Santee Indians

Santee Tribe: Named according to Speck (1935), from iswan’ti, “the river,” or “the river is there.” Also called:

  • Seretee, by Lawson (1860).

Santee Connections. No words of the Santee language have come down to us, but there is little doubt that they belonged to the Siouan linguistic family.

Santee Location. On the middle course of Santee River.

Santee Villages. The only name preserved is Hickerau, on a branch of Santee River.

Santee History. The Santee were first encountered by the Spaniards during the seventeenth century, and in the narrative of his second expedition Captain Eçija places them on Santee River. In 1700 they were visited by John Lawson, who found their plantations extending for many miles along the river, and learned that they were at war with the coast people (Lawson, 1860). They furnished Barnwell (1908) with a contingent for his Tuscarora campaign in 1711-12, but are said to have taken part against the Whites in the Yamasee War of 1715. In 1716 they were attacked by the Etiwaw and Cusabo, acting in the interest of the colonists, and the greater part of them were carried away captive and sent to the West Indies. The remainder were probably incorporated with the Catawba.

Santee Population. The number of Santee was estimated by Mooney (1928) at 1,000 in 1600. In 1715 an Indian census gave them 43 warriors and a total population of 80 to 85 in 2 villages.

Connection in which they have become noted. The name Santee has been given permanency chiefly by its application to the Santee River, S. C., but it has also been applied to a village in Orangeburg County, S. C.


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

1 thought on “Santee Indians”

  1. I am looking for information about my Grandmother’s great grandmother and family, Sarah (Sally)Santee, born August 22, 1796 to a “plantation girl” who died in childbirth. Her father is said to be John Santee (and there are many possible spellings), a mercenary soldier from the American Revolution. She grew up to marry the overseer of the Indian Plantation, Samuel B. Teeter, who was born in Garrard Co., KY July 4, 1796. They married in Woodford County, KY January 20, 1820. Samuel died Feb. 15, 1836 in Montgomery Co., IN and Sarah married George Sinnet.

    Their son, William Preston Teeter and his wife Sarah Ann Rodman moved to Indian Territory, Vinita, OK. between 1866 and 1869. Sarah died in 1875 in KS perhaps visiting family? and William died in 1876. I wonder if there was an epidemic of cholera or Typhus at that time?

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