Catawba Indian Treaty of 1843

“A treaty entered into at the Nation Ford, Catawba, between the Chiefs and Headmen of the Catawba Indians of the one fart and the Commissioners appointed under a resolution of the Legislature, passed December, 1839, an acting under Commissions from his Excellency Patrick Noble, Esq., Governor of the State of South Carolina, of the other part;

“ARTICLE FIRST. The Chiefs and Headmen of the Catawba Indians, for themselves and the entire nation, hereby agree to cede, sell, transfer, and convey to the State of South Carolina, all their right, title, and interest to their Boundary of Land lying on both sides of the Catawba River, situated in the Districts of York and Lancaster, and which are represented in a plat of survey of fifteen miles square; made by Samuel Wiley and dated the twenty-second day of February, one thousand seven hundred and sixty-four, and now on file in the Office of Secretary of State.

“ARTICLE SECOND. The Commissioners on their part engage in behalf of the State to furnish the Catawba Indians with a tract of land of the value of $5000.00; 300 acres of which is to be good arable lands fit for cultivation, lo be purchased in Haywood County, North Carolina, or in some other mountainous or thinly populated region, where the said Indians may desire, and if no such tract can be procured to their satisfaction, they shall be entitled to receive the foregoing amount in cash from the State.

“ARTICLE THIRD. The Commissioners further engage that the State shall pay the said Catawba Indians $2500.00 at or immediately after the time of their removal, and $1500.00 each year thereafter, for the space of nine years. In witness whereof the contracting parties have hereunto set their hands and affixed their seals, this thirteenth day of March, Anno Domini one thou-sand eight hundred and forty, and in the sixty-fourth year of American Independence.

(Signed) JOHN SPRINGS [L. S.], (Signed) JAMES KEGG, Gen. [L. S.] His X mark, (Signed) D. HUTCHISON [L. S.], (Signed) DAVID HARRIS, Col. [L. S.] His X mark,

(Signed) E. AVERY [L. S.], (Signed) JOHN JOE, Major [L. S.] His X mark
(Signed) B. L. MASSEY [L. S], (Signed) WM. GEORGE, Capt. [L. S] His X mark, (Signed) ALLEN MORROW [L. S.], (Signed) PHILIP KEGG, Lieut. [L. S.] His X mark,

J. D.P. CURRENCE for SAM SCOTT, SAML. SCOTT, Col. [L.S.] His X mark,
H. T. MASSEY for ALLEN HARRIS, ALLEN HARRIS, Lieu. [L. S.]. Witness of those two signatures.”

Recorded 2 1st December, 1843.

Office of Secretary of State, Columbia, S. C., Jan. 25, 1896. I, D. H. Tompkins, Secretary of State, certify the foregoing to be a true copy of a treaty made with the Catawba Indians, and recorded in this office in Vol. II of Miscellaneous Records, page 234. Witness my hand to the great seal of State.

(Signed) D. H. TOMPKINS, Secretary of State.

The State, instead of procuring for the tribe a reservation in “Haywood County, North Carolina, or in some other mountainous or thinly populated region,” reserved for them 800 acres of the lands they had surrendered, and for a number of years has given them an annual pension of $800.00.

Soon after the treaty was made, the Catawbas became dissatisfied, and a number of them left the State; some of them sought a home among the Cherokees in North Carolina, but finding that their old enemies had not yet forgiven them for opposing them in their wars with the whites, they soon returned.

Shortly after they had given up their lands, a full report in regard to the tribe was made to the Legislature by C. G. Memminger; this paper gives the name and age of each Catawba then on the reservation, and a copy of it is now preserved in the State House at Columbia.

Governor Noble’s successors, Governors Richardson and Hammond, referred to the Catawbas in their Messages to the Legislature, and the former said: “We must find a home for this homeless people.”

The following is an extract from the annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology (1883-84):

“By the terms of an Act of Congress, approved July 29, 1848, an appropriation of $5000.00 was made to defray the expenses of removing the Catawba Indians from Carolina to the country west of the Mississippi River, provided their assent should be obtained, and also conditioned upon success in securing a home for them among some congenial tribe in that region without cost to the Government.

“Their territorial possessions have been curtailed to a tract of some fifteen miles square on the Catawba River, on the northern border of South Carolina, and the whites of the surrounding regions were generally desirous of seeing them removed from the State.

“In pursuance, therefore, of the provision of the Act of 1848, an effort was made by the authorities of the United States to find a home for them west of the Mississippi River. Correspondence was opened with the Cherokee authorities on the subject during the summer of that year, but the Cherokees being unwilling to devote any portion of their domain to the use and occupation of any other tribe without being fully compensated therefor, the subject was dropped.”

At a later period, a party of Catawbas removed to the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory and settled near Scullyville, but they are now said to be extinct; about twelve years ago, a few of the tribe became converts to Morman missionaries in South Carolina and went with them to Salt Lake City, Utah.

In 1894, the Smithsonian Institution published the fullest ac-count of the Catawbas extant in the monograph, “Siouan Tribes of the East, “which has already been referred to and largely used in this sketch; the author, Mr. Mooney, being of the highest authority in matters pertaining to the tribe, the following extract is taken from his works as a summary:

“The following figures show the steady decline of the tribe from the first authentic reports to the present time. At the first settlement of South Carolina (about 1682) they numbered about 1500 warriors, equivalent perhaps to 6000 souls (Adair, 5). In 1701 they were ‘a very large nation, containing many thousand people ‘ (Lawson, 1 1). In 1728 they had but little more than 400 warriors, equivalent perhaps to 1600 souls (Byrd, 22). In 1738 they suffered from the small-pox, and in 1743, even after they had incorporated a number of smaller tribes, the whole body consisted of less than 400 warriors. At that time this mixed nation consisted of the remnants of more than twenty different tribes, each still retaining its own dialect. Others included with them were the Wateree, who had a separate village, the Eno, Cheraw or Sara, Chowan (?), Congaree, Notchee, Yamasi, Coosa, etc. (Adair, 6). In 1759 the small-pox again appeared among them and destroyed a great many. In 1761 they had left about 300 warriors, say 1200 total, ‘ brave fellows as any on the continent of America, and our firm friends ‘ (Description of South Carolina, London, 1761). In 1775 they had little more than loo warriors, about 400 souls; but Adair says that small pox and intemperance had contributed more than war to their decrease (Adair, 7). They were further reduced by small-pox about the beginning of the Revolution, in consequence of which they took the advice of their white friends and invited the Cheraw still living in the settlements to move up and join them (Gregg, 4). This increased their number, and in 1780 they had 150 warriors and a total population of 490 (Mass., I). About 1784 they had left only 60 or 70 warriors, or about 250 souls, and of these warriors it was said, ‘such they are as would excite the derision and contempt of the more western savages’ (Smyth, I). In 1787 they were the only tribe in South Carolina still retaining an organization (Gregg). In 1822 they were reported to number about 450 souls (Morse, I), which is certainly a mistake, as in 1826 a historian of the State says they had only about 30 warriors and no total population (Mills, 4). In 1881 Gatschet found about 85 persons on the reservation on the western bank of Catawba River, about three miles north of Catawba Junction, in York County, South Carolina, with about 35 more working on farms across the line in North Carolina, a total of about 120. Those on the reservation were much mixed with white blood, and only about two dozen retained their language. The best authority then among them on all that concerned the tribe and language was an old man called Billy George. They received a small annual payment from the State in return for the lands they had surrendered, but were poor and miserable. For several years they have been without a chief. In 1889 there were only about 50 individuals remaining on the reservation, but of this small remnant the women still retain their old reputation as expert potters. They were under the supervision of an agent appointed by the State.”

Scaife, H. Lewis. History and Condition of the Catawba Indians of South Carolina. Philadelphia Pennsylvania: Press of Wm. F. Fell & Co. 1896.

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