Mayeye Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: August 1, 1995

The Mayeye (Macheye, Maheye, Maiece, Maieye, Malleye, Maye, Muleye) Indians, a Tonkawa Indian tribe, are known principally from the eighteenth century. It is generally agreed that the Meghey (Maghay, Meghty) of the La Salle expedition records were the same as the Mayeye of later times. The Meghey lived inland north or northeast of Matagorda Bay, probably between the Colorado and Brazos rivers. In the early eighteenth century the Spanish found the Mayeye in the same general area and also farther north in the valley of the Brazos River, particularly east of the site of present Temple. Later (about 1748) Mayeye Indians entered San Francisco Xavier de Horcasitas Mission on the San Gabriel River near the site of modern Rockdale. A few years afterward, when the San Gabriel missions were abandoned, some of the Mayeyes entered San Antonio de Valero Mission at San Antonio, where they were recorded as late as the 1760s. Sometime in the 1770s a group of nonmissionized Mayeye Indians moved southward to the coast and joined the Coco Indians, a Karankawa Indian tribe that lived along the lower Colorado River. In 1805 some Mayeyes were reported farther west near the mouth of the Guadalupe River. Little is known of the Mayeye Indians afterward, but it seems likely that the coastal Mayeyes were absorbed by Karankawan groups. It also seems likely that some of the Mayeyes may not have moved to the coast; if so, these Mayeye Indians were probably absorbed by other Tonkawan groups of east central Texas. A. F. Sjoberg has suggested that the Mayeyes may have been the same as the Yakwal Indians, a legendary Tonkawan people reported by late nineteenth century Tonkawas as having once lived near the Texas coast.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed. and trans., Athanase de Mézières and the Louisiana-Texas Frontier, 1768–1780 (2 vols., Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1914). Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). Pierre Margry, ed., Découvertes et établissements des Français dans l'ouest et dans le sud de l'Amérique septentrionale, 1614–1754 (6 vols., Paris: Jouast, 1876–86). William W. Newcomb, The Indians of Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961). A. F. Sjoberg, "The Culture of the Tonkawa, A Texas Indian," Texas Journal of Science 5 (September 1953).
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Tribes (Other)

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Thomas N. Campbell, “Mayeye Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 08, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995