Waco Indians. One of the divisions of the Tawakoni, whose village stood until after 1830 on the site of the present city of Waco, Texas. The name does not seem unmistakably to appear until after 1820, occurring first in Anglo-American accounts. As the Tawakoni evidently are the Touacara, whom La Harpe visited in 1719 on Canadian river, it is not impossible (and it has been assumed) that the Honecha, or Houecha, given by La Harpe and Beaurain as one of the Touacara group, are identical with the Waco. Yet, if the later Waco had kept this name throughout the 18th century, it is strange that it should not appear in some of the many Spanish reports and descriptions of them under the name Tawakoni, after 1770. It has been thought that the Quainco of De l’Isle’s map are the same as the Waco.
That the Waco village of the 19th century was identical with one or the other of the two neighboring Tawakoni villages on the Brazos, known in the later 18th century respectively as the village of El Quiscat arid that of the Flechazos, is clear, though it is not easy to determine which one, since both were in the immediate neighborhood of Waco. As the ethnology, customs, and early history of these two villages are quite fully given under Tawakoni, they need not be described here.
About 1824, according to Stephen F. Austin, the main Waco village consisted of 33 grass houses, occupying about 40 acres, and inhabited by about 100 men. Half a mile below was another village of 15 houses, built close together. The Waco were then cultivating about 200 acres of corn, enclosed with brush fences 1. At the site of the Waco village a native earthwork, like that of their kindred, the Taovayas (Tawehash), and known to have been used for military purposes as late as 1829, is said to have been until very recently still visible at the city of Waco 2.
The Waco were included in the treaties made between the United States and the Wichita in 1835 and 1846, and also in 1872, when their reservation in the present Oklahoma was established. In 1902 they received allotments of land and became citizens.
For Further Study
The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Waco as both an ethnological study, and as a people.
- For the relations of the tribe with the Anglo-American Texans, see Kenney in Wooten, Comp. His. Tex., I, 1898
- “Description of Waco Villages,” n. d., in Austin Papers, Class D
- Kenney in Wooten, Comp. His. Tex., I, 745, 1898