Sunday, October 30, 2022

The Gibsons

Some notes I have put together that I think may explain some of the relationships between the Gibsons and a few other families.  There are no 'smoking guns' but I do believe there are a few 'flame throwers.'  Any questions leave a comment at the bottom.  


John Arvin Gibson was likely born around Copper Creek, Scott County, Virginia around 1798 as he lives next to Elisha Sexton in 1840 Scott County, Sextons were members of the Stony Creek Church.  Either son of James or John Gibson who lived on Copper Creek, members of the church and neighbors of Elisha Sexton in 1813.  As John Arvin named his son John, I would place him as a son of John Gibson of Copper Creek, Scott County, Virginia. Later we will see John Gibson and the Sextons in Letcher County, Kentucky.  

Also members of the church in 1813 after most of the Gibsons had left were:

John McKinsey Patty his wife  [McKinsey was the oral history of David Gibson, found in household of John and Charity]
James McKinney Elizabeth his wife
William Brickey [𝗡𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝗯𝗼𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗘𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗮 𝗦𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻 𝗚𝗶𝗯𝘀𝗼𝗻 𝟭𝟴𝟰𝟬 𝗦𝗰𝗼𝘁𝘁 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝘆]
Nevil Wayland [Clerk Husband of Kezziah] 
James Brickey
Nancy Brickey
Elisha Sexton
Nancy Gibson
James Gibson [wife Ruth]
John Gibson
Tabitha Sexton wife of Elisha
Lucy Moore
Annie Gibson
Frances Wayland
Kesiah Wayland [ Is Kesiah the daughter of Thomas and Mary mentioned in Thomas' will Henry County,  Virginia 1780?]

This would be John Arvin and Charity Gibson.  John, son of John Sr., member of Stony Creek Church, Pound Spring, Copper Creek in Scott County.  

Entry dated Oct 4 1805
Nevil Wayland Jun-r enters fifty acres of land by
virture of part of a Land Office Treasury warrant No
1855 dated March 18th 1796 lying in Russell county on
both sides of Copper Creek beginning at a conditional
line between John Mc. Clelan and James Gibson then
running up the Creek on both sides for quantity

DEED BOOK 4 1806-1843
taken 28 Sept. 2001
This Indenture made the fifth day of May in the year of our Lord 1812, between Saml Ewing attorney for Hugh Mc Clung of the one part, and Keziah Weland of the other part both of the county of Russell and State of Virginia Witnesseth That the said Saml. Ewing atty for Hugh McClung for and in consideration of the sum of fifteen dollars lawful money of the United States to him in hand paid the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath granted bargained and sold, and by these presents doth grant bargain and sell unto the aforesaid Keziah Weland and her heirs forever, a certain tract or parcel of land lying and being in the county of Russell on the waters of Cooper Creek including a Spring called the Pound Spring [remember Pound Spring- it may be relevant later] and bounded as followeth to wit: Beginning on a white oak about ten poles east of the pound spring thence s45degree W.46 poles to a White oak Nathan Mullets corner, thence s 20 degree W 14 poles to a black gum thence s 5 degree E 16 poles to a large white oak. N. 6 0 degree W 20 poles to a chestnut N. 70 degree W.10 poles to a small poplar N 40 W 20poles to two poplars near the age of a sink hole thence N. 40 degree E 36 poles to a white oak thence with a straight line to the Beginning containing fifteen acres be the same less or more. But it is to be name that there is fifteen acres excluded out of this deed for which I have already made a deed for to John Gibson dated the 7th day of November 1809. With all the appurtenances to have and to hold the aforesaid track or parcel of land with all its appurtenances unto the said _________Weland and her heirs, to the sole use and behoof of her the said Keziah Weland and her heirs forever. And the said Saml. Ewing atty. for Hugh Mcclung and their heirs  doth covenant with the said Keziah Weland and her heirs that the said tract or parcel of land with all and singular it appurtenances unto the said Keziah Weland and her heirs against the claim or claims of all person whatsoever shall and will forever defend. 

                        Note: Hugh Mcclung - Hugh and his brother were buying up the land in Russell/Scott County, it was coal country, probably land grabbers.  I believe it was Mcclung who was being harbored by Sister Kitchen and not the "Melungeon" bad transcription can mess up history.  The Stony Creek Church record where that is found, transcribed by Emory Hamilton, he wrote;

 "Book Number 1, ends with July, 1811. Book Number 2, has a few faded pages with no cover. Book 2 , starts with what seems to be part of the Minutes of the November meeting 1811. These minutes between July 1811 and November 1811 have apparently been torn off and lost. Book No. 2, is in a very faded condition and very difficult to read.


The Mountain the Miner and the Lord - Harry Caudill


Page 94-95 Betty Sexton Fields was a Melungeons whose forebear fought in the Revolution.  Bettty came to my office because of a neighborhood disagreement, and while she was there she told me about her great-grandmother and how a little band of settlers made their way into the headwaters of the Kentucky River "back in the Indians times."

Betty said that several families came together "so they wouldn't be so lonesome" and for protection against the "savages." They left the old settlements too late in the year and passed through Pound Gap in the Pine Mountain after the leaves had turned brilliant with autumn colors. 

The families found a dry place under an arching cliff where they sheltered through the winter but the pioneers were unused to worldly comforts and considered it adequate until suitable lands could be located and "marked" and cabins built.  

Page 96........  "The next morning the men waited at the giant beech, puzzled by the strange happenings that had kept them alive through the seven terrible weeks. One of them was named Gibson, a tall muscular man who feared nothing."  

Betty's great-grandmother was a 'shape shifter', part of the book is online at google books and can be previewed. 

It is available at Amazon  
Paperback, Hardcover, and Kindle 

Also available on Ebay 

 In Scott County 1843 Jane, daughter of John and Charity married Isaac Sexton, son of Elisha and Tabitha Sexton. Isaac and Jane are found in Letcher County by 1850 Along with the Sexton and Gibson families.

John Sherman Gibson has closest matches on Y DNA 111 Markers:

Joseph Fisher 2 steps
J William 3 steps
Ezekiel 3 steps
Junior [J William] 4 steps
Donald Vic 4 steps  [Stephen Gibson from Randolph/Burke County, North Carolina] 
Scott County Tax List
Taxes Paid in 1819 -Unknown

George Gibson
James Gibson
John Gibson
Joseph F Gibson 
Zachariah Gibson

I am not an expert in Y DNA but the fact that these Gibson are closely matched - further out from Champ etc, it seems they would have a connection to Randolph and Burke County Gibsons.  David and Gilbert Jr., sons of Gilbert Sr., of Louisa and grandsons of Gibby Gibson of Charles City County [Indian line] were on the Trading Path in the part of Rowan that became Randolph County. Stephen Biography, see Robert Gibson - Uncle Bobby  Here 

Randolph County was home to the Keyauwee Tribe, Lawson described in 1700 as having facial hair unlike other tribes. John Swanton placed them with the Croatan and thought they may be the same as the Saura/Cheraw Tribe. 

Major Gibson who was with Thomas Gibson in Orange County 1755 is found with David on Back Creek before he went to Burke County -- the part that became Alexander County later. His neighbor was Merriman McGee found in Burke County and Alexander County records.  Merriman McGee removed to Pike County, Kentucky where he is neighbor of J William Gibson and whose children intermarried. 

Taxes Paid March 1, 1823

All paid on same days, all in same neighborhood, all intermarried and all related closely by Y DNA 

J William and Joseph Fisher had sons Zachariah
John and Charity married by William Stamper - Zachariah lived next door to William Stamper when  they were married. Perry Co

Oliver Stamper  "Descendants of James Stamper 1750-1826" (1945)
"Between 1796 and 1800, just before or just after his marriage, William migrated from the vicinity of Grassycreek, NC and settled on Rockhouse at or near the mouth of Colly."  [Grassy Creek, Wilkes County] 

Jonathan Stamper lived on Cranberry Creek where Joel Gibson, Archibald, Ezekiel, and Zachariah Gibson  etc., lived, Jonathan Gibson is son of Joel Stamper, Revolutionary Soldier,  whose father moved to Wilkes County when he was twelve.   

Meadow Branch and Cranberry Creek

 Joel Gibson surveyed land on Cranberry Creek of the New River and his chain bearers were John Hall and Joel Moore. He received a land grant that is described as: 150 acres Beg. at a chestnut on the top of Peach Bottom Mountain on br. of Cranberry. in Wilkes County, North Carolina, British America on 7 Nov 1779.

He owned on 9 Jun   1780 at Cranberry path, on the South Fork of New River in Wilkes County, North Carolina, United States.

Joel and Archibald had land on Cranberry creek. 

9 June 1780, Thomas Gibson made a land entry on 9 June 1780, on Cranberry path in Wilkes Co., North Carolina.


Will be sold at Ashe Court House on Saturday the 18th day of June next to satisfy the taxes due for the year 1812, and the expence and cost of advertising the same.  50 acres of land of Archibald Gipson on Cranberry Creek

1779 May 10 - Wilkes Co., NC - Wilkes Land Entry #991- Harris Stanley enters 100 acres on Meadow branch, first fork of James Brown's mill creek, waters of Hunting Creek. Harris Stanley transferred this entry to Job Cole on 5 May 1784. Job Cole received NC Land Grant #694 for this land entry - Zachariah Gipson Wilkes 60 Beg. at a white oak (on some of the waters of New River, includ. the Meadow Br.).   [Milepost: 451.5 | County: Ashe | Acres: 179.67 | Hiking: NoThis unique property connects the Parkway from mileposts 249.7 to 250.9, an area that contains the origin of Cranberry Creek, a tributary of Meadow Creek.]

Zachariah Gibson on Meadow Branch in 1798. Harris Stanley and Job Cole also on Meadow Branch. Harris Stanley is a chain carrier with Armon Gibson. Survey for Micajah Sansom -- Micajah's wife was Dorothy  Gibson, married in Lunenburg at Meherrin Church - David Gibson is also a member. All are found in Burke and Wilkes County. 

Zachariah Gipson 

Home in 1830 (City, County, State):Perry, Kentucky
Free White Persons - Females - 15 thru 19:1
Free White Persons - Females - 90 thru 99:1
Free Colored Persons - Males - 36 thru 54:2
Free Colored Persons - Males - 100 and over:1
Free Colored Persons - Females - 24 thru 35:1
Free White Persons - Under 20:1
Total Free White Persons:2
Total Free Colored Persons:4
Total - All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored):6

Male and Female 90 to over 100.  Could be his laws, could be Zachariah and wife, or it could be his father Joel Gibson 

1830 Perry County, Kentucky Census- 
This became Letcher County 
and is probably Rockhouse 

Oliver Stamper  "Descendants of James Stamper 1750-1826" (1945)
"Between 1796 and 1800, just before or just after his marriage, William migrated from the vicinity of Grassycreek, NC and settled on Rockhouse at or near the mouth of Colly." 
 [Grassy Creek, Wilkes County] 

"Also the Melungeons came to Scott County from Letcher County, Kentucky near Whitesburg at a place called Lick Rock. These people lived in large numbers. Uncle Poke Gibson came to Scott from Letcher about 1820. He claimed to be Portuguese Indian"   GENEALOGICAL HISTORY OF THE MELUNGEON FAMILIES- George Washington Osborne - 1945 [It would appear that some, or at least one of the Gibsons returned to Scott County.
Grantee; Zachariah Gibson
Number of Acres: 50
Survey Date: 5 Jul 1822
County: Perry
WaterCourse: N Fk Ky R
Book Number: K


Grantee: John Gibson
Number of Acres: 50
Survey Date: 9 May 1823
County: Perry
WaterCourse: Rockhouse Fk Ky R
Book Number: M
This is likely John Gibson, father of John Arvin Gibson and Charity or John Arvin. 

Grantee: John Gibson
Number of Acres: 50
Survey Date: 2 Jun 1824
County: Perry
WaterCourse: Br & Fk N Fk Ky R
Book Number: S
This is probably John, son of Archibald 

Grantee: Archibald Gibson
Number of Acres: 50
Survey Date: 2 Jun 1824
County: Perry
WaterCourse: N Fk Ky R
Book Number: U

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Gawin The Indian


Mr. Thomas Bushrod Order 18 Oct. 1670 court Servitude for 6 more years Gawin, servant to Bushrod, is to serve his master for six more years before he is set free. [McIlwaine 1979B:233]

Gawin, The Indian,  set free by Thomas Bushrod 1676

Is this Gawin  The Indian?  Ancestor of Michael, Edward and Thomas Goins of New Kent?
1682, April 20 – Gawen Gawin 1000a s side of Totopottomoys Cr in New Kent Co, Va.   Gawen Gawin – New Kent Co VA Land Grant 1682 

VA Patents 7, p. 160
Library of Virginia Digital Collection: Land Office Patents and Grants.  Gawin 1000
To all &c. Whereas &c. Now Know yee that I S[i]r Henry [Ch—eley?] K[nigh]t deputy [governor?] [do] give and grannt unto Gawen Gawin One tho[w?]sand acres of land lying in the County of New Kent upon the South side of [Totopottomoys?] Creeke & bounded as followeth begining upon the upper line of *Cornelius Dabneys land runing South South East along the said line three hundred twenty five pole to a markt red oake from thence West five hundred & twoe pole to a marked hiccory from thence North North West three hundred twenty five pole to a marked red oake [—?] the said Creeke from thence downe the said Creeke to the first Station the said land being formerly grannted to John [Davis?] by Pattent bearing date the [27?]th February [1660?] and by him [deserted?] and now grannted to the said Gawin [by order?] of the Gener[al] Court and [further?] due by and for the transportacon of twenty p[er]sons into this Colony whose names [—?] under this pattent menconed To have & to hold &c. To be held &c. Yeilding & paying &c. Provided &c. Dated the twentieth of Aprill [1682?] ~
{Names subject to interpretation}
John Boyer, Tho: Ponger, Geo: Taylor, [Tho:?] Barrow, And: Hill, Corne: Degar, Cathe: Hubbard, John Pore, [Bess?], Sam[?] Thomas, Mary Lemon, John [Ravenel?], Sam:ll Walton, Margaret [Cheney?], Dan:ld [Shalton?], Jon: Wallington,
Jon: Jackson, [Ja-?] Lindsey, Mary Denham, Mariah.

*Cornelius Dabney was Interpreter to the Queen of the Pamunkey Cockacoeske:

Cockacoeske, also known as Cockacoeweske, was a Pamunkey chief, and a descendant of Opechancanough, brother of the paramount chief Powhatan. After the death of her husband, Totopotomoy, chief of the Pamunkey from about 1649 until 1656, Cockacoeske became queen of the Pamunkey

Fort Royal

Following the Third Anglo-Powhatan War, the General Assembly began setting up Forts along York River and its tributaries (which are known now as the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers).[1] Captain Roger Marshall was to manage Fort Royal (also known as Rickahock), for three years.[1] After fulfilling the requirements he was granted a patent for the 600 acres of Rickahock (including Fort Royal and any buildings within), on March 14, 1649.[1] That same day he sold these 600 acres of Rickahock to General Manwarring Hammond.[1] [Wikipedia
John Bunch arrived in Lancaster, VA in 1651. He is the first Bunch to settle in America according to all records to date. John was given a court order dated June 6, 1654, requiring him to show evidence of a Mr. Toby Horton loaning guns to Indians. He failed to appear and was fined 200 pounds of tobacco. New Kent Co., Virginia deed book 5, shows that John was assigned 450 acres on both sides of the Rickahock Path. 

Illegal Voting Trial - Melungeons



The Malungeons who inhabit the mountainous districts of Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas, have long been an interesting study of ethnologists. Theory after theory has been advanced as to their origin, and some of the most scholarly men of the country have given thought and investigation to the subject.

J. H. Newman, who has lived  among the Malungeons in Hancock county, Tennessee, for sixty-seven years and who has given long and intelligent study to the question of the origin of these strange people gave your correspondent the following interview of the result of his research; 
"The origin of these people goes back to the aborigines of North America who came here from Virginia, and they are the descendants of friendly Indians ad half breeds left in Virginia when the Indians all went West from there under treaties made with the white people, and as is their habit, they would all go together, and settle together and as the whites advanced their frontiers west these people [Malungeons] were with the front and came here to Newman's Ridge and Blackwater about the year 1800, or possibly a few years later.  Some of them were in the war of 1812 and the nearest that can be reckoned from a traditional point would be about the close of the war of 1812. they began to settle Newman's ridge and Blackwater [Hancock county, then Hawkins county, Tennessee]. At this time these people had lost their Indian vernacular and spoke English, and they speak it yet.

"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.

They were indicted for illegal voting when this country was Hawkins county, and had their trial in Rogersville, and this was over forty years ago, probably fifty years ago, and in the trial Hon. Thomas A R Nelson, the Attorney General, who prosecuted them for illegal voting put the one on trial whose skin indicated he could easily convict, as being of African descent.  He was old Wyatt Collins.  The charge against them all was that they were of African descent and had not passed the third generation and were not entitled to vote.  Col. John Netherland defended the Malungeons, and when old Wyatt Collins was put to the jury, Netherland admitted that his client voted as charged, but the only evidence that the Attorney General had was the color and features of old Wyatt, who stood erect six feet high, high cheek bones, hair straight as a horse's tail. Attorney General Nelson told the jury to look at him and judge whether or not he was a negro of African descent and had not passed the third generation. Now Mr Netherland, for the defense stated: I make protest of this old man as to whether he is a negro or not, and I want to show his hair, hands, and feet.  'Now, Wyatt,' said Netherland, ' I will show your features against Mr. Nelson's who is prosecuting you, and I want you to show your naked foot beside Mr. Nelson's.  So Wyatt sat down and pulled his moccasin off and showed his naked feet [but Mr. Nelson would not show with him], and his feet and general features were as delicate and nice as a lady's and presented to the jury the very opposite of the African features.  Then it was that the Portuguese race was brought in -- the jury found a verdict of not guilty, and all the other cases took the same course. Mr. Nelson asked Mr. Netherland what race of people he called his clients. Mr. Netherland answered Portuguese; then it was, and not until then, the name of Portuguese was given these people. The North Carolina branch of these people are African and whites, and they came here long after the settlements were made and within the knowledge of the oldest of the present generation. These people, their blood and nationality are known, and the mystery of the Virginia emigrants above described is the subject now under discussion.

"The origin of the North Carolina branch of the race is well known here among the oldest of the present generation, and to those who have fully investigated the Virginia branch of this peculiar people their origin is just as well known.  They have all the features of the Indians, their habits, are those of the Indian, and they are of Indian blood.   They are found in the mountain fastnesses, in the gorges and on the tops of the high ridges, in their rude huts and places of abode, and many of them are found now in valleys and level lands, in good and comfortable domiciles, and with an abundance of everything the earth brings forth.  They all love music and dancing and have their regular frolics like the tribes had of the green corn dance, the buffalo dance and the war dance.  However, many of them are refined and belong to the Christian churches, and they have among them ministers of the gospel who preach well and seem to feel the fervor of religious work as much as those of any people.  They have their churches and school- houses, and are keeping step with the progress of the age.  There are many incidents that could be related of their early settlement here, much as wife swapping and other habits, now abandoned.  These people as a whole are true and reliable and among the kindest and most hospitable people that can be found.

Remnant of Indian Race - Brownlow


Watson's Jeffersonian Magazine -
Page 522   1911 by John Bell Brownlow
Son of the Parson Brownlow of the 1840
WHIG articles on the Malungeons


Dear Sir:

Your letter of yesterday received. I happen to have the information you 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 foremost jury lawyer of East Tenn. of his generation was the late Hon. John Netherland, the son-in-law of the John A. McKinney, referred to by Lucy S. V. King, and he gave me the same account, substantially, of the origin of these people that Judge Shepherd does.  Netherland was the Whig candidate for Governor of Tennessee in 1859, against Isham G. Harris. He died in the 80's. He was a slave-owner and practised law in all the East Tennessee counties, which these people live.
Prior to 1824 free negroes voted in Tennessee, and when in that year the State Constitution was so amended as to disfranchise "all free persons of color", it was sometimes made the pretext of refusing the franchise to these people of perfectly straight hair, small hands and shapely feet who bore no more resemblance to a negro than do members of the Spanish or Portuguese embassies of Washington. As to whether they voted or not, in the few counties where they were up to the Civil War, depended upon the disposition of the election officers and the closeness of the contest. But I will add that the election officers were very rarely unfair and their right to vote rarely challenged. Sometimes, in a very close contest, some fellow would challenge it and the man would forego exercising his rights rather than fight about it. They have not been of a lawless or turbulent disposition. They realized the prejudice against them because of their dark complexion. Some of them served in the Confederate, and some in the Federal East Tennessee Regiment, but neither side would have accepted them had they believed they had negro blood in their veins.
In my boyhood days they were called Portuguese. The word Melangeon is comparatively modern as to its general use. As a rule they did not go into either army; did not wish to. They preferred agriculture; happy in their mountain cabins. The extract from McKinney's speech is garbled. He truly said the language of the disfranchising clause included these people because it embraced "all free persons of color" but notwithstanding that the majority of them always voted because their neighbors did not regard them as negroes or as having negro blood in their veins. I believe there was some mixture of these Portuguese with the Cherokee Indians, but not with negroes. Lying, sensational newspaper correspondents, from the North, originally started this racket to show that Southern whites were given to miscegenating with negroes, and to have something to write about. Some Southern writers have imitated them, magnifying fifty or one hundred fold the number of these people.
Gen. Wm. T. Sherman did some things I disapproved as much as you do, but he hit the nail on the head when he said that "there were some newspaper correspondents who, to create a sensation and for pay, would slander their grandmothers." Of course, some of the people were shiftless and degraded, as are some of all races, but I remember a notable exception by the name of Wm. Lyle. He was a prosperous country merchant who came to Knoxville every year to buy goods of our wholesale dealers and was treated by every one, with the utmost respect. He was spoken of as a Portuguese, and bore no more resemblance to a negro than any Spaniard or Portuguese. He dressed elegantly, was well informed and as polished and refined as half the members of Congress, and more so than many of them. In the early history of the country, there were many Spanish and Portuguese sailors, who settled on the South Carolina and North Carolina coast. One of these was a Spanish ship carpenter by name of Farragut. In North Carolina, he married a poor girl and drifted to this city (then a town of about 1,200 people) where he followed the trade of house-carpenter, and here was born his subsequently famous son, Admiral David G. Farragut. His Spanish father was a dark-skinned man.

Finally, the decision of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 1872, referred to by Judge Shepherd, should be conclusive on this subject. Every one of the five members of that Court was a Confederate and Democrat. The Chief Justice, A. Q. P. Nicholson, was the Colleague of Andrew Johnson in the U. S. Senate in 1861. Jas. W. Deaderick, after this decision and after the death of Nicholson, also of the bench at the time, succeeded Nicholson as Chief Justice. He was not himself in the army but every one of his seven sons were at the front in the Confederate Army, some of whom were badly wounded and the other three Judges had honorable records as Confederate soldiers. Judge Shepherd himself was a Confederate soldier.
P. S. Lyle is not a Portuguese name, neither is that of the American Darbey's French, as was that of their ancestor D.Aublgney.

Tractado das Ilhas Novas - 1570

 Date: June 23, 1907

Paper: Dallas Morning News

Peculiar Peoples In America

By Frederic J. Haskins

Sheltered by some pocket in the hills living in seclusion in some quiet valley or guarded by impenetrable grasses in some far everglade, there are here and there throughout the United States groups of people that are peculiar and distinctive from the rest of the inhabitatants. Segregating in close communities they have preserved for centuries, traits and characteristics of some remote and often unknown ancestry, and through traditon only can they trace their past.  

....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.  They came, so a legend runs, of a bard of Portuguese pirates, who long yeas ago were wrecked on an unknown coast, became adopted into an Indian tribe and were part of the Cherokees who two or three centuries later refused to go West and live on the reservation that a kindly Government offered when it needed their Eastern lands.

In the 'Tractado das Ilhas Novas" written by Frandisco de Sousa in 1570, and published in San Miguel, Azores, only about forty years ago, there is an account of a Portuguese colony which is said to have existed on the eastern coast of British North America over 100 years before Jamestown was settled.  This colony was known as Terra Nova, and from 1500 to 1579 the records at Lisbon show that commissions were regularly issued to Gaspar and Miguel Corte Real as Governors of the settlement.  One hundred years before Columbus came to these shores it is claimed that the Basques, then great seafarers, but now a mountain people of Spain, came to these shores and lent much of their language to Indian dialects.  From the Corte Real settlements and from these Basques speculating historians have tried to draw an ancestry for the "Malungeons."  Whatever the origin may be as a people they were practically outcasts for many years.  They were there in the Tennessee mountains when John Sevier organized the State of Franklin, and were supposed by their neighbors to be Moors.  In 1834 they were denied the right of suffrage because they were accounted "free person of color," and for many years suffered this political indignity.  As a natural consequence they became lawbreakers and evaders of the newer processes of civilization.  It is claimed that there is also negro blood in the "Malungeon" strain.

In Robeson County, North Carolina, lives the remnant of the once powerful Croatan Indian tribe which welcomed Amadas and Barlowe when they came to Roanoke Island of whom Hakluyt wrote in his "Voyages."  The explorers claim to have found several auburn-haired children among them, the Indians explaining that they were descendants of some shipwrecked white men picked up on the coast of Secotan twenty six years before.   These modern Croatans are even more pronounced in the proof of an Anglo-Saxon strain, and yet they have not intermarried with their white neighbors.  There are several hundred of these Indians, some of whom have light hair, others have blue eyes, and names Dorr and Dare are said to be common among them.  Because of this, historians have deduced the theory that the remnants of Whate's colony which disappeared from Roanoke Island between 1587 and 1590 were taken away into the camps of the Croatan or Hatteras Indians and that Ananias Dare, his wife and little Virginia gave their name and their coloring to the tribe as we find it today.

Smithsonian Institution - The Melungeons

 Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology - Ethnology - 1907

page 365

Croatan Indians. The legal designation in North Carolina for a people evidently of mixed Indian and white blood, found in various e. sections of the state, but chiefly in Robeson co., and numbering approximately 5,000. For many years they were classed with the free negroes, but steadily refused to accept such classification or to attend the negro schools or churches, claiming to be the descendants of the earlv native tribes and of white settlers who had intermarried with them. About 20 years ago their claim was officially recognized and they were given a separate legal existence under the title of "Croatan Indians," on the theory of descent from Raleigh's lost colony of Croatan (q. v.).

Under this name they now have separate school provision and are admitted to some privileges not accorded to the negroes. The theory of descent from the lost colony may be regarded as baseless, but the name itself serves as a convenient label for a people who combine in themselves the blood of the wasted native tribes, the early colonists or forest rovers, the runaway slaves or other negroes, and probably also of stray seamen of the Latin races from coasting vessels in the West Indian or Brazilian trade.

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, and in Delaware are found the "Moors." All of these are local designations for peoples of mixed race with an Indian nucleus differing in no way from the present mixed-blood remnants known as Pamunkey, Chicka- hominy, and Nansemond Indians in Virginia, excepting in the more complete loss of their identity. In general, the physical features and complexion of the persons of this mixed stock incline more to the Indian than to the white or negro. See Mi-tis, Mixed bloods

Also Published:
Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico -
by Frederick Webb Hodge - Indians of North America - 1911

The Melungeons - Lewis Jarvis


Lewis Jarvis
Hancock County Times

Much has been said and written about the inhabitants of Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater in Hancock County, Tenn. They have been derisively dubbed with the name “Melungeons” by the local white people who have lived here with them. It is not a traditional name or tribe of Indians.

Some have said these people were here when the white people first explored this country. Others say they are a lost tribe of the Indians having no date of their existence here, traditionally or otherwise.

All of this however, is erroneous and cannot be sustained. These people, not any of them were here at the time the first white hunting party came from Virginia and North Carolina in the year 1761-- the noted Daniel Boone was at the head of one of these hunting parties and went on through Cumberland Gap. Wallen was at the head of another hunting party from Cumberland County, Virginia and called the river beyond North Cumberland Wallen’s Ridge and Wallen’s Creek for himself. In fact these hunting parties gave all the historic names to the mountain ridges and valleys and streams and these names are now historical names.

Wallen pitched his first camp on Wallen’s Creek near Hunter’s gap in Powell’s Mountain, now Lee County, Virginia. Here they found the name of Ambrose Powell carved in the bark of a beech tree; from this name they named the mountain, river and valley for Powell, Newman’s Ridge was named for a man of the party called Newman. Clinch River and Clinch valley--these names came at the expense of an Irish man of the party in crossing the Clinch River, he fill off the raft they were crossing on and cried aloud for his companions to “Clench me”, “Clench me,’ and from this incident the name has become a historic name.

About the time the first white settlement west of the Blue Ridge was made at Watauga River in Carter County, Tennessee, another white party was then working the lead mines in part of Virginia west of the Blue Ridge. In the year 1762 these hunters turned, coming through Elk Garden, now Russell County, Virginia. They then headed down a valley north of Clinch River and named it Hunter’s Valley and buy this name it goes today. These hunters pitched their tent near Hunter’s gap in Powell’s mountain, nineteen mile from Rogersville, Tennessee on the Jonesville, Virginia road. Some of the party of hunter went on down the country to where Sneedville, Hancock County, now stands and hunted there during that season.

Bear were plentiful here and they killed many, their clothing became greasy and near the camp was a projecting rock on which they would lie down and drink and the rock became very greasy and they called it Greasy Rock and named the creek Greasy Rock Creek, a name by which it has ever since been known and called since, and here is the very place where these Melungeons settled, long after this, on Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater.

“Vardy Collins, Shepherd Gibson, Benjamin Collins, Solomon Collins, Paul Bunch and the Goodmans, chiefs and the rest of them settled here about the year 1804, possibly about the year 1795, but al these men above named, who are called Melungeons, obtained land grants and muniments of title to the land they settled on and they were the friendly Indians who came with the whites as they moved west. They came from the Cumberland County and New River, Va., stopping at various points west of the Blue Ridge. Some of them stopped on Stony Creek, Scott County, and Virginia, where Stoney Creek runs into Clinch River.

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, but they have married among the whites until the race has almost become extinct. A few of the half bloods may be found-none darker- but they still retain the name of Collins and Gibson, &c. From here they came to Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater and many of them are here yet; but the amalgamations of the whites and Indians has about washed the red tawny from their appearance, the white faces predominating, so now you scarcely find one of the original Indians; a few half-bloods and quarter-bloods-balance white or past the third generation.

The old pure blood were finer featured, straight and erect in form, more so than the whites and when mixed with whites made beautiful women and the men very fair looking men. These Indians came to Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater. Some of them went into the War of 1812-1914 whose names are here given; James Collins, John Bolin and Mike Bolin and some others not remembered; those were quite full blooded. These were like the white people; there were good and bad among them, but the great majority were upright, good citizens and accumulated good property and many of them are among our best property owners and as good as Hancock County, Tennessee affords. Their word is their bond and most of them that ever came to Hancock county, Tennessee, then Hawkins County and Claiborne, are well remembered by some of the present generation here and now and they have left records to show these facts.

They all came here simultaneously with the whites from the State of Virginia, between the years 1795 and 1812 and about this there is no mistake, except in the dates these Indians came here from Stoney Creek.

In a letter dated August 12, 1942 Mrs. John Trotwood Moore wrote in response to a letter from Walter Plecker

Capt. L. M. Jarvis, an old citizen of Sneedville wrote in his 82nd year:

"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. I have seen the oldest and first settlers of this tribe who first occupied Newman's Ridge and Blackwater and I have owned much of the lands on which they settled.. They obtained their land grants from North Carolina. I personally knew Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepard Gibson, Paul Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moores, Williams and Sullivans, all of the very first settlers and noted men of these friendly Indians. They took their names from white people of that name with whom they came here. They were reliable, truthful and faithful to anything they promised. In the Civil War most of the Melungeons went into the Union army and made good soldiers. Their Indian blood has about run out. They are growing white... They have been misrepresented by many writers. In former writings I have given their stations  and stops on their way as they emigrated to this country with white people, one of which places was at the mouth of Stony Creek on Clinch river in Scott County, Virginia, where they built fort and called it Ft. Blackamore after Col. Blackamore who was with them... When Daniel Boone was here hunting 1763-1767, these Melungeons were not here."

The Gibsons

Some notes I have put together that I think may explain some of the relationships between the Gibsons and a few other families.  There are n...