Friday, October 12, 2012

Smiling Indians of Sumter County

After dealing with a virus for the past couple of months, each time thinking I had rid my computer of it - alas my computer crashed two weeks ago. The nice young man at Office Depot informed me he really tried to recover my files, but, well he was really sorry.

So after handing him over a Ben Franklin and some change I took my computer home and that is when I realized what a nightmare really was.  I have been installing, reinstalling and uninstalling for the past three days and still not half way through back up CDs, etc., and it looks like I may never find some of my research.  In the meantime I will share one of the older articles from the website, hope you don't mind the 'rerun' -- be back soon.

Smiling Indians of Sumter County

"1910 the federal census listed 126 American Indians in Privateer Township, ...
between Maxton and Rowland, where they became known as the Smiling Indians

Indians of the Southeastern United States in the Late 20th Century - Page 76
by James Anthony Paredes


"I, LI Parrott, clerk of the court for Sumter County, said state, do hereby
certify that the families of Smilings and Goins of this county have been
known as "Red Bones" ever since I have been acquainted with the peopole. Mr.
McDonald Furman, now deceased, took a great deal of trouble several years ago
to establish the fact that they were...of the Indian race...they are looked
upon as a separate race, neither white nor negro."

"I know William Goins, father of these parties. I visited them in South Carolina once about 6 years ago. The general reputation I got down there was that they were indian people. They were supposed to be indians. I have lived in robeson county all my life and i am perfectly familiar with the indian people up here. from my association, being in the home of old man goins and
his family and from the investigation i have made of the people there, my opinion is that on the mother's side plaintiffs are indians and on the father's side malungeans. the rev william goins is not a typical indian by feature, he is a mixture between white and indian."

"I am a sister of the plaintiffs. been living at pates in robeson county for five years. i was raised in sumter county sc. my boy goes to the public indian school at pates. he has also gone to the normal school. we are
indians in the North, but they gave us the name of "red bones" down here."

Hamilton McMillan, witness for the defendants:

"I am a resident of Robeson County; I am now 78 years of age. I represented Robeson County in the state legislature in 1885 and 1887. I am familiar with the Act of 1885 designating certain indians of Robeson as Croatan Indians; I introduced the bill myself. I was acquainted with the Indians of Robeson County at the time the Act of 1885 was passsed designating them as croatan indians. I had been investigating their history for several years before that. I have them the designation of croatan indians in the Act. I wanted to give them some designation. There was a tribe known as croatan tribe on croatan island, it was an honorable name and it was a complete designation...The indians designated as croatan indians were living in Robeson County...none of them lived in sumter sc as far as i know. I had the Act of 1887 passed to establish a normal school for the croatan indians of Robeson County...

"Question by the court to McMillan: Do these people here call themselves
Answer: No sir, they call themselves malungeans.

Question: Were they never called croatans until this Act was introduced in
Answer: No sir.
Question: Where were they from anyway?
Answer: The traditions all point to the resident west of Pamlico Sound,
beyond Cape Hatteras.

The testimony given in this case, like almost all of the cases dealing with the people called 'free people of color' was both pro and con. However there were at least three 'men of the cloth' who testified these people had always been known as Indians. They won this case - and it was upheld on appeal.

The News and Courier

May 25, 1897
The "Redbones of Sumter
A Sketch of James Edward Smiling,

his Career and his Family Connections.

Privateer, Sumter County

Special: Living in the southeastern part of this township is an aged man of nearly four-score, with silvery hair and yellow complexion. A man not unlike the celebrated Frederick Douglas. This venerable man is James Edward Smiling, "the patriarch of the Privateer Redbones." A man whose personal history and family connections make him a person of rather unique interest to the local historian.

Jim Smiling is now about 77 years old. In 1838 he became a carpenter, which trade he followed until a few years ago. He has also followed the profession of a Baptist minister. Fifty-six years ago he was married to a cousin of his- a member of the Goins family. His wife is now an old woman of about 71 years, and in considerably mixed with Indian: her face is not unlike one of that race. Including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, this venerable couple have over fifty living descendants; these have intermarried with the Chavises, Goinses, Sweats, and other families belonging to the interesting "old issue," or, properly speaking, "Redbone" people.

Smiling is the owner of considerably over two hundred acres of land. For fifty-two years he has been living in the house he now occupies. This settlement is in a clearing, which is in a swampy, very out of the way and rather wild part of the township. Not far from the front of the house is one of those swamps which are known throughout this section of country as "bays," and which covers several hundred acres.

This venerable man has considerable intelligence for one in his station, and is an interesting person to talk with. During reconstruction times he was a person of some prominence in the political affairs of Sumter County: in 1868 he was elected a member of the Legislature. He was magistrate under governor Scott, and has also been trial justice.

Like people of his peculiar racial condition Smiling had guardians before the war. At the commencement of the war he gave a horse, bride. saddle and spur to one of the military companies of this county.

The Redbone people, with whom Smiling is identified, while they are colored, are nearly a distinct people from the "old time free negroes" proper. I have often talked with this old man about his people, concerning whom he has given me a good deal of information .

McDonald Furman

The Name of Goins

A Family Name Found

Scattered About in the United States

and Borne by a mixed Race of People

To the Editor of The News and Courier.

Among that isolated and mixed breed people of Privateer Township who are classed as colored but who should properly be known as "Redbone" is found the name of Goins. the founder of this family so I have been told was a "yellow man" whose wife was a mixed breed Indian. Vicey Goins the daughter in law of this couple lived to a great age, and died in 1887. Her son, Wade Goins, is one of the old people among the privateer Redbones and his features and copper-colored skin show the presence of Indian blood in his veins. Another descendant of the first Goins couple is Tom Gibbes, pastor of the little church in Southeastern Privateer, which is attended by the Redbone people, and which I may remark is a member of the Colored Wateree Baptist Association, lower division. I think Gibbes shows his Indian blood. He and Uncle Wade are both honest worthy men. While it would greatly puzzle an ethnologist to determine what percent of white, negro and Indian blood flows in their veins I think they are at least a sixth part Indian if not more.

It is interesting to see over what a large area the name of Goins is found. This name is (or was) found among that peculiar people, the Croatans, of North Carolina, which unique race is believe by historical investigators to be descendants of Sir Walter Raleigh's famous "lost colony." Henry Berry Lowrie so celebrated in the post bellum annals of North Carolina as a bold and daring outlaw, was of the Croatan race. It is evident that the "old issues," or properly speaking, "Redbones," who are found scattered about in South Carolina, are in part a branch of the Croatans.

"Redbones are found in Louisiana. In the spring of 1893 I wrote to one of the parish officials inquiring about them and I received an interesting letter in reply. Among the Redbone family names mentioned in it was that of Goins.

In a short magazine article last summer Mr. James Mooney, one of the leading ethnological writers in the United States gave an account of the two Goins brothers he formerly knew in Indians "who although associating by necessity with negroes, always insisted that they were not of that race or of slave ancestry. they had a physical appearance of half-blood Indians.

There are Goinses in Georgia who aer a branch of the Privateer stock.

McDonald Furman
Ramsey, Privateer Township
April 20, 1897

Memories of the Past

To the Editor of The State

In the southeastern part of the township there there is an old muster group and it is suggestive of memories of long ago. This place covers about 10 or 12 acres. The Wilson and Sumter railroad runs through the grounds a third of which is cleared: the rest is now covered with old-field pines and the grove is quite a pretty one for there is not a great deal of undergrowth and what there is adds to the picturesqueness of the grove.
This old muster ground is situated in a section locally known as "Timmonstown," in about a mile from the Clarendon county line and on the Georgetown public road. Not far below the gfround the road forks and one branch leads to the old city of Charleston. The old muster ground is owned by Caleb Neal a worthy "late freedman," and a full blooded negro. This section is not uninteresting to the student of local history; In d the surrounding country will be found families of that isolated people the "old issues," or properly speaking the "Redbones" - the Chavises and the Goinses, the Smilings and the Gibbeses, the Sweats and the Griffins. The little church attended by these people is at the forks of the road below the old muster ground and the pastor of this church, the Rev. Tom Gibbes, now an elderly man of somewhat Indian like appearance lives near the ground. I have been by this ground several times, and on a delightful afternoon last month I paid a special visit here. At my request I was accompanied by "Uncle Smiling" the Redbone patriarch of the township whose years are not far from fourscore, and who, with two other Redbones, used to play in a band at the muster. I asked the old man about those almost forgotten times, and as he talked I took down his remarks, which I give below and I try to do so in his own language as much as possible. The account is interesting as the story of an old man who took part in the old musters:
"They used to muster about two or three times a year - have these musters here. My people were called pioneers, and used to clean off the grounds. I was the fifer, Wade beat the kittle drum, and West beat the bass drum. We played all during the muster time, on the big muster day our people would clean off the grounds one day and the big muster would take place the next. All the men part of -- people used to clean off the ground. I couldn't tell how many men used to muster here. Many times carts would come here with cakes or watermelons and we would have a lovely time. these old fields would be illuminated with people, men and women- the people would just be out here in quantities. another muster ground was below Tindal's mill, in Clarendon, and my crowd used to clean the grounds there too and our band played down there. When the soldiers were performing on these grounds the souls of their horses hoofs could be heard far off."
McDonald Furman
Ramsey, Privateer Township
May 1, 1899

May 9, 1898

"Old Issue"

Information Sought About
a Unique Name and Race
James E. Smiling the patriarch of a branch of these people found in Privateer Township and a Republican ex member of the Legislature, told me this two years ago:
"I can't tell where the name "Old Issue" started from - never heard it until since the warr, we don't accept the name. The first way in which I heard the name "Old Issue' is through the late freedman, and we take it as a slur."
Nelson Chavis another member of this race in the township told me this last March:
"I can't remember hearing anything about the name 'Old Issue' until since the war. I don't think the name is becoming. We used to be called pioneers at the time we used to cleaned muster grounds. I thought the name 'Old Issue' was only here with us. I thought the name was some kind of a slang and I thought maybe we were called so as the late freedmen might be "new issues."
The Hampton correspondent of the News and Courier in June 1894 writing about one of these people in that county named Candey Mims spoke of him as "one of a rather peculiar race of people who live in the river section of this county, locally known as 'Old Issue." They are a mixed race and have never been slaves. They are supposed to be descendants of Indians and negores, but nothing is definitely known of their origin."
Some year ago a gentleman of Aiken county, writing to me about people of this sort found in that county, stated that they were "classed as 'Old Issue freedmen."
I don't mean to say that all people of this kind are called "Old Issue" but as will be seen, the name is found over a considerable area. These people in Privateer Township are mixed with the white, the negro and the Indian races and are classed as colored.
McDonald Furman
Ramsey, Privateer Township

excerpt of an interview: “Beccie Jacobs [a White woman] told me – August 26, 1893 – that Edie Goins said she came from the Cawtaba tribe.”

Smiling Indians - Hazel Forest

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Goins, Going, Gone

In December 2002 Jack Goins wrote;
"I believe Y Chrom. DNA will prove these people stole those names Gibson and Collins from the White settlers while living in Virginia before they migrated to NC etc. Take Goins for example this Y test is showing some with a common ancestor as European, AA, NA , This is also proven by history and  genealogy and the fact you can find Goins as Cherokee, Melungeon, Lumbee and almost every clan."  Archives
In May 2003 Jack Goins wrote;
"Y-Chrom. DNA slaps this right in the face, For example there are Goins  who's Y DNA is European, AA and NA," Archives
Below is a screen shot from the Core Melungeon Project posted prior to 2008 when they changed E3a to E1b1a.  It can be found here, and as you can see there are no Native American Goins listed in the project. It is possible, and in fact likely, the Goins who tested matched the Sizemore NA DNA, meaning there was an NPE (Non Paternal Event).  

That would not explain why they are not listed though, apparently Valentine Collins was an NPE and he is listed. In the *peer reviewed* paper Samuel Bunch ( European Haplogroup) is a "Suspected NPE" as is Freelin Gibson noted as "Suspected NPE" match to Goodmans and Benjamin Collins son also "Suspected NPE" match to Gibsons. Curiously missing is the mysterious Native American Goins?

Also mysteriously missing and not mentioned is Mr. Goins with the European "R" Haplogroup, Kit#44320 above in their paper.  Another NPE, perhaps, but same question, why did these researchers leave out the European DNA from their paper

Missing also is Kit# 6005, David Going with an "L Haplogroup" said to be from India, Pakistan, Turkey, etc., (Wikipedia).

David Going/Goins was born 1783 in Montgomery County, Virginia in the part that would become Giles County and was neighbor of many of the Collins'  who were called Melungeons, some moving to Newmans Ridge. 

On page 71 of Melungeons: and other pioneer families by Jack Goins we find these families from Giles County mentioned; 
"This relatively small Melungeon settlement that migrated to the Flat River, which was then Granville County, North Carolna about 1750 had grown to a large colony by the 1780's. Most of them later migrated to Fort Blackmore, Virginia in Lee County.  Some moved on west to Granger and Davidson couties in Tennessee, while others migrated to Giles County, Virginia into Kentucky." 

I see no legitimate reason for removing David Going/ Goins from the Melungeon DNA Project, nor not mentioning this unique Haplogroup L in their paper, nor the omission of the Goins Haplogroup R, and especially leaving  Kit#109170 - FREEMAN -  Haplogroup Q out of the paper and writing they found no Native American Haplogroups in the project.

So, as posted in the last blog, we seen Thomas Bushrod's "Gawin the Indian" who was freed in 1676 shown as the same man as John Gowen who was freed in 1640?  Could Bushrod's Gawin actually have been from India (Haplogroup L) and the ancestor of David Going?  Who is the Native American Goins first tested in Brent Kennedy and Kevin Jones project and the European Goins tested in the same project? Seems we have a lot of Gawin, Goins, Going,  --- GONE. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Pre-Contact DNA

The Goins

In the recent Melungeon paper published by Estes, Goins, Crain and Ferguson giving the history of the Goins family they wrote;

Goins or similar names are found in early colonial records.  John Gowen, "Gowen the Indian" was born about 1615 and by 1640, described as a "negro", had been freed by William Evans in York County, Virginia.  He had a son by an African woman named Margaret Cornish about 1635 and in 1641 he purchased the son, Michael's (Mihill) freedom.  Mihill had a son William born of a negro Prossa who patented land in James City County in 1668.     [167]
They give the source [167]  as Linsay O. Duvall but I could not find anywhere on the internet where Duvall or anyone else claimed that "John Gowen" was the same person as "Gowen the Indian".  This is the actual record for "Gawin the Indian" which I presume they are referring to - found here:

Decoding the Documents: "Indians" in Selected Seventeenth Century Documents & Secondary Sources
McIlwaine 1979B:233Gawin, Indian & Mr. Thomas BushrodOrder18 Oct. 1670 courtServitude for 6 more yearsGawinGawin, servant to Bushrod, is to serve his master for six more years before he is set free.

From the above paragraph it appears these four researchers are trying to convince us that Bushrod's "Indian" was the same man as John Gowen', called a "negro" in 1640. William Evans freed John Gowen by 1640 - John Gowen had a son by an African woman, and then proceeded to  purchase 'his son' in 1641.

THEN poor "Gowen the Indian" but called "John Gowen a negro' becomes a slave again to Thomas Bushrod for the next 30 years.  Maybe I am missing something here.

In an ARTICLE written by Jack Goins he writes;
"A Goins researcher must consider and investigate all Goins, Going possibilities and there was another William Gowin in the same neck of the woods who was not the son of Mihil because his son was born 1655. "
It would appear these four researchers when writing this paper on the "early Colonial records" investigated records of the Goins, Gowens, etc, but did not "consider" all possibilities.  

Following the above paragraph on Mihill found above, they write;

"On  August 6, 1635. Thomas Going, age 18, was transported to Virginia. On August 7, 1657, another Thomas Gowen was transported from London and in 1671, a third Thomas Going was transported to Maryland.

Another early Goins record is that of Agnes Going of Louisa County, Virginia who in 1754 had a bastard child, Joseph, bound to James Bunch.  Agnes had other children as well, all bound out by the church wardens in 1770, but their names aren't mentioned.  We also don't know who the father was and if the father's were the same.  In 1775, Dudley Miner marries Anne Goine, daughter of Agnes Goine.

In 1735, a John Goins is found in Hanover County, Virginia.

There were several potentially different Goins genetic lines in colonial Virginia.

In the Melungeon project there are three primary Goins groups, two of which are haplogroup E1b1a, but don't match each other.  The third is haplogroup A.  All three haplogroups are of sub-Saharan African origin.  There is one participant with no additional Goins matches, but who matches the Collins E1b1a7 group."
These four researchers for some unknown reason neglect to mention Wm Gowin transported in 1654 by William Hoccaday of York County.  In this ARTICLE by Jack Goins he mentions this "Wm Gowin" and "Gowin an Indian" as men who should be considered in the Goins, Gowen, Going research but fails to include them in the  research of the African DNA in their published paper.  
“MR. WILLIAM HOCCADAY, 1,000 acres Yorke Co., 14 April 1653, page 89 of Patent Book No. 3 Near the head of Ware Creek, North West by North upon a former devident and North West by North towards Waraney Creek. Transportation of 20 persons: Alexander Watson, Wm. Mackgahye, Andrew Sharpe, Jane Johnson, Randall ______, Isabell Grace, Mary Reeise (?), Tomasin Madero (or Maders), Mary Graham, James ______, Edward Hodge, Richard Gillman, Willm. Moline, Fra. Peppett, Richard Jones, Michaell Barrow, Richard Moore, Joane Rivers, Ja. Nicholson,* Wm. Gowin. Renewed 20 November 1654.”  18 Oct 1670 p233 Bushrod -Gowin It is ordered that GOWIN an INDIAN servant to Mr. Tho Bushrod serve his said master six years longer and then be free.   So basically we have; William Gowan, son of Mihill born 1655 a negro of York Co.,Virginia, William Gowin born at least 1630, English or Irishman 1653 to York Co.,Virginia ---Gowin freed about 1676, an Indian of York Co., Va."
Mr. Thomas Going was 'transported' in 1635, Mr. Wm Gowin was 'transported' in 1654 and "Gowin the Indian" was freed in 1676. Were these three men 'investigated, considered' and included, when these four researchers wrote their paper?  Did they think they didn't matter in the grand scheme of things because surely these men who were transported could not possibly have carried the African haplogroup to Colonial Virginia could they? And "Gowin the Indian"could not possibly have carried his African DNA  here by deAyllon in 1527 could he?  

In an article written by Roberta Estes she writes that the single most haplogroup found among the tribal Cherokees tested is the European haplogroup R1b. How this is possible she explains is; 
"There is some level of R1b admixture in the Native Population that preceded contact with Europeans that we have not yet identified."
Well surely if it is possible there is an admixture of European DNA in the Native Population there might also be an admixture of African DNA in the Native Populations as well, wouldn't there?  Yet nowhere in the paper did I find the possibility that "Gowin the Indian" may have been a descendant of those African slaves who had contact with the Native South Carolina tribes as early as 1527.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Stuck in the Past

Melungeons, Indian Tribes, Spaniards and Portuguese     
    There are many records of "people" other than English and Indians in Colonial America. In 1608 on the 'Second Supply' in which we find the first Thomas Gibson the passengers included 'Dutch, Poles and "Others"  Hubbard Gibson (and Nathaniel Bass) is associated/neighbors of the Bland Family who were Spanish merchants.  In 1669 George 'the Spaniard' was living on Lawnes Creek, Surry County, Virginia, as was John Collins. In the Batts-Fallom Expedition in September of 1671 while at the 'Saponi town'  it was reported;  "We hence sent back a horse belonging to Mr. Thomas Wood, which was hired, by a Portugal, belonging to Major General Wood, whom we here found".  A PORTUGUESE at the SAPONI TOWN in 1671. 
In 1701 the Saponi were found living on the Yadkin River by Lawson: 

"The Yadkin River is one of the longest rivers in North Carolina, flowing 215 miles. The river becomes the Pee Dee River at the confluence of the Uwharrie River. The river flows into South Carolina near Cheraw, which is at the fall line where it becomes the Great Pee Dee River. It is part of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin."

These maps and testimonies below show the connections between the Indians, the Melungeon families, the Portuguese and the Indian Paths. 

1711 the Saponi were found residing near Windsor, Bertie County, North Carolina where just a few months ago a map was discovered to show a Fort, possibly that of the  "Lost Colony",  so often mentioned with the Melungeons. The Bunch, Gibson, and possibly other families known as Melungeons lived in this area at one time. In fact Walter Gibson signed a Bertie County deed as a 'chieftan' of the Tuscarora

By 1714 the Saponi were found at Fort Christianna with Captain Robert Hicks/Hix who was associated with John Bunch and Gideon Gibson.

Robert K. Thomas a Cherokee Indian, professor and anthropologist researched many of these tribes and wrote; 
"In my research I find a small group of Saponi Indians in Granville County, North Carolina (now Vance County) who lived in that region between 1743 and sometime in the 1760’s. The Saponi originally lived  several miles further north on the Roanoke River in Virginia when they were contacted by early Europeans in the late 1600’s. Later, because of pressure from whites, they moved west to the Yadkin Valley, near modern Winston-Salem, North Carolina. About 1710 they were migrating east and appear to have gotten caught “in between” the whites and the hostile Tuscarora Indians. The Saponi “sat out” the war in the neutral Tuscarora country near Windsor, North Carolina.  
It appears that this band of Saponi were not the only Indians in the area (Granville County). Individual Indian families from broken tribes further east were gravitating into this same area, perhaps to attach themselves to the Saponi or perhaps just to live in an area where there were other Indians....... In the 1730’s and 40’s the Yawpim and Potoskite tribes near the coast in extreme northeastern North Carolina had lost their lands. Individual Indian families were moving to the frontier from this region. ......So that by the 1750’s there appears to have been fairly extensive number of Indian families other than Saponies in that region. Read his report here
The FREE STATE OF PATRICK site is a wealth of information on these tribes movements. If John Collins mentioned in the Orange County record in 1743 as a sundry/Saponi Indian is the ancestor of Vardy it is easy to see how his mother or grandmother may have been one of the Portuguese/Indians living along the Pee Dee River.

Vardy Collins was said to have been Portuguese and Cherokee and/or Saponi Indian over the years by many researchers. You might wonder how that could be-- but by looking at this map below you can see the Saura-Saponi Trail  as it criss-crosses the other paths and trails.

North Carolina Trading Paths 
(Click above for a larger map)

"Eighteen Indian trading paths have been identified as having lain totally or partially within the present boundaries of North Carolina, including the Unicoi Turnpike, the Catawba Trail, the Saura-Saponi Trail, and the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path prior to 1775. Many of these paths extended into the states of Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia, knitting the peoples of North Carolina together with those of the rest of the Southeast and North America"

Almost every Melungeon family was found living along the Indian Towns or Trading Paths before moving to the 'frontier', as did the remnant tribes. 

The 1794 Petition in Georgetown, now Marion County, South Carolina, contains the names of Bolton, Shoemake, Gibson and Oxendine, and others. The testimony in the trial in Hamilton County, Tennessee 75 years later involving the descendants of Solomon Bolton, grandchildren of Spencer Bolton named in the above petition, proved the Bolton, Shoemake, Perkins, etc., were called Melungeons and known to be Portuguese or Spaniards.

We know the Oxendine, Ivey, Linegar, Bolton,  and possibly Collins and Gibson came from South Carolina to Newman's Ridge while others traveled to other places in groups. 

The Gibsons, Oxendines, Shoemakes, Bolton and other families can be traced to Bledsoe and Overton County, Tennessee in 1830 and Taney County, Missouri in 1840.  Family stories were they were on the trail of tears and 'dropped off' in Missouri.

These families left Missouri and are found in Vineyard, Washington County, Arkansas in 1850. Delilah Bolton, born Marion County, South Carolina, daughter of Charles Oxendine and widow of Lewis Bolton, no doubt kinfolk of Solomon Bolton the Portuguese-Melungeon is found on the census. Charles Oxendine and family are listed as #97, Levi Oxendine is #98, Thomas and Morning (West) Pope are #99 and George Gibson, wife Sarah Shoemake along with Deliah Gibson are #100. Delilah is no doubt 'Delley Gibson' who signed the 1794 petition, one of the 'widows with a large family'.  She is also possibly the Delilah/Deliley Gibson who is found at the Stoney Creek Church records in 1807 as they moved over the mountains from South Carolina to Bledsoe/Overton County, Tennessee.

By 1860 these families had joined the wagon trains bound for California. These depositions in the Cherokee claim of John W. Shoemake shows these families were known as Portuguese (and Cherokee) by their neighbors.
John W. Shoemake et al vsThe Cherokee NationSeptember 22, 1882
My name is John V. Alberty, my age is about 48 years, I am a Cherokee, and reside in the Cherokee nation, Going Snake Dist.
According to the statements in the petition, I don't know anything about the claimants. I did know a family of Shoemakes. There was a man named Jim Shoemake. His brother was Tom Shoemake. Jim Shoemake married a woman by the name of Oxendine. They lived on the line there near Dutch Town, Washington Co., Ark. They lived there till about the year '58 or '59. They then went from there to California or Arizona. I have not seen them since. They called themselves Portugese. (They are also called Portuguese in the Bolton trial in 1874) They were recognized then as being different by the people of the states. They considered them as colored people and refused them the right to vote. J. W. Alberty
In the case of W. H. Shoemake and J. W. Shoemake
Cherokee Nation 
January 5, 1882
Testimony of Samuel R. Keys
Testifies he knew the applicants since they lived on Crow Creek in Jackson County, North Alabama. He was acquainted with the applicant's grandfather and grandmother who had a reservation on Crow Creek. The Shoemakes were generally recognized by all the people as Cherokee.  John A. Shoemake the father of the aplicant used to drive stock a good deal.  I used to run a ferry  boat on the Tennessee River, and he used to cross the stoc at my ferry. The reservation was located in Jackson County, Alabama. lying in the fork of of Big Crow and Little Crow Creek, ten or twelve miles from Crow Town. The applicants were the grandsons of Anna Shoemake and John A. Shoemake. 
''Before the Indians were taken to Indian Territory there was a large number of whites and Indians that fled to the mountain between Little Crow Creek and Little Coon. They built Shavis Town, cleared up about 100 or more acres and cultivated it, putting out an orchard. They raised winesap apples, peaches, corn and dug ginseng besides hunting for a living.
The older men were very religious. They were mixed with Portuguese. Willis Shavis (wife Hetty Evans was daughter of Andrew Evans and Mary E. Shoemake of Marion Co. South Carolina) named his four sons after the Apostles, Andrew, John, Peter and Nathaniel. The had two Preachers, John Pressley and Brother Forsythe, an Indian. They would preach and convert the young men and girls and bring them down to Little Crow Creek to Baptize them. They believed rightly they were to be buried in baptism in water. They knew the Bible.''
Thomas Ivey (believed to be descendant of Indian Trader Adam Ivey of Chippoakes Creek) lived in Bladen County as early as 1753 and removed to Marion County, South Carolina by the 1760s where he was known as to be of Portuguese descent.
''Depositions in an 1812 court case strongly suggest that, having disposed of his patent sometime before 1769, Thomas Ivey moved south into what became Marion District, South Carolina and died there some years later. Thomas Hagans, born about 1765 and identified as a grandson of Thomas Ivey and his wife Elizabeth, refused to pay his assessed tax as a free non-white in Marion District, South Carolina in 1809. At his trial in 1812, two white men testified on his behalf. The testimony of John Regan, a longtime neighbor of Thomas Ivey Jr., suggests that Thomas Ivey Sr. left Bladen County sometime in the late 1760s and removed to South Carolina. The testimony of Robert Coleman, a longtime resident of Marion District, suggests that Thomas and Elizabeth Ivey lived in Marion District for several years before their deaths.  Both men testified that Thomas Ivey was “understood” and “generally reputed” to be of Portuguese descent and that his wife Elizabeth was a free white woman.''
Tobias Gibson was one of the first of the 'Melungeon families' to have been documented on Newman's Ridge.  He was a 'horseback' Methodist Minister and was in Kentucky in the 1780s and from there his circuit was from Hawkins County, Tennessee to Wilkes County, North Carolina in the 1790s. The Gibsons of the Pee Dee River area which Tobias Gibson belongs matches that of the Newmans' Ridge Melungeon Gibson families.

Port Gibson, Miss., May 17, 1878
Dear sir:
There were three branches of the Gibson connexion which settled in Mississippi at an early day: The parents of Rev. Randall Gibson near Natchez about where the old town of Washington now stands; the family of Samuel Gibson - the founder of the Town of Port Gibson, in this vicinity; and that of Rev. Tobias Gibson in what is now Warren county in the vicinity of Warrenrtown. So far as I know these families all came from the valley of the Great Pee Dee river in South Carolina. Some time in the sixteenth century three ship loads of Portuguese Hugenots voluntarily exiled themselves from Portugal rather than renounce their Protestant faith, and settled in South Carolina, then the Colony of Carolina, in the very region of county where our Gibsons are first found,  and, from their elevated intellectuality, morality, religion and enterprise, I have long believed that they were the descendants of those refugee Huguenots, though I do not remember ever to have heard but one of the connexion refer to this as a tradition of the family. I wish we now had the means of demonstrating this theory.
It would take many pages, almost a book, to tie all these families together with all the evidence we have to date.  DNA may change things, and it may also  prove or disprove some of the Portuguese/Indian stories eventually. Everyday books, rare books, newspapers, wills, probates, deeds etc., are finding their way online.  We must not get 'stuck in the past' relying on books and papers printed 15-20 years ago.  We must continually re-examine the evidence, old and new, so we can give a proper history to these most interesting families. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Melungeons - Examining An Appalachian Legend

Examining An Appalachian Legend
Pat Spurlock

Update - 2012

"In the meantime, we have a new problem that has the potential of further polluting future Melungeon research.  It is the speculative results of a popularized so-called Melungeon DNA Study."

I am so glad this book was reprinted, it has been immensely helpful these past years as I have worked on the Melungeons and their families. It is still the best Melungeon book I have read in fifteen years of research. 

September 6, 2012
Third revised edition. 380 pp. Index, bibliography, appendices, update sections concerning recent DNA testing. The author draws on her more than thirty-year study of these legendary mountaineers. She brings her recognized skills as a professional genealogist, as well as formal training in criminal investigation and legal research, to the hunt for Melungeon origins. The result is a fascinating and highly readable book which is also a scholarly examination of the Melungeon mystery. The author debunks many widely held but unsubstantiated beliefs about Melungeons. She dismisses trendy specualtion about Old World Melungeon origins, preferring to deal with facts rather than fantasy and comes to her own carefully considered conclusion. Along the way, this work guides the reader out of a labyrinth of false leads created in earlier Melungeon works. This study is a treasure trove of genealogical information and fully indexed with an extensive bibliography. It is a must for those researching Melungeons and their related family lines. The updates in this edition discuss DNA testing and what to expect when used in Melungeon studies. It is an invaluable resource for the professional and family genealogist, historian, ethnologist, and folklorist.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Melungeons ~ Voting ~ Politcs

"In this contemporary political cartoon,
"true Whigs" (left) enjoy their hard cider,
while "ruffled shirt Matty" (center) loses
himself in the "feminine pleasures" of opium.
Meanwhile, the undecided voter (right)
 is taking a leak for some reason." 

"Historians say the 1840 campaign is the first 'modern
day' election.  It was the  first election for buttons, pins, fireworks, name calling and political caricatures."

Not surprising then Parson Brownlow first used the word Melungeon to describe a political opponent.

The Conventions are over and all the pretty, flowery, speeches have been made.  President Barack Obama is likely unaware of his Melungeon ancestry, or perhaps doesn't care.  Much was made of his undocumented descent from the 'first enslaved African' but nothing was written of his Melungeon Bunch ancestors who fought for their right to vote.

Whether you are a Republican or Democrat and whether you are voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney you may not know the Melungeons were typically known as Republicans and have a long history in the political arena. Many times their right to vote being challenged;

A. Kelly testified in the 1874 "Celebrated Melungeon Case" involving descendants of Solomon Bolton;
Q. Were you acquainted with Solomon Bolton? If so, when and how long did you know him and where did he live?
A. I was acquainted with Solomon Bolton. I got acquainted with him about thirty years ago. and knew him until he left here several years ago. He lived in several places in Marion and Hamilton Counties.
Q. State whether or not you knew of Solomon Bolton's voting in any elections in Marion County? If so, in what elections did he vote?
A. He always voted. I never heard of his vote being challenged or questioned until I think about the year 1840 his vote was challenged.  My father and I got the law and showed it to the Judges of the election. They decided he was a competent voter, and I never heard his vote questioned after that time.

A Note on the Melungeons
It was before the war-during the time of slavery-that the right of a number of these people to vote was called in question. The matter was finally carried before a jury and the question decided by an examination of the feet. One, I believe, was found to be sufficiently flat-footed to deprive him of aright of suffrage. The others, four or five in number, were considered as having sufficient white blood to allow them a vote. Co. John Netherland, a lawyer of considerable local prominence defended them.  (Swan Burnett 1890)


Brownlow's Whig
Jonesboro, Tennessee

Oct., 7, 1840

NEGRO SPEAKING! (Click Here for original scan)

We have just learned, upon undoubtedle authority, that Gen. Combs, in his attempt to address the citizens of Sullivan County, on yesterday, was insulted, contradicted repeatedly, limited to one hour and a half, and most shamefully treated, and withall an effort was made, to get an impudent Malungeon from Washington City, a scoundrel who is half Negro and half Indian, and who has actually been speaking in Sullivan, in reply to Combs!  Gen. Combs, however, declined the honor of contending with Negroes and Indians - said he had fought against the latter, but never met them in debate! 

This is the party, reader, who are opposed to the gag-law, and to abolition! Bigotry and democracy in Sullivan county, well knowing that their days on earth are numbered, are rolling together their clouds of blackness and darkness, in the person of a free negroe, with the forlorn hope of obscuring the light that is beaming in glory, and a gladness, upon this country, through the able and eloquent speeches of Whig orators. David Shaver replied to Gen. Combs, we are informed. This is the same Davy, Mr. Netherland gave an account of, some time since, and who, Col. James gave us the history of, in an address, at our late convention. When Davy had finished, the big Democratic Negro came forward, and entertained the brethren. These two last speakers were an entertaining pair! 

Brownlow's Whig
October 21, 1840

Well when the hour arrived, Hall  and the Indian Negro rode up together, and behind them, a short distance, was McClellan and ''Show Miller" Shaver -- the Locos did not say which of these four worthies were to speak.  Senter spoke, and handled the 'Negro,' who it seemed, had been eating, sleeping, and riding with these, his brethern, "his kinsman according to politics!"

Brownlow's Whig
October 28
Reprinted from the Tennessee Mirror

With astonishment we have understood that a half Negro, and half Indian has been speaking to the citizens of Sullivan on the subject of politics! This surely is  a great insult, and ought not to be tolerated, by any honest man in the Union.  Surely this is exaggeration, and cannot be!  What!  A NEGRO lecture on enlightened community!  It cannot be!

Brownlow's Whig

We can assure the editor of the "Mirror," that an infamous Negro has been speaking in Sullivan County -- no mistake, for we have seen and conversed with several gentlemen who seen and heard the vile scamp.  And he was put up by the DEMOCRATIC party, and by that party sustained, and now apologized for, on the ground of his having some Indian blood in him, and having been raised by JACKSON!

"Finally, on November 4, and as the election neared, Brownlow printed his last attack, "Keep It Before The People," drawn from this incident.  In the two paragraph column, the malicious slanders directed toward the poor fellow, and thereby the Democrtatic Party, are unrelenting and included "an impudent FREE NEGRO," "this infamous and dissipated MULATTO," this vile NEGRO  -- this KINKY HEADED villian," "an infamous, insulting, and strange free Negro, or runaway slave?"  as well as others.  Adding a touch of ridicule with reprimand, Brownlow concluded by noting that Democratic gentlemen in the southern parts of Virginia had driven this mixed-breed from the region."

Brownlow's Whig
November 4, 1840 

In Sullivan, however, he met with a hearty welcome!  There, they ate, rode, and slept with him; and one of the leaders of that party, furnished him with ARMS to defend himself against the insults of WHITE MEN who might chance to prove so refractory, as not to hear him speak!  Shame on the leaders of this party in old Sullivan. 

This article by the son of Parson Brownlow, Whig Editor, says the Melungeons were Portuguese and Indian..  Writing of the Bolton case where they were proven in court, and upheld by the Supreme Court, to be of Portuguese ancestry he wrote; 

"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 Melungeons were Republicans)
 Remnant of an Indian Race  -- John B. Brownlow   1911


The platform of Feb 1856 which expunged and ignored the 12th section and in a letter which goes expressly for restoring the Missouri Compromise. The Mulungeons of Richmond endorsed the 'late convention' at Philadelphia too; but will any southern man-- a Stuart or an Imobdin even -- endorse this letter for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise.'' 

From the Richmond Whig. Letter from Hon. John M. Botts
Date: March 26, 1859
Location: Maryland 
Paper: Easton Gazette 
Article type: Letters

......when the Sheriff came to count up the votes at the close of the polls, they counted but five -- and if I had received the vote of one ''Molungeon,'' and he had been authorized by the Constitution to vote, and had 'had' a majority of only one--- it would have been difficult to tell, whether I was most indebted for my election to the "Molungeon" or to the Chief Justice of the U.S.; and if my competitor had received six "Molungeon" votes, or the votes of six worthless and degraded locofocos (supposing they could be any such) they would have more than balanced these five of the first men of the State could boast...........


Date: March 28, 1859 
Location: Alabama Paper: Daily Confederation 

Thirteen congressional electors, fifty senatorial electors, and three hundred and sixty county electors have been notified to hold themselves in readiness to repel the Dragoon of Rockbridge. Botts too, will dash to the rescue at the head of a noble band of "Molungeons and Eboshins" as soon as the weather becomes sufficiently warm to render his odoriferous forces efficient.

From Our Own Correspondent Fredericksburg,
 January 10, 1864

"The "Government organ," however, announces that the observed of all observers were four negroes, "of genteel exteriour, and with the manners "of gentlemen, who joined in the throng that 'crowded the Executive Mansion, and were cordially received by the President of the Untied State,'' The Molungeon Chronicle adds; -- We are not aware that anybody was hurt on the occasion, and we rejoice that we have a President who is a democrat in fact, as well as by nature."

Staunton Spectator
May 25, 1869

The Duties of Election Day

Summary: Declared that all eligible voters have the duty to vote on election day to ensure the defeat of certain sections of the Underwood constitution and to elect Walker as Governor. Wanted to ensure at least some form of control for white Virginians in the state.

The election which will take place on the 6th day of July next, by appointment of the President, will decide whether the people of this State are to be cursed with the Underwood abomination, called a Constitution, as it came from the hands of the Molungeon Convention, or whether it will be modified by having the test-oath and disfranchising clauses stricken out -- whether Walker or Wells will be our Governor, and whether proper men will be elected to represent the State in the Legislature.


Will Allen Dromgoole - 1890

“Mr.-----,” said I, “please tell me what is a Malungeon?”

“A Malungeon,” said he, “isn’t a _____, and he isn’t an Indian and he isn’t a white man. God only knows what he is. I should call him a Democrat, only he always votes the Republican ticket.”


Indiana Messenger
Indiana, Pennsylvania

March 17, 1897


Politically the Malungeons were Whigs before the war, and since the rebellion they have been Republicans. They are very clannish and in Republican primaries they all support the same man, while at regular elections they vote the republican ticket straight. Their customs have not changed during the last 200 years. 

In September of 1912 Will T. Hale wrote in the Alton Telegraph


I have heard since boyhood the word “Melungeon.” It is very common in Tennessee, and is often used as a sort of epithet. Also, as a bugbear to frighten children.

To illustrate, middle and western Tennessee is overwhelmingly Democratic politically, while the eastern portion is overwhelmingly Republican. It used to be the case that a Democratic editor inclined to invective would refer to the East Tennessee Republicans as MELUNGEONS. It was an offensive appellation, but there was no way of preventing its use. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Portuguese on the Pee Dee

The 1794 Petition in Prince Georges, Georgetown, South Carolina contains the names of the Bolton and Shoemake families, both named in the 1874 court documents as being Portuguese/Melungeons in Hamilton County, Tennessee. The testimony proved these families came over the mountains to Newmans Ridge and spread out from there. Along with the Bolton and Shoemake we find the Goins, Oxendine, Linegar, Ivey, and Gibsons named in this petition coming over the mountains to Newmans Ridge where they very likely mixed with the Indian Gibson, Collins, Bunch etc., families already living there.

Only when you include the history of these Melungeon families do you have a full and true picture of the Melungeons, for these are the families identified as Portuguese in numerous records in Arkansas, Texas, California, Alabama, Tennessee, etc.  

This letter below, written in March of 1889 by Mr. Johnson shows that when he read of these Portuguese people on Newmans Ridge called Melungeons he immediately identified them as the families who lived on the Pee Dee River.


February 5th of 1889 Swan Burnett read his piece “A Note on the Melungeons before the Society of American Anthropologists. It also was printed in the Boston Traveler and appeared five days later in the Atlanta Constitution.  Burnett’s article was published in October of 1889, Vol. 11, pp 347-349, "American Anthropologist Magazine." 

After appearing in the Atlanta Constitution in February a Mr. Laurence C. Johnson wrote to the editor on March 11, 1889 with the history of the ‘Melungeons’ as he knew it. This appeared prior to Dromgoole. Mr. Johnson was not selling newspapers, writing an article or selling a book. It appears he was simply responding to the article by Swan Burnett and telling an honest account of the Melungeons, as he knew it. I believe this story is an important one in the way that it is told. 

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, 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

About the Author
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 and  was a Lieutenant in Company F. 9th Mississippi Infantry CSA. 
Johnson was a pioneer in the discovery and description of the phosphate fields of Florida and in 1886, he wrote a paper entitled "The Structure of Florida" and presented it at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in New York.
He lived in Holly SpringsMississippi (Marshall County) and by 1860 held the position of Clerk of the Circuit Court in Marshall County.  In 1882, he was hired as an Assistant Geologist.
Johnson married Mattie McLain, daughter of Rev. Robert McLain and Laura Brown McLain in Clarke CountyMississippi.  The following year, Johnson's young wife died within a month of giving birth to their daughter, also named Mattie.  Their little girl only lived three years.  Johnson never remarried. He is buried in Enterprise CemeteryClark CountyMississippi beside his late wife and daugher.


Information provided by- Peggy Johnson Carey

Melungeons at Fort Blackmore

    THE MELUNGEONS  & FORT BLACKMORE SOME NOTES Attorney Lewis Jarvis was born 1829 in Scott County, Virginia and lived in the area and ...