Carolina - The Native Americans

The Congaree Indians

The meeaning of the name Congaree is unknown.

No words of this language have been preserved but the form of the name and general associations of the tribe leave little doubt that it was a Siouan dialect, related most closely to Catawba.

This small group lived primarily along the Congaree River, centering in the neighborhood of the present capital of South Carolina, Columbia.

The only village mentioned bore the same name as the tribe and was sometimes placed on the Congaree opposite Columbia, sometimes on the north side of the river.

The Congaree are mentioned in documents of the seventeenth century as one of the small tribes of the Piedmont region.

In 1701, Lawson found them settled on the northeast bank of Santee River below the mouth of the Wateree.

They took part against the whites in the Yamasee War of 1715, and in 1716 over half of them were captured and sent as slaves to the West Indies.

The remnants appear to have retreated to the Catawba, for Adair (1930) mentions their dialect as one of those spoken in the Catawba Nation.

The Congaree are estimated by Mooney (1928) at 800 in 1600.

A census taken in 1715 gives 22 men and a total population of about 40.

Congaree River and a railroad station in Richland County, SC, preserve the name; Columbia, the state capital, was originally known as The Congarees.


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved