Saturday, February 21, 2015

MYSTERY OF THE MELUNGEONS

By Louise Davis-Nashville Tennessean Sunday Magazine-Sept. 22, 1963                                                          
Who are the Melungeons—the “mystery race” tucked away between giant ridges of East Tennessee mountains long before the first white explorer arrived?      What exotic tale of shipwreck or mutiny lies in the dark eyes of the red-brown people already in Hancock County before Daniel Boone cut a trail?      What story of explorers’ strayed from DeSoto’s party 400 years ago or of Portuguese sailors stranded on the North Carolina coast stares out in their steady gaze?

A photographer and I set out to talk to these shy people and, if possible, to break down their long-standing refusal to have their picture made.  In part, we succeeded.  We found that the dark people are indeed there, pocketed mysteriously in the mountains where tow-headed Anglo-Saxon children fill most of the schools.  But the sullen eyes of Anglo-Saxon citizens (who make up 99 percent of the population of Hancock County) followed every move we made, and even the sheriff challenged the photographer’s right to make a picture of the court house.

The tragedy of the “lost race” was thick around us.  “Every eye in the valley is watching you,” one of our kind guides (who asked not to be identified) said after we had left Sneedville, the county seat, and risen over Newman’s Ridge to dip down the back side where the few identifiable members of the race live.

So deep is the resentment in Hancock County against inquiring outsiders, particularly against certain Knoxville newspapers and “The Saturday Evening Post” for stories they published, that all writers and photographers are under suspicion.  The truth is that Melungeons are a vanishing race, a race so rare that Hancock County citizens can point out only two or three families with certainty.  And they prefer not to do that.

For the word Melungeon (pronounced Me-lun-jun) itself is so clouded in tragedy that people there will not say it.  A much maligned people—not white  nor black nor yellow nor red—the Melungeons had to take their case to the Tennessee Supreme Court before the Civil War to win the decision that they were not Negroid and were therefore entitled to send their children to school with white children.

Before that, in the state constitution of 1834, they were disfranchised as “free men of color” and were denied the right to sue or testify in court.  White men who coveted the rich lowlands the Melungeons had cultivated pushed them off their acres and on to the rocky ridges.  The Melungeons had no recourse.

Trapped in poverty, snubbed by their fair-skinned neighbors, some of them withdrew to the poor land along Snake Hollow, deep in the rattlesnake-infested gorge in the shadow of towering Newman’s Ridge. Some of them settled along the northern end of the valley, at the Virginia line, where Blackwater Creek flows, and some settled on the Ridge.

“I have never heard one refer to himself as a Melungeon.”  Mildred Haun, gifted Tennessee writer who grew up in a neighboring county and wrote many stories about them, said.  “Most of the mountain people refer to them as Blackwaters and Ridgemanites.”
But even in that long gorge, winding some 20 miles in a half-mile-wide band between Newman’s Ridge and Powell Mountain there are few “pure Melungeons” left today.

The Melungeons still there deeply resent outsiders who pry into their ancestry and pontificate on their intelligence and industry.  They themselves refuse to discuss the matter, and few will talk to reporters on any subject.  They and fellow citizens of Hancock County are incensed at bus-loads of brash teachers and students from university sociology classes who descend on the court house from time to time to announce they are “looking for Melungeons.”

Miss Martha Collins, vice-president of the Citizens Bank of Sneedville, sat at her trim-lined desk in the air-conditioned, modernistic bank and pondered questions we asked her.  Obviously it was not a subject to dismiss lightly, nor to discuss with strangers who might write misleading stories.   A fair-skinned, blue-eyed woman whose calm efficiency at running the bank was sharpened in 25 years of training under her distinguished father’s presidency, Miss Collins weighed her words, spaced her sentences precisely  ------- figuring interest.

“I used to regard the stories about Melungeons as a part of mythology,” Miss Collins, a college graduate who is descended from one of the oldest families in the region, said.  “But my sister said, “No, there is some truth in it.”  Miss Collins rose from her desk and walked thoughtfully to the vault to withdraw a letter postmarked 1907.  It had been written to her by one of her uncles.  Elegant in vocabulary and charming in sentiment, the letter related some of the family stories about their origin.  Written by J. G. Rhea, the letter told of one of the legends that persists to explain the presence of the dark-skinned people in the area:  they are descendants of  the Spaniards and perhaps Portuguese men in DeSoto’s party who ventured from Florida into parts of North Carolina and Tennessee in search of gold in 1540.

According to this story, some of the men became lost from DeSoto’s  party, were either captured or befriended by Cherokee Indians, intermarried with them, and left their descendants in Rhea, Hawkins, and Hancock counties in Tennessee and neighboring counties in Virginia.  “Navarrh Collins….a fine old patriarch….said to be of Portuguese descent, was one of the early settlers.”  Rhea wrote.  “He settled on Blackwater Creek and owned Vardy Mineral Springs.”  Vardy, a community centered around a neat cluster of white frame church, school and missionary teacher’s residence, got its name from Spanish settlers, tradition says.

Navarrh, Rhea said, was a variation of Navarre, a region in Spain.  When Navarrh Collins opened Navarrh Mineral Springs, a long-ago health resort in the valley, the name was soon contracted to Varr and they Vardy.There is nothing of the backwardness of the traditional mountaineer in the letter, and it is obvious that Hancock County has—and for generations has had—its artistocracy, some of whom took pride in their Spanish and Portuguese ancestry as well as in their Scotch-Irish blood. But there are no Spanish or Portuguese names in the community now.  There is no peculiarity of vocabulary to set the Melungeon apart from other citizens of comparable education and background.

The late Mrs. John Trotwood Moore, historian and former head of the Tennessee State Library, said original family names of the Melungeons disappeared as they took the names of English-Irish settlers who came into the mountains after the Revolutionary War.  The Melungeons became Collins, Mullins, Gibson, Freeman, Goins, et cetera.  Others may have anglicized their Spanish or Portuguese names.

The Melungeons themselves, a clannish lot who are said to talk freely among themselves of their mysterious beginnings, are silent when outsiders broach the subject.   Miss Collins, at the Sneedville bank, had told us we might find one of the dark-skinned people some 14 miles away, where Snake Hollow road crooks through the shadowy gorge between Sneedville and Tazewell.  Mrs. Bertha Bell, Miss Collins said, might talk to us and pose for our photographer.

Mrs. Bell did both, chatting happily on every subject from gardening to taxes until the origin of the settlers was mentioned.  A slight, engaging woman, hospitable and kind, she became inscrutable as Buddha when we asked her about Portuguese or Spanish settlers in the area, and, finally about Melungeons.  “I don’t know anything about that,” she said, suddenly wide-eyed and innocent.  “I don’t know about such as that.”

Her skin had the red-brown color of an Asiatic.  Her bare feet, after 58 years of walking the rocky roads unshod, were dainty and shapely.   Her hands and feet had none of the light coloring of Negro palms and soles.  It was reminder of telling evidence used by one of Tennessee’s early lawyers of distinction, John Netherland, to win the lawsuit hinging on the fact that Melungeons are not Negroid.

Some observers say the distinct coloring of a Melungeon does not blend with that of a white.  Some of the children of mixed marriages are white, while others have the red brown coloring of the Melungeons.  White mothers, for instance, may have dark sons and white daughters.The setting for tragedy is complete.   The dark forebodings and heartbreak that come of the mixed marriages is theme of many of the short stories in the remarkable volume, “The Hawk’s Done Gone,” that Mildred Haun published in 1940. In one story, she told of a white girl who did not know that her father was Melungeon.  When she married and her child was dark-skinned, the girl’s husband killed both mother and child.  “From my observations and from all I have heard, I don’t believe they blend in color.”  Miss Haun, now a writer for the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C., said recently.But some lifelong residents of Hancock County say Melungeons do indeed blend with other races.  For centuries they kept their distinctive look because they were so isolated that they seldom married outside their clan.

The word Melungeon is said to come from the French word mélange, meaning mixture.  But that too is conjecture.  Another explanation is that the word comes from melas, a Greek word meaning dark, and that fits the theories of the ancient Greek beginnings of the race.  Still another explanation is that the word comes from an Afro-Portuguese word, melungo, meaning sailor.   It is the Portuguese sailor tradition that persists among the Melungeons.  Those who discus the matter simply say they are “Porter-ghee.” According to them, Portuguese sailors sometime before the American Revolution mutinied, and their ship was beached off the coast of North Carolina.  The sailors came ashore only to encounter hostile Indians, and when they had killed the Indian men, the claimed the Indian women as their own.  One version of this story is that some of these Portuguese sailors were descended from ancient Phoenicians who had moved from Carthage to Morocco, whence they crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to settle in North Portugal.  “A colony of these Moors is said to have crossed the Atlantic and settled in North Carolina,”  the Encyclopedia Americana states. Chinese sailors were known to have made their way to Portugal and intermarried with the Portuguese, and that slightly Oriental strain is one of the clues to the occasional slant eyes and silky skin of some of the Melungeons.
One thing is sure:   the  mystery is alive and walking in Hancock County.  As Mrs. Bell stood on the front porch of her home—the only two-story house on narrow Snake Hollow road—her nine-year-old grandson, Terry, appeared around the corner of the house.  His dreamy Oriental eyes and elfin face held all the mystery of his race.  Like one of the genil from the Arabian Nights, the long-legged boy scampered over rocks and around tree roots, bouncing the “wheelbarrow” he had created by nailing the lid of a tin bucket to a long stick.  “All it takes to make a boy happy in this part of the country is a hammer and some nails,” his grandmother commented happily.  The boy grew quiet at the sound of a jet plane zooming far above the mountain that walls in his world, and he and his grandmother squirted tobacco juice thoughtfully.  “Not anything goes too fast for me,” the boy of mysterious past said.     “And no water’s to deep for a boy,” his grandmother added, nodding her head till her string of pearls twinkled, with an animation no stoic mountaineer knows.                                                      

Sunday, January 25, 2015

FIRST MELUNGEONS

                                                                
Who were the first Melungeons, and who named them? The answers to these questions come from historians who knew and named the core Melungeons. Historians did not error in determining who and where the Melungeons were located and finding where someone wrote, “We have those same people here, without naming anyone, no witnesses and no history from that area collaborating those unnamed Melungeons leads to a copy cat group named by someone familiar with the original Melungeons.   Common sense should tell you a slur name given to a group of people would be first found in the area where it was given.  

Melungeon research is no different than family research, start at home and work you way back to a known Melungeon ancestor.  The most common mistake researchers make is to ignore the old witnesses and start with their own personal theory which usually takes them back to no documentation and no history for their Melungeons. 

1st and foremost establishing who and where the Melungeons were located can only be done by historical witnesses who lived in the days of the Melungeons  and named some of them.  Based on these witnesses Melungeon was a derogatory name given to people of mixed race. [1]

1-They were dubbed Melungeon by the local white people who have lived here with them. It is not a traditional name or a tribe of Indians. Some have said these people were here when this country was first explored by the white people, and others that they are a lost tribe of the Indians and have no date of their existence here, traditionally or otherwise. All of this however is erroneous and cannot be sustained. These people not any of them were here at the time when the first white hunting party came from Virginia and North Carolina in the year 1761.These Melungeons settled long after  this, on Newman Ridge and Blackwater About the years 1795 and 1812 . Vardy Collins, Shepherd Gibson, Benjamin Collins, Solomon  Collins, Paul Bunch and the Goodman Chiefs and the rest of them settled here. Some went into the war of 1812-14 James Collins, John Bolin and Mike Bolin and others not remembered.[2]         

 2-Capt. L. M. Jarvis, an old citizen of Sneedville wrote in his 82nd year: "I have lived here at the base of Newman's Ridge, Blackwater, being on the opposite side, for the last 71 years and well know the history of these people on Newman's Ridge and Blackwater enquired about as Melungeons. These people were friendly to the Cherokees who came west with the white imigration from New River about the year 1790...The name Melungeon was given them on account of their color. I have seen the oldest and first settlers of this tribe who first occupied Newman's Ridge and Blackwater and I have owned much of the lands on which they settled.. They obtained their land grants from North Carolina. I personally knew Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepard Gibson, Paul Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moores, Williams and Sullivans, all of the very first settlers and noted men of these friendly Indians.[3]  

Review Essay: The Melungeons 
by Virginia Easley DeMarce, Ph.D. Originally printed in the National Genealogy Society Quarterly
Vol. 84, No. 2, June 1996
The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People. An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America by N. Brent Kennedy, with Robyn Vaughan Kennedy. 
Published by Mercer University Press; Macon, GA 31210; 1994. xviii,
156 pp. Appendix, illustrations index.
ETHNIC IDENTIFICATION Kennedy does not use the term Melungeon in its anthropological sense-that is, the interlocking families who moved into, existed in, and dispersed from Hawkins and Hancock Counties, Tennessee. Rather, he coins a very loose definition, expanding it to cover essentially all colonial-era Virginians and Carolinians who (in whatever records he consulted) are not clearly stated to be European American or African American. Melungeon thus becomes a catchall description for dark- skinned individuals whose ancestry does not seem to be sub-Saharan African-as well as their lighter-skinned relatives and descendants, whom he presents as subjects of racial prejudice. The manner in which numerous individuals are "deduced" to be Melungeon is troubling. By surmising a connection when he cannot show it, he makes "Melungeons" of numerous frontier families whose ancestry appears to be wholly northern European, including those whose known origin is Scotch-Irish or German. 

Brent Kennedy book started a new generation of Melungeons between the old Hancock County, Newman Ridge identified Melungeons and the new self identified Melungeons. 

Avoid basing your moves on information that someone else is providing without documentation and verify records where someone claimed were old. 
As for Walter Plecker there is no debate on who and where the Melungeons were located. 
 

Mr. W.A. Plecker,
State Registrar
Bureau of Vital Statistics                                                                                                                                                                                              
Richmond, Virginia
My dear Sir:
The Secretary of State has sent your letter to my desk for reply.
You have asked us a hard question.

The origin of the Melungeons has been a disputed question in Tennessee ever since we can remember. Hancock County was established by an Act of the General Assembly passed January 7th, 1844 and was formed from parts of Claiborne and Hawkins counties.

Newman's Ridge, which runs through Hancock county north of Sneedville, is parallel with Clinch River and just south of Powell Mountain. The only map on which we find it located is edited by H. C. Amick and S. J. Folmsbee of the University of Tennessee in 1941 published by Denoyer-Geppert Co., 5235 Ravenswood Ave., Chicago, listed as [TN 7S]* TENNESSEE. On this map is shown Newman's Ridge as I have sketched it on this little scrap of paper, inclosed. But we do not have the early surveys showing which county it as originally in. It appears that it may have been in Claiborne according to the Morris Gazetteer of Tennessee 1834 which includes this statement: "Newman's Ridge, one of the spurs of Cumberland Mountain, in East Tennessee, lying in the north east angle of Claiborne County, west of Clinch River, and east of Powell's Mountain. It took its name from a Mr. Newman who discovered it in 1761."

Early historians of East Tennessee who lived in that section and knew the older members of this race refer to Newman's Ridge as "quite a high mountain, extending through the entire length of Hancock County, and into Claiborne County on the west. It is between Powell Mountain on the north and Clinch River on the south." Capt. L. M. Jarvis, an old citizen of Sneedville wrote in his 82nd year: "I have lived here at the base of Newman's Ridge, Blackwater, being on the opposite side, for the last 71 years and well know the history of these people on Newman's Ridge and Blackwater enquired about as Melungeons. These people were friendly to the Cherokees who came west with the white imigration from New River and Cumberland, Virginia, about the year 1790...The name Melungeon was given them on account of their color. I have seen the oldest and first settlers of this tribe who first occupied Newman's Ridge and Blackwater and I have owned much of the lands on which they settled.. They obtained their land grants from North Carolina. I personally knew Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepard Gibson, Paul Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moores, Williams and Sullivans, all of the very first settlers and noted men of these friendly Indians. They took their names from white people of that name with whom they came here. They were reliable, truthful and faithful to anything they promised. In the Civil War most of the Melungeons went into the Union army and made good soldiers. Their Indian blood has about run out. They are growing white... They have been misrepresented by many writers. In former writings I have given their stations and stops on their way as they emigrated to this country with white people, one of which places was at the mouth of Stony Creek on Clinch river in Scott County, Virginia, where they built fort and called it Ft. Blackamore after Col. Blackamore who was with them... When Daniel Boone was here hunting 1763-1767, these Melungeons were not here."
The late Judge Lewis Shepherd, prominent jurist of Chattanooga, went further in his statements in his "Personal Memoirs", and contended that this mysterious racial group descended from the Phoenicians of Ancient Carthage. This was his judgment after investigations he made in trying a case featuring the complaint that they were of mixed negro blood, which attempt failed, and which brought out the facts that many of their ancestors had settled early in South Carolina when they migrated from Portugal to America about the time of the Revolutionary war, and later moved into Tennessee. At the time of this trial covered by Judge Shepherd "charges that Negro blood contaminated the Melungeons and barred their intermarriage with Caucasians created much indignation among families of Phoenician descent in this section."

But I imagine if the United States Census listed them as mulattoes their listing will remain. But it is a terrible claim to place on people if they do not have negro blood. I often have wondered just how deeply the census takers went into an intelligent study of it at that early period.
I have gone into some detail in this reply to explain the mooted question and why it is not possible for me to give you a definite answer. I hope this may assist you to some extent.

Sincerely,      Mrs. John Trotwood Moore
State Librarian and Archivist

From the Multi-racial activist site





[1] Lewis Jarvis- A name given to them because of the color of their skin.- Lewis Shepherd personal memoirs it was derived from the French word melanger. p88 
[2] - L.M. Jarvis letter in Hancock County and It’s People Volume 11 1994- p-46 
[3] Letter from Tennessee State Librarian, Mrs John Moore to W. A. Plecker quoting Lewis Jarvis.  

Sunday, November 30, 2014

................................Core Melungeon Y-DNA


As most people know the administrators are not allowed to release the name of the person who gave the sample and family tree will not even list a person who does not give his most distant ancestor, so kit # 319509 most distant ancestor is Nicholas Gibson. The problem is non-family members like Pezzullo wants to be the source for all the Core Melungeons genealogy. We still have the 4 original administrators as listed in our project. The Nicholas Gibson test dated 2013 was not included in the Peer Review.  Jack

Joanne genealogy on Nicholas is the real confusion and does not match his Y-DNA results. The 4 listed below who match him on the 25 marker core Y-DNA meaning at some point in history they had the same male common ancestor, their genealogy by Kathy James.



kit # 319509 Nicholas Gibson is a very close match to almost all the core Gibson Melungeons
Open this link to compare the numbers.

https://www.familytreedna.com/public/coremelungeon/default.aspx?section=ycolorized  
 Administrators have the advantage of being told all the matches, but you can compare the Y-markers, to see who has the same numbers.

 25 marker matches to Nicholas Gibson. 
315909
Nicholas Gibson, b. 1649 and d. 1734 R-M269 13 24 14 11 11-14 12 12 13 13 13 29 17 9-10 10 11 25 15 19 28 15-15-16-17 11 11 19-23 15 15 18 17 35-40 12 12 

153567
Shepherd Gibson R-M269 13 24 14 11 11-14 12 12 13 13 13 29 17 9-10 10 11 25 15 19 28 15-15-16-17

117392
Dotson Gibson, 1825-1864 R-M269 13 24 14 11 11-14 12 12 13 13 13 29 17 9-10 10 11 25 15 19 28 15-15-16-17 11 11 19-23 15 15 18 17 35-40 12 12 11 9 15-16 8 10 10 8 10 10 12 22-23 17 10 12 12 16 8 13 22 20 13 12 11 13 11 11 12 12  

87768
Shepherd Gibson d. 1842 Hawkins Co. TN R-M269 13 24 14 11 11-14 12 12 13 13 13 29 17 9-10 10 11 25 15 19 28 15-15-16-17 11 12 19-23 15 15 18 17 35-40 12 12 11 9 15-16 8 10 10 8 10 10 12 22-23 17 10 12 12 16 8 13 22 20 13 12 11 13 11 11 12 12
116777
Joseph Fisher Gibson, b.c. 1791, Virginia R-M269 13 24 14 11 11-14 12 12 13 13 13 29 17 9-10 10 11 25 15 19 28 15-15-16-17

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

...................... No Portuguese

When we started the Core Melungeon DNA project in 2005  I hope to be able to show that the Malungeons were in fact Portuguese, who came from the long-shore parts of Virginia. And intermixed with the Indians, and subsequently their descendants after the advances of the whites into this part of the state with the Negros and the whites, thus forming the present race of Melungens.   Both my Minor and Goins ancestors claimed to be Portuguese on the 1880 census of Hancock County, Tennessee.  And was very disappointed when none of the haplogroups showed Portugal. The latest bad news came recently with the regional SNP J-Z640. 

The DNA regional SNP has proven the opposite, they probably claimed Portuguese because their native countries were controlled by Portugal and they most likely came to America on a Portuguese ship, especially the ones who came from Angola.  

SNP J-Z640.  click on the link below, Look at it and where it is found.
https://www.familytreedna.com/public/J-M267/default.aspx?section=yresults
Now, if we were to find this in the Melungeon core families - we would be more than willing to consider Portugal or Turkey or someplace other than Africa and Europe.

Just to let you know that there IS such a thing as a regional SNP, in This, on the other hand, would be something we could take to the bank....except we don't have any J-Z640 in the core Melungeon Project .
 https://www.familytreedna.com/public/coremelungeon/default.aspx?section=ycolorized

Some of the conclusions and opinions in my first book, Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families, published in 2000. has been proven wrong by the core Melungeon DNA project formed with FamilyTreeDNA July 25, 2005. In most of the Jury trials found to date they claimed to be Portuguese, but most of these including the Perkins E1b1a African.




Monday, November 24, 2014

Autosomal DNA test

                                               Autosomal DNA test, read by OmniPop

Joanne Pezzullo posted an old article I wrote on her blog.  I wrote this article years ago after the results of my Autosomal DNA tests. I don’t mind people posting my articles that are in the public domain, but in this case if she had contacted me I would have told her this test was proven worthless a few months later. And completely discarded because it was not designed for this purpose. Back at the time everyone was excited about this test where you use the original Omni Pop tool which was designed by Brian Burritt of the San Diego Police Department as a tool created to differentiate between people, specifically to determine their primary race, not to compare them for similarities.  He created the OmniPop spreadsheet from 225 police and forensic articles that had been published and referenced Codis marker information about people from specific populations-Burritt’s commentary regarding genealogists using Omni Pop for genealogical ethnicity comparisons is that they were using a tool not created for this purpose and were over-analyzing the results.

"After discovering some of my fore parents were labeled Melungeon by historians, I began a search to satisfy my own curiosity and to discover the truth about my own family and the Melungeons. Which includes private DNA test and those test reveal my Goins fore parent who came to Hawkins County was probably 75% Native American and he did have a tradition of Portuguese and Indian Heritage. Thanks, Jack Goins"

Matching people in North or South Carolina does not prove they were Melungeon because Melungeon is not a race. The Tri-racial people in those areas were given a clan name as show in Edward T. Price study. I copied and pasted the clans listed in the 1950-53 Geographic Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial Mixtures in Eastern United States.              

Edward T. Price, Los Angles State College 

1-The Melungeons -Centering in Hancock County, TN,  reached Newman Ridge and Blackwater Valley in then Hawkins County, now Hancock County in the 1790’s    2-Redbones-Louisana 3-Cajans-Alabama, Mississippi 4-Cereoles-Mississippi  5-Dominickers-Georgia 6-Brass Ankles- South Carolina 7- Croatans-North Carolina and South Carolina 8- Cubans -North Carolina 9-Browns Branch, Kentucky 10-Cubans,  11- Magoffin - Kentucky  12-Issues, Amherst County, Virginia 13- Irish Creek -Virginia 14- Carmel Indians-Ohio 15-Wesorts, Maryland 16-Darke Country, West Virginia 17-Guineas-West Virginia 18- Nanticokes, Maryland 19-Moors and Nanticokes, Maryland 20- Keating Mountain-Pennsylvania,  21-Pools, Pennsylvania  22- Jackson Whites, New York and New Jersey 23- Bushwhackers-New York 24-Slaughters- New York.

Several opinions and especially the ethnic makeup of my own family recorded in my first book “Melungeon and Other Pioneer Families” has been proven wrong by my Y-DNA test and other relatives who have taken this male Y-test.


The autosomal DNA test being used today such as 23andme, Family Finder and Ancestry, is reading your genes not someone in a police lineup who claimed he was Portuguese, Indian, African etc   The male Y-Test and mtDNA test are proven and are the same tests used in court cases, this goes to ones paternal and maternal ancestors ORIGIN, Someone who does not understand the basic of DNA wrote, “this is an old useless test that is dating back thousands of years”, but what is missing from this opinion is the number of generations when both parents were African or Native American, etc, etc. Example my paternal ancestor was African and finding my 7th generation grandma born 1730s was taxed as free colored 1813, Henry County, Virginia, strongly suggest both were African.  If your paternal ancestor was Native American there is a strong possibility his mate was Native 200 years ago. These tests show the origin of your ancestors and the origin of the Melungeon Ancestors. And also gives your Haplogroup and ethnic percentages. This test also locates others you match in the data base. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

BOOK REVIEWS

I have recently read two books that I wish to recommend to the readers of this blog, especially those who are interested in true tri-racial family history.

1st book-THE INVISIBLE LINE BY Daniel J. Sharfstein , The Penguin Press New York.  Three American Families and the secret Journey from black to white.  Gibson’s; Very well documented with footnotes throughout the book on the life of  the  Gibson’s, Spencer’s and Walls, they reflect the diversity of Southern life: They were pioneers settling in the wilderness, first along the coast  and then inland. They endured revolution, fought in the Civil War and crossed paths with central figures in American History. With time the families gained distance from their roots, but did not escape the nation’s belief in a line separating black from white.        

The 1880 Johnson Co KY census shows the names of some of the descendants in the book and living next to descendants of Valentine Collins, all listed Mul. (mulatto)
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~kyjohnso/JClowe11.htm

183- Andrew Collins
Andrew  B
COLLINS
17
(mul) Farmer
KY
KY
KY

Nancy A
(COLLINS)
17
(mul) ( m 5


185 are the Spencers in the book
85
Jordon
SPENCER
62
(mul) Farm Laborer
KY
VA
VA

Malinda
(SENTERS) jvs
50
(mul) Wife
VA
SC
SC

Polly A
SPENCER
18
(mul) Dau
KY
KY
VA

Lydia  M
SPENCER
16
(mul) Dau
KY



John  M
SPENCER
14
(mul) Son
KY



William  J
SPENCER
12
(mul) Son
KY



Clerisa
CENTERS
65
Sister-in-law
SC
SC
SC

186 Mary Collins nee Dale is another Valentine Collins descendant.

186

Mary
COLLINS
80
(mul) (Widow) (Husband David COLLINS)
VA
VA
VA


Angeline
COLLINS
39
(mul) Dau
KY
KY
VA

Julia  A
COLLINS
20
(mul) Dau
KY




If you scroll down a bit there are more Collins, according to my source all are descendents of Valentine Collins. Also, the Senters who married into the above Collins.
Y-DNA test from descendants confirmed Valentine Collins was sub-Saharan African.  

There really is an invisible line from black to white and this fits some of the hardships and discrimination of  several Melungeons families, including my gg,Goins and Minor families. 

2nd book review- BECOMING  MELUNGEON, Making an ethnic Identity in the Appalachian South. By Melissa Schrift,  University Nebraska Press. Lincoln & London.

Page 3 Introduction “Unlike others I am  not interested in the Melungeon Story, or Melungeon Origins. Instead my interests relate to the ways in which the Melungeon  legend has been socially constructed vis-à-vis the media, and how that social construction evolved into a fervent movement of self-identified Melungeons in the 1990s.  My interest in the social construction of Melungeon identity a number of interrelated questions: Who are the individuals today who claim a Melungeon identity, and by what process do they establish and legitimate such claims ?  To what extent have portrayals been resisted by individuals in Hancock County and those who self-identify as Melungeons?
2nd paragraph page 7, Introduction, the earliest reliable ethnographic sources understood Melungeons to be one of many southeastern tri-racial isolates that emerged from intermarriages among whites, blacks, and American Indians. By 1800 these isolates occupied Newman’s Ridge in an erea that included much of East Tn. And southwest Virginia and today lies in Hancock County. The most common surnames associated with these early Melungeons include Bolins, Bunch, Collins, Gibson, Goins,and Mullins. No evidence exist that anyone self-identified as Melungeon before the late 1960’s; thus it is reasonable to suggest that the term was imposed by outsiders as a derogatory one.”   

   The interviews with self-identified Melungerons were interesting , one was asked what it means to be Melungeon, she told her not to worry about all the talk about Melungeons being from “here or there” “Melungeon only means Portuguese,”she said . She told me she had only recently discovered she was a Melungeon”. She quickly followed with, “ I have always thought of myself as white–Melungeon white.”As I read this book I was amazed at the fact that most who were interviewed did not know or care who the Melungeons were, they just claimed to be one. 

Missing from all of this is the fact MHA leaders still advocate that Melungeons exist today, when in fact only descendants of the derogatory clan exist as expressed by Attorney Henry R. Price. “Melungeons The Vanishing Colony of Newman Ridge.” 1969. This book was used and distributed at the outdoor drama“Walk Toward The Sunset” in Sneedville, Tennessee.  Henry writes in PREFACE V; “I have been a student of Melungeon History and culture for nearly 25 years. I have lived with them, played with them, fought with them, gone to school with them, represented many of them in court, and have probed their background to unearth their origin. And yet I know little more today than when I began.  The Origin of the Melungeons is still a Mystery. His span in these hills is still an uncertainty, but his destiny is all too sure, The day of the Melungeon is quickly passing and is almost gone.  In the history of the earth, civilizations rise and fall; peoples make their appearances and then fade into oblivion, so also with the Melungeon. Like the summer leaf that falls to the October frost, the day of the Melungeon has reached its twilight. This once proud and fiercely independent people are all but gone. In years past they hacked and grubbed out a habitation in this Appalachian wilderness. For nearly 200 years they lived loved and fought and died with a free-spirited abandon found only in Appalachia .They asked of their surrounding neighbors only to be left alone, to live in peace: They received in return economic deprivation, intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination.   They came off the mountains and have helped build schools and churches, governments and cities. For a time the Melungeons fought and won. But there were two enemies the Melungeons could not overcome time and the attractiveness of his womenfolk to the surrounding white settlers. Intermarriages with the neighboring white community has just about written the end for this mysterious clan. The day of the Melungeon is waning. Their mountain domain, once viable with the laughter of children, is returning to the wilderness of a century ago. The young folk have left the ridges. Only the old remain. They will die here and soon their graves, like those of their fathers before them, will give way to the wild honeysuckle and sassafras.[Published by the Hancock County Drama Association, Sneedville Tennessee.]   Note: The last time I checked none of the members of the Vardy Historical Society lived in Vardy.  
              
Dr Virginia DeMarce in her review of Kennedy book , Melungeon thus becomes a catchall description for dark skinned individuals” The manner in which individuals are deduced to be Melungeon is troubling. By surmising a connection when it cannot be shown." and then she went on to write in the review that this belief is contrary to the historical facts:  "Tennessee Melungeons And Related Groups”- Dr. Virginia Easley DeMarce Historian Branch of Acknowledgement and Research, Burea Of Indian Affairs Washington DC
                                                                                       
 “Fact. The actual, factual history of social isolate settlements are going to be written by genealogist and family historians: document by individual document, fact by painstaking fact. The function and duty of the individual historian and the genealogist is to demystify and to demythologize."  "When we know the origins of each individual Melungeon family, we will know the origins of the Melungeons. When we know the orgins of each family in 'other' social isolates, we will begin to understand their genesis and development." (Dr. Virginia DeMarce Speech in the 1996 NGS conference)

 *The Origin of the Melungeons has been scientifically proven by DNA. “The Melungeons of the early 19th century were the offspring of African-American men and European-American women and is defined even more by the Family Finder  and 23andme DNA tests.  Add this knowledge  to DeMarce written factual records  and each  individual Melungeon descendant  can correctly trace their family tree. 
  
Melungeon was one of the Clans studied by Edward T. Price in 1950-53.
Geographic Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial Mixtures in Eastern United States.              

Edward T. Price, Los Angles State College 

1-The Melungeons -Centering in Hancock County, TN,  reached Newman Ridge and Blackwater Valley in then Hawkins County, now Hancock County in the 1790’s    2-Redbones- Louisana 3-Cajans-Alabama, Mississippi 4-Cereoles- Mississippi  5-Dominickers-Georgia  6-Brass Ankles- South Carolina 7- Croatans-North Carolina and South Carolina 8- Cubans -North Carolina 9-Browns Branch, Kentucky 10-Cubans,  11- Magoffin - Kentucky  12-Issues, Amherst County, Virginia 13- Irish Creek -Virginia 14- Carmel Indians-Ohio 15-Wesorts, Maryland 16-Darke Country, West Virginia 17-Guineas-West Virginia 18- Nanticokes, Maryland 19-Moors and Nanticokes, Maryland 20- Keating Mountain-Pennsylvania,  21-Pools, Pennsylvania  22- Jackson Whites, New York and New Jersey 23- Bushwhackers-New York 24-Slaughters- New York.

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