Date: June 23, 1907
Paper: Dallas Morning News


Peculiar Peoples In America


By Frederic J. Haskins



Sheltered by some pocket in the hills living in seclusion in some quiet valley or guarded by impenetrable grasses in some far everglade, there are here and there throughout the United States groups of people that are peculiar and distinctive from the rest of the inhabitatants. Segregating in close communities they have preserved for centuries, traits and characteristics of some remote and often unknown ancestry, and through traditon only can they trace their past.  

....On Newman's ridge in Hancock County, Tennessee, overlooking the beautiful Clinch River Valley, lives one of the most mysterios people in America.  Through their Anglo-Saxon neighbors or through writers of romance the name "Malungeon" has been given them, a name that the better element resents.  They resemble in feature the Cherokee Indians, and yet have a strong, Caucasian cast of countenance that makes their claim to Portuguese descent seem probable.  They came, so a legend runs, of a bard of Portuguese pirates, who long yeas ago were wrecked on an unknown coast, became adopted into an Indian tribe and were part of the Cherokees who two or three centuries later refused to go West and live on the reservation that a kindly Government offered when it needed their Eastern lands.

In the 'Tractado das Ilhas Novas" written by Frandisco de Sousa in 1570, and published in San Miguel, Azores, only about forty years ago, there is an acount of a Portuguese colony which is said to have existed on the eastern coast of British North America over 100 years before Jamestown was settled.  This colony was known as Terra Nova, and from 1500 to 1579 the records at Lisbon show that commisions were regularly issued to Gaspar and Miguel Corte Real as Governors of the settlement.  One hundred years before Columbus came to these shores it is claimed that the Basques, then great seafarers, but now a mountain people of Spain, came to these shores and lent much of their language to Indian dialects.  From the Corte Real settlements and from these Basques speculating historians have tried to draw an ancestry for the "Malungeons."  Whatever the origin may be as a people they were practically outcasts for many years.  They were there in the Tennessee mountains when John Sevier organized the State of Franklin, and were supposed by their neighbors to be Moors.  In 1834 they were denied the right of suffrage because they wee accounted "free person of color," and for many years suffered this political idignity.  As a natural consequence they became lawbreakers and evaders of the newer processes of civilization.  It is claimed that there is also negor blood in the "Malungeon" strain.

In Robeson County, North Carolina, lives the remnant of the once powerful Croatan Indian tribe which welcomed Amadas and Barlowe when they came to roanoke Island of whom Hakluyt wrote in his "Voyages."  The explorers claim to have found several auburn-haired children among them, the Indians explaining that they were descendants of some shipwrecked white men picked up on the coast of Secotan twenty six years before.   These modern Croatans are even more pronounced in the proof of an Anglo-Saxon strain, and yet they have not intermarried with their white neighbors.  There are several hundred of these Indians, some of whom have light hair, others have blue eyes, and names Dorr and Dare are said to be common among them.  Because of this, historians have deduced the theory that the remnants of Whate's colony which disappeared from Roanoke Island between 1587 and 1590 were taken away into the camps of the Croatan or Hatteras Indians and that Ananias Dare, his wife and little Virginia gave their name and their coloring to the tribe as we find it today.

DOCUMENTING THE MELUNGEONS