Carolina - The Native Americans

The PeeDee Indians

The meaning of the name PeeDee is unknown, but Speck (1935) suggests that it is from the Catawba word pi'ri, "something good," or pi'here, "smart," "expert," "capable."

No words of the language have survived but there is every reason to suppose that it was a dialect of the Siouan linguistic family.

The PeeDee Indians primarily lived on the Great Pee Dee River, particularly its middle course, which is in present-day South Carolina.

No village names are known apart from the tribal name, which was sometimes applied to specific settlements.

The PeeDee are first mentioned by the colonists of South Carolina.

In 1716, a place in or near their country called Sankey was suggested as the site for a trading post but the proposition to establish one there was given up owing to the weakness of the PeeDee tribe, who were thought to be unable to protect it.

In 1744, the PeeDee, along with Natchez Indians, killed some Catawba and were in consequence driven from their lands into the white settlements.

Soon afterward most of them joined the Catawba, but some remained near the whites, where they are mentioned as late as 1755.

In 1808, the PeeDee and Cape Fear tribes were represented by one half-breed woman.

Mooney, 1928, estimates the number of Pedee as 600 in 1600.

The census of 1715 does not give them separate mention, and they were probably included among the 610 Waccamaw or the 106 Winyaw.

The Great and Little Pee Dee Rivers and a station in Marion County, SC, also a post village in Anson County, NC, perpetuate the name of the PeeDee.


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