Congaree Indians. A small tribe, supposed to be Siouan, formerly living in South Carolina. The grounds for including this tribe in the Siouan family are its location and its intimate relation with known Siouan tribes, especially the Catawba, with which it was ultimately incorporated; but according to Adair and Lawson the Congaree spoke a dialect different from that of the Catawba, which they preserved even after their incorporation. In 1693 the Cherokee complained that the Shawnee, Catawba, and Congaree took prisoners from among them and sold them as slaves in Charleston. They were visited in 1701 by Lawson, who found them on the north east bank of Santee river below the junction of the Wateree. Their town consisted of not more than 12 houses, with plantations up and down the country. On a map of 1715 the village of the Congaree is placed on the south bank of Congaree river, about opposite the site of Columbia. A fort bearing the tribal name was established near the village in 1718. They were a small tribe, having lost many by tribal feuds but more by smallpox. Lawson states that, although the several tribes visited by him were generally small and lived closely adjoining one another, they differed in features, disposition, and language, a fact which renders the assignment of these small tribes to the Siouan family conjectural. The Congaree, like their neighbors, took part in the Yamasi war in 1715, as a result of which they were so reduced that they were compelled to move up the country and join the Catawba, with whom they were still living in 1743. Moll’s map of 1730 1 places their town or station on the north bank of Congaree river, opposite which ran the trail to the Cherokee country. It was south of lat. 34°, probably in Richland county. They were a friendly people, handsome and well built, the women being especially beautiful compared with those of other tribes.
For Further Study
The following articles and manuscripts will shed additional light on the Congaree as both an ethnological study, and as a people.
- Mooney, Siouan Tribes of the East, 1894.
- Salmon, Modern History, III, 562, 1746