Friday, September 23, 2016

Melungeons and Redbones - Are they Lumbee Indians?

Below are some of the articles written on the research of the Redbones, Croatan and Melungeons in the latter part of the 1800s into the 1900s. Written by men working with the Smithsonian, historians, doctors etc., they make it clear these three groups were related. The Lumbee and Redbones can be traced to the Lumber - Pee Dee Rivers to 1754.

On Tuesday I listed by deeds and records men living there when the Militia reported to the Governor there were '50 mixt families.' The Gibson, Collins, Ivey, Bolton, Oxendine, Perkins, Sweat, & Chavis
families are documented there, some who came there from Chippoakes Creek.

The Robesonian - Jul 13, 1933
Identity of Robeson County Indians Traced By Scientist
Dr. Swanton started on his quest of the actual origin of a racial group, which now number about 8,000 persons of mixed Indians and white blood at the request of a delegation of the Indians themselves.
A colonial census in 1754 was found which told of a lawless people (50 mixt families jp) living at the headwater of the Little Peedee who had possesed themselves of land without patent and without paying any quit rents.

"They presumably were recognized as whites at that time, but there is little doubt that they really were the ancestors of the present day Croatans," was the statement of the findings. (Rest of the Story)

The Pee Dee River, also known as the Great Pee Dee River, is a river in North Carolina and South Carolina. It originates in the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina, where its upper course, above the mouth of the Uwharrie River is known as the Yadkin River. The lower part of the river is named Pee Dee (in colonial times written Pedee) after the Native American Pee Dee tribe. The Pee Dee region of South Carolina, composed of the northeastern counties of the state, was named after the tribe and/or river. The first Europeans believed to have navigated part of the river was a party sent by Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526.
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

The tribe (Croatan) 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". ........... I am yours truly Hamilton McMillan
"A hundred years ago a colony of Croatans settled in eastern Tennessee, on Newman's Ridge, in Hancock county. They can't tell today where they came from, for tradition over 50 years isn't worth anything. These are the people called Melungeons. They are similar in racial characteristics to the Croatans, and Dr. Swan M. Burnett, a distinguished scholar and scientitst (Burnett was working with the doctor in Hawkins County, likely on his research into eye diseases of the races) - 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.
"Question by the court to McMillan: Do these people here call themselves
Answer: No sir, they call themselves malungeans.
Question: Were they ever called Croatans until this Act (1885) was introduced in
Answer: No sir.

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 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"
(Reprinted from Papers Am. Hist. Asso., Vol. iv., No. 4., 1891.)
By Professor Stephen B. Weeks, Ph.D., Trinity College, North Carolina. Page 28-29

" The Croatan applied for recognition by the United States as Cherokee, but it was denied and the Cherokee acknowledge no relationship, having visited the Croatan country on a tour of inspection. There is a queer offshoot of the Croatan known as  Malungeons," in South Carolina, who went there from this state ; another the "Redbones," of Tennessee. Mr. Mooney has made a careful study of both of these branches also.
At one time the Croatans were known as 'Redbones,' and there is a street in Fayetteville so called because some of them once lived on it. They are known by this name in Sumpter County, S. C., where they are quiet and peaceable, and have a church of their own. They are proud and high-spirited, and caste is very strong among them.
There is in Hancock county, Tennessee, a tribe of people known by the local name of Malungeons or Melungeons. Some say they are a branch of the Croatan tribe, others that they are of Portuguese stock. 

” In 1897, Mr. Mooney wrote to Charles McDonald Furman that, "He felt that the Croatans, Redbones, Melungeons, Moors, and Portuguese were all local names for mixed Indian races along the Atlantic seaboard, with westward drift into the mountains." And stated, "It would be worth while of local investigators to go into the subject systematically. I think possibly the Indian remnants may have married with the convict apprentice importation of early colony days as well as with the free Negro element." Mr. Furman was considered by Mooney and other officials as the most informed person on the Redbones and Catawba Indians in Privateer Township, Sumter County, South Carolina.
The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries
Volume XXV
Page 258 

THE TENNESSEE HISTORICAL SOCIETY held an interesting meeting on the 9th of December last (1890) , at Nashville, Judge John M. Lea presiding.
After the reports of various committees had been read, and other business transacted, 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. This people were traced to Buncomb and Robeson counties, where the same family and personal names were found as in the lost colonies. are now called Croatans, on account of a sign they made on the trees to keep their way.

Judge Lewis Shepherd, attorney for descendants of the Melungeon, Solomon Bolton,  of Hamilton County, Tennessee whose father was born in 1725 on the Pee Dee River. Judge Shepherd wrote what he learned of the Melungeons from this trial;

"About the time of our Revolutionary war, a considerable body of these people crossed the Atlantic and settled on the coast of South Carolina, near the North Carolina line, and they lived among the people of Carolina for a number of years. At length the people of Carolina began to suspect that they were mulattoes or free Negroes and denied them the privileges usually accorded to white people. They refused to associate with them on equal terms and would not allow them to send their children to school with white children, and would only admit them to join their churches on the footing of Negroes....
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. A few families of them drifted away from Hancock into the other counties of east Tennessee and now and then into the mountainous section of Middle Tennessee.

This 1794 petition lists some of these people mentioned by Judge Shepherd; 

Spencer Bolton [his mark] [born 1725 on Pee Dee River] William Swett [his mark] Solomon Bolton [his mark] [Called Portuguese/Melungeon 1874 trial]James Shewmake [his mark] DittoSolomon Shewmake [his mark] DittoSampson Shewmake [his mark] DittoThomas Shewmake Jun [his mark] Ditto Thomas Shewmake Sen [his mark] Ditto John Shewmake [his mark] Ditto  James Shewmake [his mark]   DittoDavid Collins  [possibly to Wilkes County, NC]Thomas Collins [Ditto]George Collins  [Ditto] Delley Gibson  [on Trail of Tears with Oxendine, Shoemake etc.,]Drusilla GibsonIsaac Linager   [Linegar on Hawkins County CensusCudworth Oxendine [Charles Oxendine on Hawkins County Census]Archmack Ocendine [Also named Portuguese/Melungeons in the 1874 trial; Perkins, Goins, Manley, Mourning]   Petition, Trial, Bolton Family and article found here 

Still not convinced?  Consider the Melungeon DNA Project and the Lumbee DNA Project.  You will find these Melungeons on the Lumbee DNA Project; 

Kit#200939 Goins John Goins 1843
B1007 Roark Lawson, 1815-1880 Unknown Origin
147255 Goin Thomas Goin
11280 Valentine Collins Unknown Origin
B2464 SHOEMAKE Blakely Shoemake, b.abt 1791 and d. bef 1860
218793 Perkins Esther Perkins 1710-1748
177132 Elijah Freeman b c 1802-1875, NC,TN,Ala United States (Native American) Q-M3109170 Freeman, Cogdill, Tye, Huddleston United States (Native American) Q-M3
301270 Elijah Goodman Unknown Origin
N114697 Bowling Benjamin Bolling b. 1734
62645 Gibson Martin Gibson 1776-1833243201 Gibson Joseph Fisher Gibson, B. 1790-1799 R-DF21-152435 Gibson Champane Gibson 1746 VA-1820 Rockingham NC
65026 William Nichols 1830 FPC Hawkins County TN United States (Native American)

Lumbee DNA Project
Melungeon DNA Project 

Part Three   The Indian Traders.

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