Catawba (cuh-TAW-buh) is a small city located in York County, South Carolina. Catawba is an unincorporated community of York County. The community, Catawba, was once referred to as Catawba Ridge, but this name became unpopular after 1974. Only tribal elders refer to Catawba as Catawba Ridge.
Catawba is located in the Piedmont (Foothills) region of South Carolina. Within the town limits of Catawba, there are certain areas of the land that consists of red clay. Red clay is the result of poor farming practices, which eventually led to the erosion of topsoil in the area. Prior to the erosion of topsoil, the Piedmont Region was once known for great farming.
The Catawba Native Americans first populated the area along the Catawba River more than 6,000 years ago. Settlers began to colonize the Piedmont region in 1670. The Catawba Natives believed in brotherly love and peace, so they created a friendly environment and relationship with the settlers. Along with the settlers there came new beginnings, tools, and diseases. In 1759, there was a small pox epidemic that eventually brought the Native American tribe population to less than 1,000 people.