Melungeon-L ArchivesArchiver > Melungeon > 2009-10 > 1255377905
Subject: [MELUNGEON] Illegal Voting Trials -- con't
Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 16:05:05 EDT
FOOTPRINTS FROM THE PAST
Jack Goins writes;
"Did Attorney Lewis Shepherd of Chattanooga, Tennessee, know about these
previous Melungeon trials in Rogersville on illegal voting, and use some of
the same arguments in his famous 1874 "Melungeon case?" According to old
written records both the Collins and Minors who were tried in the Rogersville
illegal voting trials claimed to be Portuguese."
I'm still looking for 'written records' that Collins and Minors claimed to
be Portuguese in those trials. I do not believe those records exists. In
fact the Melungeons claimed to be Portuguese in the illegal voting trials
that took place PRIOR to the Hawkins County trials in Marion County and if
anything John Netherland used the Portuguese defense after hearing it in
Solomon Bolton's right to vote was challenged in Marion County in 1840 --
>From the Trial Transcripts:
Q. State whether or not you knew of Solomon Bolton's voting in any
elections in Marion County? If so, in what elections did he vote?
A. He always voted. I never heard of his vote being challenged or
questioned until I think about the year 1840 his vote was challenged. My father
and I got the law and showed it to the Judges of the election. They decided
he was a competent voter, and I never heard his vote questioned after that
He was 'competent voter' because he said he was Portuguese - the same
year - 1840 Solomon Bolton testified against a "white man" William Bromley who
had murdered Bolton's grandson.
-- Arch Brown, who had known Solomon and his father Spencer Bolton
testified his father was known in South Carolina as a Portuguese and Solomon
Bolton claimed to be Portuguese in the trial in Marion County in 1840.
June 25th, 1874
Deposition of Arch Brown
Q. State whether or not the father of Solomon Bolton was regarded and
treated as a citizen of South Carolina, or as a colored man? You will also
state his church relations-to what church he belonged and how he was received
by society, so far as you were able to determine.
A. They told me there that he was a very respectable citizen there. I
asked if he was not a colored man and they told me he was not, but was a
Portagese. The told me that he was a member of Baptist Church there in good
standing and was received in good society. I saw nothing to the contrary.
Q. When and where did Solomon Bolton claim to be a Portagese and how did
he come to so claim?
A. The first time I heard him at it was at Court, at Jasper, some 24 or 25
year ago, as I recollect it was not long after I came from So Ca. I was
summoned to prove that he was a negro.
Q. Was that the time you say he, Bolton, prosecuted Bromley?
A. Yes sir.
"I have been too long barked at to be mindful of the noise."