1953- Price article; A Geographical Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial Mixtures in the Eastern US

1953 Price Article

A Geographical Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial Mixtures in the Eastern United States

by Edward T. Price, Los Angeles State College

The following is   from the Association of   American Geographers Annals Vol. 43 (June 1953) pp 138-55. Reprint   permission granted with acknowledgment.

For notes to this article, click here.

A strange product of the mingling of races which followed the British entry   into North America survives in the presence of a number of localized strains   of peoples of mixed ancestry. Presumed to be part white with varying   proportions of Indian and Negro blood, ** they are recognized as of   intermediate social status, sharing lot with neither white nor colored, and   enjoying neither the governmental protection nor the tribal tie of the   typical Indian descendants. A high degree of endogamy results from this special   status, and their recognition is crystallized in the unusual group names   applied to them by the country people.

 

The chief populations of this type are located and identified   in Figure 1, which expresses their recurrence as a pattern of distribution.   (1) Yet each is essentially a local phenomenon, a unique demographic body,   defined only in its own terms and only by its own neighbors. A name applied   to one group in one area would have no meaning relative to similar people   elsewhere. This association of mixed-blood and particular place piques the   geographic curiosity about a subject which, were it ubiquitous, might well be   abandoned to the sociologist and social historian. What accounts for these   cases of social endemism in the racially mixed population?

The total number of these mixed-bloods is probably between 50,000 and 100,000   persons. Individually recognized groups may run from fewer than 100 to as   many as 18,000 persons in the case of the Croatans of North Carolina. The   available records, the most useful being old census schedules,(2) indicate   that the present numbers of mixed-bloods have sprung from the great   reproductive increase of small intial populations. The prevalence in each   group of a small number of oft-repeated surnames is in accord with such a   conclusion. The ancestors of the mixed-bloods have been free people (usually   “free colored” in earlier censuses) for as long as their history   can be traced; it is extremly unusual to find any evidence of slavery in   their main ancestral lines.

The mixed-bloods are heterogeneous in physical appearance. Some of the   population in some of the groups are unmistakably negroid in some   characteristics. Proof of Indian ancestry rests more on tradition than on   present appearance. The dark-skinned strain, however, does not seem to be due   entirely to Negro blood; other negroid traits seem less clearly prevalent   than darkness of skin. Skin colors among the mixed-bloods vary from white to   brown, but few are as dark as an unmixed Indian.

LARGER MIXED-BLOOD STRAINS

The Croatan Indians of North Carolina

Figure 2 The Locklears in Halifax County are     apparently not recognized today.

Probable ancestors of the Croatan Indians were reported along   the Lumber River at the time of the area’s first settlement by Scotch people   in the early 1730’s,(3) and they may be identical with a lawless band of   swamp-dwellers reported in 1754. (4) At least sixty-five family heads can be   identified in the census of 1790, but the groups seem to have remained relatively   obscure until after the Civil War when one member of the group acquired   notoriety for his exploits as an outlaw.(5) The Croatans’ demand for status   found a champion in the person of Hamilton McMillan, a member of the   legislature which conferred on them the title of “Croatan Indians,”   later changed to “Cherokee Indians of Robeson County” (6) over the   protests of the Cherokees of eastern North Carolina. The Croatans have had   their own Indian school system, separate from both white and Negro,   culminating in the State Teachers’ College at Pembroke. The census has   tabulated them as Indians since 1890,and has shown their amazing rate of   growth. (7) The Croatans are mostly small farmers engaged in growing cotton,   tobacco, and corn in the western part of Robeson County, where they dominate   the rural settlement. Even in their center of Pembroke, however, the business   is mostly in the hands of whites, and the Croatans are resentful of their own   lack of influence and status. (8) The latter is closely related to apparent   or suspected presence of Negro blood, a matter which has internally   compartmented the Croatan society itself. The Croatans appear in numbers in   several nearby counties, and “Croatan” as a designation of race   appears occasionally in the marriage records of even more distant localities.

A popularly held theory that Raleigh’s Lost Colony survives in one of the   mixed-blood groups usually centers on the Croatans. It is difficult to tell   whether this idea has been a tradition among the Croatans, or was only   popular for a time in the late nineteenth century as a device for gaining   status. The case built by McMillan(9) for historical continuity of the Lost   Colony and the Croatans seems to have been successfully refuted by Swanton.   (10) McMillan also lists the names of the members of the Lost Colony,   alleging a similarity to Robeson County names. (11) Such a similarity was not   evidenced by names in the census of 1790, nor are the most frequent Croatan   surnames on the Lost Colony list at all. Indeed Locklear and Oxendine, the   two most common names, covering nearly a third of the Croatans,(12) seem to   be virtually unique to the Croatans. They were not reported among whites in   the 1790 census, and so few free colored families of those names appeared   outside of Robeson County in either 1790 or 1830 that an origin among the   Croatans is indicated (Fig. 2).

The density of free Negroes in 1830 was greater in Robeson County (where they   were mostly Croatans) than in any other county in the southern half of North   Carolina. Whatever aberration from the usual bi-racial pattern resulted in   the Croatans evidently had a quantitative as well as a qualitative aspect.   Whether this process was immigration, a conservative lack of emigration, high   fertility, or simply an early start is an unanswered question.

The Melungeons

The Melungeons(13) centering in Hancock County, Tennessee, are   sometimes said to derive from the Croatans, but the comparison of names   suggests only a tenuous connection. The Melungeons reached Newman’s Ridge and   Blackwater Valley (in Hancock County) among the first settlers, apparently In   the 1790’s. The number and ages of family heads bearing the names of Collins,   Gibson, and Goins in 1830 suggest that several households with these names   were involved in the original migrations from North Carolina and Virginia. By   1830 the Melungeon colony included 330 persons in 55 families in Hawkins   County (from which Hancock was formed) and 130 persons in 24 families in   adjoining Grainger County. Because of them Hawkins County showed more free   colored persons in the 1830 census than any other county in Tennessee except   Davidson (Nashville) and more free colored families named Collins than any   other county in the United States. A few Melungeons persisted until 1830 in   Ashe County in northwestern North Carolina; the records of that area contain   the earliest references to Vardy Collins, (14) said to be the first of the   Melungeon settlers.

A few of the Melungeons of today resemble Indians, but more are impossible to   distinguish from white mountaineers. A caste distinction persists to a considerable   degree, though the Melungeons are not segregated in schools. Melungeons are   found in some numbers in Lee, Scott, and Wise County, Virginia, Letcher   County, Kentucky, and in Graysville, Tennessee, and occasionally on and west   of the Cumberland Plateau. In these more distant localities they are not   always identified as Melungeons, but bear the characteristic surnames.   Historical records do not supply proof for their likely relationship to the   Hancock County group, and some of these other settlements are also very old.   The name of Goins is particularly associated with Melungeons living south and   west of Hancock County.

The Redbones of Louisiana

Five parishes of southwest Louisiana– Calcasieu, Rapides,   Beauregard, Vernon, and Allen–include in their population a strain of   mixed-bloods identified as Redbones. Louisiana, with its French background,   is probably the state where mixture of white and Negro blood has been most   typical; a number of concentrations of such peoples are recognized. The markedly   English names of the Redbones and their Protestant religious affiliations   (usually Baptist) demarcate the Redbones from all these other Louisiana   mixed-bloods, with whom this study is not concerned.
The Redbones appear clearly in the earliest census records of the area as   free colored persons, usually the only free colored persons with English   names in the present areas. Later records identify the same persons as   mulattoes; when the listed birthplace is outside of Louisiana, South Carolina   is usually the state. Olmsted in 1857 (15) mentions a wealthy mulatto family   of Ashworths near the border in east Texas, which is quite likely connected   with the Redbones of the same name. Evidently the Redbones were mixed in   blood when they came as cattle-grazers to this last-settled corner of   Louisiana. Further support for believing their origin to be South Carolina   stems from the facts that Redbone is an old Carolina term for mixed-bloods,   (16) that several Redbone names occurred among free Negroes of South Carolina,   and that several names of South Carolina mixed-bloods occurred with the   Redbones in earlier censuses.

The Redbones probably number 3000 or more. They are not segregated in   schools, though several rural areas and two or three villages are   predominantly Redbone in population. Many of the Redbones have drifted into   the towns to take various jobs in recent: years. In spite of the absence of   any official recognition or rigid segregation, the Redbones form what is   essentially a caste; and they are homogeneous in economic class, the small   subsistence farm or labor in forest or mill providing the livelihood.
The term Redbone suggests Indian blood, which is reported to have been   evident among some of the older Redbones. The status the Redbones hold and   the appearance of many of the Redbones today suggest an admixture of Negro   blood. No one is called a Redbone to his face, but the term is universally   understood in southwest Louisiana, and the members of a Redbone family will   be so tagged as long as they continue to live in the area.

 

The nucleus of American settlement in Alabama was a small   enclave on the west bank of the lower Tombigbee and Mobile Rivers which, in   the early nineteenth century, was surrounded by Spanish Mobile to the south   and Indian tribes on the other sides–Creek, Choctaw and Cherokee. (17)

Into this frontier came a free colored man named Reed, said to have been a   mulatto from Jamaica; he married a slave woman, also a mulatto, whose freedom   he later purchased, (18) and the two operated a cattle-penning center in   conjunction with an inn along the road into Mississippi. The Reeds had eight   children, 56 grandchildren, and at least 202 great grandchildren; (19) by   today the eighth and ninth generation has appeared, and the descent of the   Reeds is innumerable. A free colored couple named Byrd, who probably came   into the area a little later, are known to have produced 119 great   grandchildren, and a Weaver family traced back to two family heads has been   equally prolific.

About half of the population of over 2000 Cajans in Mobile and Washington   Counties in Alabama bear the names of Weaver, Reid, and Byrd. The descendants   of these families were not numerous until after the Civil War, but their   previous status of freedom and their mixed race may account for their   subsequent separation from the other Negroes. Certainly their rapid growth in   numbers and their intermarriage of one family with another help to explain   the recognition by the white population which ultimately resulted in   borrowing (with a slight rnodification in spelling) the term Cajan from   Louisiana to identify them.
Today the Cajans live in a clearly circumscribed rural area of the pine   forests containing about 175 square miles. Their children attend special   schools provided by the counties. Perhaps another 2000 Cajans have managed to   slip into towns or cities where they are not actively thrown with the core of   the group.

The Cajans have not only survived, but have steadily grown in this area of   change and instability. After the cattlegrazers came the lumber and railroad   camps. Geronimo’s Indians were detained at nearby Mt. Vernon in 1890. (20)   Each of these transient groups and many others may have contributed blood to   the Cajans.

The exhaustion of the forests has left the slim leavings to the Cajans. Many   of them are squatters on large landholdings; most of them work in the forest   industries, lumbering, turpentining, hauling logs, operating sawmills.   Increasing population in an area of depleted resources cannot continue   indefinitely. Some of the Cajans leave the region and pass as white in   distant localities; these are usually the lighter-skinned. A conservatism   tends to hold most of them near home. The emigration has not kept up with the   growth by reproduction, but it probably balances occasional intermarriage   with whites to keep most of the residual Cajan population moderately   dark-skinned.

The Issues of Amherst County, Virginia

A concentration of several hundred Issues (a term applied to   Negroes freed before the Civil War) has long been recognized at the eastern   foot of the Blue Ridge near Amherst, Virginia. They are mostly a laboring   group, working on the tobacco farms of the Piedmont and the apple orchards of   the slopes above and as domestic servants. The mulatto ancestors of the Issues   were in the area by 1785, but little is known of their history; one of the   group was mentioned as a free mulatto in 1848. (21) The idea that the group   has some Indian blood persists, however. (22)
Emigration, especially to New Jersey during the War, has reduced the number   of Issues materially. This movement seems to be the result of the   assiduousness of the Virginia Department of Vital Statistics in its campaign   to label as Negroes in all official records those with any fraction of Negro   ancestry. This threat to their previous intermediate status was distasteful.   A possibly related group have been mountain farmers on Irish Creek on the   western side of the Blue Ridge; they have not been excluded from white   schools in Rockbridge County.

The Guineas of West Virginia

Most of the Guineas (23) live in Barbour and Taylor Counties   in north central West Virginia, but they are known in several other counties   also. This is an area of very few other colored people; though the Guineas   attend the colored schools, they have resisted this segregation and would   probably resist more forcibly if the schools had more Negro children and   Negro teachers. The 1600 or more Guineas in Barbour and Taylor Counties are   mostly peasant farmers, coal miners, day laborers, and domestic servants. A   very few are wealthy. They live in several rural concentrations where their   ownership of land dates from early in the nineteenth century, (24) in others   where they have more recently replaced whites, and in some numbers in the   towns.

Several surnames belong almost exclusively to Guineas in this area, but   nearly half the group are named Mayle (formerly spelled Mail, Male, etc.).   (25) There are several traditions of Indian blood among the Guineas, but the   records confirm only the “colored” and mulatto mixtures. The   records of the Guineas’ ancestors all trace back to Virginia (then including   West Virginia); they were in the western part of the state well before 1800.   The mixed-bloods seem to have reached this area from several different   directions before their increase to the present population. The Mayles, and   perhaps other Guinea families came from Hampshire County, where they may have   been people of some means. Just when the Mayle family became mixed-blooded is   not clear, but it evidently occurred before 1810, when they had already   started moving westward into the Plateau. The census evidence indicates that   all of the Mayles of the Guinea group, numbering over 700 in Barbour and   Taylor Counties, are either actual or legal descendants of one man. Most of   the Guinea settlement in Taylor County has developed from Barbour County in   the last two generations, and more recently the Guineas have settled in some   numbers in several Ohio cities and in Detroit.

The Wesorts of Maryland

A vaguely defined mixed-blood group known as Wesorts (26) form   part of the population of the southeastern peninsula of Maryland west of   Chesapeake Bay, within an hour’s drive of Washington. Their number is   estimated at between 750 and 3000. Their children attend both white and   colored schools. Twenty-six Wesort surnames have been identified, most of   which were among the 54 family names of free colored persons in the area in   1790; most of the names were also, common among whites of the area at the   same time.

The Moors and Nanticokes of Delaware

Two mixed groups, probably related to one another, live   chiefly in Delaware. (27) The Moors numbering about 500, are in a suburb of   Dover, and the Nanticokes. numbering about 700, live in the southeast part of   the state near the estuary of the Indian River. The former support themselves   from various wage jobs, while the latter have retained their modest farms in   the Indian River Hundred. Most of their children attend an assortment of   special schools, both public and private, which has resulted from internal   differences and misunderstandings with officials.

The Nanticoke leaders have recently tried to revive their Indian birthright   through the formation of the Nanticoke Indian Association. In spite of the   fact that their economy has made use of a surprising number of Indian culture   traits, (28) there is little evidence at hand to connect them directly with   the aborigines of Delaware. Their claim to Indian status seems neither   stronger nor weaker than that of several other mixed-blood groups.

The Jackson Whites of New York and New Jersey

The Jackson Whites, the only large mixed group of the North,   is the only one whose members have been willing to throw in their lot with   the Negroes, though they do not class themselves with the colored population   at large. Though within easy commuting distance of New York City (Bergen   County, New Jersey, and Rockland County, New York), their existence has   apparently depended historically on a refuge in the fault-bounded Ramapo   Hills. Their names of Mann, DeGroat, DeFreese, and Van Dunk suggest a   relation to the Dutch settlers of New York; all of these names but the last   are old (29) in the area, while a de Vries appeared in a seventeenth century   reference (30) as a free Negro.

The early history of the Jackson Whites is obscure, and no hypotheses or   theories (31) seem to find much confirmation in records. The people seem to   have supported themselves on the mountain during the nineteenth century by   farming and producing forest products such as charcoal, baskets, barrel   staves, brooms, and wooden tools. (32) Missionary work on the mountain and   increased job opportunities in the lowlands have made the Jackson Whites a   part of modern society. Most of them have moved into the lowland towns and   taken jobs in the shops and mills. Segregation in a colored grade school in   one of the New York communities was ended in 1947. Traditions among the   Jackson Whites themselves indicate either a very diverse ethnic background or   a complete confusion over the actual truth.

SMALLER GROUPS OF MIXED-BLOODS

Nineteen separate groups of mixed-blood peoples have been   identified on the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. (33) Typically they live   somewhat apart from other groups in rural settings with their own clusters of   shacks. Their employment is mostly in agricultural labor. In most cases   special schools are provided.

The groups may have formed around the small lowland Indian tribes as nuclei,   picking up both white and Negro blood. (34) Characteristic names are   recognized in each locality, but certain names tend to be common in several   counties, sometimes linking the South Carolina groups with Croatans and other   larger groups. The South Carolina mixed-bloods, on the whole, are said to be   making gains toward white status. A number of group names–e.g., Brass   Ankles, Redbones; Redlegs, Buckheads, Turks–are applied locally to these   peoples. Their social differentiation seems to be a pattern of long standing   in South Carolina.

North Carolina is also prominent on the map of mixed-bloods. Its school   directory lists 27 Indian schools. (35) Goins is the chief surname among a   scattering of alleged mixed-bloods in Surry, Stokes, and Rockingham Counties,   North Carolina, and adjoining Patrick County, Virginia. Though one Indian   school is maintained for these people, they have, in at least one case, won   suit for admission to white schools. Usually they attend white schools and   are distinguished only socially by their neighbors. Their total number is at   least several hundred. The compact land ownership around Gointown in   Rockingham County suggests it as being of longest standing as a center for   this strain; land records carry them back in that part of the county to its   formation in 1786. A similar situation occurs in Moore County in southern   North Carolina with the difference that the Goinses and their associates are   classed as Negro, but mix little with other Negroes.

Magoffin County in the Kentucky Mountains has a small mixed-blood population   considered to be of Indian mixture. (36) They are noted in the county as   mountain farmers with large families whom they are able to maintain without   apparent means of support. The people have been in the county as long as   records have been maintained. Their surnames have all been associated with   Melungeons in the records, though some of the early Magoffin County   mixed-bloods were themselves born in Virginia and North Carolina. A colony of   the Magoffin County group planted itself near Carmel, Ohio, about the time of   the Civil War. At the very edge of the Appalachians, they built their shacks   in the hills where they obtained shelter, wood, game, and ginseng, providing   farm labor at times on the more fertile plains. Some of the group are now   rooted in Carmel, but close contact is yet maintained with relatives in   Magoffin County.

Ohio has a second small group living in the rich Corn Belt land of Darks   County. Admittedly part Negro, members of this group are descended from   ancestors who began settlement there by 1822. A number of families, all of   whom came from the southeast, apparently found here an escape from the anomalous   position of the free Negro in the slave states. The colony is fairly   prosperous although the farms are somewhat smaller than the average about   them; subdivision through inheritance probably accounts for this condition.

Other small mixed-blood groups are indicated on the map in Figure 1.

INTERPRETATION OF MIXED-BLOOD DISTRIBUTION

The mixed-blood groups generally appear to have arisen from   diverse sources. Where records are available, they indicate that the   ancestors of the present mixed- bloods, coming into their present areas at   the time of American settlement, were themselves mixed. The mixing must have   had a beginning, of course; the old records are lacking for the easternmost   groups where settlement was earlier. The surnames of the mixed-blood people   are usually distinctive in their areas; if their names are taken from white   people, such event seems to pre-date settlement in the present areas.

The mixed-blood groups are not closely associated with particular physical   refuge areas in most cases; more broadly, however, Figure1 shows that most of   them live in the Coastal Plain and Appalachian Provinces–areas generally   marginal in soil fertility and irregular in utility, accessibility and   settlement. Though typically, but not entirely, a Southern phenomenon,   mixed-blood groups are not typical of the old Cotton Belt, but rather outline   its edges. Borders of some nature seem to be favorite locations. The Redbones   near the old Texas border, the Jackson Whites, Issues, and Carmel groups near   borders between hills and plains, the Cajans on the old Spanish frontier, and   many groups near state boundaries may be locationally related to the meeting   of two worlds.
The conservative nature of these groups is evidenced by the fact that the   boys who saw service during the second World War, usually in white units,   have regularly returned to their homes. One stream of mixed-bloods does leave   the focal areas to pass as white in cities and elsewhere, ultimately losing   touch completely with the original group. The home areas often present   limited opportunity in the economic niches open to the mixed-bloods. Some   expand in a real extent, some in replacing white groups, but generally their   populations are restricted, and their increase as identifiable mixed-bloods   does not approach their actual reproductive growth.

Many of the mixed-blood groups seem unrelated or unimportantly related one to   the other. Perhaps they represent similar responses to similar social   conditions, each in a different area. The records of the surnames and   birthplaces, however, tie a number of the groups together: the Croatans and   many small groups of the Carolinas and Virginia; the Melungeons; the   Redbones; the mixed-bloods of Magoffin County; and the two small groups   mentioned in Ohio.

Though certain facts concerning the origin of these peoples have been traced,   the questions of who they were and why they displayed this unusual   clannishness have hardly been touched. The relationships mentioned suggest   the hypothesis of a colonial mixed-blood society having origin in Virginia   and the Carolinas, consisting of a number of localized concentrations as well   as floaters who served to maintain or effect both blood and social ties   between the sedentary groups. Though the early groups certainly grew by accretion,   chance colonization of a few members of this society in a new location may   have been the necessary condition for a new localization of the same type.   They seem to have moved westward into and across the Appalachians with the   general stream of population. It is difficult to trace specific parenthood of   one group by another, but numerous interrelationships are indicated by the   records.

ORIGIN OF THE MIXED-BLOOD GROUPS

The records needed to probe the origin and nature of this   society are, if ex- istent, not available through the common indices and card   catalogues. Perhaps they may be accidentally turned up. Some suggestive   fragments are herewith presented.

The Goins Family

Figure 3

The name Goins seems to be a peculiar marker of these   mixed-bloods. It has already been mentioned in connection with the Melungeons   and certain strains in North Carolina. It is prominent among the mixed-bloods   of Darke County, Ohio, and was associated with the Redbones in what is now   Calcasieu Parish. It is a minor name among the Croatans and is the chief name   among a mixed-blood group with a special school in Williamsburg County, South   Carolina. Further, Goins is an unusual name; though many whites are named   Goins, it occurred with a much greater frequency among free colored persons   in 1830 (2.8 per thousand) than among the population at large in 1790 (0.1   per thousand in six populous Southern and Middle states.

Over a hundred free colored families named Goins were well scattered in 1830   through the South and southern parts of the Northern border states (Fig. 3).   The two greatest concentrations occurred in the Melungeon area and the North   Carolina-Virginia Piedmont where so many are found today. The former was   almost certainly derived from the latter. (37) The concentration in central   Virginia may be older than these, but is not known to have persisted. The   Goins name arrived in Virginia early, (38) one “Tho. Gowen” having   been listed as a passenger on the Globe in 1635. (39) One account of the   better known branch of the family (40) has them spreading southward from a   center in Stafford County, Virginia. A colored servant, Mihill Gowen, was   released after four years of service in 1657; (41) It may be noted that Gowen   had not been the name of his mistress. The same unusual name (Mihil Goen)   crops up again in 1718 in James City County as former owner of escheat land   being patented by another man. (42) A muster roll of a Granville County,   North Carolina, regiment in 1754 singled out five men in one company as   mulattoes; three of them were named Gowen. (43) A roster of North Carolina   Revolutionary soldiers of 1778 lists a Gowan as a mulatto. (44) A 1792 entry   in a deed book of Fairfeld County, South Carolina, (45) records the fact that   Levi Goyen made his friend John Goyen his attorney for handling a parcel of   land in “Daverson Co. N.C. aforesaid land being first in the hands of   David Goyen decd. free Mallatto went to Cumberland River in the year 1770 and   were killed by the Indians in the year 1780 and left the said Mallatto Levi   Goyen his proper heir….” The records available leave open the   possibility that a branch of the Gowen family emerged as free mixed-bloods in   the seventeenth century. Russell uses Milhill Gowen (46) to illustrate his   contention that the early Negro servitude was usually an indenture rather   than a permanent slavery. Can the mixed-bloods have had such an origin as   free men, maintaining ever since the social barrier against the freed slaves?   Certainly such a phenomenon as the Goins family must have a definite story   behind it, but has it made its way into the records?

No real center of the Goins mixed-bloods can be identified antedating their   concentration in the upper Piedmont. It is understood that the settlement of   these counties was mostly from Virginia; this is in keeping with the above   observation on southward spread of the Gowen family. The oldest Goinses   recorded in the North Carolina portion of this district in the 1850 census   were born in Virginia.

The Chavis Family

Figure 4

Another widespread name among mixed-bloods is Chavis (Chavous,   Chavers, probably Shavers, etc.) (Fig. 4). Whereas Goins was more frequent   among free colored people than whites, Chavis was also more numerous among   the free colored. One free Negro of the name rose to fame as an educator.   (47) Chavis is a prominent Croatan name. It has been reported in South   Carolina as a mixed-blood name, e.g., In Orangeburg County, and its   association with the Melungeons and Redbones is suggested by the records. A   Granville County muster roll of 1754 lists three members of the family, one   as a Negro, the other two (at least one a son of the first) as mulattoes.   (48) Colored slaveholders of the name were identified in Virginia by Jackson   (49) in Charlotte County and Russell (50) in Mecklenburg County. They are   identified as South Carolina frontiersmen in 1751 and 1752. (51) Again an   interesting story should unfold could the family and name be traced to their   beginnings.

A number of other names seem to be frequent tracers of people of these mixed-   blood castes, not only in the Carolinas and Virginia, but also in other   states to their west. Bass, Epps, Scott, Bell, Sweat, and Revels are good   examples. In addition there are less definite suggestions or fewer cases of   still other names of which the following may be given as examples: Bolton,   Braveboy, Cumbo, Harris, Newsom, Russell. Many of these names are common   among whites and are of no use in the present connection unless identified as   separate from their occurrence in the population at large.

An example of the suggestive co-occurrence of several of these names may be   found in a document of 1822. (52) A list of free people of color in Richland   District, South Carolina, delinquent in the personal tax expected of them in   1821 and 1822 includes prominently the names of Oxendine, Locklier, Chavis,   Sweat(Redbones and South Carolina groups), Gibson (Melungeons), and Jacobs.   The last name is important in a mixed-blood group in Richland County today, a   group of localized residents known as Sandhillers; it is also the name of   probably a few hundred Croatans. Accompanying the list of delinquents is a   petition to the House of Representatives on the estate of the then late   district sheriff, begging release from the payment of the uncollected tax   because “the time allowed by the Law for the return of these Executions   is so short, and the difficulty of finding them on account of the peculiar   situation of their place of residence, is such, that it was impossible for   the Sheriff to collect…. (53) A seclusion of the mixed-bloods in an   inaccessible location is definitely implied, yet their separation was not so   perfect that the sheriff did not have a list of their names. The people with   whom the sheriff was timid about dealing were likely the ancestors of the   present Sandhillers; they almost certainly included some Croatan families,   and the names suggest connection with other mixed- bloods too.

The social attitude of these mixed-bloods must have been such that they found   it congenial to take up with others of their own kind. They seem to have   persisted in the static societies of rural areas stimulated perhaps by   tradition of Indian blood or pride of early freedom. (54)

For notes to this article, click here.

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