Wednesday, December 11, 2013


One self identified as an “avid Melungeon researcher” continues to distort Melungeon History on her blog and website, especially when it comes to the history of the Goins family. Making false claims the Goins didn’t live on Newman Ridge, which is the lie that originated with Will Allen Dromgoole in 1890’s.

“The African Branch was introduced by one Goins who emigrated from North Carolina after the formation of Tennessee”.(Dromgoole)

All of this nonsense is easily disputed by the land, marriage, census, church and tax records which show the Goins, Collins and Gibson lived near each other and intermarried. They also show the most famous Melungeon Mahala “Big Haley” Mullins mother was a Goins.

Lets us describe the area and examine those records. This area was in Hawkins County, Tennessee until 1844 when Hancock County was formed. On the North side of Newman Ridge is Mulberry Gap, Powell Mountain the valley between Newman Ridge and Powell Mountain, was named Vardy, for Vardy Collins who had a hotel and mineral springs resort. Blackwater Creek, beginning from a spring in Snake Hollow and flowing through Vardy Valley into Lee County, Virginia, where it makes a u-turn back to Hancock County and empties into the Clinch River, about 3 miles below Kyles Ford Tennessee, where Indian Ridge ends. On the south side of Newman Ridge is Greasy Rock, Panther Creek (old name Buffalo) flows along the south side and empties into the Clinch River a few miles west from the entrance of Blackwater Creek. Newman Ridge extends several miles east of Kyles Ford, past the Blackwater Church. This area was correctly described in 1848 as a gorge between Powell Mountain and the Copper Ridge.

Micajer Bunch was described by historian Bill Groshe as the first Melungeon on Newman Ridge. Micajer was one of the signers of the 1792 petition to form Lee County, Virginia. Tax records from the Virginia State Library and Archive show- 1795 Lee County, Virginia tax list records Micajer Bunch, Drury Bunch, Israel Bunch, Clem Bunch, Julius Bunch and Jeremiah Boling- 1797 Lee County tax list shows others who arrived which includes Zachariah Goins, he was the son of this authors 7th generation grandparents John and Elizabeth Goins of Henry County, Virginia. At this date most of the Collins, including Vardy was in Ashe County, North Carolina. Micajer Bunch land entry joined Joseph Wallen’s near Kyles Ford. Although Micajer was one of the first settlers he did not stay, Micajer is listed on the 1799 tax list of Cumberland County, Kentucky. Zachariah Goins is on the 1836 Tax list of Hawkins County, Tennessee living near Jesse Goodman and Fountain Goins.

Beginning in 1830 The David Allison Grant was transferred to Walter Sims who lost it to the state from back taxes. This land was located on both sides of the Clinch River and a large part of Newman Ridge, When the land was surveyed it contained over 1000,000 acres and many Melungeon families along with the white settlers made purchases recorded in Entry books B & C located in the Hawkins County Register of Deeds Office and on microfilm at the Hawkins County, Archives.

George Goins 300 acres along cliff of Newman Ridge Book B page 145. George Goins et al 5,000 acres on Newman Ridge Book B page 147.
The 1830 census lists 4 free colored in George Goen household.

George Goins sister Jincie Jane Goins married Soloman Collins, their daughter Mahala (Big Haley) Collins married John Mullins, their son Ruben Mullins application 2946, Married Elizabeth Gibson and they both filed Cherokee Indian Application.– Remarks in Ruben application “Solomon Collins is said to crossed into Tennessee and married Jincy Goins and settled there because He was afraid the chief would kill him if he returned to the tribe”.
Elizabeth application # 2947 and Reuben #2946 were both rejected June 26, 1909. According to family genealogy George and Jincie Goins parents were Joseph and Millie Lovin Goins, Y DNA from descendants show these Goins were Sub-Saharan African and Mullins was European.

Vardy Collins 200 acres on Newman Ridge Book B page 51
Elijah Goins 400 acres on Indian Ridge Book B page 98
Shepherd Gibson 300 acres on Blackwater Creek Book B page 138
Jordan Gibson 300 acres on Newman Ridge Book B page 165
Jordan Gibson 100 acres on Newman Ridge Book C page 10
Jordan Gibson 180 acres on Newman Ridge Book C page 84
Andrew Gibson 50 acres on Newman Ridge Book C page 56
Soloman D. Collins 100 acres on Newman Ridge Book C page 10
Benjamin Collins 100 acres on Newman Ridge Book c page 11
Andrew Collins 100 acres on Newman Ridge page 97
Chrispen Goan 100 on Blackwater Creek Book c page 21
James Mullins 40 acres on Newman Ridge Book c page 24
Vardy Collins 80 acres on Blackwater Creek book c page 26
Vardy Collins 100 acres on Blackwater Creek book c page 54.
Zachariah Minor 25 acres on Newman Ridge book c page 78
William Goodman 50 acres on south side of Newman Ridge page 82
Wyatt Collins 100 acres on Newman Ridge page 87
James Moore 100 acres on Newman Ridge page 87

Alexander Goins was born ca 1815 son of Elijah and Sally Goins. Elijah Goins purchased 400 acres on Indian Ridge from the big Walter Sims survey Book B page 98. Indian Ridge lays on the North side of Clinch River west of Kyles Ford and on the South side of Big Ridge. Alexander Goins married Etta Collins born 1812 daughter of Vardemon “Vardy” and Margaret Gibson Collins. Alexander and Etta had two known children John Goins born 1833 died before 1900. Married Lucinda Sexton they had 9 children. The largest Cemetery on Big Ridge was named for Johnny Goins who has a veterans tombstone in this Cemetery.

The Johnnie Goins Cemetery on Big Ridge, behind Goins Chapel is where most of the filming of Melungeon documentaries began. Following the old road east from this Cemetery you would come to Mahala Mullins home before it was moved to Vardy, by the Vardy Historical Society. Traveling east on the Ridge from Mahala house was where the Solomon D. Collins home was located, There is a,picture of old Solomon Collins log house where Mahala was born in Jim Callahan Book, Lest We Forget page 162. .The 1830 census lists 9 free colored in Solomon D. Collins household, the large two story log house was still standing on Newman Ridge in 1990.

Alfred D. Goins son of Alexander and Etta Collins Goins was born 1837 died Sept 4, 1907. Married Hanna Gibson in 1860, they were the parents of 3 sons. Alfred and Hanna are buried in the Johnny Goins Cemetery. (part of this information is from 1994 Families of Hancock County and Johnnie Gibson Rhea research)

Lies told to Will Allen Dromgoole, or made up stories by Will Allen “The Melungeon Tree and its 4 branches, May 1991” (Tennessee State Library & Archives).

“From Old Vardy Collins the first tribe took its name Collinses, others who followed Vardy took the name Collins also. Old Benjamin Collins one of the Pioneers was older than Vardy Collins, but came to Tennessee a trifle later. He had quiet a large family of children, among them Edmund, Milton, Marler, Harry, Andrew, Zeke, Jordan. From Jordan descended Calloway Collins and from him I obtained some valuable information. Benjamin Collins was known as old Ben and became the head of the Ben Tribe, Old Solomon Collins Sol Tribe. It appears that no tribe was ever called the Vardy tribe, although as long as he lived he was the recognized head and leader of the entire people. For many years they occupied the ridge without disturbance. Moreover these strange people were called the Ridgemanites and the Black-Waterites because of a stream called Black Water which flowed through their territory”. “The tree began to put forth branches, the English or white, Portuguese and African. The English branch began with the Mullins tribe a very powerful tribe. Jim Mullins the father of the branch took up with one of their women, a descendant of old Sol Collins. (*Solomon D. Collins wife was Jencie Jane Goins). “The African Branch was introduced by one Goins who emigrated from North Carolina after the formation of Tennessee. Goins was a Negro and did not settle on the Ridge, but lower down on Big Sycamore In Powell Valley he took a Melungeon wife. The Melungeons repudiate the idea of Negro blood, yet some of the shiftless stragglers among them have married among the Goins people . They evade slights and snubs by claiming to have married Portuguese. There really being a Portuguese branch traced to one Denham, a Portuguese who married a Collins”. [ If Calloway Collins was the source of this information, he surely knew and concealed the fact that Solomon Collins married a Goins. According to Dromgoole Calloway personally knew Vardy Collins. And he did know the Goins were at least part Negro, and as a grandson of Benjamin the Y- DNA on descendants of Benjamin was African. .

Hezekiah Minor and Zephaniah Goins were brother-in-laws and members of the old Blackwater Baptist Church, Hezekiah was married to Zephaniah Goins sister Elizabeth. Known children were John, Zachariah and Lewis Minor. Both Zachariah and Lewis Minor were tried for illegal voting in 1845-48 along with Vardy Collins, Solomon Collins, also Ezekiel, Levi, Andrew and Wyatt Collins sons of Benjamin. All were related because when Wyatt was found not quilty by a Jury the state dropped the charges on Solomon, Ezekiel, Levi and Andrew Collins.

Zachariah Goins a brother to Zephaniah was one of the first settlers to arrive in the Newman River area 1797 Lee County, Virginia tax list lower district on the same list was Micajer Bunch. They were sons of John and Elizabeth Going of Henry County, Virginia. During John Going lifetime 1735-1801 there were no records that indicated he was African, He was the first person granted permission to build a Grist Mill in Henry County, Virginia. John Going owned a plantation that lay astride Blackberry Creek and extended into Patrick County, John Going wrote his will in 1801 naming all his children and dividing the household furniture. Y-DNA test from several descendants of John Going prove he was Sub-Saharan African. All Tax, land and court records indicate he was regarded as white, his wife Elizabeth and son John Going Jr. were enumerated on an 1813 free colored tax list of Henry County, Virginia. Elizabeth may have been full blood African which may be the reason most of their sons were sometimes listed free colored on tax records.

Thomas Goin a Rev. War soldier in 1788 sold his land, 225 acres in Washington County,and moved 90 miles west to newly created Hawkins County, Tennessee from which Claiborne County was later created.


  1. Hi mr Goins, my name is Travis stephan/slaughter and I have been researching my heritage, I have traced back a couple of generations and found I am a goins, I would greatly appreciate if you contacted me by phone or email so I can learn a little more about my heritage to keep my family history alive, contact me at 1313 269 2418, 1734 552 8499, or by email at, thank you

  2. Hi Jack, I stumbled upon learning about Melungeons through conversations with my father where he shared with me that there were whispers of Melungeon ancestry and incest within my family tree. Loving a good mystery, I couldn't help but investigate my roots. So, as Travis above, I too have done some research, extensive research into my lineage and I have found, and documented, through birth records/death records/marriage records, etc. that I have a dual line of ancestry on my father's side and both lines have several common ancestors, leading back to Vardemon Collins. I found that my great grandmother was a Collins and her parents were both Collins', they were distant cousins. I am 1/8 Melungeon. I would be happy to participate in any studies and I would love to share my lineage(s) with you. I have photographs leading generations up my family tree that I would be happy to share as well. Please feel free to contact me so I may share what info I've collected with you. Best to you Jack, and thank you for the work you've done, and continue to do. - Angela

  3. Jack my name is Nikki Lawson I am Johnnie Rhea's granddaughter. I am wondering if you could tell me how to get a copy of the movie Melongeons of Vardy Valley? I understand my mamaw is in the film and would love to get a copy. My phone number is 423-754-1827.

  4. Jack my name is Nikki Lawson I am Johnnie Rhea's granddaughter. I am wondering if you could tell me how to get a copy of the movie Melongeons of Vardy Valley? I understand my mamaw is in the film and would love to get a copy. My phone number is 423-754-1827.

  5. Hi Jack, My name is Aaron and Lewis Minor and Sarah Fields are my 4x Great Grandparents. Thank you so much for writing this article. That wasn't the only time someone was arrested for illegal voting. John Minor, son of Lewis and Sarah was arrested the day after voting in Missouri. They came to his house and told the family that Natives weren't able to vote and so he spent time locked up. My Great Grandmother ended up becoming supervisor of elections for that county many years later. Please feel free to contact me anytime Jack.


  6. Hi Jack, Lewis and Sarah Minor were my 4x great Grandparents. Their son John was also arrested in Missouri for voting as a NA. My Great Grandmother later became supervisor of elections for that county.

  7. Thanks for the great information, Did John Minor son of Lewis marry an Edens?

    1. Not sure if you already got the answer. But yes, John Minor married Roxanna Edens.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. My dna matches that of a LOT of people in Magoffin Ky who descend from Valentine Collins, in fact I have about 5 of them. I have SEEN their dna, and it supports what you say.

    BTW, I am a descendant of the Hill family(also Johns, Stewart, Evans, Mitchell, Sawyer, Gibson, Turner, Wynn) and John Hill(and all the Hills in my family) was affiliated with the Goins family as was his ancestor Zachariah Hill..........

    "Going, Frederic C. Beazly, Sally 12/05/1860 William S. Jessup
    md. 12/06/1860 (w) Jno. Hill, C.C.C."

    "Surry County, NC Deed Abstracts Deed Book I, page 285
    18 Feb 1801
    Jesse Goen of Surry County, NC to William Hunt of Rowan Co., NC. 50 pounds current money of sd state 60 acres on both sides of Elrods Creek near the Georgia road adjoining Jacob Speer, Donnally, and Rutledge. Part of 500-acre tract.

    John Hunt Jesse (x) Goen (seal)
    Henry Hunt
    John Hill
    Duly proved in Surry Co Court Feb sessions 1802 by oath of Henry Hunt & ordered to be registered. Test
    John Williams, D C."

    Wm. Goens
    "states from the best of his recollection that he must have served as a private not less than six months for which he claims a pension– that he has no documentary evidence of his service– that owing to his removal, death & other removals he knows of no persons living who can testify from personal knowledge to his services but Manuel Hill of Stokes County and Joel Blancit of Patrick County Virginia whose certificates accompany this Declaration that there lives near him no clergyman to whom he is known and whose certificate he can procure as to his character for truth and his belief as to his Revolutionary service"

    "State of N Car
    Stokes Cty
    To wit: This day Manuel Hill appeared before me a justice of the peace in & for the cty of Stokes aforesaid and made oath that William Going served with him in the service of the United States as a Militia man a three months tour under Capt Jonathan Hamby then of Henry Cty, Va; that the said William Going marched with him to South Caro and was engaged at the seize of ninety-six under the command of Gen. Greene, Maj. Ward commanded the militia _? he joined head quarters of ninety-six.
    Manual (his x mark) Hill
    Sworn to and subscribed before me in the cty aforesaid this 2nd day of Feb. 1833."

  9. I'll bet you're talking about the "avid researcher" who attacked me on several different websites for referencing to your work. First there was a guy who vehemently defends his E1b1a7a Y haplo as being NON-African. We got on the subject of Melungeons because my lineage is out of Stokes and Surry NC for the most part, and my ancestors were FPOC. He went and found this woman whose initials are JP, and she tried to give me HELL. It seems that her only goal is to debunk anything Black about ANY historical group EXCEPT slaves. She even tried to deny that Blacks intermixed with the people currently called "Lumbee". I have SEEN the dna test though, and the Black to Indian blood ratio is about 7 to 1 in the core families like Oxendine, Hunt, Locklear, and Jones. Its amazing how she and others separate individual families from the herd if their dna doesn't support their theories. They seem to have a similar make-up to many Dominicans. I can imagine that after a few years of marrying Whites, the Dominican would look similar to many of these groups

  10. Yes she is the one with the white melungeons

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. my moms maiden name was Mullins her dad was Floyd. Mom and dad both are from Virginia and west. My name is Carl Phillips. Can you give me any information?

  13. My mother was a Minor from Wise County and her Dad was Howard Minor. He was the son of John and Arminta Minor. Would love to have my DNA tested but do not know of reputable company to do this. Any information will be helpful.