Carolina - The Native Americans

The Winyaw Indians

The meaning of the name Winyaw is unknown.

The Winyaw are placed in the Siouan linguistic family on circumstantial evidence. Their closest connections were with the PeeDee and Waccamaw.

The Winyaw primarily lived on what is present-day Winyah Bay, Black River, and the lower course of the Pee Dee River, all in South Carolina.

Unless this tribe is represented by the Yenyohol of Francisco of Chicora (1521), the Winyaw were first mentioned by the colonists of South Carolina after 1670.

In 1683, it was charged that colonists had raided them for slaves on an insufficiently supported charge of murder by some of their people.

This unfriendly act did not prevent some of them from joining Colonel John Barnwell's South Carolina army in the first Tuscarora War (1711-1715). Along with other Indians they, indeed, withdrew later from the expedition, but they claimed that it was for lack of equipment.

In 1715, the Cheraw tried to induce them and the Waccamaw to side against the colonists in the Yamasee War.

A year later a trading post was established in the territory of the Waccamaw not far from their own lands.

About the same time some of them settled among the Santee, but they appear to have returned to their own country a few years later.

Some assisted the whites in their war with the Waccamaw in 1720.

They soon disappeared from history and probably united with the Waccamaw.

Mooney (1928) includes the Winyaw in his estimate of 900 for the "Waccamaw, Winyaw, Hook, &c." as of the year 1600.

The census of 1715 gives them one village of 36 men and a total population of 106.

Winyah Bay, SC, preserves the name.

It was from this tribe or one in the immediate neighborhood that Francisco of Chicora was carried away by the first Ayllon expedition and from which one of the earliest ethnological descriptions of a North American tribe was recorded The name by which the Spaniards knew the province, however, Chicora, was probably derived from the Shakori, Sugeree, or a branch of one of them.


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