Friday, August 7, 2009

A Peculiar People

Indiana Messenger
Indiana, Pennsylvania

March 17, 1897

Just across the Kentucky line in Tennessee, live a peculiar people. They are known as the Malungeons. They are splendid specimens of the human race , copper colored with high cheek bones, straight noses, black hair, rather coarse and straight, eyes invariably black, and above the ordinary mountaineer in intelligence. Their peculiar color and their customs have caused them a great deal of trouble. They number between 200 and 400. The live on Black Water Creek, in Hancock County, and they have lived in this section for over 100 years. The records of Hancock county show that the ancestors of this strange people came to Powell’s Valley as early 1789 when they took up lands on Black Water.

Tradition says that they held aloof from white settlers and spoke in strange language, which none of the people understood. Some of them spoke broken English, and by this means communicated with the white merchants in the extent of buying arms and ammunition and other supplies which they could not raise in their mountain homes. They intermarried until their racial characteristic were so thoroughly established in their progeny that the frequent marrying of strangers by members of the colony during recent years has had no perceptible effect on their colony, hair and general resemblance to their ancestors, who lived half a century ago.

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