Friday, March 17, 2017

Moonshine and Feuds

Hancock County - Moonshine, Feuds & Malungeons

From The New York Sun - November 29th 1891

Contrast Between the Facts and the Stories of Novelists -- Dwelling, Food, and Dress -- The Use and the Flavor of Mountain Dew -- The Law Breaking Malungeons.

SNEEDVILLE, Nov. 26. -- It has been known that the great westward tide of

civilization, setting from the seacoast for over a century, has split into many streams against the densest and most impassable part of the Appalachian system. The result has been that in the mountain fastnesses of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee primitive forms of civilization have remained in many places, while in other places there has been a long step backward toward barbarism. The railroads which opened up these parts to the world have gone far toward changing them. The former type of the mountaineer, with his hatred for strangers, his passionate love of the freedom of license and his disregard for human life, has disappeared from these lines of travel. Only in the far valleys and on the mountains overlooking the almost unbroken wilderness does the type still persist.

These mountaineers have of late years got much attention from writers of romances. And these writers of romances, being for the most part persons of surprising talent, have got much credit for realistic writing of fiction. Their use of the dialect, their portrayal of mountain life and character have been regarded as faithfully natural and lifelike. This esteem has, however not been shared by those who are familiar with the mountains and the mountaineers for many years. East Tennesseeans who have hunted through the mountains and have lived in mountain cabins for weeks and months say that the romancers have taken wide liberties with the dialect and with the people themselves to make a better story.

It may be said in the beginning that the mountaineers of whom this article speaks are not at all like the persons of the mountain romance. There are no beautiful women with wide eyes and minds full of idealizing. There are no men of especial comeliness. Love is passion pure and simple. Hatred is neither stagy
nor poetic, but hard, fierce and sordid. The family relations are commonplace where they are not brutal. In fact, there are no materials for Sunday school romances. Hands are hard, calloused and freckled. Faces are dull, obstinate and generally marked by dissipation and toil. Feet, both male and female, are of generous proportions. In form the men are long and lean and poorly jointed, but full of muscles and sinews, while the women are big of calf and wide of hip and guiltless of corset bound waists - the proportions of mothers or hardy sons. Life is exceedingly matter of fact, as devoid of imagination as the splendid sunsets and the vast stretches of landscape are suggestive. The materials for the romancer, for the mooner of sentimentalities, and of false and unhuman sexual and social relations are not here.

This however, far from detracting from interest in these people, adds to it immeasurably. Human nature here is on the surface, acting and speaking, the former more out of all proportion than the latter as naturally and as frankly as the most ardent lover of plain speech could desire. The mountaineers are hospitable, or else they turn away the traveler at the point of a gun. They grasp the hand or they meet the outstretched hand with the knife blade. They have clear and strong ideas of right and wrong as the mountains reveal them. They detest the machinery of law and permit each man to be the arbiter and avenger of his own wrongs. Their women are as virtuous as could be expected, and often virtuous beyond expectation. Both men and women are rough, uncouth, brave, freedom loving, haters of innovation of government, good clothing, and the life of cities.

To a dweller upon Manhattan Island, the people of these mountain districts seem hardly real. It is not easy to understand, without experience, a region where all men go forth armed, where murders are of almost daily occurrence, and where the law never attempted to assert its authority. The man of the city goes forth to hunt once a year, and then takes a gun or so and handles it with a fair degree of skill at best. Yet, only a day and a night's journey from New York one will find men who carry a gun as a city man carries an umbrella or cane, who can use it an incredible distance with the skill and accuracy that a good billiard player shows with his cue. These men go forth to seek the beast and birds of the forests sometimes, but the real use of the gun or pistol is in attack upon or defense against the bearer's fellow-beings of the same community. Every man is prepared for war at an instant's notice, and no man hesitates to take a life if he believes it necessary.

When such a state of affairs is described, one would at once infer that such people would be exceedingly uncomfortable to visit. Yet the fact is that the life and property of a stranger are as safe in the wilds of the mountains as in Central Park. A milder, more hospitable set of people would be hard to find. their faces are gentle, their voices pleasant and ever cordial. If they see that the stranger comes in simplicity and good faith they will do anything for him. It is only where their rights are concerned and by rights must be understood most sensitive and delicate distinctions unknown in the jostling crowds of cities- that they show ferocity. Any one whose incredulity is aroused by the gentle and harmless exterior of the mountaineers has but to learn their past history or to see a mountain disturbance to believe all that has been said of these people and more than has been said of these people and more than is generally credited to them.

It is the purpose of this article to speak of one small county of East Tennessee which is a fair type of the wild mountain region. In this county no white man has ever been hanged. Yet, since the war no less than 150 men have been shot down in the most deliberate fashion. Within the past year 10 murders have been committed and no adequate punishment has been or ever will be given to the murderers. There is no man above 16 years of age who does not own one or more weapons- Winchesters, Spencers, Colts and the like.  Most of those men seldom go abroad without being well armed. The glistening barrel of the gun and the lump made by the pocket pistol are such common sights that they cease to attract attention. This county, though one of the smallest in the state, is about the worst. Its history would read like the history of an Italian principality in the Middle Ages.

Toward the northeastern corner of Tennessee is Hancock County, a small triangle upon the map, and crossed by several high mountain ranges. It lies just over the border line from Virginia, with the Cumberland Mountains upon the northwest and the Great Smoky Mountains in full view to the east and south. There are no railroads in this county, and until the few last years there were rare arrivals or departures. The nearest railroad point even now is 20 miles away, across mountain roads that are difficult in rainy weather and impassible in winter. At all seasons of the year the scenery from the tops of Newman's Range, on Powell's Mountain is unsurpassed, even by the views in the heart of the Great Smoky Range. There are the Cumberland Mountains on one side and the towering and mist veiled Great Smoky Mountains on the other. Between lie smaller ranges covered by a sea of forests. In the spring, summer and autumn not a house is to be seen, only here and there thin and lazy columns of smoke to tell where the lonely cabins are hidden. The skies, the sunsets, the moonlight nights are serene, soft and beautiful.

The county-seat is a hamlet called Sneedville, a half-hearted scattering of little frame houses in a sort of basin formed by a curve in Newman's Ridge, which lies to the south and southwest. There are perhaps 150 people in Sneedville and its only brick building is a court-house, which looks extravagant, splendid and lonesome by contrast with the surroundings. Part of this court-house is given over to a jail, which is seldom inhabited. The floor of the cell room is bolted a chain. When they have an especially dangerous prisoner this chain is fastened about his leg and bolted so that it can be removed by filing only.

When a murder is committed in Hancock county the jailer or sheriff at once sets out to arrest the murderer. sometimes he has no difficulty. At other times he has to assemble an armed force. Pitched battles have been not infrequent. When the murderer is arrested peaceably he is released on bail, although murder is not a bailable offense. But the judge reasons that a bond will hold a man in Hancock county when a jail would not. This method of reasoning is the result of experience. Hardly one of the 30 or 40 houses in Sneedville is without a dozen or more bullets embedded in its log or board walls. And any inhabitant will tell you the history of each set of bullet marks - a bloody, ferocious history that sounds strange to a foreigner.

To the south of Newman's Range lies Powell's Mountain, which is really a range of about the same length as Newman's Range, to which it is parallel. Between Newman's Range and Powell's Mountain is the narrow valley of the Blackwater Creek, with bits of farming land, like market gardens in size, though not in fertility. On Newman's Range and Powell's Mountain and the rough lands thereabouts, live most of the people of Hancock county- mountaineers, who live partly by hunting, partly by the natural products of the bushes and trees, and partly by a rude and not very productive farming. There are many hogs, a few cattle, a few horse. In seed time ancient and exasperating plows tear up the ungracious soil in languid way. In harvest time the few straggling sheaves or ears are carefully got together. Pork, apple butter, blackberries in jam, preserves and jelly, apples buried and kept all winter, potatoes, beans and carrots and onions and beets in season, corn bread and sorghum at all times are the means of sustaining life. For pork they have a love that is almost veneration. They hold it to be the most nourishing, strengthening and pleasant kind of meat. every mountaineer has a small patch of sorghum, and also a machine for making it into the most abominable molasses that it has ever been the misfortune of the writer to taste. Sorghum is sugar, cream, milk, butter and seasoning. Then come corn bread, which they call “husky" thus admitting the apparent and unpleasant imperfections of home grinding.

Before these three staples come whisky. Without it mountain life would not be what it is. A lover of good whisky would object to the use of that name in connection with what these mountaineers drink. But the mountaineers themselves speak scornfully of the stuff they get when they make rare visits to the larger towns. They prefer this oily horror that smells like coal oil and tastes like a concentrated essence of brimstone. They drink it in great quantities, and before each meal a tin cup full of it is passed from father to son, daughter, grandson, child, and mother. They say that it opens the stomach up for food. To one not used to it, it seems to be opening the stomach to the winds of heaven. And in this frightful stuff lies the real secret of those mountain feuds that begin in sullen and morbid brooding, and end in corpses riddled with bullets.

The most respectable houses in Hancock county are in Sneedville. The mountain cabins are desolate and dreary and open to the weather. Not long ago the writer sat in a cabin on the side of Newman's Range. As the cabin was far up the mountain side a cold wind blew around and through it. There were two rooms and a loft. One room was used as a kitchen, the other room and loft for all other household purposes. Nineteen persons, 12 of whom were the children of the heads of the household, slept under that small, crazy roof. Men and women slept in the same room, not to speak of several wretched dogs which had fought with the human beings for food at the table an hour or so before.

There had been a general drunk and a dance after supper, for which the men and women had sunk exhausted or stupefied into bed. The door was wide open. The kitchen door not being upon hinges had been set aside when supper began. There were great clinks between the logs of the walls and a cold wind blew through the house. The writer could look out over the dark red embers of the back log and through the chimney wall to the great moon lit valley two miles away. He could look up through the floor of the loft, through the roof of cloudless mountain sky. Outside there was a profound stillness, broken by no sound, silent as though the world had suddenly paused breathless. Inside, there arose at intervals snorts and snores and moaning breaths from the sleepers, the mountaineer leading and the women joining in feebly but effectually. at times this sound of humanity at rest rose to a fearful loudness. Again there would be a pause which let the death like silence of the mountains penetrate the room. As this mountaineer had once read a book upon the diseases of the horse and had a library of one book - a school physiology - he bore the title of "Doc." He was a simple, foolish person, handy with a gun.

There are no saloons in this county. Each man keeps his jug or bottle and gets it refilled at the distillery. Moonshine whisky is scarce now, the government having at last convinced the mountaineers that the licensed still is the safest and best. But these licensed stills are wild and rough, and have the warlike appearance of the old moonshine stills. Just now there are perhaps a dozen of them in Hancock county. There was a time when a revenue collector could stand on Powell's Mountain and see in the valley and hollows below him the smoke of a score of illicit stills, safe from him because the trees made it impossible to mark the places whence the smoke came, and also because the guns of the mountaineers made the discovery almost assuredly fatal.

From time to time the chief point for the producing of corn whisky has moved from one part of the country to another. It has been noticed that the riots, feuds and murders follow the stills. Wherever the most corn whisky is used, there the most violence occurs; and it is not strange that such whisky should put men into moods where life seems of trifling value. A feud generally starts from some trivial incident of a drunken brawl. The aggrieved person keeps drinking, falls to brooding, then tells his friends that he proposes to kill so and so. The threatened man hears of it, arms himself more carefully, and makes threats in return. The two men meet, and there is a fight or a murder. Friends and relatives take it up, and soon the whole mountain region is ringing with shots and the leaves are spotted with blood. The feud sometimes dies out for a while but soon begins to rage again, until wounds, deaths and funerals are distributed far and wide. Sometimes it is one branch of a family against another, more often one family against a rival family.

Aside from the feuds there are isolated murders which sometimes go no further than one or two deaths. Again they may be the foundation of quarrels and fights innumerable. Wherever a man has taken another man's life, he never leaves his home unprepared for an avenging relation of the murdered man. He is cautious about walking into no matter how friendly a crowd of the dead man's relations. He does not stand near a window unless he is sure that no one can draw a bead on him from its outlook. All the men in this region wear top pockets. They form convenient bolsters for short barreled pistols, and may lead to a false sense of security in the minds of foes. The knife is not so much in use as formerly. It gives an unfair advantage to strength and is less deadly. the pistol and the gun are the favorite weapons. The pistol may be carried in the top pocket. If too long in the barrel, it is slung in a holster suspended from a strap about the shoulders. Another favorite place for carrying it is in the waistband of the trousers just over the stomach and concealed by the waistcoat pulled down over it. the inside coat or waistcoat pocket has many friends. The gun is carried across the pommel of the saddle when riding, across the knees when driving or sitting, over the right forearm, barrel pointing forward and down when walking about. At home it stands in a corner near the chair of the owner or else just over the door on the inside. Some households in Hancock county can muster 10 guns, not to speak of knives, pistols and axes. The women often join in the fray, but the men never attack them, however great the provocation. Indeed, unless there is special distress the women take to the woods at the first attack upon the house and lie hidden there until the time comes for looking to the wounded.

Women learn to take death philosophically in this region. There are scores of widows and orphans. In the cities the father is the breadwinner, and his loss means hardships, sufferings and toil. Therefore, grief at death in cities is keen and pressing. In these mountain wilds one member of the family is as much a provider as another. A death means one less to help, and grief, therefore, is not so long enduring. Even where it is keen it does not express itself in shrieks and tears. It is silent and sullen. There are consoling thoughts that the death will be soon and properly avenged. The men do not avenge murder, however, so often through grief for the murdered as through the force of the mountain custom, which says that a murder is a stain until the murderer is killed.


The first inhabitants of Hancock county, or, to be accurate, of what is now called Hancock county, were the strangest, most mysterious people that have ever settled any part of this country since its discovery. They are still there in greater numbers than ever before, and in as great mystery. These people are called Malungeons. They are a revengeful race, part white, part Indians, part negro. The negro strain is not spread thorough the whole race, as are the Indian and Caucasian strains, but is confined to a few families.  These Malungeons are tall, broad, powerful people, with straight black hair, swarthy complexions, small eyes, high cheek-bones, big noses, and wide, flat mouths. They look more like Indians than like white men. They are proud of their Indian blood, and will kill any man who comes calling them negroes. They came from North Carolina early in this century and could not then explain how they originated. Of course, there are many stories, but none seems to be satisfactory. In 1834 an attempt was made to bar them from voting, because of the alleged negro blood. They carried the matter into the courts, and the man who was the test plaintiff proved that he was Indian and Portuguese, and had no negro blood in his veins. After this the matter was dropped and the Malungeons were allowed to vote.

It is from these Malungeons that the feud spirit came. They were cunning, malicious, implacable, murderous. They were the original makers of illicit corn whisky. They taught the art and the hatred of government taxes to all the mountain people of this region. They were the first to fight the revenue officers and the last to give up open defiance. When they came they settled on the slope of Newman's Ridge, in the Blackwater Creek Valley, and on the opposite slope of Powell's Mountain. They kept to themselves for many years, and had no intermarriages with the other settlers until the last 20 or 25 years. they all had arms; they fought among themselves, and resisted to the death outside interference. A decade or so before the Civil War they were making moonshine whisky in the dark hollow of Powell's Mountain; they were carrying on bitter feuds, and were setting a most vicious example to the early white settlers, who by their very coming to such a shut-in part of the world rapidly lost touch with civilization.

Of these Malungeons there were originally three families- the Gibsons, the Mullens, and the Collinses. Early in the history of this race a great feud arose between the Gibsons and the Collinses. Old Buck Gibson and Old Vardy Collins put their heads together and made a great plot. Gibson fixed Vardy with soot or paint so that he looked like a genuine negro. Then they went up into Virginia, Gibson offering Vardy for sale. He soon found a purchaser. As Vardy was a finely-built, strong man, Gibson got $1,100 for him. Of this $500 was in cash and the balance in a team, a wagon and store goods.

With a few farewell words of praise for his fine negro, Gibson set out southward. In a day or two Vardy made his escape, washed himself, and fled fast and successfully on the trail of Gibson. There was pursuit, but Vardy was not recognized or else was not overtaken. When he got back to Powell's Mountain he found Gibson in the full enjoyment of the proceeds of the trick. Vardy called on him for a division of the spoils. Gibson flatly refused, after putting him off several times. This began a bushwhacking war between the two families, which kept up, with intervals of peace, until the breaking out of the Civil War. Sometimes the Collins tribe and the Gibson tribe joined hands against common foe, the revenue officers. But these breathing spells only gave further foment to a hatred which was kept alive at all times by the rivalry between moonshine stills. The Civil War put an end to feuds for so long that new causes had to spring up before a properly conducted feud could be again set on foot. But the Malungeons had laid the foundations with their illicit stills and their family hatreds. And the Civil War gave every one down that way a taste of fighting. The result of these things has been the 150 and more murders, each of which has something peculiarly tragic to distinguish it from the others.

Soon after the close of the Civil War the state of affairs in Hancock county attracted the attention of the Internal Revenue Department. There were about 1,500 voters in the county, representing a population of six or seven times that number of persons. Most of the people were law-abiding and quiet; but those who lived in and around the two mountain ranges which have been mentioned several times were disorderly, riotous and busily engaged in the distillation of moonshine whisky. These objectionable people were the Malungeons, the whites who had intermarried with them and the relatives of these whites. In all gorges, the hollows, the thickets, along Blackwater Creek were moonshine stills. Great rivalry existed between these stills, and sharp and often fatal encounters between proprietors and their henchmen were of daily occurrence. Before the revenue officers had time to do much more than count the columns of smoke rising from the green bosom of the mountain and valley, war had broken out and the moonshiners were at work destroying each other.

In that region there lived two desperate families of whites, the Rheas and the Rainses. There were Sam Rhea and his sons, Doll, Andy and Lee, and Big Bud Rains. They had become moonshiners and they set about driving the original moonshiners, the Malungeons out of the business. They first attacked the Mullens, who were soon reinforced by a good part of the tribe of Collins. The Rains-Rhea gang was armed with Spencer rifles of a heavy caliber, each rifle having eight shots. Each member of the gang also carried two big army pistols strapped to his waist. They not only carried on their feud against the Malungeons, but also successfully resisted the revenue officers.

Not a day passed without a battle and the people of Sneedville were soon accustomed to hearing the cracking of rifles and pistols, yells and curses up the mountainside or over in the Blackwater Valley. The Malungeons are said to have got much the worse of this feud. They lost so many in killed and disabled that for a time the Rains-Rhea gang had everything its own way. They took advantage of their success to make themselves feared and hated in all Hancock county. The end of this feud was a pitched battle in the streets of Sneedville. Nearly 100 men were killed and wounded. The houses were filled with bullet holes, and not until late in the afternoon did the Rains-Rhea gang withdraw, beaten and suppressed for the time.

A few years after that the Rheas and the Rains family had a quarrel over politics. Rhea had decided that he would carry an election that was to be held at Mulberry Gap. Big Bud Rains heard what he proposed to do and prepared to go and see that Rhea should get left. The Rheas were there in full force and outnumbered the Rains faction two to one. The Rheas fell upon the Malungeon contingent of the Rains faction and disarmed them. Big Bud Rains was in a grocery store some distance from the scene of the fight. He heard of it, and also that the Rheas were coming at the same time. When Andy Rhea, pistol in hand, stepped upon the porch of the store. Bud Rains drew a dragoon pistol, aimed it and fired full at him. The bullet ploughed across his chest and shattered the bone of his left arm and nearly tore it off. With a yell Rhea sprung at Rains, who caught him in his arms. Rhea threw his right hand, holding the pistol, over Rains's shoulder and fired it into his back. Rains dropped with a curse and died in a short time. Rhea was taken home and was not out for two months. When he did reappear his left arm was gone. Instead of being tamed by these happenings, he became more desperate than before. He and his brothers were reinforced by a certain William Fugate, known as "Bad Bill" He was nearly six feet and a half in height splendidly built and handsome, after a desperado fashion. His favorite pastime, after murder, was to ride at full tilt around a tree, with the reins in his teeth and a revolver in each hand, firing rapidly. He could put a belt around the tree every time. He had killed eight men when he joined the Rheas. With Bad Bill came Joe Epperson and Lum Coleman. They rode about killing or shooting down the friends of the Rains family. Some they whipped nearly to death. Others they invited out of their houses and shot down and riddled, shouting and cursing the while.

After this gang had terrorized Sneedville several times the Sheriff got together a force of twenty men. armed to the teeth, and went down to Rhea's house, seven miles below Sneedville. to arrest him and his brothers. When the offices arrived they found the Rheas all assembled and ready for a fight Their women and the little children had hid in the woods. There was a clearing all around the house. After some consultation the officers decided to cross this clearing on the run and storm the house. The first advance was met with a terrific volley which killed or wounded five of the attacking party. The officers started to retreat. The desperados were so elated that they leaped from the house into the clearing and again opened fire. The officers rallied and for three hours the fight raged, now in the clearing and again from behind trees and rocks. Andy Rhea was shot forty eight times before loss of blood forced him to drop to the ground. "Bad Bill" Fugate stood out after all the rest were down. He had a revolver in each hand and his aim was unpleasantly excellent, even though he was staggering about with red froth on his lips. A big ball from a Spencer rifle finally ended him. When the last shot had been fired both parties were absolutely disabled. The most desperate of the gang had fallen.

For a good many years after this the murder were isolated cases, with no more than two or three in a family killed. Four years ago, however, another feud broke out, and is still going on, although a lack of able bodied males in the two families has caused a recent temporary cessation of hostilities. This is the Green-Jones feud, which, next to the Sutton-Barndard feud is the worst that has ever caused deaths in Hancock county. Richard Green and Asa Jones were neighbors and friends. One day, about four years ago, Green saw that his hogs were limping and bleeding. He went along the mountain to find out the cause and came upon Asa Jones' son Jim stoning and dogging his hogs. "Bill! stop that thar!" yelled Green. "That ain't now way to do my hawgs!" "Keep yer hawgs to hum" said young Jones.

Green fell to cursing and then to thrashing the boy, who yelled so loudly that old Asa came. Asa separated them and took up the quarrel. He ordered Green to go home. As Green was unarmed he went away sulkily, swearing that he would have revenge. A few days afterward Green and his wife were walking along the mountain road. Green had his three month's old baby in his arms. They met up with Jim Jones driving home in a wagon. As soon as Green got within range he drew a pistol from his pocket and holding the baby in his left arm opened fire upon Jones. Three of his five shots entered Jones' body, but he managed to keep his seat until he got home. He was carried into the house and died a few days afterward.

Old Asa Jones was furious at this, and, getting together his relatives, he declared war against Green and all his tribe. They lay in wait one afternoon behind some rocks at a point where they knew Green came by with his two brothers. The first shot from the rocks warned the three Greens, and they jumped for the trees. The two parties fired at each other until dark. Richard Green was shot through the clothing. His brother James was so badly wounded in the arm that it had to be cut off. Both sides were now prepared, and for a month or two there were ambuscades and bloodshed almost every day. One morning the Jones crowd, 18 strong, got about the house of Richard Green before daylight. They surrounded it on all sides and got ready to make a battle. At daylight the besiegers raised a great shout, and the battle began. The outsiders fired and charged, the garrison was not slow in answering and repelling. One of the bravest of the garrison was little Jimmie Green, 13 years old. He not only helped his mother and sisters load the guns, but shot once or twice himself.

He was just handing his father a reloaded Spencer when a great ball from a Winchester crashed between the logs of the house and passed through his heart. The ball went clear through the body and flattened against the chimney stones. "Hurry up that gun, Jimmy!" said his father, looking around. The boy's eyes were wide open and glassy. His mouth opened and shut, his little brown hand was held hard against his breast. He fell with a crash, the gun sliding across his body. "Mother!" called Green, "they've killed your Jimmy!" and he caught up the gun to speed his grief against his enemies.

After four hours' fighting the Jones crowd was so badly crippled that it was forced to withdraw. The slightly wounded carried those who could not move. This feud is still on, and will be raging as soon as enough Greens and Joneses can be got together to make a fight. But the Sutton-Barnard feud is the most exciting and also the most brutal of any in the history of this county. Henry Sutton was formerly a revenue officer, but settled down a few years ago to the manufacture of whisky. He had three pretty daughters, who formed a sort of inside set in Sneedville society. Christmas, 1889, these girls got permission of their father to give a dance at the distillery. The result was a combination dance and spree such as Hancock county society had not had the pleasure of attending in years. The men got exceedingly drunk. Some of them amused themselves with a boar hunt, in which half a dozen of Henry Sutton's hogs were stabbed.

The morning after the dance Sutton found the bodies strewn about the yard of his distillery. He at once decided that Big John Barnard and his brothers had done the work. He was led to this belief by the fact that the Barnards, although outwardly friendly, were known to be ready at any time to open a feud. Henry Sutton's father had got drunk one day, and, quarreling with Capt. Hence Barnard, had killed him with the pole of an axe. When an officer tried to arrest the elder Sutton he had resisted so threateningly that the officer had been compelled to kill him. But the Barnards felt that unless one of them killed a Sutton the grudge would not be wiped out.

So Henry Sutton decided that Big John Barnard and his four brothers were the slayers of his hogs. He sent the Barnards word that there was going to be trouble, and a day or two later ran out into the road with a pistol, which he aimed at a man whom he mistook in the dusk for Big John. A few days after New Year's 1889, Big John and his four brothers hid themselves behind some felled trees about a mile from Sutton's distillery. They had not waited more than an hour before they espied Henry Sutton and his gauger at the distillery coming up the road. Sutton had a Winchester across the pommel of his saddle. As the two riders got opposite the logs five shots rang out. Sutton's horse jumped; Sutton rolled from the saddle to the road. As he lay there the five Barnards leaped forth and riddled the body with bullets.

The gauger clapped spurs to his horse and fled. The Barnards were arrested, and, Sutton's family being influential, a conviction and sentence of death were got against the five. After haggling about the matter for over a year all five were pardoned by Governor Taylor. They returned home and began to make trouble. Henry Sutton had left a widow, two grown sons, Tilman and Hence, and the three pretty daughters mentioned before. Tilman Sutton had married a daughter of Big Bud Rains, and had one child. Sutton was disposed to let the matter of his father's death pass for the time. But Big John Barnard said that he intended to wipe the male line of Suttons from the face of the earth. And every time he met Tilman Sutton he would stare at him in a fixed, threatening and annoying way. Tilman Sutton stood this silently for over a year, nor did he pay any attention to the threats of Big John and his brothers.

One Sunday last September there was a meeting in the Baptist Church, eight miles from Sneedville. All the mountain people went, the young men riding horseback beside their sweethearts. Tilman Sutton, his brother Hence and his brother in law Mac Rains were riding along together. Big John Barnard and his best girl came up behind them. Big John burst into a loud, jeering laugh, and made some remark about Tilman Sutton. As Big John rode by, Tilman Sutton turned in his saddle and stared him fiercely in the face. "By G----," said he, "this has got to stop!" Big John continued his laughter and rode on. Sutton's face flushed. He drew his pistol, spurred his horse and, when he was close enough to fire without endangering the girl, he put three shots into Big John's back.

This was near the meeting house and many people were soon close at hand. Big John's head fell forward upon his horse's head for a moment. Then he recovered himself and drew his pistol, jumped to the ground and braced himself for a fight. His sweetheart reined up her frightened horse and remained to 'see the fun.' Meanwhile Big John's cousin, Shad Barnard, who was behind the Suttons, spurred forward, and, drawing his pistol, shot Tilman Sutton in the back before he had lowered his revolver from shooting Big John. Tilman Sutton rolled from his horse to the road, lifted himself, staggered, tried to lift his pistol to an aim, then fell against a tree, his head rolling from side to side. Big John aimed at him and fired four times.

"Look out, John!" said his sweetheart "Here comes Mac Rains!" But she spoke to late. Before John could turn Rains had avenged his brother in law. He fired into Big John four times. John was just standing over Sutton, who had fallen, and was firing into his head. When Rains shot he fell upon Sutton's body. By this time other men rushed in, the women got around the two dead bodies, and the feud was suspended.

There is in Sneedville a little girl whose ancestors for three generations one side and for two generations on the other had died by feud violence. She is the little daughter of Tilman Sutton, who married a daughter of Big Bud Rains. Her father, Tilman Sutton; her grandfather, Henry Sutton, and his father, Sam Sutton, her mother's father, Bud Rains, and his father before him, all died violent deaths. This is only one instance in a score of Hancock county families a similar state of affair may be found, while there is hardly a family of note that has not lost one or more of its members by violence.

Then, aside from these feuds, are the murders which follow the stills about the country—the murders which arise from long years of disregard for human life. For instance, a lot of men were waylaying an enemy of one of them. They got tired of waiting for him. An inoffensive person came jogging by the old church where they were concealed. One of the waiters fired at the man and killed him. As he rolled from his horse and lay writhing upon the ground, one of the party said to the murderer: "What fur did ye do that?" "Jes to see him drop," laughed the murderer. The sentence of death was commuted to imprisonment for life, and his friends have hope of his pardon.

A short time ago Jep Wolf, his little boy and Wiley Carpenter were riding along astride of one horse. Mack Bray, who had quarreled with Wolf a few hours before in Sneedville, came up behind, aimed his gun and fired. The first bullet killed Wolf, the second went through the little boy's body and killed Carpenter. The little boy got well. Bray is not as yet punished, and as he is of the Rhea family, may get off altogether.

They say that the peaceful part of Hancock county's people - and they now include the formerly boisterous Malungeons - are getting tired of this everlasting murdering, and that there will be some lynching before long. But the feud spirit is so strong and the corn whisky so bad that those who talk peace now may be in the thick of a feud tomorrow.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Malungeons 1870 Virginia

The Aegis & Intelligencer  
(Bel Air, Md.), 21 Jan. 1870

...... In speaking of legislators in a previous letter, I forgot to mention Jas. W. Williams, who lived on Deer Creek, not far from Husband's Tanyard. He was a tall, swarthy man, not unlike some of our F.F.V's (First Families of Virginia) who take great pride in the very uncertain genealogy that turns the current of Pocahontas in their veins. (And just here let me say in particular if just one-half of those who claim to have descended from the Indian princess are really such, Virginia in her most savage days, never had a more numerous tribe of malungeons than at present.) As before said, Mr Williams very much resembled these claimants, with his erect form, elastic step, straight black hair, olive complexion and brilliant eye.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Melungeons and Redbones - Are they Lumbee Indians?

Below are some of the articles written on the research of the Redbones, Croatan and Melungeons in the latter part of the 1800s into the 1900s. Written by men working with the Smithsonian, historians, doctors etc., they make it clear these three groups were related. The Lumbee and Redbones can be traced to the Lumber - Pee Dee Rivers to 1754.

On Tuesday I listed by deeds and records men living there when the Militia reported to the Governor there were '50 mixt families.' The Gibson, Collins, Ivey, Bolton, Oxendine, Perkins, Sweat, & Chavis
families are documented there, some who came there from Chippoakes Creek.

The Robesonian - Jul 13, 1933
Identity of Robeson County Indians Traced By Scientist
Dr. Swanton started on his quest of the actual origin of a racial group, which now number about 8,000 persons of mixed Indians and white blood at the request of a delegation of the Indians themselves.
A colonial census in 1754 was found which told of a lawless people (50 mixt families jp) living at the headwater of the Little Peedee who had possesed themselves of land without patent and without paying any quit rents.

"They presumably were recognized as whites at that time, but there is little doubt that they really were the ancestors of the present day Croatans," was the statement of the findings. (Rest of the Story)

The Pee Dee River, also known as the Great Pee Dee River, is a river in North Carolina and South Carolina. It originates in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, where its upper course, above the mouth of the Uwharrie River is known as the Yadkin River. The lower part of the river is named Pee Dee (in colonial times written Pedee) after the Native American Pee Dee tribe. The Pee Dee region of South Carolina, composed of the northeastern counties of the state, was named after the tribe and/or river. The first Europeans believed to have navigated part of the river was a party sent by Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526.
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

The tribe (Croatan) 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". ........... I am yours truly Hamilton McMillan
"A hundred years ago a colony of Croatans settled in eastern Tennessee, on Newman's Ridge, in Hancock county. They can't tell today where they came from, for tradition over 50 years isn't worth anything. These are the people called Melungeons. They are similar in racial characteristics to the Croatans, and Dr. Swan M. Burnett, a distinguished scholar and scientitst (Burnett was working with the doctor in Hawkins County, likely on his research into eye diseases of the races) - 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.
"Question by the court to McMillan: Do these people here call themselves
Answer: No sir, they call themselves malungeans.
Question: Were they ever called Croatans until this Act (1885) was introduced in
Answer: No sir.

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 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"
(Reprinted from Papers Am. Hist. Asso., Vol. iv., No. 4., 1891.)
By Professor Stephen B. Weeks, Ph.D., Trinity College, North Carolina. Page 28-29

" The Croatan applied for recognition by the United States as Cherokee, but it was denied and the Cherokee acknowledge no relationship, having visited the Croatan country on a tour of inspection. There is a queer offshoot of the Croatan known as  Malungeons," in South Carolina, who went there from this state ; another the "Redbones," of Tennessee. Mr. Mooney has made a careful study of both of these branches also.
At one time the Croatans were known as 'Redbones,' and there is a street in Fayetteville so called because some of them once lived on it. They are known by this name in Sumpter County, S. C., where they are quiet and peaceable, and have a church of their own. They are proud and high-spirited, and caste is very strong among them.
There is in Hancock county, Tennessee, a tribe of people known by the local name of Malungeons or Melungeons. Some say they are a branch of the Croatan tribe, others that they are of Portuguese stock. 

” In 1897, Mr. Mooney wrote to Charles McDonald Furman that, "He felt that the Croatans, Redbones, Melungeons, Moors, and Portuguese were all local names for mixed Indian races along the Atlantic seaboard, with westward drift into the mountains." And stated, "It would be worth while of local investigators to go into the subject systematically. I think possibly the Indian remnants may have married with the convict apprentice importation of early colony days as well as with the free Negro element." Mr. Furman was considered by Mooney and other officials as the most informed person on the Redbones and Catawba Indians in Privateer Township, Sumter County, South Carolina.
The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries
Volume XXV
Page 258 

THE TENNESSEE HISTORICAL SOCIETY held an interesting meeting on the 9th of December last (1890) , at Nashville, Judge John M. Lea presiding.
After the reports of various committees had been read, and other business transacted, Judge Lea addressed the society on the subject of the Melungeons. He outlined the early history of the settlement of North Carolina. A party under the protection of a friendly Indian chief had gone into the interior when the first settlers came to that coast and had been lost. No other settlers came till a century afterward, and they were told of a tribe who claimed a white ancestry, and among whom gray eyes were frequent. This people were traced to Buncomb and Robeson counties, where the same family and personal names were found as in the lost colonies. are now called Croatans, on account of a sign they made on the trees to keep their way.

Judge Lewis Shepherd, attorney for descendants of the Melungeon, Solomon Bolton,  of Hamilton County, Tennessee whose father was born in 1725 on the Pee Dee River. Judge Shepherd wrote what he learned of the Melungeons from this trial;

"About the time of our Revolutionary war, a considerable body of these people crossed the Atlantic and settled on the coast of South Carolina, near the North Carolina line, and they lived among the people of Carolina for a number of years. At length the people of Carolina began to suspect that they were mulattoes or free Negroes and denied them the privileges usually accorded to white people. They refused to associate with them on equal terms and would not allow them to send their children to school with white children, and would only admit them to join their churches on the footing of Negroes....
South Carolina had a law taxing free Negroes so much per capita, and a determined effort was made to collect this of them. But it was shown in evidence on the trial of this case that they always successfully resisted the payment of this tax, as they proved that they were not Negroes. Because of their treatment, they left South Carolina at an early day and wandered across the mountains to Hancock county, East Tennessee; in fact, the majority of the people of that country are “Melungeons,:” or allied to them in some way. A few families of them drifted away from Hancock into the other counties of east Tennessee and now and then into the mountainous section of Middle Tennessee.

This 1794 petition lists some of these people mentioned by Judge Shepherd; 

Spencer Bolton [his mark] [born 1725 on Pee Dee River] William Swett [his mark] Solomon Bolton [his mark] [Called Portuguese/Melungeon 1874 trial]James Shewmake [his mark] DittoSolomon Shewmake [his mark] DittoSampson Shewmake [his mark] DittoThomas Shewmake Jun [his mark] Ditto Thomas Shewmake Sen [his mark] Ditto John Shewmake [his mark] Ditto  James Shewmake [his mark]   DittoDavid Collins  [possibly to Wilkes County, NC]Thomas Collins [Ditto]George Collins  [Ditto] Delley Gibson  [on Trail of Tears with Oxendine, Shoemake etc.,]Drusilla GibsonIsaac Linager   [Linegar on Hawkins County CensusCudworth Oxendine [Charles Oxendine on Hawkins County Census]Archmack Ocendine [Also named Portuguese/Melungeons in the 1874 trial; Perkins, Goins, Manley, Mourning]   Petition, Trial, Bolton Family and article found here 

Still not convinced?  Consider the Melungeon DNA Project and the Lumbee DNA Project.  You will find these Melungeons on the Lumbee DNA Project; 

Kit#200939 Goins John Goins 1843
B1007 Roark Lawson, 1815-1880 Unknown Origin
147255 Goin Thomas Goin
11280 Valentine Collins Unknown Origin
B2464 SHOEMAKE Blakely Shoemake, b.abt 1791 and d. bef 1860
218793 Perkins Esther Perkins 1710-1748
177132 Elijah Freeman b c 1802-1875, NC,TN,Ala United States (Native American) Q-M3109170 Freeman, Cogdill, Tye, Huddleston United States (Native American) Q-M3
301270 Elijah Goodman Unknown Origin
N114697 Bowling Benjamin Bolling b. 1734
62645 Gibson Martin Gibson 1776-1833243201 Gibson Joseph Fisher Gibson, B. 1790-1799 R-DF21-152435 Gibson Champane Gibson 1746 VA-1820 Rockingham NC
65026 William Nichols 1830 FPC Hawkins County TN United States (Native American)

Lumbee DNA Project
Melungeon DNA Project 

Part Three   The Indian Traders.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Eastern Shore? Gingaskins? Gibson aren't Melungeons?

I have received so many emails on the Gypsies, Gingaskins, etc., I have to respond.  Below this you will find the families who lived on Chippoakes Creek in Virginia who went to Louisa Co., Va., and the Pee Dee River.  They are the Ancestors of the Melungeons.

In the past the Melungeons were Turkish Sailors dropped off by Drake, or they were the first African slaves that came over on the White Lion, or maybe Jews from Scotland, African slaves that mixed with the Indians. Now they are Gypsies, Gingaskin Indians, from the Eastern Shore of Maryland blah blah blah.  Most amazing of all is this new theory being put forth.

"I hereby respectfully submit that the “friendly Indians” [who built For Blackmore ] were Gingaskin, possibly Baker, Bishop, Collins, or Shepherd, not Cherokee and not named Collins or Gibson."

Seriously, are they kidding?  They cannot connect the Gibson and Collins to the Gingaskin or the Eastern Shore of Maryland, well let's fix that, let's just say 'the Gibson and Collins weren't Melungeons'.  

They suggest the Collins and Gibson can't be the 'friendly Indians' who built Fort Blackmore they were the Gingaskins; Bakers [?] , Shepherd [?] Bishop [?]. Incredible!  Everyone wants to 'solve the mystery' -- well folks -- hate to tell you this, there is and never was a mystery.  They are exactly who THEY and THEIR NEIGHBORS said they were!  Portuguese who mixed with the Indians, likely Indians from many tribes but not the Gingaskins. They were not from Maryland!  

They suggest these are the Melungens being harbored in the Stony Creek Records. This is what the author, Emory Hamilton wrote of these records when he transcribed them.

"Book Number 1, ends with July, 1811. Book Number 2, has a few faded pages with no cover. Book 2 , starts with what seems to be part of the Minutes of the November meeting 1811. These minutes between July 1811 and November 1811 have apparently been torn off and lost. Book No. 2, is in a very faded condition and very difficult to read.
Hamilton's transcription was transcribed by someone else and then Jack Goins then transcribed yet a third transcription.  Folks you just don't rewrite someone's history on a transcription of a transcription.  One of the biggest mistakes in genealogy. It does not make sense that from the beginning of the church records these Gibsons and Collins were never called anything, not Melungeons.  It is most likely someone was 'harboring' the two surveyors from Pennsylvania by the name of Mcclung - drop of ink at the end you got a 'melungen'. At any rate there is NO PROOF the word was used in those church records unless/until someone finds those original records the first time it is used is in 1840 by Parson Brownlow. 

Who Built  Fort Blackmore?

"July 13, 1774, Captain Russell again wrote to Colonel Preston the following letter showing that his people had changed their minds about the number of forts to be built and states that the forts had already been erected. ""Since I wrote you last, the inhabitants of this river have altered the plan for two forts only, on this river, below Elk Garden, and have erected three; one in Cassells Woods which I call Fort Preston; a second ten miles above which I call Fort Christian; the third, five miles below the first, which I call Fort Byrd, and there are four families at John Blackmores near the mouth of Stony Creek, that will never be able to stand it alone without a company of men. Therefore, request you, if you think it can be done, to order them a supply sufficient to enable them to continue the small fortification they have begun.

Daniel Boone and his family lived at Fort Blackmore in present Scott County, Virginia from October of 1773 until March of 1775 and was in command of Fort Blackmore and other forts on the Clinch River in 1774 while the militiamen were engaged in the Point Pleasant campaign of Dunmore's war.  Some of these men did not fight at Point Pleasant but were detached and were with Boone guarding the clinch frontier. Osbornes, Roberts, Rogers, Wallins, Bunch, Collins, Roark etc. [See Biographies of Herbert's men at Jeff Weaver's New River Notes.
 (Lord Dunmore's War): Micajah Bunch [King of the Melungeons] was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

John Collins was listed as living on Indian lands in Fincastle County, was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.  

Charles Roark married Abigail (by tradition a Cherokee Indian) about 1775 in Fincastle Co., VA. She died before 1820 in Ashe Co., NC. (Lord Dunmore's War): Charles was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier .

No Bishops, no Bakers, no Shepherds. No connections to Gingaskins. 

These records below show these families who were called Croatan/Lumbee, Redbones, Brass Ankles, Melungeons, & others show their roots in Virginia by the mid 1600s. They are easily traced from there, to Louisa County, Virginia to the Pee Dee River. To date we have only the Gibson DNA to show both settlements can be traced back to Charles City County and others we have to rely on records so far.

Chippoakes Creek Families

The red dot is Upper Chippoakes Creek.  Note the the Quiyoughcohannocks on one side of the James and the  Paspahegh on the other side.  The first Gibsons lived on or very near to the Quiyoughcohannocks and were buried on the lands that belonged to the Paspahegh Tribe.

The records below will show that George Gibson, Thomas Gibson, Thomas Chivers/Chavis, 'Peter' Gibson, Thomas Busby, John Collins, Robert Sweat and Adam and Gilbert Ivey are all found on Chippoakes Creek. Thomas Busby was Indian Interpreter for the Crown [In 1712 “Gilbert Ivy and Adam Ivy being brought before this Board and examined on Suspition of trading with the Tuscaruro Indians contrary to the orders and proclamation prohibiting that Trade,” [sons of Adam and Elizabeth Ivey] and at least one Ivey has DNA results that match the Busby. The Busby, Gibson, Collins, Caufields and Ivey were neighbors on Chippoakes Creek. 

Indians on the Upper Chippokes Creek:

William Knott, 312 Acres, Surry Co 28 Mar 1666, p. 482 (land patents). 112 acres on south side of James River on south side of Upper Chipoake Creek, bounded NW on land of Edward Oliver, N upon Wm. Thomas, E on George Gibson [See Indian Jane Gibson of Charles City County]  SE on Mr. Fisher; 200 acres on south side of said River, Wly. on Jeremiah Clements, NW on Edward Oliver, Nly on Wm. Thomas, George Gibson & Edward Minter, Ely. on Wm. Gapins land & Mr. Thomas Busbie and SE on Mr. Richard Hill

The Quiyoughcohannock were one of the first Virginia Indian groups the English encountered in 1607 after landing at Jamestown. Situated primarily in present-day Surry County, the Quiyoughcohannocks had four villages in the region likely east of Upper Chippokes Creek. The Quiyoughcohannocks in 1608/09 escorted Nathaniel Powell and Anas Todkill southward in an unsuccessful attempt to locate survivors of the Roanoke Colony. The English observed a part of a ritual initiation into manhood, the huskanaw, at a Quiyoughcohannock village in 1608.

Claremont Manor is in Surry County, Virginia, on the south shore of James River at its confluence with Upper Chippokes Creek. It was in the area occupied by the Quiyoughcohannock Indians when George Harrison received a grant of land there is 1621.

Southwark Parish was created in 1647 and described as encompassing all the territory extending from "the colledge" [College Creek] to (and including) the Upper Chipoaks [Upper Chippokes Creek]

A List of ye Tythables from ye Colledge to Smiths forte taken ye 10th of June 1668 by Mr. Thos. Warren:
Tho. Hurle   Joh. Shipp  Tho Gibson & 1 negro, 04
Edmond Howel l 01

Elizabeth Chavis on 28 March 1672 made a successful petition to the General Court of Virginia to release her son, Gibson Gibson, who had been unlawfully bound by Berr. Mercer to Thomas Barber who had gone to England leaving the boy with Samuel Austin [McIlwaine, Minutes of the Council, 302-3].  While it has been published to somehow show the Gibson and Chavis must have been of African descent by Paul Heinegg I suspect Mr., Heinegg was not aware of this law on the book, or chose to ignore it.  

In 1655 provision was made that Indian children could become indentured servants only by consent of their parents and for specified terms agreed upon and such children were to be educated in the Christian religion.
In Virginia, 1656, it was provided that Indian children brought into the colony as hostages should be assigned to masters by choice of their parents, but should not be made slaves. Again, in 1658, it was decreed that any Indian children disposed of by their parents to a white man for “education and instruction in the Christian religion”, or for any other purpose, were not to be turned over to any other person upon any pretext whatever
It certainly appears that Gibson Gibson would fall under this law when he was turned over to Samuel Austin, the recent find of "Indian Jane Gibson" court documents show the Gibson in Charles City County were known as Indians as early as 1640.

1676 List of the Names and some of the Residences of the Rebel Participants in Bacon's Rebellion of 1676 in Colonial Virginia [Bacon's Castle - home of Arthur Allen - Claremont] 

Edmund Howell - Surry - Southwark Parish
Thomas Gibson - Surry - Southwark Parish

Edmund Howell -- 23 Dec. 1679
To my only son, William Howell my whole estate with some exceptions. to my godson Gibson, son of Thomas Gibson To godson Henry Baker. Makes George Foster Exec. and gives him the care of son until he is 21 years old, If son die, his inheritance to Henry Baker, GeorgeFoster Thomas Ironmonger his children.
Wit: Thos Pittan, Sr., John Moring. Prob. 9 Oct. 1679.(2:240)

Gibby Gibson
In the Sandy Point Cemetery, Charles City County; (Home of the Paspahegh Indians) - (See map above)

Here Lyes the Body of FRANCIS GIBSON

Here Lyes the Body of GIBBY GIBSON
Here Lyes the Body of THOMAS GIBSON

Will of Gibby Gibson of Charles City Co. , "very weak'

My riding horse to be sold to pay Col. Lightfoot.
To Hannah Dennam, my negro boy Jack, for life, and then to my son Gibby Gibson.

To wife Francis: my negro girl Vicky, for life, and then to my daughter Fran: Smith ( Francis would later marry and move from Bertie County with second husband William Chavis and is found on the lands of William Eaton - Saponi? in 1754)

To my son in law George Smith, 2 negroes - Sovilaty and Jin.

To Hannah Dennam, my negro boy Peter for life and then to my daughter Fran Smith

To my son Edward Gibson, my negro Judey, my wearing clothes, carpenters tools, and coopers tools

To George Smith, 2 sheets, 2 blankets and a rugg

To Tabitha Rollinson, negro girl Nanny. [ Also moved to the lands of William Eaton from Bertie County]

George Smith to take care of my cattle and they are to be divided equally between my wife and granddaughter Sarah Smith.

To wife my two working Horses and hoggs.

Rest of my estate to George Smith and he to be executor , Dated 2 March 1726/7
Witt: Benja. Moody, Robert Cade,(*) James Blankes
Signed: Gibby(G) Gibson
Codicil: Negro boy Peter given in will to Hannah Dennam and then to Frances Smith, is to go to my son George Gibson
3 March 1726/27 Wit: by above Moody and Cade
Recorded 3 May 1727 Presented by George Smith and proved by above Blanks and Cade. Col. Fran's Lightfoot, Security.

After Gibby died some of the family started leaving Virginia. Frances who had married George Smith and later William Chavis, Tabitha who married George Rollinson, John Gibson and Gideon Gibson are in Bertie County, Hubbard Gibson and his family also moved to Bertie County before they all seemed to have moved on. Some in Granville and Orange Co., N.C and others to the Pee Dee. 
November 1741 the court presented George Gibson and George Gibson, Jr., for not going to church. In July 1745 Phillis Goeing (Gowen) petitioned him concerning her children, but he failed to answer the petition so the court ordered the churchwardens to bind them out. (It is likely this George Gibson Sr., is the son of Gibby Gibson who left the 1727 will in Charles City County.

(*) Robert Cade was the witness on will of Gibby Gibson 1727 in Charles City County, Virginia. This is likely Robert Cade who married Susannah Crump, son Stephen Crump Cade born September 17, 1715 St Peters Parish, New Kent County, Virginia. Stephen Crump Cade resided in lived in Edgecombe, Dobbs, and was Sheriff of Johnston Co. in 1757, married to Mary Wadill and Mary Gibson and died in Robeson Co., North Carolina in 1783. His son John Cade married to Elizabeth Adair, daughter of the Indian trader and author Doctor James Adair of Robeson County, North Carolina. Elizabeth's sister, Agnes married to John Gibson who is said to have been killed by Indians near Nashville in 1790.

15 Sep 1769 James IVEY of Bladen Co to James Adair, doctor, 200 acres in the fork of the Little Pedee River, on the east side of Mitchells Creek being land granted to Jordan Gibson on 1 July 1758, conveyed to John Wootan on 25 September 1761 then to Ben Davis on 16 July 1762 then to James Ivey on 26 July 1766. (See Ivey below)

The Gibsons of Louisa County, later called Melungeons, and the Gibsons of Pee Dee share a common ancestor proven by DNA match.


Thomas Chivers was appointed to a jury of twelve men in Isle of Wight County on 28 July 1658 to determine whether 900 acres belonged to Major Nicholas Hill or to John Snollock [VMHB V:406]. He purchased 1,100 acres of land at the head of Sunken Marsh near Chipoakes Creek in Surry County, Virginia, on 20 May 1659 for two cows, payment of 4,000 pounds of tobacco in October that year, and payment of 4,000 pounds of tobacco in October 1660. He died sometime before 13 April 1664 when his daughter Elizabeth was bound out until she came of age [DW 1:151; Haun, Surry County Court Records, I:149; II:232].

Thomas CheversChavis purchased 1,100 acres of land at the head of Sunken Marsh near Chippoakes in Surry Co. Virginia - 1659  These Chavis descendants also went to Bertie Co., NC and then to Granville where they were apparently one of the 15 Saponi Indians living on William Eaton's land.



Adam Ivey was a small-scale tenant farmer, almost certainly growing tobacco. Fifty acres was a small landholding, but a single field worker was capable of managing only three or four acres of tobacco in those days. Fifty acres was a typical holding for a planter with only himself to work the fields.[5] His location can be approximated, since nearly all the persons mentioned in these records lived south of the James River in the neck of land bounded by Upper Chippoakes Creek and Wards Creek. This neck included what was later the parish of Martins Brandon, in which Adam Ivey apparently lived at his death, in what would later become Prince George County. It was quite close to Surry County, Upper Chippoakes Creek being the later boundary between Prince George and Surry.

History of the Adam Ivey Family

The DNA evidence shows that the Ivys, Iveys and Ivies are related to the Busbices/Busbys/Buzbees in the male line. The Ivy male line's "Busby" DNA could have resulted from an Ivy adoption of a male Buzbee, or a Busby male could have been the father of a male Ivy. Ivey and Busby

“After seeing the latest Y-DNA results, it appears that it's highly probable that the Benjamin Busby line and one of the Ivey/Ivie/Ivy lines are entangled, most likely in very early Colonial Virginia. One of the Busby/Busbice/Buzbee male descendants is matching 66/67 markers with what we believe to be the Adam Ivie line of Charles City/Prince George Co, VA" - Jerry Ivey - Here

Thomas Busby (born about 1674) was an “Indyan boy” servant to Mr. Robert Caufield of Surry Co. VA in July of 1684 when his age was adjudged at 10 years (Haun, Surry County Records 1682-91, 444) - This Thomas Busby is likely named after Thomas Busby the interpreter for the crown mentioned in records of George Gibson in 1666. Could this Thomas Busby "Indyan boy" be the Ivey DNA match?

Surry County - 5 Mar 1688/89 Book 4 p108 Robert Caufield 680a where I lately lived and known as Sunken Marsh. ( Thomas Chavis land was also on Sunken Marsh -see above)

Will of Capt. Robert Caufield, of Lawne's Creek parish, Surry county: Names niece Elizabeth, wife of William Holt, niece Mary, wife of James Bruton, nephew John Seward; legacy to Mary, dau. of Charles Williams; to Mrs. Mary Holt 15L Page 311. sterl.; legacies to Frances, dau. of Francis Mason, Elizabeth, dau. of Arthur Allen, to Katherine and James, children of Arthur Allen, (Arthur Allen was owner of Bacon's Castle) to Mrs. Elizabeth Holt, Wm. Hancocke and his wife, to Samuel Newton and John Collins, wife Elizabeth. Dated Jan. 2, 1691; proved Jan. 19, 1691. [Capt. Robert Caufield was son of William Caufield, of the parish of Chippoakes, Surry county, and Doreas, his wife.

22 Jul 1743 Jno. Collins enters 200 acres in Craven County on south side of Contentnea Creek bordering Thomas Ivi’s line and runs up the creek… [North Carolina Land Entries 1735-1752, A. B. Pruitt, p44]

This may refer to the land granted to Thomas Ivey the following year. Thus, this may be the first sighting of the Thomas Ivey who was in Bladen County later this year. The name on the warrant at the Archives is very difficult to read and may be “Ive” or “Ivi” or “Ives” or something else entirely.

1 Dec 1744 Grant: Thomas Ivey, 300 acres in Craven County on the south side Great Contentnea Creek on the Mirey branch. [Colony of NC 1735-1764 Abstracts of Land Patents, Margaret M. Hofman, Vol. 1, p11, Grant #2721]

23 Oct 1754 Granville Grant: Adam Ivey, 285 acres in Edgecombe County on Contentnea Creek joining Ivey’s Meadow and John Haywood. Survey for Adam Ivey dated 4 September 1753, chain carriers: Joshua Lee, Peter Bass. [Patent Book 11, p211]

This is actually on Little Contentnea Creek. “Ivey’s Meadow” clearly implies that he already owned adjoining land.


Leift. Robert Sheppard due 650 acres of land in James City Co., 26 July 1638, for transporting 13 persons ... the list includes Robert Swett. The land granted to Robert Sheppard at this time was on the south bank of the James River at Chippokes Creek. [Nugent, p. 584] [Nugen t, Nell Marion, "Cavaliers & Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Paten ts and Grants 1623-1666" (1934, Genealogical Publishing Company reprint 19 69), p. 94] .

17 October 1640: James City Court: "Whereas Robert Sweat hath begotten with child a negro woman servant (not slave) belonging unto Lieutenant Sheppard, the court hath therefore ordered that the said negro woman shall be whipt at the whipping post and the said Sweat shall tomorrow in the forenoon do public penance for his offence at James City church in the time of divine service according to the laws of England in that case provided." [Virginia Council and General Court Records 1640-1641, in "Virginia Magazine of History" Vol. II, p. 281] This was a general law against fornication that applied to all members of the colony.


1754 Governor Dobbs requested reports from the militia commanders of North Carolina’s counties. The Bladen militia submitted the following: “Col. Rutherford’s Regimt. of Foot in Bladen County 441, a Troop of horse 36... Drowning Creek on the Head of Little Peedee, 50 families, a mixt Crew, a lawless People, filleth the Lands without patent or paying quit rents. Shot a surveyor for coming to view vacant lands being inclosed in great swamps. Quakers to attend musters or pay as in the Northern Counties. Fines not high enough to oblige the militia to attend musters. No arms stores or Indians in the county.” [Colonial Records of North Carolina, Vol. V, p161

A number of ethnologists, archeologists, historians, etc., have identified these 50 mixt families living on Drowning Creek as the ancestors of the Lumbee Indians. So who was living in Bladen County in 1754? The records show that these families who would later be called Lumbee, Melungeons, etc., were, in fact, living on Drowning Creek - Pee Dee River area in 1754.

27 August 1753, John Johnson Jr. entered 100 acres in Bladen County, North Carolina on the north side of Pugh's marsh whereon John Oxendine was then living. (Bladen County Land Entries #805). In 1759 , he and two of his sons, John and Benjamin, lived in the Drowning Creek area of Bladen County, North Carolina which is the upper part of the Lumbee River area. The Oxendine, Ivey and Linegar are found on Newman's Ridge. 

Moses Bass was living near "the drains of Drowning Creek" on 1 February 1754 when Robert Carver entered 100 acres there [Philbeck, Bladen County Land Entries, nos. 677, 934]

Thomas Ivey 300 acres on Drowning Creek where James Roberts formerly lived on 26 September 1755 [Philbeck, Bladen County Land Entries, nos. 974, 1048].

Robert Sweat was granted 100 acres on Wilkerson Swamp near the Little Pee Dee River on 23 Dec 1754. This land adjoined the land of Joshua Perkins and was sold to Phillip Chavis.

Gilbert Sweat Case…21 Aug. 1829…St. Landry’s Parish LA… Testimony of Joshua Perkins – Gilbert Sweat was born about 1756 in what was then Marion Co. SC on the Pee Dee River. About the year 1777, Perkins helped Sweat run away with Frances Smith, the wife of J.B. Taylor. Sweat moved from SC to Tenn, to NC to Big Black River, Miss. And arrived in LA in 1804.

31 Mar 1753 Grant: To Daniel Willis, 300 acres in Bladen County on Saddletree Swamp adjacent Thomas Ivey [Colony of NC 1735-1764 Abstracts of Land Patents, Margaret M. Hofman, Vol. 1, p10, grant #111]

17 November 1753 Bladen County land which had been surveyed for Gideon Gibson in North Carolina on the north side of the Little Pee Dee River was mentioned in a Bladen County land entry [Philbeck, Land Entries: Bladen County, no. 904].

20 Feb 1754 Land Entry: Thomas Ivey enters 150 acres including his own improvements, on the 5 Mile Branch in Bladen County. [North Carolina Land Entries 1753-1756, A. B. Pruitt, Vol. 2, p127] (From BOB'S FILING CABINET)

Fayetteville, North Carolina --- Dec. 2, 1845 -- Extreme Old Age -- A writer in the Highland Messenger says he had just visited Spencer Bolton, a resident of Buncombe county, who is now almost one hundred and ten years of age! He was born (1735) on Big Pee Dee River, in South Carolina, and is still sound in mind and body. He was in several skirmishes under Marion in the Rebolutionary war. Has been for 65 years a member of the Methodist Church. Health generally good. In early life, principal diet bread, rice, potatoes, and milk; slept on straw beds; generally up before day-light; and much accustomed to bathe in cold water. To the influence of these habits he ascribes his long life. Spencer Bolton is father of Solomon Bolton who was identified as a Portuguese/Melungeon in 1874 court case.

These are the families first found on Chippoakes Creek, as they spread out into the Carolinas, Kentucky, Tennessee etc.

TBC  Part Two Melungeons and Redbones - Are they Lumbee Indians?