Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Inhabitants of Newman's Ridge and Blackwater in Hancock County, Tenn.

From the Archives of the Rootsweb Melungeon Mailing List:

From: "Jack Goins"
Subject: [MELUNGEON] Historical Records.
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2011 10:55:24 -0400

It is almost impossible to write an email on this subject without being misquoted, so for clarification on my previous post on land grants and migration with the white settlers. And for any of you who may be new to the list. This is a portion of a letter from the Hancock County Times, Sneedville, TN 4/17/1903 written by Lewis M. Jarvis, who was then an Attorney. Lewis M. Jarvis was also a Captain in Co E, 8th Tennessee Vol. Cavalry, Union Army. And was personally acquainted with Vardy Collins and other Melungeons he names in this letter.

"Much has been said and written about the inhabitants of Newman's Ridge and Blackwater in Hancock County, Tenn. They have been derisively dubbed with the name "Melungeons" by the local white people who have lived here with them. It is not a traditional name or tribe of Indians. Some have said these people were here when the white people first explored this country. Others say they are a lost tribe of the Indians having no date of their existence here, traditionally or otherwise. All of this however, is erroneous and cannot be sustained. These people, not any of them were here at the time the first white hunting party came from Virginia and North Carolina in the year 1761-- the noted Daniel Boone was at the head of one of these hunting parties and went on through Cumberland Gap.---they came here simultaneously with the white people not earlier than 1795."

 In 2005 I formed a group called Friends of The Hawkins County Archive Project, and was appointed Archivist by the Hawkins County Commissioners. The old records from the basement of our old Court house was moved to the placed designated to be the archive. These records date back to 1787 and up until 1844 Hancock County was part of Hawkins County, but due to a border dispute and other factors the illegal voting trials were held in Hawkins County, they began in 1846 and ended 1848, these Circuit Court records would have been lost due the Hancock County Court house being destroyed by fire,at least 3 times. We were fortunate to find the 1845 election results where they were charged for illegal voting as free persons of color. In this election William G. Brownlow lost to Andrew Johnson. This included the most famous Vardy Collins, along with Zachariah Minor, his brother and other Collins. This is our 7th year and many of the first volunteers are still here. All of you are welcome to research our archives, to view our archive click on this link, select Government then Hawkins County Archive. Instead of charging a fee for copying records we ask for a reasonable donation. The Chancery Court link is down. Jack

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1 comment:

  1. I have read some sources that said the "Melungeons" , as they were known at one time, were in the area in 1699. They are a very interesting group and may have been in the Newman Ridge area to get away from discrimination they experienced further east.


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