I have a few things I have been reading and hope to provide a few quotes from these sources from time to time about the origin of the Melungeons, or perhaps "before" the origin of the Melungeons. Sort of reminds me of the question, "what happened before the big bang? what led up to it?"
Boy, this is hard. It all depends on how you define "Melungeon". If you use only Collins and Gibson, you leave out a lot of families. Since it was MY relation (Nevil Wayland, Jr) who seems to have been the man that first used the term in that 1813 reference in the Minutes of the Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church, I feel a kind of an obligation to that word.
I personally don't think they meant only the people found in the neighborhood of that church. His father, Nevil Wayland Sr. (my ggggg-grandpa), was born at St. John's, Cashel, County Tiperrary, Ireland, and was an official of the "Church of Ireland", the Irish equivalent of the "Church of England" -- only in Ireland. They were most of the Protestants of Ireland, all except the Scots in Ulster. And Nevil Sr's father, Henry Wayland, who was born in Pennell, London, England, was an official of that church even before he migrated to Ireland. These Waylands were highly educated people. They probably knew Latin and French. Since the word "Malungeon" means even today, "we mix" (first person plural) in French, that is probably what Nevil Jr meant when he wrote it. So the "Melungeons" are mixed race people.
But things overlap -- in the 1790s there were a few mixed race Cherokee and most of their descendants STILL LIVE with the Cherokee! Are they "Melungeons", too? Their answer to that question might be NO! Is this too broad a definition? So there is an overlap. Many researchers stop at NE Tn and SW Va and choose a few surnames only and think anyone else is NOT a Melungeon. Is this definition too narrow? I think we have defined the upper and lower limits within which the term "Melungeon" can be used.
I think we have discovered the Melungeons were tri-racial -- White, Black, and Indian, before on this forum.
Now no matter what you think about the European and African parts of this mixture -- let's set that aside for the moment. I am interested in the Indian compomnent for the present. Which tribes were living with the Whites by the 1750s? I say this because the Melungeons of the 1790s were so far removed from their Indian ancestors that they forgot which tribes they came from, and had no knowledge of their ancient American language. What tribes lived in the American Southeast? I have always tried to say I can't say enough about how important three variables are in doing genealogical research -- dates, surnames, and location. A surname in a particular location but the wrong timframe doesn't help you at all. All three variables must agree. We must study the history of the many tribes involved to know what time period they lived in any particular location.
I have found a few things that make me think the Indian component in this mixture was the Siouan people -- Catawba, Saponi, Saura/Cheraw, and others. Only a few Cherokee spoke English so the fact the Melungeons spoke nothing but English, it makes them very unlikely candidates.
I don't know how often I'll have to put something in here as my boss doesn't let me have a whole lot of time and when not working I am resting. But I will put here what I can when I can, from time to time. No one needs to comment or tell me how stupid they think I am, or how useless they think my research is -- I've heard enough of that for several lifetimes. I just hope some of this material will help illuminate someone's research.
Just remember a decade ago when most people were saying the Cherokee was the major Indian component and I said -- NO THEY WEREN'T! (with help from Jerri Chasteen, former registrar of the Cherokee Nation -- now deceased -- she is sorely missed!) I was saying the Melungeons were Catawba and their Siouan allies! (with help from Forest Hazel -- of the Occoneechi Band of the Saponi, Linda Carter and others at the Saponitown forum, and Dr. Thomas Blumer, Catawba Resarcher and Historian who first inspired me to research the Catawba for my own roots in old emails).
However I was rediculed then on this board -- well now most researchers agree with these things, at least. I said here for years "you need evidence for a Portuguese emigration, and then connect those Portuguese families to the families of those people in those court cases for proof of a Portuguese origin. And then that Portuguese contribution would be at most 1/64th or so of the ancestry of a couple of families, certainly not all. I was rediculed for a decade here on this board for that opinion as well." No one came to my aid. Now I am hearing a couple of people might agree with what I wa saying back then, a decade ago. I believe I was one of the first poeple on this board to mention the Catawba as being ancestors of the Melungeons or to question the Portuguese hypothesis (with the help of other researchers, Richard Haithcock, Pat Elder, Jack Goins among others)-- so things I have suggested have been shown to be correct most of the time. But I am the first to admit I might be wrong! You HAVE TO consider the possibility that you might be wrong -- to have a chance to get it right. Just give me a little peace/space to organize these things a little. thanks.
Hopefully later today I'l be able to transcribe something.
Translated and transcribed from the original German by Adelaide L. Fries.
p 31 -- The vessel entered Savannah river, April 6th , and the captain, taking Spangenberg and Toeltschig into his small boat, and went ahead to the town of Savannah, . . . home of about 600 people.
. . .
p 32, -- The 10th of April, , the first Sunday in America, Spangenberg attended services in the English Church . . .
No unpleasant presentments, however troubles them as they [the Moravian settlers] went busily about their work during the next weeks. Mr. Causton was very pleasant to them, selling them provisions at cost, offering them credit at the store and promising Spangenberg a list of such Indian words as he had been able to learn and write down. He also introduced him to Tomochichi, the Indian Chief, and to John Musgrove, who had a successful trading house near the town. Musgrove had married Mary, an Indian princess of the Uchees, who had great influence with all the neighboring tribes. At a later time, through the machinations of her third husband, she made much trouble in Georgia, but during the early years of the colony she was the true friend of the White settlers, frequently acting as interpreter in their conferences with the Indians, and doing much to make and keep the bond of peace between the two races.
According to the Moravians, Mary Musgrove was Euchee/Yuchi. If you read an earlier blog entry about the Yamacrow, Tomochichi mentined in the previous paragraph was their chief.
The People of the River by Douglas Summers Brown
Surviving documents from the Revolution indicate that normally the Catawba fought as a unit under the leadership of White officers. But their own separate company of 41 men with Thomas Drennan as Captain, joined General Sumter during 1780, 1781-1782. A pay bill of this company, dated June 21, 1783, survives. Captain Drennan may have been related to a John Drennan, who was scribe for King Prow’s March 27, 1770, letter to the council, and who was identified as living 2 miles from the Nation.
The roster shows a Catawba named “Willis” as being killed at Rocky Mount and another George White, who claimed the loss of a horse at Fishing Creek, where the Americans were surprised and defeated. The roster, a rare document, follows:
Capt. Thomas Drennan, Genrl Newriver, John Brown, Robbin, Willis – dec’d,killed at Rocky Mount (his wife and children alive), Suggar Jamey, Pinetree George, Morrison, Henry White, John Cagg, Quash, Little Mick, Patrick Readhead, Billey Williams, Big Jamey,Billy Cagg, John Cannon, Doctor John, Chunkey Pipe, Captain Petter, Billey Otter, Little Alleck, John Eayrs, Petter Harris, Jacob Eayrs, Billey Readhead, John Thompson, Jove [Joe or Prow?], Patrick Brown,
P 269 -- George Cantey, Jacob Scott, Bobb, James Eayrs, Little Stephen, little Charley, John Celliah, Petter George, George White, Jack Simmons, Billey Scott, Young John, Tom Cook.
White men: Matthew Brown, Michael Delou, Ralph Smith.
Another list shows Indians in service for which there is no voucher:
Genrl Newriver, Capt. Quash, Jno. Brown, Peter Harris, Jacob Scott, Jacob Eayrs, Petr George, John Cagg, Little Charley, Jamey, Billey Otter, Coll. John Eayrs, Billey Scott, little Aleck, Tom Cook, Sugar jenny, Gilbert, Robin, Little Mick, Jno. Thompson, Joe, Little Stephen, Billey Cagg, Billey Redhead, Billey Williams, John Killian, Capt. Redhead, Tom Cook, Henry White, George Harris, Pinetree George, Chuckeface Jemmy, Bob, John Nettles, Jno. Thompson, John Scott, George Scott, George White, horse lost at Sumter’s defeat [Fishing Creek] (66) . . . a group of Catawba was with General Sumter at Hanging Rock (67) . . .
66 –AA3931 S. C. Archives.
67 – Floyd, p. 109, says 35 Catawba participated. The Hutcheson letter puts the number at 12.
P 270 --
As Cornwallis army approached the Nation, after the defeat and flight of General Horatio Gates from Camden, the Catawba’s fled with women and children to Virginia (69). They are thought to have refugeed there with the Pamunkey Tribe, but no proof of this has been discovered.
(69) Mills, p. 124: Richard Winn, “General Richard Winn’s Notes – 1780”, ed. Samuel C. Williams. S. C. H. & G. M., XLIV (Jan 1943), 6-7.
P 271 –
The full extent of the Catawba’s participation in the Revolution will probably never be known (75). Captain Drennan’s paybill fails to mention other Catawbas known to have given their services, some of whom were Billy Ayers, later a chieftan, Captain Gilbert George, Major William Cantey, Captain Kelly, John Scott, Catawba George, and Mosey Ayers. (76).
A hero of the war was Major John Nettle . . . (77)
The only Catawba, or Indian connected with the Catawbas who received a federal pension for his services was Robert Marsh, a Pamunkey who settled among the Catawba . . . (78)
(75) Draper MSS, Sumter papers, 16 VV, p 318, says that 200 Catawbas were with Sumter; also Hutchinson Letter; John Henry Logan, “Extracts from Logan manuscript [for upper South Carolina], inHIstorical Collections of Joseph Habersham Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, III, Pt II, 83.
(76) Draper MSS, Sumter papers, 5 VV, 7-8, 40, Ibid., 20 VV, 216.
(77) Ibid., 5 VV, 8.
(78) Report of Sec. of War, 1835, pension rolls Vol. III, Pt. 1 (S. C. section)
From reading about the main band of the Catawba, it seems unlikely (I might be wrong) that they were the main source of the Melungeons -- they still spoke their own language and knew their own tribal identity whereas the Melungeons had forgotten these things. If the original Melungeons descended from the Catawba proper they had left the tribe and been living in White settlements for some time, as they had forgotten their tribal identity and tribal language. Also they have very few of the surnames in the 1770s generally associated with the Melungeons of the 1790s. The 3 variables i.] surname (except Williams), ii.] locations and iii.] dates just don't match up as well as they should for this.
However for the Siouan tribes subsidiary and allied to the Catawba's -- well that might be another matter.