Friday, November 6, 2009

The Melungeons - Sizemores & Cherokee

If the families who were dubbed with the name Melungeons were Indians and were traveling together for decades - would you not assume they descended from the same 'tribe'? There was probably very little mixing with the *white folks* and if these Indians were living next door to Indians, is it not likely they were mixing among themselves?

The Sizemores --

I posed a question on one of the lists that since over 2000 Sizemores filed Cherokee applications and the Gibsons, Collins, Coles, Lawsons, and other Melungeon families also filed Cherokee applications it seems the Sizemores would be considered Melungeons.

They are associated with these early Melungeon families back to the 1600s and are living side by side over the years. These families, including the Sizemores are found in the area of Wilkesboro, North Carolina, an old Cherokee Indian town also known as Mulberry Fields and Keowee. And where did they go when they left North Carolina? The Cherokee lands on Newmans Ridge. But according to Joy King they were NOT Cherokee or Melungeons.

Joy does not know who Ned Sizemore's parents or grandparents were -- but she *knows* they weren't Melungeons or Cherokee, I guess she received this information via osmosis. In 2004 Joy wrote; "I doubt we'll ever know exactly which tribe this ancestry actually came from."

Interesting -- she *knows* it wasn't Cherokee but she doubts we will ever know the tribe? The first Sizemore that I found so far was Martha Sizemore living with [apparently a housekeeper] of the Rev. Alexander Whitaker who converted Pocahontas to Christianity. After Pocahontas was captured she was placed in the home of Rev. Whitaker and his housekeeper Martha Sizemore.

Although Joy King does not mention this most intriguing connection on her Sizemore History website she claims she has had the information for many years and promises she will update sometime in the future.I have to wonder why in the world a researcher would not share this valuable piece of history? Apparently she never shared it with fellow Sizemore descendant and researcher Jack Goins as he doesn't mention it in his book. Nor can I find where she has posted it on any of the discussion lists although she is a frequent poster -- definitely makes you go hmmm.

After posting this on the Melungeon list the only feedback was from Joy King - however the Melungeon Historical Society must have thought it important as they quickly added the item to their blog claiming the "authorities" do not recognize Sizemores as Melungeons. I'd like to know who these "authorities" are -- I've never seen the "authorities" name the Bolton, Perkins, Shoemakes, Nickens, etc., Melungeons either. There are a lot of "authorities" on the Melungeons and very few agree on anything.

Many "authorities" still believe they were a 'mysterious tribe' found only on Newman's Ridge.

Check out Documenting the Melungeons



  1. Joanne Check out the Pauleys

    The descendants of John P Lambert's second wife Priscilla Pauley state, that she was Cherokee Indian. I descend from John P Lambert's first wife Sarah Percival "Persifull" ect. They had Reuben and Hugh Lambert who married the Jones sisters daughters of Orpha (Gibson) Jones.

    John P Lambert's brother Garrett Lambert had a son named Hiram Lambert he married Naomi Sizemore I believe the county was Tazewell Co.,Va.

  2. The Lamberts intermarried with many well known surnames listed above. Phillip Lambert Sr. was a convict sent to the colonies from Essex England he married Mary Ann Henderson, this is their family group.

  3. Hi, I saw the post by Joy on the ancestry message board where she said that she would update her site, 2 years later she hasn't done so. No one has ever proven that Martha was married to William Sizemore who received the 100 acres in 1619 as an ancient planter. And there are two documented court cases with testimony from Martha, one shortly after Reverand Alexander Whitaker died when a George Yeardley was being sued over corn by Captain John Martin, and second when she filed a slander lawsuit against the same aforementioned Captain who called her a whore in 1620 after she paid her own passage from England back to Virginia. In neither case was there ever any mention of her being married or any testimony from William, nor did anyone who knew ever refer to her as Mistress or any title of as if she was married. By all accounts she was the first Sizemore in Virginia. William came over probably in 1612-1613 as he had to be here for 3 years under Sir Thomas Dale to qualify as an ancient planter. We also know that she was mentioned again on the census of 1624/25 after the Indian massacre of 1622.

    This information can be found in the "First Republic in America," page 240 Virginia April 1616-May 1617 page 241.
    "Minutes of the Council and General Court 1622-1629."
    "The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol 23, No. 2 April 1915 pages 124-138." "Vol. XXIII, No. 2 pages 135-136."
    "Library of Congress, Manuscript Volume, Vol. 1 page 408."


  4. The Newest hero in the United States, Steven Sizemore, gave his life saving others was a Melungeon!

  5. Jesse McCord Lewis, the hero, was possibly Melungeon!

  6. I found where william traveled back and fourth to England several times between 1620's and 1630's with Martha and once alone. This tells me that he was not our NA. There was not another Sizemore who entered Va until about 1650. (Another William Sizemore) Then once again another Sizemore in 1685 who was the son to Michael. My guess is everyone is mixing these Sizemore's up and combining them. Remember also a female Sizemore and male NA, the way these ancester trees are laid out it's all male Sizemore's and no female from old Ned sizemore back. This can not be right.

    1. This sounds very interesting. Could you share the source for William traveling to England, alone and with Martha.

  7. I believe that the Sizemores were from the Buffalo Ridge Settlement, and they migrated into Surry (and Cumberland) NC along with my ancestor Polly Johns(Merilla who married a Hill), a Cherokee/Black mixed woman. The Hills multiplied and continued into Tennessee. You will also find a group of Hills who are marked as INDIAN in the 1860 Federal Census for Tenn, but born in NC. There is an "I" for race anyhow, so I assume that to be Indian

  8. Fascinating it! And plan on reading all your posts BUT on this one I know a very LITTLE bit. Came across the Sizemores in the records, I think the Guion-Miller rolls, don't quote me on that it's been years ago, when they applied for recognition as Cherokee. It's through members who were descendants of Old Ned Sizemore family and following the government case. They were denied to be recognized as Cherokee or they didn't have enough "quantum blood" to be Cherokee. I downloaded a copy of the case and have it here somewhere and if I find it I will send it to you. The government stated in the final decision that though the Sizemores had intermarried with the Cherokee their main quantum blood tribe was Catawba from Virginia, and since that tribe no longer was recognized by the federal government neither were they as Indian. I've not researched much on the Melungeons. My dad's people were Bowlings from Tazewell and Russell County originating from Stafford County VA. My son's ancestors are Gibson's of Southwest Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Just starting. But I know the answer to this question and I'll look for that case! I came across it in some research for Sizemore's out of West Virginia with connections to Ned Sizemore of North Carolina.


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