Saturday, November 1, 2014


I have recently read two books that I wish to recommend to the readers of this blog, especially those who are interested in true tri-racial family history.

1st book-THE INVISIBLE LINE BY Daniel J. Sharfstein , The Penguin Press New York.  Three American Families and the secret Journey from black to white.  Gibson’s; Very well documented with footnotes throughout the book on the life of  the  Gibson’s, Spencer’s and Walls, they reflect the diversity of Southern life: They were pioneers settling in the wilderness, first along the coast  and then inland. They endured revolution, fought in the Civil War and crossed paths with central figures in American History. With time the families gained distance from their roots, but did not escape the nation’s belief in a line separating black from white.        

The 1880 Johnson Co KY census shows the names of some of the descendants in the book and living next to descendants of Valentine Collins, all listed Mul. (mulatto)

183- Andrew Collins
Andrew  B
(mul) Farmer

Nancy A
(mul) ( m 5

185 are the Spencers in the book
(mul) Farm Laborer

(mul) Wife

Polly A
(mul) Dau

Lydia  M
(mul) Dau

John  M
(mul) Son

William  J
(mul) Son


186 Mary Collins nee Dale is another Valentine Collins descendant.


(mul) (Widow) (Husband David COLLINS)

(mul) Dau

Julia  A
(mul) Dau

If you scroll down a bit there are more Collins, according to my source all are descendents of Valentine Collins. Also, the Senters who married into the above Collins.
Y-DNA test from descendants confirmed Valentine Collins was sub-Saharan African.  

There really is an invisible line from black to white and this fits some of the hardships and discrimination of  several Melungeons families, including my gg,Goins and Minor families. 

2nd book review- BECOMING  MELUNGEON, Making an ethnic Identity in the Appalachian South. By Melissa Schrift,  University Nebraska Press. Lincoln & London.

Page 3 Introduction “Unlike others I am  not interested in the Melungeon Story, or Melungeon Origins. Instead my interests relate to the ways in which the Melungeon  legend has been socially constructed vis-à-vis the media, and how that social construction evolved into a fervent movement of self-identified Melungeons in the 1990s.  My interest in the social construction of Melungeon identity a number of interrelated questions: Who are the individuals today who claim a Melungeon identity, and by what process do they establish and legitimate such claims ?  To what extent have portrayals been resisted by individuals in Hancock County and those who self-identify as Melungeons?
2nd paragraph page 7, Introduction, the earliest reliable ethnographic sources understood Melungeons to be one of many southeastern tri-racial isolates that emerged from intermarriages among whites, blacks, and American Indians. By 1800 these isolates occupied Newman’s Ridge in an erea that included much of East Tn. And southwest Virginia and today lies in Hancock County. The most common surnames associated with these early Melungeons include Bolins, Bunch, Collins, Gibson, Goins,and Mullins. No evidence exist that anyone self-identified as Melungeon before the late 1960’s; thus it is reasonable to suggest that the term was imposed by outsiders as a derogatory one.”   

   The interviews with self-identified Melungerons were interesting , one was asked what it means to be Melungeon, she told her not to worry about all the talk about Melungeons being from “here or there” “Melungeon only means Portuguese,”she said . She told me she had only recently discovered she was a Melungeon”. She quickly followed with, “ I have always thought of myself as white–Melungeon white.”As I read this book I was amazed at the fact that most who were interviewed did not know or care who the Melungeons were, they just claimed to be one. 

Missing from all of this is the fact MHA leaders still advocate that Melungeons exist today, when in fact only descendants of the derogatory clan exist as expressed by Attorney Henry R. Price. “Melungeons The Vanishing Colony of Newman Ridge.” 1969. This book was used and distributed at the outdoor drama“Walk Toward The Sunset” in Sneedville, Tennessee.  Henry writes in PREFACE V; “I have been a student of Melungeon History and culture for nearly 25 years. I have lived with them, played with them, fought with them, gone to school with them, represented many of them in court, and have probed their background to unearth their origin. And yet I know little more today than when I began.  The Origin of the Melungeons is still a Mystery. His span in these hills is still an uncertainty, but his destiny is all too sure, The day of the Melungeon is quickly passing and is almost gone.  In the history of the earth, civilizations rise and fall; peoples make their appearances and then fade into oblivion, so also with the Melungeon. Like the summer leaf that falls to the October frost, the day of the Melungeon has reached its twilight. This once proud and fiercely independent people are all but gone. In years past they hacked and grubbed out a habitation in this Appalachian wilderness. For nearly 200 years they lived loved and fought and died with a free-spirited abandon found only in Appalachia .They asked of their surrounding neighbors only to be left alone, to live in peace: They received in return economic deprivation, intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination.   They came off the mountains and have helped build schools and churches, governments and cities. For a time the Melungeons fought and won. But there were two enemies the Melungeons could not overcome time and the attractiveness of his womenfolk to the surrounding white settlers. Intermarriages with the neighboring white community has just about written the end for this mysterious clan. The day of the Melungeon is waning. Their mountain domain, once viable with the laughter of children, is returning to the wilderness of a century ago. The young folk have left the ridges. Only the old remain. They will die here and soon their graves, like those of their fathers before them, will give way to the wild honeysuckle and sassafras.[Published by the Hancock County Drama Association, Sneedville Tennessee.]   Note: The last time I checked none of the members of the Vardy Historical Society lived in Vardy.  
Dr Virginia DeMarce in her review of Kennedy book , Melungeon thus becomes a catchall description for dark skinned individuals” The manner in which individuals are deduced to be Melungeon is troubling. By surmising a connection when it cannot be shown." and then she went on to write in the review that this belief is contrary to the historical facts:  "Tennessee Melungeons And Related Groups”- Dr. Virginia Easley DeMarce Historian Branch of Acknowledgement and Research, Burea Of Indian Affairs Washington DC
 “Fact. The actual, factual history of social isolate settlements are going to be written by genealogist and family historians: document by individual document, fact by painstaking fact. The function and duty of the individual historian and the genealogist is to demystify and to demythologize."  "When we know the origins of each individual Melungeon family, we will know the origins of the Melungeons. When we know the orgins of each family in 'other' social isolates, we will begin to understand their genesis and development." (Dr. Virginia DeMarce Speech in the 1996 NGS conference)

 *The Origin of the Melungeons has been scientifically proven by DNA. “The Melungeons of the early 19th century were the offspring of African-American men and European-American women and is defined even more by the Family Finder  and 23andme DNA tests.  Add this knowledge  to DeMarce written factual records  and each  individual Melungeon descendant  can correctly trace their family tree. 
Melungeon was one of the Clans studied by Edward T. Price in 1950-53.
Geographic Analysis of White-Negro-Indian Racial Mixtures in Eastern United States.              

Edward T. Price, Los Angles State College 

1-The Melungeons -Centering in Hancock County, TN,  reached Newman Ridge and Blackwater Valley in then Hawkins County, now Hancock County in the 1790’s    2-Redbones- Louisana 3-Cajans-Alabama, Mississippi 4-Cereoles- Mississippi  5-Dominickers-Georgia  6-Brass Ankles- South Carolina 7- Croatans-North Carolina and South Carolina 8- Cubans -North Carolina 9-Browns Branch, Kentucky 10-Cubans,  11- Magoffin - Kentucky  12-Issues, Amherst County, Virginia 13- Irish Creek -Virginia 14- Carmel Indians-Ohio 15-Wesorts, Maryland 16-Darke Country, West Virginia 17-Guineas-West Virginia 18- Nanticokes, Maryland 19-Moors and Nanticokes, Maryland 20- Keating Mountain-Pennsylvania,  21-Pools, Pennsylvania  22- Jackson Whites, New York and New Jersey 23- Bushwhackers-New York 24-Slaughters- New York.



Saturday, October 18, 2014

Johnnie Rhea Collection Hawkins County Archives

                                              Johnnie Rhea top of Newman Ridge March 2003

                                        Johnnie Rhea Collection

     Over the years Johnnie Rhea stored  an incredible amount  of genealogy records and books in her home. Including 32 large notebooks and rolls of microfilm, most likely all of William P. Grohse collection. Part of these books and genealogy information was authored by Johnnie.  
      This collection also includes 66 folders in large boxes on Rack # 6. 802 books and notebooks, the location of these records are listed on the index.
The following 62 records are in the Chancery Court filing cabinet.

              Hawkins County Chancery Court by Plaintiff 1795-1810
                       (Most of these are partial court records)
13 (Daughters, Docie Miser, Carrie Goins wife vs sons cont- Monroe, Dan sons, Munless
47 1934 Alder, Willie vs Alder, Jesse divorce
3 1919 Anderson, W. P. vs Collins, Ardella, C. C. Collins & wife  Elizabeth Collins, Mack Collins, John Collins, Rilla Collins children and heirs of Lucus Collins dec'd
54 1953 Annual Stats Report  Hancock Schools
64 1929 Bales, Robert-Guardian for Collins, Varda, Conley, Mary & Edith Deed of conveyance
40 1944 Bell, Etta Lawson vs Bell, Joe et al land dispute
39 1922 Bivik, ? Anderson, Alice marriage license
33 1858 Bloomer, Joseph vs Herd, John & George
15 1858 Bloomer, Joseph vs Roberts, Claiborne & others Debt for land
58 1843 Braley, James & Others vs Dicks, Alexander & Others Debts on Settlement
1 1866 Collins, Allen vs Gibson, Jesse
21 B 1940 Collins, Atsie vs Collins, Hagan Divorce
38 1858 Collins, Benjamin vs Collins, Elizabeth Divorce
64 1903 Collins, Baty & wife Cyntha to Miser, Logan Deed
34 1889 Collins, Bud vs Collins, Clarinda Divorce
9 1891 Collins, Bud vs Collins, Clisuida
12 1883 Collins, Burton vs Collins, Mary Jane Divorce
30         Collins, Claude vs     Collins, Minnie Divorce
31         Collins, Claude     vs     Collins, Minnie Divorce
17 1893 Collins, Conway vs Gibson, Arthur
43         Collins, Conway  vs     Seal, John
52 1962 Collins, Flora          vs     Collins, Joseph Alimony
16 1899 Collins, George  Adm vs Collins, Emily  etal Will dispute
40 1898 Collins, George  Adm vs Collins, Emily  etal Will dispute
21 1944 Collins, Guy          vs       Collins, Elsie Mae               Divorce
13 1906 Collins, Howard  (died 16 Feb 1906) vs Collins, Munless Executor Will children named
12 1960 Collins, Isabelle vs Collins, Mathias Divorce
23         Collins, Joe         vs            Johnson, Flora
20 1913 Collins, Lewis vs Collins, Hannah Divorce
38 1949 Collins, Mabel Seal vs Collins, Reuben Divorce
64 1905 Collins, Maletea to More, Elizabeth Deed
3 1883 Collins, Mary Jane vs Collins, Burton
8 1920 Collins, Mattie vs Collins, Sage
64 1906 Collins, Monroe & wife Elizabeth to Collins, Dasley & others Deed
12 1860 Collins, Nancy vs Collins, Elby Divorce
64 1912 Collins, Noah & wife Alice to Mizer, Logan Deed
2 1889 Collins, Orpha vs Collins, Simeon Divorce (reconciled
46 1891 Collins, Patsy vs Collins, Hilny divorce
35 1870 Collins, Rubern vs Collins, Elizabeth Divorce
5 1897 Collins, Vardy  (son of old Vardy) vs Will
18 1943 Collins, Walter vs Davidson, Marshall
10 1882 Collins, Zelpha vs Collins, Enoch also, Mathis Family
41 1866 Depew, John adm et al  vs Dalton, Colby Et Al 
48         Depew, John adm et al   vs Dalton, Colby et al
64 1802 Dunlap, Hugh & Miller, Robert to Mizer, George 25 acres
51         Ferguson, Alice    vs  Ferguson, Lee Divorce
40 1886 Fletcher, Henry vs Baker, Andrew dispute
39         Fox, Beatrice Collins vs Fox, Thurman Jacob divorce
39         Gibson, Able et al vs Gibson, Ransom et al land dispute Hancock Co
44 1917 Gibson, Andy  vs Collins, Grant
12 1843 Gibson, Charles to Nichols, William Deed, certified copy
22 1843 Gibson, Charles  (same as folder 12) vs Nichols, William Deed, certified copy
12 1948 Gibson, Fanny vs Gibson, Hugh   *Guardian
24 1934 Gibson, Flora Mae vs Gibson, Horase Divorce
38 1858 Gibson, Hillary vs Gibson, Mary Jane Divorce
30         Gibson, Jennie vs Seal, Henry Divorce
61         Gibson, Jordan N.C. County Court Case
12 1947 Gibson, Julia vs Gibson, William Divorce
12 1943 Gibson, Lewis vs Gibson, Mollie Divorce
23         Gibson, Marie vs Cornwell, Frank
23         Gibson, Richard vs Stewart, Mary
45 1889 Gibson, Sarah E. vs Gibson, Kelly
2 1876 Gibson, Thomas vs Lawson, George Land dispute
36 1875 Gibson, Thomas vs Lawson, George H.  Etal Land dispute
23         Goins, Ciele vs Seal, Mary Mable
59 1853 Goins, Elijah vs Mayes, Sterling lawsuit
23         Goins, Helen vs Burchet, Floyd
26 1890 Goins, John vs Goins, Martha Divorce
44 1906 Goins, John & Mahala to Gibson, Andrew & wife Emily 
60         Goins, John Archivy
49 1914 Goins, Maud vs Goins, Brownlow Divorce
12 1959 Green, Opal Bloomer vs Green, Coy Divorce
65 1957 Groshe, W. P. Jr-- land  top of Powells Mt-appraisalarket value $ 2
23          Hatfield, Louise vs Harris, Owen Divorce
42 1938 Horton, S. S. & J. M. vs Gibson, Ida et al land dispute
62          Index of Obituaries Primitive Baptist by Garner, Hallie
11 1940-42 Jarvis M Jarvis 11  vs Certified copy Will
40 1962 Jarvis, Lawton  vs Jarvis, Valeria Seal Divorce
22 1955 Johnson, Betty Lee vs Johnson, Glen Divorce
28         Johnson, Burley vs Johnson, Dorothy Divorce
23         Johnson, Hester vs Seal, Jack
7 1934 Johnson, Mattie vs Johnson, Jack Divorce
40 1963 Lamb, Willie G. vs Lamb, Lizzie divorce
40 1958 Lawson, Gladys Trent vs Lawson, Vance Contempt
56         Lawson, Jack folder
41 1945 Lawson, Martha Gibson vs Carroll, Lowell Ray & Carroll, Paralee Deanna
7 1883 Lawson, Minta vs Lawson, Emanuel
57          Lawson, Mormon Slanton History Gibson, Johnnie Rhea, Brewer, Norrie Bell
14 1880 Long, Patsy vs Long, Joseph Divorce
28         Mahan, Ollie vs   Mahan , Chester Divorce
44 1906 Makey, Frank to Goins, Mahaly & John Deed for Land
65 1926 Mancuro, Phillip & Groshe, W. P. 2 letters
56 1847 Manis, Jane widow of Manis, Riley to Lawson,Peter Deed
65 1926 Margraves, C.W. &  Eidson, Eva L to Margraves, S. A.
65 1893 Margraves, S. A to Margraves, C. W. Deed
64 1923 Margraves, Sallie to Fleener, Grant Deed
22         Maxey, Charles vs Maxey, Flora Divorce
22         Mills, Bonnie  vs Mills, Clyde Divorce
65 1912 Miser, Logan & wife to Miser, Mealey
65 1931 Miser, Logan & wife to Miser, Walter and Dora
64 1809 Mizer, George to Morrow, John 2 tracts land on 2nd creek
64 1794 Moore, Arthur to Collins, Charles 200 acres Tuckhoo Creek
40 1955 Mullins, Bonnie vs Mullins, Ellis divorce
22 1956 Mullins, Connie vs Mullins, Ellie Divorce
32 1884 Mullins, Ellis vs Mullins, Phoeba Divorce (Pictures John Mull
38 1902 Mullins, Hattie vs Mullins, Thomas Divorce
53         Mullins, John         vs Mullins, Sarah Divorce
40 1960 Mullins, William vs Mullins, Lucille divorce
1 1861 Muncey, James   vs Collins., Allen
43         Muncy, James vs Collins, Allen
56 1839 Muray, Nancy   vs Murray, Chrisopher Divorce
40 1964 Myers, Martha Mullins vs Myers, Tommy Divorce
33 1891 Nicholson, Sarah to Roberts, Thomas Land Grant
40 1962 Odom, Charlie vs Cody, Ernest Guardianship 
13         Tennessee Goins, vs  Laura mar. a Stewart  
40 1963 Olson, Jean Cantwell vs Olson, Fayne Lee Divorce
40 1957 Purkey, Barbara vs Purkey, Hugh Divorce
12 1927 Ratliff, Ola vs Rarliff, Carl Divorce
64 1800 Rawlings, Asahel to Mizer, George Deed
12 1955 Redwine, Nina vs Redwine, Olan Divorce
65 1960 Reece, Carroll Western Union telegram to Groshe, William P.
39         Rhea, Louis J. Jr vs Rhea, Martha divorce
40 1946 Rhea, Mary Lamb vs Rhea, George
37 1940 Ringley, Gracie vs Ringley, Joe Divorce
29 1894 Roberts, Francis vs Roberts, George Divorce
50 1894 Roberts, Francis vs Roberts, George Divorce
52 1894 Roberts, Francis vs Rogers, George
57         Roberts, Joseph, Gibson, John; Cloud. Mary Ruth; Bolden-Bell, Bertha; Bunch-Estep, Betty
27 1890 Roberts, Margaret vs Seals, W. G. Land dispute
39 1957 Roberts, Ray vs Roberts, Ruth Divorce
12 1958 Russell, George vs Russell, Gladys Divorce
12 1929 Seal, Elber & wife Theodocia vs Warranty Deed
31 1915 Seal, Jennie vs Seal, Henry Divorce
4 1945 Seal, Myrtle vs Seal, Hord Child support
55 1907 Seal, Oliver  to Seal Jane Deed of Conveyance
28 1960 Seal, Ruby  vs Seal, Kyle Divorce
7 1979 Sexton, Isaac  vs Sexton, Malinda
65 1937 Sizemore, Lloyd & Julia to Groshe, William P.
25         Solomon, Collins; Silas Collins(Pictures) , Sem Goins, John, Collins, Semion pension request
63         Stamps Library Microfilm List
19 1905 State of Tenn vs Jaynes, W. S.  Etal
65 1906 Stewart, Cora to Collins, Nora Deed
31 1950 Trent John Tyler vs Trent, Viola Wilburn Divorce
22 195? Trent, Clara vs Trent, Carl Divorce
30         Trent, John vs Trent, Viola Wilburn Divorce
23         Trent, Lena vs Depew, Porter
40 1967 Trent, Sarah Rhea vs Trent, jimmie Contempt
6 1959 Waddell, Faris vs Waddell, Ruth Divorce
22 1962 Waddell, George Ray vs Waddell, Lorene Johnson Divorce
22 1956 Waddell, William Farris vs Waddell, Ruth Collins Divorce
23 1868 Walker, Henry  etal vs Walker, William  etal Sale of property
6 1960 Wells, Collins,Evelyn vs Wells, Clyde Divorce 
43         Willis, Johnny vs Willis, Mae
52 1934 Wilmeth, Taft alias Wilmeth, Pat  vs State
38         Wm. Robert vs Roberts will
22 1963 Wolfe, Jean Long vs Wolfe, Ophair Divorce

* Located Chancery file cabinet 11, top drawer  *

William P. Grohse Microfilmo09-7y/.'/.

774 Microfilm 1910 census Hamilton, Hancock & Haywood Counties roll T624 film cabinet
773 Microfilm 1920 census Hamblen-Hamilton                   roll T 625 film cabinet
765 Microfilm Hancock County Grohse papers                  roll 501-1 film cabinet
767 Microfilm Hancock County Grohse papers                  roll 501-3 film cabinet
766 Microfilm Hancock County Grohse papers                 roll 501-2 film cabinet
768 Microfilm Hancock County Grohse papers                 roll 501-4 film cabinet
769 Microfilm Hancock County marriages Jan 1960-Sept 1964 roll A-2349 film cabinet
771 Microfilm Hancock, Hamilton Census 1870-                   roll 593 film cabinet
770 Microfilm, Census 1790 NY, NC, Pa, Md,Conn, Maine,Mass, SC, Va roll T-498 film cabinet