Historic Effingham Society will host its annual banquet on Feb. 7. Our president, Norma Jean Morgan, has invited the chief of the Savannah River Euchee Indians tribal nation to be our guest speaker. He is an engineer who worked as a federal contractor. The chief is also an educator of colonial and Indian history.
The Yuchis are considered to be one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Southeast. They are also known as Euchee or Uchee. They call themselves the Tsoyaha, which means “Children of the Sun.”
According to their traditions, the Yuchi crossed the ocean to reach North America. Their language is totally unique in the Americas. At the time of their first contact with Europeans, the only areas where they maintained their own provinces with capital towns were along the Savannah River in Georgia, the Southern Appalachians and Cumberland Plateau. There were also clusters of isolated Yuchi towns and villages throughout the southeast. Round tents or huts were associated with this tribe. Most of their towns were also laid in a round pattern. English settlers often called them “Round Town People.”
The Yuchis occupied land upriver from the Salzburger settlement at Ebenezer in Georgia. The skilled hunters befriended the settlers and supplied game to them that helped them survive the first harsh years. They kept the settlers from starvation and taught some farming skills. Some of their hunting territory was south of their settlements near what is now Stokes’ Bluff on the South Carolina side and Mount Pleasant in northern Effingham. Their images were among sketches published by Baron Georg von Reck, who surveyed a large area and recorded history during the early years of the Salzburgers at Ebenezer.
According to Chief Lonzado Langley, his ancestors lived from Mount Pleasant to Allendale, S.C. Most of his family settled in modern day Screven County. He will discuss some little known facts in Indian history concerning reclassification of race and slavery among the Indians in Colonial history.
Join Historic Effingham Society for their annual banquet on Feb. 7, at the great hall of the Ebenezer Retreat Center, 2887 Ebenezer Rd. A social begins at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. followed by the guest speaker and a brief business meeting.
Please purchase banquet tickets, only available in advance, at Effingham Museum, 1002 North Pine St. in Springfield, for $20 each, before Feb. 4 at noon. Seating is limited so purchase yours as soon as possible. For more information, contact Effingham Museum at 754-2170 or 826-4705.
This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact her at 754-6681 or firstname.lastname@example.org.