Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Melungeon descendants celebrate their mysterious heritage
Biloxi Sun Herald (Knight Ridder) ^ | 7/30/05 | Steve Ivey

Posted on 08/02/2005 10:20:13 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana

FRANKFORT, Ky. - (KRT) - When S.J. Arthur started tracing her lineage more than 20 years ago, a fellow researcher stammered as she noticed recurring family names.

Was she connected to a unique group of people known as Melungeons, the researcher timidly asked, afraid Arthur might slap her. The reference was once considered a racial slur.

"I could be," Arthur replied. "I just don't know yet."

This weekend Arthur was one of dozens of Melungeon descendants who gathered in Frankfort, Ky., to shed the stigma that plagued their ancestors and try to grasp their mysterious heritage.

The Melungeons have been described as a "tri-racial isolate," with a mixture of white, black and Native American ancestry. Others have claimed Portuguese and Turkish lineage.

Often, they had olive skin, black hair and blue eyes, setting them apart from Scotch-Irish settlers in their native Appalachia.

The group has been there for more than two centuries, enduring discrimination until recently.

There are thought to be 50,000 to 100,000 Melungeons living in the United States today, still concentrated in Appalachia.

Because Melungeons tried to escape their ethnicity and the prejudice attached to it, their descendants have faced difficulty learning about their roots.

"Melungeons have been extremely misunderstood through the years. Some people don't even think they exist as a group," said state historian Ron Bryant.

Wayne Winkler, president of the Melungeon Heritage Association, said this weekend's conference, "Melungeons: Fact or Fiction," will help people understand better where they come from.

"A big part of Melungeon history is folklore," Winkler said. "Nobody was ever listed on a census record as a Melungeon. There isn't a Melungeon DNA marker."

But, Winkler said, last names such as Mullins, Goins, Collins and Gibson were common to Melungeons. Anyone encountering a relative with one of those names from Appalachia probably shares Melungeon heritage.

Until the past 20 years or so, such a branch in the family tree might not have been welcomed.

Ill-behaved children in eastern Tennessee and western Virginia were told the Melungeons would come for them.

Winkler's uncles weren't allowed to attend public school. Instead, they were forced to attend a Presbyterian mission - the Vardy school - in Sneedville, Tenn., for Melungeon children. The school, which opened in 1902, closed in the 1970s.

Most researchers say the word Melungeon - once a pejorative - comes from the French "melange," meaning mixture. Using the epithet against someone was likely to start a fight.

"There's no pure ethnic group," Winkler said. "There was a lot more to it than genetics. It's how people looked at you."

After a successful 1970s play about Melungeons in Hancock County, Tenn. - the center of Melungeon heritage - they became more accepting of their ancestry.

"Nobody would even say it before, and suddenly people were proudly putting it out there," Winkler said.

The Internet brought greater opportunity for Melungeons to trace their genealogy. But records on them were still murky.

"If you find a census record that says someone is a free person of color, that doesn't necessarily mean they were black," the historian Bryant said.

"They really didn't break it down so nicely in the old days. Now, people are embracing subject matter that was taboo. They're looking at it in a historical context. Even if their heritage is mixed, it doesn't matter anyway."

Arthur, vice president of the Melungeon Heritage Association, brought this year's convention to her hometown of Frankfort. The association meets every two years in Wise, Va., and holds its off-year meetings around the South.

"We're looking to discuss some of the migration patterns, some of the history that explains why we're so diverse," she said.

Arthur found her Melungeon heritage through the Mullins line.

"My people are who they are, whatever the combination may be," Arthur said. "It's only recently become acceptable to have a mixed-race heritage. But my personal journey started long before."

Having the convention in Frankfort also provided access to state archives.

The Kentucky Historical Society keeps a file of research for thousands of last names and books with records from surrounding states. The history center holds three files on Melungeons, including letters from 1942 between the secretaries of state for Tennessee and Virginia trying to figure out who the Melungeons were.

Bobbie Foust of Calvert City, Ky., combed court records at the history center Friday in search of information on her great-great-grandparents.

Their children married wealthy European sisters. Foust has had no trouble tracing that side.

But her great-great-grandmother was a Gibson from Appalachia. Records on her are scant.

After she went to the Melungeons' "Second Union" in Wise, Va., five years ago, she learned why: Her forebears were Melungeon.

Johnnie Rhea from Sneedville looked through marriage records Friday. She had difficulty finding information before the first U.S. Census in 1790.

"They didn't leave a paper trail," she said. "A colored person in our area was low, but Melungeons were even lower. We weren't protected."

---

© 2005, Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.).

Visit the World Wide Web site of the Herald-Leader at http://www.kentucky.com

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Kentucky; US: Tennessee; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: appalachia; godsgravesglyphs; heritage; melungeon; melungeons; shovelteeth
Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-100101-150151-178 next last
To: Eric in the Ozarks

Near to where I live there are similar people who live in a village called Hillburn and up in the Ramapo Mountains. They are a mixture of old Dutch, black slaves, and Indians. Many of them have Dutch surnames, like Van Dunk or DeFreese. Went to school with quite a few of them.

Lately, they been trying to form a casino by claiming they are a legitimate Indian tribe - the Ramapoughs.


51 posted on 08/02/2005 11:19:52 AM PDT by hepcat620
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: hepcat620

There are a number of tri-racial groups. The Ramapos are one of them. There are some in NC who are not Melungeons and there are some out of Louisiana. Heather Locklear is a descendent of the NC group and I have read that Steve Martin is a descendent of the LA group. I forget their names. Apparently Locklear is a common name in her group and she has publicly said that she is a descendent.


52 posted on 08/02/2005 11:23:42 AM PDT by twigs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 51 | View Replies]

To: twigs
One has to do with teeth. I forget what it's called.

Yes! The TV special discussed that. They were called shovel teeth or scoop teeth or something like that. I was berating my cat for some misdeed at the time and wasn't paying attention.

53 posted on 08/02/2005 11:27:44 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: twigs
The Religion And Culture Of The Roma (Also Known As Gypsies)

"The Roma people originally lived in north west India, and migrated to Persia from 224 to 642 CE. They lived under Arab rule in the Middle East from 642 to 900 CE, and eventually arrived in Constantinople. 17 Some authorities believe that there may have been additional migrations at a later date. By the 14th and 15th centuries, they had drifted into western Europe. Some emigrated from Europe to the US and Canada in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Following World War II, and lately the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe, there has been an additional westward migration. "

54 posted on 08/02/2005 11:29:20 AM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 50 | View Replies]

To: twigs

Is the NC group you mentioned the Lumbees? They are prevalent in Robeson County, where the county seat is called Lumberton. The Lumbees have tried in vain to be recognized as an Indian tribe.


55 posted on 08/02/2005 11:29:33 AM PDT by AuH2ORepublican (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 52 | View Replies]

To: Wallace T.
Those early Portuguese really must have gotten around. I used to work with a Philipino who graduated from a college which he said was founded by Portuguese before the Phillipines were officially discovered.

Also when the Dutch moved in to South Africa there was already a tribe of Cape Coloreds who were part Portuguese and part Hottentot.

56 posted on 08/02/2005 11:30:05 AM PDT by yarddog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

I agree . . . . .fascinating. Here is a link to a number of forums, articles, etc. concerning the Melungeons that you might find interesting to peruse when you have time.

http://www.nativeamericans.com/Melungeon.htm


57 posted on 08/02/2005 11:30:43 AM PDT by Jim Hill
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 36 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

I live up here in East Tennessee, near Hancock County. I have read about the Melungeons for years, have seen many, and used to work with one.

A Melungeon man wrote a book about them several years ago, and I read a fascinating newspaper article about his book, but can't remember the title or author.

I would be willing to bet there would be some indepth information
about them available from East Tennessee State University or Lincoln Memorial University, both located in east Tennessee/Kentucky area, in the location where the Melungeons are concentrated.

By the way, Lincoln Memorial University is named for President Abraham Lincoln, and has a great deal of information (a great museum) about the president. Lincoln had strong ties to east Tennessee, including family members who lived in Greeneville, TN. President Andrew Johnson was from Greeneville, was a strong Union supporter, and was Lincoln's vice-president, as you know. So some great information is available from these universities for any Civil War buffs out there.


58 posted on 08/02/2005 11:30:44 AM PDT by girlangler (Work is for people who don't fish)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

I live up here in East Tennessee, near Hancock County. I have read about the Melungeons for years, have seen many, and used to work with one.

A Melungeon man wrote a book about them several years ago, and I read a fascinating newspaper article about his book, but can't remember the title or author.

I would be willing to bet there would be some indepth information
about them available from East Tennessee State University or Lincoln Memorial University, both located in east Tennessee/Kentucky area, in the location where the Melungeons are concentrated.

By the way, Lincoln Memorial University is named for President Abraham Lincoln, and has a great deal of information (a great museum) about the president. Lincoln had strong ties to east Tennessee, including family members who lived in Greeneville, TN. President Andrew Johnson was from Greeneville, was a strong Union supporter, and was Lincoln's vice-president, as you know. So some great information is available from these universities for any Civil War buffs out there.


59 posted on 08/02/2005 11:31:32 AM PDT by girlangler (Work is for people who don't fish)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana
"Yes! The TV special discussed that. They were called shovel teeth or scoop teeth or something like that."

This term is usually associated with Asians. SE Asians have Sundondont teeth and North Asians have Sinodont teeth. American Indians have Sinodont teeth and Kennewick Man had Sundodont teeth.

60 posted on 08/02/2005 11:34:01 AM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 53 | View Replies]

To: SMARTY

I've heard that too, although most Lincoln biographers dispute this claim, showing solid evidence that unless "a dog jumped the fence," Abe was of Welsh and English ancestry. Makes sense as he had the classic Welsh dark haired features (see Tom Jones and Catherine Zeta Jones).


61 posted on 08/02/2005 11:34:26 AM PDT by Clemenza (Life Ain't Fair, GET OVER IT!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 26 | View Replies]

To: AuH2ORepublican

Yes, they're Lumbees! And Locklear is a Lumbee descendent. It's interesting because she is so blonde. But that is a characteristic of these groups. Even children of the same family can be fair and blonde, dark and brunette and red-headed. So you really can't necessarily tell by appearance.


62 posted on 08/02/2005 11:34:39 AM PDT by twigs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 55 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

Yes, it's shovel teeth. You can probably find a drawing somewhere on the internet. I have one somewhere in my archives. You can tell by running your tongue along the back of your teeth. This is a characteristic that can carry forward by hundreds of years.


63 posted on 08/02/2005 11:36:21 AM PDT by twigs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 53 | View Replies]

To: Recall

Never expect a movie to teach you history. The "blue" in braveheart was for Hollywood effect.

I saw a show with a British historian, and she said maybe very primitive tribes perhaps did this at one time, but the practice was way over by the time of Braveheart.

They also had a famous bridge battle in Braveheart without the bridge. Cost too much money. LOL.


64 posted on 08/02/2005 11:38:07 AM PDT by I still care (America is not the problem - it is the solution..)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 40 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

delviverance alert.


65 posted on 08/02/2005 11:39:27 AM PDT by the invisib1e hand (In Honor of Terri Schiavo. *check my FReeppage for the link* Let it load and have the sound on.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: twigs
It's interesting because she is so blonde.

I don't know if she's REALLY blonde. I saw a pic of her sis one time and she was dark haired.

66 posted on 08/02/2005 11:40:24 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 62 | View Replies]

To: twigs

"Even children of the same family can be fair and blonde, dark and brunette and red-headed."



Sounds like Andalucians from southern Spain, who are Spanish with Moorish blood. It is said that every family over there has one blond/redhead and one dark-haired sibling.


67 posted on 08/02/2005 11:40:26 AM PDT by AuH2ORepublican (Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 62 | View Replies]

To: hepcat620

Holy cow ! Don't let the good citizens of Pella, Iowa find out about this.


68 posted on 08/02/2005 11:42:37 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Scratch a Liberal. Uncover a Fascist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 51 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

I've been reading off and on about melungeons for a few years. In terms of DNA, they are closely related to the people who live in Tripoli. The physical characteristics of the melungeons ( a bump on the back of the head) is something they have in common with the turks.The turkish word melungeon means damned people.I find melugeons fascinating.


69 posted on 08/02/2005 11:43:33 AM PDT by after dark
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: twigs

The documentary (I believe it was from the National Geographic Channel) mentioned that Melungeon descendants often have shovel teeth.


70 posted on 08/02/2005 11:44:28 AM PDT by tertiary01 (It took 21 years but 1984 finally arrived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: tertiary01

I think I have shovel teeth, but one Uncle has a bump on the back of his head.


71 posted on 08/02/2005 11:47:41 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 70 | View Replies]

To: twigs

Here's a link to a picture (won't let me right-click). Yes, I do indeed have "shovel teeth", but that's probably thanks to the Mexican Indian in me. The info I read said it's an "Asian" or "Indian" trait. So, it's fair to say that if someone has shovel teeth, they are not pure Northern European?


72 posted on 08/02/2005 11:53:29 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 63 | View Replies]

To: Twig

doh! forgot the link: http://www.derweb.co.uk/imgsearch/imglibrary.asp?code=2580&UserID=20601


73 posted on 08/02/2005 11:54:31 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 72 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

And... I've got the bump on the back of the head, too. But no relatives with the last names mentioned!


74 posted on 08/02/2005 11:54:53 AM PDT by tertiary01 (It took 21 years but 1984 finally arrived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 71 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

Never knew if he was kidding...
Picts.


75 posted on 08/02/2005 11:55:15 AM PDT by Safetgiver (Only two requisites to be a judge. Gray hair to look wise and hemorrhoids to look concerned.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: tertiary01

(hundreds of FReepers currently sit at computers; one hand on mouse; one hand on back of head feeling for a lump).


76 posted on 08/02/2005 11:55:44 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 74 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

That's my understanding, although I haven't read about this for a number of years.


77 posted on 08/02/2005 11:58:20 AM PDT by twigs
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 72 | View Replies]

To: tertiary01

snipped this from a web site:
MELUNGEON PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

There are some physiological characteristics which are called ethnic markers, that seem to
be passed on through the lines of some Melungeon descendants. There is a bump on the back of the HEAD of SOME descendants, that is located at mid-line, just ABOVE the juncture with the neck. It is about the size and shape of half a golf ball or smaller. This is called an ANATOLIAN BUMP, and indicates ancestry from the Anatolian region of Turkey. If you cannot find the bump, check to see if you, like some descendants, including myself, have a ridge, located at the base of the head where it joins the neck, rather than the Anatolian bump.

This ridge is an enlargement of the base of the skull, which is called a Central Asian Cranial Ridge. My ridge is quite noticeable. It is larger than anyone else's that I have felt, except my father's. I can lay one finger under it and the ridge is as deep as my finger is thick. Other ridges are smaller. To find a ridge, place your hand at the base of your neck where it joins your shoulders, and on the center line of your spine. Run your fingers straight up your neck toward your head. If you have a ridge, it will stop your fingers from going on up and across your head. ONLY people who live/d in the Anatolian region of Turkey or Central Asia also have this "bump/ridge.
"

There is also a ridge on the back of the first four teeth - two front teeth and the ones on either side (upper and lower) of some descendants. If you place your fingernail at the gum line and gently draw (up or down) you can feel it and it makes a slight clicking sound. The back of the teeth also curve outward rather than straight as the descendants of anglo-saxon parentage do. Teeth like these are called Asian Shovel Teeth.

Many Indian descendants also have this type of teeth. The back of the first four teeth of Northern European descendants are straight and flat.


78 posted on 08/02/2005 11:58:56 AM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 74 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

What an interesting story! Just last night I was talking with my friend's girlfriend and this very topic came up. Her family is originally from North Carolina and fits many of the characteristics of the Melungeons. When I first met her, I thought she must be at least biracial, probably triracial, but I had no idea what races those were and which ones predominated in her heritage. Turns out, she doesn't know either. Her family has traced back their lineage all the way to mid-1700s North Carolina. They have yet to find a direct ancestor who was not of mixed race. They have searched for an ancestor who was all white or all black, and just cannot find one in 250 years. Most of the time, they can't even tell what races these ancestors were descended from - they just know that they were "mixed" but mixed what is anyone's guess. They theorize that their family is a mix of English, African, and Native American blood, but Melungeon is also a distinct possibility.


79 posted on 08/02/2005 12:05:03 PM PDT by sassbox
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sassbox

Have her do the "tooth & head" test. See my post #78.


80 posted on 08/02/2005 12:06:12 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 79 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

Based on your assessment data I believe I have a shovel tooth also. On my Mother's side there is a trait for extreme reaction to alcohol present in some of the females causing what appears to be hot flashes that last for hours.


81 posted on 08/02/2005 12:10:21 PM PDT by tertiary01 (It took 21 years but 1984 finally arrived.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 78 | View Replies]

To: twigs

"I just read a story about the blue people. It's a condition that was inherited from one man. I forget his name--Martin.... Fascinating."

If you're from any of the southern Appalachian mountain states, you've probably heard the phrase "blue as a Fugate." That's the surname... Fugate.


82 posted on 08/02/2005 12:10:28 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: twigs

"There are also physical characteristics of Melungeons. One has to do with teeth. I forget what it's called."

"Shovel teeth," because of the shape, concave on the back. Certain native American tribes have the same trait.


83 posted on 08/02/2005 12:12:26 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana
"Black Irish"?

My mother is Black Irish, Dark Brown eyes, Olive skin, and dark Brown Hair, when she was younger, she also has an odd blood type for a Celt, AB.

Her family originated in Armah and as nearly as we can trace none of her family married outside of the Irish. I live in an area that is heavily Irish and she doen't look Irish at all.

84 posted on 08/02/2005 12:15:58 PM PDT by Little Bill (A 37%'r, a Red Spot on a Blue State, rats are evil.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: yarddog

"I guess Goins is the clinker."

I grew up about ten miles south of Goinstown, NC, which is near the VA border, about four counties east of TN. The surname is an old one, but the origin is uncertain. Many seem to believe that it was originally Creek... "Going Snake."


85 posted on 08/02/2005 12:15:59 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 27 | View Replies]

To: Wallace T.

"In an American context, mixed race people passing for white would tell others that their darker coloring was due to a Black Dutch or Black Irish ancestry, rather than an African or American Indian grandparent."

It kept them from being listed as "mulatto" or "colored" on the census, which could and often did lead to being run out of the county or having your land seized, in Ol' Virginny at least.


86 posted on 08/02/2005 12:18:35 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: twigs

"There are some in NC who are not Melungeons and there are some out of Louisiana. Heather Locklear is a descendent of the NC group"

Locklear is a Lumbee indian name. There are also the Redbones and the Brass Ankles.


87 posted on 08/02/2005 12:21:01 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 52 | View Replies]

To: the invisib1e hand

"delviverance alert."

I wouldn't be cracking on mountain people too hard, if I couldn't even spell "deliverance," LOL.


88 posted on 08/02/2005 12:23:13 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 65 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry

ROFLOL!


89 posted on 08/02/2005 12:24:03 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 88 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana
I wonder if the Phoenician artifacts ,which are found occasionally, are connected to the melungeons.
I remember reading the Indians(not native Americans) believe a bump on the back of the head means great spirituality.Its ironic that people with so many noble characteristics were considered so undesirable.
90 posted on 08/02/2005 12:27:23 PM PDT by after dark
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: blam

" This may interest you. Mandans?"

I read about that in several different books and was amazed. I think our ancestors got around a lot more than the experts think.


91 posted on 08/02/2005 12:27:36 PM PDT by dljordan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 30 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

"Buddy's BBQ & Tack Shop? "

The Templars of Eastern Tennessee moved it to the Priory of Gatlinburg (Luther's Towing and Hauling) to prevent the eyes of the profane from gazing upon it. For the Widow's Son.


92 posted on 08/02/2005 12:31:47 PM PDT by dljordan
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: after dark
Here's more ~snipped~ info from a link provided in the thread earlier: In 1988, amid the uproar over Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Southern Appalachian native Dr. N. Brent Kennedy checked himself into an Atlanta hospital to undergo tests fearing he had contracted the disease. Instead, the doctors diagnosed Kennedy with having erythema nodosum sarcoidosis, a disease that is common only to Mediterranean cultures. Kennedy learned he was descended from Melungeons, but, like many of his lineage, had never been taught about his ancestry. The medical diagnosis proved to be one of the keys to unlocking the mystery of the Melungeons’ origins. Dr. Kennedy began a crusade to find out about his ancestry. He tore into diaries, pictures, and records from both America and Europe. In his research and, with the help of other Melungeon descendants, Kennedy was also able to establish a possible evidentiary record pointing to a theory that was a long-held belief among many Melungeons in Southern Appalachia. In the 12th Century, the reconquest of Spain by warrior kings and men like El Cid ended Moorish occupation and reestablished new Christian states in Spain and Portugal. By the 15th and 16th Centuries, the Inquisitions began to purge Moors from the two nations. In 400 years of rule, many Moors had intermarried with the Europeans and taken European surnames. Although Moorish occupation had allowed freedom of religion among the Christians and the Jews, no such tolerance was given back to the Islamic Moors. Following the reconquest, most faded into the background of the nations where they settled and never disclosed their ancestry. The Inquisitions, however, grew unchecked against the Moors. The national cannibalism of ethnic cleansing led many kings to look for other ways to handle the duties of both church and nation. By the 16th Century , King Phillip II of Spain began sending thousands of Moors into exile rather than executing them, with two conditions: For diplomatic reasons, they would not be resettled in Europe and they could not return home to Northern Africa where latent hostilities might be reignited against the Spanish. The Moors were loaded onto ships and sent on their way to other lands. Two such ships recorded reaching ports in China and India, but were refused entry fearing they were escaped slaves. Most of the ships were never heard from again. In 1567, a Spanish ship under the command of Captain Juan Pardo, an officer of Portuguese origin, and approximately 250 Moorish soldier/settlers landed near Beaufort, SC, traveled inland to the Georgia interior, and began building forts and settlements in the region to prepare for an "eventual road" that would cross the territory. The crew brought along a chemist familiar with smelting precious ores and the party also mined the North Georgia region for gold and silver. At each fort, Pardo left a sizeable number of soldiers to watch over Spanish interests in the area. Captain Pardo returned to the coast and never again traveled inland to the forts he established. The ensuing battles between the Spanish, French, and English over claims on the New World left the villages destroyed or occupied and the soldier/settlers listed as dead or missing. Many of Pardo’s men are thought to have taken brides from the Catawba and Creek tribes. In fact, Spain always had historically close diplomatic ties with the Red Stick Creeks and used it to wage war against the British. Kennedy and other scholars think the "cousin relationship" could also explain how the Melungeons were able to live and trade among the tribes without interference. While the great Lisbon earthquake and fire of 1755 destroyed virtually all of Portugal’s shipping manifests and records, many ships’ logs have surfaced over the years and are being studied by researchers investigating the Moorish connection. The oppression of the Melungeons by European settlers which pushed them into isolation among the Southern Appalachians may have actually helped preserved many clues about their origins. The mountains and ridges of Hancock County remain as isolated today as they did when the Melungeons were first discovered. It is still among one of the most impoverished regions in Tennessee and Southern Appalachia. Dr. Paul Reed runs the Hancock County Medical Clinic in Sneedville. He says the new medical facts answer a lot of questions doctors in the region have asked for years. "Sarcoidosis is a disease that has traditionally affected people of Melungeon ancestry," said Reed," but, in many cases, has probably been misdiagnosed and people hurt because of it. While there is no cure for it, there are treatments that can really help ease their suffering." Reed is also excited about the new interest in Melungeon ancestry and says the new focus is a reflection of changing times. "When isolation was no longer a wise policy, Melungeons started moving back into mainstream society, have gone to college, and now have the tools to try and find out who we are," Reed said. "We can now hopefully salvage what we can of our heritage and preserve it." In addition to Kennedy’s research, further DNA testing was done recently and concluded that a definite link exists between the Southern Appalachian Melungeons and Mediterranean cultures. Recent archaeological excavations in Hancock County and other settlements have also netted artifacts that lend credibility to the possibility of Moorish origins. Kennedy’s research and the Melungeon Research Committee he helped to found are still studying the theories and looking at new evidence as it becomes available. Hancock County official Scott Collins sits on the research committee and says more information is gathered every day that could explain who the Melungeons are. "Many people of our ancestry don’t know who they are and we’re working to not only answer the question, but to preserve what we find," said Collins. "A lot of proud traditions still exist in some families that don’t in others and this could be a vital key to unlocking the truth. It may take years before we know the answers." No one can argue that the Melungeons of East Tennessee and Southern Appalachia were a remarkable and tragic people. The legends told about them apparently bore some truth in their stories. If the evidence continues to support the theory and their traditional beliefs, the long-awaited answer to "America’s greatest anthropological mystery" could finally be known. In short, it can be gathered from Kennedy’ research that the Melungeons are the descendants of the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, they were part of the Arab nation that conquered Spain and Portugal, built Casablanca, Marrakech, and Tangier, and, in the midst of their worst tragedy, sailed to America and traveled 300 miles inland to establish a free colony in the new world, forty years before the British established the colony we would come to know as Jamestown.
93 posted on 08/02/2005 12:33:38 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 69 | View Replies]

To: RegulatorCountry
It was not uncommon for mixed race Virginians and other Southerners to migrate to the North to "pass" as white. A classic example of passing for white was in the case of the descendants of Sally Hemmings with either Thomas Jefferson or a relative of the third President. They emigrated to Ohio and developed a "white" identity. There were rumors that Warren Harding had mixed race relatives on his mother's side who had moved from Virginia to Ohio. Many blacks believed that Babe Ruth was partially African American. It is also possible that J. Edgar Hoover had black ancestry through his mother's lineage.
94 posted on 08/02/2005 12:35:03 PM PDT by Wallace T.
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 86 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana
doh! I thought I'd formatted that in HTML.

In 1988, amid the uproar over Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Southern Appalachian native Dr. N. Brent Kennedy checked himself into an Atlanta hospital to undergo tests fearing he had contracted the disease. Instead, the doctors diagnosed Kennedy with having erythema nodosum sarcoidosis, a disease that is common only to Mediterranean cultures. Kennedy learned he was descended from Melungeons, but, like many of his lineage, had never been taught about his ancestry. The medical diagnosis proved to be one of the keys to unlocking the mystery of the Melungeons’ origins.

Dr. Kennedy began a crusade to find out about his ancestry. He tore into diaries, pictures, and records from both America and Europe. In his research and, with the help of other Melungeon descendants, Kennedy was also able to establish a possible evidentiary record pointing to a theory that was a long-held belief among many Melungeons in Southern Appalachia.

In the 12th Century, the reconquest of Spain by warrior kings and men like El Cid ended Moorish occupation and reestablished new Christian states in Spain and Portugal. By the 15th and 16th Centuries, the Inquisitions began to purge Moors from the two nations. In 400 years of rule, many Moors had intermarried with the Europeans and taken European surnames. Although Moorish occupation had allowed freedom of religion among the Christians and the Jews, no such tolerance was given back to the Islamic Moors.

Following the reconquest, most faded into the background of the nations where they settled and never disclosed their ancestry. The Inquisitions, however, grew unchecked against the Moors. The national cannibalism of ethnic cleansing led many kings to look for other ways to handle the duties of both church and nation.

By the 16th Century , King Phillip II of Spain began sending thousands of Moors into exile rather than executing them, with two conditions: For diplomatic reasons, they would not be resettled in Europe and they could not return home to Northern Africa where latent hostilities might be reignited against the Spanish. The Moors were loaded onto ships and sent on their way to other lands. Two such ships recorded reaching ports in China and India, but were refused entry fearing they were escaped slaves. Most of the ships were never heard from again.

In 1567, a Spanish ship under the command of Captain Juan Pardo, an officer of Portuguese origin, and approximately 250 Moorish soldier/settlers landed near Beaufort, SC, traveled inland to the Georgia interior, and began building forts and settlements in the region to prepare for an "eventual road" that would cross the territory. The crew brought along a chemist familiar with smelting precious ores and the party also mined the North Georgia region for gold and silver. At each fort, Pardo left a sizeable number of soldiers to watch over Spanish interests in the area. Captain Pardo returned to the coast and never again traveled inland to the forts he established.

The ensuing battles between the Spanish, French, and English over claims on the New World left the villages destroyed or occupied and the soldier/settlers listed as dead or missing. Many of Pardo’s men are thought to have taken brides from the Catawba and Creek tribes. In fact, Spain always had historically close diplomatic ties with the Red Stick Creeks and used it to wage war against the British. Kennedy and other scholars think the "cousin relationship" could also explain how the Melungeons were able to live and trade among the tribes without interference.

While the great Lisbon earthquake and fire of 1755 destroyed virtually all of Portugal’s shipping manifests and records, many ships’ logs have surfaced over the years and are being studied by researchers investigating the Moorish connection. The oppression of the Melungeons by European settlers which pushed them into isolation among the Southern Appalachians may have actually helped preserved many clues about their origins.

The mountains and ridges of Hancock County remain as isolated today as they did when the Melungeons were first discovered. It is still among one of the most impoverished regions in Tennessee and Southern Appalachia. Dr. Paul Reed runs the Hancock County Medical Clinic in Sneedville. He says the new medical facts answer a lot of questions doctors in the region have asked for years.

"Sarcoidosis is a disease that has traditionally affected people of Melungeon ancestry," said Reed," but, in many cases, has probably been misdiagnosed and people hurt because of it. While there is no cure for it, there are treatments that can really help ease their suffering." Reed is also excited about the new interest in Melungeon ancestry and says the new focus is a reflection of changing times.

"When isolation was no longer a wise policy, Melungeons started moving back into mainstream society, have gone to college, and now have the tools to try and find out who we are," Reed said. "We can now hopefully salvage what we can of our heritage and preserve it."

In addition to Kennedy’s research, further DNA testing was done recently and concluded that a definite link exists between the Southern Appalachian Melungeons and Mediterranean cultures.

Recent archaeological excavations in Hancock County and other settlements have also netted artifacts that lend credibility to the possibility of Moorish origins. Kennedy’s research and the Melungeon Research Committee he helped to found are still studying the theories and looking at new evidence as it becomes available.

Hancock County official Scott Collins sits on the research committee and says more information is gathered every day that could explain who the Melungeons are.

"Many people of our ancestry don’t know who they are and we’re working to not only answer the question, but to preserve what we find," said Collins. "A lot of proud traditions still exist in some families that don’t in others and this could be a vital key to unlocking the truth. It may take years before we know the answers." No one can argue that the Melungeons of East Tennessee and Southern Appalachia were a remarkable and tragic people. The legends told about them apparently bore some truth in their stories. If the evidence continues to support the theory and their traditional beliefs, the long-awaited answer to "America’s greatest anthropological mystery" could finally be known.

In short, it can be gathered from Kennedy’ research that the Melungeons are the descendants of the Phoenicians and the Carthaginians, they were part of the Arab nation that conquered Spain and Portugal, built Casablanca, Marrakech, and Tangier, and, in the midst of their worst tragedy, sailed to America and traveled 300 miles inland to establish a free colony in the new world, forty years before the British established the colony we would come to know as Jamestown.

95 posted on 08/02/2005 12:36:17 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 93 | View Replies]

To: blam
Gypsies are originally from India. When they migrated to Europe they did so from Egypt hence, the name Gypsies. (BTW, they steal babies, or so, my mother said when I was young.)

According to Gypsy legend, when Jesus was about to be nailed to the cross, a Gypsy child stole two of the nails. Because that theft lessened the suffering of his Son, God allows Gypsies to steal without it being considered a sin.

96 posted on 08/02/2005 12:37:23 PM PDT by Modernman ("A conservative government is an organized hypocrisy." -Disraeli)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 44 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

"Many of Pardo’s men are thought to have taken brides from the Catawba and Creek tribes"

They've found the remains of one of Pardo's Spanish forts, just outside of Morganton, NC.


97 posted on 08/02/2005 12:39:43 PM PDT by RegulatorCountry (Esse Quam Videre)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 93 | View Replies]

To: Safetgiver

The Welsh are that way...


98 posted on 08/02/2005 12:52:13 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks (Scratch a Liberal. Uncover a Fascist)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 75 | View Replies]

To: hispanarepublicana

Now you have really complicated my family tree! I thought Irish, English, German, Cherokee, and Choctaw was mixed up enough but I have the bump on the back of my skull and a pronounced ridge on the back of my four front teeth.


99 posted on 08/02/2005 12:52:45 PM PDT by LPM1888 (What are the facts? Again and again and again -- what are the facts? - Lazarus Long)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 78 | View Replies]

To: LPM1888
Now you have really complicated my family tree!

LOL. Sounds to me like the fault lies with some amorous Melungeon in your family's past. Seriously, though, the shovel teeth could come from your Cherokee or Choctaw side, as it's also an Asian/Indian trait. Not sure about the lump.

100 posted on 08/02/2005 12:55:14 PM PDT by hispanarepublicana (There will be no bad talk or loud talk in this place. CB Stubblefield.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 99 | View Replies]


Navigation: use the links below to view more comments.
first previous 1-5051-100101-150151-178 next last

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson