Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ground Breaking or Pandora's Box ?

Sometimes I have to chuckle when I come across what I consider foolishness, concerning the people who were called Melungeon. It's usually on the internet and usually written by non descendants.

I just ran across this on a blog where the blogger states " While there was a boom in Melungeon-related nonfiction for about ten years after Brent Kennedy’s groundbreaking 1994 study, for several years now the great majority of new books about Melungeons have been fiction."

Groundbreaking ? The only 'Groundbreaking' that was done was to open a Pandora's box of unproven theory's , myths, poor genealogy and  misinformation.

After making this 'groundbreaking' statement, this blogger goes on to 'praise' an unproven theory, the newest 'fad' now popular with both the self identified 'one size fit all Melungeons' , and the 'Melungeon hunters'.  "Don't confuse me with facts" , theory should be stated as such, not as fact.  Read here: Theory

Update 6/18/2016 : This article has been scrubbed.

A message to this blogger....as Mahala Collins Mullins descendant, Jim Callahan states:
"History is being made with each new distortion. It behooves all those who respect history and their heritage to make every effort to control efforts of those who purposely or inadvertently exploit a proud people for their own self aggrandizement."

Back to Mr. Kennedy's book,which was printed in 3 different editions:

The Resurrection of a Proud People, An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America
Published by Mercer University Press; Macon, Georgia   published in 1994,1996, 1997

There have been several reviews written pertaining to Mr. Kennedy's book, I blogged about a few
of them, click on this link and find out how to go about reading them online:
JSTOR and The Appalachian Journal , Good Tools

The first review of this book was written by Virginia Easley DeMarce, Ph.D.. Please read it below.
Mr. Kennedy did respond to this review, which I will post at another time.

Review Essay: The Melungeons

By Virginia Easley DeMarce, Ph.D.

The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People. An Untold Story of Ethnic Cleansing in America

By N. Brent Kennedy, with Robyn Vaughan Kennedy.

Published by Mercer University Press; Macon, GA 31210; 1994. xviii,

156 pp. Appendix, illustrations index. Softback, $16.95. 

Mercer University Press has placed its imprimatur on a book that attempts to cross the disciplines of anthropology, genealogy, and history with genetics as a periodic refrain. However, the author does not apply the standard methodology of any of these disciplines. Racial prejudice and persecution, as the title implies, are the themes that meld all this together. A chronological leap over several centuries enables the author to propose an exotic ancestry for "200,000 individuals, perhaps.' far more" (p xv)-an ancestry that sweeps in virtually every olive, ruddy, and brown-tinged ethnicity known or alleged to have appeared anywhere in the pre-Civil War Southeastern United States.

Beginning with an account of his diagnosis with erythema nodosum sarcoidosis, a rare, serious medical problem to which certain ethnic groups are prone-Kennedy presents a deeply felt account of his immediate family. However, nothing indicates that he investigated whether this medical problem has appeared elsewhere in the extended families who descend from his ancestors or, if it does occur in a pattern, in which line(s).1

Any study centered upon genetics and ethnicity should solidly document all genealogical data and links. Yet Kennedy offers no evidence, not even census records. He outlines an ancestry that centers in the Virginia counties of Wise, Russell, and Scott, and the Kentucky counties of Floyd and Pike. Beyond that, he implies that his forebears are traceable only to the mid-to-late eighteenth century. at which time they were primarily in northwestern North Carolina, (particularly modern Ashe and Yancey Counties) and the region that became Greenbrier and Franklin Counties, Virginia. He arranges his pedigree in a series of "family lines," including (pp. 137-38) one claimed ascent to Pocahontas (which, if accurate, certainly would not have been a basis for social persecution) . 2

The failure to provide documentation makes it difficult to retrace the path by which the author determined his generational links and sorted forebears from others of the same name. This difficulty will deter many readers from the fact checking that good genealogists always perform. Those who do seek actual evidence and those who already have conducted solid research on these lines will be dismayed at the extent of the genealogical errors set forth in so few pages. Similarly, a great deal of unearned trust is expected of students and scholars in other disciplines. This review essay covers four major areas of concern: ethnic identification, prejudice, genealogy, and historical origins. 3


Kennedy does not use the term Melungeon in its anthropological sense-that is, the interlocking families who moved into, existed in, and dispersed from Hawkins and Hancock Counties, Tennessee. Rather, he coins a very loose definition, expanding it to cover essentially all colonial-era Virginians and Carolinians who (in whatever records he consulted) are not clearly stated to be European American or African American. Melungeon thus becomes a catchall description for dark- skinned individuals whose ancestry does not seem to be sub-Saharan African-as well as their lighter-skinned relatives and descendants, whom he presents as subjects of racial prejudice. The manner in which numerous individuals are "deduced" to be Melungeon is troubling. By surmising a connection when he cannot show it, he makes "Melungeons" of numerous frontier families whose ancestry appears to be wholly northern European, including those whose known origin is Scotch-Irish or German. Typical cases are the Ritchies (pp.23-24), Hutchinsons (p.27), Kennedys and Hornes (pp. 66-68), Powerses and Alleys (pp.69-70), and Counts, Jessees, and Kisers (pp.77-79). In discussing an unproved line of descent from Edward "Ned" Sizemore, a central figure in the famous attempt to cash in on early-twentieth-century Eastern Cherokee claims awards (p.56), Kennedy ignores extensive testimony indicating that Sizemore descendants were, for social and legal purposes, a white family claiming Indian ancestry not Melungeons or free nonwhites. 4

Illustrative of the problem is Kennedy's analysis of William Roberson's ethnicity, which strongly suggests inexperience in genealogical and historical research. Because this Revolutionary War veteran supposedly said he was Scotch-Irish and from London, and because his name is variously spelled as Robertson, Robinson, and Robeson, Kennedy concludes the man was a Melungeon who purposefully obscured his true origins. "Surely, if William . . . really did come from England, Scotland, or Ireland, he would have known how to spell his last name.... [His] early meandering in [the Carolinas] undoubtedly plac[ed] him within the geographical region ... known as 'Robeson' county. Could William I have 'borrowed' his surname from the name of the county?" (pp.25-26). Coincidentally, Kennedy proceeds to state that Roberson's son married the first cousin of President Andrew Jackson. Obviously, in his historical studies, Kennedy has not encountered Jackson's declaration that he "could never respect a man who knew only one way to spell a word."5

Kennedy often refers to the labels fpc (free person of color) and fc (free colored) informing readers that these were maliciously applied by the Scotch-Irish to their Melungeon neighbors in order to "strip the Melungeons of their lands" (p.12), and that "American antebellum census records consistently described those with Indian blood" as fpc (p. 89, italics added). Placing his family into this context, he says "they and we were 'free persons of color"' (p.5). In checking Kennedy's family lines, this reviewer consistently found the opposite-not a single instance in which his named ancestors, from 1790 through 1900, appear in public documents as anything but white. The legal acceptance of these lines as white by local officials contrasts curiously with the author's repeated statements that they were routinely labeled fpc. 6

As frontiersmen and mountaineers, his named ancestors repeatedly appear as white on federal censuses. Their marriages, where separate books were maintained for "white" and "colored," are entered in "white" books.7 In one case, when identifying the father of an out-of-wedlock child as "Melungeon" and "free person of color" (pp. 70-71), Kennedy does refer to a source-but misquotes the work he cites. The book is subtitled Free Black Population of Amherst County, Virginia, and it does mention (in other contexts) Kennedy's claimed ancestor, David S. Garland; but it does not identify' Garland as either Melungeon or fpc. In fact, it specifically indicates that he was white.8


Kennedy alleges, but does not document, systematic, population-wide, race-based persecution of his ancestral families. His introductory assertion that Melungeons were "a people ravaged, and nearly destroyed, by the senseless excesses of racism and genocide" (p. xiii) begs for supporting evidence-as does his contention that Melungeon families were originally large landowners, deprived and marginalized by Scotch-Irish and other northern-European settlers (p.4). Similarly, the author offers no evidence for his statement that "being legally declared a 'Melungeon' meant losing one's land" (p. 125). He does not present one land grant, deed, or court case to show that his claimed Melungeon ancestral lines ever held large tracts of land or that they were deprived of them by whiter settlers. William Roberson is said to have "left Greenbriar County Virginia] at the same time the Melungeons were being 'evicted' "(p.25).
No evidence of any Melungeon eviction is offered In Wise County, Virginia, supposedly, "undesirable land [was] ceded to the Melungeons in exchange for the prime property they had originally held. .... land where the town of Wise now sits (and) the beautiful farm country of the Powell Valley were territories well worth stealing" (p.39). Yet no court suits, deed’s, tax rolls, or land grants are cited. In repeating the family legend that "William Nash III had once owned some 6,000 acres of land, but gambled it away," 9.Kennedy's opinion that it was, instead, "probably taken [from ..... But to cover the truth [of their persecution] the family had to turn William III into an irresponsible reprobate" (pp. 39-40). Again, the author offers none of the court or land records or newspaper notices of public sales that genealogists routinely cite in cases such as this.

Echoing a theme popular with some writers on Southern minorities, Kennedy contends (p.14 and elsewhere) that records are scarce because persecution caused Melungeon families to "avoid" census takers and other public officials. 10. That assertion is difficult to support in this instance, because many records concerning his ancestral families are readily available. Genealogists of all families suffer lacunae in the records, but most failures to find evidence can be overcome by applying improved research skills. Kennedy is not precise in his discussion of public laws. For example, he states that "by 1834 Melungeons had been stripped of most rights of citizenship in both Tennessee and North Carolina" (p.15) and that "Sarah [Adkins] and husband John Bennett left North Carolina with their children in the late 1830's, about the time that North Carolina declared Melungeons to be 'free persons of color"' (p.46, italics added).

North Carolina never "declared Melungeons" to be free persons of color; nor did a Tennessee statute single out Melungeons for persecution. Statutes did restrict the rights of persons who were legally classed as free persons of color; but the 1830s definition of that class, in both states, was the same definition established in the 1700s. In Tennessee, state law limited the term to those whose parent or grand-parent was a full-blooded Indian or Negro (i.e., descent to the third degree). North Carolina's law extended it to "all Negroes, Indians, and mulattos.... to the fourth generation, inclusive" (i.e., individuals with one-eighth-degree Negro or Indian ancestry). The laws of the 1830s did not affect farnilies who were legally white, they did not change anyone's classification, and they did not mandate anyone to be legally nonwhite once they passed the point that had been defined in the 1700’s. 11 Similarly, Kennedy reinterprets voting laws. "By a sweep of the judicial pen,,, readers are told, census takers arbitrarily ruled Melungeons to be fpc "and, presto! [they] became legally disenfranchised" (p, 12).12 

Returning later to that theme, Kennedy states that his ancestor Alexander Hall, son of Isham, rose to the rank of captain in the Confederate army but was not permitted to vote because of his status as a "free person of color" (p.33). Yet the 1830 census of Russell County, Virginia, labels Isham Hall white. 13 By the 1850 enumeration, Alexander had become a head of household-white, as were his wife, children, father, and father's family.14 Alexander's future son-in-law, Wickliffe Hendricks Nash, who also saw Confederate service (p.33), was similarly counted as white, both in his father's household in 1860 and in his own household in 1880.15 Kennedy provides no documentation for his statement that "well into the 1900s, the Nashes and Halls were not permitted to vote" (p. 40). If this was the case, the cause needs to be documented, because it does not appear to have been based on their racial classification in the census.16 


Two sections, headed "No Place to Hide," briefly sketch Kennedy's maternal and paternal lines. Some genealogical problems are obvious, even without documentation. Other links, relationships, and conclusions do not withstand fact checking. The following illustrates the types of concerns that genealogists must address before deciding whether to add the author's conclusions to their family records.

While writing of his multiple "shot[s] of Old Booker Mullins' genes" (p.73), Kennedy says next to nothing about the man, only that he was born 1762, died .1864, and was "apparently from Franklin County, Virginia" (p 47), 17 a county created in 1785. A variety of records actually exists to track this man and to sort him from numerous other contemporaries of the same name. Tax records that have been conveniently published since 1972 show this Booker to be a 1789 settler of Burks Fork and Greasy Creek of Indian Ridge, in Montgomery County, Virginia 18 (now the county-boundary area between Floyd and Carroll Counties, slightly above the North Carolina line). From here, Booker apparently moved south, as a subsequent census attributes to his son David a circa 1800 birth in North Carolina.19 From there, they trekked westward into Floyd County, Kentucky, where Booker's household is enumerated-as white-in l8lO. 20 . Other early-nineteenth-century censuses and land records (not discussed by Kennedy) place Booker and his grown children in both Floyd and its offshoot counties, Pike and Lawrence. 21 By 1830, this Mullins family had backwashed from eastern Kentucky into southwestern Virginia’s Russell County, where Booker is recorded as a free white male, aged sixty to seventy.22 He last appears, 1860, in Wise County-aged ninety-six, of Virginia birth, and still white.23

A more-serious genealogical problem, for which the evidence apparently confused Kennedy, is the identification of Booker's wife. She is said by Kennedy (without documentation) to be "Nancy Judith Stanley" in each of the four tables presented on pages 48, 49, 50, and 51. However, the text at page 48 discusses her as "Booker's wife, Nancy Stanley." At page 49, the text comments: "Old Booker may have had a previous marriage, possibly before his marriage to Nancy Stanley. The name Judith Bunch, or Bench, has occasionally been tied to Booker." Virginia's eighteenth- and nineteenth-century marriage records are highly incomplete. 24 Surviving records show that Judith Stanley married one of the several contemporary Booker Mullinses during 1803 in Franklin County, Virginia. However, this is not Kennedy's ancestral couple, because this Booker Mullins is shown consistently on the Franklin County censuses from 1810 through 1860.25 Meanwhile, the Booker Mullins from whom Kennedy descends obviously had married by 1790 or so, because he had a son James) who wed in 1812 and another (Sherwood) who married in 1813. 26

The only evidence this reviewer has found of a Booker Mullins to Nancy {-} marriage is the 1835 union of Booker Mullins, son Sherwood and grandson of "Old Booker," to Nancy Potter in Pike County, Kentucky. 27 Chronology suggests that Kennedy attributed to "Old Booker" born circa 1764 some of the post-1835 children of this younger Booker and Nancy Mullins 28 .There were also at least two, possibly three, other men named Booker Mullins in the area of eastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia between 1790 and 186O - classed as white, yet another problem relating to the author's genealogical reconstruction of the Mullins family is his statement that the famed Mahala "Big Haley" (Collins) Mullins, of the Hancock County, Tennessee, Melungeons, "married into" the family of his own ancestor's son, Wilson Mullins; and he cited Wilson's birth in 1824 (p.48). Mahala herself was born in 1824; and the 1880 census shows that her husband, John Mullins (whose identity Kennedy appears not to know), was born about 1815. Kennedy does not show a relationship between her husband and his own family line. In any case, John was too old to have been a son of Wilson.

Pursuing the Mullinses through the federal censuses also yields evidence that Kennedy did not fully exploit the available sources. His genealogical table for the Hall family (p.36) cites two consecutive Hall-Mullins marriages: Isham Hall I (dates unknown) to Mary Mullins and Isham Hall II (1785-1856) to Jane Mullins. His only statement regarding the origins of either Isham is that the one born 1785 "claimed to be from Greenbriar County, Virginia" (p.30). For ancestor Henry 28 Clyde Runyon, comp., Marriage Bonds of Pike County, Kentucky, 1822-1865 (Belfry, Ky: p.p., 1984), 78, citing file no. 431. 

Kennedy apparently confused the 26-year-old Sherrard [Sherwood] Mullins (wife Anna i.e., Nancy-aged 22), in Booker's 1860 household, with the much-older Sherwood who was Booker's son. Certainly Sherrard and Anna cannot have been the parents of Andrew Jackson "BrandyJack" Mullins, who was born in 1834 (Kennedy, p.50) 29 Two were heads of households on the 1840 cens. of Pike Co., Ky one, age 40-50; another, 20- 30. See Jesse Stewart and Leah Stewart, comps., 1840 Federal Census of Pike County, Kentucky (n.p. n.p., Ca. 1990), 3. The 1850 cens. more fully identifies them as Booker Mullins (age 55, wife Mary; Floyd Co.) and Booker Mullens (age 31, wife Nancy; adjacent Pike Co.). See Barbara, Byron, and Samuel Sistle; 1850 Census, Eastern Ky. Counties of Breathitt, Caner, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Lawrence, Letcher, Morgan, Perry, and Pike (Nashville: Byron Sistler and Associates, 1994, 68, 301.

One Booker Mullins married Polly Johnson, daughter of William Johnson, 16 Apffl 1821; see Skeens, Floyd Kentucky, Consent and Marriage Book, p.136. A second Booker wed Polly Newsom, daughter of Harrison Newsom, 5 December 1829; see Runyon, Marriage Bonds of Pike County, 43, file no.235. Subsequently, there appears Booker Mullins Sr., age 68, b. Va., with wife Polly, age 60, b. N.C., on the 1870 U.S. cens., Pike Co., Ky., dist. 9, Robinson Creek, dwell. 26, fam. 26; and Booker Mullins, age 70, with wife Polly, 65, both born in Va., on the 1880 U.S. cens., Pike Co., Ky., 9th precinct, Upper Elkhorn Creek, dwell 16, fam. 16. All listings identify them as white. 30 Gowen Research Foundation, Electronic Library, file GOWENMS.OO2, closed stacks, printout dated 30 March 1996, unpaginated. Available to foundation members via sysop, 806-796-0456. For the foundation, contact Arlee Gowen, 5708 Gary Ave., Lubbock, TX 79413. Mahala Collins was the daughter of Solomon and Virginia Jane "Gincie" (Goins) Collins. Adkins, whose granddaughter married in 1851 the only stated origin is "1700s, North Carolina" (p. 70). Yet the 1850 census of Russell County, Virginia, is more explicit. It is one of the serendipitous enumerations on which the marshal recorded the county of birth for all persons born within the Cornmonwealth. Both Isham Hall and Henry Adkins are assigned a birth in Franklin County, Virginia-the place Kennedy speculates for Booker Mullins.

The Adkins family sketches, brief as they are, have several other problems. Census records state that Stacy was the given name of Wilson Adkins's wife, 32 not the surname, as Kennedy gives it (p. 45). Those census records also place Stacy's and
Wilson's births at circa 1817. Thus, it seems highly questionable that they were the grandparents of John Bennett Jr. who Kennedy says (without documentation) was born in 1836. Likewise, Sarah Jane Adkins, born about 1851, was probably not the great~granddaughter of "Henry Adkins and Sally Bowman" (p.70), because the sixtyfive-year-old Henry did not marry Sally (Bowman) Vance until 1857. 33 The fact that Sarah Jane was in their household in 1860 does not make her Sally's progeny. 34 If the author concludes that the relationship of Henry and Sally predated their marriage, this must be documented.

There are major problems in Kennedy's presentation of this line. Reconciling them would not only add another generation, but might also alter the direction of the line. Kennedy states that his grandmother, Tessie Colley, was born in 1899 as the daughter of Major Pelham Colley (no dates) and Hester Kiser, and granddaughter of James and Emma (Farrell) Colley (p. 77). Beyond this, he provides an 1815 birth year for Emma Farrell-a point that, if correct, would require Major Colley to be born no later than 1860-65 and easily before then. But Major does not look that old in the 1902 photograph Kennedy includes (p. 80).

A published study of the family reveals that in 1884, James Colley resided in Buchanan County, Virginia, which had been taken from Wise in 1858. The 1880 census of Buchanan identifies "Magor P" Colley as the seven-year-old son of Jasper and Margaret Colley, not James and Emma. Kennedy's claimed James and Emma Colley were in the same magisterial district, but in no census year does their household include a Jasper.

The marriage record of "M. P. Colley and E. H. Kier" confirms that Major's parents were indeed "J. S. and Margaret. "39 In turn, the marriage record for Jasper Colley and Margaret Sutherland, dated 1866, 40 identifies Jasper as a son of John and Anna Colley-not James and Emma. Extensive interviews with Margaret (Sutherland) Colley were published in Sutherland's

Pioneer Recollections of Southern VA. They, and other interviews in the same collection, indicate that in 1879, Jasper S. Colley was elected a delegate to the Virginia state legislature, as a Democrat. 41 That fact stands in marked contrast to Kennedy's statements regarding ethnic prejudice against his forebears.

Jasper's birth occurred, apparently in 1841. 42-making his father, John, too old to have been a son of James and Emma (Farrell) Colley, whose births are placed at circa 1826 by the previously cited censuses. Thus, the issue raised by Kennedy as to whether Emma Farrell's mother was "one of the 'Black Jacksons"' (p.77) is irrelevant to his lineage.

It would appear from the oral histories presented by Southerland that John Colley was a brother of James Hopkins. The Hopkins line is shown with no date - just question marks- for the three generations outlined prior to the birth of the 1899 ancestor (p.54). Yet there is no apparent reason for the omission. The author knew the residential location. A ten-minute check of the 1880 Soundex for Kentucky would have located the family households under consideration and provided at least an approximation of the needed data.© 43

Various inconsistencies appear in this family line. Kennedy states that Jesse Home supposedly was born in 1777 and Pleasant Horne in 1781, "which would have made him fourteen [sic] at his son's birth" (p.67). Since Kennedy provides no citation to the source of the information on Pleasant Horne's supposed parentage and Jesse Home's supposed age, the reader cannot decide whether the author's math is wrong or whether one of the dates is merely mistyped. However, there is no reason to assume that it represents deliberately "fabricated roots" to hide Melungeon origins (p.67). Pleasant Horne is counted as white on the Russell County censuses of at least 1830, 1850, and 1860, as are all other Horne family members in those counties.

In the Kiser family, both generational confusion and incomplete research appear again. Kennedy shows the Reverend Elihu Kiser as a son of Joseph Kiser and Susannah Stacey, for whom he has no dates (p.79). Other, more explicit, family accounts place Elihu Kiser as a son of Abednego and Mary (Jessee) Kiser, and a grandson of Joseph Kiser and Susannah Stacey.45 For the Reverend Abednego Kiser and his wife Margaret Jessee (p.79), another direct ancestral couple, Kennedy's table shows only question marks for years of birth and death-although the couple appears regularly in the census records 46 Miscellaneous Problems Other statements indicate that the author is unaware of common genealogical factors. In addition to the suppositions of racial cover-up because of spelling variation in surnames, Kennedy asserts that Virginia residents marrying in contiguous Kentucky counties in the second half of the nineteenth century did so to avoid Virginia's supposedly more-restrictive miscegenation laws (pp.36-37). However, the published Wise County, Virginia, marriages reveal that the practice of marrying across the state line went both ways;47 and Pike County, Kentucky, marriage bonds indicate that the practice there was shared by many families Kennedy does not classify as "Melungeon." Cross-border marriages are commonly found in the course of genealogical research and often stem from such geographic factors as flooded streams, washed-out bridges, and impassable roads-or the ordinary convenience of an individual family's access to one courthouse over another.

Other errors should have been caught by more-thoughtful proofreading. Dick Colley's wife is said to be Christina (Crissa) Counts in one place and Lucretia "Crissa" Counts just eleven lines later (p. 77) .49 After two listings of "'Preacher' John Hopkin + (wed] Hannah Osborne," a third shows "'Preacher' John Osborne + Hannah Osborne" (pp.54-55). Kennedy states that Ida M. Powers Kennedy "died in childbirth bringing [his] tenacious grandfather into the world." Yet the same page offers a formal family photograph that, the caption says, shows Ida holding this same child-a large baby, already sitting erect (p.72). Kennedy comments that the photograph "shows the tired, battered face of a much older woman than the nineteen-year-old Ida supposedly was, and he attributes this to -the difficulties of Melungeon existence. IIt would seem more logical that the woman was someone else-perhaps a grandmother who helped to rear the children after the young mother's death.

Review Essay: The Melungeons

The index is seriously incomplete, particularly as to personal names of Kennedy 's ancestors. In the sixty pages that comprise the two "genealogy" chapters, the indexing covers only people who are not ancestor with just four exceptions: two Collies who were said to have had military experience earned an index entry, as did two Mullenses, to whose name the word gene is attached. It is inconceivable that the author considers all his forebears less worthy than the pirate Redbeard or El Cid (both of whom merited an entry). The appendix offers several lists of surnames associated with seven well-known triracial groups of the South. The source of the data is not referenced. Some were apparently taken from Gilbert's 1948 Surviving Indian Groups, but a number of other names are added without distinguishing them from those Gilbert documented.


Kennedy introduces his thesis (p. xiii) with an identification of Melungeons as a people of apparent Mediterranean descent who may have settled the Appalachian wilderness as early as 1567-some forty years before Jamestown" (p. xiij). In support, he refers to a post-Revolutionary report by John Sevier of a Tennessee settlement of Indians with unusual skin color-although his source for Sevier's account (the first of his often-irrelevant or unreliable footnotes to general history) is a 1963 newspaper write-up. Apparently, he did not consult a dependable version of Sevier's observations. His final two chapters-titled "Genesis: From Whence We Come" and "Putting it All Together"-survey six prevailing theories about Melungeon origins and add more of his own. They also demonstrate a lack of understanding of various cultures about which he writes. From the late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth centuries, to which he traces his family lines (however sloppy the presentation), Kennedy plummets back through time to the eighth century to discuss Spanish Moors, the Ottoman Empire, Turkish naval heroes, and early Portuguese explorers. To bolster the credibility of his proposed connections, he converts the given name of a well-known Melungeon, "Vardy" Collins, to the Arabic Navarrh (p.18), rather than to the solid pioneer Vardeman that the man actually was.51 After two Common British American surnames such as Bell, Collier, Collins, Moore, Osborne, Perry, and Rivers become Spanish and Portuguese. Common Southern given names such as Sylvester, Louisa, and-yes, even Elvis-are offered as evidence of Mediterranean ancestry.

Pursuing this theme, Kennedy contends that Melungeons were named for historic sites in Spain and quotes another confused writer's statement that Spanish and Portuguese settlers in America named children for cities or regions back home (p. 107). To the contrary, Catholic churches and settlements in Catholic countries traditionally have been named for saints; and Catholic canons historically have required that children be given saints' names at baptism. And among early Catholic immigrants to the New World, children commonly were named by and for their godparents, not by parents nostalgic over their own birthplaces. Amid these theories, Kennedy leaps around from Moorish pirates to Sir Walter Raleigh's "lost' colony," to "Moorish French Huguenots," to Berber captives in Brazil-with an excursus to New Amsterdam. Historical accuracy continues to suffer from careless interpretations of events unfamiliar to the author-for example, the assertion that "in the late 1780s [sic} a group of French Acadians escaped from their English captors in South Carolina and disappeared into the Appalachians" (p. 44) That date is three decades after the Acadians were shipped from Nova Scotia and were detained briefly on the beaches of South Carolina. From there, two small bands did escape, during winter and struck out-overland for French settlements in Ohio; only two individuals known have survived the hard trek. To assume that the majority simply abandoned their relatives along the way, to stay with the Indians, is to misunderstand gravely the piously Catholic, tightly intermarried Acadian families. In any event, white Acadians would not add swarthiness to Appalachian.52

In sum, Kennedy seems to conclude that Iberian settlers mingled with the Powhatan~Pamunkey~Moorish [sic] population" of pre- colonial Virginia, then with other racial groups, to create the "Melungeon characteristics of olive, ruddy, and copper- colored skins; blue and brown eyes... and wavy and straight black, as well as reddish-tinted, hair" (p.124). Phoenician seamen, shipwrecked Portuguese, Spanish soldiers, Arabic galley slaves of Sir Francis Drake, and a host of Indian tribes are added to the array of potential although undocumented-Melungeon ancestors. Kennedy also concludes that "tracking the movements of Melungeon families is not .... . we [sic] moved from region to region and intermarried with so many diverse cultures" (p. 142). In no way could his family's frequent migrations be considered out of the ordinary in comparison to other Southern frontier families-and his ancestors were definitely not from obscure or nearly invisible families. Many were prominent early pioneers of Appalachia. Some held public office. And skilled genealogists are demonstrating that the origins of these pioneers are traceable. Several lines have been published in local histories and historical periodicals.53 The sheer size of the families means that properly documented genealogies will be challenging undertakings. However, their region has experienced comparatively little record loss. Sound studies can be accomplished-if one focuses upon actual evidence, rather than exotic, far-flung myths.

The author's theme of ancestral persecution by other community settlers is difficult to uphold. The early families of which he writes were large ones, moving in groups to areas they thickly settled; their numerous children married into other pioneer families of Appalachia. After eliminating the collateral relatives, who was left to oppress them? Kennedy's own accounts of twentieth-century oppressions and slights reveal that members of these families who had risen in social rank were among those who discriminated against those of lesser social rank. The question arises whether the issue of prejudice was one of ethnicity or socioeconomics. If the motto of Romantic literature was "any time but now, and any place but here," then Kennedy's motto appears to be, "any ancestry is preferable to northern European." This leads to serious disconnects among his themes of one specific family, general Melungeon origins, and U.S. attitudes on ethnicity. While pushing extreme political correctness in lamenting how whites oppressed the Melungeons because of their dark skin, 54 he has-through his redefinition of the word Melungeon essentially invented a "new race" (p. xiii), a new and historically nonexistent oppressed minority that belies his own ancestry.


1. This omission contrasts strikingly with T. Tipton Biggs, Knowing Mama: The Discovery of a Family (Omaha, Neb: privately printed, ca.1980), which painstakingly tracks the progress of Huntington. disease through an extended family from the 1820s until the present.

2. The claimed line from Pocahontas is said to have come through Benjamin Bowling born 1734)and wife Martha "Patsy" Phelps. This couple (although Kennedy does not state so) married 1751-53 in Albemarle Co., Va. See Families of Yancey County, North Carolina 5 (March 1988): 5; and "Osborne and Related Families," Pike County, Kentucky, 1821-1983; Historical Papers, no.5 (Pikeville: Pike Co. Hist. Soc., 1983), 61. Kennedy's connection depends on an assumption that the Benjamin who married Martha is the same one who later wed Charity Larrimore. This assertion was published in 1985 by W. W .Lake, "The Pocahontas Connection," The Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly 4 (Winter 1985): 214-7; but it has been challenged by David Risner, "Bolling Family Information," The Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly 7 (Winter 1988): 273-74, who presents contrary evidence. Kennedy points out that the ascending line of the Benjamin who married Martha Phelps is itself unproved, although often claimed-as in R. Marshall Shepherd, "John Rolfe Lineage," The East Kentuckian: A Journal of Genealogy and History 25 (September 1989): 34-35. For a general pro-and-con discussion of the limited evidence available, see Alexander R. Bolling Jr., The Bolling Family: Eight Centuries of Growth (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1990), 114-17.

3. Because this essay is a book review rather than a full-fledged genealogical study, all of the author's families have not been comprehensively reconstructed. The present analysis is designed to indicate the direction that future research should take.

4. For a synopsis of this rich body of Sizemore oral history, see Jerry Wright Jordan, comp., Cherokee by Blood: Records of Eastern Cherokee Ancestry in the U.S. Court of Claims, 1906-1910, vol.1, Application’s to 1550 (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1987), 126-81 Kennedy (p.24) cites 1725 as the date of Sizemore's birth. This is incompatible with the claims-case testimony, which holds that Ned's father fought in the Revolution and that two of his brothers were in the War of 1812. The oral histories may have been confused, but Kennedy does not cite corrective evidence or address the conflict. The testimony also does not document Kennedy's stated Sizemore connection to his Phipps family. Jeffrey C. Weaver, Eastern Cherokee Applications, Southwest Virginia Ancestors 4 (Winter 1990): 33, indicates that Edward ("Old Ned") Sizemore was a Loyalist, "hung by Col. Ben Cleveland on the Tory Oak in Wilkesboro NC." This must be a different generation from the "Old Ned" in the Sizemore testimony, who died in the 1850s. Regarding the ethnicity of this family and their census labels, consider for example, George and Owen Sizemore and their household members who are all considered white on the 1800 Ashe Co., N. C., census. See Eleanor Baker Reeves, A Factual History of Early Ashe County, North Carolina: Its People, Places and Events (Tex.: Taylor Publishing Co., 1986), 67. The 1820 census. of Ashe Co. similarly cites the households of George (Sr and Jr), Edward, and Owen as white. See Dorothy Williams Potter, 1820 Federal Census of North Carolina, vol. 2, Ashe County (Tullahoma, Tenn.: privately printed, 1970), 13. (ASHE COUNTY NC ONLINE CENSUS DATA )

5. Quoted by David Hackett Fischer, Albion's Seed: Fou, British Folkways in America (N.Y: Oxford Univ. Press, 1989), 718. Kennedy (p.67) also proposes a deliberate fabrication of origins to explain another common type of genealogical carelessness-- an alleged birthdate of 1781 for Pleasant Home, said to be the son of Jesse Home, born 1777.

6. As previously noted, this reviewer has not retraced the author's lines through every available record. However, for all sources consulted and all lines traced, results were consistent. As representative examples:

(1) The author repeatedly applies the term fpc to ancestral lines in Ashe Co., N.C. (pp.46.55-56. 69-70). While antebellum Ashe certainly had free persons of color, Kennedy's named ancestors were not among them. The 1820 census of Ashe (as a specific) lists six fpc house hold but Kennedy's Phipps, Swindle, White, Tolliver, and Osborn families were all classed there on as white. See Potter, 1820 Federal Census of North Carolina. . - Ashe County, 6, 11-12, 14-l6, 18-19.
(2) As late as 1860, Kennedy's Swindle line was classified as white in Western Virginia; see 1860 U.S. cens., Wise Co., Va., pp. 28O~1, dwelling 110, family 110.
(3) For 1870, Kennedy's lines of Kennedy, Kiser, Mullins, Nash, Powers, and Swindle (Russell and Wise Cos., Va.), were all considered white; the Hopkinses (found by the reviewer in Pike Co., Ky.), were deemed white there also.

7. For example, see Larry and Pat Taylor, eds., Wise County, Virginia, Marriage Register, 1887-19C0 (Clintwood, Va.: Southwest Va. Ancestors, 1994); and Dorcas McDaniel Hobbs and John Walter Picklesheimer Sr., comps., Pike County, Kentucky, Death Records, 1849-1909 (n.p.: p.p., ca. 1990).

8. Sherrie S. McLeRoy and William R. Mc LeRoy, Strangers in their Midst: The Free Black Population of Amherst County, Virginia (Bowie, Md.: Heritage Books, 1993), 194,218.299. Garland is mentioned herein as administrator of the estate of John Redcross in 1802 and as the 1840 head of a white household that also contained 8 fpc and 40 slaves.

9. Nash's wealth extended considerably beyond land. The 1840 census credits him with 17 slaves. He is enumerated as a white male, aged 30-40, sharing his home with a white female, aged 20-30, and a white male, aged 15-20. See Elizabeth M. Carpenter, ed., 1840 Census, Russell County, Virginia (n.p.: p.p., Ca. 1991), 16.

10. The assertions of nineteenth century legal persecution in the adjacent counties of Wise, Russell, and Buchanan are also difficult to accept when one reads the 1880 census. entry for Kennedy's claimed great.great.grandparents, James Colley and Emma Farrel (whom he describes, p.77, as one of the 'Black Jacksons' W) Not only did the census taker label the family white, but he identified their son William as the county sheriff. See 1880 U.S. census., Buchanan Co., Va., Sand Lake Magisterial Dist., enum. dist. 16, sheet 45, dwell. 35, fam. 35.

11. For N.C., see Revised Statutes of the State of North Carolina, Passed by the General Assembly, 1836-37, 2 vols. (Raleigh: Turner and Hughes, 1837), chap. Ill, "An Act Concerning Slaves and Free persons of color." This source recapitulates prior laws. For Tenn., see Returnj. Meigs and William F. Cooper, eds., Code of Tennessee Exacted by the General Assembly of 1857-'8 (Nashville: E.G. Eastman and Co., 1858), 41, 687, which recounts prior acts; Joshua W Caldwell, Studies in the Constitutional History of Tennessee, 2d ed. (Cincinnati: Robert Clarke Co., 1907), 202-03; Robert. Shannon, ed., The Constitution of the State of Tennessee (Nashville: Law Book Pubi. Co., 1915), 374-76; and Thos. H. CoIdwell, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Tennessee during the Years 1868-9 (Louisville, Ky.: Fetter Law Book Co., 1902), 231-67.

12. Census takers, of course, did not wield a judicial pen. Their returns had no judicial authority. Again the author appears unfamiliar with record sources. Kennedy's theme of political discrimination against his ancestors is clearly at odds here with various evidences, for example, the subsequently discussed election of his ancestor to the Va. state legislature (as a Democrat) in 1879. If one cannot vote, one cannot hold office.

13. Elizabeth M. Carpenter, ed., 1830 Census of Russell County, Virginia (Clintwood, Va.: Mullins Princing Royalty, ca. 1991), 11.

14.1850 U.S. census., Russell Co., Va., pp. 323b-324, dwells. 1438-1439, fams. 1438-1439.

15.1860 U.S. census., Scott Co., Va., pp. 35~55, dwell. 816, fam. 815.1880 U.S. census., Wise Co., Va., enum. dist. 101, sheet 24, dwell. 249, fam. 249. Kennedy does not address the genealogical significance of the 1860 census., which shows Wickliff Nash in the home of his father, William Nash, age 59. At that time, William apparently had a much-younger wife, Virginia, age 29. The wife and mother cited by Kennedy, Margaret Ramey, was still alive that year, because she later appears as "mother" and "white" in her son's household; see 1880 U.S. census., Wise Co., Va., enum. dist. 101, sheet 24, dwell. 249, fam. 249. Other Rameys repeatedly appear as white on southwest Va. and eastern Ky. returns. The following 1850 enumeration entry also should be examined carefully for relevance: 1850 U.S. census., Scott Co., Va., pop. sch., p.422, dwell./fam. 967: Margaret Ramey, 28, female; Louisa J., 10, female; Wickliffe, 8, male; Sally, 60, female; and Worthington Brooks, 20, male, born in N.C. All the Rameys were said to have been born in Va. Presumably all were considered white, because they, like others on the page, have no entry to the contrary in the column for race.

16. For the turn-of the century racial status of this family, whose "darkness" is heavily treated by Kennedy, see 1900 U.S. census., Wise Co., Va., enum. dist. 123, sheet 3, fam. 4, dwell. 42, citing the widowed Louisa (Hall) Nash and her children as white.

17. This assumption may have been made on the basis of a birthplace provided for 67-year-old James Mullins on an 1857 marriage record. See John C. Mullins, wise County', Virginia, Marriage register, 1856-1886 (n.p.: p.p., 1981), 9, no.97. Franklin Co. was created from Henry and Bedford Cos. Prior to that, in the 1770s, family names associated with this Mullins line appear in Henry Co. See Lela C. Adams, Henry County, Virgina, Deed Book I and II Bassett, Va.: p.p., 1975), 30,44,82,91; and Lela C. Adams, 1778-1780 Tax List of Henry County, Virginia (Bassett, Va.: p.p., 1973), 16, 27-28, 41.

18. Nettie Schreiner-Yantis, ed., Montgomery County Virginia, Circa 1790: A Comprehensive Study-Including the 1789 Tax Lists, Abstracts of Over 800 Land Surveys ~ Data Concerning Migration (Springfield, Va.: p-p., 1972), 98.

19. 1860 U.S. census., Wise Co., Va., p. 325, dwell. 400, fam. 400. A Mullins line that went from Pittsylvania Co., Va., into Burke Co., N.C., and from there into Russell Co., Va., has been put into print also. See Gary M. Mullins, "The Ancestral Lineage of Ollie Cox Mullins," The Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly 7 (Winter 1988): 21~38. This article is most helpful in distinguishing the various Mullins lines that came into Russell Co. by different routes than the one taken by Booker Mullins.

20. 1810 U.S. census., Floyd Co., Ky., p.105. See also 1820 U.S. cens., Floyd Co., Ky., p.37.

21. In 1823, Booker Mullins was in the part of Floyd that had just been cutaway to create Lawrence; see Clayton R. Cox, "Pike County, Ky., Deed Book A, 1820-1828," The East Kentuckian 22 (March 1986): 16. Joe R. Skeens, comp., Floyd County, Kentucky, Consent and Marriage Book, 1808-1851 (Prestonsburg, Ky.: p.p., 1987), 21, shows the marriages of several Mullins men, including that of Kennedy's traced ancestor, David Mullins, to Jenny Short on 3 February 1820.

Pike Co. was created from Floyd in 1822. For more on the family's activities there, see Dorcas Hobbs, "First Tax List of 1823," in Leonard Roberts, Frank Forsyth, and Claire Kelly, eds., Pike County, Kentucky, 1822-1967, Historical Papers, no.2 (Pikeville: Pike Co. Hist. Soc., 1976), 4-12 (which includes Booker Mullins, John Booker Mullins, and ten other Mullins landowners on Shelby Creek).

22. Carpenter, 1830 Census of Russell County, 17-18.

23.1860 U.S. cens., Wise Co., Va., p. 325, dwell. 401, fam. 401.

24. See the 1844 affidavit on this point that was published by Mary McCampbell Bell as "Who Is to Blame'." NGS Quarterly 75 (September 1987): 193.

25. Marshall Wingfield, Marriage Bonds of Franklin County, 1786-1858; Transcribed from the Original Records, Annotated and Alphabetically Arranged (Baltimore: Genealogical Pubi. Co., 1973), 166. According to the 1850 enumeration (dwell. 1496, fam. 1490), this Booker was aged 71; his wife Judith, 67. In 1860 (dwell. 335, fam. 331), Booker was 80 and Judith was 75. See Karen Mann Robuck, comp., Franklin County, Virginia, 1850 6,, 1860 Censuses (Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1990), 131. A married Judy Mullins, aged 63 and born in Va., died in August 1849 in Pike Co., Ky.; see Dorcas McDaniel Hobbs and John Walter Picklesheimer Sr., Pike County, Kentucky, Death Records, 1849-1909 (n.p.: p.p., ca. 1990). She could not have been Judith Stanley, who married in 1803. If the death record's age is correct, it is doubtful that she bore the older children of Kennedy's Booker.

26. James Mullins married Agnes Little in 1812; see Julius Little, "Isaac Little and his Descendants," The East Kentuckian 21 June 1985): 4. The actual marriage record does not list James's father. However, Sherwood Mullins was named as son of Booker Mullins when he wed Mary Roberts in 1813; see Skeens, Floyd County, Kentucky, Consent and Marriage Book, 21.

27. Clyde Runyon, comp., Marriage Bonds of Pike County, Kentucky, 1822-1865 (Belfry, Ky.: p.p., .1984), 78, citing file no.431.

28. Kennedy apparently confused the 26-year-old Sherrard [Sherwood] Mullins (wife Anna-i.e., Nancy-aged 22), in Booker's 1860 household, with the much-older Sherwood who was Booker's son. Certainly Sherrard and Anna cannot have been the parents of Andrew Jackson "BrandyJack" Mullins, who was born in 1834 (Kennedy, p.50)

29. Two were heads of households on the 1840 census of Pike Co., Ky.: one, age 40-50; another, 20- 30. See Jesse Stewart and Leah Stewart, comps., 1840 Federal Census of Pike County, Kentucky (n.p.: n.p., Ca. 1990), 3. The 1850 cens. more fully identifies them as Booker Mullins (age 55, wife Mary; Floyd Co.) and Booker Mullens (age 31, wife Nancy; adjacent Pike Co.). See Barbara, Byron, and Samuel Sistle; 1850 Census, Eastern Ky. Counties of Breathitt, Caner, Floyd, Greenup, Johnson, Lawrence, Letcher, Morgan, Perry, and Pike (Nashville: Byron Sistler and Associates, 1994), 68, 301. Crie Booker Mullins married Polly Johnson, daughter of William Johnson, 16 Apffl 1821; see Skeens, Floyd Kentucky, Consent and Marriage Book, p.136. A second Booker wed Polly Newsom, daughter of Harrison Newsom, 5 December 1829; see Runyon, Marriage Bonds of Pike County, 43, file no.235. Subsequently, there appears Booker MuHins Sr., age 68, b. Va., with wife Polly, age 60, b. N.C., on the 1870 U.S. cens., Pike Co., Ky., dist. 9, Robinson Creek, dwell. 26, fam. 26; and Booker Mullins, age 70, with wife Polly, 65, hoth born in Va., on the 1880 U.S. cens., Pike Co., Ky., 9th precinct, Upper Elkhorn Creek, dwelL 16, fam. 16. All listings identify them as white.

30. Gowen Research Foundation, Electronic Library, file GOWENMS.OO2, closed stacks, printout dated 30 March 1996, unpaginated. Available to foundation members via sysop, 806-796-0456. For the foundation, contact Arlee Gowen, 5708 Gary Ave., Lubbock, TX 79413. Mahala Collins was the daughter of Solomon and Virginia Jane "Gincie" (Goins) Collins.©

31. 1850 U.S. cens., Russell Co., Va., p.25O dwell. 230, fam. 230, and pp.3231-324. dwell. 1438, fam. 1438.

32.1850 U.S. cens., Russell Co., Va., p. 247b, dwell. 393, fam. 393; 1860 U.S. cens., Wise Co., Va., p.311. dwell. 304, fam. 304; also 1880 U.S. cens. Wise Co., Va.; enum. dist. 101, sheet 18, dwell. 187, fam. 187, for Wilson and Stacy.

33. John C. Mullins, comp., Wise County, Virginia. Marriage Register, 1856-1886 (np.: pp., 1981), 4. The adult woman listed in the Adkins household on the 1850 census is also identified as Sarah, age 46, born in Tenn; see 1850 U.S. census, Russell Co., Va., p. 250, dwell. 230, fam. 230. In 1860, the Sarah in his household is listed as age 52, born in Tenn; see 1860 U.S. census, Wise Co., Va., p.296, dwell. 216, fam. 216. Possibly Sarah (Bowman) Vance was living with Henry, out of wedlock, in 1850; but it was not uncommon for men in this era to marry consecutive women of the same given name.

34.1860 U.S. census, Wise Co., Va., p.296. dwell 216, fam. 216.

35. Hetty S. Sutherland, "Colley Family Information," Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly 6 (Spring 1987): 27, based on contemporary manuscripts in the Lyman C. Draper Manuscripts, State Historical Society of Wis., at Madison

36. 188O US. census, Buchanan Co., enum. dist. 16, sheet 16, dwell. 131, fam. 131, which lists Jasper S. Colley, male, 37, farmer; with Margaret, female, 34, wife, keeping house; Sumpter, 12, son; Flora M., 10, daughter; Major P, 7, Rose B., 5, daughter; James L C., 2, son; Margarate V., 1/12, b. in May, daughter. All were born in Va. of Va. born parents.. All family members were white.

37. 1850 U.S. census, Buchanan Co., VL, Sand Lake Magisterial Dist., enum. dist. 16, sheet 45, dwell./ fam. 35, shows James Colley, male, 64, farmer; Emma, female, 64, wife; William B, male, 21, son, sheriff; Mary Church, female, 15, servant. All the Colleys were born in VA. of VA. parentage-and all were white.

38. 1850 U.S. census, Russell Co., Va., p. 252b, dwell. 426, fam. 462, lists James Colley, 34, male, farmer $2,000 real estate; Emma, 34, female; Orpha, 11; Martha, 9; Josephine, 7; Richard, 5; Jane, 4; and Lucretia, 2. All were born in Russell Co., Va.-and all were white. 1860 U.S. cens., Buchanan Co.1 Va., pop. sch., Grundy dis. pp.792-93, dwell. 233, fam. 233, shows James Colley, 45, male, farmer; with Emma, 45, Richard, 16; Jane, 14; Barbary, 10; Cosbey, 7; Unicy, 4; and William B, 2-again, all white. See also Jesse Stewart and Leah Stewart, comps., 1860 Census, Buchanan County, Virginia (Clintwood, Va.: John C. Mullins Royalty, 1984), 29, and 1870 Census, Buchanan County, Virginia (Clintwood, Va.: John C. Mullins, ca. 1986), 42. The Josephine of the 1850 James Colley household was roughly the same age as Jasper. However, Josephine" was not the enumerator's mis-rendering of 'Jasper" This Josephine married at "age 16," on 11 March 1858, to Jonathan Sifers. As Josephine "Scyphers," she was interviewed by local historians in 1921, 1922, and 1931. For the marriage record, see Rhonda S. Roberson, Marriage Register 2 of Russell County, Va.: 1853-1870 (Clintwood, Va.: Mullins Printing, ca. 1991), 19. For the interviews, see Elihu Jasper Sutherland and Hetty Swindall Sutherland, Pioneer Recollections of Southwest Virginia (Clintwood, Va.: Mullins Printing, 1984), 32~28.
39. Nancy Clark Baker; Dickenson County, Virginia,  Marriage Register, 1, 1880-1900 Wise1 Va.:The Southwest Virginia ca. 1986), 83.

40. On 22 December 1866, Jasper Colley, age 26, single, son of John and Anna, married Margaret Sutherland, 20, single, daughter of James and Nancy. See Otis R. Yates and Linda R. Yates, comps., Some Marriages Recorded m Buchanan Co., Virginia, 1858-1884; Some Deaths (n.p.: p.p., ca. 1990), 17.

41. Sutherland and Sutherland, Pioneer Recollections, 62-64, 67.

42. Jasper S. Colley, wife Margaret, and their younger children are on the 1900 cens. of Dickenson Co., Va., whereon he is said to have been born in Va. during December 1841, to be age 58, and to have been married 33 years. Both of his parents are said to have been Va. natives also. See Joan (Short) Vanover; Barbara Kendrick) Vanover; and Gregory Lynn Vanover,  Dickenson County, VA, 1900 Census (Pound Va, p.p., 1984), 22.

43. US census, Floyd Co., Ky., enum. dist. 35, sheer 24, dwells. 190-191, fams. 191-192.©

44. Carpenter, 1830 CENSUS of Russell, 12.1850 U.S. cens., Russell Co., Va., p.257, dwell. 520, fam. 520.1860 U.S. census, Russell Co., p.216, dwell. 1457, fam. 1457. There are three incompletely documented but nonetheless useful articles recently published on the Hornes: Emory L. Hamilton, "The Horne Family of Southwest Virginia,"Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly 4 (Summer 1985): 115-24; Robert D. Plumlee, "The Horn Family," Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly 7 (Spring 1988): 2-5; and Helen Peoples, "Horne Family Information," Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly 7 (Summer 1988): 123-31. Plumlee and Peoples trace this Horne line to Goochland Co., Va. From there, it passed through Louisa Co., Va., and Surry Co., N.C. Jesse Horn is a head of household in Stokes Co., NC., on the 1790 census.; so he was almost certainly older than thirteen at that date. He had settled in Scott Co., Va., by 1820.

45. Vivian Dickinson Bales, "Keyser/Kiser," The East Kentuckian 28 (December 1992Y: 4.

46. Margaret Jessee appears with her parents in 1850. See 1850 U.S. cens., Russell Co., Va., pp. 221b-222, dwell. 55, fain. 55. Abednego is also listed in his parents' household: p. 254b, dwell. 488, fam. 488. In 1860, they appear as a married couple; see 1860 U.S. census., Russell Co., p.51, dwell. 328, fain. 328. They are also listed for 1880 and 1900. In all years they are identified as white.

47. Mullins, Wise County, ~Marriage Register', 1856-1886, passim.

48. Runyon, Marriage Bonds of Pike County , passim.

49. The 1850 census entry for Richard Colley names the adult woman in his household, probably his wife, as Lucretia; see 1850 U.S. census., Russell Co., Va., pp. 252~253, dwell. 463, fam. 563. The context of the household raises the possibility that Lucretia was a second wife. Kennedy perhaps drew the name Christina from Mary D. Fugate, comp., Implied Marriages of Russell County, Va. Maiden names of wives mentioned in the wills and deeds of Russell County prior to 1860, and in the earliest records of Lee and Scott counties, formed from Russell in 1793 and 1814 respectively (Athens, Ga.: Iberian Publishing Co., 1991), 14. There, Richard Colley is said to be married to Christina or Christiner; daughter of John and Margaret Counts. However, Kennedy gives the name of John Counts's wife and Chrissa Counts's mother as Mary Magdalme' (p.77).

50. William Harlen Gilbert Jr. Surviving Indian Groups of the Eastern United States: From the Smithsonian Report for 1948, Pages 407-438 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1949). The Melungeon surnames listed by Gilbert are Bolen, Collins, Denham, Fields, Freeman, Gann, Gibson, Goins, Gorbens, Graham, Lawson, Maloney, Mullins, Noel, Piniore, Sexton, and Wright.

51. For an introduction to the Vardeman family of Baptist ministers who left so many namesakes on the frontier, see). H. Spencer, A History of Kentucky Baptists, from 1769 to 1885, Including More Than 800 Biographical Sketches, 2 vols. (Cincinnati: J. R. Baumes, 1885), 1: 232-33. See also Gowen Research Foundation, Electronic Manuscript, 15 November 1994, p.8.

52. For a better understanding of the Acadians, see the various studies published by the leading Acadian scholar, Carl A. Brasseaux, particularly “Scattered to the Wind": Dispersal and Wanderings of the Acadians, 1755-1809 (Lafayette, La.: Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana, 1991), and The Founding of New Acadia Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1957).

53. In addition to those previously cited, see The Heritage of Wise County and the City of Norton, 1856~1993, vol. 1 (n.p.: Wise Co. Hist. Soc., ca. 1993), 36~72; Ginger Rose Senter, "The Kennedys of Dickenson County, Virginia," The Mountain Empire Genealogy Quarterly 3 (Winter 1984): 253-; John C. Mullins, "Ancestry Chart," Southwest Virginia Ancestors 2 (Winter 1988): 6-1O; and Geneva Stamper, "Stamper Family," Southwest Virginia Ancestors 3 (Summer 1989): 33-38.

54. On this theme, Kennedy makes much (pp. S6-89) of a list of mixed-race names circulated in 1943 by W A. Plecker, M.D., State Registrar of Vital Statistics for the Commonwealth of Virginia-decrying that "this twisted human being" should not have been allowed such "brutal and punitive control" over Kennedy's people. Curiously, the Plecker list includes only one of the southwestern Virginia surnames that appear on Kennedy's family tree (Mullins); and in that case, Plecker specified that it referred to "chiefly Tennessee Melungeons" (italics added), not to Va. Mullinses. (A copy of this document is in the files of the reviewer.) To quote the common genealogical caution, "the name's the same" does not mean the family is. On the theme of ethnic persecution, readers should be aware that Plecker's attempt to "identify" light-skinned Va. families with African ancestry was not a rare incident directed at Melungeons or the Va. Indians whom Kennedy embraces. Similar efforts were conducted by various state registrars who certainly had no known Melungeons in their midst. The trend was an ill-designed and ill-fated offshoot of the eugenics movement that flourished in the early twentieth century but died out in the wake of World War II, as the public became aware of excesses such as those attempted by Plecker. For more on the subject, see Thomas H. Roderick et al., "Files of the Eugenics Record Office: A Resource for Genealogists," NGS Quarterly 82 (June 1994): 97-113.

Originally printed in the National Genealogy Society Quarterly
Vol. 84, No. 2, June 1996
Virginia Easley DeMarce, Ph.D
5635 North Twenty-fifth Road
Arlington, VA 22207
Dr. DeMarce is a historian in the Branch of Acknowledgment and Research, Bureau of Indian Affairs and past president of the National Genealogical Society. Among numerous genealogical and historical studies, she has authored two prior essays in the NGS Quarterly (March 1992 and March 1993) treating Melungeons and other triracial isolate groups.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
Editor, National Genealogical Society Quarterly
PO Box 861406, University of Alabama Station
Tuscaloosa, AL 35486

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