Thursday, January 14, 2021

Molungeons 1883

 Weekly Public Ledger [Memphis, Tennessee

October 2, 1883


An Interesting Question Relative to Persons of Mixed Extraction

Nashville American, 25

One of the State officers yesterday received the following letter from the County Superintendent of Schools of Polk County:

Benton, Tenn., Sept 22

Dear Sir:

Please inform me relative to persons of mixed or negro blood. What amount or degree of negro blood by law prohibits them from entering and being taught in the common free schools of the county, when they have been enrolled by the common school directors as colored scholars?  Please write me by mail and you will very much oblige, yours truly 

F. P Kanester

The question asked in this letter seems a rather strange one, but in the light of some information furnished an American reporter by an East Tennesseean its pertinency is apparent.  This gentleman said that there are in the counties of East Tennessee and western North Carolina a class of persons called by the common people of the country "Molungeons."  They are of dark complexion, and evidently of mixed blood.  They claim that they are of Portuguese descent and not of negro extraction.  In one of two instances writs of mandamus have been issued against county superintendents of schools to enforce the admission of these persons to white schools. 

The same question entered into an important suit where the heirship of an estate was at issue.  One side tried to invalidate a certain marriage by proving that the husband was of negro blood, and hence could not legally marry a white woman  Witnesses were brought from North Carolina, where the man formerly resided, to prove that he had always been regarded there as a "Molungeon" or a person of Portuguese extraction.  The attempt to prove negro blood was ineffectual and the suit was decided on this point.  [This is the case against the daughter of Solomon Bolton, granddaughter of Spencer Bolton born 1735 on the Pee Dee River] See Below



Molungeons 1883

 Weekly Public Ledger [Memphis, Tennessee October 2, 1883 " MOLUNGEONS" An Interesting Question Relative to Persons of Mixed Extra...