Waxhaw is a town in Union County, North Carolina. Waxhaw is picturesque and surrounded by wooded forests and rolling hills. Several places in town are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s now considered a fine dining hot-spot outside of Charlotte. Yet, before it was settled by Europeans, a small tribe of Native Americans lived in the area. The Waxhaw, sometimes called the Wysacky, were the earlier inhabitants.
The tribe lived in Lancaster, Mecklenburg, and Union Counties through the 17th century. They had ties to the Sugeree and Catawba tribes and were considered Siouan. The Waxhaw were described as very tall people with the custom of artificially flattening the heads of through a process that began during infancy. Their homes were covered neatly with thatch of sedge and rushes. They had a good relationship with the European colonists in North Carolina, according to the stories. The tribe wasn’t pushed off the land by settlers. Actually, the Waxhaw tribe fell when they took a stand with North Carolina colonists, the story goes.
In 1711 the Waxhaw helped the colonists of North Carolina in their war against the Tuscarora tribe. The Tuscarora’s Iroquoian allies in New York were furious that the Waxhaw helped the colonists in North Carolina. In response, they started raiding the Waxhaw tribe, according to historians. These raids continued until 1715. That year, the Waxhaw joined the war effort against South Carolina. After the Yamasee War of 1715, their numbers were so low that the tribe essentially ceased to remain. Any who lived most likely joined with the neighboring Catawba, according to historians. Of course, little is known for sure what happened to the few that remained after the Yamasee War.
The colonists of the area must have certainly appreciated the help of the Waxhaw people. So, today, in Union County, the beautiful, historic town of Waxhaw stands as a reminder of the area’s earlier inhabitants.
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