Trenton, New Jersey
October 19, 1894

Some People In Eastern Tennessee

(This article originally appeard in the Lousville Examiner in 1848 and reprinted in the
Knoxville Register and Littel’s Living Age. The words are pretty much the same but have been
changed around a little almost 50 years later for this article that apparently appeared in a New York paper--JP)

It is not generally known that in the mountains of eastern Tennessee there is a class of peculiar looking people whose origin is wrapped in mystery and who are called by the whites, Melungeons. They resent this appellation and proudly declare that they are Portuguese. The legend of their history, which they carefully preserve, is this. A great many years ago, these mountains were settled by a society of Portuguese Adventurers, men and women--who came from the long-shore parts of Virginia, that they might be freed from the restraints and drawbacks imposed on them by any form of government. They made themselves friendly with the Indians and freed, as they were from every kind of social government, they uprooted all conventional forms of society and lived in a delightful Utopia of their own creation, trampling on the marriage relation, despising all forms of religion, and subsisting upon corn (the only possible product of the soil) and wild game of the the great forests. They intermixed with the Indians, and subsequently with the negroes, and thus formed the present race of Melungeons. They are tall, straight, well-formed people, of a dark copper color, with Circassian features. They were privileged voters in the old slave days and accredited citizens. They are brave, but quarrelsome, and are hospitable to strangers. They have no preachers among them and are almost without knowledge of a supreme being.------NEW YORK RECORDER 1