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.