Tawasa Indians

Tawasa Tribe. Meaning unknown.

Tawasa Connections. They spoke a dialect belonging to the Timucuan division of the Muskhogean linguistic family, intermediate between Timucua proper and Choctaw, Hitchiti, Alabama, and Apalachee.

Tawasa Location. In 1706-7 in west Florida about the latitude of the junction of the Chattahoochee and Flint Rivers; at an earlier time and again later they were on the Alabama near the present Montgomery. (See also Louisiana.)

I have stated elsewhere (Swanton, 1946, p. 187) that the name of this mission was wanting in the list drawn up in 1656. I should have given the date as 1680.

Tawasa Villages. They usually occupied only one town but Autauga on Autauga Creek in the southeastern part of Autauga County, Alabama, is said to have belonged to them.

Tawasa History. De Soto found the Tawasa near the Montgomery site in 1540. Some time during the next century and a half they moved to the neighborhood of Apalachicola River, but in 1707 they were attacked by the Creeks, who captured some of them, while the greater part fled to the French and were by them given lands near the present Mobile. They occupied several different sites in that neighborhood but in 1717 they moved back to the region where De Soto found them, their main village being in the northwestern suburbs of the present Montgomery. After the Treaty of Fort Jackson in 1814, they were compelled to abandon this place and move into the Creek territories between the Coosa and Talapoosa Rivers, where they remained until the main migration beyond the Mississippi. Previous to this, some of them had gone with other Alabama into Louisiana and they followed their fortunes. The name was remembered by Alabama in Polk County, Texas, until within a few years.

Tawasa Population. The French census of 1760 returned 40 Tawasa men and the Georgia census of 1792 “about 60.” The census of 1832-33 gives 321 Indians in towns called Tawasa and Autauga, but all of these were quite certainly not Tawasa Indians in the strict application of that term. (See Alabama)

Connection in which they have become noted. The Tawasa tribe will be remembered ethnologically on account of the rescue of so much important information regarding the early history of themselves and their neighbors through the captive Indian Lamhatty (in Bushnell, 1908), who made his way into Virginia in 1708, and on account of the still more important vocabulary obtained from him.


Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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