Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two Groups of Melungeons - A Problem?


The Pee Dee River Melungeons

The Pee Dee families; Bolton, Perkins, Shoemake, etc., are listed on the
Core Melungeon DNA project page yet there seems to be mixed signals regarding the "Pee Dee Melungeons" or the "CORE Melungeons" coming from Estes, Crain, Goins and Ferguson in the latest paper published in JoGG.  They write in this paper;
"One possible documented source of Portuguese ancestry may be from Juan Pardo’s men who were abandoned at various forts in present day North Carolina, one perhaps as far north and west as Morgantown, North Carolina. [206]  Some of Pardo's men may have been Portuguese. These men, if they survived, would have had to have assimilated into the Native population and have taken Native wives, as there were no European women available in 1566.  However, the core Melungeon family group is not originally found in western North Carolina, but in eastern Virginia."

It certainly would appear to me they have written the Pee Dee Melungeons out of the Core group as there is no evidence the Bolton, Perkins, Shoemakes etc., had any ties to the Virginia families, they were a separate group found on the Pee Dee River as early as 1725, a stone's throw from the town Ylasi/Ilapi that both deSoto and Pardo had visited, and very possibly descended from Pardos [or deSotos] men.

 ( The Forgotten Centuries - Charles Hudson) "At Aracuchi, Pardo decided to divide his force, sending half on to Cofitachequi, while the other half traveled to Ylasi.  Ylasi is clearly the same town as deSoto's Ilapi."
Look where Ylasi is located on the above map. How could deSoto and Pardo's (and deAyllons) men have been any closer to the homeland of the Pee Dee Melungeons/Indians?

It is a documented fact at least one of deSoto's men ran off and was last seen living as the husband to the "Lady of Cofitachequi."  When deSoto visited this Indian town with one of the gentleman who had accompanied deAyllon some years earlier it was recorded he recognized items from deAyllon's settlement. 

"Just as with De Soto's expedition, African slaves had accompanied de Ayllon's settlement colony on the Pee dee River in 1526. When there was a crisis over leadership, the colony fell into disarray. In the midst of this crisis, a slave revolt further ripped the settlement apart. With the colony in shambles, many of the African slaves fled to live among the nearby native people. According to De Soto, these refugees must have lived among the Cofitachiqui and taught them the craftwork of the Europeans."  (Slavery in the Cherokee Nation By Patrick Neal Minges)
We also have deAyllons Portuguese/Spaniards and Africans left behind in 1526 and according to Estes, Crain, Goins, and Ferguson, Pardo's  "Portuguese men would have had to have assimilated into the Native population and have taken Native wives."  

These men, Portuguese, Spaniards, and Africans found mixing with the Indians on the Pee Dee River just 4 or 5 generations before Solomon Bolton's father was born 'on the Pee Dee River' should give us some clue of who the ancestors were of these 'Core Melungeon' families.  Yet with the broad swipe of their pen Estes, Crain, Goins, and Ferguson, the history and ancestry of these Melungeon people has been ignored because it does not fit the 'migration pattern' as Jack Goins has laid it out in his two books.

These families that Goins identifies as coming from Louisa County, Virginia were no doubt Indians, no matter if they had mixed with the English, French, Germans, Africans, Turks, East Indians, Armenians etc., they were Indians. They settled on Newmans Ridge roughly the same time these Portuguese/Indians came over the mountains from South Carolina.

The Portuguese people identified as Melungeons came from the Pee Dee River as evidenced by the court records of the Ivey, Harmon, Halls, Perkins, Bolton, Chavis, etc.  They mixed with the Indian Gibson, Collins, etc., families on Newman's Ridge and they became the 'present race' identified in the 1848 article.

The Problem

These Portuguese Melungeons from South Carolina have been a problem for Jack Goins since the court transcripts were found in 2005, he has them listed as part of the Core project but their ancestry as well as their DNA was left out of the recent study.


  1. In a message sent to me dated 9/22/2005 11:32:36 A.M. Eastern Standard Time, jgoins@usit.net writes:
    "This court case has changed my view on the originator of the word Melungeons as beginning on Newman Ridge as per Jarvis. This testimony in SC and 1874, before Dromgoole and appears from this case the word Melungeon may have been widely known during this period. Jack" 

    In a message  dated 10/2/2005 9:43:35 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, jgoins@usit.net writes: 

    "All of this aside I believe this case changes some of our arguments, such as they were not called or known as Melungeons in other places where they migrated. In fact it may yet show they were called Melugeons in SC. .......
    ......That 1848 reporter was not a neighbor. No doubt he came here because he was told this was where the Melungeons lived. What I am saying is this; In Hamilton County a Justice of the Peace, said they were called Malungeon. If they were from Hawkins/Hancock this means they did retain the name Melungeon, or Malungeon. This being a sworn under oath court record makes it much more reliable record , In fact there was two witnesses who said they were called Malungeon. If they were given this name by their neighbors who lived here among them, then why haven't we found this?
    Dromgoole came to Hancock probably because some old senator in Nashville told her to, but we have a problem, We don't have one witness like say that Justice of the Peace who lived in this area before Dromgoole who testified the Collins or Gibson, or Goins were Malungeons. The problem is the Bolton trial survived and the Voting trial proceedings did not, or have not yet been found. Penny don't think this is a problem but I do."

    From: JoannePezzullo@aol.com
    Date: Sat, 29 Oct 2005 20:06:25 EDT
    To: jgoins@usit.net, pennyferguson@alltel.net
    I'm with Penny I don't see the problem........I don't understand why you think it is a problem? Shepherd says they left South Carolina and went to HANCOCK COUNTY first...and spread out from there. 
    In a message dated 10/29/2005 8:49:08 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, jgoins@usit.net writes: 
    The bottom line is we have no neighbor in Hancock pointing to any family and saying they are called Malungeon. I cannot believe in the heart of Malungeon county we cannot even find the word in a court record. and Yes it is a problem 
    Note the dates of the above emails - September and October of 2005 - this was just a few months after we first started the Melungeon DNA Project in July of 2005.  Goins, Ferguson and Crain recognized the importance of these families who lived on the Pee Dee River, came over the mountains to Hawkins/Hancock County and dispersed to other areas of Tennessee 

    In July 2011 this paper by Estes, Crain, Goins and Ferguson was submitted to JoGG which contains the following paragraph on page 58-59;


    1. ''This match is particularly important because it shows that the designation Melungeon, the term used to identify this group of South Carolina people, seems to predate the Melungeon community in Hawkins County, being used in reference to Solomon Bolton who is living in the Spartanburg District of South Carolina prior to 1800.'' 
    Just a month after the paper was submitted on the Rootsweb Melungeon list Jack Goins called them my "imaginary Melungeons"
    August 17, 2011
    ''Joanne would you please tell us why!!! this 1848 visitor to Vardy Valley came to this place and announced it was the Homeland of the Malungeons, instead of going to your imaginary Melungeons on the Pee Dee River?''
It appears to me the authors of this paper recognize the importance of the 'Melungeon families" who migrated from the Pee Dee River and who may have in fact brought the name with them to Newman's Ridge, who may have descended from the early Portuguese/Spanish explorers.


Yet completely ignoring the  DNA and history of the Bolton, Perkins Shoemake, etc., families, they write the  "Core Melungeon' families came from Eastern Virginia."


Yes Virginia there appears to be a problem. 

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