1675 Deed for Kiawah Island

Cassoe TreatyCharleston businessman David Maybank III showed me this deed witnessed and signed by his ancestor (David Maybank) on March 10, 1675. The deed, handwritten in old English script, states that the Indians of “Cassoe” convey the island “Kyeawah” to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, in exchange for “a valuable parcell of cloth, hatchetts, beads and other goods and manufactures.” What a deal!
The island is, of course, Kiawah Island today, and is worth quite a bit more.
The Indian name is probably a corruption of the Cusso or Coosaw, which was among a number of native groups living along the Carolina coast when the first European settlers arrived, all part of the larger Cusabo tribe.
Among the Cusabo groups were many names still recognized in the Charleston area today, given primarily to rivers, such as Edisto, Combahee, Ashepoo, Wando, Wappoo and Stono.
The deed is signed by seven of the English settlers on one side of the paper, and on on the other side are the marks of 29 Indians – the Cusso chief (cassique), three subchiefs, plus 14 women and 11 men who were of some rank in the tribe.
The Cusabo people were a great help to the early settlers of Charles Town,
and it was good initial relations and trade with the local Indians that helped the tiny original settlement of 57 people survive.
The Maybank name is also a classic South Carolina tradition, that has been included on lists of governors of the state and mayors of Charleston.
Ironically, the Maybank family gave an island back in 1993, bequeathing the 4500-acre Jehossee Island for a natural preserve as part of the ACE Basin Wildlife Refuge.

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