Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Melungeons & Croatans


The Melungeons were an offshoot of the Croatan/Lumbee Indians

In 1848 a journalist visited East Tennessee and published the 'Legend of the Melungeons."  They reported they were 'Portuguese who mixed with the Indians, blacks and whites.'  People have said they made up their Portuguese ancestry to hide their African ancestry?  If they were trying to hide it why did they say they mixed with 'blacks and whites?"

Why are people trying to prove they were gypsies, Turks, Jews, etc.,  they said they were  'Portuguese who mixed with the Indians, blacks and whites.

Early researchers before 1900 and into the early 1900s recognized the connection of the Croatan/Lumbee, the Redbones, and the Melungeons.  Why are researchers today ignoring the early research of these eyewitnesses to history? Why are they trying to create new ancestries for them?  It's in the records.  The Croatan/Lumbee said the word Melungeon was 'retained by them here'.

Early researchers thought they were Portuguese, Sheriff Buttery of Hancock County said they resembled the Cherokee. The Smithsonian published the Melungeons were an offshoot of the Croatan.  Nowhere do you find anyone saying they were Turks, Jews, Gypsies, or Africans.  Why is it people are so reluctant to believe these people were exactly who they said they were?



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.''
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Red Springs, NCOct 12, 1889Mr McDonald Furman
Dear SirYour favor of receipt date on hand - I was much pleased in reading the slips sent me. The exodus of the Croatans English Colonists from Roanoke Island after the departure of Gov. Whte took place under the leadership of a Croatan chief, whose name was Ey-an-ac (or something like that) as appears from ancient maps discovered recently in Europe. The route as laid down on the maps which bear date of 1608 and 1610, was aross Croatan Sound and up the Roanoke River to an Indian Village - thence Southward around Pamlico Sound to a Croatan settlement on the Neuse River. From this settlement began the second exodus of the Indians and Whites or half breeds to a place on the Coharies in what is now Sampson County and to the Lumbee River and Pee Dee.
The time of their second exodus is uncertain, perhaps as late as 1650. The early immigrants to Eastern Carolina according to tradition, intermarried with the Croatans and to this fact is to be ascribed; the frequency of German, English and Irish and French ------? among these people today. 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".
Henry Berry Lowrie takes his Christian name from Henry Berry one of the lost colonists of Roanoke as you will see by -------? to list in pamphlet. Many of the Lowrie's settled in Robeson - others went to the French Broad in Western N.C., and those in Robeson claim that David Lowrie Swain Ex Gov. and James Lowrie Robinson late Lt Gov of this State were of their stock. 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". ...........

I am yours trulyHamilton MCMillan

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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. 
* *Read before the Society at its regular meeting, February 5, 1889. 


A paper read by Dr. (Swan) Burnett before the Washington Anthropological Society on the Melungeons in the southern Alleghanies is a case in point. Annual Report By Smithsonian Institution - 1890


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. Colonel Reese, on behalf of the committee to consider the eligibility of women as members, reported that there was nothing in the rules to prevent, and, in fact, that the society now had a lady member — Mrs. Martha J. Lamb of New York. 
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. They are now called Croatans, on account of a sign they made on the trees to keep their way. The Basques of the Spanish coast have been said to have settled in that country, but this theory was not thought to be trustworthy. It would be impossible for negroes to form a distinct race, because the number necessary for a colony would not have been allowed to run at large. The race has several old English words which are used as they were in England two hundred years ago, and a case of civil rights has been won in court by a Melungeon displaying his person and proving to the court that he was of Caucasian blood. North Carolina gives the Croatians $1,000 a year for a normal school, and they have excellent roads. This colony, whose early history is thus so clearly traced, lies within forty miles of the Tennessee Melungeons


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AN INDIAN TO BE HANGED Georgia Crotan to be Executed Next Month for Murder.
New York TimesFebruary 28, 1897, Wednesday
ATLANTA, Ga., Feb. 27. -- For the first time in fifty years an Indian is under sentence of death in Georgia. He will be hanged in Glynn County next month. Marcellus Lowry, the condemned man, is a Crotan Indian from the celebrated band in North Carolina, many of whom have drifted with the turpentine and timber men into Southern Georgia, where they are called "Melungeons." Lowery and a white man named Patrick Burns were working in the woods together and Burns went to Lowery's camp and entered his shanty to get something to eat. The Croatan Indians are a fierce, treacherous and vindictive race and once their anger is aroused they do not hesitate to commit murder.
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Secret of the Croatan Tribe-- The FamousRoanoke Settlers Were Not Massacred,But affiliated With a Friendly and PowerfulNation of Indians St. Louis Dispatch 
"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  has traced by family names the connection between the Melungeons and the Croatans

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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. Tenn. 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.

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The North Carolina Booklet: Great Events in North Carolina History  Martha Helen Haywood, Hubert Haywood, Mary Hilliard Hinton, E. E. Moffitt, General Society of the Daughters of the Revolution North Carolina Society.1916



Croatan; a so-called group of Indians, living mainly in Robeson County. James Mooney, the noted expert, who is regarded as the finest authority on Indian history, says the theory that the Croatan are descended from the "Lost Colony" of Roanoke Island is baseless. Mr. Mooney has spent much of his life in North Carolina, studying these matters, and was here in 1916. He says the Croatan "embrace the blood of the wasted native tribes, the early colonists or forest rovers, runaway slaves and other negroes, and that of a steady stream of the Latin races from coasting vessels in the West India and Brazilian trade. "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.


The Melungeons 
 Paul Converse 
 Southern Collegian December 1912
This is quite a fine theory, but most people are more prosaic and hold the Melungeons to be a mixed race, having Indian, Negro, and Caucasian blood in their veins. This the word “Melungeon” itself would indicate and the Bureau of Ethnology at Washington classifies them as a branch or offshoot of the Croatan Indians of North Carolina, who are a people of obscure and mixed descent in whose veins Indian blood predominates. 



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