by Jack Goins
In this area there is a tribe of Indians and I wrote about them in the first chapter of my book, Melungeons Footprints From the Past. In the Person County Indian Group, a school census taken in November 1936, listed 346 persons in the community representing 76 families and the families averaged 6 to 8 children. (2-May 1937 Louise V. Nunn-A comparison of the social situation of two Isolated Indian Groups in Northern North Carolina. Submitted in partial requirements for a degree of Master of Arts, Columbia University, New York, New York-.80 pages.)
Durham Morning Herald, March 21, 1948
State House OKs request from
Indians of Person County to change official name to ‘Sappony’
The Indians of Person County has been recognized under North Carolina law as the "Sappony" tribe. after the House passed a bill effecting a formal name change for the Indians of Person County, who have been officially known by that name for the past 90 years.
Caswell County was formed from the Northern part of Orange County, North Carolina in 1777 it included part of the Flat River, it was bounded on the North by Pittsylvania & Halifax Counties, Virginia. From looking at land and tax records John Collins on the Rocky Branch was still there.
1777 list Paul Collins 1 Martin Collins 1 Middleston Collins 1,
Obadiah Collins 1,
John Collins 1
Most of the Flat River Collins began migrated to the New River area in 1767, both John Collins Sr. & Jr. were on the 1771 tax list of Fincastle County, Virginia.
Person County was formed from Caswell County in 1791 and the Flat River was in the new county. I didn’t find any Collins on the 1800 census of Person County but did find an old Thomas Gibson, Edward Goin a family of 4 free colored, Enoch? Goin 7 free colored, Allen Goan 7 free colored. Johnson is the most popular surname on the census and is also a name among the Person County Indians.
A Startling Discovery
I received some valuable information from Sappony tribesman Stuart who told me there was a Rolen Collins who hung out with the Person County Indians at Woodsdale, late 1800s. Stuart also told me several from their group migrated to Hawkins County, Tennessee, including his great grandfather Thomas Stewart who married Eliza Epps daughter of Peter Epps, others in this group with the Stewarts were Johnson,Shepherds, Epps and Martin. He also told me many from this group are buried in the Jaynes/Shepherd Cemetery near Rogersville. I found it listed in our cemetery books at the archive. It is located off Hwy 66 on the Webb Road in the Choptack Community near Rogersville, Tennessee. I found the cemetery and took this picture Tuesday September 7, 2010.
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