Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Martha Collins - 1907

The Mystery of the Melungeons.

Nashville Tennessean Sunday Magazine 
September 22, 1963
By Louise Davis 

Miss Martha Collins, vice-president of the Citizens Bank of Sneedville, sat at her trim-lined desk in the air-conditioned, modernistic bank and pondered questions we asked her. Obviously it was not a subject to dismiss lightly, nor to discuss with strangers who might write misleading stories. A fair-skinned, blue-eyed woman whose calm efficiency at running the bank was sharpened in 25 years of training under her distinguished father’s presidency, Miss Collins weighed her words, spaced her sentences precisely ------- figuring interest. 

“I used to regard the stories about Melungeons as a part of mythology,” Miss Collins, a college graduate who is descended from one of the oldest families in the region, said. “But my sister said, “No, there is some truth in it.” Miss Collins rose from her desk and walked thoughtfully to the vault to withdraw a letter postmarked 1907. It had been written to her by one of her uncles. Elegant in vocabulary and charming in sentiment, the letter related some of the family stories about their origin. Written by J. G. Rhea, the letter told of one of the legends that persists to explain the presence of the dark-skinned people in the area: they are descendants of the Spaniards and perhaps Portuguese men in DeSoto’s party who ventured from Florida into parts of North Carolina and Tennessee in search of gold in 1540. 

According to this story, some of the men became lost from DeSoto’s party, were either captured or befriended by Cherokee Indians, intermarried with them, and left their descendants in Rhea, Hawkins, and Hancock counties in Tennessee and neighboring counties in Virginia. “Navarrh Collins….a fine old patriarch….said to be of Portuguese descent, was one of the early settlers.” Rhea wrote. “He settled on Blackwater Creek and owned Vardy Mineral Springs.” Vardy, a community centered around a neat cluster of white frame church, school and missionary teacher’s residence, got its name from Spanish settlers, tradition says. 

Navarrh, Rhea said, was a variation of Navarre, a region in Spain. When Navarrh Collins opened Navarrh Mineral Springs, a long-ago health resort in the valley, the name was soon contracted to Varr and they Vardy.There is nothing of the backwardness of the traditional mountaineer in the letter, and it is obvious that Hancock County has—and for generations has had—its artistocracy, some of whom took pride in their Spanish and Portuguese ancestry as well as in their Scotch-Irish blood. But there are no Spanish or Portuguese names in the community now. There is no peculiarity of vocabulary to set the Melungeon apart from other citizens of comparable education and background. 


J. G. Rhea
Griffin, Georgia
April 14, 1918

Miss Martha B. Collins
Bristol Tenn

Dear Niece

Read the letter HERE

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Other Collins

Hezekiah and John Collins 

"In 1773 at the Treaty of Augusta (Augusta, GA), the Cherokees and Creeks ceded over 2 million acres of land in return for cancelling 40,000 Pounds indebtedness to the Indian Traders. The two murdered Cherokees were members of the surveying expedition led by Col. Edward Barnard to map the land cession. The surveyors and other members of the expedition included the naturalist William Bartram.

There were already hundreds of trespassers in the new land. They had migrated into the upcountry hills of the Carolinas before the Revolution and on into the backcountry of Georgia. And in general they viewed the Indians with hatred -- while at the same time desiring the land.

Two young Cherokees, who were with Barnard's boundary-marking expedition, called at Collins's cabin on the Broad River for some refreshment. They were not armed and were not looking for trouble. Collins' wife invited them in and gave them some milk and something to eat. When Collins returned to his cabin and found them there, he killed the first with his rifle and the second with an ax. John Collins, father of the murderer, arrived to drag the bodies to the river and sink them.

Later when the Cherokees were reported missing, Barnard's men searched the Broad River area. Under questioning Mrs. Collins related the sad story. Barnard's men found the bodies in the shallows of the river and returned them to their people.

John Collins, the father, was arrested for his part in the affair. Hezekiah fled to South Carolina where he was arrested, but then escaped. There is no record of him ever being brought to justice for his crime."

1752 Hezekiah was located on Cane Creek and the Haw River. 
6194 Zachariah Martin plat 27 May 1752, 573a Orange, on N side of Haw Rv on Cain Ck above the Piney Mountain. CB John Daniel, Hezekiah Collins; Richd Caswell Jr Survr 

Nathan Melton  Survey 25 October 1759
391 acres on north side Haw R.; Robert Patterson, John Collins*: CC (chain carrier)  Entered 4 November 1756

John West Born about 1707 (in Virginia?). In 1725 when John was 18, he married Mary Madden, in Granville District, Orange County, North Carolina--- John was appointed constable in Orange County, North Carolina, in March of 1753. Two daughters of John West married two Collins brothers.  Hezekiah Collins m. Mary West [born 1742] and bought land from his father in law in 1755 Orange County, NC. 

John and Hezekiah Collins remove to York County, SC?

State of South Carolina, York County, Deed Book F, No. 20, Page 26-27, March 14, 1791. This Indenture made the fourteenth day of March in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven Hundred and ninety one. Between Hezekiah Collins of the County of York & State of South Carolina planter of the one part and James Donally of the County and State aforesaid planter of the other part. Witnesseth that for and in consideration of the sum of eight pounds Sterling to the said Hezekiah Collins in hand paid by the said James Donally at and before the ensealing & delivery of these presents the receipt and payment whereof is hereby Acknowledged hath granted Bargained sold aliened  conveyed and confirmed and by these presents doth grant Bargain Sell alien enfeoff convey & confirm unto the said James Donally his Heirs & assigns forever, a Certain piece Tract or piece of land Containing by computation one Hundred & fifty acres being a part of a Tract of Land granted to John Collins in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Sixty eight lying and being on the East side of Kings Creek. Beginning at a red oak Marked H. C upon the first Spring Branch below the mouth of the Gum Branch from thence down the said Spring Branch to a white oak Tree on the Branch of Kings Creek marked H.C. _ _ _ _ from thence up Kings Creek to the upper line of said Tract & from thence runs the Courses of said Tract of Land upon the east side of said Creek to the beginning. Black oak marked as aforesaid H.C. with the appurtenances situate lying and being as aforesaid with their and every of their rights members and appurtenances whatsoever and the reversion and reversions, Remainders & remainders of all and Singular the lands Tenements Hereditaments and premises is hereby Granted or intended to be granted and of every part and parcel thereof of all __ Services and profits to them or any of them or any part and parcel of them or any of them J____ belonging or appertaining. And __ all of every the Said Lands Tenements Hereditaments & Premises whatsoever hereby granted or mentioned to be granted or any of them or any part or parcel thereof. To have & to Hold the said Lands Tenements Hereditamnets & premises hereby granted with their appurtenances to the said James Donally his heirs and assigns to the only proper use behoof of the said James Donally his Heirs & assigns forever and the said Hezekiah Collins for himself his heirs Executors & Administrators doth hereby promise Covenant & agree that he the said Hezekiah Collins his Heirs Extr Adminisrs shall & will at all times Warrant forever defend the said premises to the said James Donally his heirs and assigns against all lawful claims or demands whatsoever whereof the above Mentioned premises might or maybe affected or encumbered contrary to the True Intent and meaning of these presents. In Witness whereof the said Hezekiah Collins hath hereunto set his Hand & seal the day & Year first above written. Hezekiah “his H mark” Collins (Seal) Mary “her __ mark” Collins.Signed Sealed & Delivered in presence of us John Hood, Massey (x) Sandlin.

Records are confusing but the earliest records say John is the father and Hezekiah was the son who killed the Cherokees.

"There were many settlers who had lost loved ones to the Indians, and had a deep hatred for them. Not only were the Indians at fault, but the white people themselves committed many crimes against the Indians.

The first blow came at the end of June during the expedition to mark the boundary line in Georgia. A family named Collins had settled high up Broad River at the edge of the line. The survey party had camped across the river in site of the house. Two young Cherokee lads of eighteen and twenty years old, who were near relations of Eccuy the Good Warrior and Big Swanny, decided to go unarmed over to pay a visit, and ask for a drink of milk. At that time the owner John Collins, and his son Hezekia, were away. The two lads went to the house. Mrs. Collins gave them milk, and also a well portion of victuals for each. While they were in the yard sitting and eating, the son Hezekia returned. He leveled his rifle with the intent to kill both. He fired and killed one, and struck the other on the neck with the stock of the rifle, which shattered it to pieces. The Indian began thrashing about on the ground, and the wicked Hezekia finished him off with an Ax. About this time the father returned, and seeing what had happened, they threw the bodies into the river.

When the story went out of the possible murders, the white people began a search to find the bodies as proof. After nine days they were found. Knowing of the consequences, Hezekia left the country. John was arrested in South Carolina, but made an escape. A circular was distributed throughout the other colonies, with a large reward for the apprehension and arrest of Hezekia.

Watagua Records
Aug. 27, 1778
Benjamin Rodgers vs. Peter Ford.
Caveat returned by the Sheriff, settled and agreed. All fees paid. 
Val Sevier, Abraham Sevier, Julius Robinson, Zachriah White, Dempsey Ward, Andrew Thompson, Gideon Morris, Robert Sevier, Jermiah Duncan, came into court and took the oath of Allegiance.

Ordered that the sheriff make the sale of six head of Creatures taken by John Sevier from Joseph Box called the property of Zekiah Collins, wheel right, and make return of money arising from the sale thereof to the Treasurer.

Ord. that Pheba Collins have three creatures returned to her that was ord. by the court to be sold by the Sheriff, the creatures supposed to belong to Hezekiah Collins.

There are two sources that may indicate the John and Hezekiah descendants did end up in Hawkins County, Tennessee area;
I came upon some old notes I had taken from a film at a LDS library. It was
an interview in 1936 with a Berry Collins, a son of Griffin. He says that
these Collinses came from GA to TN & that Griffin was first in the line to
settle in the county-Grainger Co., TN. I know GA became a state in 1788 but
Griffin was b. 1773. GA was also Indian lands. [ Email to Brenda Dillon 2002] 

''Old Griffith Collins who died in Grainger county some forty years ago once approached 'Squire Gill' of Bean Station, who was an Englishman by birth, on this subject. 

"Squire Gill" he asked, "what is convicts?" I've often heard my grandfather say we's come down from convicts." [Varney]

Griffin Collins has a history of coming from Georgia.  Solomon Collins born in what was Johnston County, North Carolina at the time enlisted from Caswell County, North Carolina in 1778, formed the following year from Orange, removed to Georgia after the war.  He is found in same areas of Georgia as Seaborn Collins, a perfect DNA match to Vardy, David, and Amos, etc.


Cherokee Application - Deposition of Seaborn Hagan, son of Zilpha Collins and Coleston Hagan.

Seaborn's daughter, Zilpha Collins was married in Appling, Georgia to Coleston Hagan.  While Seaborn Hagan states in the application his father didn't have any Indian blood I believe he is represented in the Hagan DNA project in the Q - Native American group.  

Coleston and Zilpha Hagan were apparently in Jefferson Co., Tennessee by 1845 and in Grainger County by the 1850 census;

Birth Year: abt 1798 Birthplace:South Carolina Home in 1850:District 10, Grainger, Tennessee Family Number:1120Household Members:
Coleson Hagen52
Zilphia Hagen41
Selim Hagen20
Peter Hagen17
James Hagen15
Laurence Hagen13
Matilda Hagen11
Christley G. Hagen5
Mahala Hagen2


Solomon enlisted from Caswell County, North Carolina in 1778. The Caswell County tax list for 1777 shows Paul, Martin, Charles and Milleton Collins on lands in St. James District, they are most likely related these four Collins who later remove to Wythe/Giles Co., Virginia and also Hawkins/Hancock County, Tennessee.

From Carolina to Virginia to Tennessee

Paul Collins found in the 1777 tax in Caswell County was in Granville/Orange County, NC as early as 1751 with Thomas Collins. 
1752 Granville County, NC  Thomas Collins received a land grant on the Flatt River on Dials Creek. Witnesses: Paul Collins, George Gibson and Moses Riddle
1761  700 acres to Thomas Collins on Dials Creek of the Flatt River. Chainbearers: George Collins and Paul Collins (mulattoes)”
1782 Montgomery Co Va Tax list
tithes slaves horses cattle land
Ambrose Collins 1 0 1 1 Yes
Daniel Collins 1 0 4 9 Yes
David Collins 1 0 0 2 Yes
George Collins 1 0 0 4 Yes
John Collins 1 0 1 2 Yes
Lewis Collins 1 0 1 2 Yes
Martin Collins 1 0 1 0
Millinton Collins 1 0 1 0 

Millton Collins 1783 Montgomery Co Va

Millinton Collins 5-10-1783 80 acres Big Reed Island Pine & Snake Cr[in modern Carroll Co] & New River Grants 29-325
1789 NE Part of Wilkes Co. NC
Samuel Collins ( 0 poll means he was under 16 yrs)
Volentine Collins (1 poll)
Benjamin Collins (1 Poll....first appearance)
1793 Wythe Co, VA (formed 1793 from the lower western part of Montgomery  Co...1793] List for New River District
Lewis CollinsBenjamin CollinsAbsolem Collins
Joseph Collins
John Collins Sr
John Collins Jr
Mahlon Collins
Millitent CollinsDavid Collins
Jonathan Collins
1800 Grayson Co Va Tax List
George Collins 1 wm over 21
Paul Collins 1 wm over 21
Jacob Collins 1 wm over 21
Jonathan Collins 1 wm over 21, 1 horse
Malin Collins 2 wm over 21, 5 horses
John Collins 1 wm over 21, 2 horses
Milliner [Milliton] Collins 2 wm over 21, 1 horse
Benjamin Collins 2 wm over 21, 2 horses

Moses Collins 1 wm over 21
 1802 Montgomery Co Va
Millenton and Avy Collins of Grayson Co Va sold 80 acres on Big Reed Island to James Bobbit for 34 pds. DB 1-480 22 Feb 1802
 All of these families have ties from Granville/Orange/Caswell to Georgia, Wilkes Co., NC.  Grayson, Wythe, Montgomery Co., Va., and Newman's Ridge. 
The previous blog shows "Old Benjamin Collins with Milleton in Virginia to Tennessee.  Milleton had land on Big Reed Island and the newspaper clipping from 1876 shows that the "Young Benjamin Collins" came from Reed Island.

A race of people mostly by the name of Collins and Mullins live on the top, and along the spurs of Newmans Ridge, and some of them in a fertile valley called, "Blackwater," "history tells not of their origin," but as far as I can learn from the oldest ones among them, their ancestors came there from "Reed Island"about the beginning of the present century.  
 Herald and Tribune (Jonesborough, Tennessee)27 Jan 1876, Thu Page 2  HANCOCK COUNTY

The Collins of Newman's Ridge are not genetically related but it certainly appears they are at least 'tribally related'  -- 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Collins from Reed Island

Herald and Tribune (Jonesborough, Tennessee)27 Jan 1876, ThuPage 2


Mr. Editor: - In obedience to a promise made when I left Jonesboro' I will give you a few items of my trip to Sneedville.  I reached that somewhat famous town about dark on the 16th inst. the roads were extremely muddy, but being mounted on Co. I renius White's famous saddle horse, "David" I feared no evil. Sneedville is situated not far from Clinch River, in a beautiful valley at the foot of Newmans Ridge.  It contains a population of about one hundred and fifty souls, one log church, one Academy, a Court House and Jail. The original name of the place was "Greasy Rock," so called because on a certain hedge of flat rocks near the town, the Indians are said to have skinned their bears.  Hancock county was organized from a part of Hawkins County in 1848. It contains some very good farming lands, though most of the county is very rough and mountainous. It is by nature will adapted tothe growing of the grasses, and could be made one of the best counties for raising sheeep and cattle in the State.  But the people grow mostly corn, oats and wheat and boat their surplus down the Clinch River to Chattanooga in flat-boats. the county has a varied population-- a great many of the peole are industrious, enterprising and intelligent, while some are groveling, vicious and indigent.  A race of people mostly by the name of Collins and Mullins live on the top, and along the spurs of Newmans Ridge, and some of them in a fertile valley called, "Blackwater," "history tells not of their origin," but as far as I can learn from the oldest ones among them, their ancestors came there from "Reed Island" about the beginning of the present century.  They claim to be of Welsh extraction some of them are quite dark in complexion other of a deep copper color. They all have straight hair, generally dark eyes, sharp noses, thin lips, and some of them very peculiar physiognomies. They have none of the peculiar marks of the African about them, and I have no idea that they have any African blood in them. The lands cleared out and cultivated by them on Newman's Ridge are said to be rich and productive. These people were all loyal to the Unites States Government in the late war and many of them served in the Union army and made good soldiers. ..................

Rogersville, Tenn. January 1876

Fincastle County 1773 Delinquent Tax Lists: David Collens, Elisha Collens, Ambrus Collens, Samuel Collens, John Collens, Lewis Collens, John Collens Junr., George Collens, Charles Collens. On James McGavock's List of Delinquents. At a Court held for Fincastle Decr 6 1774 "This List of delinquents on New River & Reed Creek was received by the Court containing 213 Tithables and is that ought to be Received by the Vestry of the Parish of Botetourt. W. Ingles"

1783 Montgomery Co., VA:
Millinton Collins 5-10-1783
80 acres Big Reed Island Pine & Snake Cr [in modern Carroll Co.] & New River Grants 29-325
(note: Aaron Collins had a grant very near this.)

FEBRUARY 22, 1802 - Grayson County, Book 1, pages 480-481.
From Milleton Collins of Grayson County to James Bobbett of Grayson County, for 80 acres of land, lying and being on the waters of Big Reed island, the waters of New River .........[Sarah GIBSON, daughter of George Gibson married John Bobbett in Pittsylvania Co., Va., in 1764. Believe James is their son. 

Witnesses: James Bobbett Senior MILLETON COLLINS John Dalton, William Dalton ROY COLLINS

1802 Montgomery Co., VA:
Millenton and Avy Collins of Grayson Co., VA sold 80 acres on Big Reed Island to James Bobbit for 34 pds. DB 1-480 22 Feb 1802

Millenton Collins is no doubt the same man in Caswell Co., NC, [formed from Granville] with Martin, Paul, Charles and Solomon, the last removing to Georgia.

Carroll County was formed from Grayson, and Grayson from Patrick and Wythe 1792-1793.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Gibsons Documented

"Rosalie Gibson' writes;

"I have a FB page Gibsons of Old Jamestown and Louisa Co, VA. It's well documented and if you read the posts from the start, you will be clear on our origins, which are truly amazing. Henry Collins and Thomas Gibson arrived in Jamestown in 1608 and I have the family documented back to the 1640's, Jamestown area, and we were largely Indian by that early, early time."


  • Thomas Gibson arrived in Jamestown in 1608 and disappears into oblivion. He went to build a home for Powahatan after arriving, it is the last we hear of Thomas Gibson.
  • In 1640 Jane Gibson was born and was identified as an "Indian woman" in court records. It is documented in those court records she had a daughter, Jane who married Morris Evans, and a son George Gibson who died without heirs. How anyone can write this Jane Gibson is documented to Thomas Gibson or to Gibby Gibson is beyond my comprehension.

We do know that in 1791 Robert Wills made a deposition; 

"he was well acquainted with Jane Gibson and George Gibson her brother who were dark mulattoes who lived in the County of Charles City and were free people; that the said Jane Gibson had two children named Jane and George Gibson and they were also free"
Later on in deposition Robert Wills testifies;

Quest. Will you please to answer the second question in this deposition more fully, you have in your answer to that question said nothing about George Gibson the elder?
Ans: I never mentioned more than one George Gibson, the Son of the elder Jane Gibson, brother to Jane Evans. [This George would be born about 1660-1670 - he can't be the George of 1656 records in CCC] If it be so expressed in my former deposition it was misconceived, I never did know any but one of that name. And further this deponent saith not.
Jane Gibson, the elder, may or may not have had a brother George Gibson. It seems clear she had a son George, who died without heirs according to the pedigree sheet, but it appears she did not have a brother named George. 

Sometime in the mid 1650s to mid 1660s living on Upper Chippoakes Creek was George Gibson and wife Mary, called Goodwife Gibson. That is the first documented Gibson we have in the area since Thomas Gibson's arrival in 1608. Fifty years have went by. We do not know what happened to the first Thomas Gibson, did he go back to England? Was he killed by Indians?  He is not on the 'Living and Dead' census of 1623. Did he marry into the Powhatan tribe and is the father of Jane and/or George of Charles City County?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Calloway Collins

This sketch of Calloway Collins, grandson of "A FULL-BLOODED CHEROKEE" accompanied the article by Will Allen Dromgoole on her trip to Newmans Ridge.  See scan below.

This sketch is found in Wikipedia article on the Melungeons.  Who sketched this and who added it to Wikepedia.  Where did this sketch come from?  There is more that a 'subtle' difference in these two sketches.  Why does the second one say it is a 'typical Melungeon' it looks nothing like Calloway Collins? It says it was "Drawn from a photograph taken by Will Allen Dromgoole" but the above is the sketch made by the artist that accompanied Ms Dromgoole to Newmans Ridge.

On the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog,  Lorine McGinnis Schulze had added to the sketch "Credits: "A typical malungeon" was published in 1890 by Will Allen Dromgoole, it found in Nashville Sunday American, August 31, 1890 

Why does the 'Typical Melungeon" appear August 31st in Nashville newpspaper and 'Calloway Collins' whose grandfather was full blood Cherokee appear in the Oregon newpspaper two weeks later?   

Did Dromgoole's artist sketch both of these?  Is the second one the man Dromgoole refers to as 'King" in THE LAST OF THE MALUNGEONS

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Indians of Hancock County Tennessee

Indians of Hancock County, Tennessee

The Cherokee Boundary of 1785 went through Sneedville as did the Kentucky Road [Wilderness Trail] as the map below shows. 

I have not found the source for this nor can I vouch for it's accuracy;

John Reed Swanton's Indians of the Southeastern United StatesBulletin 137 of the Bureau of American Ethnology,Smithsonian Institution, 1946.
''Swanton reported that there were three bands of the Yuchi (Uchee or Euchee): a southern one centered near the present Macon, Georgia; a middle one near the present Talladega, Alabama; and a northern one centered on Newman's Ridge in Hancock County, Tennessee. The northern band were not among the Yuchi forced to relocate in Indian Territory in the 1830s. They were settled on the Qualla Reservation with the Eastern Cherokee band and allowed one representative on the tribal council. All deliberations were in Cherokee, which none of the Yuchi understood (understandable, since Cherokee belongs to the Iroquoian language stock and Yuchi to the Siouan one).   After two years of feeling like strangers among the Cherokees, the Yuchi left and returned to Newman's Ridge.''

It is interesting though that the "Emassees and Malunjins show up together in Dothan, Alabama.

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. The Emassees were allied by affinity with the Creeks and Seminoles yet during all of Alabama's territorial and state days were friendly to the whites. Only a squatter white family settled  here and there and lived in old Henry County prior to 1817. Save for these squatters there were no  white settlers in Henry County at the time of the Creek War of 1812-13. The Alabama Lawyer: Official Organ State Bar of AlabamaBy Alabama State BarPublished by The Bar, 1942

On November 6, 1837, the Hawkins County Land Platt Book records the survey for James Livesay of 500 acres of land on an "Indian village on the waters of Painter [Panther Creek]  on the north side of Clinch River."

Sneedville, Aug. 16, 1878.To the Editor of the Morristown Gazette :
Where the village of Sneedville is situated was once an Indian town. There are any quantity of flints half finished, scattered about over a wide extent in and around the village, showing that this was a place where they manufactured darts for their arrows, with which they killed their game. Many battle-axes, tomahawks, pestles, and remnants of Instruments and vessels of pottery used by the aborigines have been picked up in years gone by, so that now they are seldom found. Within a quarter of a mile of the court-house there is still visible a round-shaped knoll which may be a mound. It was once much sharper than it now is, so sharp that cattle never resorted to it for rest. It has been ploughed over and cultivated; and is now very much flattened.. I have seen many mounds, and am inclined to express it as my opinion that this - is a regular mound. Right here, allow me to say that I am in correspondence with the officers of the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D. C, who request me to collect all evidences of these singular formations, and transmit information and specimens to them. which I am doing, and respectfully request those who have any Indian battle-axes, tomahawks, arrow heads pottery, or other implements or trinkets once in posession of the Indians who formerly roamed over this country as "lords of creation," to send them to me at Morristown.

Notes And Dots

Monday, June 19, 2017

Mysteries Secrets & Lies


from WVLT in Knoxville Tennessee was posted this morning.  This is 
typical of the pieces being put out by television, magazines, books, 
speakers, etc., and it is plain ridiculous. 

 In 1848 a journalist from Kentucky, likely hearing of the illegal voting trial involving the 'Meluneons', went to Newman's Ridge.  There he stayed at the 'Inn' of Vardy Collins and wife Peggy Gibson.

This journalist called Vardy the 'chief cook and bottlewasher of the Melungeons' and it was no doubt Vardy and Peggy Collins who told him the "Legend of the Melungeons."

"The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this. A great many years ago, these mountains were settled by a society of Portuguese Adventurers, men and women--who came from the long-shore parts of Virginia, that they might be freed from the restraints and drawbacks imposed on them by any form of government. These people made themselves friendly with the Indians and freed, as they were from every kind of social government, they uprooted all conventional forms of society and lived in a delightful Utopia of their own creation ....... These intermixed with the Indians, and subsequently their descendants (after the advances of the whites into this part of the state) with the negros and the whites, thus forming the present race of Melungens."
Ok so where is the SECRET?  Exactly what was it they were 'afraid to tell' the journalist?  Where was their "self-preservation" in 1848?  Why would they create this 'legend' if it were not true and exactly what secret could they be hiding? They said they were Portuguese adventurers who mixed with the Indians. It was no more dangerous to be an 'Indian' than it was to be African, both would have been enslaved or marched off to the reservation.  Just a few generations before this the Indians were capturing and cooking the pioneers.

They said they mixed with whites and BLACKS when they got to Tennessee! What was the SECRET, what were they hiding, what did they forget on purpose?
These people were hardy pioneers who had lived in the mountains, fought in the Revolution, fought off Indians, the tax man, etc.  They were probably forced off their lands in Louisa County in the 1740s and many of them came from the Indian trading families. Some were at Jamestown in early 1600s.  And people expect us to believe they were AFRAID to tell who they really were?

Hernando deSoto

J.G. Rhea to Martha Collins - 1918 
"Now about the Collins boys, I knew when I was a boy Navarrh, or as he was called, "Vardy" Collins was a fine old patriarch, said to be of Portuguese Nationality coming to this country with De Soto

How could it be that "we can't go back far enough" to validate the Portuguese mixed with the Indians when the deSoto journals are full of stories of the Portuguese [and Spanish and Genoans] mixing with the Indians?   "We can't go back far enough" to find how they got here? The deSoto journals tell exactly how they got here, how Andre de Vasconcelos  received a ship for his Portuguese sailors from deSoto.

"In the month of April, of the year 1538, the adelantado (deSoto) delivered the ships over to the captains who were to go in them. He took a new and good sailing ship for himself and gave one to Andre de Vasconcelos, in which the Portuguese went"   (Here)

The Portuguese definitely mixed with the Indians, just as Vardy Collins told the journalis in 1848.  From the de Soto Journals (Found Here)

  • They captured a hundred head, among Indian men and women. Of the latter, there, as well as in any other part where forays were made, the captain selected one or two for the governor and the others were divided among themselves and those who went with them.
  • As soon as the governor had crossed the stream, he found a village called Achese a short distance on. Although the Indians had never heard of Christians they plunged into a river. A few Indians, men and women, were seized,
  • At the time of his departure, because of the importunity of some who wished more than was proper, he asked the cacique for thirty Indian women as slaves.....The Indians gave the governor thirty Indian women and the necessary tamemes [for DeSoto's men to wed then populate his planned settlement at Mobile Bay].

And this piece wants us to believe they 'forgot on purpose' who they were when they told the journalist in 1848 exactly who they were, they didn't forget anything.

Fifteen years before deSoto there was Lucian deAyllon who brought 600 colonist and 100 slaves to Winyah Bah and the Pee Dee River, most researchers agree some of these people, including the slaves went off to live with the Indians along the Pee Dee River, only 150 people returned to Spain. (Early Contacts)

Twenty six years after deSoto Juan Pardo explored the same area of the Pee Dee River as deAyllon and deSoto.  There are many articles of Pardo's soldiers "indiscretions" with Indian women and at least two marriages between soldiers and the Indian women.

Is it really a leap to believe the Melungeons are descendants of these Portugese and Indian men and women?   To date the only court documented case of Melungeons was in Hamilton Co., Tennessee and it is reported and documented they were on the Pee Dee River in early 1700s.  (The Famous Melungeon Case)

They told this same story to Will Allen Dromgoole who published The Four Branches in 1890, The Gibson and Collins were Indians, the Goins were African and the Denham were Portuguese.  This is the exact "legend' told to the journalist 50 years before. (The Melungeon Tree and It's Four Branches)

Again in 1897  the legend was repeated to  Rev. C. H. Humble, in an article "A Visit to the Melungeons.
"The first settlers here were the great grand parents, Varday Collins, Shephard Gibson, and Charley Williams, who came from Virginia it is said, though other say from North Carolina. They have marked Indians resemblances in color, feature, hair, carriage, and disposition. 
The second settlers were from North Carolina; they were the Goans, Miners, and Bells; they were charged with having negro blood in them and, before the war, were prosecuted on this ground for illegal voting, but were acquitted. They explained their peculiarities by claiming a Portuguese origin. 
Later Came Jim Mullens, an Englishman, who married a Collins, and whose son John married Mehala Collins, to be referred to again. Jim Moore, a British sailor, also settled here, and married a daughter of old Charley Gibson,"  

Lacking the Portuguese Denham this is the same 'legend'  they told in Dromgoole- The Indians, Africans, Portuguese and English, just as they had told the journalist in 1848.

This is not one of those "theories of origin" - this is exactly who they said they were and where they came from. There is no SECRET there is no MYSTERY!
These myths that 'they said they were Portuguese to hide African ancestry is a joke. They told journalists every chance they got exactly who they were, they said they mixed with blacks in 1848 they were NOT covering up nothing!    The only mystery is why are these people in Vardy/Newman's Ridge allowing this so called mystery to carry on, promoting secrets and lies?  Yes, lies, because if they don't believe the 1848 Legend of the Melungeons, as told by Vardy Collins, or the history told to Dromgoole by Calloway Collins or Beatty Collins who gave the information to C.H. Humble then yes, they are reducing their ancestors to a bunch of deceitful, lying pioneers hiding their African ancestry!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Champ Gibson


Excerpt from The Heritage of Rockingham County North Carolina 1983 "There have been generations of people by the names of Goins, Hickmans, Kyles, Harris, Lyles, Richardson, Kimmons, Gibsons and a few other names. - These people have many features of Indian, Portuguese, and other nationalities." 

Thomas Gibson died in Henry County, Virginia in 1780, his will written on January 3rd it names his wife, Mary, and only one daughter, Cuzziah. Zackeriah King, Joel Gibson and Lambert Dotson were named as executors. Joel and Charles More along with Joseph Nicols were witness to the will. On March 23, 1780 it was probated and the records show; exhibited by Joel Gibson who gave bond with Lambeth Dodson and Champain Gibson as his securities. Further records shows On 22 June 1765, according to the Pittsylvania County patent book, Lambeth patented 400 acres on the main fork of Mayo River which he transferred to George Gibson on 19 September 1766. Lambeth entered 228 acres in Guilford County, North Carolina on 9 January 1779 (Rockingham formed from Guilford in 1785). It was surveyed 10 June 1779 by Joshua Smith, with William Kellam and Joel Gibson acting as chain carriers. The grant was issued 1 March 1780, 228 acres below and in the fork of Mayo River, beginning at a poplar on the south bank of the North Fork of Mayo in the Virginia line, adjoining Joel Gibson and Philip Angling, and including the improvements of Thomas Gibson and Esaw Dodson. On 9 July 1784, Lambeth Dodson of Henry County, Virginia sold 153 acres of this tract to Zachariah King of Guilford County, North Carolina. From Pittsylvania County Court Records - Applications to raise dams for grist mills is George Gibson on Crooked Creek dated June 1772. 


Champ Gibson was born in 1746 and married to Elizabeth, last name unknown, by 1774 when his daughter Jane was born. He is first found in records in Henry County when he appears on the record of Thomas Gibson's will in 1780. A deed on both sides of Hickory Creek on the Mayo River between Champ and Robert Means shows him in Rockingham County, North Carolina by 1786. Champ Gibson's 191 acres on Hickory Creek was divided among his ten sons and daughters in 1820. Champ Gibson was found in Halifax County in 1771 See Notes 

The children of Champ and Elizabeth Gibson 

(i) In 1823 Jemima Gibson living in Hawkins County gave power of attorney to Tyre Gibson of Hawkins County, Tennessee. Tyre Gibson may be the same man bailed out of the Lee County jail in 1822 and possibly a brother of Vardy's wife, 'Spanish Peggy Gibson? Was Jemima married to Tyre Gibson?

 (ii) Alexander Gibson married Charlotte Jinkins on February 11th 1820, lived in Rockingham 

(iii) James Possibly moved to Tennessee

(iv) Margaret married William Moore and resided in Rockingham County.

(v) Jane married Johnson Goin and remained in Rockingham also. Likely the source of many of the Goinstown Indians.

(vi) Fanny married Ansel Rogers by 1831 - Ansel and Fanny were living in Washington Co., Virginia (Rockingham Co., North Carolina Deed Book 2dC p 202 in 1832) 

(vii) Elizabeth married Randal Riddle moved to Hawkins Co., Tennessee (Rockingham Co. Deed Book 2dF p392) 

(viii) Chaney married James Harris (Rockingham Co., NC Deed Book 2dG p58 in 1836) 

(viiii) Pleasant Gibson served in the War of 1812 Lived in the Goinstown community on the Rockingham and Stokes County border until the 1850s and then moved over to what would become Quaker Gap Township in Stokes County. In 1826 he bought the rights of sister Chaney and her husband James Harris, 19 acres on Hickory Creek and in 1832 bought the 19 acres of his sister Fanny Rogers. 

(x) Stephen married Elizabeth Moore on February 25th 1816 and remainedin Rockingham County and received a pension for service during the War of 1812 


I am researching the family of Ansel Rogers and his wife, Fannie (or Frances) Gibson. Ansel was born about 1766, likely in Cumberland County, VA and was the son of Prudence Rogers. I would love to connect with anyone searching these lines! I have a fairly extensive set of data on them I'm more than willing to share.

He and mother Prudence moved to Campbell County, VA by 1780s where they bought land - near a Jenkins family. By 1810, Ansel is in Henry County, VA where he marries Frances GIBSON, the daughter of Champ GIBSON.

Ansel and his family are known as "free persons of color" or "mulatto" at least through 1870 census when some of his lines become "white". I can find court and military records for grandsons of his which call themselves "Portuguese".

Ansel and Frances were parents of the following (documented via grandson, James Ansel Rogers of Stone County, MO's failed application on the Guion Miller roll for recognition as a Cherokee). (note: although there is history of native american in many branches of the family, I have seen no connection to the actual Cherokee nation and with the source of the family
in Cumberland Co, VA in mid 1700s, I doubt that claim myself).

Children of Ansel and Frances Rogers:

- Prudence Rogers, b 1810; lived Washington County, VA/Sullivan Co,TN [WC,
VA or SC, TN]
- James Rogers (m. Rebecca SHAVER), b 1825; lived WC, VA and SC, TN
- Solomon Rogers ? not sure where he lived
- Nancy Rogers (WHO DID SHE MARRY??) likely born around 1820 and
supposedly lived in Lee County, VA
- Elizabeth Rogers b. about 1820 (married Martin SHAVER); lived in WC, VA
but he moved to Scott Co, VA after her death
- Julia Rogers; born around 1818 but not sure who she married
- Ruth Rogers; lived in SC, TN
- Lettie Rogers b. ca 1822 lived in WC, VA - one census record called her
occupation "fortune teller" (remained "colored" or "black" in census records
through death)
- Nathaniel B. Rogers b. 1818 - Lived at Louisville, KY (remained
"colored" in census until death)
- Spicey Rogers (married Squire SHAVER) was in SC, TN but then disappears.
Guion Miller application claims she was in "Big Sandy, OH" in 1906
- George W. Rogers b. 1826 lived at Lawrence Co, OH (remained "black" or
"indian" in census records until death) Note: although almost certainly the
son of Ansel, he was not mentioned in James Rogers' application.
(From Gary Burnette)

Subject: Riddle 
Message: Would be delighted to correspond further on any of these families. Elizabeth (Gibson) Riddle, widow of Randolph Riddle, moved from Rockingham Co., NC, to Hawkins Co., TN, in the mid-1840s, with her children; it's not clear whether Randolph died in NC or TN. (He was alive in 1842 when they sold their Rockingham Co. land together.) Elizabeth is listed in the 1850 census heading a large family; nearby is her sister, Chaney (Gibson) Harris, in the household of Chaney's son Cornelius Harris. Apparently they had gone to TN together. Why Hawkins? Chaney and Elizabeth already had an older sister, Jemima Gibson, who had been living there since at least 1822....
G.C. Waldrep III 

Lewis Goins was in Hawkins County 1850-55 had son John Lewis born 1855, they were from Goinstown, Rockingham County, NC., Lewis is probably a grandson of Jessee Going, Jessee believed to be related by marriage to John Riddle son of Moses and Mary Ridley, Riddle. Jesse Gowen paid f.50 to Thomas Crawley for land located on Daltons Creek and on the Stokes County line Oct 27, 1797 and on the same day John Riddle/Ridley paid Crawley f25 for land adjoining Jesse Gowen, Rockingham, NC deed book E, page 209. Most if not all of these
Rockingham County Riddles were children and or grandchildren of John Riddle, his son Randolph who married Elizabeth Gibson  later moved from Rockingham County to Hawkins County, Tn., Randolph Riddle's son James Austin Ridley married Nancy L. Going about 1839 in Rockingham County, NC. I regard John
Riddle a brother to William (Tory) Riddle and sons of Moses and Mary Ridley/Riddle of Orange County, NC and Henry County, Va.

According to John Ridley/Riddle's Pension application (S9069) Soldier was born near Flat River in NC, John Ridle and William Ridle are both recorded on the 1773 Montgomery County, Virginia tax list of John Montgomery, both John and William  took Oath of Allegiance in  Montgomery County in 1777.
John Riddle  moved from the Grayson County, Virginia area of Montgomery County shortly after the time of William Riddles capture on Riddle Knob and death, which was April 1781. John moved to Henry County and joined the Rev. Army in August 1781 and was at Yorktown at the surrender of Cornwallis. His
movements show a relationship with William Riddle even to the possibility that he was part of his gang on Riddle Knob.  Jack Goins

Lewis Goins was born around 1813 in Rockingham County, North Carolina and is likely the son of Johnson and Jane Gibson  Goins, grandson of Champ Gibson.  Around 1855 Lewis left Rockingham County and removed to Rogersville, Tennessee where his mothr's sisters, Elizabeth (Riddle) and Chaney (Harris) had moved some time before.

11 Dec 1895
Lewis Goins, an aged and well known citizen of our county, died at the residence of Harris Bell, on Cave Ridge near town, Tuesday night after an illness of about 6 weeks, aged 84 years. Until his last illness Mr. Goins had never been sick but two days before in all his life, and was an exceptionally well preserved man. He was very dark complected and claimed to be of Portugese stock. He was a member of the Baptist Church. The remains were interred at Cedar Grove near the River.   (Distant Crossroads, Volume 19, number 3, 2002) 

John Goins had land on Blackberry Creek, William King and Zachariah King also had land on Blackberry Creek.  Zachariah King was mentioned in the will of Thomas Gibson in 1780 along with Joel and Champ Gibson.  James is possibly the father of Johnson Goins who married to Champ Gibson's daughter about 1795.  These King, Gibson and Goins families are found in East Tennessee later.

Pleasant Gibson
Am searching for information on and/or descendants of Pleasant Gibson, s/o Champ & Elizabeth Gibson of Rockingham Co., b. c1783, served in War of 1812, lived in the Goinstown community on the Rockingham/Stokes line until the 1850s, when he moved over to what would become Quaker Gap Twp. in Stokes. Wife's name was Nancy--apparently no extant marriage bond. Known children: Leathy (c1825/28, unm.); Charlotte "Dolly" (c1819-92, m. William Belton); Jeremiah (b. c1820, m. Nancy Lybass); Delila (b. c1831/35, unm.); Robert (b. c1827/30, m. Catherine Cox); Annie (1837-1907, m. Patrick Farmer); and Abner (b. c1838, m. Martha Thrower, lived in Surry Co.).  (Bounty Land for War of 1812 mentioned in brother Stephens pension app jp)

By 1870 the Cornelius Harris and Obediah Riddle family moved  to Paoli, Orange County, Indiana.

21 Mar 1771 Road Order: George Combs appointed Surveyor of the Road leading from Boyd’s Road to Roberts’ Road...ordered that he, with male tithables belonging to Moses Hendrick, William Echols, Sr., John Anderson, Mead Anderson,
Shadrach Gowing, Harry Hereford, John Chapman, John Hood, Nipper Adams, William Donathan, Thomas Spencer, William Mays, Nathan Sullins, Charles Henderson, George Wood, George Stubblefield, Daniel Easely, Stephen Easely, Joshua Adams, Thomas Lovelace, Samuel Wilson, George Brown, Champ Gibson, and William Chandler, do forthwith lay open and
clear the said Road, and they then return to their former road. (Halifax County, VA, Court Orders, 7:80)

[Feb 1761 Deed: William Eckhols, Jr., and wife Rachel, to Moses Hendrick, all of Halifax County, for £19, 222 acres in Halifax County on Polecat Creek where said Moses now lives, adjoining Hugh Moore’s line–being a patent to Hugh Miller, who conveyed to said Eckhols... /s/ William Eckhols, Jr. Wit: Joseph Collins, William Marchbanks, Owen Brady. (Halifax County, VA, Deeds
3:32 ]

Joel Gibson on Buffallo Creek and Mayo - Champ Gibson on Hickory Creek and Mayo and Crooked Creek in upper right hand corner in Henry County is where George Gibson had land in 1772, probably from Lambert Dodson.

North Carolina Abstracts of State Grants

March 1, 1780 - Joel Gibson  282 acres on north side of Mayo join Philip Angelin

March 1, 1780 -  Lambeth Dodson    228 acres below and in fork of Mayo joining Virginia line  Both sides of S fork opposite land of Joel Gibson.

March 1, 1780 -  Champ Gibson 300 acres on both sides of Hicory Creek of Mayo River joining Alexander Lyell and both sides of (several) creeks.

March 1, 1780 - James Brison 400 acres on the south side of Mayo river joining the sd river below the Mouth of Buffaloe Creek, both sides of (several) branches, and both sides of the sd Creek Opposite (land) of Joel Gibson and Andrew Gibson.