Monday, July 20, 2009

Goinstown, North Carolina

Rockingham & Stokes Counties

Notes on Goinstown by Professor G.C. Waldrep III

"Goinstown's history appears to begin in the 1770's with families (chiefly Gibsons and Goinses) moving in from what is usually called the "Flat River settlement" in what is now northern Durham Co. (then Orange Co.). This was a small fragment of that former settlement, most of whose members ultimately wound up in east Tennessee and became the "Melungeons".

"The Goinstown community went from being legally "white" (more or less, up through about 1810) to "free colored" or "mulatto" (through most of the 19th century) to "Black" (circa 1880-1910s) to "Indian" (1910s to 1954) to "white" (finally, with the merging of the "Indian" Goinstown school into the white Stoneville system in 1954).

The birth and death certificates from Goinstown, on both sides of the county line, reveal, at last check, 19 different racial labels (1912-1950) including all the usual categories as well as some truly interesting ones, such as "Portuguese" and on one occasion, "Jap".

"It is very difficult to get anyone at Goinstown to talk about their heirtage. By and large the legacy of shame associated.with nonwhite status is still too recent for any of the older (and more knowledgeable) people to talk.

"There is a persistent theory that the Goinstowners represent descendants of the more or less indigenous Sauratown Indians, but nothing to prove that, and in fact all of the core familes can be traced back out of the area.

"The core Goinstown surnames are Gibson, Goins, Harris, Moore, Riddle/Ridley, and Rickman (mostly "Hickman" by early 1900's). Fringe names associated with the community at later dates, and for varying periods of time are Cox, Farmer, Martin, Kimmons, Liles, Banks and Vernon. These were all not quite white families who moved into the area and/or married into Goinstown pre-Civil War.

"Belton, Bridgeman, Norton, Thacker and Fraser are the five white families known to have married into the community pre-1860. After the Civil War intermarriage with whites went down to zero, as it did in other multiracial communities; Goinstowners married exclusively among themselves, except for a handful who married Blacks and were more or less expelled, and also a larger group who started migrating out of Goinstown (mainly to the coalfields of West Virginia)."

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