Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Joanne Pezzullo & Dennis Maggard
OCCAM'S RAZOR  "The principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. Other, more complicated solutions may ultimately prove correct, but—in the absence of certainty—the fewer assumptions that are made, the better."
The KISS principle states "most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated.  Variations of KISS are "keep it short and simple" and "keep it simple and straightforward".
In 1848 a journalist from Kentucky with his accomplice  arrived in Vardy Valley where he was the guest of Vardy Collins, "Chief cook and bottle washer of the Melungens".  The story of his visit was published in dozens of newspapers across the country.

"The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this. A great many years ago, these mountains were settled by a society of Portuguese Adventurers, men and women.... These intermixed with the Indians, and subsequently their descendants (after the advances of the whites into this part of the state) with the negros and the whites, thus forming the present race of Melungens."
He wrote the "Legend" as it was told to him, possibly by Vardy, however it does not say who the Melungens were, he doesn't have names and we are not even sure if Vardy did tell the legend if it was Vardy's legend or if it belonged to another group of people, the Portuguese Indians who had come over the mountains after the War of 1812 from the Pee Dee River area of South Carolina.

Over the years it has been suggested the Melungeons forgot who they were, didn't know their history, were mysterious, and most importantly 'said they were Portuguese as a cover story to hide their African ancestry'.

Here we have in 1848 Vardy Collins, known as that wily Cherokee, "head and source' of the Melungens telling this journalist they were Portuguese Indians, and they mixed with the whites and the blacks.  No mystery, knew who they were and where they came from. If they said they had mixed with the blacks then why oh why would Portuguese be a made up story to hide their 'black ancestry'?

This is the same story told to Will Allen Dromgoole in 1890, 40 some years later.

In genealogy we start with ourselves and go back each generation collecting documents and proving our ancestry.  Melungeon research is no different.  At the time this article was written in 1848 there were people called Melungens living in Hamilton and Wilson County in Tennessee as well as a group in Dothan, Albama.  The former two known as people with Portuguese ancestry by their neighbors and many proven in the court system from North Carolina to Texas. One yet to be identified appears to be a political group living near Richmond, Virginia in the 1850s and 60s known as Moulungeons.

Why the idea there were NO Portuguese people in Colonial America just simply defies logic.  Numerous researchers, historians etc., people who were neighbors to these people, and knew them and their ancestors, testified as to their Portuguese ancestry for over 100 years. Yet still today we read of the 'Mysterious Melungeons' and their 'cover story'. There are early records of  the 'Spanish Plantation' mentioned by John Smith in 1608, Fernando the Portuguese, Nicholas the Portuguese, Manuel the Portuguese, and 'the Portuguese found at Saponi town in 1671.  George, known only as 'the Spaniard' was living near Jamestown in 1669.

Back to these 'Melungeon' people known as Portuguese Indians. The first thing we look for 'is their any proof of Portuguese mixing with the Indians in early records' and the answer is yes. From the time Lucas deAyllon, and the men and women he brought here in 1526, including the 100 slaves, these Spaniards/Portuguese have been mixing with the Indians. The kidnapping of numerous Indian women by Hernando deSoto and his Portuguese and Spanish soldiers. The documented story of the 'slave who ran away with the Queen of the Cofitchiqua in 1540 and again by Pardo.

Were these early explorers in Tennessee?  Maybe. We do know that most people who have studied them have deAyllon at the Winyah Bay in South Carolina, and deSoto and Pardo on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina where we find these people known as Melungeons living as early as 1735.

Red indicates town where both deSoto and
Pardo visited. Pee Dee drains into Winyah Bay where
 Lucas deAyllon was found in 1526

In 1848 the ancestry of the Melungeons were published in dozens of newspapers across the country. In 1890 Will Allen Dromgoole went to Newman's Ridge and wrote of the same ancestry.  Indians who had mixed with Portuguese, blacks and whites. Her articles were published not all over the county but also across the seas. How did they become mysterious? They did not forget who they were, they did not make up a story to hide any ancestry and there was nothing mysterious about them and there still isn't.

The caravel ship introduced in the mid-15th century
which aided Portuguese exploration
Photo by Brazilian Navy

Portuguese discoveries is the name given to the intensive maritime exploration by the Portuguese during the 15th and 16th centuries. Portuguese sailors were at the vanguard of European overseas exploration, discovering and mapping the coasts of Africa, Asia and Brazil, in what became known as the Age of Discovery. Methodical expeditions started in 1419 along West Africa's coast under the sponsorship of prince Henry the Navigator, with Bartolomeu Dias reaching the Cape of Good Hope and entering the Indian Ocean in 1488. Ten years later, Vasco da Gama led the first fleet around Africa to India, arriving in Calicutand starting a maritime route from Portugal to India. Soon, after reaching Brazil, explorations proceed to southeast Asia, having reached Japan in 1542.  (Wikipedia)
By the time Jamestown was founded, the Portuguese had been running an Atlantic -- and worldwide -- empire for a century.  Portugal had colonies and outposts on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and on islands in between and traveled the Atlantic freely.

Beside the Portuguese there are records of Armenians, East Indians, Spanish, Turks, and others in Colonial America. Boatloads of French, Germans, and Swiss. Yet these researchers today sitting in front of their monitors with all of these facts available with a click of the mouse and still they want to make the Melungeons 'mysterious' and make their Portugeuse ancestry a cover story. The Portuguese and their Portuguese Atlantic Creole offspring were sailing all over the Atlantic Ocean and the world but couldn't find their way to America?  Really?

Do these researchers, authors, bloggers have proof these people were something other than Portuguese? No.  They have tested the male DNA of a small sampling of people found in Hancock County which represents ONE ancestor out of thousands and have limited their study to Hancock County families when it is well documented there were pockets of these tawny people living elsewhere.  Furthermore, that DNA was found to be a mix of European and Sub-Saharan haplogroups which could easily have originated with people calling themselves Portuguese.

To put this in perspective we have the Portuguese and Portuguese Atlantic Creoles sailing all over the Atlantic, and we at least three expeditions in the 1500s on the Pee Dee River in South Carolina of Spanish, Portuguese and their slaves who interacted with the Natives in that area.

We have documentation these people who eyewitnesses said were Portuguese Indians were living on the Pee Dee River as early as 1725. These are the same people who went over the mountains in early 1800 to Hancock County and spread out from there.

We have no proof they were anything other than what they said they were.  Some of these researchers will scoff at the above evidence.  They laugh at old court records and testimony of the eyewitness' to history and at the same time cannot produce court records or eyewitness' to history to say they were anything else.

This is not about denying African ancestry. It is there, they themselves said it was there in 1848. One family that shows a male with African DNA does not tell you the history of that family, nor does it mean that all other lines, including the direct female lines could not have been Portuguese/Spanish, Indian or anything else.  Male DNA testing proves nothing but who is related to who and where their one ancestor came from thousands of years ago. 

It would appear the 'one drop rule' is alive and well today.  When Paul Heinegg was told William Chavis was a Saponi Indian his reply was;  he couldn't be an Indian, he was black, thus resorting to a false dichotomy.

Occam's Razor - "The principle states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected."  We do not have to assume anything when we look at the 1500 expeditions of Spanish and Portuguese explorers -- they were there.  We do not have to assume they were on the Pee Dee River, there are records.  We do not have to assume the Melungeons 'might have' been on the Pee Dee River, there are records. And we do not have to assume they were Portuguese, they said they were and the records say they were. We do not have to assume these are the same people that came over the mountains and were called Melungeons, there are records. 

The KISS principle states "most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complicated". So why do these researchers want to keep complicating things?  Why do they insist this was a cover story when they said they were Portuguese and in the same breath they had mixed with the blacks and whites?  

Why do they want to make the Melungeons all of anything?  These families were mixed from the beginning and mixed as time went on.  Mixed with Africans, other tribes, Swiss, French, Germans, etc. Every family has a different make up.  DNA is never going to prove anything except who is related to who and that these families were mixed. Why the insistence on assuming they were anything but what they freely said there were:  Portuguese Indians who mixed with the black and whites forming the 'present race' in 1848?

There are many interesting articles at the Melungeon Indian Website 

These are some links from the website and the blog referenced in this article.

Early  Contacts

Early Melungeon Researchers

Africans - Portuguese Mixt Crew & Melungeons

Melungeons and The Smithsonian Institute

The Portuguese, DeSoto, The Indians & The Mixed Bloods

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Brownlows

Another eyewitness to history was John Bell Brownlow, son of the Parson Brownlow who first wrote in 1840 of the "Melungen" a political opponent from Washington D.C.  (Found Here)

Biographical/Historical Note (Found Here)

John Bell Brownlow was born to William Gannaway "Parson" Brownlow, an ardent East Tennessee Unionist and editor of the Knoxville Whig, and Eliza O'Brien Brownlow in Elizabethton, Tennessee on October 19, 1839. He graduated from Emory and Henry College in Virginia and then served a long internship at his father's newspaper. During the Civil War, Brownlow commanded the Union's 9th Regiment of Tennessee Cavalry. After the war, he served as a special agent for the United States Treasury Department (1865-1866) and then worked for the United States Post Office. In 1904, Brownlow and his son, William G. Brownlow II, started Knoxville's first real estate firm, J. B. & W. G. Brownlow Co. John Bell Brownlow died in 1922.

I don't think anyone could argue that of all the people in Tennessee John B. Brownlow, should have known the history of the Melungeons.  He was personally acquainted with John Netherland who defended the Melungeons in Hancock County (proved they were Portuguese)  and Judge Lewis Shepherd who defended the Hamilton County Melungeons (proved they were Portuguese). 

The Hancock County Trial -John Netherland
The Hamilton County Trial-Judge Lewis Shepherd

And what does this eyewitness to history believe -  were the Melungeons simply "African men and white women"?   John Bell Brownlow writes; "I believe there was some mixture of these Portugese with the Cherokee Indians".....

Watson's Jeffersonian Magazine -
Page 522   1911


Dear Sir:

Your letter of yesterday received. I happen to have the information you seek. The Nashville American of  June 26, 1910 (since consolidated with the Nashville Tennessean) published a paper of about 10 pages in celebration of its 98th anniversary and in this paper is the true story of a small number of people to be found in a few counties of East Tennessee, as in other sections of the Appalachian region, called Melungeons or Malungeons. I have traveled horse-back before, during and since the Civil War, in the counties where these people live, and have seen them in their cabin homes and from information received independently of what Judge Shepherd says, I am satisfled his statement is to be relied upon.

The foremost jury lawyer of East Tenn. of his generation was the late Hon. John Netherland, the son-in-law of the John A. McKinney, referred to by Lucy S. V. King, and he gave me the same account, substantially, of the origin of these people that Judge Shepherd does.  Netherland was the Whig candidate for Governor of Tennessee in 1859, against Isham G. Harris. He died in the 80's. He was a slave-owner and practiced law in all the East Tennessee counties, which these people live.
Prior to 1824 free negroes voted in Tennessee, and when in that year the State Constitution was so amended as to disfranchise "all free persons of color", it was sometimes made the pretext of refusing the franchise to these people of perfectly straight hair, small hands and shapely feet who bore no more resemblance to a negro than do members of the Spanish or Portugese embassies of Washington. As to whether they voted or not, in the few counties where they were up to the Civil War, depended upon the disposition of the election officers and the closeness of the contest. But I will add that the election officers were very rarely unfair and their right to vote rarely challenged. Sometimes, in a very close contest, some fellow would challenge it and the man would forego exercising his rights rather than fight about it. They have not been of a lawless or turbulent disposition. They realized the prejudice against them because of their dark complexion. Some of them served in the Confederate, and some in the Federal East Tennessee Regiment, but neither side would have accepted them had they believed they had negro blood in their veins.
In my boyhood days they were called Portugese. The word Mulangeon is comparatively modern as to its general use. As a rule they did not go into either army; did not wish to. They preferred agriculture; happy in their mountain cabins. The extract from McKinney's speech is garbled. He truly said the language of the disfranchising clause included these people because it embraced "all free persons of color" but notwithstanding that the majority of them always voted because their neighbors did not regard them as negroes or as having negro blood in their veins. I believe there was some mixture of these Portugese with the Cherokee Indians, but not with negroes. Lying, sensational newspaper correspondents, from the North, originally started this racket to show that Southern whites were given to miscegenating with negroes, and to have something to write about. Some Southern writers have imitated them, magnifying fifty or one hundred fold the number of these people.
Gen. Wm. T. Sherman did some things I disapproved as much as you do, but he hit the nail on the head when he said that "there were some newspaper correspondents who, to create a sensation and for pay, would slander their grandmothers." Of course, some of the people were shiftless and degraded, as are some of all races, but I remember a notable exception by the name of Wm. Lyle. He was a prosperous country merchant who came to Knoxville every year to buy goods of our wholesale dealers and was treated by every one, with the utmost respect. He was spoken of as a Portugese, and bore no more resemblance to a negro than any Spaniard or Portugese. He dressed elegantly, was well informed and as polished and refined as half the members of Congress, and more so than many of them. In the early history of the country, there were many Spanish and Portugese sailors, who settled on the South Carolina and North Carolina coast. One of these was a Spanish ship carpenter by name of Farragut. In North Calorina, he married a poor girl and drifted to this city (then a town of about 1,200 people) where he followed the trade of house-carpenter, and here was born his subsequently famous son, Admiral David G. Farragut. His Spanish father was a dark-skinned man.

Finally, the decision of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 1872, referred to by Judge Shepherd, should be conclusive on this subject. Every one of the five members of that Court was a Confederate and Democrat. The Chief Justice, A. Q. P. Nicholson, was the Colleague of Andrew Jshnson in the U. S. Senate in 1861. Jas. W. Deaderick, after this decision and after the death of Nicholson, also of the bench at the time, succeeded Nicholson as Chief Justice. He was not himself in the army but every one of his seven sons were at the front in the Confederate Army, some of whom were badly wounded and the other three Judges had honorable records as Confederate soldiers. Judge Shepherd himself was a Confederate soldier.

P. S. Lyle is not a Portugese name, neither is that of the American Darbey's French, as was that of their ancestor D.Aublgney. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Eyewitness' To History

While waiting for my arm to heal from surgery for frozen shoulder  ( Adhesive Capsulitis) I thought I would copy and paste some of the articles I think are really important to Melungeon History.

Lawrence Clement Johnson was born August 21, 1821 in Chester County, South Carolina.   He died Ausust 14, 1909 at the Confederate home  (Beauvoir) in Gulfport, Mississippi.  He was the son of Dr. Benjamin Brown Johnson and Jane Milling Young Johnson.  He was the grandson of William Johnson, Revolutionary War soldier of Charleston, South Carolina .

After Swan Burnett  read his piece  "Notes on the Melungeons"  (found here)in February of 1889 Mr. Johnson wrote to the editor of the Atlanta Constitution

the following month.

Atlanta Constitution
March 11, 1889
The Melungeons

Meridian, Miss.,
March 11– Editors Constitution

Near a month ago an article appeared in The CONSTITUTION named Melungeons. I laid it aside in order to correspond with the writer, but the paper got destroyed and the name and address had not been noticed with care, and are forgotten. Excuse me then for addressing him through the same medium.

His name Melungeons is a local designation for this small peculiar race. Their own claim to be Portuguese is more generally known. Their original site is on the Pedee river in South and North Carolina . They were once especially strong in Georgetown and Darlington districts of the latter. Though called Portuguese – this does not indicate their true origin. I have no doubt local traditions, and the records still to be found in the Charleston library will give the true account. As dimly recollected, for I never made search with a purpose in view, it was thus in the primary colonial times of the Carolinas, Winyaw Bay was the best and most frequented harbor on the coast, and Georgetown more accessible, was more of a commercial town than old Charlestown., to that port British cruisers sometimes brought prizes. 

Among these once was a Salee Rover, (*See Below) which was sold for the distribution of the proceeds as prize money. The crew consisting mostly of Moors, with a sprinkling of Arabs and negroes, were turned ashore free. Their complexion and religion prevented immediate absorption by the white race, and they found wives among Indians, negroes and cast off white women at a time when many of these last were sold by immigrant ships for their passage money. They became a peculiar people. They were the free people of color of the Pedee region so true to Marion during our revolutionary struggle and no other race in America retained such traditionary hatred of the British.

Your correspondent [whose name I am sorry to have forgotten] having a taste for ethnological studies will confer a favor upon that branch of early post-colonial record and legislative proceedings of South Carolina. He will find it sustained by the appearance of these people if he can find a few pure specimens–their physical structure, their hair, their teeth, and general features, though every trace of their Moslem religion and north African dialect may have long been lost.

Very respectfully,

Laurence C. Johnson 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Spanish - Portuguese & the Indians in Colonial Virginia

Anyone who has researched the people called Melungeon, Redbone, Lumbee, etc., has found the argument they could not have been Portuguese/Spanish because they didn't have last names or because there were no Portuguese listed on the early passenger's list.  These records below show a few of the documented Portuguese and Spaniards who was in Colonial Virginia.  The Spanish and Portuguese like the other 'foreigners' and Native Americans had no last names.

The Portuguese and Spaniards, like the Englishmen, who chose to take up with the Natives would not have left any records, just their DNA. 

"And even this Summer Cole and Kitchins plot with three more, bending their courst to Ocanahowan, five daies journey from us, where they report are Spaniards inhabiting."

Ocanahowan?  Occaneechi maybe?  A Spanish Plantation in 1614? Who were these Spaniards living 5 days from Jamestown?  Were they the Spanish/Portuguese explorers left behind by deAyllon, deSoto or Pardo?  Were these the ancestors of the people who would later be called Melungeons, Redbones, Lumbee, etc.?

Lower Norfolk County, Virginia Court Records: Book "A", 1637-1646 & Book B --  By Alice Granbery Walter  (HERE)

Jacob Bradshaw, age 29 years or thereabouts Sworn and examined, sayeth? that he the said deponent, went to Capt. John Sibsey's about November last past, to buy the time out which one Tawney, a Portingall, had then to serve the said Capt. Sibsey and, demanding of Capt. Sibsey how long the said Tawney had to serve him, he told this deponent that the said Tawney had a year and as much as until March next to serve him, whereupon this deponent would not meddle with him but Tawney said that though he came into the country for four years, yet Mr. Page promised him that, in respect he had coasted up and down for him, that he should be servant but for three years, and farther deponent sayeth not. 

Sergeant William Edwards, age 36 years or thereabouts, sworn &  examined, sayeth that there came a man from Linnhaven to the house of Capt. John Sibsey about November last, and demanded of the said Capt. Sibsey whether he would part from a servant of his, being a Portingall, called by the name of Tawney, whereupon the said Capt. Sibsey told him that the said servant had a year
longer to serve him, wherein the said Tawney being then present, said, that he came into the country for four years but Mr. Page, who brought him in, told him that he should serve but three years, and further this deponent sayeth not.

(The beginning of this record is torn)...... good weare..... taken away from MR: THO: WILLOUGHBY by Manuell ye Portuguesse... ordered that ye goods so found be returned unto ye sd Willoubhby & that ye sd Manuell shall not come to or neare the house of ye sd Willoughbys by a mile or have any communicacon with ANN WATKINS his Mayd without ye consent of ye sd WILLOUBHBY & if he shall bee found.... to receive 20 lashes on ye bare back....


The Expedition of Batts and Fallam:
A Journey from Virginia to beyond the Appalachian Mountains, September, 1671.
From Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769-1800. 

September 5th 1671''The three gentlemen bore a commission from Major-general Wood "for the finding out tile ebbing and flowing of the Waters on the other side of the Mountains in order to the discovery of the South Sea." They struck off due west along a trail that was evidently already familiar, and having five horses made rapid progress. On the fourth day 'they reached the Sapony villages, one of which Lederer had visited the year before. They were "very joyfully and kindly received with firing of guns and plenty of provisions." They picked up a Sapony guide to show them to the Totero village by "a nearer way than usual," and were about to leave when overtaken by a reinforcement of seven Appomattox Indians sent them by Wood. They sent back Mr. Thomas Wood's worn out horse by a Portuguese servant of General Wood's whom they had found in the village, and pushed on to the Hanahaskie "town," some twenty-five miles west by north, on an island in the Staunton River. Here Mr. Thomas Wood was left, dangerously ill.'

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY MARY GALE (Living 1673) had an illegitimate child by Portuguese servant Nicholas Silvedo who was convicted on 12/7/1674 as being the father. Silvedo was committed to the custody of Sheriff John Culpeper but later escaped. Meanwhile, the child was kept by William Harman, a Negro, for 13 months and in September of 1673 it was noted that one Jane Harmon was the wet nurse for the child. (Northampton County, Virginia Court Orders and Minutes (1654 - 1795; Orders, Wills, Etc. 1674 - 1679, microfilm No. 27) 

Mary Gale appears again on 9/28/1694. Whereas a male child of Mary Gale, servt. to Mr. John Kendall, of which Nicholas Silvedo was convicted of being the reputed father, was the seventh of December 1674 placed to Charles Guildon of the County until 24 years of age, said child known by the name of Jephtah, now attains to 21 which also appeared by this County's records, set free. [A Mary Gale was brought to Northampton County on 10/3/1678 with seven others by Thomas Kendall, who was granted 400 acres of land.]

 1667Lower Norfolk County 
Order Book, 1666-1675, fol. 17.

Whereas Fernando a Negro sued Capt. [John] Warner for his freedome pretending hee was a Christian and had been severall yeares in England and therefore ought to serve noe longer than any other servant that came out of England accordinge to the custome of the Country and alsoe Presented severall papers in *Portugell * or some other language which the Court could not understand which he alledged were papers From severall Governors where hee had lived a  freeman and where hee was home. Wherefore the Court could find noe Cause wherefore he should be free but Judge him a slave for his lifetime, From which Judgement thesaid Negro hath appealled to the fifth day of the next Generall Court. [It is not possible to follow this case further owing to the destruc-tion of the General Court records for this period.]

Surry County Tax
#379  George -no last name- living at Lawnes Creek  June 1669  Note; he is a Spaniard
(#947 - living with Edward Warren in 1674 is "welsh" Harry - no last name)


[Source] Title: Letters to the Secretary of State and others from the Governors, Alexander Spotswood, William Gooch, Robert Dinwiddle and Francis Fauquier, and Presidents Thomas Lee and Lewis Burwell, with enclosures and replies. Depository: Public Record Office / Class: C.O. 5/1344 SR Number: SR 00233 Reel Number: 48 Dates: 1726 - 1783 References: Lists & Indexes, Vol. XXXVI, 29. Andrews Guide 183, List 493. ff. 86-87 Lords of Trade to the Duke of Bedford, 

10 Jan 1750/51. Spanish and Portuguese ships driven into ports of Virginia by bad weather. 
Encloses the four (only adding two) documents listed below: ff. 90-91 Enclosed in the above. Extract of a letter from Thomas Lee to the Board of Trade, 6 Nov. 1750. The Spanish and Portuguese ships driven into Virginia ports have proven irrepairable. The masters have been given permission to hire other ships to carry their cargoes to Europe. 

North Carolina State Archives
General Assembly Session Records
April-May, 1760 Box #2
Committee of Claims

Cornelius Harnett Esqur was allowed his claim of one pound nine shillings eight pence for holding an inquest on the body of one Menasses, a Portugese.

Page 225
A German visiting western Virginia in 1750 was shocked by people of the frontier who culturally were more Indian than white. Such folk seemed to be "a kind of white people...who live like the savages, having a half-Indian appearance" and "nearly allied in disposition and manners to Indians."

Observations gathered out of a Discourse of the Plantation of the Southerne Colonie in Virginia by the English, 1606. Written by the Honorable Gentleman, Master George Percy. 

"At Port Cotage in our Voyage up the River, we saw a Savage Boy about the age of ten yeere, which had a head of haire of a perfect yellow and a reasonable white skinne, which is a miracle amongst all Savages."

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


Kyles Ford, Tenn
R Box 24
Dec 19, 1923

Dear Santa Claus old Friend

thought I would write you as Christmas is almost here I am But a little Boy only 2 years old and as cunning as a pet pig I know if you could see me you would say I was a cute little Fellow. I like to Ride a Round with my dad, and if you will send me some Christmas toys I will always love santa claus .

Lee Roy Weston

Kyles Ford, Tenn.
Dec 18, 1923
R. No2, Box 26

Dear Santa Clause

I am a little Boy 8 years old and I want you to send me somethings for Xmas i want some candy and some oranges and some apples and a little rubber ball and a little toy pistol and a littly toy train and it full of candy, don’t forget your little friend James Nichols.

Dear Mr. Santa Claus good bye.

Kyles Ford, Tenn
Dec. 5, 1923

Dear Santa Claus

I am a little boy 7 yers old and i want old santa to Bring me something i would Be Blesed with anything you wish to Bring me. i wamt me some candy and oranges and anything you want to bring. i wish santa Clause wold Bring me a Pair of shoes so this is written By thair little cheridens.

Joe Anderson
Kyles Ford, Tennessee
R F D No2 Box 7

Kyles Ford, Tenn
Dec. 6, 1923

Deair Santa Clause.

I am a little girle 10 years old I have no papa and my mama is poor and cant Buy me nothing for Xmas I hope you will if you dont get me something i wont have nothing I wish you would Bring me a pretty heir Bow I have pretty yellow heir it is curly it is to my waist and I have no pretty Bow to put on it and Bring me a pretty doll and some candy and Bananas to rate By a friend of those little children.

Ida Anderson
Kyles Ford Tenn.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Portuguese, DeSoto, The Indians & The Mixed Bloods

These records below will show there were many Europeans in the area of the Pee Dee River - Drowning Creek as early as 1526 where these mixed blood families are found and documented in the early  1700s.  

The early Europeans who mixed with the Native tribes no doubt left their mark in the form of Haplogrops R and E found among so many of the mixed blood families of today.

Many researchers of the mixed blood communities flatly refuse to believe they were of Portuguese ancestry -  although from 1812 to 1912 their neighbors, JUDGES AND JURIES, ethnologists, anthropologists, and historians have agreed they had Portuguese ancestry. 

The records from the Journal of the Gentleman Alvis is not a new record and has been online many years. We find in those journals the fact that de Soto brought with him 'one ship of Portuguese' who accompanied him on this expediton. Prior to de Soto we find Lucas de Ayllon who brought 100 slaves and 500 colonists and 100 slaves.  Of these two expeditions as well as Pardos many of them left behind little ones who would carry their DNA - haplogroup R - haplogroup E etc. 

A recent DNA study published in 2012 said;

One possible documented source of Portuguese ancestry may be from Juan Pardo’s men who were abandoned at various forts in present day North Carolina, one perhaps as far north and west as Morgantown, North Carolina.  Some of Pardo's men may have been Portuguese. These men, if they survived, would have had to have assimilated into the Native population and have taken Native wives, as there were no European women available in 1566.  However, the core Melungeon family group is not originally found in western North Carolina, but in eastern Virginia.

Denham was the surname associated with Portuguese ancestry.  Denham is haplogroup I1, Anglo-Saxon, and shows no surname matching pattern that would indicate Spanish or Portuguese ancestry.  No other Melungeon surname shows evidence of southern Mediterranean ancestry or Spanish/Portuguese matches.

Furthermore, the majority of the Melungeon core families, including Denham, were found together or in close proximity in the Louisa County, Va., or Louisa's parent county, Hanover's records in the mid 1700s.  Those not present in Louisa, with the exception of Mullins, joined the group in either Lunenburg, Orange or Granville Counties in the mid to late 1700s.  There are no claims of Portuguese heritage in Louisa County in the group that remained.
The problem with the above statement is the fact that while this DNA study includes SEVEN surnames originating on the Pee Dee River they are ignored in the above assessment of whether the could have Portuguese ancestry. 

Spencer Bolton, father of Solomon Bolton, documented as a Melungeon in Hamilton Co., Tennessee court records was born on the Pee Dee River in 1735. This 1725 Map by John Herbert shows the Saura Town on the Pee Dee. Weenga/Winyah Bay marked with an X is the spot being searched for the ship of Lucas de Ayllon who came in 1526 with 600 adventurers, men and women, and 100 slaves.  Of these only 150 returned, the others were presumed to have died or ran off to live with the Native tribes in the area.  This is the same area we find besides the Boltons, the Ivey, Perkins, Chavis, Shoemake, Lowery, Oxendine, etc., all who are identified as Portuguese in court cases and other documents from 1812 forward.

While they write that no Melungeon surname shows ancestry of  Spanish or Portuguese - it is a fact that there are 27 subjects in the Melungeon DNA study with Haplogroup R-M269. If you check the Portuguese DNA Study you will find 87 subjects with R-M269 Haplogroup also.  

Portuguese Genetics: Abstracts and Summaries  Found here  

People of Portuguese descent are welcome to join Family Tree DNA's "Portugal DNA Project". They also have some Brazilians and Cape Verdeans. The Portuguese participants' Y-DNA haplogroups include E-L117, E-L17, E-M183, E-M35, G-M201, G-M406, G-P303, I-M223, I-M253, J-M172, J-M267, R-L21, R-M269, R-P312, R-U152, T-M70, and many others, with R-M269 being their most common one......
.........Varieties of R1b, a common Y-DNA haplogroup in western Europe, are found in abundance among Portuguese menAbout 60 percent of Southern Portuguese and about 83 percent of Northern Portuguese belong to the subclade of R1b known as the Atlantic Modal Haplotype (AMH). There are even some areas in Portugal where the AMH is found in about 90% of men.
While these records of DNA do not prove Meluneons had Portuguese DNA it is certainly suggestive that they did.





As Luis de Moscoso passed through Elvas, Andre de Vasconcelos spoke with him, and requested him to speak to Don Hernando de Soto in his behalf, and gave him patents issued by the marques de Vilareal, conferring on him the captaincy of Ceuta, so that he might exhibit them. The adelantado saw these and found out who he [Vasconcelos] was and wrote him promising that he would favor him in every way and would give him men to command in Florida.


(The DeSoto Chronicles)

''The Portuguese left Elvas on the 15th of January. They reached Seville on St. Sebastian's eve and went to the governor's lodging. They entered the patio upon which looked some balconies where he was. He looked down and went to meet them at the stairs where they went up to the balconies. When they were up, he ordered chairs to be given them so that they might be seated. Andre de Vasconcelos told him who he and the other Portuguese were and how they had all come to accompany him and to serve him on his voyage. He [i.e. Soto] thanked him and appeared well pleased with their coming and proffer. The table being already laid, he invited them to eat; and while they were eating, he directed his majordomo to find lodgings for them near his inn. From Seville, the adelantado went to San Liicar with all the men that were to go with him. He ordered a muster to be held, to which the Portuguese went armed with very splendid arms, and the Castilians very elegantly, in silk over silk, and many plaits and slashes. As such finery was not pleasing to the governor on such an occasion, he ordered a muster to be held on the next day and for every man to appear with his armor. 

To this the Portuguese came as at first, armed with very excellent armor, and the governor set them in order near the standard borne by his alferez. Most of the Castilians wore poor and rusty coats of mail, and all [wore] helmets and carried worthless and poor lances. Some of them managed to get a place among the Portuguese. Thus they passed in review, and those who were to the liking of Soto and whom he wished were counted and enrolled and went with him to Florida. Those who went numbered in all six hundred men. He had already bought seven ships and had placed in them the provisions necessary, appointed captains, and assigned his ship to each captain, giving each one a list of the men he was to take.''


In the month of April, of the year 1538, the adelantado delivered the ships over to the captains who were to go in them. He took a new and good sailing ship for himself and gave one to Andre de Vasconcelos, in which the Portuguese went  SOURCE


Some excerpts from above Journal of Alvis

Along that way, the cacica of Cutifachiqui , whom the governor brought as above said for the purpose of taking her to Guaxule for her lands reached that far-going one day with her slave women who were carrying her, stepped aside from the road and went into a wood saying that she had to attend to her necessities. Thus she deceived them and hid herself in the woods; and although they sought her she could not be found. She took with her a box of canes made like a coffer which they call "petaca," filled with unbored pearls. Some who had most knowledge of them said they were very valuable. An Indian woman was carrying them for her whom she took with her.
The governor, in order not to cause her unhappiness in everything, left them, intending to ask them from her at Guaxule , when he should give her leave to return. She took it and went to stop at Xualla ( with three slaves who bad escaped from the camp and with a horseman who remained behind, for being sick with fever he wandered from the road and was lost. This man, named Alimamos tried to have the slaves abandon their evil intention and go with him to the Christians - which two of them did. Alimamos and they overtook the governor fifty leagues from there in a province called Chiaha . They related how the cacica had remained in Xualla with a slave of Andre de Vasconcellos (The Portuguese) who refused to come with them; and it was very certain that they held communication as husband and wife, and that both had made up their minds to go to Cutifachiqui  SOURCE
The Forgotten Centuries - Charles Hudson) "At Aracuchi, Pardo decided to divide his force, sending half on to Cofitachequi, while the other half traveled to Ylasi. Ylasi is clearly the same town as deSoto's Ilapi.")
They went over a swampy land where the horsemen could not go. A half league from camp they came upon some Indian huts near the river; [but] the people who were inside them plunged into the river. They captured four Indian women...........

...............Juan Rodriguez Lobillo reached the camp with six men wounded, one of whom died. He brought the four Indian women whom he had captured in the quarters or huts.

From there the governor sent two captains, each one in a different direction, in search of the Indians. They captured a hundred head, among Indian men and women. Of the latter, there, as well as in any other part where forays were made, the captain selected one or two for the governor and the others were divided among themselves and those who went with them.

The governor left Toalli on March 24. At supper time on Thursday he came to a little stream where a footbridge was made on which the men crossed. Benito Fernandez, a Portuguese, fell off it and was drowned. As soon as the governor had crossed the stream, he found a village called Achese a short distance on. Although the Indians had never heard of Christians they plunged into a river. A few Indians, men and women, were seized,..............

At the time of his departure, because of the importunity of some who wished more than was proper, he asked the cacique for thirty Indian women as slaves. The cacique answered that he would talk with his principal men; but one night, before returning an answer, all the Indians left the town ....................... The governor ordered him to be summoned and he came immediately. After exchanging some verbal promises with the governor, he gave him the necessary tamemes and thirty Indian women as slaves. A Christian of noble parentage, named Manzano, a native of Salamanca, who wandered away to look for grapes which are abundant and excellent there, was lost in that place. On the day the governor set out thence, he went to sleep at a town subject to the lord of Ullibahali, and next day reached another called Toasi. The Indians gave the governor thirty Indian women and the necessary tamemes [for DeSoto's men to wed then populate his planned settlement at Mobile Bay].

The governor was accustomed to place a guard over the caciques so that they might not go away, and took them along with him until leaving their land; for by taking them, the people would await in their towns and they would give a guide and Indians as carriers. Before departing from their lands, he would give them leave to return to their homes - as well as the tamemes - as soon as he reached another dominion where others were given to him.

Those of Coca, seeing their lord detained, thought ill of it and revolted and went away to hide themselves in the woods-both those of their lord's town and those of other chief towns, who were his vassals. The governor sent four captains, each in a different direction, to look for them. They seized many Indians, men and women, who were put in chains. Upon seeing the harm they received and how little they gained in absenting themselves, they came, saying that they wished to serve in whatever might be commanded them. Some of the principal men among those imprisoned were set free on petition of the cacique. Of the rest, each man took away as slaves those he had in chains, without allowing them to go to their lands. Nor did many of them return except some whose good fortune and assiduous industry aided them, who managed to file off their chains at night; or some, who were able, while on the march, to wander away from the road upon observing any lack of care in their guard, who went off with their chains and with their loads and the clothes they were carrying.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Early Researchers and the Smithsonian Institute

These are various articles that I have added to my website 
THE MELUNGEON INDIANS over the years.  Some researchers believe these are simply 'old articles' but they are in fact 'eyewitnesses to history'. 

Judge Giles Leitch

Member of the Philanthropic Society University of North Carolina -Graduate 1849    Senator from Robeson County 1862    Born 1827 

Excerpt from the 1871 North Carolina Joint Senate and House Committee as they interviewed Robeson County Judge Giles Leitch about the ‘free persons of color’ living within his county: 

Senate: Half of the colored population?
Leitch: Yes Sir; half of the colored population of Robeson County were never slaves at all…
Senate: What are they; are they Negroes?
Leitch: Well sir, I desire to tell you the truth as near as I can; but I really do not know what they are; I think they are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese and Indian… Senate: You think they are mixed Negroes and Indians?
Leitch: I do not think that in that class of population there is much Negro blood at all; of that half of the colored population that I have attempted to describe all have always been free…They are called ‘mulattoes’ that is the name they are known by, as contradistinguished from Negroes…I think they are of Indian origin.
Senate: I understand you to say that these seven or eight hundred persons that you designate as mulattoes are not Negroes but are a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, white blood and Indian blood, you think they are not generally Negroes?
Leitch: I do not think the Negro blood predominates.
Senate: the word ‘mulatto’ means a cross between the white and the Negro?
Leitch: Yes sir.
Senate: You do not mean the word to be understood in that sense when applied to these people?
Leitch: I really do not know how to describe those people. 
New York Herald
Saturday, March 09, 1872
Wilmington, N.C.
February 29, 1872
........." I do not know what these mulattoes of Scuffletown are. I think they are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, and Indian; about half of them have straight black hair, and many of the characteristics of the Cherokee Indians in our State; then, as they amalgamate and mix, the hair becomes curly and kinky, and from that down to real woollen hair; I think they are mixed Portuguese, Spaniard and Indians; I mean to class the Spaniards and Portuguese as one class, and the Indians as another class; I do not think that in class of population there is much negro blood at all; of that half of the colored population that I have attempted to describe all have been always free; I was born among them, and I reckon that I know them perfectly well."
Hamilton McMillan
The Genesis of the United States

Alexander Brown
Volume I
In 1888 Mr. Hamilton Mcmillan, A. M., of Robeson County, North Carolina, published an historical sketch of "Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony, with the traditions of An Indian Tribe in North Carolina indicating the fate of the Colony," etc.  From this I will give extracts.

"In the latter part of 1864 three young men of the Croatan tribe, who had been drafted to work on the fortifications at Fort Fisher, were killed, it is supposed, by a white man who had them in custody.  An inquest was held, and at its conclusion an old Indian, *named George Lowrie, addressed the people assembled, in substance as follows:

"We have always been the friends of the white men.  We were a free people long before the white men came to our land.  Our tribe was always free.  They lived in Roanoke in Virginia.  When the English came to Roanoke our tribe treated them kindly.  One of our tribe went to England in an English ship and saw that great country. We took the English to live with us.  There is a white man's blood in these veins as well as that of the Indian.  In order to be great like the English, we took the white man's language and religion, for our people were told they would prosper if they would take white men's laws. In the wars between white men and Indians we always fought on the side of the white men.  We moved on this land and fought for liberty for white men, yet white men have treated us as negroes.  Here are our young men shot down by a white man and we get no justice, and that in a land where our people were always free."

This speech caused Mr. McMillan to investigate the history and traditions of this tribe.

[*James Lowry born in Virginia and found in the area later called Robeson in the mid-1750’s owned over a thousand acres of land.  James’ wife was Sarah Kersey, described as a “half-breed Tuscarora Indian.”  William Lowry (son of James) married Betty Locklear, also described as a “Half-breed Tuscarora Indian”, their son George Lowry born 1798 and brother of Allen Lowery killed in 1865 is believed to be the George Lowrie who gave this speech.jp]
Red Springs, NC
Oct 12, 1889
Mr McDonald Furman [Excerpts]
        Dear Sir
I think the name Oxendine was originally Ockenstein a German name. The families of that name show many German pecularities. The name Dial or Dole was I think Doyle an Irish name, Goins was O'Guinn (not D'Guin)Leary was O'Leary and so on.
The name among them of Blanx or Blanc is French. The early Huguenot emigrants of that name came from the Department of the Mosell and those of the family who changed the Blanc to White, its English synonym, was designated as the 'Mosell" Whites and the name is now changed to Musslewhite. The French name of Bressi is now Bracy and Turbeville is now Troublefield. The Braceys and Troublefields live on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina and never intermarried with the Croatans or "Melange".
 The tribe once stretched from Cape Fear to Pee Dee and the Redbones of your section are a part of the tribe as are the "Melungeons" of East Tennessee. The French immigrants callled the half breeds Melange or Mixed and the term evidently has been changed to "Melungeons".

With my best regards
I am yours truly
Hamilton MCMillan
 NOTE: This letter was written in October of 1889, the same date Dr. Swan Burnett's article was published in which he wrote that since his reading in February he had been in contact with Hamilton McMillan and now believed the origin of the Melungeons was the Drowning Creek - Pee Dee River area where the 'Croatan and Redbones' were found. Dr. Burnett mentions he will publish his findings at a later date but none have been found as yet. Dr. C. A. Petersen mentioned this work of Burnett's when he wrote; "Dr. Swan M. Burnett, a distinguished scholar and scientist- the husband, by the way, of Mrs. Francis Hodgson Burnett, the novelist has traced by family names the connection between the Melungeons and the Croatans.     

Hamilton McMillan, Dr. C.A. Petersen, McDonald Furman, Swan Burnett, Stephen B. Weeks and others all agreed the Redbones and Malungeons, as well as other remnant tribes were a branch of the 'Croatan" Indians. 

This letter precedes the articles by Will Allen Dromgoole by over a year..  Burnett, McMillan, Furman, and Gaetchet, all affiliated with the Smithsonian were researching and writing about the Melungeons BEFORE Dromgoole ever went to Newmans Ridge.

July 17, 1890
--Red Springs, North Carolina
Hamilton McMillan
'The Croatan tribe lives principaly in Robeson county, North Carolina, though there is quite a number of them settle in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter county, South Carolina, there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. In Macon county, North Carolina, there is another branch, settled there long ago. those living in east tennessee are called "Melungeons", a name also retained by them here, which is corruption of 'Melange', a name given them by early settlers (French), which means mixed.''


James Mooney 

Washington Post 1902
Mr. James Mooney Investigates Early Portuguese Settlements.
Mr. James Mooney, who has just returned from Indian Territory, where he has been making a study of the Kiowa tribe for the Bureau of Ethnology, has also during his career as an anthropologist done considerable work in the way of investigating the Portuguese settlements along the Atlantic coast of the United States, a subject about which less is known than most any other phase of the modern ethnology of America. All along the southern coast there arescattered here and there bands of curious people, whose appearance, color, and hair seem to indicate a cross or mixture of the Indian, the white, and the negro. Such, for example, are the Pamunkeys of Virginia, the Croatan Indians of the Carolinas, the Malungeons of Tennessee, and numerous other peoples who in the days of slavery were regarded as free negroes and were frequently hunted down and enslaved. Since the war they have tried hard byact of legislature and other wise to establish their Indian ancestry. 
Wherever these people are found there also will the traveler or investigator passing through their region encounter the tradition of Portuguese blood or descent, and many have often wondered how these people came to have such a tradition or, in view of their ignorance, how they came to even know of the name of Portugal or the Portuguese. The explanation is, however, far simpler than one might imagine. In the first place, the Portuguese have always been a seagoing people, and according to Mr. Mooney, who has lookedup the subject, the early records of Virginia and the Carolinas contain notices of Portuguese ships having gone to wreck on the coasts of these States and of the crews settling down and marrying in with Indians and mulattoes.
Moreover, there are records of Portuguese ships having sailed into Jamestown Bay as early as 1655, and since then there has been more or less settlement of Portuguese fishermen and sailors from Maine to Florida. Now it has been the history of the Portuguese race that wherever they settled they mixed in with the darker peoples forming the aboriginal populations of the countries occupied by Portuguese settlers, and this is the reason and cause of the Portuguese admixture among the tribes along the coast of the United States. 

Frederick Webb Hodge

Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology - Ethnology - 1907

page 365
Croatan Indians. The legal designation in North Carolina for a people evidently of mixed Indian and white blood, found in various e. sections of the state, but chiefly in Robeson co., and numbering approximately 5,000. For many years they were classed with the free negroes, but steadily refused to accept such classification or to attend the negro schools or churches, claiming to be the descendants of the earlv native tribes and of white settlers who had intermarried with them. About 20 years ago their claim was officially recognized and they were given a separate legal existence under the title of "Croatan Indians," on the theory of descent from Raleigh's lost colony of Croatan (q. v.).
Under this name they now have separate school provision and are admitted to some privileges not accorded to the negroes. The theory of descent from the lost colony may be regarded as baseless, but the name itself serves as a convenient label for a people who combine in themselves the blood of the wasted native tribes, the early colonists or forest rovers, the runaway slaves or other negroes, and probably also of stray seamen of the Latin races from coasting vessels in the West Indian or Brazilian trade.
Across the line in South Carolina are found a people, evidently of similar origin, designated "Red bones." In portions of w. N. C. and E. Temn. are found the so-called "Melungeons" (probably from French melangi', 'mixed') or "Portuguese," apparently an offshoot from the Croatan proper, and in Delaware are found the "Moors." All of these are local designations for peoples of mixed race with an Indian nucleus differing in no way from the present mixed-blood remnants known as Pamunkey, Chicka- hominy, and Nansemond Indians in Virginia, excepting in the more complete loss of their identity. In general, the physical features and complexion of the persons of this mixed stock incline more to the Indian than to the white or negro. See Mi-tis, Mixed bloods
Also Published:
Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico -
by Frederick Webb Hodge - Indians of North America - 1911

[Frederick W. Hodge (October 28, 1864 – September 28, 1956) was an editor, anthropologistarchaeologist, and historian.   e was associated with Columbia University and the U.S. Geological Survey. During the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition, he met and later married Margaret Magill, sister of Emily Tennison Magill Cushing, wife of the expeditionary leader, Frank Hamilton Cushing

He was the director of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Los Angeles. He served as executive officer at the Smithsonian Institution, chairman of the Committee of Editorial Management and the Committee dealing with the Linguistic Families North of Mexico. He was a member of the Committee on Archaeological Nomenclature, the Committee of Policy, the National Research Council, and the Laboratory of Anthropology, School of American Research, Journal of Physical Anthropology, and the Museum of the American Indian in New York City    A 1956 interview of Frederick Hodge can be found HERE, has much information on the early beginnings of the Smithsonian.]