Saturday, September 3, 2005

Kennedy - Barbados Link

Barbados Link May Provide "Smoking Gun" Clue to Melungeon Surnames

Melungeon ancestry possibilities have expanded to include significant numbers of "English" and "Scotch" settlers who came to South Carolina in the late 1600s and early 1700s, but not from England. Although these people held English citizenship, their actual ethnic make-up was far different from the prototype Anglos of that period. These settlers were from Barbados, ethnically mixed people seeking better lives in the mainland colonies.

These so-called "freedmen" tended to be a mixture of English and Scotch, native Barbadians (i.e. Indian), Portuguese Jews, other Mediterranean people, and Africans. And, most telling, their surnames match those English names that most commonly show up among the earliest Melungeon populations. It would seem likely that, over time, these ethnically mixed "Englishmen" would have indeed moved northward and admixed with Melungeon ancestral groups in the Carolinas and Virginia. There are many related documents detailing the movements of these early settlers, but one will suffice for this first announcement (this document kindly provided by Angela Andrews of the University of Virginia). John Camden Hotten's work on the Barbados settlers provides the following astonishing surname list of "English" settlers from Barbados: (see below for Library of Congress citations)


Portuguese Jews

Lockbeare (Lockleare)

These surnames are virtually a directory of Melungeon surnames, and can potentially play a major role in demonstrating how specific English and Scotch-Irish names popped up among the various Melungeon populations. It also reaffirms how the official U.S. census records can be misleading regarding race, ethnicity, and actual origin. These people were all legitimate "English" and "Scotch-Irish" settlers, and would have passed this heritage along to their offspring. But ethnically they were of mixed European, Middle Eastern, Indian, and African origin. One more lesson in the flaws of unquestionably accepting the written census record as "fact."

Additional data relating to the possible Barbados connection will be posted in the near future, but hopefully this first post will spur others to look more carefully as the often mentioned "West Indies" connection within their families.

Provided by Brent Kennedy
December 2, 1997


The original lists of persons of quality, emigrants, religious exiles, political rebels, serving men sold for a term of years, apprentices, children stolen, maidens pressed, and others, who went from Great Britain to the American plantations, 1600-1700.
Hotten, John Camden,1832-1873,ed. [E187.5 .H794 LH&G ]
New York, Empire State Book Co. [n.d.]
580 p. 26 cm.


FIRST EDITION: The original lists of persons of quality; emigrants; religious exiles; political rebels; serving men sold for a term of years; apprentices; children stolen; maidens pressed; and others who went from Great Britain to the American plantations, 1600-1700.
1874 Hotten, John Camden,1832-1873,ed. [E187.5 .H79 ]
London, Chatto and Windus, 1874.
2 p.l., [vii]-xxxii p., 1 l., [35]-580 (i.e. 604) p. 25 cm.

Omitted chapters from Hotten's original lists of persons of quality and others who went from Great Britain to the American plantations, 1600-1700 : census returns, parish registers, and militia rolls from the Barbados census of 1679/80
edited by James C. Brandow.
Baltimore : Genealogical Pub. Co., 1982.
xi, 245 p. ; 23 cm.
Includes index.

The original lists of persons of quality, emigrants, religious exiles, political rebels, serving men sold for a term of years, apprentices, children stolen, maidens pressed, and others who went from Great Britain to the American plantations, 1600-1700; with their ages, the localities where they formerly lived in the mother country, the names of the ships in which they embarked, and other interesting particulars, from mss. preserved in the State Paper Department of Her Majesty's Public Record Office, England.
1962 Hotten, John Camden,1832-1873,ed. [E187.5 .H7945 ]
Baltimore, Genealogical Pub. Co., 1962.
xxxii, 580 p. 23 cm.

Kennedy - 1997

September 7, 1997
From: Brent Kennedy

I was recently asked by several media representatives to respond to Virginia DeMarce's most recent statements regarding the Melungeons and me personally. Their questions have tended to revolve around the three basic issues below, so I have crafted a sort of synopsis of my replies to the media for inclusion on the home page if appropriate, or for sharing with others who may also be curious.

Of course, much of this back-and-forth bantering could have been avoided if the National Genealogical Quarterly had permitted me some sort of response to her 1996 book review. But the editors did not, and the rest as they say, is history. But I am grateful to those journals and web-sites which did publish my rebuttal. Their sense of fair play was recognized and there's no doubt that the entire sordid incident in truth fueled the great debate that has brought the issue to the forefront. In that sense, I must extend my gratitude to the editors of NGQ. Thank you. Time is indeed demonstrating the vailidity of our work.

First, I am generally pleased to see what appears to be Dr. DeMarce's increasing acceptance of a broader-based Mediterranean gene pool for our Appalachian ancestors. This less narrow view is in stark contrast to the one exhibited in her original review of my book in last summer's edition of the National Genealogical Quarterly. In each succeeding news account her views on the theory, if not me, are softening. I have heard indirectly that her major contentions now are that:

(1) She sees no rationale or evidence for any theorized Turkish infusion, and

(2) She believes that Melungeons have always been - and remain - a very few isolated families, and that I have broadened the definition of Melungeon to the point of meaninglessness, and

(3) She sees absolutely no evidence that I personally am of Melungeon descent.

I would like to respond to these three points:

Regarding (1): Earlier Virginia saw no rationale for any Mediterranean heritage at all. Her book review is clear evidence of this conviction. I suggest that with time she'll come to accept this portion of our ancestry as well.

For example, Turks and Armenians comprised some of the "indentured servants" at Jamestown. The Virginia Company kept records, fortunately, and the documented Turkish presence here as early as 1631 is important to say the least. We also now are gathering new evidence of other Turks being brought to the New World by the Spanish as early as the 1580s, with their mission to create and manage the New World textile industry. What happened to these people? Where did they go? Did they just simply disappear because they were neither slave nor European? Or like other human beings did they, too, survive and pass on their genes and cultural memories to their children?

Accumulating evidence is also bolstering Drake's likely abandonment of Turkish and Ottoman sailors on Roanoke Island in 1586. New documents absolutely prove that Drake did indeed reach England with liberated Turkish captives, of which only 100 (of an original 200 to 300) were sent home to Istanbul. Well documented claims on the part of some of our ancestors to be Turkish, as well as medical, genetic, and linguistic evidence build a strong case for at least some - if not substantial - authentic Turkish and/or Ottoman heritage. As I said earlier, as the research unfolds over the next six months I suggest that DeMarce will indeed soften her stance on this last remaining "ethnic holdout."

Regarding (2): I continue to be amazed that DeMarce is seemingly genuinely convinced that a few isolated Melungeon families in the 1600s remain but a few isolated Melungeon families in the 1990s. Did these people not reproduce? Estimates from Virginia historians suggest that Pocahontas - who had only one child - could have as many as 500,000 living descendants today! Yet somehow, DeMarce's Melungeons experienced absolutely no population growth. It is a staggering limitation that we are asked to swallow.

She is wrong. Her mistake falls into the same vein as her other mistakes: she assumes the written record is the only reality and that it is always accurate. DeMarce identifies a few early Melungeon families, assumes that those are the only ones, and then excludes all other populations and individuals from kinship.

The reality is that those she identified were merely the "tips of icebergs," metaphorically speaking. "Melungeon" is NOT an ethnic group - it was a self-descriptive term, probably originating from the Arabic/Turkish term pronounced identically and meaning "cursed soul" and was applied by these early settlers to themselves to describe their sad circumstances. Over time as the term literally became synonymous with "free person of color", they dropped it. And most of these people - well before the first census was ever conducted- had already admixed with white, black and Native American groups.

A few, of course, held out and became known as the mysterious or reclusive Melungeons. But these smaller groups were in no way the total population. They were just the identifiable population. When I'm out fishing on Cherokee Lake, I may only see one or two bass swimming around, but from experience and common sense I don't conclude that they're the only ones in the lake. In a sense, Virginia DeMarce has done just that. So, my contention is that the population was far larger and more diverse than DeMarce ever dreamed possible based on the official records, and that it spread exponentially, but silently, in an effort to survive.

This does not mean, as DeMarce has also suggested, that I believe that the Pamunkey Indians or the Cherokees or any other tribal group are simply Melungeons. On the contrary, I believe instead that these Melungeons (i.e., Turks, Portuguese, Berbers, etc.) were accepted into the tribes and became part of the tribal structure, thus creating kinships between the various groups. And that in this sense their cultures merged to some degree. Which is not difficult to imagine, especially since Turks are themselves Central Asians - that is, literal cousins to the Native Americans!

In this regard, I believe that this broad Melungeon admixture into the tribes does not lessen the "Native American" component, as DeMarce assumes, but instead replaces at least some of what historians have traditionally considered simple white and black admixture with Melungeon admixture (again, Turk, Portuguese, Spanish, Berber, etc.).

Finally, I remain mystified by DeMarce's view that expanding the definition of Melungeon renders it "meaningless." I take the opposite viewpoint. The truth is that the population was and is much broader, and that this very inclusiveness renders the term far more meaningful, as opposed to meaningless. We have here a story that can literally relate millions of Americans in a way they never deemed - or dreamed - possible. The potential for improving race and ethnic relations in our country is incredible. If a population must be small and isolated to have meaning for DeMarce, then I'm certain she is indeed disappointed in my viewpoints. And they remain unchanged. There were - and still are - a lot of Melungeons, whatever they call themselves.

Regarding (3): Given DeMarce's exceedingly limited view on what a "Melungeon" was, or is, I now understand her inability to rationalize how I fall into this category. Because of DeMarce's very narrow view of what it is that defines a Melungeon, other mixed-race individuals that I absolutely consider to be Melungeon related, DeMarce casts aside as simply "Mulatto" or "Black" or "White," depending upon the census classification. I personally know of no litmus test for Melungeonism, nor do I have a Golden Tablet with the names of all Melungeons inscribed upon it. But DeMarce seemingly does have such diagnostic tools stashed away in her genealogical bag.

I do know this: that my family verifiably looks Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Native American, and African, though our census records agree with DeMarce's book review assertion that we are nothing but white northern European. And I know that my ancestor, Betty Reeves, claimed to Portuguese, and that all the neighbors in the Castlewood area considered my Robersons/Robinsons to be Portuguese. And I was very surprised when Virginia DeMarce announced that W.A. Plecker's infamous letter of 1943 (see website: listed only one of my family surnames - Mullins. First, she fails to mention that I have SIX lines of Mullinses (as opposed to the insinutated single line), and second, she overlooks the other NINE family surnames found on that list that undoubtedly pertain to me. She conveniently does this by looking only at Wise County, but my ancestors migrated westward from the very regions where the surnames are listed by Plecker as non-white. For the curious, those other surnames are: Adams, Adkins, Bolin (Bowlin), Gibson, Hammond, Keith, Phillips, Robinson, and Weaver. DeMarce conveniently overlooks these names because they aren't specifically called Melungeons by Plecker. But this single letter lends great credence to my contention of both the mixed-race background of so many westward moving Virginians, as well as the preponderance of related surnames that characeterize my - and other - so-called "white" families of this region.

I trust this response is helpful.

N. Brent Kennedy
August 21, 1997


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Milton Music(k) jpg

Milton Music is the brother of my 2nd greatgrandfather Abraham Musick. I think this picture of Milton makes him look absolutely Asian!

Abe was a larger man than Milton according to descriptions I have of him. He was a blacksmith, but I must assume that he had a similar look to his brother Milton.

Here is the genealogy for this family going back to the grandmother of these two men who was a Harris, a common Melungeon surname, and for whom I have found no other family data. I am descended from Milton Music's brother Abe Musick and his partner, Mary Collins. I believe that this Collins line is also of Melungeon ancestry as the Harris line may also be.

Descendants of John Wesley Musick

1 John Wesley Musick b: Abt. 1787 in North Carolina d: Bet. 1860 - 1870 in on Little Paint Creek near East Point, KY Sex: Male

. +Isabell Harris b: Abt. 1785 in of Albemarle, VA m: 10 May 1805 d: 10 Dec 1875 in Floyd Co., KY Sex: Female

. 2 Abraham Musick Sex: Male

..... +Nancy Jones Sex: Female

. 2 Andrew Jackson Musick Sex: Male

..... +Mary Therza Hawk Sex: Female

. *2nd Wife of Andrew Jackson Musick:

..... +Rachel Minix Sex: Female

. 2 Isaac Musick Sex: Male

..... +Unknown Unkown Sex: Female

. 2 Polly Musick Sex: Female

. 2 Mary Musick Sex: Female

. 2 George Washington Musick Sex: Male

..... +Nancy Hawks Sex: Female

. 2 Michael Musick b: in VA Sex: Male

..... +Mary Crabtree b: in of Washington Co., VA m: 28 Mar 1860 Sex: Female

. 2 James C. Musick b: 1806 in ,Surrey , North Carolina d: in Floyd, Kentucky Sex: Male

..... +Mariah Shell b: Abt. 1810 in , , Tennessee Sex: Female Father: John Shell Mother: Rebecca Griffin

.... 3 John Musick b: 29 Dec 1827 in Washington County, Va. d: Sep 1924 Sex: Male

........ +Minerva Baldridge b: 25 Feb 1833 in Floyd County, KY d: 06 Sep 1924 Sex: Female

.... 3 Mary A. Musick b: 1828 Sex: Female

.... 3 Andrew Musick b: Abt. 1834 in KY Sex: Male

........ +Martha Gobble m: Mar 1856 Sex: Female

.... 3 Abraham Musick b: Abt. 1836 in , , Virginia d: Bef. 1880 in , , Kentucky Sex: Male

........ +Rachel Collins b: 01 Jan 1844 in Ky or Russell Co., VA m: 03 Jul 1856 in Johnson Co., Ky. d: 15 May 1914 Sex: Female Father: Will Collins Mother: Maca - Macha Cunningham

.... *Partner of Abraham Musick:

........ +Mary Collins b: May 1844 in , Wise Co. Virginia m: Not Married d: 03 Jun 1915 in , Johnson Co. , Kentucky p: Not Married Sex: Female Father: Will Collins Mother: Maca - Macha Cunningham

.... 3 Ferby-Phoebe Musick b: Abt. 1839 Sex: Female

.... 3 Archibald Goble Musick b: May 1841 in Washington Co., VA d: 16 Dec 1919 in Canute, Beckham Co., OK Sex: Male

........ +Sarah Catherine G. Music b: 22 Dec 1844 in Washington Co. VA m: 20 Jan 1864 in KY d: 04 Nov 1936 in Canute, Beckham Co., OK Sex: Female

.... 3 Newton Musick b: Abt. 1844 Sex: Male

........ +Julia Ann Crider Sex: Female

.... 3 Louisa Musick b: Abt. 1845 d: 24 Oct 1859 in Johnson Co., KY Sex: Female

.... 3 Milton Musick b: Abt. 1848 d: 1925 Sex: Male

........ +Nancy Caroline "Nanny" Ratlife b: 1855 d: 1923 Sex: Female

.... 3 Emmaline Musick b: Abt. 1852 d: 16 Nov 1859 in Johnson Co., KY Sex: Female

.... 3 James K. Musick b: 28 Feb 1857 d: 18 Oct 1859 in Johnson Co., KY Sex: Male

. 2 Thomas McCullough Musick b: 1829 in Wise Co., VA d: 09 Mar 1893 Sex: Male

..... +Melissa Jane Wilson Sex: Female Father: Jefferson Wilson Mother: Dialphia

.... 3 Alfred Musick Sex: Male

.... 3 Marian Musick Sex: Female

.... 3 Alice Musick Sex: Female

.... 3 Rebecca Musick Sex: Female

.... 3 Jefferson Musick Sex: Male

.... 3 Dorothy Musick Sex: Female

.... 3 Grant Musick Sex: Male

.... 3 Emma Musick Sex: Female

.... 3 Anna Musick Sex: Female

If you connect to this family, please contact me.

Monday, August 8, 2005

Melungeons: TN, The Volunteer State 1769-1923


Tennessee, The Volunteer State, 1769-1923, Vol. 1

In the mountains of East Tennessee lives a distinct race, a race as different from all the other races on the Western Hemisphere as the Negro is different from the Indian. Moreover, this race is found nowhere else in America. It is the race of the Melungeons, a mysterious race, few in numbers, whose origin is open to speculation. For many years they were thought to be Indians, or a mixture of Indians and white people, whereby probably originated their name, Melungeon, which means a mixture.

So far as is known they were first found in Hancock County on Newman's Ridge, soon after the Revolutionary war. Now they are settled in several counties, although still most numerous in Hancock County. They are about the same color as mulattoes, but their hair is straight and they have intermarried with the Caucasian race to a limited extent.


Judge Lewis Shepherd, who has made a close study of the Melungeons extending [p.791] over a long period of time, says that in a case at law in which he represented a Melungeon girl, a question arose whether the Melungeons have negro blood in their veins.

He says: "It was shown by tradition and the reputation prevailing among these people ‘from the time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary,’ that they were descendants of the ancient Phoenicians, who built the City of Carthage and produced the great general, Hannibal. They removed from Carthage and after a time they settled in Morocco, whence they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and settled in the southern part of Portugal, whence came the celebrated Phoenician general, Othello, who was immortalized in Shakespeare's great play the ‘Moor of Venice.’

They were not tainted with negro blood, for the women of Carthage sacrificed their long raven colored hair to be plaited and twisted into cables for the ships engaged in the Punic wars. "A colony of these Moors crossed the Atlantic before the Revolutionary war and settled on the coast in the northern part of South Carolina. They multiplied rapidly and by their industry and energy they accumulated considerable property. The South Carolina people, however, would not receive them on terms of equality. They refused to recognize them socially and would not allow their children to go to school with them. In fact, they believed they were free negroes and treated them as such. By the laws of South Carolina a per capita tax was levied against free negroes and the tax authorities continually harassed them by efforts to collect the tax. Under this rigid proscription of the proud people of Carolina, their condition became intolerable and so they emigrated in a body and settled, after a long and wandering journey through the wilderness, in Hancock County, Tennessee."

In 1890 or 1891, Miss Will Allen Dromgoole wrote of the Melungeons, or Malungeons, as she spells the word, in the Arena. In part she said: "When John Sevier organized the State of Franklin, there was living in the mountains of East Tennessee a colony of dark-skinned, reddish-brown complexioned people, supposed to be of Moorish descent, who affiliated with neither whites or blacks, and who called themselves Malungeons, and who claimed to be of Portuguese descent. They lived to themselves exclusively and were looked upon neither as Indians or negroes. All the negroes ever brought to America were slaves. The Malungeons were never slaves, and until 1834, enjoyed all the rights of citizenship; even in the convention which disfranchised them they were referred to as ‘free persons of color,’ or ‘Malungeons.’ "

And again she said: "The Constitutional Convention (of 1834) left these most pitiable of all outcasts; denied their oath in court and deprived of the testimony of their own color, left utterly helpless in all legal contests, they naturally, when the state set the brand of the outcast upon them, took to the hills, the isolated peaks of the uninhabited mountains, the corners of the earth, as it were, where, huddled together they became a law unto themselves, a race indeed separate and distinct from the several races inhabiting the State of Tennessee." Melungeons are also found in Rhea County where they are quiet and orderly. They are, to a considerable extent, illiterate and are mostly engaged in farming. While most authorities believe that the word Melungeon is derived from the French melange, a mixture, others think that it was originally malangeon, the first part, malan, being derived from the Greek word, malan, meaning black. Other spellings are Melangins, and Melungins, with the accent on the second syllable, and the g hard, as in give.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

One Hundred and Eighty-four URLS for Melungeon Research: Part I

One Hundred and Eighty-four URLS for Melungeon Research:

This list is certainly not exhaustive of what can be found on the internet, but it is a good start to Melungeon research.

If you find a URL that is not working, try going to:

Input the website url that is given and in many cases you will be taken back to the way the site used to be.

WEBSITES with Melungeon information:

This list is divided into parts:

1.General Melungeon Research

2.Common Melungeon Surname Research

3.Geographical and Place Name Research of areas where Melungeons may be found.

4.Melungeon Mailing Lists

5.Possible Ancestors of Melungeons: Native American Research/Portuguese/Spanish etc.





1.American Anthropological Association, Statement on Race,


2.An ONLINE Dictionary Definition of Melungeons:




From The Cincinnati Enquirer, Sunday June 7, 1998 by Ted Anthony


4.African American Links page by Eleanor

Rediscovering the Names and Lives of Slaves, Freedpersons and Their Descendants:


5. BAIRD, Robert

Book Studies Turkish, Melungeon links


6. BALDWIN, Patricia

Keeper of the Family's Sash:



One of the earliest writers about the Melungeons was Bonnie Ball. Here is an excerpt from her book:


8. BEREA: Brushy Fork Institute

Articles on Native Americans, African Americans,Melungeons, Jews and Multi-cultural ancestry"


9. C.I.B,

The Mystery of the Melungeons


10. CAMPBELL, Helen

The Melungeon Page



Chesnut Genealogical Home Page

Featuring many useful research tools, Bolin, Bolling and many more!


12. CLABBY, Catherine

Dig Finds evidence of Spanish Fort

Archaeologists say artifacts unearthed near Morganton point to 1567 outpost


13. .DePRATTER, Chester

Santa Elena Home Page


14. DOUGHERTY, James

The Legend of Swift's Silver Mine


15. DOUGLAS, Karlton

An overview of the Melungeons with connecting links.


16. DOVEY, Dee

Links to MANY Melungeon websites and data for research'sPage/melungpg.htm


17. DROMGOOLE, Will Allen

The Melungeon Tree and Its Four Branches

The Heart of Old Hickory and Other Stories of Tennessee: Fiction: The Heart of Old Hickory and Other Stories of Tennessee: Electronic Edition.Dromgoole, Will Allen, 1860-1934


18. ELDER, Pat Spurlock

How to Research a Little Bit of Melungeon: A Basic Guideline


19. ELLIOT, Carl

Adventures in the Gene Pool


20. EVANS, Raymond

The Graysville Melungeons


21. FARLEY, Gloria:

In Plain Site
A fascinating site describing archaeological findings in the middle of the
United States of folks who were not supposed to be here but were with mentions of Melungeons:


22. FIELDS, Bill

Under One Sky, an online newsletter with Melungeon connecting links:


23. GABBARD, Fred W.

Historical Sketches of Owsley County, KY


24. Hancock County, the home of the Melungeons

25. HAUN, Mildred

FICTION - From Virginia Tech, comes the story of MELUNGEON-COLORED, by Mildred
Haun. Excellent story that gives us an idea of what it meant to be a Melungeon - be sure to read it. Have a hanky handy!

26. Hawkins Co., TN Links Site:


27. HAYES, Kevin

The Atlanta Melungeon Project


28. HIRSCHMAN, Elizabeth

Melungeons: The Last Lost Tribe in America


29. JOHNS, Vicki Slagle

Written With a Flourish

Local Color Writers of TN including Dromgoole:


30. JORDAN, Vern

The Melungeon People "Article in story form concerning the Melungeon people."

31. KENNEDY, N. Brent:

Barbadoes Link to Melungeon Surnames

The Melungeons: A New Path

Where We are Today: Comments on the State of Melungeon Research

redirect takes you to My Melungeon Depot. Click ARTICLES, scroll down the page.

The Melungeons: An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America

How Do I Define Melungeon?

Book studies Turkish, Melungeon links: From Anatoliato Appalachia:


32. KESSLER, John S.and Donald B. Ball

North From the Mountains: The Carmel Melungeons of Ohio


33. KIRK, Lowell

Origin of the Melungeons


34. KOLHOFF, Michael

Fugitive Communities in Colonial America


35. LIPSCOMB, Terry

The McDonald Furman Papers, 1889-1903


36. LISTER, Richard

World: Americas Lost People of Appalachia


37. LYDAY-LEE, Kathy

Professor Studies Dromgoole's life, works


38. MARLER, Don

The Louisiana Redbones,


39. MOHN, Dan C.

Surname links for, VA; history links; Nat'l Societies Links


40. .MOORE, Mrs. John Trotwood

Letter to Walter Plecker Regarding Melungeon Classification


41. MORRELLO, Carol

Beneath Myth: Melungeons Find Roots of Oppression


42. MORRISON, Nancy Sparks


Diagrams of physical characteristics

Common Melungeon surnames

Sparks Genealogy:
(Select: Index/Nancy's Corner/The Melungeon Connection)
(Select: Index/The Melungeon Media Release)

The Mystery of the Melungeons, by Nancy Sparks Morrison
IIGSÖ Newsletter - October 1998

Brownlow's Whig:

Brownlow was a preacher, and the editor/owner of the Whig Newspaper in Jonesborough, TN in 1840. His use of the term 'Malungeon' is one of the earliest mentions of that word that can be found in print.


By Swan M. Burnett, M. D., Washington October 1889 <<Legends of the Melungeons I first heard at my father's knee as a child in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee...* Read before the Society at its regular meeting, February 5, 1889.>> (Full text of the above follows these notes)


43. MURRAH, Lee

Redbones and Melungeons


44. MUSHKO, Becky

Winner 1999 Lonesome Pine Short Story Contest:


Nobody had any use for the Collinses. They were Melungeons—a dark, mysterious clan who lived on top of Brushy Mountain and rarely showed themselves except for when deputies raided their still and arrested whatever Collins boys they could catch. Rumor had it a Collins’d shoot you soon as look at you. Folks said their children grew wild as weeds and scattered like seeds to the wind when they came of age. Most younger Collins children didn’t go to school, and if they did, it didn’t hold them long. The truant officer never bothered to bring them back


45. NASSUA, Mike

Melungeon LINKS page:

What is a Melungeon?

Melungeon Page, w/ some wonderful pictures:


46. OLD STATE HOUSE MUSEUM: A Multimedia Museum of Arkansas History, People and Culture:

Jacob Mooney’s Slaves Carry on Without Him for Years
Their Reward: Freedom


47. ORR, Evelyn McKinley and Others

"The Origin of Name Melungeon, From Northern European People,

or Else the Wider World Views?


48. PHELPS, Steven

The World Was Really Their Home



Wired News: The 'Lost Tribe' of Appalachia,1294,53165,00.html

Wired News: Melungeon Secrets Solved, Sort of…,1282,53383,00.html

Wired News: Genealogy Makes Strides With DNA,1286,53428,00.html


50. PIPES, Daniel

Review of The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People by N. Brent Kennedy


51. PLECKER, Walter A.

1942 Letter to the Tennessee Secretary of State

52. PRITCHARD, Kelly

Kelly's Melungeon MUSIC page:


53. ROBERTSON, Rhonda

Historical Sketches of SW Virginia

The National Melungeon Registry

54. SCHROEDER, Joan Vannorsdall

First Union: The Melungeons Revisted.


55. SHORT, Martha

Welcome to my Melungeon Webpage

Melungeon Links Page:

Mountain Ties


56. STILLWEL, Jenny, contributed by:

Stony Creek Church Minutes

RE-Direct to



Ethnic Research

Below are web sites concerning genealogy research about different ethnic groups. This list does not begin to include all groups; but we've tried to include the ones that we know affect our ancestors in the Tri-State area

59. WINKLER, Wayne

Walking Toward the Sunset
The Melungeons of Appalachia

Cont'd on Part II

Melungeon URLs Part II

COMMON SURNAME WEBSITES: __________________________________________________________________________

In this section, you will find websites noting some common Melungeon research. Not every common name is included here. I suggest that if your surnames are not listed that you go to:

Input in the search engine, the following:

(Your common Melungeon surname)+ Melungeons

Or use quotation marks in the following manner:

Ex: "Collins Genealogy" "Melungeons"


1. ALTEVERS, Laura

Robinson Cousins Homepage

During the 1830s, several families left their homes in Buncombe Co., NC and traveled by wagon along the Wilderness Trail to make a new life in the rough, uncultivated hills of Clay Co., KY

This website is dedicated to the Robinson pioneers who made that journey and to their many descendants of today who are attempting to put together a family tree.


2. BELTZ, Phillip

Melungeons Among Us: Barlow/Barlowe Surname


3. BRIDGES, Raymond

Colored, Outside the Lines - Ashworth & Other families

Chronicling the history of the Ashworth family and other related families in Texas and Louisiana from the early 1800s to the present. This is a work in progress:


4. CAMPBELL, Helen

Baber Connection: In the Shadows of the Blue Ridges. This interesting
story of one family's trouble with 'color' and the hiding of the picture of
"Baber," in a cedar chest; tells much about the way that many Melungeons
were forced to live.

5. CASEY, Roger

Melungeon page w pictures of MULLINS and SMITH family members as well as Gravehouse pictures and more:

Casey /Creameans Clan of WV



Chesnut Genealogical Home Page

Featuring Bolin, Bolling and many more! Approx 64,000 names.


7. CHINN, Stephen:

Cousins Corner featuring Mullins and many more surnames



Kate's Genealogy: COLLIER, JOHNSON, SIZEMORE and more:

Old Ned Sizemore:


9. CRESSWELL, Pamela

PERKINS Trial: Introduction - Joshua F. PERKINS vs. John R. WHITE


10. DAVIS, R. P. Stephen, Jr.

The Journeys of James Needham and Gabriel Arthur


11. DENHAM, Billy

Billy Denham, a Melungeon Guitar Player


12. DILLON, Brenda Collins

Appalachian Mt. Families featuring:

BENNETT; COLLINS; TAYLOR; WILLIAMS; and more with MANY connecting links for research:



Dee Dovey's Melungeon family including Croston, Davis, Pritchard and many more'sPage/index.htm

14. DRYER, Donna

SHEPHERD, DAVIS and MANY other surnames:


15. FALKNER, James R.

Many surnames including GOINS


16. FRENCH, Mark , Jr.



17. GOINS, Jack

SIZEMORE surname

Zephaniah Goins

Excerpts from Jack Goins book, Melungeons: and Other Pioneer Families, Bunch lines


18. GOIN, Juanita

Forever Goin

Do you have any idea how many ways our surname is spelled? At last count, there are twenty-seven variations in our list!

Goan, Goans, Goen, Goens, Goenes, Goheen, Gohun, Goin, Goine, Goines, Going, Goings, Goins, Gowan, Gowans, Goween, Goweens, Gowen, Gowens, Gowin, Gowins, Goyne, Goynes, Guin, Guine, Guinn and Guinne.

Some people even include the prefix of Mc to several of the spellings above!


19. The GOWEN Research Foundation:
Searching all spellings of this name including Goen, Goings, Goin/s, Gouen,
Gorins and many others. Some of this site is open to non-members. Click on GUESTs PAGE - Try the Dear Cousins


20.GOODYEAR, MaryK Sparks



21. GRANT, Marty

Genealogy, Melungeons, links:

Ethnic Origins:


22. GRIFFITH, Terry

Stokely Bowlin: Declaration for Original Pension of an Invalid
State of Kentucky , County of Clay

John A Maggard


23. GUNTER, Leslie

BAKER, BOLLING, BOWLING, BOWLIN, and other surnames with connecting links.


24. Hancock County, MULLINS Research


25. JAMES, Tonya

Families of Stokes Co., NC


26. KLICKER , Russ

The Bunch Family Of South Eastern KY

27. LUCAS, Marshall "Dancing Elk"

My Melungeon Depot families featuring:



28. MARTIN, William

Appalachian Mountain Families including Bowling and Sizemore


29. MULLINS, Kevin

Descendants of Vardy Collins


30. MUNDY Beverly

Leven COLE 1745- 1816 featuring COLE and other connecting lines.


31. MURRAH, M. Lee

Ashworth Family Page featuring Ashworth and connecting lines.


32. MYERS, Russ

A HUGE Surname page including but not limited to:
BIGGS Family Researchers

8900 Families, 25,000+ names

33. NICHOLS, Brenda

Melungeon page. Unlike a lot of us Brenda knew all her
life that she was a Melungeon descendant. This site is from her perspective
as such with surnames COLLINS, RHEA, JOHNSON and others.

Also see her Melungeon page with links:



34. PARSONS, Linda

Lewis J. GREEN Sr. and connecting lines


35. REED, William

Reed and Stapelton Homepage: MANY surnames here

Family Links and Websites: a tremendous links page


36. ROBERTS, Kay

Our Family Tree- researching Martin, Van Namee, Mann, Goodman, Lowry,
Rutledge, Roark and others; seeking info about Melungeons, Native Americans
and Black Dutch.

37. SWANSTROM, Justin

Genealogy: Robertson Family: Melungeons


38. TELLUP, Joe

COLLINS Family Genealogy Search Page:



Mullins Family Genealogy with 10 generations of Mullins:



Southwest Virginia History and Genealogy

(EXCELLENT LINKS and many Melungeon surnames on the



Tri-Racial Genealogy Page featuring Lee, Goin /Goen/Gowen, Henderson, Newman and Daniels and MANY more with information on African Americans, Native Americans, Melungeons:


BUNCH and many other surnames



Early Settlers of Washington Co., VA



Surnames of Kentucky



The Riddles of Stokes Co., NC



Southern Genealogy - Richardson and Allied Lines

Mentions Melungeons, Gypsies, Portuguese and a 'sailor myth'


47. de Valdes y Cocom, Mario

Secret Family : Gibson


48. Vande brake, Kathryn

A Wired Neighborhood
Community on the Melungeon List
A Linguistic Analysis


49. WELLS, Gayl, Greg Belcher

The Belcher Blues On-line Newsletter




The following websites are not exhaustive of all that can be found on the internet, but each of them deals in part with a specific area where known Melungeons have been. Some has specific Melungeon links but others are general in nature. There is some overlap because some of these also have GENEALOGY.

1. ALVORD, Clarence W. and Lee Bidgood.

The First Explorations of the Trans-Alleghany Region by the Virginians 1650- 1674


2. Appalachian Heritage and Genealogy:


3. GOODYEAR, Mary K Sparks



4. MUSICK, Darrell

East Kentucky Heritage including MUSIC/MUSICK/COLLINS family and more


5. The Kentucky Explorer Magazine -

this site has a fully functional message board with search capabilities. Many Melungeon surnames listed here.

6. Johnson Co., KY Genweb:


7. Dickenson Co., VA

Genweb page with MANY Melungeon surnames here


8. Grayson Co., VA

Genweb page MANY Melungeon surnames here


9. DIXON, Danny

History of the Settlement of SW_VA 1400 to 1800


10. MILLER, Jeff

A WV Chronology:

11. WEAVER, Jeffrey

New River Notes, Notes for the Upper New River Valley of NC &
VA. (Ashe, Alleghany, Watagua and Wilkes County, North Carolina and Grayson
County, & far SW VA. MANY connecting links here. A MUST READ for anyone searching in this area:

1782 Washington Co., VA Tax List

12. STEPHENS, Vickie Sturgill

Wise County, VA genweb:


13. SW Virginia History and Genealogy


14. Tennessee History -

Full History Stories

Bell Witch of TN (Bell is one of the common Melungeon surnames)


300 Million Plus Records for Genealogy

NC/SC/VA/TN/KY Searchable Records - EXTENSIVE website


16. Vardy (TN) Church Museum


17. Wayne Co. WV USGenweb:


18. BINNS Genealogy: 1790/1800 County Tax Lists of Virginia

Recontructed 1790 and 1800 Census as well as much more



MORRISON, Nancy Sparks

To join the list please SEE:

OR: send an e-mail to:



1. Assissi, Francis



2. Portuguese-American Historical and Research:
Many early Melungeons declared that they were "Portyghee."

3. BENGE, Barbara with Karen Phister, Kevin Breechner, Ed Mentz,

Native American Genealogy w/ a Melungeon page


4.The History of the Cherokee: First European Contact


5. DOUGLAS, Karlton

Remnant Indians of the Southeast


6. FOSTER, Dave

The Lost State of Franklin from Dave Foster's Franklin, the Stillborn State and the Sevier/Tipton Political Feud


7. GRIGGS, Linda

The Wayfaring Stranger: The Black Dutch, German Gypsies or Chicanere and their relation to the Melungeon


8. Was Your Ancestor a Gypsy - good background here:


9. ROMANY and TRAVELLER Family HistorySociety


.10. HASHAW, Tim



11. Heinegg, Paul

Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware Free African Americans


12. PEPPER BIRD Foundation:

Americans of Hispanic Heritage


13. REED, Maryanne

Righteous Remnant: Jewish Survival in Appalachia


14. SALAZAR, L. E.

Barbadoes and the Melungeons of Appalachia


15. The OTHER Blackfoot Indians - Saponi



The Patrin Web Journal: Romani (Gypsy) Culture and History



Battles in Red, Black and White: Virginia's Racial Integrity Law of 1924


18. University of Colorado

Colonial American History to 1815

A HUGE inventory of connecting links


19. Virginia's Indians, Past and Present


20. West Virginia Archives and History

History of Native Americans in WV


21. West Virginia Indian Tribes




1. Appalachian Focus: Debate on Gene Pool remains alive, well

2. KENNEDY, N. Brent

Melungeon DNA

3. UVa-Wise biologist unveils Melungeon genetics study

2002 report on Melungeon DNA by Dr. Jones

Memo re: Walter A. Plecker

From the Richmond Times Dispatch c 2000

Peter Hardin

Times-Dispatch Washington Correspondent

Memo: Reclaiming History: The struggle of Virginia's Indians

Documentary Genocide: Families Surnames on Racial Hit List


"Plecker left a major paper trail.

He gave carbon copies of hundreds of his official letters, neatly typed on "Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Health: stationery to John Powell, a Richmond-born concert pianist and an outspoken advocate for race-purity measures in Virginia."

These letters show a bureaucrat intruding in individual lives, harassing, intimidating, bullying, and attempting to stamp out human rights.

The correspondence can be found in a collection of Powell documents at the U of VA's Alderman Library. Powell grad there at 18 w/a Phi Beta Kappa.

In one letter Plecker wrote: trying to correct a Lynchburg woman's supposedly false report of birth for her child. This was 1924.

"This is to give you warning that this is a mulatto child and you cannot pass it off as white," he wrote. Plecker told her of the new 'one-drop' rule that defined a white person as having "no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian."

"You will have to do something abt this matter and see that this child is not allowed to mix with white children." "It cannot go to white schools and can never marry a white person in VA." "It is an awful thing."

To a woman he knew in Hampton who was from a respectable white family he noted w/ surprise that she would ask abt a license to marry a man of mixed African descent. " I trust. . . that you will immediately break off entirely with this young mulatto man," he wrote.

He threatened a Fishersville woman w/ prosecution in 1944 for a birth record that hid her Negro lineage.

"After the war, it is possible that some of these cases will come into court. We might try this one. It would make a good one if you continue to try to be what you are not."

His writings support that Indians were a secondary target not the primary target of the eugenics movement in VA.

Plecker vehemently desired to preserve the color line.

"Two races are materially divergent as the white and negro, in morals, mental powers, and cultural fitness, cannot live in close contact without injury to the higher," he said in 1924.

"The lower never has been and never can be raised to the level of the higher."

Plecker was b. Apr 2, 2862, d. at age 86 in Aug 1947 when he crossed Chamberlayne Ave. in Richmond, VA and was hit by a car. (One of our friends noted that we can but hope the car was driven by a Melungeon.J

Plecker was a member of the Anglo-Saxon Club of America. It goals were the preservation of Anglo-Saxon ideals and the supremacy of the white race in the USA without racial prejudice or hatred.

"This was the KLAN of the aristocracy - the real gentleman's Klan," Said J. David Smith of Longwood College a eugenics expert.

In 1930, the legislature of VA defined 'colored' people as those "in whom there is ascertainable any Negro blood.

In his 30+ years as registrar of VA, Plecker stood up to those who disagreed w/ him. These included courageous Indians, a Virginia Governor, and federal officials. Some people were imprisoned for violations of these acts, but many juries wouldn't convict. It took the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 to void Virginia's anti-miscegenation law.

The Melungeons by Billy Arthur

From The State
June 1994, No. Carolina
By Billy Arthur

The Melungeons

Could it be that these dark-skinned, black-haired immigrants
of Portuguese and Spanish descent were
North Carolina's first settlers?

It's conceivable that someday scholars may possibly re-examine judiciously, if not rewrite, the history of North Carolina and the Southeast, because it now appears possible that a mixed ethnic group of Berbers, Basques and Jews- not the English- were our first permanent settlers.

Arriving about 20 years before the Roanoke Island colonists and about 40 before Jamestown was founded, these mobile people were called Melungeons.

Melungeons? You never heard of them? No wonder. They are not mentioned in any North Carolina history books, though they are listed in genealogical encyclopedias as "tri-raci al isolates" and do turn up in oral myths and legends. The word Melungeon stems from the French "melange" meaning "mixed" and the Portuguese "melungo" meaning "shipmate."

They were sent to the New World in the mid-1500s as official Spanish and Portuguese settlers, much as the English later used the Scotch and Irish. They had dark skin, black hair, thin lips, high cheekbones and narrow fine sculptured faces. They spoke broken Elizabethan English, picked up in European commerce.

Yet, as did other ethnic groups, they had "no body of literature of their own, no native historian to record their activities, no native music, art or dancing." So Jean Patterson Bible wrote in 1975 in Melungeons, Yesterday and Today.

And their oral history, until more recently, was kept secretive within families, because gradually and generally Melungeons became a bad word. Because of ridicule, they just didn't talk about their political and social status and how it came about. They were more concerned with subsisting. Therefore, they became a mysterious people.

Now, within the past decade, more than ever before they have been greatly researched and written about. Even a documentary film is in the works. Such probing challenges old theories that they were remnants of the Lost Tribes of Israel, the Lost Colony, Hernando DeSoto's and Juan Pardo's expeditions, and survivors of the ancient ship Atlantis that wrecked off the North Carolina coast.

Largely set in this state, thisfascinating update to an old story actually began when N. Brent Kennedy, now a prominent Atlanta executive who grew up in southwest Virginia, started wondering why his black hair, blue eyes and deep reddish-brown complexion was unlike other Scots-lrish people around him. He had been told that he, too, was Scots-lrish. Then, in 1987 he was stricken with an autoimmune disease called sarcoidosis, 80 percent of whose victims are of Arabic or African descent. So, without scholarly help and with his own financing, he set out to trace his lineage.

Today it extends backward in time to 710 A.D. when Moroccan Muslims invaded parts of Spain and Portugal and ruled them until the Spanish Inquisition of the 16th century. Then, Arabic converts were permitted to leave to colonize the New World.

One cargo of these settlers, Kennedy has learned, was ''undoubtedly'' put ashore at what is now Parris Island, South Carolina, in 1566. More recent research shows that Sir Francis Drake, after sacking St. Augustine in 1586, left some captive Portuguese, Arabs and Moors on Roanoke Island to make room for 108 men of Ralph Lane's colony to return to England, because their supply ships had not arrived. These could have later linked tip with the South Carolina group, who had been into the interior.

In their movements they passed through what now are Columbus, Bladen, Scotland, Robeson, Hoke, Cumberland, Person, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Wilkes, Watauga, McDowell, Ashe and Yancey counties. Along the way they made contact with the Lumbee and other Indian tribes, built three forts (one near Marion) and coexisted on Cherokee lands for some 200 years. Intermarriages took place, as indicated today by some Lumbees having Melungeon names. These migrants were first found by French explorers in 1690 in the Western North Carolina mountains. Though they identified themselves as "Portyghee," the French called them Moors.

It was when the English later met up with them that their troubles began. Because the English were uncertain of their ancestry, the Melungeons were reviled, bullied and even classified in the early censuses as "free persons of color or "mulattoes." As such, they were required to pay taxes but denied rights of voting, attending school and even owning the property they were and had been occupying. This prevailed well into the 19th century.

And though they fought the British in the Revolutionary War, veterans with land grants awarded for war service contended that persons of mixed color were excluded and forced them off their lands and farther back into the Appalachian/Blue Ridge Mountains of northeast Tennessee, northwest North Carolina, southwest Virginia and southeast Kentucky. This area eventually became their last place of survival.

The stigmatized and retreating Melungeons, hating the name, stopped and formed colonies or clusters of a few families "apart from the crowd" and sought to avoid censuses. Some of the fairer-skinned did, however, successfully pass for English, which Kennedy believes caused the number of Melungeons at the time to be drastically underestimated. He calculates there were more than 2,000 of them in North Carolina in the mid-1700s and as many in adjoining states.

"As a consequence," he says, "it led to the total dismissal by future scholars of an entire ethnic group and its rich history." Many historians have premised, and still do, that only the English, slaves and Indians were present here in the 18th century, Kennedy suggests. In that, they "ignore" when the Melungeons arrived on the continent and how they survived.

Officially, however, Melungeon names appear on the Orange County tax lists of 1755. According to Bible, they were corruptions of Portuguese surnames, including Colins, Collins, Colens, Colings and Bunch. The Wilkes County lists of 1782 have other names of Calloe, Bowling, Bowlin, Lucus and Goins.

From his search, Kennedy, who is half Melungeon, has found most of his English ancestors seemed to originate in North Carolina and he has traced his ancestry to 11 separate Melungeon families primarily in Ashe, Yancey, Surry and Alleghany counties and the Yadkin and Toe River areas. Their surnarnes were Mullins, Adkins, Osborne, Bowling, Gibson, Cox and Hall.

He also has two Lumbee ancestors named White and Bennett who moved into Ashe County. Two in Ashe were born in 1720. which was 30 years before the Scotch Irish hegan pouring in and forcing Melungeons from fertile lands back into the hills and valleys. His ancestors also possess some first names - Louisa, Lucinda, Helena, Lillian, Mahala, Eulaylia and Sylvester - which are traditional or variations of Spanish or Portuguese.

It was in those mountains and the State of Franklin, organized in 1784 and a part of North Carolina, that Franklin Governor John Sevier found "dark-skinned reddish brown complexioned people supposed to be of Moorish descent, who were neither Indian nor Negro but had fine European features and claimed to be Portuguese."

They were excellent herdsmen (an inherent trait from the Old World), drovers and woodsmen. They were adept at folk medicine and very religious, mostly Baptists and Pentecostal Holiness.

Bible found 20 years ago that some of the bitterness of humiliation remained among the older Melungeons, because of stories handed down by forebears, but they were no longer "ill-famed" because of "awareness and tolerance by an enlightened public." Over the years, she writes, intermarriage has resulted in near complete racial dissolution. Today they look about like anyone else you meet in the mall or church. "They'll be gone in a generation or two, except for an occasional dark complected child as a reminder of the past," Bible writes.

Who, then, is this man Kennedy who has now recruited a distinguished 28-member research team of medical historians, cultural anthropologists, archaeologists and others from 15 universities and foundations? Now in his mid-40s, Kennedy is senior managing partner of Jerold, Panas & Young Inc., one of the nation's largest consulting firms. [Editorial Note:This article appeared in June 1994; since then, Kennedy has returned "home" to southwest Virginia

Currently-- November 1996, he serves as Vice-Chancellor for Development and College Relations at Clinch Valley College, Wise, VA.]

He maintains his team "knows what they are doing in continuing research." It could prove his ancestors were the first and earliest settlers of the Carolinas and the Southeast. Basically, Kennedy's dream is "to unlock the past" and to fix beyond a reasonable doubt that the Melungeons "established a pemanent New World settlement- some 300 miles inland- at approximately the same time, and most likely 30 years before, the English accomplished the same feat at Jamestown."

Until recently most of the expense of the total study has been borne by Kennedy himself. However, of late, in addition to funds contributed by some committee members, grant money has been received from the Humanities Councils of Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky and Georgia. North Carolina is conspicuously missing from the list. Kennedy is "perplexed . . . given the importance of North Carolina to the story . . . and vice versa. Perhaps I have not pushed the right buttons. Instead I'm concentrating on the progress we have made."

Although fourTar Heels declined invitations to be on the research team, Dr. and Mrs. Michael Abram of Cherokee did accept. Dr. Abram intends to investigate whether the Cherokee Indians have by intermarriage contracted any diseases prevalent today among North African and Mediterranean peoples. He will also endeavor to connect some of the Indian culture to the Melungeons' past.

Dr. Abram, owner of the Cherokee Heritage Museum, the only one of its kind in the United States, points out that some Indians had Melungeon names, such as Goins. He also concludes that the Cherokees' oral history has references to the Spaniards; one of their dances is no doubt Portuguese; and where else but from the Melungeons could Chief Sequoyah have learned silversmithing?

As far as Kennedy knows, no one has done any archaeological studies of the fort sites around Marion or the upper French Broad River as have been done at Parris Island by Professor Chester DePratter of the University of South Carolina. "Hopefully, sometime, someone will," he says.

The big question now is whether to conduct an extremely costly, full-scale, updated DNA study. It could eliminate any suspicion that the evidence so far is circumstantial. To Kennedy "the most important aspect of this project lies in the discovery that we are all, regardless of skin color or texture of hair, members of the same human family. If any human being delves deeply enough into his or her background, he or she will eventually find ancestors of other races. If more people could come to understand that we are all part of a rich human mosaic, what a better world this would be. This simple concept - the kinship of people - has become the overriding theme of the Melungeon project."

Billy Arthur is a veteran writer for The State. In preparing this story, he is greatly indebted to Brent Kennedy's personal assistance and the Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University in Boone.

Bibliography: Melungeon Books and Periodicals


Aswell, James, God Bless The Devil, Federal Writers Project, University
of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1940.

Ball, Bonnie, Melungeons: Their Origin and Kin, Overmountain Press, Johnson
City, Tennessee, 1969, revised 1992.

Berry, Brewton, Almost White, Macmillan, New York, 1963.

Bible, Jean Patterson, Melungeons Yesterday and Today, East Tennessee
Printing Company, Rogersville, Tennessee, 1975.

Callahan, Jim, Lest We Forget: The Melungeon Colony of Newman's Ridge,
Overmountain Press, Johnson City, Tennessee, 2000.

Cohen, David S., The Ramapo Mountain People, Rutgers University Press, New
Brunswick, New Jersey, 1974.

Elder, Pat Spurlock, Melungeons: Examining an Appalachian Legend,
Continuity Press, Blountville, Tennessee, 1999.

Gallegos, Eloy J., The Melungeons: The Pioneers of the Interior
Southeastern United States, 1526-1997, Villagra Press, Knoxville, 1997.

Goins, Jack H., Melungeons: And Other Pioneer Families, Jack Harold Goins,
Rogersville, Tennessee, 2000.

Goodspeed History of Tennessee, Charles and Randy Elder Booksellers,
Nashville, 1887, reprinted 1972.

Hale, Will T., and Merritt, D. L., A History of Tennessee and Tennesseeans,
Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1913.

Haun, Mildred, The Hawk's Done Gone, New York, 1940.

Johnson, Mattie Ruth, My Melungeon Heritage: A Story of Life on Newman's
Ridge, Overmountain Press, Johnson City, Tennessee, 1997.

Kennedy, N. Brent, with Kennedy, Robyn Vaughan, The Melungeons: The
Resurrection of a Proud People; An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in
America, Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia, 1994, revised 1997.

Kennedy, N. Brent (NEW BOOK)

Kessler, John S., and Ball, Donald B., North From The Mountains: A Folk
History of the Carmel Melungeon Settlement, Highland County, Ohio, Macon,
Georgia, Mercer University Press, 2001.

Langdon, Barbara Tracy. Melungeons: An Annotated Bibliography: References in Both Fiction and Non Fiction Woodville, Texas: Dogwood Press. 82 pages. ASU ASU APP COLL STACKS: Z1251 .M35 L36 1998.

Mira, Manuel, The Portuguese Making of America, Portuguese-American
Historical Research Foundation, Inc, Franklin, North Carolina, 2001.

____________, The Forgotten Portuguese: The Melungeons and Other Groups,
Portuguese-American Historical Research Foundation, Inc., Franklin, North
Carolina, 1998.

Rountree, Helen C., Pocohontas's People: The Powhatan Indians of Virginia
Through Four Centuries, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1990.

Shepherd, S. L., Memoirs of Judge Lewis Shepherd, Chattanooga, 1915.

Stuart, Jesse, Daughter of the Legend, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1965.

Vande Brake, Katherine, How They Shine: Melungeon Characters in the Fiction
of Appalachia, Macon, Georgia, Mercer University Press, 2001.

Williams, Samuel Cole, Early Travels in the Tennessee Country 1540-1800,
Watauga Press, Johnson City, Tennessee, 1928.

Winkler, Wayne (NEW BOOK)

Wood, Karenne, and Shields, Diane, The Monacan Indians: Our Story, Monacan
Indian Nation, Madison Heights, Virginia, 2000.

Anthony, Ted. "The Melungeons: Mystery in the Mountains." The Knoxville News-Sentinel. June 18, 1998.

Aswell, James, Lost Tribes of Tennessee Mountains, Nashville Banner,
August 22, 1937.

The Atlantic Constitution "Melungeons Are Vanishing: Mixed Race Leaving Mountain Home." . Dec. 2 1971.

Ball, Bonnie. "Who are the Melungeons?" Southern Literary Messenger. v. 3, No. 2, (June 1945): pp. 5-7.

Beale, Calvin L., American Triracial Isolates: Their Status and Pertinence
to Genetic Research, Eugenics Quarterly 4 (4), 187-196.

Beale, Calvin L., An Overview of the Phenomenon of Mixed Racial Isolated
in the United States, American Anthropologist 74, 1972, 704-710.

Bleakley, Fred R., Appalachian Clan Mines Web Sites for Ancestral Clues, Wall Street Journal, April 14, 1997, B-1, B-5.

Bristol Herald Courier, Mysterious Melungeons: No Origin, No Color,
October 26, 1970, Section 2-1.

Burnett, Swan, Note on the Melungeons, American Anthropologist,
October 1889, 347.

Cavender, Anthony P., The Melungeons of Upper East Tennessee: Persisting
Social Identity, Tennessee Anthropologist, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 1981.

Coalfield Progress, The, "Crawford Story Brings Comment, July 4, 1940.

Converse, Paul, The Melungeons, Southern Collegian, December 1912, 59-69.

Dane, J. K. , and Griessman, B. Eugene, The Collective Identity of
Marginal Peoples: The North Carolina Experience, American Anthropologist
74, 694, 1972.

Davis, Louise, Why Are They Vanishing?, Nashville Tennesseeans Sunday
Magazine, September 29, 1963.

_____________, The Mystery of the Melungeons, Nashville Tennesseeans
Sunday Magazine, September 22, 1963.

DeMarce, Virginia Easley, Verry Slitly Mixt: Tri-Racial Isolate Families
of the Upper South - A Genealogical Study, National Genealogical Society
Quarterly, March 1992.

____________, Looking at Legends - Lumbee and Melungeon: Applied Genealogy
and the Origins of Tri-racial Isolate Settlements, National Genealogical
Quarterly, March 1993, 24-45.

_____________, The Melungeons (review essay), National Genealogical
Quarterly, June 1996, 134-149.

Dromgoole, Will Allen, Land of the Malungeons, Nashville Sunday American,
August 31, 1890, 10.

______________, A Strange People, Nashville Sunday American, September
15, 1890, 10.

______________, The Malungeons, The Arena, Vol. 3, March 1891, 470-479.

______________, The Malungeon Tree and Its Four Branches, The Arena, Vol.
3, June 1891, 745-751.

Everett, C. S. Melungeon History and Myth, Appalachian Journal, Summer
1999, 358 - 404.

Fetterman, John, The Mystery of Newman's Ridge, Life Magazine, June 26,
1970, 23. (Not in all editions.)

Gilbert, William Harlan, Jr., Memorandum Concerning the Characteristics of
the Larger Mixed-Blood Racial Islands in the Eastern United States, Social
Forces 21 (4), May 1946, 438-477.

Glenn, Juanita, Hancock Countians Prepare For Drama About Melungeons,
Knoxville Journal, May 1, 1969, 5.

Glenn, Juanita, Hancock Countians Aiding Dream With Drama, Knoxville
Journal, Thursday, March 11, 1971.

Grohse, William Paul, papers (Microfilm Roll # 7) East Tennessee State

___________, Hancock County - The Land of Mystery, Hancock County Post,
July 4, 1968, 10-12.

Guthrie, James L., Melungeons: Comparison of Gene Frequency Distributions
to those of Worldwide Populations, Tennessee Anthropologist, Vol. XV, No.
1, Spring 1990.

Hancock News Journal (Hancock County, Tennessee), Tennessee Ernie Ford Is
Chairman Friend of the Melungeons [sic], February 5, 1971.

Hardin, Peter, Eugenics in Virginia, Richmond Times-Dispatch, November
26, 2000, online edition.

Henige, David, Origin Traditions of American Racial Isolates: A Case of
Something Borrowed, Appalachian Journal, Spring 1984, 201-213.

___________, The Melungeons Become a Race, Appalachian Journal, Vol. 25,
No. 3, Spring 1998, 270 - 286.

___________, Henige Answers Wilson, Appalachian Journal, Vol. 25, No. 3,
Spring 1998, 297-298.

Ivey, Saundra Keyes, , Oral, Printed, and Popular Culture Traditions
Related to the Melungeons of Hancock County, Tennessee, Ph.D. dissertation,
Indiana University, 1976

Kingsport Times, Melungeon Line Almost Extinct, November 26, 1964,9-C.

Kingsport Times, Distinct Race of People Inhabits the Mountains of East
Tennessee, Tuesday, August 7, 1923, 1.

Kingsport Times, Melungeon Drama Goes On Despite Money Problems, April
13, 1972.

Knoxville Journal, The Melungeons: A Peculiar Race of People Living in
Hancock County, Sunday, September 28, 1890, 1.

Littel's Living Age, No. 254-31, The Melungeons, March 1849.

Melungeon Drama Goes On Despite Money Problems, Kingsport Times,
Wednesday, April 19, 1972.

Montell, Lynwood, The Coe Ridge Colony: A Racial Island Disappears,
American Anthropologist 74,710, 1972;

Morello, Carol, Beneath Myth, Melungeons Find Roots of Oppression,
Washington Post, May 29, 2000, online edition.

Nordheimer, John, Mysterious Hill Folk Vanishing, New York Times, August
10, 1971, 33,38.

Pollitzer, William, The Physical Anthropology and Genetics of Marginal
People of the Southeastern United States, American Anthropologist, Vol. 74,
No. 3, 1972, 719 - 734.

Price, Edward, The Melungeons: A Mixed-Blood Strain of the Southern
Appalachians, Geographical Review 41 (2), 256-271.

Price, Edward T., A Geographic Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial
Mixtures in the Eastern United States, Association of American
Geographers, Annals, Vol. 43, June 1953, 138- 155.

Price, Henry, Melungeons: The Vanishing Colony of Newman's Ridge, lecture
presented at the Spring Meeting of the American Studies Association of
Kentucky and Tennessee, March 25-26, 1966, Tennessee Technical University,
Cookeville, Tennessee, transcript from Grohse Papers, Roll 7, East Tennessee
State University, Johnson City, Tennessee.

Reed, John Shelton, Mixing in the Mountains, Southern Cultures, Winter

Shaub, Earl L. ed. "Melungeons: The Mystery People of Tennessee." The Tennessee Conversationist (August 1959): pp. 18-19

Shepard, Lewis. "Romantic Account of the Celebrated 'Melungeon' Case." Watson's Magazine. v. 17 No. 1 (May 1913): pp. 34-40.

Weals, Vic, "Home Folks," Knoxville Journal, July 24, 1953.

Wilson, Darlene, "Miscegenation, Melungeons, and Appalachia: A Virtual Case
Study in Documentary Racism," project proposal, University of Kentucky,

___________, "A Response to Henige," Appalachian Journal, Vol. 25, No. 3,
Spring 1998, 286-296.

Winston-Salem Journal, "Breakthrough: Genetic Tests Trace History of Melungeon People." . May, 17 1993.

Worden, W.L., "Sons of the Legend," Saturday Evening Post, October 18,

Yarbrough, Willard, "Melungeons Ways Are Passing," Knoxville News-Sentinel,
April 26, 1972, 33.

_____________, "Maligned Mountain Folk May Be Topic of Drama," Knoxville
News- Sentinel, January 8, 1968, 1.

_____________, "Melungeon Story Revived," Knoxville News-Sentinel, June 21,
1973, 25.

Zuber, Leo, "The Melungeons," WPA Federal Writers Guide MSS, McClung
Historical Collection, Lawson-McGhee Library, University of Tennessee,
Knoxville, Tennessee.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sons of the Legend - Oct 18, 1947

Sons of the Legend
October 18, 1947

By William L. Worden

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.

Today, even the legend is in the process of being forgotten, the strange stories are seldom remembered and the people are slipping away to cities and to better farms, there to tell anyone who asks them, all they can about where they came from, but never to tell who they are.  Because they do not know.

Newman’s Ridge lies beyond Blackwater Swamp, and Blackwater lies beyond Sneedville.  Sneedville, war-swollen to a population of about 400 persons, is the county seat of Hancock County, Tennessee, just below Virginia, in mountains through which no principal highway runs, no railroad has tracks, and only a single, insecure telephone line with five or six connections straggles.  To get to Sneedville, an outsider can drive up the wandering bank of the Clinch River from Teasel through Xenophon, which can be missed if the traveler is not looking carefully; or he can go over the switchbacks of Clinch Mountain from Rogersville to Kyle’s Ford and down the river from the east.  Either pine studded route is beautiful. Neither has ever been used by very many people who did not live in Sneedville.

Nothing much ever happened in Sneedville.  There is no industry, no mining now.  Only once did the town ever get its name into newspapers farther away than Knoxville—that once some years before the war, when Charlie Johns, a lank mountaineer , married Eunice Winsted, who was certainly not more than thirteen years old wand was variously reported as being only nine.  Their pictures and story made most of the united States newspapers in a dull news period.

Charlie and Eunice still live near Sneedville, but nothing has been written about them for a long time.  They do not want anything more written.

From Sneedville, a few small roads lead northward toward the swamp and the ridge.  One is passable, when weather permits, through Kyle’s ford all the way to Vardy, where Presbyterians maintain a missions school. But the weather does not permit with any regularity.  There are in Rogersville a few tall, olive-skinned people with dark eyes and high cheekbones, small hands and feet and straight black hair, the men gaunt, the young women often remarkably beautiful.

In Sneedville on a “public day” when a lawing of some interest is under way in the county courthouse, many country people come to town form the rich farms along the Clinch River bottoms.  Walking among them along the one muddy main street or leaning against the stone wall around the courthouse square will be other dark people–old women withered or excessively fat, inclined to talk very fast in musical voices; old men spare and taciturn, thin lipped, rather like Indians, but not quite like them.  Either they have some Latin characteristics or the effect of the legend is to make the stranger think they have. Some few of them–the daughters of these people are very often lovely, soft and feminine, in striking contrast to the bony appearance of most mountain women–live in the town.  Fo them, their neighbors say, “well, they don’t talk about it, but I happened to know her pappy used to make whisky up on the ridge”; or, “He might not tell you, but he never came to town from Vardy until he was growed.”

But for all that some of them live there, these are strangers in Rogersville, strangers in Kyle’s Ford and Sneedville.  They are not fully at home where the telephones are or the highways go The small roads lead up out of Sneedville across the swamp and end at the base of Newman’s Ridge, nearly twenty miles long, a mile or so across at its most narrow part, virgin except for small clearings which dot its high slopes–clearings with log houses in them, corn patches growing beside the doors. That is, those houses that have doors.  Many have no floors and some have no doors; only burlap hanging across the openings in cold weather.

Here, beyond where the roads end, in the clearings on the ridge the dark people are at home.  This is the Malungeon Country.  This is the country where no one ever uses the word “Malungeon.” As a matter of fact, nobody is entirely sure what the word is. Perhaps “Melungeon” from the French “melange,” meaning “mixture”’ perhaps from melas, a Greek word meaning black. It’s origin, like that of the people it specifies, is lost now.  Already, it is entirely meaningless to most people even withing a few dozen miles of Newman’s Ridge; and presently, like the people of the ridge, who are constantly drifting away, intermarrying outside, never going home, saying nothing of the little ridge history they may know, it may be entirely forgotten.  Except for a few curious people who like mysteries without answers.

The mystery of the Malungeons is basically simple. When the first Yankee and Scotch-Irish mountain men drifted down the Clinch River from its sources in Virginia toward the place where it meets the Houston to make the Tennessee River, they found in the rich farmland of the Clinch valley a strange people already settled. They were dark, tall, not exactly like Indians, certainly not at all like the escaped Negroes lurking on the outskirts of white slave-holding settlements. Even then they kept to themselves, had little to do with Andy Jackson’s men and the others—the trappers, adventurers and farmers who came down the line fo the river.

When they were first seen is doubtful. One Tennessee history notes that the journal of an expedition down the Tennessee River in the 1600s recorded an Indian story of a white settlement eight days down the river.  The Indians said the whites lived to themselves, had houses and owned a bell which they sounded often, especially before meals, when all of them bowed their heads toward it. The journal was not clear about whether the locations was on what is now the Clinch River.  It could have been. These people could have been the Malungeons.  But there is no record that any white man saw them.

Certainly they must have been there fairly early in the eighteenth century.  Hale and Merritt’s History of Tennessee and Tennesseans says a census of the settlements in 1795 listed 975 “free persons” in the East Tennessee mountain area, distinguishing between them and the white settlers.  As there never was any considerable number of Negroes in the mountains, these must have been the strange people of the Clinch valley.

But the other settlers apparently were unwilling to admit that the dark people were Caucasians, and the dividing line between “whites” and “Malungeons” began to be drawn–by the whites. Forty years later the division became serious. In the Tennessee Constitutional Conventions of 1834, East Tennesseans succeeded in having the Malungeons officially classified as “free persons of color.”  This classifications was equivalent to declaring them of Negro blood and preventing them from suing or even testifying in court in any case involving a Caucasian.  The purpose was fairly obvious and the effect immediate. Other settlers simply moved onto what god bottom land the Malungeons had, and the dark people had no recourse except to retire with what they could take with them to the higher ridge of land which no other settlers wanted and where no court cases could arise. Some may have been on Newman’s Ridge previously, but now the rest climbed the slopes to live, taking with them their families, a few household possessions, some stock and a burning resentment of this and other injustices, such as the fact that their children were not welcome n the settler’s schools, only in Negro schools, which they declined to attend.

On the ridge they built their small houses–log shacks without floors and sometimes even without chimneys–planted corn, and distilled whisky. Now and then moving in the night in Indian fashion they descended on the richer farms of the valley.  Now and then when strangers approached the ridge too closely or ventured into Blackwater swamp, they used the long rifles which seemed almost like parts of their bodies, so naturally were they carried.  Now and the, valley farms lost cattle or hogs or chickens and never found any trace of the missing stock.  Now and then, strangers failed to come back from the ridge or the swamp.

When the Civil war split the border states county against county and family against family, few of the Malungeons went to either army. They stayed home, brooding on their mountainside.

In the valleys, farm women told their youngsters, “Act purty or the Malungeons’ll get ya.” There is no record that they ever “got” any children, but old men still live who remember when no wandering hog was safe and few chicken yards secure.

What happened after the war is not entirely clear; nor the reasons for it. Revision of the state constitution took care of the old segregated status of the Malungeons, but nobody now seems certain exactly what made them welcome in towns again.

Hale and Merrit, in their history, have the most fantastic explanation. They say, without giving any authority, that the Malungeons struck gold. Just when and just where are difficult to decide. The history declares flatly that the strike was made somewhere on Straight Creek, where ovens were built for refining the metal and for manufacturing of technically counterfeit twenty dollar double eagles. But the counterfeit coins, the history continues, actually had nearly thirty dollars; worth of good in them and were welcomed by most storekeepers in the area.  The storekeepers gave face value, more or less, for them, then sold the coins as gold by weight. Naturally, Malungeon business was more than welcome.

The only catch to the story is that nobody except Hale and Merritt ever seems to have heard of it. No other history mentions it and no trace of the coins remains in east Tennessee—at least, not in any of the expected places.  Nor does Straight Creek appear on available maps.  Milum Bowen, storekeeper at Kyle’s Ford, says he has known the Malungeons well all his life and that “they’re like real friends if they’re your friends, but will do you some kind of dirt a t night if they don’t like you.” He has traded constantly with them during most of his seventy some years, but never saw or heard of any such coins.

Only one ghost of a clue is in the memory of anyone in the area. That is a rumor–no one of the dozen people who will tell it as a rumor seems to know where it comes from—that there is sliver—not gold, but silver—somewhere in the lowering mountains which ring Hancock County, somewhere n the half mapped, heavily wooded ridges. “People say,” they tell a stranger, “that it’ll be found again some day.”

Whether there was gold or whether there was none, the Malungeons, after the Civil war, seemed to enter a new phase of their lonesome existence. Bushwhacking declined, some few Malungeons came off the ridge to go to school, may more turned to distilling for their principal source of livelihood.  Of all the stories of moonshining in the Hancock County mountains, the best seems  to be the often-retold tale of Big Haly Mullins, a very real woman who has become a legend herself. Milum Bowen testifies to the fact that Big Haly really did exist, really did make whisky and most certainly weighed 600 or 700 pounds.

The legend is that in the early years of this century, Federal revenue agents time and again followed the steep paths to Big Haly’s cabin, time and again found both aging whisky and the still for making it, and found Haly, peaceful and alone, waiting for them in her cabin. Each time she admitted ownership of still and whisky, and each time they officially arrested her.

There they stopped. Big Haly was in her cabin and was too fat to b e got out the door.  Even if they had been able to get her through the door, they had no method for getting her down the ridge to any court for trial. She was much too heavy for any combination of men who could go together down the trail, she was much too heavy for any mule, and she would not or could not walk.

So the revenuers went away and Big Haly resumed making whisky as soon as the still could be repaired–that is to say, her myriad of relatives, who had vanished into the hills as soon  the Federal men left the highway, returned an began making whisky again under Haly’s directions, shouted from inside the cabin

At least one supporting fact is attested by Bowen. When Mrs. Mullins died, he says, Malungeons relatives knocked the fireplace out of the end of her log cabin in order to get her body outside for burial.  It just would not go through the door.

Toward the end of the 1800's one person made an extended study of the Malungeons.  This was a Nashville poetess, Miss Will Allen Dromgoole, who spent some months living with the dark people in the mountains and reported her findings in two article in the Arena magazine, published in Boston in 1891.

Miss Dromgoole noted several strange facts of the Malungeons life, some of which she thought indicated Latin origin.  Especially, sh noted that there was a special veneration for the Christian Cross shown along the whole ridge.  She thought this strange, in view of the fact that the ridge people, if they were religious at all, leaned toward the shouting types of Protestantism which used the cross symbol little, if at all.  Too, she said the Malungeons commonly made and drank brandy rather than whisky. The s seems open to some doubt, as no one in the area makes any brandy now, and on one remembers any of it ever coming off Newman’s Ridge or out of Blackwater Swamp.  Possibly Miss Dromgoole was a teetotaler and no authority on the subject  She also noted a common habit of burying the Malungeon dead above ground, with small, token houses over the graves, much as Spanish and Indian Catholics bury the dead in the Southwestern United States, and Alaskan Indians, converted to Greek Catholicism, do in Alaska and Aleutian Islands.  Again, Miss Dromgoole’s word must be taken for it, because no such graves are in evidence now.

Several peculiarities mar the poetess’ account of the dark people. One is that she changed her mind.  In the Arena article of March, 1891, she rejected the theory that the Malungeons might be Negroid, basing her rejection on their appearance and on what she stated as a fact—that continuance of such blood would be impossible because octoroon women never had children, and Malungeons families were traceable for numerous generations. She said then that she did not know where the Malungeons had come from or of what blood they were, although she was inclined to believe they were basically Portuguese.

Three months later, however, Miss Dromgoole signed another article on the same subject in the same magazine. But by this time she had decided, among other things, that octoroon women were not necessarily barren after all.  She no longer found the Malungeons interesting, friendly or pathetic.  In June they were dirty, thieving, untrustworthy, decadent and not mysterious at all.  In June she knew their exact history. There had been, said Miss Dromgoole, two wily Cherokee Indians with a big idea. First, they borrowed names from white settlers in Virginia and called themselves Vardy Collins and Buck Gibson.  Then, in the woods near a Virginia settlement, Vardy covered Buck with a dark stain , led him to a plantation and there sold him as a ‘likely
n------” receiving in payment $300, some goods and a wagon with a team of mules.  With this loot he promptly vanished into the forest again.

Whereupon Gibson made his way to the nearest fresh water, washed off the dark stain, then calmly walked off the plantation, a free man protesting that he knew nothing of the sale of any “likely n-----” and certainly was not one.

In the forest, Gibson met Collins at ta rendezvous where they split the loot and went their separate ways. Miss Dromgoole’s article gives no hint of her authority, but she states flatly that Collins came to Newman’s Ridge, Tennessee, where he begat a large family by a wife whose ancestry was not specified. Subsequently, and English trader named Mullins came to the ridge and married one of the Collins family.  A free or escaped Negro, on Goins—this still quoting Miss Dromgoole—married another daughter and settledin Blackwater swamp; and a Portuguese, one Denham arrived from no one knows where, married still another Collins to establish one more related family on the ridge.

Miss Dromgoole is gone and there is no practical method of checking her theories or even her facts now. But her final estimate of the Malungeons did not please them, and they had a sort of revenge.  Milum Bowen remembers that the ridge people created a jingle about the poetess and repeated it endlessly to each other.  “I can’t remember the rest of the words, ‘ he says, “ but the last of it was ‘ Will Allen Damfool.”

Actually, Miss Dromgoole’s theory of origin for the dark people has as much to support it as any of the others, which is virtually nothing except that the dark people do exist.  Many theories have been advanced.  One, which the Malungeons themselves like especially, is that they are descendants of the lost Roanoke colony in Virginia–although the only plausible link with that colony is in the English sounding names the Malungeons now hear.  They could be the Lost Colony, of course.  But there is no real indication that they are.

Woodson Knight, a Louisville, Kentucky, writer, professed to find in 1940 an indication in these same names that the people might be Welsh, and was bemused by the possibility that those along the Clinch River might have descended from the retainers of a certain early Welsh Chieftain, one Madoc, who with his ship “sailed from the ken of men into the Western Sea” in the days of the Roman Empire’s decline. Which could be, of course, but lacks any supporting evidence whatsoever.

Unquestionably the oddest theory of all was advanced by J. Patton Gibson, a Tennessee writer, and given an odd twist by Judge Lewis Shepherd, of Chattanooga.  Shepherd’s connection with the Malungeons came through his employment as attorney for a half-Malungeon woman who somehow had wandered that far from her native Hancock County mountains.  A daughter was born, and subsequently both the mother and father died, the latter in an asylum.  His relatives sent the child away and claimed the land, basing their claim on the theory that the Malungeon woman had bee of Negro blood, that the marriage therefore had been illegal under Tennessee statues and that the child was illegitimate and without rights of succession to the property.

Shepherd was employed as attorney for the girl, by this time nearly grown, and brought back to Chattanooga by friends of the dead man.  Like so many of the people who have written and spoken on the subject of the Malungeon mystery Shepherd nowhere quoted his authorities, but what he told the jury was that the girl in question had no Negroid characteristics and that she, a Malungeon, was a descendant of a lost and hounded people originally Phoenicians, who migrated to Morocco at the time the Romans were sacking Carthage.  From Morocco, he said, they eventually sailed to South Carolina, arriving there before other settlers.  But when lighter neighbors came, these people could not get along with them because the light South Carolinians insisted the Malungeons were Negroes, and even attempted to impose a head tax on them as such, as well as barring their children from Caucasian schools.  So they fled toward the mountains and stopped only when they reached Hancock County, Tennessee.  There was nobody then, and there is nobody now, to support in any way his theory or to argue with him on any basis except improbability. But he did win the court case.

One more theory is worth repeating along with the more curious.  Among others, James Aswell, magazine writer and Tennessee history expert, has repeated it as a possible explanation for the Malungeons.  This is: that at about the time of the Portuguese revolt against Spain, numerous Portuguese ships were plying the Caribbean as pirates or near-pirates. A common method of disposing of unwanted drew members was to maroon them, sometimes on the Florida Keys or coast. Some crews also mutinied, and one may have very well burned its ship, attacked some small Indian village ashore and taken the women, then fled west to the mountains to escape Indian wrath.

That these Portuguese could have reached the Hancock ridges is obviously quite possible, especially if their marooning or mutiny should have taken place on the North Carolina coast.  To say that they did reach the ridges is another matter. The only evidences of it are the dark and Latin features of the present-day Malungeons–the differences between Indian and Latin are often difficult to distinguish–the rumors of cross veneration and near-Catholic habits of burial, and the possibility mentioned by some writers that a name such as Bragans might as easily originally have been Braganza as Brogan.

Whatever they are—Welsh, English, Phoenician, Portuguese or just Indian—the Malungeons still are on Newman’s Ridge, in Hancock, Rhea and Hawkins counties of Tennessee, and a few across the border in Virginia.  Many are scattered by ones or twos miles from the isolated ridge top they occupied for so long.  There are  known to be hundreds and maybe thousands with variously diluted blood.  And where they came from nobody knows.  The old people left no records, no implements, books or relics to help in solving the mystery.  They were an uneducated, often illiterate people, and even what little the grandfathers knew or had heard of their own origin died with them, except for scraps of oral stories.

The descendants are still farmers, for the most part, still have occasional trouble about their color.  Within the last dozen years, disputes flared briefly in certain Hancock County districts about whether Malungeon children should go to white or Negro schools, and during both wars of this century, Malungeon draftees have had color trouble upon reporting to Southern cantonments.  They still make a certain amount of tax-evading whisky somewhere up the dim ravines, and now and then are hauled into court for it. Generally, they still avoid schools, except for the mission at Vardy, from which the Rev. Chester F. Leonard sends a few on to the University of Tennessee or to church colleges. One such college, Maryville, has records of half a dozen entered, none graduated.  Mr. Leonard, incidentally, says, “The group is so intermingled that one cannot be sure of a typical specimen.”

In the small Tennessee hill towns, now and then , a dark man will talk to a strange, tell a few incidents heard or seen on Newman’s Ridge or advise him, “ see----------------. If anybody knows, he will.”  Only------never does.  A lovely woman may even, looking straight at the visitor with gray eyes, say, “My own grandfather had some Indians blood and perhaps some Spanish.  We don’t know much about the family, but there is a story that some of DeSoto’s men-----.”

The lady may have small hands and feet, high cheekbones, straight hair and olive skin, and regal carriage.  She may talk for some time and tell much that is written in no books, some fact, some hearsay, some the most fanciful legend.  But one word she will never say. She will never say, “Malungeon.”  The End.