by John Swanton, the most preeminent expert on the ethnology and anthropology of Native Americans to that date, the prevailing concensus for the first two-thirds of the 20th century held that the Westo were Yuchi.

From the last third of the century to the present day (2018), opinion began to shift toward the hypothesis that the Westo were not Yuchi, but rather one of the Iroquoian groups who fled the Beaver Wars in the north, with the predominant opinion holding the Westo were former Erie, as first suggested by Verner Crane, an idea later brought back by Marvin T. Smith.
 
The shift came after scholars studying French colonial records realized that Richahecrian was a corruption of Riquehronnon, the designation most often used for the Erie by French priests and colonial officials.

The resulting equation that if Rickahockan equals Westo and Rickahockan equals Erie then Westo equals Erie is based on the almost universally accepted and never really challenged opinion of Crane that the Westo were the same people as the Rickahockans.  Swanton rejected outright the suggestion that the Westo were Erie, though he accepted Crane’s idea that the Westo were Rickahockan.

Once that equation of Westo to Rickahockan was accepted and supported by Swanton, resistance to the proposition was all but futile, at least for several decades, even though this contradicted the testimony of James Mooney.  Crane differed from Swanton, however, in rejecting the latter’s opinion that the Chisca were Yuchi and therefore not of the same ethnic group as the Westo, while Swanton said that they were.

Mooney, along with John Wesley Powell, had earlier identified the Rickahockans as proto-Cherokee and equated them with the Richahechrians of earlier Virginia records.  In part, he came to this conclusion from information derived from his lengthy association with both the eastern and western Cherokee, but also earlier records from such as Bishop George Henry Loskiel (1794), John Haywood (1823), and the Moravian Spring Place Mission (1801-1833).

Mooney later came to the conclusion that the Richahechrian-Rickahockan were refugee Erie.  To him and to his peers this necessarily conflicted with his earlier opinion because despite evidence and precedent, he and they had come under the mistaken assumption that the Cherokee had been on site in Cherokee Country for at least a millennium, or at least were present in the Appalachian Summit at the time of De Soto. 

I contend that both of Mooney’s opinions are, in fact, completely correct.  The Richahechrian-Rickahockan were indeed proto-Cherokee and that they were indeed refugee Erie, or at least a refugee group from the Beaver Wars with the Erie at their core.

Unfortunately for those who accept the assumption the Westo and the Rickahockans are the same as fact, Crane’s equation of the Westo with the Rickahockans stands on extremely shaky ground with as many holes as a sieve.  Those grounds will be covered later; under other conflicting evidence, the hypothesis breaks down entirely.

The Westo were not Erie or any other Iroquoian-speaking people.  They were not the same as the Rickahockans.  They were almost certainly, as Mooney originally judged, a band of Yuchi.

This is going to be an exploration of very diverse groups across many centuries and many thousands of miles, and to those unfamiliar with the history of speculation about the Westo, inclusion of parts may seem out of place and incongruous.  But going through it all is the only way to demonstrate the above point, rather than leave out inconvenient facts as all too many of those who have gone before have done.

I can state unequivocally and accurately that the group of Native Americans known to the Cusabo and their English neighbors as the Westo and to the Spanish as the Chichimeco were not refugee Erie.  That bare fact is beyond question.

CONTENTS

The Yuchi homeland in the 16th century
Early Spanish contacts with the Yuchi
            Hernando de Soto and the Chisca, 1539-1542
            Tristan de Luna and the Napochi, 1560
            Juan Pardo and the Chisca/Uchi/Huchi, 1567-1568
            Moyano’s battles with the Chisca
            Pardo’s journey resumed
            Spanish forts in the interior
The Yuchi diaspora
            Chisca
            Euchee-Ochese
            Chattahoochee (Chata Uchee)
            Tamahita
            Chichicmeco-Westo
            Hogolegee-Ogeechee
            Tanase (Tennessee River Yuchi)
            Cisca-Tongoria
Chisca and Chichimeco in La Florida, 1618-1651
Iroquoians in Virginia
            First contact with the Tuscarora and others
            The Massawomeck
                        Brief historical description
                        Identity of the Masswomeck
                        The Masswomeck on colonial maps
                        The “Attiouandarons”
            Edward Bland, 1650
The lost nation of the Erie
            The Beaver Wars
            The Erie confederacy
            Constituent tribes of the confederacy
            The Erie-Iroquois war
            Erie survival
            Mingo Flats, Virginia
The Richahecrians, 1656
The Chichimeco return to La Florida, 1659
Birth of the Yamasee
The Rickahockans, 1670
Birth of the colony of Carolina, 1670
Birth of the Indian slave trade in the Southeast
Batts and Fallam Expedition, 1671
The Tomahitans, 1673-1674
            Location of the Tomahitan town
            James Meedham’s fate
            Gabriel Arthur’s adventures
The Westo, 1674-1682
            Henry Woodward and the Westo
            The Westo and the Tomahitan
            The Westo and the Chisca
            The Westo War
The Cisca of Robert La Salle, 1682
Carolina Indian Panic of 1693
The Cherokee
Early authorities on their northern origin and migrations
Early maps showing the proto-Cherokee
The Cherokee as one people on 18th century maps
Derivation of those three names
The spread of the Cherokee, on maps
Summary and conclusions

The Yuchi homeland in the 16th century

The Yuchi as a whole and individual groups of Yuchi have been known by many names throughout history since first contact: Chisca, Uchi, Huchi, Cisca, Yuchi, Euchee, Hogologee, Ogeechee, Tahoglewi, Tahogale, Tongoria, Ochee, Hogohegee, Taogoria, Tamahita, and many others, including, many contend, Westo.

The territory of the Yuchi, or Chisca, as De Soto knew them, lay northwest of the concentric spheres of influence of the chiefdom of Cauchi and the paramount chiefdom of Joara and north of the chiefdom (later paramount chiefdom) of Chiaha.  Their territory spread across Western North Carolina, Upper East Tennessee, and Southwestern Virginia, roughly coextensive with the Late Pisgah Phase.  Their language, Yuchi, is a linguistic isolate.  In addition to Chisca, the Yuchi were also called Uchi and Huchi in some chronicles of Pardo’s expeditions.

The towns of the Chisca/Uchi/Huchi Pardo himself visited were Guasili and Canasoga in Upper East Tennessee, probably on the upper Nolichucky River.  Two others were Guapere on the Watauga River and Maniateque near Saltville, Virginia.  A fifth  town of Yuchi was the only one subject to outside control: Tanasqui, at the confluence of the French Broad and Pigeon Rivers; at at the time of Pardo, it was at least partially subject to the chiefdom of Chiaha.

Archaeologically speaking, the towns listed above and related sites are identified as the Late Pisgah Phase.  Furthermore, that archaeology demonstrates that people of these towns, the Yuchi, originally lived in the Middle Cumberland Basin making up what is known as the Late Mississippian period Thruston Phase, which developed in situ from the Early Mississippian period Dowd Phase.

Since the Muscogee (Creek) have their genesis as a people in the Creek confederacy that began forming in the 17th century, it is accurate to state that the Yuchi gave their name to confederacy, the “Creek” in the name being short for Ochese Creek, the English rendition of Uchis Creek, the name at the time for the Ocmulgee River.

Comment

Credit for the location of the towns named above belongs to Charles Hudson and his team, and to Jim Granville (for Maniateque).

Early Spanish encounters with the Yuchi

Spanish claims for La Florida extended from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi River, and from the Gulf Coast to the Ohio River.  La Florida was a province of the Viceroyalty of Nueva España, Spain’s largest colonial dominion which included Mexico, Central America, four-fifths of the United States west of the Mississippi, and territories in the western Pacific of the Philippines, the Marianas (including Guam), and the Carolines, and, for a short time, the northern section of Formosa (Taiwan).  La Florida later became a captaincy-general of Nueva España composed of several provinces, mostly named after majority tribes.

At the time of the Spanish entradas in the 16th century, the people known collectively to anthropologists and historians as the Yuchi lived in and dominated the Appalachian Summit region of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Western North Carolina.  The western two-thirds of the very same area later known as the Cherokee Country which romanticist historians (and later the State of North Carolina and the University thereof) incorrectly claim has been inhabited by the Cherokee for a millennium.

Hernando de Soto and the Chisca, 1539-1542

The first entrada to encounter the Yuchi was that of Hernando de Soto in the year 1540.  De Soto’s local guides called them ‘Chisca’.  Contact was very limited. 

As the Spanish paused in Chiaha, probably located at this time on Zimmerman’s Island in the French Broad River near Dandridge, Tennessee, De Soto sent out two Spanish soldiers along with a contingent of Chiaha warriors to scout Chisca territory, rumored to mine copper and possibly gold.  The scouting party was attacked and driven off, reporting back to the commander that the land was rough and rocky and unfit to grow much food.  That was the extent of this entrada’s contact.

Tristan de Luna and the Napochi, 1560

In 1559, a Spanish party under Tristan de Luna established Santa Maria de Ocuse on the Pensacola Bay.  When a hurricane destroyed most their ships and their supplies, the colony relocated to the Alabama River, where they founded Santa Cruz de Nanipacana.

With supplies running low, De Luna led an expedition to the paramount chiefdom of Coosa in 1560.  After giving them many supplies, the paramount mico obliged the Spanish to accompany him and his warriors in a revenge attack on the ‘Napochi’.  These enemies lived in what is now the Chattanooga area. 

The combined force found the first of the Napochi towns deserted hurriedly, so they burned it.  This was the town at the Audobon Acres site, referred to as Olitifar (Opelika) later by the Chiaha talking to Juan Pardo. 

The Coosa and the Spanish then proceeded to the Napochi town at the Citico site on the Tennessee River, chased the fleeing inhabitants across, then came to a stalemate in the face of the large war party from the big Napochi town at the Hampton Place site.  This last encounter ended with both antagonists going their separate ways after the Napochi agreed to submit and resume paying tribute.  Another Napochi town lay on Williams Island.

The French trader Charles Levasseur listed a town of ‘Napaches’ among the Upper Creek in 1700, and Opelika was an Upper Creek town on the Coosa River in what is now Coosa County, Alabama.  The later city of Opelika in Lee County, Alabama, is unrelated.  The Cherokee village in the vicinity of the burned Napochi town was called Opelika, as was the first U.S. Post Office in the neighborhood that was later changed to Graysville, Georgia.

Archaeologically speaking, the Napochi were Late Dallas Phase.  The known  sites of this phase in the Chattanooga or upper Nickajack Reservoir area include the Audobon Acres site, the David Davis site, the Citico site (later components), the Hampton Place site on Moccasin Point, and Williams Island.  According to her examinations at the David Davis site, Lynn Sullivan found items demonstrating trade with Coosa but little interaction with the surrounding Dallas Phase sites occupied at the same time. 

The houses of the Nickajack Reservoir sites (though not all Dallas Phase sites) were identical to those of the Mouse Creek Phase in the Hiwassee Valley of the same time, but that one feature does not signify same culture.  The sites in the Hiwassee Valley and Upper Hampton Place lacked the shell-tempered pottery of the Dallas sites and, even more tellingly, the burials there were extended rather than flexed as the Dallas Phase.  The Mouse Creek sites were all abandoned shortly after the De Soto entrada.

Lewis and Kneberg incorrectly identified the people of the Mouse Creek Phase as Yuchi, but their identification based on the information they had at the time.  The Mouse Creek sites include Ledford Island in the Hiwassee River (the largest), North Mouse Creek, South Mouse Creek, the Rymer site on the south bank at Charleston Landing, the Ocoee site on Ocoee River just above its confluence with the Hiwassee, the Sale Creek site on the Tennessee, and the Upper Hampton site just north of Euchee Old Fields at Rhea Springs.

Juan Pardo and the Chisca/Uchi/Huchi, 1567-1568

Between 1566 and 1587, the capital of Spanish La Florida was not San Agustin (St. Augustine) in what is now the U.S. State of Florida but Santa Elena, located on what is now Parris Island, South Carolina.  Fuerte de San Salvador, soon replaced by Fuerte de San Felipe, was its original fort.  The French previously had a fort on the site of Santa Elena known as Charlesfort from 1562-1565 that was destroyed by the Spanish.

From 1566 through 1568, the Spanish adelantado (governor) of Florida, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, sent Captain Juan Pardo on two expeditions deep into the interior, reaching as far west as East Tennessee.  As originally planned, the two separate expeditions were supposed to be one, but that turned into two because Pardo got word that the French were going attack Santa Elena and cut his first journey short.

On these journeys, Pardo laid the foundations of what were intended to be Spanish colonial settlements adjacent to major native towns, each guarded by a stockade, with a few isolated stockades  at other towns.

One of the first settlements and forts Pardo established was Ciudad de Cuenca at the chief town of Joara, guarded by Fuerte de San Juan, in which he billeted a detachment of thirty Spanish soldiers under Sergeant Hernando Moyano, in January 1567.  Then he proceeded on his journey, he built Fuerte de Santiago at the chief town of Guatari (subordinate to Joara at the time of De Soto), garrisoned by four men (later increased to thirty) and a secular priest, Fr. Sebastian Montero, in February 1567.  It was around this time that Pardo received word of the potential French attack.

Moyano’s battles with the Chisca

Early in the spring of 1567, Moyano took half his men to accompany the paramount chief at Joara and a large party of his warriors on an attack against the town of Mantiateque, near the later Saltville, Virginia.  The combined army burned the town and killed many of its inhabitants, earning for the Spanish the enmity of the Chisca.  In his report to Pardo, Moyano specifically referred to the enemy as Chisca.

Several weeks later, in April, the chief of the Chisca town of Guapere on the Watauga River, probably at Watauga Old Fields, sent Moyano a direct message threatening him and his men.  Moyano responded by taking twenty of his men and a support contingent of Joara warriors to attack the mountain town.  Even though the town was surrounded by a thick palisade, they managed to sack and burn it, killing or dispersing its inhabitants.

After exploring the vicinity, Moyano took his men to Chiaha at Zimmerman’s Island on the French Broad River, next to which they build a stockade to house themselves.  This was the same Chiaha from the De Soto Expedition. 

At the time of De Soto, Chiaha had been subject to the dominion of the paramount chiefdom of Coosa, the seat of which lay at the site of Coosawattee, Georgia.  In the intervening years, however, it had broken away and established itself as an independent power, though not extending its reach to anything comparable to that previously enjoyed by its former overlord.

Pardo’s journey resumed

In September 1567, Pardo received word at Santa Elena that Moyano and his men at Chiaha was being beseiged by the Chisca and in dire straits.  He therefore restarted his expedition, now that the threat from the French had proven ephemeral, and marched to Moyano’s relief. 

Along the way, among several towns of different ethnic groups, the expedition passed through the Chisca towns of Guasili and Canosoga on the upper Nolichucky River and Tanasqui on the French Broad River above Chiaha.  Upon reaching Chiaha, Pardo learned that the threat had been greatly exaggerated and Moyano and his men were safe.  They were not, as rumored, besieged by the Chisca, but they were restricted to their fort by the mico at Chiaha.  The latter party then abandoned their fort and joined the renewed expedition.

The united Spanish party stayed five days, then left Chiaha intent on reaching the dominant paramount chiefdom of Coosa.  However, after passing through Chalahume and arriving at Satapo, they were warned of an ambush on the road ahead, with six thousand warriors from various towns led by the paramount mico of Coosa and a hundred other chiefs. 

The six accounts of Pardo’s expeditions conflict slightly on exactly which towns these antagonists were from, but three lists demonstrate that the terms Chisca, Uchi, and Huchi referred to the same people.  Pardo himself reported these enemies as Chisca, Carrosa, Costehe, and Cosa.  Juan Vandera, chronicler of Pardo’s second expedition, reported them as these enemies as (according to one translation) Uchi, Casque, Olameco, Cosa, and Satapo (Huchi, Cosaque, Olamico, Cosa, and Satapo in another).  The chronicles give the names Chiaha and Olamico to the same town, in places explicitly stating they are the same.  Note that in none of these three lists are the Chisca and Uchi/Huchi in the same list.

After hearing warning of the ambush and news of its size, Pardo, therefore, decided that the best course was to return to Santa Elena, establishing forts and settlements along the way to secure Spanish claim to the interior.

Comment

Some have claimed that the Uchi and the Chisca are listed as separate parties in the list of enemies at Satapo, but this is clearly not the case.

Spanish forts in the interior

After returning to Chiaha, Moyano’s fort was torn down and Fuerte de San Pedro, garrisoned by twenty-six men, was built to replace it. 

On the return journey, they built Fuerte de San Pablo at Cauchi, garrisoned by eleven men. 

Following a three-week stay at Joara, site of the formerly established Ciudad de Cuenca and Fuerte de San Juan, the expedition departed, leaving thirty men to garrison the fort.  At Guatari, they established Ciudad de Salamanca and left thirty men to garrison Fuerte de Santiago.  At Cofitachequi, they established Ciudad de Toldeo and left men to garrison Fuerte de Santo Tomas.  At Orista, not far from the Spanish capital of Santa Elena, they established Villa de Buena Esperanza, guarded by Fuerte de Nuestra Señora.

They arrived back at Cuidad de Santa Elena and Fuerte de San Felipe on 2 March 1568.  That May, a little over two months later, Pardo learned that every settlement and fort established in the interior had been attacked and burned to the ground, with the garrisons wiped out save for a lone survivor, a loss of over one hundred twenty men.  Fr. Montero, the missionary priest at Guatari, was unmolested, and remained for six years.

With this setback, the Spanish abandoned plans to colonize the interior of La Florida, and by the end of 1587, had abandoned Santa Elena entirely.

Comments

This particular information, on the forts, does not bear at all on the subject at hand, but I just find it fascinating that the Spanish had so many settlements in the interior and that so damn few people know about them.

Some of the towns ecountered by Pardo, either by visiting them or meeting their micos an oratas—Chalaque, Tanasqui, Quetua, Xeneca, Neguase, Estate, Tacoru, Chalahume, Satapo, Canashaqui, Utaca—have been identified as Cherokee given their same or similar names to towns inhabited by the Cherokee—Cherokee, Tanase, Kituwa, Seneca, Nikwasi, Estatoe, Tugaloo, Chilhowee, Citico, Conasauga, Watauga—but none of these names are of Cherokee origin.  The Cherokee frequently adopted the names of previous settlements in the areas they settled, such as Opelika listed above.  As for the town called Chalaque in the chronicles, this was a Muskogean label for those who speak a different language, counterpart to ‘Akwanake’ among the Wendat.

The Yuchi diaspora

The politics and demography of the Carolina Piedmont remained remarkably stable from their configuration after the time of the 16th century Spanish entradas to the advent of English colonization.  Expeditions by Francisco Fernandez de Ecija in 1605 and 1609 and by Pedro de Torres in 1627 and 1628 reported Cofitachequi, Joara, and Guatari as the dominant towns in the region.  The Virginian explorer James Lederer echoed those assessments in 1670, with Wateree being the most powerful and most Mississippian politically.

With the advent of slave-raiding by the Occaneechi  of the Piedmont (somewhat) on behalf of Virginia and by the Westo on the Savannah River (mostly), at first on behalf Virginia and later on behalf of Carolina, these Mississippian remnants collapsed. 

The demographic landscape of the later Cherokee Country, however, changed drastically after the Spanish abandoned Santa Elena and Carolina in 1587, withdrawing south of the Savannah and shifting their capital to San Agustin.  Some of these changes may have occurred as much as a decade prior to that benchmark.  The Mississippian polities in the Tennessee Valley migrated southwest and those on the Coosawattee River relocated west.  Those elsewhere who did not do so at the time removed west shortly after the arrival of the Chichimeco (or Westo) or to the outskirts of the Spanish missions in the province of Guale.

As for the Yuchi, they began moving out of the Appalachian Summit area (Upper East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Western North Carolina) from the end of the 16th century through the early-to-mid-17th century.  One group notably remained in the mountains until the early 18th century.  The bands, groups, or tribes that emigrated out of the Yuchi homeland can be identified from colonial records or from maps of the period, of which there are six, possibly seven with an eighth group which separated from one of the earlier bands.

The earliest to settle among the towns of the proto-Lower Creek are those of the town generally known as Euchee, and possibly Chattahoochee.  But the group known as Chisca, later known as Chiscatalofa, are the first to appear in historical record, though they did not settle among the Creek until after the mid-18th century.

By the time of the Red Stick War (1811-1813), the Yuchi, except for the Chisca-talosa, had consolidated into a single large group in the Upper Towns of the Confederacy.  Here, they took part in the war as Red Sticks.  After the war, they appear back among the Lower Towns on the Woodbine map of 1814, with the accompanying text noting that they were war refugees from the Upper Towns.  They are noted on the Tanner map of 1823 as ‘Euchees’.

1.  Chisca 

In 1625, they appear on the De Laet map on what is probably meant to be the Choctawhatchee River, where they are noted by the Spanish governor of La Florida in 1639.

After the De Laet map of 1625, the Chisca are found at the same position on maps by Sanson (1650, 1657, 1705), Hofmann (1679), Berry (1680), Morden & Berry (1690), Jaillot (1692, 1694), and the Van der Aa map of 1707. 

On the map of the Tawasa slave Lamatty in 1707, he notes the Chisca near the Gulf Coast as the ‘Ogolaughoo’, a form of ‘Hogolegee’.  He also identified the Chisca as the chief slavers of that region of La Florida.

The Barnwell map of 1744 shows them among the Middle Towns of the Creek Confederacy as the ‘Chiscalages’.

On the Bonar map of 1757, they show up Lower Towns of the Creek as the ‘Chisca Talosa’, appearing in some form of that name at that location on the maps of John Stuart in 1764 and 1766, the Romans maps of 1773 and 1775, and the Woodbine map of 1814.

A census of Lower Creek towns in 1761 refers to both ‘Chisketaloofa’ and ‘Choctawhatchee Euchees’, the latter almost certainly formerly belonging to the former group who stayed behind when the rest moved to the Lower Towns from their previous home.

Benjamin Hawkins, U.S. agent to the Creek Confederacy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, noted in his accounts of Creek migration legends that they refer to the Savanna River as ‘Chiska Talofa Hatchee’, or Chisca Town River.  This band never lived that far east in historic times, so either the legends refer to a time in the very distant past or it is referring to another band of Yuchi as ‘Chisca’.

2.  Euchee-Ochese

Other than (possibly) the Chattahoochee, these lived among what were later known as the Lower Towns of the Creek earlier than any other known groups.

In the 1700 journal of his expedition into the interior of the Southeast on behalf of the authorities of the new colony La Louisiane, French agent Charles Levasseur calls this group “Outchialle”.

When the Lower Creek Towns moved east after the Westo War (1680-1682), the Euchee settled on the Ocmulgee River, which the English called Ochese Creek because of them.  Their town was the lowest down river, near the confluence of the Ocmulgee with the Flint.  The English called the people in this collection of towns the ‘Ochese Creek Indians’, later shortened to Creek.  The late 18th century Spanish name for this collection of towns had been “Uchises” for some time, even when they were still on the Chattahoochee River.

The Beresford map of 1715 depicts them at the above location (as well as the Moll maps of 1720, 1728, 1732, and 1736, by which time the information was out of date).  Here they remained until the outbreak of the Yamasee War (1715-1717), at which all the Lower Creek returned west to their former homes on the Chattahoochee River.

In 1728, warriors from Euchee tooks the scalps of two Yamasee on behalf of the Cusseta who were trying to curry favor with an English trader from South Carolina.  Yamasee warriors had recently attacked the outskirts of that colony and killed a number of people.  Taking that action incurred the wrath of the Coweta, rivals to the Cusseta among the Lower Creek, and after a series of negotiations, all parties agreed the Euchee should remove themselves from the territory of the Lower Towns.

The English of South Carolina invited the exiles to settle on the Savannah River, which they did in several places, ultimately concentrating on the lower river south of Augusta, as well as resettling Ogeechee Old Town on the river of the same name.  The Bowen map of 1744 shows the settlements on the lower Savannah River as ‘UCHEE’; they are also be represented in the legend ‘Tohogalias’ on the 1732 Moll map of the West Indies.

By the mid to late 1740s, the Savannah River settlements, at least, were deserted, and the town of Euchee was back on the Chattahoochee River, noted on maps during the rest of the century as ‘Euchees’ or ‘Ocheses’.

John Stuart notes them on his maps of 1764 and 1766 as ‘Eutchies’.

3.  Chattahoochee

These are probably the “nation” whom Levasseur called ‘Gatchouia’ in his journal.

The identification of this group as Yuchi is tentative, based largely on the fact that the Tardieu map of 1802 depicts them as ‘Chata Uche’, an anonymous map of Mississippi Territory (which then included Alabama) in 1814 depicts them even more explicitly as ‘Chata Uchee’ and the river upon which their town sits as ‘Chata Uchee River’, and the Fielding map of that territory in 1815 contains the same references as the 1814 map.

As ‘Chattahuces’, the Beresford map of 1715 places them on the Chattahoochee River, noting that they have “40 men” (warriors).  The Moll maps mentioned above place them instead on the Flint River.  The Le Maire map of 1716 puts them on the Chattahoochee as ‘Tchattaoucchi’, which is how and where they are shown on French maps the rest of the century.  Other maps, giving other versions of the name, also show them on the Chattahoochee River.

4.  Tamahita

When encountered by Gabriel Arthur in 1673, this group, called ‘Tomahittans’ in Abraham Woods’ account of Arthur’s “adventures”, was most likely living on the upper reaches of the Chattahoochee River above the towns of the later Lower Creek.  I give an explanation for that hypothesis below.

Swanton himself uses the form ‘Tamahita’ when he discusses them in Early History of the Creek Indians.  In the latter half of that discussion, he states that he has been given solid information that the Tamahita were Yuchi, though he does not specify what that information is, and in all his works thereafter he simply gives the name Tamahita as one of the appellations of the Yuchi without any discussion of their individual history.

Swanton gives several examples of the Tomahitan being pictured on maps or listed in colonial accounts among the Lower and Upper Towns of the Creek Confederacy. 

The ‘Tamaitaux’ appear on the De Crenay map of 1733 (which I’ve seen a facsimile of) on the Chattahoochee River.  The ‘Tamaita’ appear in an enumeration of Lower Creek towns in 1750.  In a 1761 list of Creek towns, the “Tomhetaws” are listed as belonging to a group of “27 Coosawtee” towns, now among the Upper Towns. 

James Adair lists the ‘Ta-me-tah’ as one of the broken tribes given refuge among the Creek in the Upper Towns, the others being Tae-keo-ge (Tuskegee), Ok-chai (Okchai), Pak-kána (Pacana), Wee-tam-ka (Wetumpka); a town of Sha-wa-no (Shawnee), a town of the Nah-chee (Natchez), two towns of the Koo-a-sâh-te (Koasati), Oosécha (Osochee), Okone (Oconee), and Sawakola (Sawokli).

Note:  Adair’s list lumps the Middle Towns together with the Upper Towns, a mistake too many authorities make discussing the Creek Confederacy.  For example, in signing the Treaty of New York with the United States in 1790, Alexander McGillivray and twenty-six other Creek leaders did so on behalf of the “Upper, Middle, and Lower Creek and Seminole composing the Creek nation of Indians”.

A brief account of the 1673 contacts between James Needham and Gabriel Arthur with the ‘Tomahittans’ is given below.

5.  Chichimeco-Westo

As the ‘Chichimecos’, the people whom the (possibly Arawak-speaking) Cusabo tribes on the coast of (South) Carolina called the Westo first appear in Spanish colonial records raiding the Georgia interior sometimes between 1618 and 1624, returning to the area in 1659.  Two years later, they launched a major assault against the towns of that area, and being repelled by the natives with Spanish support, turned to the towns of the Oconee Basin in the Georgia interior.

By 1662, they had settled at the mouth of a river from which they could reach both the Cofitacheaqui and the Escamacu (the Spanish name for the Cusabo).  When Carolina agent Henry Woodward visited their town, ‘Hickauhaugau’, they were at midpoint on the Savannah River, midway between the mouths of two tributaries entering the river from opposite sides, where they appear on the Thornton & Fischer map of 1680 and the Gascoyne map of 1682.

The Westo are almost certainly the ‘Oustack’ of Lederer, of whom his Usheree informants complained, telling him their town lay south on the other side of the fictional Lake Ushery.

After the Westo War (1680-1682), the Westo relocated to the Chattahoochee River, then moved with the Lower Creek when they moved their towns east around 1690.  The Beresford map of 1715 (and its Moll imitations in 1720, 1728, 1732, and 1736), shows them as the uppermost of the towns on the Ocmulgee River.

A Spanish letter of 1702 report that the Euchee, Chisca, Chichimeco, and Apalachicola made an attack against the Apalachee that year of some consequence.

When the Lower Towns returned to the Chattahoochee River during the Yamasee War (1715-1717), the Westo settled between the Coweta upriver and the Cullooma (who may be the people Stuart calls ‘Fusahatchi’ on his maps of 1764 and 1766) downriver.  In the mid-1740s, the Euchee, called Ochese on some maps, returned from the Savannah River and settled between the Coweta and the Westo.  Stuart calls them ‘Owutchies’ on his maps.

The Westo, as a group, are covered much more fully below.

6.  Hogolegee-Ogeechee

These people, the last major Yuchi diaspora from their homeland, arrived on the upper Savannah River about 1710, pushed out of the mountains by the expanding Cherokee.  They settled Euchee Island on the Savannah and Ogeechee Town on the upper Ogeechee River, which was named for them (also ‘Howgechee River’ and ‘Great Hogoheechee River’).  Hawkins gives the name of Ogeechee Town as ‘How-ge-chu’).

The Beresford map of 1715 (and its Moll imitations of 1720, 1728, 1732, and 1736) refers to this group as ‘Tohogalegas’.  The Barnwell map of 1721 has the notation “Hogolegees Deserted 1715” in this vicinity.

The Hogolegee removed west with the Lower Creek at the outbreak of the Yamasee War, settling just below the confluence of Chattahoochee River with Chatahospa River, where according to contemporary cartography they remained as least as late as 1799.  Stuart, on his maps of 1764 and 1766, calls them ‘Hogalies’ and places them close to the Tallapoosa River.

7.  Tanasee (or Tennessee River Yuchi)

This is my own name for the group of Yuchi whose progression southwest is marked by the name of their town.  Sometime after Pardo, the Tanasqui moved to the Little Tennessee River, leaving their name as ‘Tanasi’, the original seat of the Overhill Cherokee.  Their next stop was a location between the Hiwasee River and the Ocoee River in Polk County known as ‘Tennessee Old Town’.

On some local maps (Southeast Tennessee) and various obscure written sources is marked or otherwise noted a ‘Tennessee Old Town’ near Savannah Ford across Hiwassee River opposite Hiwasse Old Town, site of the former Cherokee town of Great Hiwassee.  This was not a Cherokee settlement, a fact that suggests this was in fact Yuchi, a stop in their migration south and west.  The in-house library at Red Clay State Park has the best information about Tennessee Old Town.

Since they had clearly vacated by the time the Cherokee arrived in the immediate vicinity, I believe these constitute the same group later found on maps near the Tali (‘Taly’) beginning with the Loughvigny map of 1697, on which he refers to them as ‘Togales’.  Others map-makers call them ‘Tahogales’ and ‘Taogoria’.

The Beresford map of 1715 depicts their town as ‘Tohogalegas’ at the foot of an island opposite two towns of Koasati (‘Cusatees’) with a “French Fort” (probably a fortified trading post) in the center.  This was probably Long-Island-on-the-Tennessee near Bridgeport, Alabama, and South Pittsburg, Tennessee.  The Moll maps of 1720, 1728, 1732, and 1736 repeat this.  The band was noted with 150 men on the Tennessee River in 1730.

This group could be the ‘Euches’ depicted on the Bonar map of 1757 among the Upper Creek towns, since it also depicts the the longer established town of Euchee (‘Euches’), by this time the “mother town” of all Yuchi in the Creek Confederacy, on the Chattahoochee River.  The group in the Upper Towns is noted on John Stuart’s maps of 1764 and 1766 as ‘Euschies’.

8.  Cisca-Tongoria

This group does not represent a diaspora group from the Yuchi homeland but rather a body of refugees from the Chisca of Choctawhatchee River whom La Salle met in his exploration of the Mississippi Valley in 1682. 

In his manuscript map of that year included in La Salle’s account, Franquelin shows this group as ‘Cisca’ on the ‘Misscouccipi Riviere’.  This stream (spelled ‘Misseouecipi’ on his 1684 version) enters the ‘Fleuve St. Louis ou Chucagoa ou Casquinapogamou’ below an island upon which is the town’“Caschinampo’.  From the island town of Caschinampo a trail goes southeast to San Agustin, with the caption, “The trail that the Kaskinampo and the Shawnee use to trade with the Spanish”. 

According to La Salle, these Cisca settled at Fort de Saint-Louis des Illinois the same year in the multi-ethnic community that gathered in the vicinity of the fort.  If they did not gravitate toward the trading post established by mutineer (Ft. Crevecoeur 1680) Martin Chartier on Cumberland River about 1685 shortly after it was established, they certainly did so after the non-Illinois confederation tribes evacuated in 1689.

Chartier’s fortified trading post, later the “old fort” reoccupied by Jean du Charleville in 1710, stood at what was later known as the French Salt Lick, now Nashville, Tennessee.  With Chartier came at least part of the Piqua Shawnee.  The Chispoko Shawnee returned (Franquelin’s maps show them there in 1682), the Mekoche Shawnee coming with them, in 1689.

That trail ‘that the Kaskinampo and the Shawnee use to trade with the Spanish’ was later known to the English and later Americans as the Cisca and St. Augustine Trail, second in importance in only to the Great Indian Warpath from Mobile Bay into Nova Scotia.  Its northern terminus was the French Salt Lick, which indicates the presence there at one time of the band of Yuchi known by that name, which fits the position on Vermale’s map (see below).

In 1692, the Piqua moved back to the Lenape and Chartier went with them.  His son, Petier, later became the chief leader of the band.  Seeking other sources of trade, the Cisca relocated to the Tennessee River and the region about its confluence with the Hiwassee River, on a major trail which led to the English in Carolina.  From local sources, we know that there were at least two settlements, the called ‘Chestowee’ in Carolina records a short distance above the mouth of the Hiwassee on the left side of that river and another on the right side of the Tennessee in Meigs County, at the place now known as Euchee Old Fields.

On several maps from 1717 to 1725, the Chisca are shown at this location as ‘Tongoria’, and most of these show another settlement of this name on a northern river.  The ones that do, with one exception, place the northern on the Ohio.  The exception is the original, that of Vermale in 1717, which places the northern Tongoria on the Cumberland.  That is why I believe that the Tongoria on the Hiwassee migrated from the Cumberland, which is what I think that its inclusion on Vermale’s map was intended to relate.  It could also be that the town on the Hiwassee was a satellite of the town on the Cumberland.

By the time Vermale’s map was created published, however, the ‘Tongoria’ on the Hiwassee were gone.  Having fallen into debt with Carolina traders Alexander Long and Eleazer Wiggan, the Yuchi (Cisca) at Chestowee suffered victim to one of the most notorious atrocities in Indian Country of the Southeast in the early 18th century, occurring in May 1714. 

In order to recoup the debt, Long and Wiggan instigated the Cherokee at Great Hiwassee into wiping out the town of Chestowee, offering a huge supply of trade goods in return for destroying the town, paying Chestowee’s debt out of the plunder, and turning over the captives to be sold at the slave market in Charlestown.

Once this had been carried out, the affair sent shock waves throughout the Southeast, including both Indian Country and Carolina.  Fortunately, Carolina authorities intervened to prevent a repeat against the Yuchi on the Savannah River, which Long and Wiggan had been encouraging.

Survivors of Chestowee, both those who had escaped and the former captives, all of them, whom authorities had forced Long and Wiggan to return, resettled with the Yuchi on Savannah River.  The Chestowee attack was one of the major irritants leading to the Yamasee War (1715-1717) and the Second Cherokee-Creek War (1716-1755).

There is more on La Salle’s encounter with the Cisca below.

Chisca and Chichimeco in La Florida, 1618-1651

Sometime during the administration of governor Juan de Salinas (the actual title by this time was captain-general) of La Florida, 1618-1624, he received reports of  ‘Chiscas’ and ‘Chichimecos’ raiding the Christian Indians in the provinces of Apalachee and Timucua.  In reponse, he sent a military force under Sergeant-Mayor Adrian de Canizares y Osorio to the northern frontier to deal with the problem.  The Chichimeco we do not hear of again until 1659.

As mentioned above, the Chisca settled on the Choctawhatchee river by 1625, when they appear on the De Laet map of that year.  In 1639, governor Damian de Vega, Castro, y Pardo wrote complaining of their depredations.  In 1647, the Chisca instigated the natives of the Spanish province of Apalachee (more groups than the nation by that name) into revolting against Mission San Antonio de Bacuqua and the Spanish of the area.

About 1651 during the administration of governor Benito Ruiz de Salazar Vallecilla, the Chisca again raided Timucua.  Vallecilla sent out Ensign Juan Baptista Terraza with a party of six to scout the situation and recruit native warriors to retaliate. The Spanish and their native allies were successful, and the Chisca survivors returned west.

Iroquoians in Virginia

The Spanish were not the first Europeans to encounter Iroquoian-language speakers in North America.  The claims that they were are largely based on discredited interpretations of the chronicles of the Spanish entradas to the Old Southwest, what we now call the Southeast (of the United States).  Actually, recalling the Vikings is enough to shoot down that hypothesis (St. Lawrence River), but in truth neither were they the first in the so-called Age of Discovery.

In two of his three voyages to what to Europeans then was the New World, Jacques Cartier encountered some twenty-five villages of eight to ten thousand people living along the St. Lawrence River.  These voyages were in 1535-1536 and 1541-1542.  When Samuel de Champlain arrived in 1608, the river was deserted of permanent settlements.  Archaeological studies demonstrate a gradual desertion of the area ending in about 1580, which is roughly the same time that the Mississippian societies as such disappeared from East Tennesee.

First contact with the Tuscarora and others

The first English to encounter Iroquoian-speakers settled the colony on Roanoke Island in April of 1585, with most returning to England with Francis Drake in June 1586.  The fifteen man detachment left behind had vanished by the time the second group of colonists, led by John White, arrived in July 1587.  The new group had trouble with the same local group that the first had crossed, and White returned to England seeking assistance.

When ships finally returned in August 1590 after having been delayed by the upsurges in the Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604), they found the settlement’s one hundred twenty inhabitants gone and its buildings carefully dismantled, with the word ‘CROATOAN’ carved into one of the trees at the site.  This indicated to White that the colonists, including his granddaughter Elizabeth Dare (first English person to be born in the Americas), had settled with the Croatan Indians living on Hatteras Island.  However, the privateers with whom he had hitched a ride were in no mood to mount a search party and left after a couple of days.

A large part of the reason for the failure of the first effort was that while the English got along with the nearby Chowanoke, Moratuc, Weapmuc, Secotan, and Croatan, they massively bungled relations with the Mangoak.  The fact that the colonists first made friends with the Chowanoke with whom the Mangoak frequently warred probably did not help.

The term ‘Mangoak’ is southern Algonquian counterpart to ‘Mengwe’, the general term of northern Algonquian speakers for Iroquoians of all nations and tribes.  It means, literally, “without penis”.  Nearly all authorities agree that these ‘Mangoak’ were the Tuscarora, perhaps with Nottoway and Meherrin among them.  This is concrete evidence that the Tuscarora, and probably also the Nottoway and Meherrin, were not refugees from the Beavers Wars, though they were likely recent immigrants to the area, perhaps from the St. Lawrence River Valley.

The Coree (as ‘Cwarennoc’) and the Neusioc, who many suspect were also Iroquoian, are also mentioned in reports of early explorations of the area prior to the establishment of the first colony (1584).

The Massawomeck

The Massawomeck were an Iroquoian people first appearing in records of the colony of Virginia as the Pocaughtawonauck, whom John Smith wrote in 1608 were at war with the Piscataway confederacy and the Patawomeck, the latter being partial members of the Powhatan confederacy.  By the time Smith made a map of the colony and nearby native groups, he named them the Massawomeck.  Other sources call them the Massomack.

The Massawomeck lived beyond the Appalachian Mountains, either on the headwaters of the Potomac River or on the Youghiogheny River, a tributary of the Monongahela River.  They were known early in the 17th century for descending the Potomac in canoes to prey upon their neighbors further downriver, especially the Andaste, the Patawomeck, the Paxutet, and the Wiccomiss.  One informant described them as making war “on the whole world”.

By 1627, the methods of operation of the Massawomeck shifted, trading for English goods through Anacostank, and sometimes their rivals, the Piscataway.  When encountered by the Fleet brothers in 1632, they lived in four towns—Tonhoga, Usserahak, Shaunnetowa, Mosticum—that lay three days journey from the ‘Herekenes’, i.e., the Erie (clearly mangled from some version of Riquehronnon).  Keep in mind this was a few years before the inland move reported in the Jesuit Relations. 

The last mention of the Massawomeck as such are in Dutch records from 1656.

Identity of the Massawomeck

The identity of the Massawomeck is a mystery rivaling that of the Westo, and their fate even much more so.  That they spoke an Iroquoian language but one different from the Erie, Huron, and Petun is well known, a fact indicated as well as by the fact that the Virginians’ Algonquin-speaking informants called them ‘Mangoaks’, which they interpeted as “cannibals”.

Some have tried to identify the Massawomeck with the Monongahela culture and/or with the Antouhonorons of Champlain’s writings.  A strong case can be made, indeed, that the Massawomeck of the early contact period were the terminal phase of the Late Monongahela Culture.  But the second proposition falls apart on two, possibly three, counts. 

First, when Champlain first mentions the Entouhonorons (spelled with an ‘A’ on his maps) in 1615 recounting their move of forty to fifty leagues, he says they have fifteen villages.  The Massawomeck are never described as having but three or four.

Second, it becomes apparent from reading enough of his writings that the peoples to whom Champlain referred as Entouhonorons were the western Iroquois (Seneca, Cauyga, Onondaga), while referring to the eastern Iroquois (Mohawk, Oneida) as Iroquois (also as Hiriquois and Yroquois).  Careful study of the Jesuit Relations and related writings makes clear that the two groups, while often joining together for enterprises such as the destruction of the Erie, most often fought separately from each other in two different theaters of operation.  The western Iroquois carried out most of the campaigns in the western Great Lakes region while the eastern Iroquois spent most of their effort against the tribes of New England and the Atlantic region and its hinterlands, including the Andaste.

Third, recall the Du Val map of 1677 mentioned above showing the ‘Nation du Chat qui cultiver la terre’ far inland, perhaps on the upper Allegheny River; it shows the ‘Antouhronons’ to the north of of the other.  The latter are mislocated, shown south of Lake Erie rather than south of Lake Ontario as they are on the maps of Champlain and Bisseau; of course on the maps of those two Lake Erie does not appear at all.

The Massawomeck on colonial maps

The Massawomeck first appear on the Smith map of 1612 of Virginia in the upper right corner on the southern shore of an enormous lake, separated from the rest of the map by the banner proclaiming “Virginia”.  They appear there on the later editions of 1620 and 1624, as well as those of Blaeu (1640, 1642) and of Hondius (1642, 1644) which copy him.  On the Dudley map of 1647, in which north is at the top, the Massawomecks are shown at an indistinct location in the upper left hand corner.

On the Jansson maps of North America in 1636, 1641, and 1660, the ‘Massowomecs’ appear just east of the Appalachian Mountains near the headwaters of Chesapeake Bay tributaries.

The Farrer maps of 1651, 1665, and 1667, oriented with west on top, the ‘Massawomeckes’ appear inside the Appalachian Mountains in the upper right corner.  The Hondius-Visscher map of 1669, while still basically a copy of Smith’s maps, follows Farrer in the detail of placing the ‘Massawomecks’ in the mountains.

The Lederer map of Carolina in 1672 bears the legend “The Messamomecks dwelt heretofore beyond these Mountains” on the right side of the chart, which, given the map’s orientation, is some distance to the north of ‘The Rickohockans’.

The “Attiouandarons”

The term ‘Attiouandaron’ (anglicized as ‘Attiwandaron’) was the French rendition of the Huron word for speakers of an Iroquoian language different from their own.  The Huron words for those who spoke a completely different language, such as the Algonquin-speaking Ottawa, was ‘Akwanake’.  The people for whom French chroniclers of various sources most often used the term were the Chonnonton, or ‘Nation Neutre’.

The word Attiouandaron began to appear on French charts with the Bourdon map of “Nouvelle France” in 1641, where it appears on two places, neither of them the Chonnonton, who are designated ‘Nation Neutre’.  One group of Attiouandaron is placed in southern Lower Michigan, south of the Winnebago (‘Aoventsiovaenronon’) and west of the Fox (‘Oskovararonon’), to the eastern shores of Lake Michigan.  Nothing at all is known as this group.  The other is placed in the mountains west of ‘La Virginie’, and these can only be the people known to Virginians as the Massawomeck, by virtue of being the only Iroquoians in that vicinity.

Sanson, who clearly used the Bourdon map as one of his sources, places the Attiouandaron just over the Appalachian Mountains west of ‘Virginie’, south of the “Eriechronons ou Nation du Chat” and southeast of the “Ontarronons” (Kickapoo), on his map of “La Canada ou Nouvelle France” in 1656.  They are placed thus again on his 1657 edition of that map and on his map of “La Floride” of that same year, on the Sanson map of “La Nouveau Mexico et La Floride” in 1679, on a Dutch copy of his New France map in 1683, the Sanson map of La Canada ou Nouvelle France in 1692, and a Dutch copy of his map of Florida in 1705. 

The Dutch cartographer Van der Aa published a map in 1707 illustrating De Soto’s route through Florida (which then meant the entire American Southeast) based on Sanson’s version, but with slight graphic alterations.  The information, however, was the same, so the ‘Attiouadarons’ lie in the same place where Sanson originally put them.

Though based on Sanson’s, Jaillot’s maps of “Amerique Septentrionale” in 1692 and 1694 place the ‘Attiouandarons’ east of the Appalachians, but close enough to that range that it can be interpreted to mean that the group lived in the mountains.

The Homann map of “Virginia, Marylandia, et Carolina” in 1715, probably the last to show the group, places the “Attiouandarons” among the mountains west of Virginia.

Comments

I find it interesting that the Massawomeck disappear from colonial records about the same time that the Jesuits report the Wenro shift from Oil Springs to the Niagara Frontier and that the Erie were forced inland due to trouble with enemies from the west.  Also, that the Wenro had four villages or towns just like the Massawomeck.

Edward Bland, 1650

In 1650, Bland accompanied Abraham Wood and a few others on an exploration of the Virginia interior.  Writing a pamphlet recounting their travels called The Discovery of New Brittaine, Bland recounted their meetings with the Occaneechi, the first time that name appears in Virginia records, and with the Tuscarora, Nottoway, and Meherrin.

Comment

The Occaneechi play a part in a couple of sections below.  English explorers scouting the area in preparation for the Roanoke colony encountered those three groups earlier in 1584 along with the Coree and the Neusic (probable Iroquoians) in addition to others.  The members of the first colony ran into trouble with them, and that trouble played not only a part in the fall of that colony but of the second Roanoke colony as well

The lost nation of the Erie

An Iroquoian people with a language, and probably culture, identical to the Huron and the Petun, the Erie at the time of contact lived along the southern shores at the east end of Lake Erie.  By the time of the Beaver Wars, they three of the tribes in the confederacy had relocated to the Allgheny and upper Ohio Rivers, while two of the tribes remained at their archaologically terminal sites.

The Beaver Wars

The Beaver Wars were a series of conflicts fought in the seventeenth century across the entire Great Lakes region, forever changing the cultural and ethnic face of its people.  Many of the most powerful confederacies of the time were broken up and/or destroyed. 

Often cast as war for control of the beaver trade with Europeans, hence the name, on the part of the League of Five Nations, also known as the Iroquois, it was also war to absorb all the other Iroquoian-speaking peoples and bring them together under the roof of one longhouse.  The most relevant part of the conflicts for the purposes here is the destruction of the Erie, or Nation du Chat (also Nations des Chats), as they were usually called by the French.

One often ignored major part of the Beaver Wars, while not relevant here, is the war waged by the tribes of the Chonnonton (Neutral) confederacy against the Asistagueronon (the Sauk, Fox,  Mascouten, and Potamotami collectively) that lasted from 1635 until the Chonnonton were broken up and dispersed by the Iroquois.

The Erie confederacy

At the time of the French entree, the Erie tribes lived further west than their terminal sites later in the century.  In the year 1635, they were forced to move east under pressure from the Kickapoo pushing on their west.  It was the same year that the Wenro moved northwest to the Niagara Frontier from their home around Oil Springs due to conflict with the Seneca and that the Massowomeck on the northwest frontier of Virginia disappear from that colony’s records.

The Erieronon, to use the Huron suffix, or Eriehaga, to use the Mohawk suffix, are called by a variety of names in the Jesuit Relations of 1610-1791 and related documents of New France from the period, including maps.  Other variations include Enrielhonan, Rhiierrhonnon, Enrie, Erieckrenois, and Eriegoneckkak, as well as Rigueronnon and Riquehronnon, the latter two also versions of the name of the leading tribe of the confederacy.  The Virginian trader among the Massomack (Massawomeck), Henry Fleet, mangled the name into ‘Hereckeenes’.

The French usually called them ‘Nation du Chat’ or ‘Nation des Chats’, a translation into French of the meaning of their name in Huron and other languages, ‘people of the long-tails’, about which there is a debate over whether this refers to raccoons or cougars, with solid evidence on both sides.

The Huron referred to them as the Yenresh (Yenreshronon with the suffix), meaning ‘long-tailed’ or ‘long-tailed people’.  The Tuscarora name was Kenyrak.  The Seneca called them Gwageoneh, which later morphed into Kahkwa.  The Onondaga name was Onnontioga.  The Mohawk called them the Arrigahaga, ‘people of Arrigha’, their chief town.  As a whole, the Five Nations also referred to the tribes of the confederacy as the ‘Otkons’, or ‘evil spirits’.

The Dutch referred to them as the Black Minqua, derived from ‘Mengwe’, the name by which they and most Algonquian-speakers called the Iroquoian-speakers, meaning literally ‘without penis’, which the English rendered as Black Mingo.  The Lenape called them ‘Alligew’i or ‘Talligewi’.  Their nearer Algonquian neighbors the Ottawa called them the ‘Olighi’n.

Other names or versions of names for the Erie are Erigas, Erighek, Achawi, Kauneastekaroneah, Squakihaw, Tchoueregak, and Kahgwageono.  The Tuscarora artist David Cusik is the source for the name Squakihaw, while Mohawk historian John Norton is the first literary source for the name Kahkwa.  Norton also called them the Rad-irakeai-ka, and wrote that they lived in the town of Kaghkwague.

The Erie probably shared the same autonym as the Huron and the Petun:  Wendat.  Both the Black Robes (Jesuits) and Champlain wrote that the Erie language was identical to Huron.

Constituent tribes of the Erie confederacy

The Erieronnon, as they are first referred to in the Jesuit Relations, were a loose confederacy of five tribes.  These there were the five: (1) Arrigahaga (Riquehronnon); (2) Kentaientonga (Gentaguetehronnon); (3) Oniasontke (Honniasontkeronnon); (4) Atrakwaeronon (Akhrakvaetonon); (5) Takoulguehronnon (possibly “Casa’ of the Franquelin maps).

Archaeologically speaking, the Erie are equated with the Ripley Focus of the Iroquois Aspect of the Northeastern Phase of the Woodland Pattern.  Anthropologists Marian White and William Enghlebert have identified five terminal sites of the Ripley Focus:  (1) Bead Hill Site in East Aurora, NY; (2) Kleis Site in Hamburg, NY; (3)  Silverheels-Highbanks Site near Irving on the Cattaraugus Creek Reservation; (4) Ripley Site in Ripley, NY; and (5) East 28th Street Site in Erie, PA.

Extrapolating from period maps and contemporary accounts, we can connect the individual tribes with the five archaeological sites thus, from east to west: (1) the Atrakwaeronon were in East Aurora, NY; (2) the Arrigahaga were in Hamburg, NY; (3) the Kentaientonga were near Irving, NY; (4) the Oniasontke were in Ripley, NY; and (5) the Takoulguehronnon were in Erie, PN.

I should note that with the exception of the groups at the Hamburg site (the Arrigahaga, as Rakouagega), as well as the Bead Hill Site (which it doesn’t show at all), the map of Franquelin from 1684 shows the tribes considerably inland from the terminal sites of the Ripley Focus.  Rather than at those, Franquelin shows the Kentaientonga, the Oniasontke, and, perhaps, the Takoulguehronnon (as Casa) on the Allegheny-Upper Ohio River.  This fits with the report in the Jesuit Relations that the Erie had been forced inland by trouble with their enemies to the west in about the year 1635.

Those above occupation sites were the palisaded fortress towns of each tribe; in the cases of at least the Arrigahaga and the Kentaientonga we know from period accounts and/or contemporary maps, if not from archaeology, that these had satellite villages, hamlets, and isolated farmsteads attached to them.  The Franquelin map of 1688, for example, shows nineteen villages of the Kentaientonga destroyed, while Seneca accounts of the conquest of the Arrigahaga in the Jesuit Relations mentions smaller settlements being abandoned in the retreat toward refuge in the town of Rique, or Arriga. 

The Erie-Iroquois war
(and the fall of the Erie confederacy)

While warfare between the Huron and the Iroquois had been carried out for decades, the Iroquois began a war of conquest and assimilation and the other confederacy in the year 1647.  Two years later, in 1649, their attacks became so relentless that the Huron remaining burned their own towns and dispersed, seeking refuge with the Petun, the Chonnonton, and the Erie. 

Later that year, they destroyed the chief town of the Petun.  The next year the Petun, with the Huron and Wenro refugees among them, headed west to Mackinac Island along with the Otawa.

In the fall of 1650, the Iroquois began another war of conquest and assimilation, this time against the formerly more powerful Chonnonton confederacy, composed of ten tribes.  The Chonnonton were weakened because their leader, the Tsouharissen, had died without a successor in 1646, and because they had been carrying out an active war against the Asistagueronon (the Sauk, the Fox,  the Mascouten, and the Potamotami collectively) to their west since 1635. 

In the spring of 1651, the Iroquois destroyed the prominent Chonnonton town of Kandoucho and the seat of the confederacy, Andachkhroh, and the confederacy collapses.  Some fled west while some surrendered, but a large body remained free and allies with the Andaste (Susquehannock) to continue fighting.  The Antouaronon tribe of confederacy, meanwhile, relocated to the southern shores of Lake Erie just west of the eponymous confederacy.  The others, the ones who continued fighting, eventually surrendered to the League.

The war between the Erie and the Iroquois did not start in 1653, when the Erie attacked the Seneca, but in 1651, when the western Iroquois (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga) attacked Atrakwae that winter. The attempt to capture the town of the Atrakwaeronon, ended in a significant defeat for the would-be conquerors.  When they tried again in the summer of 1652 with the eastern Iroquois (Mohawk, Oneida) with them, they were successful, destroying the town and claiming to take a thousand prisoners.

Why the rest of the Erie attacked the Seneca in 1653 when they were reportedly already at war with the Andaste may have been as simple as realizing they were the next conquest after the fall of the Huron, the Petun, and the Chonnonton.  The Seneca sent their women, their old, and their young to live with the Onondaga in the center of the League.

Besides their poison-tipped arrows, which the Erie archers could fire at a rate of eight to ten compared to time it took for a single shot of the Iroquois with the Dutch supplied arquebuses.  The Erie had these too, but not as much access to shot and powder as their antagonists from the east.

That the Erie were a large people adept at war is proven by the fact that the Onondaga, the central tribe geographically and politically, representing all the Five Nations, sought an audience with the French asking their assistance in the war against the Erie, which was apparently not going very well in early 1654. 

The central town of the Riquehronnon and seat of the Erie confederacy, Arrigha or Rique, fell, along with all the tribe’s satellite villages, later in 1654.  The Iroquois destroyed Gentaienton, the central town of the Kentaientonga, in 1655.

In the midst of all this, according to military engineer for New Sweden Peter Lindestrom, a force of two to three hundred English attacked one of the towns of the “Black Minquas” and suffered a devastating defeat which saw fifteen men taken prisoner and tortured to death horribly.  Of course, since his journal was not published until 1691, he could be erroneously recounting the Battle of Bloody Run in 1656.  But the fact the Lindestrom refers to the invaders as Black Minqua helps confirm the identity and origin of the “Richahecrians”.

The Erie-Iroquois War did not end in 1656, despite the commentary of some of the Jesuits in letters and in Relations (a “relation” was an annual report to the head of the Jesuit Society’s missions in New France back in Paris). 

Eight hundred ‘Honniasont’ took up residence with the Andaste in 1662 to aid them in their war with the western Iroquois and their allies. Swanton is the source for the designation of this group as Honniasont; his sources are probably from Pennsylvania.  Willhelmus Beekman, governor of the Colony of Swedes (Delaware) for New Netherlands (which conquered New Sweden in 1655), in reporting the same information refers to them as ‘Black Minquas’.  

The Jesuit Relation of 1664 describes the report from the Iroquois of the supposed “final defeat” of the Erie that year.

When La Salle journeyed down the Ohio River in 1669, the Seneca warned he and his party about the dangers from the Shawnee and the ‘Honniasontkeronons’.

The map of Virginia published in 1673 by Augustine Hermann contains a notation in the upper right corner about the ‘Black Mincquas’ having been destroyed by the Andaste and the Seneca.

In the Relation of 1682, the Jesuits recount that a group of ‘Nation des Chats’ numbering some six hundred persons surrender to the Iroquois near Virginia.  A report to the governor of Maryland about this in 1681 apparently referring to the same group calls them ‘Black Mingoes’, and says they were being pursued and attacked by ‘Southern Indians’, possibly Yuchi.

Erie survival

Some of the Erie taken captive were adopted and assimilated (except for those tortured, burned, and eaten), but the majority of those who surrendered lived in communities with other surrenderees like those in the town of Gandougarae in Seneca territory.  Those not assimilated or adopted either fled to the Wyandot, moved next to the Andaste, or fled south to the “country of the Muscogui” (according to John Norton).

In 1662, some 800 ‘Honniasont’ (from the Oniasontke tribe of the Erie) took up residence among the Andaste on the right bank of the Susquehannah River to aid them in their own war with the Iroquois.  Swanton is the source for the designation of this group as ‘Honniasont’; his sources are probably from Pennsylvania.  Willhelmus Beekman, governor of the Colony of Swedes (Delaware) for New Netherlands (which conquered New Sweden in 1655), reporting the same information refers to them as ‘Black Minquas’.

In 1664, the Iroquois informed the French of their final defeat of the Erie.  The end of the latter is even then greatly exaggerated, though they had deserted their former homeland.

In 1669, Robert de La Salle financed an exploration of the Ohio River accompanied by Abbe Gallinee, among others.  Gallinee writes that Seneca informed them that after the distance of one month’s march they would encounter the the villages of the Honniasontkeronon and the Chiouanon before reaching the Falls of the Ohio (at the later Louisville, Kentucky).  The latter were the Shawnee, while the name of the first tribe was a clearly a version of Oniasontke.  The Kentaientonga (Gentaguetehronnon), whose former home was depicted on the Franquelin map of 1684 upriver of these, were long gone by then.

The map of Virginia published in 1673 by Augustine Hermann contains a notation in the upper right corner about the ‘Black Mincquas’ having been destroyed by the Andaste and the Seneca.

The expedition party of Marquette and Joliet down the Ohio River in the summer of 1673 encountered a group of Wendat-speaking Iroquoians below the Shawnee and past the Wabash River.  Marquette spoke with them in the language he called Huron, but Wendat was the common language of the Huron, Petun, and Erie.  These people were most likely Oniasontke given their location, though some distance farther west than they had previously been recorded.

In the Relation of 1682, the Jesuits recount that a group of ‘Nation des Chats’ numbering some six hundred persons surrender to the Iroquois near Virginia.  A report to the governor of Maryland about this in 1681 apparently referring to the same group calls them ‘Black Mingoes’, and says they were being pursued and attacked by ‘Southern Indians’, possibly Yuchi.  These were the group noted as ‘Tionontatecaga’ on maps of the early 18th century who gave their name to the Guyandotte Valley and its river.  Their descendants may have been the people of the town discovered in 1754 at Mingo Flats (modern Mingo, West Virginia) in Tygarts Valley.

Mingo Flats, Virginia

In 1753, Robert Files, David Tygart, and their families settled Tygart’s Valley in what became Randolph County, West Virginia.  The Files settled in the later Beverly area, the Tygart family three miles up the valley.  One day while out hunting in the fall of 1754, the two men discovered a ‘Mingo’ town about thirty miles up the valley and decided to relocate.  The name “Mingo” was the general name at the time frontiersmen, hunters, trappers, and pioneers of the northern and western frontier used for any group of natives whose origin they did not know.

Before the two familes could finish preparations and move, seven members of the Files family, except for one boy who fled to the Tygart home, were killed by a native war party, most likely Shawnee or Lenape since the French and Indian War (1754-1763) had already broken out.  The Tygart family would have been the target had the attack come from the native town up the valley.  Shortly after the Files boy arrived, the Tygart family fled with him in tow.

By the time a group of nine families settled in the valley in 1772, the town Files and Tygart had discovered was abandoned.  But its history gave the name Mingo Flats to that area of Tygart’s Valley.  It is now officially named simply as Mingo but is still known locally as Mingo Flats, especially since the road to get there is named Mingo Flats Road.

Comments

Although, I am very sure there is no relationship, I still must point out the notion that the Westo were refugee Erie is currently the most popular fad among ethnologists studying Native American groups of the colonial Southeast.  It is an idea taken as gospel in the same way that the stories of Saddam Hussein’s massive WMD programs were taken as gospel in the run up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Repeat a falsehood enough times with enough fervor and it becomes accepted as fact, no matter the logical contortions one must make.

The Richahecrians

Swedish sources, specifically Peter Lindestrom, relate a battle between English soldiers from Virginia and the ‘Black Minquas” in which fifteen Virginians were taken captive then tortured and burned to death.  This took place in the year 1654 or 1655.  Lindestrom was the chief military engineer for New Sweden in those years, and he wrote a journal of his time there.  However, since this was not published until 1691, the account could be an embellishment based on stories of the matter about to be discussed.

In March 1656, the Virginia House of Burgesses ordered Col. Edward Hill to gather a hundred colonial rangers and a hundred native warriors from the Pamunkey and Chickahominy nations under Wyanoke (Eno) leader Totopotomy (a weromance of the Powhatan confederacy) to deal with a group of six to seven hundred ‘northern Indians’, later identified as ‘Richahecrians’, who had settled near the Falls of the James (Richmond).

The site where the Richahecrian had settled was downriver from the towns of the Monacan and had formerly been the site of the town named Shocquohocan (also called Powhatan), seat of Parahunt, werowance of the Powhatan tribe and son of Wahunseneca, paramount chief of the whole Powhatan Confederacy (better known as Powhatan).  Virginia’s Fort Charles later stood there from 1645 to about 1649.

Upon arrival at the site of the newcomers’ settlement, the force from Virginia found them inside a well-built fort.  Five of their leaders came out to parlay under a flag of truce only to be murdered, which resulted in the Battle of Bloody Run, a serious defeat for the Virginians, who lost Totopotomy and nearly all their native allies and many colonial rangers.

In December of that year, Col. Hill was cashiered and ordered to pay the costs of making peace with the Richahecrian.  The latter, however, had by then vacated the region.  Strangely, though, the governor also ordered that Hill be paid for his expenses of the failed expedition.

James Lederer later identified the enemy as Nahyssan and Manahoac (‘Mahocks’) and placed the battle at the confluence of Pamunkey River and Totopotomoy Creek, but this clearly conflicts with colonial records at the time of the battle.

Comments

Due to the timing of their arrival and the close similarity of the names Richahecrian and Riquehronnon, as well as the near certainty that they spoke a variation of an Iroquoian language, it is fairly certain that the new arrivals in Virginia were refugee Erie, or perhaps a composite group led by refugee Erie.  As to where they went after the battle, they later appear as the Rickahockan of Lederer’s accounts, covered below.

The Chichimeco return to La Florida, 1659

The people whom the Spanish knew as the Chichimeco retrned to the Georgia interior, which was then part of Spanish La Florida, in 1659, this time to stay.

In 1661, the Chichimeco raided the Guale, both the name of the tribe and of the Spanish province on the Southeast coast of Georgia.  Spanish accounts claim they had English among them.  They came by the Altamaha River, reportedly more than two thousand of them in two hundred canoes.

Heading into the interior, the Chichimeco ravaged the lands of the Altamaha and the Catufa, and continued into the lands of the Apalachicola, where the Spanish pursuit, led by Captain Juan Sanchez de Uriza, caught up with them.  A battle then ensued.  Later, the Spanish captured four of the Chichimeco in the province of Apalachicola. 

Of important note is the fact that in order to interpet talks with the prisoners, Captain Sanchez sent for interpreters from the Chisca settlements on the Choctawhatchee River.  These Chisca, being Yuchi, spoke Yuchi, a language isolate unrelated to any other known language.  The only plausible reason for bringing interpreters from so far away would be that the members of the two groups, Chisca and Chichimeco, spoke the same language.

Sanchez learned that before arriving in La Florida the Chichimeco had come down from Ajacan, the Spanish name for Virginia.  To the Spanish, Ajacan included not only Virginia (the original Virginia, including West Virginia) but also North Carolina and the adjacent sections of the Appalachian Mountains.  The captives told the Spanish of the settlement of white men in Ajacan, meaning Jamestown, and warned their captors that the English were pushing ever further south.

As to the current whereabouts of their compatriots, the captives informed Sanchez they were then settled in the provinces of Tama (Altamaha, along the middle Oconee River) and Catufa (also Fatufas, Patofa, and Tatofa; Waynesboro, Georgia, and its environs).

Comments

There is virtually no credible argument that these Chichimeco and the Westo were not one and the same people.  The fact that Captain Sanchez sent a party from his location to retrieve an interpreter from a people living 150 miles away in the region of the Choctawhatchee River speaks volumes. 

As to claims these Chisca used sign language or talked to the Chichmeco prisoners through other persons, there is nothing like that in the accounts.  It is made up.  Nor is there any indication whatsoever in the Spanish reports that the Chisca only talked to the Chichimeco through interpreters, as some others have wishfully suggested.  See John Worth’s The Struggle for the Georgia Coast, and Swanton’s Yuchi section in Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors.

Birth of the Yamasee

By some time in 1662, the Chichimeco had so thoroughly ravaged the tribes of the interior that they evacuated the region to safer environs next to the Spanish missions.  These were the Altamaha (who may have included the Catufa), the Ichisi, the Ocute, and the Toa, who became the nucleus of the Yamasee, the name by which they are referred to as early as 1663 and more commonly after 1675.  A band of the Chiaha (Chehaw; formerly of the chiefdom on Zimmerland’s Island on the French Broad River) joined them at a later date.

After the Spanish tried to deport them to the Caribbean in 1687, the Guale, the Mocama, and their smaller dependent tribes crossed into Carolina and joined the Yamasee.  These spoke Muskogean languages very different from the Hitchiti languages spoken by those from the interior as well as from the Muskogean-speaking tribes in the west along the Chattahoochee River and in Alabama.  Those tribes along the Chattahoochee formerly lived farther north and had relocated specifically because of the depradations of the Chichimeco.

The Chichimeco, meanwhile, relocated possibly as early as October 1662 to a location described by the Spanish friars of Guale as being at the mouth of a river from which they could reach the Cofitachequi (Cusseta or Kahsita) at Camden, South Carolina, or the Escamacu (Cusabo), immediately north of the Guale across the Savannah River.

The Rickahockans

In 1669 and 1670, Gov. William Berkley of Virginia commissioned physician and explorer Johann (John) Lederer to make three expeditions into the interior with the goal of discovering a passage to the Californias.  It is the second of these which is most relevant.

Leaving Fort Charles (Richmond) in May 1670, Lederer and his party, led by Andaste guides, visited the following towns or tribes, in this order: Monacan, Nahyssan, Occaneechi, Wyanoke (Eno), Shakori, Wataree, Sara (Cheraw; Xualla and Joara of the Spanish), Waxhaw, Usherey (Uchiri of Pardo’s chronicles), Katearas town of the Tuscarora, Cowinchahawkon town of the Meherrin, Menchaerinck town  of the Meherrin, Nottoway, and Appamattoc, ending their journey at Fort Henry (Petersburg) on Appomattox River back in Virginia.

This particular of Lederer’s journeys is germaine to the purpose here for two reasons.

First, at the town of Occaneechi, Lederer met a delegation of Rickahockan, whom he heard dwelt beyond the Appalachian Mountains, led by an ambassador who had come to treat with the Occaneechi, presumably related to the trade monopoly of the latter with Virginia.  Their hosts slaughtered them at the height of a festival presumably in their honor that evening.  The overwhelming concensus of opinion is that the Rickahockan and the Rechahecrian are one and the same people.

Second, upon his arrival at their town, the people of Ushery (Usheree) warned Lederer of dangerous and warlike people called the ‘Oustack’ on the other side of the ‘Lake of Ushery’, who could only be the Westo.

Of further note, Lederer describes what can only be a remnant Mississippian culture in the regions he visited in Carolina.  The paramount chiefdom of the Wateree (Guatari) had long surpassed that of the Cusseta (Cofitachequi) to become the dominant power in the Carolina region, while that of the Cheraw (Sara, Xualla, Joara) also remained, all of them more or less in place where De Soto and Pardo first encountered them.

In 1672, after settling down in Maryland, Lederer published an account of his journeys accompanied by a map of the locations.  The map is oriented with west on top, and if you turn it 90 degrees counter-clockwise, the Rickahockan appear to be located in the New River Valley.

The Rickahockan on colonial maps

The first map to show the Rickohockan was not that of John Lederer, but by John Ogilby, though it was based on his information.  He drew it in 1671 for Charles II’s hydrographer, Joseph Moxon, to engrave for his book published that year, America : being the latest, and most accurate description of the New World.  The artistic copy was not ready until 1673, when Ogilby published a new edition.  These maps were oriented with the southwest at the top, and in the upper right corner just beyond the Appalachian Mountains is the legend “The Rickohockans”.

To illustrate his account of his journeys, written in Latin, Lederer drew a map based on Ogilby’s design but with some graphic changes.  His friend William Talbot translated the Latin account into English and published it, with a copy of Lederer’s map, as The Discoveries of John Lederer in 1672.  ‘The Rickohockans’ occupy the same space on Lederer’s map as they do on Ogilby’s.

The Basset & Chiswell map of 1676 and the Speed map of that same year follow Ogilby’s design more exactly.

The Morden map of 1688 puts north at the top and places ‘ye Rickohockans’ just east and next to the Appalachian Mountains.

On the Morden & Berry map of the world in 1690, ‘The Rickahoekans’ are one of the few native peoples depicted in North America.  The map shows them prominently in and west of the Appalachian Mountains, with their name in much larger letters than those of the six peoples to the south: Acoste (Koasati), Apalach (Apalachee), Chisca, Fascalesa (unknown, possibly Choctaw), Usheri (Usheree), and Vatuche (unknown).  Besides these, only the “Assistaerooms”, probably the Asistagueronon of the Jesuit Relations (the Sauk, the Fox, the Mascouten, and the Potamotami collectively), are shown.

On an anonymous French map based on based on Morden & Berry’s design of  “Caroline du Nord et Caroline du Sud” that also shows ‘Virginie’, ‘Nouvelle Georgie’, and northern ‘Floride’ published in 1733 or 1734 (no date, but ‘Nouvelle Georgia’ gives a timeframe), ‘Les Rickonoquans nation’ appear west of the Appalachians at roughly the same parallel they appear on the English maps.

Comments

The Rickahockan of Lederer in 1670 are almost beyond doubt the same group of people as the Rechahecrian of Virginia in 1656.  And their very location reported in 1670 by Lederer argues against the prospect of the Rickahockan being Westo in the face of Spanish reports that the Chichimeco settled in the eastern Georgia-western South Carolina region as early as 1662.  The manuscript description of their location and depiction on Lederer’s map does, however, line up with early testimony regarding the migrations of the proto-Cherokee from the north.

Birth of the colony of Carolina, 1670

The eight Lords Proprietor in England who owned the royal charter to the lands of Carolina, then defined as extending from the current southern boundary of Virginia well into Florida to take in the site of the Spanish capital of San Agustin, sent one hundred fifty colonists to establish a permanent presence and foothold in the territory.  Most of them were planters from Bermuda, who named their new settlement Charles Town.  Another group of planters from Barbados settled along Goose Creek.  The rivalry between these two groups dominated the politics and economy of the new colony into the third decade of the 18th century.

The colony, originally chartered in 1663, was divided into three counties: Albemarle, roughly today’s North Carolina; Clarendon, roughly South Carolina; and Craven, roughly Georgia and northern Florida, including the Spanish capital of San Agustin. 

In letters and reports, the French usually referred to all of it as English Florida, excepting those parts actually held by the Spanish, though their maps always call the area “Le Caroline ou La Floride Francois”.

In 1562, the French had established the colony of Caroline with strongholds at Charlesfort (Parris Island, South Carolina) and Fort Caroline in or near Jacksonville, Florida.  French Caroline was named for their king at the time, Charles IX.  The English version of Carolina was named for Charles II, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland.

The new colony’s seat lay among the nineteen tribes known collectively as Cusabo: Escamacu, Kussoe, Edisto, Kiawah, Etiwan, the Ashepoo, Bohicket, Combahee (Coosaw), Hoya, Kussah, Mayon, Sampa, Santee, Sewee, Stalame, Stono, Toupa, Wando, Wimbee, and Witcheaugh.  The lands inhabited by these tribes were claimed by the Spanish as the province of Escamacu. 

The tribes greeted the newcomers as saviors, beseeching them to protect them from the ravages of the people they called the Westo, the very same people the Spanish called the Chichimeco.

Birth of the Indian slave trade in the Southeast

One of the first enterprises the colonists engaged in was trade in Native American slaves.  The Spanish in La Florida had long employed systems of forced labor, but this system was different, involving commerce in native slaves captured by rival tribes and traded or sold to the merchants of Carolina.  Some of these unfortunates were put to work on plantations in the colony, but the vast majority were shipped to Barbados and other British colonies in the Caribbean as well as to New England.  In the first years, the slave merchants in Carolina worked with the Westo, the Cusabo, the Cussetas, and other nations as suppliers of slaves.

The colony of Virginia had already been long involved in the slave trade, their primary partners being the Occaneechi.  The primary partners of the colony of Maryland were the Andaste.  Part of the trade driving the Beaver Wars in the north in the later years was taking captives for the slave trade.  Other colonies involved were Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Kitts, Nevis, Bermuda, and New England.  The Iroquois began raiding south for slaves in 1680, targeting the Catawba; this touched off a war between the two that lasted until 1759.

The trade brought about the final destruction of the remnant Mississippian culture in the region and the end of its three remaining chiefdoms.  The Cusseta (also Kahsita, formerly known as Cofitachequi) departed for the safer environs of the Chattahoochee River, to become one of the founding tribes of the Creek confederacy, while the Wateree (Guatari) and the Cheraw (Joara) ultimately coalesced with other Siouan-speakers such as the Esaw (Yssa), Catawba (Catapa), Waxhaw (Gueca), Ushery (Uchiri), and Sugaree (Suhere), all mentioned as minor chiefdoms in Pardo’s chronicles, as the Catawba Nation in the 18th century.

Although the Occaneechi did skirt the region, the party most responsible to the collapse of remnant Mississippian society in the Carolina Piedmont was the Westo, especially with the jump in demand beginning in 1670.  In addition to the mission Indians of the La Florida provinces of Guale and Mocama and the settlement Indians of Virginia, the Westo harvested captives from the Cusseta, the Coweta, Chickasaw visiting for trade with Carolina, the Cherokee newcomers to the region, and even the Chisca, their fellow Yuchi living in La Florida.

Batts and Fallam Expedition, 1671

Led by Thomas Batts and chronicled by Robert Fallam, who accompanied him, this was the first expedition sent out by the colony of Virginia to across the Allegheny Mountains.  It was they who “discovered” New River, naming it after their sponsor and boss, Abraham Wood, after they had passed through the mountains at Wood’s Gap.

Much like its counterpart in the north (Allegheny-Ohio River), writers in the past spoke of the New-Kanawha River as one river, under many names.  In colonial and even early post-colonial times, the names Woods River, Kanawha River, or New River could refer to everything from the headwaters of the New River (in current terms) to the mouth of the Kanawha River at its confluence with Ohio River. 

Likewise, for decades, and really until the 20th century, the Allegheny River was considered the upper Ohio River, even when retaining its separate name, while sometimes either name, Ohio or Allegheny, was used for the length of the whole.  So, when writers describe the Erie as living on the Upper Ohio River, they mean the Allegheny River named for them, Allegheny being a variation of the name for them among the Ottawa and other northern Algonquins: Olighin.

At one point, they spied a field of cornstalks on the left bank of the river, apparently the remains of a recently deserted settlement.  The explorers supposed the inhabitants to have been some of the ‘Mohecans’ (‘Mohetons”’in other copies).  A little later, Batts (writer of the journal) refers to the same people as ‘Moketons’.  Both references are to the group more commonly known as Monyton (Moneton), who actually inhabited the Kanahwa Valley on the other side of New River Gorge, near Malden, West Virginia. 

The party met some Tutelo shortly afterward who informed them that next town south lay on a plain that produced a great amount of salt, similar to what the Chisca of Maniateque were said to be famous for in the time of Pardo.  Saltville, the modern city at that approximate location, lies on the North Fork of the Holston.  In the context, however, the Tutelo speaker seems to be referring to upper New River Valley.

The informant told the Virginians he had no more information to give them about that town because “there was a great company of Indians that lived upon the great water [i.e., New or Woods River]”.  In commentary on this account a century later, cartographer John Mitchell describes this “great company of Indians” being reported as “numerous and warlike”.

Comment

This account and that of the Richahecrians in Virginia match up with the reports of early authorities regarding the northern origins and migrations of the proto-Cherokee, which are summarized below.

The Tomahitans

In a lengthy letter entitled “The Travels of James Needham and Gabriel Arthur, 1673-1674”,
Abraham Wood recounted to his superiors in London how he contracted  Needham and Arthur to find passage over the Appalachian Mountains and contact the tribes on the other side.  His chief goal had been to be able to bypass the Occaneechi middlemen who had a monopoly on Virginia trade with the southern Indians. 

The two left Fort Henry, Wood’s headquarters, on 17 May, accompanied by eight Appamattoc natives.  On the way to the Occaneechi, the party met another of fifty-one Tomahitan, with whom Needham, Arthur, and one of the Appamattoc journeyed to their town across the Appalachians.

According to Wood’s report to London, the party traveled  nine days from Occaneechi to the town of Sitteree (Sugaree), then headed west over the mountains.  After passing five rivers flowing northwest, the party came to one flowing more directly west fifteen days out from Sitteree, and it was upon this river that the town of the Tomahitan lay.

Location of the Tomahitan town

Given that the only region in the neighborhood with that many rivers flowing northwest, their route could only have taken them southwest through East Tennessee into North Georgia.  The first mostly westward river they would have come to on this route would have been the Coosawattee River, the river formerly of the Coosa, later known to the Cherokee as Kusawatiyi, or ‘Old Coosa Place’. 

The town of the Coosa lay at the confluence of that river with Talking Rock Creek.  Known to archaeologists as the Little Egypt site, it is now submerged beneath the waters of Reregulation Reservoir.  Since the Coosa had vacated nearly a century prior, moving far down stream to the Coosa River, the site would have been open for resettlement.  However, Wood describes the river upon which the town of the Tomahitans sit as being well-populated, so that leaves out the Coosawattee River, which was then all but deserted. 

Wood relates that the Tomahitan told Needham and Arthur that eight days journey downriver from their town were settlements of men with beards living in buildings made of brick.  This leaves out the Etowah River, the next mostly westward flowing river south, because it joins the Oostanaula River just above Rome, Georgia, to become the Coosa River, which later merges with the Tallapoosa River to become the Alabama River, which in turn merges with the Tombigbee River to become the Mobile River, which empties into Mobile Bay.  No European lived there, on Mobile Bay, until 1702, when the French built Fort Louise de la Louisiane.

The upper Chattahoochee River flows more west than south.  After making a sharp southward turn, it flows toward the Gulf of Mexico, joining Flint River to become Apalachicola River, which empties into Apalachicola Bay. 

This last river is named for the people through whose territory they flowed, the Apalachicola, one of the nations which become part of the Lower Creek.  In fact, the Spanish often referred to all the Lower Creek collectively by that name (they later used the term Uchises).  Hence, most likely friendly territory for those from other Lower Creek towns.  Or at least not hostile.  And only sixty-four miles from Apalachicola Bay to Apalachee Bay and the river which feeds it, St. Mark’s River, formerly known as Apalachee River and home to the westernmost missions of the Catholic Church.

Given all these facts, I suggest that the town of the Tomahitan lay on the upper Chattahoochee River, perhaps the easternmost and most upriver of its towns at the time.

James Needham’s fate

Needham returned to Fort Henry with the Appamatoc warrior and a party of twelve Tomahitan to report to Wood, leaving Arthur in the town of the Tomahitan to learn their language. 

One of the Tomahitan who accompanied Needham on his return had been held as a prisoner at what can only have been a mission.  He described how its inhabitants rang a six-foot bell in the morning and in the evening, at which time everyone would gather together and talk about things he had no idea about.  Which might be how a 17th century native unfamiliar with religious rites of the Catholic Church might describe the daily offices.

Upon their journey back to the town of the Tomahitan, the party was stopped by the Occaneechi, who did not want them to pass through.  A trader named Henry Hatcher intervened, and they agreed to let the party pass, provided they accepted an Occaneechi escort.  In the course of their travel, one of the Occaneechi killed Needham, after which he and his compatriots returned to their town and the Tomahitan continued on their way home.

Gabriel Arthur’s adventures

After being rescued from being burned at the stake by the returning Tomahitan, who were about to do so at the behest of their Occaneechi allies, Arthur went on a series of raids with his hosts, ranging across a wide swath of the Southeast.

The first raid was against the Spanish mission in which the Tomahitan who had been a prisoner of the Spanish was held.  The raid amounted to an ambush of a single Spaniard some distance from the mission and a black man on the outskirts of a maroon settlement (maroons were escaped slaves) six miles outside the mission grounds.  The mission in question was most likely either Mission San Antonio de Bacuqua or Mission San Damian de Cupaica, the two most western of the Spanish missions in the “province” of Apalachee, the one at Bacuqua being the more northern of the two.

The second raid was against a town of “settlement Indians” a day and a half east of the mouth of the “Port Royal river” (probably the Coosawhatchie).  They traveled down the river from its head, which they had reached from the Tomahitan town in six days.  From the description of the target town’s location, it was most likely one of the Combahee (also known as Coosaw, not the same as the Coosa formerly of Coosawattee).  This raid was more warfare than robbery, and according to Wood the Tomahitan war party killed many native inhabitants and burned the town.  The return journey by foot took fourteen days.

The third raid occurred during a diplomatic mission of the Tomahitan to the Monyton on the Kanawha River, a journey which took ten days.  The Monyton told Arthur that all the nations who lived on the Ohio River were at war with the Tomahitan.  At the end of their meeting with the Monyton, the Tomahitan launched as assault against one of the tribes on the river, probably the Shawnee or else the Oniasontke, those two tribes then being the most accessible from the Kanawha Valley.  Arthur was shot in the legs with two arrows, but since he was not Tomahitan but English, his captors returned him to the Tomahitan.

There were a couple more adventures, including Arthur’s near capture by a group of Occaneechi in the town of the Sara (same people as Joara/Xualla), but Arthur eventually arrived back at Fort Henry on 18 June 1674. 

Were it not for the information supplied by Swanton (and checked by myself) about the separate existence of this group, it would be tempting to identify the Tomahitan as the Westo before they settled on the Savannah River.

Comments

Several authorities have attempted to identify the Tomahitan with the Westo, but other than their propensity to not play well with others and probably being Yuchi, there is no relation.  James Mooney wanted to equate them with the Rickahockan and the Cherokee, but later came to the opinion that the Rickahockan were refugee Erie, which for him precluded their being Cherokee, despite  his belief that they too were or northern origin.

Mooney remained convinced that the Tomahitan were Cherokee, however.  That this was not the case is shown by William Green in The Search for Altamaha: The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of an Early 18th Century Yamasee Indian Town (1992).  In his account therein of the peace conference held in Charlestown in January 1727 between the Cherokee on one side and the Abhika for the Upper Creek and the Coweta for the Lower Creek on the other, Green includes the statement of the Cherokee that the Tomahitan were the enemies of their allies the Yamasee.

This testimony by the Cherokee might seem to indicate that the Tomahitan and the Westo were the same people given their antagonism toward their neighbors.  But the description of the location of the town of the Tomahitan in Woods’ account plus the description of the Chichimeco town’s location in Spanish records combined with the evidence from Swanton are sufficient to strike down that proposition.  And, as Eric Browne points out in The Westo Indians: Slave Traders of the Early Colonial South (2005), in the 18th century (at least by its midpoint), the Tamahita lived among the Upper Towns of the Creek Confederacy while the Westo lived among the Lower Towns.

Some of the Tomahitan’s relations with other tribes and nations as related by Wood should be taken note of.  They were friends with the Monyton and the Occaneechi but enemies of all the tribes on the Ohio River, as well as the Yamasee (according to the Cherokee in 1727).  The first points to strong northern connections, ones which they would have coming from the Appalachian Summit region.

The Westo, 1674-1682

A brief account of the Chichimeco-Westo from their meeting with Woodward through the end of the Westo War.

Henry Woodward and the Westo

In 1673, the Westo began a war against the colony of Carolina and the Cusabo tribes who lived adjacent to the English settlements as well as among them.  The leaders of Charlestown brought in the Esaw from the Piedmont region of Albemarle County (now North Carolina) to assist them in their defense. 

Dr. Henry Woodward was the person in the colony in charge of virtually all relations with any Indian tribe, Carolina’s counterpart to Abraham Wood.  But Woodward went beyond mere trade, even living for a brief time with several tribes, learning their languages.  Because of this, he was well known and respected throughout Indian country in that part of the continent.  So when the Westo decided it would be better to trade than to raid, they appeared at Woodward’s plantation, seeking an audience in October 1674.

Both parties agreed that to continue negotiations, Woodward needed to visit the main Westo town, which turned out to be on the Savannah River.  In his description of the town, which he names as “Hickauhaugau”, Woodward mentions that the Westo are at continual war with the Cherokee (‘Chorake’) and Coweta (‘Cowatoe’).  This is the first appearance of the name Cherokee (or any version thereof) in English colonial records.

Two days before Woodward’s departure homebound, two Shawnee arrived, most likely from the Hathawekela band then settled among the Creek.  The two brought warning of an impending attack by the “Cussetaws, Checsaws, & Chiokees”, which other versions of the story give as “Cussetaws, Cheasaws, and Chiskers” and “Cussetaws, Cheesaws, and Chiskews”.  The first nation is clearly the Cusseta.  The second is almost certainly the Chicasaw; their name is spelled ‘Chiasaw’ in some documents.  The third are probably Chisca. 

The conclusion of the negotiations was Carolina recognizing the Westo as their sole middlemen for trade with the interior tribes going out and Indian slaves and deerskins coming in.  The agreement was ratified by the Carolina assembly, which was dominated by the clique from Bermuda, and by the Lords Proprietor in England, whose blessings the Bermuda group had.

The Westo and the Tomahitan

Given that the Westo began targeting the Cusabo in 1673 and that the Cusabo tribe called Coosaw or Combahee were the target of Gabriel Arthur’s expedition with the Tomahitan, one might think without further examination that this is proof of the Westo and the Tomahitan being the same group.  But the location of the Tomahitan town in my hypothesis or in any other precludes that.  However, the raid recounted by Arthur to Wood and related by Wood to his superiors against the ‘settlement Indians’ near Port Royal may be what provoked the First Westo War (1673-1674), especially if the Tomahitan were mistaken for the Westo because the raiders looked and sounded like them.  Which could easily happen if they were both Yuchi.

Furthermore, Woods’ descriptions of the Tomahitan town’s location and how long it took Arthur to get various to destinations from there work against the hypothesis of the Westo and the Tomahitan being the same group.  In particular, the description of the river on which the town of the Tomahitan sat as being thickly populated.  The Chichimeco’s or Westo’s depredations had cleared not only the Savannah River but the entire regions of eastern Georgia and western South Carolina on either side.  And then there’s the evidence of separate towns in the 18th century.

The Westo and the Chisca

Crane’s opinion that the third group threatening the Westo were the Chisca (“Westo and Chisca”, American Anthropologist, 1919) does seem likely, especially since one of the groups the Westo are reported to have targeted for slave raids was the Chisca.  His contention, however, that since the Chisca were Yuchi they would not go to war with the Westo if they were also Yuchi stands on very thin ground and would seemingly collapse of its own lack of foundation in the face of the the example of the Tuscarora War (1711-1715).

At the time of the war’s outbreak, the Tuscarora lived in North Carolina divided into two groups, the northern on the Roanoke River and the southern south of the Pamplico River.  The Southern Tuscarora allied with the Pamplico, the Coree, the Machapunga, the Cothechney, and the Mattamuskeet to drive out the English from North Carolina.  The colony sought back up from South Carolina, and the Northern Tuscarora allied with the Carolinas along with the Cherokee, Yamasee, Apalachee, and Catawba.

Another example in American history is the French and Indian War (1754-1763) in which the Wyandot of Fort Detroit fought on the side of the French while the Wyandot of Ohio Country fought on the side of the British.

An even better example is the bloody and chaotic Choctaw Civil War of 1747-1750 between its Eastern Division and the Western Division (the Six Towns or Southern Division remained neutral), which left over a thousand Choctaw dead and dozens of towns destroyed.

The Westo War

In the spring of 1680, Spanish colonial authorities reported a huge raid by the ‘Chichimecos’, the ‘Chiluques’, and the ‘Uchises’, these being the Westo, the Cusabo, and the Lower Creek. 
‘Chiluques’ was how the Guale and the Mocama referred to the the tribes of the Cusabo across the Savannah River.  The Guale and the Mocama spoke a version of Muskogean unlike their near neighbors, possibly in their own subdivision.

Not long after this, the Shawnee of the Hathawekela band which had settled upriver began attacking Hickaukaugau, with support from a party of the English.  These English were from and/or employed by the Barbados-origin Goose Creek Men.  The Westo, naturally, did not make the distinction between the two factions and counter-attacked generally.

Once the Westo had lost their chief allies against the surrounding nations and tribes, the feeding frenzy began, and by the end of the year, the Westo had been dethroned.  Fighting continued, however, at least on a small scale, into 1682. 

The primary beneficiaries of this outcome were the Goose Creek Men and the Hathawekela Shawnee, who took over the monopoly formerly held by the Westo.  The primary losers were the Westo, of course, and Henry Woodward, who up to the time of the war had a monopoly within the colony on the Westo trade, along with the Bermuda faction in Charlestown.

The remaining Westo relocated to a place among the Lower Creek on the Chattahoochee River just downstream from a town labelled ‘Euchees’ (Yuchi) on maps of the 18th century and upstream from the “Culloomas”. 

The Cisca of Robert La Salle

In recounting part of his trip exploring the Mississippi River Valley in 1682, La Salle encountered the ‘Cisca’on a river which “flows from east to west” and empties into the ‘Chucagoa’ (Ohio) River.  He also talks about a people of ‘English Florida’ (the province of Carolina) called the ‘Apalachites’ (Lower Creek) who were at war with the Cisca and the ‘Tchatake’ (Choctaw).

Mooney attempted to identify the Tchatake as Cherokee due to the slight similarity of the names and because he did that with nearly every group not positively identified as another.

The Cisca whom La Salle meets on the tributary of the Ohio, clearly either Duck River or possibly the Cumberland (going from the text and Franquelin’s map), have relocated from their former homes further east because the Apalachites, supported by the English, burned their one of their towns, so they evacuated all their homes for safer ground.  This band of refugees could only have come from the Chisca on the Choctawhatchee River.

A force of Spanish Indians from the La Florida province of Apalachee (Apalachee, Timucua, Chatot, Chine, Tomole) attacked and destroyed a town of the Chisca in October 1677, the full official report of which Swanton included in the Yuchi section of Early Creek Indians and Their Neighbors.  The destruction was in retaliation for their raiding of the other nations and tribes in the vicinity.  The Spanish Indians killed many of the population and burned the town to the ground.  The survivors fled.  The Cisca whom La Salle met could be these survivors, changing the origin of the enemies to curry favor and sympathy from the French, or they could be telling the truth and these are two separate incidents entirely.

A little later in his report, La Salle recounts that the Cisca and the Chaouenon (Shawnee) were the first nations to settle at Fort Sainte-Louis du Roucher (St. Louis of the Rock) on the Illinois River.  They were later followed by all the nations of the Illini Confederacy.  Not only does this strongly suggest that they were at least amicable if not allies, it indicates they may have been living adjacent to or at least near each other at the time of La Salle’s 1682 exploration.

Comments

Some, trying to prove the same point I am trying to make, have speculated that these Cisca were refugees from the Westo town of Hickauhaugau.  But the native actors in the two stories are different, this one placing the Cisca much farther to the west by virtue of their being at war with the Choctaw.

Carolina Indian Panic of 1693

As recounted by Crane in the essay  “An Historical Note on the Westo Indians” for American Anthropologist (1909), the governor and deputies of Carolina notified the colony’s Commons House of Assembly of word they had received about “northern Indians” settling among the friendly Coweta and Cusseta on Ocmulgee River (then called Ochese Creek). 

The Commons sent back word the next day advising the governor to prevent by any means necessary the settlement of such among “...our friends, especially the Rickohogos or Westos...” with whom they had so recently been at war.

Comments

Therein lies Crane’s sole proof for identifying the Westo with the Rickahockan, the alternate name ‘Rickohogo’.  He states that Woodward must have made a mistake when spelling the name ‘Hickauhaugau’.

Crane would have us believe that a group of rich planters whose only forays away from their plantations and estates were to the comforts of Charlestown knew more about the Westo than the highly experienced explorer who learned many local native languages and was respected enough throughout Carolina’s Indian country that when the Westo desired to make peace in 1674 they sought Woodward out personally.  He then not only visited the town of the Westo, but probably learned a good bit of their language.  The men in the Commons of Carolina were of the same class as those in the House of Burgesses of Virginia who mangled Riquehronnon into Rechahecrian.

As I said previously, very thin ground indeed.

Crane’s error multiplies exponentially as he not only equates the Erie with the Rickahockan, a fact upon which nearly everyone now agrees, but continues with his narrative of the Commons’ communication saying that they noted that, “...the Mohawks are a numerous, warlike nation of Indians, and strictly allied to the Westos” (modern spelling).  And still maintains that the Westo were the same as the Rickahockan who were the Erie.  As if the Erie would be “strictly allied” to one of the Five Nations who had destroyed their confederacy and driven its tribes from their homes in the Opper Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region.

This is a problem with the Rickahockan-Westo identification that Swanton pointed out long ago in his article “Identity of the Westo” for American Anthropologist (Vol. 21, No. 2, 1919).

The statement about the Mohawk being ‘strictly allied’ to the Westo alone should be enough to discredit the equation of the Westo to the Rechahecrian-Rickohackan-Erie entirely, as much as if the idea were shot in the head, decapitated, dismembered, and buried in a grave after its body had been burned and salt poured over its bones so that it can never rise again.

Early authorities on the northern origin and migrations of the Cherokee

John Ettwein (1788), bishop of all Moravians in North America, states that the original home of the Cherokee was the Upper Ohio River, and gives the year that the last of them were driven out of there as around 1700*.  He also said that the Lenape called the west country “Alligewinengk” and the Ohio River “Alligewi Sipu”, or ‘river of the Alligewi’.

*In the late 1680s or early 1690s, the Cherokee made an effort to reestablish (or establish) themselves in the Upper Ohio Valley, their chief settlement being the town of Allegheny at the confluence of the Kiskiminetas and Allegheny Rivers (now Schenley, Pennsylvania).  This provoked the Iroquois into granting some of their subject tribes lands in western Pennsylvania which had previously been prohibited to them.  The first of these to make that move was the Lenape, who moved into the designated area in the year 1698 and proceeded with a campaign to drive out the Cherokee that concluded in 1708.

George Henry Loskiel (1794), presiding bishop of the northern province of the Moravian Brethren, states that the Cherokee language is a mix of Iroquois, Huron, Shawnee, and other northern Native American languages.  All of these languages, particularly in combination, strongly indicate a northern origin for the Cherokee.

John Heckwelder (1819), Moravian missionary to the Indians of western Pennsylvania, relates the Lenape legends about the Talligewi, about they were driven out of the north by the Lenape in alliance with the Iroquois (whom he calls the ‘Mengwe’ in his account).  Ethnologist Cyrus Thomas later equated these Talligewi with the Cherokee, and he traced their route from the Upper Ohio River to the Little Tennessee River through the Great Kanawha Valley. 

The Great Kanawha Valley is composed of three sections: its lowest part, which converges with the Ohio River, is the Kanawha River Valley; above that is the New River Gorge; the uppermost part is the New River Valley.

John Haywood (1823), “the father of Tennessee history”, is best known for The Natural and Aboriginal History of Tennessee and The Civil and Political History of the State of Tennessee, both published in 1823.  For the first of these, Haywood did in-depth interviews with a number of Cherokee elders and leaders, including Charles Hicks, then Assistant Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation and in his day the foremost historian of the Cherokee.

Based on their information, Haywood ascribes a northern origin for the Cherokee, and that from there they had settled on the Appamattox River in Virginia.  This river, a tributary of the James River, converges with the latter just above the Falls of the James at Richmond. 

He goes on to recount that because of trouble with the English colonists, they removed from that location west to the New River Valley and the headwaters of the Holston River.  However, due to the “enmity of northern Indians”, according to him, the Cherokee were compelled to move further west, to the Little Tennessee Valley, some time before 1690.

Expanding on what Loskiel indicated about the multi-ethnic composite nature of the Cherokee, which he reitarates, Haywood names the last people to join them as the “Ketawauga”, giving their former home as the vicinity of Charleston, South Carolina, which, if accurate (hint: it’s not), would make them one of the Cusabo tribes.

Archaeologist David Brinton (1885) was the first authority of note to equate the Cherokee with the Talligewi of Lenape oral tradition and the Talega of the Walum Olam.

Archaeologist Cyrus Thomas (1890) supported Brinton’s hypothesis and traced their emigration from the Upper Ohio Valley as the Talligewi to the Appalachian Summit region through the Great Kanahwa Valley.

Ethnologist James Mooney (1900) provides the  most lengthy analysis of the Walum Olam of all, reaffirming the Talligewi of the Walum Olam were the Cherokee, including information from Wyandot legends that seem (from Mooney’s relation of the accounts) to specifically name the Cherokee as the enemy against whom they were allied with the Lenape.  It can be found in the section “Historical Sketch of the Cherokee” in his Myths of the Cherokee.

John R. Swanton and Roland B. Dixon (1914) accept the findings of the above sources in their article for American Anthropologist, “Primitive American History”.

Cherokee historian Emmet Starr (1922) ascribes an ultimately Mexican origin for the Cherokee, as he does for the Muskogee, but ascribes to them a northern home in the Great Lakes area as their first stop in the later United States.  Starr goes on to recount how the Cherokee were expelled from the north to the southern Appalachian Mountains by the Iroquois.

Comments

The “Ketwauga” of Haywood are not, in fact, Cusabo from the area of Charlestown.  The word derives from the Shawnee and Lenape name for the Cherokee, Katowagi.

These various reports indicate that the proto-Cherokee are the real identity of the Riquehronnon-Richahecrian-Rickahockan given their near identical reported migrations, being a composite people made up up northern refugees from the Erie, the Huron, and the Chonnonton, perhaps others, plus Shawnee and Powhatan, and maybe Nahyssan and Manahoac.  Not to mention the remnant Muskogean and Siouan groups living in the Applachian Summit and Ridge and Valley regions absorbed by the Cherokee once they had settled.

If the New River Valley was indeed one of the locations at which the Rickahockan/Cherokee stopped after leaving the settlement above the Falls of the James, then the abandoned settlement on the south side of New River that the party of Batt and Fallam found could have been theirs. 

The “northern Indians” referenced by Haywood whose enmity caused the Cherokee to remove from the New River Valley may have been the Iroquois.  But given the time frame of the abandoned settlement seen by Batts and Fallam on the south side of New River may indicate that the actual cause may have been the murder of their diplomatic delegation the previous year by the Occaneechi.

Again, if the New River Valley was one of the stops of the migration of the proto-Cherokee, the “great company of Indians” who were “numerous and warlike” may have been they, though New River Valley borders on the edge of the Yuchi homeland, the upper Holston Valley, which, of course, Haywood indicated they had settled at about the same time.

Early maps showing the proto-Cherokee

With two exceptions, these are all from Franquelin.  His “Carte de La Louisiane” in 1682 created to accompany La Salle’s account of his exploration of the Ohio River shows three towns on what can only be the Upper Tennessee River:  ‘Tehalaka’, ‘Cacouqui’, and ‘Tallgui’, going upriver.

His 1684 version of that map gives ‘Tchalaka’, ‘Cattougi’, and ‘Taligui’.  His map of “Amerique Septentrion” in 1685 gives ‘Tchalake’, ‘Talighi’, and ‘Kattoughi’, as does his version of the same in 1686. 

His “Carte de l’Amerique Septentrion” of 1788 gives ‘Tchalake’, ‘Talighi’, and ‘Cattoughi’ again, while his “Carte de l’Amerique Septentrionale contenant Les Pays de Canada ou Nouvelle France, La Louisiane, La Floride, Virginie, Nouvelle Suede, Nouvelle Yorc, Nouvelle Angleterre, Acadie, Isle de Terre-Neuve, & c.” of that same year gives the names as ‘Tchalake’, ‘Tamghi’, and ‘Cattoughi’.

Franquelin’s map of “La Nouvelle France” in 1699 gives the three names as ‘Tchalaque’, ‘Talighi’, and ‘Cattoughi’.

His “Carte de la Nouvelle France ou eft compris La Nouvelle Angleterre, Nouvelle Yorc, Nouvelle Albanie, Nouvelle Suede, La Penislvanie, La Virginie, La Floride, & c.” in 1708 gives the names of the three towns, tribes, or groups on the Upper Tennessee River as ‘Tchalaquey’, ‘Talighi’, and ‘Cattoughi’, and makes it clear with the legend ‘TCHALAQUEY’ spread across the chart under all three that these are all part of one people.  Which also indicates both the leading of the three groups and what the preferred or dominant name is for the collective whole.

Minet’s “Carte de La Louisiane” in 1685 only depicts two of these groups on the Upper Tennessee River, giving their names as ‘Kacatouqui’ and ‘Tchata’.

The De Fer map of “Le Canada our Nouvelle France” in 1705, the design of which is based on the early Coronelli maps of North America, places Tchalak, Tatighi, and Katoughi on the Upper Tennessee River.

Derivation of those three names

The name ‘Taligui’ as one of the names of the Cherokee definitively identifies them as the Talligewi of the Lenape legends.  Especially since, according to Mooney, it is an alternate name the Lenape use for the Cherokee.

The name ‘Cattoughi’ derives from the Shawnee name for the Cherokee, Katowagi.  This, in turn, derives from the name of the Mohawk for the Huron, Quatoghi.  In fact, the British mostly used the name ‘Quatoghi’ for the Huron during the colonial period, and the Americans followed them throughout the 19th century and into the early 20th century.

The name ‘Tchalaka’ is a bit more problematic.  Especially in the form ‘Tchalaque’, it suggests close affinity with the ‘Chalaque’ of Spanish usage borrowed from the Muskogean informants for people of a different language.  One town of the Upper Creek had that designation.  And being an exonym, it would fit the pattern of the other two.

The universal use of forms of the name using ‘r’ in place of ‘l’ suggests a possible different origin, however, especially in the French forms Tcheraqui, Cheraqui, Cheraquier, and especially Cheraquois.  Samuel de Champlain originally referred to the Huron as ‘Ochateguin’, but from 1613 to 1633, he called them ‘Charioquois’ in his writings and on maps, with alternate spellings of ‘Charioquet’, ‘Charokay’, and ‘Chariocay’, in the later years of that period gradually shifting to  the names ‘Huron’, ‘Hurons les bons Iroquois’, ‘Allegonantes’.

The Cherokee as one people on 18th century maps

Maps after the first few years of the 18th century depict the Cherokee in the traditional Cherokee Country with wide variations of spelling:  Cherakee, Tarachis, Cherecie, Charakeys, Tcheraqui, Cheraqui, Charokees, Cheraquier, Cheraquis, Cherakis, Cheraquois, Cherokee Nation, and, finally, Cherokees.

A precursor to many maps of the 18th century was the “Carte de la Fleuvie Missisipi” by French cartographer Louvigny in 1697.  It is a precursor to those later maps because it is the first to show what Swanton calls the “small tribes” on the Tennessee River, which on this map is “R des Tasquinampous”. 

Going downriver, a ‘V des Togales’ lies on the Upper Tennessee close to the text town, ‘V des Taly”.  Somewhat further down, at about the point where the Upper Tennessee becomes the Middle Tennessee, is the town ‘V des Tasquinampous’.  On the Lower Tennessee is the ‘V des Cochati’.  On the Cumberland River lie ‘Six Villages des Chauanons’.

These peoples are the Tanase or Tennessee River Yuchi, the Tali of De Soto and Pardo, the Kaskinampo, the Koasati, and the Shawnee, respectively.

The first two maps to show the Cherokee as one people rather than two or three came out in the same year, 1702.  Daniel Coxe’s “A Map of Carolana and of the River Meschababe” that year shows several towns of ‘Cherakee’ on the Upper Tennessee.  In his written account, he gives the form ‘Cheraquee’.  It also shows towns of the ‘Chaoanons’ on the Middle Ohio and Upper Cumberland Rivers.  On the Middle Tennessee, it shows the “small tribes” grouped together:  Taly, Cochaly, Kasich, and Tahogale.

The other 1702 map is the “Carte du Canada et du Mississipi” by Guillaume de l’Isle.  This map depicts numerous towns of ‘Nation des Tarachis’ on the Upper Tennessee.  Below that, in close order, are a ‘Village des Chaouenons’ on the left side of the river, a ‘Village des Caskigi’ and a ‘Village des Caskinampo’ on opposite ends of an island, a ‘Village des Tali’ on another island, a ‘Village des Taogoria’ on the left side of the river, then some distance down a ‘Village des Chicachas’.  This last does not represent all the Chickasaw; to the southwest De l’Isle depicts the the main body of the ‘Nation des Chicachas’.

The map also shows ‘les Tionontatecaga’ who inhabited Guyandotte Valley, ‘les Calicuas’ (probably the Monyton who inhabited Kanahwa Valley), and north of them “’es Oniasontke’.  Strangely, De l’Isle leaves out the Cherokee entirely on all his later maps and instead shows five towns of ‘Chaouenons’ (as opposed to just one) on the Upper Tennessee rather than just one.  That is especially odd since his maps continue to depict all these other nations and tribes as this map does.

The spread of the Cherokee, on maps

Viewing the colonial maps of the 18th century in successive order, and taking into account that many of them of repeat past and sometimes badly outdated information, you can watch the spread of the Cherokee from their mountain home further into Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee, into northwestern South Carolina, and into a surprising section of North Georgia.

This last could only have come after the removal of the Lower Creek towns to the Chattahoochee River upon the outbreak of the Yamasee War (1715-1717).  Especially galling to the Upper Creek, particularly the Abheika and the Coosa, was the Cherokee occupation of Coosawattee, the former site of Coosa when it was the paramount chiefdome.

The Mitchell map of 1755 contains the legend “Deserted Cherokee Settlements” across the upper Chattahoochee and Oconee Rivers and the entire Broad River of Georgia, which it names ‘Cherakeehaw or Broad River’.  The D’Anville map of that year names it the ‘Cherakishas ou Broad River’.  Even as late as 1764 and 1766, John Stuart’s maps call it the ‘Cherakee Hatchee or Broad River’.

As I just mentioned, the Mitchell map demonstrates that by the time it was drafted, the Cherokee had pulled back significantly from their incursion into North Georgia.  This could either mean that the Battle of Taliwa in 1755 was less successful than stories of the Cherokee make it out to be or that the territory was ceded back as part of the peace between the Cherokee and the Creek negotiated by the British that year.

The year 1755 also saw the first cartographical use of the terms ‘Upper Cherokees’, Middle Cherokees’, and ‘Lower Cherokees’ for the nation’s three traditional divisions (Mitchell).  The French versions, shown on Vaugondy’s map of that year, were ‘Haut Cherakees’, ‘Cherakees de Milieu’, and ‘Bas Cherakees’.

The first to depict the three divisions, though without names, was the highly informational Barnwell map of 1721.  Though he does not name the three divisions, Barnwell provides valuable information about the Cherokee population of the time.  The largest division in numbers was the Middle Cherokee, with 30 towns and a population of 5900, 2500 of whom were warriors.  The next in size were the Upper Cherokee, with 19 towns and a population of 3100, 900 of whom were warriors.  Last were the Lower Cherokee, with 11 towns and a populaton of 2100, 600 of whom were warriors.

On Crisp’s map of 1711, the ‘Cherecie’ had 3000 warriors, and a ten-year jump of a thousand warriors is quite an increase.  Sadly, Barnwell’s figures would be halved by the smallpox epidemic that swept throughout the Southeast in 1738.

Summary and conclusions

At the time of the Spanish entradas of the 16th century, the Appalachian Summit area of East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, and Southwestern Virginia—the traditional “Cherokee Country”—was not occupied by the Cherokee but by the Yuchi.  We know this from Hudson’s analyses of the routes of De Soto and Pardo and from archaeology.

The fact that the Chichimeco were reported in Spanish sources as raiding Apalachee and Timucua between 1618 and 1624 should be enough in itself to demolish the pretence that the Westo were Erie.  But there’s far more.

The calculations of the paths of De Soto’s and Pardo’s entradas through East Tennessee and identification of the location of the towns therein by Charles Hudson and his team rule out occupation by the Cherokee at the time of the Spanish entradas in the 16th century.  Furthermore, the archaeology of the Late Pisgah Phase sites ties their inhabitants of the Middle Cumberland during the Thruston Phase.  The same follows for the towns of the Carolina Piedmont and the eastern section of the Appalachian Summit.

The accounts of Pardo being warned of an ambush while he and his party were at Satapo do not give the names Chisca and either Uchi or Huchi in the same list.  Instead, three versions of the same list use one of those three in place of the other two.

The analysis of the several waves of the Yuchi diaspora from their Appalachian homeland demonstrates that while these groups all shared a common language isolate and material culture, they were not politically homogenous, at least not until the late 18th or early 19th century.

The accounts, primarily written reports of the officer in charge of the Spanish expedition to curtail the activities of the Chichimeco show no indication that the Chisca retrieved from the Choctawhatchee River to talk to the prisoners at Apalachicola talked through interpreters or by use of signs.  Therefore, the only conclusion can be that both parties spoke an identical language recognized but not known by other natives.  That is the very definition of a language isolate, such as Yuchi.

That the Chisca were Yuchi is demonstrated by the inclusion of both Chiske Taloofa and the Choctawhatchee Euchees in the census of 1761, the Choctawhatchee River being the former home of those in Chisca Talosa who moved to the Chattahoochee River by 1757.

The fact that the Chisca were Yuchi retrieved from their home 150 miles away to talk to the Chichimeco prisoners at Apalachicola strongly indicates that only they could speak the same language.  This can only mean that the Chichimeco, known to the English as Westo, were themselves Yuchi, which precludes their being refugee Erie.

Furthermore, while the timing of the Richahecrian arrival at the Falls of the James does not rule out the Westo being they, the location of the Rickahockan, universally recognized as the same group, west of the Appalachian Mountains in or in the vicinity of the New River Valley in 1670 does.  Lederer informs us of this, and numerous maps, most connected to his accounts but others not, all places them at that location. 

Since the Westo-Chichimeco are known to have been by that time at on, or in the vicinity of, the Savannah River (Lederer himself locates the ‘Oustack’ in the same general vicinity), to maintain that the Westo are the Rickohockan is absurd.

The statement of the Carolina assembly 1693 that the Westo were “strictly allied” to the Mohawk rules out the idea that the Westo were Erie.

The only possible conclusion given the evidence cited herein is that the real identity of the Richahecrian-Rickahockan Erie-Huron-Chonnonton refugees is that they were proto-Cherokee.  There is no other alternative that makes any sense, and substantial indication that is the case.  Not beyond a shadow of doubt, perhaps, but definitely beyond any reasonable doubt.

The Westo were not Erie, they were Yuchi. 

The Chisca were also Yuchi. 

The Richahecrian-Rickahockan were not Westo, they were proto-Cherokee.

SOURCES

In addition to the following written sources, I have studied nearly seven hundred period maps of the regions in question and viewed countless websites covering the material.  I have also made liberal (but cautious) use of Wikipedia and of Google Maps.

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