Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last Virginia Pole-driven River Ferry Set to Close July 1st

Last pole-driven river ferry may close in Virginia

SCOTTSVILLE, Va. (AP) — For more than 130 years, ferrymen have jammed poles into the James River's gravelly shallows to push the Hatton Ferry slowly across to other side.

The unique calling now may be days from extinction: America's last known hand-poled ferry is a casualty of ebbing state finances and politics.

On July 1, Virginia stops funding the Hatton Ferry. Unless private donors, nonprofits or local governments find the cash to keep it open, its last crossing is Sunday afternoon, weather permitting.

"The future is your kids, our kids, our grandkids, and when this is gone, it's gone forever," said Ashley Pillar, 30, who grew up around Hatton's ferrymen on the flat-bottomed steel barge. He became its operator in 2002.

The ferry powered by human muscle is a romantic relic and historical anachronism that hasn't been commercially significant in decades.

But amid the unspoiled Blue Ridge foothills that harbor Thomas Jefferson's Monticello estate and that inspired television's nostalgic series "The Waltons," the Hatton Ferry is a treasure of the heart, not a balance sheet asset.


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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Melungeon Myth of Drake Dropping off Passengers on Roanoke

by Janet Crain

A persistent rumor has spread all over the Internet that Melungeons descend from the some 300 to 600 Turks and other nationalities said to have been left on Roanoke Island in 1586 by Sir Francis Drake. In truth, there is NO evidence there were any left, much less several hundred.

Drake was returning home from the sacking of Cartagena when he decided to visit Roanoke and dispose of some of the freed prisoners and Maroons he had acquired during his adventures. He was carrying a human cargo of several hundred. He is said by Ivor Noel Hume in "Virginia Adventures" to have highly inflated the numbers. This voyage is of great interest to Melungeon researchers because this voyage in 1586 is the basis of the Turkish connection first started by Brent Kennedy's book; Melungeons; an Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing. It is, in fact, the keystone of the Turkish Connection Theory. Remove it and the rest crumbles. That is what I propose to do.

It is known that many of the people never reached Roanoke. Many died of strange fevers in Florida. Apparently Drake intended to leave the rest of the freed Africans and South American Indians to furnish labor for the new Colony which he expected to have grown to some 600 English by then. In truth there were about 100 men, badly in need of food and suffering the ill effects of their bad treatment of the local Indians. Ralph Lane was in charge at Roanoke and he accepted Drake's offer of minimal food supplies (Drake had been out a long time and was running low himself) and a ship, the Francis, capable of navigation into the bay plus other pinnaces, etc. and armament. All the supplies were loaded onto the Francis along with Lane's best naval officers. Lane wanted to stay a few more weeks exploring the Chesapeake.

Hume states:

When on June 11, the two men (Francis Drake and Ralph Lane) exchanged their unsettling news, several truths became evident; Drake was not there (as the Roanoke settlers had first hoped) to resupply the Colony; he was short of food himself and so was better able to supply guns than butter. Futhermore, Lane could not have had any desire or ability to house 250 blacks who would outnumber his white settlers two to one.

They came to an agreement whereby Drake would leave skilled workers, artisans, two pinnaces, several small boats and a large ship, the Francis. All the supplies were loaded onto the Francis along with the skilled mariners needed to sail such a ship. Immediately a terrible hurricano struck and it was every man for himself. The ships standing out in the roadway cut and ran, scurrying out to the deep ocean to get away from the treacherous shoals and currents, dangerous enough in good weather. The Francis was among those who sailed on to England.

Ralph Lane then accepted Drake's offer to transport the first colonists back to England. Most of the small pinnaces carrying the extra passengers had been dashed to pieces on the shoals during the storms. The Turks, known to have been with Drake, were apparently better safeguarded. They were valuable as trade for English prisoners lanquishing in Ottoman prisons. Some 100 Turks were, in fact, ransomed to their homeland.

So, just who might have gone ashore before the storm hit? Many people have a hard time visualizing the scene at Roanoke. Roanoke is surrounded by very shallow waters, hence the name; Shallowbag Bay. The only way to get there was by laborious offloading of men and supplies to shore boats and threading through the one pass, Fernando Pass, and the treacherous shoals and currents made worse at times by Northwestern winds blowing directly into the Bay. The shore boats were large by our standards and equipped with a mast and sail. They require a skilled pilot and several strong sailors to row. People didn't just hop on one and go sight seeing. Only those with important business such as Sir Francis Drake and Ralph Lane who negotiated several times were transported back and forth. The rest of the fleet with the passengers onboard stood out in the Roadway, the navigable waters off the Outer Banks, which wrap around this area like protecting arms.

I am saying this to lay to rest the idea of a huge number of the passengers dis-embarquing and perhaps being caught off guard by the storms and staying behind. Hume and David Beers Quinn are the authorities on this period and both say there were no Turks left. Hume says no one else, Quinn, at most a very few. Left with no supplies on the Outer Banks what would they have found to eat? If the Indians had not killed them, they would have starved.

It should be noted that the Native Americans communicated by a"grapevine" so efficient that Indians in Canada knew of happenings in the Virginias. No mention of any dumped off passengers was ever made.

Additionally, there was plenty of room for these passengers to sail with Drake. Hundreds had died in the battles in Florida, from fevers, and in the hurricane. Drake was returning with more ships than he left with, having captured many. And they would have furnished badly needed labor to sail these ships back to England.

Add to this the extreme difficulty of unloading these passengers in addition to loading the Roanoke settlers, which the crew deeply resented for the delay and extra work and danger this imposed and it is highly unlikely Drake would have taken such actions in the middle of a three day hurricane.

Ivor Noel Hume says:

Thus the hurricane of June 1586 may have ripped away the first page from the history of blacks in English America.

A cruel and terrible fate for these forgotten people that historians of the time did not consider important enough to even record their fate.

Two weeks later an emergency supply ship sent by Sir Richard Grenville arrived and found
no one although they searched diligently. They left to return to England. About one or two weeks later a big supply ship arrived with Grenville on board. They were as mystified at the deserted condition of the island as the men on the earlier supply ship. They searched even further "into the main" (mainland) and as far as Chesapeake. Grenville was heavily invested in this first effort, having sold an entire estate (consisting at this time as a manor house and every type of supporting industry needed to run the estate; mills, stables, barns, houses, dairies, animals, tools, even small villages) to finance the settlement of over 100 men for over a year. It was a requirement of Raleigh's patent from Queen Elizabeth that the area be occupied continuously by English people. Finding no one and not know where they had gone, he left some 15 soldiers to hold the fort. Based upon interviews with Indians, they all perished.

It is quite clear they found no one who could have been the passengers Drake
was previously carrying.

As previously stated the Indians had a very effective rumor mill which carried news far and wide. It is just inconceivable to me to these peoplecould have survived unnoticed when their appearance would have been a matter of great curiosity among people who had never seen African natives.

Present Day Map of the Area:

View Larger Map

The Virginia Adventurers by Ivor Noel Hume Copyright 1994 p. 53
Corbett, Spanish War. Refers to the return of 100 ex-galley slaves to the Turkish dominions.
William S. Powell, North Carolina through Four Centuries, p. 42. Refers to Queen Elizabeth's reason for returning the Turks.
David Beers Quinn, Roanoke Voyages. Cites Wright in footnote regarding Turks.
Wright, Further English Voyages. Source of Quinn's information about Turks.
Hakluyt Society for 1975, Second Series, No. 148, p. 202, Note 3. Sir Francis Drake's West Indian Voyage, 1585-1586. A detailed and authorative account.
Acts of the Privey Council, 1586-87, pp. 205-206. (Public Record Office [London]), PC 2/14:169) Contains a letter from the Queen's Privey Council addressed to a merchant in London, who traded with Turkey, that asks him to make arrangements for the return of 200 Turks to Turkey.
Document 10, The Primrose Journal (British Library Royal MS.7C,xvi, folders 166-173. Capt. Frobisher's journal of the 1586 Drake-led voyage. Mentions Turks being aboard his ship.
David Beers Quinn Set Fair for Roanoke
David Beers Quinn The Roanoke Voyages 1584-1590

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vardy Spring Fling

Betty Mahan, sister to Johnnie Rhea, making apple butter at Vardy 6/13/2009

On Saturday, June 13, the Vardy Historical Society held its Spring Fling from 10 am until 2 pm. The location was the Vardy Church Museum, which featured displays from the Presbyterian mission which provided education opportunities for Melungeon children from 1899 to the early 1970s.

The Spring Fling featured Appalachian crafts such as basket and chair weaving, apple butter making, corn grinding, shuck dolls, hominy making, a tractor show, and plenty of music.

Johnnie Rhea

Julie Jones Jordan

Sitting on Mahala's Porch

Sitting on porch of Minor Cabin; Betty Goins and Tari Adams

Bluegrass Band at Vardy

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Melungeon Conference Big Sucess

Roberta Estes, Penny Ferguson, Betty and Jack Goins, Cleland Thorpe, and Tari Adams. Photo taken on the Ridge before the Board meeting June 11, 2009.

Katherine Vande Brake

Kathy Lyday-Lee

Kathy James

Kathy James

Jack Goins

Jack Goins

The Melungeon Conference held yesterday, June 12, at the Hawkins County Rescue Squad meeting room in Rogersville, Tennessee was very successful. Near one hundred were in attendance and the presentations by Roberta Estes, founder of DNAExplain, a Michigan company that analyzes and interprets individual DNA tests, Katherine Vande Brake, author of Through the Back Door, Kathy James, Genealogist specializing in the Gibson and Collins families, Wayne Winkler, MHS President, Kathy Lyday-Lee, a professor at Elon University who taught a course on Melungeons and Jack Goins, Hawkins County Archivist and author of Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families were very well received.

President Wayne Winkler stated:

We had an outstanding conference yesterday at Rogersville with about 100 people in attendance, and great presentations by Jack Goins, Roberta Estes, Kathy Lyday-Lee, Katie Vande Brake, and Kathy James.

I truly believe yesterday was a milestone in Melungeon history. It was just a small, one-day event, but it was a significant first step toward establishing an honest historical portrayal of our people. I truly believe it's only going to get better. Yesterday was the realization of what we all hoped MHS would be - we worked together efficiently, presented some valuable information, busted a few myths, and are ready to not only continue the work of preserving the true history of our people, but creating some history of our own.

I couldn't be prouder of MHS. Thanks to everyone who was a part of this important event.

More pictures to come.

Kathy James

Becky Nelson

Wayne Winkler,MHS President

Penny Ferguson

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Melungeons : examining an Appalachian legend available at these libraries

Melungeons : examining an Appalachian legend is presently out of print. It is considered one of, if not the, most important books you can access to do Melungeon research. Here is a list of some of the libraries where you can get this book. Print it out and take it with you to your library. If they don't have it, they should be able to get it through Interlibrary loan.

Libraries that have Melungeons : examining an Appalachian legend
Author: Pat Spurlock Elder
Publisher: Blountville, Tenn. : Continuity Press, ©1999.

Fort Worth Public Library

Ft Worth, TX 76102 United States

Lake Charles, LA 70609 United States

McNeese State University

State Library of Louisiana

Baton Rouge, LA 70802 United States

Independence, MO 64050 United States

Tuscumbia, AL 35674 United States

Birmingham, AL 35203 United States

Nashville, TN 37243 United States

Bowling Green, KY 42101 United States

Scottsville, KY 42164 United States

Cookeville, TN 38505 United States

Marietta, GA 30060 United States

Atlanta, GA 30303 United States

Santa Clara City Library

Santa Clara, CA 95051 United States

University of California, Davis, Shields Library

Davis, CA 95616 United States

New York Public Library - Research

New York, NY 10018 United States

Cambridge, MA 02139 United States

Go here and enter your zip code to find more locations.

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Melungeons : and other pioneer families by Jack Goins available at these libraries

Melungeons : and other pioneer families is presently out of print. It is considered one of, if not the, most important books you can access to do Melungeon research.
Here is a list of some of the libraries where you can get this book. Print it out and take it with you to your library. If they don't have it, they should be able to get it through Interlibrary loan.

Libraries that have Melungeons : and other pioneer families
by author: Jack Harold Goins

Tennessee State Library & Arch

Nashville, TN 37243 United States

Tennessee State Library & Arch also holds these formats:
Western Kentucky University

Bowling Green, KY 42101 United States

Western Kentucky University also holds these formats:
Middle Georgia Regional Library, Genealogy Department

Macon, GA 31201 United States

Middle Georgia Regional Library, Genealogy Department also holds these formats:

Knox County Public Library, Knoxville

Knoxville, TN 37902 United States

Knox County Public Library, Knoxville also holds these formats:
Kentucky Hist Society Library

Frankfort, KY 40601 United States

Kentucky Hist Society Library also holds these formats:

Madison, WI 53706 United States

Lonesome Pine Regional Library

Wise, VA 24293 United States

Lonesome Pine Regional Library also holds these formats:

Allen County Public Library

Ft Wayne, IN 46802 United States

Allen County Public Library also holds these formats:

Appalachian State University

Boone, NC 28608 United States

Appalachian State University also holds these formats:

Columbus Metropolitan Library

Columbus, OH 43215 United States

Columbus Metropolitan Library also holds these formats:

Northwestern Regional Library

Elkin, NC 28621 United States

Northwestern Regional Library also holds these formats:

Rockingham Community College

Wentworth, NC 27375 United States

Rockingham County Public Library

Eden, NC 27288 United States

Salt Lake City Family History Center

Salt Lake City,UT

You can go here and enter your zip code to search for other libraries that have the book.

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Family Tree DNA Announces Fantastic Sale

Received by project administrators tonight:

Dear Family Tree DNA Group Administrator,

Last summer we offered a pricing special that was the most successful
offering of its kind in our company’s history.

Many project administrators strongly supported our recruitment efforts and
both their projects and our database grew significantly.
This year we will offer an early summer special with an unparalleled
promotional discount.

Offer summary:

• Y-DNA37+mtDNA for $119. (The regular project price is $248 – a reduction
of more than 50%!!)

• The promotion will begin on June 9, 2009 and will end on June 24, 2009

• Kits ordered in this sale must be paid for by June 30, 2009

This is your new members’ opportunity to skip past the Y-DNA12 and Y-DNA25
tests and get the best Y-DNA Genealogical test on the market in addition to
an mtDNA test for an extremely reduced price!

I should also mention that according to one of our competitors’ method of
counting markers our 37-marker test could also be called a “41-marker test”
as we do
test and report markers 464e, 464f, 464g, and DYS19b. Though we test them,
it is very rare that individuals have results for these markers. Therefore,
our conservative counting method, our competitor's “33-marker test” is
actually a “29-marker test.” We mention this to make sure that you
understand the difference
between these tests and are able to compare “apples to apples.”

So... I hope that with this promotion your project can gain many new

As always, that you for your continued support.

Max Blankfeld
Vice-President, Operations and Marketing
"History Unearthed Daily"

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Sunday, June 7, 2009


Genealogical Publishing Co.

Originally Published

R.F. Walker, Superintendent Public Printing.

This is now online, thanks to Joy King for pointing it out to us.
read here

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

North Carolina Land Grants in TN 1778-1791

transcribed by Virginia L. "Ginny" Keefer

Hawkins County, Tennessee - 1788

2545. James McCarty
2546. Stephen Richards
2547. same
2548. John Rhea
2549-2551. Stokeley Donaldson
2552-2553. Stokeley Donaldson & Martin Armstrong
2554. Joshua Gist
2555. Moses Ballinger
2556. Thomas and Robert King
2557. same
2558. missing
2559. Thomas & Robert King
2560. Thomas Ingles
2561. John Arwine
2562. Isaac Taylor
2563-2564. Robert & Thomas King
2565. James Cresswell
2566. William Parker
2567. Landon Carter
2568. James Glasgon
2569. Samuel Wilson
2570. Hawson Keener
2571. Cornelius Carmack
2572. David Ross
2573. Cornelius Carmack
2574-2575. Landon Carter
2576. Joshua Guest
2577. Thomas Gibbons
2578. George Ridley
2579-2580. William Terrell Lewis

Hawkins County, Tennessee - 1789

2581. John Groves Sr.
2582. Robert Coiles
2583. John Brigham
2584. Cornelius Carmack
2585. Thomas Jackson
2586. John Carmack
2587-2588. Stokeley Donaldson
2589. William Terrell Lewis
2590. Thomas Gibbons
2591. Thomas McLaughlin
2592. John McMin
2593. William Terrell Lewis
2594. James Randols
2595. William Terrell Lewis
2596. John McBroom
2597. James Hayland
2598. Samuel Wilson
2599. Arthur Gilbreath

Hawkins County, Tennessee - 1790

2600-2601. Stokeley Donaldson
2602. Jarrot Winningham
2603. missing
2604. William Roseberry
2605. William Bohannon
2606. John Reddick
2607. Bartholomew Donohoe
2608. James Hyland
2609. William Roseberry
2610. John Groves
2611. William Armstrong
2612. William Lee
2613. John Criner
2614. Thomas Caldwell
2615-2616. John Criner
2617. John unt
2618. Jacob Bayley
2619. Joseph Bullard
2620. same
2621. Gideon Morris
2622. Robert Demott
2623. Matthew Willaba
2624. Hugh Johnston
2625-2626. Matthew Willaba
2627. James Moore
2628. James Glagon
2629. William Campbell
2630. Alexander Laughlin
2631. David Hamblin
2632.James Caldwell
2633. John Bunn
2634. Welcome Hodges
2635. Ralph Skelton
2636. Joseph ke
2637. Michael Morrison
2638. John Cotter
2639. Joseph McCulloh
2640. Jacob Kennedy
2641. John Rice
2642. John Looney
2643. Alexander Blair
2644. Robert Kyler
2645. David Haley
2646. James Patterson
2647. William Armstrong
2648. Robert Coyles
2649. Stokeley Donaldson
2650. William Daniel
2651. John Rice
2652. Isaac Taylor, Robert Young
2653. Robert Coyles
2654. William Smith
2655. Robert Coile
2656. Elisha Walling
2657. William Armstrong
2658. Stephen Richards
2659. Alexander Montgomery
2660. Elizabeth Young
2661. Henry Marshall
2662. John Rice
2663. Alexander Smith
2664. Robert Coile
2665. Thomas Lain
2666. John Rice
2667. John Adair
2668. Stokeley Donaldson
2669. John Skidmore
2670. John Richards
2671. Belford Wood
2672. Thomas Brooks
2673. Deverrer Gillilam
2674. John Hornabck

Hawkins County Tennessee - 1791

2675. William Hord
2676. Thomas and Robert King
2677. John Evans
2678. Richard Mitchell
2679. John Long
2680. Robert Bean
2681. Robert King
2682. Francis Maberry
2683. Willis Bettey
2684. Francis Maberry & Thomas Jackson
2685. Mathew McKee
2686. William Hord
2687. Robert King
2688. Elijah Danthen
2689. William Ward
2690. Burnwell Scott
2691. John Ebenezar
2692. John Evans
2693. John Crawford
2694. David Sourtherland
2695. Samuel Smith
2696. Peter Turney
2697. Robert King
2698. John Mulsbey ( not sure)
2699. David Davies
2700. James King
2701. Stokeley Donaldson
Read more here

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