Friday, October 30, 2009

Appalachian Witchcraft

Just in time for Halloween, three tales of Appalachian witchcraft brought to us by Dave Tabler and his outstanding Appalachian History blog.

So, if you dare, turn out the lights and: Click Here.

For an annotated bibliography of supernatural tales from Appalachia, turn the lights back on and: Click Here.

Appalachian Pumpkin Patch

Will Allen Dromgoole

If Lewis Jarvis is arguably the most reliable 19th century source for information about the Melungeons, Will Allen Dromgoole was clearly the most prolific and the most widely read at the time. Some would say she was the most inventive, too.

To review the Melungeon Studies blog entry on Will Allen Dromgoole, including links to all her Melungeon publications: Click Here.

To review Lewis Jarvis' 1903 interview: Click Here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hamblen County History and Genealogy

Hamblen County, Tennessee is a small county lying along the left bank of the Holston River, and divided into two almost equal parts by the East Tennessee, Virginia & Georgia Railroad. It was formed in 1870 from fractions of Jefferson, Grainger and Hawkins Counties. The first settlement in this territory was made in 1783 by Robert McFarland and Alexander Outlaw, both of whom located at the "bend of Chucky". Shortly after, Gideon, Daniel and Absalom Morris settled in the vicinity of where Morristown now is. They were brothers and had been among the first settlers on the Watauga. Gideon Morris had three sons; John, Gideon and Shadrach, all of whom after marriage remained In the neighborhood of the old homestead. John lived south of the present town in a house still occupied by one of his descendants and Gideon west of town on what is now known as the Hobb's place, while Shadrach, who subsequently removed to Indiana, located on the site of Rheatown. In 1792-93 a road was laid out through what is now Hamblen County, and extended to the western limits of Jefferson County, where it was met by the road from Knoxville. This road afterward formed the line between the counties of Jefferson and Grainger, and became a section of the great stage route from Knoxville to Abingdon, VA. It was along this road that most of the early settlers located.

To visit Hamblen County's USGenWeb site: Click Here.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lee County History and Genealogy

Lee County, Virginia, the home of Fort Blackmore and the Stony Creek Primative Baptist Church, both so important to Melungeon history, has been blogged here before.

To revisit its excellent USGenWeb site: Click Here.

To visit another Lee County genealogical resource: Click Here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

History of Kentucky

North American Review
No. LXXVI, Pg. 1-18, July, 1832

The history of Kentucky is replete with interest for those, who contemplate with a philosophical eye the gradual but incessant advances of human improvement, and the final triumph of human intelligence over the obstacles presented by rude nature and savage men. It may be asserted, with strict regard to truth, that the annals of no country afford more convincing testimony of the courage, the patience and the inflexible perseverance with which its primitive inhabitants have met and surmounted all the difficulties by which they were opposed, in their attempts to secure for themselves and their posterity a permanent resting-place upon the soil. From the first effort which was made to effect a settlement in Kentucky, until within a comparatively short period, the emigrant was beset by dangers and subjected to sufferings and privations, sufficient to appal any heart, that had not been taught by long and painful trials, to encounter whatever might resist the accomplishment of its determined purpose. The wild face of nature was the least powerful enemy of the enterprising settler. He was compelled to contend in almost unremitted combat with the savage, against whose vengeance and insidious plans for itsgratification, it required all his vigilance and intrepidity to guard.

We have the authority of Filson for the fact, that James Mc Bride was the first white man who visited, or, as that writer declares, 'discovered' Kentucky. This visit or discovery was made in 1754. It is asserted by Filson, that Mc Bride, in that year, descended the Ohio accompanied by some other individuals, in canoes, 'landed at the mouth of Kentucky river,and there marked a tree with the first letters of his name and the date, which remain to this day.'

To continue reading: Click Here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Group for Gibson/Gipson Genealogy

This [Yahoo] group is for all people searching the Gibson/Gipson etc surname and all ancestors. You will feel like family here in no time. We all try to help each other. Robin and I [the group's owners] have been able to keep this group one of the most pleasant genealogy groups to belong to by not allowing spam, arguing etc. The members make it what it is also. We're pretty proud of the help people offer and the way every one conducts themselves. Could not ask for more.So if your interested in some serious genealogy searching you have come to the right place. Come on in and let's see if we can help each other. Many wishes of success on your search.

This is a "members only" group.

To join: Click Here.

Note: Please remember that not all Gibson/Gipson families were Melungeons, Melungeon descendants, or Melungeon progenitors!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Smokies to Host Electronic Field Trip for Millions

By Duncan Mansfield
AP Writer
Wed Oct 21, 8:29 am

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is preparing for a virtual field trip by millions of students from around the country.

Schools in 40 states already have signed up for a new interactive Web site showcasing the Smokies' rich variety of plants, animals and ecosystems through a series of learning modules with games, videos and lesson plans.

The National Park Foundation-supported program is geared to elementary and middle school students and will culminate Nov. 3 with a live 60-minute segment from the park hosted by Smokies experts and 6th through 8th graders from Tennessee and North Carolina.

To read the rest of the AP story: Click Here.

To visit the field trip's web site: Click Here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves a rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian history. The mountains have had a long human history spanning thousands of years—from the prehistoric Paleo Indians to early European settlement in the 1800s to loggers and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in the 20th century.

The park strives to protect the historic structures, landscapes, and artifacts that tell the varied stories of people who once called these mountains home.

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

Friday, October 23, 2009

Bringing the Railroad to East Tennessee

East Tennessee Railroads in 1882
(Click on Map to Enlarge)

Bringing the Railroad to East Tennessee

By Samuel Folmsby

Under the date of July 4, 1831, there came from the press in the little East Tennessee town of Rogersville the first number of the Rail-Road Advocate, the first American newspaper to be published primarily in the interest of railroad construction. Established as a result of a meeting of citizens of Rogersville on June 21, and published by an "Association of Gentlemen" of that town, this little paper appeared every two weeks until June 14, 1832, and had as its object the stimulation of interest in what was then the novel idea of establishing direct rail communication between East Tennessee and the Atlantic seaboard. Although the fulfillment of the dreams of these early railroad enthusiasts was to be long delayed, the view they presented in the final issue of their paper proved in general to be a correct one:

Railroads are the only hope of East Tennessee. With them, she would be everything the patriot would desire;- without them, she will continue to be, what she is, and what she has been, a depressed and languishing region-too unpromising to invite capital or enterprise from abroad, or to retain that which may grow up in her own bosom. They are the only improvements at all suited to her condition. Since the construction of railroads was to play such an essential part in the economic development of East Tennessee, and since the inhabitants of this section were so early, so consistently, and so vitally interested in the development of this mode of communication, it is considered worth while to present in some detail their early efforts to obtain through the medium of railroad construction a release from the isolated position in which the restraining bonds of nature had confined them.

To continue reading: Click Here.

For a site with a large number of 19th century railroad maps: Click Here.

Note: A design flaw in the first site causes graphics to overlay the text on the right hand side, as least in my browser (Firefox 3.5). If you encounter this problem, go to your browser's "Edit" menu and do a "Select All" -- that will highlight the text and bring it in front of the graphics where it can be read.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rev. Charles Kesterson

Cincinnati Enquirer
North Adams News (Frederick MD)
September 17, 1898

The Rev. Charles Kesterson is an odd Kentuckian who has been on both sides of the law. His father was one of the early pioneers of Hancock County, Tenn., and his mother was an Indian, being a member of the tribe of famous Malungeons. The Rev. Mr. Kesterson is 7 foot 8 inches tall, though he claims when in the prime of manhood he was over 8 feet tall. His weight is 309 pounds, and he is 73 years old. When lawlessness was at its height, the Rev. Mr. Kesterson was the terror of that country. He never heard the whistle of a locomotive or saw the iron monsters till a year or so ago, when he went to Knoxville. It is claimed by many of his neighbors that he has killed at least seven men. The old preacher denies this. He acknowledges the errors of his youth, but says that he never killed so many.

Note: I have seen no other source linking the name Kesterson to the Melungeons, but then, of course, it is his wife who is supposed to have been a Melungeon and her name is not given.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Husband of MHS Board Member Janet Crain Passes Away

Lawrence Charles Crain, 71, of Burnet County, Texas passed away at his home October 19, 2009, from cancer and a stroke.

Lawrence was born April 12, 1938, in Corpus Christi. He was the third of six children born to Blanche Evelyn Rucker and James Thomas Crain. His formative years were spent in Texas, New Mexico, and California. The family then moved to Bremerton, Washington, in 1955, where Lawrence enlisted in the United States Air Force.

Returning from Okinawa to the United States in December, 1957, Lawrence visited his family in Burnet where he met his future wife, Janet Elinor Lewis. The couple wed April 18, 1958 and began their married life in Altus, Oklahoma. When Lawrence was discharged, he returned to Burnet, until he was hired to work as a civil servant at the Altus AFB. He continued his employment with the government at Ft. Hood for five years. Moving to Austin, Lawrence completed the United Brotherhood of Carpenters’ and Joiners’ apprenticeship program, earning his master carpenter’s certification in 1971. He worked on various projects in the Austin area, including the LBJ Library and Texas Memorial Stadium. He continued working in the Austin-Highland Lakes area, until he returned to employment at Fort Hood in 1981, from which he retired in 1998.

Lawrence enjoyed fishing and passing on the skills to his children and grandchildren. Moving to north Burnet County in 1985, he built a house for his family, and enjoyed hunting and pursuing his passion for antique car restoration. In recent years, he spent time online working on genealogical research and relished the small discoveries that revealed pieces of his family’s past.

Lawrence is survived by his wife of 51 years, Janet, and his children; David and his wife, Randa, of Sweeny, Texas, Diane and her husband, Chuck Humphrey, of Ozark, Arkansas, and Darrell and his wife, Michelle, of Burnet. He is also survived by his siblings; Melvin, and wife, Pat, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Tommy and wife, Debbie, of Burnet, and Rebecca Bingle of Burnet. Thirteen grandchildren; Rhea Holik, Melody Cobb, Zachary Crain, Destiny Stebbins, Clairessa Campbell, Madelyn Humphrey, Abigail, Lydia, Ethan, Samuel and Josiah Humphrey, and Austin and Dillon Crain. Eleven great-grandchildren; Ashlee Holik, Blaine and Emma Cobb, Miles and Abigail Stebbins, Mackenzie Malone, Nathaniel, Collin and Simon Campbell, and Alivia and Erik Hill, and numerous nieces and nephews and extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents, and older sister, Billie Jean Phyle, and younger brother Laurice Ray Crain.

The family would like to thank the dedicated people of Lighthouse Hospice for enabling us to grant the wishes of our loved one, and bring Lawrence home. Memorial contribution suggestions are to St. Jude’s Hospital or the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge of Lubbock. Pallbearers will be Zachary Crain, Ethan Humphrey Austin Crain, Samuel Humphrey, Jason Holik, Travis Cobb, Honorary Ken Bernhard, William DuBose, Jerry Ratliff, James Smith, Leeman Foster, Bill Manning, James Roberts. Graveside services will be Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 2:00 p.m. at the Smithwick Cemetery.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Strange People of Tennessee

The Malungeons and Their Curious Customs

There is a Mystery as to Their Origin

Claims of Indian-Portuguese Descent Discussed

Their Chief Occupations Are Farming, Milling, Hunting
and Digging Medicinal Roots

September 20, 1897
Times Picayune (Louisiana)

The Manchester correspondent of the New York Evening Post writes; A party of London writers and artists are now in the Tennessee mountains studying the peculiar race of people known as the Malungeons. The Malungeons are probably the most mysterious race in America, and less is known of them than of any other people. Whence they came to America or how they obtained their peculiar name is unknown.

Those who assert that the Malungeons are of mixed negro or Indians and white blood do so utterly upon hearsay. There is no proof to show that the Malungeon is of Indian, African or Portuguese descent, nor any reliable history of his origin. The Malungeons are themselves ignorant of their ancestry. Some of them claim to be of Portuguese blood, but they can give no intelligent reason for this claim. They say that their ancestors emigrated to America about 150 years ago from the interior of Portugal and first settled in South Carolina, whence they came to Hancock County, Tenn., settling in a beautiful mountain cove on Blackwater creek. The records of Hancock county show that they were first known there in 1780. In that year they were granted public lands on Blackwater creek. They refused to hold any intercourse with the settlers, except in trade skins and furs for arms and ammunition. It was many years after the revolutionary war before they could speak broken English.

To continue reading this rather lengthy article: Click Here.

Note: This article makes a number of fairly unique claims about the Melungeons, some of which are clearly untrue, but it certainly is interesting.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stony Creek Baptist Church Minute Books, 1801 - 1814

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.

For a look at that entry: Click Here.

I have now made a transcript of the Stony (sometimes given as Stoney) Creek Primitive Baptist Church Minute Books 1 and 2, 1801-1814, available in their entirety on the MHS Blog.

To view these minutes: Click Here.

Note: The transfer of the minutes from their original format to blog format has resulted a number of formatting anomalies but the minutes remain perfectly readable. The formatting will be corrected over time. I have retain some historical notes and an index to the minutes which were appended by the transcriber. The page numbers referenced by the index are not preserved in blog format; however, the index is still useful in that it lists the names referenced in the minutes, and once you know that the original document contained 41 pages, the page numbers still give you a rough idea of where to look for a name.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Too Late For Flowers, Never Too Late For Tears

An Essay by Roy L. Sturgill
Found in Historical Sketches of Southwest Virginia
Historical Society of Southwest Virginia Publication 12, 1978

As I study and try in my uneducated way to search out the genealogy of my forefathers, I try to picture in my mind the way they lived, how , and if their lives were influenced by the hard times they endured; and most of all I find myself wishing that I could have been with them, in their endeavor to wrest from the earth an existence, and an independence beyond reproach. Earlier in life, and seeing it through the eyes of an inquisitive boy. I was made to wonder why my elders settled in mountainous northwestern North Carolina, Southwest Virginia, and Eastern Kentucky. Now as the sands of time have flowed constantly onward, causing me to be older and perhaps a little wiser. I can understand their nomadic travels.

To continue reading this touching and insightful essay: Click Here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier

The Henry Reed Collection
Online at the Library of Congress

Fiddle Tunes of the Old Frontier: The Henry Reed Collection is a multi-format ethnographic field collection of traditional fiddle tunes performed by Henry Reed of Glen Lyn, Virginia. Recorded by folklorist Alan Jabbour in 1966-67, when Reed was over eighty years old, the tunes represent the music and evoke the history and spirit of Virginia's Appalachian frontier. Many of the tunes have passed back into circulation during the fiddling revival of the later twentieth century. This online collection incorporates 184 original sound recordings, 19 pages of fieldnotes, and 69 musical transcriptions with descriptive notes on tune histories and musical features; an illustrated essay about Reed's life, art, and influence; a list of related publications; and a glossary of musical terms.

To visit: Click Here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tennessee State Penitentiary Inmates: 1831 - 1870

The Tennessee State Penitentiary opened in 1831. Prior to that offenders were held in county jails. Surviving records of the Penitentiary are housed at the State Library and Archives as Record Group 25.

The following list of inmates is found in ledger volume 43 of those records. The ledger also includes the date received in the Penitentiary, the prisoner's state of birth, and the date discharged.

To see the list for 1831 to 1850: Click Here.

To see the list for 1851 to 1870: Click Here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A History of Middle New River Settlements

And Contiguous Territories

By David E. Johnston
Author of Four Years a Soldier

Published in 1906

To read this work in its entirety: Click Here.

Synopsis of Its Table of Contents

Chapter I -- 1654-1753
Chapter II -- 1753-1766
Chapter III -- 1766-1774
Chapter IV -- 1775-1794
Chapter V -- 1795-1836
Chapter VI -- 1837-1861
Chapter VII -- 1861-1865
Chapter VIII -- 1866-1905
Appendix A: Courts, Judges, etc.
Appendix B: Counties formed out of Augusta and Federick Counties
Appendix C: Biographical Sketches
Appendix D: Elected Officials
Appendix E: Commonwealth Attorneys for Giles County, 1806 - 1905
Appendix F: Confederate Officers
Appendix G: Military Rosters

Note: The link about takes you directly to a detailed table of contents, from which you can readily jump to sections of interest with a click of your mouse.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Goodspeed's Map of Early Tennessee

Published in 1886
Showing Early Settlements, Forts
Battle Grounds, Stands, and Stations

For the East Tennessee section of the map: Click Here.

For the West Tennessee section of the map: Click Here.

Note: The East Tennessee map shows a Fort Blackmore southwest of Newman's Ridge which should not be confused with the Fort Blackmore on the Clinch River at the mouth of Stoney Creek in Scott County, Virginia with which Melungeons are associated, the area around it being the final stop of some of Melungeons before arriving in the Newman's Ridge area according to Lewis Jarvis (For more on that: Click Here).

For the location of the Scott County Fort Blackmore on a 1774 map: Click Here.

Fort Blackmore is not actually show since it was not constructed until twenty years later, but Stoney Creek and the Clinch River are clearly marked.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Indian Land Cessions in the American Southeast

Federal Period Indian Land Cessions
In the American Southeast

Maps detailing the cession of Indian lands to the United States government, with the names and dates of the treaties ceding each track of land. There is also a link to a page discussing cessions west of the Mississippi.

To view the maps: Click Here.

For for Indian land cessions during the colonial period: Click Here.

The map shown below, not found at either of the above sites, gives an overview of Cherokee cessions by show the extent of Cherokee lands at the beginning of the colonial period, at the close the American Revolution and at the time of their forced relocation west of the Misssippi. Click on it to enlarge.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Portuguese and Mestizos

By Guest Blogger
Bruno Guedes Quinhones

Note: The blog entry below was originally submitted as a comment; however, I did not publish it as the it had nothing to do with the blog entry in response to which it was made. After contemplating what to do with it for a while, I decided to publish it as an entry by a guest blogger. The opinions expressed below are those of Mr. Quihhones:

A phrase used in Portugal is as follows: "God created man and the Portuguese created the mestizo." ( Who knows the history of Portugal is well aware that the way of expansion in the early centuries was quite different from the other European peoples, like the Spanish, English, Dutch and French. When the Portuguese conquered land, the policy was not enslavement of people (if they were not hostiles, of course). This policy passed by intermarriage between Portuguese and local people. Thus, the children would have the knowledge of the two peoples and thus the occupation would be more peaceful! On the banks of the Indian Ocean there are many people who claim to be descendants of Portuguese and they even use Portuguese words. Here's an example: 366 years after Portugal left Malacca, there is people who call themselves Portuguese, speak a Portuguese-based Creole called Papia Christian (Kristang in Malay) and continue to profess Catholicism.

Probably the Melungeon are descendants of Portuguese.

Don’t forget one thing: the Portuguese, in the centuries XV, XVI and XVII were everywhere!

Many surprises are still to come about the world history in those centuries!

Greetings from Portugal!
Bruno Guedes Quinhones

Note: While at this time I would not agree that the Melungeons are "probably . . . descendants of the Portuguese," I do note that they often claimed Portuguese ancestry, and I think it is unfortunate that over the course of the last 15 years so much time and attention has been devoted to the wildly speculative and highly improbable Turkish origin theory while so little has been devoted to the one "exotic" ancestry which the Melungeons actually claimed. I also note that if the Melungeons descended, in part, from Angolans brought to colonial Virginia, or adjacent colonies, as either slaves or indentured servants, it would account for both the Portuguese ancestry claim, Angola having been a Portuguese colony long before the founding of Jamestown in 1607, and the DNA results which show sub-Saharan ancestry in many Melungeon male lines.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Southwest Virginia Heritage Guide

The Southwest Virginia Heritage Guide lists museums, archives, libraries, resource organizations, and historical sites related to the region’s history and folk culture.From the upper James River west to the Cumberland Gap, Southwest Virginia is steeped in history and folklife. This Guide is published by Ferrum College's Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, The State Center for Blue Ridge Folklore, to help visitors better explore the regional heritage of the Virginia highlands. Both the tourist and the researcher will find listings here to meet their interests.

This guide contains three types of listings. Tourists will likely be most interested in the heritage-related sites such as museums, historic districts, and walking/driving tours. For researchers the guide includes courthouses, archives, libraries, and historical societies having resource collections (most often of a genealogical nature). General information about particular counties or cities can be obtained from the listed Chambers of Commerce and tourism organizations.

To visit the Guide: Click Here.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park

Tazewell County, Virginia

Imagine a time when you and your family might have followed old Indian trails across rivers and through dense forests into the unpopulated mountains and hollows. Think of all the risks. You wanted to find a place to set up a farm and live independently, far removed from the political and religious forces that other American colonists had to obey. You can sense that experience at the middle Appalachian region's most comprehensive cultural heritage museum.

Our unusual name derives from the Big Crab Orchard archaeological site on which the Museum was built. Here, Native Americans lived and hunted over thousands of years. The site included a palisaded late Woodland era settlement of what are believed to have been members of the Cherokee nation. The Museum protects the archaeological evidences of this site beneath the soil on a hayfield across a modern highway from the Museum site.

The first family to set up farming in this region, that of Thomas Witten, found the place to be rich with wild crabapple trees -- hence the name. The Wittens came to this site from Maryland around 1770. The archaeological site is on the Virginia and National Historical Site registers. Around it, the once thriving Pisgah community also grew up and then declined by World War II.

Open Tuesday through Saturday - 9-5, Saturday - 9-5
Memorial Day to Labor Day; Sundays 1-5
Located just off 19-460 on Crab Orchard Road
3663 Crab Orchard Road, Tazewell, Virginia 24651
(276) 988-6755

To learn more: Click Here.

Note: If you explore this web site, you will find a line about "English-speaking Melungeon farmers" being found in Tazewell County in the 17th century by explorers from Jamestown. Don't you believe it!!! This is yet another example of the kind of mythology which has attached itself to the Melungeons, even among people who ought to do better research.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Clay County History and Genealogy

Clay County, Kentucky, the forty-seventh county in order of formation, is located in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains of southeast Kentucky. Created from Madison, Floyd and Knox counties on April 1, 1807, Clay County later ceded much of its land to form parts of Jackson, Owsley, Leslie, Lee, Breathitt, Knott, Perry, and Harlan counties. It reached its present size, 471 square miles, in 1880. It was named for Gen. Green Clay, a Madison County legislator and early Kentucky surveyor. Most of the heavily wooded county, approximately 61,000 acres, falls within the Redbird Purchase Unit of the Daniel Boone National Forest. Tobacco, timber, corn, and hay, are harvested. The county seat is Manchester (originally Greenville). The County is bordered by Owsley County (north), Perry County (northeast), Leslie County (east), Bell County (southeast), Knox County (southwest), Laurel County (west), Jackson County (northwest). Cities, Towns and Communities include Manchester, Oneida, Burning Springs, Goose Rock

An early settler, James Collins, built a log cabin around 1798 at the headwaters of Goose Creek, a tributary of the south fork of the Kentucky River. Salt reserves and fertile grasslands attracted settlers to the area as they had attracted large game animals, making a bountiful hunting ground for prehistoric Native Americans and possibly the Cherokee during the early historic era. During the nineteenth century Clay County was the leading producer of SALT in the state. So vital was salt to frontier life and trade that Daniel Boone offered a plan to reroute the Wilderness Road to pass the Goose Creek salt works near Manchester. Boone did not get the contract, and the area was left without suitable roadways for the next century. In 1811 the Kentucky River was made navigable to the confluence of Clay County's Goose Creek and Redbird River (named for a Cherokee chief who, according to legend, was thrown into the river after being slain for his furs).

To visit Clay County's USGenWeb site: Click Here.

To visit another Clay County genealogical site: Click Here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

American English Dialect Recordings

Library of Congress
Center for Applied Linguistics

The Center for Applied Linguistics Collection contains 118 hours of recordings documenting North American English dialects. The recordings include speech samples, linguistic interviews, oral histories, conversations, and excerpts from public speeches. They were drawn from various archives, and from the private collections of fifty collectors, including linguists, dialectologists, and folklorists. They were submitted to the Center for Applied Linguistics as part of a project entitled "A Survey and Collection of American English Dialect Recordings," which was funded by the Center for Applied Linguistics and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To browse the collection: Click Here.

For more about the collection: Click Here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lewis Jarvis Interview

Lewis M. Jarvis
1903 Interview
Published in the
Hancock County Times

[Note: Lewis Jarvis was a local attorney, born in 1829 in nearby Scott County, Virginia and living most of his life in Hancock County, Tennessee, who knew many Melungeons, including Vary Collins and other early Melungeons.]

To read the interview:
Click Here.

Note: This is a re-blogging of an entry made here over a year ago and is the first in what will be a series of previous MHS Blog entries sporadically re-blogged due to their importance to Melungeon studies. Of all such entries, none is more important than this one, which is why it was chosen to be the first. The Jarvis interview is the best, most reliable contemporary account we have of the 19th century Melungeons, by a man who did not simply visit the Melungeons or repeat stories head about them, but who actually knew them over the course many decades.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Westward Into Kentucky

The Narrative of Daniel Trabue

An Excerpt

The same Fall or beginning of Winter Col. G. Rogers Clark from Hanover was Fixing for a Campaighn to go down the Ohia to the Falls. The Virginia Legislator had authorized him to raise an army and go westward, and my Oldest brother—to wit, James Trabue---agreed with him to inlist some men and go with him as Lieut.

I agreed to go with him. I got well and hearty and in the last of January or February 1778 we set out for our Jurney. The most of the men that had enlisted with my brother had gone on to kentucky before christmas.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Note: This link takes you to Dave Tabler's excellent Appalachian History blog, which is always worth a read and has a permanent place in the Appalachian section of this blog's "Links of Interest" page.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dateline: Sneedville

Pictures from the Second Day
Of the 33rd Annual Hancock County Fall Festival

Here's one:

For more: Click Here.

The MHS booth, wonderfully decorated by Robert Davis, pictured above on the right, was a great success and a number of copies of Jack Goins' new book, Melungeons: Footprints from the Past, were sold. Our thanks go out to all who helped make the MHS participation in the Fall Festival a success, and to all who visited our booth.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Hot Off the Presses!!

The First Day of the 33rd Annual
Hancock County Fall Festival

Penny Ferguson
MHS Vice-President for Research

Reporting from Sneedville

Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009

The Fall Festival dawned with beautiful weather. There was a large crowd and the booths were interesting and filled with talented people. The Melungeon Historical Society booth was busy greeting old friends, making new friends and discussing genealogy, DNA, and local history. The Festival runs through Sunday, Oct. 4, so try to make it if you missed it today!

Click on pictures to enlarge.
For a lot more pictures: Click Here.

Appalachian Traveller Pioneer Guide

How to . . .
  • Build A Log Cabin
  • Dress Meats
  • Make Moonshine
  • Make Soap
  • Plant by the Signs
  • Recipes

Build A Log Cabin

Unlike the round log building that Abraham Lincoln slept in, the pioneer Appalachian log cabin was constructed of hand split boards measuring 6" to 8" thick and 16’ to 24’ long, locked and fastened together by half-dovetailed hewn notches connected at the corners. The spaces between the boards were chinked in with clay. The home itself was usually a square or rectangular single room, one and one-half stories high, with a front, and maybe, a back door or a window at the opposite end of the fireplace. Later, cabins were expanded by adding a kitchen ell or building another cabin alongside the original. A "dog trot" cabin is two cabins with chimneys on opposite ends and connected by a breezeway; a "saddleback" is two cabins with a chimney in the middle.

To continue reading: Click Here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Valentine Collins Timeline

Compiled by MHS President Jack Goins
With References to a Collins Timeline
Compiled by Frankie Blackburn and Brenda Collins Dillon

Wilkes County NC Tax list, 1787

Ambrose b. 1752
George b. 1754
David b. 1756
Martin b. 1758
Valentine "Vol" b. 1760
Vardy Collins b. 1764

1789 NE Part of Wilkes Co. NC Samuel Collins ( 0 poll means he was under 16 yrs) Volentine Collins (1 poll) Benjamin Collins (1 Poll....first appearance) (from Brenda Collins Dillions timeline

1790 FEDERAL CENSUS (1st in USA) Ambrose Collins 1m ov 16,1m und 16,2f George Collins 1m ov 16,3m und 16,3f David Collins 3m ov16,2m und 16, 6f Vardy Collins 1m ov 16,1 m und 16, 4f Volentine Collins 1, ov 16, 2f Martin Collins 1m ov 16, 3m und 16, 4 f David Collins 3 2 6 Hardy Collins 1 3 1 Vol Collins 1 2 Ambrose Collins 1 1 2 George Collins 1 2 4 Martin Collins 1 3 4 1790 Wilkes Co. Dist. 4 Ambrose Collins 1 poll Volentine Collins 1 poll Elisha Collins 1 poll (From BCD Timeline)

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Defining mixed-blood Indians in Colonial Virginia and the Carolinas

By Steven Pony Hill

Augusta County, VA (Orders 1773-1779)

19 AUG 1777….Nat, an Indian boy in the custody of Mary Greenlee who detains him as a slave complains that he is held in unlawful slavery. Commission to take depositions in Carolina or elsewhere.

17 SEP 1777….On the complaint of Nat an Indian or Mustee Boy who says he is to be set free from service of Mary Greenlee…nothing appeared to this Court but a bill of sale for ten pounds from one Sherwood Harris of Granville County, NC that through several assignments was made over to James Greenlee deceased, late husband to the said Mary….said Mulattoe or Indian Boy is a free man and no slave.
( Nat was most likely half-Indian, so therefore Mulatto or Mustee could be used interchangeably, use of these terms were influenced by the status of his servitude)

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