2000-Kessler and Ball;3rd Melungeon Union Paper Presentation;”The Carmel Melungeons of Ohio”

North From the Mountains: The Carmel Melungeons of Ohio

by John Kessler and Donald Ball

Paper presented Saturday, 20 May 2000, Third Union, University   of Virginia’s College at Wise, Wise, Virginia.

Abstract. Recent research into the history, origins, and lifeways of   the Carmel Indians of Highland County, (south-central) Ohio, has produced the   most comprehensive study to date of this little known Melungeon-related   settlement since the studies of Berry (1963), Gilbert (1949), Morgan (1946;   1955), and Price (1950a; 1950b). This effort draws upon archival sources,   firsthand observations of the group as it existed in the 1940’s and early   1950’s, and more recent fieldwork. The present comments have been extracted from   a more detailed study of this group scheduled to be released by Mercer   University Press in late 2000.

Notice: The present summation of research on the Carmel Melungeon   settlement of southern Ohio is released and made available with the express   permission and authorization of Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia. This   material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any manner for other   than personal use.

Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen, it is truly a pleasure to be here today   and share with you the results of a portion of our research on one of the   lesser known Melungeon settlements. By way of introduction, I am Don Ball,   archaeologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, Kentucky,   and with me is my collaborator and co-author, John Kessler, who was raised on   a farm near Carmel and interacted on an almost daily basis for nearly 20   years with the folks we will be discussing. The present observations represent   but an extended extract of the information presented in a book-length study   of the Carmel settlement scheduled for release later this year by Mercer   University Press in Macon, Georgia.

To the casual tourist and many area residents alike, the countryside   surrounding the small, sleepy crossroads settlement of Carmel nestled at the   very edge of the Appalachian foothills in Highland County, southern Ohio, may   seem an unlikely place to initiate research into an obscure group which   originated in the mid-Atlantic seaboard. As is the case with the majority of   the estimated 200 such mixed-blood groups recorded throughout the eastern   United States, relatively little scholarly attention has been specifically   directed to the study of the Carmel Melungeons. The earliest published   reference to this group appears to be but a simple, brief mention of its   existence in a general guide to the State of Ohio prepared by the Ohio   Writer’s Program (1940:509). Such historical and ethnographic information as   is available appears principally in the studies of Price (1950a; 1950b),   Morgan (1946; 1955), Gilbert (1949:426-427), and a scattering of comments in   other sources (e.g., Ayers 1971; Berry 1963; 1978; McBride and McBride 1990).   Though insightful, none were either intensive or systematic.

As will be discussed in much greater detail herein, it is a working premise   of this effort that the settlement commonly known as the “Carmel   Indians” is related to, and derived from, the better known Melungeons of   southern Appalachia, themselves the subject of some investigation and much   speculation since the late 1800’s. Tracing the long and winding route   traveled by the ancestors of the Carmel natives as they crossed the rugged   Appalachian mountains and ultimately came to settle in the Ohio hill country,   the present comments will focus on the history, lifeways, and current status   of this settlement. The Carmel group has been traditionally viewed as   “Indian” by area Whites and, indeed, made claims to Indian   inheritance on its own behalf.

For present purposes, it is more than appropriate to clarify the   identification of the Carmel enclave as “Melungeon”. A number of   scholarly and popular writers alike have restricted the area of occupation of   the Melungeons to a relatively limited portion of Appalachia generally   consisting of Hancock and Hawkins counties, Tennessee, and Lee, Scott, and   Wise counties, Virginia. Such a perspective ignores the residency of   genetically comparable and similarly named families throughout an area   covering at least 29 adjacent counties variously located in northwestern   North Carolina, southwestern Virginia, northeastern Tennessee, and   southeastern Kentucky. Accordingly, this paper takes the position that the   population scattered across this broad area is de facto Melungeon, be they   derived from the “core” area of Melungeon occupation or,   alternately, from the same source areas in the mid-Atlantic coastal region.   It is ill founded to presume that any given family named Gibson or Collins ­   two “core” surnames encountered within both the “classic”   Melungeon heartland and Magoffin County, Kentucky, the source area for the   Carmel population ­ are necessarily unrelated. Were, for example, one of   these families to move from Magoffin County to Hancock County, they would   promptly be deemed “Melungeon”. Merely living in an outlying county   within this region makes them no less so. Simultaneously, it would be   erroneous to assume that genetic variation of particular population pockets   did not occur within this region. Thus, the Melungeons living along the   Tennessee-Virginia border were genetically similar ­ but not identical ­ to   those living elsewhere.

Situated at the foot of Long Lick Hill, the small crossroads settlement of   Carmel (pronounced “Car’-mul”) is located in Brush Creek Township   in the southeastern corner of Highland County, (southwestern) Ohio. This   hamlet is literally at the edge of the Appalachian escarpment. To the south   and east, heavily dissected, forested hill country predominates. To the north   and west, the gently rolling topography is more influenced by till plain   formations. Hillsboro, the county seat, is approximately 50 miles east of   Cincinnati and an equal distance southeast of Dayton. It is situated less   than 30 miles due north of the Ohio River.

Never formally platted as a town, Carmel as a community has always been small   and rural in nature. Settled as early as 1823 by the holders of land grants   for Revolutionary War service, the community was granted a post office in   1856 (closed 1921). A mercantile store was established on the southwestern   corner of the crossroads as early as 1870. In addition to the post office, in   its “heyday” in the 1890’s and turn of the century, this trading   center had grown to a population of 80 persons and hosted four retail establishments   (grocery and general stores), a resident attorney, two blacksmith shops, a   Methodist Church, and a flour mill situated on nearby Rocky Fork Creek.

By the 1940’s, electricity and telephone service was available during this   period but many persons had neither. Water was from individual wells. The   store was the social center for the immediate area. Other local attractions   were the church on Sunday, the occasional tent revival which used the field   next to the school, and election day. The years have witnessed the continuing   decline of Carmel’s role in the affairs of the adjacent countryside. The   settlement’s population was estimated to be but 30 persons in 1970 (Ayers   1971:289).

Situated about 0.8 mile south of Carmel along SR 753 was a small settlement   referred to locally as Coon’s Crossing. This was an aggregation of houses and   shanties, many of which were occupied by Melungeons. This small settlement at   the proverbial “wide spot in the road” remains little changed with   the exception that many early “shanties” have been replaced with   used mobile homes.

II. HISTORY AND ORIGINS

The first concentration of persons classified as   “Mulatto” in Brush Creek Township appear in the 1870 census. As   recorded for that year, these residents consisted of six households varying   from 3 to 14 individuals in size with a total population of 40 individuals.   Three households represented two surnames each. The surnames present at that   time (with number of individuals) were: Gipson (17); Jackson (1); Matthews   (9); Nichols (5); Perkins (4); Philips (3); and Wairmine (1) (Breakfield   1995:1, 3-5). Both the appearance of multiple surnames within households and   the general proximity of these households to one another serve to suggest   that these persons represented extended families of related individuals.

 

The correlation of age and place of birth information as   extracted from the census schedules is of particular utility in documenting   the appearance of the group in Ohio. The general migration of the Brush Creek   mixed-bloods is clearly shown by virtue of six out of seven of the oldest   residents (50+ years) having been born in Tennessee or Virginia (the   implications of these states in the history of the group will be discussed   below) while 23 of 33 individuals under the age of 50 stated their place of   birth as Kentucky. Of the nine persons born in Ohio, seven were under the age   of 10 years while only two individuals over the age of 10 were born in that   state. The oldest of these, Margaret Gipson, was 21 years old. This   information suggests that various families in the group may have experimented   with living in other areas of the state as early as 1849 prior to moving to   Highland County. As shown by the census schedule, some families had   apparently moved to Ohio, returned to Kentucky, and once again decided to move   across the Ohio River. Within the cluster of young persons under 10 years   born in Ohio, the oldest child was six years old at the time of the census   further suggesting the likelihood that the group had settled in Brush Creek   Township as early as ca. 1864.

Though speculative and circumstantial, such a settlement date is supported by   the events surrounding the Civil War. Southern Ohio was little affected by   the comings and goings of clashing armies. Indeed, through the war years the   farm economy of Ohio prospered in response to feeding an ever increasing   Union military force (Jones 1962:5). The likely resultant need for farm labor   in Brush Creek Township (and other areas) and the point of origin of the   mixed-bloods in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, an area not known for   strong Confederate sympathies, served to foster an environment which would at   least tolerate their movement into the economically marginal hill country.

Their occupancy in the foothills of Highland County simultaneously afforded a   desirable juxtaposition of familiar rugged terrain of little economic use to   local farmers and access to construction material, food, fuel, and sources of   paid employment. Area farmers in turn gained a source of labor which did not   demand higher wages and, indeed, may not have sought or desired steady work   (Price 1950b:285). Price (1950a:193) estimated the population of this diffuse   group in the Carmel vicinity to be approximately 150 in the late 1940’s. For   the same time period, Beale’s examination of the 1950 Federal census   schedules revealed a total population of 450 individuals distributed through   three counties; specifically, this figure included Champaign County (60;   classified as White and Negro), Hardin County (260; classified as White,   Indian, and Negro), and Highland County (130; classified as White) (Beale   1957:194).

RELATIONSHIP TO MAGOFFIN COUNTY, KENTUCKY

Though the reasons for their migration specifically to   Highland County remain both obscure and conjectural, the roots of the Carmel   colony in Magoffin and adjacent parts of Floyd counties, Kentucky, are well   established on the basis of both documentary and oral historical evidence   (cf. Price 1950a; 1950b). As suggested by available census schedules,   marriage records, and interviews conducted by Price in the 1940’s, movement   between the two areas had long been prompted by a desire to seek employment   opportunities north of the Ohio River while maintaining their familial ties   to the Kentucky mountains.

Price’s examination of applicable census schedules and other records revealed   that the ancestors of the Magoffin County (established 1860) group were   present in Floyd County (which then included Magoffin County) by 1810. The   1820 Floyd County census listed several of these families as “Free Person[s]   of Color” while in the 1850 and subsequent schedules they were variously   enumerated as White, Mulatto, and Indian. In general, their racial mixture   was evidently a matter of long standing and had occurred prior to their entry   into Kentucky. As noted in the census schedules, these mountaineers were   variously born in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee (Price 1950b:288).

Within Magoffin County, the major concentration of the mixed-blood population   was formerly (1940’s) reported to reside along Big Lick, a branch of Middle   Creek in the eastern part of the county, and nearby portions of Middle Creek,   a tributary of the Big Sandy, which extends into adjacent portions of Floyd   County (Price 1950a:201; 1950b:286). In the past, other members of the group were   reported to live along Mason Creek (a tributary to the Licking River) about 2   miles (3.2 km) south of Salyersville, the county seat. Various Gibson,   Gipson, and Nichols families resided along Mason Creek.

The predominate names encountered along Big Lick were Cole and Perkins. Price   observed that: the Big Lick, in reality a short narrow branch, is the only   concentration of them. It contains six houses and some very poor sites for   farms, but a map of 1915 showed 16 houses in addition to the school. A former   teacher at the school said that it had 68 pupils in 1925, some of them grown,   but none advanced beyond the third grade; the school’s enrollment of 23 in   1947, over half of whom actually lived on the Big Lick, also indicated the   population decrease. This area was dominated by the Cole family and is yet   known as the “Cole Nation” (Price 1950b:286-287).

Aside from Price’s observations, the only other description of the Magoffin   County enclave encountered in the literature reviewed was a short commentary   by Jean Patterson Bible. She remarked that:

Of the Magoffin County Melungeons, a friend from Gifford, Kentucky, writes   that “All of the old timers here are of the opinion that the first   Gipsons came to Magoffin County from Virginia in the early 1800’s. There are   about two hundred in the county today [i.e., ca. 1975], I would guess. The   most prominent family name is Gipson and then there are the Coles, Mullinses,   Fletchers, and Nicholses. All of them are usually referred to locally as   “Gipsons” rather than Melungeons. They are still a very dark and   handsome people. They are clannish through necessity but warm up to anyone   who will treat them fairly and without prejudice Many have moved away and   intermarried. They go to Michigan and Ohio mostly, and some of them are very   skillful in trades of carpentry and bricklaying” (Bible 1975:31).

All of the areas discussed by Price (Big Lick, Middle Creek, and Mason Creek)   have become increasingly developed and reflect predominately modern   (post-World War II era) homes intermixed with sporadic small business   establishments. One vestige of the mixed-blood presence in the area is a sign   reading “Gibson Hollow Road” adjacent to Mason Creek Road about two   miles south of Salyersville.

During the 1940’s, Price estimated their numbers within Magoffin and Floyd   counties to be approximately 200 (1950a:200). However, based upon a surname   analysis of the 1950 census schedules for Kentucky, Beale (1957:193)   documented a total of 670 (classified as White and Negro) in Magoffin County   and 1,680 (classified as White) in Floyd County.

TIES TO THE MELUNGEONS

It is of note that the remnant “Indian” population   of Magoffin County is but one link in a long and virtually unbroken chain of   such groups spanning much of southern Appalachia and occupying parts of four   states. Numbering in excess of 15,000 individuals according to the 1950 census   (cf. Beale 1957), the Melungeons are broadly dispersed throughout many   Appalachian counties. Within Kentucky, their numbers reside in Lawrence,   Johnson, Magoffin, Floyd, Pike, Knott, Perry, Letcher, Owsley, Knox, and Bell   counties. In Tennessee, they have been recorded in Hancock, Carter, and   Sullivan counties. Virginia hosts their numbers in Lee, Scott, Wise, Russell,   Washington, Smythe, Giles, Patrick, and Henry counties. In North Carolina,   they reside in Ashe, Watauga, Surry, Stokes, and Rockingham counties (cf.   Beale 1957; Holliday 1998; Price 1950a:136a; 1951:257). Significantly, this   broad area encompasses Hancock County, Tennessee, and Lee, Scott, and Wise   counties, Virginia, long considered the heartland of the Melungeons.

Based upon his analysis of census data referable to the history and origins   of the Melungeons, Price observed many years ago that the early appearance of   a limited number of surnames ­ notably (but not restricted to) Collins,   Gibson, and Goins as early as the 1790’s ­ tended to “suggest that   several households with these names were involved in the original migrations   from North Carolina and Virginia” (Price 1953:141). In terms of reported   surnames, there is no clear one-to-one correlation between and among many of these   enclaves in general or the Magoffin County and Carmel settlements   specifically with the “classic” Melungeon settlement area. There is   a sufficient overlap of surnames within these groups ­ particularly in the   mountainous areas to the west of Hancock, Lee, and Wise counties ­ to surmise   that some areas in northeastern Tennessee and southeastern Kentucky were   simultaneously settled over an extended period of years by individuals from   both the traditional Melungeon heartland and related mixed-blood families   from the ancestral homelands of the Melungeons situated to the east along the   Virginia-North Carolina border and elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic coast   region. Research undertaken and recently published by Elder (1999:201-294)   has led her to separate typically Melungeon related surnames into three   broadly defined categories. Her studies suggest that the earliest   “core-group surnames” associated with the first settlers along the   Tennessee-Virginia border are Collins and Gibson/Gipson. These were   subsequently followed by those with the “secondary core-group   surnames” of Bell, Bolling (and variant spellings), Bunch, Denham (and   variant spellings), Goins (numerous variant spellings), Miner/Minor, Mullins,   and Williams. The third group of surnames including (but not limited to)   Barnes, Cole, Delp(h), Fields, Freeman, Gorvens/Gorvan, Graham. Hale/Haile,   Lawson, Maloney/Melons, Moore, Nichols, Noel, Piniore, Sexton, and Wright are   interpreted as families who later moved into the area and married members of   the “core” families or who were erroneously designated as   Melungeons by earlier researchers. Significantly, the association of the   Collins and Gibson/Gipson surnames with both the Tenneessee-Virginia border   area and the Floyd (later Magoffin) County settlements further strengthens   the familial and genetic ties between these two spatially removed   populations.

As it relates to a correlation between Magoffin County and the principal   Melungeon settlement area, the following surnames are held in common:   Collins; Gibson; Gipson; and (possibly) Barnett. Significantly, a comparison   of Melungeon surnames with the rolls of Cherokees residing on reservation   lands (cf. Blankenship 1992a; 1992b) prompted Price to observe: “there   is no reason to believe that the Melungeons are Cherokee Indians who left the   tribe” (Price 1950a:186) thus serving to reinforce the mid-Atlantic   rather than Appalachian origins of these widespread settlements.

MID-ATLANTIC COAST ORIGINS

Of the 33 known or possible Melungeon surnames examined in our   study, eight could be potentially linked to spatially removed mixed-blood   populations, predominately situated in the coastal states of Delaware,   Virginia, and both Carolinas. Specifically, these names are: Bunch, Collins,   Gibson, Goins, Harmon, Nickols, Perkins, and Williams. The geographic   location of the various groups with similar surnames is of note. The simple   fact that two or more groups bear a similar name does not necessarily   indicate a movement of people from one to another. Rather, it may suggest   that these groups received members from an outside source.

Indeed, an examination of but a sampling of surnames associated with numerous   mixed-blood populations in the southeastern United States generally (and   mid-Atlantic coast specifically) reveals many surnames held in common and   provides a reasonable foundation to interpret the westward dispersal of some   members of these groups as but a manifestation of massive pioneer movements   both preceding and following the American Revolution. Though the term   “Melungeon” has typically been restricted by students of the region   to those mixed-bloods localized in Hancock County, Tennessee, and Lee, Scott,   and Wise counties, Virginia, the numerous yet spatially dispersed mixed-blood   communities ultimately established throughout a broad and unbroken   multi-state region may be viewed as the interrelated products of both   westward migration and resettlement within the mountains of Appalachia.

The implications appear rather clear. Of the eight surnames presently   traceable to other mixed-blood populations, six (75%) are associated with   various, generally smaller, settlements within the mid-Atlantic coastal   states of Delaware, Virginia, and both Carolinas. Specifically, these names   are Bunch, Collins, Gibson, Goins, Harmon, and Williams. Proceeding for the   moment on the assumption that the core Melungeon population resulted in part   from direct migration by members of these groups, available evidence points   toward two surnames which stand out as restricted in their appearance to but   a single mid-Atlantic coast parent group: Gibson, associated with the   Occaneechi-Saponi of North Carolina, and Williams, also known among the Brass   Ankles of South Carolina. While this possible and indeed likely connection   between the Brass Ankles of South Carolina (cf. Berry 1945; 1963; Gilbert   1946:439; 1949:421-422; Price 1950a:293; Taukchiray et al. 1992) and the   Melungeon population at large deserves further attention, the present effort   will focus on groups which may have specifically contributed to the ancestry   of the Magoffin County, Kentucky, and Carmel, Ohio, enclaves. In this regard,   only one surname appears to be potentially traceable to a single point of   potential origin ­ Gibson, one of the more widely dispersed and frequently   encountered “classic” Melungeon family names. This name is known to   have been associated with the Occaneechi and Saponi along the Virginia-North   Carolina border as early as the 1750’s (Hazel 1991).

Based upon his analysis of documentary sources referable to the origins of   the Melungeons in Hancock County, Tennessee, Price studied the geographic   distribution of three frequently encountered group surnames: Collins, Goins,   and Gibson. Indeed, the observable concentration of these three names   associated with a sizable “free colored” population in the region   to the east of the Tennessee mountains, prompted him to remark:

on the basis of those [Melungeon surname] data and the Virginia and North   Carolina birthplaces of many of the Melungeons, I am inclined to believe that   the chief Melungeon source area lies in the Virginia-North Carolina border   counties of the Piedmont. Further study in this direction is strongly   indicated. The possibility that a general society of marginal mixed-bloods   circulated in the southern Seaboard states, touching most of the Piedmont and   Coastal Plain groups, cannot be rejected (Price 1950a:190; emphasis   added).

Indeed, between the years 1790 and 1816, an estimated 200,000 North   Carolinians alone joined the exodus into the newly opened western lands   (Cathey 1966:18). Mixed-bloods amongst this number were simultaneously   drifting with the western bound tide of humanity and, as suggested by Heinegg   (1997:1-26), attempting to escape from an ongoing series of increasingly   repressive laws passed by the state assemblies along the mid-Atlantic coast.

Though Price appropriately observed the concentration of these and many other   mixed-blood populations along the old colonial boundary line, he did not   attempt to explain the cause of this phenomenon. Historically, there was good   reason for such a peculiarly configured settlement area (recall the Goinses   being distributed over a 150 mile length of the border). In actuality, there   were two distinct borders between the colonies (later states) of Virginia and   North Carolina. Upon their creation, each colony had been granted a Crown   charter specifying its boundary. Though the error may plausibly be attributed   to the quality of the maps available to Crown officials, the mandated points   which established the legal border between the two colonies began at two   overlapping points some 30 miles apart on the Atlantic coast and extended due   west. This 30 mile wide “no man’s land” was claimed by both and   effectively administered by neither (the history of this long standing   dispute is discussed in greater detail in Boyd 1967). Throughout its length,   the area provided a refuge to many of the region’s socially displaced and   economically disadvantaged residents. The authority of sheriffs and other   public officials was heeded or not dependent upon whim and circumstance. An   excellent early account of this area and its occupants appears in William   Byrd’s report of a 1728 survey along the length of the border from the   Atlantic shore into the mountains (Byrd 1967). Indeed, even deep in Appalachia,   continued proximity to the Virginia-Tennessee (then North Carolina) border   may well have been a significant factor in the selection of an area for   settlement by the first Melungeons in the region.

While appropriately noting various well established surnames (Collins,   Gibson, Goins, etc.) within the Melungeons as a group, Price (1950a; 1951)   did not specifically attempt to account for their presence. Recent   significant research by Paul Heinegg (1997) has done much to explain the   origins of both these surnames and at least a substantial portion of the   parent Melungeon population. Drawing upon voluminous primary sources, Heinegg   has documented the genealogies of numerous free African American families   from the late 1600’s until ca. 1800. Indeed, a number of frequently   encountered Melungeon surnames and eight of the nine surnames specifically   associated with the Magoffin County enclave may be traced to free African   American families in Virginia, North Carolina, and other mid-Atlantic   colonies (Table 6). Heinegg’s research has clearly demonstrated that these   families not only grew rapidly but also tended to move extensively throughout   much of the mid-Atlantic coast region. It is this group that likely   constituted the “general society of marginal mixed-bloods [which]   circulated in the southern Seaboard states” hypothesized by Price   (1950a:190).

But be the result of such first generation unions Black-White, White-Indian,   or Indian-Black, they were increasingly little welcomed into   “proper”, racially segregated society in either the colonial (cf.   Morgan 1952; Watson 1975) or Ante-bellum (cf. Avirett 1901; Burwell 1895;   Hundley 1860; Page 1897) era south. Effectively unwanted by the economically   and socially dominate White society around them, such individuals had little   choice but to align themselves with Indians, freed Blacks, or form their own   communities based on mixed blood lines. The disputed border area offered a   place to do just that.

SUMMARY

The historical and anthropological evidence discussed herein   suggests that in general a significant portion (though not necessarily all)   of the ancestry of the Magoffin County, Kentucky, and Highland County, Ohio,   enclaves originated principally from an admixture of African Americans and   Whites in the early colonial period (from the late 1600’s until about 1800)   and secondarily from an admixture with presently unknown Native American   groups in the mid-Atlantic coast region. Though African American and White   ancestry is clearly demonstrated by the presently known genealogy of Stephen   Perkins (Table 7), one of the earliest mixed-blood arrivals in Floyd County,   Kentucky, the specific degree of genetic inheritance in any given individual   or family was likely subject to a high degree of variation (cf. Pollitzer   1972) but in general reflected (in this order) White, African American, and   Native American genes. As some of these families (e.g., Bunch, Gibson, Goins,   Moore, and Williams) are known to have originated as early as the middle to   end of the 17th century, there was ample time for their numbers to have both   increased and moved into the mountain homeland of the core Melungeon   settlement area as early as
1802 (cf. Everett 1999:361) and Floyd County, Kentucky, prior to 1810.

In light of eight of the nine surnames associated with the families   comprising the “core” of the Magoffin County enclave having ties to   known free African American families originating in the mid-Atlantic coast   region during the colonial era (cf. Table 6), there can be little doubt that the   classification of those families present in Highland County as   “Mulatto” at the time of the 1870 census was essentially correct in   accordance with the racial criteria of that period. This contention is   further supported by the undated (but likely late 19th century) burial of   “a colored child named Nichols” in the Mull family cemetery located   generally south of Carmel.

The specific degree of Native American genetic presence within the group   remains unknown but is likely minimal. Elder (1999:162-169, 180, 295, 352,   353) has attempted to tie the early Collins and perhaps Gibson families in   the Tennessee-Virginia border area to the Monacan/Saponi of western Virginia.   The relationship of similarly named families in Floyd and Magoffin counties,   Kentucky, to these or other tribes is presently unknown. There is presently   no evidence to support the origins of the Carmel settlement among any remnant   Shawnee which may have remained in southern Ohio nor does a comparison of   Cherokee and Melungeon surnames in general provide any evidence that either   the Magoffin County or Carmel populations received any significant degree of   genetic input from that tribe.

Established in Carmel about 1864, this mixed-blood settlement was always   rather small and maintained ongoing contact with the parent population in   Magoffin County, Kentucky, throughout its existence. At an unknown date ­ but   likely beginning relatively early in the 20th century ­ there was an   outmigration from Carmel to Hardin and Champaign counties, Ohio, and (later)   Michigan further to the north.

Historical data, however, is but a skeleton upon which is overlain the flesh   and blood of living people. John will now present a series of firsthand   observation drawn from his long association and personal observations of the   Carmel Melungeons.

III. A PERSONAL ACCOUNT OF THE WAY IT WAS

Located at the edge of the Appalachian escarpment, the portion   of Highland County, Ohio, in and around Carmel was curiously insular and   atavistic with the effects of the depression continuing in the area until   well into World War II and beyond. For example, during that war one couple   (non-Melungeon) living in the hills between Carmel and Fort Hill, while aware   that the nation was at war, was under the impression that “Kaiser   Bill” was again the source of hostilities. The idea of Japanese participation   was completely outside their comprehension. Electricity and indoor plumbing   in many homes (including ours) was absent, education was generally eighth   grade or less, and with the exception of religion or superstition, activities   were pragmatically rather than abstractly motivated. A surprising percentage   of the roads were unpaved. Store bought bread was a treat; dry (soup) beans   and cornbread were staples; and most people went “to town” only   once a week (if then), usually on Saturday night. Law enforcement was minimal.   In consequence of this isolation, local mores, old stories, legends, and   associated lore tended to persist. It is noteworthy that the culture and   mores of the area were more southern than might have been thought to prevail   in a “Yankee” state and though the county seat (Hillsboro) in the   neighboring “flatlands” was a scant 15 miles west-northwest of   Carmel, little was known there of the Melungeons who lived in the area   including adjacent portions of Pike County.

Most of my childhood and adolescence – excluding a period during World War II   – was spent in the Carmel area. I lived on the family farm near Fort Hill and   Carmel or in the nearby village of Sinking Spring. My observations and   experience extend from the late 1930’s into the late 1950’s. My parents, both   born in 1893, were for all practical purposes lifelong residents of the   township as were their antecedents. This provided me with knowledge of the   group extending from the 19th century into the post-World War II era. Many of   my observations of the group are contemporaneous with the work of Gilbert   (1949), Morgan (1946), and Price (1950a; 1950b). The Melungeons were a   familiar part of my personal landscape as they were with my parents   (especially my mother during her formative years) and throughout their lives.

My mother’s familiarity with and knowledge of this group support the idea   that it had resided in the area for a long time and that its social status   had been established prior to her birth. Further, her tales and personal   recollections lend credence to Price’s (1950a; 1950b) proposal that the   settlement was established about the time of the Civil War.

My father once told me that members of the group were initially “brought   up here to build the Milt Cartright place”. Situated southeast of   Carmel, this house (now gone) was reputed to be a station on the underground   railroad. My father also said that when the original group was “brought   up” (indicating southern origins) they were considered to be Indians,   indicating Seminoles; I have no knowledge of the basis for his statement. It   is possible that, as his forebears were somewhat removed from the Carmel   area, his information was in error or skewed. Unfortunately, my mother, who   grew up more locally, never commented on the origins of the group.

Although mentioned by Price (1950a:195-197, 205-206; 1950b:284) as a   convention, I actually never heard of intercourse between the community of   Carmel and Salyersville, (Magoffin County) Kentucky, until the late 1940’s or   early 1950’s. This, however, is somewhat mitigated by the fact that at times   and to escape the results of some transgression one of the group would be   said to have “run off to Kentucky”. I suppose, granting Price’s   accuracy, this would have been Salyersville. Running off to Kentucky was not   necessarily confined to this group. Many of the area residents were from   Kentucky. Beginning about 1900 (or before), there had been an influx from   there of persons having varying degrees of respectability; thus, some of   those not considered to be members of the group also “ran off to   Kentucky”. It was rumored that certain of these people used the Ohio   River as a barrier to pursuit, either by interests in Kentucky or Ohio.

Racial Origins. The group was considered to be a mixture of Indian,   Caucasian, and possibly Negro. Those of the group who expressed a preference   opted for Indian. To the best of my knowledge, no reference was made to any   specific tribe. Interaction with the Black community (located primarily in   Hillsboro) appeared to be non-existent. Nothing I heard or saw indicated any   cultural relationships with Negroes.

Physical appearance of group members varied. The usual was dark (swarthy)   skin, dark eyes, straight dark hair, and (for males) slender to medium build.   The women were sometimes stocky. Cheek bones were often prominent and some   individuals had prominent noses. With some exceptions, male facial hair   appeared to be sparse. Light and wavy hair was also represented as was light   skin. For example, Robert Gibson with whom I spent considerable time was   slender, light skinned with light wavy hair and high prominent cheek bones.   He had green eyes. His wife was slim and dark skinned with dark eyes and   straight black hair. Norman Gibson, with whom I also associated, was slender   and swarthy. He had high prominent cheek bones, straight black hair, and a   prominent nose. His wife was lighter skinned and stocky with brown hair and   eyes. Her nose was less prominent and her face was round.

I never really discussed with or heard reference to origins from group   members. There were a few indications that the group considered themselves to   be Indian. Non-Melungeon residents variously used the terms   “Carmelite” and “half breed” as descriptive epithets for   group members. Discussions of Negro origin took place away from group   members. I really doubt, however, that locally anyone really believed there   was a preponderance of African ancestry in this group.

The gross physical characteristics considered to be Negroid by the layman   were minimal to lacking. It is my opinion that it would have been very   difficult for a group member to pass as Black and that if a portion of their   ancestry was Negro, the incidence thereof must have been minimal. Whatever   their genetic inheritance, these people simply were not phenotypic Africans.

Social Organization. Although they were most likely forced to be   cohesive due to their perceived ancestry, they appeared to be generally more   comfortable within their group than without it. The close knit nature of the   group was reasonably apparent. To exemplify, during the 1920’s a pig was   clubbed to death and stolen from our farm by persons unknown but group   members were suspected. According to family accounts, the group   “patriarch” (known to the community as “Sugar Grant”) was   jailed by the county sheriff with the result that three group members   confessed and produced the meat from the butchered hog.

The term “patriarch” as used herein is thought to be a reasonably   appropriate descriptor. So far as I know, the person so considered was not   chosen through ceremony. Rather, he (and in the case of one   “matriarch” within the group, she) was an older member whose   combination of family relationship, age, and experience conferred a degree of   status and informal influence which combined respect, mentorship, and   protection.

Social Position. Although group members were perceived to be different   primarily because of their ancestry, their economic status and folkways   guaranteed their position at the bottom of the social ladder. In many   instances, the core Melungeon group was the standard by which the actions of   others were measured – i.e., “no better than”, “worse   than”, or “the same as”. The group was always considered to be   a separate population similar, for example, to contemporary cultural colonies   of Vietnamese refugees in many larger American cities (though not with the   same degree of resentment at their presence). Persons who interacted on their   social level were still considered to be separate. If these persons   interacted on that level and with the group they were “the same   as”. This did not indicate identity, it merely indicated comparison.   This lends weight to the contention that the basis for comparison was   primarily ancestry.

Note on Folkways and Mores. It is difficult to isolate or restrict   activities to the local Melungeon group. Many of the activities, beliefs, and   vernacular ascribed to the Melungeons were, in fact, shared by others in the   area. Regardless, the group was probably the most atavistic in a generally   backwards area. However, of a certainty, such things common to the group as   subsistence living, thievery and other illegal activities, acceptance of   common superstitions, and illiteracy were neither restrictive nor unique. In   truth, I have often suspected that the only things truly unique to the   Melungeons were their origins and tendency toward cohesiveness. For every   action or belief of a Melungeon, I believe that I could have found its local   analog in a non-Melungeon individual.

Group Names and Population. The surnames firmly associated with this   group were: Nichols (established); Gibson or Gipson (both pronounced   “Gip’-son”; well established; these family represented the most   individuals); Perkins (established; two families); Gilmore (later, during my   experience – new arrival); and Fuget (later, during my experience – new   arrivals?). Of these, Gibson/Gipson, Nichols, and Perkins were the most   common and quite possibly represent the earliest migrants. I also heard the   name Jackson mentioned by members of my family. However, as I knew no   Melungeons so named, I suspect this was a family which disappeared locally   before my time. Although a few Wisecups and Crums were also included; these   names were primarily non-Melungeon. Their inclusion was the result of fairly   recent inter-marriage. Without recourse to census schedules, I would estimate   the population about 1950 as less than 100 individuals and probably less than   50. There were also some later arrivals from eastern Kentucky whose status   was unclear. They lived in the Carmel area, interacted with the group to a   slight degree, yet seemed to be economically and socially advanced compared   to the core group.

Speech/Folk Lexicon. The speech norm used by the group could only be   described as “southern hillbilly”. In addition to a brogue and   phraseology which seems to have been indigenous to the area (for example,   “crik” for “creek”), the group members tended to put   their own construction on common words exemplified as follows: ain’t /   “haint”; pretty near / “pertinear”; hair /   “har”; can’t / “caint”; if / “iffin”; haunt /   “hant”; flower / “flare”; wife / “wuman”;   yellow/ “yaller”; and ran / “run”. “Yell” and   “hollow” were both rendered as “holler”. Additionally,   there was a tendency to sound the vowel “I” as a nasal   “a”, a characteristic noted in persons from eastern Kentucky. Words   of this nature, however, were not restricted to the group; others – myself   included – used some or all of them. Use of the nasal “a”, however,   appeared to be restricted to some of the later Melungeons and other arrivals   from Kentucky.

Residences and Furnishings. In general, the cabins described by Price   (1950a:192-193; 1950b:282, 284) were typical of the Melungeon residences   found in the area. However, similar homes were extant in the Fort Hill area   and occupied by families other than the subject group. In either case, most   of these structures would have been considered sub-standard even by the   standards of that era. Log construction, while represented, was probably   atavistic; the more “modern” domiciles appeared to be of vertical   board and batten (probably poplar) construction and unpainted. There was also   a tendency for Melungeons to occupy Caucasian homes which had been vacated.

I was never personally inside a Melungeon home while same was occupied.   Business was usually conducted outside of the house in the “yard”   as a matter of course or at the visitor’s car. However, based on the   economics of the area and visits to similar but non-Melungeon dwellings I   would hazard the following observations. The cook stove was typically wood   burning. Some lucky individuals might have had a kerosene cook stove which   tended to produce less heat in the summer. The heating stove was also wood   burning. These were not elaborate in nature but rather were of relatively   simple cast iron construction or a lighter barrel type. I never heard much   about fireplaces but have little doubt that they were used in the 1800’s and   early part of this century. Most homes had but one or two kerosene (coal oil)   lamps.

Beds were typically of the iron bedstead variety. Depending on the number of   children, any additional beds were probably shared by as many as could be   crowded in. Sometimes children slept with parents as well. I also suspect in   some cases that bedding for some of the children was simply a “straw   tick” on the floor. Bed bugs were not unknown in those days and I truly   believe that they were to be found in many homes in the area. As they weren’t   hard to come by but were very hard to eradicate, there is no reason to   suppose that Melungeon households were not so blessed. As most cabins were   short of or totally lacking in closet space, free standing clothes presses   and/or bureaus were used. Tables and chairs/benches ranged from homemade to   cheaper, possibly hand me down, manufactured furniture.

Laundry, Bathing, and Sanitary Facilities. The washboard was a   functional aspect of most households but, contrary to contemporary images of   mountaineers, it did not serve as a musical instrument. I believe this device   was the predominate laundry contrivance in most Melungeon homes. The   implications in terms of type of clothing and bedding and cleanliness thereof   are fairly obvious. Wash water was heated and washings were done outside the   cabin. During the winter, smaller amounts of material might be washed indoors   and dried around the stove.

As there was no indoor plumbing, water had to be “packed in” from   the nearest source. This was done by the bucketful and the water bucket   served as the reservoir for potable and wash water. Thus, opportunities for   bathing and personal hygiene were limited. Toilets were generally non-pit   type privies.

Subsistence and Employment. The major forms of subsistence were hourly   labor, sharecropping, and foraging. These activities were not unique to the   group. Members of non-group families pursued largely the same methods.   Seining fish and poaching with gun, snare, and deadfall were not sole   Melungeon pursuits, nor were herb gathering, farm labor, sharecropping,   timber work, or (later) welfare. Missing articles (for example: corn,   gasoline, the contents of our fruit cellar, hunting dogs, and livestock)   typically generated heavy suspicion on the part of the locals. In all   justice, these suspicions were not without foundation; however, there were   others who were equally capable of such depredations.

Most work was associated with either agriculture or timbering. The   predominant occupation was agricultural labor which in my youth paid about   $.75 per hour. The primary crops worked were corn, tobacco, and hay, with   tobacco being the most labor intensive. Some individuals would raise tobacco   “on the shares”, in other words the landowner provided the land and   fronted some or all of the expenses and the tenant provided the labor.   Following the stripping and sale of the crop (November through January), the   proceeds were divided in accordance with the prior agreement. This meant that   the tenant would have a windfall of cash sometime in the late fall or winter   leading to a tendency toward profligate spending (“living high on the   hog”) followed by the more normal destitution. It was my personal   observation that with few exceptions they were good, cheerful, and dependable   workers (when supervised) and possessed significant endurance. Few of them,   however, actually operated farm machinery. To the best of my knowledge, going   “up north” to work in such places as the Urbana, Ohio, onion fields   as reported by Price (1950a:196; 1950b:284) did not achieve any significance   until the late 1940’s/early 1950’s time frame.

Insofar as entrepreneurship went, the only business known to me (by word of   mouth) was a bootlegging trade (i.e., illegal sale of liquor) engaged in by   the wife in one household. The veracity of this is not provable; it was a   “common knowledge” thing.

Recreation. Due to their position at the bottom of the economic and   social ladder, most recreational pursuits were low cost and many were   associated with subsistence. Fishing and hunting were popular. I suspect that   some of the pilferage which was done had a recreational component. Drinking   and “honky tonking” were desired activities but limited by income.   Religious revivals (often of the “tent” variety) were also popular.   Organized sports such as fast pitch softball (the number one outdoor game for   athletic males in the area) were not popular with the group.

Most members of the group used tobacco both for smoking and chewing. This   included many of the women as well as the males. “Alice” (aged 16   and married) was a confirmed chewer (she also smoked). Some of the older   women were pipe smokers.

For a time, there was a weekly auction at Coon’s Crossing just south of   Carmel. As I recall, it was held on Saturday night and the Melungeon   community was well represented. The articles sold, in retrospect, had little   value. The most expensive item I saw was a .22 caliber single shot rifle that   had definitely seen better days. Other items included used clothing, some   furniture (also used), old tools, and various bric-a brac.

Superstitions and Beliefs. Some individuals expressed belief in witches   (e.g., “so-and-so’s wife is a witch”), tokens (i.e., “signs   and wonders”, portents of dire happenings), ghosts, hair balls   (supernaturally accelerated weapons constructed by witches and used as   missiles), haunts, and various “things that go bump in the night”.   Of these, the hair (“har”) balls were the only manifestation which   appeared to be unique to the group.

Additionally, one of the group (Logan Gibson, a male of long residence)   always wore a string tied around his head. The story was that his skull had   been split in a fight (he was clubbed) and that it was permanently so, hence   the string to hold it together. Whether this is true, an individual   eccentricity, or acceptable in terms of group belief is unknown to me.

Health and medicine. Morgan (1946:29-30) makes note of a “doctor   woman” within the settlement who was particularly knowledgeable of   medicinal plants to be found in the surrounding hills. Otherwise, the   legitimate local medical people were few and mostly of doubtful competence.

Based on the medical services available and group use of them, it is my   opinion that any longevity of group members was the result of serendipity and   perhaps natural selection rather than the application of medical science.   Certainly the medical attention they received appeared to be of the   “rough and ready” variety and probably more reminiscent of the 19th   rather than the 20th century.

Religion. It is difficult to quantify the religious beliefs of the   group. By default, when they participated the choice was fundamentalist   and/or charismatic Protestant. They most probably all had a concept of an   afterlife involving reward and punishment. It is perhaps noteworthy that most   of the clergy to whom they were exposed were only slightly (if at all) better   educated or trained than their parishioners. Therefore, blind faith and fear   triumphed over intellectual or philosophical considerations.

Child Rearing. Children were viewed as a normal consequence of sexual   activity. With few exceptions, the vast majority of families had but one to   four children. Based upon limited personal observation, children were   typically undisciplined and parental guidance was manifest only if the child   became an irritation. I also noted that sometimes threats were made by   reference to a third party; “You’d better be good or the booger man will   get you” or “So and so will cut your ears off”. I suppose that   slaps and switches were also used but I never witnessed same. Breast feeding   was the usual method for sustaining infants and there was little to no   hesitation about doing so in public when the need arose.

Foraging. Several wild plants having economic, medicinal, or   nutritional value grew in the area and were foraged by members of the group.   My mother once described encountering women of the group foraging “wild   onions” (in actuality, this would have been wild garlic). The   explanation given was that the leaves were dried and used as a substitute for   pepper. The root bark from sassafras trees was also one of the plant   resources sought by the Melungeons. This was used to prepare a tea. At any   rate, foraging was in earlier times an apparently significant (and not always   legal) portion of their economy.

It is notable that the Great Depression, tradition, and perhaps other factors   (for example, perennial poverty) resulted in a locally jaundiced view of fish   and game laws and consequently “sportsmanship” took a back seat to   subsistence. This attitude was at least as true of the Melungeons as it was   with others in the area.

It remains a truism of our worldly existence that time is the most fleeting   commodity known to humankind. Don will now present some brief comments on the   current status of the Carmel settlement and some closing remarks.

IV. CURRENT STATUS

Fieldwork in and around the community of Carmel, Ohio, during   September of 1996, in concert with information furnished by local historians   and residents familiar with Highland County’s Carmel Indians, yielded several   useful insights regarding their status of the since the era recorded by Berry   (1963), Gilbert (1949), Morgan (1946), Price (1950a; 1950b), and personal   observations presented herein. Though still very rural in nature with several   active farms in the “flat” lands at the foot of the hill country (observed   crops included corn, soybeans, and tobacco but apparently diminished from   pre-1960 levels), field observations clearly revealed that the character and   face of the landscape in and around Carmel have changed dramatically in the   past half century. These changes include significantly diminished   agricultural activities. Development of the nearby Fort Hill State Memorial   and road improvements have done much to simultaneously reduce the area’s   relative isolation and facilitate the intrusion of the prosperity and   population of the era following the Second World War.

While sporadic older, more substantially built frame homes may yet be   encountered in the region, the ramshackled log and frame “shacks”   which traditionally served as homes to a relatively transient population are   nowhere to be seen. Homes all along the network of area roads have been   clearly and prominently marked with readily visible “street”   numbers to facilitate locating residences in keeping with contemporary   requirements for mail delivery and public services. Few mailboxes in the   area, however, displayed the names of their owners. Of those which did, none   were observed bearing the anticipated names of Gibson, Gipson, Nichols, or   Perkins.

Conversations with local historians and area residents familiar with the   group indicated that but a few families (apparently not over two or three)   yet remain in the hill country in the vicinity of Carmel. One of their number   is known to have moved to nearby Hillsboro and established a furniture store.   Some have reportedly moved to various other communities in the nearby region   (Chillicothe was specifically mentioned) seeking economic opportunities.   Specific population figures for the disperse remnants of the Carmel   “Indian” settlement are not available. An admittedly crude but   still suggestive approach to determining their current numbers was undertaken   by means of examining a commercially available electronic compilation (CD   format) of residential telephone listings in the United States prepared by   American Business Information (1995). A review of listings for the larger   communities in Highland and the adjoining counties to the east (Adams, Pike,   and Ross) revealed that a total of 98 households had published listings in   the names of Gibson, Gipson, Nichols, and Perkins.

Though the simple listing of a telephone number in one of these surnames does   not de facto indicate that all such individuals are related to the Carmel   mixed-blood settlement, the known outmigration of their numbers in concert   with reasonable proximity to the source area would reasonably argue that many   of these telephones are in fact associated with the residences of group   members. For present purposes, it is taken as a working assumption that   unrelated individuals in this count of households are offset by those group   members who do not have a telephone, have an unlisted number, or females who   have married non-group spouses and now bear other surnames. A conservative   estimate of three persons per household times 98 households yields a population   of 294 or approximately 300 persons distributed over portions of four   adjacent counties.

The matter of group identity poses several interesting questions. Among local   Whites with whom the authors spoke, the group continues to be generally   viewed as “Indian”. Further inquiry among area residents typically   elicited the response that the enclave was derived from the Shawnee though   few persons claimed any extensive knowledge of the group’s history.   Conversely, passing conversations with individuals living in and near   Salyersville, Kentucky, revealed that in that area the ancestry of the group   was traditionally perceived as Black. None of the persons with whom we spoke   in and near Carmel expressed any opinion or comment regarding Black genetic   influence within the group; rather, it appears that in recent decades the   Carmel population has been generally viewed by local Whites as reflecting   Indian and White admixture.

Beyond purely genetic identification and history, contemporary social   perceptions regarding the group varied widely. One lady in Hillsboro informed   us that the group constituted a “proud people” while another tended   to view at least some of their members personally known to her over a period   of years as malingerers and basically lazy. The truth is likely to be found   somewhere between these extremes. All area informants were in agreement that   few of their numbers remain in Highland County and none were aware of any   concentrated population of group members in or near Carmel or Brush Creek   Township. Though the remaining members of the group continue to be viewed as   genetically distinctive, culturally and socially they continue to be   perceived as similar to if not indistinguishable from many poorer Whites in   the same area.

It is worthy of note that a number of families with surnames associated with   the mixed-bloods (cf. Price 1950b:282, 286) yet reside in and near   Salyersville and adjacent Magoffin County. But a cursory examination of   contemporary area telephone listings (Table 9) reflects a total of 85 such   listings in the communities of Salyersville, Royalton, and Ivyton. In common   with the estimates reported herein for the area surrounding Carmel, a   conservative estimate of three individuals per household would yield a   population of at least 255 individuals. Additional members of the group   likely reside elsewhere in Magoffin County and adjacent Floyd County.

V. CONCLUDING REMARKS

The present comments have attempted to discuss but selected   aspects of the history, origins, and lifeways of but one of many poorly   documented Melungeon enclaves scattered throughout the vast expanses of   Appalachia. In common with the paths traveled by other such groups across the   landscape, the road leading the Carmel Melungeons to Ohio was long in the building.   A brief review of that journey is appropriate. As based in large part on   surname analysis as recorded in various public documents, available   information suggests that at least the majority of the families who were to   come to form the aggregate Melungeon and related mixed-blood populations   predominately originated in the Mid-Atlantic states of (primarily) Virginia,   North Carolina, and South Carolina as early as the mid- and late-17th   century.

Families bearing surnames long associated with the Melungeons ­ Bunch,   Collins, Gibson, Goins, and others ­ are known to have begun congregating   along the Virginia-North Carolina border at least as early as ca. 1750 and it   is likely that these families had begun to establish roots in that area   dating to at least ca. 1700 as evidenced by their sheer numbers and the   linear extent of their occupation along the disputed border land between   these two colonies. Available genealogical and historical information and   census schedule data supports their tri-racial (White, Negro, and Indian)   origins though the specifics of admixture between and among their widely   dispersed settlements would likely have exhibited marked degrees of variation   by virtue of topographic constraints and the historical circumstances which   likely brought together many unrelated mixed-bloods into a relatively   restricted gene pool.

With the opening of western lands for settlement soon after the early days of   the American Revolution, a flood of pioneers ­ including the numerically ever   increasing mixed-blood population ­ rushed into the vast mountainous domain   of Appalachia along the border in route to the Cumberland Gap. In light of   their social circumstances, it may be speculated that in their early   participation in the western movement maintaining physical proximity to the   border remained a very real consideration in their selection of the core   Melungeon settlement area. Though the exact date of their arrival in what was   to become Hancock County, Tennessee, is unknown, their presence in the area   was well established by 1790.

Data derived from tax records and census schedules suggests that mixed-blood   individuals had settled in Floyd County, Kentucky (which then included the   area which was to become Magoffin County in 1860), prior to 1810. Price’s   study of census records for several counties in southeastern Kentucky   suggests population movements between and among enclaves within the region as   well as the continued arrival (at least into the mid-19th century) of yet   additional mixed-blood families from the east coast source area during these   early formative years. Restless feet in concert with population pressure on   limited local resources appear to have prompted some members of the Magoffin   County group to explore the resources and job markets of Ohio at least as   early as 1849. It is known that they were established in the Carmel vicinity   prior to 1870 and possibly as early as 1864. Likely due to the availability   of at least seasonal employment on some of the larger farms in the area, the   locale selected as a place of settlement in Ohio effectively represented the   last, northernmost bastion of Appalachian topography. Such an edge area   environment afforded the opportunity to exploit both the natural resources   with which they were familiar and provided access to both cash employment and   manufactured goods in the immediately adjacent farm country.

The population pressures which prompted the establishment of the colony about   the time of the Civil War continued unabated for many decades. The marginally   productive farmsteads maintained in the mountains of Magoffin County could   ill sustain an ever growing number of sons and daughters with no prospects   for acquiring productive farms of their own in the area’s rugged, mountainous   topography. Despite the comparative economic advantages afforded by Carmel,   it, too, had a finite carrying capacity for an outflow of migrants for a   period in excess of 80 years.

By the late 1940’s, Gilbert generally and Price specifically note an outflow   of people from Carmel in the form of those individuals seeking employment not   locally available. The extent of this outpouring from Carmel is clearly   documented by Beale’s study of the 1950 census records which show but 130   members present in Highland County, a figure dwarfed by the combined total of   320 members residing yet further north in Hardin (260 members) and Champaign   (60 members) counties. The relative size of these outlying settlements   suggests a multi-generational emplacement of the group.

It may be speculated that the decline of the Agrarian Dominance era and the   following economic depression prompted members of the group to establish   these colonial outposts. This trend was probably exacerbated by an ongoing   increase in the adoption of mechanized farming at the local level. As Carmel   had apparently received the overflow population from its mountain homeland,   so these settlements actively received the overflow of people from two source   areas. Later in their history, members of the group are known to have settled   in Michigan. The role and importance of these outlying northern settlements   in the history of the Magoffin County and Carmel Melungeons has been   significantly understated in the existing literature and deserves more   detailed study.

Culturally, little but their physical appearance distinguished these racially   mixed settlers in the hill country of Ohio from any other arrival from the   mountains of Kentucky. In ways great and small, they were neither more nor   less than relocated mountaineers attempting to adapt previously learned   subsistence strategies to a piece of familiar natural environment while   surrounded by a very unfamiliar cultural environment. The demise of the   Carmel settlement may generally be attributed to two interactive sets of   circumstances: those caused by others and those brought about by themselves.   External factors such as the decline of agrarian pursuits and the impacts on   society during and after World War II generated circumstances which by their   very nature could only be coped with, not radically altered. Others, however,   were at least partially self-inflicted. The fluctuating nature of wildlife   populations coupled with increasing stress on habitat and depletion of local   floral resources such as ginseng produced undependable situations which could   not support unregulated exploitation to the degree that had perhaps   previously been the case. As neither the land nor local farmers could or   would support their numbers and they became increasingly aware of a   “better world”, there was little viable option but to relocate. As   they could not return to Magoffin County with any but meager prospects of   earning a living, the only place to go was further north.

Despite vague allusions on the part of the Carmel Melungeons to Shawnee and   Cherokee ancestry, available information reflects no firm, demonstrable   historic affiliation between the Carmel and Magoffin County enclaves to any   tribe currently recognized by the Federal government (cf. Bureau of Indian   Affairs 1998). There is no readily available evidence to support either any   social organization beyond the routine informal interactions of families   related by kinship and marriage or the multiple criteria required for formal   recognition (cf. Bureau of Indian Affairs 1994).

The central concept of racial identity rises paramount in the process of   examining the Carmel community. While there is little question that the   ancestry of the Carmel group is firmly rooted in the free African American   population which developed in the colonial era (cf. Heinegg 1997), it is   intriguing that such a background was patently ignored or understated both   internally (emicly) and externally (eticly). It is a distinct possibility   that the descendants of the earliest mixed-blood settlers in Carmel tended to   seek out the lesser of two perceived “evils” in opting to espouse   and emphasize their Native American genetic heritage as a means of social   survival in a day and age of racial intolerance. In simple terms, in the area   in which they lived it was better to be viewed as Indian than Black. By so doing,   as both individuals and as a group they could internalize at least a small   degree of the dignity and self-worth denied to them by their neighbors while   deflecting speculation as to the totality of their actual lineage.

For all practical purposes, the Carmel “Indian” settlement has   disbanded. Though minor numbers of the group apparently continue to reside in   the general area near Carmel, they are an ever declining minority on the   contemporary Highland County cultural landscape and represent but a pale   vestige of their former presence in the region. Available information   supports neither any degree of on-going social cohesiveness beyond the level   of normal family interactions nor is it known if group members yet residing   within the area have maintained their traditionally close ties with Magoffin   County, Kentucky. In light of the degree and extent to which their numbers   have dispersed across the Ohio landscape to as far afield as Michigan and   likely out-marriage to a degree never before experienced as a group, it is   reasonable to conclude that this small pocket of mixed-blood descendants is   being rapidly absorbed into the general population of the region. Though the   specifics of their genetic heritage may possess some continuing genealogical   interest on a family by family basis, their identity as a   “distinctive” group in the area has effectively drawn to a close   and with it a tradition of living off the land has been supplanted by one   which merely lives upon it.

We sincerely appreciate your kind attention and would be pleased to address   your questions. Should we run short of time, please see us after we adjourn.

 

Donald Ball is a native of middle Tennessee. He holds a B.S. degree in   history from Middle Tennessee State University, and an M.A. in anthropology   from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, where he first became   interested in Melungeons. Previous publications have appeared in the Tennessee Anthropologist, Tennessee Folklore   Society Bulletin, Ohio Valley Historical Archeology (of which he serves as   editor) and other professional outlets. He works as an archeologist for the   U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville.

John Kessler was raised in the Carmel community of southeastern   Highland County, Ohio, where he attended school and worked with several of   the Carmel Melungeons. He holds a B.A. in wildlife conservation from Ohio   State University and worked for many years as a biologist for the Ohio   Division of Wildlife and for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He has done   private consulting work in the areas of endangered species and wetlands   ecology. He is currently retired.

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Beale, Calvin L., 1957 “American Triracial Isolates: Their Status and   Pertinence to Genetic Research.” Eugenics Quarterly [now Social   Biology] 4(4):187-196.

Berry, Brewton, 1945 “The Mestizos of South Carolina.” American   Journal of Sociology 51(1):34-41.

_____, 1963 Almost White. Collier Books/Collier-Macmillan Ltd. New   York and London.

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Bible, Jean Patterson, 1975 Melungeons Yesterday and Today. East   Tennessee Printing Company, Rogersville.

Blankenship, Bob, 1992a Cherokee Roots ­ Volume 1: Eastern Cherokee Rolls   (2nd edition). Published by the author, Cherokee, North Carolina (covers   tribal rolls from 1817-1924).

_____, 1992b Cherokee Roots ­ Volume 2: Western Cherokee Rolls (4th   edition). Published by the author, Cherokee, North Carolina (covers   tribal rolls from 1851-1914).

Boyd, William K., 1967 “Introduction to the First Edition.” In William   Byrd’s Histories of the Dividing Line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina,   pp. xxiii-xxxix. Dover Publications, New York (originally published 1929,   North Carolina Historical Commission).

Breakfield, Genevieve (transcriber), 1995 1870 Census, Highland County,   Ohio. Southern Ohio Genealogical Society, Hillsboro.

Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1994 25 CFR Part 83 ­ Procedures for   Establishing That an American Indian Group Exists as an Indian Tribe: Final   Rule. Department of the Interior. Federal Register 59(38; February   25):9,279-9,300.

_____, 1998 Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible To Receive Services   From the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. Federal Register 63(250;   December 30):71,941-71,946.

Burwell, Letitia M., 1895 A Girl’s Life in Virginia Before the War.   Frederick A. Stokes Company, New York.

Byrd, William, 1967 William Byrd’s Histories of the Dividing Line betwixt   Virginia and North Carolina. Dover Publications, New York (originally   published 1929, North Carolina Historical Commission).

Cathey, Cornelius O., 1966 Agriculture in North Carolina Before the Civil   War. State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Elder, Pat Spurlock, 1999 Melungeons: Examining an Appalachian Legend.   Continuity Press, Blountville, Tennessee.

Evans, E. Raymond, 1979 “The Graysville Melungeons: A Tri-Racial People   in Lower East Tennessee._ Tennessee Anthropologist 4(1):1-31.

Everett, C. S., 1999 “Melungeon History and Myth.” Appalachian   Journal 26(4):358-409.

Gilbert, William Harlen, Jr., 1946 “Memorandum Concerning the   Characteristics of the Larger Mixed- blood Racial Islands of the Eastern   United States.” Social Forces 24(4):438-447.

_____, 1949 “Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States.”   In Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution   for 1948, pp. 407-438. Government Printing Office, Washington.

Hazel, Forest 1991 “Occaneechi-Saponi Descendants in the North Carolina   Piedmont: The Texas Community.” Southern Indian Studies 40:2-29.

Heinegg, Paul, 1997 Free African Americans of North Carolina and Virginia   (3rd edition). Clearfield Company, Inc., Baltimore, Maryland.

Holliday, Mack, 1998 Troublesome Creek Cemeteries Located in Perry County,   Kentucky. T M C Printing Company, Paintsville, Kentucky.

Hundley, Daniel Robinson, 1860 Social Relations in Our Southern States.   Henry B. Price, New York.

Jones, Robert L., 1962 Ohio Agriculture During the Civil War.   Publications of the Ohio Civil War Centennial Commission No. 7, Ohio   Historical Society, Columbus.

Kennedy, N. Brent, 1997 The Melungeons ­ The Resurrection of a Proud   People (2nd/revised edition). Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia.

Lerch, Patricia Barker, 1992 “State-Recognized Indians of North   Carolina, Including a History of the Waccamaw Sioux.” In Indians of   the Southeastern United States in the Late 20th Century (J. Anthony   Paredes, editor), pp. 44-71. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa and   London.

McBride, David N. and Jane N. McBride, 1990 Cemetery Inscriptions of   Highland County, Ohio (reprint of 2nd edition; originally published   1972). Southern Ohio Genealogical Society, Hillsboro.

Morgan, Edmund S., 1952 Virginians at Home: Family Life in the Eighteenth   Century. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Morgan, Violet, 1946 Folklore of Highland County. Greenfield Printing   & Publishing Company, Greenfield, Ohio.

_____, 1955 Squaw Winter: A Love Story Based on the Indian Folklore of   Highland County (novel). Greenfield Printing & Publishing Company,   Greenfield, Ohio.

Ohio Writer’s Program, 1940 The Ohio Guide. Oxford University Press,   New York.

Page, Thomas Nelson, 1897 Social Life in Old Virginia Before the War.   Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York.

Pollitzer, Williams S., 1972 “The Physical Anthropology and Genetics of   Marginal People of the Southeastern United States.” American   Anthropologist 74(3):719-734.

Price, Edward Thomas, Jr. 1950a “Mixed Blood Populations of the Eastern   United States as to Origins, Localizations, and Persistence.” Ph. D.   dissertation, Department of Geography, University of California, Berkley.

_____, 1950b “The Mixed-blood Strain of Carmel, Ohio, and Magoffin   County, Kentucky.” Ohio Journal of Science 50(6):281-290.

_____, 1951 “The Melungeons: A Mixed-blood Strain of the Southern   Appalachians.” Geographical Review 41(2):256-271

_____, 1953 “A Geographic Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial Mixtures   in the Eastern United States.” Annals of the Association of American   Geographers 43(2):138-155.

Taukchirey, Wesley Durant, Alice Bee Kasakoff, and Gene Joseph Crediford,   1992 “Contemporary Native Americans in South Carolina.” In Indians   of the Southeastern United States in the Late 20th Century (J. Anthony   Paredes, editor), pp. 72-101. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa and   London.

Watson, Alan D., 1975 Society in Colonial North Carolina. North   Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History,   Raleigh.

You can read more about the Carmel Melungeons at https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/1811/3790/1/V50N06_281.pdf

 

1972- Calvin Beale article “An Overview of the Phenomenon of Mixed Racial Isolates in the US

1972 Beale article

An Overview of the Phenomenon of Mixed Racial Isolates in the Unites States

by Calvin L. Beale
American Anthropologist 74 (1972): 704-710 1

Mention is made of the decreasing proportion of endogamous marriages in   recent times. The essentially rural nature of these racial isolates is   pointed out, and the general societal trend of rural depopulation is stated   to be affecting their size and continued existence. A suggested list of   research needs is offered.

In about 1890, a young Tennessee woman asked a state legislator, “Please tell   me what is a Melungeon?” “A Melungeon,” said he, “isn’t a nigger, and he   isn’t an Indian, and he isn’t a White man. God only knows what he is.   I should call him a Democrat, only he always votes the Republican ticket”   (Dromgoole 18901: 473).

 

The young woman, Will Allen Dromgoole, soon sought out the   Melungeons in remote Hancock County and lived with them for awhile to   determine for herself what they were. 2 Afterward, in the space of a   ten page article, she described them as “shiftless,” “idle,” “illiterate,”   “thieving,” “defiant,” “distillers of brandy,” “lawless,” “close,” “rogues,”   “suspicious,” “inhospitable,” “untruthful,” “cowardly,” “sneaky,” “exceedingly   immoral,” and “unforgiving.” She also spoke of their “cupidity and cruelty,”   and ended her work by concluding, “The most that can be said of one of them   is, ‘He is a Malungeon,’ a synonym for all that is doubtful and mysterious –   and unclean.” (Dromgoole1891:479). Miss Dromgoole was essentially a   sympathetic observer.

The existence of mixed racial populations that constitute a distinctive   segment of society is not unique to the United States — needless to say.   But this nation must rank near the top in the number of such communities and   in their general public obscurity. I refer in particular to groups of real or   alleged White-Indian-Negro mixtures (such as the Melungeons) who are not   tribally affiliated or traceable with historical continuity to a particular   tribe. It is also logical to include a few groups of White-Negro origin that   lack the Indian component. The South in particular is rich in such population   strains, with all states except Arkansas and Oklahoma having such groups at   present or within the twentieth century. (And I would not be surprised to be   contradicted on my exception of those two states.)

They are found in the Tidewater areas, the interior Coastal Plain, the   Piedmont, the Appalachians, and in the Allegheny-Cumberland Plateaus. They   may be Protestant or catholic, of Anglo provenance or French-Spanish. Their   mixture may have originated in the area of residence, or they may have come   in as racially mixed people. Some are landless, some landed. But they are all   marginal men – wary until recently of being Black, aspiring where possible to   be White, and subject to rejection and scorn on either hand.

Many themes classically connected with racial marginality occur repeatedly in   the history of the groups, such as (to repeat Dromgoole only in part):   illegitimate origin; the use of stigmatic group names by the general society;   proscription from social intercourse with others on terms of equality; and in   particular barriers to upward out-marriage or attendance at White schools; a   reputation for violence, drunkenness, and crimes of passion within the group,   and for petty thievery against outsiders; the ascription of beauty and sexual   attractiveness to the women of the group when young; a reputation for   laziness, illiteracy, poverty, and inbreeding; a relegation of settlement to   the least desirable land (hilly, sandy, swampy, backwoods); and a preference   to withdraw from public attention. These are stereotypes, of course, and   exceptions to their validity as public images occur, especially with respect   to the mulatto or colored Creole groups of the Gulf Coast.

At least a few of the groups clearly originated in the period well before the   Revolution – even in the seventeenth century in Maryland and Virginia. They   do not seem to be viewed in public records as communities or elements in   society until after the Revolution. Gradually during the nineteenth century,   and continuing to the present day, they came to local public notice in one   way or another as individual groups, but usually with no recognition of the   fact that such communities have been a common phenomenon throughout the East   and South. Questions relating to legal racial status, jury duty, voting,   taxation, schools, inheritance, census enumeration, civil disorder, crime,   and health have been prominent among issues that have brought public   attention. Some examples from different times and places follow.

In 1791, the Turks of South Carolina petitioned the legislature to be   recognized as White and not as free Negroes. Somewhat later their right to   sit on juries was challenged and their patron, General Thomas Sumter, vouched   for them (Kaye 1953: 153).

In 1823, another South Carolina group with such classic triracial surnames as   Locklear, Oxendine, Chavis, and Sweat was reported as delinquent in taxes but   difficult to find because “of the peculiar situation of their place of   residence.” (Price 1953:153).

In Mobile, a Creole Fire Company was organized in 1819 and remained   independent well into the present century. 3

In 1840-41, North Carolina legislative papers describe how, “The County of   Robeson is cursed with a free colored population that migrated originally   from the districts around the Roanoke and Neuse Rivers…Having no regard for   character they are under no restraint but what the law imposes. They are   great topers, and so long as they can procure the exhilarating draught seem   to forget entirely the comfort of their families.” 4

In 1842, a member of a group in present day Vinton County, Ohio, that I have   heard referred to only as “the half breeds,” sued the township trustees for   refusing him the right to vote because he was partly of Negro ancestry. He   lost his suit at the county court level but won a reversal in the state   supreme court (Thacker vs. Hawk).

In 1856, voting by the free colored people (present day Red Bones) of Ten   Mile Creek Precinct in what is now Allen Parish, Louisiana, became a source   of public concern. Several were tried for illegal voting – for free Negroes   did not have the franchise – but they were acquitted when their colored   ancestry could not be proven and the judge would not permit the jury to   evaluate them by their appearance (Shugg 1936).

In 1857, Frederic Law Olmstead noted and publicized in his book Journey   Through Texas the skirmishes and murders that took place in the Sabine   country of east Texas between the “Moderators” and “Regulators” based on   friction with the local mixed bloods of Louisiana Red Bone origin (Olmstead   1959: 164-166).

In 1860, the census taker in Calhoun County, Florida, noted, “The Free   Negroes in this county are mixed blooded, almost white, and have intermarried   with a low class of whites. Have no trade, occupation or town of their own.   Their personal property consists of cattle and hogs. They make no produce   except corn, peas, and potatoes and very little of that. They are a lazy,   indolent, and worthless race” (Free Inhabitants Census 1860). This was the   Dead Lake or Scott’s Ferry group, of South Carolina tri-racial origin.

During the Civil War and Reconstruction era, Henry Berry Lowry, a folk-hero   of the group now known as the Lumbee Indians, led a band of fugitives and   outlaws in Robeson County, North Carolina. Disorder requiring Federal troops   continued for some years until Lowry and others were killed (Rights 1947).

In the mid-1880s, this group was provided with separate schools and Indian   status by the state – beginning a procedure that spread to several other   groups (Ibid).

In 1930-31, the Virginia Registrar of Vital Statistics endeavored to prevent   mixed bloods from being accepted as Indians in the U. S. Census. The Bureau   declined to change the original returns, but footnoted the published results   of the Virginia census in four counties to note that the count of Indians,   “includes a number of persons whose classification as Indians has been   questioned.” This included the Amherst County “Issues” and several of the   groups that the anthropologist Frank Speck had concluded were the mixed   survivors of the Powhatan Confederacy.

During the 1950s, the Wesorts of Southern Maryland came to the attention of   physicians and dentists in the Washington area because of one of the most   serious ands varied complexes of genetic diseases and anomalies ever   recorded. 6

In September 1969, a number of Indian (Brass Ankle) parents in Dorchester   County, South Carolina, were arrested for attempting to enroll their children   in a public school other than the small segregated one that had traditionally   been provided them. 7

The establishment of separate schools for the racial isolates was a major   factor in maintaining group identity. Typically, the mixed bloods were denied   enrollment in white schools and declined to attend Negro schools. In some   states, separate public schools were provided for them. This was particularly   true in North Carolina where the ultimate in triracial school systems was   created – one that included a separate college. In other areas, only the   operation of mission schools by churches provided any educational facilities   at all. Disputes over the racial background of children attempting to enter either   local white schools or the separate schools were common.

So long as segregated public schools were permitted, and so long as small   rural elementary schools were common and high school education was not often   sought, the separate school pattern was feasible. But in recent decades, the   school situation of the mixed-blood communities has changed rapidly,   sometimes through law suits, sometimes without. Most of the mission schools   have been closed or made part of the public system. Most of the rural one and   two room schools have been consolidated into larger integrated schools.   Conditions have changed so steadily that without an up-to-the-minute survey   it is impossible to speak definitively about the extent of separate schooling   that still exists. Essentially it is no longer a characteristic of mixed   racial communities.

Where separate schools have been closed, the church is usually the only   formal social arrangement that continues to reflect the existence of a mixed   racial community, and that reinforces the endogamous marriage patterns of the   past. Church separatism has never been complete and is probably declining,   but there are still many examples of congregations comprised entirely or   largely of mixed racial populations.

Interest in the racial isolates by anthropologists began in the late   nineteenth century, stimulated, I should say, by the emergence of the Robeson   County, North Carolina, people as Croatan Indians and the suggestion of their   descent from the Lost Colony. At the Smithsonian, James Mooney conducted a   mail inquiry through postmasters in 1889 in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and   North Carolina seeking information on people of reputed Indian descent. He   received responses that related not only to the Powhatan tribes that seem to   have been his principal interest, but that also identified the Wesorts, the   Guineas of western Maryland, the Amherst County Issues, and the group that   later emerged as the North Carolina Haliwa. It is unfortunate that someone   could not have followed up all of Mooney’s leads at the time, for it was more   than a half-century later before Gilbert produced the first scientific   inquiries into the Wesorts and Guineas, and another ten years before I and   others visited the Haliwa. Mooney’s replies, incidentally, are still on file   at the Smithsonian.

Frank Speck followed in the 1920s and later with extensive inquiry into the   eastern Virginia groups – usually regarded as Negroes locally – who appeared   to show authentic evidence of Indian origin though cultural survivals. But   perhaps because of the tribalized Indian focus of American anthropology, very   little later anthropological work dealt with the mixed racial isolates.   Sociologists, educators, journalists, geographers, and local historians gave   some attention to the groups, and more lately genetic research and accounts   by the members of the isolates themselves have appeared.

In terms of today’s research needs, it is already a generation too late to   pursue some of the questions that would have been relevant earlier. Some of   the smaller groups have for all practical purposes disappeared. The practice   or knowledge of handicrafts or of distinctive food habits, hunting practices,   or folkways is gone or rapidly disappearing. Increasing outmarriage makes   meaningful genetic studies less feasible. And the abolition of legal   segregation reduces the likelihood of the groups continuing as separate and   readily identifiable elements of local society.

But there is still worthwhile research to be undertaken, whether one is   satisfied with knowledge for its own sake or insists on socially significant   inquiries. I would suggest the following topics relating to Southern groups   as relatively untouched by research or in need of a modern appraisal:

(1) The Goins family. Beyond a doubt, the surname Goins (with its many   variations in spelling) is the most widespread and one of the oldest and most   reliably indicative surnames of tri-racial origin in the United States. I   have documented its existence among mixed bloods in more than thirty-five   counties of seven states. The Goinses were mixed in Colonial days in   Virginia, and both of the Carolinas. The name is found today among the   Lumbee, the Melungeons, the Smilings, the Red Bones, the Ohio Guineas, and in   various other parts of Ohio, Tennessee and North Carolina where none of these   terms are used. Some are White, some Indian, and some Negro, in current   status. An investigation of the Goinses, their origins and traditions, their   dispersal through the South and the old Northwest territory and their status   today would touch almost the whole fabric of the tri-racial phenomenon.

(2) Socio-psychological studies of the mixed blood people. The   precarious social acceptance of the mixed bloods by the White, Negro, or   Indian elements of society has created problems of psychological insecurity   for many of them that the average person never experiences. Berry touches on   this issue in his work, but a study focusing on it is needed (Berry 1963:   212).

(3) Gulf Coast Creoles. Other than Horace Mann Bond’s valuable article   of nearly forty years ago (Bond 1931), I have not seen work on the Creole   populations of the Gulf Coast (Mississippi, Mobile Bay, Pensacola). These   people of French-Spanish and Negro origin have an interesting history, a   comparatively high degree of social stability, and respectability in the eyes   of the Whites; and considerable documentation is available on their origins   and social history. A general research treatment on any one of these groups   would be both interesting and useful.

(4) The Tennessee groups outside Hancock County. Most all work   relating to Tennessee has focused on the Hancock County Melungeons. But there   are a number of other areas in Tennessee where unstudied tri-racial groups   are found – sometimes related in the past to the Hancock County people and   usually derived from mixed blood origins in the Carolinas or Virginia. In   addition, an unrelated Tennessee group of White and Indian descent known as   the Upper Cumberland River Cherokee has surfaced in the last several years in   Scott County and adjoining McCreary County, Kentucky, asserting its Indianess   in a rather vigorous way to officials in Washington.

(5) The Red Bones of Louisiana and Texas deserve research attention.   Given the number of people and counties involved, it is surprising that they   have not received more. Or perhaps it is not surprising, in view of the   sensitivity of the population to the subject of origins.

(6) The Smilings of Robeson County, North Carolina are of particular   interest for their interplay is not only with the White and Negro populations   but also with the surrounding Lumbee people from whom they appear not to have   received full acceptance. The groups has an antebellum origin in Sumter   County, South Carolina, but migrated to Robeson. What were the circumstances that   impelled this long established population to leave, but that did not affect   the Sumter County Turks similarly?

I have not mentioned specific studies of a more conventional anthropological   nature, such as Indian cultural survivals or linguistic studies, but here,   too, there are still positive results to be obtained, if I may judge from the   recent fieldwork in several groups by Claude Medford (personal   communication), or Everett’s study of language among the Clifton red Bone   community in Louisiana (Everett 1958).

In 1950, I estimated the tri-racial isolates in their rural and small town   settings to number 75,000 people I do not think the number is less today,   primarily because of the growth of the Lumbee. But many of the isolates –   particularly those of non-Indian status – can be said to be in a process of   decline or even dissolution. They have with a few exceptions been rural   communities, and in the last half century have experienced the same heavy   outmigration to a variety of urban destinations as have rural people in   general. Thus despite typically high fertility, many of the isolates have   dwindled in size. The special racial status is not generally transferred in a   group context to urban environments. Secondly, the frequency of outmarriage   and assimilation into either the White or Negro populations has greatly   increased. I have found this in every group whose marriage records I have   examined. 3 Harte has rather thoroughly documented it for the Maryland   Wesorts (Harte 1959: 218).

Given this trend, I think the odds are against the survival of groups that do   not have a concentrated core of at least several hundred members and that are   no longer distinctly different in appearance or status from the local White   or Negro populations. Both severe lack of local economic opportunity or rapid   local population growth seem to militate against group survival. In the first   instance, the population disperses to seek opportunity elsewhere, and in the   latter case the intrusion of other people or changes in employment and residential   patterns facilitate a breakdown in cohesion.

It will be interesting to observe the fate of the Lumbee in the future, for   in this case the local numbers of people involved are large (26,000 in   Robeson County in 1970, and 7,000 in nine nearby counties). The local tobacco   economy is under some strain, but with an acceptable official social status   as Indian, a large pool of potential marriage partners, a fair amount of   non-agricultural job opportunities, and a fund of history and legend in which   to have some pride, this group – along with several others – may well   continue indefinitely in its local setting, although surely not without   change.

 

MHA President     Wayne Winkler with Calvin L. Beale, recipient of the MHA Lifetime     Achievement Award, June 2004

In terms of today’s research needs, it is already a generation   too late to pursue some of the questions that would have been relevant   earlier. Some of the smaller groups have for all practical purposes   disappeared. The practice or knowledge of handicrafts or of distinctive food   habits, hunting practices, or folkways is gone or rapidly disappearing.   Increasing outmarriage makes meaningful genetic studies less feasible. And   the abolition of legal segregation reduces the likelihood of the groups   continuing as separate and readily identifiable elements of local society.

But there is still worthwhile research to be undertaken, whether one is   satisfied with knowledge for its own sake or insists on socially significant   inquiries. I would suggest the following topics relating to Southern groups   as relatively untouched by research or in need of a modern appraisal:

(1) The Goins family. Beyond a doubt, the surname Goins (with its many   variations in spelling) is the most widespread and one of the oldest and most   reliably indicative surnames of tri-racial origin in the United States. I   have documented its existence among mixed bloods in more than thirty-five   counties of seven states. The Goinses were mixed in Colonial days in   Virginia, and both of the Carolinas. The name is found today among the   Lumbee, the Melungeons, the Smilings, the Red Bones, the Ohio Guineas, and in   various other parts of Ohio, Tennessee and North Carolina where none of these   terms are used. Some are White, some Indian, and some Negro, in current status.   An investigation of the Goinses, their origins and traditions, their   dispersal through the South and the old Northwest territory and their status   today would touch almost the whole fabric of the tri-racial phenomenon.

(2) Socio-psychological studies of the mixed blood people. The   precarious social acceptance of the mixed bloods by the White, Negro, or   Indian elements of society has created problems of psychological insecurity   for many of them that the average person never experiences. Berry touches on   this issue in his work, but a study focusing on it is needed (Berry 1963:   212).

(3) Gulf Coast Creoles. Other than Horace Mann Bond’s valuable article   of nearly forty years ago (Bond 1931), I have not seen work on the Creole   populations of the Gulf Coast (Mississippi, Mobile Bay, Pensacola). These   people of French-Spanish and Negro origin have an interesting history, a   comparatively high degree of social stability, and respectability in the eyes   of the Whites; and considerable documentation is available on their origins   and social history. A general research treatment on any one of these groups   would be both interesting and useful.

(4) The Tennessee groups outside Hancock County. Most all work   relating to Tennessee has focused on the Hancock County Melungeons. But there   are a number of other areas in Tennessee where unstudied tri-racial groups   are found – sometimes related in the past to the Hancock County people and   usually derived from mixed blood origins in the Carolinas or Virginia. In   addition, an unrelated Tennessee group of White and Indian descent known as   the Upper Cumberland River Cherokee has surfaced in the last several years in   Scott County and adjoining McCreary County, Kentucky, asserting its Indianess   in a rather vigorous way to officials in Washington.

(5) The Red Bones of Louisiana and Texas deserve research attention.   Given the number of people and counties involved, it is surprising that they   have not received more. Or perhaps it is not surprising, in view of the   sensitivity of the population to the subject of origins.

(6) The Smilings of Robeson County, North Carolina are of particular   interest for their interplay is not only with the White and Negro populations   but also with the surrounding Lumbee people from whom they appear not to have   received full acceptance. The groups has an antebellum origin in Sumter   County, South Carolina, but migrated to Robeson. What were the circumstances   that impelled this long established population to leave, but that did not   affect the Sumter County Turks similarly?

I have not mentioned specific studies of a more conventional anthropological   nature, such as Indian cultural survivals or linguistic studies, but here,   too, there are still positive results to be obtained, if I may judge from the   recent fieldwork in several groups by Claude Medford (personal   communication), or Everett’s study of language among the Clifton Red Bone   community in Louisiana (Everett 1958).

In 1950, I estimated the tri-racial isolates in their rural and small town   settings to number 75,000 people I do not think the number is less today,   primarily because of the growth of the Lumbee. But many of the isolates –   particularly those of non-Indian status – can be said to be in a process of   decline or even dissolution. They have with a few exceptions been rural   communities, and in the last half century have experienced the same heavy   outmigration to a variety of urban destinations as have rural people in   general. Thus despite typically high fertility, many of the isolates have   dwindled in size. The special racial status is not generally transferred in a   group context to urban environments. Secondly, the frequency of outmarriage   and assimilation into either the White or Negro populations has greatly   increased. I have found this in every group whose marriage records I have   examined. 3 Harte has rather thoroughly documented it for the Maryland   Wesorts (Harte 1959: 218).

Given this trend, I think the odds are against the survival of groups that do   not have a concentrated core of at least several hundred members and that are   no longer distinctly different in appearance or status from the local White   or Negro populations. Both severe lack of local economic opportunity or rapid   local population growth seem to militate against group survival. In the first   instance, the population disperses to seek opportunity elsewhere, and in the   latter case the intrusion of other people or changes in employment and   residential patterns facilitate a breakdown in cohesion.

It will be interesting to observe the fate of the Lumbee in the future, for   in this case the local numbers of people involved are large (26,000 in   Robeson County in 1970, and 7,000 in nine nearby counties). The local tobacco   economy is under some strain, but with an acceptable official social status   as Indian, a large pool of potential marriage partners, a fair amount of   non-agricultural job opportunities, and a fund of history and legend in which   to have some pride, this group – along with several others – may well   continue indefinitely in its local setting, although surely not without   change.

NOTES

1 Prepared for   presentation at the annual meeting of the Southern Anthropological Society,   Athens, Georgia, April 9, 1970.

2 I have used the modern spelling, Melungeon, except where   quoting Dromgoole.

3 Information from present day Creoles.

4 Manuscript, North Carolina Legislative Reports (Robeson County).

5 Correspondence files of the Bureau of the Census; see also The   Indian Populations of the United States 1937:20

6Various published studies of the research work led by Cark J. Witkop,   Jr., of the National Institute of Health.

7 See Charleston Evening Post, various issues beginning   September 19, 1969.

8 I refer to groups such as the Pools of Pennsylvania, the Amherst and   Rockbridge County Issues, the Shifletts, the Poquoson and Skeetertown groups   of Virginia, the Dead Lake Group in Florida, the Cane River Mulattoes and   Natchitoches Red Bones of Louisiana, and the Mobile area Creoles.

REFERENCES CITED

Berry, Brewton, 1963, Almost White. New York:   Macmillan,

Bond, Horace Mann, 1931, “Two Racial Islands of Alabama.” American Journal   of Sociology 36:552-567.

Dromgoole, Will Allen, 1891, “The Malungeons.” The Arena 3:470-479

Everett, Russell, 1958, “The Speech of the Tri-Racial Group Comprising the   Community of Clifton, Louisiana.” Master’s thesis, Louisiana State   University.

Free inhabitants, 1860 Census, Florida 1860. National Archives 1:129.

Harte, Thomas J., 1959, “Trends in Mate Selection in a Tri-Racial Isolate.’ Social   Forces 37 (3):215-221.

Indian Population of the United States and Alaska 1930, 1937 Washington: U.S.   Government Printing Office.

Kaye, Ira, 1963, “The Turks.” New South; June.

Olmstead, Frederic Law, 1959, The Slave States New York: Putnam’s   Sons.

Price, Edward T., 1953, “A Geographical Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial   Mixtures in the Eastern Unites States.” Annals of the Association of   American Geographers 43(2): 138-155.

Rights, Douglas L., 1947, The American Indian in North Carolina.   Durham: Duke University Press.

Thacker vs. Hawk, 1887, Ohio Reports 11:337

Shugg, Roger W., 1936, “Negro Voting in the Antebellum South.” Journal of   Negro History 21 (4): 357-384.

 

1957- calvin Beales article “American Triracial Isolates”

1957 Beale article

American Triracial Isolates: Their Status and Pertinence to Genetic Research

by Calvin L. Beale
originally published in Eugenics Quarterly 4/4 (December 1957): 187-196.
Used with permission of author

 

In the 1950 Census of Population, 50,000 American Indians are   listed as living in states east of the Mississippi River. These people do not   constitute the sole biological legacy of the aboriginal population once found   in the East, of course. The remnants of many tribes were removed west of the   Mississippi where they retain their tribal identity today. Nor is it uncommon   to meet Easterners, thoroughly Caucasian in appearance and racial status, who   boast of an Indian ancestor in the dim past. Other intfusio9ns of Indian   blood were absorbed into the Negro population, and in this context may also   be referred to with pride even if they afford no differential social status.

It is another class of people, however, that engages the attention of this   article – a class more numerous than the Indians remaining in the East, more   obscure than those in the West, less assured than the white man or the Negro   who regards his link of Indian descent as a touch of the heroic or romantic.   The reference is to population groups of presumed triracial descent. Such   isolates, bequeathed of intermingled Indian, white, and Negro ancestry, are   as old as the nation itself and include not less than 77,000 persons. They   live today in more than 100 counties of at least 17 Eastern States with   settlements ranging in size from less than 50 persons to more than 20,000.   Their existence has furnished material for the writings of local historians,   folklorists, journalists, and novelists. Occasionally, they have come to the   attention of cultural anthropologists, sociologists, and – here and there – a   geographer or educator. Attention to the triracial isolates by geneticists is   largely confined to the last three years, however. It is the object of this   discussion to describe the nature, location, and status of such Indian-white-Negro   groups in Eastern States and to indicate the potential interest they hold for   the field of human genetics.1

Although the precise origin of these groups is unknown in most instances,   they seem to have formed through miscegenation between Indians, whites, and   Negroes – slave or free – in the Colonial and early Federal periods. In   places the offspring of such unions – many of which were illegitimate under   the law – tended to marry among themselves. Within a generation or so this   practice created a distinctly new racial element in society, living apart   from other faces. The forces differed from place to place. Some groups   subsequently dispersed or were assimilated during the 19th century. Some   waxed in numbers, others waned. Most have persisted to the present day.

A majority of the triracial isolates originated in the Atlantic Coastal   Plain. Their members were among the early pioneers in the Appalachian   Plateaus and the Tennessee River Valley. Many left the South and moved to   Northern States such as Ohio and Indiana, especially when restrictive   measures were passed against free nonwhite people in Southern States during   the 1830’s. Thus it happens that the majority of the groups in the   Trans-Appalachian States are related to others remaining in the South   Atlantic States, although contact between them has lapsed.2 None of   the Northern groups seem to have colonized to the west, however.

The habitat of the mixed-blood people has been typically rural and   geographically isolated. It is difficult to find such a settlement that is   not associated with a swamp, a hollow, an inaccessible ridge, or the back   country of a sandy flatwoods.3 Many modern developments have helped   reduce their isolation, but this isolation factor appears to have been of   major importance in fostering and perpetuating the existence of the groups.   Legal disputes over their racial status for purposes of school attendance,   vital statistics registration, and other public matters have been numerous in   Southern and Border states. In many groups educational attainment is low,   income is inadequate, and reliance on public welfare programs is high. The   incidence of illegitimacy, common-law marriage, petty larceny, and other   socially disapproved practices has been frequent enough in certain locations   to type the racial hybrids unfavorably in the public mind.

The racial status of the triracial people varies greatly, both as conceived   in the minds of the people themselves and in the eyes of their white or Negro   neighbors. Occasionally they occupy no more than a peculiar status among the   Negro population. Some are regarded as a separate race, known either as   Indian or by a local colloquial name. Where such is the case in Southern   States, they often have their own segregated schools. In North Carolina, where   they are most numerous, this practice extends to a separate State college.   Other groups have achieved a measure of acceptance as white. It seems   impossible to reconstruct for each community the circumstances that have   determined the present status. Physical appearance and local traditions of   origin may well be the most important.

It is well to make clear that the designation of these groups as triracial is   often the conclusion of the investigator rather than a reflection of public   opinion in the area concerned. In general all local informants will agree   that the mixed population is partly white. (Blue eyes are commonly in   evidence to validate this.) The white informant will insist that the   mixed-blood people are partly Negro. Perhaps he will agree that they are   partly Indian, perhaps not. The mixed-blood individual will usually insist –   with vehemence, if necessary – that there is no Negro ancestry in his family   (although he may not make this claim for all other families in the   settlement) but that he is partly Indian. In a minority of communities   unmistakable elements of Indian culture have between found. Presence of Negro   ancestry may or may not be evident in some families from the occurrence of   Negro hair forms or facial features. If evident, it tends to jeopardize   claims of the group to non-Negro status. In sum, the groups described are   with few exceptions considered only of white and Indian descent by their   members but are regarded to be partly Negro by neighboring whites or Negroes.4   Investigators frequently report the opinion of elderly persons that the   average skin color of younger members of triracial isolates is lighter than   that of earlier generations. This is not surprising in view of the fact that   in most groups social relations with Negroes are discouraged and marriage to   a Negro may result in ostracism. Relationships with white persons entail no   such group displeasure.

Characterization of the triracial groups has its limitations, for thy have   emerged over a large geographic area under varying cultural conditions. With   the usual footnote that there are exceptions, it can be said that they are a   highly inbred class of people. It is this feature that most warrants the   interest of students of human heredity.

The conditions of social and physical isolation – both imposed and voluntary   – that fostered the emergence of mixed racial communities typically limited   the choice of marriage partners within a relatively small number of surnames.   Scattered data on marriage records attest to this. In Halifax County, North   Carolina, between 1819 and 1860, 14 out of 29 male members of the leading   family in a triracial group for whom marriage bonds were filed married   females of the same name.5 Of 35 marriages recorded for persons having   the key surnames of a mixed-racial community in Cumberland County, New   Jersey, 9 were to spouses of the same surname and 17 to spouses of just one   other surname.6 In two families of the so -called “Guinea”   community of Barbour and Taylor Counties, West Virginia, 102 of 112 marriages   from 1856-1931 were to other persons in the racial isolate (about 11   surnames).7

Presumably as a result of such close marrying practices, genetically   determined diseases and defects of unusual frequency have been reported among   a number of the triracial isolates. The Jackson Whites of New Jersey have   long been noted for albinism and polydactylism.8 Some of the Moors of   Delaware suffer from microphthalmia9, and hereditary deformities of   the joints are reported among the West Virginia mixed bloods.10

The most notable evidences of inbreeding and hereditary difficulties have   been reported for an isolate in Southern Maryland termed colloquially,   “Wesorts.” These people number about 4,000, including those in   Washington, D.C., of whom at least one-fourth bear one surname, with a dozen   names accounting for most of the rest of the population. An excellent measure   of consanguinity in the group is provided by the fact that at least 90   percent are Roman Catholic and ecclesiastical dispensation is required by   that faith for marriages of known first or second cousins. In one major   parish over a 104-year period, one sixth of the marriages involving at least   one Wesort required such a dispensation.11

The Indian tribes of Southern Maryland left the area before the end of the   17th century, but some Indians of mixed descent, or married to non-Indians,   apparently remained. A triracial group evolved. Some knowledge of the   original tribal clan structure was handed down, but the triracial people   became part of the larger society as a poor farming and laboring element   regarded as colored.

Maintenance of racial separateness by the Maryland group is notable for it   has been achieved without the assistance of institutionalized aids such as   separate schools and churches. By law the children had to attend the   “regular” colored schools. The people have attended the same   churches as the general population but for a long period sat by custom in a   particular section of the church.

The Wesorts are variable in appearance, including substantial variation   within sibships. In general, they are somewhat darker than most of the other   triracial peoples, and Negroid hair forms and facial features are not   uncommon. However, some can pass as white and as a group they are distinctly   lighter and more Caucasian than the neighboring Negro population, which   itself has a substantial infusion of white ancestry. Some are pointed out as   showing Indian characteristics.

In 1945 Gilbert, a cultural anthropologist, reported on the group and   mentioned hereditary difficulties ascribed to it.12 About three years   ago, the existence of the group as a distinct breeding population and the   widespread incidence of hereditary disease within it were first recognized by   medical researchers through admissions to Washington hospitals. An intensive   survey of the population was subsequently undertaken under the sponsorship of   the National Institutes of health and is still in progress. Results reported   from this work indicate exceptionally high incidence of dentinogenisis   imperfecta and albinism.13 The former is a dental defect, transmitted   as a simple dominant gene, which has various manifestations. It is an   unsightly affliction and commonly results in the necessity for full   artificial dentures in early adulthood. Many other hereditary conditions such   as lop ears, polycystic kidneys, deaf mutism, glaucoma, syndactylism,   polydactylism, congenital cataracts, convergent and divergent strabismus   (nonparalytic eye squint), and hyperstatic bone disease have been found in   the group and are being assessed. Two or more of the conditions often occur   in the same person. “Due to several centuries of in-marriage, many   genetically recessive traits have become manifest and many genetically   dominant traits have become concentrated in certain lines of the clan.”14   Fertility is high notwithstanding the heavy load of inheritable handicaps.   Cohorts of women of recently completed childbearing averaged better than five   and one-half children per female beginning life in the cohort.

It may be that the intensity of inbreeding and notable constellation of   hereditary effects evident among the Wesort group will be found to represent   the extreme example of such conditions in the Indian-white-Negro isolates.15   In any event, it illustrates persuasively the attention which American   triracial isolates merit from geneticists, and which, strangely, they have   not previously received.

The statistics in Table 1 show the location, size, and racial status in the   1950 Population Census records of nearly all rural and small town triracial   groups know to be still in existence. Folk-names for the groups are also   given where known. These data were compiled by the writer while employed by   the Bureau of the Census, in order to appraise the results of the Bureau’s   efforts to introduce consistency into the classification of triracial   isolates. In past censuses, variation in the listing of such groups had   produced obvious inconsistencies in race statistics from one census to   another. In 1950, the Bureau instructed enumerators to “Report persons   of mixed white, Negro, and Indian ancestry living in certain communities in   the Eastern United States in terms of the name by which they are locally   known.”16 Such persons were then to be classified for publication   purposes among “other nonwhite races,” that is, other than Negro,   American Indian, Chinese, Japanese, or Filipino.

In 116 counties checked, the population of triracial character was estimated   at 77,000 persons, on the basis of race entries, enumerators’ notes, and   through the use of extensive surname data on th4e groups assembled from a   variety of sources. Of this number, 33,000 were enumerated as Indian, 29,000   as white, 14,000 as Negro, and 1,000 under colloquial race names or with the   race entry blank. More than 40 percent of the total live in North Carolina.   It was not feasible to make the investigation in cities of more than 20,000   inhabitants. Undoubtedly all of the groups have made some contribution to   urban migration, but it is the native rural environment that status as a   separate race or endogamous group is most common.

Relatively few instances were noted in the 1950 Census records where   enumerators employed colloquial race terms, although there was an increase   from previous censuses in the use of “Indian” as the race name for   triracial people. On reflection, it is not surprising that colloquial terms   were not employed more freely by the enumerators. They exist for the great   majority of the groups but are usually offensive to the people so-termed.   Examples include: Croatan, Brass Ankle, Red Bone, Red leg, Free Jack,   Bushwhacker, Dominicker, Guinea, and Issue. Common politeness or   self-interest may have led many enumerators to list groups as Indian or   white. Field investigations by the writer and others substantiate that   certain of the communities have acquired a public status as white or Indian   even though they continue to be regarded informally as having some Negro   ancestry. In the numerous instances where the racial status of an isolate has   not been static – at least as reflected in census records – the direction of   change over the years seems invariably to have gone toward a lighter   classification. For example, the so-called “Melungeon” people were   commonly listed as mulatto prior to the Civil War. In various censuses after   the war Melungeons in many counties were classified as Indian. By 1950, all   but a very few of them were listed as white and are known to be accepted   officially as part of the white population in their local areas.

Fertility rates in the triracial isolates appear to be exceptionally high.   Reliable inferences can be drawn on this subject for those Southern groups   who were tabulated in the published reports of the 1950 Census as “other   nonwhite races.” This population of 33,000 includes the majority of mixed   bloods who were listed as Indian or by a colloquial term in the original   schedules but few who were listed as white or Negro. The ratio of children   under 5 years old per 1,000 rural women 15 to 49 years old among these people   was 825 (standardized for age to distribution of total United States women).17   This is nearly double the ratio of 417 for total women in the nation. It also   exceeds the high fertility ratios of the rural Spanish-speaking population of   the Southwest (755) and the Negro rural-farm population of the South (771).   In fact it is the highest fertility ration for 1950 known to the writer for   any racial or ethnic group in the United States.

When translated into its potential for yields an estimated generation   replacement index of 259 percent per 100 women. In other words, under   continuation of fertility and morality conditions current in 1945-1950, the   triracial population would increase by over two and one-half times in the   course of each generation. Such a rapid increase is no longer containable in   the rural homelands of the groups. It portends a wider distribution for them   in the future and growing contacts in urban settings with people unacquainted   with their curious history. In several large cities to which migration has   tended to cluster and form a visible social group, as many immigrant peoples   have done before them. However, the clannish aspect of their lives seems   ultimately to weaken, and marriage outside the group begins. Meanwhile, as   definable population groups of large family size, developed from relatively   few family lines, and still practicing close marriage, the triracial groups   offer unusual opportunities for the study of genetic diseases and factors   affecting the persistence of population isolates.

 

Although the precise origin of these groups is unknown in most   instances, they seem to have formed through miscegenation between Indians,   whites, and Negroes – slave or free – in the Colonial and early Federal   periods. In places the offspring of such unions – many of which were illegitimate   under the law – tended to marry among themselves. Within a generation or so   this practice created a distinctly new racial element in society, living   apart from other faces. The forces differed from place to place. Some groups   subsequently dispersed or were assimilated during the 19th century. Some   waxed in numbers, others waned. Most have persisted to the present day.

A majority of the triracial isolates originated in the Atlantic Coastal   Plain. Their members were among the early pioneers in the Appalachian   Plateaus and the Tennessee River Valley. Many left the South and moved to   Northern States such as Ohio and Indiana, especially when restrictive   measures were passed against free nonwhite people in Southern States during   the 1830’s. Thus it happens that the majority of the groups in the   Trans-Appalachian States are related to others remaining in the South   Atlantic States, although contact between them has lapsed.2 None of   the Northern groups seem to have colonized to the west, however.

The habitat of the mixed-blood people has been typically rural and   geographically isolated. It is difficult to find such a settlement that is   not associated with a swamp, a hollow, an inaccessible ridge, or the back   country of a sandy flatwoods.3 Many modern developments have helped   reduce their isolation, but this isolation factor appears to have been of   major importance in fostering and perpetuating the existence of the groups.   Legal disputes over their racial status for purposes of school attendance,   vital statistics registration, and other public matters have been numerous in   Southern and Border states. In many groups educational attainment is low,   income is inadequate, and reliance on public welfare programs is high. The   incidence of illegitimacy, common-law marriage, petty larceny, and other   socially disapproved practices has been frequent enough in certain locations   to type the racial hybrids unfavorably in the public mind.

The racial status of the triracial people varies greatly, both as conceived   in the minds of the people themselves and in the eyes of their white or Negro   neighbors. Occasionally they occupy no more than a peculiar status among the   Negro population. Some are regarded as a separate race, known either as   Indian or by a local colloquial name. Where such is the case in Southern   States, they often have their own segregated schools. In North Carolina,   where they are most numerous, this practice extends to a separate State   college. Other groups have achieved a measure of acceptance as white. It   seems impossible to reconstruct for each community the circumstances that   have determined the present status. Physical appearance and local traditions   of origin may well be the most important.

It is well to make clear that the designation of these groups as triracial is   often the conclusion of the investigator rather than a reflection of public   opinion in the area concerned. In general all local informants will agree   that the mixed population is partly white. (Blue eyes are commonly in   evidence to validate this.) The white informant will insist that the   mixed-blood people are partly Negro. Perhaps he will agree that they are   partly Indian, perhaps not. The mixed-blood individual will usually insist –   with vehemence, if necessary – that there is no Negro ancestry in his family   (although he may not make this claim for all other families in the   settlement) but that he is partly Indian. In a minority of communities   unmistakable elements of Indian culture have between found. Presence of Negro   ancestry may or may not be evident in some families from the occurrence of   Negro hair forms or facial features. If evident, it tends to jeopardize   claims of the group to non-Negro status. In sum, the groups described are   with few exceptions considered only of white and Indian descent by their   members but are regarded to be partly Negro by neighboring whites or Negroes.4   Investigators frequently report the opinion of elderly persons that the   average skin color of younger members of triracial isolates is lighter than   that of earlier generations. This is not surprising in view of the fact that   in most groups social relations with Negroes are discouraged and marriage to   a Negro may result in ostracism. Relationships with white persons entail no   such group displeasure.

Characterization of the triracial groups has its limitations, for thy have   emerged over a large geographic area under varying cultural conditions. With   the usual footnote that there are exceptions, it can be said that they are a   highly inbred class of people. It is this feature that most warrants the   interest of students of human heredity.

The conditions of social and physical isolation – both imposed and voluntary   – that fostered the emergence of mixed racial communities typically limited   the choice of marriage partners within a relatively small number of surnames.   Scattered data on marriage records attest to this. In Halifax County, North   Carolina, between 1819 and 1860, 14 out of 29 male members of the leading   family in a triracial group for whom marriage bonds were filed married   females of the same name.5 Of 35 marriages recorded for persons having   the key surnames of a mixed-racial community in Cumberland County, New   Jersey, 9 were to spouses of the same surname and 17 to spouses of just one   other surname.6 In two families of the so -called “Guinea”   community of Barbour and Taylor Counties, West Virginia, 102 of 112 marriages   from 1856-1931 were to other persons in the racial isolate (about 11   surnames).7

Presumably as a result of such close marrying practices, genetically determined   diseases and defects of unusual frequency have been reported among a number   of the triracial isolates. The Jackson Whites of New Jersey have long been   noted for albinism and polydactylism.8 Some of the Moors of Delaware   suffer from microphthalmia9, and hereditary deformities of the joints   are reported among the West Virginia mixed bloods.10

The most notable evidences of inbreeding and hereditary difficulties have   been reported for an isolate in Southern Maryland termed colloquially,   “Wesorts.” These people number about 4,000, including those in   Washington, D.C., of whom at least one-fourth bear one surname, with a dozen   names accounting for most of the rest of the population. An excellent measure   of consanguinity in the group is provided by the fact that at least 90   percent are Roman Catholic and ecclesiastical dispensation is required by   that faith for marriages of known first or second cousins. In one major   parish over a 104-year period, one sixth of the marriages involving at least   one Wesort required such a dispensation.11

The Indian tribes of Southern Maryland left the area before the end of the   17th century, but some Indians of mixed descent, or married to non-Indians,   apparently remained. A triracial group evolved. Some knowledge of the original   tribal clan structure was handed down, but the triracial people became part   of the larger society as a poor farming and laboring element regarded as   colored.

Maintenance of racial separateness by the Maryland group is notable for it   has been achieved without the assistance of institutionalized aids such as   separate schools and churches. By law the children had to attend the   “regular” colored schools. The people have attended the same   churches as the general population but for a long period sat by custom in a   particular section of the church.

The Wesorts are variable in appearance, including substantial variation   within sibships. In general, they are somewhat darker than most of the other   triracial peoples, and Negroid hair forms and facial features are not   uncommon. However, some can pass as white and as a group they are distinctly   lighter and more Caucasian than the neighboring Negro population, which   itself has a substantial infusion of white ancestry. Some are pointed out as   showing Indian characteristics.

In 1945 Gilbert, a cultural anthropologist, reported on the group and   mentioned hereditary difficulties ascribed to it.12 About three years   ago, the existence of the group as a distinct breeding population and the   widespread incidence of hereditary disease within it were first recognized by   medical researchers through admissions to Washington hospitals. An intensive   survey of the population was subsequently undertaken under the sponsorship of   the National Institutes of health and is still in progress. Results reported   from this work indicate exceptionally high incidence of dentinogenisis   imperfecta and albinism.13 The former is a dental defect, transmitted   as a simple dominant gene, which has various manifestations. It is an   unsightly affliction and commonly results in the necessity for full   artificial dentures in early adulthood. Many other hereditary conditions such   as lop ears, polycystic kidneys, deaf mutism, glaucoma, syndactylism,   polydactylism, congenital cataracts, convergent and divergent strabismus   (nonparalytic eye squint), and hyperstatic bone disease have been found in   the group and are being assessed. Two or more of the conditions often occur   in the same person. “Due to several centuries of in-marriage, many   genetically recessive traits have become manifest and many genetically   dominant traits have become concentrated in certain lines of the clan.”14   Fertility is high notwithstanding the heavy load of inheritable handicaps.   Cohorts of women of recently completed childbearing averaged better than five   and one-half children per female beginning life in the cohort.

It may be that the intensity of inbreeding and notable constellation of   hereditary effects evident among the Wesort group will be found to represent   the extreme example of such conditions in the Indian-white-Negro isolates.15   In any event, it illustrates persuasively the attention which American   triracial isolates merit from geneticists, and which, strangely, they have   not previously received.

The statistics in Table 1 show the location, size, and racial status in the   1950 Population Census records of nearly all rural and small town triracial   groups know to be still in existence. Folk-names for the groups are also   given where known. These data were compiled by the writer while employed by   the Bureau of the Census, in order to appraise the results of the Bureau’s   efforts to introduce consistency into the classification of triracial   isolates. In past censuses, variation in the listing of such groups had   produced obvious inconsistencies in race statistics from one census to   another. In 1950, the Bureau instructed enumerators to “Report persons   of mixed white, Negro, and Indian ancestry living in certain communities in   the Eastern United States in terms of the name by which they are locally   known.”16 Such persons were then to be classified for publication   purposes among “other nonwhite races,” that is, other than Negro,   American Indian, Chinese, Japanese, or Filipino.

In 116 counties checked, the population of triracial character was estimated   at 77,000 persons, on the basis of race entries, enumerators’ notes, and   through the use of extensive surname data on th4e groups assembled from a   variety of sources. Of this number, 33,000 were enumerated as Indian, 29,000   as white, 14,000 as Negro, and 1,000 under colloquial race names or with the   race entry blank. More than 40 percent of the total live in North Carolina.   It was not feasible to make the investigation in cities of more than 20,000   inhabitants. Undoubtedly all of the groups have made some contribution to   urban migration, but it is the native rural environment that status as a   separate race or endogamous group is most common.

Relatively few instances were noted in the 1950 Census records where   enumerators employed colloquial race terms, although there was an increase   from previous censuses in the use of “Indian” as the race name for   triracial people. On reflection, it is not surprising that colloquial terms   were not employed more freely by the enumerators. They exist for the great   majority of the groups but are usually offensive to the people so-termed.   Examples include: Croatan, Brass Ankle, Red Bone, Red leg, Free Jack,   Bushwhacker, Dominicker, Guinea, and Issue. Common politeness or   self-interest may have led many enumerators to list groups as Indian or   white. Field investigations by the writer and others substantiate that   certain of the communities have acquired a public status as white or Indian   even though they continue to be regarded informally as having some Negro   ancestry. In the numerous instances where the racial status of an isolate has   not been static – at least as reflected in census records – the direction of   change over the years seems invariably to have gone toward a lighter   classification. For example, the so-called “Melungeon” people were   commonly listed as mulatto prior to the Civil War. In various censuses after   the war Melungeons in many counties were classified as Indian. By 1950, all   but a very few of them were listed as white and are known to be accepted officially   as part of the white population in their local areas.

Fertility rates in the triracial isolates appear to be exceptionally high.   Reliable inferences can be drawn on this subject for those Southern groups   who were tabulated in the published reports of the 1950 Census as “other   nonwhite races.” This population of 33,000 includes the majority of   mixed bloods who were listed as Indian or by a colloquial term in the   original schedules but few who were listed as white or Negro. The ratio of   children under 5 years old per 1,000 rural women 15 to 49 years old among   these people was 825 (standardized for age to distribution of total United   States women).17 This is nearly double the ratio of 417 for total   women in the nation. It also exceeds the high fertility ratios of the rural   Spanish-speaking population of the Southwest (755) and the Negro rural-farm   population of the South (771). In fact it is the highest fertility ration for   1950 known to the writer for any racial or ethnic group in the United States.

When translated into its potential for yields an estimated generation   replacement index of 259 percent per 100 women. In other words, under   continuation of fertility and morality conditions current in 1945-1950, the   triracial population would increase by over two and one-half times in the   course of each generation. Such a rapid increase is no longer containable in   the rural homelands of the groups. It portends a wider distribution for them   in the future and growing contacts in urban settings with people unacquainted   with their curious history. In several large cities to which migration has   tended to cluster and form a visible social group, as many immigrant peoples   have done before them. However, the clannish aspect of their lives seems   ultimately to weaken, and marriage outside the group begins. Meanwhile, as   definable population groups of large family size, developed from relatively   few family lines, and still practicing close marriage, the triracial groups   offer unusual opportunities for the study of genetic diseases and factors   affecting the persistence of population isolates.

References

1. Bureau of the Census, 1950, Enumerator’s Reference   Manual, 1950 Census of Population, Washington, D. C.: Government Printing   Office.

2. Bureau of the Census, 1953. Nonwhite Population by Race, 1950. United   States Census of Population – Special Reports. Washington, D. C.:   Government Printing Office.

3. Craig, H. S. 1934. Cumberland County (New Jersey) Marriages.   Privately published.

4. Gilbert, W. H., Jr. 1945. The Wesorts of Southern Maryland: An Outcasted   Group. J. Wash. Acad. Sc. 35: 237-246.

5. _____. 1946. Mixed Bloods of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia. J.   Wash. Acad. Sc. 36: 1-13.

6. _____. 1949. Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States. The   Smithsonian Report for 1948. Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office.

7. Hursey, R. J., Jr., Witkop, C. J., Jr., Miklashek, Doris, and Sackett, L.   M. 1956. Dentinogenisis Imperfecta in a Racial Isolate with Multiple   Hereditary Defects. Oral Surg., Oral Med., and Oral Path. 9: 641-658.

8. Snedecor, S. T. and Harryman, W. K. Surgical Problems in Hereditary   Polydactylism and Syndactylism. 1940. J. Med Soc. New Jersey, XXXVII,   443-449.

9. Weller, George. 1938. The Jackson Whites. New Yorker. 14: No. 31:   29-39.

10. Weslager, C. A. 1945. Delaware’s Forgotten Folk. Philadelphia:   University of Pennsylvania Press.

Notes

1 Excluded from the   category described are Indian tribes such as the Narragansett, Shinnecock, or   Pamunkey, who absorbed both white and Negro blood, but retained their tribal   identity and historical continuity.

2 The most widespread surname among triracial groups has been   documented by the writer and others in at least 36 counties of seven states.   This is the name Goins and variations thereof.

3 Settlements in Cumberland and Salem Counties, New Jersey, and Darke   County, Ohio, are definite exceptions to this generalization.

4 Some groups account for brunette skin coloration by tradition of   descent from shipwrecked sailors of Portuguese, Spanish, or Moorish origin.   Open acknowledgement of partial Negro descent has been made in a few groups   through such means as affiliation with Negro church denominations.

5 Data abstracted for family from State archives.

6 Cumberland County (New Jersey) Marriages, compiled by H.   Stanley Craig, 1934.

7 “Mixed Bloods of the Upper Monongahela Valley, West Virginia,   ” by William Harlan Gilbert, Jr., Journal of the Washington Academy   of Sciences, Vol. 36, No. 1, January 15, 1946, pp. 1-13.

8 “Surgical Problems in Hereditary Polydactylism and   Syndactylism,” by Spencer T. Snedecor and William B. Harryman, Journal   of the Medical Society of New Jersey, Vol. XXXVII, No. 9, September 1940,   pp. 443-449; “The Jackson Whites, ” by George Weller, New Yorker,   Vol. 14, No 31, September 17, 1938, pp. 29-39.

9 Delaware’s Forgotten Folk, by C. A. Weslager, University of   Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1943, pp. 15-16.

10 “Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States,”   by William Harlan Gilbert, Jr. The Smithsonian Report for 1948,   Government Printing Office, 1949, pp. 431.

11 Unpublished data furnished to this writer

12 “The Wesorts of Southern Maryland: An Outcasted Group,”   by William Harlan Gilbert, Jr., Journal of the Washington Academy of   Sciences, Vol. 33, No. 8, August 15, 1945, pp. 237-247.

13 “Dentinogenisis Imperfecta in a Racial Isolate with Multiple   Hereditary Defects,” by Rudolph J. Hursey, Jr., Carl J. Witkop, Jr.,   Doris Miklashek, and Lee M. Sackett, Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, and Oral   Pathology, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp. 641-658.

14 Ibid, p. 642.

15 Reconnaissance work in other localities, planned by Dr. Witkop and   the writer, may determine whether this is true.

16 Enumerator’s Reference Manual, 1950 Census of the United   States, United States Department of Commerce, Washington, D. C., N. D. Page   34.

17 All fertility ratios cited are computed from reports of the 1950 Census   of Population. Statistics by age and sex for “other nonwhite races”   are found in the Special Report, Nonwhite Population by Race,   Government Printing Office, 1953, table 7. In the rural South, persons of   triracial description comprise about 97 percent of the “other nonwhite   races” population.

1956-Calvin Beales Report “A Visit to the “Dominicker” Mixed Racial Group in Holmes County Florida

Beale’s Report from 1956

“A VISIT TO THE “DOMINICKER” MIXED-RACIAL GROUP IN HOLMES COUNTY, FLORIDA

November 28, 1956

By Calvin Beale

I first went to Bonifay, the county seat, and visited the county health nurses, Mrs. Lee and Mrs. Sims. They immediately mentioned he letter of inquiry from Dr. Witkop of Public Health Service and asked if I had any connection with it. I allowed as how I did. Both were glad to talk about the Dominicker group. Only one family is among their current patients. The patient is an elderly man, Jim Simmons, who has diabetes. The nurses, especially Mrs. Sims, a native of the county, knew other Dominickers. The term Dominicker is not acceptable to the group and is not used in their presence. They do not wish to be considered colored. One became very angry with Mrs. Lee when she, not knowing the family, listed a new-born child as Negro because of the somewhat Negroid appearance of the family. I believe she changed the record after the protest. The appearance of the group was said to be variable. Jim Simmons claims to be part Spanish and Indian. The nurses knew of the Forehand, Goddin (the present spelling), and Thomas families but had not been sure of the connection until I confirmed it. They also mentioned a Curry family. The names were all said to be held by white people too. The teeth of the Dominicker children were said to be better than the average for white children. There is no dentist in the county.

Some in the group suffer from TB. The group extends over into Walton County, where a couple of children in one family have a congenital malformation. (There is a Negro family in Holmes family [sic] with three albino children. I did not get the spelling of the name, which sounded like Hodah or Hoodah.) The nurses knew nothing of the origin of the Dominickers. They said Jim Simmons was approachable and probably would be glad to talk. All in the group were said to be poor. A separate elementary school is still maintained for the group, called the Mt. Zion School. Current enrollment is 12, said once to have been about 25. The nurses estimated the population of the group at 40. I next visited the Soil Conservationist, who knew of the group, but, not being a county native, took me to the man in charge of the Selective Service office. The S.S. man went over some of the same ground covered by the nurses. He said the Dominickers were sensitive on the race question and might not get information unless the questioner were referred in by someone accepted by the group.

It was his opinion that the children attending Mt. Zion school were essentially the darker ones and that some of those who looked white were in surrounding white schools. The teacher of the separate school is a white woman, Miss (?) Dupree, who lives in Westville. The present building was erected after World War II at a cost of $8,000. The S.S. man did not know how the Dominickers were drafted racially during World War II. Some farm, others work in forest industries. He said they were low in culture”

 

 

 

The Mount Zion Community School, known locally as the “Dominicker” School (photo courtesy of Mr. Hood, a scholar and archivist of northern Florida’s history)

 

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)

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1946- Gilbert article “Characteristics of the Larger Mixed-Blood Racial Islands of the US”

1946 Gilbert Article

Memorandum     Concerning the Characteristics of the Larger Mixed-Blood Racial Islands of     the Eastern United States

Note from Webmaster: The following article contains several       inconsistencies in style and citation which were found in the original       publication, and have been reproduced here as accurately as web       formatting will permit.

William Harlen Gilbert, Jr.
Library of Congress

published in Social Forces 21/4 (May 1946): 438-477.

Prefatory Statement

In many of the eastern States of this country there are small pockets of       people who are scattered here and there in different counties and who are       complex mixtures in varying degrees of white, Indian, and Negro blood.       These small local groups seem to develop especially where environmental       circumstances such as forbidding swamps or inaccessible and barren       mountain country favor their growth. Many are located along the tidewater       of the Atlantic coast where swamps or islands and peninsulas have       protected them and kept alive a portion of the aboriginal blood which       greeted the first white settlers on these shores. Others are farther       inland in the Piedmont area and are found with their backs up against the       wall of the Blue Ridge or the Alleghenies. A few of these groups are to       be found on the very top of the Blue Ridge and on the several ridges of       the Appalachian Great Valley just beyond.

 

No satisfactory names has ever been invented to designate       as a whole these mixed outcasts from both the white and Negro castes of       America. However, their existence can be traced back practically to the       beginning of settlement by whites in the various areas in which they       occur. The early white settlers called these racial intermediates “free       colored” or “free negroes” and considered them frequently as mere       squatters rather than as legitimate settlers on the land. The laws were       interpreted to the disadvantage of these folk and they were forbidden to       testify in court. Acts were passed to prohibit their immigration from       other States and they were considered as undesirables since they bridged       the racial gap between free whites and slave Negroes.

After the Civil War these mixed folk were still classified as “colored”       or as “mulattoes” but they were frequently encouraged to develop their       own institutions and schools separate from the Negroes. In recent years       there are some indications that the numbers of these intermediate mixed       populations are growing rather rapidly and that they may total well over       50,000 persons at the present time.

There is little evidence for the supposition that they are being absorbed       to any great extent into either the white or the Negro groups. Their       native breeding grounds furnish a seemingly inexhaustible reservoir of       population which periodically swarms into cities and industrial areas.       The characteristics of illiteracy, poverty, and large families mark them       as members of the more backward section of the American nation. Draft       boards and the armed forces have found it difficult to classify them       racially for military service. As a sizable native minority they       certainly deserve more attention than the meager investigations which       sociologists and anthropologists have hitherto made of their problems. A       recognition of their existence by social scientists can hardly prejudice       their social prospects since the vast majority cannot possibly hope to       pass as “white” under the present social system. In the hope of enlisting       the interest of scientific bodies and foundations in research on these       mixed groups, then, the following brief memorandum outline of ten of       these mixed “racial islands” is presented.

I. Brass Ankles     and Allied Groups of South Carolina

Location: These peoples are located mainly on the coastal plain       area of the State. They are called by a variety of names, depending on       the county, but show a general resemblance to each other. They are termed       Brass Ankles (possibly from the Spanish abrasado, toasted brown)       in Dorchester, Colleton, Berkeley, Orangeburg, and Charleston counties;       Croatans or Cros in Morlboro, Dillon, Marion, and Horry counties; Red       Bones in Richland; Red Legs in Orangeburg; Turks in Sumter; Buckheads in       Bamberg; Marlboro Blues in Chesterfield, and so on. Still other nicknames       are “Greeks,” “Portuguese,” Clay-eaters, Yellow-hammers, Summerville       Indians, or simply “those Yellow People.”

Numbers: Estimated to run from 5,000 to 10,000 in the State.

Organization: Family groups only. In some areas have own schools       which are nominally white. Family names are Boone, Braveboy, Bunch,       Chavis, Crock, Driggers, Goins, Harmon, Russell, Scott, Shavis, Swett,       and Williams.

Environment and Economy: Originally lived in isolation in such       areas as “Hell-hole Swamp” north of Charleston and in other swampy coast       lands. Some were also isolated in the sand hills between the Piedmont and       the Coastal Plain where pine barrens predominate. Hunters, fishers, and       cultivators.

Physique: Indian, white, and Negro types. Physical structure       adapted to vigorous out-of-doors life.

In-Marriage: Tendency to pass over into white group noticeable.       In-marriage marked.

Religion: Protestant. Attend white churches and also colored.

Schools: Certain schools, nominally white, are set aside for them.       Teachers are difficult to get. Some go to white schools but this does not       automatically give equal status.

Military draft: Apparently classified as white.

Voting and Civil Rights: Have voted for many years. All good       Democrats.

Relief: WPA period helped to break down isolation of these groups.

Cultural Peculiarities: No data.

Social Status: Recognized as “near white.”

History: Many theories regarding their origin. Numerous Indian       tribes were here such as Cusabo, Yasmassee, etc. Have only attracted       attention of writers recently, although known locally at the Civil War       period.

Bibliography

Berry, Brewton, “The Mestizos of South Carolina,” American       Journal of Sociology, 51 (July 1945), pp. 34-41. (Dr. Berry is preparing       a book on these folk after extensive research in the field)

Heyward, DuBose, Brass Ankle (a play), (New York, 1931).

Milling, C. J., Red Carolinians, (Chapel Hill, 1940). Pp. 3-4, 64.

“Note on the Brass Ankles,” American Speech (April 1943).

Shelby, G. and Stoney, S., Po’ Buckra (New York, 1930). (Fiction).

United States Writers Project. South Carolina, a Guide to the Palmetto       State (New York, 1941), pp. 22, 286, 312.

Wallace, D. D., The History of South Carolina, (New York, 1934), 4       vols., v. II p. 508, v.III, p. 475

II. Cajans and     Creoles of Alabama and Mississippi

Location: Cajans in the hilly areas of Washington, Mobile, and       Clarke counties as well as adjoining parts of Mississippi. Creoles in       Mobile and Baldwin counties around Mobile Bay in Alabama. Name “Cajan”       derived from fanciful resmblence to the Louisiana Cajuns or Acadians.       Creole name derived from “Creole colored” or “Creole mixed.”

Numbers: Cajans said to be “several thousands.” Creoles may be of       similar number.

Organization: Cajans have family groups only. Chief family names       are Byrd, Carter, Chestang, Johnson, Jones, Rivers, Smith, Sullivan,       Terry, and Weaver. Creoles in Mobile had their own fire company and other       organizations. Their chief family names (formerly indicated by special       designation in the city directory) are Allen, Andry, Balasco, Ballariel,       Battiste, Bernoudy, Cassino, Cato, Chastang or Chestang, Collins, Gomez,       Hiner, Juzang, Lafargue, Laland, Laurendine, Laurent, Mazangue, Mifflin,       Nicholas, Perez, Ponquinette, Pope, Reid, Taylor, and Trenier. The       relationships between family names shared by Creoles and Cajans is not       clear,

Environment and Economy: Cajans are a poor hill people of the       wooded country who subsist by lumbering, turpentine extraction, and       various odd jobs. Creoles are urban folk in the main and do oyster       opening, cigar making, cotton sampling, and various other kinds of       artisan work.

Physique: Creoles are a mixture of Latins, Negroes, etc. The       Cajans are a mixture of white, Indian, and Negro types.

In-Marriage: No data.

Religion: Creoles are primarily Roman Catholic, while the Cajans       are mostly Protestants (Baptist and Methodist).

Schools: Cajans have their own schools though the first 7 grades       in the three counties where they live. Creole schools situation not known       excepting that educational opportunities have been much better than among       Cajans.

Military Draft Status: No data.

Voting and Civil Rights: No data.

Relief: The Cajans have been in need of relief.

Cultural Peculiarities: Cajans have individual patois and magical       art. No data concerning Creoles.

Social Status: – Position of both groups is apparently between       that of whites and negroes.

History: Legendary origin of Creoles is explained as due to union       of Caribbean pirates with Indians and Negroes. Cajans have a similar       tale. Family names shared by both occur in Mobile census lists of 1830       for free colored.

Bibliography

Bond, Horace M. “Two Racial Islands of Alabama,” American       Journal of Sociology, XXXVI (Jan. 1931), 552-567.

Brannon, Peter A. “Cajans,” Dictionary of American History. 6       vols. (New York, 1940), vol. 1, p. 267.

Carmer, Carl. Stars Fell on Alabama (New York, 1931), pp. 255-269.

Frazier, E. Franklin. The Negro Family in the United States       (Chicago, 1940), pp. 237-240.

Writers Program (U.S.) Alabama, a Guide to the Deep South.       American Guide series (New York, 1941), pp. 367-368.

III. Croatans of     North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia

Location: Center in Robeson County, North Carolina around       Lumberton. Are also found in neighboring counties of Bladen, Columbus,       Cumberland, Macon, Hoke, and Sampson. In Person County, North Carolina       are the allied group sometimes called “Cubans” or “Croatians” and these       extend over into Halifax County, Virginia. In South Carolina, Croatans       are found in Marlboro, Dillon, Marion, and Horry counties. Origin of the       name “Croatan” attributed to “Croatoan” which was connected with Sir       Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony. Also these people have been termed       “Cherokee Indians of Robeson County” and “Sioux Indians of Lumber River.”

Numbers: Were said to total 3,640 in 1890 and in Census of 1930       were numbered as over 13,000. Census of 1940 did not enumerate them       separately. Apparently they are still increasing at a rapid rate.

Organization: Family groups and other institutions. Possess own       churches, schools, etc. Family names are Allen, Bennett, Berry, Bridger,       Brooks, Brown, Butler, Chapman, Chavis or Chaves, Coleman, Cooper, Dare,       Gramme, Harrias, Harvie,Howe, Johnson, Jones, Lasie, Little, Locklear,       Lowry, Lucas, Martyn, Oxendine, Paine, Patterson, Powell, Sampson, Scott,       Smith, Stevens, Taylor, Viccars, White,Willes, Wilkinson, Wood, ands       Wright.

Environment and Economy: Originally dwellers in the swamplands of       the Lumber River, they became cultivators of cotton, tobacco, and corn       over a wide area in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Physique: Measurements by Dr. Carl Seltzer for the Office of       Indian Affairs in 1936-1937 of a hundred or more individuals showed a       definite minority of marked Indian type. The remainder are white and       negroid. They are said to be malaria resistant.

In-Marriage: Law of the State of North Carolina does not permit       intermarriage with Negroes nor, in effect, with whites.

Religion: Protestants.

Schools: Separate and special schools were organized for them in       1885. They now have their own school boards, teachers of their own race,       and a special normal school.

Military Draft Status: No data.

Voting and Civil Rights: Disfranchised in 1835, they were again       allowed to vote after the Civil War. Said to be Democrats.

Relief: No data.

Cultural Peculiarities: Folklore and dialectic traits.

Social Status: Between white and Negro.

History: First came to the attention of the public during the       Civil War due to the exploits of the famous Henry berry Lowry. They have       been derived by various authors from Raleigh’s Lost Colony, from Latin       sailors shipwrecked in North Carolina, and from Croatia.

Bibliography

Baxter, James P. “Raleigh’s Lost Colony,” The New       England Magazine (Jan. 1895), pp. 565-587.

Bellamy, John D. Remarks in the (U. S.) House of Representatives,       Thursday, Feb. 1, 1900 (Wash. D.C., 1900)

Cobb, Collier. Early English Settlements on Hatteras Island, North       Carolina Booklet (Oct. 1914), XIV,91-99.

Croatan, or Croatoan. Encyclopedia Americana (New York, 1944) Vol.       8, pp. 214-15.

Estabrook, A. H. and McDougle, I. E. Mongrel Virginians, the Win Tribe       (Baltimore, 1926).

Fitch, Wm. E. “The First Founders of America with Facts to Prove that Sir       Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony Was Not Lost.” Paper read at meeting of New       York Society of the Founders and Patriots of America held at Hotel       Manhattan, Oct. 29, 1913 (New York, The Society, 1913).

Foster, Laurence. Negro-Indian Relationships in the Southeast       (Phila., 1935), p. 16.

Frazier, E. Franklin. The Negro Family in the United States (Chicago,       1940), pp. 235-237.

Harper, Roland M. “The Most Prolific People in the United States,” Eugenical       News, XXIII, No. 2 (March-April 1938), 29-31.

Harper, Roland M. “A Statistical Study of the Croatans,” Rural       Sociology, 2, No 4 (Dec. 1937) pp. 444-456.

Hearn, W. E. et. al. Soil Survey of Robeson County, N. C. in U. S. Bureau       of Soils. Field Operations with Report, 1908, pp. 294-295. (Also issued       as Document No. 1569, 60th Cong., 2nd Sess.)

Johnson, Guy B. “Personality in White-Indian-Negro Community,” American       Sociological Review, IV (1939), 516-523. (Dr. Johnson has a large       amount of manuscript notes on the Croatans based on field work with this       group and which he hopes to prepare for publication at a future date.)

Jurney, R. C. et.al. Soil Survey of Person County, N. C. 1933. Pub. No.       14. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, Series 1928, U. S. Dep’t Agri. p. 2.

Lawrence, Robert C. The Sons of Robeson (Lumberton, N. C., 1939),       pp. 111-120.

Lucas, John P. Jr. and Groome, B. T. The King of Scuffleton, a Croatan       Romance (Richmond, 1940).

McMillan, Hamilton. Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony (Wilson, N.       C., 1888).

McNickle, D’Arcy. Indians of Robeson County, N.C. MSS.

Melton, Frances J. “Croatans: The Lost Colony of America,” Mid-Continent       Magazine, VI (July 1885), pp. 195-202.

Mooney, James. Croatan. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 30,       Vol, 1 (Handbook of American Indians).

Morgan, Ernest W. A Racial Comparison of Education in Robeson County N.       C. M. A. Thesis MSS, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N. C.,       1940).

Norment, Mrs. Mary C. The Lowrie Hostory (Wilmington, N. C.,       1873).

Parsons, E. C. “Folklore of the Cherokees of Robeson County, N. C.” Journal       of American Folklore, 32 (1919) pp. 384-393.

Perry, Wm. S. “The First Christian Born in Virginia,” Iowa Churchman       (Jan. and Feb., 1893).

Reuter, E. B. The Mulatto in the United States (Boston, 1918), p.       85.

Reports of Committees of the House of Representatives for the 2nd Session       of the 42nd Congress, 1871-1872. Report No. 22, part 2. testimony taken       to the Joint select Committee to Inquire into the Condition of Affairs in       the Late insurrectionary States. North carolina (Washington, D.C., 1894)       pp. 283-304.

Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not taxed in the United States at the       11th Census: 1890 (Wash. D. C., 1894). Croatan, pp. 499-500.

Swanton, John R. “Probable Identity of the Croatan Indians” Mimeographed       Report to the Office of Indian Affairs (Wash. D. C., 1933).

Townsend, George A. The Swampy Outlaws: or the North Carolina Bandits       (New York, 1872).

U. S. Congress. House Committee on Indian Affairs. School for Indians of       Robeson County, N. C. Hearings, Feb.14, 1913.

U. S. Congress. House Comittee on Indian Affairs. School for Indians of       Robeson County, N. C. Hearings, April 5, 1912.

U. S. Department of the Interior. Indians of North Carolina. Letter from       the Secretary of the Interior transmiting…a Report…by O. M. McPherson       (Wash. 1915), Sen. Doc. 677, 63rd Cong., 3rd Sess. (An inclusive series       of documents on Croatans).

Webb, Mack. An Echo from Sir Walter Raleigh’s Lost Colony. Read,       Vol. 16, No. 4 (April 1944) pp. 116-117.

Weeks, S. B. “The Lost Colony of Roanoke: Its Fate and Survival,” Papers       of the American Historical Association (1891). V, pp. 239-480.

Wilson, E. V. “Lost Colony of Roanoke.” Canadian Magazine (April,       1895). IV, pp. 500-504.

Writers Project (U .S.), North Carolina, a Guide to the Old North       State (Chapel Hill, 1939), pp. 27-28, 537.

IV. Guineas of     West Virginia and Maryland

Location: Primarily centered in Barbour and Taylor counties, West       Virginia. Also, small scatterd families in Grant, Preston, Randolph,       Tucker, Marion, Monongahela, and Braxton counties, West Virginia. Said to       have originated in Hampshire County, West Virginia. A few occur in       Garrett County, Maryland. Have recently migrated to canton, Chillicothe,       Zanesville, Akron, and Sandusky in Ohio and to Detroit, Michigan. Word       “guinea” said to be an epithet applied to anything of foreign or unknown       origin. Other names applied locally are “West Hill” Indians, Maileys,       “Cecil” Indians, “G. and B.” Indians, and “Guinea niggers.”

Numbers: Estimated to be from 8,000 to 9,000.

Organization: Have own schools and churches in Barbour and Taylor       counties. Have an annual fair at Phillippi, West Virginia. Family names       are Adams, Collins, Croston, Dalton, Dorton, Kennedy, Male (Mayle, Mahle,       Mail), Minard (Miner), Newman, Norris, and Pritchard.

Environment and Economy: Many are coal miners, hill cultivators on       sub-marginal lands, truck farmers and dairy farmers, domestic servants,       and in cities industrial workers. Original habitat was inaccessible hilly       area on a horseshoe bend of the Tygart River, the so-called “Narrows.”       Live in compact settlements in this area.

Physique: Sharp and angular features characteristic. Originally a       mixture of white and Indian types to which Negro has been added.       Deformities of the limbs and other congenital defects.

In-Marriage: Has been pronounced in the past. Now said to       intermarry with Italians who are also called “Guineas” in this area.

Religion: Mainly “Free Methodists” in Barbour and Taylor counties.

Schools: Have special schools classed locally as “colored.”       Considerable tension over attendance at white schools in Taylor County.       In Barbour County two schools have been burned down due to troubles.

Military Draft Status: In Taylor County (Grafton and vicinity)       have almost uniformly gone into the white status.

Voting and Civil Rights: Have voted since organization of the       State. Now hold balance of power in Barbour County.

Relief: Received during the Depression.

Cultural Peculiarities: Folklore, annual fair.

Social Status: Courts have pronounced them “colored.” Regarded as       mulattoes. Do not associate as a rule with Negroes or whites.

History: Claim English descent from Revolutionary ancestors.       Building of Tygert River Dam in 1937 scattered them in Taylor County due       to flooding of original settlements.

Bibliography

Maxwell, Hu. The History of Barbour County       (Morgantown, West Virginia, 1899) pp. 510-511.

Gilbert, Wm. H. Jr. “Mixed Bloods of theUpper Monongahela Valley, West       Virginia,” Journal of the Washington Academyof the Sciences, 36,       no. 1 (Jan. 15, 1946), pp. 1-13.

V. Issues of     Virginia

Locations: Amherst and Rockbridge Counties. Name is derived from the       term applied to free Negroes prior to the Civil War.

Numbers: Said to be about 500 in 1926.

Organization: Family groups only. Chief family names are Adcox,       Branham, Johns, Redcross, and Willis.

Environment and Economy: A highlands fold of the Blue Ridge       foothills they are mostly renters who cultivate tobacco in shares. Chief       stronghold on Tobacco Row Mountain.

Physique: A mixture of white, Indian, and Negro types.

In-Marriage: Has been characteristic of the group.

Religion: Protestants. Episcopal mission has been maintained at       Bear Mountain for many years. Has a school center for these people.

Schools: No organization aside from Mission.

Military Draft Status: No data as to color classification.

Voting and Civil Rights: No data.

Relief: No data.

Cultural Peculiarities: Traditions of Indian descent. Folklore not       studied.

Social Status: Said to be below that of whites.

History: Ancestors of these people were in this area as far back       as 1790. Local genealogical records very complete. Issues seem to have       attracted little save local notice.

Bibliography

Estabrook, A. H. and McGouble, I. E. Mongrel       Virginians, the Win Tribe (Baltimore, 1926) pp. 13-181.

Frazier, E. Franklin. The Negro Family in the United States       (Chicago, 1940), pp. 240-242.

Gray, Rev. A. P. “A Virginia Tribe of Indians,” Southern Churchman       LXXII, No. 53 (Jan. 4, 1908), p. 6.

Sams, Conway W. The Conquest of Virginia, The Forest Primaeval       (New York, 1916), pp. 395-396.

VI. Jackson Whites     of New Jersey and New York

Locations: Orange and Rockland Counties in New York; Bergen, Morris,       and Passaic Counties, New Jersey. Name said to be derived from term       “Jackson and White” which are common surnames. Another derivation is from       “Jacks” and “Whites,” the terms for Negroes and Caucasians. Still another       idea is that Jackson was a man who imported some of the ancestors of       these people during the Revolutionary war. In one part of this area are       the so-called “blue-eyed Negroes” who are said to be a race apart from       the rest.

Numbers: Estimated to be upwards of 5,000.

Organization: Family groups only. Family names are Casalony,       Cisco, De Groat, De Vries, Mann, Van Dunk, etc.

Environment and Economy: These are mainly a hill people of the       Ramapo Hills. They raise a few crops at favorable spots and do hunting.       Many have migrated to the lowlands and to industrial and mining areas.

Physique: In some areas apparently pure white types are found       while in others negroid types dominate. Inn still other areas Indian       mixed types seem to predominate. Albinism and deformities have been       indicated.

In-Marriage: Due to environmental limitations this has been       marked.

Religion: Protestant in the main. Presbyterians have had a mission       among these people.

Schools: In New jersey, white schools have been attended. No data       on New York. Tend to concentrate in a few schools.

Military Draft Status: No data.

Voting and Civil Rights: No data.

Relief: No data.

Cultural Peculiarities: Dialectic peculiarities, home-made       utensils, folklore.

Social Status: Regarded as “colored” by white neighbors.

History: Traditionally derived from Tuscarora and Munsee Indians,       Hessians, English, Negroes from West Indies, etc. First described by       Speck in 1911.

Bibliography

Beck, Henry C. Fare to Midlands: Forgotten Towns of New       Jersey (New York, 1939), pp. 73-89.

Donoghue, Frank L. “Jackson Whites Tribal Reserve Broken By War,” New       York Journal American (March 24, 1942), pp. 226-229.

Frazier, E. Franklin, The Negro Family in the United States       (Chicag, 1940), pp. 226-229.

“The Jackson Whites,” Eugenical News, XVI, No. 12 (Dec., 1931), p.       218.

“Native Sons,” Letters, Time, Inc. Vol. II, No. 15 (July 22,       1935), p. 1-2.

The Negro in New Jersey. Report of a Survey by the Interracial Committee       of the New Jersey Conference on Social Work in Cooperation with the State       department of institutions and Agencies (Dec., 1932), p. 22.

Speck, Frank G. “The Jackson Whites,” The Southern Workman (Feb.,       1911) pp. 104-107.

Storms, J. G. Origin of the Jackson Whites of the Ramapo Mountains       (Park Ridge, N.J., 1936), MSS.

Swital, Chet. “In the Ramapos.” Letters. Time, Inc. Vol. II, No.       15 (July 22, 1935), pp. 1-2.

Terhune, Albert Payson. treasure (New York, 1926).

“Twelve toes race of People Bred in North Jersey’s ‘Lost Colony,’” Philadelphia       Record, June 6, 1940, p. 1.

U. S. Federal Writers Project. New jersey: a Guide to the Present and       Past. (New York, 1939), pp. 124, 505.

U. S. Writers Program, New Jersey. Bergen County Panorama       (Hackensack, New Jersey, 1941), pp. 179-180, 305.

“Who are the Jackson Whites?” The Pathfinder (Sept. 5, 1931), p.       20.

VII. Melungeons of     the Southern Appalachians

Locations: Original center of dispersal was said to be Newman’s       Ridge in Hancock County, Tennessee. From thence are said to have spread       into other counties such as Cocke, Davidson (Nashville), Franklin,       Grundy, Hamilton (Chattanooga), Hawkins, Knox (Knoxville), Marion, Meigs,       Morgan, Overton, Rhea, Roane, Sullivan, White, Wilson, Bledsoe, and Van       Buren. In southwest Virginia they are known also as Ramps and occur in       the counties of Giles, Lee, Russell, Scott, Washington, and Wise. Some       are said to have migrated to southeastern Kentucky and a few went to       Blountstown, Florida, just west of Tallahassee. One of two writers       mention that they have gone westward to the Ozarks. The name is said to       be derived from the French “Melange,” mixed or from the Greek “Melan,” black.

Numbers: Estimated to run from 5,000 to 10,000. Birthrate high.

Organization: Family groups only. Original family names were       Collins, Gibson or Gipson, Goins, Mullins or Mellons. Other names       mentioned are Bolen, Denhan, Freeman, Gann, Gorvens, Graham, Noel,       Piniore, Sexton,Wright.

Environment and Economy: Originally pioneer cultivators in the       Appalachian Valley lowlands they were said to be driven to the ridge by       the white settlers. Newman’s Ridge, Clinch Mountain, Copper Ridge, and       the Cumberland Range in eastern Tennessee were their chief habitats.       Their means of living originally included hunting, fishing, ginseng root       gathering, herb gathering, charcoal burning, and in the very earliest       times river boat carriage and cattle driving.

Physique: Characteristics range between Indian, white, and       occasional negroid types. Stoic endurance of out-of-doors life notable.

In-Marriage: Considerable intermarriage with whites in recent       times. Originally married only within the group.

Religion: .Presbyterians have had missions among them for many       years at Vardy and Sycamore (Sneedville P. O.) in Tennessee. Some are       Baptists. Hymns peculiar to mountain folk sung.

Schools: Attend white schools in Franklin, Marion, and Rhea       counties in Tennessee after winning lawsuits regarding their racial       classification. In southwest Virginia attend white school when they go at       all. Most are said to be illiterate.

Military Draft Status: Illiteracy is said to be a bar to their       military service in some places.

Voting and Civil Rights: Disfranchised in Tennessee by       Constitution of 1834. Have voted since the Civil War. Republican in       politics.

Relief: Were given food and clothing in Virginia during the       Depression of the 1930’s.

Cultural Peculiarities: Magic and folklore said to be important.       Funeral rites formerly involved building a small house over a fresh       grave.

Social Status: Said to approximate the white level in many areas       today.

History: Several theories or origin. Some derive from the Croatans,       some from Portuguese, Negro, and Indian ancestry. Appeared in east       Tennessee shortly after the American revolution. First modern notice       under the name “Melungeon” in 1889.

Bibliography

Addington, L. F. “Mountain Melungeons Let the World Go       By,” Sunday Sun, Baltimore, July 29, 1945, Section A, p. 3, cols.       3-6.

Aswell, Jas. R., E. E. Miller, et. al. God Bless the Devil: Liar’s       Bench tales (Chapel Hill, N. C., 1940), pp. 207-243.

Ball, Mrs. Bonnie S. America’s Mysterious race. Read vol. 16 (May       1944), pp. 64-67.

Ball, Mrs. Bonnie S. “Mystery Men of the Mountains,” Negro Digest       3 (Jan., 1945), pp. 64-67.

Ball, Mrs. Bonnie S. “Virginia’s Mystery race,” Virginia State Highway       Bulletin 2, no. 6 (April 1945), pp. 5-7.

Ball, Mrs. Bonnie S. “Who Are the Melungeon?” Southern Literary       Messenger 3, no. 2 (June 1945), pp. 5-7.

Burnett, Swan M. “A Note on the Melungeon,” American Anthropologist       2 (Oct., 1889), pp. 347-349.

Caldwell, Joshua W. Studies in the Constitutional History of Tennessee.       2nd ed. (Cincinnati, 1907), pp. 115, 185, 213.

Century Dictionary and Encyclopedia. (New York, 1906), “Melungeon”       defined, vol. 5, p. 3702.

Converse, Paul D. “The Melungeons,” Southern Collegian (Dec.,       1912), pp. 59-69.

Converse, Paul D. “The Melungeons,” Dictionary of American History       (New York, 1940), pp. 371-372.

Crawford, Bruce. “Letters to the editor.” Coalfield Progress       (Norton, Va. July 11, 1940).

Crawford, Bruce. “Hills of Home” (fiction), Southern Literary       Messenger, 2,no. 5 (May 1940) pp. 302-313.

Dromgoole, Miss Will Allen. “The Malungeons,” The Arena, 3 (March       1891), pp. 470-479.

Dromgoole, Miss Will Allen. “The Malungeon Tree and Its Branches,” The       Arena, 3 (May, 1891), pp. 745-775.

Hale, W. T. and Merritt, D. L. A History of Tennessee and Tennesseeans       (2 vols,. Chicago, 1913), 1, chapt. 16, “The Melungeons of East       Tennessee,” pp. 179-196.

Haun, Mildred. The Hawk’s Done Gone. (New York, 1940), pp. 15-16,       145-166.

Heiskell, Mrs. Eliza N. “Strange People of East Tennessee, “ Arkansas       Gazette (Little Rock, Jan. 14, 1912), p. 11, cols. 3-7.

Journal of the Convention of the State of Tennessee convened for the       purpose of amending the Constitution thereof. Held at Nashville       (Nashville, Tenn., 1834), pp. 88-89.

King, Lucy S. V. Article in the Nashville American, 98th       Anniversary Number, 37, no. 12717 (Nashville, June 26, 1910).

“Melungeons, The” Boston Traveller (April 13, 1889), p. 6, cols.       5, 6.

Moore, J. T. and Foster, A. P., eds. Tennessee, the Volunteer State,       1769-1923 (5 vols,, Chicago, 1923), I, pp. 790-791.

Mynders, A. D. “Next to the News” Chattanooga Times (June 17,       1945), Sect. 2, p. 10. col. 3.

Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not Taxed in the United States at the       11th Census, 1890 (Wash. D.C., Dep’t of the Interior, Census Office,       1894), p. 391

Shepherd, Judge Lewis. Romantic Account of the Celebrated Melungeon Case.       Reproduced typewritten copy of article in Chattanooga Times, 1914.       Said to be part of a small book of memoirs of the author.

United States Writers Project. Tennessee, a guide to the State       (New York, 1939), “Melungeons in Oakdale, Tennessee,” p. 362.

Weeks, S. B. “Lost Colony of Roanoke,” Papers of the American Historical       Association, 5 (1891), footnote pp. 132-133.

Wilson, Goodridge. “The Southwest Corner,” Roanoke Times (Feb. 25,       1934).

Wilson, Samuel T. The Southern Mountaineers (New York, 1906), p.       11

VIII. Moors and     Nanticokes of Delaware and New Jersey

Location: Nanticokes are around Millsboro in Sussex County,       Delaware. Moors are centered in Chesterwold, Kent County, Delaware, and       at Bridgeton, Cumberland County in southern New Jersey. Name “Moor”       traditionally derived from shiwrecked Moorish sailors.

Numbers: Moors about 500 in Delaware, Nanticokes about 700.

Organizations: Nanticokes are incorporated. Moors have no       organization other than the family. Moor family names are Carney or       Corney, Carter, Carver, Cioker, Dean, Durham, Hansley or Hansor, Hughes,       Morgan, Mosley, Munce, Reed,.Ridgeway, Sammon, and Seeny. Nanticoke       family names are Bumberry, Burke, Burton, Clarke, Cormeans, Coursey,       Davis, Drain, Hansor, Harmon, Hill, Jackson, Johnson, Kimmey, Layton,       Miller, Morris, Moseley, Newton, Norwood, Reed, Ridgeway, Rogers, Sockum,       Street, Thomas, Thompson, Walker, and Wright.

Environment and Economy: Originally both groups may have been       swamp hunters and fishers. Now are truck farmers.

Physique: Indian, white, and negro types occur. Drooped eyelids       inherited in the family strain.

In-Marriage: Customary.

Religion: Protestants. Some sections among Nanticokes have own       churches.

Schools: Moors attend colored schools. Nanticokes have own school       with teacher paid by the state.

Military Draft Status: No data.

Voting and Civil Rights: No data.

Cultural peculiarities: Utensils and implements formerly made       locally by the Nanticokes. These people also have their own medicine and       folklore.

Relief: Not needed apparently.

Social Status: Uncertain.

History: Nanticokes first noticed about 1889, Moors about 1895.

Bibliography

Babcock, Wm. H. “The Nanticoke Indians of Indian River,       Delaware,” The American Anthropologist, I (1889), pp. 277-82.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edit., 1910-11, v. 7, p. 948, article       “Delaware.”

Fisher, George P. “The So-Called Moors of Delaware,” Milford       (Del.) , June 15, 1895.

Frazier, E. Franklin. The Negro Family in the United States       (Chicago, 1940), pp. 229-231.

Negro in New Jersey, The. Trenton 1932. Section on Moors, p. 21.

Speck, Frank G. Indians of the Eastern Shore of Maryland (1922),       n.p.

Weslager, C. A. Delaware’s Forgotten Folk (New York, 1943).

IX. Red Bones of     Louisiana

Location: The parishes of Natchitoches, Vernon, Calcasieu,       Terrebonne, La Fourche, and St. Tammany. The term “Red Bone” is derived       from the French Os Rouge for persons partly of Indian blood. As       called “Houmas” along the Coast and “Sabines” farther west. In       Natchitoches are the “Cane River Mulattoes.”

Numbers: Considerably over 3,000 and with a tendency to rapid       increase.

Organization: Family groups and settlements. There are a limited       number of French family names.

Environment and Economy: The coastal groups are farmers, sugar       cane workers, cattle raisers, hunters and fishers. Those on the inland       prairies are farmers raising corn and other crops. The groups at Slidell       north of Lake Pontchartrain seem to merge gradually into the Cajans of       southern Mississippi.

Physique: Mixed French, Indian, Anglo-Saxon, and Negro.

In-Marriage: Tendency to marry within the group has long been       marked.

Religion: Mainly Roman Catholic. Some Baptists.

Schools: Colored or special.

Miltiary Draft: No data on classification by color.

Voting and Civil Rights: No data.

Relief: No data.

Cultural Peculiarities: Many old Indian customs and traits       preserved.

Social Status: Once treated as full social equals by the French,       they have long since fallen into the status of Mulattoes in some parts,       of Indians in other places.

History: Derive from early border conflicts of authority and the       banishment of mixed race persons from Texas. Intermarriage of French and       Indians a marked feature of colonial period.

Bibliography

Saxon, Lyle. (a Novel), (Boston, Houghton Miflin, 1937).

Shugg, Roger W. Origin of the Class Struggle in Louisiana (Baton       Rouge, Louisiana, 1939), pp. 43-45.

U.S. Writers Program of the WPA, Louisiana, a Guide to the State       (1941), pp. 80, 638.

X. Wesorts of     Southern Maryland

Location: Most of these people are in Charles and Prince Georges       counties, Maryland. A few have migrated to Washington, D. C. and the Phildalphia       metropolitan area.

Numbers:Evidence available seems to indicate from 3,000 to 5,000.       They have a high birth rate.

Organization: None beyond family groups. Family names are Butler,       Harley, Linkins, Mason, Newman, Proctor, Queen, Savoy, Swan, and       Thompson.

Environment and Economy: Are primarily tenant farmers or small       landowners growing tobacco and other crops. Near the city they are truck       farmers and in town are artisans, petty traders, and repairmen.       Originally located near the Zekiah and other swamps many are still       excellent fishermen.

Physique: Characteristically white and Indian with occasional       marked Negroid types. Albinism, short teeth, hereditary deafness, and       nervous disorders occur in some strains.

In-Marriage: A marked characteristic for many years.

Religion: Manly Roman Catholic as are the whites and Negroes who       adjoin them.

Schools: Attend negro schools but in one or two neighborhoods a       majority of school attendance is made up of children from this group.

Military Draft Status: Some are classified as white, others as       Negroes.

Voting and Civil Rights: – Appear to have voted freely for a long       period. Formerly Democrats they have tended to be Republican for the last       50 years.

Relief: Not much given to them.

Cultural Peculiarities: Folk medicines and herbalism, animal       nicknames, annual festival on August 15th.

Social Status: Somewhat above that of the Negro but below the       white.

History: Appear to be in part descended from several small Indian       tribes of colonial times. The name originated about 1890. Romantic       legends of Spanish shipwrecked sailors, French-Canadian traders, etc.       Family names connected with the “free colored” or “free mulatto” names of       1790.

Bibliography

Anonymous. “Wesorts, Strange Clan in Maryland,” New       York Times (Mar. 19, 1940).

Dodsen, Linda S. and Woolley, Jane. “Community Organization in Charles       County, Maryland,” Md. Agric. Exp. Sta. Bull. No. A21 (College       Park, Maryland, Jan. 1943), p. 297 et al.

Footner, Hulbert. Maryland and the Eastern Shore (New York, 1942),       p. 357.

Gilbert, Wm. H. Jr. “The Wesorts of Southern Maryland, An Outcasted       Group,” Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 35, no. 8       (Aug. 15, 1945), pp. 237-246

Hodge, F. W. 35th Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1913-14       (Wash. D. C., 1921), p. 17.

Maynard, Theodore. The Story of American Catholicism (New York,       1941), p. 76.

Semmes, Raphael. Captains and Mariners of Early Maryland       (Baltimore, 1937), p. 303.

Warner, Eugene. “Upper Marlboro is Proud of Its Old Charming Homes,” Washington       Times-Herald (Aug. 28, 1939), p. 11.

White, Roxana. “They Stand Alone: The Wesorts of Charles County,” The       Sun (Baltiimore, Nov. 12, 1939), sec. 1, p. 2.

Concluding     Statement

Besides the major minority groups characterized in this       memorandum there are many other mixed Indian peoples in the eastern       United states no less worthy of notice. A Partial list of these follows:

Massachusetts: Mashpee, Pequot, Wampanoag
Rhode Island: Narragansetts
Connecticut: Mohegan, Pequot
New York: Shinnecock, Poosepatuck
Virginia: Adamstown Indians, Chickahominy, Issues, Mattapony,       Nansemond, Rappahannock, Skeetertown Indians, etc.
North Carolina: Machepunga
Alabama: Creeks
Mississippi: Choctaw
Louisiana: Houma, Chitimacha, Choctaw, Coushatta

These groups, together with those already scetched in this memorandum       would, if thoroughly studied, provide the answer to a number of       questions. For one thing they should demonstrate how detribalization       affects Indians and what becomes of Indians presumably “freed” from the       supervision of the Federal Government or never really under its       jurisdiction. These examples show how outcast or pariah peoples come into       existence and provide a ready parallel to the Untouchables of India and       the Eta of Japan.

It is extremely urgent that a program be devised as soon as possible for       the assimilation and betterment of the condition of these native American       backward minorities. It is true that much good work along those lines has       already been done religious bodies and private agents but the real       solution of the problem must await public recognition and government. A       local, State, and Federal policy will have to be developed after the       public conscience has been awakened to the need. And this awakening rests       on a thorough investigation and widespread public knowledge concerning       these groups.

 

1943-Pleckers List, “Letter to County Officials Listing Mixed-Race Surnames”

 

1943 Plecker List “Letter Distributed to County Officials Listing Mixed-Race Surnames”

NOTE:

The head of Virginia’s Bureau of   Vital Statistics from 1912 to 1946, Walter Ashby Plecker, believed “there is   a danger of the ultimate disappearance of the white race in Virginia, and the   country, and the substitution therefore of another brown skin, as has   occurred in every other country where the two races have lived together.”   This “mongrelization,” in Plecker’s view, caused of the downfall of several   earlier civilizations. He was determined to prevent this in America, or at   least in Virginia.

While no modern anthropologist has been able to establish the existence of a   “pure” Caucasian, the official position of the Commonwealth of Virginia was   that its citizens, or at least those that mattered, were exactly that. For   those of mixed racial heritage, as Helen Rountree writes, “It was now very   difficult to be ‘white’ in Virginia and very easy to be ‘colored.’” Many of   Virginia’s Indians had long been thought to have, in Thomas Jefferson’s   words, “more negro than Indian blood in them.” By the 1920s, whites in   Virginia assumed that nearly all Indians in the state had at least some   degree of African ancestry. In the interest of racial purity, to prevent   these mixed-race people from mixing with “pure” whites, the Racial Integrity   Act of 1924 categorized all non-whites as “colored.

In January of 1943, Plecker sent a circular to all public health and county   officials in Virginia, listing, county by county, the surnames of all   families suspected of having African ancestry. The cover letter stated that   they were “mongrels” and were now trying to register as white. The names   listed in the southwestern Virginia counties included Collins, Gibson, Moore,   Goins, Bunch, Freeman, Bolin, Mullins, as well as other local area surnames.

 

Commonwealth of Virginia
Department of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Richmond

January 1943

Local Registrars, Physicians, Health
Officers, Nurses, School Superintendents
and Clerks of the Courts

Dear Co-workers:

Our December 1942 letter to local registrars, also mailed to the clerks, set   forth the determined effort to escape from the negro race of groups of   “free issues,” or descendants of the “free mulattoes” of   early days, so listed prior to 1865 in the United States census and various   types of State records, as distinguished from slave negroes.

Now that these people are playing up the advantages gained by being permitted   to give “Indian” as the race of the child’s parents on birth   certificates, we see the great mistake made in not stopping earlier the   organized propagation of this racial falsehood. They have been using the   advantage thus gained as an aid to intermarriage into the white race and to   attend white schoools, and now for some time, they have been refusing to   register with war draft boards as negroes, as required by the boards which   are faithfully performing their duties. Three of these negroes from Caroline   County were sentenced to prison on January 12 in the United States Court at   Richmond for refusing to obey the draft law unless permitted to classify   themselves as “Indians.”

 

Some of these mongrels, finding   that they have been able to sneak in their birth certificates unchallenged as   Inidans are now making a rush to register as white. Upon investigation we   find that a few local registrars have been permitting such certificates to   pass through their hands unquestioned and without warning our office of the   fraud. Those attempting this fraud should be warned that they are liable to a   penalty of one year in the penitentiary (Section 5099 of the Code). Several   clerks have likewise been actually granting them licenses to marry whites, or   at least to marry amongst themselves as Indian or white. The danger of this   error always confronts the clerk who does not inquire carefully as to the   residence of the woman when he does not have positive information. The law is   explicit that the license be issued by the clerk of the county or city in   which the woman resides.

To aid all of you in determining just which are the mixed families, we have   made a list of their surnames by counties and cities, as complete as possible   at this time. This list should be preserved by all, even by those in counties   and cities not included, as these people are moving around over the State and   changing race at the new place. A family has just been investigated which was   always recorded as negro around Glade Springs, Washington County, but which   changed to white and married as such in Roanoke County. This is going on   constantly and can be prevented only by care on the part of local registrars,   clerks, doctors, health workers, and school authorities.

Please report all known or suspicious cases to the Bureau of Vital   Statistics, giving names, ages, parents, and as much other information as   possible. All certificates of these people showing “Indian” or   “white” are now being rejected and returned to the physician or midwife,   but local registrars hereafter must not permit them to pass their hands   uncorrected or unchallenged and without a
note of warning to us. One hundred and fifty thousand other mulattoes in   Virginia are watching eagerly the attempt of their pseudo-Indian brethren,   ready to follow in a rush when the first have made a break in the dike.

Very truly yours,

(signature)
W. A. Plecker, M.D. State Registrar of Vital Statistics

Page 2 – SURNAMES, BY COUNTIES AND CITIES [illegible] VIRGINIA FAMILIES STRIVING

Albemarle:
Moon, Powell, Kidd, Pumphrey

Amherst: (Migrants to Allegheney and Campbell)
Adcock (Adcox), Beverly (this family is now trying to evade the situation by   adopting the name of Burch or Birch, which was the name of the white mother   of the present adult generation), Branham, Duff, Floyd, Hamilton, Hartless,   Hicks, Johns, Lawless, Nuckles (Knuckles), Painter, Ramsey, Redcross,   Roberts, Southwards (Suthards, Southerds, Southers), Sorrells, Terry, Tyree,   Willis, Clark, Cash, Wood

Bedford:
McVey, Maxey, Branham, Burley (See Amherst County)

Rockbridge: (Migrants to Augusta)
Cash, Clark, Coleman, Duff, Floyd, Hartless, Hicks, Mason, Mayse (Mays),   Painters, Pultz, Ramsey, Southerds (Southers, Southards, Suthards), Sorrell,   Terry, Tyree, Wood, Johns

Charles City:
Collins, Dennis, Bradby, Howell, Langston, Stewart, Wynn, Custalow   (Custaloo), Dungoe, Holmes, Miles, Page, Allmond, Adams, Hawkes, Spurlock,   Doggett

New Kent:
Collins, Bradby, Stewart, Wynn, Adkins, Langston

Henrico and Richmond City:
See Charles City, New Kent, and King William

Caroline:
Byrd, Fortune, Nelson. (See Essex)

Essex and King and Queen:
Nelson, Fortune, Byrd, Cooper, Tate, Hammond, Brooks, Boughton, Prince,   Mitchell, Robinson

Elizabeth City & Newport News:
Stewart (descendants of Charles City families).

Halifax:
Epps (Eppes), Stewart (Stuart), Coleman, Johnson, Martin, Talley, Sheppard   (Shepard), Young.

Norfolk County & Portsmouth:
Sawyer, Bass, Weaver, Locklear (Locklair), King, Bright, Porter

Westmoreland:
Sorrells, Worlds (or Worrell), Atwells, Butridge, Okiff.

Greene:
Shifflett, Shiflet

Prince William:
Tyson, Segar. (See Fauquier)

Fauquier:
Hoffman (Huffman), Riley, Colvin, Phillips. (See Prince William)

Lancaster:
Dorsey (Dawson)

Washington:
Beverly, Barlow, Thomas, Hughes, Lethcoe, Worley

Roanoke County:
Beverly (See Washington)

Lee and Smyth:
Collins, Gibson, (Gipson), Moore, Goins, Ramsey, Delph, Bunch, Freeman, Mise,   Barlow, Bolden (Bolin), Mullins, Hawkins (Chiefly Tennessee Melungeons)

Scott:
Dingus (See Lee County)

Russell:
Keith, Castell, Stillwell, Meade, Proffitt. (See Lee and Tazewell)

Tazewell:
Hammed, Duncan. (See Russell)

Wise:
See Lee, Scott, Smyth, and Russell Counties.