Sunday, May 31, 2009

Virginia Mountain Music Guide

The Virginia Mountain Music Guide leads to over 160 festivals, jams, concerts, and dances in Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains. Whether you love the fiddle and banjo tunes of old-time string bands, the tight harmonies of bluegrass, the hopeful sounds of gospel singing, the moods of the blues guitar, or the tragedies of ballads, The Virginia Mountain Music Guide shows you where to go for live roots music in Southwest Virginia.

To visit: Click Here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Melungeons Featured on "Inside Appalachia" This Weekend

The hour long radio program "Inside Appalachia" -- produced by West Virginia Public Radio -- will feature MHS President Wayne Winkler and and academic and author Katherine VandeBrake discussing Melungeons and Katherine's recent book "Through The Back Door: Melungeon Literacies and 21st Century Technologies."

The program airs at various times Saturday and Sunday on various stations but is already available online for broadband users.

For the schedule or to download as an MP3 file: Click Here.

To download as a podcast: Click Here.

Katherine VandeBrake will be one of the speakers at the first Annual MHS Conference June 12th in Rogersville, Tennessee. For more information: Click Here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Multiracial People Become Fastest-growing US Group

By Hope Yen
Associated Press
May 28, 2009

WASHINGTON – Multiracial Americans have become the fastest growing demographic group, wielding an impact on minority growth that challenges traditional notions of race.

The number of multiracial people rose 3.4 percent last year to about 5.2 million, according to the latest census estimates. First given the option in 2000, Americans who check more than one box for race on census surveys have jumped by 33 percent and now make up 5 percent of the minority population — with millions more believed to be uncounted.

To continue reading: Click Here.

If only the Melungeons could have known they were ahead of their times . . .

Thursday, May 28, 2009

An 1889 Account of Melungeon Origins

February 5th of 1889 Swan Burnett read his piece “A Note on the Melungeons” before the Society of American Anthropologists. It also was printed in the Boston Traveler and appeared five days later in the Atlanta Constitution. Burnett’s article was published in October of 1889, Vol. 11, pp 347-349, "American Anthropologist Magazine." [To see it: Click Here.]

After appearing in the Atlanta Constitution in February a Mr. Laurence C. Johnson wrote to the editor on March 11, 1889 with the history of the ‘Melungeons’ as he knew it. This appeared prior to [Will Allen] Dromgoole [who first published on Melungeons in 1890]. Mr. Johnson was not selling newspapers, writing an article or selling a book. It appears he was simply responding to the article by Swan Burnett and telling an honest account of the Melungeons, as he knew it. I believe this story is an important one in the way that it is told.

~Joanne Pezzullo~

To read Mr. Johnson's letter: Click Here.

This is a tantalizing Melungeon origin account which is certainly of interest; however, so far as I know, it has never been corroborated and it is unclear how it can be reconciled with the known, documented movements of the core Melungeon families prior to their arrival in Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Which Harvey Gibson?

Submitted by MHS Board Member Katherine James

I have seen many references to various “Harvey Gibsons“ in Hancock County, TN, and particularly a mix-up in the Harvey Gibson who married Eliza Mizer families, etc. Hopefully, this will clarify the Hancock County “Harveys”.

Harvey H. Gibson, born April 9, 1902 , Hancock County, son of Jarvis and Amanda Hicks Carroll Gibson . Died June 10, 1979 in Sneedville, Hancock County, Tennessee. Buried Campbell Cemetery, Sneedville. Married Dolly Mae Tackett, daughter of Oscar Tackett and Clara? Issue:

1. Grant Huston Gibson , born November 5, 1948 in Hancock County, Tennessee.

2. Clara Louise Gibson born May 5, 1951 in Hancock County, Tennessee. Married William Grant Lamb and (2) Darryl C. Mabe.

3. Mandy Gibson married Lawrence Banks.

To read more about this and two more Harvey Gibsons: Click Here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"We've collected and analyzed data from numerous sources to create as complete and interesting profiles of all U.S. cities as we could. We have over 67,000 city photos not found anywhere else, graphs of latest real estate prices and sales trends, recent home sales, home value estimator, hundreds of thousands of maps, satellite photos, stats about residents (race, income, ancestries, education, employment...), geographical data, state profiles, crime data, registered sex offenders, cost of living, housing, religions, businesses, local news links based on our exclusive technology, birthplaces of famous people, political contributions, city government finances and employment, weather, hospitals, schools, libraries, houses, airports, radio and TV stations, zip codes, area codes, air pollution, latest unemployment data, time zones, water systems and their health and monitoring violations, comparisons to averages, local poverty details, professionally written city guides, car accidents, fires, bridge conditions, cell phone and other towers, mortgage data, a forum and a social network with 500,000 registered members and 8,000,000 posts, blogs, 5,000 user-submitted facts, 16,000 exclusive local business profiles with photos, and more demographics."

This site is like an answer searching for a question.

To visit this treasure trove of city and county demographic data: Click Here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day, 2009

Lest We Forget . . .

MHS board member and proud Melungeon descendant Cleland Thorpe of Corbin, Kentucky is one of seven brothers who fought in World War II. Two of them were killed in combat and two others were wounded. Now, Cleland's only son has served four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today's MHS Blog entry is dedicated to Cleland, and to his son.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Lost Colony Engravings

Previously we discussed the watercolors painted by Lost Colony Governor John White during his stay on Roanoke Island. In 1590, Theodor De Bry made engravings from John White's drawings. In his engravings, De Bry took certain liberties with White's images.

To see more of them: Click Here.

To review the MHS Blog entry on John White's watercolors: Click Here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Monacan Vardy

The Amherst Indian School and Mission were analogous to the the Vardy School and Church. The photograph above, taken about 1914, of the mission and school is from the Papers of Jackson Davis, MSS 3072, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library.

To see more pictures of the mission and school, and of the Monacan settlement: Click Here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Maybe Melungeon

A Research Article
By Jack Goins, MHS VP for Heritage

This story deals with some unanswered questions on the Historical Melungeons. When and where did this name begin and who was the most likely source? The answer to these questions is based on opinions from my research. Some of my direct line ancestors were entwined in this history and some in my Goins family were among the first settlers in the Clinch area. Authors listed them as Melungeon because of various tax, court and census records. To set this story in its correct perspective the Melungeons were designated by census and tax enumerators, courts, and some of their white neighbors as free persons of color, or mulatto.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Definition of the Melungeons

A Research Article
By Jack Goins, MHS VP for Heritage

The Melungeons were a very dark skin group of settlers who settled in the mountains of East Tennessee and the extreme Southwestern area of Virginia beginning 1790's. Originally they were Portugese adventurers, who came to the long shore parts of Virginia, they became friends with the Indians and intermixed with them, and subsequently with the pioneer settlers. Some of them took the names of the first settlers. The main body of this group migrated from the Pamunkey River area of Virginia to the Flat River area of NC 1730's-1740's. Then around 1767 they migrated from the Flat River to the back woods New River area’s of Virginia and North Carolina before migrating to the Clinch River areas of Southwestern Virginia and East Tennessee.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Underground Railroad in Tennessee

The Underground Railroad is a compelling metaphor first used about 1834 to describe the fl ight of slaves from the slaveholding states of the South to the free states of the North. Neither underground nor railroad, the term referred to unnumbered routes over which fugitive slaves might secretly escape to freedom, usually with assistance from persons along the way. It was their bold efforts to free themselves
that prompted helpful responses by free blacks and whites.

Persistent traditions suggest the haunting term “Underground” was coined in 1831 by a frustrated Kentucky slaveholder who unsuccessfully pursued his slave Tice Davids across the Ohio River at Ripley. Suddenly losing all trace of Davids, the master exclaimed, “He must have gone off on an underground road.” A few years later the advent of railroads with speedy steam-powered locomotives brought the Underground Railroad name into general use. A participant explained, “It was so called because they who took passage on it disappeared from public view as really as if they had
gone into the ground. After the fugitive slaves entered a depot on that road, no trace of them could be found.”

To read about the Underground Railroad in Tennessee: Click Here.

Note: Adobe Acrobat or other PDF reader is required.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tennessee Virtual Archive

Welcome to Tennessee Virtual Archive (TeVA), a program of the State Library and Archives to create a digital repository of Tennessee history and culture. Our mission is to bring electronic versions of the state’s rich collections to a wider audience. TeVA provides a searchable array of historical records, photographs, documents, maps, postcards, film, audio and other original materials of enduring value.

To enter: Click Here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Recent Newspaper Article on Will Allen Dromgoole

Boro poet Dromgoole helped bridge generations
Murfreesboro Post
Monday, February 9, 2009

Her poem still often quoted

During her life, Will Allen Dromgoole was a prolific writer and poet.

While she wrote more than 7,500 poems, 5,000 essays and published 13 books, her most famous poem was “The Bridge Builder.”

To read the article, including "The Bridge Builder": Click Here.

From the standpoint of Melungeon research, the most interesting part of the article is this:

Her life then took an unusual twist for the day. She studied law with her father and won terms as engrossing clerk for the Tennessee State Senate. But an unflattering series of articles she wrote about the Melungeons of East Tennessee caused her defeat in 1889 and 1891 and she relocated to Texas where she wrote for newspapers.

This claim seems unlikely. In the first place, Melungeons were neither numerous nor popular in 1889 and 1891. And in the second place, she seems to have originally lost her job before publishing the first of her four articles on Melungeons in 1890.

For more on Will Allen Droomgoole: Click here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Museum of the Cherokee Indian

“To preserve and perpetuate the history, culture
and stories of the Cherokee.”

Located on tribal land in the Great Smoky Mountains, this non-profit organization tells the story of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, whose ancestors lived in these mountains for more than ten thousand years.

To visit: Click Here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Craft Revival

Shaping Western North Carolina Past and Present

A website and digital archive and a project of Hunter Library at Western Carolina University. The project received funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). Administered as a Heritage Partners grant by the State Library of North Carolina, the Craft Revival project is part of NC ECHO: Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, a state initiative.
WCU logo

Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library is responsible for the research and writing that informs the online storyboard presented on the website. It staffs the project and administers its budget. The Library receives items from seven Heritage Partners and uploads them into a database that forms this project’s digital collections. Hunter Library assumes full responsibility for maintaining the website/database and for making it available to the public via the World Wide Web.

To visit: Click Here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Blue Ridge Institute and Museum

The State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore

For over 30 years Ferrum College's Blue Ridge Institute and Museum has documented the folkways of the people living in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains. Through gallery exhibits, the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, the Blue Ridge Farm Museum, the Blue Ridge Heritage Archive, the BRI Recordings series and innovative outreach programming, the BRI promotes a special understanding of regional folklife for all ages and audiences. At the same time the Institute's focus adds a unique element to Ferrum College's modern academic programs.

To learn more: Click Here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sons of the Legend

By William L. Worden
October 18, 1947

Surrounded by mystery and fantastic legends, the Malungeons live on Newman’s Ridge, deep in the Tennessee mountains. The story of a colony whose background is lost in antiquity.

About the people of Newman’s Ridge and Blackwater Swamp just one fact is indisputable: There are such strange people. Beyond that, fact gives way to legendary mystery, and written history is supplanted by garbled stories told a long time ago and half forgotten.

Today, even the legend is in the process of being forgotten, the strange stories are seldom remembered and the people are slipping away to cities and to better farms, there to tell anyone who asks them, all they can about where they came from, but never to tell who they are. Because they do not know.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free Persons of Color in the 1830 Hawkins County Census

Many Melungeon core families were listed as free persons of color in the 1830 Hawkins County, Tennessee census, Hancock County and Newmans Ridge then being part of Hawkins County.

To see the transcribed census entries for all such families: Click Here.

For the entire 1830 Hawkins County census: Click Here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Library of Congress Digital Map Collection

The Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress holds more than 4.5 million items, of which Map Collections represents only a small fraction, those that have been converted to digital form.

The focus of Map Collections is Americana and Cartographic Treasures of the Library of Congress. These images were created from maps and atlases and, in general, are restricted to items that are not covered by copyright protection.

To visit: Click Here.

1667 Map of Virginia (Click to Enlarge)

Monday, May 11, 2009

More on the First Annual MHS Conference

Revised and Expanded MHS Press Release

The weekend of June 12-13 will feature two events focusing on the Melungeons, the multi-ethnic people that have been a part of Appalachia folklore for over generations, and the subject of scientific research for the last half-century. The Melungeon Historical Society will hold their first annual conference on Friday, June 12, in Rogersville, Tennessee, while the Vardy Community Historical Society holds their Spring Fling at their museum on Vardy Road in Hancock County, Tennessee.

History, genealogy, and the latest DNA technology will come together at the first annual Melungeon Historical Society conference o June 12. "For nearly two hundred years, writers and researchers have speculated about the origins of the Melungeons," says Wayne Winkler, president of MHS. "For the most part, the story of the Melungeons has been told through myths and legends. The Melungeon Historical Society believes that answers will be found through scholarly research."

The public is invited to this event, which will be held at the Hawkins County Rescue Squad meeting room, 955 East McKinney Avenue, Rogersville, Tennessee. Registration begins at 9:30 am, and the conference will run until about 8:30 pm, with lunch and dinner breaks.

Presentations at the MHS conference will begin at 10 a.m. and will cover topics such as the origin and historical uses of the term "Melungeon," DNA research on Melungeon families, and other topics related to the multi-ethnic people first documented in the Clinch River region in the early 19th century. The use of DNA technology in genealogy will be covered by Roberta Estes, founder of DNAExplain, a Michigan company that analyzes and interprets individual DNA tests.

Other presenters include Jack Goins, Hawkins County Archivist and author of Melungeons and Other Pioneer Families; Kathy Lyday-Lee, a professor at Elon University who taught a course on Melungeons; and Kathy James, who will present DNA information on the Gibson and Collins families.

"This conference is of special interest to those who want to learn more about the Melungeons," said Winkler, "but it is also designed to benefit anyone interested in genealogy and especially in the use of DNA technology to trace family lines." The conference is free, but donations are suggested to help promote the work of the Melungeon Historical Society.

On Saturday, June 13, the Vardy Historical Society will hold its Spring Fling from 10 am until 2 pm. The location is the Vardy Church Museum, which features displays from the Presbyterian mission which provide education opportunities for Melungeon children from 1899 to the early 1970s.

The Spring Fling features Appalachian crafts such as basket and chair weaving, apple butter making, corn grinding, shuck dolls, hominy making, a tractor show, and plenty of music.

For more information on the MHS conference, contact Winkler at 423.439.6441 or For more information on the VCHS Spring Fling, contact Claude Collins at or 423.733.2305.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Valley of the Shadow

Two Communities in the American Civil War

The Valley Project details life in two American communities, one Northern and one Southern, from the time of John Brown's Raid through the era of Reconstruction. In this digital archive you may explore thousands of original letters and diaries, newspapers and speeches, census and church records, left by men and women in Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Giving voice to hundreds of individual people, the Valley Project tells forgotten stories of life during the era of the Civil War.

To enter the Valley Project: Click Here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail, a continuous marked footpath that goes from Mt. Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, needs no introduction. Here are some web site that will tell you all about it:

To visit the Appalachian National Scenic Trail web site: Click Here.

To visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's web site: Click Here.

To visit a less sophisticated but very informative web site styling itself the Appalachian Trail's home page: Click Here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Through the Cumberland Gap

Thomas Walker, a Virginia physician, explored the Cumberland Gap region in 1750. Keeping a journal along the way, his entry for April 13, 1750 reads:

"We went four miles to large Creek, which we called Cedar (Indian) Creek, being a branch of Bear Grass, (Powell's) and from thence six miles to Cave (Cumberland) Gap the land being levil. On the north side of the gap is a large Spring, which falls very fast, and just above the Spring is a small entrance to a large Cave, which the Spring runs through, and there is a constant Stream of cool air issuing out. The Spring is sufficient to turn a Mill. Just at the foot of the Hill is a Laurel Thicket, and the Spring Water runs through it. On the South side is a plain Indian Road. On the top of the Ridge are Laurel Trees marked with crosses, others blazed and several figures on them. As I went down on the other side, I soon came to some Laurel in the head of a Branch. A Beech stands on the left hand, on which I cut my name. This Gap may be seen at a considerable distance, and there is no other, that I know of, except one about two miles to the North of it, which does not appear to be so low as the other. The mountain on the North Side of the Gap is very Steep and Rocky, but on the South side it is not so. e called it Steep Ridge. At the foot of the hill on the North West side we came to a Branch, that made a great deal of flat Land. We kept down it 2 miles, several other branches coming in to make it a large Creek, and we called it Flat (Yellow) Creek. We camped on the Bank where we found very good Coal. I did not see any Lime Stone beyond this Ridge. We rode 13 miles this day."

Given the outlandish claims so commonly made about the Melungeons being found by early European explorers already living in the mountains of Southern Appalachia speaking Elizabethan English, it may be worth noting that Thomas Walker did not find any Melungeons living on or around Newmans Ridge in 1750.

To read the entire journal: Click Here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Stony Creek Baptist Church

So far as is currently known, the word Melungeon first appeared in print in 1813 in the minutes of the Stony Creek Baptist Church located in Scott County, Virginia. The following background information is excerpted from a 1989 article on the history of the Stony Creek Primitive Baptist Association by Omer C. Addington published in Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia, a publication of the Historical Society of Southwest Virginia:

"We do not know when people of the Baptist faith first came to present day Scott County. We do know the first Baptist preacher in what is now Scott County was Squire Boone, a brother of Daniel Boone. These two brothers spent the winter of 1773-74 in the vicinity of Castlewood in present day Russell County, VA. The brothers traveled the Clinch River Valley as far west as Rye Cove. Daniel was in command of all the forts in the Clinch River Valley, while the militiamen were engaged in the Point Pleasant campaign of Dunmore's War.

"The oldest Primitive Baptist Church was organized in the late 1700's on Stoney Creek north of Blackmore. We have minutes of this church, going back thirteen years before Scott County was formed in 1814.

"The second oldest Primitive Baptist Church was located just east of Nickelsville, VA, on Copper Creek. We have minutes of this church going back to 1808. Robert Kilgore was pastor of this church for 40 years. At one time, he was also pastor of the Stoney Creek Church.

"The Stoney Creek Primitive Baptist Church may have been built on the land grant that Captain John Blackmore got in 1773. David Cox bought the Blackmore property in 1817 when it was sold for delinquent taxes. In 1835, David Cox deeded one-half acre of land and building to William Addington and Thomas Strong, trustees of the Stoney Creek Church (Deed book No. 5 - Page 176)."

To read the 1813 minutes referencing Melungeons: Click Here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Melungeons in the 1890 Census

Report on Indians Taxed and Indians Not Taxed in the United States
(Except. Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890.
Washington, DC: US Census Printing Office

Page 594
the civilized [self-supporting] Indians of Tennessee, counted in the general census, number 146 [71 males and 75 female] and are distributed as follows.
Hawkins county, 31; Monroe county, 12' Polk county 10; other counties [8 or less n each]. 93

In a number of states small groups of people, preferring the freedom of the woods or the seashore to the confinement of regular labor in civilization, have become in some degree distinct from their neighbors, perpetuating their qualities and absorbing into their number those of like disposition, without preserving very clear racial lines. Such are the remnants called Indians in some states where a pure-blooded Indian can hardly longer be found. In Tennessee such a group, popularly known as Melungeans, in addition to those still known as Cherokee.

The names seems to have been given them by early French settlers, who recognized their mixed origin and applied to them the name Melangeans or Melungeans, a corruption of the French word "melange" which means mixed. [See letter of Hamilton McMillan, under North Carolina.]

The Melungeans or Malungeans, in Hawkins county, claim to be Cherokees of mixed blood {white, Indian, and negro], their white blood being derived, as they assert, from English and Portuguese stock. They trace their descent primarily to 2 Indians [Cherokees] known, one of them as COLLINS, the other as GIBSON, who settled in the mountains of Tennessee, where their descendants are now to be found, about the time of the admission of that state into the Union [1796]. One of the sources of their white blood is said to have been an Indian trader names Mullins [Jim Mullins], the other was a Portuguese named Denham, who is supposed to have been put ashore o the coast of North Carolina from a pirate vessel for being troublesome to his captain, or insubordinate. Their negro blood they trace to a negro named Goins, perhaps a runaway slave, who joined Collins and Gibson soon after they accomplished their purpose of settlement. The descent of the Melungeans from such ancestors is readily observable, even those of supposed Portuguese mixture being distinguishable from those of negro mixture, thought it is not impossible that Denham was himself of mixed blood, as the Portuguese pirates sometimes recruited their crews from the ‘maroons’, or negroes, who had taken to the mountains of the West India island as slave n rebellion against their masters. Some of these were mixed Carib, or white blood [English, Spanish or Portuguese], the former being the natives [Indians] of these islands.

In the general census these Melungeans were enumerated as of the races which they most resembled.

Note: The above excerpt is taken from Joanne Pezzullo's excellent "Our Melungeons" web site, which can be found in the MHS Blog's "Links of Interest" section, the portal to which is located on the sidebar to the right.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon

From The Discovery and Settlement of Kentucke
By John Filson

The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon
containing a NARRATIVE of the WARS of Kentucke.

Curiosity is natural to the soul of man, and interesting objects
have a powerful influence on our affections. Let these influencing
powers actuate, by the permission or disposal of Providence, from
selfish or social views, yet in time the mysterious will of Heaven
is unfolded, and we behold our conduct, from whatsoever motives
excited, operating to answer the important designs of heaven. Thus
we behold Kentucke, lately an howling wilderness, the habitation of
savages and wild beasts, become a fruitful field; this region, so
favourably distinguished by nature, now become the habitation of
civilization, at a period unparalleled in history, in the midst of
a raging war, and under all the disadvantages of emigration to a
country so remote from the inhabited parts of the continent. Here,
where the hand of violence shed the blood of the innocent; where
the horrid yells of savages, and the groans of the distressed,
sounded in our ears, we now hear the praises and adoration of our
Creator; where wretched wigwams stood, the miserable abodes of
savages, we behold the foundations of cities laid, that, in all
probability, will rival the glory of the greatest upon earth. And
we view Kentucke situated on the fertile banks of the great Ohio,
rising from obscurity to shine with splendor, equal to any other of
the stars of the American hemisphere.

The settling of this region well deserves a place in history.
Most of the memorable events I have myself been exercised in; and,
for the satisfaction of the public, will briefly relate the
circumstances of my adventures, and scenes of life, from my first
movement to this country until this day.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

First Explorations of the Trans-Alleghany Region

The First Explorations of the Trans-Alleghany Region
By the Virginians 1650- 1674
By Clarence Walworth Alvord and Lee Bidgood
Published by The Arthur H. Clark Company, Cleveland, Ohio, 1912

After the brilliant researches of Francis Parkman and ,Justin Winsor, it is remarkable that a new chapter in the history of the explorations of North America has remained so long unwritten; yet the story of the discovery of the Trans-Allegheny region by the Virginians is here first told in its entirety. Since the success of these early enterprises has been doubted and frequently denied by our best historians, the attempt to piece together the story from the scattered sources and to determine its truth needs no excuse. For the same reason, it is desirable that all the sources, whether previously printed or not, be published in order 'that others may test for themselves the conclusions. If the memory of these hardy English explorers be revived and given a place by the side of their better known but not more daring French contemporaries, Mr. Bidgood and myself will feel rewarded for our pains. As I read again the manuscript before sending it to the press, I cannot but feel that a great injustice has been done these Virginians by history. Although the pen of a Francis Parkman could hardly raise them to the rank of Joliet, Marquette, and La Salle, for these latter opened to the knowledge of mankind a continent, still the names of Wood, Batts, Fallam, and Needham should surely be as well known as those of the many lesser lights that surrounded these greater French explorers.

To continue reading this lengthy work: Click Here.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Lost Colony Watercolors

During his thirteen months on Roanoke Island, Governor John White, an accomplished artist, made a series of over seventy watercolor drawings of indigenous people, plants, and animals. The purpose of his drawings was to give those back home an accurate idea of the inhabitants and environment in the New World. Despite their extraordinary significance, the watercolors were not published until the twentieth century.

One example is shown above (click on it to enlarge).

To see seventeen more examples: Click Here.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum

The mission of the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum [located in Vonore, Tennessee], a property of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, is to promote the understanding and appreciation of the history and culture of the Cherokee Indians in Eastern Tennessee, particularly the life and contributions of Sequoyah. The Museum will collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit objects and data that support this mission.

Museum Hours

Monday through Saturday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Noon to 5:00 p.m.

To visit the museum's web site: Click Here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Salyersville Indians

"Who's your people?"
Cumulative Identity Among the Salyersville Indian Population
Of Kentucky's Appalachia and the Midwest Muckfields, 1677--2000
By Carlson, Richard Allen, Jr., Ph.D.
Michigan State University, 2003, 711 pages

Abstract (Summary)

The Salyersville Indian Population is a composite of Cherokee, Saponi and "Old Virginia" Indian families that consolidated in the late colonial period to form a distinct Appalachian Indian population. The families have preserved their identity as an Indian people ever since. An analysis of this identity through time shows that Salyersville Indian identity is the product of cumulative historical actions guided by specific sociocultural processes that subvert notions regarding race, class, ethnicity, religiosity, or political affiliation. In this case, the effective operational definition of Indian identity is based on family relations that provide kinship links, social integration, cooperative efforts, sources of knowledge and emotional support. Highlighting the functional aspects of kin arrangements--articulated through and supported by interrelated family groups--over time reveals that the economic and social cooperation of kin works to maintain the size and strength of the families. The operationalization of kinship acts to focus Salyersville Indian identity on a definition of "kin" which subsumes various attitudes about race and ethnicity that are encountered at specific times and under specific circumstances. By assigning kinship a higher priority than relations based upon religious, class or political affiliation, the Salyersville Indians have managed to keep their kin affiliations and thus their Indian identity, from being obscured over time. Family is the vehicle by which this cumulative identity as "Indian" has been maintained. That is because kinship is the only constant serving to define and maintain Salyersville Indian identity through time and space.

To order the full text of this dissertation: Click Here.

Quoting MHS board member Don Collins:

"If your family migrated from Hawkins County TN. to SE Kentucky in the 1800’s , this is a must read for family research, especially for researching the Collins, Cole, and Gibson families. There is also information on the early migration from Virginia. This is a paper written for and by kin folk."