Monday, August 16, 2021

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 time period where he knew many of the historical Melungeons such as Vardy Collins, the Bolens, and Zachariah Minor. In 1903 he was interviewed for the Hancock County paper and said;  "The white emigrants with the friendly Indians erected a fort on the bank of the river and called it Fort Blackmore and here yet many of these friendly “Indians” live in the mountains of Stony creek." 



The Fort

Daniel Boone and his family lived at Fort Blackmore in present Scott County, Virginia from October of 1773 until March of 1775 and was in command of Fort Blackmore and other forts on the Clinch River in 1774 while the militiamen were engaged in the Point Pleasant campaign of Dunmore's war.  Some of these men did not fight at Point Pleasant but were detached and were with Boone guarding the clinch frontier.  

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Were they the 'company of men'  -- the 'friendly Indians' who erected Fort Blackmore as Jarvis said? (See William Herbert's men below)
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There were seven of the original forts erected in compliance with Lord Dunmore's order, four on the lower Clinch under Captain William Russell's militia command, and three on the upper Clinch under the militia command of Captain Daniel Smith. These forts were erected by the local militia under the supervision of Colonel William Christian who had been sent out to the frontier by Colonel William Preston who was militia commandant for the area.

When Captain Russell received Lord Dunmore's orders for building the forts it happened to be muster day for the militia in Cassells Woods, and he immediately, on June 25, 1774, laid the facts before his constituents and informed Colonel Preston of their actions on June 26, 1774,  saying: "My company yesterday voted two  forts to be immediately built, I think in as convenient a place as we can get, and we shall immediately begin to build them."

Two weeks later, on July 13, 1774, Captain Russell again wrote to Colonel Preston the following letter showing that his people had changed their minds about the number of forts to be built and states that the forts had already been erected.

"Since I wrote you last, the inhabitants of this river have altered the plan for two forts only, on this river, below Elk Garden, and have erected three; one in Cassells Woods which I call Fort Preston; a second ten miles above which I call Fort Christian; the third, five miles below the first, which I call Fort Byrd, and there are four families at John Blackmores near the mouth of Stony Creek, that will never be able to stand it alone without a company of men. Therefore, request you, if you think it can be done, to order them a supply sufficient to enable them to continue the small fortification they have begun." (5)

Fort Blackmore was built on the north side of the Clinch River opposite the mouth of Rock Branch. The fort was on the extreme frontier of Virginia and was used by hunters, explorers, adventurers, and home seekers for rest and refreshment.


The Men 

From Jeff Weaver's site;  NEW RIVER NOTES

Bios of William Herbert's company     *See more biographies  From Jeff Weaver's site

Micajah Bunch
Listed as living on Indian lands. His land was on Elk Creek in current day Ashe Co., NC. He is in William Herbert's company in 1771.

1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Micajah was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.


John Collins
The Fincastle 1772 and 1773 list includes: David (Indian lands), Ambrose, John, John Jr., Charles (Indian lands), Elisha, Samuel (Indian land), Lewis, George (Indian land) Collins and Micajer Bunch (Indian Land).

1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): One of the John Collins was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.


Enoch Osborne 1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Enoch was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier. He is listed as a sergeant.

Ephraim Osborne Jr.
1) born 1754 in Rowan Co., NC
2) 1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Ephraim was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier...........
Ephraim married Mary Brock (b. before 1774, d. between 1830-1840 in Harlan Co., KY), the daughter of Aaron Brock, sometimes called by his Cherokee name Cutsawah or Red Bird and a Cherokee woman called Sarah. She was a sister to Jesse Brock who fought on the Whig side in the Revolution. It appears that Ephraim or his descendants were present at the Massacre at Yahoo Falls in 1810 on the side of the Cherokee. After this attack, the mixed race Cherokee ceased to exist in Kentucky as Indians and were assimilated into the white population.

Stephen Osborne ---3) 1774: Stephen was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier

Charles Roark

(Not on Jeff's list, but he is on the list of those paid with Capt. Looney's Co. as were many others in Herbert's company)
Born about 1750, Augusta Co., VA (?). His parents may have been Timothy O'Rourke (b. Ireland, d. Frederick Co., VA?) and Rachel (Timothy married first Sarah Parker, see Timothy Jr. below).

Married Abigail (by tradition a Cherokee Indian) about 1775 in Fincastle Co., VA. She died before 1820 in Ashe Co., NC.
1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Charles was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier

William Roberts--- William is probably a brother of Cornelius Roberts and more doubtfully a son of the notorious Capt. James Roberts (Tory leader). He shared an 1780 court venue with Cornelius....He is the William Roberts born about 1744 in old Lunenburg Co., VA who married Elizabeth "Betsy" Walling, daughter of Elisha Wallen and Mary Blevins
   
1774: William was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

Doswell Rodgers----1774: In Herbert's Company. Doswell was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

William Vaughn----1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): William was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.....Daniel Boone records meeting him in the wilds of Kentucky on his first visit (Howling Wilderness). William married a Cherokee maiden by the name of Fair-A-Bee-Luna in Tennessee. It was around his wife's tribal fire that he first heard of the old Indian Healing Springs, now known as Eureka Spring, Arkansas. (Don Byrne)........Eddie Davis was unable to prove Fereby's Cherokee ancestry through DNA testing.

James Wallin-- 1746 - born, Lunenburg Co., VA, son of Elisha Walling and Mary Blevins.
1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): James was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier

Joseph Wallin
1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Joseph was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier

Thomas Wallin----1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Thomas was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

By family tradition, Thomas' daughter Judy was part Cherokee. According to notes in Tobias Harkleroad's Worldconnect database, Thomas was "living with the tribe after his marriage to her mother [Mary Cox?], and taking part in tribal life
Not on the 1782 Montgomery Co., VA personal tax list. - had moved to the Clinch or Powell River valley in Virginia or Tennessee near Kyle's Ford by then


Edward Williams ---
1774 (Lord Dunmore's War): Edward was among those diverted to Capt. Looney's company on the Clinch and did not fight at Point Pleasant. Instead he was with Capt Looney, Lieut. Daniel Boone and Lieut. John Cox guarding the Clinch frontier.

Some of the land in the original Loyal Company grant was also claimed by the Cherokee, who were the first target of these same leaders in the Revolution. Much of the rest of the land was the ancestral home of the Shawnee, who had been driven from northern and central Kentucky by the Iroquois in the 1660s. The men in Herbert's company, including Herbert, were not part of this Loyal Land Company scheme for the most part, although I have heard people suggest that Enoch Osborne and John Cox may have had some long standing business ties to the company. In fact, many of the people in Herbert's company had trading or even familial ties to the Cherokee, and so it is not surprising that so many became Tories when the Cherokee were attacked in 1777.


William Hays came out in 1770, along with Robert Elsom as stock tenders for Capt. William Herbert, Sr. of Poplar Camp, Wythe Co., Va. Herbert had a patent for land between Dungannon and Gray's Island on Clinch River. Robert Elsom was killed there by the Indians in 1777.  Most of the men who served under William Herbert were from Grayson County, Virginia

*See more Biographies  From Jeff Weaver's site




The 1755 Orange County, North Carolina, tax list several families who either they, or their forefather once lived on the Pamunkey River in Louisa County, Virginia and who eventually migrated to Hawkins County, TN and became know as the Melungeons.

Gidean Bunch 1 tithe (mulatto)
Micajer Bunch 1 tithe (mulatto)
Moses Ridley (Riddle) 1 tithe and wife Mary (mulattoes)
Thomas Collins 3 tithes (mulatto)
Samuel Collins 3 tithes (mulattoes)
John Collins 1 tithe (mulatto)
Thomas Gibson 3 tithes (mulatto)
Charles Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)
George Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)
Mager Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)

Most of these families moved from the Flat River to the New River area of Virginia and North Carolina. The following tax lists are from Kegley’s early adventures on the Western Waters) 1771 New River area Botetourt County, Virginia

Charles Collins 1 tithe
John Collins 4 tithes
Samuel Collins two tithes
Charles Sexton 1 tithe
McKegar Bunch 1 tithe
William Sexton 1 tithe

Some of these including Micager Bunch were living on Indian Lands.
Fincastle County was formed from Botetourt in 1772; this 1773 tax list shows the ones living on Indian land. Which means they had crossed the survey line agreed upon in the treaty of Lochaber as the western boundary.

David Collins (Indian Lands)
Charles Collins (Indian Lands)
Samuel Collins (Indian Lands)
George Collins (Indian lands)
*Micajer Bunch (Indian lands)
John Collins SR
John Collins Jr.
Ambrose Collins
Elisha Collins
Lewis Collins




According to an "authentic tradition" related to Robert M. Addington about 1930 by W. S. Cox of Scott County, Virginia,   Baron deTubeuf planned to build a city there just about ten miles above Fort Blackmore on the Clinch River. Tubeuf's colony was very close to where a peaceable band of Indians came down Stony Creek into the neighborhood of Fort Blackmore about  1817 for undetermined ceremonial purposes [prayers were said at a local Indian mound located directly behind the fort].


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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Melungeons - Through The Years

 These are Eyewitnesses to History of the Melungeons. A few are reporting what they have read, or heard, but it happened in that time frame, not a hundred years later.  




 "As it is, the whole community was hijacked by yellow journalists seeking 
personal fame and glory for such a long time, we may never get a truly
 clear and untainted history of them. In much of the material related to 
Appalachian areas in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, 
the more outlandish, bombastic, and fantastic, the better, 
and no one cared about the truth."
Melungeon Discussion List - Author Not Remembered
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Historical Articles & Clippings


Photobucket



T
hese are excerpts from old newspapers and magazines.
 Click on the link at the end of the paragraph to read the entire article.


Gen. Combs, in his attempt to address the citizens of Sullivan County, on yesterday, was insulted, contradicted repeatedly, limited to one hour and a half, and most shamefully treated, and withall an effort was made, to get an impudent Malungeon.
Brownlow's Whig 1840


You must know that within ten miles of this owl's nest, there is a watering-place, known hereabouts as 'black-water Springs.' It is situated in a narrow gorge, scarcely half a mile wide, between Powell's Mountain and the Copper Ridge, and is, as you may suppose, almost inaccessible. A hundred men could defend the pass against even a Xerxian army. Now this gorge and the tops and sides of the adjoining mountains are inhabited by a singular species of the human animal called MELUNGENS. The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this. A great many years ago, these mountains were settled by a society of Portuguese Adventurers, men and women.
[While this article appeared across the country in 1848, note at the end. "The Dance" 
ONLY appears once that I have found, in LITTELS LIVING AGE. 


We are free to confess that we have never heard of or read of
 the ‘Melungeons’ before this day, and all we know about them now is 
what we derive from the following imperfect description obtained in a
 letter from a travelling correspondent of the Louisville, Ky., Examiner. 
 The letter bears no date, but the site of the Melungen race appears 
to be somewhere in Kentucky.


''You have alluded, classically enough, to the "sable leader" of the Athens Synod, in this work of falsehood and detraction. The fact of the copper color, the woolly head, and other similar appendages of the negro, which cling to this Rev. Malungeon, notwithstanding his Caucasian features, in the general, should be kept prominently before the proud, spirited, and high-minded Virginian. Let the distinction of color be kept up, and let our identity as a race of white men be preserved. Let the Presbyterians of Marion trample upon marriage relations, despise the distinction between white and colored people, and bid defiance to the powers of enlightened society, if they choose; but let us, my friends, have more self-respect than to imitate their example.''
The Great Iron Wheel Extracted -- Parson Brownlow - 1856


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. ''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.

...... In speaking of legislators in a previous letter, I forgot to mention Jas. W. Williams, who lived on Deer Creek, not far from Husband's Tanyard. He was a tall, swarthy man, not unlike some of our F.F.V's (First Families of Virginia) who take great pride in the very uncertain genealogy that turns the current of Pocahontas in their veins. (And just here let me say in particular if just one-half of those who claim to have descended from the Indian princess are really such, Virginia in her most savage days, never had a more numerous tribe of malungeons than at present.) As before said, Mr Williams very much resembled these claimants, with his erect form, elastic step, straight black hair, olive complexion and brilliant eye.

The principal localities visited were Newman's Ridge and Blackwater Valley, 
lying just south of Powell's mountain and 14 miles north of Rogersville, Tennessee. the inhabitants there, known by the local name of "Malunjins" 
are a mixture of whites, blacks and Indians,
Destruction of Illicit Distilleries 1873


The First and Only Malungeon Trial
 Testimony of A. B. Beeson

Page 174
Q. were you well acquainted with Solomon Bolton, the grandfather of Martha, complainant in the Cross Bill, and, if so, state what race of people he was or appeared to be. Also give a description of his person and complexion and appearance.
A. I was. He was called a Malungeon. He was a small spare made man, with low, flat head, had a dark complexion, rather a flat nose, turned up at the end. He wore his hair short, and it was always inclined to curl or kink.
Q. In the neighborhood in which he lived did he associate with white men or free negroes as his equals?
A. His general association was with the Malungeons-his own people. I never saw him associate with whites except when he had business.
Q. How many different families in this County or adjoining Counties did you know of the same race or character of people -name them?
A. I don't now how many- several - but the Perkins- the Goins, Mornings, Shumakes, Menleys &others.


It would not take him long to bring the last one of
those "crooked whisky" fellows to terms. He has straighted
 out things in Hancock; now let him go over the line
 and give the Virginia MOLUNGEONS a hitch.


A race of people mostly by the name of Collins and Mullins 
live on the top, and along the spurs of Newmans Ridge, and some of them in a fertile valley called, "Blackwater," "history tells not of their origin," but as far as I can learn from the oldest ones among them, their ancestors came there from "Reed Island" about the beginning of the present century. 


Where the village of Sneedville is situated was once an Indian town. There are any quantity of flints half finished, scattered about over a wide extent in and around the village, showing that his was a place were thye manufactured darts for their arrows, with which they killed their game.  Many battle-axes, tomahawks, pestles, and remants of insturments and vessels of potter used by the aborigines have been picked up in years gone by, so that now thery are seldom found. 

Within a quarted of a mile of the court-house there is still visible a round-shaped knoll which maybe a mound, It was once much sharper than it is now, so sharp that cattle have never resorted to it for rest....On a hill, not far from here, there is any amount of petrifactions. Mr. Jarvis has furnished me with many specimans. 



A settlement was also made at an early date at Mulberry Gap, where a little village sprang up. Newmans' Ridge, which runs through the county to the north 
of Sneedville, and parallel with Clinch river, is said to have taken its name 
from one of the first settlers upon it. It has since been occupied mainly
 by a people presenting a peculiar admixture of white and Indian blood.
Goodspeed's History of Tennessee-1886


It appears that the Melungeons originally came into east Tennessee from
 North Carolina, and the larger number settled in what was at that time
 Hawkins County, but which is now Hancock. I have not been able to hear 
of them in any of the lower counties of east Tennessee, and those I have 
seen myself were in Cocke county, bordering on North Carolina.
 At what time this emigration took place in not known, but it was
certainly as long ago as seventy-five or eighty years.


His name Melungeons is a local designation for this small peculiar race. Their own claim to be Portuguese is more generally known. Their original site is on the Pedee river in South and North Carolina . They were once especially strong in Georgetown and Darlington districts of the latter. Though called Portuguese – this does not indicate their true origin. I have no doubt local traditions, and the records still to be found in the Charleston library will give the true account. As dimly recollected, for I never made search with a purpose in view, it was thus in the primary colonial times of the Carolinas, Winyaw Bay was the best and most frequented harbor on the coast, and Georgetown more accessible, was more of a commercial town than old Charlestown., to that port British Cruisers sometime brought prizes.


63D CONGRESS 3D SESSION 
SENATE DOCUMENT NO. 677
INDIANS OF NORTH CAROLINA
LETTER FROM  THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
TRANSMITTING, IN RESPONSE TO A SENATE RESOLUTION 
OF JUNE 30, 1914, A REPORT ON THE CONDITION 
AND TRIBAL RIGHTS OF THE INDIANS 
OF ROBESON AND ADJOINING COUNTIES OF NORTH CAROLINA
JANUARY 5, 1915.--REFERRED TO THE COMMITTEE ON INDIAN AFFAIRS AND ORDERED TO BE PRINTED 
Exhibit B7.
LETTER OF HAMILTON MCMILLAN TO INDIAN OFFICE, JULY 17, 1890.
The Croatan Tribe lives principally in Robeson County, N. C., though there are quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter County, S. C., there is a branch of the tribe and also in East Tennessee. In Lincoln County, N. C., there is another branch, settled there long ago. Those living in East Tennessee are called "Melungeans," a name also retained  by them here


'The Croatan tribe lives principally 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.''
Historical Documents


During a recent tour among the Malungeons, the mysterious 
mountain tribe whose origin has baffled research, I stayed at the 
cabin of one Gowens, says a special correspondent writing from Nashville, 
Tennessee to the New York World. The polite prefix Mr. or Mrs. is unknown in that region. A majority of the Malungeons live within five miles of Sneedville, the 
county seat of Hancock County, and their habitations are windowless log huts. 
 The march of progress since the war has reached the Malungeons in the ability
to raise tobacco.  Otherwise they are as nearly savage as they were a 
quarter of a century ago. Their orchards are the wonder of the country round 
and always have been.  But the fruit, as fruit, goes no further than the stillhouse.


Away up in an extreme corner of Tennessee I found them--them or it, 
for what I found is a remnant of a lost or forgotten race, huddled together in a 
sterile and isolated strip of land in one of the most inaccessible quarters of Tennessee.......The Malungeons are a most peculiar people. They occupy
 an isolated land except for horse or foot passengers, inaccessible territory,
 separated and alone, not mixing or caring to mix with the rest of the world.


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**After Dromgoole published  these four articles a flurry of letters arrived to the Editor - This is Will Allen's response; 

THE TENNESSEAN (Nashville Tennessee)
Sept 09, 1890
 Will Allen Comes Back at Her Critics in Gallant Style
To the Editor of the American.
Referring to the anonymous correspondence in Sunday's AMERICAN, I wish to say a word concerning the peculiar race of people occupying an isolated ridge in eastern Tennessee.  The writer seems to think  because he cannot see the Malungeons they cannot exist.  I take it he has never seen Jesus Christ, yet we are reliably informed that he did and does exist.  As to the coinage of the name, it is not mine, and in an article sent to THE AMERICAN last Friday, and which has not yet appeared, I made mention of this fact. They do not exist, however, "under the shadow of the capitol" in spite of the emphatic ignorance which 'pardon the slang' sits so crushingly down upon everybody else's opinion.  
If the writer will take the cars to Chattanooga, Knoxville, Lone Mountain, then get a horse to Mulberry Gap, then Sneedville and sit on the courthouse step half an hour, he will soon discover whether or not the Malungeons are mulattos.  In case he should decide affirmatively I should advise him not to make the announcement until he is well out of Hancock county.  If, as he says, the Malungeons are mulattos it is a blot upon the name of Tennessee: a disgrace so black that morality would hide her face, and, leave the world forever, for these people have children of white settlers, fathers of white blood, and would silence forever the .... that dared call them mulattos.
I send with this a picture of one of them, Calloway Collins, who declares his father was a full-blooded Cherokee.  Calloway is an Indian if ever one lived on Tennessee soil.  The picture was drawn by Mr. Thos. M. Sharpe, of Nashville, and is exceedingly well done.  Calloway was a soldier belonging to the First Tennessee under Brownlow and Johnson, and today draws a pensioner for three bullet wounds.  His daughter Dorcas (one of Mr. Sharpe's drawings) speaks for herself.  The family group is from life. 
We visited this family with John Tyler, the brother of Hon. H. S. Tyler of Sneedville.  I send the pictures along with this, and my anonymous critic can see them by calling at THE AMERICAN office. The Malungeons need no defense from me.  They can speak for themselves and all Hancock county can speak for them.  I first saw the name in the New York World, and many old gentlemen of Hancock county have corroborated the existence of the people and the correctness of the name.  And the fact that one croaker rises to dispute their existence because he has not seen them does not in the least alter the fact of their existence.
I know nothing of the people referred to as living the the 'twenty-fourth district.  I had intended visiting Mr. Cartright and asking him something of them, but work and business have prevented.  And now since an anonymous critic has entered his 'protest' I presume I had best be quiet concerning them.  The people in East Tennessee,  however, I shall insist upon their existence and for them deny the mulatto theory.  They live alone, mixing with none, and asking little.  If my critic will go and see, or will kindly sign his name, I will be very glad for any information he can give concerning them. Will Allen  -1890

---

In the AMERICAN of Sept. 15, 1890  Dan W. Baird wrote of the Malungeons, in part, as follows:

"Several families are still to be found in Smith, Wilson, Rutherford, and Davidson Counties. There is nothing in their family names to give the student of ethnology a clue to their origin. In a locality in Wilson County known forty years ago as 'Malungeon Town', the most common names were Richardson, Nickens, and Collins. In Rutherford County not far from Lavergne, the principal Malungeons were Archers, Lanterns, and Blackmans. One of the latter family has sold fish in the north end of the market house in this city (Nashville) for many years, and some of the same family reside a few miles out on the Nolensville Turnpike. "A pretty fair speciman of the Malungeon tribe is a young fellow named Bernice Richardson, now serving a life sentence in the state prison for self-confessed complicity in the murder of M.T. Bennet of Lebanon.

---

R. M. Ewing, wrote that when he attended law school at Lebanon Tennessee, in 1851:

" there was a colony of people residing within a few miles of Lebanon who were locally, and so far as I know generally, called Malungeons. They seemed to be a hard working, harmless, inoffensive people, a dark red or copper color, and jet black, straight hair... these people claimed to be of Portuguese descent.
Malungeon Town 1890
 

---------------------------------------------------------

The owner was a full-blooded Indian, with keen, black eyes, straight black hair, high cheeks, and a hook nose. He played upon his violin with his fingers instead of a bow, and entertained us with a history of his grandfather, who was a Cherokee chief, and by singing some of the songs of his tribe.
A Strange People 1890


The newspapers of the country are again wrangling with the 'Melungeons' or 'lungens' a peculiar race of people living along Newman's Ridge in Hancock county. They are also scattered along Clinch mountain in Hawkins and Grainger in isolated settlements. Even that bright and fascinating young writer, Miss Will Allen Dromgoole has taken it upon herself to journey all the way from nashville to the wilds of Hancock for the evident purpose of settling once and for all the much disp... (?) question of their origin. Unfortunately she gleamed little information other than that already published.
A Peculiar Race of People Living in Hancock County 1890


Such are the remnants called Indians in some states where a pure-blooded 
Indian can hardly longer be found. In Tennessee such a group, popularly
 known as Melungeans, in addition to those still known as Cherokee.
Report of Indians - Taxed and not Taxed 1890


The lateness of these details (sent to tthe New York Sun from Sneedville, November 20) may make them acceptable to you in the above connection:

" 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.
American Notes and Queries 1891


First, I saw in an old newspaper some slight mention of them. With this tiny clue I followed their trail for three years. The paper merely stated that “somewhere in the mountains of Tennessee there existed a remnant of people called Malungeons, having a distinct color, characteristics, and dialect.” It seemed a very hopeless search, so utterly were the Malungeons forgotten, and I was laughed at — little for my “new crank.”
The Malungeons 1891

Somewhere in the eighteenth century, before the year 1797, there 
appeared in the eastern portion of Tennessee, at that time the 
Territory of North Carolina, two strange-looking men calling themselves "Collins" and "Gibson". They had a reddish brown complexion, long , straight , black hair, 
keen, black eyes, and sharp, clear-cut features. They spoke in broken English, 
a dialect distinct from anything ever heard in that section of the country.


Judge Lea addressed the society on the subject of the 
Melungeons. He outlined the early history of the settlement of North Carolina. 
A party under the protection of a friendly Indian chief had gone into the
interior when the first settlers came to that coast and had been lost. 
No other settlers came till a century afterward, and they were told of a tribe 
who claimed a white ancestry, and among whom gray eyes were frequent. 
This people were traced to Buncomb and Robeson counties, where the same
 family and personal names were found as in the lost colonies.


Will Allen Dromgoole in the March Arena, gives an entertaining
 account of a people called "Malungeons" a remnant of whom remains
 in the Tennessee mountains. Whether the description is a true one
 we are not able to say, for the Malungeons are strangers to us.
The Malungeons - Dromgoole Review 1891

The interest aroused by Miss Will Allen Dromgoole's sketches 
of the Melungeons of East Tennessee, has been widespread. It has inspired 
study of local peculiarities in many Southern districts, and the following letter, from Illinois, is of interest, especially to show how common these wandering 
relics of the savage tribes are The name given to these people by 
Miss Bondeau recalls the Gan tribe of Southern and Middle Tennessee, 
which has many of the Melungeon attributes.  The religious tendencies 
of the Illinois people are distinctive.


There is in Hancock county, Tennessee, a tribe of people known 
by the local name of Malungeons or Melungeons. Some say they are
 a branch of the Croatan tribe, others that they are of Portuguese stock.


Who are these people?” has been asked thousands of times, 
doubtless by some passing traveler, who quickly noted their clean-cut,
 distinctive race features, speech and bearing. The answer made invariably is “Melungeons” - Our fathers who settled here along about 1790 to 1800, 
found them here, with another small settlement near Nashville’s present site.” 
This is all you can obtain in the way of information by casual inquiry.
Melungeons at the Worlds' Fair 1894


It is not generally known that in the mountains of eastern Tennessee there is a class of peculiar looking people whose origin is wrapped in mystery and who are called by the whites, Melungeons. They resent this appellation and proudly declare that they are Portuguese. (This is the original 1848 article)
Some People In Eastern Tennessee 1894


There is a race of people in Hawkins County, Tenn., whose origin is a mystery," said G. L. Babbit. "They are called the Melungeons, and are found no place else. They have been traced back to North Carolina, but further than that nothing is known. They are not Indians, they are not negroes, they are certainly not of any known race of white people.
A Queer Tennessee People 1894


They have been classed with Negroes but it is easily demonstrated 
that they are not of negro origin. I mingled with them a great deal at one time,
 and was fortunate enough to obtain their confidence through an act of
 kindness to one of their number. A few relics of great age can be found 
in the pottery and implements. Some of these marked with rude 
imitations of the Maltese cross. They have a tradition that
 their ancestors in North Carolina are buried in mounds. 
Putting these points together, I believe that they are 
descendants of the Aztecs and of Portuguese sailors 
who landed upon the North Carolina coast.


<>Talking about courts. Walter Taylor tells a story on that grand old man 
and jurist, Judge Richard H. Clarke, so long upon our city court bench. 
That cock-eyed Melungeon, Levi Morrison, who was so long a perennial pest to the police, was arraigned before Judge Clarke for the larceny of a box of soap.
He Was Hungry 1895


"The genial-faced old gentleman who occasionally distributed a circular letter is Colonel Stewart, a candidate for the legislature. 
 He is well fed and good humored. He is a 'Malungen."

As to the Melungeons I know of no book containing any history of them. 
They are a peculiar set of people, most of them are very dark, straight hair 
and high cheek bones resemble a Cherokee Indian.  Since the war they 
have become civilized and a great many of them are good citizens 
and good livers. I knew old Sol Collins when I was a little boy and 
was well acquainted with two of his boys and one his girls. I guess 
she is the largest woman in the State
Letter - Sheriff Buttery - Hancock County 1897


The Blackwater Valley lies between Mulberry and Newman’s Ridges, and is from half a mile to mile wide. Twenty years ago it was still a wilderness, but is now under good cultivation, and divided into small farms upon which are rather poor dwellings and outbuildings. In this valley and along Newman’s Ridge, reaching into Lee County, Virginia, are settled the people called Melungeons. Some have gone into Kentucky, chiefly into Pike County, others are scattered in adjacent territory.The first settlers here were the great grand parents, Varday Collins, Shephard Gibson, and Charley Williams, who came from Virginia it is said, though other say from North Carolina. They have marked Indians resemblances in color, feature, hair, carriage, and disposition.
A Visit To The Melungeons 1897


To The Editor of The State:
In east Tennessee there lives a very remarkable race of people known 
as Melungeons, a race which appear to be somewhat similar 
to the "old issues" or "Redbones" found scattered about in our State.


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.


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. "
Indian To Be Hanged 1897


Before the war the Malungeons had a hard time in obtaining the 
right to vote and to send their children to the primitive public schools 
of that day. The white citizens declared they were negros, and the matter
 finally caused so much bickering and strife between the Malungeons
 and the whites that it was carried into the courts. In the trials which 
followed it was developed that the ancestors of these people had emigrated 
to America about 150 years ago from the interior of Portugal
A Peculiar People 1897


The Manchester correspondent of the New York Evening Post writes; A party of London writers and artists are now in the Tennessee mountains studying the peculiar race of people known as the Malungeons. The Malungeons are probably the most mysterious race in America, and less is known of them than of any other people. Whence they came to America or how they obtained their peculiar name is unknown.
A Strange People 1897


"What is the traditional idea of these people themselves, from their
 parents and grandparents and older ones? It is that they are of Cherokee
blood; that their ancestors were Indians, and many of them have gone
 to the Cherokee nation and have sued in the Cherokee Council for land 
and annuities, and they have obtained them They made their proof here among our people and old citizens, that, according to the best traditional evidence, they are of Cherokee blood, and those here now boast of their Cherokee blood
Illegal Voting Trials 1897


The Rev. Charles Kesterson is an odd Kentuckian who has been on both sides of the law. His father was one of the early pioneers of Hancock County, Tenn., and his mother was an Indian, being a member of the tribe of famous Malungeons.
An Odd Kentuckian 1898


It is known that for some time past other moonshiners in the Cumberland
 have been envious of the woman and of her ability to carry on her work in defiance of the law, and that she was poisoned. No investigation has been made and none can be. If she has been poisoned, the Melungeons know it and the mountains will witness bloodshed, for the tribe always avenges  an injury to one of its members.


Mahala Mullins, a noted moonshiner of Hancock County, is dead, aged 75. She was the mother of 18 children and weighed 550 pounds. It is reported that she was poisoned by envious makers of illicit whiskey. She had been arrested frequently but the officers could not remove her on account of her size and the isolated location of her home.
Mahala Mullins 1898


" though these people principally reside in Robeson county there 
are settlements of them in both the Carolinas and in East Tennessee, 
where they are known as Melungeans, a corruption of the French Melange, 
or mixed, a description of them given by the early French settlers.
Denver Evening Post - 1899


An edict has been issued by the Malungeon Indians, who live in the 
mountains of Hancock county, Tenn., sixty miles or more from Middlesboro, 
giving the maidens of the tribe the right to choose their husbands from the pale-faces. Formerly this was a violation of one of the sacred laws of the tribe and the girl that married a white mans was banished from Indians society.
Can Wed Palefaces 1900


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.
The Melungeons of Tennessee and Their Portuguese Ancestry 1900


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
Descendant of Missing Colony 1901 


North Carolina's Croatans, who claim to be descendants pf Raleigh's lost colony 
are not the only peculiar people among the red inhabitants of these United States.
 The claim is not new it has been more or less exploited these thirty years, 
along with that of the still more curious Melungeons of East Tennessee.


All along the southern coast there are scattered here and there bands of 
curious people, whose appearance, color, and hair seem to indicate a cross or mixture of the Indian, the white, and the negro. Such, for example, are the Pamunkeys of Virginia, the Croatan Indians of the Carolinas, the Malungeons of Tennessee


I have lived here at the base of Newman's Ridge, Blackwater, being  
on the opposite side, for the last 71 years and well know the history of
these people on Newman's Ridge and Blackwater enquired about as 
Melungeons. These people were friendly to the Cherokees who came 
west with the white imigration from New River and Cumberland, Virginia, about the year 1790...The name Melungeon was given them on account of their color.
The Melungeons 1903 (Lewis Jarvis)


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. Temn. 
are found the so-called "Melungeons" (probably from French melangi', 'mixed') or "Portuguese," apparently an offshoot from the Croatan proper
Croatan Indians 1907


On Newman's ridge in Hancock County, Tennessee, overlooking 
the beautiful Clinch River Valley, lives one of the most mysterios people
 in America. Through their Anglo-Saxon neighbors or through writers 
of romance the name "Malungeon" has been given them, a name that the 
better element resents. They resemble in feature the Cherokee Indians, 
and yet have a strong, Caucasian cast of countenance that makes 
their claim to Portuguese descent seem probable.
Peculiar Peoples In America 1907


Possibly an explanation of these differences in description may be found in the supposition  that the Melungeons may differ widely in different localities.  The section of country visited by Miss Dromgoole does not contain, by any means, all the Melungeons.  And, while she may have found them the lawless set of rascals she describes, it is a fact that in other places they are represented to be exactly the reverse

Your letter of yesterday received. I happen to have the information y
ou seek. The Nashville American of June 26, 1910 (since consolidated 
with the Nashville Tennessean) published a paper of about 10 pages in 
celebration of its 98th anniversary and in this paper is the true story of a small 
number of people to be found in a few counties of East Tennessee, as in other 
sections of the Appalachian region, called Melungeons or Malungeons.
 I have traveled horse-back before, during and since the Civil War, 
in the counties where these people live, and have seen them in their 
cabin homes and from information received independently of what 
Judge Shepherd says, I am satisfied his statement is to be relied upon.
The Remnant of an Indian Race 1911


There are scattered among them, too, queer tribes of mixt-breed creatures like the gipsy-like 'Melungians' (the spelling is uncertain), who are to be found in the region of Virginia and North Carolina adjoining this very county of Carroll
A Defense of the Mountaineer - 1912


The origin of these peculiar people is an unsolved mystery, although 
many have tried to trace their ancestry back to some definite
race or locality. Some say that they are the remnant of Sir Walter Raleigh’s 
lost colony and others that they are the descendents of some ancient 
colony of refugees from Venice, Servia, or Portugal. 
Some of the Melungeons themselves claim such an origin.
The Melungeons 1912  -- Paul Converse


I have been trying for some weeks to get some information as to
 who or what the MELUNGEONS were. This forced me to write to different 
parts of the State, and to examine old newspaper files. At last I learned that 
they are a queer race of people living in the mountains of East Tennessee, 
South Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky – not one colony but several.
Matters and Things 1912


They have lived their simple pastoral life and for more than a 
hundred years so quietly and obscurely that their name is unknown to many.” 
They are the Melungeons -their very name is a corruption of some 
foreign word unknown to them or to the few have given them any study. They have had no poet or seer to preserve their history. The Melungeons have a
 tradition of a Portuguese ship mutiny, with the successful mutineer beaching 
the vessel on the North Carolina coast, then their retreat towards the mountains.


A curious race of people, who called themselves Malungeons. 
were among the original Franklanders. They were supposed to be of 
Moorish descent. They affiliated neither with whites nor blacks, were
 never classed with Indians or negroes, and claimed to be Portuguese.
State of Franklin 1913


There is a queer offshoot of the Croatan known as "Malungeons," in 
South Carolina, who went there from this state ; another the "Redbones," of 
Tennessee. Mr. Mooney has made a careful study of both of these branches also.


It is remarkable that Tennessee history is silent on the subject since by the
 census taken in 1795 the Melungeons must have been numbered with the 
973 “free person” other than the whites. There could hardly have been so many free negroes within the bounds of the present state only about twenty-five years
 after the first settlement. That of itself should have received notice. Moreover, the Melungeons’ votes, as well as those of the free negroes, had something to do with the politicians making such a radical change in the constitution of 1834.
The Melungeons of East Tennessee 1923


In the mountains of East Tennessee live a distinct race of people, a race 
as different from all others on the Western Hemisphere as the negro is different 
from the American Indian. Moreover this species of the human family 
is found  nowhere else in America. It is the sinister race of the Melungeons, a  mysterious race, few in numbers, whose origin is open to speculation, historians say. For many years they were thought to be Indians or a mixture of Indians and white people, whence probably originated their name, Melungeon, which means a mixture,  according to the view held by those who have studied them.


Hancock was one of the first counties in the state to establish a system of public schools, for which its people have always responded generously, says the early history of the county written by the officials in the state division of history. This is the county where the large majority of the Melungeons, a mysterious and sinister race of dark-skinned people whose origin has never been definitely determined, dwell.
Hancock County Settled by People From Virginia and North Carolina 1923


"There is no social connection between them and their neighbors, either 
white or black, but they remain separate, distinct and isolated. The citizens 
of that vicinity called them Portuguese. "Some years ago when the county 
schools were organized and put into operation these people were
 sufficiently numerous to require of the school commissioners a separate, 
distinct school for their children, and furnished as many as thirty pupils
 exclusively of their own race. This school was distinct from the schools
 of the district and was attended by the children of no other people. Is this strange unknown remnant of a tribe or race a part of the Malungeons?" .
What Do You Know About The Melungeons 1924


The Melungeons, a race of people said to be living in the mountains of east Tennessee, are supposed to be an offshoot of the so-called "Croatan Indians" of North Carolina.
People of Mixed Blood 1927


The Melungeons of East Tennessee are not a mixed race. They are 
descendants of some ancient Phoenicians who removed from Carthage to a
 place near Camden, South Carolina and from there to Hancock County, 
Tennessee. They have no facial resemblance to Indians or Negroes. 
 They have none of the characteristics of either negroes or Indians. 
 The fact is there is no negroid or Indian blood, but a pure distinct race.
 Phoenicians 1928 By J Patton Gibson 
 

Melungeons are a distinct race of people living in the mountains of eastern Tennessee. They are about the color of mulattoes but have straight hair.
Nevada State Journal ~Small Item ~ 1935


About the time of our Revolutionary war, a considerable body of these people crossed the Atlantic and settled on the coast of South Carolina, near the North Carolina line, and they lived among the people of Carolina for a number of years. At length the people of Carolina began to suspect that they were mulattoes or free Negroes and denied them the privileges usually accorded to white people. They refused to associate with them on equal terms and would not allow them to send their children to school with white children, and would only admit them to join their churches on the footing of Negroes. South Carolina had a law taxing free Negroes so much per capita, and a determined effort was made to collect this of them. But it was shown in evidence on the trial of this case that they always successfully resisted the payment of this tax, as they proved that they were not Negroes. Because of their treatment, they left South Carolina at an early day and wandered across the mountains to Hancock county, East Tennessee;
A Romance of the Melungeons 1936


There is little authentic knowledge of the Melungeons, a people found 
in certain parts of Tennessee and Virginia. They are about the same 
color as mulattoes with no other discernible Negro traits. According to their 
own tradition they are of Moorish descent, probably descendants of the ancient Phoenicians. They settled in Portugal and later crossed the Atlantic before the Revolutionary war, settling in South Carolina, due to discriminatory taxes and ostracism they emigrated in a body and settled in Hancock County, Tennessee.
Answers to Questions 1939


 - Arthur Goins - 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 originally, or perhaps McMinn. The tradition was that the Goins family had come to Tennessee from Virginia–but of that he was not sure.


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
The Melungeon Race 1941


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.
Melungeons Recalled 1941


One tribe of Indians and a community of mixed breed Indians were 
unmolested by the whites.These were the Uchees or Emassees,
 kinsman of the Seminoles or Creeks, who lived at the mouth of the
 Emassee or O'Mussee or Mercer creek near Columbia, 
and the Malunjins, a mixed breed community residing some three to 
six miles northeast of Dothan toward Webb even as late as 1865.

Surrounded by mystery and fantastic legends, the Malungeons live on 
Newman’s Ridge, deep in the Tennessee mountains. The story of a 
colony whose background is lost in antiquity...... About the people of
Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater Swamp just one fact is indisputable: 
There are such strange people. Beyond that, fact gives way to
 legendary  mystery, and written history is supplanted by garbled 
stories told a long time ago and half forgotten. .


On Newman's ridge in Northeastern Tennesee live an unknown people. 
Only one fact about them is undisputable, that they are strange people. 
 From there fact turns to legend. These people are called Malungeons. 
their characteristics  are like those of the Indian in many ways -- an olive 
colored skin, straight black hair, small hands and feet, and high cheek bones.


Uncle Wash Osborne of Copper Ridge near Dungannon in Scott County gave 
me more information about the Melungeons than anyone else. Uncle Wash’s full name is George Washington Osborne. From what I gathered from Uncle Wash, the Melungeons started coming to Wise and Scott Counties about 1820. These people came in about equal numbers from Kentucky from Newmans’ Ridge and lower end of Lee County. A few came from North Carolina.


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?"


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


Who are the Melungeons—the “mystery race” tucked away between
 giant ridges of East Tennessee mountains long before the first white 
explorer arrived? What exotic tale of shipwreck or mutiny lies in the dark 
eyes of the red-brown people already in Hancock County before
 Daniel Boone cut a trail? What story of explorers’ strayed from 
DeSoto’s party 400 years ago or of Portuguese sailors stranded on
 the North Carolina coast stares out in their steady gaze?


When the cold season comes, the wind bites and howls along Newman's Ridge in east Tennessee, nudging the snow across silent, ancient graveyards and against sturdy cabins fashioned from monstrous hand hewn poplar logs. Only the wind knows the origin of the dark-complexioned and handsome people who settled on the ridge.
The Mystery of Newman's Ridge 1970


Melungeons have been angered for almost two centuries about two things: 
Strangers who call them by that name, so the Melungeons think, allude
 to "mixture" as having Negro blood. And writers of sensational Melungeon
 stories at times have ridiculed a sensitive, peaceful people.
Melungeon Ways Are Passing 1972



I've just read your letter which had gotten misplaced in my big pile of mail... Not that I am 88 I have had to give up most research , but I still write letters and reply to those of others, even though I cannot do much active research.

As to the Melungeons, I had known them since childhood, since my father had them living as tenants on our farm when I was 8 or 9 years old. He had grown up in the Blackwater, Va., area and known them all his life.

When the Goins family came to live on our farm their children attended our school, and after I grew up and began teaching I had them as pupils, and had even played with their children. However it never occurred to me t write about them until a Norton, Va., editor began publishing articles about them, even though he knew little about them. Then it occurred to me "why not write about them myself?" So, I wrote a brief article for the Read Magazine, which sent me $75. I began receiving letters from all over the U.S.A. I had no idea that so many people were interested. A few years later I wrote one for a magazine in Ky., then the head of the ? paid me to write one for it. And in the early 1960s I decided to put it into a booklet and I had more than 2,000 copies published.

We had the Goins family for only a year or so, but we had Gibson, and Collins 
families living on our [land] for several years. My mother had a Collins 
family there long after I grew up and married.

Other Melungeon names that I remember were; Freeman, Moore, Sexton, 
Minor, and Sheets. Some of the Gibsons intermarried with other families like Phillips, 
Fanning, and Clark. [The Fannins, known as "Fanon," were slightly related to me 
and one of the Collins families who educated their children in Hancock Co., Tenn. 
[the man was a banker] had a daughter who married my father's step sister. 
They had only daughters. One took over the bank after he died and
 another became a high school principle in Bristol, Tenn.

So this has been a fascinating subject for me and I still feel convinced 
that they are a mixture of Moorish, Portuguese, Croatan Indians, and a small portion of Anglo-Saxon blood that was left from the final massacre of the Roanoke Island colony in North Carolina. If not, how can we explain why they use old Elizabethan English expressions and all the older ones said they were "Porty-gee." The Portuguese who were often shipwrecked off the stormy N.C coast and chose to stay there and marry Indian women. The small segment that escaped from the final massacre by the Va., Indians evidently retained the old English words that the Melungeons used, like "Hit" [for it] "ferninst'[?] for opposite, etc. Please excuse my rambling and crooked lines.
Bonnie S. Ball  - 1990


 Jan 1990
I have your material but am now 88 years old and not carrying on any 
further research on the Melungeons. However, I grew up with them living 
and working on my father farm in Lee Co, Va, and he knew them well during 
his youth, and I have never doubted their real origin. I have sold over 2000 
copies of my booklet. A step-sister of my father married a man of that group. 
He attended a mission school for that group, and was president of the local 
bank, which was later managed by a daughter. Some of them are still in 
his area and have become worthwhile citizens.

A Goins man once lived on our farm with his family, a large and strong 
man but was married to a woman that was probably not a Melungeon 
Others whom I knew in childhood were named Gibson, Freeman, Collins, 
and Sexton, which appear to be Anglo-Saxon names. However there is 
no doubt that they have a Portuguese ancestry a few generations back, 
but they also have some Anglo-Saxon names and speech.
Letter from - Bonnie S. Ball --1990

                                 Book-   Melungeons: Notes on the Origin of a Race



The Melungeon, who called their leaders "king" instead of "chief," intermarried with the Cherokee Indians and were considered a branch of the tribe. Micajah Bunch was part Melungeon and part Cherokee
Micajah Bunch1991





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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 ...