Treaty of Nations Ford between the Catawba and the State of South Carolina, 1840

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In 1840, South Carolina negotiated a treaty with the Catawba at Nations Ford. The treaty stipulated that the Catawbas relinquish to the State of South Carolina their 144,000 acres of land (this land was provided for the Catawba due to conditions set forth in the 1763 Treaty of Augusta). In return, South Carolina promised to pay the Catawbas $5,000 to buy land elsewhere in a place of their choosing or, if that was not possible, they would give the Catawbas $5,000 cash. In addition, the state promised to give the tribe $2,500 in cash if they left their homeland and $1,500 annually for five years. Other tribes who moved west did not want the Catawbas because they would have to share land, government money, and services. Joining the Cherokees did not work. The two tribes could not get along. In effect, the Catawbas had no home. By 1847, South Carolina Governor David Johnson said, "They are, in effect, dissolved." However, that was not the end of the Catawbas.

Catawbas served in the Revolution, the Civil War, and the two world wars. After termination in 1959, they sought federal recognition. In 1973, the Catawbas filed their petition with Congress. Twenty years later, on November 20, 1993, the land claim settlement with the state of South Carolina and the federal government finally came to an end. Based on the Treaty of Nations Ford of 1840, the Catawbas agreed to give up claims on land taken from them by the state of South Carolina.


Commissioner to Carry into Effect the Treaty of Nations Ford. Appointment, copy of treaty, and correspondence. 1840.  S 124001.  Department of Archives and History. Columbia, SC.


A Treaty entered into at the Nations Ford Catawba

Between the Chief and Headmen of the Catawba Indians of the one part, and Commissioners appointed by the Legislature of South Carolina and acting under Commissioners from his Excellency Patrick Noble, Esq. Governor and commander in Chief of the State of South Carolina of the other part.

Article first. The Chiefs and Headmen of the Catawba Indians for themselves and the Nation, hereby agree to Cede sell and convey to the State of South Carolina all their right title and interest to their Boundary of Land lying on both sides of the Catawba River and situate in the Districts of York and Lancaster, and which are represented in a plat of survey made by Samuel Wiley and dated the twenty second day of February One Thousand seven hundred and sixty four and now on file in the Office of Secretary of State.

Article Second.  The Commissioners on their part engage in behalf of the State to furnish the Catawba Indians with a Tract of Land of the value of Five Thousand Dollars, three hundred Acres of which must be good Arable Lands to be purchased for their use in Heyward County, North Carolina or in some other mountainous Thinly populated Region where the said Indians may desire.

Article Third.  The Commissioners further engage that the State shall pay the said Catawba Indians Two Thousand Dollars Annually for the term of Ten years.  The first payment of which to be paid on their Removal and on the first of January each and every year thereafter until the whole is paid.


Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard 3-2: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the exploration and settlement of South Carolina and the United States.

Indicator 3-2.4 Compare the culture, governance, and geographic location of different Native American nations in South Carolina, including the three principal nations—Cherokee, Catawba, and Yemassee—that influenced the development of colonial South Carolina. (H, G, P, E)

Indicator 3-2.5 Summarize the impact that the European colonization of South Carolina had on Native Americans, including conflicts between settlers and Native Americans. (H, G)

Standard 8-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of South Carolina and the United States by Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans.

Indicator 8-1.2 Categorize events according to the ways they improved or worsened relations between Native Americans and European settlers, including alliances and land agreements between the English and the Catawba, Cherokee, and Yemassee; deerskin trading; the Yemassee War; and the Cherokee War. (H, P, E)

Standard USHC-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the settlement of North America.

Indicator USHC-1.1 Summarize the distinct characteristics of each colonial region in the settlement and development the America, including religious, social, political, and economic differences. (H, E, P, G)



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