Melungeon-L Archives

Archiver > Melungeon > 2002-12 > 1040917494

From: Brent Kennedy <>
Subject: Re: [Melungeon] I think I got it
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 07:44:54 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <>

Joanne, Roger, Jack, et al,
First, I hope everyone's Christmas was a nice and rewarding one. Those who have been, and are going, through personal difficulties and illness have been in all our thoughts and prayers.
In reference to Joanne's post below in reference to Roger's post that was in reference to Jack's <G>, just a few comments of mine:
Some of us clearly define the Melungeons much more narrowly than do others, such as myself (see my December 3rd post for my personal definition, which remains unchanged). Jack's most recent post seems a bit more restrictive than I had remembered it being (i.e., several brothers can be Melungeon but the fourth not so if he didn't move to Newman's Ridge), which is probably what led to Roger's questions. Jack's is certainly a valid opinion but to me, this line of reasoning raises broader philosophical issues. For example, are those Cherokees who went to Oklahoma still Cherokees? Or more correctly, since those that went to Oklahoma were the officially recognized and removed Cherokees, are those who stayed behind and hid in the mountains (and later formed the Eastern Band) truly Cherokee? To me, both populations are "Cherokee," but simply dispersed over time and place. Remember, "Cherokee" was a descriptive term in the Cherokee language and not a racial designation, just as !
with the term "Melungeon." The "Cherokee" actually called themselves the "Ani-yun-Wiya," and not Cherokee. Be that as it may, based on Jack's interpretation, it would seem that only one group or the other would qualify, since migration from the original site took place. This may or may not be a correct interpretation of what you were saying, Jack, but it was my first gut reaction and apparently it struck Roger in a similar way. Again, I'm not saying that Jack is wrong, but simply that it would seem to be one of the more restrictive definitions.
Re: Joanne's comments below, I couldn't agree more. This is why we have so much debate and discussion. Each family's admixture and history is different. And I agree strongly that, within reason <G>, everybody is right and nobody is wrong. The only ones that I consider "wrong" are those that consider no one but themselves to be right <G>. As Joanne points out in her last sentence, we need to remember all is subject to change as more evidence is to be found. Thanks Joanne, Roger, and Jack!
wrote: >>>>>>IMO this is not an impossible theory. It certainly would explain why
so many people have so many opinions of what a Melungeon is/was. This theory makes everyone right and nobody wrong. Researchers tracing their individual families "called Melungeon" would have followed their ancestors and came up with a different story than the next researcher. If the people living on Newman's Ridge [or anywhere else] were "dubbed Melungeons" because of their antics then rightfully they could be Scotch--Irish, Indian, Turk, Portuguese, English, French or anything else.

If the evidence shows that Vardy and Buck were the "head and source" of
Melungeons on Newman's Ridge and the Gibson were Portuguese/Spanish and Collins were Saponi Indians that would be the ancestry of those lines...not all Melungeons. If the Goodmans married the Collins in 1700 they too would be Saponi and ________[fill in the blank] and if the Denham married the Gibson in 1700 then they would be _________[fill in the blank] and Portuguese/Spanish. As time went on the word probably took on a new meaning to include the other "dark skinned/Native American families in the area.

That's not to say Vardy and Buck were even the first "so called Melungeons" --- it may have been their brothers, cousins, fathers or grandfathers, and while they moved on into Kentucky and other areas where no one had heard the word "Melungeon" -- those that stayed on the Ridge never lost it.

This is just my opinion based on where my research has taken me and is
subject to change as more evidence is found : - )

Joanne Pezzullo

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