One of the most discussed, and less researched, of the Melungeon's history are the articles and observations of Will Allen Dromgoole's stay on Newmans Ridge in 1890.
Many people were, and are, offended by what Dromgoole wrote. The one thing she was adamant about was they were Indians. Cherokee Indians. She wrote; "Buck Gibson and Vardy Collins, the 'Head and Source' of the Melungeons... with the cunning of their Cherokee Ancestor" or describing Calloway Collins:
- "he was very tall and straight, with hawk-like eye, and long, coarse hair that fell about his well-shapen shoulders with that careless abandon which characterizes the free child of the forest. He wore neither shoes nor stockings, and his trousers were rolled back above the strong, well formed knee, showing the dusky skin which marked him of a race other than white or black. Indian: the grandson of a chief, and the son of a full-blooded Cherokee. Such he claimed, and the most dubious would have yielded the point "
- "his grandfather, old Jordan Collins, had been a healer too, — a healer and a chief; a full-blooded Cherokee chief. No doubt about that: it was on the records"........."Old Jordan was an Indian, "Soft Soul" they called him, and he had been respected by the whites. No man had ever dared call old Jordan a negro: he was a Cherokee, feared and respected as a Cherokee.
- They are very like the Indians in many respects–their fleetness of foot, stupidity, cruelty as practiced during the days of their illicit distilling, their love for the forest, their custom of living without doors, one might almost say. For truly the little hovels...."
- Their homes are miserable hovels, set here and there in the very heart of the wilderness. Very few of their cabins have windows, and some have only an opening cut through the wall for a door. In winter an old quilt is hung before it to shut out the cold.