Carmel Indians

If Vardy Collins and Buck Gibson were the 'head and source' of the Melungeons then Valentine Collins and Bryson Gibson are likely the 'head and source of the Carmel Indians or as they were called in Kentucky, 'The Brown People of Magoffin County.

Bryson Gibson was born in 1782 and according to Cherokee applications he was the son of Thomas and Franky Gibson. He is living in Lee County, Virginia in 1820 and Mulberry Gap, Claiborne Co., Tennessee in 1830 listed as fpc. He married Fannie Green and is found in early court records, Hawkins Co., Tenn., 1828 -- Charles Gibson vs. Bryson Gibson--.

He removed to Morgan County, Kentucky by 1860 where he died. He is likely the brother of Henry Gibson who died in Morgan County 1857, also a son of Thomas Gibson and possibly the same Thomas and Henry Gibson found at the Stoney Creek Church records. From these records it seems he would probably be considered a Melungeon.

I have found at least five of his sons. Some lived in Magoffin County and were probably called the Brown People... or "Gipsons"

--From Jean Patterson Bible we have this;

"Of the Magoffin County Melungeons, a friend from Gifford, Kentucky, writes that "All of the old timers here are of the opinion that the first Gipsons came to Magoffin County from Virginia in the early 1800's. There are about two hundred in the county today [i.e., ca. 1975], I would guess. The most prominent family name is Gipson and then there are the Coles, Mullinses, Fletchers, and Nicholses. All of them are usually referred to locally as "Gipsons" rather than Melungeons."

These families are listed as Indian on the 1910 census and some are listed on the Guion Miller Rolls. They are descendants of Bryson Gibson.

Some of these Gibsons/Coles/Nichols etc, left Magoffin County and went to Highland Co., Ohio where they became known as "Carmel Indians."

Mrs. Elsie J Ayres, historian of Highland County, Ohio to Jean Patterson Bible;

" The Wyandotte, Miami, Mingo, Delaware, and Shawnee Indians built shelters along the streams in Highland County. They were nomadic tribes and many claiming to have been of foreign origin. Those who came were mostly tired of conflict, willing to hunt and fish and live at peace with the early setlers,, most of whom arrived after the Revolution to take advantage of their war land grants... Carmel, a small settlement, was never platted as a town, but snuggled in the foothills of four hills nearby southwest of Carmel, the people you inquired about live in almost primitive style. They began to build their cabin homes in the hill country in the early 1800s. They are known here as Carmelites or "Hill People" with names such as Gibson, Nichols, Mureen, Mull, Crispin, Hogshead, and others. In 1842 most of the Indians were relocated to Kansas and Oklahoma but a number remained.......The Carmelites claim they are descendants of the Shawnee Indians who remained behind .......

Valentine Collins was a member of the Stoney Creek Church around 1800 and removed to Newman's Ridge for a short time before removing to Kentucky. He is listed on the 1820 and 1830 Floyd County census and had land in Morgan County. He is listed as a neighbor of Martin Gibson who had a sister, Dicey, who is likely the wife of Valentine. These Collins' and Gibsons intermarried with the Cole, Perkins, Nichols, Fletchers (and other) families and are the 'core' of the Magoffin County 'Brown People' and the Carmel Indians.

We will be adding the census records, family group sheets, Cherokee Applications, etc., that I have on these families shortly. If you have any records to contribute please send us email to:
The people known as Carmel Indians came from Magoffin County where they are listed as Cherokee on the 1900 Census. Their ancestors were in Hancock County where they were known as Melungeons but there is no evidence these people were ever known as anything but Native Americans. Read more about them here---->Magoffin County