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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Sissipahaw Indians

by Michael D. Green, 2006

Saxapahaw town marker. Photo courtesy of 1701 Englishman John Lawson visited the Sissipahaw town on the Haw River in present-day Alamance County. Believed to have been a Siouan-speaking people, the Sissipahaw were also known as the Saxapahaw, the name by which they are remembered in historical documents. They were so closely associated with the Shakori that some scholars think they may have been one and the same. In 1711, when the Saxapahaw refused to join Tuscarora Chief Hancock's plans to make war on white Carolina settlements, a Tuscarora party attacked them, destroying their town and scattering the people. Some Saxapahaw warriors joined the invading South Carolina army of Col. John Barnwell to fight the Tuscarora, while others may have fled to the Waccamaw. After the Tuscarora War ended in 1713, the Saxapahaw joined with other Indian groups in the Yamassee War. The survivors of that conflict probably then joined the diverse and powerful Catawba Nation.


Douglas L. Rights, The American Indian in North America (2nd ed., 1957).

H. Trawick Ward and R. P. Stephen Davis Jr., Indian Communities on the North Carolina Piedmont, A.D. 1000 to 1700 (1993).

Image Credit:

Saxapahaw town marker. Photo courtesy of Available from (accessed May 23, 2012).


Origin - location: 



Are there any resources that include more information and possibly photographs of the Sissipahaw? I'd love to learn more but I'm not coming across anything more than what you have written. Thank you!


Hi Alex,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your question.  I have also replied to the email address you included with your post.

I have done some preliminary searching and there is little that has been written specifically about the Sissipahaw.  I’m including a link to an NCpedia page that gathers resources we have on North Carolina’s Native American tribes and history.  You may want to look at entries for the tribes scholars believe were related or associated with the Sissipahaw, including the Shakori and Catawba.  And please also follow links to any additional resources included for those articles.  Locating images will also be very difficult since what remained of the tribe after European contact likely joined other tribes, and images from that era are sparse as well.

Here is the link:

If you are still looking, I can also see if there are any theses or dissertations that might be of use, since that might be a place where some additional research has been done.  Please let me know if you are still looking and I will see what else I can find.

Thank you again for visiting NCpedia and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan


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