Carolina - The Native Americans

The Keyauwee Indians

The meaning of the name Keyauwee is unknown.

From the historical affiliations of Keyauwee, they are presumed to have been of the Siouan linguistic family.

The Keyauwee primarily lived around the junction of the present Guilford, Davidson, and Randolph Counties in North Carolina. They settled on the Pee Dee River after 1716 and probably united with the Catawba.

No separately named villages are known.

The Keyauwee do not appear to have been noted by white men before 1701, when Lawson found them in a palisaded village about thirty miles northeast of the Yadkin River near present-day Highpoint, North Carolina.

At that time they were preparing to join the Saponi and Tutelo tribes for better protection against their enemies, and, shortly afterward, together with the last mentioned tribes, the Occaneechi, and the Shakori, they moved toward the settlements about Albemarle Sound.

Virginia's Governor Spotswood's project to settle this tribe together with the Eno and Cheraw at Eno Town on the frontier of North Carolina was foiled by the opposition of the latter colony.

The Keyauwee then moved southward to the Pee Dee along with the Cheraw, and with perhaps the Eno and Shakori. In the Jefferys atlas of 1761, their town appears close to the boundary line between the two Carolinas.

They do not reappear in any the historical records but probably united ultimately in part with the Catawba, while some of their descendants are represented among the Robeson County Indians, often miscalled Croatan.

Mooney (1928) estimates 500 Keyauwee in 1600.

In 1701, they are said to have numbered approximately as many as the Saponi, but the population of that tribe also is unknown.

Shortly afterward it is stated that the Keyauwee, Tutelo, Saponi, Occaneechi, and Shakori totaled 750 souls.


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