Tuesday, July 27, 2010

North Carolina Archaeology (formerly Southern Indian Studies)

The Indian people who moved to Indiana and Ohio appear to have been absorbed into the general population, but as late as 1910, the U.S. Census listed some families of Jeffrieses in the Whitley County area as Indian (U.S. Bureau of the Census 1910), showing that the awareness of their heritage may still not have died out completely.

In 1904, the Eastern Band of Cherokee won a settlement with the U.S. government based on violations of earlier treaties. This meant that thousands of persons of Eastern Cherokee ancestry were eligible for part of the settlement, and many of these people applied to the U.S. Court of Claims for a share (Jordan 1987-1990). It is interesting to read these applications, since a significant percentage of applicants were not Eastern Cherokee, but members of other tribes. These persons would now be identified as Lumbee, Alabama Creek, Meherrin, Haliwa, and Occaneechi (Saponi), along with a number of individuals who probably were of unmixed white or black ancestry.

At least 20 Occaneechi descendants also applied; all were rejected by the commission as not being of Eastern Cherokee ancestry. Among these were Aaron Thomas Guy, born in Caswell County, North Carolina, the son of Henry Guy and grandson of Henry Guy. Henry Guy, Sr., was the brother of Richard Guy, Buckner Guy, and others who moved to Macon County, North Carolina, from the Texas community in the 1820s. Aaron Guy stated that his mother was a free woman of color, born free and raised by the Quakers in Guilford County, North Carolina. There is also testimony from a former slave who knew Henry Guy, Jr., to the effect that he was an Indian, married to a colored woman. Aaron Guy was living in Indiana at the time of his application.

William C. Wilson, from Wichita, Kansas, also applied. He stated that he was born near Hendersonville, North Carolina, and was the son of Sam Wilson, a "half Cherokee," and Julian Guy. Julian Guy was the daughter of Richard Guy and Martha Whitmore, and Martha's mother was Lottie Jeffries. Wilson claimed that his grandfather, Richard Guy, was a white man, although the Macon County records list him as a "Free Colored head of Household." He also stated that his father, Sam Wilson, could speak the Indian language. Assuming he was not exaggerating to impress the government man, William Wilson's father may have spoken the old Saponi language, or he may have learned Cherokee from his neighbors in Macon County.

William and Joe Gibson, from Murphy, North Carolina, applied, and the note "Probably Negros" was written on their application. William Gibson stated that his parents "passed as part Indian. No Negro blood in them." He further stated that his father spoke the Indian language. On the bottom of his testimony is a note, presumably written by the agent, which says, "This applicant shows the Indian so does his brother now with him. However, their ancestors were never enrolled." These Gibsons, who lived at various times in Tennessee and North Carolina, probably were also related to the Gibsons found in the so-called Melungeon groups of eastern Tennessee and western Virginia, which appear to have originated in the early mixed-blood populations of the North Carolina Piedmont area.

Read more here.

North Carolina Archaeology (formerly Southern Indian Studies) site

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Edward T. Price

The following is from the Association of American Geographers. Annals Vol. 43 (June 1953) pp 138-55. Reprint permission granted with acknowledgment.
EDWARD T. PRICE Los Angeles State College

A STRANGE product of the mingling of races which followed the British entry into North America survives in the presence of a number of localized strains of peoples of mixed ancestry. Presumed to be part white with varying proportions of Indian and Negro blood, ** they are recognized as of intermediate social status, sharing lot with neither white nor colored, and enjoying neither the governmental protection nor the tribal tie of the typical Indian descendants. A high degree of endogamy results from this special status, and their recognition is crystallized in the unusual group names applied to them by the country people.
The chief populations of this type are located and identified in Figure 1, which expresses their recurrence as a pattern of distribution. (1) Yet each is essentially a local phenomenon, a unique demographic body, defined only in its own terms and only by its own neighbors. A name applied to one group in one area would have no meaning relative to similar people elsewhere. This association of mixed-blood and particular place piques the geographic curiosity about a subject which, were it ubiquitous, might well be abandoned to the sociologist and social historian. What accounts for these cases of social endemism in the racially mixed population?
The total number of these mixed-bloods is probably between 50,000 and 100,000 persons. Individually recognized groups may run from fewer than 100 to as many as 18,000 persons in the case of the Croatans of North Carolina. The available records, the most useful being old census schedules,(2) indicate that the present numbers of mixed-bloods have sprung from the great reproductive increase of small intial populations. The prevalence in each group of a small number of oft-repeated surnames is in accord with such a conclusion. The ancestors of the mixed-bloods have been free people (usually "free colored" in earlier censuses) for as long as their history can be traced; it is extremly unusual to find any evidence of slavery in their main ancestral lines.
The mixed-bloods are heterogeneous in physical appearance. Some of the popu- lation in some of the groups are unmistakably negroid in some characteristics. Proof of Indian ancestry rests more on tradition than on present appearance. The dark-skinned strain, however, does not seem to be due entirely to Negro blood; other negroid traits seem less clearly prevalent than darkness of skin. Skin colors among the mixed-bloods vary from white to brown, but few are as dark as an unmixed Indian.
LARGER MIXED-BLOOD STRAINSThe Croatan Indians of North Carolina
Probable ancestors of the Croatan Indians were reported along the Lumber River at the time of the area's first settlement by Scotch people in the early 1730's,(3) and they may be identical with a lawless band of swamp-dwellers reported in 1754. (4) At least sixty-five family heads can be identified in the census of 1790, but the groups seem to have remained relatively obscure until after the Civil War when one member of the group acquired notoriety for his exploits as an outlaw.(5) The Croatans' demand for status found a champion in the person of Hamilton McMillan, a member of the legislature which conferred on them the title of "Croatan Indians," later changed to "Cherokee Indians of Robeson County" (6) over the protests of the Cherokees of eastern North Carolina. The Croatans have had their own Indian school system, separate from both white and Negro, culminating in the State Teachers' College at Pembroke. The census has tabulated them as Indians since 1890,and has shown their amazing rate of growth. (7) The Croatans are mostly small farmers engaged in growing cotton, tobacco, and corn in the western part of Robeson County, where they dominate the rural settlement. Even in their center of Pembroke, however, the business is mostly in the hands of whites, and the Croatans are resentful of their own lack of influence and status. (8) The latter is closely related to apparent or suspected presence of Negro blood, a matter which has internally compartmented the Croatan society itself. The Croatans appear in numbers in several nearby counties, and "Croatan" as a designation of race appears occasionally in the marriage records of even more distant localities.
A popularly held theory that Raleigh's Lost Colony survives in one of the mixed-blood groups usually centers on the Croatans. It is difficult to tell whether this idea has been a tradition among the Croatans, or was only popular for a time in the late nineteenth century as a device for gaining status. The case built by McMillan(9) for historical continuity of the Lost Colony and the Croatans seems to have been successfully refuted by Swanton. (10) McMillan also lists the names of the members of the Lost Colony, alleging a similarity to Robeson County names. (11) Such a similarity was not evidenced by names in the census of 1790, nor are the most frequent Croatan surnames on the Lost Colony list at all. Indeed Locklear and Oxendine, the two most common names, covering nearly a third of the Croatans,(12) seem to be virtually unique to the Croatans. They were not reported among whites in the 1790 census, and so few free colored families of those names appeared outside of Robeson County in either 1790 or 1830 that an origin among the Croatans is indicated (Fig. 2).
The density of free Negroes in 1830 was greater in Robeson County (where they were mostly Croatans) than in any other county in the southern half of North Carolina. Whatever aberration from the usual bi-racial pattern resulted in the Croatans evidently had a quantitative as well as a qualitative aspect. Whether this process was immigration, a conservative lack of emigration, high fertility, or simply an early start is an unanswered question.
The Melungeons
The Melungeons(13) centering in Hancock County, Tennessee, are sometimes said to derive from the Croatans, but the comparison of names suggests only a tenuous connection. The Melungeons reached Newman's Ridge and Blackwater Valley (in Hancock County) among the first settlers, apparently In the 1790's. The number and ages of family heads bearing the names of Collins, Gibson, and Goins in 1830 suggest that several households with these names were involved in the original migrations from North Carolina and Virginia. By 1830 the Melungeon colony included 330 persons in 55 families in Hawkins County (from which Hancock was formed) and 130 persons in 24 families in adjoining Grainger County. Because of them Hawkins County showed more free colored persons in the 1830 census than any other county in Tennessee except Davidson (Nashville) and more free colored families named Collins than any other county in the United States. A few Melungeons persisted until 1830 in Ashe County in northwestern North Carolina; the records of that area contain the earliest references to Vardy Collins, (14) said to be the first of the Melungeon settlers.
A few of the Melungeons of today resemble Indians, but more are impossible to distinguish from white mountaineers. A caste distinction persists to a considerable degree, though the Melungeons are not segregated in schools. Melungeons are found in some numbers in Lee, Scott, and Wise County, Virginia, Letcher County, Kentucky, and in Graysville, Tennessee, and occasionally on and west of the Cumberland Plateau. In these more distant localities they are not always identified as Melungeons, but bear the characteristic surnames. Historical records do not supply proof for their likely relationship to the Hancock County group, and some of these other settlements are also very old. The name of Goins is particularly associated with Melungeons living south and west of Hancock County.
The Redbones of Louisiana
Five parishes of southwest Louisiana-- Calcasieu, Rapides, Beauregard, Vernon, and Allen--include in their population a strain of mixed-bloods identified as Redbones. Louisiana, with its French background, is probably the state where mixture of white and Negro blood has been most typical; a number of concentrations of such peoples are recognized. The markedly English names of the Redbones and their Protestant religious affiliations (usually Baptist) demarcate the Redbones from all these other Louisiana mixed-bloods, with whom this study is not concerned.
The Redbones appear clearly in the earliest census records of the area as free colored persons, usually the only free colored persons with English names in the present areas. Later records identify the same persons as mulattoes; when the listed birthplace is outside of Louisiana, South Carolina is usually the state. Olmsted in 1857 (15) mentions a wealthy mulatto family of Ashworths near the border in east Texas, which is quite likely connected with the Redbones of the same name. Evidently the Redbones were mixed in blood when they came as cattle-grazers to this last-settled corner of Louisiana. Further support for believing their origin to be South Carolina stems from the facts that Redbone is an old Carolina term for mixed-bloods, (16) that several Redbone names occurred among free Negroes of South Carolina, and that several names of South Carolina mixed-bloods occurred with the Redbones in earlier censuses.
The Redbones probably number 3000 or more. They are not segregated in schools, though several rural areas and two or three villages are predominantly Redbone in population. Many of the Redbones have drifted into the towns to take various jobs in recent: years. In spite of the absence of any official recognition or rigid segregation, the Redbones form what is essentially a caste; and they are homogeneous in economic class, the small subsistence farm or labor in forest or mill providing the livelihood.
The term Redbone suggests Indian blood, which is reported to have been evident among some of the older Redbones. The status the Redbones hold and the appearance of many of the Redbones today suggest an admixture of Negro blood. No one is called a Redbone to his face, but the term is universally understood in southwest Louisiana, and the members of a Redbone family will be so tagged as long as they continue to live in the area.
The Cajans of Alabama
The nucleus of American settlement in Alabama was a small enclave on the west bank of the lower Tombigbee and Mobile Rivers which, in the early nineteenth century, was surrounded by Spanish Mobile to the south and Indian tribes on the other sides--Creek, Choctaw and Cherokee. (17)
Into this frontier came a free colored man named Reed, said to have been a mulatto from Jamaica; he married a slave woman, also a mulatto, whose freedom he later purchased, (18) and the two operated a cattle-penning center in conjunction with an inn along the road into Mississippi. The Reeds had eight children, 56 grandchildren, and at least 202 great grandchildren; (19) by today the eighth and ninth generation has appeared, and the descent of the Reeds is innumerable. A free colored couple named Byrd, who probably came into the area a little later, are known to have produced 119 great grandchildren, and a Weaver family traced back to two family heads has been equally prolific.
About half of the population of over 2000 Cajans in Mobile and Washington Counties in Alabama bear the names of Weaver, Reid, and Byrd. The descendants of these families were not numerous until after the Civil War, but their previous status of freedom and their mixed race may account for their subsequent separation from the other Negroes. Certainly their rapid growth in numbers and their intermarriage of one family with another help to explain the recognition by the white population which ultimately resulted in borrowing (with a slight rnodification in spelling) the term Cajan from Louisiana to identify them.
Today the Cajans live in a clearly circumscribed rural area of the pine forests containing about 175 square miles. Their children attend special schools provided by the counties. Perhaps another 2000 Cajans have managed to slip into towns or cities where they are not actively thrown with the core of the group.
The Cajans have not only survived, but have steadily grown in this area of change and instability. After the cattlegrazers came the lumber and railroad camps. Geronimo's Indians were detained at nearby Mt. Vernon in 1890. (20) Each of these transient groups and many others may have contributed blood to the Cajans.
The exhaustion of the forests has left the slim leavings to the Cajans. Many of them are squatters on large landholdings; most of them work in the forest industries, lumbering, turpentining, hauling logs, operating sawmills. Increasing population in an area of depleted resources cannot continue indefinitely. Some of the Cajans leave the region and pass as white in distant localities; these are usually the lighter-skinned. A conservatism tends to hold most of them near home. The emigration has not kept up with the growth by reproduction, but it probably balances occasional intermarriage with whites to keep most of the residual Cajan population moderately dark-skinned.
The Issues of Amherst County, Virginia
A concentration of several hundred Issues (a term applied to Negroes freed before the Civil War) has long been recognized at the eastern foot of the Blue Ridge near Amherst, Virginia. They are mostly a laboring group, working on the tobacco farms of the Piedmont and the apple orchards of the slopes above and as domestic servants. The mulatto ancestors of the Issues were in the area by 1785, but little is known of their history; one of the group was mentioned as a free mulatto in 1848. (21) The idea that the group has some Indian blood persists, however. (22)
Emigration, especially to New Jersey during the War, has reduced the number of Issues materially. This movement seems to be the result of the assiduousness of the Virginia Department of Vital Statistics in its campaign to label as Negroes in all official records those with any fraction of Negro ancestry. This threat to their previous intermediate status was distasteful. A possibly related group have been mountain farmers on Irish Creek on the western side of the Blue Ridge; they have not been excluded from white schools in Rockbridge County.
The Guineas of West Virginia
Most of the Guineas (23) live in Barbour and Taylor Counties in north central West Virginia, but they are known in several other counties also. This is an area of very few other colored people; though the Guineas attend the colored schools, they have resisted this segregation and would probably resist more forcibly if the schools had more Negro children and Negro teachers. The 1600 or more Guineas in Barbour and Taylor Counties are mostly peasant farmers, coal miners, day laborers, and domestic servants. A very few are wealthy. They live in several rural concentrations where their ownership of land dates from early in the nineteenth century, (24) in others where they have more recently replaced whites, and in some numbers in the towns.
Several surnames belong almost exclusively to Guineas in this area, but nearly half the group are named Mayle (formerly spelled Mail, Male, etc.). (25) There are several traditions of Indian blood among the Guineas, but the records confirm only the "colored" and mulatto mixtures. The records of the Guineas' ancestors all trace back to Virginia (then including West Virginia); they were in the western part of the state well before 1800. The mixed-bloods seem to have reached this area from several different directions before their increase to the present population. The Mayles, and perhaps other Guinea families came from Hampshire County, where they may have been people of some means. Just when the Mayle family became mixed-blooded is not clear, but it evidently occurred before 1810, when they had already started moving westward into the Plateau. The census evidence indicates that all of the Mayles of the Guinea group, numbering over 700 in Barbour and Taylor Counties, are either actual or legal descendants of one man. Most of the Guinea settlement in Taylor County has developed from Barbour County in the last two generations, and more recently the Guineas have settled in some numbers in several Ohio cities and in Detroit.
The Wesorts of Maryland
A vaguely defined mixed-blood group known as Wesorts (26) form part of the population of the southeastern peninsula of Maryland west of Chesapeake Bay, within an hour's drive of Washington. Their number is estimated at between 750 and 3000. Their children attend both white and colored schools. Twenty-six Wesort surnames have been identified, most of which were among the 54 family names of free colored persons in the area in 1790; most of the names were also, common among whites of the area at the same time.
The Moors and Nanticokes of DelawareTwo mixed groups, probably related to one another, live chiefly in Delaware. (27) The Moors numbering about 500, are in a suburb of Dover, and the Nanticokes. numbering about 700, live in the southeast part of the state near the estuary of the Indian River. The former support themselves from various wage jobs, while the latter have retained their modest farms in the Indian River Hundred. Most of their children attend an assortment of special schools, both public and private, which has resulted from internal differences and misunderstandings with officials.
The Nanticoke leaders have recently tried to revive their Indian birthright through the formation of the Nanticoke Indian Association. In spite of the fact that their economy has made use of a surprising number of Indian culture traits, (28) there is little evidence at hand to connect them directly with the aborigines of Delaware. Their claim to Indian status seems neither stronger nor weaker than that of several other mixed-blood groups.
The Jackson Whites of New York and New Jersey
The Jackson Whites, the only large mixed group of the North, is the only one whose members have been willing to throw in their lot with the Negroes, though they do not class themselves with the colored population at large. Though within easy commuting distance of New York City (Bergen County, New Jersey, and Rockland County, New York), their existence has apparently depended historically on a refuge in the fault-bounded Ramapo Hills. Their names of Mann, DeGroat, DeFreese, and Van Dunk suggest a relation to the Dutch settlers of New York; all of these names but the last are old (29) in the area, while a de Vries appeared in a seventeenth century reference (30) as a free Negro.
The early history of the Jackson Whites is obscure, and no hypotheses or theories (31) seem to find much confirmation in records. The people seem to have supported themselves on the mountain during the nineteenth century by farming and producing forest products such as charcoal, baskets, barrel staves, brooms, and wooden tools. (32) Missionary work on the mountain and increased job opportunities in the lowlands have made the Jackson Whites a part of modern society. Most of them have moved into the lowland towns and taken jobs in the shops and mills. Segregation in a colored grade school in one of the New York communities was ended in 1947. Traditions among the Jackson Whites themselves indicate either a very diverse ethnic background or a complete confusion over the actual truth.
Nineteen separate groups of mixed-blood peoples have been identified on the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. (33) Typically they live somewhat apart from other groups in rural settings with their own clusters of shacks. Their employment is mostly in agricultural labor. In most cases special schools are provided.
The groups may have formed around the small lowland Indian tribes as nuclei, picking up both white and Negro blood. (34) Characteristic names are recognized in each locality, but certain names tend to be common in several counties, sometimes linking the South Carolina groups with Croatans and other larger groups. The South Carolina mixed-bloods, on the whole, are said to be making gains toward white status. A number of group names--e.g., Brass Ankles, Redbones; Redlegs, Buckheads, Turks--are applied locally to these peoples. Their social differentiation seems to be a pattern of long standing in South Carolina.
North Carolina is also prominent on the map of mixed-bloods. Its school directory lists 27 Indian schools. (35) Goins is the chief surname among a scattering of alleged mixed-bloods in Surry, Stokes, and Rockingham Counties, North Carolina, and adjoining Patrick County, Virginia. Though one Indian school is maintained for these people, they have, in at least one case, won suit for admission to white schools. Usually they attend white schools and are distinguished only socially by their neighbors. Their total number is at least several hundred. The compact land ownership around Gointown in Rockingham County suggests it as being of longest standing as a center for this strain; land records carry them back in that part of the county to its formation in 1786. A similar situation occurs in Moore County in southern North Carolina with the difference that the Goinses and their associates are classed as Negro, but mix little with other Negroes.
Magoffin County in the Kentucky Mountains has a small mixed-blood popula- tion considered to be of Indian mixture. (36) They are noted in the county as mountain farmers with large families whom they are able to maintain without apparent means of support. The people have been in the county as long as records have been maintained. Their surnames have all been associated with Melungeons in the records, though some of the early Magoffin County mixed-bloods were themselves born in Virginia and North Carolina. A colony of the Magoffin County group planted itself near Carmel, Ohio, about the time of the Civil War. At the very edge of the Appalachians, they built their shacks in the hills where they obtained shelter, wood, game, and ginseng, providing farm labor at times on the more fertile plains. Some of the group are now rooted in Carmel, but close contact is yet maintained with relatives in Magoffin County.
Ohio has a second small group living in the rich Corn Belt land of Darks County. Admittedly part Negro, members of this group are descended from ancestors who began settlement there by 1822. A number of families, all of whom came from the southeast, apparently found here an escape from the anomalous position of the free Negro in the slave states. The colony is fairly prosperous although the farms are somewhat smaller than the average about them; subdivision through inheritance probably accounts for this condition.
Other small mixed-blood groups are indicated on the map in Figure 1.
The mixed-blood groups generally appear to have arisen from diverse sources. Where records are available, they indicate that the ancestors of the present mixed- bloods, coming into their present areas at the time of American settlement, were themselves mixed. The mixing must have had a beginning, of course; the old records are lacking for the easternmost groups where settlement was earlier. The surnames of the mixed-blood people are usually distinctive in their areas; if their names are taken from white people, such event seems to pre-date settlement in the present areas.
The mixed-blood groups are not closely associated with particular physical refuge areas in most cases; more broadly, however, Figure1 shows that most of them live in the Coastal Plain and Appalachian Provinces--areas generally marginal in soil fertility and irregular in utility, accessibility and settlement. Though typically, but not entirely, a Southern phenomenon, mixed-blood groups are not typical of the old Cotton Belt, but rather outline its edges. Borders of some nature seem to be favorite locations. The Redbones near the old Texas border, the Jackson Whites, Issues, and Carmel groups near borders between hills and plains, the Cajans on the old Spanish frontier, and many groups near state boundaries may be locationally related to the meeting of two worlds.
The conservative nature of these groups is evidenced by the fact that the boys who saw service during the second World War, usually in white units, have regularly returned to their homes. One stream of mixed-bloods does leave the focal areas to pass as white in cities and elsewhere, ultimately losing touch completely with the original group. The home areas often present limited opportunity in the economic niches open to the mixed-bloods. Some expand in a real extent, some in replacing white groups, but generally their populations are restricted, and their increase as identifiable mixed-bloods does not approach their actual reproductive growth.
Many of the mixed-blood groups seem unrelated or unimportantly related one to the other. Perhaps they represent similar responses to similar social conditions, each in a different area. The records of the surnames and birthplaces, however, tie a number of the groups together: the Croatans and many small groups of the Carolinas and Virginia; the Melungeons; the Redbones; the mixed-bloods of Magoffin County; and the two small groups mentioned in Ohio.
Though certain facts concerning the origin of these peoples have been traced, the questions of who they were and why they displayed this unusual clannishness have hardly been touched. The relationships mentioned suggest the hypothesis of a colonial mixed-blood society having origin in Virginia and the Carolinas, consisting of a number of localized concentrations as well as floaters who served to maintain or effect both blood and social ties between the sedentary groups. Though the early groups certainly grew by accretion, chance colonization of a few members of this society in a new location may have been the necessary condition for a new localization of the same type. They seem to have moved westward into and across the Appalachians with the general stream of population. It is difficult to trace specific parenthood of one group by another, but numerous interrelationships are indicated by the records.
The records needed to probe the origin and nature of this society are, if ex- istent, not available through the common indices and card catalogues. Perhaps they may be accidentally turned up. Some suggestive fragments are herewith presented.
The Goins Family
The name Goins seems to be a peculiar marker of these mixed-bloods. It has already been mentioned in connection with the Melungeons and certain strains in North Carolina. It is prominent among the mixed-bloods of Darke County, Ohio, and was associated with the Redbones in what is now Calcasieu Parish. It is a minor name among the Croatans and is the chief name among a mixed-blood group with a special school in Williamsburg County, South Carolina. Further, Goins is an unusual name; though many whites are named Goins, it occurred with a much greater frequency among free colored persons in 1830 (2.8 per thousand) than among the population at large in 1790 (0.1 per thousand in six populous Southern and Middle states).
Over a hundred free colored families named Goins were well scattered in 1830 through the South and southern parts of the Northern border states (Fig, 3). The two greatest concentrations occurred in the Melungeon area and the North Carolina-Virginia Piedmont where so many are found today. The former was almost certainly derived from the latter. (37) The concentration in central Virginia may be older than these, but is not known to have persisted. The Goins name arrived in Virginia early, (38) one "Tho. Gowen" having been listed as a passenger on the Globe in 1635. (39) One account of the better known branch of the family (40) has them spreading southward from a center in Stafford County, Virginia. A colored servant, Mihill Gowen, was released after four years of service in 1657; (41) It may be noted that Gowen had not been the name of his mistress. The same unusual name (Mihil Goen) crops up again in 1718 in James City County as former owner of escheat land being patented by another man. (42) A muster roll of a Granville County, North Carolina, regiment in 1754 singled out five men in one company as mulattoes; three of them were named Gowen. (43) A roster of North Carolina Revolutionary soldiers of 1778 lists a Gowan as a mulatto. (44) A 1792 entry in a deed book of Fairfeld County, South Carolina, (45) records the fact that Levi Goyen made his friend John Goyen his attorney for handling a parcel of land in "Daverson Co. N.C. aforesaid land being first in the hands of David Goyen decd. free Mallatto went to Cumberland River in the year 1770 and were killed by the Indians in the year 1780 and left the said Mallatto Levi Goyen his proper heir...." The records available leave open the possibility that a branch of the Gowen family emerged as free mixed-bloods in the seventeenth century. Russell uses Milhill Gowen (46) to illustrate his contention that the early Negro servitude was usually an indenture rather than a permanent slavery. Can the mixed-bloods have had such an origin as free men, maintaining ever since the social barrier against the freed slaves? Certainly such a phenomenon as the Goins family must have a definite story behind it, but has it made its way into the records?
No real center of the Goins mixed-bloods can be identified antedating their concentration in the upper Piedmont. It is understood that the settlement of these counties was mostly from Virginia; this is in keeping with the above observation on southward spread of the Gowen family. The oldest Goinses recorded in the North Carolina portion of this district in the 1850 census were born in Virginia.
The Chavis Family
Another widespread name among mixed-bloods is Chavis (Chavous, Chavers, probably Shavers, etc.) (Fig. 4). Whereas Goins was more frequent among free colored people than whites, Chavis was also more numerous among the free colored. One free Negro of the name rose to fame as an educator. (47) Chavis is a prominent Croatan name. It has been reported in South Carolina as a mixed-blood name, e.g., In Orangeburg County, and its association with the Melungeons and Redbones is suggested by the records. A Granville County muster roll of 1754 lists three members of the family, one as a Negro, the other two (at least one a son of the first) as mulattoes. (48) Colored slaveholders of the name were identified in Virginia by Jackson (49) in Charlotte County and Russell (50) in Mecklenburg County. They are identified as South Carolina frontiersmen in 1751 and 1752. (51) Again an interesting story should unfold could the family and name be traced to their beginnings.
A number of other names seem to be frequent tracers of people of these mixed- blood castes, not only in the Carolinas and Virginia, but also in other states to their west. Bass, Epps, Scott, Bell, Sweat, and Revels are good examples. In addition there are less definite suggestions or fewer cases of still other names of which the following may be given as examples: Bolton, Braveboy, Cumbo, Harris, Newsom, Russell. Many of these names are common among whites and are of no use in the present connection unless identified as separate from their occurrence in the population at large.
An example of the suggestive co-occurrence of several of these names may be found in a document of 1822. (52) A list of free people of color in Richland District, South Carolina, delinquent in the personal tax expected of them in 1821 and 1822 includes prominently the names of Oxendine, Locklier, Chavis, Sweat(Redbones and South Carolina groups), Gibson (Melungeons), and Jacobs. The last name is important in a mixed-blood group in Richland County today, a group of localized residents known as Sandhillers; it is also the name of probably a few hundred Croatans. Accompanying the list of delinquents is a petition to the House of Representatives on the estate of the then late district sheriff, begging release from the payment of the uncollected tax because "the time allowed by the Law for the return of these Executions is so short, and the difficulty of finding them on account of the peculiar situation of their place of residence, is such, that it was impossible for the Sheriff to collect.... (53) A seclusion of the mixed-bloods in an inaccessible location is definitely implied, yet their separation was not so perfect that the sheriff did not have a list of their names. The people with whom the sheriff was timid about dealing were likely the ancestors of the present Sandhillers; they almost certainly included some Croatan families, and the names suggest connection with other mixed- bloods too.
The social attitude of these mixed-bloods must have been such that they found it congenial to take up with others of their own kind. They seem to have persisted in the static societies of rural areas stimulated perhaps by tradition of Indian blood or pride of early freedom. (54)
From the internet archives, I think this is Darlene Wilson's old site.

© History Chasers
Click here to view all recent Historical Melungeons Blog posts
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Virginia's Attempt To Adjust the Color Problem

NOTE: W.A. Plecker, acting as Virginia's first Registrar of Vital Statistics, was determined to "mark" all Melungeons as not-white. Here is one of many articles and essays that he wrote and published on behalf of the American eugenics movement, a movement with haunting similarities to Hitler's genocide against European Jews and Gypsies. The views expressed below are those of W.A. Plecker and his racist colleagues; they are presented here to illustrate the hostility and vigor he showed in persecuting mixed-ancestry Americans. An excellent discussion of Plecker's dubious "legacy" can be found in Pocahontas' People, by Helen Rountree.

W. A. PLECKER, M.D., FELLOW A.P.HAState Registrar of Vital Statistics, Richmond, Virginia
* Read at the joint session of the Public Health Administration and Vital Statistics Sections of the American Public Health Association at the Fifth-third Annual Meeting at Detroit, Michigan, October 23, 1924.
THE SETTLERS of North America came not as did the Spanish and Portuguese adventurers of the southern continent, without their women, bent only on conquest and the gaining of wealth and power; but bringing their families, the Bible, and high ideals of religious and civic freedom.
They came to make homes, to create a nation, and to found a civilization of the highest type; not to mix their blood with the savages of the land; not to originate a mongrel population combining the worst traits of both conquerors and conquered.
All was well until that fateful day in 1619 when a Dutch trader landed twenty negroes and sold them to the settlers, who hoped by means of slave labor to clear the land and develop the colony more quickly.
Few paused to consider the enormity of the mistake until it was too late. From this small beginning developed the great slave traffic which continued until 1808, when the importation of slaves into America was stopped. But there were already enough negroes in the land to constitute them the great American problem. Two races as materially divergent as the white and the negro, in morals, mental powers, and cultural fitness, cannot live in close contact without injury to the higher, amounting in many case; to absolute ruin. The lower never has been and never can be raised to the level of the higher.
This statement is not an opinion based on sentiment or prejudice, but is an unquestionable scientific fact. Recently published ethnological studies of history lead to this conclusion, as do the psychological tests of negro and negroid groups, especially the tests made by the United States Army for selective service in the World War. It is evident that in the hybrid mixture the traits of the more primitive will dominate those of the more specialized or civilized race. It is equally obvious that these culturally destructive characteristics are hereditary, carried in the germ plasm, and hence they cannot be influenced by environmental factors such as unproved economic, social and educational opportunities. On the contrary, such opportunities often accelerate the inevitable decadence. Dr. A. H. Estabrook in a recent study, made for the Carnegie Foundation, of a mixed group in Virginia many of whom are so slightly negroid as to be able to pass f or white, says, " School studies and observations of some adults indicate the group as a whole to be of poor mentality, much below the average, probably D or D- on the basis of the army intelligence tests. There is an early adolescence with low moral code, high incidence of licentiousness and 21 per cent of illegitimacy in group."
When two races live together there is but one possible outcome, and that is the amalgamation of the races. The result of this will be the elimination of the higher type, the one on which progress depends. In the mixture the lower race loses its native good qualities which may be utilized and developed in the presence of a dominant race.
The mongrels are superior in mental power to, the lower race. They are more cunning and more capable, but they lack the creative power of the higher race, and cannot sustain a lasting civilization that will rank with the best of the world.
History affords many examples. Egypt in the day of her greatness was white. But the white Pharaohs began to extend their dominion south into the negro land, and to bring back multitudes of captives for laborers and soldiers, special mention. being made also in their records that women in large numbers were included. Interbreeding with these negroes began and continued through many centuries until the country became largely negroid.
The climax was finally reached when one of the Pharaohs took to himself a negro wife and his mulatto son Taharka succeeding to the throne. The color line had vanished and with it Egypt's greatness. Assyrian invaders met with no effective resistance. From that day to this Egypt has been a mongrel nation, incapable of initiative, and now dependent upon foreign protection and leadership.
India affords a parallel example. Four thousand years ago the invasion of India by Aryans occurred. These came into contact with a mixed population of white-yellow-black composition. The conquerors attempted to prevent their own amalgamation with the natives by establishing a rigorous caste system, which was not like the present one based upon occupation, but upon color. This system failed, and though caste is still in force in India the reason for it no longer exists.
Modern South Africa is a melancholy example of what may occur when the intermixture which inevitably results is hastened by fanatical religious teaching and misguided legal interference from the mother country. Major E. S. Cox, who spent years in that region and in other countries studying race conditions, in his book "White America," gives a graphic account of the struggle made by the determined colonists against the imposition. They lost out, and the population of Cape Colony province is today largely mixed, showing how quickly this condition results when the natural process is speeded up by negrophilism and the law.
Let us return now to our own country, and, as we are considering Virginia, to that state in particular.
There are about twelve million negroes of various degrees of admixture in the Union today. Of the population of Virginia, nearly one-third is classed as negro, but many of these people are negroid, some being near-white, some having actually succeeded in getting across into the white class.
The mixed negroes are nearly all the result of illegitimate intercourse. The well known moral laxity resulting from close contact of a civilized with a primitive race makes illegitimate intermixture an easy matter. This is illustrated by the fact that the illegitimate birth-rate of Virginia negroes is thirty-two times that of Rhode - Island, while the District of Columbia rate is thirty-seven times, and that of Maryland forty-six times.
In the days when slavery was still a blight upon our state, it was quite a common occurrence for white men to father children born to the negro servants. The history, as related to me, of at least one colony of people known as "Issue" or Free issue," now spread over several counties, is that they originated in part in that manner.
It was considered undesirable to retain these mulattoes on the place, bearing the family name, and a number from one county were given their freedom and colonized in a distant county. These intermarried amongst themselves and with some people of Indian-negro-white descent, and received an additional infusion of white blood, either illegitimately or by actual marriage with low-grade whites.
At present these people are claiming to be white, or Indian, and under the former law when a person with one-sixteenth negro blood could be declared white, they were able in some instances to establish their claim legally.
These mixed breeds are not classed as white by the people of the community, and they will not associate with the genuine negroes. Five hundred or more in number they thus constitute a class of their own, and a serious problem in that county and others to which they migrate. If refused classification as white they claim to be Indian, and as such have been accepted in the birth reports to avoid listing them as white.
In a recent test case, the court upon evidence submitted from our birth records reaching back to 1853, and from the testimony of old residents, decided that these people under the new " Racial Integrity " law cannot be permitted to. intermarry with whites.
Another large colony which extends over into North Carolina probably has a similar origin. We have also compromised with these, and accept certificates as Indians, which indicates to us that they are not white.
In another county are about forty descendants of an illegitimate mating of a negro man and white woman four generations back. All of these have formerly succeeded in being classed as white, though under the new law our office has supplied to the clerks who issue marriage licenses, school authorities, commonwealth's attorneys, physicians and local registrars, a complete family tree, with the injunction to class them as colored.
Similar conditions exist in other localities, though not yet so far advanced. A case was recently discovered where a white man married a mulatto woman (probably in another state), and now has nine children, four of them being reported to our office as white. Investigation revealed the - fact that two other women bearing the same family name had mated with white men and were raising large families of children.
Another man whose birth was ' reported in 1878, both parents being registered as colored, had the court declare him a white man under the one-sixteenth law; married a white woman, and has four children reported as white by physicians.
The question of their color was referred to our office by the school authorities when the facts were discovered, and the white school advised under the new law not to receive them, though they engaged a-lawyer to assist them.
These examples illustrate the fact that even in Virginia where the questions of race and birth receive as much attention as anywhere in the country, the process of amalgamation is nevertheless going on, and in some localities is well advanced. Complete ruin can probably be held off for several centuries longer, but we have no reason to hope that we shall prove the one and only example in the history of the world of two races living together without amalgamation.
In Mexico, much of South America and the West Indies the process is practically complete, the mixture being Spanish or Portuguese, Indian and negro. Some portions of southern Europe have undergone a similar admixture. Immigrants from these lands to this country, while really negroid, are classed as white.
Several South American countries, or portions of them, still retain a considerable degree of race purity, which is being maintained by European immigration.
The immigration law recently passed by our- Congress will stop the legal admission of Mongolians and will check much, of the negroid immigration from elsewhere in the old world, but it will not prevent negro and negroid immigration from other parts of the western hemisphere. It is estimated that there are today from 500,000 to 750,000 Mexicans in the state of Texas alone, and that Mexicans compose more than half of the population of Arizona.
We come now to the question of a solution of the problem.
There is but one absolute solution which is acceptable and feasible, and that the one advocated by Lincoln and other far seeing statesmen of the past the separation of the races by gradual repatriation of the colored races. This measure .is still possible, but the longer it is deferred the greater the task.
In the lifetime of some now living we may expect the present twelve million colored population to increase to twenty or possibly thirty millions, and that perhaps to one hundred millions during the next century, to say nothing of the prolific Mongolians who are already firmly established upon our western coast. With the competition of this large number of people of low ideals and low standards of living, and the great effort to secure the means of maintaining a family up to the desired standard, the white population will to that extent be crowded out.
Virginia has made the first serious attempt to stay or postpone the evil day when this is no longer a white man's country. Her recently enacted law " for the preservation of racial integrity " is, in the words of Major E. S. Cox, " the most perfect expression of the white ideal, and the most important eugenical effort that 'has been made during the past 4,000 years." Of course this law will not prevent the illegitimate mixture of the races, although a law requiring the father to share with the mother the responsibility of the birth would have a deterring effect. When more than one man is involved, all should be held equally responsible in sharing the cost, as I am informed is the case in Norway.
But it is possible to stop the legal intermixture, and that Virginia has attempted to do in the above mentioned law, which defines a white person as one with " no trace whatsoever of blood other than Caucasian," and makes it a felony punishable by confinement f or one year in the penitentiary to make a willfully false statement as to color.
Clerks are not permitted to grant licenses for white persons to marry those with any trace of colored blood. It is needless to call attention to the sad plight of a white person who is thus imposed upon or of a white woman who under such circumstances would give birth to a child of marked negro characteristics, as will occur f rom time to time under Mendel's law.
The new law places upon the office of the Bureau of Vital Statistics much additional work, but we believe it win be a strong factor in preventing the intermarriage of the races and in preventing persons of negro descent from passing themselves off as white.
We are greatly encouraged by the interest and cooperation of physicians, local registrars, clerks, school authorities, the general public, and even the midwives. Our success during the first four months of the enforcement of this law, in securing more accurate.statements as to color on our birth certificates and in correcting previously existing errors is far beyond our expectation.
The states which now permit free intermarriage of the races, as listed in "American Marriage Laws,"1 are: Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The most urgent need is the speedy adoption by these states and the District of Columbia of a law forbidding the intermarriage of the white and colored races.
We are all interested in reducing the death rate from preventable diseases, and of increasing our birth rates. Is that, however, the only thought that may occupy the mind of health workers? Is it not of greater importance to the welfare of the state to give some thought to the quality and value of its future citizens, than to lavish all of its energies and money upon prolonging the lives and increasing the number of the unfit, who are already increasing far more rapidly in proportion than the more desirable?
The white race in this land is the foundation upon which rests its civilization, and is responsible for the leading position which we occupy amongst the nations of the world. It is not therefore just and right that this race decide for itself what its composition shall be, and attempt, as Virginia has, to maintain its purity?
This is working no hardship and no injustice upon the other races; for the same effort tends at the same time to maintain the purity of their races as well.
That the mongrel races are liable to perpetuate the undesirable qualities of both their constituent stocks is abundantly demonstrated by a study of the larger and older of the mongrel groups in Virginia, as well as upon a study on a far larger scale in various other parts of the world.
The colored races therefore should be equally zealous in preventing both the legal and illegal admixture of the races. We are glad to say that the true negro of Virginia is beginning to appreciate this point and is agreeing to the wisdom of this movement. Our chief trouble is with some of the near-whites who desire to change from the colored to the white class.
By firm adherence to the standard which has been set, we believe that it is possible within a reasonable time to secure through our office an adjustment of the larger number of racial differences, and by constantly securing correction of our vital statistic records, and by stopping all further legal and much of the illegitimate intermixture, at least to hold the situation in check until Lincoln's real remedy can be adopted.
This, however, is but the beginning, and our efforts will be of less avail until every state in the Union joins in the move to secure the best marriage laws possible, and a wholesome public sentiment on this the most important of all questions confronting us as a nation.
Four hundred years ago there were nations whose ships sailed the waters of the world and whose armies and navies made England tremble with fear. They claimed continents as their own, they grew rich upon their vast trade in slaves, selling thousands of them in a day from one block.
These slaves have disappeared, not by transportation, but by assimilation. Today families of the old type are rare, and these peoples are scarcely thought of in the councils of nations.
Today the eyes of the world are turned with envy upon us, and millions crave the privilege of landing upon our shores.
We are now engaged in a struggle more titanic, and of far greater importance than that with the Central Powers from which we have recently emerged.
Many scarcely know that the struggle which means the life or death of our civilization is now in progress, and are giving it no thought.
What odds will it make in the year 2500 or 3000 to the few Caucasic remnants of our. present day Americans, when they look around upon the half billion or perhaps more brown skinned descendants of the races now occupying our land, whether the typhoid death rate of 1924 was one, or one hundred, per 100,000?
What they find in that day will depend upon how- we of -today think and act. The very existence of our race in that time is dependent upon the thought and action of us today. Let us then accept our responsibility and meet its demands with wisdom and courage.
1 American Marriage Laws, Russell Sage Foundation, New York, N.Y., 1919

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Friday, July 9, 2010

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