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.

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