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Subject: [MELUNGEON] Indians
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2010 15:39:25 -0400


In 1913 John B. Brownlow, son of the Parson Brownlow, in an article titled “Remnant Indian Tribes” stated these people were, without a doubt, Portuguese Indians. He had rode horseback through the counties where these people lived and had known them intimately. He also wrote of the information he received from John Netherland, the attorney who defended the Melungeons, and it was the same as reported by Judge Lewis Shepherd.
Hamilton McMillan another eyewitness to history wrote in July of 1890;
'The Croatan tribe lives principaly in Robeson county, North Carolina, though there is quite a number of them settled in counties adjoining in North and South Carolina. In Sumter county, South Carolina, there is a branch of the tribe, and also in east Tennessee. In Macon county, North Carolina, there is another branch, settled there long ago. Those living in East Tennessee are called "Melungeons",

Swan Burnett who had worked with a doctor in Hawkins County researching the Melungeons for several years wrote his observations in 1889. After the article appeared he was contacted by Hamilton McMillan and received from ‘several sources’ valuable information on the Melungeons. He wrote;
What connection I consider to exist between the Melungeons and the Croatan Indians, as well as other material I have accumulated in regard to the Melungeons, will be made the subject of another communication which is now in preparation

Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed in the United States (except. Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington, DC: US Census Printing Office

In a number of states small groups of people, preferring the freedom of the woods or the seashore to the confinement of regular labor in civilization, have become in some degree distinct from their neighbors, perpetuating their qualities and absorbing into their number those of like disposition, without preserving very clear racial lines. Such are the remnants called Indians in some states where a pure-blooded Indian can hardly longer be found. In Tennessee such a group, popularly known as Melungeans, in addition to those still known as Cherokee.


In 1897 Bill Arp was introduced to Dr. Peterson who had been to Robeson County to investigate the Croatan Indians. Reporting on his conversation with Dr. Peterson Arp wrote;
During the war there was an election held in a county where some of them lived. And they were persuaded by an ambitious candidate to go to the polls and vote for him. Their votes were challenged by the other fellow upon the ground they had some Negro blood in their veins. They were very indignant and said, “When you want us to fight for you, we are same as white folks, when we want to vote, you say we are negurs.” And so a committee of four doctors was appointed to examine them and say what they were. The committee took them out to a sandy place in the road and had them take off their shoes and make tracks barefooted. Five of them made very fair Anglo-Saxon tracks and were accepted, but of the other two the report was that the hollow of their feet made holes in the ground and they were rejected. There are some of these Croatoans on Newman’s ridge, in Tennessee.

Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology - Ethnology - 1907 under the heading Croatan Indians;
Across the line in South Carolina are found a people, evidently of similar origin, designated "Red bones." In portions of w. N. C. and E. Temn. are found the so-called "Melungeons" (probably from French melangi', 'mixed') or "Portuguese," apparently an offshoot from the Croatan proper, and in Delaware are found the "Moors." All of these are local designations for peoples of mixed race with an Indian nucleus differing in no way from the present mixed-blood remnants known as Pamunkey, Chicka- hominy, and Nansemond Indians in Virginia, excepting in the more complete loss of their identity. In general, the physical features and complexion of the persons of this mixed stock incline more to the Indian than to the white or negro. See Mi-tis, Mixed bloods
This was also published in the Handbook of American Indians in 1911.

James Mooney, noted ethnologist, wrote in 1902
All along the southern coast there are scattered here and there bands of curious people, whose appearance, color, and hair seem to indicate a cross or mixture of the Indian, the white, and the negro. Such, for example, are the Pamunkeys of Virginia, the Croatan Indians of the Carolinas, the Malungeons of Tennessee……Wherever these people are found there also will the traveler or investigator passing through their region encounter the tradition of Portuguese blood or descent, and many have often wondered how these people came to have such a tradition or, in view of their ignorance, how they came to even know of the name of Portugal or the Portuguese. The explanation is, however, far simpler than one might imagine. In the first place, the Portuguese have always been a seagoing people, and according to Mr. Mooney, who has looked up the subject, the early records of Virginia and the Carolinas contain notices of Portuguese ships having gone to wreck on the coasts of these States and of the crews settling down and marrying in with Indians and mulattoes. Moreover, there are records of Portuguese ships having sailed into Jamestown Bay as early as 1655

In 1914 the “ Report on the Condition and Tribal Rights of the Indians of Robeson and Adjoining Counties of North Carolina” by O.M. McPherson the Melungeons are mentioned three times.

Mr. M.R. Buttery, sheriff of Hancock County wrote in 1897; “As to the Melungeons I know of no book containing any history of them. They are a peculiar set of people, most of them are very dark, straight hair and high cheek bones resemble a Cherokee Indian.”

Goodspeed's History of Tennessee 1886; "A settlement was also made at an early date at Mulberry Gap, where a little village sprang up. Newmans' Ridge, which runs through the county to the north of Sneedville, and parallel with Clinch River, is said to have taken its name from one of the first settlers upon it. It has since been occupied mainly by a people presenting a peculiar admixture of white and Indian blood.

Stephen B. Weeks in the Lost Colony of Roanoke printed from the Papers Am. Hist. Asso., Vol. iv., No. 4., 1891 relates a letter received from Mr. John M. Bishop who had apparently attended the meeting of the American Historical Association in December of 1890.

''Mr. McMillan favors the view that they are a part of the colony of Roanoke, and on this question Mr. John M. Bishop, a native of east Tennessee, now living in Washington, writes to the author: "My theory is that they are a part of the lost colony of Roanoke. Your utterances at the recent meeting in this city on the subject of the Lost Colony of Roanoke (meeting of Amer. Hist. Ass'n., Dec. 31, 1890) were so nearly in line with my ideas in this matter that I now write to call your attention to the subject. . . . You will mark the fact that the Malungeons are located on Newmans Ridge and Black Water creek in Hancock county, Tenn.,

What would make these seemingly intelligent people to write such things if they did not believe they were Indians?



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