Eno Tribe

Eno Indians. A tribe associated with the Adshusheer and Shakori in North Carolina in the 17th century.  Mooney thinks it doubtful that the Eno and the Shakori where of Siouan stock, as they seem to have differed in physique and habits from their neighbors, although their alliances were all with Siouan tribes. Little is known of them as they disappeared from history as tribal bodies about 1720, having been incorporated with the Catawba on the south or with the Saponi and their confederates on the north, although they still retained their distinct dialect in 1743. The Eno and Shakori are first mentioned by Yardley in 1654, to whom a Tuscarora described, among other tribes of the interior, living next to the Shakori, “a great nation ” called Haynoke, by whom the northern advance of the Spaniards was valiantly resisted 1 The next mention of these two tribes is by Lederer, who heard of them in 1672 as living south of the Occaneechi about the headwaters of Tar and Neuse rivers. The general locality is still indicated in the names of Eno river and Shocco creek, upper “branches of these streams. In 1701 Lawson found the Eno and Shakori confederated and the Adshusheer united with them in the same locality. Their village, which he calls Adshusheer, was on Eno river, about 14 miles east of the Occaneechi village, which was near the site of the present Hillsboro. This would place the former not far north east of Durham, N. C.

Eno Will, a Shakori by birth, was at that time, according to Lawson, chief of the three combined tribes, and at this period the Shakori seem to have been the principal tribe. They had some trade with the Tuscarora. Later, about 1714, with the Tutelo, Saponi, Occaneechi, and Keyauwee, together numbering only about 750 souls, they moved toward the settlements. Lawson includes Eno in his list of Tuscarora villages at that date, and as the Eno lived on the Neusead joining the Tuscarora, it was natural that they were sometimes classed with them. In 1716 Gov. Spotswood, of Virginia, proposed to settle the Eno, Sara, and Keyauwee at Eno town, on ” the very frontiers” of North Carolina; but the project was defeated by North Carolina on the ground that all three tribes were then at war with South Carolina. From the records it can not he determined clearly whether this was the Eno town of Lawson or a more recent village nearer the Albemarle settlements. Owing to the objection made to their settlement in the north, the Eno moved southward into South Carolina. They probably assisted the other tribes of that region in the Yamasi war of 1715. At least a few of the mixed tribe found their way into Virginia with the Saponi, as Byrd speaks of an old Indian, called Shacco Will, living near Nottoway river in 1733, who offered to guide him to a mine on Eno river near the old country of the Tuscarora. The name of Shoekoe creek, at Richmond, Va., may possibly have been derived from that of the Shakori tribe, while the nacre of Euoree river in South Carolina may have a connection with that of the Eno tribe.

Lederer speaks of the Eno village as surrounded by large cultivated fields and as built around a central plaza where the men played a game described as “slinging of stones,” in which “they exercise with so much labor and violence and in so great numbers that I have seen the ground wet with the sweat that dropped from their bodies.” This was probably the chunkey game played with round stones among the Creeks. Lederer agrees with Yardley as to the small size of the Eno, but not as to their bravery, though they were evidently industrious. They raised plentiful crops and “out of their granary supplied all the adjacent parts.” “The character thus outlined,” says Mooney, “accords more with that of the peaceful Pueblos than with that of any of our eastern tribes and goes far to indicate a different origin.” It should be remembered, however, that Lederer is not a leading authority, as it is doubtful if he was ever in North Carolina. The houses of the Eno are said to have been different in some respects from those of their neighbors. Instead of building of bark, as did most Virginia and Carolina tribes, they used interwoven branches or canes and plastered them with mud or clay, like the Quapaw Indians of east Arkansas. The form was usually round. Near every house was a small oven-shaped structure in which they stored corn and nuts. This was similar to the storehouse of the Cherokee and some other southern tribes. Their government was democratic and patriarchal, the decision of the old men being received with unquestioned obedience.

For Further Study

The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Eno as both an ethnological study, and as a people.


  1. Hawks, N. C., II, 19, 1858.[]

Eno, Siouan,

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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