Dear Ms. P.,
Ah, well, here we go again. You are probably not going to like "my" definition since it is not self-referential, or anecdotal, or prescriptive, but purely descriptive, based on the usage and evolution of the word in public history sources. Let me say at the outset that I am not a Melungeon, though most of my family lines have been called that, and carry most of the medical conditions associated with Melungeon health,
>>>>>There are no medical conditions associated with Melungeon people. There are diseases that may be associated with some people of Appalachia. If you google Melungeon+disease you will get approximately 763 hits of which 761 go back to one person, NancyS., and the other two to Brent Kennedy in which he says there are no Melungeon diseases, he says, "First, "Melungeon" is a term whose origin is still debatable. No one knows with certainty where and how the term arose, and perhaps we never will. "Melungeon" is a culture and cultures do not have diseases - people do. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
"....and have been discriminated against in most of the ways discussed on the Melungeon-L list, and even were named in Warren Pleckner's hideous campaign against people of color in the 30s and 40s."
>>>>>>>>>>."Walter Plecker's" campaign was against the Native Americans as well as people of color and in particular the MELUNGEONS of Hancock County, Tennesee.
"August 5, 1942
Secretary of State,
Our bureau is the only one in any State making an intensive study of the population of its citizens by race.
We have in some of the counties of southwestern Virginia a number of so-called Melungeons who came into that section from Newmans Ridge, Hancock County, Tennessee, and who are classified by us as of negro origin though they make various claims, such as Portugese, Indians, etc.
The law of Virginia says that any one with any ascertainable degree of negro is to be classified as colored and we are endeavoring to so classify those who apply for birth, death and marriage registrations.
We have a list of the free negroes, by counties, of the 1830 U. S. Census in which we find the racial origin of most of these Melungeons classified as mulattoes. In that period, 1830, we do not find the name of Hancock County, but presume that it was made up from portions of other counties, possible Grainger and Hawkins, where we find considerable numbers of these Melungeon families listed.
Will you please advise as to that point and particularly which of these original counties Newmans Ridge was in.
Thanking you in advance and with kindest regards, I am
Very truly yours,
W. A. Plecker, M. D.
This intensive study done by Walter Plecker and his researchers turned up " so called Melungeons" in southwestern Virginia FROM Newman's Ridge.<<<<<<<<<
"To talk about what I am, I am a trained philologist, archivist and historian. Using the disciplines I know, I have drafted the following footnote that will appear in the book I am co-authoring with Elizabeth Hirschman. It explains some of the true, some of the twisted, and some of the false meanings that have been given to the term Melungeon".
>>>>>I am merely a "self taught family genealogist" but we are even on that count unless they are giving out PHDs in Genealogy. I have spent 15 years studying the Gibson, Collins and other surnames of the documented Melungeons. I have read their wills, studied their deeds, census records, read the histories of the counties they lived in, and traced them over the ocean.<<<<<<<<<<<<<
"Melungeons are sometimes also referred to as Black Dutch. On the beginnings of the use of this term in U.S. history to refer to Hollanders of dark appearance (without any mention of Melungeons or Jews), see Mary Bondurant Warren, editor, Family Puzzlers, July 22, 1976, No. 457; reprinted in USGenNet http://www.tngenweb.org/cherokee_by_blood/dutch.htm
. (Warren is a reputable source, as she served as Historian of the state of Georgia.) "
You are correct. She does not use the word Melungeon. She goes on to say,
"This explanation seems to have come down in several of your families who claim "Black Dutch" descent. Another reported that the WILHITES who were imported to VA by Gov. SPOTTSWOOD as part of the Germana Colony of Iron workers were "Black Dutch." They came from Alsace-Lorraine an area of contention between France and Germany. They had black hair, "china blue to purplish blue eyes", fair skin, and tall. "The Black Forest" was mentioned as their home.No doubt some of the German-speaking immigrants to the colonies WERE descendants of some of the darker races"
>>>>And again does not use the word Melungeon.With one broad brush stroke are we going to make every descendant of these "darker races" a Melungeon? <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
"The same people were often called Portuguese in colonial Virginia and Carolina records (Gallegos 1997). A connection between the two terms lies in the Sephardic Jewish merchants who settled in the Dutch Republic following its independence from Spain, who called themselves, ambiguously, gente del linaje, or homens da naÃ§Ã£o, or â€œHebrews of the Portuguese Nationâ€ (on which, Bodian 1997, without any knowledge of Melungeons), and who streamed into Britain, and thence to America, beginning with the mission of Amsterdam chief rabbi Menasseh Ben Israel to readmit Jews under Cromwell (Wall 1987). "
>>>>>>>>>>Again, all of the above is very interesting but it has nothing to do with the Melungeons, not the Historical Melungeons or the Self-defined Melungeons.<<
"The first known use of the word Melungeon in U.S. records (â€œMelunginâ€) occurs in the minutes of the Primitive Baptist Church of Stony Creek, Tennessee, in 1813 (Goins 2000, p. 9), where it is applied to certain â€œirregularâ€ members with the surnames Minor, Gibson, and Collins who fraternized with the Sizemores (Cismar), a mixed Portuguese Jewish and American Indian family, on Blackwater Creek (see Horton n.d.; Appendix A for Sizemore DNA)."
>>>>.Just because the Minor, Gibson, Collins, etc., has 'fraternized with' a family it certainly does not mean those families became 'Melungeons." You have your 'hyothetical" [?] Sizemore family tree online and can not prove beyoned 1685, how can you justify simply "creating an ancestry for them?" <<<<<<<<
"Mere knowledge of such a rare term, thought to be Arabic (â€œcursed soulsâ€), must have come from the Collins, Goins, Sizemores and others, who moved in a Caribbean and Spanish-Portuguese orbit".
>>>>Malengine is not a "rare term" ~~
Dictionnaire de L'AcadÃ©mie franÃ§aise, CinquiÃ¨me Ã©dition, 1798
MALENGIN. S. Mr. Vieux word which means Tromperie. It did that by fraud, easy way and malengin
trumpery - 1456, "deceit, trickery," from M.Fr. tromperie, from tromper "to deceive," of uncertain origin. Spelling influenced by trump (v.). Meaning "showy but worthless finery" is first recorded 1610. http://encyclopedie.inalf.fr/cgi-bin/ACAD1798.pg.sh?POBJECT=...
From THE FAIRIE QUEENE Edmund Spencer
Book Five of The Faerie Queene, in the description of the villain Malengin in canto nine:
Thereto both his owne wylie wit, (she sayd)
And eke the fastnesse of his dwelling place,
Both vnassaylable, gaue him great ayde:
For he so crafty was to forge and face,
So light of hand, and nymble of his pace,
So smooth of tongue, and subtile in his tale,
That could deceive one looking in his face;
Therefore by name Malengin they him call,
Well knowen by his feates, and famous ouer all.
Written from lefte to right in swich a weie
This charme shal kepe the malengin at baie,
Threw lynth of daies and in the depth of nyght
Hit will a-knowe the malefice heth myght.
or Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins
JOHN GOWER (1330-1408 A.D.), ed. Prof. G.C. Macauley (Oxford, 1901).
Which nou is closed overal; 340
Tho was ther no brocage in londe,
Which nou takth every cause on honde:
So mai men knowe, hou the florin
Was moder ferst of malengin
And bringere inne of alle werre,
Wherof this world stant out of herre
Thurgh the conseil of Avarice,
Which of his oghne propre vice
Gower was Chaucer's friend and fellow poet. He wrote his early works in Latin (Vox Clamantis ) and French (Mirour de l'omme, Cinquante balades ) and turned to English, he says (in the Prologue to the Confessio Amantis ) at the command of Richard II, who was worried that there were so few books in that language. Like Chaucer, Gower gained an international reputation; in the early fifteenth century his Confessio Amantis was translated into Portuguese prose (by an Englishman, Robert Payn) and then into Spanish by Juan de Cuenca.http://www.courses.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/special/authors/...
MALENGIN: a favourite word of Sir Thomas Malory: "mischievous intent."
On his back he carried a net â€œto catch fools.â€ Being attacked by Sir Artegal and his iron man, he turned himself first into a fox, then to a bush, then to a bird, then to a hedgehog, then to a snake; but Talus was a match for all his deceits, and killed him. (Spenser: FaÃ«rie Queene, v. 9
"Second Union of Brussels
December 12, 1577
For cest effect we swearwords and let us promectons the ungs different garlics, prennant the sovereign God for tesmoing, to hold the hand, to observe and to remark what dict is, in all fidelity and sincere honesty without frauldre or malengin and to maintain, guarantee and defend according to all nostre possibility the ungs the aultres in ceste just and saincte quarrel, promectans and jurans"
"Union of Arras
January 6, 1579
let us have submis and obliged, submettons and oblige one towards the other of it noz corps.et.biens and ceulx of noz hoirs, successors and remanans, pieces of furniture and buildings, prÃ©sens and to occur by all, renonÃ§ans generally and espÃ©cialement with all exceptions of droict, loy and coustume, and all aultres which on the contrary pourroient to us to be useful and be worth: the whole of good foy and without any malengin." <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
These and other families who clustered on Newmans Ridge were many years later labeled as Melungeon by a Nashville journalist named Drumgoole (1890), and the term has stuck. She was a descendant of a Scots trader among the Cherokee, Alexander Drumgoole (d. 1837), whose mixed-blood daughter Nannie the Pain married Cherokee chief Doublehead (d. Aug. 9, 1807).Drumgoole is credited with popularizing many elements of the legend, at a time when New York travel writers were inventing â€œhillbilliesâ€
>>>>>Will Allen Dromgoole was daughter of John Easter Dromgoole and Rebecca Mildred Blanch and was a descendant of Thomas Dromgoole of Sligo, Ireland to Brunswick Co., Virginia. If Alexander Drumgoole was in any way related to this family I have not found it. Do you have a source? Her brother, George Dromgoole, was married to the daughter of Malcolm GIBSON of Lawrence County, Alabama. Perhaps this was how she was able to travel to Newman's Ridge, alone, in 1890, and perhaps she already knew the Melungeon history and didn't have to 'invent' anything.<<<<<
"I believe, then, that Melungeon is a very problematical term per se. If a term is needed to refer to mixed descent early inhabitants of the lower Appalachians, it would probably be better to use something like "people of color."
>>>>>You can believe what you want. Beliefs do not write history. Opinions do not write history. ......
"self-taught family genealogist"