Women learn to take death philosophically in this region. There are scores of widows and orphans. In the cities the father is the breadwinner, and his loss means hardships, sufferings and toil. Therefore, grief at death in cities is keen and pressing. In these mountain wilds one member of the family is as much a provider as another. A death means one less to help, and grief, therefore, is not so long enduring. Even where it is keen it does not express itself in shrieks and tears. It is silent and sullen. There are consoling thoughts that the death will be soon and properly avenged. The men do not avenge murder, however, so often through grief for the murdered as through the force of the mountain custom, which says that a murder is a stain until the murderer is killed.
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 Indians, part negro. The negro strain is not spread thorough 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 comes 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.