Saturday, January 27, 2018

Thomas Collins Sr. born 1710 and his descendants

This post was first published on this blog on 

Thomas Collins Sr. born 1710 and his descendants:

by Jack Goins

According to documented family research old Thomas Collins Sr. born before 1710 was the father and or grandfather of the historical Tennessee Melungeon Collins. At least one of Thomas Collins parents (unknown) was probably full blood Saponi Indian.

Collins family history handed down from father to son was; "The Collins were living in Virginia as Indians before they migrated to North Carolina, and they stole the name Collins from white settlers" ( Will Allen Dromgoole's 1890 interview with Calloway Collins, (Melungeons And Other Pioneer Families.) Other Collins men who were associated with Thomas Collins Sr. in New Kent, later Louisa County, Va. were probably his brothers. They were Samuel Collins, John Collins and William Collins.

25 Jan 1745 Louisa County, Virginia Court: William Hall, Samuel Collins, William Collins, Samuel Bunch, George Gibson, Benjamin Brannum, Thomas Gibson, & William Donothan appear to answer an indictment for concealing tithables. Plead not guilty, Case continued. (Louisa County, Va., Tithables and Census)

Although this John Collins may, or may not be a brother to Thomas the court record below establishes that some Collins were Saponia Indians. "Alexander Machartoon, John Bowling, Manincassa, Capt Tom, Isaac, Harry, blind tom, Foolish Jack, Charles Griffin, John Collins, Little Jack, Indians being bought before the court for stealing Hogs. , Ordered that their Guns be taken away from them till they are ready to depart of this county, they having declared their intentions to depart this colony within a week.".11 On pages 309-312 of Orange County Court Record book the above named men individually put up security.11

This party of Saponia ( Monasukapanough) Indians left that county and some of these may have been the same group that formed the settlement near Hillsborough, North Carolina in 1750. Which was the same neck of the woods where old Thomas Collins migrated, as we follow him through land transactions.(Ref in Melungeons And other pioneer Families).

Old Thomas Collins land joined other families who were later to become known as the Melungeons of Newman Ridge, located in present day Hancock County, Tennessee. 1743 Saint Fredrick's Parish Register (Published) Procession Gilbert Gibson, Thomas Gibson and 200 acres for Thomas Collings. (Louisa County, Virginia)

The following source Melungeon families lived in the same area of Virginia around 1730. John Bunch, Gilbert Gibson, Thomas Gibson and Thomas Collins. They begin selling their land in Louisa County. VA in 1747 and migrated to the Flatt River area of then Granville County, North Carolina this area became Orange County in 1753. 1747 Thomas Collins sells 184 acres of land on the south side of the Pamunkey River on Turkey Run Creek to John Dowell for 25 Ibs. (Louisa County, Va. Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families)

1748 Gilbert Gibson's Will was probated in Louisa County, Va. Names of sons Gideon, Jordan and George Gibson. (Melungeons And Other pioneer Families) 1749 Thomas Gibson (alias Wilburn) and wife Mary sell land to Thomas Moreman on the South side of the Pamunkey River adjoining Gilbert Gibson's land. Signed by his mark Thomas Gibson "T".(Melungeon and Other Pioneer families) Thomas Gibson mark was a 'T' and George Gibson mark was "G" They used these marks when they eventually sold land in Orange county, NC.

The 1750 tax list of Granville County, NC list the following: William Bowling 1 tithe, James Bowlin 1 tithe, Gideon Bunch 2 tithes (Micajer and William), Thomas Collins Sr. 1 tithe, Samuel Collins 1 tithe, John Collins 1 tithe, Thomas Gibson with tithes Charles and George Gibson. Thomas Collins Sr. b 1710 , probable children were; Thomas Jr. b 1728, Joseph b 1730, Samuel b 1732, John b 1734, George b 1736, Elisha b 1738. They settled on the Flatt River as the following records reveal.

"Land Grants from the Earl of Granville to the earliest settlers, The Granville Dist. Of N.C. 1748-1763 Vols 2 & 4 by Hofman." 29 Oct 1751 -Grant to William Churton, 640 acres on the south side of Flatt River joining John Collins on the Rocky Branch. Grant is for warrant issued to Thomas Gibson (#3775) 1752. 250 acres to Thomas Gibson on the Flatt River. 28 Oct 1752 640 acres to Joseph Collins on the South West side of the Flatt River Witness- Thomas Collins and James Lilkemper.

Orange County was formed from Granville in 1753 the Flatt River area was in the new county. A 1755 Tax list of Orange County, NC. ( ref. Melungeon and Other Pioneer Families) If a family had at least 1/16 Indian or black they were sometimes listed mulatto. Gedion Bunch 1 tithe(mulatto) Micajer Bunch 1 tithe (mulatto) Thomas Collins 3 tithes (mulatto) Samuel Collins 2 tithes (mulatto) John Collins 1 tithe (mulatto) Moses Ridley (Riddle) 1 tithe & wife Mary (mulattoes) Thomas Gibson 3 tithes (mulatto) Charles Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto) George Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto) Mager Gibson 1 tithe (mulatto)

Land Grants in Orange County, NC. 1756- To William Combs on Flatt River joins Thomas Gibson, Joseph Collins & John Wade. Chainbearers: Thomas Gibson Jr. and Moses Ridley.

1761-700 acres to Thomas Collins on Dials Creek of the Flatt River. Chainbearers: George Collins and Paul Collins (mulattoes)

Some of these old pioneers may not have known all the rules and did not obtain a deed, notice who lost their improvements in this deed. John Brown-Warrants 26 Dec 1760, 700 acres on the Flatt River, includes Bolins, Riddles and Collins Improvements. Surveyed 13 April 1761, deed 14 Oct 1761.

Wherever these people who's children became known as Melungeons migrated, they always left a few behind. Although those left behind were never labeled Melungeon they were "kin to the people who later became known as the Melungeons of Newman Ridge". A few stayed on the Flatt River, some migrated to the territory that became South Carolina, some to Pittsylvania County, Virginia. A Collins family along with Moses Riddle and some of the Bolen's moved to Pittyslvania County, Virginia before 1767 and had land entries on the Sandy River. The 1767 Tax list of John Wilson, Pittsylvania County, Va. records: Moses Ridle (an Indian), William Ridle, Peter Perkins List records; Christopher Bowlin, and son William, Christopher Bowlin Jr. James Bowlin, Joseph Bowlin.

Caswell County was formed from the northern part of Orange County, North Carolina in 1777 it included part of the Flatt River and part of that river remained in Orange County. 1777 tax list. Paul Collins 1 tithe, Martin Collins 1 tithe, Middleston Collins 1 tithe, Obadiah Collins 1 tithe, John collins 1 tithe.

Thomas Collins Sr. may have died in Orange County around 1770 but, most of his children migrated to the New River area of Virginia and North Carolina. The Collins and Gibsons began selling their land on the Flatt River in 1767-70 and moved to the back woods sections of the New River where some were listed on tax records in Fincastle County, Va., as "living on Indian Lands"

The deed records of Thomas Gibson land sale in Orange County, establishes him as the same Thomas who sold his land on the Pamunkey River in Louisa County in 1749 when he made his mark "T".

1770-Thomas Gibson to James Williams. Land on the Flatt River. Signed Thomas Gibson (his "T"mark), (Orange Co., N.C.. Deed Book 3, page 468.)

Thomas Gibson made a land entry on 9 June 1780 on Cranberry Path in Wilkes Co., N.C. This land was near the South Fork of New River in present day Ashe Co., N.C., entry # 1858.(Wilkes County, North Carolina, Land Entry Book 1778-1781) Thomas Gibson's family migrated to Fort Blackmore before 1800. And Joined the Stony Creek Baptist Church beginning in 1801. Most of this family moved to Newman Ridge in Hawkins County, Tn.,beginning in 1804 and most were gone by 1808. The Church Minutes records them coming back for meetings and some were brought before the church for drinking and fighting, such as Charles Gibson. The first written record of the word Melungin is recorded in the 1813 Minutes of Stoney Creek Church.

"Then came forward sister Kitchens and complained to the church against Susanna Stallard for saying she harbored them Melungins"

According to the Stony Creek Church Minutes most of the Melungeons had left by 1813 and joined Blackwater and Mulberry Churches in Hawkins County, Tn. The minutes also records a few Gibson's coming back and causing a disturbance by drinking and fighting. The Stony Creek Church again removed Gibson and wrote that the Mulberry church had also dismissed him, and they had been notified. It is most likely that one of these ladies was accusing the other of an affair with a Melungin and the church clerks choose these words to record this motion. Melungeons staying with other church members would not have been considered a sin; it would be the appearance of a given situation. She may have been letting some Melungeons from the Blackwater or Mulberry Church room at her home on Friday before the meeting, or on Saturday night. Church meetings were during the day and usually once a month on the 1st Saturday. The Melungeons were recorded white on tax records of lower Russell County and later Scott County, Virginia, when they were living in the Stony Creek area.(Melungeon and Other pioneer families)

1802 Tax List for the Lower District of Russell County, VA that became Scott County in 1815 and number of males 16 or over Collins, Valentine 1- Charles Gibson, 1- David Gibson 1- James Gibson 2- James Gibson 0 - Martin Gibson 1- Molly Gibson 2- Ruben Gibson 1- Samuel Gibson 1-Sharud Gibson 1- Thomas Gibson 1-William Gibson 1-Willis Gibson 1-Benjamin Bolin 1- William Bolin 1. Jesse Bolin became pastor of Stony Creek in 1802.

Charles Gibson son of Thomas and Mary filed a Revolutionary War Pension Application (R3995 Applied in Hawkins County, Tennessee 19 Jan 1839. He gave his age as 92 but, was 100 years old if 16 when he was listed as a tithe of Thomas on a Granville County, NC tax list. He gave his place of birth as Louisa County, Virginia, entered the service near Salisbury, North Carolina. Benjamin Collins, Jonothan Gibson, and Jordan Gibson swear that he is reputed to be a Revolutionary Soldier in their neighborhood..

The Thomas Collins children settled in what is today Grayson County, Va., and Ashe County, NC. George Collins testified in a land dispute in Grayson County, Virginia in 1808 that he settled on the land in 1767.

Their arrival on the New River is documented by a Botetourt County, Virginia tax list. (Kegleys Early adventures on Western Waters) Number of males over 16. Charles Collins 1, John Collins 4, Samuel Collins 2, Charles Sexton 1, Mckegar Bunch 1, William Sexton 1.

Fincastle County was formed from Botetourt in 1772, 1773 tax list includes: David Collins (Indian Lands), Ambrose Collins, John Collins, John Collins Jr., Charles Collins (Indian Land), Elisha Collins, Samuel Collins (Indian Land), Lewis Collins, George Collins (Indian Land), Micajer Bunch (Indian Land)

A 1778 tax list of the area of Wilkes County that became Ashe in 1778; Ambrose Collins, Charles Collins, Samuel Collins, David Gibson, Micajer Bunch, David Collins, George Collins, Julius Bunch. You may note some of these same people were on the Ficastle list, The reason for this is they may have been next door neighbors because they were in the area that became Ashe North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia in 1790.

Montgomery County was formed from Fincastle in 1777.. 1782 tax list includes; Martin Collins 1, John Collins Sr. 1, John Collins Jr. 1, Lewis Collins 1, Milton Collins 1, Ambrose Collins 1, David Collins 1, David Gibson 1. The 1782 list of Wilkes County is the same as the 1778 list except for Thomas Gibson.

Lewis Collins above was the son of John Collins Sr. He Applied for a Rev. War Pension in Hawkins County, Tennessee while living in Granger County, Tn. on 16 Aug 1834 # (S2142). "First entered the service in 1778 while living on the Broad River in South Carolina. Moved back to the new River in Montgomery County, Virginia where his Father lived and enlisted there in 1780. Lewis did not tell the whole story, he was actually a Tory in 1780 and probably in William Riddle's gang. According to the affidavit below he escaped, but his name is included with the group of Tories who raided Capt. John Cox home on the new River, some of these took the Oath of Allegiance to escape punishment. This affidavit by Joseph Collins was included in Selethiah Martin wife's application "Was a small boy in 1780 when Captain Martin came to the New River in Virginia and captured a group of Tories camped at a Rock House on the river, two of those captured escaped the next night: David Gibson and Lewis Collins, I am intimately acquainted with both men and have heard them tell how they made their escape. John Speltz in his Revolutionary Pension Application told this almost identical event. He said there were nine captured and two Nichols and Riddle were hung on our return. William Riddle and his brother in-law William Nichols were both hung but not together, so this man Speltz was telling about an event that happened after these nine were captured, thus the hanging of Nichols and Riddle.

The majority of the Melungeon source families began to migrate to Hawkins County, Tennessee in the 1790's, Vardy Collins was still in Ashe County, North Carolina as the 1800 census reveals. Thus the colony on Newman Ridge was established around 1800, the first recorded Melungeon settlers in the area were on the Lee County, Virginia Tax list 1795,97, they were Micajer Bunch, Isreal Bunch, Solomon Bunch, Claiborn Bunch, Jessee Bowlin and Zachariah Goins. The first Collins on the tax record 1798 was Daniel Collins with 4 titables.By 1801 a host of Collins, plus James Mullins. In this time frame, most settlers on the North Side of the Clinch River were listed in Lee County, Va., This was before the dividing line between Virginia and Tennessee was fully established. . Vardeman "Vardy" Collins one of the more famous Melungeons, according to tax records was perhaps the son of Samuel, who was the son of Thomas Collins Sr. According to a n outstanding research in the Vardeman family, Vardy Collins mother was the daughter of John Vardeman, Vardiman.. John Vardeman and Samuel Collins are both recorded on the 1771 Bontetourt County, VA tax list (William Herberts list)

Who were the Melungeons? Their fore parents were part of the original pioneer settlers. Living on Indian lands, this is as pioneer as it gets. Some where in the battle at Point Pleasant including Thomas Collin's son John Collins who served 35 days. Their rifles were heard at Kings Mountain and in Yorktown, at the surrender of Cornwallis. Some made the 52 + year journey from the Pamunkey River in Virginia to Newman Ridge, such as Charles Gibson. Charles lived to be at least 110 years old. He was probably present when they first heard the word, "Melungin".

Sneedville attorney Lewis M. Jarvis (born 1829) knew many of the first Melungeons including Vardy Collins. In an interview with Hancock County Times in 1902. Jarvis named James Collins, John Bolin and Mike Bolin as quite full-blooded Indians. Jarvis said the Melungeons were originally the friendly Indians who came with the whites as they moved west. They came from the Cumberland County and New River in VA, stopping at various points west of the Blue Ridge. Some of them stopped on Stony Creek, Scott Co, Virginia (Ref in Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families. from 1994 Hancock Co.,Tn..And It's People Volume 2) What makes Lewis Jarvis testimony of more value than most, is because his migration pattern for the Melungeons can be and has been proven correct in Church, Land, Tax and Military Records.

Compiled by Jack Goins Rogersville, Copyright Historical Melungeons

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

None of these diseases

by Janet Crain

On the Internet you are likely to encounter sites suggesting that Melungeon people or their descendants are prone to several serious diseases.  These claims should be taken with a large grain of salt. There is no proof of this theory other than anecdotal recounting of personal experiences. In other words, NO PROOF!!!!

This has led to a completely false characterizations of Melungeons as sickly and frail in fiction and even in non-fiction books.

On the contrary these people lived the harsh life of pioneers and still lived to advanced ages. There is no proof that Melungeons even have Mediterranean ancestry, so it seems foolish to include them as subject to acquiring any of these Mediterranean diseases. Could a person of Melungeon descent acquire one of these diseases? Of course, but it would not have anything to do with their Melungeon ancestry.

One contributing factor to this theory is the myth of Drake's Turks which has now been exposed as a vast exaggeration. No large group has been proven to have been dropped off on Roanoke or anywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard. Conditions existing there at the time render the survival chances of any such people nil.

  • Beh├žet's SYNDROME

Machado-Joseph Disease has been removed from the list.

The Melungeon Historical Society, MHS does not endorse the theory of Melungeon people being any more prone to any diseases than the general populations.


This article is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis. Consult

a medical health professional if you think you might be suffering from a
medical condition.

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Genetic Tests Come to Your Mailbox

DIY health tests are FDA approved, but is it better not to know?

Knowing genetic predisposition allows people to make key changes in diet, exercise and medical care. But it is important to remember that showing risk potential for a disease doesn’t mean you will develop it.
Are you at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease? Or late-onset Alzheimer’s? For about $200 and a vial full of saliva, you can find out via a mail-in testing kit.
After a new ruling from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consumers can bypass doctors for the first time to learn if they have a genetic risk for 10 diseases.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Why Do So Many Americans Think They Have Cherokee Blood?

Dennis Wolfe, a Cherokee indian in Cherokee, North Carolina, 1980.

Photo courtesy Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress

The history of a myth 

“I cannot say when I first heard of my Indian blood, but as a boy I heard it spoken of in a general way,” Charles Phelps, a resident of Winston-Salem in North Carolina, told a federal census taker near the beginning of the 20th century. Like many Americans at the time, Phelps had a vague understanding of his Native American ancestry. On one point, however, his memory seemed curiously specific: His Indian identity was a product of his “Cherokee blood.”
The tradition of claiming a Cherokee ancestor continues into the present. Today, more Americans claim descent from at least one Cherokee ancestor than any other Native American group. Across the United States, Americans tell and retell stories of long-lost Cherokee ancestors. These tales of family genealogies become murkier with each passing generation, but like Phelps, contemporary Americans profess their belief despite not being able to point directly to a Cherokee in their family tree.
Cont. here:

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Melungeon was one of the 24 Clans studied by Edward T. Price in 1950-53.

By Jack Goins

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- Louisiana 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.

Dr Virginia DeMarce in her review wrote "Melungeons 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.

" What is a social isolate? She writes; "The great majority of people in the United States who carry a mixed European, African and Native American genealogical heritage are not members of social Isolate groups." Continuing: DeMarce then uses professional geographer Edward T. Price description of a Social Isolate, ( survey complied in 1950.) (1)"The people must be racial mixtures of white and non-white groups, Indian and /or negro peoples presumably providing the latter blood in the absence of evidence to the contrary.(2) they must have a social status differing from the whites, Indians or Negroes in the area in such a way as to throw them generally together in their more personal social relationships;(3) they must exist in such numbers and concentration as to be recognized in their locality as such a group and usually to be identified by a distinguishing group name. "

 "Price emphasis on the existence of a group is fundamental to studying the genealogy of social isolate groups, as groups. In spite of the on going myth that one drop of African ancestry classified an individual or family as black, the historical fact is that this principle was nowhere a matter of law in the United States prior to the early 20th century, whereas in most jurisdictions prior to the Civil War, free persons with less than 1/8 or 1/16 African Ancestry were, for legal purposes, classified as white."

" 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." (End Dr Virginia DeMarce)

The oldest written record of this term is recorded in the Stony Creek Church Minutes Sept 26, 1813 Church Sat in love, Brother Kilgore Moderator.Then came forward Sister Kitchen and complained to the church against Susanna Stallard for saying she harbored them Melungins. Sister Sook said she was hurt with her for believing her child and not believing her, and she want talk to her to get satisfaction, and both is “pigedish”, one against the other. Sister Sook lays it down and the church forgives her. Then came forward Cox and relates to the church, that he went to the association and took the letter and they received the letter in fellowship. Dismissed. (This is recorded 26 September 1813, minutes of Stony Creek Church. Also note the previous and preceding minutes to Sept 1813 all exist in full, which is June, July, August October, November and December. )

 These Stony Creek minutes suggest by 1813 the Blackwater group was called Melungeon, but in 1804 they may not have been known as Melungeons.

 July 28, 1804 Church meeting held at Stony Creek, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper be administered at our meeting to be held in September and every three months from the time to come. Bro. Charles Gibson is restored to his seat. Br. James Kitchens and Br. John Richmond appointed to cite Br. Thomas Alley to appear before this church next meeting . Ruben Gibson laid under censure till next meeting and that his mother cite him to appear. Thomas Gibson restored by a recantation.
Dismissed in order.

 “Sept 25, 1804 Ruben Gibson excluded from membership of this church, he lives down at Blackwater, and has our letter of (dismission) and keeps it, and has joined another church”

 There is a tradition that John Sevier encountered the Melungeons, some thought this happened when he was trying to establish the state of Franklin, but they were not in this area at this time. The date of this encounter was in 1802 when Sevier surveyed land boundaries for Hawkins County, Tennessee. 138 Excerpts from John Sevier’s diary suggest he may have later in life, made this reference after meeting these dark skin people and spending the night with one of them on the following 1802 survey.. Looney’s Gap was the main road from Rogersville, Tennessee, across Clinch Mountain and on to the Grainger County Line which was probably the route Sevier took to cross Newman Ridge and Powell Mountain to Mulberry Creek, which would be on the east side of Sneedville and west end of Vardy. The location of the old road from Sneedville to Blackwater Creek was a gap in the ridge and this gap can be seen today, at the foothill of said gap was Vardy Springs. Vardy Collins boarding house would eventually be located near the spring. They stayed near this location at the home of a man named Gibson and then went across Powell Mountain to Mulberry Gap, probably near the location of the present road. Then notice the route taken on Sat. 27, 1802. Daniel Flanery was the owner of the area marked on today’s map as Flannery’s Ford on the Powell River. This area in Mulberry Gap, extending to and including land on the North side of Powell River, land was in Hawkins and adjoining Grainger County, Tennessee. Flannery’s Ford on Powell River can be located today on a map. It’s north of Mulberry Creek on the Powell River and west of Jonesville in Lee County, Virginia. Additions and corrections are in parenthesis by this author.

“Mon. Nov. 1802 Mr. Fish went on to Hawkins C. H. Self and Genl. Rutledge crossed Clinch Mountain at Looneys Gap traveled down lower creek to Abs. Loone ys (* Absolem Looney) came up with the surveyors at Daws (*Doswell) Rogers plantation. The line crossing at Waddels ford on Clinch River near mouth of Shelby’’s Creek one mile above - lay there all night. Mr. Fish retd. brought with him $50 Recd from Nelson sheriff of Hawkins out of which I received 18 dollars. Wed. 24 lay here this day & night Genl. Martin & Majr. Taylor arrived. Thursday 25 Rained Lay at Roberts Fry. 26 Clear day. We all sit out from Robert's crossed Newman Ridge & lodged all night on black water creek at Gibsons .Mssrs? Fish and Taylor left us. Sat. 27 We stayed Crossed Powell mountain and lodged at Sanders mill 7 miles...Left the surveyors coming on from Blackwater. On our route today passed Daniel Flanarys on No.(North) side of Mulbery Gap. Mulberry Creek flows into Powel River between Powell Mountain and Waldens Ridge. Sun. 28 We measured the Cross line and found our course on quarter too far to the South- Lodged at same place.” 139 (MELUNGEONS- Footprints From The Past. Pages 69-70.)

 An unknown journalist in Little Living age came to this same area on Blackwater in the 1840’s and forever sealed the existence of this Melungeon clan, including their mixture and firm location. “You must know that within ten miles of this owl's nest, there is a watering-place, and Mineral Springs in Vardy, Hancock County, Tennessee known hereabouts as 'black-water springs.' It is situated in a narrow gorge, scarcely half a mile wide, between Powell's Mountain and the Copper Ridge, and is, as you may suppose, almost inaccessible. Now this gorge and the tops and sides of the adjoining mountains are inhabited by a singular species of the human animal called MELUNGENS. We stopped at 'Old Vardy's, the hostelries of the vicinage. Old Vardy is the 'chief cook and bottle-washer' of the Melungens, and is really a very clever fellow: but his hotel savors strongly of that peculiar perfume that one may find in the sleeping-rooms of our Negro servants, especially on a close, warm, summer evening. We arrived at Vardy's in time for supper, and thus despatched, we went to the spring, where were assembled several rude log huts, and a small sprinkling of 'the natives, together with a fiddle and other preparations for a dance. The dance was engaged in with right hearty good will.The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this. A great many years ago, these mountains were settled by a society of Portuguese Adventurers, men and women--who came from the long-shore parts of Virginia, that they might be freed from the restraints and drawbacks imposed on them by any form of government. These 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.”

178 “There seems to be no reason for this writer to have invented this detail, “The Melungeons carefully preserved the “Legend of their history.” This “Legend” according to the writer, included an original descent from Portuguese adventures and later intermarriages with Indians, Negroes, and whites.”

179 The visit to Vardy Valley in 1848 was revisited about 50 years later on Friday July 2, 1897. C.H. Humble returned to the same place as the writer in Littell’s Living age. This visit may have been to a mission house, because a New Presbyterian Church was completed in 1899.

 “On Friday forenoon, July 2, (1897) the writer and Rev. Joseph Hamilton, of Parkersburg, West Virginia, started in a hack from Cumberland Gap, Tennessee for Beatty Collins, chief of the Melungeons, in Blackwater.” (MELUNGEONS Footprints From the Past pages 83-84)

 211-Littell's Living Age, March, 1849 The Melungens, This was reprinted from the Knoxville Register September 6, 1848, quoting from the Louisville Examiner. This issue of the Knoxville Register has not been located. 212- Saundra Keyes Ivey comments on the correspondent in Littell’s Living Age, Dissertation, Indiana University. )

This derogatory term was not spread to other localities by migration because the Melungeons did migrate to western Tn.,Ky. Indiana and other places but those descendants were never told about this clan name. It was spread by politicians and Journalist such as in Littell’s Living Age article which was printed in most major newspapers during the mid 1800’s, so many dark skin people where given this name, or some other clan name by their white neighbors.

Ramps- Was a large group Price did not include in his study, this group was a community primarily located between Fort Blackmore and Dungannon Virginia called Ramp Town and some of the dark complected people in some communities in Wise County, Virginia. The above clan names and settlements were known to the local people who lived in those areas. Lets go back to the 1950s those of us who lived in various communities around towns in this time frame remembers names of communities that are slowing being lost to history. Around Rogersville, Tennessee within a 10 mile radius as the crow flies we had Petersburg, Cave Ridge, Pinhook, Guntown, Ebbing Flowing Springs, McKinney, Gravel Town, Cuba, Straw, Persia, Rock Hill, Goulds Hill, Tarpine, Polecat, Kepler, Burem. Most of these communities had schools and churches. Driving across Clinch Mountain on Hwy 70 where I was born, at the foot of the mountain is War Creek. Then Edison, Pumpkin Valley, Copper Ridge. Crossing Clinch River was Kyles Ford, Flower Gap, Fishers Valley, Walnut Grove and Big Ridge. Coming back west is Indian Ridge, Blackwater, Panther Creek, Newman Ridge, Vardy, Snake Hollow, Mulberry Gap, which included the eastern section of what is Claiborne County today. People researching Melungeon history make a huge mistake if they accept some authors statements that Newman Ridge Blackwater Melungeon settlement was a small group, if you check them out, they have never researched this area which is the only recognized Melungeon community that can be sustained by history, people were later called Melungeon in other areas but this is where this clan name began.

 Although Lewis Jarvis referred to the Melungeon as the friendly Indians, he also stated they were not a tribe of Indians. “They have been derisively dubbed with the name Melungeons by the local white people who have lived here with them, its not a traditional name, or tribe of Indians” (Attorney Lewis Jarvis letter in 1903 Sneedville Times. And published in the 1994 book, Hancock County and It’s People.)


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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Family Tree DNA myOrigins Ethnicity Update – No April Foolin’

Family Tree DNA myOrigins Ethnicity Update – No April Foolin’

By now you have probably heard about the new ethnicity percentages that Family Tree DNA just released. It is probably a good thing they did not release them on April 1st!! Some people are pleased, some are upset and most are just confused. 

Roberta Estes of writes:

The long-anticipated myOrigins update at Family Tree DNA has happened today. Not only are the ethnicity percentages updated, sometimes significantly, but so are the clusters and the user interface.
Furthermore, because of the new clusters and reference populations, the entire data base has been rerun. In essence, this isn’t just an update, but an entirely new version of myOrigins.
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Monday, April 3, 2017

Lies and More Lies

Think your DNA results are the final word on whether you have Native American heritage? It's not necessarily true. 
Very important article on Roberta Estes' blog. She writes:
"Jessica Biel’s episode aired on Who Do You Think You Are on Sunday, April 2nd. I wanted to write a follow-up article since I couldn’t reveal Jessica’s Native results before the show aired.
The first family story about Jessica’s Biel line being German proved to be erroneous. In total, Jessica had three family stories she wanted to follow, so the second family legend Jessica set out to research was her Native American heritage.
I was very pleased to see a DNA test involved, but I was dismayed that the impression was left with the viewing audience that the ethnicity results disproved Jessica’s Native heritage. They didn’t."
Cont. here:

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Image from Wikimedia Commons 

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Remembering Joseph Medicine Crow, the Last Crow War Chief

Joseph Medicine Crow, the last war chief of Montana’s Crow tribe, died last year at the age of 102. A noted Native American historian, Medicine Crow was an indelible source of education and a heroic figure of the American west. Herman Viola, the curator emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, once said “When you meet Joe Medicine Crow, you’re shaking hands with the 19th century.”

Medicine Crow was the last surviving person to hear a first person account of the 1876 Battle of Little Bighorn. His grandmother’s brother, White Man Runs Him, was a scout for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

© History Chasers

Saturday, March 18, 2017

White, Black, a Murky Distinction Grows Murkier

The largest genetic study of people yet based on 160,000 persons.

© History Chaser
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

America's First Immigrants?

Recent scientific findings date their arrival earlier than ever thought, sparking hot debate among archaeologists

Smithsonian Magazine
For much of its length, the slow-moving Aucilla River in northern Florida flows underground, tunneling through bedrock limestone. But here and there it surfaces, and preserved in those inky ponds lie secrets of the first Americans.
For years adventurous divers had hunted fossils and artifacts in the sinkholes of the Aucilla about an hour east of Tallahassee. They found stone arrowheads and the bones of extinct mammals such as mammoth, mastodon and the American ice age horse.
Then, in the 1980s, archaeologists from the Florida Museum of Natural History opened a formal excavation in one particular sink. Below a layer of undisturbed sediment they found nine stone flakes that a person must have chipped from a larger stone, most likely to make tools and projectile points. They also found a mastodon tusk, scarred by circular cut marks from a knife. The tusk was 14,500 years old.
The age was surprising, even shocking, for it suddenly made the Aucilla sinkhole one of the earliest places in the Americas to betray the presence of human beings. Curiously, though, scholars largely ignored the discoveries of the Aucilla River Prehistory Project, instead clinging to the conviction that America’s earliest settlers arrived more recently, some 13,500 years ago. But now the sinkhole is getting a fresh look, along with several other provocative archaeological sites that show evidence of an earlier human presence in the Americas, perhaps much earlier.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Secrets of a Multicultural Cuban Cemetery

"Moll - A Map of the West-Indies". Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Secrets of a Multicultural Cuban Cemetery 

Such methods also will help illuminate how and where Native Americans were enslaved in the early centuries of Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the New World.  
In an early 16th-century cemetery in southeastern Cuba called El Chorro de Maita, archaeologists found 133 people in 108 burials. This is the only cemetery in Cuba known to include native Taino people, according to Roberto Valcarcel Rojas at the Netherlands’ University of Leiden, who has studied the remains and artifacts. 
Isotope analysis suggests that individuals came from West Africa and Mesoamerica, as well as from Cuba. The Mesoamericans may be from Mayan populations on the Yucatan peninsula, and their presence in Cuba points to a European-run slave trade that included today’s Mexico as well as Africa. 

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Could Someone be Looking for You to Give You a Free DNA Test?

Go here to learn how this works:

Then go here to see if your surname is listed:

Free DNA tests

From ISOGG Wiki

Free DNA tests are sometimes available to encourage participation in surname projects. Offers are usually restricted to Y-DNA tests with sponsorship being provided by the relevant surname project. Some projects will underwrite the entire cost of a DNA test. Other projects will contribute towards the cost of a test or pay for tests for a limited number of markers. In order to qualify for the offer it is usually necessary to supply a list of your paternal line ancestors for at least three or more generations. A list of currently available sponsorship offers from ISOGG project administrators is given below.
Note that for tests ordered through Family Tree DNA when a third party pays for a test, the person testing first has to agree to the initial test and then to any upgrades to the test. The person who paid also has rights to the results, just not to the DNA. If the tester doesn't want the person or group to have access to the results any more, then that person has to reimburse the entire cost of the test and any upgrades before the person or group is denied access.

Projects offering a free DNA test:

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

White, Black: A Murky Distinction Grows Murkier

The largest genetic study of people yet based on 160,000 persons.

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