Melungeon-L ArchivesArchiver > Melungeon > 2002-12 > 1041022903
Subject: Re: [Melungeon] I think I got it
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 2002 16:01:43 EST
In a message dated 12/27/2002 4:41:50 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> Here's a couple of somewhat simplistic "theories" on the origin of the word
> that I haven't seen, but possibly should be considered.
> "Mal" comes from Latin, meaning bad or badly wrong. "Injuns" is common, &
> probably has been for a while, as a corruption or mispronunciation of
> "Indians". Put these together, with some of the unique accents that are
> heard in the Southern States even today &it could sound like "Melungins" &
> mean "bad Indians".
> Another possibility - many words that begin with the prefix "mel" denote
> "black" or "very dark", coupled with "Injuns" sounds pretty close to
> "Melungins" &might mean "Black Indians".
I have seen these discussed somewhere but it escapes my memory at the time.
There are many theories out there from Turkish "cursed souls" to Portuguese
"shipmates" and I guess only time will tell, time and a lot of research.
If the Melungeons were supposed to be the "friendly Indians" that came with
the whites to the area, why would they call them Melungeons for "bad
Some/a lot of sources say the Melungeons were Portuguese, or at least that
they said they were Portuguese. I guess it is just a matter of which
direction your research has taken you. From the research I have done on the
area, knowing of the highwaymen, land pirates, etc., they sound more like the
malengines in the book than "bad Indians" --- also they are referred to as
"peculiar" and "singular" race by more than one person .
The Louisville journalist visited Newman's Ridge in 1848 and apparently was a
guest at the inn owned by Vardy Collins and his wife "Spanish Peggy' Gibson.
He wrote that Old Vardy was the chief cook and bottle washer of the
Melungens...I guess it is possible this journalist and his companion, the
Doctor, had never seen a settlement of White/Indian or Black/Indian but it
sure seems unlikely to me. Why would he call them, "singular species of the
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