Tuesday, October 4, 2016


                WAR ON THE MALUNGEONS JULY 1877 

    Fifteen distilleries and thousand of dollars of whiskey destroyed ! That’s altogether too big a hoax ! Come down thirteen stills, and say one keg of whiskey, then you may be believed.      

   The United States Whiskey Heroes, hearing of the great war raging between Russia and Turkey (Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) .
got so powerfully excited that they couldn’t stand it any longer in peace, so they declared war against the Malungeons in Newman’s Ridge and made a raid over there. The boys were so fortunate as not to shoot themselves with those complicated butt loading rifles they so valiantly carried. That, after all, was the principal danger they incurred.

  On the last Sabbath morning (July 1) we noticed the streets of Rogersville full of armed men. Upon inquiry it was found that the squad of cavalry was a portion of a force recently sent by the United States Marshall at Knoxville into Newman’s Ridge, in Hancock County, for the purpose of breaking up illicit distilleries. These men said they had destroyed fourteen distilleries in the Ridge, but upon inquiry from other sources we learn that only two of these were captured. The other twelve being only sheds where stills had been heretofore operated, and the owners of which hearing of the raid had doubtless moved to safer quarters.

   By the way, where is the law to be found authorizing young men to be armed and ride through the country burning down cabins and destroying property? This is a new thing in the United States of America, and we are too far behind the times to understand it. The laws ought to be enforced of course, but it seems to us that those people in the Ridge might be managed without such a great show of rifles and pistols as were paraded on the streets last Sabbath morning.

    Newman Ridge is and always has been a  monstrous loyal country. The Malungeons “conquered the right” to make whiskey free, and they only laugh at such chaps as visted them last week.  (Morristown Gazette Wed July 4, 1877.- Hawkins County Department- L.L. Poats Editor, Rogersville Tennessee July 4, 1877)  

Notice in the newspaper article above that it was common knowledge in the Morristown, Rogersville area who the Melungeons were and where they lived. The core Melungeons originated  in the Newman Ridge area and spread to other localities by migration of the local settlers and the news media. 

#1-This raid reported in the newspaper article above was 13 years before Will Allen Dromgoole visit to Newman Ridge 1890.
#2-And 13 years before this July 17, 1890 Red Springs, North Carolina article  by Hamilton McMillan, making ridiculous undocumented claims about the East Tennessee Melungeon, “a name retained by them here”.
#3-And 13 years before a paper read by Dr. (Swan) Burnett before the Washington Anthropological Society on the Melungeons in the southern Alleghenies is a case in point. Annual report by Smithsonian Institution – 1890

To be continued.