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Archiver > Melungeon > 2011-04 > 1304020192

From: "Jack Goins" <>
Subject: Re: [MELUNGEON] Historical Records.
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 15:49:52 -0400
References: <A2922BD05A4B49D6A0AF4F5D6C9D0710@toshibauser><>

----- Original Message -----
From: <> writes;

> The problem with the letter from Jarvis is he is speaking only of the
> Collins, Bunch, Goodman, Gibson and other names he mentioned. The people
> called Melungeons he is speaking of had an entirely different history and
> migration pattern than the ''other Melungeons.'' He is not
> taking into consideration the Bolton, Perkins, Shuemake, Goins etc.,
> that were in Hamilton and Wilson Counties CALLED MELUNGEONS by 1850,
> Jarvis did not know their names, their history or migration patterns.

Joanne Most of the people Jarvis named and knew were born in 1700. I would
lay odds Attorney Lewis Jarvis knew all about the Bolton case, he and his
son were attorneys and they pass on cases, especially the ones sent to the
Tennessee Supreme Court. In fact the Tennessee Law books purchase by most
attorneys, list those appealed cases.

Tennessee Librarian Mrs John Trotworth Moore quoted a letter written by
Jarvis when he was 83 years old to Walter plecker and names the following;
"I personally knew Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepherd Gibson, Paul
Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moore's, Williams and
Sullivan's, all of the very first settles and noted men of these friendly

Melungeon is like a "Nick-name" they sometime spread like wild fire from the
place it first began, a good example is the way Lewis Shepherd explains in
his memoirs.

The families mentioned in this case, "the Goins, Shumake, Boltons, Perkins,
Mornings, Menleys, Breedlove & others."These are the same people called
Melungeons in the 1874 trial. Judge Shepherd wrote: "they came from South
Carolina, across the mountains to now Hancock County, Tennessee, and spread
out from there. Shepherd goes on to confirm where they came up with the term
Melungeon in his case.

"The term Melungeon is an East Tennessee provincialism it was coined by the
people of that county to apply to these people."

The oldest written record where the term Melungeon was used in a political
campaign describes one as " a scoundrel who is half Indian and half Negro."
This article was published 7 October 1840 in the Jonesboro Whig by William
Ganaway "Parsons" Brownlow, a minister of the gospel. I am convinced he
heard this term Malungeon in his many travels to Hawkins County. and most
likely he, or his campaign manager were the one who started the illegal
voting dispute, since he was the loser in that 1845 election.

The news media which included Brownlow began spreading this term so anyone
who looked half white/black may have been given this name, another example
of this description is in Edward Guerrant Civil War Journal after he came
through Hancock County, but not enough information to show anything except
his definition of a Melungeon was half white and half black and according to
his example they were depicted as bad people. How did he know this
description? This word had not made the dictionaries at this date.

In the oldest written records, Melungeon was defined as being part Negro.
The first known written visit to Vardy Valley was in 1848; "The Melungeons
carefully preserved the Legend of their history.This ‘Legend’ according to
the writer in Littell’s Living age, included an original descent from
Portuguese adventures who later mixed with whites, Indians,and negroes.

As you know this article was published in several newspapers across the
United state and people began referring to dark skin people in various
communities as Melungeons.

After the Civil War most East Tennessee Congressmen and senators were
referred to as Melungeons.

If Melungeons were in all the places you have listed on your website it
would be a race, it is pretty obvious who some of the reporters were, who
spread this word.

After the 1848 visit to Vardy Valley. Vardy Collins descendants were
revisited about 50 years later."On Friday forenoon, July 2, (1897) C.H.
Humble the writer and Rev. Joseph Hamilton, of Parkersburg, West Virginia,
started in a hack from Cumberland Gap, Tennessee for Beatty Collins, chief
of the Melungeons in Blackwater.

When Humble ask Beatty Collins son, who was a school teacher, about the
Melungeons he strongly resented its application to his people and replied "
We are a Pure Blood, meaning at least that they didn’t have Negro blood in
their veins." As revealed in this interview by C. H. Humble, Melungeon
implied Negro blood, a term they never used, or accepted as their identity
and neither did they pass it down to their children, or grand children.

Humble reference to Beatty Collins as chief of the Melungeons in Blackwater,
which appears to have stuck to this family from the 1848 article. "Ole Vardy
is chief cook and bottle-washer'of the Melungeons."

A Clan name is a nickname and is usually only known to neighborhood where it
began, as described by Edward T. Price in his 1950 study of the clans, which
included the Melungeons.

I was not the originator of this theory a researcher who was not Melungeon
related was in the Archive and he said my opinion is after the first
description of a Melungeon began to spread this label was put on dark skin
settlements and most of them did not know they were labeled Melungeon. And I
will add especially a political rally or conference like the one in


> Historical Melungeon Indians
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jack Goins <>
> To:
> Sent: Thu, Apr 28, 2011 10:55 am
> Subject: [MELUNGEON] Historical Records.
> It is almost impossible to write an email on this subject without being
> misquoted, so for clarification on my previous post on land grants and
> migration with the white settlers. And for any of you who may be new to
> the list. This is a portion of a letter from the Hancock County Times,
> Sneedville, TN 4/17/1903 written by Lewis M. Jarvis, who was then an
> Attorney. Lewis M. Jarvis was also a Captain in Co E, 8th Tennessee
> Vol. Cavalry, Union Army. and was personally acquainted with Vardy
> Collins and other Melungeons he names in this letter. "Much has
> been said and written about the inhabitants of Newman's Ridge and
> Blackwater in Hancock County, Tenn. They have been derisively dubbed
> with the name "Melungeons" by the local white people who have lived
> here with them. It is not a traditional name or tribe of Indians. Some
> have said these people were here when the white people first explored
> this country. Others say they are a lost tribe of the Indians having no
> date of their existence here, traditionally or otherwise. All of this
> however, is erroneous and cannot be sustained. These people, not any of
> them were here at the time the first white hunting party came from
> Virginia and North Carolina in the year 1761-- the noted Daniel Boone
> was at the head of one of these hunting parties and went on through
> Cumberland Gap.---they came here simultaneously with the white people
> not earlier than 1795." In 2005 I formed a group called Friends of The
> Hawkins County Archive Project, and was appointed Archivist by the
> Hawkins County Commissioners. The old records from the basement of our
> old Court house was moved to the placed designated to be the archive.
> These records date back to 1787 and up until 1844 Hancock County was
> part of Hawkins County, but due to a border dispute and other factors
> the illegal voting trials were held in Hawkins County, they began in
> 1846 and ended 1848, these Circuit Court records would have been lost
> due the Hancock County Court house being destroyed by fire,at least 3
> times. We were fortunate to find the 1845 election results where they
> were charged for illegal voting as free persons of color. In this
> election William G. Brownlow lost to Andrew Johnson. This included the
> most famous Vardy Collins, along with Zachariah Minor, his brother and
> other Collins. This is our 7th year and many of the first volunteers
> are still here. All of you are wel! come to research our archives, to
> view our archive click on this link, select Government then Hawkins
> County Archive. Instead of charging a fee for copying records we ask
> for a reasonable donation. The Chancery Court link is
> down.Jack
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