Monday, October 6, 2014

Ashley Marie Trent, Granddaughter of Johnnie Rhea, Obituary



Ashley Marie Trent, age 26, of Sneedville, was born on July 28, 1988 and passed away suddenly on October 4, 2014 from injuries resulting from a car accident. She professed faith in Christ at an early age. She was preceded in death by her father, Edgar Trent; grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Issac Trent, Carson Singleton & Johnnie Clyde Rhea. She is survived by; Daughter; Addison Marie Hill. Sister; Tammy Trent, Very special niece & nephew; Tamara King and Jaden Taylor, Mother; Margaret Trent Belch (Ed & Debbie) Special aunt & uncle; Betty & Paul Mahan.  A host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at the Yellow Branch Missionary Baptist Church in Sneedville. Rev. Kyle Gregory Jr. & Rev. Buster Jarvis officiating. Interment will follow in the Yellow Branch Church Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers will be Josh Williams, Brock Williams, Brad Sutton, Derrick Crider, Dustin Bowlin, Riley McCoy, Randy Ferguson, Mark Greene & Colby Collins. Serving as honorary pallbearer will be Jaden Taylor. The family will receive friends from 6 to 9 P.M. on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at the McNeil Funeral Home.

Online condolences can be made at www.mcneilfuneralhome.com
McNeil Funeral Home in Sneedville in charge of arrangements

We offer our deepest condolences to the family of Ashley Marie.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ancestor of Native Americans in Asia was 30% “Western Eurasian”

Ancestor of Native Americans in Asia was 30% “Western Eurasian”

The complete genome has recently been sequenced from 4 year old Russian boy who died 24,000 years ago near Lake Baikal in a location called Mal’ta, the area in Asia believed to be the origin of the Native Americans based on Y DNA and mitochondrial chromosome similarities.  The map below, from Science News, shows the location.
malta boy map
This represents the oldest complete genome ever sequenced, except for the Neanderthal (38,000 years old) and Denisovan (41,000 years old).
This child’s genome shows that he is related closely to Native Americans, and, surprisingly, to western Asians/eastern Europeans, but not to eastern Asians, to whom Native Americans are closely related.  This implies that this child was a member of part of a “tribe” that had not yet merged or intermarried with the Eastern Asians (Japan, China, etc.) that then became the original Native Americans who migrated across the Beringian land bridge between about 15,000 and 20,000 years ago.
Cont. here:

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why do Cherokees Wear Turbans?

Why do Cherokees Wear Turbans? We see old portraits of Cherokees wearing turbans. Does this mean they somehow descend from Turkish men who came to this country as sailors with early exploration parties? Actually there is a much more plausible reason.

 

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Hatfields and McCoys by Otis K. Rice


If you hurry you can get a very nice hard back book for $2.05 from Amazon. It is a respected source book about this time in Appalachia and these two families. If you have Prime it ships for free.

The Hatfields and McCoys by Otis K. Rice
http://smile.amazon.com/The-Hatfields-McCoys-Otis-Rice/dp/0813114594/ref=smi_www_rcolv2_go_smi?_encoding=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0


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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mattie Ruth Johnson: August 27, 1940 - August 13, 2014

Mattie Johnson Obituary
In Memory of

Mattie Ruth Johnson

August 27, 1940 - August 13, 2014
At the age of 73 Mattie Ruth Johnson's Holy Spirit left her earthly body and entered her Heavenly home on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at Holston Valley Medical Center. She was a local author and painter. Her book, "My Melungeon Heritage" was written and sold copies all over the United States. She was born in Hancock County, Sneedville, TN on August 27, 1940 and lived on Newman's Ridge in an area called Prospect Ridge. She had a twin sister, but was born 10 minutes before her sister, Goldean. God had an apple in His eye and He took her home before she had got sicker. She was only able to take so much before she was called home.

Ruth had a heart for everyone and she gave to anyone who needed anything. She was a Christian and was Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In "My Melungeon Heritage" she tells what it was like to grow up and live in a place and time when life was much different than it is at the end of the twentieth century. A descendant of several of the first known settlers in Hancock County, she had spent a lot of time through the years reading the history of early settlements and colonization of the United States. Her ancestors include many Melungeons, and she had done much research on her family lines. Interested in the Melungeon history for years, she had corresponded with numerous writers dealing with genealogy and people searching their family trees.

Ruth who had lived in Kingsport, was a nurse. She was also an artist who enjoyed working in oils and watercolors. A special thanks to Brent Kennedy for his help and inspiration. To each of the doctors and nurses who had the pleasure of working with her, she thanks you. She also would like to thank Dr. Springer, Dr. and Mrs. Hemoke, Dr. Michigan, Dr. London, Dr. Jack Whitt and the many more. Preceding her to Heaven were her father and mother, Henry and Opal Johnson; brothers, Henry, Jr., Elmer, Gale and Rex; her sister, Phyllis Smith; nephew, Russell Gilliam; and niece Rebecca Gilliam. Surviving is her twin sister, Goldean White; sisters, Nellie Lynch of Florence, SC and Ivagene Gilliam and many nieces and nephews who she loved very much.

A private graveside service will be held in the Garden of the Mausoleum at East Lawn Memorial Park with Pastor Mildred Osborne officiating. Online condolences may be sent to the family. www.eastlawnkingsport.com. East Lawn Funeral Home; Memorial Park has the honor of serving the family of Ms. Mattie Ruth Johnson.


http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Mattie-Johnson&lc=4949&pid=172119693&mid=6085774&locale=en_US




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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hidden America - Children Of The Mountains (Documentary)

If you haven't watched this before or if you just want to watch it again. This is the media's perception of Appalachia and I agree these problems exist. But is this the whole story?





Sunday, April 20, 2014

"Give me your poor and wretched Appalachians.............."

by Janet Crain
While I agree that politicians and reporters have always gone to Appalachia to find poor people, why stop with Richard Nixon? It is still occurring today. I am sure Diane Sawyer drove past beautiful expensive homes on her way to the rickety trailer houses. But she was looking for a story. And why are minorities always ignored? What's up with that?
Children in sepia-toned clothes with dirt-smeared faces. Weathered, sunken-eyed women on trailer steps chain-smoking Camels. Teenagers clad in Carhartt and Mossy Oak loitering outside long-shuttered businesses.
When policymakers and news organizations need a snapshot of rural poverty in the United States, Appalachia — the area of land stretching from the mountains of southern New York through northern Alabama — is the default destination of choice. Poverty tours conducted by presidents from Lyndon Johnson to Richard Nixon, almost every member of the Kennedy clan, and religious leaders like Jesse Jackson have all painted the portrait of Appalachia the same way: poor, backward, and white.
Frank Cedillo fishes in a Greeneville, Tenn., lake.i
Frank Cedillo fishes in a Greeneville, Tenn., lake.
Courtesy of Megan King
While the economic despair and major health epidemics are an unsettling reality for the region, a glaring omission has been made from the "poverty porn" images fed to national audiences for generations: Appalachia's people of color.
"When we tell the truth about Appalachia, it's only then that we tell the real story about who we are," said Aaron Thompson, executive vice president and chief academic officer for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
Growing up as an African-American outside Manchester, Ky. — a coal town home to the lowest per capita income in the state, according to US census data — Thompson has become one of the few outspoken role models for young people of color in his mountain home. "There's no one story of Appalachia, no one voice. It's time for everyone to feel like they can speak up, like their story is important."
Continued here:
Related: http://historical-melungeons.blogspot.com/2014/05/hidden-america-children-of-mountains.html

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Monday, March 10, 2014

The Melungeon DNA paper, “Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic People,” honored




The Melungeon DNA paper, “Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic People,” was honored on October 20th by the North Carolina Society of Historians at an awards ceremony in Mooresville, NC.
The North Carolina Society of Historians is a nonprofit organization founded in 1941 whose goal is to preserve and share the history of North Carolina.  One of the ways they do this is by encouraging the preservation of history and research into historical topics by conferring awards annually on worthy projects and their authors.  Awards are granted to organizations and individuals in 14 different categories and the awards are presented at the annual meeting, which is a luncheon, in October.
This year’s banquet was held on Saturday, October 20th in Mooresville, NC.

The Melungeon DNA paper titled “Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic Population” was granted the prestigious Paul Green Multimedia Award.  Jack Goins, the founder of the Melungeon DNA projects and one of the authors of the paper accepted the award in Mooresville on behalf of all four authors.


In addition to Jack, the authors are Janet Crain, Roberta Estes and Penny Ferguson.  Each author received an individual award recognizing their contribution.

Jack said that Elizabeth Sherrill, the Society President, had many complimentary things to say about the paper, and that she showed an impressive pile of papers and projects that represented the other entries that were rejected.  Apparently, the competition was stiff.  I know they have hundreds of entries every year.
Each project or paper that receives an award also receives the judges collective comments.  Here’s what they had to say about “Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic Population”:
“This paper is definitely not for the “faint of heart,’ nor can it be considered ‘light reading.’  It is an in-depth study of the Melungeons in the Carolinas and surrounding states that is geared toward those persons with a serious interest in tracing these people by taking a DNA approach. It is an academic paper that is the result of a monumental study that took in many different avenues of research. We found this work to be absolutely brilliant and data pertaining to North Carolina was exciting.  We understand that this study is still a work-in-progress, and we look forward, with great anticipation, to future papers chronicling additional information discovered/uncovered regarding this fascinating race of people.”
The authors would like to collectively thank the North Carolina Society of Historians, not only for the award, but for their dedication to the preservation of history and fostering an environment that rewards people for doing so.

``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````

 Note by Janet Crain: I want to thank Jack Goins for accepting my award for me and for carefully packing the certificate and sending it to me.

I now have it framed and while I am deciding where to hang it, it it sitting on a shelf in my office.

 Thank you to the North Carolina Society of Historians  is also in order.








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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shirley Rebecca Nelson


Born: June 26, 1952

Died: February 17, 2014

Services: 7:00 PM 
Wednesday, February 19, 2014, at Bridges Funeral Home.

Visitation: 5:00-7:00 PM Wednesday, February 19, 2014, at Bridges Funeral Home.

Nelson, Shirley Rebecca “Becky” - age 61, of Knoxville, entered into eternal peace on Monday, February 17, 2014, at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

Becky was born on June 26, 1952, a daughter of the late Emma Jane Kennedy and Neal Franklin Kennedy. She graduated from Holston High School in Knoxville. Becky was a very kind and gentle soul; she had a loving and generous heart, and she had a special love for all animals. She was a professional dog groomer, and she was the long-time owner of Top Dog Styling and Grooming in Knoxville. She was loved by all her clients and their dogs. Becky was the founder and Vice President of the Pet Stylists of Tennessee association and was actively involved in and enjoyed planning an annual training conference for professional groomers for many years. Becky enjoyed genealogy research and was also very active in the Melungeon Historical Society, where she served as the first Secretary/Treasurer of the Society and later as a Board member. She enjoyed researching Civil War records, courthouse records, family archives, and especially loved conducting interviews. All of us in the family are proud of Becky and the research she has done. Because of her, our family history will be passed on through many generations. 

Becky was predeceased by her beloved mother, Emma Jane Kennedy in 2005; her loving grandmother, Mae Kennedy; and two special aunts, Helen Ruth Dickens and Ina Bell Brewer. Everlasting loving memories and special times shared with Becky will be cherished by her beloved son, Jerry Nelson; her devoted soulmate of 36 years, J. D. Reynolds; her beloved father, Neal Kennedy; and her sisters, Peggy Jackson (Randy) of Maryville, Tennessee, Lana Doncaster (Raymond) of Louisville, Tennessee, and her brother David Robeson (Nancy) of Louisville, Tennessee; adorning niece Lisa Madden and her children Corbin, Alayna, and Emmalee; nephews Steven Davis and wife Kathy and their child Haylee; Eric Robeson and wife Valerie and their children Shaunee and Roxanne; niece Heather Doncaster (Joe) and their children Dalton and Emma. Becky is also survived by her special pets she loved and treasured: her dogs Star, Venus, and Diesel; and her cats Ruby and Diamond. 

Funeral Services will be 7:00 PM Wednesday, February 19, 2014, at Bridges Funeral Home with Rev. Mark Large and Rev. Pete Daniels officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, P.O. Box 51723, Knoxville, TN 37950. Family and friends will meet 10:45 AM Thursday at Sherwood Memorial Gardens for an 11:00 AM interment. The family will receive friends 5:00-7:00 PM Wednesday at Bridges Funeral Home, 5430 Rutledge Pike, 865-523-4999. www.bridgesfuneralhome.com 

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley, P.O. Box 51723, Knoxville, TN 37950.
Cemetery: Sherwood Memorial Gardens (Map)

Location: Bridges Funeral Home (Map)

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Today's Nature Publication Refutes Possibility of a Solutrean Migration to the Americas

A very exciting and definite paper has just been published by Naturetoday, titled “The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana,” by Rasmussen et al. The authors conclude that the DNA of a Clovis child is ancestral to Native Americans.  Said another way, this Clovis child was a descendant, along with Native people today, of the original migrants from Asia who crossed the Bering Strait.

All four types of DNA were tested; Y chromosome, mtDNA, autosomal and X. Everything tested as having come through the Bering Strait from Asia. There was no European admixture.  

This information is very important to a number of academic disciplines. I am sure much more remains to be explored and explained, but we can rest assured in this fact: 


"The researchers concluded that the Clovis infant belonged to a meta-population from which many contemporary Native Americans are descended and is closely related to all indigenous American populations.  In essence, contemporary Native Americans are “effectively direct descendants of the people who made and used Clovis tools and buried this child,” covering it with red ochre.
Furthermore, the data refutes the possibility that Clovis originated via a European, Solutrean, migration to the Americas."


http://dna-explained.com/2014/02/13/clovis-people-are-native-americans-and-from-asia-not-europe/

www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/39153/title/First-Ancient-North-American-Genome-Sequenced/



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Monday, January 20, 2014

Johnnie Clyde Gibson Rhea Obituary




Johnnie Clyde Gibson Rhea, age 82, of Sneedville, passed away on January 18, 2014 at Lakeway Hospital. She was born on May 23, 1931 to John and Martha (Goins) Gibson. She professed her faith at an early age at Howards Quarter Baptist Church where she still remained a member.

She was a beloved mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. Throughout her life, she enjoyed being a housewife and working with genealogy. She was a life-long member of the Melungeon Heritage Foundation. She was a charter member of the organization and important contributor to the First Union in Wise Virginia. She was preceded in death by her parents, brother, sisters and husband.

The family would like to thank Home Health Choices, Dr. Short, Nurses, Hancock County EMS, special friends; neighbors; caretaker, Freda Davis and all other who have assisted in anyway, Survivors include; Children; Margaret Trent, Evelyn Lawson, George (Sled) Rhea Jr. , Evia Ruth Phillips, Hazel Drinnon; Malena Cloud. Grandchildren; Tammy; Ashley Trent, Nikki; Steven Lawson, Greg Rhea; Melissa Seals, Randy; Rusty Stanton, Josh; Brock Williams, and TJ; Isaiah Cloud, 15 Great-Grandchildren, Sister; Betty Mahan Brother; Willie Jack Gibson Nieces; Judy Goodman; Deanna Carroll and Many special friends.

Funeral services will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at the McNeil Funeral Home Chapel Rev. Phillip Roberts; Rev. Darrell Ramsey officiating Special music will be provided by the Douglas Family. Interment will follow in the Old Yellow Branch Church Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers will be her grandsons. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be her great-grandsons The family will receive friends from 5 to 8 P.M. on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at the McNeil Funeral Home.

Online condolences can be made at http://www.mcneilfuneralhome.com.

McNeil Funeral Home in Sneedville in charge of arrangements.

Johnnie's Story 




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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Johnnie’s Story

In Memorandum: Johnnie Clyde Goins Rhea b. May 23, 1931 d. January 18, 2014

Johnnie’s Story
By Johnnie Clyde Gibson Rhea
On May 23, 1931, I was born in Virginia to John and Martha Goins Gibson.  My grandparents were Andy and Emily Long Gibson and Alex and Merky Collins Goins.  I have researched back to my 6th grandparents.
 My parents owned one car back in the late 30’s.  They never had another one so we did a lot of walking.
I was raised on Blackwater and Newman’s Ridge.  We never owned a tractor; it was a red mule!  I went to school at Elm Springs, Vardy, Sneedville and Howard’s Quarter School; never got through the 7th grade. 
I washed on a washboard and cooked on a woodstove.  I sawed wood to cook with and to keep warm.  I washed by a spring and carried water because we never had running water in the house or an inside toilet.  I plowed with a mule, I turned ground, and I shocked hay, worked on straw stacks, threshed wheat, cut corn, and pulled fodder corn.  I made my toys out of corn stalk.  I walked to school two miles there and back and was picked up by a truck for four miles there and back, to go to school.  I used a saw to cut wood for wood to sell.  My games at night were by a coal oil lamp where we played Hully Gully with parched corn.  I took a bath in an old wash tub on Saturday night.  We had an old victrola with a Carter Family record.  We finally got a Sears Roebuck radio run by a battery that lasted three months.  We never had a store bought sled or wagon, but would go to the woods and make  our sled and wagon from wood.  We lived in the woods, and never learned to climb a tree or swing on a grapevine.  I had to pull weeds for the hogs to eat.  We had two hogs killed in the fall and two cows gave milk and butter.  All we bought from the store was a little coffee, salt and sugar.  Taking history back, we grew our own corn and wheat for making our flour for bread, made molasses and maple syrup. To dye our clothes, we used walnuts, rye or goldenrod.  We had to spin our wool from sheep.  We made our quilts out of worn clothes to keep warm.  We lived in a house that when it came a snow we would wake up with snow on our bed.  We  had chickens to kill and eat, and sold eggs. You made your own food to eat in the winter out of the garden, berries and apples; we dried our beans or we would go hungry.  I can say I never went to bed hungry or went naked.  
 I had good parents that provided for me.  I am thankful for that.  We didn’t have anything fancy.  We just had a phone, old rough stuff to eat, didn’t go to the store for food.  We didn’t have any electricity.  We had a spring where we put milk and butter we made.  Three times a day we brought it to the table and took it back to the spring.  The spring was our refrigeration.
So—I was that Melungeon, raised up poor and hard, still Melungeon made and proud to be one, too!
 Johnnie  (Johnnie Clyde Gibson Rhea)
Johnnie at the John Goins Cemetery on Newman’s Ridge, April 2003.

This article was originally published in the MHS Newsletter Winter 2009

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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Johnnie Gibson Rhea; Melungeon Matriarch Passed Away Tonight in a Morristown, TN Hospital

I could think of nothing more fitting to honor Johnnie than these words penned by a friend:

For those of you who knew Johnnie Rhea, she passed away this evening.  As a Newman's Ridge native and one who had mostly Collins, Gibson and Goins ancestors, I sometimes referred to her as one of the "last of the Melungeons." :) 

As a short testimonial, Johnnie was the first who was most helpful to my finding my Hancock Co. unique heritage over 20 years ago.  As one who loves heritage and history, I owe Johnnie a lot for being the link between me and my ancestry since she knew some of my ancestors that I never knew.  When she was able, we spent countless hours going thru cemeteries in the county finding and recording my deceased kinfolk.  She always knew where to find them. She also held on to (and shared) many of the old, long gone (and lost) ways of home remedies, making homemade lye soap,  molasses, apple butter...the list goes on...Just the other day she told me to find some catnip and make tea for my croup-cough and bronchitis. Always there, willing to dig up whatever she may have had in her home or at the courthouse to help me with family records, free of charge. Before the age of internet, there wasn't a day that went by where she didn't get numerous letters from those searching for their Hancock heritage.  She was also upfront and didn't mind giving her two cents on things, in which I appreciated.  She believed in old fashioned virtues, was a trustworthy person and a good friend.  She was one of the few actual, older natives of the ridge who was always proud of her heritage no matter what was discovered.  May she rest in peace.

Phillip Roberts

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