Thursday, April 30, 2020

Melungeons & Croatans

  Were the Melungeons Croatans or were the Croatans Melungeons? Which came first the Chicken or the Egg?  These researchers, ethnologist, anthropologist and historians found they were of the same stock.
"The family names of the Croatans are the same as those of the settlers on Roanoke Island.  They were men from Devonshiren England and furthermore even the broad Devonshire pronunciation is found in certain words as used by the Croatans of today.
 "A hundred years ago a colony of Croatans settled in eastern Tennessee, on Newman's Ridge, in Hancock county.  They can't tell today where they came from, for tradition over 50 years isn't worth anything.  These are the people called Melungeons.  They are similar in racial characteristics to the Croatans, and Dr. Swan M. Burnett, a distinguished scholar and scientitst - the husband, by the way, of Mrs. Francis Hodgson Burnett, the novelist - has traced by family names the connection between the Melungeons and the Croatans.
 The name Melungeons is accounted for in this wise;  when the new settlers appeared among the mountaineers their unusual looks prompted inquiries as to what they were.  The answer was 'Melange" -- or a mixture -- and the mountaineers at once dubbed them Melungeons."
July 17, 1890
Red Springs, North Carolina
Hamilton McMillan
The Croatan tribe lives principaly in Robeson county, North Carolina, though there is quite a number of them settle in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter county, South Carolina, there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. In Macon county, North Carolina, there is another branch, settled there long ago. those living in east tennessee are called "Melungeons", a name also retained by them here, which is corruption of 'Melange', a name given them by early settlers (French), which means mixed.''

Red Springs, NC
Oct 12, 1889Mr 
McDonald Furman

Henry Berry Lowrie takes his Christian name from Henry Berry one of the lost colonists of Roanoke as you will see by -------? to list in pamphlet. Many of the Lowrie's settled in Robeson - others went to the French Broad in Western N.C., and those in Robeson claim that David Lowrie Swain Ex Gov. and James Lowrie Robinson late Lt Gov of this State were of their stock. The tribe once stretched from Cape Fear to Pee Dee and the Redbones of your section are a part of the tribe as are the "Melungeons" of East Tennessee. The French immigrants callled the half breeds Melange or Mixed and the term evidently has been changed to "Melungeons". ...........

I am yours trulyHamilton MCMillan


Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology - Ethnology - 1907
page 365

Across the line in South Carolina are found a people, evidently of similar origin, designated "Red bones." In portions of w. N. C. and E. Tenn. are found the so-called "Melungeons" (probably from French melangi', 'mixed') or "Portuguese," apparently an offshoot from the Croatan proper,

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


Georgia Crotan to be Executed Next Month for Murder.

New York Times
February 28, 1897, Wednesday

ATLANTA, Ga., Feb. 27. -- For the first time in fifty years an Indian is under sentence of death in Georgia. He will be hanged in Glynn County next month.  Marcellus Lowry, the condemned man, is a Crotan Indian from the celebrated band in North Carolina, many of whom have drifted with the turpentine and timber men into Southern Georgia, where they are called "Melungeons."  Lowery and a white man named Patrick Burns were working in the woods together and Burns went to Lowery's camp and entered his shanty to get something to eat.  The Croatan Indians are a fierce, treacherous and vindictive race and once their anger is aroused they do not hesitate to commit murder.

The witnesses in the case testified on the trial that as Burns left the shanty Lowery shot him in the back, having concealed himself behind a tree.  As to the origin of the difficulty between them very little was brought out, but so far as can be ascertained it was simply the ungovernable temper of the Indian

Atlanta Constitution

November 7, 1897


It seems to me that I am haunted by Indians.  The other night as I came from Macon to Atlanta my friend, Judge Hall, introduced me to Dr. Peterson, of St. Louis, a very learned and cultured gentleman who was connected with the ethnological department of the government and was engaged in examining Indian mounds and in writing up the history of the Indian tribes, especially of the five tribes known as civilized. Viz. The Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasaws, Choctaws and Seminoles.  As these were our Indians, I became much interested in this discourse, for he had been careful and diligent in his research, and what he knew, he knew well.  We talked about DeSoto and how, with a handful of brave soldiers, he overran this country and took captive as many Indian girls as his men wanted.

“Why did not these Indians overwhelm DeSoto and his handful of followers and extinguish them?” I asked. “Because," said the doctor, “they were paralyzed with fear of this new and aggressive race of people just as the Peruvians were paralyzed by Pizarro, who overran and conquered Peru with less than a hundred men.”

The doctor had been to eastern North Carolina investigating the tribe of 4,000 Croatans over there. They were originally called Hatteras Indians but about three hundred years ago Sir Walter Raleigh planted a colony of English and Portuguese on Roanoke Island and put them in charge of Governor John White, a very practical and accomplished gentleman. A few days after landing, Governor White’s daughter Eleanor, who had married a Mr. Dare. Gave birth to a child and she was named Virginia and so Virginia Dare was the first English child born on American soil.  Let the boys and girls remember that.  But no man knows anything more about her.

Governor White and Sir Walter went back to England for supplies and farming tools for the colony and on their return trip got into a fight with some Spanish cruisers and lost their cargo and many of their men and had to go back to England, and it was several years before they made another venture and when they arrived at the island the colony was nowhere to be found and little Virginia has never been heard of.  The colony left some marks on a tree pointing to an Indian town called Croatan, but the town was deserted.

The doctor’s investigations have satisfied him that the colony did not perish nor were they killed but that the men wanted wives and went into the interior and co-habited with the Croatans- for it was found a hundred years after that, these Indians were of mixed colors and many of them spoke broken or mixed English and Portuguese, although they had no intercourse with white people until the colony came nor for a hundred years after.  He believes that Virginia Dare probably grew up with those Indians and her descendants are now of mixed blood.
It seems that these Croatans were never Americanized until the last civil war when many of them came to the front with their guns and said they wanted to fight some.  They were accepted and enrolled and did fight for the confederacy.  During the war there was an election held in a county where some of them lived. And they were persuaded by an ambitious candidate to go to the polls and vote for him.  Their votes were challenged by the other fellow upon the ground they had some Negro blood in their veins.  They were very indignant and said, “When you want us to fight for you, we are same as white folks, when we want to vote, you say we are negurs.”  And so a committee of four doctors was appointed to examine them and say what they were.  The committee took them out to a sandy place in the road and had them take off their shoes and make tracks barefooted.  Five of them made very fair Anglo-Saxon tracks and were accepted, but of the other two the report was that the hollow of their feet made holes in the ground and they were rejected.  There are some of these Croatoans on Newman’s ridge, in Tennessee.
 I remember that, some years ago, a party of us were riding in the Negro car on the state road, and when we reached Kingston a colored convention of preachers got aboard and claimed the car.  Sanford Bell ordered us out, and we retired, of course, but one man did not move.  He was a dark, cadaverous individual with black eyes and black hair.  “What are you” said Sanford, “are you a white man or a Negro:   He smile and said; ‘Mine fader a Portugee, mine mudder a negur.”  Sanford looked perplexed and turning to one of the colored preachers, said “What must I do with him?” And he said “Let him alone I reckon.”  I learned afterwards that he was a Croatoan.

[This ends the part of the article dealing with Croatan and Newman's Ridge.]

Secret of the Croatan Tribe-- The Famous
Roanoke Settlers Were Not Massacred,
But affiliated With a Friendly and Powerful
Nation of Indians
St. Louis Dispatch
Former United States Senator Hiram R. Revels, of Mississippi, has always been classed as a negro.  He was a tall, well-built man, with the chocolate skin and curly hair of the African and the devout bearing of his profession the ministerial.  He served during the reconstruction period, never being known as prominent, but always as a representative colored man.  Revels was not a negro.  Dr. C. A. Peterson of St. Louis, who had made a study of the lost Roanoke (Va.) colony says that Revels is a descendant of that mystery-shrouded band that Sir Walter Raleigh sent to Roanoke Island in 1587.
..... Now for the facts which the historians have generally so singularly overlooked. In 1710 when the Huguenots and Cavaliers started to penetrate the interior of North Carolina, they found some seventy-five miles from the coast in what is now Robeson,  N.C.,  a colony of English speaking people,  many of whom had blue eyes and light hair.  They inquired where they came from and they replied.  "From Croatan' How does it come that your speak English!' 'Our fathers were English'
"They wrote one letter about their discovery, a letter by the way, is in the archives of the board of trade of London.
It is evident that a number of the Huguenots remained in a colony and intermarried, as there are a great many names of undoubted French origin to be found among the Croatan names of the present day.
"these people have always been called Croatans.  There are some 4,000 of them living in Robeson county, N. C. at the present time, but they have scattered all over the South and West.  I have found Croatan names among all the civilized tribes living in the Indian Territory.
"The Croatans have distinct racial characteristics. They are as black as Portuguese and are different in appearance from either Indians, negroes or Caucasians.  In some instances there has evidently been a mixture with negro blood, and on this account when in 1833 North Carolina and Tennessee disfranchised the negroes, they included the Croatans.
When the war broke out the Croatans were between two fires.  Those who did not enlist in the Southern army were liable to be impressed as negroes for work on fortifications, etc.  From this custom came the cause of the depredations of the Lowry gang which for years spread terror in North Carolina.
"Old man Lowry resisted impressment, declaring that there was nothing but English and Indian blood in his veins and that he was as much an American freeman, and had as good blood in him as the Harrisons, the Randolphs, or any of the descendants of the proudest colonial families.  For this stubborn stand he was shot dead.
"When his son, Henry Berry Lowry reached his manhood he took his gun, organized a band of sympathizers and started out on a mission of extermination.  every man suspected of having had any connection with his father's death was waylaid and killed.  the gang was finally broke up, but not until it had collect bloody interest on old many Lowry's death.
"The most eminent of the Croatans was United States senator Revels, who was elected from Mississippi during the reconstruction days.  he was classed as a negro, but he was in reality a Croatan, one of those with a Huguenot name and ancestry.
"The family names of the Croatans are the same as those of the settlers on Roanoke Island.  They were men from Devonshire England and furthermore even the broad Devonshire pronunciation is found in certain words as used by the Croatans of today.
"A hundred years ago a colony of Croatans settled in eastern Tennessee, on Newman's Ridge, in Hancock county.  They can't tell today where they came from, for tradition over 50 years isn't worth anything.  These are the people called Melungeons.  They are similar in racial characteristics to the Croatans, and Dr. Swan M. Burnett, a distinguished scholar and scientist - the husband, by the way, of Mrs. Francis Hodgson Burnett, the novelist - has traced by family names the connection between the Melungeons and the Croatans.
The name Melungeons is accounted for in this wise;  when the new settlers appeared among the mountaineers their unusual looks prompted inquiries as to what they were.  The answer was 'Melange" -- or a mixture -- and the mountaineers at once dubbed them Melungeons."

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Molungeons of Virginia 1856-

Who Are These Molungeons of Virginia Last week I published the story of the Malunjins and Emassee [Yemassee] living near the Indian trading town of Dothan, Alabama in the early 1800s.   Here we have the Moulungeons of Virginia, apparently a political force in Virginia in the 1850s.  

The platform of Feb 1856 which expunged and ignored the 12th section and in a letter which goes expressly for restoring the Missouri Compromise. The Mulungeons of Richmond endorsed the 'late convention' at Philadelphia too; but will any southern man-- a Stuart or an Imobdin even -- endorse this letter for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise.''


From the Richmond Whig. Letter from Hon. John M. Botts
Date: March 26, 1859
Location: Maryland
Paper: Easton Gazette
Article type: Letters

......when the Sheriff came to count up the votes at the close of the polls, they counted but five -- and if I had received the vote of one ''Molungeon,'' and he had been authorized by the Constitution to vote, and had 'had' a majority of only one--- it would have been difficult to tell, whether I was most indebted for my election to the "Molungeon" or to the Chief Justice of the U.S.; and if my competitor had received six "Molungeon" votes, or the votes of six worthless and degraded locofocos (supposing they could be any such) they would have more than balanced these five of the first men of the State could boast...........


Date: March 28, 1859
Location: Alabama Paper: Daily Confederation

Thirteen congressional electors, fifty senatorial electors, and three hundred and sixty county electors have been notified to hold themselves in readiness to repel the Dragoon of Rockbridge. Botts too, will dash to the rescue at the head of a noble band of "Molungeons and Eboshins" as soon as the weather becomes sufficiently warm to render his odoriferous forces efficient.

The Slave Power; its Character, Career, and Probable Designs. By JE...

Continental monthly: devoted to... - Cornell University - Jan 1, 1863

"Whether their own children were sold may be imagined from an anecdote long current in Virginia, relative to ex-Governor Wise, who, in a certain law case where he was opposed by a Northern trader, decided of a certain slave, that the chattel, being a mulatto, was of more value than 'a molungeon.' And what, in the name of God, is a molungeon?' inquired the astonished 'Northern man." 'A mulatto' replied Wise, ' is the child of a female house-servant by 'young master' --a molungeon is the offspring of a field hand by a Yankee peddler."

Mr. Cairnes has, no doubt, not often heard of mulattoes--they constitute the great majority of Virginia slaves. But did he ever hear of a 'molungeons'?

December 1864
-- Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee - Page 511
It soon became noised that these men were to be shot as bushwhackers General Forest informed General Rousseau, by flag of truce, that those men were his regular soldiers, and that if he shot them it would be at his peril.
The names of his soldiers were sent in, but the scout and Bose Rouss (some called him Malungeon), who had killed a Federal detective, were not mentioned in the list.

-Thursday 2d July 1863
--Bluegrass Confederate: The Headquarters Diary of Edward O. Guerrant By Edward O. Guerrant

Came on to Mr Hortons for dinner—found him in a tornado furiosus-against Virginians, who fed his grass &c. and in ecstatic panegyrics of all Kentuckians—”all of whom were “interesting” gentlemen”—& no “malungens”. ...
(1/2 b & 1/2 w) [2 ]

From Our Own Correspondent Fredericksburg,
 January 10, 1864
"the "Government organ," however, announces that the observed of all observers were four negroes, "of genteel exteriour, and with the manners "of gentlemen, who joined in the throng that 'crowded the Executive Mansion, and were coridaly received by the President of the Untied State,'' The Molungeon Chronicle adds; -- We are not aware that anybody was hurt on the occasion, and we rejoice that we have a President who is a democrat in fact, as well as by nature."

Utica Weekly Herald [New York]
March 29, 1864
The "Richmond Whig" makes the following comments on the last call for men.
It is certain, therefore, that the "rebels" will now back down.  Twenty millions of mongrels have undertaken to whip them.  The Yankees soon got sick of the fight, and levied on the Dutch and Irish. The resident Irish and Dutch began to flag and 75,000 Paddies were recruited in Ireland, with the approval and assistance of Earl Russel.  Then 100,000 n****** were enlisted.  And now 200,000 n******, Yankees, and other molungeons, half breeds, mestizoes, and Yaboes [Yaboes—a Davis coinage for the 70,000 Yank hoboes in the armed services] are to be drafted.  What wonder that the "rebels" are completely broken hearted?  Who blames the European by-standers for advising the "rebels" to give the cause up?
For ourselves, we are free to say that we are for peace.  We want peace. We will have it.  We must have it, on any terms?  Yes, on any terms -- which General Lee, standing in Faneuil HHall, may choose to dictate to the base born wretches who have sought to enslave us.  The game is a very pretty one as it stands.  Our enemies must be conquered by us, or conquered by Lincoln. They must make terms with gentlemen or they must make terms with a blackguard and a baboon.  Take your choice, O Yankees.

Staunton Spectator
May 25, 1869
The Duties of Election Day(Column 01)
Summary: Declared that all eligible voters have the duty to vote on election day to ensure the defeat of certain sections of the Underwood constitution and to elect Walker as Governor. Wanted to ensure at least some form of control for white Virginians in the state.
Full Text of Article:The election which will take place on the 6th day of July next, by appointment of the President, will decide whether the people of this State are to be cursed with the Underwood abomination, called a Constitution, as it came from the hands of the Molungeon Convention, or whether it will be modified by having the test-oath and disfranchising clauses stricken out -- whether Walker or Wells will be our Governor, and whether proper men will be elected to represent the State in the Legislature.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Grayson County 1798

1790 Patrick County, Virginia was created in November 26, 1790 from Pittsylvania County and Henry County.

1792--Grayson County was created 7 November 1792 from Wythe and Patrick Counties.



To the Worshipful court in Grayson in Chancery sitting Humbly complaining sheweth unto your Worships your Orator JAMES GIBSON that some time ago your Orator gave to THEOPH EVANS a note for L16.7.11 North Carolina Currency which note the said Th Evans assigned to one JOHN KING who bargained and sold the same to one AMBROSE COLLINS but did not assign it over. Your Orator saith that understanding the note was sold to Collins he paid up the said Collins a horse a bridle and two dollars in discharge of the said note. Your Orator begs leave to state further that seeing King ...... before he made payment the said King told him that King had no thing more to do with your Orator but look'd to Collins & told your Orator to make payment to Collins and your Orator did it accordingly. 

From the circumstances above detailed your Orator had no doubt but that he was fairly discharged of that debt which he had fully paid and it was with surpirze he found a writ placed? against him by King for the same debt.

Owing to your Orators being unacquainted with legal forms an office Judgement passed against him and an execution is issued against his body & he is taken and is about to be committed to the house of confinement. 

Your Orator has also to complain of an error committed that would operate to his injury if the debt was just in _____  ____ Carolina currency equal to __ Virginia currency. Whereas __ NC curcy is only equal to __ V curcy.

All which acting and doing are contrary to the spirit of equal right and justice and lend to your Orators oppression.

In tender consideration whereof he prays the said KING & AMBROSE COLLINS may be Dfts to this bill and may ___ and perfect answer make to the matters herein contained as fully as if they were herein repeated as interagatorys and that the said Judgement shall be injoined and equitable relief granted. 

May it please your W__ to grant ______
Sworn to in open Court August term AD 1798

Know all men by these presents that we JORDAN GIBSON and GEORGE GIBSON              are held and firmly bound unto JOHN KING in the sum of Twenty seven pounds __ __ which payment well and truly made to the said JOHN KING his Heirs executor and administrators we bind ourselves our ____ ____ Adm jointly firmly severally by these presents seated with our seals and dated this 30th day of August 1798 the condition of the above obligation is such that whereas the above JORDAN GIBSON hath obtained an Injunction to stay the preceding on a Judgement obtained at our March Court last past by the said John King __ against the said Gorden Gibson on a writ for the sum of twelve pounds five shillings and /__   with interest and cash.  Now if the said Gorden Gibson shall will and truly pay and satisfy such sums of money as the said KING has recovered by the said Judgement against the said Gibson or shall become due to said King by C____of said Judgement so staid and also shall pay and satisfy such costs as shall be awarded against him the said Gibson in case said Injunction shall be dissolved then the above obligation be C--- else to remain in full source power & virtue in law. 

Signed Sealed in presents of Martin Dickenson
Gorden Gibson  X Seal
George Gibson  X Seal

  ... survey made the 1st day of September 1799 by virtue of a Land Office Treasury Warrant No 11165 issued the 1st day of March 1782 there is granted by the said Common wealth unto JORDAN GIBSON a certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred acres situate in the County of Grayson on the waters of Brush Creek, a branch of the New River.....

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Dothan Alabama Malunjins



Marker Text: In the late 1700s and 1800s, horse and ox-drawn covered wagons from Charleston, Savannah, and Jacksonville traveled across the South as pioneer families searched for a place to build new homes and to start a new life. Those pioneers, who passed through the vast pine forests in the southeast corner of the territory that was later to become the state of Alabama, would often stop at a spring know as Poplar Head. Poplar Spring, named for the poplar trees that encircled the glade where the cool water, or ”head” (as springs were often called) welled from the earth. It was where ancient Indian trails met, crossed, and then continued on. The glade where the spring was located was often used by Indians from the various tribes of the Creek Confederacy as a meeting place and as a campground. By 1885, the hamlet had grown into a village. The new settlers realized that if the community’s growth was to be sustained, they would need a governing body and local law enforcement. On November 10, 1885, the people of Poplar Head voted to incorporate and took Dothan as the new town’s name since there was already was a Poplar Head, Alabama. The name come from Genesis 37:17 “….for I heard them say, Let us go to Dothan.” “A writer can put on paper the history of the town, but the history belongs to those who not only lived through the years documented, but who formed and molded out town into the city we know as Dothan.” – “Dothan, A Pictorial History,” 1984, by Wendell H. Stepp and daughter Pamela Ann Steep.

Before white men came, the Alibamu tribe lived along the Chattahoochee River, which forms the present boundary between Alabama and Georgia; on the banks of the Chocawhatchee, 35 miles west to where the villages of the Creek Confederacy.  These tribes were usually friendly, and they visited and traded with each other until well-beaten trails crossed at two large springs in a thick poplar grove about halfway between the two rivers. The Indians used this site as a camping ground.

In the early 1830's lumber and turpentine operators began crossing the Chattahoochee River into Alabama. They also found the clearing convenient and camped there on their way to Tombigbee settlements farther west. 

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 sixmiles 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 milkto 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 Alabama
By Alabama State Bar
Published by The Bar, 1942
Dothan Eagle (Dothan, Alabama)
27 Oct 1953

Mystery Of Malunjin Indians Baffles All Making Efforts Toward Solution

The Malunjin Indians - they walked the earth as late as 1865 - were quite a problem for those who have been helping put together the Houston County story.

Where they came from and where they went, nobody seems to know. The Malungjins carried their knowledge to the grave where most of it is preserved.

Oscar L. Tompkins, author of Wiregrass Sagas, gives the reader a fleeting glimpse of this tribe - but no more.

He points out that the Malunjins were a "mixed breed community, residing some three to six miles northeast of Dothan."

"Where they dispersed to is the limbo of forgotten men," Tompkins declares.
Tompkins got his trace of the Indians from the late B. P. Potner, born near the Malunjins' community.  Some of them used to bring milk to Mr. Poyner's mopther while he was quite young.  He could remember them.

The Poyners lived in the rural area of Houston County between Webb and Kinsey.
B.P. Poyner, Jr., Dothan businessman could shed little light on the Malunjuns- although baffling - were more truth than fiction, Eagle chroniclers fanned out their search.
It even led to the alabama Bureau of Archives and History. But the letter from there was as blank as the stares most people gave when you asked the stock question:
"Did you ever hear of the Malunjin Indians who used to live in Houston County?"

An Eagle reporter even interviewed a 104-year old man who spent most of his adult life in Kinsey.  His memory failed him on the Malunjin subject and the search continued.

Did you ever eat any Malunjin bread? Or did you call it "syrup cake?"

The Malunjins were noted for this mixture of flour, egg, milk, seasoning and syrup-instead of sugar.  This suggests that they made a meager existence.  Syrup being more plentiful than sugar and less expensive, was an ingredient that found its way into muc of the Malunjin squaw's cooking.

Exactly whether the Malunjins gave the Wiregrass cook this syrup cake delicacy can't be substantiated by records. But many believe they were the first to make syrup cake.   
And Malunjin bread still graces many a table, not always because the family can't afford sugar but because a good slice of syrup cake has no substitue.

When the white man moved into this territory to settle-the Indians notwithstanding-he left only two tribes unmolested, according to Tompkins' Sagas.

One was the Uchees or Emasees, kinsmen of the Creeks or Seminoles who lived at the mouth of the Emmassee (O'Mussee or Mercer) Creek near Columbia.

Part Indian

The other was the Malunjins of the 1860s. 

The Emassees were friendly to the whites throughout Alabama's territorial days which might explain why whites spared them.

The Malunjins were part Indian and part white which apparently explains why the whites spared them.

But where they came from-where they went, nobody seems to know.
Did you ever hear of the Malunjin Indians who used to live in Houston County?"


More later on these Malunjin families, mixed Indians, found in Dothan, Henry County in the 1830s, the GIBSONS BUNCH CUMBO LOWERY etc.  Stay Tuned

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Melungeons From South Carolina

Many of the early histories of the Melungeon families say they came from South Carolina, totally disregarded in research today. DNA is showing the South Carolina families are related to the Tennessee Melungeons. 

Marion Daily Star -
 August 15, 1900

~Many of Them Fought In the Civil War ~But Are Now Moonshiners~
Intelligence a Characteristic~Also Fondness For Firearms and Firewater~
[Special Correspondence]

Owensboro, Tenn., Aug. 14.--

While much has been written from time to time about the "poor whites," mountaineers and the "Georgia Crackers," yet there is a still more peculiar class of southerners who have until lately escaped notice. These people are called the Malungeons. They are copper colored with high cheek bones, straight noses, black hair, rather coarse, black eyes, and have more intelligence than the average mountaineers.

A great deal of trouble has come to them because of their color and customs. The Malungeons number between 400 and 500. They live on Black Water Creek, in Hancock County, which section they have inhabited for more than 100 years. (2)

The records of Hancock County show that the Malungeon ancestors came to Powell's Valley as early as 1789, when they took up lands on the Black Water. Tradition says that they held aloof from the white settlers and spoke a strange language which not one of the pioneers could fathom. Some of them could speak broken English, and by this means communicated with the white merchants to the extent of buying arms, ammunition and other supplies which could not be procured in the valleys of their mountain homes.

Before the war the Malungeons had a hard time in obtaining the right to vote in the elections. The white citizens declared that they were negroes and the matter was finally carried into the courts. It developed that the ancestors of these people immigrated to this country from Portugal, about 150 years ago, and has spent considerable time in South Carolina before going to Tennessee. They proved on the witness stand that there was not a drop of negro blood in their veins, and, after long and tedious litigation, were allowed to vote and exercise the full privileges of American citizenship.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the Malungeons espoused the cause of the Union. They fought in the usual mountain fashion--bushwhacking--and many a Confederate soldier was killed by the unerring bullets of their riflemen. Whenever the Confederates captured one of them he was shot on the spot without mercy. After the war terminated and the Malungeons returned to their old pursuits, they found that the government was interfering with one of their chief industries---making whiskey.

They had been distillers back in South Carolina and some of the earliest stills in Tennesse were brought by their ancestors--over the mountains from their original settlement. they killed revenue officers just as the other mountaineers did, for disturbing their stills. Of late years, however, the revenue men have been so persistent in the work of destroying the illicit traffic that the Malungeons have sold but small quantities of the whiskey openly. They still make moonshine whisky, but have adopted the artful, dodging tactics of the other moonshiners of the Tennessee and Kentucky mountains, and it is rare that one of the race is caught. So far as it is known not one of the Malungeons has ever ridden on a railroad train.

The deep religious nature of these southerners is the most striking of all their characteristics. During their meetings they will sing and shout until almost frantic with religious fervor. One of the old patriarchs of the Malungeons was Uncle Vard Collins. Many years ago noted church bishop (See Frederick Ross below jp)  was traveling through the Black Water district. He accidentally went to Uncle Vard's house and asked to stay overnight with him, a privilege readily granted.

When the churchman told the old man he was a bishop, the patriarch said he would like to hear him preach. The visitor inquired where the congregation would come from. For an answer the host took a long dinner horn from his rack, and, going outdoors, blew several shrill blasts. Within an hour 100 people had assembled, and showed great interest in the sermon.

The Malungeons were Whigs before the Civil War, but since then have had no direct affiliation with any movements of a political nature. Their social customs have not changed in 200 years. They still live in one roomed cabins and use the old fashioned long barreled rifle.

Newton Otis


Frederick Ross

Son of David Ross who was sued in Richmond, Va., in 1790 by Mingo Jackson aka Thomas Gibson, descendant of Indian Jane Gibson and won his freedom.

David Ross appears in the will of Gilbert Gibson in Louisa Co.,
Cty. Lou, Book: 2, Page: 310, Gilbert Gibson, Type: Acct, Date: 13-Jul-1763
Account of sale of Gilbert Gibson dec'd. 13 Jul 1763 David Ross one bed 2# 3s David Ross one trunk 0# 5s David Ross total due 2# 8s


Paradoxical as it may seem these people who have shed much blood and other wise violated the laws of their country, are deeply religious. In this respect they very much resemble the Southern Negroes. During their meetings they will sing and shout and seem to be beside themselves with religious fervor. One of the patriarchs of the Malungeons was “uncle” Vard Collins, who was a devout Christian. One night in June, may years ago Dr. Frederick A. Ross (*See Below), a noted Presbyterian minister of eastern Tennessee, was traveling through the Black Water country. He accidentally came upon the “Uncle Vard’s” house and after he had fed his horse and the guest had eaten supper the old man asked him his business. He told him he was a preacher. The old man said he would like to hear him preach. “Where is your congregation” asked the minister. “I’ll get one in a few minutes,” replied “Uncle Vard.” He took a long dinner horn from its rack over the door and going out doors blew several shrill blasts. Within an hour a congregation of fifty people had assembled in answer to the horn and Dr. Rose said afterward that he never preached to an audience which showed greater appreciation and deeper religious feeling than did the little band of copper colored mountaineers on Black Water. “Uncle Vard” lived to be 101 years old.

Frederick Ross became the target of Parson Brownlow, was called a 'Malungeon' in Browlow's book in 1856

Frederick Ross built the Rotherwood Mansion in Kingsport

Friday, April 10, 2020

Arthur Goins






February 10, 1941

Arthur Goins Isn’t Sure
About Traditions of Origin of Race

He had heard his father use the word “Melungeons.”  His father had come from old “James county,” now a part of Hamilton–they were from Rhea county orginally, or perhaps McMinn.  The tradition was that the Goins family had come to Tennessee from Virginia–but of that he was not sure.                                                                        

So says Arthur Goins, of the Hale’s Bar settlement, as he pilots the ferry over the Tennessee river just below the toll bridge on the Cummings highway to Nashville.  He is a “riverman,” small of stature–his eyes are bright, his movements quick–more than all else, in distinguishing characteristics, his face is slightly dark in coloring–a faintly foreign look–he might be a sailor from some distant port– he might be a fisherman or a navigator. Now he pilots a ferry and he swings the little motorboat around with expert ease.


Shown here at the helm of his ferry boat near the Marion County bridge is Arthur Goins, of Hales Bar, a descendent of the Melungeons, a distinctive group known to have been in this section when John Sevier founded the state of Franklin.  The late Judge Lewis Shepherd once argued that the Melungeons came to American from Phoenicia when Carthage fell to the Romans. The Goins family are “Melungeons” so say all the old residents–one has to be an old resident even to know the queer word–its meaning is lost in modern parlance–even Arthur Goins recalls only that he had heard his father use it.  And yet, to look backward in Tennessee history and perhaps far backward beyond the state’s original settlement, the word was once widely used.  Perhaps the small, swarthy man has the right to appear as a navigator–perhaps the proud race from which he sprang came to this country even prior to Columbus.

Looking backward in the archives there is this notation by Will Allen Dromgoole, formerly of the Nashville Banner, as quoted in John Trotwood Moore’s History of Tennessee for a clue to the Melungeons’ origin.  “When John Sevier organized the state of Franklin there was living in East Tennessee, a colony of dark-skinned, reddish-brown complexioned people, suppposed to be of Moorish descent.  The constitutional convention of 1834 isolated these “Melungeons” and gave them no voting privileges.  They went into the hills of Tennessee --they are also found in Rhea county𔄣

Found By Sevier

The “Melungeons’ were here, according to this source when John Sevier came into Tennessee-these same reddish-brown, slightly swarthy people, as pro-genitors of the Goins family have an old background.  In an effort to trace their history, one must search in another direction, far prior to the time of John Sevier.

In his book, “The Dawn of the Tennessee Valley and Tennessee History,” Judge Samuel Cole Williams writes of the probable existence in this valley of a race of white men who antedated Columbus.  The Cherokees spoke of these people as white people with “moon eyes.” Williams, in his history, pins this legend down with fact.  In Woods account of the journey of Needham and Arthur [1624-1628] into this then-- unexplored country, this paragraph appears: “Eight days” journey down the Tennessee river live a white people which has long beard and whiskers and which wears clothing.”  That, in itself, might be tradition.  This quotation is backed up by this statement: “The Indians said that these white people had a bell which they rang before they ate their meals and that they had a strange habit of bowing their heads and saying something in a low voice before they ate.”  Judge Williams writes that these people; were probably Welsh–that they came to America A. D. 1170 under the leadership of Prince Madocan Owen Guyneth and that they were the ones whom the Cherokeess called “mooneyed.”

An utterly different idea of Melungeon origin was advanced many years ago by Judge Lewis Shepherd, lawyer-extraordinary, and the father of the “Shepherd Boys” of Chattanooga.  Judge Shepherd had a lawsuit involving a Melungeon girl, Betsy Barton [Jemima Bolton jp] who through inheritance owned much of the land in Moccasin bend. In those days all people of this area knew about the Melungeons as a race of people set apart but of whom nothing much was known.  Betsy’s case was doubtful. Bravely Judge Shepherd advanced his hypothesis in court.  “Othello was a Melungeon.” These people are Phoenicians who after the fall of Carthage settled in Portugal.  It is proven by their traditons that the Melungeons are Moors— the great navigators of the wrold.  They settled in South Carolina.

Judge Shepherd comments, as early as seventy-five years ago, that the Moorish coloring of the Melungeons in non-eradicable.  “There is never a mixture—a Melungeon woman, married to an East Tennessean, if she had twins, will find that one of the babies will be fair and one dark of skin–the Moorish coloring is non-eradicable.  Melungeons do not blend.”

So there you are with two theories concerning Arthur Goins’ ancestry.  How the Carthegians got to the shores of America, Judge Shepherd does not attempt to explain.  He does say that there were many Melungeons in South Carolina prior to the revolution—a lonely people whom no one understood and they were persecuted on account of their swarthy skins.  So, even in John Sevier’s time, as he states, they had moved into the mountains of Hancock county, Tennessee and in Rhea county, where they could live their own lives.

Phoenicians, Portuguese or Welsh, the Melungeons are yet part of Tennessee’s interesting history.  The older generations of Tennesseans knew them well, talked of them much.  Now they are almost forgotten.  Yet even Arthur Goins’ name may be derived from the last syllable of the word “Melungeons.”  Perhaps his ancestors came from Phoenicia–perhaps they were the great navigators of the world who sailed to the far corners of the earth in their frail barks.  They of all the great explorers, before written history, knew how to sail by their chart of the fixed stars.  One word of the Phoenician language survives in English–the name by which they called the North star–the Cynosure.”  It is a word which Arthur Goins, of Hales Bar, would not recognize, but according to Judge Shepherd the “Cynosure” is the word which at the time of Scipio guided Arthur Goins’ ancestors over the stormy seas to America.

So does Arthur Goins, a "Melungeon” of  Tennessee guide his motor boat across the waters of the Tennessee river.  His “cynosure” is the toll bridge, but there is a look about him as if he might be a descendant of the early navigators.  The Phoenicians were the first who dared to go beyond the straits of Gibraltar into the north Atlantic. It is not altogether out of the realm of probability that a colony of them did come to America long before Columbus.  So, at least, ran the brief of Judge Lewis Shepherd. They have been in Tennessee at any rate since prior to the revolution.  Where the swarthy, lost people came from nobody knows definitely.  They have been a race set apart, “Melungeons.”  Even John Sevier did not know their origin.  Perhaps they were the “moon eyed” people of Cherokee legend who once held sway in the valley of the Tennessee.  At any rate the talk about them now grows less and less–the word is no longer used except by the old residents and there is the slight Moorish coloring which still lingers and sets the Melungeon apart.  He is an “Othello of East Tennessee.”


The Melungeon Race

Harriman Man Recalls a Family of Twenty-Nine Members

To The Editor of The Chattanooga Times:

February 16, 1941

I have read the article headed “Ancestry of Melungeon Ferry Pilot, printed in the Daily Times of Feb. 10.  It was very interesting to me.  My knowledge of the Melungeon race is limited.  They did come from Phoenicia, when Carthage fell to the Romans, and settled in North Carolina.  I once looked up this history when I wrote an article for the Times about the Melungeons along the Foothills of Walden’s Ridge.  They are inhabitants of Rhea, Roane, Anderson, Campbell and a few in Knox counties.  The live along the foot of Walden’s Ridge on the waters of he the Clinch  and Powell Rivers and their tributaries.  The families in this part of the country are known as the Goins and Cochrans.

The family of Cochrans has a little history that should be in Believe It Or Not.  Uncle Dave and Aunt Polly Cochran lived on the south side of Walden’s Ridge, near Harriman. Their family consisted of twenty-seven children, twenty-four still living,.  When Aunt  Polly was 70 years old, she walked four miles six days in the week and did washing for people in Oakdale., and walked back home at night.  I once came by Oakdale with some men from Waynesburg, Pa., and saw Aunt Polly over the wash-tub.  There were six of us.  I said to her, “ Aunt Polly, how many children have you?”  She said to me, “Twenty seven, and twenty four still living.”  One of the men said, “My God, what a family.”  And I said, “She is a Melungeon.”

There is an iron ore vein along the foot of Walden’t Ridge, through Rhea, Roane, Anderson and Campbell Counties, and many people believe that the copper color of the Melungeons comes from living along near this iron ore.  They are as a rule, honest, good workers, but never attained much property, lived by hard work and are reliable in all their promises.  There are the Goins, Cochrans, Johnsons, Bazzles, and some other families whose names I do not now recall.  They originally came to this country from North Carolina, so I am told by the old residents.  I have known them and while now and then are in this country, mixed with the Indians and Negroes, they are classed with the Negro race.  But I am sure the facts stated are true from actual investigation and my knowledge of the people.

John H. Hatfield.
Harriman, Tenn.


Wednesday March 5, 1941


Melungeons Recalled

Mrs. Amanda Wheelock tells of Knowing Several of the Race

To the Editor of The Chattanooga Times:

I have been very much interested in the discussion of the Melungeons.”  Several years ago a number of these families lived around Rhea Springs and Spring City: the blacksmith at Rheas Springs, Dock Graham, was a Melungeon.

These people attended the white schools and intermarried with whites.  I never heard of any Negro intermarriage.  These people were very dark, and had straight hair and no Negro features.  I bought vegetables and eggs from a Melungeon woman.  She was intelligent and of rather pleasing personality.  Her account of the history of her people was that the were descended from Portuguese sailors who, fleeing from an enemy. Left their boats and escaped into the mountains of North Carolina.  They married into a tribe of mountain Indians and although these Portuguese sailors were a very dark race of people they had no Negro blood.

In the lower end of the county their right to attend the white schools was questioned.  I think Mr. Lewis Shepherd defended them and they won the suit, as proof of Negro blood was not proved.  When a little child, after committing some rude or uncivil act, I was called by my grandmother “a little Melungeon.” The pioneers had no liking for the Melungeons and said they were descended from Portugese or Moorish pirates that were pursued and their ships taken, the pirates escaping into the mountains and mixing with the Indians.  The Negroes did not like them because, although dark in color, they held themselves distantly aloof from any association.  The Rhea county Melungeon were an orderly, well behaved set of people and the tradition about their racial rudeness I think was prejudiced and unfair.  Their descendants have lost their dark color through intermarriage with whites.  I notice several Melungeons names in the happenings here and in other counties adjoining and I am sure many of these people do not  know of their Melungeons ancestry.

Mrs. Amanda Neal Wheelock


More on Arthur's Ancestry

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!

Melungeons at Fort Blackmore

    THE MELUNGEONS  & FORT BLACKMORE SOME NOTES Attorney Lewis Jarvis was born 1829 in Scott County, Virginia and lived in the area and ...