A DESCENDANT OF MISSING COLONY
Secret of the Croatan
Tribe-- The Famous
Roanoke Settlers Were
But affiliated With a
Friendly and Powerful
Nation of Indians
St. Louis Dispatch
Former United States
Senator Hiram R. Revels, of Mississippi, has always been classed as a
negro. He was a tall, well-built man, with the chocolate skin and
curly hair of the African and the devout bearing of his profession the
ministerial. He served during the reconstruction period, never
being known as prominent, but always as a representative colored
man. Rebels was not a negro. Dr. C. A. Peterson of St.
Louis, (See Bill
Arp's Letter for more on Dr. Peterson) who had made a study
of the lost Roanoke (Va.) colony says that Revels is a descendant of
that mystery-shrouded band that Sir Walter Raleigh sent to Roanoke
Island in 1587.
..... Now for the facts
which the historians have generally so singularly overlooked. In 1710
when the Huguenots and Cavaliers started to penetrate the interior of
North Carolina, they found some seventy-vive miles from the coast in
what is now Robeson, N.C., a colony of English speaking
people, many of whom had blue eyes and light hair. They
inquired where they came from and they replied. "From Croatan'
How does it come that your speak English!' 'Our fathers were English'
"They wrote one letter
about their discovery, a letter by the way, is in the archives of the
board of trade of London.
It is evident that a
number of the Huguenots remained in a colony and intermarried, as there
are a great many names of undoubted French origin to be found among the
Croatan names of the present day.
"these people have
always been called Croatans. There are some 4,000 of them living
in robeson county, N. C. at the present time, but they have scattered
all over the South and West. I have found Croatan names among all
the civilized tribes living in the Indian Territory.
"The Croatans have
distinct racial characteristics. They are as black as Portuguese and
are different in appearance from either Indians, negroes or
Caucasians. In some instances there has evidently been a mixture
with negro blood, and on this account when in 1833 North Carolina and
Tennessee disfranchised the negroes, they included the Croatans.
When the war broke out
the Croatans were between two fires. Those who did not enlist in
the Southern army were liable to be impressed as negroes for work on
fortifications, etc. From this custom came the cause of the
depredations of the Lowry gang which for years spread terror in North
"Old man Lowry resisted
impressment, declaring that there was nothing but English and Indian
blood in his veins and that he was as much an American freeman, and had
as good blood in him as the Harrisons, the Randolphs, or any of the
descendants of the proudest colonial families. For this stubborn
stand he was shot dead.
"When his son, Henry
Berry Lowry reached his manhood he took his gun, organized a band of
sympathizers and started out on a mission of extermination. every
man suspected of having had any connection with his father's death was
waylaid and killed. the gang was finally broke up, but not until
it had collect bloody interest on old many Lowry's death.
"The most eminent of
the Croatans was United States senator Revels, who was elected from
Mississippi during the reconstruction days. he was classed as a
negro, but he was in reality a Croatan, one of those with a Huguenot
name and ancestry.
"The family names of
the Croatans are the same as those of the settlers on Roanoke
Island. They were men from Devonshiren England and furthermore
even the broad Devonshire pronunciation is found in certain words as
used by the Croatans of today.
"A hundred years ago a
colony of Croatans settled in eastern Tennessee, on Newman's Ridge, in
Hancock county. They can't tell today where they came from, for
tradition over 50 years isn't worth anything. These are the
people called Melungeons. They are similar in racial
characteristics to the Croatans, and Dr. Swan M. Burnett, a
distinguished scholar and scientitst - the husband, by the way, of Mrs.
Francis Hodgson Burnett, the novelist - has traced by family names the
connection between the Melungeons and the Croatans.
The name Melungeons is
accounted for in this wise; when the new settlers appeared among
the mountaineers their unusual looks prompted inquiries as to what they
were. The answer was 'Melange" -- or a mixture -- and the
mountaineers at once dubbed them Melungeons."