Yamasee War, 1715 – 1717

Once upon a time, Native Americans roamed the wetlands, fished the estuaries, and camped along our riverbanks. Many small Native American groups lived in the area. These former residents left behind shell middens, pottery shards, and their words upon our landscape:  Wimbee, Combahee, Huspah, Yamasee, Pocotaligo, Sadkeche, Coosawhatchie, etc. The groups were rather small and unorganized at first, key factors in the ability of European newcomers to successfully take advantage of them.

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According to Dr. Chester DePratter, the Yamasee group,  was “a multiethnic conglomeration of Native Americans,” who moved into the Port Royal Sound area around 1683 and resided here only for 30 to 35 years. They allied themselves with the English attacking Spanish-allied Indians throughout Florida. Captured Indians were then sold as slaves in Carolina or transported to other British colonies. The Yamasee were critical in a general uprising of Native Americans against the British traders and settlers of the Carolinas beginning with the Good Friday Massacre 1715 at Pocotaligo. For decades the Yamasee were on the run though “Tuscarora Jack” John Barnwell did his best to track them down before his death in 1724. Many Yamasee survivors eventually relocated to Cuba with the Spaniards in 1763 at the end of the Seven Year’s War.  However, some Yamasee descendants still reside across the Southeast.  [Source: “The Yamasee Indians in South Carolina” by Chester B. DePratter, Legacy, vol. 19, no. 1, July 2015, pp. 14 – 16.]

For more general information about various Native American tribes in South Carolina please review content on the Native Americans post. Links verified on 24 July 2017.

Online Resources

970.4 CHI Native American Life at A.D. 1650: Curricula Materials for Teachers by Chicora Foundation, 1996. (BDC only or PDF). General history of South Carolina’s Native Americans.

975.7 CHI Curricula Materials for the First South Carolinians: The Life and Times of Native Peoples in the Palmetto State, 2000. (BDC only or as PDF.)  General history of South Carolina’s Native Americans.

SC 975.7 HIS “An Account of the Breaking Out of the Yamassee War, in South Carolina extracted from the Boston News, of the 13 th of June, 1715,” Historical Collections of South Carolina; embracing many rare and valuable pamphlets, and other documents, relating to the History of that State, from its first discovery to its independence, in the year 1776. Compiled, with various notes, and an introduction, by B. R. Carroll. In two volumes. Vol. ii. New York: Published by Harper & Brothers, 1836, pp. 569 -572. (BDC) http://bit.ly/1O53EDJ

These shards come from the interior of a Yamasee bowl. The Yamasee used some sort of iron oxide to create the red film that lines the inside of the rim. Archaeologists look for this red-filming as a key characteristic that they are dealing with Yamasee artifacts. (Image Courtesy of Heyward Point, LLC; Description courtesy of Alex Sweeney, archaeologist)

“Yamasee Indian Towns in the South Carolina Lowcountry, 1684-1715” by Chester DePratter, National Historic Register Documentation Form, 1992.  http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/MPS/MPS041.pdf

“Altamaha Town.” National Historic Register Documentation Form, 1993. http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/beaufort/S10817707054/S10817707054.pdf

“Pocosabo Town.” National Historic Register Documentaiton Form, 1993. http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/beaufort/S10817707055/S10817707055.pdf

Items You Can Check Out or Access through a SCLENDS Branch Library:

333.72579 PRE [DVD] Preserving Paradise: The Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program. Beaufort, SC: The Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program, 2006.

970.457 BIE Indian Arrowheads and Spearheads in the Carolinas: A Field Guide by Bert W. Bierer, 1974. Contains photographs and descriptions of found Native American tools.

970.457 MIL Red Carolinians by Chapman J. Milling, 1969. A general history of Indian life and colonial contact with European settlers in South Carolina. Specifically, the chapters on the Yamassee, the Tuscarora War, and the Yamassee War are historically significant to the Beaufort District.

973.2 COL v. 4 Entries on Yamassee and Yamassee War in Colonial America: An Encyclopedia of Social, Political, Cultural, and Economic History, vol. 4, edited by James Ciment (Sharpe Reference, 2006), pp. 918 – 920.

973.25 RAM The Yamasee War : a study of culture, economy, and conflict in the colonial South by William L. Ramsay, c2008.

975.6502 CRE 2013 Creating and Contesting Carolina: Proprietary Era Histories edited by Michelle LeMaster and Bradford J. Wood, c2013.

975.702 IVE 2016 This Torrent of Indians: War on the Southern Frontier, 1715-1728 by Larry E. Ivers, 2016.

975.702 MCI Indians’ revenge : including a history of the Yemassee Indian War : 1715-1728 by William McIntosh, III, 2010, c2009.

975.702 OAT A Colonial Complex: South Carolina’s Frontiers in the Era of the Yamasee War 1680-1730 by Steven J. Oatis, 2004. Explains the Yamasee War and other Native American/European conflicts through frontier expansion efforts.

975.7915 HEN Down & Dirty: Archaeology of the South Carolina Lowcountry by M. Patrick Hendrix, 2006. Photographs, descriptions, and analysis of archaeological dig sites in or close to the Historic Beaufort District.

Come to the BDC Research Room to Access These Items:

SC B BULL Inseparable Loyalty: A Biography of William Bull by Geraldine M. Meroney, 1991. Addresses Native American Indian land and treaty issues in South Carolina first through the eyes of young William Bull in the Yamassee War and later through the eyes of South Carolina Lieutenant Governor William Bull.

SC B GLEN  James Glen: From Scottish Provost to Royal Governor of South Carolina by W. Stitt Robinson, 1996.   Includes information regarding the communications between the South Carolina colonial government and the South Carolina Native Americans. [Other SCLENDS branch libraries have copies that can be checked out]

This is a reckoning counter, a token used for accounting by Europeans and colonists. This one was modified by the Yamasee (who were probably not using it for accounting) by punching two small holes on the edges of it. It was likely worn for personal adornment as a pendant on a necklace. (Image courtesy of Heyward Pointe, LLC; description courtesy of Alex Sweeney, archaeologist.)

SC 016.3058 LOW Lowcountry South Carolina Ethnohistory: A Guide to Indian and Afro-American Sources by Alexander Moore, 1986. A bibliography of materials for researchers of South Carolina Native Americans.

SC 333.72579 PRE [DVD] Preserving Paradise: The Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program. Beaufort, SC: The Beaufort County Rural and Critical Land Preservation Program, 2006.

SC 508.757 SAI  [DVD] The Saint Helena Marshes… “A Journey Through Time.” (BDC only)

SC 929 SOU South Carolina Indians, Indian Traders, and Other Ethnic Connections Beginning in 1670 edited by Theresa M. Hicks, 1998. A valuable resource for tracing South Carolina family lineage through Native American Indian tribes. [Other SCLENDS branch libraries have copies that can be checked out]

SC 970.00475 GAL 2002 The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717 by Alan Gallay, 2002.

SC 970.1 JAC Indians of the Southern Colonial Frontier by Wilbur R. Jacobs, 1954.  Includes information regarding the communications between the South Carolina colonial government and the South Carolina Native Americans. Includes “the Edmond Atkin Report of 1755” and “the Plan for Imperial Indian Control.”

SC 970.4 CHI Native American Life at A.D. 1650: Curricula Materials for Teachers by Chicora Foundation, 1996. (BDC only or PDF). General history of South Carolina’s Native Americans.

SC 970.457 ALD John Stuart and the Southern Colonial Frontier by John Richard Alden,  1944. Describes colonial South Carolina’s political dealings with Native Americans through “southern superintendent of Indian affairs,” John Stuart. Also describes the policies and actions of South Carolina Royal Governor James Glen and Imperial Indian Superintendent Edmond Atkin (among others), who handled Native American affairs before Stuart.

SC 970.457 BIE South Carolina Indian Lore by Bert W. Bierer, 1972. Contains countless maps, photographs, and illustrations of Native American life in coastal South Carolina. References to Beaufort District include shell mound and burial mound locations, trade paths, and discovered artifacts. [Other SCLENDS branch libraries have copies that can be checked out]

SC 970.457 MCD Journals of the Commissioners of the Indian Trade of South Carolina, September 20, 1710 – August 29, 1718 edited by William L. McDowell, 1955.

SC 970.457 WAD Indians of the South Carolina Lowcountry 1562-1751 by Gene Waddell, 1980. Specific statistical information regarding the Native American populations of South Carolina. [Other SCLENDS has copies that can be checked out]

SC 970.5 SAL Journal of the Commissioners of the Indian Trade of South Carolina, September 20, 1710 – April 12, 1715 edited by Alexander S. Salley, Jr., 1926.

973.25 RAM The Yamasee War : a study of culture, economy, and conflict in the colonial South by William L. Ramsay, c2008. [Other SCLENDS branch libraries have copies that can be checked out]

975.6502 CRE 2013 Creating and Contesting Carolina: Proprietary Era Histories edited by Michelle LeMaster and Bradford J. Wood, c2013.

SC 975.7 CHI Curricula Materials for the First South Carolinians: The Life and Times of Native Peoples in the Palmetto State, 2000. (BDC only or as PDF.)  General history of South Carolina’s Native Americans.

SC 975.7 HIS “An Account of the Breaking Out of the Yamassee War, in South Carolina extracted from the Boston News, of the 13 th of June, 1715,” Historical Collections of South Carolina; embracing many rare and valuable pamphlets, and other documents, relating to the History of that State, from its first discovery to its independence, in the year 1776. Compiled, with various notes, and an introduction, by B. R. Carroll. In two volumes. Vol. ii. New York: Published by Harper & Brothers, 1836, pp. 569 -572. (BDC) http://bit.ly/1O53EDJ

SC 975.7 So “The Mystery of the lost Yamassee Prince,” by Frank J. Klingberg, South Carolina Historical Magazine (Vol. 63:1, January 1962), pp. 18 – 32.  (BDC, HHI, on microfiche) An intriguing tale of a Yamassee prince, nicknamed “Prince George,” who was taken to England to train as an Anglican minister in 1714, but whose final fate seems lost in the mists of history.

975.702 IVE 2016 This Torrent of Indians: War on the Southern Frontier, 1715-1728 by Larry E. Ivers, 2016.

975.702 MCI Indians’ revenge : including a history of the Yemassee Indian War : 1715-1728 by William McIntosh, III, 2010, c2009. [Other SCLENDS branch libraries have copies that can be checked out]

975.702 OAT A Colonial Complex: South Carolina’s Frontiers in the Era of the Yamasee War 1680-1730 by Steven J. Oatis, 2004. Explains the Yamasee War and other Native American/European conflicts through frontier expansion efforts. [Other SCLENDS branch libraries have copies that can be checked out]

SC 975.799 GRE The Search for Altamaha: The Archaeology and Ethnohistory of an Early 18thCentury Yamasee Indian Town by William Green, 1992. Examines historical records and archaeological finds to describe the distinct culture of Yamasee Indians in South Carolina.

SC 975.799 MCK Migration and Settlement Among the Yamasee of South Carolina by David A. McKivergan, 1991. Describes the migration of Yamasee Native Americans supported by archaeological evidence. Contains maps and archaeological dig reports.

SC 975.799 SOU Return of the Yamasee: Archaeological Data Recovery at Chechesy Old Field, Beaufort County, SC, 2001.  Archaeological report of known Yamasee history, found objects and artifacts, and soil samples.

Vertical Files in the BDC

  • Barnwell, John (approximately 1671 – 1724)
  • Indian Traders
  • Native Americans
  • Yamassee (Native American Tribe)
  • Yamasee War, S.C., 1715 – 1717

Beaufort County Historical Society Papers

The Beaufort County Historical Society has placed some of the papers presented during its meetings for the public to use in the Beaufort District Collection, Beaufort County Library. The papers are present in one or more formats. Copies of some of the papers are held in typescript folders, on 16mm microfilm, and/or as hardbound copies.

#14.“John Barnwell and the Tuscaroras” by Rebecca DesChamps McDowell. Presented before the Beaufort County Historical Society on June 29, 1954.

#59.“The Yamassee War in the Beaufort and Port Royal Area, 1601-1715” by Larry Ivers. Presented before the Beaufort County Historical Society, no date.

Posters & Maps

SC Poster 37 The Yemassee War: 1715 – 1717 : 24th annual South Carolina Archaeology Month, October 2015 designed by Lisa R. Hudgins and Chester R. DePratter.  Front of poster has a color reproduction of the map “A map of South Carolina shewing the settlements of the English, French, & Indian Nations from Charles Town to the River Mississippi by Capt. Tho. Nairn.” (32 x 61 cm.) Articles on back of poster discuss the conduct of the war.

SC MAP 635 Port Royal in South Carolina: 1685 – 1737  copy from the South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine1972.  The map includes inland passage battles, 1715, lookouts, roads, Yamasee Indian lands and towns among other sites.

Search the SCLENDS consortium catalog for the latest materials about the Yamasee War.

Note: Current hours and branch locations are posted on the Beaufort County Library’s (SC) website.

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