The Indians of North Florida

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upcoming radio show this Saturday

Posted by chris on December 22, 2014 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Hey Guys

Im going to be speaking on Stacy Webb’s radio show (Backintyme publishing) this Saturday 3-5 pm about our peoples tribal communities in the panhandle, our history as one of the dozens of mixed-blood Native American communities in the east, our ties to the Catawba, Lumbee, Sumter Cheraw, and Creeks historically, as well as on current issues we confront. I hope you will call in and share your questions and perspectives! There’s already one show archived (http://backintyme.biz/belles-of-the-creek-nation-by-scott-sewell/) from the past where we spoke on North Florida Native American issues, and this episode will be a good one too. As you may know from reading our book “The Indians of North Florida”, http://www.amazon.com/The-Indians-North-Florida-Community/dp/0939479370(http://www.amazon.com/The-Indians-North-Florida-Community/dp/0939479370) some of the surnames associated with our community historically are Ammons, Ayers, Barnwell, Bass, Bennett, Bird, Blanchard, Boggs, Brown, Bullard, Bunch, Butts, Bryant, Brooks, Chason, Chavis, Conyers, Copeland, Davis, Doyle, Goins, Hall, Harmon, Harris, Hicks, Hill, Holly, Ireland, Jacobs, Jeffries, Johnson, Jones, Kever, Laramore, Linton, Lollie, Lolly, Long, Lovett, Mainer, Martin, Mayo, Moses, Oxendine, Perkins, Porter, Potter, Revell, Rollin, Scott, Simmons, Smith, Stafford, Stephens, Sweat, Thomas, Whitfield, Williams.

More info on our tribe and community advocacy work can be found at our website on the World Wide Web at http://dominickerindians.org/

Please tune in Saturday and call or if you can’t the webcast will be available anytime afterwards.

The web address for the radio show is http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backintymep

http://backintyme.biz/belles-of-the-creek-nation-by-scott-sewell/




Thanks!

Scott

 

The new book "The Belles of the Creek Nation" available in Jan 2015

Posted by chris on December 5, 2014 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

This is the story of the Hill and Doyles families origins in Creek Nation and of the descendnets of Nancy, Sarah, and Amanda Doyle and their descendents from rmval until today. Its available from Backintyme publishers.

Heres a link ot a recent blogspot radio interview about the book and native rights

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/backintymepub/2014/11/30/open-mic-thanksgiving

Green Corn Dance Dates

Posted by chris on March 22, 2013 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (4)

The Community Green Corn Dance will be held July 7,8, and 9th. for more info please contact Chris at 918 402 3666 or cssewell71@gmail.com

2013 Indian Community Conference a success

Posted by chris on March 22, 2013 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

This years Indian community conference was a success with Debbie Hicks and Sehoy Sewell both giving presentations, and a significant delegation of the descendents of Scotts Ferry being present. Thanks to everyone for their hard work, especially Virginia Ryals and Sharron Fagan!

2013 Indian Community Conference

Posted by chris on October 11, 2012 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (1)

W.T.Neal Civic Center, 17773 NE Pear St, Blountstown Fl

8am - 5 pm Panhandle of Florida Geneaology Workshop, free to public

5-630 dinner

630-9pm annual Indian Community Conference

more info call Chris Scott Sewell 918 402 3666 chickeetrash@yahoo.com

 

Scotts Ferry History

Posted by chris on September 27, 2012 at 4:05 AM Comments comments (5)

Scotts Ferry History: the ‘Dead Lakes People’

For 20 years my cousin Steven Pony Hill and I have researched the origins of the mixed-blood communities our ancestors come from in the panhandle of Florida, communities which were considered “Colored” by local officials and many local Whites during the segregation era from the 1860’s to the 1960’s, and which after desegregation saw a massive decline in population. Today the descendants of these several unique communities live throughout the US, with only a small set of descendants still living in or near the original community. Some of the surnames associated with the community are Ammons, Ayers, Barnwell, Bass, Blanchard, Boggs, Brown, Bullard, Bunch, Bryant, Chason, Chavis/Chavers, Conyers, Copeland, Davis, Doyle, Goins, Hall, Harris, Hicks, Hill, Holly, Ireland, Jacobs, Johnson, Jones, Kever, Long, Lovett, Mainer, Martin, Mayo, Moses, Oxendine, Perkins, Porter, Potter, Quinn, Scott, Simmons, Smith, Stafford, Stephens, Sweat, Thomas, Whitfield, and Williams, among many.

As we documented in our book “The Indians of North Florida”, The history of the mixed-blood settlement at Scotts Ferry and nearby areas (Scott Town, Woods, Mount Zion) was that of Carolina mixed-blood Indians from among the Catawba Indians of Rock Hill in South Carolina, Robeson County North Carolina, and Sumter County South Carolina migrating to the panhandle of Florida throughout the 1800’s and into the 1900’s. These families were sometimes called the “Dead Lakes People” due to the nearness of the Dead Lakes of Wewahitchka Florida. In the Carolinas many of these families were viewed as Indian but in Florida racial identity was contentious and often community members were actively persecuted and prosecuted by authorities under the infamous ‘miscegenation” laws of the Jim Crown south.

“Anti-miscegenation laws, also known as miscegenation laws, were laws that enforced racial segregation at the level of marriage and intimate relationships by criminalizing interracial marriage and sometimes also sex between members of different races. Such laws were first introduced in North America from the late seventeenth century onwards by several of the Thirteen Colonies, and subsequently by many US states and US territories and remained in force in many US states until 1967. After the Second World War, an increasing number of states repealed their anti-miscegenation laws. In 1967, in Loving v. Virginia, the remaining anti-miscegenation laws were held to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. Similar laws were also enforced in Nazi Germany as part of the Nuremberg laws, and in South Africa as part of the system of Apartheid. In the United States, interracial marriage, cohabitation and sex have been termed "miscegenation" since the term was coined in 1863. Contemporary usage of the term is less frequent, except to refer to historical laws banning the practice.”

An excerpt from our research on the origins of Scotts Ferry Community

“A settlement or Town of their own”

Scott’s Ferry

After 1850 at least six of the original fifteen Catawba households had resettled at the newly acquired land of Jacob Scott. Jacob owned and operated a ferry service and mill (just as the Catawba had done on the Catawba River), and became quite prosperous, even in comparison to his white neighbors.

The movement of the Catawba into southern Calhoun can be tracked by the written history of the local Stone family. In the book “History of Jackson County” it is recounted that:

“Lackland M. Stone, whose father was Colonel Henry D. Stone, one of

Jackson County’s first settlers, was also an Indian trader. His family

settled on the upper Chipola, near the future town of Webbville. When

the Indians were moved to Ocheesee, he followed them, as he did later

to Iola.”

The Stone family had apparently continued to carry a family legacy of Indian trading, because as early as 1691 the Council of Colonial Virginia had recorded:

“Thomas Blunt is appointed interpreter to the Indians on the south side

of the James River, David Whitley to the Indians at the head of Rapp’a

River, and William Stone to the Indians on the head of Yorke River.”

And also in 1778, The North Carolina General Assembly enacted that,

“Be it enacted, that Willaim Williams, Thomas Pugh, Willie Jones, Simon

Turner, and Zedekiah Stone, be, and they are hereby appointed

commissioners for said Indians..”

The reference to the Indians being moved to Ocheesee, does not describe any documented Creek band, as they had never maintained a village on the Chipola, did not have a village at Ocheesee, and had emigrated to Texas or Indian Territory before the Stone family moved to southern Calhoun at Iola. Bird Attaway (first husband of Elizabeth Perkins) and Horace Ely were contracted by the Jackson County Commission to build the first bridge across the Chipola at a location described as “Near Webbville.” Combine all of the above with the fact that the 1840 census of Calhoun County records Joe Scott as a family of 17 free colored persons living next to John Chason and Henry D. Stone at Iola, and there can be no doubt as to this identification of the Catawba.

The Scott’s Ferry settlement was located at Range 9 west, 2 south, section 21, adjoining the Chipola River. This was the route used to travel from any spot in eastern Jackson or Calhoun Counties along the Apalachicola over land to Port Saint Joe. The Scott’s Ferry settlement appears on the 1860 census as a clearly defined separate community, and the families living there were recorded on a special census page, though the racial identification of them was confused and clearly tainted by racial prejudice. The 1860 federal census was performed during the height of the racial tensions between the pro-slavery South and the abolitionist North. On this census families which had been previously identified as “free persons of color – non Negro” or “Mulatto” are suddenly reclassified as “free Negro” (though they were still ‘white’ or ‘free persons of color’ on local tax records).

In 1848, legislation was passed in Florida which required free Negroes to have white guardian appointed by the local Courts (no Catawba was assigned a guardian), free Negroes and mulattoes could not legally own land (Jacob Scott and Absalom Scott held clear title to their land), and in 1861, legislation passed which required free blacks to register with a probate judge or be classified as a slave and claimed by a white person. It is clear that none of these laws were ever applied to the Apalachicola Catawba. An 1840 perspective jury list included Robert and Joseph Blanchard (originally of Gates County, North Carolina), Joseph Montford, Jonathan Jones, and Robert Scott. John Chason and Jaspers Scott were called as witnesses in the Jackson County Court case, State V. James Butts in 1857 (Butts had been living with Mary Ann Jones since at least 1850), and Martha Hill Minton was reimbursed for traveling 24 miles in 1863 in order to testify for Sherrod Scott. Samuel Scott was even an eligible voter in Jackson County in 1869.

In 1860 the census reflects the Scott’s Ferry settlement as consisting of six households. Living there at that time was Jacob Scott and his nephew Joe living in one household along with Joe’s wife Sarah Brown Castelberry, and Sarah’s daughter Emiline Brown. Francis “Frank” Hill and his wife Elizabeth Perkins Attaway held one home, and William Stafford and his wife Polly Harmon Scott (former wife of Jacob Scott) held another. Jack Howard inhabited a household along with Lofty Bunch as his wife, along with his two sister-in-laws Betty Bunch and Molly Thompson (who later married Shurard Scott). Paschal Loftis and Olive Jones shared a home along with her granddaughter, Jane Scott. The last remaining household was that of Isham Scott and his wife Jane Manuel who shared their home with her father, Edmund Manuel (originally of Sampson County, North Carolina and a veteran of the Sampson County Regiment 4th Company in 1812).

1860 CENSUS OF CALHOUN COUNTY….SCOTT’S FERRY…SPECIAL CENSUS PAGE

HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: BORN IN:

165

166

167

168

169

170 SCOTT, Joe

“ “ , Sarah

“ “ , William

“ “ , Polly

“ “ , Ellen

“ “ , Jack

“ “ , Jacob

BROWN, Emiline

HILL, Frank

“ “ , Eliza

“ “ , Delila

“ “ , Ann

“ “ , Joe

“ “ , Quinn

“ “ , Bob

“ “ , Blunt

“ “ , Green

STAFFORD, William

“ “ , Polly

“ “ , Jim

HOWARD, Jack

“ “ , Lofty

BUNCH, Betty

THOMPSON, Molly

LOFTIS, Paschal

“ “ , Olive

SCOTT, Jane

SCOTT, Isham

“ “ , Jane

MANUEL, Edmund 43

36

8

6

4

8/12

60

16

43

35

16

10

8

7

6

4

1

65

55

16

26

20

23

22

60

50

20

65

45

67 MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

W

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

W

MU

MU

MU

W

W

W

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU

MU ALA

FL

FL

FL

FL

FL

ALA

FL

ALA

FL

FL

FL

FL

FL

FL

FL

FL

NC

ALA

FL

FL

ALA

ALA

GA

NC

ALA

FL

ALA

ALA

ALA

At the bottom of this special census page, John G. Smith, the census taker, added his own personal opinion of the racial make-up of this settlement. Either Smith had never personally traveled to the settlement and gathered his information from other citizens (as was sometimes the case when census takers were trying to list far out settlements), or Smith was given misleading information by the settlement citizens themselves, because almost all of the information other than the actual names of the community members was wrong. The age and birthplace of almost every community member does not compare to that listed for the 1850 or 1870 census. The only justice performed by Smith with this document is held in the second sentence of his commentary where he bears witness that these Indians lived in a settlement separate from white or black persons:

“The Free Negroes in this county are mixed blooded almost white and have

intermarried with a low class of whites – Have no trade, occupation or

profession they live in a settlement or Town of their own their personal

property consists of Cattle & Hogs, They make no produce except corn &

peas & very little of that, They are a lazy Indolant & worthless race.”

Back on the Catawba reservation, the annual report of Catawba Agent J.R. Patton to the South Carolina Senate uses, strangely almost exactly, the same wording to describe the Indians still residing there:

“…they are a somewhat indolent & careless people living in small Log Houses

or cabins covered with boards & are not settled together in a Town or village

but scattered over a considerable portion of the land they occupy they own but

little furniture of any value a portion of them work small farms or patches of

corn but as a general thing do not make anything like a support they own some

Horses a few Cattle & some Hogs. This seems to sum up the amount of what

They possess.”

Oral history of the Apalachicola Catawba reflects that Eliza Scott Hill had been educated as a child in South Carolina, taught basic education to all the children of the Scott’s ferry community, and also traveled briefly back to “the reservation” to teach school but was not well received, and soon returned to Florida. The 1861 Annual Report of Catawba Agent J.R. Patton seems to verify this oral history as it reflects that “Eliza Scott (Indian)” was paid 20 for “Teaching” during that year.

Elsewhere in the southeast, Indian communities were being described in almost exactly the same words. In 1840, thirty-six white residence of Robeson County, North Carolina appealed to the Legislative Assembly to regulate the sale of ‘spirits’ to the Lumbee Indians (who are also of Cheraw ancestry):

“The County of Robeson is cursed with a free-coloured population that

migrated originally from the districts round the Roanoke and Neuse Rivers.

They are generally indolent, roguish, improvident, and dissipated. Having

no regard for character, they are under no restraint but what the law imposes.”

The fact that Smith classified the Catawba in Florida as “free Negroes” with no trade or occupation, and in general being lazy and worthless, betrays his racist views. He could not have been completely blind to the fact that these people operated a mill and ferry, because even Smith took note that the colony’s total worth was over $4,000 (which in 1860 made it one of the wealthiest small towns in Calhoun County).

Scott’s Ferry’s founder, Jacob Scott, passed away by 1862 and Joseph Scott held the property title. Penny Scott was taxed for 200 acres she supposedly owned across the river in what would become Liberty County. In 1858, Joseph Scott was assessed for taxes at $100 for real estate, $525 for cattle, and $30 for household furnishings.

When the War closed in 1865, the Catawba citizens apparently paid dearly for their change of sides. The local whites apparently decided that the County Court would be the vehicle they would use to facilitate their harassment. In the fall term of 1862, Francis Hill was brought up on charges of “Fornication with a Mulatto”, but was found not guilty. In 1866 a series of charges were pressed against the Catawba, beginning with Gilberry Scott being charged with “Open State of Fornication” and Sabra J. Register with “Attempting to Marry a Mulatto.” John M. Scott, a Union veteran, was also charged with “Open State of Fornication” in the fall term. All of these charges were discharged with ‘not guilty’ verdicts at the close of the fall term in 1866.

Either due to the crisis level post-War economy, or legal harassment, it is clear that the Scott’s Ferry Town had begun a downward spiral. By 1870 the total households had increased to nine, but the total worth of the settlement had decreased to $1,440.

1870 CENSUS OF CALHOUN COUNTY – PAGE # 20

HOUSE # NAME: AGE: RACE: OCCUPATION: BORN IN:

256

257

258

259

260

261

262

263

264

265 BLANCHARD, Ruben

“ “ , Eliza

“ “ , John

empty

JONES, Olive

“ “ , Martha

EMANUEL, Edmond

WILLIAMS, Thomas W.

STEVENS, Susan

SCOTT, Isham

“ “ , Jane

SCOTT, Polly

MUMFORD, Nancy

Empty

JONES, John

“ “ , Beady

“ “ , William

“ “ , Jack

“ “ , Emily

“ “ , Martha

WILLIAMS, Jane

“ “ , Delia

“ “ , William 28

23

2

65

?

70

45

24

77

34

36

14

62

26

7

6

3

1

48

22

20 M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M

M Farmer

Keeping house

At home

Farmer

Keeping house

Farmer

Keeping house

Home keeper

At home

Farmer

Keeping house

Keeping house

At home

At home ALA

FL

FL

GA

GA

NC

FL

ALA

NC

GA

GA

ALA

GA

FL

FL

FL

FL

FL

GA

FL

FL

By the time of the 1880 census, Scott’s Ferry appeared to be making a comeback. The settlement now contained eleven households and the compact town seemed to suffer some drift, as a few families were listed as living a few miles up the Chipola River in the Abe’s Springs area. This small splinter settlement contained five households beginning with the home of Henry Johnson who had W.D. Williams living there as a boarder. Penny Scott maintained a household as well as William Scott. Nancy Montford was keeping her own house now, and the final home was Enoch Wells. A significant clue as to the temporary split off of these families could be the fact that those at Abe’s Springs listed their occupation as “Logging.”

Back at the original settlement, we find eleven homes starting with Benjamin Beauchamp and his wife Ellen Scott who had his stepdaughter, Sallie Washington living as his servant, and Richard Nixon as an orphan. George Green had settled here with his wife Dora Butts. Elizabeth Scott Hill shared a home with her stepdaughter, Nancy Quinn, her son Joseph Quinn, and her son Frank Hill. William Quinn and his wife, Rena were living here, as well as Henry Johnson (this is a repeat of the Henry Johnson household from Abe’s Springs). John “Jack” Jones and his wife Beady Mainer were still here in 1880 living next to Mary Scott, who was sharing a home with her daughter-in-law, Julian Scott and her grandson, William Scott. New resident Sam Washington held a home next to Olive Scott Jones who shared her home with her daughter, Martha Jones, a servant named Mary Linton, a boarder named T.C. Shelby, and another servant named Hester Brouchard. Ruben Blanchard and his wife Jane Stone were still living at Scott’s Ferry at this time, and the final home was held by David Martin (originally from Person County, North Carolina) along with his wife Amanda Scott. Living with David Martin was a servant, Polly Gibson, and David’s daughter Mary (who would later marry Barney Locklear).

Nearly 40 years later the name of T.C.Shelby would be brought up again in reference to Scott’s Ferry, but this time in his home state of Kentucky. An excerpt of the 1918 Kentucky case of McGoodwin v. Shelby, ruled over by Judge Sampson of the Marion Circuit Court, stated that,

“In May, 1915, Miss Florrie Hood, a most eccentric and peculiar woman,

died intestate, childless,and unmarried, at her home in Lebanon, Kentucky,

she being about seventy years of age, and the owner by inheritance of several

houses and lots and some acreage property in the city of Lebanon, and quite

an amount of personal property…There were no close relatives living so far

as known, however, that one Thomas C. Shelby, a nephew of Miss Hood, had

many years before left Marion County on account of trouble and had gone

to Florida..”

After dispatching investigators throughout Florida and mailing 1,500 postcards to different post offices in search of Thomas Shelby or his descendants, the estate administrators located Shelby’s widow and two minor children—sole heirs to the Hood fortune. The problem was that Shelby’s widow “was the daughter of William Scott, and William Scott was the son of Joe Scott, and Joe Scott was supposed to be a mulatto, so that the mother of the children of Thomas C. Shelby was not a pure-blooded white woman.” This would make the parents’ marriage illegal and render the children bastards incapable of inheriting. Instead of trying to prove that the family of Shelby’s widow did, or did not, have negro blood, the parties reached an out-of-court settlement to distribute the property among themselves. The case then wound its way through the Kentucky court system for the next 3 years. First, the original probate court disallowed the agreement as “being unconscionable since the children could not be considered anything but White, their forefathers having not associated with negroes, but with Whites.” In the end, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that regardless of the ancestry of the children, all witnesses agreed they could not possibly bear enough negro blood to be considered mulatto as described by Kentucky law.

By 1885 the timber industry had taken root along the Apalachicola and Chipola Rivers, and had assisted the Scott’s Ferry settlement to swell to seventeen households. Eight persons listed their occupation as “logman”, seven as “farmer”, and three as “laborer.” The drift present in 1880 is not noticed in 1885, and most of the families had returned to the original settlement site. The town still consisted of Scott, Quinn, Williams, Hill, Green, Johnson, and Martin households, but also now held the homes of Edmon Davis, Henry Mainer, and William Perkins (son of Elizabeth Perkins and half brother of Mary Attaway Scott) who had been living in Jackson County.

 

Logging operation on the Apalachicola River, 1896

Some surviving court records from this time period provide an excellent example of the depth of interrelation and cooperation that existed in the settlement at this time. When Louvinia Martin Brown (wife of Tom) was charged in 1904 with “Assault With Intent to Murder” and “Carrying Winchester Rifle Without Permit,” her defense witnesses included Thomas Ash, Dave Martin and Linnie Davis. Henry Atkins was charged with “Murder” in 1907 and Wesley Williams, M. Mainer, Tom Scott and Jeff Scott were called as witnesses to the event. Reuben Blanchard, Bill Jones, Mary Blanchard, and Rosa Quinn were brought to court to answer charges of “Larceny of a Bateau” (bateaus are small carved wooden boats, the name and original design of which was founded on the James and Roanoke Rivers in the early 1700’s and are stilled referred to as such in the Florida Catawba language). After the death of Martha Jones, Thomas Butts was appointed administrator of her estate and most of her property was distributed between John Howard, Rueben G. Blanchard, and George Green. When John Howard was appointed guardian of Margaret Bunch in 1890, John Williams was appointed as surety. Thomas M. Scott was left parentless in 1893, George Green was appointed guardian of the 15 year-old boy, and Francis M. Williams and Joseph Quinn were sureties. In 1894 Beady Mainer Jones approached the Court to administer the estate of her deceased husband, Jack Jones. William Quinn was listed as her surety while J.W. Blanchard was appointed by the Court to appraise Jack Jones’ personal property. When David Martin was appointed legal guardian of his half brother’s and sisters (after the death of his mother, Annie Scott Hunter), Sandy Davis was listed as surety.

After 1910, Catawba citizens began to make claims for pensions based on their Confederate service. Letters from other settlement members supported almost all of the Catawba in Calhoun County who filed their claims. Rueben G. Blanchard enlisted the support of W.M. Ayers, Elizabeth McDaniel Jones had help from Lawrence and Sarah Williams, and Charles E. Scott received support from Nathaniel Scott, J.M. Atkins, and Cornelius Stephens.

The 1917 Civilian Draft Registrations provide as much, if not more, valuable information as the earlier Civil War records. At least nine individuals within Calhoun County were listed as “White-Indian Citizen.” These included members of the Whitfield family (descendants of George Whitfield who married a Scott woman), Herbert Boone (son of Henry Boone and Anna Scott), Lemuel Moses, and John Moses (relatives of Elizabeth Moses Conyers). Another individual, Willie Porter (son of Mathias Porter of Scott Town) was recorded as being “Indian Creole” and described as having blue eyes and light colored hair. General Quinn of Scott’s Ferry was listed as self-employed in farming, having a dependent mother, and also described as having blue eyes and light colored hair. No race was listed for Quinn, however his death certificate issued in Bay County stated that the mortician considered him to be “White.”

The year 1917 also marked a series of yearly floods on the Chipola and Apalachicola Rivers, which caused the abandonment of the original settlement site. Later census records show that community members had established home sites due northwest of the Scott’s Ferry site, at an area now known as Marysville. Land titles to the original settlement were maintained, however, as was the old cemetery.

 

Flooded farm on the Chipola, 1917. Pictured also is

a bateau piloted in the rear by Dave Martin.

In October of 1920, Samuel F. Scott and Elizabeth Scott were both recorded as “C.I.” in the race category on the Shiloh District voter’s registry book for Calhoun County. This is the same Samuel and Elizabeth Scott who appear on the 1920 census of Shiloh Precinct, Marysville to Scott’s Ferry Road. Samuel Frank Scott was the son of Samuel Scott and Jane Ayers of Scott Town settlement in Jackson County. Samuel Scott senior was the son of Absolom Scott and Gilly Stephens, the founders of Scott Town. In 1929, Samuel F. Scott was appointed as executor of the estate of his cousin, John Williams, in Calhoun County.

Education for their children would also force the Catawba out of their self-imposed isolation, and provide for the only documents pertaining to them during this time period. In 1938 David Martin, trustee for the Marysville school, had a letter written to Calhoun County Clerk of Court J.A. Peacock which stated:

“There are men who would knife us out of having our own school

saying that we are negroe. You know our character that we are

of white and Indian blood…”

In reference to a 1944 investigation by the Jackson County School Board, the Board members made inquiry regarding “Sweetie Blanchard from Scott’s Ferry”, whose sons were the students whose ancestry had been called into question. The Board members solved the dispute by suggesting that the two Johnson boys should attend school in Calhoun County.

Some more recent documents continue to identify a community of persons living within Calhoun County who had a strong Indian identity. In the 1948 annual report of the Smithsonian Institution, William Harlen Gilbert Jr. published a compilation entitled “Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States.” Though Gilbert never visited north Florida himself, he did visit the so-called “Creeks” at Atmore, Alabama (whose Hathcock, Gibson, Allen, and Taylor ancestors were Cheraw). It is apparent that during one of these trips to Alabama Gilbert gathered second hand information regarding a group of mixed-blooded Indian persons in Calhoun (Daisy Porter Nichols was living in Flomaton near the Creek reservation at that time, and may have been the source of this information). In the last paragraph of the Florida section of Gilbert’s report he states:

“Aside from the Seminoles there are other small mixed groups of possible

Indian descent in Florida. Around Pensacola are to be found the Creole

mixed people of Escambia County and in the same area are certain groups

of Creeks from across the border in Alabama. Some 100 miles to the east

near Blountstown in Calhoun County there is said to be a colony of

Melungeons from Tennessee.”

The “Melungeons from Tennessee” of whom Gilbert speaks are an ethnic group of mixed-blood persons in the area of eastern Tennessee whose main family surnames were Gibson, Collins, Goins, and Bunch. These persons also descended from Siouan Indian ancestors who had spread westward from the Virginia/North Carolina border. Since none of the Apalachicola Catawba reported Tennessee as their birthplace, and they were not locally known as ‘melungeon’, Gilbert either relied on a second hand opinion, or maybe even made his own personal judgment based on the Bunch and Goins ancestors of some of the Florida Catawba. Gilbert did do justice, however, by identifying the fact that the Apalachicola River Catawba lived in a colony, separate from their white and black neighbors, well into the mid 20th Century.

The identification of a separate Indian community in the area of Calhoun and Jackson County of northwest Florida was repeated by Brewton Berry in his book “Almost White” published in 1963.

 

Copyright ©2006 by Steven Pony Hill, all rights reserved.

References to Scotts Ferry/Dead Lakes People

 The group in Gulf and Calhoun counties, Florida, was called Melungeon as long as they were identified as a separate group but was also known as the Dead Lake People. This last group does not trace back to the North Carolina - Virginia border, but to a very similar mixed race group in South Carolina, probably the Brass Ankles or the Red Bones. Each group has its own history and its own special mix of new additions

http://www.whatisamelungeon.webs.com/

 ” The Dead Lake People of the Florida panhandle (Wewahitchka-Blountstown) have been called Melungeons and identified with them, and the Redbones of Louisiana do partly derive from this range. http://www.geocities.com/melungeonorigin/maomg2.html”

http://bakerblockmuseum.org/maresources.htm

Melungeons viewed as related to our people generally

Posted by chris on September 27, 2012 at 3:35 AM Comments comments (1)

What is a Melungeon?

by

Mike Nassau

 

Arch Goins and family, Graysville Melungeons

Photo from the 1920's, from a great-nephew in Chattanooga,

provided by and used with the permission of Barbara Goins.

A Melungeon (during the formative period from about 1700 to 1860) was someone who was free but thought not to be pure White in the area where the word was used - northern North Carolina, southern and western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia, southern Ohio, western Louisiana, the eastern edge of Texas, the panhandle of Florida, and northern Alabama. The person might actually be White, but of a darker strain like a Greek or Portuguese. The person might be mixed White and Black, White and Indian or all three. The White might be northern European or Mediterranean or both. A few people may have been of other races, such as South Asian (Tzigane, Asian Indian, etc.).

After becoming a Melungeon by coming to live in one of these areas, these persons tended to intermarry and produce a more uniform mixed population. People who were definitely considered to be Black or Indian or were members of a Black or Indian group probably would not be counted as Melungeon unless they joined or married into a Melungeon group. There are many members of Black and Indian communities who have a lot of Melungeon ancestry and even with Melungeon names, and some are gradually coming to think of themselves as Melungeons. Today, most Melungeons have quite a little of both northern European and Mediterranean white, some Black and at least a trace of American Indian. But anyone who traces back to someone considered Melungeon before the Civil War is definitely Melungeon, and that is many thousands and a very diverse group.

Perhaps the most important element in the formation of the Melungeons was the descendants of Indian groups which were no longer racially mostly Indian. Indian groups were genetically swamped in many cases due to their susceptibility to diseases which were brought to America from Europe and Africa. This particularly worked by the survival of children who had better immunity due to non-Indian ancestry. In an Indian village, the child of one Indian and one non-Indian parent was much more likely to reach reproductive age than one with both parents being pure Indian. Likewise, one with a mixed parent and a non-Indian parent (one quarter Indian) was more likely to survive than one who was half Indian. During the Seventeenth Century, most of the Indian groups of Virginia and North Carolina either simply died out from the imported diseases or were genetically swamped by mixing with non-Indians coupled with this selection for better disease immunity. The Indians incorporated genetic input from many groups very early in Virginia. Probably the biggest single input was from free Mulattos actually joining the Indian groups. English and Mediterranean settlers, soldiers and seamen contributed a large input even earlier, and, with the Tidewater Algonquians, were a major factor. Brent Kennedy has been investigating the contribution of certain Mediterranean groups.

The Spanish were colonizing the Southeast before the English got there. The most northwestern fort of Spanish Florida was near Knoxville, Tennessee. The coast of Georgia and both North and South Carolina had several Spanish settlements. Santa Elena (Parris Island) was the largest and is being excavated at the present time. Most of the colonial population was not ethnically Spanish, but was drawn from other groups. Marrano Jews (Jews pretending to be Catholic in order to escape persecution), Moriscos (Moorish Arabs and Berbers who joined the Catholic Church to avoid the Inquisition), Portuguese (Portugal was ruled by Spain for a while at this time), and Catalans from Minorca (an island in the Mediterranean) were all important elements in the colonists. Since many of the Jews and Moors were from Portugal, they were frequently called Portuguese. The Spanish also had many slaves in their colonies, who were mostly Muslim prisoners captured from Moorish and Ottoman ships. While their presence in Spanish Florida in large numbers is not known, there must be some reason why the Indians of the Southeast went from wearing almost no clothing but decorating themselves with tattoos to wearing elaborate, woven clothing with bright colors, including sashes and turbans, seemingly in imitation of Ottoman and Moorish styles. When the Spanish withdrew from North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia under British pressure, they left behind many part Indian children and probably quite a few Jews, Moors and Muslim slaves.

Francis Drake stopped at Roanoke for some months on his way back from raiding Spanish colonies in the Caribbean. He had several hundred Muslim seamen with him who had been freed from the Spanish and were being returned to Morocco and the Ottoman Empire. These would definitely include Berbers and Maghrebine Arabs from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and Greeks, Armenians, Albanians, Bosnians, Kurds and Turks from Anatolia and the Balkans, and other Ottoman peoples such as Syrians, Egyptians, Georgians, Circassians, etc. During several months spent ashore in Virginia, they must have left progeny among the local Indian population. Some of them may have stayed and actually joined the Indians. Shipwrecked sailors may have been contributing to the population even earlier. Portuguese would probably be the earliest and maybe the largest component. Their ships from anywhere in the Americas usually followed the coast north to around Cape Hatteras to take advantage of the Trade Winds from there to the Azores and back to Portugal. Spanish, English and French ships also wrecked on these coasts, of course.

These mixed Mediterranean and Indian people formed or contributed to mixed groups. South of the Melungeons there are many groups such as the Brass Ankles, Red Bones and Turks of South Carolina who claim to have Mediterranean ancestry. Members of these other mixed groups joined the Melungeons. Many part Mediterranean people were incorporated into the Indians of eastern Virginia and the mixed race communities along the NC-VA border which became the Melungeons.

Donald Ball has given a good short history of the origins of the Melungeon groups in the paper which he presented at the Melungeon Third Union in Wise, VA, in June, 2000. The formative area was a strip of land which was disputed between the colonies of Virginia and North Carolina because it was given to both by British Royal Grant. This strip is now the northern tier of counties of North Carolina. Since it was a no-man's land claimed by both colonies but administered by neither, it attracted people who didn't want to have government supervision. That included many mixed race people who didn't fit in White society but were neither part of Indian or Black society. This included many people from the Indian groups which had been genetically swamped by people from across the Atlantic and many people who were free but part Black. The free Mulattos have traditionally been thought to be the children of slave owners with their slave mistresses, who were frequently raised free and who would join the Indians or mixed communities. Dennis Maggard recently pointed out that Paul Heinegg's study of the records of colonial Virginia shows that most of them were actually the children of indentured White women by Black slave men. The owners were mostly English whereas the indentured servants were more frequently Irish, so this finding indicates a larger Irish component than previously thought.

As Donald Ball pointed out, the history of the Melungeons starts with these free Mulattos, the status of the Melungeons as Free People of Color resulted from their African ancestry and not from a small amount of Indian, Portuguese, Moorish, or Ottoman ancestry, and the presence of large numbers of free Mulattos very early in the formative groups means that they are in the ancestry of all Melungeons. The Indians in the ancestry of the Melungeons were very mixed with a lot of both Black and White in them, one cannot claim Indian ancestry from eastern or central Virginia and North Carolina without including the very large Black element in these Indians. Any Melungeon who tries to deny African ancestry is not only perpetuating the racism which removed the Melungeons from White society, but is deluding himself as well.

The principal groups of Indians contributing to the Melungeons were the Siouans of the Virginian and North Carolina Piedmont (mainly the Saponi or Eastern Blackfoot), the Algonquians of the Coastal region of these states (Powhatan, Pamunkey, Nansemond, etc.), and the Appalachian tribes, Southern Iroquoian (Cherokee and Tuskarora) and the Yuchi (Yuchean language is related to the Siouan languages, but not considered close enough to actually be called Siouan). The Indians of the Coastal and Piedmont regions were the mixed groups that formed the original mixed race groups that became the Melungeons and several remnant groups which still identify themselves as Indian. Appalachian Indians were less mixed with Black and White, but they did not become involved with the Melungeons until the Melungeons had already formed and moved from the Virginia - North Carolina border in the Piedmont to the Appalachia area. The Cherokee particularly inter-married with the Graysville Melungeons of the Tennessee River Valley. The Saponi are probably the most important Indian element in most groups of Melungeons. As they broke up and scattered, they were generally known as Blackfoot. That is the name used for them in the Melungeons of Appalachia, the Cherokee and in the Black community. There are many Blackfoot descendants in all three of these groups.

After the formative period along the North Carolina - Virginia border, there were many movements and different groups formed. Some have been known by other names. The original group in Henry and Patrick counties, Virginia, and Rockingham, Stokes and Surry counties, North Carolina, has been called the Goinstown Indians. As they moved west, in Surry, Yadkin, Wilkes, Alleghany and Ashe counties, they were called Melungeons. Some have always been called Melungeon, like the community in Hancock, Hawkins and Grainger counties of Tennessee and the one in Wise, Scott and Lee counties of Virginia and the one in Letcher county, Kentucky. The one in Person County, North Carolina, has been called the Person County Indians (they are somewhat organized under that name) and earlier the Cubans. The group in Rhea, Roane and Hamilton counties,Tennessee, are called the Goins locally, but have long been identified as Melungeons by people from the rest of Tennessee. The group in Magoffin and Floyd counties, Kentucky, and Highland county, Ohio, has been called the Magoffin County People in Kentucky and the Carmel Indians in Ohio, and have only recently been called Melungeons. The group in western Louisiana and adjacent Texas is known as the Redbones (not to be confused with the Red Bones of South Carolina) or the Louisiana Melungeons. The group in Gulf and Calhoun counties, Florida, was called Melungeon as long as they were identified as a separate group but was also known as the Dead Lake People. This last group does not trace back to the North Carolina - Virginia border, but to a very similar mixed race group in South Carolina, probably the Brass Ankles or the Red Bones. Each group has its own history and its own special mix of new additions. Ulster Scots (Scots-Irish) is a large addition to many. Cherokees and part Cherokees have joined some groups. Individual families have married to introduce many different elements to the Melungeon mix. Black Dutch and Black Irish are sometimes just euphemisms for Melungeon and sometimes describe people joining the Melungeons. Welsh, English, Scots, Irish, Jewish, Tzigane, Dutch, German and French are claimed by many. The unifying factor is a history of someone in the family who was too dark to be accepted as White without some doubts.

Melungeons today may identify themselves as Mestee (triracial or multiracial), White, Black or Indian. They may be found anywhere, but many are still in the states of NC, VA, TN, KY, OH, WV, AL, LA, TX, AR, MO and FL. The Melungeons formed in the Piedmont of Virginia and North Carolina, not in the Appalachian Mountains, and three of the main groups never were in the Appalachians, the original Goinstown group, the Graysville Melungeons and the Person County group, so those definitions that describe the Melungeons as Appalachian are wrong. Of course, many Melungeons did and do live in the Appalachians, and that is where the word Melungeon was popularized. Of the eleven separate groups identified as Melungeon, five are in the Appalachians and six are not.

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For the online book Melungeons and Other Mestee Groups,

go to http://www.melungeonmestee.webs.com

This is strictly my personal definition, my best statement at this moment in time. See the Melungeon Definition 2000, put together by a committee collected by Karlton Douglas, at http://www.geocities.com/mikenassau/definition.htm for another view of this subject.

To see the older definition that was at this site until July 15, 2001, with statements from Martha Short and Nancy Morrison attached, click http://www.geocities.com/mikenassau/oldwhat.htm. This reflects my thinking during the period of 1996 to 1998. Much has been learned since.

For a list of many sites with information on the Melungeons and related topics like the Saponi, Black Irish, Black Dutch, and other Mestees such as the Red Bones, Brass Ankles, Ramapo Mountain People, etc., see the Open Directory list of Melungeon sites at http://dmoz.org/Society/Ethnicity/The_Americas/Melungeon/. Click on "Top" in the upper left corner to see the whole directory.

Mike Nassau, July 15, 2001

Open Directory Editor for Melungeon and related topics.

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Mestee, Mêtis, or Mestizo

There are three words in use for mixed race groups of people, Mestee, Mêtis and Mestizo. Mestee is the English, Mêtis the French and Mestizo the Spanish derivitive of the same Latin root for mixture. I think Mestee is the best for Anglo-America, Mêtis for Francophone areas and Mestizo for Latino groups. I got the word Mestee from Jack Forbes’ book. It is an English spelling of the Middle French Mestis. Mestis became Mêtis in modern French. The circumflex over the e is not an accent mark, it does not change the pronunciation. It represents the lost s that was there in Middle French. Août (August) is a good example. English stage is French êtage, this is a regular change. All Latin words which started in est- stay est- in Spanish, drop the e in English, and drop the s in French. Estado, state, êtat; Esteban, Steven, Êtienne, etc. Mestee fell into disuse because of the one-drop rule after the Civil War, but we are trying to go back to the pre-Civil War view that one can be part Black without being Black, so reviving the old word makes perfect sense to me. If Louisiana Cajuns and Alabama Creoles want to use Mêtis, with their French background, that is fine with me. But with Melungeons having mostly British origin names and speaking English for so long now, I think Mestee is the word of choice.

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The Original Melungeon Home Area

As Donald Ball explained so well at the Melungeon Third Union in Wise, Virginia, and as set forth in his and Kessler’s book and paper (the paper is on-line at the Melungeon Heritage Association website), the beginning of the formation of the Melungeon people was the aggregation of various people, mostly already of mixed ancestry, in a no-man’s area along the frontier between the colonies of North Carolina and Virginia. This no-man’s land was created by over-lapping royal grants to the two colonies. The area where they gathered is now the counties of Henry and Patrick in Virginia and Rockingham, Stokes and Surry in North Carolina. They have been know locally as the Goinstown Indians after the community in the northwest corner of Rockingham county. The old Goins school there was the center of this community, it is still standing, but deserted and in need of repair. Pretty much all the Melungeons of northeastern Tennessee (Hancock county, etc.), western Virginia and eastern Kentucky descend at least in part from Melungeons who moved from this Melungeon homeland. They have contributed some to all the groups called Melungeon except the Florida Melungeons, as can be seen in the frequency of the name Goins. Dr G. C. Waldrep III has done a lot of research on this original Melungeon community and the migrations from it into Hancock and Hawkins counties, TN, and Scott and Wise counties, VA.

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From Alan Ross' mirror site, http://www.rossmusic.net/what_is_a_melungeon.htm

Mike Nassau is a retired librarian who lives in Legazpi City, Albay Province, Bicol Region, Philippines by way of Gainesville, FL. He is married to Emma Espartinez Suruiz and lives with her and their three children, Jefferson, Jereco and Julie May. Ethnically, he is Melungeon. He authored a collection of class notes for an anthropology class on Melungeons and other old mixed race groups of eastern United States, titled "Melungeons and Other Mestee Groups" in 1994. He claims this work is very dated, much of it he no longer believes to be true, but it does have an extensive annotated bibliography.In addition, it contains a lot of Nassau’s wry wit which he says “some enjoy and by which some are deeply offended.” The collection has been posted on-line by the Multiracial Activist. The link is below.

http://www.multiracial.com/readers/nassau.html

 

2008 DISCLAIMER

The current crisis in the Melungeon community over the question

of a special connection between Melungeons and Turks needs to

be clarified. It is now known that Drake did not abandon any Turks

in Virginia. Of course, a few Turks who came to America other ways

might have made their way into the very mixed ancestry of the

Melungeons, but certainly not as much as several other Mediteranean

ethnicities. Not a significant amount, not a basis for any special

identification or relationship. The claim that Melungeons are

Turkish-Americans is ludicrous. To assert that Melungeons support

the Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide is not only false and

dishonest, it is very insulting. Mike Nassau, March 12, 2008

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For more information on Melungeons, please click the links below.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MelungeonOrigin

http://mikenassau.freehomepage.com/melungeonpage.html

http://dmoz.org/Society/Ethnicity/The_Americas/Melungeon/

http://www.multiracial.com/readers/nassau.html

Mike Nassau mikemelungeon@yahoo.com

Salinas, CA. February 8, 2008

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MelungeonOrigin

 

communbity members are setting up for interviews for march community research week

Posted by chris on September 27, 2012 at 2:20 AM Comments comments (1)

Wanda Stewart (thomas/bland lines) of the Mt. Zion (Holmes county Dominickers) descendents is setting up for interviews with her and other families  from the MZ community for our research week in march in conjunction with the indian community conference.

Sharron Fagan is gathering together contacts for the descendents of the Scotts Ferry community for interviews as well, and wed like to set up  for meeting with individuals/families at their homes who cant come to the conference in blountstown.

if you descend from any of the Scott town, Scotts ferry, Woods, or Mount Zion communities please let me know, we are planning an intense 7 day research trip during the week before/after the conference in March and want to include you and your families memories, documents, photos, and ideas.

 if youd like to be included for interviews or a meeting at your home or community please let me know and well add you to the growing list. 918 402 3666 chickeetrash@yahoo.com northfloridaindian.org

Dominicker Life: A Cousins Reflections on Growing up in North Florida

Posted by chris on September 27, 2012 at 1:15 AM Comments comments (3)

Dominicker Life: A Cousins Reflections on Growing up in North Florida

my cousin emailed me this:

While sitting here reading an article in the Huffington Post about Senator Scott Brown and his mean spirited attacks against Elizabeth Warren, I realized this country is in serious trouble. Senator Brown can be seen and heard stating that Elizabeth Warren is not a person of color/Native American because she does not look like it. That statement hit home for me. Growing up in a family full of mixed race people led me to a life of comic relief. When most people would get upset at the name calling it actually made me laugh. Why you ask? Here are a few examples of my reason to laugh. Well dang gone it my own Daddy called me half-breed so much, everytime I heard Cher singing “Half-Breed”I sang along too (never knew it was not a nice word) my son still calls me that to remind me of my Daddy. And that is a good thing for me. Then along comes integration and we were plopped down in the middle of an all-white school I was called the “N” word (trying to remain politically correct here) and all I could think was man they are just as confused as I am. I didn’t know what I was myself so being called the infamous “N” word really made me laugh. Talk about an identity crisis. On the ride home from the previous all-white school I got another sucker punch-your Momma is half-white-well at least the person saying it thought she had it right but man oh man was she ever wrong. My Mom’s younger sister ventured to my house once after Thanksgiving to retrieve her dinner that I had left for her. I put the key over the door for her (forgot she was only two feet tall) and went on my merry way to work-well so much for knowing your neighbors-I received a call at my job from the police asking that I come home immediately, there seemed to have been some sort of break-in at my house-I get home to find that yes my home at been entered by some strange white woman that my neighbor observed crawl through a window-what a shock to see my Aunt handcuffed along with her friend sitting in the backseat of a patrol car. I informed the officer on scene that they were mistaken, the person they had handcuffed was not a criminal-she was in fact my Aunt. My Dad was also on the scene and to my Aunt’s dismay he was no help as he was on the ground laughing hysterically. The officer did not believe me-all he kept saying was look this lady is white and you are black she is not your mother’s sister-it took me a while to convince the officer that she was truly my aunt and indeed my mother’s sister, finally he apologized and released the both of them. Needless to say my poor neighbor needed a drink! These are just a few of the incidents I experienced growing up, maybe just maybe one day people will realize you truly can’t judge a book by its cover. According to Scott Brown’s analysis, I can’t be Native American. I simply don’t look it!


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