"true Whigs" (left) enjoy their hard cider,
while "ruffled shirt Matty" (center) loses
himself in the "feminine pleasures" of opium.
Meanwhile, the undecided voter (right)
is taking a leak for some reason."
Whether you are a Republican or Democrat and whether you are voting for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney you may not know the Melungeons were typically known as Republicans and have a long history in the political arena. Many times their right to vote being challenged;
Q. Were you acquainted with Solomon Bolton? If so, when and how long did you know him and where did he live?
A. I was acquainted with Solomon Bolton. I got acquainted with him about thirty years ago. and knew him until he left here several years ago. He lived in several places in Marion and Hamilton Counties.
Q. State whether or not you knew of Solomon Bolton's voting in any elections in Marion County? If so, in what elections did he vote?
A. He always voted. I never heard of his vote being challenged or questioned until I think about the year 1840 his vote was challenged. My father and I got the law and showed it to the Judges of the election. They decided he was a competent voter, and I never heard his vote questioned after that time.
It was before the war-during the time of slavery-that the right of a number of these people to vote was called in question. The matter was finally carried before a jury and the question decided by an examination of the feet. One, I believe, was found to be sufficiently flat-footed to deprive him of aright of suffrage. The others, four or five in number, were considered as having sufficient white blood to allow them a vote. Co. John Netherland, a lawyer of considerable local prominence defended them. (Swan Burnett 1890)
"Finally, the decision of the Supreme Court of Tennessee in 1872, referred to by Judge Shepherd, should be conclusive on this subject. Every one of the five members of that Court was a Confederate and Democrat." (The Melungeons were Republicans)
May 25, 1869
“A Malungeon,” said he, “isn’t a _____, and he isn’t an Indian and he isn’t a white man. God only knows what he is. I should call him a Democrat, only he always votes the Republican ticket.”
March 17, 1897
A PECULIAR PEOPLE
I have heard since boyhood the word “Melungeon.” It is very common in Tennessee, and is often used as a sort of epithet. Also, as a bugbear to frighten children.
To illustrate, middle and western Tennessee is overwhelmingly Democratic politically, while the eastern portion is overwhelmingly Republican. It used to be the case that a Democratic editor inclined to invective would refer to the East Tennessee Republicans as MELUNGEONS. It was an offensive appellation, but there was no way of preventing its use.