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)

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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.

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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.

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in the United States, American Anthropologist 74, 1972, 704-710.

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October 26, 1970, Section 2-1.

Burnett, Swan, Note on the Melungeons, American Anthropologist,
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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
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DeMarce, Virginia Easley, Verry Slitly Mixt: Tri-Racial Isolate Families
of the Upper South - A Genealogical Study, National Genealogical Society
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3, June 1891, 745-751.

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

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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.

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Journal, Thursday, March 11, 1971.

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

___________, Hancock County - The Land of Mystery, Hancock County Post,
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to those of Worldwide Populations, Tennessee Anthropologist, Vol. XV, No.
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26, 2000, online edition.

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Something Borrowed, Appalachian Journal, Spring 1984, 201-213.

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No. 3, Spring 1998, 270 - 286.

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Spring 1998, 297-298.

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Related to the Melungeons of Hancock County, Tennessee, Ph.D. dissertation,
Indiana University, 1976

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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.

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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
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