Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Native Americans & European DNA

A post from a Melungeon page on Facebook was sent to me
Y DNA Studies have been weak in demonstrating the proposed Indian ancestry of the male lines?

I would expect a comment like this from a person new to researching Melungeons and/or DNA but from seasoned researchers it is inexcusable.

Who is determining this 'Native Y DNA' and how are they determining it?  Do they totally ignore history or simply haven't bothered to research early history of the Native tribes?

I won't discuss Lucas deAyllon who landed at Winyah bay, stones throw the Melungeons original homeland on the Pee Dee River in 1527 with 600 men, women, children and slaves. I won't mention of those 600 souls and only 150 who returned.  But let's talk about deSoto and Pardo.


From the de Soto Journals

"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" 
 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].


"In 1566, Pardo was sent with 125 soldiers on his first expedition. His task was to explore the area, to claim its lands for Spain while pacifying local Indians, and to forge an overland road from Santa Elena to the valuable silver mines in Zacatecas, Mexico (p.5) and so he built Fort San Juan at Joara. Fort San Juan was the first European settlement in the interior of what is now the United States (p.2). The relations with the Natives changed after his second expedition, and it eventually led to the complete destruction of the site by May 1568. From the 31 soldiers still garrisoned there, only one survived after escaping and hiding in the woods. Among the several factors that appear to have had a role in the Natives’ decision to destroy the garrisons, two stand out: the Spaniards’ demands for food and their improprieties with Native women" 

So for 40 years there were 3 expeditions with EUROPEANS and EUROPEAN DNA mixing with those Native tribes, producing both MALE AND FEMALE children born into those Native tribes almost 100 years, almost FIVE GENERATIONS of mixed Natives before Jamestown.

Do these researchers who claim the Melungeons DO NOT have MALE Native DNA believe all those men with deAyllon, deSoto and Pardo were sterile? Or do they really believe they never had sex with these Native women? If you are going to write about the Melungeons please, please, do some research!  Not only were these expeditions ALL on the Pee Dee River, and mixed with the Native women -- there was a SHIPLOAD OF PORTUGUESE!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Moonshine Feuds & Malungeons

Hancock County - Moonshine, Feuds & Malungeons

From The New York Sun - November 29th 1891

Contrast Between the Facts and the Stories of Novelists -- Dwelling, Food, and Dress -- The Use and the Flavor of Mountain Dew -- The Law Breaking Malungeons.


Will Allen stayed with the Goins family in 1890



SNEEDVILLE, Nov. 26. -- It has been known that the great westward tide of civilization, setting from the seacoast for over a century, has split into many streams against the densest and most impassable part of the Appalachian system. The result has been that in the mountain fastnesses of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee primitive forms of civilization have remained in many places, while in other places there has been a long step backward toward barbarism. The railroads which opened up these parts to the world have gone far toward changing them. The former type of the mountaineer, with his hatred for strangers, his passionate love of the freedom of license and his disregard for human life, has disappeared from these lines of travel. Only in the far valleys and on the mountains overlooking the almost unbroken wilderness does the type still persist.

These mountaineers have of late years got much attention from writers of romances. And these writers of romances, being for the most part persons of surprising talent, have got much credit for realistic writing of fiction. Their use of the dialect, their portrayal of mountain life and character have been regarded as faithfully natural and lifelike. This esteem has, however not been shared by those who are familiar with the mountains and the mountaineers for many years. East Tennesseeans who have hunted through the mountains and have lived in mountain cabins for weeks and months say that the romancers have taken wide liberties with the dialect and with the people themselves to make a better story.

It may be said in the beginning that the mountaineers of whom this article speaks are not at all like the persons of the mountain romance. There are no beautiful women with wide eyes and minds full of idealizing. There are no men of especial comeliness. Love is passion pure and simple. Hatred is neither stagy nor poetic, but hard, fierce and sordid. The family relations are commonplace where they are not brutal. In fact, there are no materials for Sunday school romances. Hands are hard, calloused and freckled. Faces are dull, obstinate and generally marked by dissipation and toil. Feet, both male and female, are of generous proportions. In form the men are long and lean and poorly jointed, but full of muscles and sinews, while the women are big of calf and wide of hip and guiltless of corset bound waists - the proportions of mothers or hardy sons. Life is exceedingly matter of fact, as devoid of imagination as the splendid sunsets and the vast stretches of landscape are suggestive. The materials for the romancer, for the mooner of sentimentalities, and of false and unhuman sexual and social relations are not here.

This however, far from detracting from interest in these people, adds to it immeasurably. Human nature here is on the surface, acting and speaking, the former more out of all proportion than the latter as naturally and as frankly as the most ardent lover of plain speech could desire. The mountaineers are hospitable, or else they turn away the traveler at the point of a gun. They grasp the hand or they meet the outstretched hand with the knife blade. They have clear and strong ideas of right and wrong as the mountains reveal them. They detest the machinery of law and permit each man to be the arbiter and avenger of his own wrongs. Their women are as virtuous as could be expected, and often virtuous beyond expectation. Both men and women are rough, uncouth, brave, freedom loving, haters of innovation of government, good clothing, and the life of cities.

To a dweller upon Manhattan Island, the people of these mountain districts seem hardly real. It is not easy to understand, without experience, a region where all men go forth armed, where murders are of almost daily occurrence, and where the law never attempted to assert its authority. The man of the city goes forth to hunt once a year, and then takes a gun or so and handles it with a fair degree of skill at best. Yet, only a day and a night's journey from New York one will find men who carry a gun as a city man carries an umbrella or cane, who can use it an incredible distance with the skill and accuracy that a good billiard player shows with his cue. These men go forth to seek the beast and birds of the forests sometimes, but the real use of the gun or pistol is in attack upon or defense against the bearer's fellow-beings of the same community. Every man is prepared for war at an instant's notice, and no man hesitates to take a life if he believes it necessary.

When such a state of affairs is described, one would at once infer that such people would be exceedingly uncomfortable to visit. Yet the fact is that the life and property of a stranger are as safe in the wilds of the mountains as in Central Park. A milder, more hospitable set of people would be hard to find. their faces are gentle, their voices pleasant and ever cordial. If they see that the stranger comes in simplicity and good faith they will do anything for him. It is only where their rights are concerned and by rights must be understood most sensitive and delicate distinctions unknown in the jostling crowds of cities- that they show ferocity. Any one whose incredulity is aroused by the gentle and harmless exterior of the mountaineers has but to learn their past history or to see a mountain disturbance to believe all that has been said of these people and more than has been said of these people and more than is generally credited to them.

It is the purpose of this article to speak of one small county of East Tennessee which is a fair type of the wild mountain region. In this county no white man has ever been hanged. Yet, since the war no less than 150 men have been shot down in the most deliberate fashion. Within the past year 10 murders have been committed and no adequate punishment has been or ever will be given to the murderers. There is no man above 16 years of age who does not own one or more weapons- Winchesters, Spencers, Colts and the like.  Most of those men seldom go abroad without being well armed. The glistening barrel of the gun and the lump made by the pocket pistol are such common sights that they cease to attract attention. This county, though one of the smallest in the state, is about the worst. Its history would read like the history of an Italian principality in the Middle Ages.

Toward the northeastern corner of Tennessee is Hancock County, a small triangle upon the map, and crossed by several high mountain ranges. It lies just over the border line from Virginia, with the Cumberland Mountains upon the northwest and the Great Smoky Mountains in full view to the east and south. There are no railroads in this county, and until the few last years there were rare arrivals or departures. The nearest railroad point even now is 20 miles away, across mountain roads that are difficult in rainy weather and impassible in winter. At all seasons of the year the scenery from the tops of Newman's Range, on Powell's Mountain is unsurpassed, even by the views in the heart of the Great Smoky Range. There are the Cumberland Mountains on one side and the towering and mist veiled Great Smoky Mountains on the other. Between lie smaller ranges covered by a sea of forests. In the spring, summer and autumn not a house is to be seen, only here and there thin and lazy columns of smoke to tell where the lonely cabins are hidden. The skies, the sunsets, the moonlight nights are serene, soft and beautiful.

The county-seat is a hamlet called Sneedville, a half-hearted scattering of little frame houses in a sort of basin formed by a curve in Newman's Ridge, which lies to the south and southwest. There are perhaps 150 people in Sneedville and its only brick building is a court-house, which looks extravagant, splendid and lonesome by contrast with the surroundings. Part of this court-house is given over to a jail, which is seldom inhabited. The floor of the cell room is bolted a chain. When they have an especially dangerous prisoner this chain is fastened about his leg and bolted so that it can be removed by filing only.

When a murder is committed in Hancock county the jailer or sheriff at once sets out to arrest the murderer. sometimes he has no difficulty. At other times he has to assemble an armed force. Pitched battles have been not infrequent. When the murderer is arrested peaceably he is released on bail, although murder is not a bailable offense. But the judge reasons that a bond will hold a man in Hancock county when a jail would not. This method of reasoning is the reslut of experience. Hardly one of the 30 or 40 houses in Sneedville is without a dozen or more bullets embedded in its log or board walls. And any inhabitant will tell you the history of each set of bullet marks - a bloody, ferocious history that sounds strange to a foreigner.

To the south of Newman's Range lies Powell's Mountain, which is really a range of about the same length as Newman's Range, to which it is parallel. Between Newman's Range and Powell's Mountain is the narrow valley of the Blackwater Creek, with bits of farming land, like market gardens in size, though not in fertility. On Newman's Range and Powell's Mountain and the rough lands thereabouts, live most of the people of Hancock county- mountaineers, who live partly by hunting, partly by the natural products of the bushes and trees, and partly by a rude and not very productive farming. There are many hogs, a few cattle, a few horse. In seed time ancient and exasperating plows tear up the ungracious soil in languid way. In harvest time the few straggling sheaves or ears are carefully got together. Pork, apple butter, blackberries in jam, preserves and jelly, apples buried and kept all winter, potatoes, beans and carrots and onions and beets in season, corn bread and sorghum at all times are the means of sustaining life. For pork they have a love that is almost veneration. They hold it to be the most nourishing, strengthening and pleasant kind of meat. every mountaineer has a small patch of sorghum, and also a machine for making it into the most abominable molasses that it has ever been the misfortune of the writer to taste. Sorghum is sugar, cream, milk, butter and seasoning. Then come corn bread, which they call “husky" thus admitting the apparent and unpleasant imperfections of home grinding.

Before these three staples come whisky. Without it mountain life would not be what it is. A lover of good whisky would object to the use of that name in connection with what these mountaineers drink. But the mountaineers themselves speak scornfully of the stuff they get when they make rare visits to the larger towns. They prefer this oily horror that smells like coal oil and tastes like a concentrated essence of brimstone. They drink it in great quantities, and before each meal a tin cup full of it is passed from father to son, daughter, grandson, child, and mother. They say that it opens the stomach up for food. To one not used to it, it seems to be opening the stomach to the winds of heaven. And in this frightful stuff lies the real secret of those mountain feuds that begin in sullen and morbid brooding, and end in corpses riddled with bullets.

The most respectable houses in Hancock county are in Sneedville. The mountain cabins are desolate and dreary and open to the weather. Not long ago the writer sat in a cabin on the side of Newman's Range. As the cabin was far up the mountain side a cold wind blew around and through it. There were two rooms and a loft. One room was used as a kitchen, the other room and loft for all other household purposes. Nineteen persons, 12 of whom were the children of the heads of the household, slept under that small, crazy roof. Men and women slept in the same room, not to speak of several wretched dogs which had fought with the human beings for food at the table an hour or so before.

There had been a general drunk and a dance after supper, for which the men and women had sunk exhausted or stupefied into bed. The door was wide open. The kitchen door not being upon hinges had been set aside when supper began. There were great clinks between the logs of the walls and a cold wind blew through the house. The writer could look out over the dark red embers of the back log and through the chimney wall to the great moon lit valley two miles away. He could look up through the floor of the loft, through the roof of cloudless mountain sky. Outside there was a profound stillness, broken by no sound, silent as though the world had suddenly paused breathless. Inside, there arose at intervals snorts and snores and moaning breaths from the sleepers, the mountaineer leading and the women joining in feebly but effectually. at times this sound of humanity at rest rose to a fearful loudness. Again there would be a pause which let the death like silence of the mountains penetrate the room. As this mountaineer had once read a book upon the diseases of the horse and had a library of one book - a school physiology - he bore the title of "Doc." He was a simple, foolish person, handy with a gun.

There are no saloons in this county. Each man keeps his jug or bottle and gets it refilled at the distillery. Moonshine whisky is scarce now, the government having at last convinced the mountaineers that the licensed still is the safest and best. But these licensed stills are wild and rough, and have the warlike appearance of the old moonshine stills. Just now there are perhaps a dozen of them in Hancock county. There was a time when a revenue collector could stand on Powell's Mountain and see in the valley and hollows below him the smoke of a score of illicit stills, safe from him because the trees made it impossible to mark the places whence the smoke came, and also because the guns of the mountaineers made the discovery almost assuredly fatal.


From time to time the chief point for the producing of corn whisky has moved from one part of the country to another. It has been noticed that the riots, feuds and murders follow the stills. Wherever the most corn whisky is used, there the most violence occurs; and it is not strange that such whisky should put men into moods where life seems of trifling value. A feud generally starts from some trivial incident of a drunken brawl. The aggrieved person keeps drinking, falls to brooding, then tells his friends that he proposes to kill so and so. The threatened man hears of it, arms himself more carefully, and makes threats in return. The two men meet, and there is a fight or a murder. Friends and relatives take it up, and soon the whole mountain region is ringing with shots and the leaves are spotted with blood. The feud sometimes dies out for a while but soon begins to rage again, until wounds, deaths and funerals are distributed far and wide. Sometimes it is one branch of a family against another, more often one family against a rival family.

Aside from the feuds there are isolated murders which sometimes go no further than one or two deaths. Again they may be the foundation of quarrels and fights innumerable. Wherever a man has taken another man's life, he never leaves his home unprepared for an avenging relation of the murdered man. He is cautious about walking into no matter how friendly a crowd of the dead man's relations. He does not stand near a window unless he is sure that no one can draw a bead on him from its outlook. All the men in this region wear top pockets. They form convenient bolsters for short barreled pistols, and may lead to a false sense of security in the minds of foes. The knife is not so much in use as formerly. It gives an unfair advantage to strength and is less deadly. the pistol and the gun are the favorite weapons. The pistol may be carried in the top pocket. If too long in the barrel, it is slung in a holster suspended from a strap about the shoulders. Another favorite place for carrying it is in the waistband of the trousers just over the stomach and concealed by the waistcoat pulled down over it. the inside coat or waistcoat pocket has many friends. The gun is carried across the pommel of the saddle when riding, across the knees when driving or sitting, over the right forearm, barrel pointing forward and down when walking about. At home it stands in a corner near the chair of the owner or else just over the door on the inside. Some households in Hancock county can muster 10 guns, not to speak of knives, pistols and axes. The women often join in the fray, but the men never attack them, however great the provocation. Indeed, unless there is special distress the women take to the woods at the first attack upon the house and lie hidden there until the time comes for looking to the wounded.

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.

It is from these Malungeons that the feud spirit came. They were cunning, malicious, implacable, murderous. They were the original makers of illicit corn whisky. They taught the art and the hatred of government taxes to all the mountain people of this region. They were the first to fight the revenue officers and the last to give up open defiance. When they came they settled on the slope of Newman's Ridge, in the Blackwater Creek Valley, and on the opposite slope of Powell's Mountain. They kept to themselves for many years, and had no intermarriages with the other settlers until the last 20 or 25 years. they all had arms; they fought among themselves, and resisted to the death outside interference. A decade or so before the Civil War they were making moonshine whisky in the dark hollow of Powell's Mountain; they were carrying on bitter feuds, and were setting a most vicious example to the early white settlers, who by their very coming to such a shut-in part of the world rapidly lost touch with civilization.

Of these Malungeons there were originally three families- the Gibsons, the Mullens, and the Collinses. Early in the history of this race a great feud arose between the Gibsons and the Collinses. Old Buck Gibson and Old Vardy Collins put their heads together and made a great plot. Gibson fixed Vardy with soot or paint so that he looked like a genuine negro. Then they went up into Virginia, Gibson offering Vardy for sale. He soon found a purchaser. As Vardy was a finely-built, strong man, Gibson got $1,100 for him. Of this $500 was in cash and the balance in a team, a wagon and store goods.

With a few farewell words of praise for his fine negro, Gibson set out southward. In a day or two Vardy made his escape, washed himself, and fled fast and successfully on the trail of Gibson. There was pursuit, but Vardy was not recognized or else was not overtaken. When he got back to Powell's Mountain he found Gibson in the full enjoyment of the proceeds of the trick. Vardy called on him for a division of the spoils. Gibson flatly refused, after putting him off several times. This began a bushwhacking war between the two families, which kept up, with intervals of peace, until the breaking out of the Civil War. Sometimes the Collins tribe and the Gibson tribe joined hands against common foe, the revenue officers. But these breathing spells only gave further foment to a hatred which was kept alive at all times by the rivalry between moonshine stills. The Civil War put an end to feuds for so long that new causes had to spring up before a properly conducted feud could be again set on foot. But the Malungeons had laid the foundations with their illicit stills and their family hatreds. And the Civil War gave every one down that way a taste of fighting. The result of these things has been the 150 and more murders, each of which has something peculiarly tragic to distinguish it from the others.

Soon after the close of the Civil War the state of affairs in Hancock county attracted the attention of the Internal Revenue Department. There were about 1,500 voters in the county, representing a population of six or seven times that number of persons. Most of the people were law-abiding and quiet; but those who lived in and around the two mountain ranges which have been mentioned several times were disorderly, riotous and busily engaged in the distillation of moonshine whisky. These objectionable people were the Malungeons, the whites who had intermarried with them and the relatives of these whites. In all gorges, the hollows, the thickets, along Blackwater Creek were moonshine stills. Great rivalry existed between these stills, and sharp and often fatal encounters between proprietors and their henchmen were of daily occurrence. Before the revenue officers had time to do much more than count the columns of smoke rising from the green bosom of the mountain and valley, war had broken out and the moonshiners were at work destroying each other.

In that region there lived two desperate families of whites, the Rheas and the Rainses. There were Sam Rhea and his sons, Doll, Andy and Lee, and Big Bud Rains. They had become moonshiners and they set about driving the original moonshiners, the Malungeons out of the business. They first attacked the Mullens, who were soon reinforced by a good part of the tribe of Collins. The Rains-Rhea gang was armed with Spencer rifles of a heavy caliber, each rifle having eight shots. Each member of the gang also carried two big army pistols strapped to his waist. They not only carried on their feud against the Malungeons, but also successfully resisted the revenue officers.

Not a day passed without a battle and the people of Sneedville were soon accustomed to hearing the cracking of rifles and pistols, yells and curses up the mountainside or over in the Blackwater Valley. The Malungeons are said to have got much the worse of this feud. They lost so many in killed and disabled that for a time the Rains-Rhea gang had everything its own way. They took advantage of their success to make themselves feared and hated in all Hancock county. The end of this feud was a pitched battle in the streets of Sneedville. Nearly 100 men were killed and wounded. The houses were filled with bullet holes, and not until late in the afternoon did the Rains-Rhea gang withdraw, beaten and suppressed for the time.

A few years after that the Rheas and the Rains family had a quarrel over politics. Rhea had decided that he would carry an election that was to be held at Mulberry Gap. Big Bud Rains heard what he proposed to do and prepared to go and see that Rhea should get left. The Rheas were there in full force and outnumbered the Rains faction two to one. The Rheas fell upon the Malungeon contingent of the Rains faction and disarmed them. Big Bud Rains was in a grocery store some distance from the scene of the fight. He heard of it, and also that the Rheas were coming at the same time. When Andy Rhea, pistol in hand, stepped upon the porch of the store. Bud Rains drew a dragoon pistol, aimed it and fired full at him. The bullet ploughed across his chest and shattered the bone of his left arm and nearly tore it off. With a yell Rhea sprung at Rains, who caught him in his arms. Rhea threw his right hand, holding the pistol, over Rains's shoulder and fired it into his back. Rains dropped with a curse and died in a short time. Rhea was taken home and was not out for two months. When he did reappear his left arm was gone. Instead of being tamed by these happenings, he became more desperate than before. He and his brothers were reinforced by a certain William Fugate, known as "Bad Bill" He was nearly six feet and a half in height splendidly built and handsome, after a desperado fashion. His favorite pastime, after murder, was to ride at full tilt around a tree, with the reins in his teeth and a revolver in each hand, firing rapidly. He could put a belt around the tree every time. He had killed eight men when he joined the Rheas. With Bad Bill came Joe Epperson and Lum Coleman. They rode about killing or shooting down the friends of the Rains family. Some they whipped nearly to death. Others they invited out of their houses and shot down and riddled, shouting and cursing the while.
After this gang had terrorized Sneedville several times the Sheriff got together a force of twenty men. armed to the teeth, and went down to Rhea's house, seven miles below Sneedville. to arrest him and his brothers. When the offices arrived they found the Rheas all assembled and ready for a fight Their women and the little children had hid in the woods. There was a clearing all around the house. After some consultation the officers decided to cross this clearing on the run and storm the house. The first advance was met with a terrific volley which killed or wounded five of the attacking party. The officers started to retreat. The desperados were so elated that they leaped from the house into the clearing and again opened fire. The officers rallied and for three hours the fight raged, now in the clearing and again from behind trees and rocks. Andy Rhea was shot forty eight times before loss of blood forced him to drop to the ground. "Bad Bill" Fugate stood out after all the rest were down. He had a revolver in each hand and his aim was unpleasantly excellent, even though he was staggering about with red froth on his lips. A big ball from a Spencer rifle finally ended him. When the last shot had been fired both parties were absolutely disabled. The most desperate of the gang had fallen.
For a good many years after this the murder were isolated cases, with no more than two or three in a family killed. Four years ago, however, another feud broke out, and is still going on, although a lack of able bodied males in the two families has caused a recent temporary cessation of hostilities. This is the Green-Jones feud, which, next to the Sutton-Barndard feud is the worst that has ever caused deaths in Hancock county. Richard Green and Asa Jones were neighbors and friends. One day, about four years ago, Green saw that his hogs were limping and bleeding. He went along the mountain to find out the cause and came upon Asa Jones' son Jim stoning and dogging his hogs. "Bill! stop that thar!" yelled Green. "That ain't now way to do my hawgs!" "Keep yer hawgs to hum" said young Jones.

Green fell to cursing and then to thrashing the boy, who yelled so loudly that old Asa came. Asa separated them and took up the quarrel. He ordered Green to go home. As Green was unarmed he went away sulkily, swearing that he would have revenge. A few days afterward Green and his wife were walking along the mountain road. Green had his three month's old baby in his arms. They met up with Jim Jones driving home in a wagon. As soon as Green got within range he drew a pistol from his pocket and holding the baby in his left arm opened fire upon Jones. Three of his five shots entered Jones' body, but he managed to keep his seat until he got home. He was carried into the house and died a few days afterward.

Old Asa Jones was furious at this, and, getting together his relatives, he declared war against Green and all his tribe. They lay in wait one afternoon behind some rocks at a point where they knew Green came by with his two brothers. The first shot from the rocks warned the three Greens, and they jumped for the trees. The two parties fired at each other until dark. Richard Green was shot through the clothing. His brother James was so badly wounded in the arm that it had to be cut off. Both sides were now prepared, and for a month or two there were ambuscades and bloodshed almost every day. One morning the Jones crowd, 18 strong, got about the house of Richard Green before daylight. They surrounded it on all sides and got ready to make a battle. At daylight the besiegers raised a great shout, and the battle began. The outsiders fired and charged, the garrison was not slow in answering and repelling. One of the bravest of the garrison was little Jimmie Green, 13 years old. He not only helped his mother and sisters load the guns, but shot once or twice himself.

He was just handing his father a reloaded Spencer when a great ball from a Winchester crashed between the logs of the house and passed through his heart. The ball went clear through the body and flattened against the chimney stones. "Hurry up that gun, Jimmy!" said his father, looking around. The boy's eyes were wide open and glassy. His mouth opened and shut, his little brown hand was held hard against his breast. He fell with a crash, the gun sliding across his body. "Mother!" called Green, "they've killed your Jimmy!" and he caught up the gun to speed his grief against his enemies.

After four hours' fighting the Jones crowd was so badly crippled that it was forced to withdraw. The slightly wounded carried those who could not move. This feud is still on, and will be raging as soon as enough Greens and Joneses can be got together to make a fight. But the Sutton-Barnard feud is the most exciting and also the most brutal of any in the history of this county. Henry Sutton was formerly a revenue officer, but settled down a few years ago to the manufacture of whisky. He had three pretty daughters, who formed a sort of inside set in Sneedville society. Christmas, 1889, these girls got permission of their father to give a dance at the distillery. The result was a combination dance and spree such as Hancock county society had not had the pleasure of attending in years. The men got exceedingly drunk. Some of them amused themselves with a boar hunt, in which half a dozen of Henry Sutton's hogs were stabbed.

The morning after the dance Sutton found the bodies strewn about the yard of his distillery. He at once decided that Big John Barnard and his brothers had done the work. He was led to this belief by the fact that the Barnards, although outwardly friendly, were known to be ready at any time to open a feud. Henry Sutton's father had got drunk one day, and, quarreling with Capt. Hence Barnard, had killed him with the pole of an axe. When an officer tried to arrest the elder Sutton he had resisted so threateningly that the officer had been compelled to kill him. But the Barnards felt that unless one of them killed a Sutton the grudge would not be wiped out.

So Henry Sutton decided that Big John Barnard and his four brothers were the slayers of his hogs. He sent the Barnards word that there was going to be trouble, and a day or two later ran out into the road with a pistol, which he aimed at a man whom he mistook in the dusk for Big John. A few days after New Year's 1889, Big John and his four brothers hid themselves behind some felled trees about a mile from Sutton's distillery. They had not waited more than an hour before they espied Henry Sutton and his gauger at the distillery coming up the road. Sutton had a Winchester across the pommel of his saddle. As the two riders got opposite the logs five shots rang out. Sutton's horse jumped; Sutton rolled from the saddle to the road. As he lay there the five Barnards leaped forth and riddled the body with bullets.
The gauger clapped spurs to his horse and fled. The Barnards were arrested, and, Sutton's family being influential, a conviction and sentence of death were got against the five. After haggling about the matter for over a year all five were pardoned by Governor Taylor. They returned home and began to make trouble. Henry Sutton had left a widow, two grown sons, Tilman and Hence, and the three pretty daughters mentioned before. Tilman Sutton had married a daughter of Big Bud Rains, and had one child. Sutton was disposed to let the matter of his father's death pass for the time. But Big John Barnard said that he intended to wipe the male line of Suttons from the face of the earth. And every time he met Tilman Sutton he would stare at him in a fixed, threatening and annoying way. Tilman Sutton stood this silently for over a year, nor did he pay any attention to the threats of Big John and his brothers.

One Sunday last September there was a meeting in the Baptist Church, eight miles from Sneedville. All the mountain people went, the young men riding horseback beside their sweethearts. Tilman Sutton, his brother Hence and his brother in law Mac Rains were riding along together. Big John Barnard and his best girl came up behind them. Big John burst into a loud, jeering laugh, and made some remark about Tilman Sutton. As Big John rode by, Tilman Sutton turned in his saddle and stared him fiercely in the face. "By G----," said he, "this has got to stop!" Big John continued his laughter and rode on. Sutton's face flushed. He drew his pistol, spurred his horse and, when he was close enough to fire without endangering the girl, he put three shots into Big John's back.

This was near the meeting house and many people were soon close at hand. Big John's head fell forward upon his horse's head for a moment. Then he recovered himself and drew his pistol, jumped to the ground and braced himself for a fight. His sweetheart reined up her frightened horse and remained to 'see the fun.' Meanwhile Big John's cousin, Shad Barnard, who was behind the Suttons, spurred forward, and, drawing his pistol, shot Tilman Sutton in the back before he had lowered his revolver from shooting Big John. Tilman Sutton rolled from his horse to the road, lifted himself, staggered, tried to lift his pistol to an aim, then fell against a tree, his head rolling from side to side. Big John aimed at him and fired four times.
"Look out, John!" said his sweetheart "Here comes Mac Rains!" But she spoke to late. Before John could turn Rains had avenged his brother in law. He fired into Big John four times. John was just standing over Sutton, who had fallen, and was firing into his head. When Rains shot he fell upon Sutton's body. By this time other men rushed in, the women got around the two dead bodies, and the feud was suspended.

There is in Sneedville a little girl whose ancestors for three generations one side and for two generations on the other had died by feud violence. She is the little daughter of Tilman Sutton, who married a daughter of Big Bud Rains. Her father, Tilman Sutton; her grandfather, Henry Sutton, and his father, Sam Sutton, her mother's father, Bud Rains, and his father before him, all died violent deaths. This is only one instance in a score of Hancock county families a similar state of affair may be found, while there is hardly a family of note that has not lost one or more of its members by violence.

Then, aside from these feuds, are the murders which follow the stills about the country—the murders which arise from long years of disregard for human life. For instance, a lot of men were waylaying an enemy of one of them. They got tired of waiting for him. An inoffensive person came jogging by the old church where they were concealed. One of the waiters fired at the man and killed him. As he rolled from his horse and lay writhing upon the ground, one of the party said to the murderer: "What fur did ye do that?" "Jes to see him drop," laughed the murderer. The sentence of death was commuted to imprisonment for life, and his friends have hope of his pardon.

A short time ago Jep Wolf, his little boy and Wiley Carpenter were riding along astride of one horse. Mack Bray, who had quarreled with Wolf a few hours before in Sneedville, came up behind, aimed his gun and fired. The first bullet killed Wolf, the second went through the little boy's body and killed Carpenter. The little boy got well. Bray is not as yet punished, and as he is of the Rhea family, may get off altogether.

They say that the peaceful part of Hancock county's  people - and they now include the formerly boisterous Malungeons - are getting tired of this everlasting murdering, and that there will be some lynching before long. But the feud spirit is so strong and the corn whisky so bad that those who talk peace now may be in the thick of a feud tomorrow.

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Friday, March 27, 2020


Harrison Gibson was the son of Dotson and Mary Gibson lived in Clay and Sturgeon Co., Jackson Co., Kentucky.  His daughter Mary Jane married to William Madden and Hannah married to Joseph Stamper.

August 29, 1897

Deputy U.S. Marshal Drake passed through the city yesterday having in charge Harrison Gibson charged with illicit manufacture of whisky who is being taken to Louisville.  Drake claim the prisoner was operating a moonshine still in his back yard of his home in Jackson county.

April 4, 1898



Federal Officials Are Not Strangers To Harrison Gibson and His Sons

Harrison Gibson and his three sons, Jack, Brownlow and Hanney, probably four of the most notorious moonshiners in Kentucky, are serving sentennces in the county jail.  Confined in the same section of cells are Joe Stamper and William Madden, sons in law of Gibson.  Fleming Gibson, a fourth son, was recently released from jail after serving a sentence for violating the internal revenue laws, and Henry Gibson another member of the notorious family, was arrested not long ago in Jackson County for moonshining but was released.

Harrison estimates that he and his five sons have made no less than 50,000 gallons of whiskey, on which not a cent of revenue was ever paid to the Government. He further computes that he and his family have realized between $40,000 and $50,000 from the distillation of the whiskey.

The seat of operations of the Gibson family is in Jackson and Clay counties.  Harrison Gibson says he has been arrested so many times for moonshining that he could not say exactly how many times he has been tried before the Federal Commissioners and in the United States Court.  Jack, Brownlow and Hanney have served about six terms each, while "Flinney" and Henry have escaped without being arrested more than two or three times.

Joe Stamper and William Madden, who married two of Gibson's daughter, are both expert moonshiners and are regarded as dangerous men.  Their wives are also skilled in the art of making "doublin and disposing of the whisky and help to baffle the Federal authorities. When seen in his cell at the jail yesterday afternoon, Harrison Gibson said:

     "Yaas, I think I am the real king of the Kentucky 'shiners. I am night on to sixty years old and I have been making the stuff ever since I was a boy of thirteen years old.  I have made enough of it to float that battleship that blowed up. I hev  had lots of scraps with the marshals, but I can say one thing, I hev got my first time to shoot one of 'em.  I hev shot at 'em, though, but some way tother the bullets never hit right.

"Now, I brought them boys up," continued the old man, "to make whisky. When Jack was but nine years old I took him to the still with me.  Within three days that boy understood the biz thoroughly and could make 'doublins' to fare you well.  When he was eleven year old he was as good a shiner as his pa, and the Marshals arrested him and took him to jail.  I made the other boys learn, too.  Brownlow, Hanney, Flinney and Henry was right up to stuff before they were fifteen years old and could turn out gallons of the stuff without me even goin' around to see how they was gettin' along. My gals took their medicine, too.  I made 'em all learn.  What's the use of havin' children, any way, if you can use 'em?   My old woman understands shining just as well as I.  All my sons are rasin' children, and I'm going to see that they all follow the business of their grandpap or know the reason why.  We'll all be out again soon, and we'll make enough corn juice to flood Kentucky.  If we don't make it, they arrest us anyhow."

Monday, January 20, 2020

Traders and Paradise




Christian Gottlieb Priber studied law at the University of Erfurt where he published his inaugural dissertation in October 1722 on Usu doctrinae juris Romani de ignorantiae juris in foro Germaniae (The Use of the Study of Roman Law and the Ignorance of that Law in the Public Life of Germany)

13 June 1735  he submits a Petition in London to be allowed to leave the country on the next ship to Georgia. Present at the Palace Court was the Earl of Egmont and Mr. Oglethorpe and others.  "Read a Letter from Christian Gottlieb Priber desiring to be sent in the next Embarkation to Georgia with a  Letter of Recommendation from Jr. John Eddleston to the Trustee. RESOLVED; that the said Christian Gottlieb Priber  be sent in the first Embarkation to Georgia.

December 1735  South Carolina Gazette:
"To be Sold by Mr. Priber near Mr. Laurans the Sadler, ready made mens cloaths, wiggs, spatterdashes of fine holland, shoes, boots guns, pistols, powder, a silver repeating watch, a sword with a silver gilt hilt, english seeds, beds & a fine chest of drawers very reasonable for ready Money, he intending to stay but a few weeks in this Town."

1 Jan 1736/7 P: 25 Feb 1736/7 CHARLES RUSSELL (*), Berkeley County, Esq. Wife: Mary, executrix. Wife's children: Rachell Heatley, William Heatley, Charles Russell, Sophianis Russell, John Russell, Euginia Russell, and Joseph Russell. Wit: Christian Gottlieb Priber, Henry Spacks, John Pearson.

 In 1725 Capt. George Chicken, Commissioner of the Indian Trade, on an expedition to the Indian country, speaks of stopping at Capt. Charles Russell's, and again in 1730 Sir Alexander Cuming, ambassador to the Cherokees, accompanied by Col. Chicken and George Hunter the surveyor, stopped at Russell's on the Cherokee path near Amelia   This shows that almost immediately upon arrival Priber began association with the Cherokee traders)

February 27, 1736 the S.C. Council Journal reports Priber's petition for a land grant in Amelia township (***), stating that he had  "a family of six persons in the province and also a wife, four children and one servant in Saxony." The Council granted him land, but Priber went directly into Cherokee country, [In the thirty-second year of the rule of the emperor Maximilian I, Martin Luther began teaching and writing at Wittenberg in Saxony]



 1705 *Allenson Clarke & Charles Russell, 945 acres named Windsor Forest in Henrico County  -
1710  Gilbert Gibson was sued in Henrico County  by *Allenson Clarke for a 4 pound currency debt in September 1710 * Allenson Clarke is said to be son of William Clarke and Mary Gibson.
 1720 William Pettypool[**] who proved a Henrico County, Virginia deed (1) of Charles Russell to John Bolling (1720) in which "He says he knew said Russell in Virginia and that he is same person who married the widow of John Davis."
[*]On the western side of the river, opposite, were an almost equal number of settlers, among  whom may be mentioned: Anthony Wright, whose name is preserved by "Wrights Branch," Roger  Gibson, Luke Gibson [****] , William Paine, William Harrison, Nathaniel Hill, Charles Russell [HISTORIC CAMDEN]
 [**]William Pettypool lived about 20 miles northeast of Fort Christianna on Mocossoneck (Monk's Neck) Creek. Other Indian Traders, namely Richard Smith and Roger Tillman, lived on adjacent land on Monk's Neck Creek. In 1711 William had 65 acres surveyed on the south side of Monk's Neck Creek, which was adjacent to land he leased to Joseph Stroud in 1711, in Prince George County (formed from Charles City County in 1703) (6).
 [***]   Mary Gibson of Amelia County, South Carolina, sold the 100 acres she and Hubbard purchased in Northampton County [DB 1:58].
 John Bunch Plat For 350 Acres In Berkly County And A .5 Acre Town Lot In Amelia Township. Date: 11/15/1735
March 22d. 1710-11 Rec'd from John Wright Esqr, Agent, Twenty One Bonds for Sundry Indian Traders to take out Licences-----Wm. Dettypoole [sic], Thomas Edwards & Henry Tally of Virginia yr. Bond---cwh, listed as partners in bond -also listed were; Ricd. Smith & George Smith of Virginia their Bond David Crawly John Evans & Ricd Jones of Virginia their bond.   - [Not proven but George Smith is likely the husband of Frances Gibson, daughter of Gibby Gibson.  Phoebe Jones widow of Richard Jones and son Gibson Jones were living in Louisa County when Phoebe married Gideon Gibson, son of Gilbert Gibson. In 1714 David Crawly was with Capt Robert Hicks and John/Jack Bunch in South Carolina]
[****] Fol. 222b. 9 Dec 1749, Council Chamber. Minutes containing petition from Luke Gibson whose warrant for 150 acres of land expired before he returned from the Cherokees. 6p.
 ID: I57560 •Name: Luke Gibson , fought against Cherokee •Sex: M •Birth: ABT 1725 in NC •Death: in SC •Note: listed in the accounts of the Public Treasurer of South Carolina, paid 4.17.6 pounds on 31 October 1759 for unspecified services to the battalion in the expedition against the Cherokees [Clark, Colonial Soldiers of the South, 936].




Among the traders at Congaree Fort was Robert Lang, Daniel Gibson, John Gibson and his son Gilbert, [possibly from Henrico County with Charles Russell, the Myricks, Jacksons, Howells, Busby, Browns etc.,  these men were Chickasaw and Cherokee traders, trappers, etc.  

James Adair - Cherokee Chickasaw Trader, Author,  Good Friend of Gideon Gibson

James Adair, author of "History of the American Indians"  published in 1775, as a Cherokee Trader was personally acquainted with Chritian Priber. He writes about Priber in his book, and is a close, personal friend of Gideon Gibson of the Pee Dee who later removed to the Natchez Trace. Agnes, daughter of James Adair married to John Gibson, son of Gideon.  

John Gibson is found in Surry County in the part that became Wilkes in 1774 with wife Agnes and shortly after is found at Fort Nashville where he was killed by Indians. Samuel Gibson, founder of Port Gibson, Mississippi, believed to be son of above mentioned Roger Gibson, went to Nashville and took Agnes and family to Mississippi. 


1741/1742 Winter-- Antoine Bonnefoy- "At the time when we arrived in the village there were three English traders there, who each had a store-house in the village where I was, and two servants of theirs.

There was also a German, who said in French that he was very sorry for the misfortune which had come upon us, but that it would perhaps prove to be our happiness, which he proposed to show us in the sequel"
" I had occasion to ask the German, who was called Pierre Albert, who had accosted us on the day of our arrival, and who was lodging in the cabin of my adopted brother, what he wished me to understand. I prayed him to explain to me what was this alleged happiness he promised us. Guillaume Potier and Jean Arlut were present.

He replied that it would take time to explain to us what he had to say to us, addressing himself to all three; that he thought we ought to join his society; that he would admit us to an establishment, in France, of a republic, for which he had been working for twenty years; that the form of the government should be that of a general society of those composing it, in which, beyond the fact that legality should be perfectly observed, as well as liberty, each would find what he needed, whether for subsistence, or the other needs of life; that each should contribute to the good of the society, as he could. I told him, as did my comrades, that we were disposed to join him as soon as he should have shown us some security respecting his establishment~~~~~~~~~~~~

The next day we got together again and I began to ask him where he had learned French, which he spoke quiet fluently. He told me that, being of good family, he had been instructed in all that a man ought to know; that after having completed his studies, he had learned English and French; that he spoke these two languages with a little difficulty as far as pronunciation was concerned, but that he wrote German, Latin, English and French with equal correctness; that for twenty years he had been working to put into execution the plan about which he had talked to us; that seven or eight years before he had been obliged to flee from his country, where they wished to arrest him for having desired to put his project into execution; that he had gone over to England, and from there to Carolina, and had also been obliged to depart thence for the same reason, 18 months after having arrived there; that having found among the Cherakis a sure refuge he had been working there for four years upon the establishment which he had been planning for twenty; that the Governor of Carolina having discovered the place of his refuge had sent a commissioner to demand him of the savages there, but that then he was adopted into the nation, and that the savages, rejecting the presents of the English, had refused to give him up; that he had 100 English traders belonging to his society who had just set out for Carolina, whence they were to return the next autumn, after having got together a considerable number of recruits, men and women, of all conditions and occupations, and the things necessary for laying the first foundations of his republic, under the name of the Kingdom of Paradise; that then he would buy us from the savages, of whom a large number were already instructed in the form of his republic and determined to join it; that the nation in general urged him to establish himself upon their lands, but that he was determined to locate himself half way between them and the Alibamons, where the lands appeared to him of better quality than those of the Cherakis.

My comrades and I planned our flight, and agreed together to feign enthusiasm for the execution of the project of Pierre Albert, who had the confidence of the savages, and they left us at liberty with him. I noticed even, on different occasions, that he urged them to live peaceably and to ask peace from the French. The savage with whom I lived, who was one of the principal men of the nation and the other chiefs, sometimes asked me in what manner they could appease the French and bring them to their place to trade. I told them that it would be necessary for them to send a calumet of peace to the nearest post; that I supposed that would be the post of the Alibamons. They told me that they had already been there, but that they feared the savages of those regions, with whom they were not on good terms; that they did not wish to have any new war. . . .

While Pierre Albert and I were working toward peace the three English traders were daily instigating the savages to continue to make war upon us. They were themselves working to enlist parties; which I saw them doing some days before my flight. After having their drum beaten by one of their negroes who was a drummer, and enlisted 70 men, they distributed among them, from their storehouses, the munitions necessary for going to the Outamons, as well as against the voyageurs of Canada. Of the 52 villages which compose the nation of the Cherakis, only the eight which are along the river are our enemies. The other villages remain neutral, whither because of their remoteness or their spirit of peace. Carolina is 15 days' journey by land from the village where I was, Virginia 20, and the Alibamonts 10 to the south. . . .

The 29th of April a day on which the savages had given themselves up to a debauch, was that which we chose for our escape. We had got together a sufficient amount of ammunition. We went out from the village at nine o'clock in the evening. Jean Arlas had his gun. Coussot was not armed, not having been able to take his from the cabin where he was. Guillaume Potier, who was in our plot, having got drunk with the savages, was not in condition to go with us and we could not wait longer for him without risk of being discovered. We marched until daylight, going to find two pirogues that were in a little river six leagues from the village. In one of these we embarked ."

30 May 1743 South Carolina Gazette of excerpts appearing in Charlestown (today Charleston) probably publishes one in the order Oglethorpes of written letter "from Frederica in Georgia", when its receiver its business associate, is to be assumed South Carolina acting governor William bulletin: "the Creek Indians brought finally Mr. Priber here as prisoners. It is a very unusual nature; he is a small ugly man, but he speaks nearly all languages flowing, particularly English, Dutch, French, Latin and indianisch; he speaks very blasphemisch against all religions, but particularly against the Protestant; it was in the process justifying a city at the foot of the mountains under the Cherokee where all criminals, debtor and slaves before the justice or here Mr. Zuflucht should find.

One found a book ready to be printed written by him, which belongs to him with him and whose he praises himself and believes from which he that it was privately printed meanwhile, but it does not want to say where; it shows, how the refugees are to deny their living costs and specifies, after which principles the city is to be governed, to which it gives the name paradies. It enumerates many peculiar privileges and natural rights (like it it calls), on which its citizens have requirement, particularly the dissolution of marriages and the common possession of women and all kinds of dissipations; the book is put on very tidy and full taught of quotations; it is extremely bad, but has it some flights of fancy full invention wealth, and it is a misery that so much spirit is turned to a so bad project."

May 30, 1743 the S.C. Gazette reported that Captain Kent,British commander at Fort Augusta, had perceived "a remarkableintractability in the Creek Indians in matters of trade," and,learning that Priber was about to take a journey, he employed Creeksand frontiersmen to waylay him at Tallipoose village

August 15, 1743 South Carolina Gazette, The Creek Indians have at last brought Mr. Priber prisoner here; he is a little ugly man, but speaks all languages fluently . . . he talks very prophanely against all religions, but chiefly the Protestant; he was for setting up a town at the foot of the mountains among the Cherokees, which was to be a city of refuge for all criminals, debtors, and slaves. . . . There was a book found upon him in his own writing ready for the press, which he owns and glories in and believes it is by this time printed but will not tell where, in which . . . he lays down the rules of government which the town is to be governed by, to which he gives the title of Paradise. He enumrates many whimsical privileges and natural rights . . . particulary dissolving marriages and allowing community of women and all kinds of licenciousness; the book is drawn up very methodically, and full of learned quotations; it is extremely wicked, yet has several flights full of invention, and it is a pity so much wit is applied to so bad a purpose.

1743--In a treaty signed at Charleston  the Cherokee agreed to trade only with the British, return runaway slaves and expel Non-English whites from their territory, and the Cherokee received substantial amounts of guns, ammunition, and red paint.

James Adair-" the governor committed him to a place of confinement, though not with common felons, as he was a foreigner, and was said to have held a place of considerable rank in the army with great honor.

Priber enjoyed some considerable freedoms in his prison. He entertained the intelligentsia of Frederica, among them the physician Frederick Holtzendorff  from Brandenburg, and the Lutheran pastor Johann Ulrich Drie├čler, whom he assisted in translating the Lord's Prayer and some bible verses into the Cherokee language. His cell in the barracks served for some time as a literary salon.

May 1st, 1751
Anthony Dean -
Great Tellico,
I believe a great deal of the Mischief done here, some white Men are often at the Bottom of, and it is no Wonder, when every Horse Stealer can screen himself here from Justice, and infuses bad Notions in the Heads of the Indians, against the Traders and Others, which could not be if the Trade was regulated, and proper Officers kept here to see Justice done

Emmett Starr
History of the Cherokee
page 24
The Cherokees detailed to the missionaries parallels to practically every one of the stories of the Bible. They called Abraham, Aquahami; Moses was called Wasi. These accounts were so circumstantial that many investigators were led to believe that the Cherokees were of Semitic origin. But it is palpable that they had been told these stories by Priber during his short stay among them and that they had forgotten their origin within seventy years and attributed it to legends that had descended from the mythical Kutani and their primal religion. On account of the fact that the Cherokees thought that the missionaries were bringing back to them their old religion, it was a comparatively easy task to convert them from a tribe of savages to a Christian nation with in the comparatively short period of theirty years. When they were converted, they, at the behest of the missionaries cast aside every vestige of their ancient customs to such an extent that not any of their mythology has ever been preserved, even among those of the tribe that speak the Cherokee language.

MYTHS OF THE CHEROKEE, James Mooney p. 36-7

"In 1736 Christian Priber, said to be a Jesuit acting in the French interest, had come among the Cherokee, and, by the facility with which he learned the language and adapted himself to the native dress and mode of life, had quickly acquired a leading influence among them. He drew up for their adoption a scheme of government modeled after the European plan, with the capital at Great Tellico, in Tennessee, the principal medicine man as emperor, and himself as the emperor's secretary.  Under this title he corresponded with the South Carolina government until it began to be feared that he would ultimately win over the whole tribe to the French side.  A commissioner was sent to arrest him, but the Cherokee refused to give him up, and the deputy was obliged to return under safe-conduct of an escort furnished by Priber.

Five years after the inauguration of his work, however he was seized by some English traders while on his way to Fort Toulouse and brought as a prisoner to Frederica, in Georgia, where he soon afterward died while under confinement.  Although his enemies had represented him as a monster, inciting the Indians to the grossest immoralities,  he proved to be a gentleman of polished address, extensive learning. and rare courage as was~ shown later on the occasion of an explosion in the barracks magazine.  Besides Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish, and fluent English, he spoke also the Cherokee and among his papers, which were seized was found a
manuscript dictionary of the language which he had prepared for publication-the first, and even yet, perhaps, the most important study of the language ever made.

 He claimed to be a Jesuit, acting under orders of his superior, to introduce habits of steady industry, civilized arts, and a regular form of government among the southern tribes, with a view to the ultimate founding of an independent Indian state.  From all that can be gathered of him, even though it comes from his enemies, there can be little doubt that he was a worthy
member of that illustrious order whose name has been a synonym for scholarship, devotion, and courage from the days of Jogues and Marquette down to De Smet and Mengarini."


June 27, 1943
By Russell Orr
Tellico Plains, the mountain village headquarters of Tennessee's big annual wild boar and bear hunt, and where the Outdoor Writers Association America are holding their summer meeting this week end is probably the scene of more glamorous and romantic history than any other spot in the Southern Highlands. It was the capital of the Cherokee Nations and was located in the center of the expansive Cherokee hunting grounds which included the great Smoky Mountains and the vast Cherokee National Forest where the hectic wild bear hunt is not held each autumn.

Probably the most spectacular chapter in the history of the Cherokees has to do with their all but forgotten attempt to establish an empire, including all the Indian people, for the purpose of driving all white men back to Europe and bringing about universal peace among red men.

The strange part of this fantastic plan is that it was conceived and almost carried out by Christian Priber, an Englishman, who made his way to Tellico Plains in 1735 and sold the tall Chief Moytoy on his bold scheme. One of Moytoy's descendants, Lloyd Matoy, is the state game warden of the area. He is one of the principal supervisors of the big autumn hunt and is one of the finest specimens of mountain men in East Tennessee.

The story of how Priber went from Charleston, S. C., to Tellico Plains and set up his empire is best told by Herbert Ravenel Sass in his book, "Hear Me, Chiefs." Sass relates: "He founded an empire, crowned an emperor, and made himself prime minister. He shook his fist at the Great Powers of Europe and told them to get out of America or he would throw them out. More than that, he began his great task of remaking the world." "In the heart of the American wilderness with red Indians as his helpers and with an Indian girl as his mate, he laid the foundations for that ideal state of which he had dreamed for 20 years , that happy republic where perfect liberty and equality would prevail and no man would be richer than his neighbor, that new and glorious commonwealth which would be a light and an example to all the nations of mankind. How Priber go to Great Tellico nobody knows. There was peace at the time between the Charleston English and the Cherokee Nations, but there were wandering war parties of other tribes to be reckoned with always, and at best, the lovely wilderness paths were beset with many perils." "More than five hundred miles of almost unbroken forest had to be traversed and the lofty mountain barrier of the Unakas and Smokies had to be climbed or circumvented.

"Possibly Priber went alone an down through by good luck; more likely, he attached himself during most of the journey to the pack-horse train of some trader bound for the Indian lands. All that is certain is that he reached Great Tellico, with his box of books, his bottle of ink, his smile and his dreams. And after a while strange things began to happen. The queer little man with a quick smile and bright , observant eyes and appeared defenseless and alone, among the warlike Cherokees beyond the Unaka mountains. How Priber had done it nobody knew, but somehow he had gained the favor of Moytoy of Tellico, most powerful of the chiefs. He had become as much of an Indian as the red men themselves. He had stripped of his European clothes and assumed the dress of an Indian' he had been adopted into the tribe as a great beloved man: and had married a warrior's daughter. Learning the Cherokees; language with marvelous ease, he had become their counselor and teacher.


Among other things he had taught them the proper use of weights and measure and especially, of steelyard to the great inconvenience of the English traders, many of whom were exceedingly canny business men. Worst of all, he was preaching among the Indians the most pernicious doctrine that could possibly be imagined-namely that they must cede no more of their lands to the white man but must hold on jealously to every foot of the soil that was rightfully theirs. Soon ran the stories brought down from te inner wilderness by the hunters and traders.

Then one day the English governor in Charleston received a letter which probably surprised him as much as any letter he had ever received in his life. It was an official communication dispatched from Great Tellico, capital of the Cherokee Nation and , in effect, it informed His Excellency the Governor, politely but firmly, that the sooner he and his English got out of American the better, because America belonged to the Indians and the Indians intended to keep it. the letter was signed "Christian Priber, Prime Minister."

"He had by them--through his good works among them and through his marriage to the Indians girl whose heart he had won---established himself firmly in the confidence of the Cherokees. "In deference in the redmen's taste for stately ceremonial he had devised an impressive new ritual for the crowning of the emperor and a variety of imposing titles for the other chiefs who constituted the nobles of the court, reserving for himself the title of secretary of state, or prime minister. "He planned to set up in America 200 years ago a civilization strikingly like that proposed for Soviet Russia--minus the bloodshed and terror. It would have been a Utopia if his government had been allowed to survive on this continent, but it would have spelled the end to the colonization dreams of England and the English have never allowed any one to stand in their way when bent on opening up a new country.

The English tried many tricks on Priber to get him out of the way and to put a stop to his empire building. It took them six years to lure him far enough away from his headquarters so that they could ambush him and kill him. That was the end of the republic of paradise.

Native Americans & European DNA

A post from a Melungeon page on Facebook was sent to me Y DNA Studies have been weak in demonstrating the proposed Indian ancestry of...