Sunday, July 29, 2012

Were The Melungeons Indians?


I started researching Melungeon families in 1988 but never heard the word until I went online in 1996.  One of the first books I bought was MELUNGEONS: EXAMINING AN APPALACHIAN LEGEND by Pat Spurlock Elder, which is still the best book out there on Melungeon families. 


I wrote to the author and she wrote back, in fact we have had a few emails over the years and I was truly saddened when I learned she had donated her research. She remains one of the best researchers on this subject.


One of the first things I learned from Ms Elder is you can find evidence to support any theory on the history of Melungeons and their kinfolks.  Brent Kennedy convinced many people they descended from Turkish sailors and named people like Elivs Presley as possbile Melungeons which is still being published today.  Tim Hashaw wrote they descended from the 19 African slaves who stepped off the boat in 1619 although history records them as stepping off the boat and into obscurity.


Elizabeth Hirschman and Donald Panther Yates have them descended from 'Jews from Scotland.'  Jack Goins, Roberta Estes and Janet Crain and Penny Ferguson write they descend from 'Sub Saharan men and white women' based on Y and mtDNA results that represents a mere 1% of the participants DNA.


There are no slave papers, manumission papers, runaway slave ads, nothing that proves they descended from anyone,  nothing more than a few DNA results and 'they were called mulatto or free people of color.'


From my research there seems no doubt the Melungeons descended from the Native Americans. They are recognized as Indians by the U.S. Government found in Senate Documents, Census records, draft records, etc.  
There are numerous documents that state the Melungeons are a branch of the Croatan/Lumbee Tribe of Robeson County, North Carolina, these are just a few of the documents that state they were Indians. 


Most of these were 'eyewitnesses to history' and many of them were used to document the Melungeon surname list generated by the Core Melungeon DNA Project administrators.

-------------------------------------------------------

Goodspeed's History of Tennessee-1886
Hancock County
A settlement was also made at an early date at Mulberry Gap, where a little village sprang up. Newmans' Ridge, which runs through the county to the north of Sneedville, and parallel with Clinch river, is said to have taken its name from one of the first settlers upon it. It has since been occupied mainly by a people presenting a peculiar admixture of white and Indian blood.
Swan Burnett -This article was read before the Anthropological Society of Washington D. C on February 5, 1889 and published in the American Anthropologist in October of that year.


Swan Burnett -This article was read before the Anthropological Society of Washington D. C on February 5, 1889 and published in the American Anthropologist in October of that year.
October 1889
Since the above communications was read before the Society I have received from several sources valuable information in regard to the Melungeons; but the most important contribution bearing on the subject, as I believe, is the little pamphlet published by Hamilton Mc Millan, A. M., on “Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony” (Wilson, N.C., 1888). Mc Millan claims that the Croatan Indians are the direct descendant of this colony. What connection I consider to exist between the Melungeons and the Croatan Indians, as well as other material I have accumulated in regard to the Melungeons, will be made the subject of another communication which is now in preparation.




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

63D CONGRESS 3D SESSION 
SENATE DOCUMENT NO. 677
INDIANS OF NORTH CAROLINA
LETTER FROM  THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
TRANSMITTING, IN RESPONSE TO A SENATE RESOLUTION 
OF JUNE 30, 1914, A REPORT ON THE CONDITION 
AND TRIBAL RIGHTS OF THE INDIANS 
OF ROBESON AND ADJOINING COUNTIES OF NORTH CAROLINA
JANUARY 5, 1915.--REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS AND ORDERED TO BE PRINTED 
Exhibit B7.
LETTER OF HAMILTON MCMILLAN TO INDIAN OFFICE, JULY 17, 1890.
The Croatan Tribe lives principally in Robeson County, N. C., though there are quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter County, S. C., there is a branch of the tribe and also in East Tennessee. In Lincoln County, N. C., there is another branch, settled there long ago. Those living in East Tennessee are called "Melungeans," a name also retained  by them here,

Morning Oregonian, (Portland, OR)
Tuesday, October 14, 1890; pg. 3
 IN TENNESSEE'S HILLS
The Mysterious Tribe Known as Melungeons
On the Ridge, the real stronghold of this peculiar people, life is a great deal harder than in the swamp or on Blackwater creek.  They live more like Indians than the dwellers in the valley, and are entirely content with their life.  I visited several huts, spending a month among them, living on corn bread, honey and black, sugarless coffee.


They were as utter strangers the day I left as on the day I arrived among them.  Calloway Collins in an Indian if ever one set foot on Tennessee soil.  He is very fond of his red skin, high cheek-bones and Indian like appearance.

LAND OF THE MALUNGEONS
The Nashville Daily American
Written for the Sunday American
By Will Allen Dromgoole
August 31, 1890
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

A Strange People
By Will Allen Dromgoole
Nashville Sunday American
September 1, 1890
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. He also described the Malungeon custom of amusements.

The Melungeons
A Peculiar Race of People Living Hancock County 
1890-09-28
The Knoxville Journal
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,


Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed in the United States (except. Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890. 
Washington, DC: US Census Printing Office
Such are the remnants called Indians in some states where a pure-blooded Indian can hardly longer be found. In Tennessee such a group, popularly known as Melungeans, in addition to those still known as Cherokee.

American Notes and Queries - 
Edited by William Shepard Walsh, Henry Collins Walsh, William H. Garrison, Samuel R. Harris 
1891
December 5, 1891 
Malungeons (Vol Vi, p. 273) -- The lateness of these details (sent to tthe 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.

THE MELUNGEON TREE AND IT'S FOUR BRANCHES
By Will Allen Dromgoole
The Arena ; v. 3 (May, 1891), p. 749-751.
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

The Magazine of American History  with Notes and Queries 
Volume XXV  
Page 258 
Judge Lea addressed the society on the subject of the Melungeons. He outlined the early history of the settlement of North Carolina. A party under the protection of a friendly Indian chief had gone into the interior when the first settlers came to that coast and had been lost. No other settlers came till a century afterward, and they were told of a tribe who claimed a white ancestry, and among whom gray eyes were frequent. 

M. R. Buttery
Sheriff of Hancock County
Sneedville, Tenn
May 10, 1897
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.  

WOMAN’S BOARD OF HOME MISSIONS
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S.A 
HOME MISSION MONTHLY
A Visit To The Melungeons
C.H. Humble
1897
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


Should you .ask any of these people concerning their origin, all they can say is that they were told that their ancestors came from North Carolina and had Indian blood in their veins. 


Indian blood mingled somewhat with Caucasian will account for all the peculiarities of color, feature, hair, carriage and character possessed by these people.


A STRANGE PEOPLE OF TENNESSEE
The Malungeons and Their Curious Customs
There is a Mystery as to Their Origin
Claims of Indian-Portuguese Descent Discussed
Their Chief Occupations Are Farming, Milling, Hunting
and Digging Medicinal Roots


September 20, 1897
Times Picayune (Louisiana)
The Malungeons at first sight seem to be a cross between white and Indians.  They are of a copper color with prominent cheek bones, coal black hair, straight noses, black eyes and an air of intelligence.  Some say that they are of Moorish descent.  Their color and foreign appearance weighed 


Lewis Jarvis
Hancock County Times
1903
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.


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. Some of them went into the War of 1812-1914 whose names are here given; James Collins, John Bolin and Mike Bolin and some others not remembered; those were quite full blooded. These were like the white people; there were good and bad among them, but the great majority were upright, good citizens and accumulated good property and many of them are among our best property owners and as good as Hancock County, Tennessee affords. Their word is their bond and most of them that ever came to Hancock county, Tennessee, then Hawkins County and Claiborne, are well remembered by some of the present generation here and now and they have left records to show these facts. 


They all came here simultaneously with the whites from the State of Virginia, between the years 1795 and 1812 and about this there is no mistake, except in the dates these Indians came here from Stoney Creek. 

Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology - Ethnology - 1907
page 365
Across the line in South Carolina are found a people, evidently of similar origin, designated "Red bones." In portions of w. N. C. and E. Temn. are found the so-called "Melungeons" (probably from French melangi', 'mixed') or "Portuguese," apparently an offshoot from the Croatan proper, and in Delaware are found the "Moors." All of these are local designations for peoples of mixed race with an Indian nucleus differing in no way from the present mixed-blood remnants known as Pamunkey, Chicka- hominy, and Nansemond Indians in Virginia, excepting in the more complete loss of their identity. In general, the physical features and complexion of the persons of this mixed stock incline more to the Indian than to the white or negro

Date: June 23, 1907
Paper: Dallas Morning News
Peculiar Peoples In America
By Frederic J. Haskins
On Newman's ridge in Hancock County, Tennessee, overlooking the beautiful Clinch River Valley, lives one of the most mysterios people in America.  Through their Anglo-Saxon neighbors or through writers of romance the name "Malungeon" has been given them, a name that the better element resents.  They resemble in feature the Cherokee Indians, and yet have a strong, Caucasian cast of countenance that makes their claim to Portuguese descent seem probable.  They came, so a legend runs, of a bard of Portuguese pirates, who long yeas ago were wrecked on an unknown coast, became adopted into an Indian tribe and were part of the Cherokees who two or three centuries later refused to go West and live on the reservation that a kindly Government offered when it needed their Eastern lands.

Watson's Jeffersonian Magazine - 
Page 522   1911
THE REMNANT OF AN INDIAN RACE
John Bell Brownlow
In my boyhood days they were called Portugese. The word Mulangeon is comparatively modern as to its general use. As a rule they did not go into either army; did not wish to. They preferred agriculture; happy in their mountain cabins. The extract from McKinney's speech is garbled. He truly said the language of the disfranchising clause included these people because it embraced "all free persons of color" but notwithstanding that the majority of them always voted because their neighbors did not regard them as negroes or as having negro blood in their veins. I believe there was some mixture of these Portugese with the Cherokee Indians, but not with negroes. 

The Melungeons 
Paul Converse 
Southern Collegian
December 1912
Their lips are not noticeably thicker nor their feet broader than those of pure Caucasians, and although their hair is sometimes wavy it is seldom, if ever, kinky. Some of the small boys with their uncombed hair, dirty faces and wide, staring eyes look like young Indians fresh from their smoky wigwams.


THE KINGSPORT TIMES
KINGSPORT, TENNESEE
July 31, 1923
DISTINCT RACE OF PEOPLE INHABITS
THE MOUNTAINS OF EAST TENNESSEE
In the mountains of East Tennessee live a distinct race of people, a race as different from all others on the Western Hemisphere as the negro is different from the American Indian. Moreover this species of the human family is found nowhere else in America. It is the sinister race of the Melungeons, a mysterious race, few in numbers, whose origin is open to speculation, historians say. For many years they were thought to be Indians or a mixture of Indians and white people, whence probably originated their name, Melungeon, which means a mixture, according to the view held by those who have studied them. The history of this peculiar race as traced by the State Department of History, reveals their primitive life in the following way:

THE CHATTANOOGA TIMES 
Wednesday March 5, 1941
Letters
Melungeons Recalled
Mrs. Amanda Wheelock tells of Knowing Several of the Race


To the Editor of The Chattanooga Times:
These people were very dark, and had straight hair and no Negro features.  I bought vegetables and eggs from a Melungeon woman.  She was intelligent and of rather pleasing personality.  Her account of the history of her people was that the were descended from Portuguese sailors who, fleeing from an enemy. Left their boats and escaped into the mountains of North Carolina.  They married into a tribe of mountain Indians and although these Portuguese sailors were a very dark race of people they had no Negro blood.

The Alabama Lawyer: Official Organ State Bar of Alabama
By Alabama State Bar
Published by The Bar, 1942


One tribe of Indians and a community of mixed breed Indians were unmolested by the whites. These were the Uchees or Emassees, kinsman of the Seminoles or Creeks, who lived at the mouth of the Emassee or O'Mussee or Mercer creek near Columbia, and the Malunjins, a mixed breed community residing some three to six miles northeast of Dothan toward Webb even as late as 1865. Where the Malunjins came from nobody knows; where they were dispersed to is the limbo of forgotten men. B. P. Poyner, Sr., father of Houston County Probate Judge, S.P.Poyner, was born in the Malunjins' community. Some of these mixed breed Indians brought milk to Mr. Poyner's mother while he was an infant.


Mysterious People Inhabit Northeastern Part Of Tenn.


Bill Sanders
Times-News Writer
October 16 1949


On Newman's ridge in Northeastern Tennesee live an unknown people. Only one fact about them is undisputable, that they are strange people.  From there fact turns to legend.

These people are called Malungeons. their characteristics are like those of the Indian in many ways -- an olive colored skin, straight black hair, small hands and feet, and high cheek bones.

GENEALOGICAL HISTORY OF THE MELUNGEON FAMILIES
By Mark French Jr. 
Also the Melungeons came to Scott County from Letcher County, Kentucky near Whitesburg at a place called Lick Rock. These people lived in large numbers. Uncle Poke Gibson came to Scott from Letcher about 1820. He claimed to be Portuguese Indian. 


The Bollings, who are numerous in Scott and Wise Counties, came from Newman’s Ridge. The have all the features of the Indian race.  Old Jack Bolling, the originator of this family, is believed to have come from a low life grade of Indian. He married a melungeon by the name of Collins or Sexton but this is the first and last crossbreed in the family. His people were strong and spoke half-broken English. He was pure bred Melango and had no other blood in him. In this case word Melango pertains to Indian blood only. 
The Adkins family of Indian origin came from Blackwater, Tennessee. Some of them have migrated from Scott County to Letcher and Pike County. A Kentucky family name which belongs to the Melango tribe is the “Lucas’ facial features are large and massive with ruddy cheeks. It is believed they are descended from Portuguese Indians and Irish. The name Lucas is of Irish origin.


Another family which originated from the melungeons is the Moores. The Moores came in to this county from Newman’s Ridge about 1807. The originator of the Moores here was old Eth Moore. The family name of this forebears had the Irish prefix O and was spelled O’Moore. Eth Moore always said he was one-third Portuguese Indian. Of course the other two-thirds consisted of Irish and don’t know what. 
I have separated the Melango families into the different groups as follows: 


1. Purebred Indian groups from Blackwater, Tennessee a. Coins b. Bollings c. Sweeneys d. Adkins e. Minor 


2. Indian group from Blackwater who married in other Melango Tribes a. Baldwins 


3. Melango groups from Kentucky a. Collins b. Sextons 


4. Indians and whites from Newman’s Ridge a. Bollings b. Collins 


5. Portuguese Indian and white from Newman’s Ridge a. Collins 


From Newman’s Ridge a. Moore’s—married Sextons and Gibson during first generation 


6. Portuguese Indian from Kentucky a. Gibson 


Under the column Portuguese Indian and white are the few people who came from Newman’s Ridge called Collins. In Scott County they married among the Sextons and Gibsons. By intermarrying among these other people their blood became variously diluted. We know definitely that the blood of the descendants of Collins of Newman’s Ridge consists of Portuguguese Indians and white. The first Collins from Newman’s Ridge were reported to be white.


This paper was originally written on November 22, 1947, in Columbus, Ohio



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two Groups of Melungeons - A Problem?


The Pee Dee River Melungeons

The Pee Dee families; Bolton, Perkins, Shoemake, etc., are listed on the
Core Melungeon DNA project page yet there seems to be mixed signals regarding the "Pee Dee Melungeons" or the "CORE Melungeons" coming from Estes, Crain, Goins and Ferguson in the latest paper published in JoGG.  They write in this paper;
"One possible documented source of Portuguese ancestry may be from Juan Pardo’s men who were abandoned at various forts in present day North Carolina, one perhaps as far north and west as Morgantown, North Carolina. [206]  Some of Pardo's men may have been Portuguese. These men, if they survived, would have had to have assimilated into the Native population and have taken Native wives, as there were no European women available in 1566.  However, the core Melungeon family group is not originally found in western North Carolina, but in eastern Virginia."

It certainly would appear to me they have written the Pee Dee Melungeons out of the Core group as there is no evidence the Bolton, Perkins, Shoemakes etc., had any ties to the Virginia families, they were a separate group found on the Pee Dee River as early as 1725, a stone's throw from the town Ylasi/Ilapi that both deSoto and Pardo had visited, and very possibly descended from Pardos [or deSotos] men.

 ( The Forgotten Centuries - Charles Hudson) "At Aracuchi, Pardo decided to divide his force, sending half on to Cofitachequi, while the other half traveled to Ylasi.  Ylasi is clearly the same town as deSoto's Ilapi."
Look where Ylasi is located on the above map. How could deSoto and Pardo's (and deAyllons) men have been any closer to the homeland of the Pee Dee Melungeons/Indians?

It is a documented fact at least one of deSoto's men ran off and was last seen living as the husband to the "Lady of Cofitachequi."  When deSoto visited this Indian town with one of the gentleman who had accompanied deAyllon some years earlier it was recorded he recognized items from deAyllon's settlement. 

"Just as with De Soto's expedition, African slaves had accompanied de Ayllon's settlement colony on the Pee dee River in 1526. When there was a crisis over leadership, the colony fell into disarray. In the midst of this crisis, a slave revolt further ripped the settlement apart. With the colony in shambles, many of the African slaves fled to live among the nearby native people. According to De Soto, these refugees must have lived among the Cofitachiqui and taught them the craftwork of the Europeans."  (Slavery in the Cherokee Nation By Patrick Neal Minges)
We also have deAyllons Portuguese/Spaniards and Africans left behind in 1526 and according to Estes, Crain, Goins, and Ferguson, Pardo's  "Portuguese men would have had to have assimilated into the Native population and have taken Native wives."  

These men, Portuguese, Spaniards, and Africans found mixing with the Indians on the Pee Dee River just 4 or 5 generations before Solomon Bolton's father was born 'on the Pee Dee River' should give us some clue of who the ancestors were of these 'Core Melungeon' families.  Yet with the broad swipe of their pen Estes, Crain, Goins, and Ferguson, the history and ancestry of these Melungeon people has been ignored because it does not fit the 'migration pattern' as Jack Goins has laid it out in his two books.

These families that Goins identifies as coming from Louisa County, Virginia were no doubt Indians, no matter if they had mixed with the English, French, Germans, Africans, Turks, East Indians, Armenians etc., they were Indians. They settled on Newmans Ridge roughly the same time these Portuguese/Indians came over the mountains from South Carolina.

The Portuguese people identified as Melungeons came from the Pee Dee River as evidenced by the court records of the Ivey, Harmon, Halls, Perkins, Bolton, Chavis, etc.  They mixed with the Indian Gibson, Collins, etc., families on Newman's Ridge and they became the 'present race' identified in the 1848 article.

The Problem

These Portuguese Melungeons from South Carolina have been a problem for Jack Goins since the court transcripts were found in 2005, he has them listed as part of the Core project but their ancestry as well as their DNA was left out of the recent study.


  1. In a message sent to me dated 9/22/2005 11:32:36 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, jgoins@usit.net writes:
    "This court case has changed my view on the originator of the word Melungeons as beginning on Newman Ridge as per Jarvis. This testimony in SC and 1874, before Dromgoole and appears from this case the word Melungeon may have been widely known during this period. Jack" 

    In a message  dated 10/2/2005 9:43:35 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, jgoins@usit.net writes: 

    "All of this aside I believe this case changes some of our arguments, such as they were not called or known as Melungeons in other places where they migrated. In fact it may yet show they were called Melugeons in SC. .......
    ......That 1848 reporter was not a neighbor. No doubt he came here because he was told this was where the Melungeons lived. What I am saying is this; In Hamilton County a Justice of the Peace, said they were called Malungeon. If they were from Hawkins/Hancock this means they did retain the name Melungeon, or Malungeon. This being a sworn under oath court record makes it much more reliable record , In fact there was two witnesses who said they were called Malungeon. If they were given this name by their neighbors who lived here among them, then why haven't we found this?
    Dromgoole came to Hancock probably because some old senator in Nashville told her to, but we have a problem, We don't have one witness like say that Justice of the Peace who lived in this area before Dromgoole who testified the Collins or Gibson, or Goins were Malungeons. The problem is the Bolton trial survived and the Voting trial proceedings did not, or have not yet been found. Penny don't think this is a problem but I do."

    From: JoannePezzullo@aol.com
    Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2005 20:06:25 EDT
    To: jgoins@usit.net, pennyferguson@alltel.net
    I'm with Penny I don't see the problem........I don't understand why you think it is a problem? Shepherd says they left South Carolina and went to HANCOCK COUNTY first...and spread out from there. 
    In a message dated 10/29/2005 8:49:08 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, jgoins@usit.net writes: 
    The bottom line is we have no neighbor in Hancock pointing to any family and saying they are called Malungeon. I cannot believe in the heart of Malungeon county we cannot even find the word in a court record. and Yes it is a problem 
    Note the dates of the above emails - September and October of 2005 - this was just a few months after we first started the Melungeon DNA Project in July of 2005.  Goins, Ferguson and Crain recognized the importance of these families who lived on the Pee Dee River, came over the mountains to Hawkins/Hancock County and dispersed to other areas of Tennessee 

    In July 2011 this paper by Estes, Crain, Goins and Ferguson was submitted to JoGG which contains the following paragraph on page 58-59;


    1. ''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.'' 
    Just a month after the paper was submitted on the Rootsweb Melungeon list Jack Goins called them my "imaginary Melungeons"
    August 17, 2011
    ''Joanne would you please tell us why!!! this 1848 visitor to Vardy Valley came to this place and announced it was the Homeland of the Malungeons, instead of going to your imaginary Melungeons on the Pee Dee River?''
It appears to me the authors of this paper recognize the importance of the 'Melungeon families" who migrated from the Pee Dee River and who may have in fact brought the name with them to Newman's Ridge, who may have descended from the early Portuguese/Spanish explorers.


Yet completely ignoring the  DNA and history of the Bolton, Perkins Shoemake, etc., families, they write the  "Core Melungeon' families came from Eastern Virginia."


Yes Virginia there appears to be a problem. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

"Probably an African American"




Probable Genealogies


Another family called 'Free African American' by Paul Heinegg, with roots that reach into the Charles City County Gibson family, is the Evans family who Heinegg believes 'may have' started with Eleanor, Heinegg writes; 
"Eleanor Evans, born say 1660, was probably an African American since she was a taxable in Surry County, Virginia, in William Hancock's household in 1677, in the household of Robert Caufield in 1678, and in Joseph Rogers' household in 1679 [Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, vol.22, no.3, pp.57, 63, 67]. She may have been the ancestor of....."
Anthony Evans first appears in 1668 in Surry County tax list along with a Robert and Abraham through 1677 when Elanor Evans first appears as a WHITE WOMAN in the home of William Hancock. There is nothing to suggest in the early records that Anthony, Robert, Abraham or Eleanor were considered anything but white.  Richard Evans who came over on the Neptune in 1618 and was  listed as living in the community of Basse's Choice may have been the ancestor of this Evans family.


These two sources show Eleanor Evans (Anthony, Robert, etc.) designated as 'white' not African American as Paul Heinegg suggests;
(1)Surry County Virginia Tithables, 1668-1703By Edgar McDonald, Richard Slatten
(2)The list of Surry County Tax Payers or Tithables from 1668 through 1703 is a MS Excel file. Forrest has compiled this long list of 14,581 entries from the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy. It is a large file, bringing together in one place a vast amount of very valuable information about early Surry County tax payers. (When you click on this link you will have to click on Surry County Tax Payers link in the new page. It will open an Excel file where you will find Eleanor Evans listed in the 'white' column.  Also the Gibsons, Chavis, Collins, Goodmans, George -no last name - 'the Spanyard', etc. 
The Complete Book of Emigrants 1607-1660 by PW Coldham  Page 300 
1655:2 November. Morrice Evans of Bruton, Som, labourer, bound to Henry Haines of Bristol, mariner, to serve 4 years in Virginia.
6 November. Morris Evans of Frome, Som, yeoman, bound to Mary Toms of Frome, widow, to serve 4 years in Virginia.
Morris Evans may or may not have descended from either of the above two families but like John Bunch, who came from England also, the Morris Evans family carries the Sub Saharan DNA. 


One Morris Evans married to Jane Gibson (the younger) who descended from Jane Gibson 'an Indian woman.' The genealogy of Jane Gibson and her brother George Gibson is yet to be written but what is known these two Gibsons were living in Charles City County in the late 1600s to early 1700s were called 'dark mulattoes' and although the numerous records have identified them as 'Indian' Paul Heinegg classifies them as 'Free African Amerians' - even though the descendants won their freedom by proving they descended from 'an Indian woman.'  


Jane had a brother and a son George Gibson and a daughter Jane Gibson who married Morris Evans.  Some of the descendants of the Indian woman, Jane Gibson, were free while others had been enslaved. Thomas Gibson (aka Mingo Jackson) also a descendant of Jane Gibson won his freedom as did some of the Evans family.


Morris Evans and Jane Gibson had several children but it appears that only daughter Francis Evans and her descendants were held in slavery, the rest are listed as 'mulatto' but appear to be free. Some interesting notes on these two families are found below.
Lynchburg City, Superior Court of Law and Chancery, Case #1821-033 (file #236), Charles Evans etc. vs. Lewis B. Allen. These two cases are representative of several in Virginia, in which slaves sued and won to regain their freedom, based on their ability to show descent from an Indian woman, which condition legally turned their enslavement into assault, battery, and unlawful detainment:
 1805
0002 (Accession # 21680501). Richmond, Virginia. The petitioners claim they are being “holden in slavery by Lewis Allen.” They cite four generations of free ancestors: their mother, “a free woman of colour, named Amey”; their grandmother, Sarah Colley; their great grandmother, Frances Evans; and their great great grandmother, Jane Gibson. Fearful that Allen “will sell them, as slaves without the limits of this commonwealth; as he hath already sold several of the family aforesaid in North Carolina,” the petitioners seek “a prohibition ... against Allen and all other persons.” They note that “the complainant Charles Evan is now tied and confined to be sent from Richmond, and probably out of the country by the order of Lewis Allen.” They include court documents from the freedom suit of their cousin, “Thomas Gibson, alias Mingo Jackson,” who “recovered his freedom” from a certain David Ross. Depositions from Richard Wills and John Meriweather provide a vivid oral history of the petitioners’ ancestors; a genealogical chart traces the family back to the petitioners’ great great great great grandmother, adding two more generations that are not referenced by the petitioners in their petition. 
To the honorable, the judge of the Richmond chancery-district-courtThe petition of Charles Evans Amy Evans, Sukey Evans, Sinar Evans, Solomon Evans, Frankey Evans, Sally Evans, Milly Evans, Adam Evans, and Hannah Evans holden in slavery by Lewis Allen, of the county of Halifax humbly sheweth: that your petitioners are descendants from Jane Gibson, a free Indian woman, who and most of whose posterity have obtained their freedom by judgments of different courts: that there is a great danger of their beingremoved out of the commonwealth by the said Allen; as some of the same blood have been sold by the said Allen in the state of North Carolina.
Your petitioners therefore pray that they may be permitted to sue in forma pauperum* &c March 5. 1804I beg leave to certify it to be my opinion, that the above allegationsare supported by documents in my possession, and that the petitioners are intitled to freedom.
          EDM: RANDOLF, a counsel in the said court.
Docketed:
Evans &c } PetitionvsAllen* in forma pauperum: a plural form of the legal term in forma pauperis or a designation given to a person without the money to peruse a lawsuit for whom the court waives some of the normal court fees.Citation: Genealogical chart and Petition, Lynchburg City (Va.) Chancery Causes, 1807–1945.Charles Evans and others vs. Lewis B. Allen. 1821-033 Local Government Records Collection,City of Lynchburg Court Records. Library of Virginia, Richmond, Virginia.
The records of this Gibson-Evans family show they were probably Indian Americans.


DESCENDANTS OF JANE GIBSON
Details for
GIBSON, Jane ([the elder]) in Petition 21680501
Name: GIBSON, Jane ([the elder])
Petition: 21680501 filed in Virginia, 1805
Role in Petition:
Color and Gender: mulatto female
Status: FPOC
Identified Immediate Family: EVANS, Charles - great great great great-grandson
EVANS, Amey - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Sukey - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Sinar - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Solomon - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Frankey - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Sally - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Milly - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Adam - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Hannah - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
GIBSON, George ([the elder]) - brother of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Jane Gibson ([the younger]) - daughter of EVANS, Charles
GIBSON, George ([the younger]) - son of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Morris - son-in-law of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Frances - granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Jane - granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Tom - great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Frances ([Frank]) - great-grandaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Tom - great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Tompson ([Tomson] [Thompson]) - great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
COLLEY, Sarah Evans ([Colly]) - great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
Hannah ([Hanah]) - great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
Beck - great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
Amey - great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
Kate - great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
David - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
Toby - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Milley - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Sally - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Harry - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Nancy - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Nelly - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Rachel - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Benjamin ([Ben]) - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Archy - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Mary - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, James ([Jim]) - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Robin ([Robert]) - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles
EVANS, Milah - great great great great-granddaughter of EVANS, Charles
GIBSON, Thomas ([Mingo Jackson]) - great great great great-grandson of EVANS, Charles

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Accuracy in Genealogy


Does Accuracy in History Matter?


This is the title of a recent review by Megan Smolenyak on the book  American Tapestry,  about Michelle Obama's ancestors written by Rachel Swarns posted at Huffington Post 


 A comment on the review:
11:46 PM on 06/19/2012 by 'Erl92'
I believe in accuracy in history but often history is shaky at best. For instance you mentioned Elizabeth Warren and Cherokee history. Some of the history on Native Americans, and even blacks, is often inaccurate as there was forced assimilation in some cases and in others voluntary assimilation. Natives blended into white society as a matter of survival and to obtain rights that only whites could have. These days it might be cool to have Indian ancestry but in years past people hid that fact. White supremacist like Walter Plecker did everything he could to deny people of color rights that included voting, land ownership, schooling, language and their very culture. Often ancestry is passed down orally especially for Native Americans who had an oral culture. There are no easy answers because as much as you do want accuracy history is embedded with inaccuracies. 
 Recently an article on Melungeons was in the news but reported findings not quite accurate to the report. The report itself was flawed and drew conclusions of a group of people by focusing on some families such as Goins and glossing over other families that were considered core families. They mostly focused on paternal lineage but only on selected ones to draw conclusions while maternal importance was overlooked. Even though the report showed mostly European haplogroups the article written came out much different. 
The bottom line is that accuracy requires blending records and accurate science with the historical narrative of the times.
On June 30th I posted this to the Melungeon Rootsweb list, although I had meant to post it to the DNA list it mistakenly went to the wrong list.  Shortly after I posted it I received this email from Janet Crain;
Joanne; This message is inconsistent with the rules and guidelines set forth by the administrators [Janet Crain] of the Melungeon list.
You are discussing a DNA project on the wrong list, you are being hypercritical of a group of people well known to other list members and lastly you are seeking to embarrass one individual in particular.

Therefore you are now on moderation.

Please improve the tone of your posts. Try to be positive and friendly.

Janet Crain
Administrator
Melungeon Rootsweb List


Imagine that .... hypercritical.....  I simply posted a comment that someone called 'Erl92' posted to an article at Huffington Post. Shortly afterwards I was also put on moderation on the Melungeon DNA list, no warning, no notice, Janet Crain simply will not tolerate any criticism of her and her co-authors paper. They are censoring anything they can about this paper and will not answer questions regarding the paper.


When the first DNA report was published by Brent Kennedy and Dr. Kevin Jones 10 years ago they were heavily criticized with most of the criticism coming from Jack Goins, Janet Crain, and Penny Ferguson [myself included] someone called Frank, his cousin or relative named Jon [ fake names of course] and a few others. Brent Kennedy never backed off, never had anyone banned, moderated, etc, but simply did the best he could to answer everyone's questions.


The criticism of this DNA report on the Melungeon list worked quite well as this two year project by Jones and Kennedy went down faster than a speeding bullet. Apparently Janet Crain realizes if the truth be known about this project and it's so called 'peer reviewed paper' it likely would end up the same place as Jones and Kennedy -- in the archives of the Melungeon history along with the diseases, bumps, and squats.


I will no doubt be banned permanently from both Melungeon lists but will take every opportunity on every list, discussion, anywhere and everywhere I find anyone referring to this paper, I will present the truth as Janet Crain simply cannot 'moderate the internet.' 


The way I see it if Janet Crain was doing 'damage control' she would have been much better off to allow an open discussion and answer questions about the project and paper rather than banning and moderating the members. Take heed, you are not getting anything near the truth on neither of Rootweb Melungeon lists, and probably won't until Rootsweb finds a new administrator. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Racism?




If you deny your family descends from Turkish sailors is it racism - or if you deny they were among the 'two dozen Negro slaves' who stepped off the boat at Jamestown in 1619 are you in denial?  If you deny they are 'Jews from Scotland' are you prejudiced?  Shouldn't anyone looking for their ancestors challenge authors, researchers, etc., if they believe they are in error and shouldn't they be allowed to challenge these statements without being accused of trying to hide their African ancestry, when in fact there is no proof their ancestry is African?  Isn't it the same as challenging the idea they were Turkish or Jews from Scotland?


Another family identified as Free African American -- with no proof!


COLLINS FAMILY


Paul Heinegg writes; 
"The Collins and Bunch families were taxable "Molatas" in Orange County, North Carolina, in 1755 [T&C, box 1]. They were also associated with the Gibson family. Lucrecy Collins witnessed the 1775 Orange County, North Carolina will of George Gibson [WB A:195]. They probably came to Orange County from Louisa County, Virginia. George Gibson, Thomas Gibson, William Hall, Thomas Collins, Samuel Collins, William Collins, William Donathan, Benjamin Branham, and Samuel Bunch were living in Louisa County on 28 May 1745 when they were presented by the court for failing to list a tithable (probably their wives) [Orders 1742-8, 152, 157, 172]. 
Paul Heineigg says the 'mixed race Collins' family were mixed, I suppose, because they were taxed as 'Molatas" in Orange County, North Carolina and were associated with the Bunch and Gibson families. He cites the 1745 case of the Collins, Gibson, etc, and writes; "they were presented by the court for failing to list a tithable (probably their wives)  "There's that 'probably' word again.  He continues to connect up this 'mixed race' Free African American family with the  'qualifiers',  5 perhaps, 9 probably, 10 may have been, and 7 (?)  question marks [this is award winning genealogy mind you]  


"In 1723, the House of Burgesses passed two acts expanding the definition of a tithable. As a result, those subject to the tax included all free negroes, mulattos, and Indians (except tributary Indians) above age sixteen and their wives (Hening, 4:133.) In addition to their tithable lists, all masters were required to list the names of every person between the ages of ten and sixteen “for whom any benefit of tending Tobacco is allowed by this Act.” 
So was the tithe Samuel Collins failed to list a free negro, mulatto, or Indian, or someone who was benefiting of 'tending Tobacco?  Were they even their wives?  We know the Gibsons were slave owners, and we know Samuel Bunch was a Quaker and the Quakers refused to tithe. I think they were probably Indian wives, or possibly even Spaniards or Portuguese -- as they also would have been called mulattoes. 


John Collins (a white man)  was living on Lower Chippoakes Creek/Lawnes Creek Parish as early as 1678 through the 1690s when he is a neighbor of Phill Shelly, William Goodman, John Barnes, William Tooke, etc.  In 1682 John Collins married to the widow Mary Tooke, the Quaker records show;
"John Collings & Mary Tooke of ye county of Surry propounded their marriage before a meeting of Men & women Friends at the house of William Bressie of ye County of IsleaWeight on ye forth day of ye Eleventh month Last and at a meeting at Tho. Jordans in Chuckatuck in ye county of Nanzemund they did pubblish their marriage againe on ye eighth day of the twelfe month following and were married in the house of John Barnes his father-in-law on ye fourteenth day of ye twelfe month, 1682.
This John Collins was a Quaker, left a son John who was  probably born about 1683 and not yet 21 when his father died in 1693.  In his will he leaves to his son John and his sister in laws,   Rebecca Goodman, Elizabeth Ezell and Jean Newby/Nuby indicating they were his only family. Many of these Quaker families of Surry County later removed to Hanover/Louisa County where they attended the Cedar Creek and Camp Creek MM, same ones Samuel Bunch was a member of. (Some of the Gibson family were also Quakers)


The truth is no one knows who the Samuel Collins was in Louisa County record of 1745 but he could very well have been the son of John born about 1683 and a descendant of John Collins the Quaker who married Mary Tooke of Surry County, Virginia.  Both the Collins and Tookes were not 'Free African Americans' but they may have intermarried with the Indian Gibson family or the neighbor 'George the Spaniard' of Surry County, Virginia as Samuel is listed as 'mulatto'  - indisputably another word for Indian, Spanish, Portuguese, etc., or  'non white.'


Samuel Collins was living in Orange County, North Carolina in the 1750s along with Major Gibson and Moses Riddle families.  By 1760s Samuel Collins, Major Gibson and Moses Riddle had removed to Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  Moses Riddle was probably married to Mary Gibson, daughter of Thomas Gibson and sister to Major Gibson, it is likely Samuel Collins was related to this family, perhaps an uncle through the marriage of the Collins and Gibson families in Hanover/Louisa County before 1740s.


The tax lists of Pittsylvania County show Samuel Collins living a few doors from the Clements family [who also came from Chippoakes Creek in Surry County] and particularly one Vardiman Clements, Major Gibson living on Potters Creek by the Indian Fields and Moses Riddle listed as an Indian.


Major Gibson is next found in Burke County, North Carolina along with Armon Gibson who shows up in Wilkes County, North Carolina and went to Franklin County, Tennessee, and William Gibson who went to Scott County, Virginia and Pike County, Kentucky. While there is no evidence Samuel Collins or Moses Riddle went to Burke County, North Carolina these Gibson families are found on Newmans Ridge and Vardy Collins appears in a court record in Burke County in 1810;


Is this Vardy Collins, son of Samuel Collins?  There are no Collins found in Burke County but when this record is found perhaps it will prove a relationship to Major Gibson.  Vardy Collins DNA proves to be European, not African American, there is more proof Samuel Collins was an Indian than there is he was a Free African American, nor is there any proof he descended from John Collins' neighbor, "George the Spaniard' living in Surry County, Virginia. 

Problem is no one knows, there are no documents who Vardy's father was or who Samuel's father was or their wives, yet they write with authority they were 'Free African Americans, descended from 'Sub Saharan men and white women.'

Showing there is no proof the Gibsons, Denham, Collins, and others, were 'Free African American' should not have the opposition calling this 'racism' or 'denial.'  There is no more proof these families descend from  African American men and white women then there is that they descended from the Turks, Jews from Scotland,  Portuguese, Indians, Spaniards etc. 

America is a melting pot and it didn't happen a hundred or even two hundred years ago, the Indians were mixing with the Portuguese, Spanish, and African Americans in South Carolina as early as the 1500s when the first explorers were recorded, if not before. 

There was more mixing of the races beginning in the 1730s when Christian Priber was building his "Paradise" in the Cherokee Capital where it is recorded he recruited disaffected English, Germans, runaway slaves, both Indian and African, etc., and possibly even a few 'Arabs' as James Adair called them. 

There is no doubt there was mixing but to lump all these families together and declare them descendants of 'Sub Saharan men and white women' with no documentation whatsoever, nothing more than a few families with an E haplogroup and identified as a mulatto is irresponsible and does a great injustice to these ancestors and their descendants. 




Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reasonable Assumptions?



Before continuing on with more ‘award winning’ genealogy of Paul Heinegg and his records ‘proving’ many of the Melungeon families descended from ‘African males and white women,’  I’d like to post some information on the tithables and what they prove. 

Much of the documentation Heinegg uses to *prove* these families descended from ‘African males and white women’ is the use of the word ‘mulatto.’ Heinegg’s work is cited 14 times in the recent paper on the Melungeons, “Melungeons, A Multiethnic Population” [by Roberta Estes, Janet Crain, Jack Goins and Penny Ferguson]. 

Keep in mind the Gibson and Collins were the ‘head and source’ of the Melungeons on Newmans Ridge and in Dromgoole’s report of 1890 she stated the Gibson and Collins were Indians, the Denham were Portuguese and the Goins were African.  Lewis Jarvis says the Bunch, Goodmans, Gibsons and Collins were all *chiefs* and the 1890 census report states these Melungeon families were Indians.  

All of these families were listed as Mulatto or Free People of Color and Heinegg, [and everyone who has copied him]  use this to  *prove* they were ‘freeafricanamericans.‘ 

They certainly did not descend from the Sub Saharan male and the white woman as Heinegg, Estes, Goins, Ferguson and Crain suggests as their DNA is clearly European. Did they intermarry with the Sub Saharan Goins and Minor families before they settled on Newman‘s Ridge?  They may have but there is no proof. 

Nowhere in Paul Heinegg’s work or in the recently published paper regarding the Melungeons do they prove any relationship between the Sub Saharan Goins and Minor families to the Indian Collins, Gibsons, etc., only that they are found in the same counties and therefore must be ‘related.’

According to Sizemore researcher Joy King there are known records of the Native Sizemores in Halifax County, Virginia as early as 1741 - same county as the Gibsons. In 1753 Ephraim Sizemore is recorded in Orange County, North Carolina, same county as the Gibson and Collins but unlike the Goins the Sizemores cannot be ‘related’ because there is no proof?  

Ephraim Sizemore was called a mulatto but we know his DNA is Native American 

Some information on the early Virginia laws regarding 'tithables' and Indians.
from the Library of Virginia

Colonial Tithables (Research Notes Number 17)
Excerpts:
Legislative History
In March 1657–8, an act passed in the House of Burgesses declared that all African Americans and Indians (both male and female) over sixteen years of age were to be placed on the tithable lists. Between the first and last of June, masters were required to return a list of all tithables to the clerk of the county court to be recorded (Hening, 1:454–455.)
 According to an act passed in the House of Burgesses on 14 March 1661–2, the commissioners, who were appointed by the court, were to post a notice on the door of the church notifying the public when the tithables would be received before the June deadline. At August court, the commissioners delivered an account of the tithables to the county court clerk, who then returned a list to the clerk of the House of Burgesses (Hening, 2:83–84.) By an act passed in December 1662, all female servants who worked a crop were to be considered tithable and levies were paid for them (Hening, 2:170.)
An act to discover concealed tithables was passed in the House of Burgesses session of September 1663. Every year, masters were to give an exact account of tithables (with names) by 10 June to the magistrate appointed to receive the list. Masters concealing tithables forfeited a servant to the informer. If the concealed person was a freeman or a servant with less than a year to serve, one thousand pounds of tobacco was forfeited for each person concealed. Women servants were exempted from this act (Hening, 2:187.)
In its continuing efforts to discover concealed tithables, the colonial government passed an act in October 1670 requiring tithable lists to be made public. At the court held after the June deadline, justices delivered the tithables to the county clerk, who made a copy and put it on the courthouse door where it remained all day. This procedure allowed persons living near those who were concealing tithes to discover and report the fraud. Penalties for fraud were the same as those passed in the act of 1663 (Hening, 2:280.)
In the House of Burgesses session of September 1672, an act was passed “concerning tythables borne in the country.” Those persons appointed by the court to take tithables were also charged with taking an account of all negro, mulatto, and Indian children. The masters or owners of these children attested to their age. This act also required the masters or owners of African American children and slaves born in Virginia to register their births within twelve months in the parish register. Those who failed to register children paid a levy on them that year and every year until the child was registered. All African American women born in Virginia were accounted tithable at age sixteen (Hening, 2:296.)
An act for “assertaining the time when Negro Children shall be tythable” was passed in the House of Burgesses session of June 1680. This act required that all negro children imported within three months of the act were to be brought into court and their ages adjudged by the justices and recorded. Negro children were not considered tithable until twelve years of age. Christian servants imported into Virginia were not tithable until age fourteen (Hening, 2:479–480.) In the House of Burgesses session of November 1682, an act declared that all Indian women were tithable and charged with the same taxes as African American women brought into Virginia (Hening, 2:497.)
A more complete law concerning tithables was passed in the House of Burgesses session of October 1705. All male persons sixteen years of age and over, as well as all negro, mulatto, and Indian woman sixteen years and over, [NOT FREE] were declared tithable. The age of all children imported was adjudged by the county court and entered into the records of the court. 
In 1723, the House of Burgesses passed two acts expanding the definition of a tithable. As a result, those subject to the tax included all free negroes, mulattos, and Indians (except tributary Indians) above age sixteen and their wives (Hening, 4:133.) In addition to their tithable lists, all masters were required to list the names of every person between the ages of ten and sixteen “for whom any benefit of tending Tobacco is allowed by this Act.” In tithable lists, masters were required to distinguish which persons were primarily employed in the cultivation of tobacco. Those who violated the law were fined. Justices appointed to take the tithable lists compiled a separate list of persons between the ages of ten and sixteen, and returned these lists with the tithables (Waverley K. Winfree, ed., The Laws of Virginia; Being A Supplement To Hening’s The Statutes At Large, 1700–1750 [1971], 251.) Source; http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/guides/rn17_tithables.htm 
Free or Not free -- both include INDIAN WOMEN.  So when Heinegg uses the following paragraph to prove these families were "Free African Americans" is it a reasonable assumption? 

"The Collins and Bunch families were taxable "Molatas" in Orange County, North Carolina, in 1755 [T&C, box 1]. They were also associated with the Gibson family......They probably came to Orange County from Louisa County, Virginia. George Gibson, Thomas Gibson, William Hall, Thomas Collins, Samuel Collins, William Collins, William Donathan, Benjamin Branham, and Samuel Bunch were living in Louisa County on 28 May 1745 when they were presented by the court for failing to list a tithable (probably their wives) "
I say the tithables they were concealing were PROBABLY their Indian wives.