Keyauwee Tribe

Keyauwee Indians. A small tribe formerly living in North Carolina, affiliated with the Tutelo, Saponi, and Occaneechi. Nothing retrains of their language, but they perhaps belonged to the Siouan family, from the fact of their intimate association with well known Siouan tribes of the east. In 1701 Lawson 1 found them in a palisaded village about 30 miles north east of Yadkin River, near the present Highpoint, Guilford County, North Carolina. Around the village were large fields of corn. At that time they were about equal in number to the Saponi and had, as chief, Keyauwee Jack, who was by birth a Congaree, but had obtained the chieftaincy by marriage with their “queen.” Lawson says most of the men wore mustaches or whiskers, an unusual custom for Indians. At the time of this traveler’s visit the Keyauwee were on the point of joining the Tutelo and Saponi for better protection against their enemies. Shortly afterward they, together with the Tutelo, Saponi, Occaneechi, and Shakori, moved down toward the settlements about Albemarle Island, the five tribes with one or two others not named numbering then only about 750 souls. In 1716 Gov. Spotswood of  Virginia proposed to settle the Keyauwee with the Eno and Sara at Enotown on the frontier of North Carolina, but was prevented by the opposition of that colony. They moved southward with the Sara, and perhaps also the Eno, to Pedee River, South Carolina, some time in 1733. On Jefferys’ map of 1761 their village is marked on the Pedee above that of the Sara, about the boundary between the two Carolinas. With this notice they disappear from history, having probably been absorbed by the Catawba.Citations:

  1. Lawson, Carolina, 1714, 87-89, repr. 1860[]


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

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1 thought on “Keyauwee Tribe”

  1. I suspect that the arrowheads and artifacts from the Indians that I and my friend from more than fifty years ago in NE Randolph and eastern Guilford counties were from the Keyauwee Indians. My friend’s grandfather had a farm in the area we went to often. Richard and I wandered the woods and fields shooting BB guns, but we also spent a lot of time walking the tobacco field after it had been plowed. We always came away with a lot of arrowheads, pottery and Indian money (coal cubes). I always remember we traveled down old highway 421 in east Guilford County and crossed over a railroad track and it seems we immediately turned left and then turned down a dirt road to the farm. The railroad track was raised up higher than the highway and the highway turned parallel to the track before we crossed over. The road on the other side was an old road, maybe dirt as well.

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