Native Americans of South Carolina


S. Pony Hill 03/31/06

From the earliest recorded histories of Sumter County, inhabitants of the county have mentioned a community of “mixed-blooded” persons referred to as “Turks.” One of the founders of that community was a man named David Scott. The son of famed Revolutionary General Thomas Sumter mentioned in his historical collection that during the War, the General had enlisted the services of Scott as a “bugler” at the same time he enlisted Scott’s compatriot Joe Benenhaley. Benenhaley, a leading man during the early formation of the mixed-blood community in Sumter County, was a man of Turkish descent and so the label “Turk” was applied to the whole group. David, however, was apparently a “Mestizo”, or a person of White and Indian parentage (specifically of the Catawba tribe from nearby York County – The Scott surname was a prominent one among the early Catawba), and this can be verified from a number of historical sources.

In 1858 a petition from residents of Sumter described as “Egyptians & Indians” was forwarded for resolution to the South Carolina House of Representatives and Senate. The persons mentioned wished to not be required to pay the larger taxation required of “Free Persons of Color Mulattoes & Mestizoes.” Included was a record mentioning one Fleming Thomas Scott. Fleming’s father (Isham) was described as being “of Egyptian and Catawba Indian blood” and that he had married “Margaret, a white woman.” An earlier letter dated 1838 mentions that Isham was the son of David Scott and a woman named Mary Polly. (1)

Previous to even this record, documentation of the Scott family within Sumter County exists. In 1830 a petition of “Sundry Inhabitants praying that in consideration of Revolutionary services of David Scott, that his descendants may be freed from the tax imposed on free people of colour” was submitted to the House of Representatives. The petition said, in part, “…That the said David Scott has resided for many years in Sumter District, where he has established a character inferior to no other citizen that he has reared up a large family of children who by operation of the tax act passed by your honorable body, are liable to pay the tax laid on free mulattoes and mestizoes…” This petition was signed by such Sumter residents as John Nettles, David Durant, John Hemphill, F.J. Moses, James E. Spann and Thomas D. Sumter. The House was not swayed by the petition, however, and determined that David Scott and his descendants remained under the “provisions of free mestizoes.” (2)

A few years later, the Senate and House were again petitioned for relief from the poll tax, this time by several Scott family members. This petition submitted by Joseph Scott, Benjamin Scott, David Scott, Henry Scott, George Scott, James Scott and Daniel Scott, reflected that “…your petitioners have heretofore enjoyed the privileges of Free white men, in performing Militia duty, serving as Jury men, and Voting for members of Each branch of the Legislature, and have allowed all the privileges of the Law, in Sueing and being Sued, and have given evidence in Court and have never been denied…” This petition was denied on the same grounds as the previous. (3)

Douglas Brown, in his excellent history of the Catawba Indians, makes mention of the “Turks near Sumter, SC” and both makes mention of their possible Catawba Indian blood and also a possible connection between them and the so-called “Melungeons” of eastern Tennessee. (4) From the historical record it is easy to surmise that the original Scott line was an Indian-White admixture, picked up some Mediterranean in association with the Benehaley family, and even further white predominance from mostly white marriages in later generations.

(1) General Assembly Committee Report S165005, 1858, N0.67, South Carolina Department of Archives; Letter dated 1858 in possession of Betty Scott of Sumter, SC.

(2) General Assembly Committee Report S165005, 1830, NO.134, and Accounts Audited AA6822A Frame 329-332 RW2815, South Carolina Department of Archives

(3) General Assembly Petitions ND #2506 Frames 591-593, South Carolina Department of Archives

(4) Brown, Douglas S. “The Catawba Indians”, the University of South Carolina Press, 1966, page 47

June 2006

From: Iris Horne  Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2006 3:39 AM  Subject: Scott

I have a possible Indian Scott ancestor. It may have been his wife, Virginia Wait (or Waite or Waits) that was Indian.

Anyway, here is my information:

1860 census Pontotoc Co., MS

John Scott b. 1823 AL or TN (Most likely AL)

Wife: Virginia (Wait) b. 1836 SC (married 1855 Pontotoc Co, MS)


James W. Scott 5 b. 1855 MS

Martha A. Scott b. 1857 MS

1867 list of Disabled Civil War Veterans, their Widows, and Orphans:

Virginia Scott


Wm. Scott

Martha Scott

Sarah Scott (My great grandmother who was Indian)

John Scott

1870 census Lafayette Co, MS (Next to Pontotoc Co)

Virginia Scott b. 1836 SC

W. J. (James William) b. 1855 MS

M. A. (Martha A.) b. 1857 MS

S. (Sarah) b. 1860 MS

J. C. (John Calvin) b. 1864 MS

Sarah Waits or Waite b. 1795 NC, age 75, blind (Most likely Virginia's mother)

1880 census Lafayette Co., MS

Virginia Scott, servant, age 49,

John, son, age 17

living with family of G. S. Johnson

I believe Virginia remarried after 1880 because I cannot find her in any census after that. I know she was alive at least until 1904 when she came to Logan and Yell Counties in Arkansas with her children, John C. and Sarah, and their families. Family information is that she was a Barnett. I think she probably married a Barnett after 1880 but can't find a record of it. I think she lived until at least 1915 and maybe later.

One of John Calvin Scott's direct male descendents did a dna test that showed he was mostly Irish and English on his father's side. I am not sure how much to depend on the test because Virginia's husband, John, may have died in the Civil War before he could have sired his son John Calvin, who was born in 1864. So, there is that possibility to think about.

Iris Horne

Pony Hill responds:

These surnames are quite familiar!...There can be no doubt that this family is of Catawba origin...The Wait/Waite family was also prominent among the Catawba in the early 1800's when there was a large exodus from the reservation in the era 1820 to 1826. All of the reservation land had been leased off to white farmers and the Catawba themselves were wandering around like gypsies.

My own Scott Catawba ancestors (Jacob Scott who married Betty Ayers) left the reservation in 1825 and lived briefly in both Georgia and Alabama before coming down to northwest Florida. In 1836 Jacob's wife (Betty Ayers) was mistakenly rounded up by soldiers and held at Dog Island by Lt. Berrien. Berrien mistook her for a hostile Creek Indian and had her shipped off to Indian Territory where she was eventually adopted by the Choctaw Nation. Jacob removed what was left of his family to Georgia for a few years (1836 to about 1841) then came back down to Florida.

If David was a brother to Jacob, John & Billey, then his parents would have been John Scott (jr) and King Hagler's sister (name unknown).....it may be impossible to determine if David was a son of John SCott (jr) as technically it cannot even be proven by documentation that the other three boys were his sons either (testimony of Catawbas alive in the late 1800's identified that Jacob, Billey & John Scott were the grandnephews of King Hagler)..this would make sense as Jacob Scott was Chief of the Catawba in the early 1800's back when the Chiefdom was still passed down from a matrilinial clan system (Jacob's mother was the sister of King Hagler--so Jacob would have been the same clan as King Hagler)

(note this exchange is in reverse order)

From: BETTY SCOTT <RHUNELL@rocketmail.com>  To: pony hill <ponyhill71@hotmail.com>

Subject: RE: Isham Scott Researchers  Date: Wed, 10 May 2006 05:19:47 -0700 (PDT)

Dear Mr. Steven,

Thank You For The Info you sent. One of David's children married a Nettles.

I also would like to know if you could help me with the following info:

1. Father and Mother of DAVID SCOTT

2. David Scott wife's last name.

Betty Scott

pony hill <ponyhill71@hotmail.com> wrote:

On 21 June 1783 Thomas Drennan submitted a "Pay bill for Cap. Thomas Drennans company of Catawba Indians under the command of Genr. Thomas Sumpter in the State of South Carolina Servis-for the year 1780 and discharge in the year 1781."

It lists the following people:

1. Genr New River 2. John Brown 3. Robbin 4. Willis (decesd killed at Rock Mtn his wife and child alive) 5. Suggar Jamey 6. Pinetree George 7. Jno Morrison 8. Henry White 9. John Cagg 10. Capt Quash 11. Littel Mick 12. Patrick Redhead 13. Billey Williams 14. Big Jamey 15. Billey Cagg 16. John Connar 17. Doctor John 18. Chunkey Pipe 19. Capt Petter 20. Billey Otter 21. Little Aleck 22. Col John Eayrs 23. Petter Harris 24. Jacob Eayrs 25. Billey Readhead 26. John Tompson 27. Joue 28. Pattrick Brown 29. George Cantey 30. JACOB SCOTT 31. Bobb 32. James Eayrs 33. Littel Stephen 34. Littel Charley 35. John Celliah 36. Petter George 37. George White 38. Jack Simmons 39. BILLEY SCOTT 40. Young John 41. Tom Cook

An attached unnumbered list entitled "List of those Indians who did service which cannot be vouched for": Jammy James, Gilbert, Capt Redhead, Tom Cross, Goerge Harris, Chickesaw Jimmy, JOHN NETTLES

On 24 November 1792 the Catawbas submitted a petition to the South Carolina House of Representatives, signed by the thirty-one Catawba men listed below. Exceprt for John Nettles, each signed with their mark: Gen New River, Col John Ears, Major John Brown, Capt Peter, CAPT JACOB SCOTT, Capt Thos Cook, Capt Jammy, CAPT JOHN SCOTT, Capt John Cagg, Jamey Bullen, Jammy Ears, Peter George, George White, Pinetree George, Billey Williams, Jacob Ears, BILLEY SCOTT, John Kennedy, Patrick Dickson, Pinetree Robbin, Tom Patterson, JOHN NETTLES, George Canty, John Yong, Billy Redhead, John Ears, John Kelley, John Deloe, Billy Ears, Gilbert George, Chickeshaw Jammy

After the treaty of Nation Ford in 1840 the Catawbas were not settled on a new reservation, rather they dispersed across North and South Carolina, some going to the Cherokees. The "census" of 1849 stems from an attempt by B.S. Massey (agent to the Catawbas for South Carolina) to account for them all:

List of the Catawbas in connection with the Church at Echota Mission (among the Cherokee): ESTHER SCOTT, JOHN SCOTT

Number in South Carolina: Greenville District: JOHN SCOTT age 23 Chester District: SAM SCOTT age 50

So...as you can see the "Scott" surname was well established in the Catawba tribe prior to the Revolutionary  War.

1830 Petition: "To the Honorable the House of Representatives of the State of South Carolina, the petition of the undersogned respectfully Sheweth - That DAVID SCOTT was a soldier of the revolution who aided in obtaining the liberties we now enjoy, That the testimonials of his services and character are in the possesion of the Hon. Senator who submits this petition, that the said DAVID SCOTT has for many years resided in Sumter District where he has established a character inferior to no other Citizen that he has reared up a large family of children who by operation of the tax act passed by your honorable body, are lible to pay the tax laid on free mulattoes and mestizoes - your petitioners respectfully represent that in consideration of the Revolutionary Services of DAVID SCOTT they are anxious that his descendants should be freed from the operation of the said Act - and submit to your honorable body the propriety of passing an Act exonerating the descendants of the said DAVID SCOTT from the operation of the said tax act - and your petitioners will in duty ever pray - (signed) Thos D. Sumter, Thos Sumter Jr., JOHN NETTLES

(Pony Hill) Please note that John Nettles (signer of the 1830 petition asking that David Scott be exempt from the tax imposed on free people of color) was a Catawba Indian, and signed numerous petitions, letters, and leases as "Major John Nettles" a headman of the Catawba.

Also, John Baylor (signer of the 1830 petition of the 7 Scott men) was an original stockholder in the Virginia Indian Company under the direction of Governor Spotswood. Also signers of that petition were William Bull and John Bull, whom I beleive are somehow related to former Colonel and Lt. Gov. William I. Bull.

As you can see, not only did the Catawba Indians fight under the comand of General Sumter, but John Nettles (a leader of the tribe) signed the Sumter District petition attesting to the Rev War service of David Scott.

A man named John Scott arrived in South Carolina prior to 1750. This individual was a mixed-blood who married into the Catawba. This man had been originally known as JOHN BUSBY in Virginia and changed his name to SCOTT while living among the Catawba in South Carolina (Hence the oral history)..John was most likely the grandson of Thomas Busby an "Indyan boy" servant to Mr. Robert Caulfield of Surry

County, VA... John had a grandson named "Busby alias John Scott" who had been kidnapped from SC in 1754 and was recovered in Ornage County, NC. John Scott senior had a son ,JOHN SCOTT (jr) who served as an interpreter for the Catawbas when they arrived in Charleston in the era 1750 to negotiate trade. John Scott (jr) most likely married the sister of the Catawba King Hagler, as this was the statement of some of his grandchildren.

John Scott jr. (Interpreter) + King Hagler's daughter...(children)...1. Capt. John Scott 2. Capt. Jacob Scott (became Chief) 3. Billey Scott 4. (possibly David Scott ????)

Several Catawba families migrated down here to Florida before the signing of the treaty of Nations Ford in 1840...among them were the children of Jacob Scott (Joseph Scott, Absalom Scott, Jacob Scott jr.) and their cousin, Isham Scott.

I know of three Isham Scotts who lived in South Carolina in the early 1800's..there was the Isham Scott who lived briefly on the Catawba reserve then migrated down to Florida..there was the Isham Scott, son of David Scott who married Margaret and lived in Sumter, and there was the Isham Scott born in Virginia married Penelope and lived briefly in Sumter in 1810 but then moved on to Marlboro County.


From: Kristen Woods <kristen182003@yahoo.com>  To: Steven Pony Hill <ponyhill71@hotmail.com>

Subject: Isham Scott Researchers

Date: Mon, 8 May 2006 17:15:34 -0700 (PDT)

>I have just found two folks (possibly undiscovered family)who are researching an Isham Scott who they identify as being part of the Turk community of South Carolina and they also believe he is of Catawba descent so I gave them your e-mail address to put you in touch with them. Their names are Betty Scott  rhunell@rocketmail.com  and Chandler Marks Dressageboy@aol.com

Here are the messages they wrote on Genealogy.com

1.) Betty Scott's message: ISHAM SCOTT FROM SUMTER, SC.

Updated April 27, 2004

About Our Family Research





betty scott


2.) Chandler Mark's message


Margaret/Isham Scott- Sumter SC 1790s+ Posted by: CHANDLER MARKS Date: June 15, 2001 at 10:36:53 of 19639


Hello, For a long time now people have been looking for the parents of Fleming Thomas Scott m Sarah Jane Parrott.  We finaly found a record from Sumter SC 1861 saying that Flemings father was from Egyptian and Catawaba Indian blood and he married Margaret a white woman.  Well the family story from several branches of Fleming have been told that Flemings father was from the Scotland and was in the Royal Navy and his mother a Princess from Madrid Spain.  So since we found a documant that says Indian and Egyptian I now think that Margaret Scott's parents from Spain and Scotland. And that Isham changed his last name to Scott when he married Margaret.We found out that they were in a group called The Turks of Sumter County where the Catawaba Indians and the French, Spanish*, Arabs, Egyptians and so on would marry each other.  They wouldnt marry the African Americans and were consider free.  We think the documant we found was showing the werent from slaves because there skin was alittle darker.  I have only found 1 SCOTT in the Catwaba Indian census believed to be Isham and Margarets son. He only shows up 2 out of the 4 or 5 census I have seen. Since  there is only 1 Scott listed I believe its because Isham changed his name to Scott when married.  We believe so far that Isham and Margaret had ten children all together

1. John N. Scott married Elizabeth Jennings Watts (Mooneyham??)

2. Elizabeth Scott married A.N. Nickols

3. Margaret Scott (never married - believed to have had illigemate son by the name of Carrison (Kerrison).

4. James Scott (had a least one son by the name of J. McDuffie)

5. Flemming T. Scott (this is the one I believe to be our gggrandfather).

If anyone has info on these people or anyone listed please email at Dressageboy@aol.com

Copyright ©2006, Iris Horne, and Pony Hill , all rights reserved.

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Copyright ©2006, Iris Horne & Pony Hill , all rights reserved. this document is copyrighted and may not be sold, nor given to anyone who may attempt to derive profit from same, without written permission of the author.