Saturday, November 29, 2014

Early Researchers and the Smithsonian Institute

These are various articles that I have added to my website 
THE MELUNGEON INDIANS over the years.  Some researchers believe these are simply 'old articles' but they are in fact 'eyewitnesses to history'. 

Judge Giles Leitch

Member of the Philanthropic Society University of North Carolina -Graduate 1849    Senator from Robeson County 1862    Born 1827 

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.
Senate: the word ‘mulatto’ means a cross between the white and the Negro?
Leitch: Yes sir.
Senate: You do not mean the word to be understood in that sense when applied to these people?
Leitch: I really do not know how to describe those people. 
New York Herald
Saturday, March 09, 1872
Wilmington, N.C.
February 29, 1872
........." I do not know what these mulattoes of Scuffletown are. I think they are a mixture of Spanish, Portuguese, and Indian; about half of them have straight black hair, and many of the characteristics of the Cherokee Indians in our State; then, as they amalgamate and mix, the hair becomes curly and kinky, and from that down to real woollen hair; I think they are mixed Portuguese, Spaniard and Indians; I mean to class the Spaniards and Portuguese as one class, and the Indians as another class; I do not think that in 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 been always free; I was born among them, and I reckon that I know them perfectly well."
Hamilton McMillan
The Genesis of the United States

Alexander Brown
Volume I
In 1888 Mr. Hamilton Mcmillan, A. M., of Robeson County, North Carolina, published an historical sketch of "Sir Walter Raleigh's Lost Colony, with the traditions of An Indian Tribe in North Carolina indicating the fate of the Colony," etc.  From this I will give extracts.

"In the latter part of 1864 three young men of the Croatan tribe, who had been drafted to work on the fortifications at Fort Fisher, were killed, it is supposed, by a white man who had them in custody.  An inquest was held, and at its conclusion an old Indian, *named George Lowrie, addressed the people assembled, in substance as follows:

"We have always been the friends of the white men.  We were a free people long before the white men came to our land.  Our tribe was always free.  They lived in Roanoke in Virginia.  When the English came to Roanoke our tribe treated them kindly.  One of our tribe went to England in an English ship and saw that great country. We took the English to live with us.  There is a white man's blood in these veins as well as that of the Indian.  In order to be great like the English, we took the white man's language and religion, for our people were told they would prosper if they would take white men's laws. In the wars between white men and Indians we always fought on the side of the white men.  We moved on this land and fought for liberty for white men, yet white men have treated us as negroes.  Here are our young men shot down by a white man and we get no justice, and that in a land where our people were always free."

This speech caused Mr. McMillan to investigate the history and traditions of this tribe.

[*James Lowry born in Virginia and found in the area later called Robeson in the mid-1750’s owned over a thousand acres of land.  James’ wife was Sarah Kersey, described as a “half-breed Tuscarora Indian.”  William Lowry (son of James) married Betty Locklear, also described as a “Half-breed Tuscarora Indian”, their son George Lowry born 1798 and brother of Allen Lowery killed in 1865 is believed to be the George Lowrie who gave this]
Red Springs, NC
Oct 12, 1889
Mr McDonald Furman [Excerpts]
        Dear Sir
I think the name Oxendine was originally Ockenstein a German name. The families of that name show many German pecularities. The name Dial or Dole was I think Doyle an Irish name, Goins was O'Guinn (not D'Guin)Leary was O'Leary and so on.
The name among them of Blanx or Blanc is French. The early Huguenot emigrants of that name came from the Department of the Mosell and those of the family who changed the Blanc to White, its English synonym, was designated as the 'Mosell" Whites and the name is now changed to Musslewhite. The French name of Bressi is now Bracy and Turbeville is now Troublefield. The Braceys and Troublefields live on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina and never intermarried with the Croatans or "Melange".
 The tribe once stretched from Cape Fear to Pee Dee and the Redbones of your section are a part of the tribe as are the "Melungeons" of East Tennessee. The French immigrants callled the half breeds Melange or Mixed and the term evidently has been changed to "Melungeons".

With my best regards
I am yours truly
Hamilton MCMillan
 NOTE: This letter was written in October of 1889, the same date Dr. Swan Burnett's article was published in which he wrote that since his reading in February he had been in contact with Hamilton McMillan and now believed the origin of the Melungeons was the Drowning Creek - Pee Dee River area where the 'Croatan and Redbones' were found. Dr. Burnett mentions he will publish his findings at a later date but none have been found as yet. Dr. C. A. Petersen mentioned this work of Burnett's when he wrote; "Dr. Swan M. Burnett, a distinguished scholar and scientist- the husband, by the way, of Mrs. Francis Hodgson Burnett, the novelist has traced by family names the connection between the Melungeons and the Croatans.     

Hamilton McMillan, Dr. C.A. Petersen, McDonald Furman, Swan Burnett, Stephen B. Weeks and others all agreed the Redbones and Malungeons, as well as other remnant tribes were a branch of the 'Croatan" Indians. 

This letter precedes the articles by Will Allen Dromgoole by over a year..  Burnett, McMillan, Furman, and Gaetchet, all affiliated with the Smithsonian were researching and writing about the Melungeons BEFORE Dromgoole ever went to Newmans Ridge.

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.''


James Mooney 

Washington Post 1902
Mr. James Mooney Investigates Early Portuguese Settlements.
Mr. James Mooney, who has just returned from Indian Territory, where he has been making a study of the Kiowa tribe for the Bureau of Ethnology, has also during his career as an anthropologist done considerable work in the way of investigating the Portuguese settlements along the Atlantic coast of the United States, a subject about which less is known than most any other phase of the modern ethnology of America. All along the southern coast there arescattered here and there bands of curious people, whose appearance, color, and hair seem to indicate a cross or mixture of the Indian, the white, and the negro. Such, for example, are the Pamunkeys of Virginia, the Croatan Indians of the Carolinas, the Malungeons of Tennessee, and numerous other peoples who in the days of slavery were regarded as free negroes and were frequently hunted down and enslaved. Since the war they have tried hard byact of legislature and other wise to establish their Indian ancestry. 
Wherever these people are found there also will the traveler or investigator passing through their region encounter the tradition of Portuguese blood or descent, and many have often wondered how these people came to have such a tradition or, in view of their ignorance, how they came to even know of the name of Portugal or the Portuguese. The explanation is, however, far simpler than one might imagine. In the first place, the Portuguese have always been a seagoing people, and according to Mr. Mooney, who has lookedup the subject, the early records of Virginia and the Carolinas contain notices of Portuguese ships having gone to wreck on the coasts of these States and of the crews settling down and marrying in with Indians and mulattoes.
Moreover, there are records of Portuguese ships having sailed into Jamestown Bay as early as 1655, and since then there has been more or less settlement of Portuguese fishermen and sailors from Maine to Florida. Now it has been the history of the Portuguese race that wherever they settled they mixed in with the darker peoples forming the aboriginal populations of the countries occupied by Portuguese settlers, and this is the reason and cause of the Portuguese admixture among the tribes along the coast of the United States. 

Frederick Webb Hodge

Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology - Ethnology - 1907

page 365
Croatan Indians. The legal designation in North Carolina for a people evidently of mixed Indian and white blood, found in various e. sections of the state, but chiefly in Robeson co., and numbering approximately 5,000. For many years they were classed with the free negroes, but steadily refused to accept such classification or to attend the negro schools or churches, claiming to be the descendants of the earlv native tribes and of white settlers who had intermarried with them. About 20 years ago their claim was officially recognized and they were given a separate legal existence under the title of "Croatan Indians," on the theory of descent from Raleigh's lost colony of Croatan (q. v.).
Under this name they now have separate school provision and are admitted to some privileges not accorded to the negroes. The theory of descent from the lost colony may be regarded as baseless, but the name itself serves as a convenient label for a people who combine in themselves the blood of the wasted native tribes, the early colonists or forest rovers, the runaway slaves or other negroes, and probably also of stray seamen of the Latin races from coasting vessels in the West Indian or Brazilian trade.
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. See Mi-tis, Mixed bloods
Also Published:
Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico -
by Frederick Webb Hodge - Indians of North America - 1911

[Frederick W. Hodge (October 28, 1864 – September 28, 1956) was an editor, anthropologistarchaeologist, and historian.   e was associated with Columbia University and the U.S. Geological Survey. During the Hemenway Southwestern Archaeological Expedition, he met and later married Margaret Magill, sister of Emily Tennison Magill Cushing, wife of the expeditionary leader, Frank Hamilton Cushing

He was the director of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Los Angeles. He served as executive officer at the Smithsonian Institution, chairman of the Committee of Editorial Management and the Committee dealing with the Linguistic Families North of Mexico. He was a member of the Committee on Archaeological Nomenclature, the Committee of Policy, the National Research Council, and the Laboratory of Anthropology, School of American Research, Journal of Physical Anthropology, and the Museum of the American Indian in New York City    A 1956 interview of Frederick Hodge can be found HERE, has much information on the early beginnings of the Smithsonian.]

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