Saturday, January 27, 2018

Thomas Collins Sr. born 1710 and his descendants

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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.

  • Behçet'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.

Continued here:

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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.)


 © History Chasers Click here to view all recent Historical Melungeons Blog posts

Monday, April 3, 2017

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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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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The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States

The Genetic Ancestry of African Americans, Latinos, and European Americans across the United States

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Thumbnail image of Figure 1. Opens large image

Figure 1

The Distribution of Ancestry of Self-Reported African Americans across the US
(A) Differences in levels of African ancestry in African Americans (blue).
(B) Differences in levels of Native American ancestry in African Americans (orange).
(C) Differences in levels of European ancestry of African Americans (red), from each state. States with fewer than ten individuals are excluded in gray.
(D) The geographic distribution of self-reported African Americans with Native American ancestry. The proportion of African Americans in each state who have 2% or more Native American ancestry is shown by shade of green. States with fewer than 20 individuals are excluded in gray.

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Monday, January 25, 2016


Note: Please bear in mind this paper was written well before the autosomal DNA tests had any practical purpose in genealogy or population studies. Dr. Brodwin's remarks concern only Y chromosome and mtDNA.

by Dr. Paul Brodwin

The conflict between the agendas of scientific genetics and popular movements for recognition and sovereignty does not always implicate chiefly differences in power.
Geneticists, of course, do not always end up as the enemies of people providing DNA. In the case described below, members of a small, once-isolated group requested DNA analysis to validate their claims of collective ancestry.
They were happy to find a geneticist willing to take on their project, but he eventually had serious misgivings about the entire enterprise.
People asked him to provide evidence about cultural identity and descent, but he knows his science is irrelevant to their most pressing questions.

The rest of this article examines the use of DNA evidence to assert identity claims among the Melungeons, a multiracial group from southern Appalachia.

Their demand for and reception of genetic studies have generated several conflicts, but not along the familiar fault-lines. This case featured few political disagreements about whether research should proceed.
Obtaining cheek swabs and hair roots, extracting the DNA, and growing cell lines did not provoke a popular outcry about imperialism or formal ethical self-scrutiny. Melungeons’’ demand for collective recognition proved incommensurable not with the politics of genetic research, but instead with the limits that researchers themselves place on,

160 P. BRODWIN interpretation of their findings. This case turned on the conceptual vulnerability of human population genetics: the mismatch between scientific and popular views about the ability of genetics evidence to establish collective origins and identity.

A formal protocol such as the MEP, meant to adjudicate between acceptable and unacceptable research practices, cannot particularly help geneticists who face a conflict not with potential DNA donors, but instead with their own
professional and intellectual commitments.
The geneticist who worked with the Melungeons was thus pushed into an even murkier ethical terrain than the HGDP
defenders. He found it impossible to resolve the relevant conflicts without abandoning his fundamental dedication to his scientific craft.

For over 100 years, journalists, social scientists, and folklorists have written about the Melungeons of northeastern Tennessee and neighboring regions of Virginia and Kentucky. In a journalistic idiom, the Melungeons are a "lost tribe," Virginia’s mystery race," an "almost exinct," or "dwindling hill clan," to cite titles of popular magazine articles over the years.
However, attempts at a more accurate description quickly get caught up in the same identity politics that divide the group itself and that drive its current interest in genetic research. Until recently, most academic accounts classified Melungeons as an enclaved community of mixed black, white, and American Indian ancestry, one of several such groups living in the eastern and southern United States.

The anthropologist Gilbert (1946) included Melungeons in his detailed list of "mixed-blood racial islands"——groups that are considered racially distinct by their white, black, and Native American neighbors——along with the Brass Ankles and Croatans of the Carolinas, the Red Bones of Louisiana, the Guineas of West Virginia and Maryland, and the Jackson Whites of New Jersey.6 Gilbert characterized all these groups as backward minorities, suffering from illiteracy and poverty, difficult to classify racially, and needing assimilation to improve their condition.

Other social scientists forgo the paternalism, but offer similar accounts of Melungeon origins. Price (1951) traces the Melungeons to a fluid mixed-race society living in the 18th century in Virgina and the Carolinas. For Beale (1957),

they are a "tri-racial isolate," one of 27 such groups found throughout
the South. Such groups contain "intermingled Indian, white, and Negro ancestry," and
they persist as singular, bounded communities because of their geographical
isolation and the legal or customary restrictions on marriage with both whites and
blacks (see also Berry 1963). Most recently, DeMarce (1992, 1993)——a professional

historian and genealogist——has documented Indian––white, black––white, and
black––Indian amalgamations among the historic source populations of Melungeons.
She also traces the likely migration of major Melungeon families from west central Virginia into the core area of northeast Tennessee where most people who now call themselves Melungeon trace their lineage.

BIOETHICS IN ACTION 161 Until the early 1990s, these scholarly representations remained unchallenged by Melungeons themselves, simply because few people actually admitted to being one. Berry’’s informants told him only that he would find Melungeons
"across the creek" or "in the next hollow" (Berry 1963: 17). Price learned how to
identify typical Melungeon surnames and physical traits from individuals who specifically disclaimed the identity. Beale noted that in the 1950 Tennessee census,
individuals locally known as Melungeon were most often marked by census workers as
white, less often as Negro, and occasionally as Indian. He emphasizes that the designation
of tri-racial comes from the outside investigator, not the groups themselves. In fact,

"the mixed-blood individual will usually insist——with vehemence, if
necessary——that there is no Negro ancestry in his family . . . but that he is partly

(Beale 1957: 188). Cavender (1981) found the same situation during fieldwork
in Hancock County, Tennessee, in 1979 and 1980. People identified by others
as Melungeon usually denied the very existence of the group. Most whites,
moreover, used the term simply as an epithet for anyone who was poor or had a
suspected black ancestor. People interviewed by the above researchers presumably did
not self-identify as Melungeon for several reasons: to escape the term’’s lower
class connotations (shiftless, backwards, thieving); to avoid the danger to one’’s
rights and status from acknowledging black ancestry (seeDeMarce 1992: 6––7); or
simply because the term no longer existed as a meaningful ethnic marker.

"Melungeon" during this period was an exonym, a term that outsiders used
to identify the group, but that no one used to label themselves (see Puckett,
2001). The word reinforced the class hierarchy and racial boundaries of southern

However, the meaning and uses of the term began to change in the 1960s. In
1966, two economists, professors from Jefferson City, Tennessee, conducted a
regional economic study of Hancock County, at that time among the ten poorest
counties in the nation. They recommended the development of tourism and, in
particular, suggested "a drama featuring the mystery of the Melungeon settlement in the
county . . . [t]he natural spin-off from the drama would be an outlet for handicraft
items" as well as food and lodging services for tourists (quoted in Ivey 1977:

102). The play Walk Towards the Sunset: The Melungeon Story——a sentimental
narrative about two centuries of anti-Melungeon prejudice——opened in 1969 in
the Hancock County town of Sneedville (Beale 1990).

The play produced a short-lived tourism boom, but it also inaugurated a
deeper change in the value and significance of Melungeon identity. In 1973,
Sneedville residents began for the first time to identify themselves as Melungeon or to 

acknowledge Melungeon ancestry (Ivey 1977). Only a few years later, a self-labeled
insider to the group complained to Cavender that some of the people "coming out
of the closet" as Melungeons were actually imposters (Cavender 1981: 32).
The next phase in this process of ethnic reinvention began two decades later
with the publication of The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People (Kennedy

162 P. BRODWIN 1997, first edition published in 1994). In his book, N. Brent Kennedy, PhD, the vice-chancellor of development at Clinch Valley College, Virginia, describes
how his struggle with Sarcoidosis, a chronic inflammatory disease, led him to
reconstruct his family genealogy, embrace his Melungeon heritage, and explore the
origin and racial makeup of the group. Now in its second edition, the book serves
as the first contact for many people entering Melungeon circles. Kennedy
also enlisted academic support to find the Melungeon Research Committee (now the
Melungeon Heritage Association [MHA]), and he organized the growing interest
in Melungeon identity into a series of yearly meetings. The "First Union,"
held in 1997 at ClinchValley College with over 500 attendees, featured talks on
genealogy and grantsmanship, along with Appalachian music and storytelling.
7 Subsequent meetings have been held yearly in Kentucky and Tennessee. People who
consider themselves Melungeon regularly attend these meetings, and they also
participate in a vast web presence of family associations and competing home pages that
assert different origin theories or explore connections with African-American and
Native American groups.

In the 1990s, therefore, thousands of people began to claim Melungeon
identity or descent. The exonym became an autonym. Individuals who once shunned
the label (or did not even know it existed) now claim it publicly and use it
as an entr ´ee into new face-to-face as well as virtual communities. As with
many emerging identity movements, conflicts over authenticity and the prerogative
to define the group’’s essence and boundaries divide today’’s Melungeons.
8 First of all, people living in the Appalachians who have personally suffered from
the stigma of poverty and suspected black ancestry have different reasons to
proclaim themselves Melungeon than do those whose ancestors left the region three or
four generations ago and securely enjoy white status. Even locally, the
better-educated individuals who organize the yearly gatherings inadvertently separate
themselves from the poorer majority, who often cannot afford the registration fees and
the time off from work. In fact, the majority of people attending the Fourth
Union held in 2002 were retirees, often from out of state, with a sprinkling of
white-collar professionals. Finally, certain Melungeons privilege their Indian descent
and seek legal recognition as a tribe,
9 thereby alienating themselves from theMHA, which explicitly does not seek tribal status. The revitalization of Melungeon identity also participates in broader social
changes. According to Darlene Wilson, a historian and long-time MHA board
member, the Melungeon movement aims to reverse the economic and racial caste
system of the United States (Wilson 1998). She believes Melungeon ethnic activities hasten the long-term retreat of American racism, a viewpoint echoed on the MHAweb page:"

"We firmly believe in the dignity of all such mixed ancestry groups of southern Appalachia and commit to preserving their rich heritage of racial harmony and diversity."10 Kennedy’s book, a touchstone for many present-day

BIOETHICS IN ACTION 163 Melungeons, adopts the common formulae of late 20th century identity politics:

The restrictive choices of either quietly accepting our "stigma"[as
Melungeon] or sweeping it under the rug in the pitiful self-delusion of "being like everyone else"were unacceptable.

To me there seemed to be a third, admittedly blasphemous option: to embrace
our heritage——whatever it might be——and wear it like a banner . . . . My mother, at first uneasy over my decision to come out of theMelungeon closet, quickly came to understand. (Kennedy 1997:
7)Intentionally or not, Kennedy’’s self-description recalls the shame of trying to pass as white or to normalize a physical disability, as well as the ordeal of acknowledging one’’s homosexuality to family members. As the Melungeons’’most well-known spokesman, Kennedy demands recognition in terms similar to those employed by many other groups in the national political scene. His calls to overcome internalized stigma, to make authentic contact with oneself, and to honor group distinctiveness in the face of pressures to assimilate are all standard ingredients in contemporary politics of difference (Taylor 1992: 38 and passim).

For many Melungeons, the right to establish their own origin story is the
most public demand for recognition. Of all the speculations about origins that
circulated in popular accounts, the claim of Portuguese descent has the oldest
published history, dating to at least 1848.11 Academic and popular writers have
long reported that individuals classified as Melungeon (when that term was still
an exonym) would call themselves Portuguese, often pronounced

Kennedy (1997) supports the Portuguese theory and adds to it ancestry claims
about Turks and Moors who settled in the colonial southeastern United

His complicated account comes wrapped in a demand to respect his Melungeon
ancestors who, he says, were telling the truth when they described themselves as
Portuguese. The "tri-racial isolate" theory, he writes, traces white ancestry exclusively
to the British Isles. It is not only incorrect, it is also politically damaging, for it denies people "the God-given right to claim their national or specific ethnic heritages"

" (Kennedy 1997: 100). For Kennedy and his supporters,12 establishing an authoritative origin story is an a priori right of the Melungeon community. This collectivity, like all
others, deserves recognition in terms of its own choosing, even (or especially) in
the face of outsider experts. Many Melungeons fiercely support Kennedy’’s ideas about
Portuguese origins. They reject the standard scholarly opinion that the
group arose from an amalgam of northern Europeans, Africans, and Native Americans.

They claim that calling Melungeons a "tri-racial isolate" connotes
inbreeding, inferiority, and hence reproduces the elitist stereotype of Appalachian

Claims of Portuguese descent generate polemics for a second and even more
highly charged reason. Scholarly opinion holds that Melungeons (and other
mixed-race groups) historically called themselves Portuguese to deflect suspicion

164 P. BRODWIN of African ancestry. DeMarce (1993) and Henige (1998) both cite an 1872 Tennessee Supreme Court decision that classified a Melungeon woman as a descendant of ancient Carthagenians who long resided in Portugal, and hence not Negro.
The ruling legalized her marriage to a white man and enabled her child to
inherit the father’’s estate (DeMarce 1993: 33). In general, many people insecure about
their racial identity in the antebellum and Jim Crow South tried to pass as white
by claiming Portuguese or other southern European ancestry (Everett 1999: 370).

According to Henige (1984), the label Portuguese is a contrived defense
mechanism that reinforces one’’s endangered white status. Henige (1998: 280) applied
this perspective to Kennedy’’s book, which he faults for its studied ambivalence
about acknowledging black ancestry. Henige’’s critique as well as the long history
of claims about Portuguese descent made by groups in the South raises the
stakes considerably.
For Brent Kennedy, proving the Portuguese origin story would not only vindicate the right of Melungeons to author their own history. It would also exonerate him and the Melungeons from charges of crypto-racism and of disguising the truth about group origins: serious matters in the current climate of identity politics.


To convince others to accept his theory of Melungeon origins, Kennedy turned
to population genetics:The call for DNA really came from outside the community, not within.
It really came from scholars who took offense at our writings, who criticized these
outlandish claims that differed from the standard tri-racial accounts. They said that these
claims cannot be substantiated, given the historical records that we have here in Virginia,
where we think the core Melungeon population originated. They said that the only way you can prove these theories of Mediterranean, Turkish, Portuguese, or Jewish origin, or the possible source for the illnesses that people have, is through DNA (Brent Kennedy).13

In the early 1990s, Kennedy had consulted several academic geneticists who
told him that a proper population study——with DNA samples from both
Melungeons and comparison populations in Portugal and Turkey——would cost over a
million dollars. In the following years, however, advances in mapping the
human genome brought the price down considerably. Thanks to PCR technology and
new databases of regionally and ethnically labeled DNA, geneticists can now
take DNA samples locally and make probabilistic statements about population
history without collecting new samples from distant parts of the world (see Bradman
and Thomas 1998, and for a popular account, Sykes 2001).

In 1998, Kennedy presented his ideas for genetics research to Kevin Jones——a
British molecular biologist and newly arrived assistant professor at the University

BIOETHICS IN ACTION 165 of Virginia College at Wise (the re-named ClinchValley College).Although he had never heard of the Melungeons, Jones took on the project because he was intrigued by the patterns of unusual diseases (e.g., thalassemia and Familial Mediterranean Fever) typically associated with southern European ancestry that also occur among white, presumably Scotch––Irish, Appalachians. Brent Kennedy, however, wanted the genetics research to authenticate certain ancestry claims, not to
reconstruct disease patterns, and he essentially steered the research in his direction. Kennedy oversaw the collection of DNA samples from descendants of the historic core
Melungeon population, and Jones genotyped the population (by calculating the
frequency of particular makers on the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the
non recombineng portion of the Y chromosome), and compared Melungeon frequencies
to those recorded for various world populations. (Jones has not yet published the Melungeon data, but he says his approach parallels the work by Weale et al. 2002
and Wilson et al. 2001.)

The cultural politics of self-ascribed Melungeons interacted with the
technical demands of population genetics to produce the "rough edges" of Jones’’s
research: the zones of conflict between professional and lay expectations (see Bosk

To begin with, this sort of research requires a clearly identified core
population for sampling. However, the inclusion criteria for this group are essentially

People who now call themselves Melungeon live both in southern Appalachia
and across the United States show a range of complexions and physical types, and
bear a number of surnames. Conversely, many people with the same residence,
appearance, and surnames do not identify as Melungeons. By necessity, Jones
relied entirely on Brent Kennedy to delineate the core Melungeon group.

I decided whom to sample. I think I know who are the original Melungeons,
those who lived between 1725 and 1790. I asked myself, can we locate the descendants of  those people?

Hence, we chose seven or eight people on the Virginia side and ten on the
Vardy, Tennessee, side.We began with these people who everyone agrees are the original
Melungeons. It was very easy to find their descendants. We all know who was related to whom; we just had to  find the right cousin (Brent Kennedy).
14 At this stage, Kevin Jones’’s role was to ensure that enough samples were
collected, that they came from independent lineages and that the descent was
traced exclusively through the female or male line, a requirement for
research with mtDNA and Y chromosome markers.

In contrast to the HGDP, the process of collecting Melungeon DNA did not
raise any questions about group sovereignty or informed consent. Kennedy presented
his plan for sampling to the Vardy Historical Society, a local community board of self-identified Melungeons. They immediately endorsed it, as did the people
approached in Virginia. In fact, Melungeons began to request DNA testing in
numbers that far exceeded the needs of research and the technical capacity in

(To be continued)

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