Sunday, May 5, 2013

Carlson III, From Saponi to Melungeon, Part 1

Carlson III, From Saponi to Melungeon, Part 1
This section will cover the movements of these families From Louisa Co., Va to Flatt River, NC, to the New River, and on to Scott Co, Va and from there to Hancock Co., Tn. At the beginning of this migration they were still called Saponi Indians. By its end, they became known as Melungeons.
The 1745 document claiming concerning unclaimed tithables living in the households is the first document that included the Bunch and Gibsonsurnames. The Bunch surname later appears in Catawba records. Both Bunch and Gibson were prominent surnames in Louisa nad Orange Counties in Virginia in the 19thcentury. According to Carlson, per oral tradition about these families during the next century would claim these White families were Portuguese or Spanish, but no corroborating evidence has ever surfaced (p. 113). Carlson discovered at least one marriage between the Saponi Collinses and the White Gibson’s by 1739. [289]
By 1747, Thomas Collins obtained some land in Louisa County, Virginia. Gilbert Gibson’s land was adjacent to Collins’ place. Carlson believes Thomas Gibson and Gilbert are closely related. This is the same Thomas accused of concealing tithables in 1745 in Louisa County. Since there s a Thomas Gibson, with a wife named “Mary” and a daughter named “Cusiah”, or “Kezziah”, and my Nevil Wayland married a “Kezziah” who would have been born about the same time as Thomas' daughter, I have strongly suspected Thomas daughter married my Nevil Wayland. I want to learn more about this Thomas. On p. 114, Carlson says; Several of these Indian families remained in Louisa County, upstream the Anna on Turkey Creek on the Virginia frontier, between the James and the South Anna. During the 1750s, one map would continue to label them as “Nassaw Indians” [293]. Other families moved to the Flatt River in North Carolina. In 1750 they were in Granville County, North Carolina.
Since I am interested in Tom Gibson, here is what Carlson says pertaining to him and the migration of these Saponi (p. 115); “later in 1751, Tom Gibson received a noticeably large grant from the prominent ‘Earl of Glanville’ of 640 acres on the Flatt River adjoining John Collins . . . the Christian Saponi’s choice of resettling at Flatt River must be more that in interesting coincidence . . . documents produced during the decade would show that these had settled among or immediately adjoining the remaining band of Occoneechi Indians who had removed here somewhere around 1732. Carlson paraphrasing Ramsey, saying; “up until the late 1750s, John Eaton, Ephraim Osborne, William Harrison and other colonists using the Trading Ford as a place to trade with the Saponi, Cherokees, and Catawba. . . .” Carlson adds; “Mitchell’s map also identifies the Aconeechy living on Flatt River. Bowen’s 1752 map also shows the ancient title of Occoneechi was being applied towards the Indians living at the junction of the Flatt and Little River where the trading Path crosses them. Mitchell’s well known 1754-1755 map [299] of North America then adds to the complexity of the picture. He shows one band of the Occoneechi where Bowen did three years prior at the mouth of the Flatt exactly where the Christian Saponi from Virginia settled in 1750. But Mitchell also shows yet another Aconeechy Town [300,301] a dozen miles upstream at the headwaters of the Flatt. . . .
(p. 116) The cartographic division of the Occoneechi bands on the Flatt from one village in 1752 to two in 1755, coincides perfectly with the immigration of the Christian Saponi families from Virginia to the area. . . . following a sickness epidemic and a series of attacks on the Catawba towns to the southwest in 1753, which prompted a portion of the Catawba Saponi band to temporarily move into this part of North Carolina. Primary documents cited by Tilley show that from 1753-1758 this band of about 30 Saponi were living just North of the Flatt River in Granville County. Their location was reported to be on the lands of William eaton, and is thought by one local historian to be those lands Eaton held just north of present day Henderson. . . unlike the Christian Saponi, these Saponi still required an interpreter . . . William Eaton filled this position . . . the Christian Saponi had not used an interpreter for more than fifteen years. Carlson continues; . . . Granville County authorities reported that about ’12 or 14 Sapona men and as many women and children’ were living among William Eaton’s regiment in Glanville County in 1753-1754, and these Saponi had newly come up from Cheraw (Sara) Town in the Catawba Nation. . . . In a 1755 document citing figures used by the governor, Moravian Bishop A. Spangenburg claimed that 28 Saponi had recently moved to Granville County from Virginia. Because Granville County embraced Orange County just prior to that Bishop’s publication, it is clear that the Bishop was referring to the Christian Band of Saponi ...
Chapter three of Carlson’s dissertation starts on page 119
Carlson begins; “From 1750 to the Revolution, the Christian Saponni families remained split between the Louisa County mountains in Virginia and the more distinct Flatt River Community down in North Carolina”.He says other mixed race families joined there on Flatt River – the Sizemore’s and the Ridley’s, or Riddle’s. After the proclamation of 1763, he speaks of the Flatt River Indians moving again, further west in North Carolina and Virginia. Carlson mentions Tom Gibson again, saying he obtained more land, bordering lands obtained by Tom Collins and George Gibson, and an Indian man named Moses Ridley/Riddle. [314, 315, 316, and 317]
Carlson reveals (p. 120); “Documents such as tax records reveal that, in the first few years on the Flatt, the people of the Christian Saponi Band were enumerated as “White tithables”. [ 309] Soon after Orange County was formed from Granville in 1753,new county officials chose to count the citizen Indians . . . as Molatas . . . Virginia and North Carolina law stipulated that individuals of half Indian and half White heritage to be labeled ‘mulatto’, while individuals less that half Indian could be deemed ‘White’. [310] In Virginia, any person that was of 1/16th Afrixcan heritage or more was to be recorded as ‘mulatto’, regardless of the character of the remainder of their blood quantum.
“The author talks about a Sizemore man being recorded as a ‘mulatta’. Then the author gets interesting, as far as I am concerned. He says; . . .three years prior [meaning abt 1750] Ephriam [Sizemore], George Sizemore,and William Joiner were counted among ‘an old Indian man’s list’ of Indian and/or mixed blood families living at the time in Lunenburg County, Virginia. [312].  . . one may surmise that these men were counted as ‘citizen-Indians’ at that time, and no tribal identification was shown.”
The above information got my attention because of the Joiner surname. A century later, a Thomas Joiner married a half-sister of my direct ancestor. In Bedford County, Tn, related Joyner’s were listed as “mu” on census records, meaning ‘mulotto’.One of these Joiner’s applied to the Cherokee Freedmen’s Rolls, claiming to be a tri-racial grandson of John Brown, the 1/8th Cherokee who operated a Ferry Crossing at “the Suck”, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He claimed his father was part Creek and his mother, the daughter of John Brown and a slave woman. But hearing the story of mulatto Joiners a hundred years earlier, well it makes me wonder.
In a letter dated March 30, 1757, Rev. Fontaine, the same man who had visited Fort Christanna several decades earlier, was said to have commented that the colonist’s “ought to have intermarried with the Indians [more frequently], thereby allowing [them to be] more easily convert[ed] to Christianity. . . . The French Reverend derided English Colonial authorities for discouraging marital liaisons between Indians and Whites. He also noted his concern with physical appearance by claiming that would result in ‘Indian children as white at birth as Portuguese or Spaniard.’ From early days, early colonists realized that mixed race children looked somewhat like Spaniards or Portuguese.
          Throughout the Seven Years War, the Catawba and their allies were courted. But the Flatt River Indians, per Carlson (p. 128), were also being treated poorly, with several law suits against them. By about 1770, many of them had started to return to Virginia. Carlson says, “By 1770, most of the Flatt River Indians had removed back to the mountains of Virginia. It appears debts, stricter hunting and tax laws, in combination with the passing of the infamous Proclomation of 1763 and a growing non-Indian population around Flatt River, would all be factors that played a role in prompting this move.”[338,339]

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