Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Portuguese Denham Family

By Joanne Pezzullo

''When John Sevier attempted to organize the State of Franklin, there was living in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee a colony of dark-skinned, reddish-brown complexioned people, supposed to be of Moorish descent, who affiliated with neither whites nor blacks, and who called themselves Malungeons, and claimed to be of Portuguese descent.'' --Will Allen Dromgoole

While no source for the above has been found, the pension applications of David and Harden Denham from Guilford County, North Carolia show they served under John Sevier during the Revolution it would certainly seem John Sevier was indeed familiar with the Portuguese. David and Harden Denham were born in the 1750s in Hanover/Louisa County, Virginia and are associated with the Joseph Goodman family. Other Gibson names thought to be connected to the 'Melungeons' are found on the 1775 Petition of the Inhabitants of Washington District, as well as Sevier's Petition of the inhabitants of the Western Country in December 1787 to form the State of Franklin.

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