1757 Letter from the Chiefs of the Catawba Nation to SC Governor Lyttleton

A letter signed on the 16th of June 1757 by the Chiefs of the Catawba Nation and several formerly separate tribes within that Nation, says, among much else, that:

“Our brothers, the Cherocees, has sent us a tomahawk for to kill the French with.  We have likewise received assurance from the Creeks, Chicasaw, Tuskaruras, Saponas and Notowas that they will join heart and hand against the enemies of the great King George, the beloved father of his people.”

At “Watree, June the 16th, 1757, King Haglar, Captain Water, Captain Scot, Captain Jack, Captain Cutlash, Captain James Harris, Captain Santee Jemmy, Captain Johney of Pedee, Johney Yong and Captain Watree Jemmy,” in that order, signed the letter, each man signing with “his mark.”  Someone addressed the letter thus:

“King Hagler and other the head Men of and warriors of the Catawba Nation/to his Excellency William Henry Lyttleton, Esquire, Governor of South Carolina.”

(The foregoing copied from a Zerox, supplied by Jim Merrell of the History Department at Johns Hopkins University, of a single parchment sheet date of June 16, 1757, in the Lyttleton Papers or William Henry Lyttleton Papers at the William Clements Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan.)

Document Source:

Saponi: written as part of the “Historical Overview” section of a petition for recognition in behalf of the Saponi descendants along Drowning creek, Robeson county, N.C. [Book 2 of 7] : [typescript], 1980-1981 / Wes White.

Housed at the SC Department of Archives and History

This letter holds several valuable nuggets.  It shows that the Notoway, Saponis and Tuscarora were separate and functioning tribes at this time.

It also tells us that the Wateree and Pedee, based on the names of the warriors and head men, were now functioning as part of the Catawba Nation.  Given that they had representation among the head men, it appears to be more of a merger than a hostile takeover.


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
This entry was posted in Catawba, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Nottoway, Peedee, Santee, Saponi, Tuscarora, Wateree. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to 1757 Letter from the Chiefs of the Catawba Nation to SC Governor Lyttleton

  1. jena summer says:

    Dear Sharon,   Thank you for all your past efforts.  I thought of you with the  research on the Lumbee tribe, so I am forwarding this with the links below.  In your family tree you list Brewer, Lanier, are you related to Landwehr in Family Tree DNA?   Peace and blessings,   Jennifer


  2. candece tarpley says:

    Thanks for this

  3. Angie Mcpherson says:

    Arvis, Look this over and tell me what you think, this was 1757. The King Johnny with 45 Cheraw at Ft. DuQuesne were in 1759two years later. If you look at these names, King Haglar was Tuscarora, Capt. Harris we know became headman of the Catawba but was a Cheraw, there are two Johnnys and a Capt Scot..many Scotts in the Lumbee and some on a list I sent to Pony Hill (the Scotts are not among those the Catawba claim). If these are incorporated under the Catawba Nation, and if Harris had become headman at this point, then King Johnny represented someone elsewas it the PeeDee?At that time, weren’t the PeeDee and Cheraw the same incorporated group who finally ended up in our area? Even now, with all of these dispersed the Santee were still represented..which is where I believe the Dakota originally lived at one point along the Santee. The white man pushed us and dispersed us throughout the US, now, they want us to prove that we were always one whole tribal community when our numbers were at around 50-100 more or less?… and they want to penalize us for it? Arvis, has anyone contacted you personally about the feather idea? Don’t people realize we need to mobilize and stop waiting on the government to make things right for us? I am baffled by the lack of response and the lack of participation in these discussions, even for the sake of trying to find an answer. Is this the norm? Do our people have no aspirations or just leave all of the thinking to the leaders?

    Angie : )

    • Jody Noe says:

      hi Angie I have lots of genealogy on that area to that I would love to share with you can we? Please contact me and let me know if you want to share our genealogy research that would be awesome

    • Bobbie Spires says:

      I am a Santee Indian Tribal Member, we have been here in South Carolina for thousands of years. Our Tribal Lands are in Holly Hill, South Carolina.

      There are also Scotts in my Tribe.

  4. Denise Smith says:

    I don’t know if this will go through Roberta. I LOVE your website. Are you aware of the story of Jenny Wiley? It’s a captivity story… Big thing in Kentucky…unfortunately her story has over 20 versions. Most of her story I believe is…..to put it nicely….very embellished. I once worked for a museum and was charged with trying to develop a display for Jenny Wiley. What I found was the lack of good old historical research in her story was appalling!! I am not working now and very ill but one of the things I would like to see is for research on her to be accomplished and to debunk what is just plain old fabrication and what is truth especially in her captivity narrative.

    Do you know of anyone who is debunking captivity narratives? Or Shawnee historians or resources for the Shawnee just after the Revolutionary War identifying people in the tribe in West Virginia or Southwest Virginia. Anyone who has good factual genealogy of Cornstalk? Some versions say she was captured by Cornstalk’s son Black Wolf, some people claim say she had a half breed child. DNA could definitely prove or disprove that. Her story definitely needs to tell the other side as I think there is more to it. I wrote several blog posts about it and trying to get the word out too with a call for a lot more research. Anyone that you know would be interested…please pass it on. Thanks Sincerely, Denise Smith http://appalachianheartwood.blogspot.com/2014/02/will-real-jenny-wiley-please-tell-her.html

  5. catawba44 says:

    Captain Scot is General New River

    • paul campbell says:

      Hello Catawba44,
      You mentioned that “Captain Scot is General New River”. Can you please give us references for your statement? I am also researching the Catawba Nation and would be very interested in your findings.
      Thank you, Paul Campbell

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