Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Melungeon connection to Familial Mediterranean Fever?

Some people never give up trying to defeat a proven fact. A person who writes a blog on the Melungeons (Melungeons are a group of folks in the U.S. who we believe have a Mediterranean ancestry.) has written about Familial Mediterranean Fever, about which she knows nothing. See a response to this blog written by the "OTHERS" on FMF here and on my blog:

A Melungeon connection to Familial Mediterranean Fever?

It never fails to amaze me that some people would rather see friends and relatives die, than admit that there might even be a SLIGHT possibility of an inherited illness amongst them. Familial Mediterranean Fever can be a FATAL illness left untreated. Why would anyone suggest that a relative die? What is so scary to some people that they would write about something that they have not researched, and which they deny is even connected to them?

Years ago, N. Brent Kennedy, author of The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People, told me that IF Familial Mediterranean Fever turned out to be an Appalachian thing rather than a Melungeon 'thing,' then the importance factor of this FACT was raised.

As both a patient with FMF and a patient advocate for others with this disease, I can state that it appears this is so. Cases of Familial Mediterranean Fever are being found all over the United States and in particular amongst those families having roots in the Appalachian Mountain ranges.

I moderate two Familial Mediterranean Fever sites, a mailing list on yahoogroups,

(subscribe - fmf_support-subscribe@yahoogroups.com )

I also moderate a website that is connected to the United States "rarediseases" organization. The rare diseases group is connected to a world-wide group of researchers and patients who are attempting to find solutions and cures for this at present incurable illness. It is written in 5 languages:

Also see NORD, National Organization for Rare Diseases

I have researched this illness and corresponded with doctors and other researchers. It is data from these sources that allows me to recommend doctors practicing in various states and countries to patients searching for an answer to serious, life-threatening health issues and to encourage them to ask their doctors to do the research that would allow them to TRY colchicine.

Years ago, my own doctors told me that a TRIAL of colchicine given in a specific amount and for a limited time would not hurt me even if I did not have the illness. A POSITIVE response to colchicine is a POSITIVE diagnosis of Familial Mediterranean Fever. And colchicine is the ONLY medication that prevents this illness from being fatal.

A recent blog noted that: "Some people have been misinformed that having Familial Mediterranean Fever proves a Melungeon connection."

Nothing could be farther from the truth! Having Familial Mediterranean Fever proves that somewhere in your ancestry you have Mediterranean ancestry. Many of us who have a Melungeon connection in our family lines, do believe that the Melungeons have a Mediterranean connection. After all, the Melungeons themselves noted that they were 'Portyghee.' Portugal is a Mediterranean country and probably one of the most ethnically mixed countries in the world.

When a person writes about a medical problem, that person needs to have not only compassion, but accurate information. The person writing the blog has neither.

The blog mentioned noted that: "The most dangerous aspect of this dislusional thinking is that the advice to just TRY colchicine is very dangerous advice because colchicine is a very dangerous drug." How disingenuous!

Since colchicine requires a prescription from a doctor, that is, a licensed MD, a suggestion to TRY colchicine must pass a rigorous medical procedure before any such prescription can be given.

The statement from this blog that: "An ethical Dr. would only prescribe colchicine if the benefits outweighed the danger. Leave the prescribing to a licensed physician." would be funny, IF it were not so dangerous to the health of those of us who have suffered through dozens of doctor visits to dozens of different doctors over dozens of years arriving at several dozen different misdiagnoses in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis and receive a script for the life-saving product called COLCHICINE. One does not say, 'Doc, give me colchicine and get it.'

As with most drugs there are side effects to colchicine. Given the fact that Familial Mediterranean Fever can be a FATAL illness, weighing the benefits, LIFE against DEATH, seems to me to swing the scales in the direction of life.

I would hope that patients would choose life. Listening to tripe such as that written on the other blog can lead to death.
Familial Mediterranean Fever blog - 'my story' w/ FMF, and LOTS of medical documentation, charts etc.

Familial Mediterranean Fever- rarediseasescommunity
Posted by Nancy at 9:59 AM 0 comments

Saturday, February 12, 2011


thanks to Karen for the following:


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

The foremost jury lawyer of East Tenn. of his generation was the late Hon. John
Netherland, the son-in-law of the John A. McKinney, referred to by Lucy S. V.
King, and he gave me the same account, substantially, of the origin of these
people that Judge Shepherd does. Netherland was the Whig candidate for Governor
of Tennessee in 1859, against Isham G. Harris. He died in the 80'c. He was a
slave-owner and practised law in all the East Tennessee counties, which these
people live.

Prior to 1824 free negroes voted in Tennessee, and when in that year the State
Constitution was so amended as to disfranchise "all free persons of color", it
was sometimes made the pretext of refusing the franchise to these people of
perfectly straight hair, small hands and shapely feet who bore no more
resemblance to a negro than do members of the Spanish or Portugese embassies of
Washington. As to whether they voted or not, in the few counties where they were
up to the Civil War, depended upon the disposition of the election officers and
the closeness of the contest. But I will add that the election officers were
very rarely unfair and their right to vote rarely challenged. Sometimes, in a
very close contest, some fellow would challenge it and the man would forego
exercising his rights rather than fight about it.

They have not been of a lawless or turbulent disposition. They realized the
prejudice against them because of their dark complexion. Some of them served in
the Confederate, and some in the Federal East Tennessee Regiment, but neither
side would have accepted them had they believed they had negro blood In their

In my boyhood days they were called Portugese. The word Mulangeon is
comparatively modern as to its general use. As a rule they did not go into
either army; did not wish to. They preferred agriculture; happy in their
mountain cabins.

The extract from McKinney's speech is garbled. He truly said the language of the
disfranchising clause included these people because it embraced "all free
persons of color" but notwithstanding that the majority of them always voted
because their neighbors did not regard them as negroes or as having negro blood
in their veins.

I believe there was some mixture of these Portugese with the Cherokee Indians,
but not with negroes. Lying, sensational newspaper correspondents, from the
North, originally started this racket to show that Southern whites were given to
miscegenating with negroes, and to have something to write about. Some Southern
writers have imitated them, magnifying fifty or one hundred fold the number of
these people. Gen. William T. Sherman did some things I disapproved as much as
you do, but he hit the nail on the head when he said that "there were some
newspaper correspondents who, to create a sensation and for pay, would slander
their grandmothers."

Of course, some of the people were shiftless and degraded, as are some of all
races, but I remember a notable exception by the name of William Lyle. He was a
prosperous country merchant who came to Knoxviile every year to buy goods of our
wholesale dealers and was treated by every one, with the utmost respect. He was
spoken of as a Portugese, and bore no more resemblance to a negro than any
Spaniard or Portugese. He dressed elegantly, was well informed and as polished
and refined as half the members of Congress, and more so than many of them.

In the early history of the country, there were many Spanish and Portugese
sailors, who settled on the South Carolina and North Carolina coast. One oi
these was a Spanish ship carpenter by name of Farragut. In North Calorina, he
married a poor girl and drifted to this city (then a town of about 1,200 people)
where he followed the trade of house-carpenter, and here was born his
subsequently famous son, Admiral David G. Farragut. His Spanish father was a
dark-skinned man.

Finally, the decision of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 1872, referred to by
Judge Shepherd, should be conclusive on this subject. Every one of the five
members of that Court was a Confederate and Democrat. The Chief Justice, A. Q.
P. Nicholson, was the Colleague of Andrew Jehnson In the U. S. Senate in 1861.
James W. Deaderick, after this decision and after the death of Nicholson, also
of the bench at the time, succeeded Nicholson as Chief Justice. He was not
himself in the army but every one of his seven sons were at the front in the
Confederate Army, some of whom were badly wounded and the other three Judges had
honorable records as Confederate soldiers. Judge Shepherd himself was a
Confederate soldier.


P. S. Lyle is not a Portugese name, neither is that of the American Darbey's
French, as was that of their ancestor D. Aubigney.

Watson's Jeffersonian magazine, Volume 13
edited by Thomas Edward Watson
Jeffersonian Pub. Co., 1911
Page 522 and 523
(free google book)