Sugar or Sugaw: The Explanation

For years, I have driven by Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church, located on Sugar Creek Rd, in complete confusion. If traveling alone or accompanied with great company, I questioned the spelling conflict. ‘Is it Sugar or Sugaw?’


A decade later, I decided to do a little digging and guess what, I uncovered answers! Having typed select keywords, GOOGLE delivered…

As provided by the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, the confusion over the spelling and pronunciation of this well-known County creek is due to the difficulty of translating the sound of an unwritten Indian word into written English. As with many historical perspectives, there are a variety of accounts. ‘This creek undoubtedly takes its name from the Sugeree Indians (John Lawson’s spelling) or Sugaree Indians (Douglas L. Rights’ spelling). The name was pronounced Sugaw or Soogaw, according to William Henry Foote.’

While the predominant version in records of the Presbyterian Church, Colonial Records of North Carolina, and in old deeds is, in fact, ‘Sugar, in 1924 the Pastor of Sugar Creek Presbyterian Church, influenced by Foote’s pronunciation, ordered the name change. The Mecklenburg Presbytery officially changed the spelling ‘Sugaw.’

NOTE: The Indian word from which Sugar is derived means ‘group of huts.’


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