‘Priceless’ document gifted to Catawba Nation in hopes to preserve history

CATAWBA NATION, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – The Catawba Nation received something it feels is worth more than any amount of money.

That item is document written just 13 years after the Revolutionary War in 1796 and it contains a contract in which two Catawba Nation men agree to travel to the British Isles to perform for English crowds.

Catawba members said this story has been passed down verbally for generations, but now the letter confirms it’s truth.

The document was found by Macon Basinger, a North Carolina woman who said she stumbled across it while searching through old family letters.

The contract later landed Basinger an interview with the PBS program, Antiques Roadshow, that is set to air in January. She learned from the more of the documents history during the interview, and even received an appraisal of about $3,000 for the item.

Basinger said there is no way she could ever sell it, and instead is choose to gift the contract to the Catawba Nation in an effort to preserve it’s history.

“In the letter it promised to bring them back, feed them clothe them, keep them healthy, bring them back in a year and give them $100. And then they did not, they broke this contract and left them,” Basinger said.

The Catawba Nation Archivist said now that the letter has been donated to the cultural center, Members can work on transcribing each written word so the document can be digitized and made available for all to read.

Once this process is complete, historians said they will continue work to confirm all the details of the story and to track what happened to the two Catawba members after they arrived in England.

The letter will also be put on display at the Catawba Cultural Center in the near future for all to come and read up close.

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