From: Deborah Byrd
Date: October 27, 1998

Here is the address for the First Union Web page produced by the Melungeon themselves.  
there is also a list serve
[email protected]

Deborah Byrd

-----Original Message-----
From: Steven J. Coker 
To: [email protected] 
Date: Tuesday, October 27, 1998 7:41 PM

>"We should probably begin with a general overview of who the Melungeons are.
>Melungeons are a group of dark-featured people who have lived in Appalachia for
>at least 200 years and probably longer. They are not, at least exclusively,
>Native Americans, not African American and not the "usual" Caucasian (read:
>Scott Irish/German) Appalachians. They were reported to have been here when the
>first "white" settlers came and were living in cabins, speaking broken
>Elizabethan English and saying they were "Portyghee". Right now, the term
>Melungeon seems to be most strongly associated with the area around Hancock Co.
>Tennessee but there are Melungeons and their descendants all over the region,
>east Tennessee, southeastern Kentucky, western Virginia and western North
>Carolina. While their darker, rather Mediterranean features once set them apart,
>inter--marriages have taken place over the years and the "look" is probably not
>as apparent in many families.
>Melungeons have over time gotten a lot of media attention but it has not always
>been good or useful. The media it seems has always liked to tell things the way
>they want and Melungeons often come off as a folk tale --- another Appalachian
>mystery --- but they are a real people, just one with a lost history. There are
>lots of theories as to where the Melungeons came from. One is that they descend
>from the Lost Colony of Roanoke who intermarried with local Native American
>populations. Another says they are the descendants of the Welsh explorer, Madoc
>who came to North America around 1100 with ten ships filled with colonists. Some
>believe that they were the descendants of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors. Still
>others suggest that Melungeons are the lost tribe of Israel, lost Spanish
>explorers, or simply "tri-racial isolates", meaning a Native American/ African
>American/ Caucasian mixture which continued intermarrying.
>Personally, I lean very heavily to the theory put forth by Dr. N. Brent Kennedy
>in his book, "The Melungeons, the Resurrection of a Proud People, A Story of
>Ethnic Cleansing in America" (Mercer University Press 1994). Dr. Kennedy
>suggests that the Melungeons were stating fact when they said they were
>"Portyghee". He suggests that Portuguese/Moorish people who were being
>increasingly attacked during the Spanish Inquisition were a large part of the
>settlers Spain brought to North America in the 1500s. He has good evidence that
>these people were, in various ways, abandoned or fled the settlements and that
>they then intermarried with the local Native Americans. These people then
>migrated westward in front of the larger settlements and, on the way may have
>continued to intermarry with other groups including possibly escaped slaves, and
>English or English/Native American mixed people...."
>Possible Melungeon Surnames
>The following are the Melungeon-related surnames (NC, VA, TN, KY) from Brent
>Kennedy's book, "The Melungeons, the Resurrection of a Proud People, A Story of
>ethnic Cleansing in America" (Mercer University Press). 
>A word of caution with surnames though, having one of the following does not
>necessarily mean that an ancestor was Melungeon, just like not having one does
>not mean that he or she was not. 
>Adams, Adkins, Barker, Barns, Beckler, 
>Bell, Bennett, Berry, Biggs, Bolen/Bowlin/Bowling, Bowman, Branham, Brogan,
>Bullion, Burton, Byrd, 
>Campbell, Carrico, Carter, Casteel, Caudill, Chavis, Clark, Coal, Coffey, Cole,
>Coleman, Coles, Colley, Collier, Collins, Collinsworth, Colyer, Counts, Cox,
>Coxe, Cumba, Cumbo, Cumbow, Curry, 
>Davis, Dorton, Dye, 
>Ely, Evans, 
>Fields, Freeman, French, 
>Gann, Garland, Gibson, Gipson, Goins, Goings, Gorvens, Gowan, Graham, Gwinn, 
>Hall, Hammond, Hendrix, Hill, Hillman, Hopkins, 
>Keith, Kennedy, Kiser, 
>Lawson, Lopes, Lucas, 
>Maggard, Maloney, Martin, Miner, Minor, Mizer, Moore, Morley, Mullins, 
>Nash, Niccans, Noel, 
>Orr, Osborne, 
>Perry, Phipps, Polly, Powers, Pruitt, 
>Ramey, Rasnick, Reaves, Reeves, Roberson, Robertson, 
>Sexton, Shephard, Short, Sizemore, Stallard, Stanley, Steel, Swindall, 
>Tolliver, Turner, 
>Watts, White, Whited, Williams, Willis, Wright and Wyatt. 
>In addition, ftom "Verry Slitly Mixt: Tri-Racial Isolate Families of the Upper
>South-A Genealogical Study" by Virginia Easley DeMarce, National Genealogical
>Quarterly VoL 80, No. I March 1992. comes the following.- 
>Bean, Bunch, Delp, Denham, Goodman, Hale, Locus, Locust, Mize, Mosley, Nicholas,
>Pinore, Pinion, Sweat, Sweats, Sweet, and Swett. 
>If you would like to write to Bill Fields about the newsletter, the Southeastern
>Kentucky Melungeon Information Exchange (SKMIE) or for a subscription, that
>address is:
>Mr. Bill Fields
>Southeastern Kentucky Melungeon Information Exchange
>P.O. Box 342
>Alcoa, TN 37701
>[email protected]

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