The Malungeons  According to Joanne


 

 

 
 
From my research I hope to be able to show that the Malungeons were in fact Portuguese Adventurers who intermixed with the local  Indians in the Carolinas, I believe I can. 


 These families were reported along the Pee Dee River as early as 1725, they may have joined
Christian Priber's 'Paradice', his Utiopa in the Cherokee Indian Town. They were likely ejected after his arrest in 1743 when Chief Attacullaculla  signed an agreement in Charleston  to trade only with the British, return runaway slaves and expel Non-English whites from their territory, in return they received guns, ammunition, and red paint .

From court records found in North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois these families from the Pee Dee declared they were Portuguese and in most cases they succeeded.  The Ivey, Halls, Chavis, Shoemake, Bolton, Perkins, Goins, Collins,  Nickens, Dungee,  and others have all been identified as Portuguese in courts, county histories, etc.


In 1848 a journalist from Louisville, Kentucky visited Newman's Ridge where he stayed at the Vardy Inn and  wrote the 'legend of their history' -- and it would appear that Vardy Collins and/or his wife 'Spanish Peggy Gibson' were the possibly the source.  Most researchers assume Vardy was giving the history of his Collins family but it is likely his ancestors were merely  Indians as were many of the other early settlers on Newman's Ridge.  The little Portuguese community on the border of the Carolinas  appears to have started breaking up around 1800 and many had moved west after the War of 1812. 

Judge Lewis Shepherd defended the granddaughter of Solomon Bolton in 1874 and in that trial testimony was given by credible witnessess that Solom Bolton [and people of his race] had been 'called Malungeons' and as Shepherd would tell it later these people came from South Carolina.  In fact Solomon Bolton's father, Spencer Bolton was said to have been born on the Pee Dee River in 1735 which would means his family as well as deeds of the Bass, Perkins, Ivey, etc., can be shown living in the same area that in 1754 showed '50 mixt families' residing. 
Judge Lewis Shepherd tells how these people came over the mountains from South Carolina to Hancock County, Tennessee and spread out from there.

The Lowery of the Lumbee families according to history have Portuguese ancestors and it is said that Tobias Gibson, son of Jordan is also said to have had Portuguese ancestry.  It seems fairly clear to me that the Portuguese settlers who intermixed with one tribe, most likely the Cheraw or Saura, became the 'Lumbee' while just across the line those same families who intermixed with the other tribes, possibly the Catawba, Pee Dee, etc., became known as Redbones. As they moved into Tennessee and intermixed with the Saponi-Occaneechi families of Gibsons, Collins, etc., they became what was described in 1848 as the 'present race of Melungens.'





 



 

“No Indians in Bladen County”




About the end of July 1754 Governor Dobbs sailed from England and reached Virginia after a voyage of ten weeks.  For more than a month he was engaged in arranging with Governor Dinwiddie and Governor Sharpe of Maryland the details of a plan of campaign against the french and he reached New Bern only at the close of October.  Immediately on arriving he proceeded to make himself acquainted with the affairs of the province, and called for a militia return.  As indicating the extension of population at that time;

 Bertie reported 720 men for military duty; Northampton 737 men, which was thought to be 200 short; Edgecombe, 1317; Granville 734; Orange 490; Anson, 790, and Rowan 996. At Wilmington, Governor Dobbs found seventy families and at Brunswick twenty.

There were sixteen vessels in the Cape Fear River, while it was estimated that one hundred came in annually.  Eighteen feet of water was reported at the bar.  At Wilmington a good town house had been built and a brick church stood ready for the roof; while at Brunswick the church, also of brick, was not quite so far advanced.  Forts had been begun below Brunswick at Oracoke and at Beaufort.

The Indian war being in progress particular inquiries were made as to the location of Indians in North Carolina.  In Bertie County there were reported a hundred warriors of the Tuscaroras and two hundred women and children.  In Chowan two men and three women and two children.  In Granville County there were the Saponas with fourteen men and fourteen women.  The Meherrins had seven or eight fighting men in Northampton. 

The report concludes; “ These are all the Indians except about eight or ten Mattamuskeet Indians and as many on the island or banks, a total of twenty.” [1]

The reports of the colonel of Bladen County and of Captain William Davis, who had a troop of light horse, both said “no Indians” in that county.  Colonel Rutherford of that county, who was also the receiver-general, added this memorandum; “Drowning Creek, on the head of Little Peedee, fifty families, a mixed crew, a lawless people possess the lands without patent or paying quit rents; shot a surveyor for coming to view vacant lands, being enclosed in great swamps.  Quakers to attend musters or pay as in the northern counties.”


Report concerning the militia in each county of North Carolina

(Documenting the South http://docsouth.unc.edu/csr/index.html/document/csr05-0072)

No Author

1754

Volume 05, Pages 161-163

[From MSS. Records in Office of Secretary of State.]

Abstracts of returns from the several counties in response to circular from Governor Dobbs. [See ante, page 144.—Editor.]

Bladen—Col: Rutherfords Regimt of Foot in Bladen County 441. a Troop of horse 36. A new company necessary to be made at Waggamaw James Kerr recommended for Captn

Drowning Creek on the head of Little Pedee, 50 families a mixt Crew, a lawless People, possess the Lands without patent or paying quit rents; shot a Surveyor for coming to view vacant lands being inclosed in great swamps

Quakers to attend musters or pay as in the Northern Counties; fines not high enough to oblige the Militia to attend musters No arms stores or Indians in the county

Bladen Troop Willm Davys Captn with officers 33 men The Troop wants Holsters with Blew Caps & Housings fringed, pistols, Carbines, Broad Swords or hangers with which they want to be furnished. No Indians

 




When this mixed race was first observed by the early settlers of the upper Cape Fear [2] about 1735, it is said that they spoke English, cultivated land, lived in substantial houses, and otherwise practised the arts of civilized life, being in these respects different from any Indians tribe.  [3]

1725 map by John Herbert shows the Cheraw/Sarah tribe on the Pedee River not far from Drowning Creek  where these settlers were recorded ten years later. Also in the South Carolina Gazette October 3, 1771 it was reported that one Winsler Drigger had been captured “near Drowning Creek in the Charraw settlement.’‘
The above records show that there were people living in this area as early as 1725 and as late as 1771 identified as Cheraw/Saura Indians yet in 1754 they were called a ‘mixed crew’ and not marked down as Indians?  Did the Portuguese arrive in the twenty years between 1725 and 1754, mixing with this tribe and living as white people and speaking English?


[1]HISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA
SAMUEL A’COURT ASHE  VOL I 1584-1783
1908-  REPORTS ON INDIAN INHABITANTS

[2]The Cape Fear River is formed by the confluence of the Haw and Deep Rivers and the upper Cape Fear was known as the “Sapona” by the Indians.  http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail

[3] HISTORY OF NORTH CAROLINA  SAMUEL A’COURT ASHE  VOL I 1584-1783
1908- “Contemporaneous Documents”



 

THE PORTUGUESE SETTLERS




Who were these settlers living on the Pee Dee in this time period who would later be called Melungeons, Lumbee, Redbones, and identified as Portuguese?  Our first and probably most important case is that of Solomon Bolton.

Solomon was the son of Spencer Bolton who according to military records was born in 1735 on the Pee Dee River.  Spencer and probably his brother Solomon Bolton were living in Georgetown, South Carolina [later would become Marion County] in 1790.  In 1794 South Carolina imposed a pole tax on ‘all free Negroes, Mustee, and Mulatoes,” Spencer and Solomon Bolton both signed a petition to repeal the act that was  ‘so truly morifiying to your distressed petitioners.”

By 1860 this family had removed to the Sale Creek area of Hamilton County, Tennessee where they were known as ‘Malungeons,’ along with the Shoemake, Perkins, Goins, Mourning, Manley and ‘others.’  The trial which arose when the granddaughter of Spencer Bolton  married into a fairly wealthy family gave birth to a daughter and died shortly afterwords.  Her daughter, Martha Bolton Carter, would become the center of this case which was known as the ‘Romantic Melungeon Case.”   Evidence was presented that showed the Bolton had ‘negro blood’ but many of their neighbors from South Carolina, Marion and Hamilton Counties of Tennessee testified Solomon Bolton’s family were Portuguese or Spanish.

One of the most convincing was the Reverend D. D. Scruggs who testified under oath;

Q. If you ever resided in Spartanburg District, South Carolina, state when and how long you resided there?
A. I was born there in the year 1806 and lived there until the year 1866, just sixty years.


Q. State whether or not you were acquainted with a man named Spencer Bolton in Spartanburg District So. Ca.?
A. I knew him.

Q. State to what race of people Bolton belonged, and state fully all the facts in connection with your acquaintance with him and his family?

A. He belonged to the Spanish race of people I think. I am positive that it was either Spanish or Portugese. I was Tax Collector in the District at one time and amongst other things I was required to levy a per capita tax on all Negroes and I recollect distinctly that it was not levied by me upon him. He, Bolton was a dark skinned man with very straight hair and long nosed, thin visaged man-At the time referred to when I was tax collector, some parties reported to me that Bolton was of mixed blood. Thereupon I proceeded to investigate the matter by calling in three citizens living in his neighborhood, among whom were a Mr. Young, Mr. Miles, and other to assist me in deciding the question; the decision was in favor of Bolton, to the effect he had no Negro blood in him. About the same time my attention was also called in an official capacity to a Mr. Dempsy who claimed to be a Portugese, and the decision in his case was that he was of mixed blood, but I gave him the right of appeal but he left the country. Bolton and Dempsey were not in any way connected.


Another well known case among Melungeon researchers took place nearly twenty years prior to the Bolton case in Johnson County, Tennessee and involved the same Perkins family who’s relatives were called Malungeons in Hamilton County. 

In Joshua F. Perkins vs John R. White testimony showed the family had lived on the Pee Dee River in Carolina and were also known to be Portuguese.  Some of those who testified;

I knew old Joshua PERKINS. He was a dark skinned man, darker than Joshua. Tall and spare. He resembled an Indian more than a negro. Was generally called a Portugese

I knew George PERKINS. My father and mother knew the PERKINS in South Carolina and always said they were Portuguese & the mother a white woman

I knew the great grand father of plaintiff, old Jock, a dark skinned and complectioned man. Rather bald, hair bushy and long, not kinky. Races. Associated with white people. His wife said to be a Scotch woman. He had a long roman nose. Associated with Richard WHITE, Landon CARTER, and the most respectable persons. I knew John GRAVES, the great grandfather of plaintiff on mother’s side. Hair Bushy, not as curly as SMITH’s -or BUTLER’s. Was a Constable. Sent to SC for certificate.

Old Jock generally called a Portuguese until they fell out with him. I was constable in his neighborhood for 11 years. Understood he went into service against the Indians & his color was thrown up to him.

I knew old Jock. He was always called a Portuguese and said he came from S.C. I knew 3 of his sons and he had others. Ferry in S.C. Jacob PERKINS in the battle at Sullivan's Island near Charleston. I saw the discharge of Jock PERKINS. They were not connected with the African race

aged 70--Lee County Va. I have seen old Jock, the father of Joshua, who said they came from Peedee S.C. He was a dark skinned man with slim face, slim nose and dark colored hair. He was dark skinned as the blackest of the family. All the PERKINS had white wives and were reputed Portuguese




Other settlers in Marion County, South Carolina and across the line in Robeson County, North  Carolina would also be identified as Portuguese in other court records, county histories, and biographies.




HISTORY OF THE PIONEERS AND INDIANS OF CROW CREEK


Before the Indians were taken to Indian Territory there was a large number of whites and Indians that fled to the mountain between Little Crow Creek and Little Coon. They built Shavis Town, cleared up about 100 or more acres and cultivated it, putting out an orchard. They raised winesap apples, peaches, corn and dug ginseng besides hunting for a living.

The older men were very religious. They were mixed with Portuguese. Willis Shavis named his four sons after the Apostles, Andrew, John, Peter and Nathaniel. The had two Preachers, John Pressley and Brother Forsythe, an Indian. They would preach and convert the young men and girls and bring them down to Little Crow Creek to Baptize them. They believed rightly they were to be buried in baptism in water. They knew the Bible. I don't know where they knew the Bible very few could read or write. [Willis married an Evans from the Portuguese settlement of Marion County.

Ivey Trials

14 AUG 1809 Marion Dist. SC: Thomas Hagans refused to pay the tax on "all free Negros Mulattoes and Mestizos" claiming that he was a white man. Two white men testified that they were acquainted with Thomas Hagas grandfather, Thomas Ivey when he had been living on Drowning Creek in NC. They stated that Ivey was "of Portuguese descent, that his complexion was swarthy, his hair black and straight - that his wife Elizabeth was a free white woman, very clear complexion."('Portuguese' being a term used then to describe persons of mixed Indian-Spanish blood, much like 'Creole' and "Metis' is used today) They testified that Thomas Ivey's daughter, Kesiah Ivey married Zachariah Hagans and they were the parents of Thomas Hagans.   The court decided that Thomas Hagans was “of Portuguese descent” and therefore not subject to the tax. [Partially reproduced in North Carolina Genealogy Society Journal, Vol. IX, pp259 and in South Carolina Indians, Indian Traders, and Other Ethnic Connections: Beginning in 1670, Theresa M. Hicks, p298-9]



 

 Hall & Caulder –


These families eventually settled in  West Plains, Howell County, Missouri, the 'dark skinned'  Collins family with connections to Bertie County,  Clay County, Ky., and  Morgan County, Indiana  also settled in the very small town of  West Plains, Missouri.

HALL-- While no connection from Thomas Hall of Maury County, Tennessee to Burrell Hall of Little Pee Dee in Georgetown, South Carolina can be made at this point it is reasonable to think that since Thomas and David Hall traveled to Arkansas and then Missouri with the Caulder family from Georgetown there was a relationship.

 HOWELL COUNTY GAZETTE                 June 16, 1910   West Plains, Missouri
 
 Halls Ostracized
 
 A noted family Barred From White School
 
 An Oklahoma Damage Suit Similar To One Brought By the Halls in Howell
County in 1891.
 
 Down in Muscogee county, Oklahoma, damage suit for $10,000 for which the
"Jim Crow" law of that state is responsible, has brought to memory among the
older settlers of Howell county a suit of similiar nature that stirred up
considerable strife in this county a number of years ago. The suit in
Oklahoma is brought by more than one hundred persons. They comprise "the
Halls" made up of a dozen families of the name of Hall, all related. They are
suing a school board because the directors have refused to permit the Halls
to take part in a literary society that meet each week at the school house.
One of the family was met at the door by a director who told him that he
could not be admitted because he was "part n*****." Then the ostracism was
declared against the whole colony and they were barred from the white school.
 
 A similar case came up in the southern part of Howell county in 1891 when
W.H.Hall, on the part of " the Halls" who then resided in the district
brought suit against the school board composed of F.L. McClain, M.H. Woodrell
and John Bailey to force the director to permit the Hall children to attend
the white school. All of the Hall children are of very dark complexion, and
in Howell county the general understanding became current that they were of
African descent. When the case came up in the Howell county circuit court a
change of venue was taken to Texas county and the case was tried before C.C.
Bland, H.D. Green, A.H.Livingstone and Colonel Wm. Monks were attorneys for
the Halls. A great deal of testimony was introduced at the trial and over 100
members of the Hall tribe were in court. The testimony showed that the
ancestors of the Halls came from Portugal.
 
 Henderson Hall, the ancestor of the Howell county Halls came to Missouri from
Tennessee. His father was from North Carolina and the ancestry was traced
back to Portugal where the original Halls were found to be of a sea roving
disposition and came to America soon after the discovery of the country by
Columbus.  Henderson  Hall came to Howell county before the war
and married a daughter of Fred Collier, of Howell county. Hall was looked upon
as a white man by the early settlers. Others of the family later moved to
this county and they fast increased in numbers. It is a well known fact that
all of the children have dark complexion and are almost all very tall and
angular. Several of them who reside in Oklahoma are Baptist preachers. The
Oklahoma Halls are principally from Howell county, but some of them came from
Tennessee and are related to those who emigrated from here to Oklahoma. Jim
Hall, a nephew of Henderson Hall, resides in West Plains.  Jeff Hall, another
nephew, makes his home in the southwestern part of the county. They have many
descendants scattered throughout the southwestern part of the county. Ever
since they won the suit tried in Texas county there has been no question here
about their nationality and they are looked upon as whites of Portuguese
descent.


 



MAURY COUNTY, TN - COURT - Thomas Hall, Proof of Race Affidavits

Contributor's Notes: I would like to share these two Tennessee documents.
Document number one is a Proof of Race affidavit document acquired by my Great
Great Grandfather Thomas Hall, on September 19, 1835, in Maury County,
Tennessee when he appeared before Justice of the Peace, James L. Crawford.

The second document seems to be a certification by William E. Erwin, Clerk of
the Court of Pleas and quarter session for Maury County, that James L.
Crawford had full authority to issue the Proof of Race document. This
document was dated October 13, 1835.

On June 26, 1843, these documents were filed in Marion County at Yelleville,
Arkansas.

In 1850 he moved to Oregon County, Missouri and they were recorded there and
filed on February 13, 1850, by J. R. Woodside, Clerk of that county. The
documents were recorded again in Howell County, Missouri on May 5, 1890. at
9: o'clock A.M. by T.B. Carmical, Recorder.

This was recorded after Thomas Hall's death on December 30, in 1888, in
Howell County, Missouri. This was filed after his death because his
children's children were expelled from school because they were dark and
caused of being Negroes. There were several trials in Missouri and Oklahoma.
The trials proved that they were of Portuguese descent and not Negroes.

THOMAS HALL

1835 Proof of Race affidavits from MAURY County, Tennessee

Recorded in Oregon County, Missouri 1850
Recorded in Howell County, Missouri 1890

Typed exactly as written: State of Tennessee Maury County this day person-
ally appeared before me James L Crawford one of the Justice of the peace in
and for said County THOMAS HALL and maid parob?? testomony that the said
THOMAS HALL is entitled to all of the privileges of a free citizen
THOMAS
HALL great grand father on his father side was portage an his great grand father
on his mothers side was an englishman and THOMAS HALL grand father on his
fathers side was of the portagee desent and his grand father on Mothers side
was an irishman and his own father was of the portugee decent and his mother
was a white american woman
sworn to and subscribed before me this the 19 day
of September 1835.
James L. Crawford J.P. his
PRESCOTT X REPRUM
mark
his
LONEY X HALLS
mark

========================================= State of Tennessee Murry County
I William E. Erwin Clerk of the Court of please and quarter sessions for
said County do hereby certify that James L Crawford is an acting justice of
the peace in and for said County of Murry in the State of Tennessee duly
commission and qualified according to law and that all his official acts are
intitled to full faith and credit given under my hand and the seal of my
office at office this 13 day of October 1835 and 60 th year of American
Independence
Wm E Erwin clk.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Filed February 13, 1850 J. R. Woodside Typed exactly as written:
State of Tennessee Maury County this day personally appeared before me James
L: Crawford one of the Justices of the peace in and for said county THOMAS
HALL and made proff by private testomony that the said THOMAS HALL is intitled
to all of the privileges of a private citizen THOMAS HALL great grand father
on his fathers sid was a poutagee and his great grand father on his mothers
sid was a inglish= man, and THOMAS HALL grand on his fathers sid was of the
poutagee desent, and his grand father on Mothers sid was an Irishman and his
own father was of the poutugee decent and his mother was a white american
born woman. sworn to and executed before me this the 19th dayof september
1835.
James L. Crawford J.P. his
PRESCOTT X NUPANS (seal)
mark
his
LONNEY X HALLS (seal)
mark

====================================== State of Tennessee, Maury County.
I. William E Erwin Clerk of the Court of Pleas and quarter session for said
County do here by certify that James L. Crawford is an acting Justice of the
peace in & for said County of Maury in the state of Tennessee duly
Commissioned Commissioned and qualified occor-ding to law and that all his
official acts are entitled to full faith and credit.
Given under my hand and the seal of my office at office this 13th day of
October A.D. 1835. and 60th year of American Independence.
Wm E. Erwin clk. (seal).



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CAULDER--   Moses Caulder appears on the 1794 petition regarding the  'free people of color' -- this family is referred to as 'African American' and 'free black' in the book by Billy Higgins that deals with these two families but all indications are they were part of this Portuguese settlement on the Pee Dee.


Tobias Gibson


LETTER FROM REV. J. G. JONES TO McKINLEY
GIBSON, ESQ.

Port Gibson, Miss., May 17, 1878


    There were three branches of the Gibson connexion which settled in Mississippi at an early day: The parents of Rev. Randall Gibson near Natchez about where the old town of Washington now stands; the family of Samuel Gibson - the founder of the Town of Port Gibson, in this vicinity; and that of Rev. Tobias Gibson in what is now Warren county in the vicinity of Warrenrtown. So far as I know these families all came from the valley of the Great Pee Dee river in South Carolina. Some time in the sixteenth century three ship loads of Portuguese Hugenots voluntarily exiled themselves from Portugal rather than renounce their Protestant faith, and settled in South Carolina, then the Colony of Carolina, in the very region of county where our Gibsons are first found, and, from their elevated intellectuality, morality, religion and enterprise, I have long believed that they were the descendants of those refugee Huguenots, though I do not remember ever to have heard but one of the connexion refer to this as a tradition of the family. I wish we now had the means of demonstrating this theory.




 Here on Newman’s Ridge is where these dark skinned Portuguese who had intermixed with the Cheraw Indians along the Pee Dee would meet up with the Saponi Indian families of Gibson, Bunch, Collins, etc., of Virginia to form what was called in 1848 ‘the present race of Malungeons’ Later settling throughout the country in small settlements.

   



   

MALUNGEON TOWN


 





Judge Lewis Shepherd, who has made a close study of the Melungeons, extending over a period of years, says that in a case of law in which he represented a Melungeon girl the question arose as to whether the Melungeons had negro blood in their veins. He said:

"A colony of these Moors crossed the Atlantic before the Revolutionary War and settled on the coast of South Carolina. They multiplied rapidly and by this industry and energy they accumulated considerable property. The South Carolina people, however, would not receive them on terms of equality. They refused to recognize them specially and would not allow the children to go to school with them.

"In fact they believed they were free negroes and treated them as such. By the laws of South Carolina a per capita tax was levied against free negroes and the tax authorities continuously harassed them by efforts to collect the tax. Under this rigid proscription of the proud people of South Carolina their condition became intolerable and so they migrated in a body and settled after a long and wandering journey through the wilderness in Hancock County, Tennessee." 

 Kingsport Times- 1923



 

LEBANON, WILSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE




When Will Allen Dromgoole published her first two articles on the Melungeons in 1890 a series of Letters to the Editor appeared.  Two of them stand out as they appear to be written by two very credible gentlemen who resided at Lebanon, Wilson County, Tennessee in 1850.

In the AMERICAN of Sept. 15, 1890  Dan W. Baird wrote of the Malungeons, in part, as follows:

"Several families are still to be found in Smith, Wilson, Rutherford, and Davidson Counties. There is nothing in their family names to give the student of ethnology a clue to their origin. In a locality in Wilson County known forty years ago as 'Malungeon Town', the most common names were Richardson, Nickens, and Collins. In Rutherford County not far from Lavergne, the principal Malungeons were Archers, Lanterns, and Blackmans. One of the latter family has sold fish in the north end of the market house in this city (Nashville) for many years, and some of the same family reside a few miles out on the Nolensville Turnpike. "A pretty fair speciman of the Malungeon tribe is a young fellow named Bernice Richardson, now serving a life sentence in the state prison for self-confessed complicity in the murder of M.T. Bennet of Lebanon.

From Saundra Keyes Ivey;

''Baird expresses surprise that writers of recent article on the Melungeons had not 'referred to the state records or called on any of the many old citizens still living who are familiar with all that is known of the history of the people called Malungeons......

 ........... And it is then that Baird writes of the Sevier letter and cites the speech of McKinney. He goes on to write; "All they seem to know of themselves is that they are 'Malungeons' and of Portuguese descent. These two points have been agreed upon for more than three-fourths of a century, and it appears that any one who undertakes to investigate the matter will be forced to accept them as established facts. "



Dan Baird was founder of the 
SOUTHERN LUMBERMAN in 1881 in Lebanon, Tennessee and later moved to Nashville,  in connection with publishing the magazine.


In a later exchange  written by R. M. Ewing to the Editor;
DAILY AMERICAN Sept 21, 1890 p. 4.

R. M. Ewing, wrote that when he attended law school at Lebanon Tennessee, in 1851:
" there was a colony of people residing within a few miles of Lebanon who were locally, and so far as I know generally, called Malungeons. They seemed to be a hard working, harmless, inoffensive people, a dark red or copper color, and jet black, straight hair...
these people claimed to be of Portuguese descent.

The  1850 census shows R. M. Ewing in the  Ninth Civil District of Williamson County, Tennessee -- Student at Law. The
Cumberland University School of Law was located in Lebanon, Tennessee. 

[More about Daniel Baird and Randall M. Ewing and their connections to the Tennessee Historical Society will be added soon.]




In 1830 Wilson County census  James and Permelia Nickens, John Brown, George and Elisha  Collins, Gideon Goins,  Jacob and Hezekiah Archy or Achy family appear as  Free Colored Persons.   Shadrack Goins and members of the Gibson family are also residing in Wilson County but their families are listed as white.


If there had been no Nickens or Collins in Wilson County we might assume Baird made this up but Baird AND Ewing both have the same story -- 1850, Lebanon, Tennessee, called Malungeons, said they were Portuguese. And the 'mulatto' Nickens, Goins and Collins family are living there. 

From Paul Heinegg;

William Nickens , born say 1750, died in Wilson County, Tennessee, in 1820 leaving ten children [Wilson County Quarterly Court Minutes 1830, 34]. In 1833 his sons Marcus, Andrew and Calvin presented a petition to the General Assembly of Tennessee stating that their parents were from Portugal, had settled in the United States many years since and that "their colour is rather of the mixed blood by appearance." They asked to have the same rights as other citizens of the state. One supporting statement said that their grandfather was from Portugal and another that their father bore the name "of a desent of the Portagee
" [Tennessee Legislative Petition 77-1831]. In the 1880 census two of their siblings listed North Carolina as the place of birth of their parents.

This is also backed up by this passage;

Page 30 MELUNGEONS YESTERDAY AND TODAY
Jean Patterson Bible

"In neighboring Wilson County, county historian, R. D. Lawlor, writes that late in the nineteenth century a lumberman in Vine, a small village in the county, needed help in cutting some timber so contacted people in Hancock County asking for labor. About forty Melungeon families came to Wilson County at the time to assist in the timber cutting and stayed until about 1870, when several returned to Hancock County. Others remained and among their descendants was a young man named Carl Trent, who attended Cumberland University at Lebanon, the Wilson County seat, and played on the University basketball team in 1950.''


FRONT PAGE

To be continued.............................

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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