The Philadelphia Inquirer
January 14, 1894

A QUEER TENNESSEE PEOPLE




There is a race of people in Hawkins County, Tenn., whose origin is a mystery," said G. L. Babbit. "They are called the Melungeons, and are found no place else. They have been traced back to North Carolina, but further than that nothing is known. They are not Indians, they are not negroes, they are certainly not of any known race of white people. But few of them can speak the English language, although they have lived here for over a century, and the language they do speak is an unknown one tot he most accomplished linguist. they are dirty and degraded, but with a race pride about them that prevent their intermingling with the lower order of Americans or with negroes. A Melungeon will work when he is hunger, but only under press of necessity. they avoid the towns, and cultivate small patches of corn on the most barren mountain sides, the rest hunting and fishing. Every attempt made as yet to better their condition has been a failure, and yet the race continues to exist independently of the white people, growing no smaller and changing none of its attributes.



Also Appeared In:

Vineyard Gazette
(Edgarton, Ma)
March 1, 1894

A Strange Race

There is a race of people in Hawkins County,  Tennessee whose origin is a mystery," said G. L. Babbitt to the corridor man at the Laclede. 
"They are called the Melungeons, and are found no place else. They have been traced back to North Carolina, but further than that nothing is known. They are not Indians, they are not negroes, they are certainly not of any known race of white people. But few of them can speak the English language, although they have lived here for over a century, and the language they do speak is an unknown one tot he most accomplished linguist. they are dirty and degraded, but with a race pride about them that prevent their intermingling with the lower order of Americans or with negroes. A Melungeon will work when he is hunger, but only under press of necessity. they avoid the towns, and cultivate small patches of corn on the most barren mountain sides, the rest hunting and fishing. Every attempt made as yet to better their condition has been a failure, and yet the race continues to exist independently of the white people, growing no smaller and changing none of its attributes.




DOCUMENTING  THE  MELUNGEONS