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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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