Thursday, June 28, 2012

Factual Sworn Evidence


Footprints From the Past
Jack Goins
Page 106

 "The ancestors of the Melungeons were a mixture of Indians, whites and black, which should be accepted by researchers as factual sworn evidence."

Email received from Jack Goins on Jan 25, 2007
"It's looks like my Melungeon Goins was also Lumbee and maybe Choctaw, so it appears all of the names Ramp, Melungeon, were just slang derogatory words. My Goins, Zephaniah,  was a Rockingham County Indian before becoming a Melungeons, he actually lived in Gonstown for at least 10 years. What is your opinion. They was a booklet written on the Rockingham County Indians in 1939, I forget the author but I do have that little book,  Have you read it. ?  .    Jack"
The Goins family identified as Melungeons with Sub Saharan DNA have Native American ancestry even though they have the E haplogroup.  The above email from Jack Goins in 2007 indicates there is a connection to the Lumbee Indians as well as a connection to the Choctaw.  

I can attest to the Goins in Rockingham County, North Carolina and their connection to the Rockingham County Indians as I visited Goinstown with Jack Goins in 2006 and have many pictures of the Gibson/Goins Cemetery there.

You can read about the Goinstown families here; GOINSTOWN
The Choctaw Goins here;  Robert Goins
Cherokee Goins here;  Hamilton County, Tennessee

Information on Shadrack Goins family can be found in the recently published report on pages 14 and 57.  This Goins family matches the ancestors of Jack Goins and Granville Goins is a descendant of Shadrack;
"Granville Goins and his wife, Polly, also lived among the Cherokees in Hamilton County. It was said that Granville knew the Cherokee language and had an Indian name. Granville, who was a carpenter, started on the Trail of Tears, but was among those turning back to Tennessee. Children of Granville included Mahala, Rachael, Noah, Roland, Dodson, Barnes, Nancy and William."  


Valentine Collins while listed as a mulatto or free person of color and carrying a Sub Saharan haplogroup,  his sons David, Oatery, their descendants and the descendants of his son Joshua are all listed as Indian on the United States Census.  Does not the census trump a tax record?  If Moses Riddle is a *proven* Indian because of a tax record are not the descendants of Valentine Collins *proven* Indians because of the census?

The time for these authors to step forward and tell the other side of the Melungeon story is overdue.

Name:David Collins
Age in 1870:60
Birth Year:abt 1810
Home in 1870:Barnetts Creek, Johnson,Kentucky
Race:Indian (Native American)
Post Office:Paintsville
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
David Collins60
Polly Collins70
Malissa Collins30
Juliann Collins11

Name:Oatery Collins
Age in 1870:54
Birth Year:abt 1816
Home in 1870:Barnetts Creek, Johnson,Kentucky
Race:Indian (Native American)
Post Office:Paintsville
Value of real estate:View image
Household Members:
Oatery Collins54
Frances Collins55
Eliza J Blanton27
John A Blanton7
Amanda Blanton4
Ellen Blanton1

Monday, June 25, 2012

No Speculation in This Scientific Report

Joanne Pezzullo

Identifying Core Melungeons

Valentine Collins

According to recently published paper by Estes, Crain, Goins and Ferguson on the Melungeons, to be considered a "Core Melungeon" one must be called a Melungeon sometime in history.
Page 23 states; ''Every family included is specifically referred to or identified as a Melungeon in one or more of these records.''   
In what record is Valentine specifically referred to or identified as a Melungeon?

On the next page of this report is  Table 4  
Melungeon Family Identification Table

First Column        SURNAME  Collins
Second Column    CENSUS - 1830  1870 1880 
Third Column       JARVIS -  Full Blood
Fourth  Column    COURT  1743 Orange Co., Va., 1745 Louisa Co., Va.1846 voting trial 
Fifth Column        TAX RECORDS   1755 Orange Co., NC 
Sixth  Column       PLECKER (Mentioned by) Yes
Seventh Column    ARTICLES  Humble and DromgooleEighth Column      1890 CENSUS   YesNinth Column       GROHSE    YesTenth Column       OTHER  Fincastle Co., Va. living on Indian land

The identifiers in this table under Collins all refer to Vardy Collins.

Valentine was member of Stoney Creek Church in Virginia until 1806 when he went to Clear Creek Church in Kentucky. 

Valentine’s son Joshua was born 1805 in Hawkins County, Tennessee, his son David born around 1807 says he was born in Kentucky, probably Cumberland County. Elijah was born around 1812 and also lists Kentucky as a birthplace.    Oatery was born 1816 in Tennessee -- probably Overton or Campbell County where Valentine had land. By 1820 he was on the Kentucky census. 

Valentine Collins lived in Hawkins County only a few years and  left no known descendants there.  Magoffin County people are not called Melungeons. 
Valentine and Vardy Collins cannot both be the sons of Samuel Collins.  Valentine’s father is unknown, place of birth unknown,  according to the DNA presented in this report Valentine Collins father was probably a Bunch.  There is no proof he is Vardy's brother he is not mentioned in Louisa County Virginia or Orange County, North Carolina.  Wasn't mentioned by Humble or Dromgoole.

Page 38 
Table 11 
Melungeon Patriarch Table
Martin Collins  - Son of Samuel - Samuel also has sons Vardy (R1a1) b1760 and Valentine (E1b1a8a) b1764, both in Wilkes County, NC, whose haplogroups do not match
Page 39
Vardy Collins
Vardy is supposed to be the son of Samuel, as are Martin and Valentine
Page 47
Valentine Collins Group - E1b1a8aValentine (29) and Vardy (Vardeman) Collins were believed to be brothers, both sons of Samuel Collins born in Louisa County, Virginia where in 1745 Samuel was summoned to court for concealing tithables
Page 48 
Vardy Collins Group - R1a1
Vardy (21) has long been believed to be the brother of Valentine Collins.  He could have been a half brother, but based on the DNA evidence, these two lines do not share a common paternal  ancestor. 

Why is Valentine Collins in the Core Melungeon Project?

Because he  ‘may have been’ a half brother of Vardy Collins and Meredith Collins, none of the three match genetically. 

Because he is a brother of  Buck Gibson’s wife, Matilda Denham?  

None of the above makes sense, including why Valentine Collins is considered a CORE Melungeon.
A letter written the 1980s states; "apparently one Wm. Grohse of Sneedville Tennessee received a letter indicating that there was a Bible showing the names of Vardy’s brothers and sisters as Meredith, Valentine, Matilda and Lucinda."
I spoke to this lady who gave this informaton a year or so ago.  According to her she never seen this Bible record and the lady she spoke with was a very old lady who did not have the record either, was only 'told of it.' We have since learned there is a Bible record that shows Matilda was not a Collins but a Denham and the three Collins’ mentioned  DNA does not match. Is this "story" the basis for Valentine Collins being a Core Melungeon?

Throughout this report these four authors try to convince us that Vardy and Valentine are brothers, sons of Samuel, finally admitting they have different DNA and it is likely Valentine is a Bunch and not even a Collins.

Valentine's father might be a Bunch who came from Louisa County, Virginia or Orange County, North Carolina - but- this is supposed to be a 'scientific paper' reviewed by a 'scientific journal and there is no room for speculations -- right?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

We Regret The Error

Joanne Pezzullo

Melungeon DNA Study Reveals Ancestry, Upsets 
'A Whole Lot Of People'
Travis Loller

A ‘few slight errors’ in the reporting by the AP reporter.
(1)” Now a new DNA study in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy attempts to separate truth from oral tradition and wishful thinking. The study found the truth to be somewhat less exotic: Genetic evidence shows that the families historically called Melungeons are the offspring of sub-Saharan African men and white women of northern or central European origin.”
This is obviously genetically impossible as the undisputed ‘Head and Source” of the Melungeons, Vardy Collins and Buck Gibson, have European DNA as does a number of the other Core Surnames in this project.  

The first Sub-Saharan men came here in 1619 at a time when there were virtually no (available) white women at Jamestown.  The women were brought over in the next few years to encourage the ENGLISH gentlemen to remain in Virginia, where did these Sub-Saharan men find these ‘white women’? By 1650 the Gibson family had been at Jamestown  for 40 years and a couple of generations, and there is evidence they had already mixed with the Native tribes.
(2)"There were a whole lot of people upset by this study," lead researcher Roberta Estes said. "They just knew they were Portuguese, or Native American." 
There is really nothing in this study that would upset or surprise seasoned Melungeon researchers or anyone reading the many Melungeon discussion lists as this project has been a hot topic for the last seven years.

Eyewitnesses to history, credible witnesses, in fact the same witnesses, these authors used to define the Melungeons said they were Portuguese and Indian. When this report was published it had been long established there was African blood in the mix per the 1848 legend of the Melungeons.  The first blood study done in the 1970s showed there were African and Native ancestry in the Melungeons as did the first DNA tests done in 2002 -- TEN years ago! The  Melungeon Heritage Association has been celebrating “One People All Colors well over ten years.
(3) “Beginning in the early 1800s, or possibly before, the term Melungeon (meh-LUN'-jun) was applied as a slur to a group of about 40 families along the Tennessee-Virginia border. But it has since become a catch-all phrase for a number of groups of mysterious mixed-race ancestry.”
Actually throughout the 1850s and 1860s ‘moulungeons’ was a word used numerous times describing people in Virginia who had no relation whatsoever to these people on Newman’s Ridge.
(4) “Estes and her fellow researchers theorize that the various Melungeon lines may have sprung from the unions of black and white indentured servants living in Virginia in the mid-1600s, before slavery.”
“May have” indeed.  In fact, these various Melungeon lines ‘may have’ sprang from a variety of scenarios.  They, or some of them, may have sprang from the union of the European men and Native American women, some ‘may have’  sprang from the ‘dutch, poles, and OTHERS’ who came on the 2nd Supply in 1608 with Thomas Gibson.

Some of the Native tribes in 1609 may have had Portuguese/Spanish or African blood from the earlier mixing with the explorers who came in the 1500s. You could theorize many scenarios if you factor in the EUROPEAN male DNA that was mentioned in the study but omitted by the AP reporter, and the thousands of grandparents that fell between the cracks.
(5) “Claims of Portuguese ancestry likely were a ruse they used in order to remain free and retain other privileges that came with being considered white, according to the study's authors."
In 1848 the Melungeons told their legend; they were Portuguese who mixed with the Indians - the whites and the blacks after they got to Tennessee to form the PRESENT RACE. There was NO REASON IN THE WORLD for them to make up a story they were Portuguese to prove they weren't black when they said they mixed with the blacks. There is no way to spin this! They said they were Portuguese, Indian, white and BLACK. ALL NON-WHITES had the same NON PRIVILEGES in 1848!
(6) “Her attorney, Lewis Shepherd, argued successfully that the Simmerman's family was descended from ancient Phoenicians who eventually migrated to Portugal and then to North America.”
Her attorney did not ‘argue successfully’ they were Phoenicians.  This is not found in the trial transcripts that I have read but in the memoirs of her attorney printed some 25-30 years after the trial, his arguments have not been located to my knowledge.  

In fact her attorney did not ‘argue successfully’ they were Portuguese -- a number of witnesses were called, their neighbors, tax collectors, etc.,  said they were Portuguese, not her attorney.
(7) “The latest DNA study limited participants to those whose families were called Melungeon in the historical records of the 1800s and early 1900s in and around Tennessee's Hawkins and Hancock Counties, on the Virginia border some 200 miles northeast of Nashville.”
These four researchers may have limited the families to the area in and around Hawkins and Hancock County but in this paper which they published they write; 
“This match is particularly important because it shows that the designation Melungeon, the term used to identify this group of South Carolina people, seems to predate the Melungeon community in Hawkins County, being used in reference to Solomon Bolton who is living in the Spartanburg District of South Carolina prior to 1800.”
This group of Melungeons found on the Pee Dee River before 1800, (not in Spartanburg) who settled in Hamilton County, 170 miles from Hancock County,  are not represented in  this study although the authors  clearly write they PREDATE Hawkins Commuity.  

The Newspaper Article 

Just a little investigative journalism would have turned up the Core Melungeon Y DNA Study and the Core Melungeon mtDNA study -- both public pages and both would have shown there were Native Americans in the project that were not used in the paper published by these four authors.

On May 27th Janet Crain, one of the authors, wrote to Cleland Thorpe;
 “Lay persons such as journalists who have not studied genetics don't understand the meaning of the tests....We were not allowed to speculate in our study which was submitted to a rigorous vetting by peer review by the Journal of Genetic Genealogy in a process that took well over a year after the last word was written.”
[According to this paper it is stamped “Submitted July 2011 and accepted December 2011” I’m not sure if this means it sat on someone’s desk from July until December or if it was approved 6 months after it was submitted., or does it mean it was accepted in December, peer reviewed from December until April when it was published?  Either way it seems to be well shy of ‘over a year’.  Lead researcher, Roberta Estes writes the ‘rigorous vetting’ takes up to 18 months “to assure it is presented without error and without bias”.]

In a later email that day Janet Crain wrote;
“Hopefully there will be more interviews and maybe a television show. People all over the world now know about the Melungeons. Eventually it will be for the good." 
EVENTUALLY it will be for the good?  The lead researcher has admitted on her blog there was a ‘slight error’ in allowing Ms Loller to print the Melungeons are descendants of “Sub Saharan African and white women ’?  Janet Crain has twice tried to change the ‘misstatement’ in the article at Wikipedia,  for it is a gross misstatement to write they were descendants of Sub Saharan men when clearly more than half of the male participants were European.  

Are  these four researchers hoping for more interviews so they can clear up some of these ‘misstatements’ and ‘slight errors’ or are they hoping for more interviews after they include the half of the Melungeon population they left out of this one?

Ms Loller relied on the fact this paper was 'peer reviewed' when in fact the journal that reviewed it, Journal of Genetic Genealogist it is a journal for and by 'hobbyists' and "does not abide by the standard system of scientific peer-review".

Why Journalists Make Mistakes ; What We Can Do About Them
by Mallary JeanTenmore  Article

Acknowledging fallibility helps us learn from our mistakes
Admitting we’re wrong can actually help news consumers trust us more.
“I think we inspire trust by acknowledging our mistakes,” Schulz said. “People who obstinately refuse to admit the fact that they made mistakes just look bad. When someone says, ‘You know what, here’s what I got wrong,’ I think people respond quite positively to that.”
 Schulz says in her book that we’re taught to feel shame when we make mistakes. So it makes sense that we would be reluctant to admit we’re wrong.
Perhaps the way to encourage ownership and admission of errors is to create a newsroom culture that handles mistakes differently.
Majority of mistakes aren’t corrected
Maier’s research on corrections indicates that fewer than 2 percent of the factual errors identified by news sources are corrected.

Friday, June 22, 2012



What is a "Peer"?

Noun: A person of the same age, status, or ability as another specified person.

In other words if a 'hobbyists' submits a paper to be reviewed by their 'peers' it will be reviewed by 'hobbyists'.

What is JoGG or the 'Journal of Genetic Genealogists?

I have been researching this journal for over a month and from what I could determine there does not seem to be but 'maybe one' geneticist among these Editors, nor could I find a Certified Genealogist listed among them.

I am sure they are all very intelligent, well read, and understand genetics much more than the normal lay person. I have had four children, witnessed the birth of 8 grandchildren and 2 nieces. I have read everything I could find on childbirth since 1966 and consider myself knowledgeable on the subject but I would not, (or could not) walk into a hospital and perform a cesarean section.

Having said that, the Melungeon people are a complex group of people, they left no history to study, and most researchers cannot even agree on who should be called a Melungeon or from whence they came. These families carry surnames that are proven to be from as many as four or five unrelated lines judging from their DNA and are complicated to say the least.

JOGG seems to be a zine for genealogy hobbyists, albeit with upmarket "academic" aspirations. As has been pointed out (JOGG was mentioned once before on this board, but not discussed), JOGG is an outlet for non-geneticists, and even non-scientists, to publish research that may not be acceptable to established scientific journals. (quote: "The main emphasis of this journal will be to present a forum for articles that may not be appropriate for other established genetics journals since they may be based on datasets in which a statistically random sample cannot be guaranteed (i.e. surname studies).") Further, only one person in their entire staff (Editor, Associate Editors and Editorial Board) has credentials in genetics. So, even though there is a "peer-reviewed" system, JOGG is clearly a journal for hobbyists.
Surnames, DNA, and Family History, Oxford University Press, 2011
Page 196
"The growth of interest in genetic genealogy has inspired a group of individuals outside the academic arena who are passionate about the subject and who have an impressive grasp of the research issues.  Two focal points for this group are the International Society of Genetic Genealogy and the Journal of Genetic Genealogy. The Isogg is a non-profit, non-commercial organizaton that provides resources and maintains one of the most up-to-date, if not completely academically verified, phylogenetic tress of Y chromosome haplogroups. The Journal of Genetic Genealogy is its online journal, and while it does not abide by the standard system of scientific peer-review, it has attracted contributions from academic geneticists and will no doubt go on to become an important forum through which academics and the public can interact." 
I have a hard time understanding how this paper could pass peer review with so many obvious errors.  

Did these peers not look at the project page posted at ftDNA?  Did they not notice the "Q" Freeman in the project was omitted, did they ask why?

Did they look at the list of 19 surnames these Administrators have listed as "Core Melungeon Surnames"?  Did they ask why 9 of them, almost half, were not in the project?  Did they ask if there was a 'compelling' reason for publishing a study that was only half finished?

Did they ask why these authors reported several times that Vardy and Valentine Collins were brothers before 'speculating' they might be half brothers because they do not carry the same haplogroup?

I wrote Travis Loller the AP Reporter and asked a few questions on her piece that was published on the Melungeons. I asked specifically if she was aware that Wikipedia stated; 
"So, even though there is a "peer-reviewed" system, JOGG is clearly a journal for hobbyists."
 She said;
"Anyway, I am not relying on my own expertise on this, because I have none. I am relying on the fact that this was published in a peer-reviewed journal. If you feel the researchers' conclusions are wrong, you should really bring it up with the journal's editorial board. If they issue some type of retraction, I will write about it for the AP."
Ms Loller wrote that Wikipedia is not a valid source. I did write to Terry Barton, Editor at Journal of Genetic Genealogy, I am still waiting for a response.

Next -- Vardy and Valentine Collins -- Stay Tuned

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yes Virginia - The Native American History is Documented


The Melungeons and the Tennessee Indians

I don't mean to 'beat a dead horse' but I just can't help wondering why in this paper recently published by Estes, Crain, Goins and Ferguson did they not include the Native American haplogroup of FREEMAN.  

There are other associations with the surnames coming back with Q haplogroups such as Lawson, Strickland, Helton etc., but the omission of FREEMAN, which is listed on the CORE MELUNGEON page at ftDNA, and the other maternal connections to the Native Americans not mentioned, it almost seems like they are not wanting to admit to the Native heritage documented amongst the Melungeons. 

The very first page, very first paragraph of this paper states the Melungeons were found in Lee County, Virginia;
"Melungeon is a term applied historically to a group of persons, probably multiethnic, found primarily in Hawkins and Hancock Counties, Tennessee, and in adjoining southern Lee County, Virginia".

On page 22 we find; 
"The list of Core Melungeon families was taken from multiple historical sources, including the 1830 census,  Lewis Jarvis’ records, court records,  tax lists,  Plecker’s lists,  Droomgoole’s articles, the Shepherd Case, the 1880 census, the 1890 census report, voting records."
"Lee and Smyth:
Collins, Gibson, (Gipson), Moore, Goins, Ramsey, Delph, Bunch, Freeman, Mise, Barlow, Bolden (Bolin), Mullins, Hawkins"
According to their own guidelines the FREEMAN'S Native American haplogroup should have been part of this study, yet it was omitted.

Upon the formation of the Core Melungeon project Jack Goins wrote;
"In order to have a legitimate Melungeon DNA program, core names must be established with written records from men who lived in the days of the first known Melungeons."
 The two names listed are  #1 Lewis Shepherd who represented the Hamilton County Melungeons and #2 Lewis Jarvis who represented the Hancock County Melungeons. (According to the recently published article by Jack Goins and fellow authors Lewis Jarvis  " was a respected local attorney in Hancock County" - "He knew these people personally and was speaking from his personal knowledge.)

What did Lewis Shepherd and Lewis Jarvis say these Melungeons were? Portugese and Indians.

In this latest article published by JoGG on the Melungeon DNA the authors used the 'historical documents' of Lewis Shepherd, Lewis Jarvis, C. H. Humble (Presbyterian Minister)  and Will Allen Dromgoole in which to build their list of Melungeon Core names.  

What ancestry, as an "eyewitness to history" did  Shepherd, Jarvis, Humble and Dromgoole they say these families were believed to be?

As I wrote in the previous blog there is much evidence the people on the Pee Dee River were Portuguese and brought the name Melungeon with them to Hancock County.  There is also much evidence the people in and around Hancock County were Indians.

C.H. Humble

A Visit To The Melungeons
"The first settlers here were the great grand parents, Varday Collins, Shephard Gibson, and Charley Williams, who came from Virginia it is said, though other say from North Carolina. They have marked Indians resemblances in color, feature, hair, carriage, and disposition. ............Indian blood mingled somewhat with Caucasian will account for all the peculiarities of color, feature, hair, carriage and character possessed by these people."
Lewis Jarvis

Capt. L. M. Jarvis, an old citizen of Sneedville wrote in his 82nd year:
"I have lived here at the base of Newman's Ridge, Blackwater, being on the opposite side, for the last 71 years and well know the history of these people on Newman's Ridge and Blackwater enquired about as Melungeons. These people were friendly to the Cherokees who came west with the white imigration from New River and Cumberland, Virginia, about the year 1790...The name Melungeon was given them on account of their color. I have seen the oldest and first settlers of this tribe who first occupied Newman's Ridge and Blackwater and I have owned much of the lands on which they settled.. They obtained their land grants from North Carolina. I personally knew Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepard Gibson, Paul Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moores, Williams and Sullivans, all of the very first settlers and noted men of these friendly Indians
Hancock County Times1903
"Vardy Collins, Shepherd Gibson, Benjamin Collins, Solomon Collins, Paul Bunch and the Goodmans, chiefs and the rest of them settled here about the year 1804, possibly about the year 1795, but al these men above named, who are called Melungeons, obtained land grants and muniments of title to the land they settled on and they were the friendly Indians who came with the whites as they moved west. They came from the Cumberland County and New River, Va., stopping at various points west of the Blue Ridge. Some of them stopped on Stony Creek, Scott County, and Virginia, where Stoney Creek runs into Clinch River."  [ According to evidence found by the early settlers, an Indian village once stood on the south bank of the Clinch River near the mouth of Stony Creek.]  
"The white emigrants with the friendly Indians erected a fort on the bank of the river and called it Fort Blackmore and here yet many of these friendly “Indians” live in the mountains of Stony creek, but they have married among the whites until the race has almost become extinct. A few of the half bloods may be found-none darker- but they still retain the name of Collins and Gibson, &c. From here they came to Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater and many of them are here yet; but the amalgamations of the whites and Indians has about washed the red tawny from their appearance, the white faces predominating, so now you scarcely find one of the original Indians; a few half-bloods and quarter-bloods-balance white or past the third generation."
"The old pure blood were finer featured, straight and erect in form, more so than the whites and when mixed with whites made beautiful women and the men very fair looking men. These Indians came to Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater."

Will Allen Dromgoole
"The Goins family may be easily recognized by their kinky hair, flat nose and foot, thick lips, and a complexion totally unlike the Collins and Mullins tribes.  They posses many Negro traits, too, which are wanting to the other tribes."
 "Many of the Malungeons claim to be Cherokee and Portuguese. Where they could have gotten their Portuguese blood is a mystery. The Cherokee is easily enough accounted for, as they claim to have come from North Carolina, and to be a remnant of the tribe that refused to go when the Indians were ordered to the reservation. They are certainly very Indian-like in appearance."
"The owner was a full-blooded Indian, with keen, black eyes, straight black hair, high cheeks, and a hook nose. He played upon his violin with his fingers instead of a bow, and entertained us with a history of his grandfather, who was a Cherokee chief, and by singing some of the songs of his tribe."
 "The people in this house slept on leaves with an old gray blanket for covering. Yet the master of the house, who claims to be an Indians, and who without doubt, possesses Indian blood, draws a pension of twenty-nine dollars per month. He can neither read nor write, is a lazy fellow, fond of apple brandy and bitter coffee, has a rollicking good time with an old fiddle which he plays with his thumb, and boasts largely of his Cherokee grandfather and his government pension." 
"The original Collins people were Indian, there is no doubt about that, and they lived as the Indians lived until sometime after the first white man appeared among them."
"They were the Collins, as I said; those who followed the first-comers accepting the name already provided them. There was no mixture of blood: they claimed to be Indians and no man disputed it. They were called the "Collins Tribe" until having multiplied to the extent it was necessary to divide, when the descendants of the several pioneers were separated, or divided into clans."
"So we have the four races or representatives among, as they then began to be called, the Melungeons; namely, the Indians, the English, the Portuguese, and the African. Each is clearly distinct and easily recognized even to the present."

"In appearance they bear a striking resemblance to the Cherokees, and they are believed by the people round about to be of a kind of half-breed Indian. Their complexion is reddish brown, totally unlike the mulatto. The men are very tall and straight, with small, sharp eyes, high cheek bones, and straight black hair, worn rather long. The women are small, below the average height, coal black hair and eyes, high cheek bones, and the same red brown complexion. The hands of the Melungeons women are quite shapely and pretty. Also their feet, despite the fact that they travel the sharp mountain trails barefoot, are short and shapely. Their features are wholly unlike those of the negro, except in cases where the two races have cohabited, as is sometimes the fact. These instances can readily be detected, as can those of cohabitation with the mountaineer, for the pure Melungeons present a characteristic and individual appearance. On the Ridge proper, one finds only the pure Melungeon!
"It is in the unsavory limits of Black Water Swamp and on Big Sycamore Creek, lying at the foot of the ridge between it and Powells mountain, that the mixed races dwell."
"So nearly complete has been the extinction of the race that in but few counties of eastern Tennessee is it known. In Hancock you may hear them, and see them, almost the minute you cross into the county line. There they are distinguished as the Ridgemanites or pure Melungeons. Those among whom the white or negro blood has entered are called the Blackwaters."
Supporting Witnesses

John B. Brownlow
"I have traveled horse-back before, during and since the Civil War, in the counties where these people live, and have seen them in their cabin homes and from information received independently of what Judge Shepherd says, I am satisfled his statement is to be relied upon."
"The foremost jury lawyer of East Tenn. of his generation was the late Hon. John Netherland, the son-in-law of the John A. McKinney, referred to by Lucy S. V. King, and he gave me the same account, substantially, of the origin of these people that Judge Shepherd does.  Netherland was the Whig candidate for Governor of Tennessee in 1859, against Isham G. Harris. He died in the 80's. He was a slave-owner and practised law in all the East Tennessee counties, which these people live." Prior to 1824 free negroes voted in Tennessee, and when in that year the State Constitution was so amended as to disfranchise "all free persons of color", it was sometimes made the pretext of refusing the franchise to these people of perfectly straight hair, small hands and shapely feet who bore no more resemblance to a negro than do members of the Spanish or Portugese embassies of Washington.
"In my boyhood days they were called Portugese.    I believe there was some mixture of these Portugese with the Cherokee Indians, but not with negroes."
Eliza N. Heiskell   (Daughter of Hon. John Netherland who represented the Melungeons.)
"The Melungeons have a tradition of a Portuguese ship mutiny, with the successful mutineer beaching the vessel on the North Carolina coast, then their retreat towards the mountains, farther and farther away from the avenging law of man, going on where nature’s barriers were their protection from a relentless foe-swept into heaven by the hand of fate.”
Special Correspondence of The Journal
Rogersville, Tenn., September 25
"As to their origin--- well that is where the mystery comes in.  While they have the appearance of Mulatto, Portuguese, and Indian all mixed in different and various proportions, they bear names evident of English origin, such as Gibson, Collins, Singleton, Goins, and Mallett."  
"In Magoffin county, Kentucky, one of the wildest of the eastern subdivisions of the commonwealth there is a community or settlement of people, who claim to be descendants of Portuguese, and the resemblance is said to be striking and complete....."
Will T. Hale
"A good many years ago there came to my native village a family named Goin, from East Tennessee. They were thought to be half-breed Indians. They were friendly, honest, and industrious. Every second Sunday, in single file, dressed in cheap but clean clothing, they made their way to the Baptist church. I feel sure now that they belonged to one of the two families of Malungeons - The family called “Goin” as I have since learned, designating it from the ones that had no mixed blood in it."
(Will T. Hale was the son of Charles Warren Lafayette and Malissa (Overall) Hale. He studied law in a private office, and, according to one source practiced law for about 8 yrs. at Liberty and Lebanon, Tennessee)  See Malungeon Town - Lebanon, Tennessee
American Notes and Queries
December 5, 1891 Malungeons (Vol Vi, p. 273) -- The lateness of these details (sent to The New York Sun from Sneedville, November 20) may make them acceptable to you in the above connection: " 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 Indian, part negro.  The negro strain is not spread through 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 come 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. 
Office Of M. R. Buttery
Sheriff of Hancock County
Sneedville, TennMay 10, 1897

Mr. Mc Donald FurmanRamsey, S. C.
 "Dear Sir:  I would have written you sooner but got your letter mislaid.  As to the Melungeons I know of no book containing any history of them. They are a peculiar set of people, most of them are very dark, straight hair and high cheek bones resemble a Cherokee Indian."
Yes Virginia, there is documentation, both historical and genetic, the Melungeons had Native Ancestry!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Real Core Melungeons


Who really were the Core Melungeons? 

From my research I determined years ago the people who were originally called Melungeons were the people living on the Pee Dee River as early as 1754.  And they were, as they said, Portuguese adventurers who had mixed with the Carolina Indians.

On page 59 of the recently published report authored by Estes, Crain, Goins and Ferguson they write; 
"This match is particularly important because it shows that the designation Melungeon, the term used to identify this group of South Carolina people, seems to predate the Melungeon community in Hawkins County, being used in reference to Solomon Bolton who is living in the Spartanburg District of South Carolina prior to 1800. "
Judge Lewis Shepherd who defended the Melungeon Bolton family in Hamilton County, Tennessee in 1874 was clear in his telling of who these people were;
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.
Judge Lewis Shepherd is describing his “client”, the daughter of Solomon Bolton, and the people that came from the Pee Dee River in South Carolina with them. (listed in the petition)

These people proved to judges and juries over almost 100 years in their  court battles  they were Portuguese.  The Ivey, Perkins, Bolton, Graham, Reed, Collins, Hall, Griffen, Dungey, and Ashworth were sworn, under oath, to be Portuguese by their neighbors. The Chavis who went from the Pee Dee River to Crow Creek Alabama were known by their neighbors as Portuguese. The Roarks of Tennessee and Kentucky are also in historical documents as having Portuguese ancestry.

In 1872 Judge Giles Leitch of Robeson County was called upon to testify;

Excerpt from the 1871 North Carolina Joint Senate and House Committee as they interviewed Robeson County Judge Giles Leitch about the ‘free persons of color’ living within his county:
 Senate: Half of the colored population? 
Leitch: Yes Sir; half of the colored population of Robeson County were never slaves at all…
Senate: What are they; are they Negroes?
Leitch: Well sir, I desire to tell you the truth as near as I can; but I really do not know what they are; I think they are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese and Indian… Senate: You think they are mixed Negroes and Indians?
Leitch: I do not think that in that class of population there is much Negro blood at all; of that half of the colored population that I have attempted to describe all have always been free…They are called ‘mulattoes’ that is the name they are known by, as contradistinguished from Negroes…I think they are of Indian origin.
Senate: I understand you to say that these seven or eight hundred persons that you designate as mulattoes are not Negroes but are a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, white blood and Indian blood, you think they are not generally Negroes? Leitch: I do not think the Negro blood predominates. 

The Gibsons

The Gibsons of the Pee Dee River and Hanover/Louisa County, Virginia have been genetically linked by DNA. Tobias Gibson, one of the first traveling Methodist Ministers in his day, was said to have been proud of his ‘Portuguese ancestry’.  
 “His circuit embraced all the settlements on Watauga, Nollichucky, and Holston Rivers, including those in what is now Greene, Washington, Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, and Hawkins Counties, Tenn., and Washington, Smyth, Russell, and perhaps Scott and Lee Counties, Va., with one or two appointments on the head waters of New River, in Grayson County, Va., and Ashe County, N. C.” (Holston Methodism from 1783 to 1788, p. 94.)
The Rev. John G. Jones wrote in 1866 'the Gibson family descended from 3 ship loads of Portuguese who settled on the Pee Dee River in the 16th century'. Lucas deAyllon with 3 ship loads of men, women, children and 100 slaves, settled at the mouth of the Pee Dee River at Winyah Bay in 1527. This eerily resembles the legend told by Melungeons in 1848. These 100 slaves revolted and were said to have joined the Native tribes living along the Pee Dee River. (Note: See Lucas Vasquez de Allyon for more information on this expedition.)

Jones went on to write; 
“……..from memory and a few scraps of memoranda, what little I know of these three leading Gibson families. First; the parents of Rev. Randall Gibson came to the Natchez county (as it was then called), about 1781. In order to avoid the hostile Indians in what is now Western Georgia and Eastern Alabama, immigrants from the Carolinas traveled over land to the Holston River in East Tennessee, where they built family boats and descended the Holston and Tennessee Rivers, etc. Randall Gibson was then about fifteen years old, and I have heard him relate this fact in connection with an attack made on their boat by hostile Cherokee Indians. (Note: John Sevier while organizing the ‘State of Franklin’ was said to have encountered this colony of dark skinned people on the Holston. Three of the Gibson men from the Pee Dee River Gibson family  were on John Sevier’s Franklin Petition.)
Judge Lewis Shepherd says these people from the Pee Dee River came over the mountains to Hancock [Hawkins County] and dispersed from there. 

There is evidence that some of these Gibsons at the Stoney Creek Church may have came from the Pee Dee River settlement.  John Gibson of the Pee Dee River had land in what was later Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1774.  It is likely some of these Gibsons, Collins etc., came from the Pee Dee River to Wlikes County and then to the Stoney Creek Church.  

The Quillen family are found in the Stoney Creek Church records,  Francis Quillen married Delilah Gibson who was reportedly born 1797 in South Carolina.  A Delilah/Delily Gibson is found on the 1794 petition as one of the widows with a large family.  She is found in 1850 census with her son George in Vineyard, Washington Co., Arkansas along with the Shoemake, Bolton and Oxendine families.

The Oxendine, Ivey, and Linegar families found on this petition settled in or near Hancock County, Tennessee. Oral histories and historical documents show the Oxendine, Linegar and Gibson families to have been part of the ‘Trail of Tears’ who dropped off in Missouri and returned to Tennessee.

In August of 2011 Janet Crain wrote to the Melungeon Rootsweb list that the Core Melungeon project was not finished, this was one month after submitting it to JoGG for 'peer review.'  She wrote; 
"It is regretful that no Boltons, Shumakes, etc. have joined but perhaps they will someday".

It is regretful they did not wait for DNA results for these people who they admit probably brought the name with them from South Carolina and who were the 'real' Core Melungeons.  Why the rush to publish?

To Be Con't
The Melungeons and the Tennesee Indians

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 ...