Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Zephaniah Goins Fought in Yorktown Campaign

Volume 5, No. 3    November 1993

Zephaniah Goins Fought in Yorktown Campaign
By Jack Harold Goins
Editorial Board Member
Route 2, Box 275, Rogersville, TN, 37857
Zephaniah Goins, son of John Going and Elizabeth Going, and my seventh-generation grandfather, was born about 1758 in Halifax County, Virginia.  He enlisted in the Virginia troops during the American Revolution and was present at the Battle of Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered in October 1781.
Zephaniah Goins, a Melungeon, was married to Elizabeth Thompson June 20, 1790 by Rev. Joseph Anthony of Henry County, Virginia.  She was the daughter of William Thompson and Mary Estes Thompson.
"Zephaniah Going" was a resident of Rockingham County, North Carolina in 1795, according to the research of Pamela R. Lawson Jenkins, family researcher of Franklin, Tennessee.  He appeared as the head of a household in the 1810 census of the county.  Soon afterward he removed to Tennessee, according to the research of Wanda Aldridge of Dyer, Arkansas.
Learning that Zephaniah Goins and Elizabeth Thompson Goins had joined Blackwater Primitive Baptist Church by dis-mission letter from another church which was unnamed, I began trying to locate this church.  In the Blackwater minutes, 1816 to 1834, I found four seventh-generation grandfathers who served in the Revolutionary War: Thomas Bledsoe, Henry Fisher, John England and Zephaniah Goins.
While searching in the public library in Kingsport, Tennessee, I found the minutes of neighboring Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church at Ft. Blackmore, Virginia, just across the state line.  They contained some very interesting Melungeon references in the minutes recorded in 1813.  The term "Melungeon" was probably in common usage long before then, but this is the first time I have found it recorded.
Ft. Blackmore was built at Stoney Creek, in Washington County, Virginia before the Revolutionary War by Capt. John Blackmore to protect the settlers from Indian attacks.  Ft. Blackmore was located about eight miles southwest of present day Dungannon, Virginia in Scott County.  In 1780 Capt. Blackmore's militiamen participated in the victory over the Cherokees in the Battle of Boyd's Creek.
While driving through this small town trying to form a picture of what this place looked like 200 years ago, I stopped at a church called Pine Grove Primitive Baptist Church.  Residents told me that this site was where old Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church had been located.  I learned that the old building had been washed away in a flood.  I was told the old fort was about where Stoney Creek flows into the Clinch River and tried to visualize this place where my fore-bears were stationed during the Revolutionary War.
Grandfather Thomas Bledsoe was in Capt. Blackmore's command.  He  filed his Revolutionary War pension application in Hawkins County April 24, 1834.  He was born in March 1760 in North Carolina and moved with his parents to the new territory, about seven miles from Long Islands of the Holston River, on Reedy Creek.  It is now the site of present day Kingsport, Ten-nessee.  After the Battle of Kings Mountain, peace returned to the Clinch River valley briefly.
Reference has been made in the Foundation Newsletter earlier to a letter written by Capt. John  Sevier in which he describes the physical appearance of the Melungeons upon first encountering them.  He patrolled in the Trans-Appalachian area of Virginia and Tennessee during Lord Dunmore's War in 1774.
John Murray Lord Dunmore, the Earl of Dunmore, was appointed governor of Virginia in 1771, and an Indian war erupted during the third year of his tenure which was thereafter called Lord Dunmore's War.
A band of white marauders led by a des-perado named Greathouse attacked an Indian village and killed several of the tribesmen.  An Indian chieftain, John Logan, known to the tribe as Tahgahjute, took to the warpath to avenge the death of his sister and other kinsmen in the raid.  John Logan, son of Shikellamy, was born in 1725.  Shikellamy was a white man who had been cap-tured by the Cuyugas while a child.  He grew up in the tribe, married an Indian woman and became a chief.
Believing that the troops of Capt. Michael Cresap were respon-sible for the raid and the murders, John Logan sent him a decla-ration of hostilities.  This was the begining of Lord Dunmore's War which saw the frontier become a blazing battleground.  Gov. Dunmore did his utmost to restore peace and was able to bring the Shawnee Chief Cornstalk to a parley after the Battle of Point Pleasant, but Logan shunned the peace talks and continued the fighting which was a prelude to the Revolutionary War.
When the Revolution began, Logan served the British cause and wreaked havoc on the frontier settlements.  In addition to Cuyu-gas, the Mingoes, Cherokees, Shawnees, Chickasaws, Creeks and Chickamaugas went on the warpath from time to time, all supplied and encouraged by the British.  During the Revolution, Logan led a charmed life and did not receive a scratch, but was killed in 1780 near Lake Erie by a nephew that he had attacked.
Lord Dunmore fared little better.  In April 1775 Patrick Henry at the head of the Hanover Minute Men forced Dunmore to flee his office and take refuge on a British war vessel lying off York-town.  In retaliation, Dunmore ordered Norfolk, the largest town in Virginia at that time, to be burned.  This outrage united the Virginians in their resolve, and the British quickly order Dunsmore out of the colony in 1776.
Lord Dunmore's War was not the last time that John Sevier was associated with the Melungeons.  He was born in New Market, Virginia in Rockingham County in 1745.  In 1776, he was one of the first to settle on the Watauga River west of the Appalachi-ans when Tennessee was opened for settlement.  Melungeons on the Watauga were then his neighbors.
Col. Sevier was one of the commanders in the Battle of Kings Mountain in 1780, and Melungeon militiamen were included in his command.  Later in that year, Col. Sevier led an expedition against the Cherokee Indians.  Included in his command was the militia company of Capt. Blackmore and its Melungeons.
He helped to organize the Free State of Franklin [which em-braced the Melungeons] and became its governor in 1784.  Feeling that he was leading an insurrection, the officials of North Carolina arrested Sevier and convicted him of high trea-son.  Later he was pardoned.  Ten years later he was elected the first governor of Tennessee.
The Stoney Creek minutes are complete from 1801 to 1811.  Then from 1811 to 1814 there are intermittent skips.  The first minutes dated November 14, 1801 reveal that it was an existing church and adding new members rapidly.  Meetings were held on the second Saturday of each month.
The minutes reveal that the congregation was composed of whites, Melungeons, free Negroes and slaves.  During the next four years, 88 new members were added; 33 of these were persons bearing familiar Melungeon names: Gibson, Collins, More [Moore], Bolin, Bolling, Sexton, Osborne, Manis, Maner.
The congregation made an effort to overcome the prejudice against dark-skinned people prevalent in that period, but reading between the lines, it was apparent that the whites were greatly relieved when the Melungeons began an exodus to Tennessee.  According to the minutes, by 1807 most Melungeon families were gone; eight had received letters of dismission, and five others had been excommunicated for various unrepented sins.
The word "Melungins" was recorded in the minutes of the church dated September 26, 1813 and is the oldest written reference to them that I have found:
"September 26, 1813.  Church sat in love.  Bro. Kilgore, Moderator.  Then came forward Sis. Kitchen and com-plained to the Church against Susanna Stallard for saying she harbored them Melungins.  Sis. Sook said she was hurt with her for believing her child and not believing her, and she won't talk to her to get satisfaction, and both is pigedish [pig-headedish] one against the other.  Sis. Sook lays it down and the church forgives her."
Sister Susanna Kitchen was provoked with Susanna "Sookie" Stallard for reporting that the Melungeons were visiting in her home.  Sister Susan "Sook" Kitchens joined the church Septem-ber 26, 1812.  Her child told Susanna Stallard the Melungeons had been staying there.  The church forgave her upon her repentance, but the furor appeared to continue at the next meeting.  Stoney Creek was happy to see the Melungeons remove to Tennessee, and some were chagrinned to have them return on visits to Virginia.  Some did not request dismissions, but simply re-turned to Stoney Creek to worship upon occasions.
The closest ones lived near Kyle's Ford, Tennessee 40 miles downstream on the Clinch.  With their primitive roads it would be impossible for them to attend services at Stoney Creek and return in one day.  Someone had to be "harboring" them for perhaps for more than one night at a time.  Some members of Stoney Creek sought a resolution to keep the Melungeons attending church in Tennessee:
"October 23, 1813.  Church sat and found in love.  Bro. Cox puts a question to the Church: 'Whether it is in order to live in the bounds of one church and to belong to an-other church.'  The assembly determined 'it not good to bind any member in such cases.'"
Several blacks were members at Stoney Creek, Rhoda [Cox's black], William George and his two blacks; Luke Stallard's black."  "Feb. 26, 1809, 'Can blacks testify against whites?'  The church voted 'yes.'
Concerning the use of the word Melungeon in these minutes, it is obvious it was a common word well known to this commu-nity.  From the minutes, the following were the first people to join Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church bearing Melungeon related names:
"December 1801 "Nancy Gibson, received by letter. Valentine Collins received by experience and baptised.  May the 22nd day 1802: Church meeting held at Stoney Creek.  Received by experance Nancy Brikey, Riley Collins, Mary Large. Rachel Gib-son, Thomas Gibson, Beter Gibson, George Gibson, John Stuart and baptised."
Three members of Stoney Creek are on the 1755 tax list of Orange County, North Carolina.  Listed were "mulattoes" Thomas Gibson, George Gibson and Charles Gibson.
Four members of Stoney Creek reappeared on the 1810 tax list of Hawkins County, Tennessee: Thomas Gibson, George Gib-son, Charles Gibson and Valentine Collins.
Using the minutes of Stoney Creek, you can note when Valentine Collins and Charles Gibson left for Hawkins County.
"April the 21 day 1803, Bro. Valentine Collins and wife to receive a letter of dismission, also Bro. Charles Gibson and wife."
Blackwater Primitive Baptist Church was located at Kyles Ford, Tennessee in Hawkins County [present day Hancock County] on the bank of the Clinch River.  Organized in 1801, it was the first church established in this section.  The earliest minutes found begin in 1816.  We know by the minutes of Stoney Creek who some of its members were.
"February the 26th day 1802. Thomas Gibson Excom-municated.  Sis. Vina Gibson obtained a letter of dismis-sion by letter of recommendation from Blackwater Church.  Sis. Mary Gibson obtained a letter of dismis-sion. Clary More received by experiance and baptised. Dismissed in order."
Thomas Gibson, listed as one of the Kings Mountain militiamen, and George Gibson are distant grandparents in the family re-search of Ruth Johnson, a member of Gowen Research Foundation who lives in Kingsport.  She is completing a book about her life on Newman's Ridge.
Charles Gibson, born in Virginia, moved to North Carolina and later joined Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church June 26, 1802, then removed to Blackwater Primitive Baptist Church.
"Charles Gibson and wife, Rubin Gibson and wife, and Valentine Collins and wife" received dismission to go down to Blackwater Church.  The earliest minutes found there begin in 1816, but none of these people are found in them, probably be-cause Greasy Rock Primitive Baptist Church had been subsequently established at Sneedville, Tennessee.
Other churches mentioned in the minutes of Stoney Creek include Glade Hollow Primitive Baptist Church, Deep Springs Primitive Baptist Church at 3 forks of the Powell River mentioned Aug. 1806 probably near Jonesville, Virginia and Moc-casin Primitive Baptist Church.
When the minutes of these sister congregations are found, they may contain additional information about the Melungeons.
"Zephaniah Goans, free person of color" was recorded as the head of a "free colored" household in the 1830 census of Roane County, Tennessee, page 47.
In 1834, "Zephaniah Going" filed his Revolutionary pension application at Rogersville, county seat for Hawkins County which then Hancock which was the area where Zephaniah lived on December 18, 1834.
Without any embellishment, my Melungeon grandfather simply declared, "I was at the siege and present at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown."
Fourteen children, 10 daughters and four sons, were born to Zephaniah Goins and Elizabeth Thompson Goins.  Children born to them include:
 John Goins        born in 1792
 Isaiah Goins        born in 1795
 Susan Goins        born in 1800
 William Goins       born in 1805

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Morris S. Miner Obituary

 Morris S. Miner July 22, 2012

Fuquay-Varina - Morris S. Miner went home to be with his Lord Jesus on Sunday, July 22, 2012. Memorial service will be held on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. at Thomas Funeral Home Chapel. Visitation will be from 1:00 - 2:00 pm, one hour prior to the service. Interment will follow at Wake Chapel Memorial Gardens. 

He was born in Blackwater, Virginia on July 21, 1933 and grew up in Elizabethton, Tennessee. Upon graduation from Unaka High School in 1951, he joined the United States Navy. He served five years on active duty as a hospital corpsman during the Korean War, and an additional three years on inactive duty. Upon leaving the military Morris entered college in 1957 at Samford University graduating in 1960 with a BS in Chemistry. He continued his studies in graduate school at the University of Alabama. From 1960 to 1962, he worked for Warner Chilcott Pharmaceutical Company as a salesman covering the states of Louisiana and Mississippi. From 1963 to 1967, Miner owned and operated construction, real estate, and insurance companies in Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina.

Cont. here:


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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"'Of Portuguese Origin': Litigating Identity and Citizenship among the "Little Races" in Nineteenth-Century America,"

Ariela Gross

The history of race in the nineteenth-century United States is often told as a story of black and white in the South, and white and Indian in the West, with little attention to the intersection between black and Indian. This article explores the history of nineteenth-century America's "little races"—racially ambiguous communities of African, Indian, and European origin up and down the eastern seaboard. These communities came under increasing pressure in the years leading up to the Civil War and in its aftermath to fall on one side or the other of a black-white color line. Drawing on trial records of cases litigating the racial identity of the Melungeons of Tennessee, the Croatans/Lumbee of North Carolina, and the Narragansett of Rhode Island, this article looks at the differing paths these three groups took in the face of Jim Crow: the Melungeons claiming whiteness; the Croatans/Lumbee asserting Indian identity and rejecting association with blacks; the Narragansett asserting Indian identity without rejecting their African origins. Members of these communities found that they could achieve full citizenship in the U.S. polity only to the extent that they abandoned their self-governance and distanced themselves from people of African descent.

Ariela Gross, "'Of Portuguese Origin': Litigating Identity and Citizenship among the "Little Races" in Nineteenth-Century America," Law and History Review Fall 2007 

http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/lhr/25.3/gross.html (16 Mar. 2008)
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Applying DNA Studies to Family History: The Melungeon Mystery Solved

by Roberta Estes

Wayne Winkler, Jack Goins and Roberta Estes were honored to be able to present the first, and possibly the only, comprehensive Melungeon-focused series that included an introduction to Melungeons and their history and heritage, their migration history and the results of the landmark DNA study, Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic Population.

The Allen County Public Library, in Fort Wayne, Indiana is a leader in genealogical research and also in the preservation of history.  Their facility also includes a state-of-the art auditorium and television studio.  They tape many shows there and now, we’re proud to say, our series will be added to their catalog of free videos available online.  We will provide the link when they become available.

These presentations were really the culmination of decades of work.  The icing on the cake is the DNA study that has clarified the history of the Melungeon people and the core families.

Roberta began the day with an Intro to DNA and Genetic Genealogy explaining how DNA for genealogy works.  This session is always popular, and this event was no exception.  Roberta uses her own family pedigree chart as an example and nearly always meets a new cousin or two.  There are lots of DNA tools in the genealogists tool box, more now than ever.

Wayne Winkler’s presentation, The Melungeons: Sons and Daughters of the Legend provided an overview of the mysterious mixed-ethnic population first documented in northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia in the early 19th century.  Wayne is extremely well-spoken, and even though I’ve heard him before, I’m always caught up in the spell he weaves.  Wayne’s book, Walking Toward the Sunset, The Melungeons of Appalachia goes a bit deeper than his presentation, so I would encourage everyone interested in an accurate overview of this topic to read his book.  

Jack Goins’ sessions began the afternoon.  How fitting that Jack is the Hawkins County, Tennessee archivist.  His presentation, Examining our Melungeon Neighborhood and Migrations, tracked the original Hawkins County Melungeon families backwards in time, through the New River area, through the Flat River area and back into Louisa County in the mid-1700s.  Indeed, this core group was there, together, before migrating in steps towards Newman’s Ridge.  Jacks photos of the actual locations bring them to life.  Jack’s most recent book, Melungeons: Footprints from the Past was published in 2009 and details the history, with source documentation, of the Melungeons, beginning in Hancock and Hawkins Counties in Tennessee.  This is a must read for anyone researching Melungeon families.

The final presentation of the day was given by Roberta taken from the academic paper recently published in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy, Melungeons: A Multi-Ethnic Population.  Roberta, Jack Goins, Janet Crain and Penny Ferguson co-authored the paper.  This paper uses the genetic genealogy information from participants in the Melungeon DNA projects to paint a fuller picture of the Melungeon core families, and therefore, of the Melungeon population as a whole.  The Melungeon core families, as identified by their paternal (surname) lines include European and African progenitors, about half and half.  All maternal lines tested have been European.  There was no direct paternal or maternal Native American heritage found, as had been expected, but there are two lines that are ancestors to the Melungeon families that include Native lines. It’s also of interest that all of the African lines, except one, are found together in Louisa County, Virginia, but the Native lines don’t enter the pedigree chart until later, on subsequent steps of the migration to Tennessee.

Roberta and Jack would like to stress that the DNA project is ongoing and people connected to these families are encouraged to join.  Questions - Contact Jack at jgoins@usit.net.

Following the presentations, the speakers took questions and had a book signing. 
Several people had questions about DNA and how to use their results to discern things like ethnicity.  One very nice gentleman, Gary, offered to be a guinea pig, so indeed Roberta took him up on his offer and performed a somewhat impromptu DNA analysis.  This gentleman had an African paternal line from Cameroon, but a quite rare maternal European line.  Both his paternal and maternal lines had been enslaved, so indeed, the European maternal heritage was a very unexpected result.  His autosomal test results showed that he was about half European and about half African.  Roberta’s business, DNAexplain, includes writing Personalized DNA Reports for customers.

Following the sessions, each speaker was asked what they believe were the salient points of the sessions and the project as a whole.

Wayne said that he “thinks the most important aspect of the presentations was that we now have data giving us a piece of the genetic portrait of the “core” group that settled in Hawkins/Hancock County in the early 19th century. It’s not the whole story, not the “final” word on the subject. In fact, it’s really the FIRST solid genetic data we have on these folks. Too many people think that the genetic profile of the Melungeons has already been documented, but that’s not the case. Thanks to the seven-year effort by Roberta, Jack, Janet, and Penny, we now have dependable, factual information about who our ancestors were.”

Jack said that “what is very important or noticeable to me is examining events in our history like the illegal voting trials for this example.  All of the Melungeon men  tried had African paternal heritage, except possibly one who took his mother’s surname.  Three of the Collins were brothers, sons of old Benjamin and Zachariah and his brother Lewis.”  Jack told me that when he saw the record, in the archives, that Vardy Collins had paid the fine for illegal voting, instead of fighting the allegation, he knew in his heart that we would likely find African heritage. 

I know that the results of the DNA study have disappointed a few people who were hoping for Native American results.  Some of the news reporting has, unfortunately, fanned those flames by what I would characterize as “race baiting.”  As authors and interviewees, we are not afforded the opportunity of reviewing the articles or interviews before they are either published or broadcast.

The Melungeon study and the study of genetic genealogy isn’t about race – it’s about heritage.  It’s about allowing your ancestors to reach forward in time to you with the truth that only their DNA can reveal.  Allow yourself to hear their whispers.  It’s their gift to you.  It’s about honoring those ancestors, the experiences they had, the trials they endured, all of which, combine to make you who you are today.  It’s about using DNA as the tool to raise the veil that covers the distant past.  To want them to be something they were not is to dishonor who they were.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

So That's How This DNA Stuff Works

Hat Tip: http://dna-explained.com/2012/08/02/jewish-voice-interview-with-bennett-greenspan/

 Bennett Greenspan on Jewish Voice with a great explanation of DNA testing.


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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Documenting History

This and many other videos available on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lP_B4JxFB0&list=PLE84A2966F40F0802&index=11&feature=plpp_video

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