Friday, April 16, 2010

The Core Melungeon DNA Project

By MHS President and Project Administrator Jack Goins

In order to have a legitimate Melungeon DNA program, core names must be established with written records from men who lived in the days of the first known Melungeons.

# 1-Lewis Shepherd attorney for the Bolton’s in the 1874 celebrated Melungeon case. “The term Melungeon is an East Tennessee provincialism; it was coined by the people of that county to apply to these people. It is derived from the French word “Melange,” meaning a mixture or a medley, and has gotten into the modern dictionaries it was applied to these people because it was at first supposed that they were of mixed blood.”

# 2-Captain Lewis Jarvis tells us they were given the name because of the color of their skin and names the following. Vardy Collins, Solomon D. Collins, Shepard Gibson, Paul Bunch and Benjamin Bunch and many of the Goodmans, Moores, Williams and Sullivans, all of the very first settlers. Jarvis states and some he has forgotten. Where did these dark skin people Jarvis names live?

This journalist 1848 in Littrell living age describes the area of the Melungeons “You must know that within ten miles of this owl's nest, there is a watering-place, and Mineral Springs in Vardy, Hancock County, Tennessee known hereabouts as 'black-water springs.' It is situated in a narrow gorge, scarcely half a mile wide, between Powell's Mountain and the Copper Ridge, and is, as you may suppose, almost inaccessible. Now this gorge and the tops and sides of the adjoining mountains are inhabited by a singular species of the human animal called MELUNGENS. We stopped at 'Old Vardy's, who is the 'chief cook and bottle-washer' of the Melungens, and is really a very clever fellow.

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